Monday, January 2, 2017

Fort Parker RV Trip Preview

During the Christmas Break, Ron and I had hoped to get a trip to Mother Neff scheduled. Unfortunately, the crazy Texas weather decided to take a turn for the worse and we backed out.  I told Ron that I really couldn't see going out to camp if it would be too cold to get out and hike. So, we decided to postpone, hoping for nicer weather.  In the meantime, the family had a discussion about where to camp next. We decided we need to expand our travel distance to get prepared for the next massive road trip in 2018. We figured maybe a trip about 2 hours from home would be good for January; and, then we will plan an even longer trip to either Palo Duro or Big Bend during Spring Break. I did some research and found a state park near Mexia, Texas, which is about 2 hours from home. It is called Fort Parker State Park. Ron and I decided to take a drive out there today and see what the facilities are like. I always feel better about going someplace if I can preview it.  It took us almost 2 hours to get there, driving between 60-70 mph. We figure that will be a little over 2 hours in the RV, which is what we wanted. We also found a route that doesn't hit I-35!! Thank goodness!! We will head east from Temple, then travel state highways up to the park. The highways are in good condition, have few hills, and wide shoulders to pull over. There are also a couple of historical markers along the way with adequate space to pull over if the dogs or kids need to get out for a bit.

When we got to the park, I took some pictures of the facilities to give everyone that's going an idea of what it's like. The state park is located near Fort Parker Historical site. Ron and I drove by there first. There is a minimal entry fee; $2 per adult, $1 per children over ten. We didn't get to go in because the gate to the visitor's center was closed. Of course, today is New Year's Monday so I wasn't surprised.
The fort has an interesting history connected to it so I hope to get inside when we go back later this month. Family, if you aren't familiar with the story of Cynthia Ann Parker or Quanah Parker, read up before we go:

entrance to Fort Parker

one corner of the fort

exterior wall of the fort

open common area with faux shop/store fronts

another view of the exterior of the fort

Fort Parker State Park is about 3 miles from the historical site. It is located next to Lake Parker between Grossbeck and Mexia. The camp is small but offers primitive camping, RV sites with water and electric, a dump station, a day use area that includes picnic tables and a pavilion, several hiking and biking trails, a canoe trail, and a boat dock with a fish cleaning station.  There are also restrooms that are very clean and shower facilities. I got pictures of most things but NOT THE RV SITES!!! Ron and I were so busy looking at them and discussing which ones were the most level, had the best lake access/view, had the tables and fire pits on the side best for our RV awning, etc. I COMPLETELY spaced out on taking pictures of the sites. They are a positioned little close to one another, but we are hoping the camp won't be that busy mid January.
pavilion in the day use area

lake view from the day use area

visitor's center

picnic area for day use

another section of day use

playground part 1

playground part 2

a nature center

the boat dock

picture of the hiking trails description found on the back of the map

section of the map showing the RV sites and the screened shelters

another picture of the trails map
My next post about Fort Parker State Park will be after we've actually stayed there. Our reservations are made!! Fingers crossed that we like it as much as Mother Neff!

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