47 Things I Noticed at Garner State Park

1
#25: Darn skippy

After (too many) years since my last trip to the iconic Texas summer getaway, I decided to take stay for a night to see if anything had changed since then.  I’m glad to say that the park is mostly the same, but I did notice a few things…

  1. It is only a two hour drive from San Antonio to Garner, as opposed to three and a half from my parent’s house. WHAT TOOK ME SO LONG?
  2. I took Highway 90 on the way over, and will likely take the ‘scenic route’ on the way home.
  3. Shocked to find hardly any vehicles at the park office, think I picked a perfect time to come!
  4. Temperature notwithstanding, anyway.
  5. Slept without the benefit of air conditioning at home the night before to prepare myself.  Not too hard.
  6. Resisting the urge to turn on my CR-V’s air conditioner on the drive over, however, was quite difficult!
  7. Lost my cell signal somewhere between Sabinal and the park.  Didn’t miss it…much.
  8. Okay, maybe I missed it a little, but that’s because I’m waiting to hear back about an interview.
  9. Despite the low number of cars at the park office, I still had to wait a bit.
  10. I pulled number 70 and the last one helped was 65. People have no patience!
  11. My original plan was to stay two nights, but I shortened it to one…maybe once it isn’t a billion degrees out.
  12. It has been so long, I only have vague memories, but a few were jostled loose when I drove by the campsite I (think) I stayed in last time.
  13. Canyonero!
    #13: Canyonero!

    Upon reaching my site, I had to take a picture of my CR-V like it’s in one of those SUV commercials.

  14. Set up my tent only to find the zipper on the door isn’t working quite right.  Crap.
  15. Only packed sandwiches and snacks to eat; I have no desire to prepare or eat any hot food while I’m here.
  16. Not bringing my stove and any food to heat up made packing harder somehow.
  17. Chili lime chips are the closest I’ll get to heat today.
  18. I’m keeping my Pebble Time smartwatch on even though my cell phone is kaputski. It still works as a pedometer, and well, a watch.
  19. Hiked down to the riverbank, had the obligatory ‘slip on the muddy ground/slick rocks’ moment.
  20. It is hard to resist taking panoramic pictures.  Some beautiful country, here.
  21. Finding trash around cheeses me off, and I pick up what I can.
  22. I can appreciate the irony in the gift shop selling bottle openers.
  23. Yes, I bought one, because why not?
  24. Picked up a cane sugar Dr. Pepper from the ‘Stinkin’ Sweet’ candy store to make sure it wasn’t defective.
  25. Also bought a bumper sticker.  Thanks to some unintended help from Verizon (see #7) it’s pretty easy to stay unplugged.
  26. Didn’t do any tubing, but went for a refreshing swim by the dam.
  27. Is there a rule that says the only people that buy portable speakers have to have the crappiest taste in music?
  28. The tube/paddleboat rental shack is no more, replaced by a trailer.
  29. They also have a food truck ‘Garner Grill.’  Dunno if they have tacos.
  30. Spent most of the afternoon sitting at my campsite, listening to the radio and working on this list.

    BUNNY!
    BUNNY!
  31. I also spent about twenty minutes just looking at birds.
  32. Didn’t do much, really, but that’s kind of the point.
  33. My $15 Emerson analog radio picks up The Eagle from San Antonio, yet my CR-V doesn’t. Huh.
  34. BUNNY!
  35. Jackrabbits are freaking HUGE.
  36. Saw a guy walk into the men’s room shower followed by his dog.  Damn furries.
  37. Garner Grill has the best food truck slogan ever: “Where fat free can take a hike.” No tacos, though.
  38. They did have burgers, of which I partook.  Hooray for convenience!
  39. Got a story idea while waiting for my food. Hooray for inspiration!
  40. I was a little surprised at how active the wildlife got once the sun went down.
  41. Annoying music coming from a car at a nearby camp. If his battery dies, and they ask: No, I don’t have jumper cables.
  42. Annoying music stops, and I can now hear music coming from somewhere else. *sigh*

    So purdy!
    So purdy!
  43. You don’t know how sunburned you are until try to go to sleep.
  44. It was a fitful night’s sleep. I’m not sure if it was the heat or my bedding that kept me up.
  45. One night of tent camping is definitely enough in Texas’s August heat.
  46. The scenic route home was a fun little drive.
  47. I look forward to coming back when the temperature isn’t so brutal!

11 Things I Noticed After Oklacon

I would drive one thousand miles…

Of course, now that its all said and done, one last list.

  1. I heard more conversations about DnD this weekend then I have in my entire life up to this point.
  2. Not sure which is worse: watching the Dallas Cowboys nearly blow the game on TV or hearing them nearly blow it on the radio.
  3. I put 1,000+ miles on the Excelsior during the trip…whew.
  4. Three days of sleeping on the ground made me really appreciate my bed.
  5. I was fortunate enough to have only encountered one raccoon.
  6. No matter how tired I am, no matter how many hours I’ve spent on the road, no matter how badly I want to get home, there’s always time for a stop at Buc-ees.
  7. Gas at Buc-ees was $2.99 a gallon for regular unleaded, WOW.
  8. The logjam I hit on I-35 South going home had me wishing I’d taken 281 instead, ugh.
  9. RED DIRT EVERYWHERE GET IT OFF GET IT OFF GET IT OFF
  10. Lesson learned: if I come back I’m getting a tent spot away from the bathrooms and the campfire.
  11. I am so glad I took Monday off from work to recover.  After what happened the last time, I almost stayed home!

10 Things I Noticed About Getting A New Car

Old car next to new car
Upgrade!

My 2005 Dodge Neon, lovingly referred to as the “Reliant,” has been a pretty dependable vehicle since I bought it back in 2006.  Recently, the only issue I’ve had with it is that well, its a Neon.  As I’ve been taking more trips to Dallas and Houston going to conventions and events, I’m finding that a Neon isn’t a very comfortable place to be for an extended period of time.

Thus, I began looking for a new vehicle in earnest. I didn’t need a “urban assault vehicle” as I like to call them, instead I wanted something just a bit bigger and more comfortable than a compact car.  I ended up buying a new 2012 Honda CR-V (pictured at right next to the Reliant and dubbed the “Excelsior”) and noticed just a few things during the process:

  1. As I mentioned previously, car shopping has changed just a bit since I bought the Reliant in 2006, and I think for the better.
  2. “Base model” doesn’t mean what it used to.  The base model CR-V includes Bluetooth, USB, rear-view camera, and automatic transmission.  Wow.
  3. The hardest part of getting a CR-V was well…getting one, as they are quite popular.
  4. Used cars are also popular; the Reliant was worth quite a bit more than I had expected.
  5. Of course, all I was going to get for it on the trade-in was some magic beans.
  6. Its good to have a man on the inside, hopefully my friend that sold me the CR-V stays at the dealership for at least a few years 😉
  7. Actual conversation with my friend: “Its not my car yet.” “Of course not, you haven’t paid for it.” “No, I haven’t farted in it yet.”
  8. I’ve barely had the Excelsior a month and its already been called ‘cute’ a few times. Here we go again.
  9. Having a camera in the back that turns on while I’m in reverse makes backing into parking spots like a videogame.  If I ‘lose’ its going to cost me more than a quarter, though!
  10. Hooray for modern engineering: despite being larger, the Excelsior gets at least as good gas mileage as the Reliant did and over 30mpg on long trips.