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Author: Anna

Oasis RV Resort

Oasis RV Resort

We stayed at Oasis RV Resort in Amarillo, Texas for a week in December as we made our trek west.  There was a mall and some larger stores there so we could do some shopping for Christmas.  This was a very nice park with lots of space, amenities and it was well maintained.  There were no trees so staying here in the summer would be very hot but for this cold and windy time it was a good find.

The first day there we had to go to The Big Texan Steak Ranch!  We had been there before when passing thru.  It has a great variety of steaks and that was what we were hungry for.  It advertises that if you can eat a 72 oz steak and all the sides in 1 hour then it is free.  There is an elevated table set up with timers in the front of the restaurant for anyone who want to take the challenge. We did not even try!  The whole ranch is a fun place to visit.   There is a line of limousines with longhorns mounted on the front to shuttle people to and from the ranch.  Inside is an over-the-top western decorated restaurant, a gift shop, western arcade and large desert counter. 

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Lake Arrowhead State Park

Lake Arrowhead State Park

Lake Arrowhead SP is near Wichita Falls and back in prairie land.  Here you will find oil, mesquite trees, cactus and miles of flat prairie. December was not the prettiest of time to be here with everything brown and barren. A much better time to visit here might be spring or early fall. Summer would just be hot!

When we pulled into our assigned spot we see lots of prairie dog mounds.  Dozens of prairie dogs were all around our site.  They are doing their little squeaking/barking trying to warn all their friends about our intrusion as they head for the safety of their homes in the tunnels. Our first thought was to move somewhere else in the park away from them but then we decided they might be fun to watch. They’re pretty cute but we later discovered they had been feasting on our extension cords! Lesson learned – you need to keep smaller cords off the ground, luckily they didn’t eat our water hose or our main power cord to the rig. 

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Tyler State Park

Tyler State Park

We loved our 5 night stay at Tyler State Park.  Gorgeous fall colors with cool, clear days and chilly nights that were perfect for campfires.  We arrived at the end of the weekend and stayed thru the week so the park was almost empty.  Daily nature hikes and bike rides with lots of hills and trails made us glad to back to nature once again.  

Several animal friends came by this visit but thankfully no snakes!  Curious armadillos along the trails and extremely friendly raccoons, which got way to close while we were enjoying our campfires for Anna’s taste .

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Tabasco Factory Tour

Tabasco Factory Tour

We spent a sunny afternoon visiting Avery Island and learning all about how Tabasco hot sauce is made.  We started out with a yummy lunch in the Tabasco Cafe with, of course all the dishes had Tabasco in them.  Our  tour began in the Tabasco Museum where we learned all about the McIlhenny family and the history of the world renowned and earliest recognized hot sauce.  The McIlhennys moved to Avery Island and began producing Tabasco sauce there since 1868.  The family still runs the environmentally friendly production and keeps the island as a natural habitat.  

We learned a lot about peppers, aging and storing.  We could smell the peppers and the aged whiskey barrels in the storage area.  Peppers are mashed and mixed with salt then aged in used Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey white oak barrels for 3 years.  After that the mash is strained to remove seeds and skins then the remainder is blended with vinegar and periodically stirred for a month in huge vats.  Feel the burn in the air! 

We were lucky to be touring on a day the production line was busy bottling several varieties of Tabasco.  The end of the tour was the gift shop with a Tabasco tasting area.  Feel the burn!  We left with a new appreciation for Tabasco, along with several bottles and a t-shirt.  Enjoy our pictures below.

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Swamp Tour

Swamp Tour

While staying in Lafayette, LA  we went on a swamp tour.  Definitely something on my bucket list!  We chose a small family run business called Champagne Cajun Swamp Tours on historic Lake Martin in Breaux Bridge, LA.  On a rare clear day while we were here, we enjoyed the drive thru the historic area with french creole names on about everything, soggy fields of tall sugar canes and muddy swamp land everywhere. The landscape is so different from the rocky, rugged Texas hill country covered in cactus, oaks and cedar trees we are used to.

Our tour guide was Bryan Champagne. He and his wife have been running the tours for 20 years. When we were chatting before the tour he told me he also manages 600 crawfish cages which he baits, catches and sells to local restaurants, when the price is right! He has guided many documentary and international television crews, etc. thru these swamps and been written up in several travel magazines. Also about the big gator that lives around the dock and how dogs are his food of choice. He says in his lazy cajun accent, “I can jump in do boat repairs no problem but if a dog jumps in he grabs him right away don’t ya know.”  Glad we didn’t see that!

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