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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Meridian State Park and back to Cove

After my hour stop in Clifton I drove on to Meridian, now just ten miles away. TX 6 drove west of town but I had to turn west on TX22 for the state park and I was going north. The usual brown signs for state parks weren't anywhere in town. And no wonder, as the state park is a few miles west. It has about five miles of hiking trails around a lake and had I come an hour earlier I would have enjoyed hiking the entire trail system.

I hiked the Bosque Hiking Trail as per the park ranger's suggestion, an easy 2.5 lake loop hike around the western shores. I enjoyed the easy trail but didn't care for all the vultures flying overhead. They took over some of the dead trees as well, like a vulture convention. What were they circling over? The scenery was pretty but not inspiring. Still, I'm glad I got to burn off some calories from the Moo Goo Gai Pan, which sat in my stomach the rest of the day.

People were camped along the shore, fishing in rowboats or off limestone platform when I arrived at 4pm. I seldom see Texans on the hiking trails except for short overlooks. I picked up three cans of Keystone Light beer and two plastic bottles along the way.

An hour later, back from my loop hike that I turned into a 3.2 mile hike, everyone at the picnic area where I had parked was gone and I continued on the Cranfill Gap, a town big enough for a church and a scrap metal yard and not much else. Onward to Gateville. I passed a a pretty water tank painted like the Texas flag, a ubiquitious sight all over Texas, but otherwise the drive back was nondescript. Or perhaps I'm getting so used to the Texas landscape of golden prairie and hills spotted by cows of various colors.

By now the sun was lying low. I hit Jonesboro before Gatesville. By now this town is a familiar sight to me. I stopped briefly in the "Backdoor Bar and Grill" off Main Street, more out of curiousity than determination because Coryell is a dry county, so why is there a bar off the beaten path? I didn't stay too long. The bar was smoky and all the beer was bottled. When I asked what kind of beers they had I got an exsacerbated look from the bartender before she rattled off the "Domestic beers" for $2.50 and then the "Imports," Shiner Bock and Corona, for $3.75. Shiner Bock is brewed in Texas, why is that considered an Import (at such an expensive price?) I got no answer from the bartender so I made a disgusted look and walked off. Shiner Bock is good beer, but damnit, it's a DOMESTIC BEER MADE IN TEXAS and should not be sold for $3.75 a bottle.
I drove around the now darkening streets of Gatesville. Stray cats in a side street started at me. Dogs barked in the distance. Bikers everywhere were blaring their horns in the setting sun. It was time to drive home.

As I approached Copperas Cove I got a call from Dave in VA. He and I go back years; we met in Germany in the Volksmarching club and call eachother from time to time. We always have intelligent conversations about politics. He's a right-leaning Libertarian and I think I am a left-leaning Libertarian. Our talk tonight lasted almost an hour as I parked in the parking lot of Mel's Burger Joint to talk since I hate driving with a cell phone to my ear.

When I got off the phone results for today's caucuses came back in favor of Obama: he won Washington State, Nebraska and Louisiana. Huckabee won Kansas.

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