Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Uncertain, TX: Hauntingly Beautiful Caddo Lake

Elsie's time in the cool mountains of North Georgia came to an abrupt but expected end. We're taking a slow roll home, but there's one more destination that's been on our travel bucket list for years:  Caddo Lake, Texas.


This is a gorgeous lake/bayou straddling the Texas/Louisiana border, a swoon-worthy place for a photography expedition.  Because it's big, we took a powerboat ride instead of the kayaks.


This is one of the largest bald cypress forests in the world, with the wide bases of these striking trees growing right up out of the water, seemingly anchored to nothing.  Many of the trees are over 400 years old.



We had hoped to see alligators, which exist in droves here, but we only saw the telltale bubbles from the bottom of the shallow waters, letting us know they were down there, holding their breath and waiting for us to move on.  Fishing is excellent here.


Moss draped trees capturing the light and shadows make for a spooky view, and the eerie quiet of this deserted lake made us wonder if we were starring in one of the many horror movies which have been filmed on Caddo Lake, including "Gator Bait" (and the inevitable "Gator Bait II"), Soggy Bottom USA, Do or Die, The Man From Dead Man's Pond, and The Ghost of Cypress Swamp.


In areas of the lake, lily pads cover huge areas of water.  The flowers bloom in the morning but close completely and disappear by early afternoon.



Reflections on the water were mesmerizing!



Though there are private properties lining the outside of Caddo Lake, there is only one built on the soggy bottom of the interior lake itself.  It was grandfathered in over time:  welcome to Dick and Charlie's Tea Room!


Not really a tea room, but a place that people are welcome to visit, it has the kind of rules that the 70's rebel in Philip can really appreciate:  "there ain't none, there never was none, there ain't gonna be none."


Passageways and canals on Caddo Lake were hand-cleared to make the way for huge riverboats running from New Orleans to nearby Jefferson, Texas, making it one of the top 5 ports at the time, even though it was an inland city.


Jefferson is one of the oldest cities in Texas, and though sleepy, still sports the architectural remnants of being a vibrant city back in the day, when well-dressed visitors came up from New Orleans to party.  Much of the town still resembles New Orleans, including the recognizable wrought iron balconies.



Jefferson is also a good place to get a healthy dose of nostalgia!




It would appear that Jefferson has no rules, regulations, or HOA's.  This is somebody's front yard.



You have to admire the humility and honesty of the folks who named the town nearest to Caddo Lake.  Welcome, everyone, to Uncertain, Texas!


The Rusty Mule Pizza Parlor was Covid-closed, but cool paint job created one of those "STOP THE CAR!" moments.





It would seem that the fine folks of Uncertain have (1) a lot of artistic ability, (2) a lot of free time on their hands, or (3) both.




Crusing to Texas, we had stopped in tiny Lake Village, Arkansas, at Lake Chicot State Park, another place with the bald cypress trees growing from the water.


Lake Chicot is interesting because it used to be part of the mighty Mississsippi River.  300 years ago, the water radically changed course (sounds like RV travel planning during a pandemic, just sayin') and created the largest "oxbow lake" in North America.  Google maps shows it below, making it more obvious how it came into existence.


Not every day is filled with sunshine and unicorns ... into each trip, a few stormy clouds must enter!


The Chicot Lake area had an important visitor long ago.  When aviator Charles Lindbergh was 21 and unknown, he made an emergency landing on the country club golf course.  Somebody in town put him up the for the night, and in appreciation Charles took him for Charles' first night flight ever, over the lake.  Why somebody would want a night flight with somebody who had just crash landed, I am not sure.  But that is the story.


In today's version of Deju Vu meets Groundhogs Day, we drove by a more modern version of the 1936 "Two Ton Flowerpot" I highlighted in the last blog about Old Car City.


We have only 7 states of the lower 48 left to fill in on our RV travel map!  Of course, just because we've visited a state once doesn't mean we won't be going back again ... and again ... and again ....!


As we high-tailed it across the Southwest, our two worlds fittingly collided in tiny Hico, TX, when Elsie sidled up next to a huge spur.  That's right ... back we go to our Arizona home on Spur Circle!





4 comments:

  1. That lake is beautiful and I love those Cyprus trees, but I am way too freaked out by alligators to go out on a boat like you did, so thanks for the tour! Love the "rules sign" for the "tea room." Those tiny towns are so much fun. Safe travels the rest of the way!

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    1. Hi Laura! The alligators freaked me out too, but they were shockingly shy and failed to show up, even at a distance. I think you would be safe! And yes, we will take a tiny town all day long, over bigger cities. There is always something quirky and fun to be discovered! Hope you are having a great summer, all things considered!

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  2. We stayed at Caddo Lake years ago, and loved it! We kayaked the lake, but after seeing your post, I want to do a longer boat tour. And of course, I want to see all the weird and interesting stuff you dug up along the way. You do have a knack! Happy Trails...

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    1. There is a 99% certainty that Caddo Lake hit my radar because you posted about it! Speaking of which, we have fall reservations at El Chorro Regional Park in SLO, Calif, at your recommendation. We called recently to check on that reservation and they are using the entire park as a Covid treatment center right now! Crazy!

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