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Caddo Lake and Uncertain, Texas

April 22, 2012

Saturday, Marshall, Texas

We left Livingston, Texas this morning and drove 160 miles northeast to an RV Park, about 8 miles north of Marshall, Texas.

Once we were settled in, we unhooked the jeep and went in search of Caddo Lake State Park.

On the way to Caddo Lake State Park, we took a quick detour and found Big Pines Lodge.  We didn’t go in, but did stop to take a couple of photos, including one of this old catamaran tied up and looking pretty neglected.

Your first visit to Caddo Lake State Park will probably take you to Uncertain, Texas.  That’s because you will miss the entrance to the park and find yourself about 5 miles too far, in… Uncertain, Texas.

Steamboats, loaded with goods destined for the developing west, traveled through Caddo Lake in route to Jefferson, Texas. Because of fluctuating water levels, mooring was often “uncertain.”

~From the City of Uncertain website

The Graceful Ghost

This is the home of the “Graceful Ghost”, purported to be “an authentic reproduction of an 1800’s steamboat, complete with burning boiler, steam whistle and paddle wheel”.  The “Ghost” was gone on a tour when we arrived, but it did sound like a nice way to see Caddo Lake.

Boathouse, Shady Glade Marina, Uncertain, Texas

We did eventually find the entrance to Caddo Lake State Park and were rewarded by views like this.  Texas State Parks have a daily fee of between $3 and $5 per person.  Last summer we purchased a Texas State Parks Pass for $70.  It’s an annual pass that allows the passholder and his/her guests unlimited visits to more than 90 State Parks, and enter without paying the daily entrance fee.  We just stayed 14 days at Galveston State Park, which charges a $5 per person daily fee (in addition to our RV site).  In that one stay, the pass paid for itself twice.  We only spent a little over an hour at Caddo Lake State Park.  The daily fee there is only $3 per person, but with our pass, we paid nothing.  You don’t mind only spending an hour when it didn’t cost you to get in.

Here are a couple more views of Caddo Lake:

*     *     *

Parked for the night near Marshall, Texas

We got back to the RV Park late in the day.  Our arrival earlier in the day left us a little, well… uncertain (sorry, I couldn’t resist that).  The entrance is marked by a huge billboard which, when you see it, you’re already driving past on 70mph Hwy 59.  We saw the sign too late and drove past.  I briefly considered just moving on and calling to cancel our reservation, but finally found a crossover that had a wide enough shoulder on the other side to accomodate a u-turn with a 36 foot motorhome towing a Jeep.  Not something one wants to do often on a 70 mph highway through rolling countryside.  The entrance was a tight turn, again trying to get the whole rig off the highway as quickly as possible, and then immediately down a steep hill into the RV park.  Right turns are the worst in an RV.  You keep asking your copilot if your rear tires are clearing the ditch/curb/pothole, even though she has already told you five times that yes, you’re doing fine.

We hadn’t reached the bottom of the entrance drive before a man came racing in a golf cart to meet us.  Once he determined what hookups we needed, he led us to a nice site right in the middle of the park, directly across from his little office building.  As soon as we got out of the RV, he started talking.  He was a thin, wiry, interesting man who, while we were hooking up (he helped), told us about being attacked by his one-eyed cat, mentioned that the snakes weren’t so bad now that they had introduced a number of snapping turtles into the pond, said something about wolves, and mentioned that they’d only had one really bad wreck at the entrance to the park.  After we got settled, I walked over to the office to pay for the night, and, after telling me about the wifi and tv reception, pulled out a small pistol and talked about how he just likes guns, and sometimes goes out in the woods to do a little shooting.  As I walked back to the RV, I sort of expected to hear the sound of “Dueling Banjos” being played somewhere out behind a pine tree.

We unhooked the jeep and went to find Caddo Lake.  All the while I kept trying to remember how many of the RV’s we saw appeared to be occupied (the place was nowhere near full).  I was having visions of a woodland Bates Motel (google the movie), and was hoping someone else would come in to the park while we were gone.  As it turned out, there was another motorhome parked nearby when we returned, and in fact, I had a long, cordial conversation with the man who came with it before we both retired for the evening.  I slept fine, after all.

We did get on the road fairly early Sunday morning, headed north.

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