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    Published 10-16-2020

    Car camping is becoming more popular. Many years ago I camped in everything from a station wagon to a stretched tarp between trees to motor homes and every kind of camping in-between. After getting hooked on RVing and Glamping, I thought "no more primitive stuff like car camping for me." I was wrong. On a trip last year, I had a long drive of about thirteen hours between places that were graciously hosting me. Being cheap, I decided to go back to the old ways and do a night of car camping.

    I had just attended the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA ) Conference in Santa Fe where I was hosted in a lovely casita by Glamping Hub. (That story is here) I was heading to Beaumont and Port Arthur where my CVB hosts had me set up in two nice hotels.  Palmetto State Park is located about midway. Since I didn't get there until after dark, I drove straight to my site and set up. I had picked one right across from the rest room for obvious reasons. It was on a point and had the lake as my backdrop.  The sites were large and I had a bbq grill, a fire pit, and a picnic table.  I had picked one without electric as I had no need for it. All my cooking items were fitted into a small zippered bag.  I brought just a little cast iron frying pan, a tea pot that plugs into either a wall outlet or a cigarette lighter, some potatoes, a packet of precooked bacon, a little margarine, some tea bags,  paper plates, and utensils. I included a fire starter, some charcoal, matches, and a lighter.

    Setting up with car camping involved only getting all of my luggage and  assorted items out of the car and placed right in front. (I tend to pick up a lot of weird stuff on trips.)  There weren't many people in the campground and the weather was clear so I wasn't worried about things getting stolen or rain. I pushed both front seats as far forward as they would go. Since I had already set up a small mattress from my travel trailer in the back, I just needed to smooth it out and arrange my quilt and pillows.


    I slept pretty well and woke to a beautiful morning. I had more time to look around and enjoy the beauty of the oxbow lake I was parked next to. There were a lot of dwarf palmetto plants, from which the park gets its name, some between me and the next campsite and plenty across the road. The San Marcos River flows into the lake but from my spot I couldn't see it but remember crossing it when I arrived.

    I didn't have a  lot of time as I had to set out for Beaumont pretty early but did get chance to spot some large birds around the lake. The park is located on the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail so those who know more about birds than I do would probably find a lot more. I also spotted a large feral hog. He was no danger as he wanted to stay away from humans as much as I wanted to stay away from him. I do wonder if I had left my food outdoors last night instead of keeping it on the front seat if he might have dropped by while I slept.

    Some background on the park and its town, Gonzales. It was founded in 1825 and was the farthest west Anglo settlement until after the Texas Revolution. It played a big part in that revolution. In 1831, the Mexican government sent Gonzales a six-pound cannon for protection against the Indians. Instead it helped take Texas from Mexico when it fired the first shot of the Texas Revolution.

    The park opened in 1936 and parts were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The picnic pavilion (in header) is an example of their beautiful stone work.







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