For anyone who followed along with us through Baja, you probably remember Cindy the Civic. About a year ago, Cindy died, and we replaced her with Sally the Suzuki. Well Sally’s life was short, as she had a low-end engine knock and we had to put her up for retirement due to her unreliability. We tow older vehicles behind Ruby because they get sandblasted from all the road debris. In November we found our new-to-us tow vehicle and her name is Trixie (the Tracker!). Trackers are surprisingly sought after as a tow vehicle as they can be flat towed, and they are really good 4×4’s for exploring backroads. Before we could take her on the road with us, she needed a few mods like:

  • front tow bumper
  • air bags in the rear for heavy loads
  • bike rack (on back)
  • boat rack (on top)

Trixie in all her glory

Here is Trixie all loaded up!

This brings me to Speedy! After our Limpy the kayak fail in Baja, we wanted to find a lightweight, unsinkable water vessel. Todd found Speedy in the fall; she is a plastic, rotomolded, foam injected boat that is less than 100 lbs. Our first day in Dallas, we picked up an electric trolling motor for her and tried her out! Her max speed is about 1 knot, she is speedy!

While we were at Ratcliff Rec area in the Davy Crockett National forest site, we launched Speedy for an afternoon of fishing. We were all prepped with the fishing license and fishing rod, bait (Canadian night crawlers) and tackle (our own and a new one from Joes fish & tackle). Along with a shitload of other things we could fit in the boat, we were off on a mission to catch some bass or catfish!


Waiting for them to bite

It was a beautiful 20C day and we were slow and steady with the trolling motor. It took a few types of tackle and bait changes, but Todd managed to catch not just 1 wide mouth Bass, but 3! It was pretty exciting – I held the net. His disclaimer “I had no idea wtf I was doing, but I’m learning!”. Were only able to keep 1 of the 3 since the other 2 were too small. Todd cleaned it up and we had a pan fry fish dinner – it was very delish!

First catch!

Unbelievable! two fish in 3 minutes!

Spent 4 days in and around this national forest, again these campsites are pristine and cheap! There are 4 hikes here, which we have done all of them. Also ventured about 25 miles away to 2 other locations called the Caddo Mounds Historical site and the Mission Tejas State park. History here dates back to the 1690’s with the Caddo Indians; they built a village and ceremonial centre in this area. The Caddo were huge farmers and traders with evidence of trading history found as far as Ohio. There is a bunch of hub-bub with the catholic missionaries and some fighting and eventually the Caddo people moved to Oklahoma where there is still a small amount of them that carry on their history. This specific area of Texas was like a highway (called the El Camino Real de los Tejas) between the Rio Grande and the Red River Valley to Louisiana. We toured the Caddo Mounds site in a golf cart – I love me a golf cart and it was pretty fancy – it had a roof! The Mission Tejas State park (we love a state park, as they are free if you bought a state park pass, which of course we did!) We haven’t been to many state parks yet, but this specific park was quite amazing if you are a hiker – so many hikes and a few of them led you to cool historic things to look at, like a family log home built in 1828, missionary chapel (rebuilt in 1934, but was based on 1690 architecture) and probably the tallest Sentry Pine tree in the world!

Site 21 on the dogwood loop. Lumberjacking this very very very hard wood.

Old family cabin on the inside – old wood

Floor at the entrance to the mission chapel.

Its a tall tree, no doubt

Biggest pine in the area