East Texas was all new to me so I was very excited to get started on our road trip. We picked up 290 east out of Austin in a light rain and arrived in Crockett in time to find a place to stay and have dinner before dark. So far not much change in the country. That would all change very soon.
On the way into town we had our first hint of the azaleas that grow wildly huge in this part of the country.
First thing in the morning we set off to find out why Crockett was named after Tennesee native, David Crockett. We knew from the night before that the Visitor's Center in the old train station was closed. The big locked gate prevented a close look at this great old building!
The 'Davey Crockett' Memorial Park was very nice with people taking advantage of the long walking path. There was a great example of why interpretive signs don't have to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Still looking a connection to Davey, Sandi remembered a mural she had seen on the other side of town. It marks the site of a spring where Davey is said to have camped on his way to the Alamo. Now there is a fountain to tempt thirsty visitors.
Also in this area is a log cabin that had a very curious structure on the end and up to the roof. At one point the cabin had been used to store hay. Our best imagination could not come up with a use for this, maybe you can?
Downtown Crockett was a great walk to see the old and current business district. The streets were very quiet and strangers were unusual. An engineer with his blueprints spread out on the hood of his truck asked where I was from as the start to a nice visit. All the people we met on our trip were really, really friendly.
The Houston County Courthouse was bustling on Monday morning. Houston County reminded me that we were not so far from the coast.
Cute blue and white building had a curio shop downstairs that wasn't open.
The most popular place in town was the Moosehead Cafe. Lots of locals sitting around drinking coffee and reading the paper. Very inexpensive antiques in the back. The armours still had keys in their locks!
While Sandi did some more antiquing I ventured a couple blocks off Main and ran into Lightning Hopkins. Cool! he and I have the same birthday! (except his was in 1912)
We left Crockett heading a bit north on 21. The wildflowers continued to be spectacular. I read on a couple website that track the bloom that this year is 'the biggest in generations' and 'the best in the last 50 years'! I was beginning to believe it!
Rats! Even though I had forgotten my Texas State Parks pass, rangers are very kind about allowing people to drive through for a brief overview. Mission San Francisco de los Tejas was established by the Spanish in the Nabedache Indian settlement to 'protect' it from the French. This was in the 1600s, lots of history here. The mission, cabins, and trails were all restored by CCC crews before WW II.
The campground is lovely (with hook-ups), pines, oaks and dogwoods. I'll be back here in the fall to see the colors!
Near-by are the Caddo Mounds. We had been looking forward to these for days and saved this stop for our picnic lunch. NOT! It was Monday and the park was closed. This may have been the only real disappointment of our whole trip. The Caddo Indians (several different groups are included in this general term) lived here in the lush woods for more than 2500 years....more than 1200 years ago! One of three mounds in this park, I snapped this from the highway, kinda fuzzy.
Down the road was Alto. Old and new side by side. We ate our lunch sitting on a high sidewalk. Not so many people around town as in Crockett. I'm guess this building housed the local paper at some time in the distant past.
No sign of a windmill or any way the water might get into this tank.
Fresh green grass, wildflowers, new leaves on the oaks, even a few log trucks on the highway. It was a beautiful drive into Nacogdoches.