Teardrop Trail Log: June 12, 2016. Red Power Roundup trip start.
Building, modifying, cleaning, planning and packing complete, the day of departure finally arrived. If we didn’t have it, we didn’t need it. We left midday, intending to reach Lake Bob Sandlin State Park in northeast Texas by early evening. Marilyn had a route, and it looked like a great day for travel.
All went well for the first hour or two and we joined I-35 at Round Rock. It was Sunday and I commented on how well traffic was moving. I must have jinxed it, because we encountered the first construction shortly after around Salado, and it continued all the way to Waco. What should have been an hour took more that two. Not a great start.
American Lotus (Nelumbo lutea)
To avoid further construction, we turned onto Highway 31 towards Corsicana, reasoning we would see the back country, and go through a few quaint, small towns. The scenery was beautiful, and we encountered a vast expanse of American Water Lilies in Henderson County between Trinidad and Malakoff. We pulled into the roadside park to make photos. The sky was threatening however, with consequences later in the day.
The sky threatened …
Turning north on Highway 19 at Athens, Texas, we were still making good time. Marilyn wanted to head northeast, more directly toward the state park. At Canton, we turned onto FM 17 (a two-lane “farm to market” road). More great scenery. Lush fields of hay with stands of tall pine trees dotted the landscape, set off by a dramatic sky. Although not Interstate speeds, we were sailing along when …
A fiery road-block near Fruitvale, Texas
We encountered a blazing car fire with traffic stopped in both directions. Sitting in the long line of cars for about 10 minutes, it was clear that it might be hours before the road opened. We had to go back. Now I had to turn our rig around on a narrow, two-lane road with no shoulders and no place to pull out — all with an audience of the several dozen.
Marshaling my best backing skills, I completed the U-turn in a few minutes. Thank goodness our rig is small. Anything larger and we would have been stuck. Retracing our steps back to Canton, we took I-20 West and re-joined Highway 19.
By now the light was fading, and we would have to set up in the dark. We’ve done it before, and it’s not so bad. Then it started to rain. Hard. Driving toward Sulphur Springs, the downpour worsened, with poor visibility as well. Perhaps a nice motel room would be best.
Reaching Sulphur Springs and I-30, we headed east toward Mount Pleasant. Marilyn called ahead and made a reservation. Arriving around 10, we loaded into the room in the pouring rain. Although low cost, a warm, dry room seems like a palace when compared with setting up in a dark, rainy campsite. Roughing it in a Motel 6 is still camping, right?
Mt. Pleasant Motel