RV Trip 10.18 – Texas – Monahans Sandhills SP, Lake Colorado City SP, Abilene SP, Dinosaur Valley SP, Cleburne SP – Mar 30– Apr 6, 2023

The question is not what you look at but what you see” Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

We arrived at Monahans Sandhills SP before the high winds were too bad. When we arrived, we checked out the visitor center displays. One of the amazing displays showed an aerial view around Monahans Sandhills and how many oil pump jacks there were surrounding the park! Next, we went for a walk on the nature trail where some of the spring flowers had started to bloom. Once we set up at campsite number 17 (a very good site, nice views of the Sandhills) we went hiking in the dunes. Sharon attempted to slide down, but the sand was much softer than at White Sands, so our Reflectix slide didn’t work. We just resorted to hiking in the sand and getting a good workout as we tried to climb the dunes, one step up, half a step back. We had a nice chat with a couple from Atlanta but originally from Canada. It kept getting hotter as the day progressed and we agreed we prefer a bit cooler weather!

Sharon attempting to slide down at Monahans Sandhills

We knew strong winds were forecasted so we left Monahans early in hopes of avoiding some of it. It didn’t work! The winds were incredibly strong making it difficult to stay in your lane, it was a totally exhausting drive especially with all the truck traffic that was passing us. Also the red dirt was causing bad visibility along the interstate. I was happy to get to Lake Colorado City SP.  When we got to the campsite, we had booked it wasn’t very level so we drove back to the entrance and they swapped us to another site. We did a walk in the park along the cactus trail.  It would have been great to see the prickly pear cactus in bloom, but it only happens for one day, usually after a rain. However, we did see a couple of Lace Hedgehog Cactus blooming.

As we left the SP, we stopped in the town of Lake Colorado City for a few groceries and were amazed by the hot sauce and salsa section. We decided to take the back roads to Abilene State Park instead of the interstate because we were having issues again with the wheel speed sensors (these had been replaced under a recall in 2021). We have never seen so many wind turbines in one place! It turns out this area has the largest number of wind turbines in Texas. Texas is the largest wind power producer in the US and fifth globally. During our drive we saw thousands of turbines. Of course, that means the area is windy and we were certainly glad it wasn’t too windy during the drive.

Abilene SP was very busy as it was a sunny Saturday when we checked in. We walked the trails, passing by spring fed Buffalo Wallow, seeing turtles enjoying the sun, spring flowers and the 5,800-gallon CCC built swimming pool and water tower.

Sunday as everyone was leaving the park, we did a MTB ride on the Abilene Dam trail around the lake. The trail went across the dam and the lake water level was very low. However, I guess there was enough water to fish as we saw a couple of fishermen floating in their tubes. The spring flowers were out and so were the thorns! Yes, Sharon got another thorn in her tire, so that makes 3 flat tires so far on this trip. Unfortunately, it was at the 4 km mark of the 9 km trail!! It was a long way to push the fat tire bike back. After installing a new tube, we took a ride around the now empty campground, finding some more CCC built structures.

Our next stop was Dinosaur Valley SP which was over 200 kms away but we were amazed as we drove along how everything was so green. It was like in one drive we went from desert to full spring bloom. As we entered the park there was a sign that said “Now Entering a Stress Free Zone!”, however when we arrived at our campsite there was an RV already in our site which was now 1.5 hours late for check out😉 They said they were packing up so we drove to the visitor centre to look at the exhibits and then did a short hike to see the Blue Hole and the Ballroom site. We were surprised how many families were in the park so there must have been another school break going on. We didn’t see the dinosaur tracks at the blue hole as the water was too high, but we saw lots of them in the water at the Ballroom site.

Later in the afternoon we walked over to what they called the main site for the Acrocanthosaurus and Sauroposeidon tracks in the Paluxy River. They were discovered in the 1930’s and some were excavated in the 1940’s. You had to walk across some stones in the river and then you could see what was left of the tracks in a roped off pond area. The 3 toed Acrocanthosaurus tracks were quite clear, but it was a little more difficult to distinguish the Sauroposeidon tracks but they were both cool to see.

The next day we decided to do a long hiking loop (12.5 kms) covering Denio Creek, Cedar Break, Black-Capped Vireo, Overlook, Limestone Ledge, and the Paluxy River trails. The Denio Creek was really fascinating with the geology along the creek. Black-Capped Vireo was more of a forest walk although the spring blooming flowers were nice. The Overlook was high up but really didn’t have the best view of the Paluxy River. We could only do part of the Limestone Ledge as they had part of the loop closed for habitat restoration. We returned to the main site river crossing and then followed the Paluxy River trail. This turned out to be our most spectacular find! Further along the river’s edge the map showed there were some more dinosaur tracks to see. Well, these ones were not underwater, so we got the best view of any of the tracks we had seen😉

When we left Dinosaur Valley, we stopped in Glen Rose to do some shopping and we saw goats and a donkey right beside where we parked to post the blog. As we headed to Cleburne SP it was strange driving there as everything turned green. We had come from more desert areas and driven straight into Spring/Summer with all the trees in full bloom.

After we got checked in at Cleburne SP we did a short walk on the Perch Point Fishing, Coyote Run, and Fossil Ridge trails and we were amazed by the field of flowers by the water treatment plant. The following day we decided to ride our Mountain Bikes on Coyote Run, Spillway, and Limestone Ridge Trails. Coyote Run had some very steep rocky sections but when we got to the Spillway trail it was quite fascinating to see the 3-tiered limestone spillway built by the CCC. Limestone Ridge was a trail built by DORBA (Dallas Offroad Bike Association) but it had a huge amount of poison ivy, so we cut the ride short and headed back on the main park road. We saw several very large Ammonite fossils along the trails so that was cool.

To finish off our Texas blogs we have Plano, and 3 other State Parks to cover so we’ll close this blog off here and save those for the next blog.

In every walk with nature one receives far more than one seeks” John Muir


  • Oh that was a fun blog to read. But after seeing your foot Joel, up against a Dino print made me thankful that there are no dinosaurs roaming now! Holy Jurassic Park fear! I think that fulgurites must be part glass….very cool to see and learn about those. Wide-eyed on the hot sauce and salsa section – I recognized quite a few – especially one of my faves, Valentinas! I think that Sharon needs concrete tires. 😄

    The flower photos were lovely and just to add a note about the dreaded poison ivy, Richard somehow got a minor hit of it on his leg this last week! 😨. Stay away!

    After 5 days of crazy heat, Wiarton has thunderstorms right now that are probably heading this way. Snow maybe by Tuesday. Just a wee bit. 😁.

    Happy trails and safe travels!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comments Ella 👍 We’re in Arkansas now and going hunting for diamonds today in Crater of Diamonds SP. Our campsite is surrounded by poison ivy and the vines even go 20′ up the tree trunks🙃 Definitely have to be careful around here. They say the deer love to eat it so I think they need to hire more deer😉 We did see 10 deer yesterday in Millwood SP.


      • Okay, we definitely need to adopt some pet deer!!!!

        Poison ivy vines that climb up 20 feet is a nightmare….good grief! On a more exciting note, I hope you find a whopping big diamond while you’re at the Crater of Diamonds SP!! Teeheee!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

    • There’s definitely been lots of tents in all the parks Danny, just didn’t want to invade their privacy and take photos 😉


  • Cool to see the dino foot prints. Amazing they lasted so long when sometimes under water. The mock up stature of T-rex looks too friendly though, almost Barney like. LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Cool to see that spillway, looking like a Roman amphitheatre. Maybe you can follow the row of dinosaur footprints to reconstruct a “Dino Dance” routine. I think there is a good reason why vegetations are in such sudden bloom. Spring is the only good time there to grow since summer is way too hot.

    Liked by 1 person

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