On Monday, Roxanne starts back to school so she decided that we all needed to get away for the day and take a little drive to Garner State Park for a picnic. If you have never been, Garner is located about an hour and a half west of San Antonio, north of the town of Uvalde. Eva's family went to GSP her entire childhood, and we took our kids several times a year as they were growing up. I suspect the tradition will continue with their kids too. We don't camp anymore (I prefer an air conditioned hotel over a tent, thanks), but we do like to go for the day.
One of the things that I have noticed over the last few years is the the growth around the small town of Concan. It used to be Neal's Lodge was the only place and maybe a few small stores sprinkled right at the intersection of Hwy 127 (from Sabinal) and Hwy 83 (from Uvalde). Now, as you approach Concan, there are a dozen little cabins and lodges and signs for golf courses that have sprung up. I guess this is what you'd expect as the area has grown more popular.
We made our drive into the park proper and slowly drove through the campsites and shelters, pointing out spots we have stayed at in the past. We noticed new signs pointing the way to various trails and caves and such. Garner used to have the standard brown wooden plank with yellow paint to identify a certain trail. Now, thanks to The Friends of Garner, there are colorful descriptive signs with historical information.
We drove well beyond where we used to set-up as the early birds had taken all the parking, all the fixed picnic tables and covered most the rocky river edge. Instead, we continued down the road getting closer to the park's famous pavilion where you can buy T-shirts and souvenirs, where Saturday night, the juke box blasts country favorites and campers dance the night away on the huge patio, and where on Sunday's an all denomination church service is held.
As we settled in, there was a visible lifting of a weight off of Eva's shoulders. So many wonderful childhood, really a lifetime of memories from Garner, or has her family has always called it, Gardner. When they were kids, her family would take a week's worth of groceries, load up the station wagon and perhaps throw in a few neighbor kids and that was the family vacation. When there is something about a place that can send all your worries away, you ought to spend more time there.
I spent the majority of my time sitting on my ass in the comfort of a lawn chair reading a book (on my iPhone), and occasionally getting up to take pictures of the river and the scenic views. I did have occasion to visit the pavilion where, Eva had informed me was a vacant restroom. All I can say is, finding a private stall in a crowded place is sort of like winning the lottery.