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Grapevine, TX

Grapevine, TX

I got a bit behind in finishing this post about our stay at the Vineyards Campground and Cabins in Grapevine as we visited there in mid April of 2024. Oh well, better late than never…

Grapevine, Texas, has a rich and diverse history that dates back to the early 19th century. The area was originally inhabited by the Caddo Indians before European settlers arrived. In 1843, General Sam Houston, representing the Republic of Texas, met with leaders of several Native American tribes in the area to negotiate a peace treaty. This meeting took place near present-day Grapevine, giving the city its name.

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Abilene, TX

Abilene, TX

Park Review – Whistle Stop RV Resort

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Location:
Abilene, TX
Type:
Commercial Park
Check-in/Check-out times:
?/11:00
Site Quality / Amenities:
Roads and pads are gravel. Each site has a concrete patio and a picnic table. Additional amenities include a dog run, playground, horseshoe pits, pickle ball and volleyball areas. There is also a pavilion, a clubhouse and a saltwater swimming pool. Facilities include restrooms, showers and laundry facilities.
Access:
The park is along East Stamford St. (Basically the service road for I-20) which can be accessed from exit 286C on I-20 whether you are going west or east bound. East Stamford is one way so you have to go east to Ambler Ave. if you want to continue west bound when leaving the park.
Staff: The staff were very friendly and the check in packet included a thank you note which was a nice touch.
Cellular/WiFi:
There was free WiFi and cable TV but we didn’t use them. I also didn’t check cellular since this was a short stay but it should have been good since we were along I-20. Starlink was great as there were no obstacles to get in the way.
Restaurants: There is a Twisted Root hamburger restaurant along with several other places nearby on Judge Ely Blvd. near Abilene Christian University. The Shed Market at 7925 Buffalo Gap Rd. was a bit further away but had very good Texas BBQ.
Nearby parks: We didn’t look at any other parks nearby.
What we liked: The park was easy to navigate and the sites were well laid out and it was a bonus to find good restaurants nearby.
What we didn’t like: There are only a few small trees around the park so it could be quite hot here during the summer.
Verdict: This is a good park for a short stay in Abilene.

Burnet, TX

Burnet, TX

Burnet is a typical small town with roots dating back to frontier days nestled in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. Known for its scenic beauty, outdoor recreation opportunities, and historic charm, Burnet offers a relaxed and inviting atmosphere for residents and visitors alike. The town sits on the shores of Lake Buchanan, one of the Highland Lakes, making it a popular destination for fishing, boating, and water sports enthusiasts. History buffs can explore attractions like the Fort Croghan Museum, which showcases artifacts from the area’s frontier days, or take a stroll through the historic downtown district with its quaint shops and eateries.

As was the case further south, the wildflowers were vibrant and plentiful in the area around Burnet and Lake Buchanan. The picture at the top of this post is an area behind the RV park that would typically be underwater. Instead, it’s covered in Bluebonnets.

We were lucky to be in town for the 41st annual Bluebonnet Festival which included live music, a carnival, food, and lots and lots of shopping. From Arts and Crafts vendors to Wiener Dog races, there was something for everyone. The festival includes one of the biggest and best parades in central Texas. Marching bands, antique cars, horses, fire trucks, special performing groups such as the Sunrise Beach Lawn Chair Brigade and Hill Country Plungettes brought a smile to everyone’s face, from the very young to the young-at-heart and ours. Approximately 150 entries lined up for the hour-long parade. On the banks of Hamilton Creek, the Annual Lakes Area Rod and Classic Car Show was also held although we didn’t make it over to that.

Just west of Burnet is Lake Buchanan and the park we stayed at was on the south east corner of the lake adjacent to the dam. Like many of the lakes in Texas that are suffering from drought, Lake Buchanan is also very low.

This picture was taken from an area that should be underwater but the lake is about 25′ low (46.5% full). Note that the water level is well below the gates at the dam.

Park Review – Lake Buchanan RV and Cabin Resort

Site 23
Deck near the clubhouse and pool
Swimming pool and hot tub
Playground

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Location:
Burnet, TX
Type:
Commercial Park
Check-in/Check-out times:
12:00/11:00
Site Quality / Amenities:
Sites were gravel and each site had a picnic table but nothing else. There were some larger trees scattered around the park as well as some small rock formations. Sites are FHU with 30/50A electric. They also have cabins for rent if you don’t have a RV to stay in. Other amenities include a store on site, laundry facilities, fitness room, guest lounge, clubhouse with kitchen, fishing, boat ramp with dock, swim dock, pool with hot tub, a large covered pavilion, nature trail, dog walk and playground.
Access:
Reasonably easy access from TX-29 west of Burnet then north on FM-690.
Staff:
Our only interaction with staff was at check in and they were friendly and efficient.
Cellular/WiFi:
We had decent Verizon coverage and the park had WiFi but we didn’t use it. Site 23, had a good clear view to the north and Starlink worked great from there.
Restaurants:
We didn’t end up eating out in the area but there were several possibilities.
Nearby parks:
On the north end of the lake is Canyon of the Eagles which has a small restaurant, 61 guestrooms and a small RV park. The RV park is beautiful and does have a few sites up to 87′ in length. In our judgement though the road through the camping area is small and winding and there are a lot of low trees. Although you could obviously get in and out of there with a big rig it’s hard to imaging doing so without getting a few scrapes. Because of that, we probably won’t plan a trip there in the future. Inks Lake State Park is also just to the south and is very nice but hard to get into due to the popularity of the park.
What we liked: 
Nice clean park with good views of Lake Buchanan. The common areas were very nice for swimming, hot tubing and just relaxing in the hot Texas weather. Sites 1-25 are mostly good but check the satellite view for spacing and trees.
What we didn’t like:
Sites were just basic and were made of gravel which can track inside as well as getting messy in rainy weather.
Verdict: This is a good alternative to staying at Inks Lake State Park should it be full.

Eclipse 2024

Eclipse 2024

Before the 2024 eclipse, I thought I had seen one before but I think I had only seen partial eclipses. This was a magical event with constant fear we’d miss it all because of clouds. Throughout it all we had short breaks and at totality the clouds just moved out of the way. Later that night I went and cleaned up the pictures I had taken and thought, oh well they weren’t that great but then I looked for better ones on the internet. There may be better ones now but at least right after, mine were as good as most others I could find.

All of the non-totality pictures were taken with my cell phone with only a filter on the lens. The totality ones were taken with our “good” camera on a tripod and no other special equipment. Imagine what you could take with several $1000’s of dollars of equipment!

Just beginning
We were afraid the clouds were going to get in the way
Just before totality there was a break in the clouds!
Totality!
Closer look at solar flares
Flares continued to be visible throughout totality
Another closeup of the flares
The sun just coming out of the moon’s shadow. Within seconds we went from total darkness to bright again.
On the back side, sun starting to uncover