Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Camping trip day 3

Day 3....Today we finally get our boat tour!!! We all got up had a good breakfast and are ready to go. Lauren is very curious as to what we will see and Austin seems not to sure.

We had a group of bikers on the boat with us (they were from all over and were all out riding together).
The guy standing in the back is our driver and those are the other two couples on the tour with us (they were from up North were they didn't have things like this).

We left from Uncertain, TX...the driver told us one theory as to how the name came to be...since most of the steamboat workers couldn't read they used playing cards to "name" the ports. They would put a card on the shipment that would tell them which port to deliver each box to...at the end of the run they would have boxes that the card had fallen off of, instead of taking them all the way back to New Orleans they would unload the "uncertain" boxes at their last stop...hence the name Uncertain, TX.
We learned a lot of history on the tour. The steamboat captains used to travel from New Orleans to Jefferson using the lake...this was one of the only inland ports.
This building was Dick & Charlie's Tea Room...the river was the county line for Marion and Harrison county. Harrison was dry and Marion was wet so for a nickle you could ride a boat across the river to the tea room and spent the evening drinking (just save a nickle to get back across or you would have to swim the river...scary). Dick and Charlie had three rules, 1. There ain't none, 2. There never was none, 3. There ain't gonna be none. This is the last of many of these kind of establishments still standing (they are trying to save it so it doesn't fall in the river).
This is the Graceful Ghost (it is the one for tours), steamboats like this traveled these waters for years.
Some of the trees we saw on the tour were over 150 years old.
On some of the trees we saw these...they are for ducks. The guide told us there are some duck blinds on the lake but the only way to get one is it has to be passed down from generation to generation....you can not build a duck blind on the lake and the one's that were there were grandfathered in.
We saw quite a few beaver dams along the way.
Lauren is enjoying the trip....
I was glad we had a guide for the boat ride...it was like a maze of river streets going different directions.

This is looking up what was called the government ditch.....the steamboat captains needed a straight path to help with the trip....because of the cost and time it was taking they asked the government to help...the government created a bail out and took over the project...by the time they completed the project the rail road had come through and instead of hundreds of steamboats on the river there were only about 5 using the ditch.
After the tour we had a picnic...
After lunch we explored some more...Lauren on her bike...
The view when you look up under the trees...Lauren said it's like it snowed and the ice or snow hanging on the trees just never went away.
Don't think we will be doing this at all...scary
We found this cool tree...of course Austin had no fear going in.
After a little convincing Lauren got in...
Silly boy...
Lauren thinks there are bats in the tree (the exhibit we saw had bats in the tree they sat in yesterday).
No bats...this is looking up in the tree...

Lauren and her bike again.
After much exploring...dinner time...YUM!!!
Wonder what he sees......(notice the bubble wand).
The trucks were much fun in the dirt...
Austin is snacking on Fritos before dinner (no hiding them from him).
End of the night....SMORES!!!! (It's not quite so late tonight so I could get a picture).
So another adventure filled day..we have had beautiful weather an a wonderful time so far. Camping is so relaxing....more fun tomorrow.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Camping trip day 2

Good Morning.....
Day 2.....we are hoping to have a full day of adventure today....
Austin is already a fan of the camper, wake up and open the windows....he can see outside everywhere he looks.

Dressed and outside...how exciting.
BUBBLES...a word he knows well. Not that he really wants you to blow bubbles all the time but he loves to carry around the bubble wand and use it as a cane.
Dad is enjoying his morning coffee....
All ready for a bike ride to go exploring....the first of many.
The lake....it is so neat to look out on a lake and see huge trees growing out of the water.
Many of the trees in the lake are over 100 years old. Bald Cypress trees are unlike most trees. Once the seed is planted and the tree is growing (a few feet high) the roots can be completely submerged in water and the tree will grow perfectly happy. The roots grow fairly shallow but very far out to create a super stable foundation for these georgous trees. They also shoot up these little stumps called knees.....these are not new trees they are for helping with stability. They help trap dirt and other things to help create ground around the tree. They are very slow growing trees...they grow about an inch in diameter a year...so as you see pictures of these trees you can really see the history around with the size of the tree trunks.

It is so different to look out across a lake and see these wonderful trees everywhere.

Once we were done with our bike ride we went to the front to check in and they had an exhibit with facts and pictures of animals and other things about the lake.
They had this tree replica that the kids really liked.
Lauren is touching one of the moths they had a replica of.
Back to camp and time for breakfast (yes it is only about 9am at this point...I told you we had busy days)

After breakfast it was nap time......

A walk down to the boat ramp to go on a boat tour...we are waiting to see if anyone else shows up (there is a minimum for the boat to go out...we were trying to beat the weekend rush though)
A lovely look at the Spanish moss that grows on the Cypress trees...it does not hurt the trees at all, it gets all it's nutrients from the air. The indians used to use this as stuffing in their pillows and bedding. They would fill a pillow type thing and use it for a few days until the moss would become dry and brittle, then they would empty it out and get more. It is now illegal to remove the moss from the trees (this is so companies can't come and strip it all off the trees and sell it).

After all the talk of our boat tour and a little waiting no one else showed up, back over to camp to figure out what's next.

We decided we would go drive around an see if we could find another tour (we also needed to get some forgotten things in town).
We found a paddlewheel tour in Uncertain, TX for 11am tomorrow morning so we booked it. This is the back of the boat and looking up the river we will travel tomorrow.

While we were standing on the dock checking out the boat for tomorrow we saw this steamboat coming towards us. Go figure it is a tour boat also (we already paid for Swap Thing here)...next time. We got a video of the boat I will share later but it was so neat to hear the steamboat coming towards us.

Once we left Uncertain we went to Jefferson. Jefferson was a very cute town with a fun General Store we went into and got some ice cream (Sorry no pictures....holding Austin and ice cream and sharing without making a mess was enough).
Once our errands were done it was back to camp.....BUBBLES.. Lauren made a big bubble.
The camper all set up with our lights and everything.
Lauren is waiting for dinner (hot dogs over the camp fire...then smores)
A stop for a quick family picture...
Austin found out about dirt big time this week. As you can see he is all about being in the dirt to play....Lauren not so much. Lauren would dig in the dirt but she wasn't sitting in it. We were laughing at them.
Austin used shovels and his hands...Lauren, only shovels....
YUCK...Austin is tasting the dirt.....
No, he did not have chocolate...that's a dirt mustache.....yum, how was that dirt?
Dinner time......
Austin had a little trouble with the concrete pad under the picnic table. There were parts pretty level with the dirt and others had quite a lip...more than once he tripped and fell as you can see by his knees. I think tomorrow might call for pants to protect those little knees.
So day 2 was quite eventful but there is still so much to share about the next couple days. I hope you enjoyed todays adventures and facts about the trees.