Texas is big and brawny in every way, a state brimming with natural assets. Whether visiting rugged mountains, sandy beaches, wild canyons, or the piney woods, the “Lone Star State” pleases travelers in a million wonderful ways.

After leaving the pool, spring waters ebb slowly through the cattails, rushes and reeds of San Solomon Cienega. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

After leaving the pool, spring waters ebb slowly through the cattails, rushes and reeds of San Solomon Cienega. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Our Texas RV Travel Bucket List continues.

Balmorhea State Park

Balmorhea State Park is located on less than 50 acres in the foothills of the Davis Mountains. For thousands of years San Solomon Springs has provided a cool, wet respite for anyone who happened by this desert oasis. The pool as it now stands was built in the mid-1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and holds more than 3,500,000 gallons of clear spring water with a constant temperature of 72 to 76 degrees. The pool covers 1.75 acres and reaches depths of 25 feet, making it a mecca for desert-bound scuba divers. The huge pool is fed by the springs at a rate of up to 28 million gallons daily.

At historic San Solomon Springs, facilities include a motel, RV camping sites, rest rooms with hot showers, shaded picnic areas, and a playground.

For those inclined to recline, however, there are countless spots along the pool’s edge where you can plant a chair or a blanket and set up camp for the day. It is hard to imagine in the middle of this hot, desert land that such an oasis isn’t a mirage, but just one toe dipped in the cool waters will convince you to linger a while longer.

Lost Maples State Natural Area

Lost Maples State Natural Area is a combination of steep, rugged limestone canyons; springs; plateau grasslands; wooded slopes; and clear streams.

This natural area features a large, isolated stand of uncommon Uvalde bigtooth maple, which dons an amazing display of fall colors. Generally, the foliage changes the last two weeks of October through the first two weeks of November.

However, the park is a great year-round destination.

Visitors to Lost Maples State Natural Area enjoy Hiking, backpacking, birdwatching, swimming, picnicking, and fishing. The park has plenty of marked trails, and rugged terrain that provides excellent views of the natural beauty of the area, especially the maples.

Collin Street Bakery

Would you travel over 2,950 miles for a Collin Street Bakery DeLuxe Fruitcakes? We did! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Would you travel over 2,950 miles for a Collin Street Bakery DeLuxe Fruitcakes? We did! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Just like the gift exchange at work, fruitcakes are a part of the holiday season whether you like them or not. But how far would you travel for a fruitcake if it was one of the most famous Christmas cakes in the world? Would you travel over 2,950 miles? We did!

This company, one of America’s foremost mail-order food companies, ships over a million of their DeLuxe Fruitcakes around the world each year. Set aside your preconceived notions about fruitcake. This confection is incredible.

Each cake is 80 percent fruit and nuts with no artificial ingredients. To ensure they have the most luscious fruit and best pecans, the company owns an organic pineapple and papaya farm in Costa Rica and the world’s largest pecan sheller in Corsicana. Cherries are bought from Oregon and Washington, and the golden raisins come from California.

The 100,000-square-foot bakery on Seventh Avenue (formerly on Collin Street, where the business originated and got its name), operates quietly for nine months of the year, producing a variety of cookies, cakes, pies, and the occasional fruitcake. But from October through mid-December, the batter flies and the staff swells from 100 regular employees to 700 to produce over 30,000 fruitcakes (75,000 pounds) a day.

Don’t worry if fruitcake isn’t your thing. Collin Street Bakery makes plenty of other items that have attracted a devoted following. There’s a deep dish pecan pie, chocolate fudge pecan pie, white chocolate macadamia cheesecake, White House pumpkin cake, apricot pecan cake, and pecan coffee Bundt cake.

The Collin Street Bakery, which has been selling its famous DeLuxe fruitcakes since 1896 from a downtown store, now has three locations. A branch store and cafe, opened in late 2006, occupy a gleaming white Southern-plantation-style building in the new Corsicana Crossing shopping area beside Interstate 45 about 55 miles south of Dallas.

Several years ago Collin Street Bakery opened a third location on Interstate 35 just north of Waco (exit 338A) and another is on the way in Tyler. It was the Waco location that we visited.

Texas Spoken Friendly

Please Note: This is part of an on-going series on our Texas Bucket List

Worth Pondering…

I love Texas because Texas is future-oriented, because Texans think anything is possible. Texans think big.

—Phil Gramm

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If you enjoy these articles and want to read more on RV travels and lifestyle, visit my website: Vogel Talks RVing.

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  1. it’s really such a nice design collection , its give me new more ideas and we are also from same industry and welcome you to visit our site.

  2. Vickie Medley

    Great article about my beloved state! Don't forget that part of your bucket list is to stop by and visit us for a Texas Margarita…and fajitas.