The Gift of Laughter

While I know that videos aren’t very popular on blog sites, I don’t think I could do this story justice.  In it, the other Tired Teacher and I remember camping trips when we were growing up and the excitement we felt at the end of school because we knew we’d be camping the next week.

I do hope you’ll forgive the video and enjoy the story.

This entry was posted on May 23, 2017. 1 Comment

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Snorkeling at Balmorhea State Park

The other Tired Teacher and I were so excited.  We were going to be snorkeling in the middle of the high desert of West Texas.  Snorkeling in the desert!  How cool!

The other Tired Teacher dropped me off and went to park the car.  Both of the Tired Teachers wear glasses, and this Tired Teacher also has prescription sunglasses.  I’m not going to wear relatively expensive sunglasses in any pool, but I don’t like the brightness of the sun.  We bought cheap sunglasses at Dollar General, and those are the shades for the pool.

As I walked into the spring fed pool area at Balmorhea, I reached into my swim bag and pulled out the cheap sunglasses.  I put them on and headed into the pool area.

People were staring at me.  I looked to see that I was covered properly.  (I didn’t have parts hanging out that shouldn’t have been hanging out.)  I was covered, yet people were giving me the once over.

The other Tired Teacher came in and broke out laughing.  By this time I was feeling pretty paranoid and a little angry.

I looked at the other Tired Teacher and said, “What is it?  Why are you laughing?”  

She giggled, “Take off your glasses.”

I took the glasses off and saw the one of the lenses had popped out.

Oops.

Lake Mineral Wells State Park, a Gem in Our Backyard

One of the prettiest state parks near the DFW Metroplex is Lake Mineral Wells.  Located just northwest of Fort Worth, Texas, this park has everything we want in a state park: great sites, a wonderful swim area with a beach, and lots of nature to love.

The campsites at Lake Mineral Wells are big and shadedCAM00790, a must in the Texas summer heat.  Although none of the sites have full hookups, 47 are water a
nd 50 amp, 30 are water and 30 amp, 20 are equestrian sites with water,
11 are sites with water, in addition to several that are a 2.2 mile hike to primitive sites.  Fifteen sites have screened shelters.

 

The swim area at Lake Mineral Wells is one of the best we’ve found.  First of all, it’s huge. You aren’t going to have to be near other swimmers.  Water toys aren’t a problem because there is lots of room.  Also, a wonderful part of the swim area is the beach, an actual beach with sand.  The park planners didn’t skimp on this.  All of this adds up to a great area to swim.

To add to the fun on the water, the park also rents flat bottom boats with trolling motors, canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, and rowboats.  You aren’t allow to water ski, use jet skis, or tubes.


Nature abounds at the park.  In the middle of the summer, lots of deer roamed the park in the heat of the day.  In addition to the deer in the park, you can find many songbirds, raccoons, and squirrels.  Turkeys are even seen at the park, as are waterfowl.












For the more adventurous, Penitentiary Hollow is “one of the few natural rock climbing venues in North Texas.”

Lake Mineral Wells has 12.8 miles of hiking trails.  They range from easy to challenging. The Trailway is a 20 mile hike through the park and into the city of Mineral Wells.  It and most of the trails are open to hikers, bikers, and horseback riders.

Finally, Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway is a photographers dream.  The pictures we took at the park were taken with our phones, and we’ve considered having some of them framed.  We can only imagine what a real camera could do.

This quickly became a favorite State Park of the Two Tired Teachers.

This entry was posted on April 27, 2017. 1 Comment

Fort Parker State Park and the Waco Mammoth Dig Site

We chose to stay at Fort Parker State Park http://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/fort-parker because we wanted to visit the Waco Mammoth site.

Fort Parker is a small, but pretty state park.  Twenty-five sites with water and electricity are all that the park offers.  It also has 10 screened shelters.

The Fort Parker Lake is part of the Navasota River, and about half of the sites are on the lake.  We were able to get a site with a lake view.

The Waco Mammoth Site is part of the National Park Service.  It is the only recorded discovery of a nursery herd of Columbian mammoths in the US.

https://www.nps.gov/waco/index.htm

For a small fee you get a guided tour and access to the dig shelter.  The dig shelter is where the bones are. 

The tour was extremely interesting, telling how the site was discovered, the work done prior to the National Park Service stepping in, and the fact that a male mammoth was with the nursery herd.

If you choose not to camp, you can probably count on spending at least an hour at the dig site.

McKinney Campground at Lake Alltoona, Georgia

Our longest trip in the fifth wheel was to Lake Alltoona, Georgia.  For us, it was well worth the drive.

After searching various websites, we decided to stay at Army Corps of Engineers Park. Lake McKinney Campground looked wonderful online and even better in real life.

The campsite was a huge well shaded site just within view of Alltoona Lake (used interchangeably with Lake Alltoona).  It included a fire pit, grill, and picnic table.

Although it was early June and not quite warm, we swam two of the days we were there. It was about 85 degrees, but it seemed a little cool for the water.

We took one day to go through Atlanta, about an hour away, to Stone Mountain.  Camping is available at the park itself, but we prefer camping in more seclusion.  Atlanta was a nightmare drive, but at least we weren’t towing the fifth wheel.

When we got to the park, we had already purchased the Adventure Pass Meal Deal.  It isn’t available at the park, and it includes most of the attractions.  

Our first attraction was the train ride.  It lasted about 45 minutes and took us around the mountain.  A staff member will narrate the sights as you wind around Stone Mountain.

It isn’t until you are very near the mountain that you realize the size of it.  It’s the world’s largest relief carving.

We also rode the tram.  When the summer Olympics were held in Atlanta, the Stone Mountain people traded the tram cars they had for much larger ones, so they could accommodate the crowds.

The tram takes you to the top of Stone Mountain.  People are free to go out on the mountain and explore.

After lunch, we visited the Stone Mountain Memorial Hall.  It is a museum of ancient civilizations located around the mountain to present day people and artifacts.

Although it may sound silly, our favorite part of our day at the park was the 4 D movie with Yogi and Boo Boo.  We’d never been to a 4 D, and it was wonderfully fun.

Things we chose not to do were Ride the Ducks, Geyser Towers, and Skyhike.  There is also a night laser show.  

Mostly, we enjoyed the beauty of Lake Alltoona and the gorgeous scenery surrounding our campsite.  We are very glad we made that trip.