RV Trip 10.19 – Texas – Plano, Lake Tawakoni SP, Caddo Lake SP, Atlanta SP – Apr 6–14, 2023

“…How easy it is for things to change, how easy it is to start off down the same road you always take and wind up somewhere new.” Lauren Oliver

Our primary reason to visit Plano was to see our friends Mike and Nat but we decided to also tie in a visit to the Plano Mercedes dealer because our wheel speed sensors were acting up again and we were getting a check engine light on our Sprinter Chassis. We had made an appointment for service on Monday morning, but Mike found out that if someone complained about the RV being parked on the street, we’d have 48 hours to move it, so we decided to drop the RV off early at the dealership. When we arrived at Mike and Nat’s on Friday (luckily it was Good Friday so traffic driving through Dallas wasn’t too bad), we emptied our clothes (so we could wash them), the fridge, and the bike carrier so we could drop the RV off at the dealer avoiding any parking complaints. We knew it was safe at the Mercedes dealer as they had a locked compound and lots of cameras. The Plano dealership is absolutely massive and had three check-in lanes at service as well as a fourth for pickups. It was funny because I went to find the service advisor while Sharon continued cleaning the fridge (due to ice build up), a car jockey got in to move the RV and he didn’t realize that Sharon was inside, so he jumped out of his skin when Sharon spoke to him😉

Mike and Nat came to pick us up at the dealer and we went to a local outdoor pub and celebrated Friday Afternoon FASDRR style and then returned to their place for dinner and a movie.

On Saturday we did a bunch of laundry and Big Foot took himself for a walk😉 In the afternoon Mike drove us to see the mega rich neighbourhood and where he worked and then we stopped into a high-end outdoor mall area, and we had great appetizers and drinks at North Italia. Later we sat by the pool and had dinner outside. The birds seem to like to drink the water from the hot tub.

Easter Sunday, I did some planning work for our Spring LTV rally, and we had a great brunch and dinner followed by another movie night. On Monday they determined that we did need the front right speed sensor replaced and luckily it was covered by warranty because the part had been replaced less than 2 years before. The check engine light turned out to be the fuel filter needing to be replaced and luckily this was less expensive than the initial quote. They finished the RV work on Tuesday morning, so we went to pick it up and took the opportunity to see the Mercedes Electric EQS SUV and the EQE SUV since we’re thinking about them as our possible next vehicle. The Plano dealership is one of the largest electric vehicle selling Mercedes dealers in the US! Once we got back, we repacked all our stuff into the RV and Nat made us another great meal for lunch (Sharon enjoyed all the shrimp dishes during our visit) before saying our goodbyes. We had a fantastic visit with Mike and Nat (and Big Foot) and hope they can come and visit us when they’re back in Canada this summer😉

Our next Texas State Park was Lake Tawakoni which was just over an hour from Plano. After we got to our site, we went for a 5 km hike on the Spring Point Trails and the White Deer trail. The Honey Locust tree was quite unique with massive thorns on the trunk. Also, there was a fascinating display board that talked about a fly emergence in 2007 that in turn started a massive spider (Long Jawed Orb Weavers) invasion and web over the Spring Point Trail. The massive web setup attracted researchers to study the short-lived phenomenon. Luckily, we only saw a few webs on our hike. The White Deer trail had lots of Poison Ivy and we got a photo of the type we see at home plus the slightly different species here.

The next morning before we left the park, we did another 5 km hike on the Frackleberry, Red Oak, and Orange Osage Trails. On these trails we saw a unique caterpillar, a Mayapple plant with some sort of disease, a Virginia Spiderwort flower, and a very small snake. If we’d had more time, we would have finished the other loop trail or ridden our MTB’s on these trails but we had a 200 km drive to get to our next park Caddo Lake.

When we left Lake Tawakoni, we went along the east side of the lake and there was a pretty cascading overflow going over the dam with lots of Pelicans at the base and nearby a field of flowers with lots of butterflies. Next, we stopped in Emory and had a Mexican lunch at El Manna, I had the Laredo Combo and Sharon had the Chicken Quesadilla, (it tasted very good even though the photos never make it look that way) and we finished with a fried cheesecake dessert.

We arrived at Caddo Lake SP, the area had an interesting history, including an assassination of the tax collector in 1840 as the residents didn’t want to pay taxes. Can you imagine that today? When we got to our campsite the slope was ridiculous and even though we tried all 20 blocks we have we couldn’t come anywhere close to level so we returned to the office and luckily, they could move us to another site for the night. The following morning, we went down to the pier to see the bayou but no alligators were around. Then we hiked all the trails going to see the CCC built buildings and returned on a different trail to see the flooded-out boat ramp and dock that was closed.

When we left Caddo Lake, we were heading to Atlanta SP but on the way, we decided to stop in the Texas town called Atlanta and go to the City Park to have lunch. Just as we made our lunch another LTV RV pulled in to do the same thing, so we met Dawn and Hakan who were on their way to an LTV Rally in Eureka Springs. We chatted for awhile and traded travel and RV stories. It wasn’t too far from the city to Atlanta SP, when we arrived there, we had the same problem again with the site being really unlevel. We checked with the host and their internet was down, so we went online (through mobile data) and were able to change our 2-night reservation to a site right across the park road that was level. The park had done a controlled burn a few days before and at our end of the park the trails were closed. Luckily the next morning they opened the trailhead in our end of the campground, so we were able to leave directly from the RV. We did a very long 15.5 km hiking day including the White Oak Ridge, Hickory Hollow, Terrace, Volksmarch, Bobo’s Ferry, and Arrowhead trails. We could see and smell the burn area as we did the White Oak Ridge trail and there were even a few spots with smoke still rising. When we saw the name Terrace trail, we were imagining some sort of rock/cliff terrace but in fact it just took you to an empty field where the lake had overflowed and killed the trees! After the Volksmarch trail we reached the boat ramp at the far end of the park and had our lunch and watched the school group of kids going for a swim in the lake. Bobo’s Ferry trail reminded us of the Natchez Trace where you could see the wagon wheels had dug a trough along the path. When we got back to the White Oak Ridge trail, we decided to take the side cut to the lake front and we’re really glad we did. The most spectacular scenery in the entire park was along the north edge of the lake front where none of the trails went! There were interesting clay banks that reminded us of scuba diving in Colpoys Bay, and they were contrasting with the red banks of the soil. We were so glad that we ventured off the trail to see this area even though it meant we had a longer walk back around on the road to get to the campground.

Our last stop before leaving Texas was the city of Texarkana which has the odd distinction that it straddles the Texas Arkansas state line. In fact, it’s so straddled that the Post Office built in 1933 is half in Texas and half in Arkansas! Naturally we had to go see this unique building and mail a card from the post office. As we left the city heading North, we were actually driving along the state line and the businesses on the left were in Texas and the ones on the right were in Arkansas. The street had state flags on each side and even a place where the Blvd to the left was called Texas and to the right Arkansas.

This blog concludes our time in Texas and believe it or not we actually visited 31 State Parks! We’ve seen such incredible scenery and diversity that it’s really surprising that more people don’t travel within Texas. It’s very clear that the Texans get it, as most of the license plates we saw in the parks were from Texas. It’s also an incredibly affordable place to travel due to the Texas Annual SP pass which meant we averaged about $15 USD per night for Electric and Water hook-ups and we didn’t have to pay any of the day use fees due to the annual pass. Sure, we had some cold nights, but we also had perfect temperatures for daytime activities with the exception of a couple of days in April that were too hot. There are lots of State Parks left that we haven’t seen yet so I’m sure we will return on a future trip. Y’all come back now😉


  • Great job guys!!! 31 parks you have giving us great ideas for next winter. It’s amazing the different weather patterns we had this winter in Texas for sure. The spring flowers have been so colorful. I would take Texas over Florida in a heart beat. Safe travels home guys.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I had to run and get a kleenex to dry my eyes from laughing so hard after reading about Sharon scaring the car jockey! I’m still laughing – hilarious!!!

    It sounds like you had a wonderful visit with Mike and Nat (and Big Foot!) Mike looks good in a Richard goatee. (-:

    The park photos, as usual, are lovely to see and the last part about Texarkana was really interesting!! Did I spy another photo of poison ivy?????

    Glad the RV had the fixes done so your travels back to Canada should be trouble-free! Happy driving!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comments Ella. I saw the car jockey go into the RV but I couldn’t get there in time to warn him about Sharon in the back cleaning the fridge;-) Yes we are pretty well seeing Poison Ivy (in both forms) in every single park we go to now!! I had a close call in a CCC pull off we stopped at but I wiped my flip flops and my feet and ankles and it seems I survived it. Hope Richard’s is getting better. Tonight we’re in Bull Shoals-White River State Park in Arkansas and starting the trip home to hopefully arrive there April 26. Take Care, Joel and Sharon


    • Actually Danny we think that was a a painted lady butterfly, similar to the monarch but smaller and slightly different patterns


  • Year ago, a Texan told me there are no natural lakes in Texas. Every large body of water I saw on the flight over was man-made. Caddo Lake was formed by an overflowing river, and it has the distinction of Texas’ only “natural” lake. I learned something, but still amazed that such large state has no natural lake at all. We sometimes take our lakes for granted up here.

    Liked by 1 person

  • When Janice and I drove back from San Antonio in 2019 in a minivan, we stayed 3 nights (Texarkana, Nashville, Cincinnati) then we got home. RV does it in a more leisurely pace. Have a good trip back.

    Liked by 1 person

Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s