Monday, April 12, 2021

Restoring Marital Bliss (Or at least tolerance!)

 When The Van sits beside the barn for too long a couple of things happen.

First, I start getting - well - grumbly (Yeah, let's call it grumbly and not a horse's ass - - -) because let's face it, doing work-out laps around the same couple of miles on the property just isn't the same as getting out there on a real trail.

And second, The Wife starts getting antsy - OK, not antsy so much as fed up with me being around under her feet day after day.

We both need our breaks, but the winter storm of February got in the way, forcing me to cancel a scheduled trip in favor of digging out, restocking the homestead, and getting it ready for the next one.

In these corona-times spontaneity and snagging a campsite just don't go together, so when I canceled that one trip there was nothing to do but wait ( and wait, and wait ) for the next one, already scheduled and reserved for March.

Oh, we played it casual when the day finally arrived, taking the time for a civilized breakfast together before I hit the road, but once the civilities were done I shot out the door with a big shit-eating grin on my face so fast that The Wife whiffed the boot she had aimed at my ass!

Relief at finally being behind the wheel of The Van was slow in coming as I fought the reality of the Sunday rush of returning spring-breakers, but eventually I made it to the far side of the intervening city and most of them were finally going the other way.

It was pure luck that I chose to deviate from my usual route to Lost Maples State Park this trip. I didn't realize, until I passed the intersection where I would have normally come out and saw the big sign blocking the road, that a bridge was completely out on my usual route. And out here where hamlets are sparse, sprawling ranches dominate, and roads are few and far between, detours take the better part of an hour.

All I had to do was check before I left, but in the excitement of getting on the road (Check back a few paragraphs where I shot out the door just barely ahead of a swinging boot.) I rarely do. 

As far as campsites go here at Lost Maples (Unless you are backpacking into one of the primitive sites the only option is one of the thirty water/electric sites) it's better than commercial campgrounds but not as nice as some of the other state parks.

While the campsites are reasonably sized here, they are lined up side-by-side with no buffers between them.

But I'm not here to hang around the campground!

Even though afternoon would soon be transitioning to early evening by the time I got parked in my assigned site (I know some people are just hitting their stride around this time of day but I'm definitely a morning person and starting anything after 1600 just doesn't feel natural.) I grabbed my pack and hiking-sticks and left The Van behind to cool off on her own.

I thought maybe I could get some late-sun, maybe even sunset if I felt ambitious and dinner wasn't beckoning too loudly, photos of the Murphy House, and while I was waiting on that perhaps check out the trail-less bench that sits south of the Murphy House on the far side of the Sabinal River.

Though it was late on a Sunday afternoon, and it's 50 miles to the nearest Walmart and 90 miles to the nearest city, there are still quite a few cars here at the trailhead parking in front of the Murphy House.


And, despite some early promise

In all the years I've been coming here I have never seen a single bike nosed into this rack, but it does make for some interesting shadows.

clouds quickly filled in so there were to be no award-winning sunset-over-the-Murphy-House photos today,

but all's still good.

Regardless of of the cars still in the parking lot I had that little bench above the river

all to myself and I took full advantage of it as I felt marital bliss, at least I think that's what it was, seeping back into my soul.


Yeah, I too wondered why this particular tree was reserved for women. After all, it doesn't provide much cover for any gender.

Until I figured out it was just humorous recycling of an old sign into a birdhouse 

And this downright (Giant!) vertebraic rock had me going for a minute

Probably because I had just run across the remains of a fairly recent deer-kill so bones, and predators, were on my mind

But eventually, with my chance at world-renowned sunset photography still eluding my grasp, it was time to head back across the river to The Van, settle into the fuzzy comfort of an efficient routine evolved over thousands of nights ensconced in her familiar innards, and make my first dinner of the trip. 


  1. Congrats on getting out there again. Sometimes, marital bliss is best achieved by alone time. I told Julia that she is welcome anytime on my trips, but if she doesn’t want to come, I certainly understand. Either way, there are benefits, especially for the introvert in the marital unit.

    1. I don't even bother inviting The Wife because we both know it would be an empty gesture. She camped a little with me back in the early 80's but that was enough for her.

  2. Glad to see you at Lost Maples, one of my favorite state parks. I'm looking forward to your adventures there.

    1. Well it may be a little redundant, but yes, there is more Lost Maples coming.

  3. Back when Lost Maples was still fairly new, I parked my bike in that rack a few times. I haven't camped there in over 20 years now. WOW I am getting ancient.

    1. First time I felt really old was when I was standing outside the data center at work some 20 years ago talking with a fellow ex-soldier about Viet Nam and some young little s@*t walked by and said "Viet Nam? I think we studied that in history!"