Friday, September 4, 2009

Back in the Can for a Texas Tradition

This is the floor of my van - just behind the front seats. Yes, it is disgusting. And yes, that is the tail of a wiener dog among the debris.

Luckily - the rest of the dog was poking out the other side of the seat. It would be gross to just have a tail and no dog.

We were all piled in the van like....well....sardines in a can. Me, Jeff, five kids, one grandpa, and two dogs. Pulling the old travel trailer towards a place that is a big summer tradition for a good number of Texas families....Garner State Park.

Garner is an awesome park. It is one of the most popular parks in this here state of Texas. It is named for John Nance Garner (known as Cactus Jack) of Uvalde. He was US vice-president from 1934 - 36. Situated along the beautifully clear and sparkling Frio River, just a few miles outside of the massive town of Concan, Texas (population about 300 give or take), and about 30 miles outside of Uvalde, Texas (where my mom grew up) - it has about 1,420 acres of beautiful land. And yes, the Frio River is muy frio. You've got to dive in. Wading in won't get you past the nipples. You have to just go for it. For those of you who live in states where you have not had triple digit temps for 57 days in a row? Yes - we are wimps when it comes to cold water. We don't have snow melts here or anything like that. Our claim to fame is our Frio River - which you would probably only consider mildly refreshing. But we are used to swimming in tepid swimming pools. So cut us and our goosebumps a little slack.
Anyway - the park was established in 1941 and we are proud of it. There is a dance hall - my own mama danced there as a teen - and everybody takes to the floor. All throughout the campground, on the weekends, you can hear the music. That is a cool experience but we prefer to go to the park when it is empty. As in the first week of school.
And that is what we did.
We literally had our area of the campground (there are many) to ourselves. Peaceful? Not really. We had 5 kids, a grandpa, and 2 dogs with us. But it was very, very, very nice. And just what I needed.

We hiked to Crystal Cave. We swam in the Frio and napped on her banks. We swung from ropes and splashed into the deep, green pools. We made a fishing pole and tried to catch fish. We snorkeled and pretended to be Jacques Cousteau (okay, maybe that was just me). We dreamed. We climbed ancient cypress trees. We ate Jeff's delicioso carne guisada under the stars while sipping some vhino verde. We roasted the obligatory marshmallows. We were not attacked by zombies in the lonely, deserted campground, although Joel made sure everyone had considered the possibility. We had a run-in with a skunk that merely resulted in Papa and Daddy quickly vacating the campfire...skunk seemed unaffected. He had apparently run into papas and daddies, before - just lookin' for some crumbs.

Here are some pics - in no particular order

And this one? Is my favorite picture.

Happy Back to School Everybody!
Signing off as a Refreshed Sardine Mama


  1. What lovely pics! We love Garner too. Glad there's still water past the nipples there.

    The dog tail reminded me of your story about the cat tail and the van that was so hilarious, and painful (from the cat's point of view) at the same time!

  2. I had no idea there was a time of year when Garner isn't crowded! Looks like you guys had a blast.