OTRA - TX - San Angelo
Jul 7, 2011
Well, much as we like Ft. Stockton and even though we didn’t see everything we wanted to see, if we plan to get to the east coast this year, we’d best get our rears in gear so off we went by 10:10 this morning. Next stop, San Angelo.
We jumped off the interstate at U.S. 67 to follow the red road and see some Texas sights. Let me tell you, this red road was basically straight as an arrow and very good driving. Oh, how I like drive west of the Mississippi.
We first passed through “Mesa Land” where we saw miles of flat-topped mesas topped with hundreds of wind turbines. From mesa land, we next drove through “oil/gas land” where we saw tall drilling rigs dotting the landscape and the smaller “dippy ducks” taking their liquid treasure out of the ground. Also saw cattle grazing here and there in the scrub trees and bushes. Finally oil/gas land gave way to agriculture. Didn’t really see anything growing but did see many large fields plowed and ready to go. We were driving parallel to train tracks the whole time but never did see a train.
Into the San Angelo State Park at 1:10 after a total of 165 miles. It was nice just moseying along the highway, enjoying the drive, the small towns, and the scenery. Personally, though, I think this part of Texas was a bit monotonous. And without the rain they need, there were huge areas where all the tree had just turned brown. I hope they recover when the rains come….IF the rains come. Speaking of lack of rain, the O. C. Fisher Lake where the park was located was completely dry. Between using the water for irrigation and the lack of rain, it appears mid-Texas (and most of the southwest) is drying up. Actually a rather scary thought. And I believe this is supposed to be their monsoon season!
After we got set up, drove into San Angelo…which is a rather large city…with lots of neat stores! Ah, civilization once again.
San Angelo is located on the Concho River, so named from the Spanish word for shell, concha. At least 12 varieties of shellfish inhabits the river; one produces distinctive pearls that range in color from pink through lavenders and deep purples. From The Jewelry Doctor website: The “CONCHO PEARL” can only be found in the freshwater rivers and lakes surrounding San Angelo, Texas. It’s produced by a distinctive muscle(clam) known as the TAMPICO PEARLY Mollusk..
San Angelo is also the largest sheep market in the U.S. and to commemorate that, there are statues of painted sheep all over the city. Really neat. I was looking through the one little booklet we picked up at the park office and after reading through that, I think we’re going to want to come back and spend some time here next winter. As it is, we’re only here for 2 nights and then we’re moving on to Coleman, TX for 3 nights. After that, Waco….and that’s as far as I know so far.
Did some shopping (food, of course) and then just a little driving around then we headed back to the park in search of the longhorn steers, the prairie dog town, and the bison herd. Well, we found the steers and right across from them was the prairie dog town. Visited with the longhorns and the single horse in with them for a bit (found out they don’t eat lettuce) and then went over to visit with the prairie dogs. They are such busy little critters running back and forth across the road and in and out of their burrows but they appear to be smaller than the others we’ve seen. Maybe it’s ‘cause they’re actually wild and no one feeds them. They don’t like lettuce either. Also picked up a couple of geocaches on the way back to camp.
It’s 10:30 now and still 91* out. Thank goodness for air conditioning!! What’s really neat about this park, though, is there are no lights…which means there’s going to be lots of stars in view later tonight.
This morning, as we were packing up to leave, I tied Nellie outside so she could do some exploring since I didn’t have time to take her for her morning walk. Well, would you believe that not more than 3’ from the end of her leash was a hole in the ground and out of it popped some little ground squirrels! They were so cute…about the size of a chipmunk. There were about 5 of them, scurrying here and there around the area looking for stuff to munch on. She was fascinated by them and just lay there, as far as her leash would let her go, watching. I’m sure she wanted to play with them (yeah! Sure!) Bob said they reminded him of the game Whack-A-Mole, the way they kept popping their head out of the hole to see what was going on topside then disappearing back into it when they saw Nellie. There was one brave one that just disregarded her presence and went about his business although he was sure to keep his distance.