Monthly Archives: May 2015

Campground Review: Lake Whitney, TX Thousand Trails

100_3861.JPG On Mother’s Day, 2015, Lake Whitney Thousand Trails was hit by a tornado that damaged some buildings and did considerable tree damage throughout the park. Because of that storm the park had to be closed for several days, and, as a result we had to adjust our travel plans. When we arrived a tree trimming crew was hard at work clearing campsites so the park could be open over Memorial Day weekend.

See a later review of this campground here.

100_3857.JPG Since we arrived a day before the primary influx of campers for the holiday we were able to find a 50 amp site that suited us just fine. That wasn’t before we tried another site that was simply too unlevel side to side for us to use. After 20 minutes or so of trying to get level we gave up and moved across the way to the other available 50 amp site. It wasn’t perfect but it we much better and we settled in with no further problems.

100_3864.JPG The campground boasts two nice pools and two activity centers. The main pool and activity center is near the check-in booth. The adult pool is at the far western end of the campground, quite a ways from check in. There is also a nice workout room, library, and spa at the adult activity center.

100_3875.JPG It’s more common than not for Thousand Trails to have roads in poor repair and that’s true at Lake Whitney too. In fact, getting to Loops A & B which are closest to the adult sections of the park entails a drive of a few minutes over some of the worst roads in the place. Something I found interesting is that in spite of the place being called “Lake Whitney” there’s no real access to the lake from the campground aside from parking in a parking lot at the western end of the road and then hiking a trail onto Corps of Engineers land to a finger of the lake. If a person came here expecting pleasant lake-side views or a place to launch a boat they would be disappointed.

We found the staff to be very friendly and helpful. Usually, they told us, there is very good WiFi in Loop D where we stayed. However, the tornado had taken all that out and it will have to be repaired. Our Verizon, though, worked pretty good and worked excellently when I used the Wilson Sleek booster. Also, there was what looked to be a nice mini-golf course. Sorry to say it was close to tornado ground zero and was buried underneath downed trees and limbs.

PHOTO_20150526_105408.jpg More on the trees: the campground is in a forest of cedar. If you have a problems with cedar you might want to think twice before coming during the time of the year when the trees are pollinating. This shouldn’t have been a problem for us this late into the spring but I think the storms stirred things up and both of us began having sinus problems after a few days.

The nice town of Whitney is just down the road and there are plenty of fast food places, a grocery store, and an old downtown that is showing some life.

In addition to the tornado of Mother’s Day this area has been pounded by big storms for several weeks now. We happily missed the tornado, but had two severe thunderstorm warnings during our one week stay. We understand that is not the fault of the campground but the potential of more severe weather pretty much deflated the camping experience here for us.

I was told by management that the tornado has spurred several big projects for the campground. In addition to insurance money, more money is coming in to upgrade much of the campground. I hope that some of that goes into leveling the campsites, fixing the roads, and upgrading the electric so there are more 50 amp sites. I’ll look forward to making a return visit and seeing all that has been done – and, I certainly hope, enjoying the campground without having to keep such a close eye on the weather.

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Lake Whitney TX Public Library

PHOTO_20150521_145747Lake Whitney, TX Public Library
602 E. Jefferson Ave, Whitney, TX 76692

This beautiful library is just a few years old with something for all ages. I was greeted by a warm and friendly staff who are available to answer questions and give directions. I appreciated the ongoing book sale a was able to pick a paperback to carry and read this summer. For more information go to whitneylibrary.org.

Sightseeing Review: Around Waco, TX

100_3815.JPG During our short stop in Waco, TX, we enjoyed visiting the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum. (That is the “real” Texas Rangers and not the baseball team!) As we arrived we were just in time to see the free video history of the Texas Rangers. It was fascinating to see how they developed and became a major part of civilizing Texas. In 1823 Stephen F. Austin was given authority by the ruling Mexican government to assemble a company of men to act as Rangers for the common defense against the marauding Indians. These first two companies are considered the original Texas Rangers. After watching the documentary we looked at all the displays that honor the Hall of Fame members, including some of their personal memorabilia. Throughout the facility there are various halls that allow you see how Ranger’s weapons advanced with the times and how investigative team tools have changed. Not only are many of the weapons used by Rangers on display but there are also some of those used by criminals they apprehended. There are many personal items on loan from family members as well as one room dedicated to the pop culture of the Texas Rangers. This room has posters from popular movies, some memorabilia of the original “Lone Ranger” and from the TV series “Walker Texas Ranger.” I was impressed with the number of personal saddles, weapons, and clothing on display. I also enjoyed the artwork: paintings and cowboy sculptures that are on display there. We thought the museum was interesting and well worth our time. If you have any interest in law enforcement, Texas history, or firearms you will enjoy the museum.

Another Waco sightseeing review is here.

100_3853.JPG Our visit to Waco Mammoth Site was interesting and educational. Our guide, a gentleman named Jeremy, met us at the welcome center and led us on the tour. At the amphitheater he gave us a history of the area and as we continued he told us how the first bones were found by a couple of boys looking for arrowheads. He talked about the various animals whose bones were found in this area along with the mammoths. These included the saber tooth cat, giant sloth, and camel. From there it was a short walk to the climate controlled building where we able to view the artifacts still in the ground as they were found. Jeremy was an excellent and patient guide as he described and explained what we were seeing, making the scene come to life for us. After the guided tour we could stay in the building and continue to view or walk on back to the welcome center and parking area. If you are in the Waco area I recommend this as a family outing.

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