Magnolia Ridge Campground

Kat and I just spent four lovely days at this Corps of Engineers Park on the shores of B. A. Steinhagen Lake between Jasper and Woodville, Texas.  The sites are mostly well-spaced with 30 amps and water for the princely sum of $9 a night with your America the Beautiful card.  Nobody played loud music, and despite spring break, we saw (or heard) no urchins.  The pads are paved and the streets are just that, fine places to walk or ride a bicycle.  Woodville is a nice little town with a Wal-Mart, a good brake shop, and a fine and inexpensive source for some of the best chicken fried steak anywhere.

It Looked Like This

Steinhagen is now close to 70 and had been expected to last only 50 years.  Shallow lakes tend to fill up with silt over time.  This is unfortunate because civilization develops around a reliable water supply.  People become accustomed to fishing and pounding Budweiser on them, power plants are built to rely on water to drive turbines as steam, and nearby towns count on the reservoir for water.  For a couple of decades the Corps has worked hard to keep this lake functional.


Their mission became tougher with the arrival of invasive aquatic plants.  The most common are water hyacinth, alligator weed, hydrilla, common and giant salvinia.  Man has fought plants with rakes, lake drawdowns (during the coldest winter weather to try to freeze it), and herbicides.  Rakes don’t work at all, and global warming’s winters are so mild that this lake hasn’t frozen in over a decade.  The poisons work most reliably so a fleet of airboats spent 6 or 7 hours a day buzzing around and spraying weed juice.  The boats are powered by V-8 auto engines and piloted by hot rodders.  Their sound is close to that of a Ford Mustang with a big motor accelerating AFAP from a traffic light, and sound carries quite well over water.  Still, they are fun to watch.


The Red Sled whispered to us in the WalMart parking lot.  It said “Sshhhhhzzz”, a sigh demanding an emergency brake job.  It turned out to be just the front axle, and the last shop that replaced the pads used some designed to make no noise before wearing out.  The rear axles have the same pads, with maybe half their life left.  So what you gonna do?  Pay the man and ask about the pads next time we rotate tires.  We had feared worse.


Woodville’s Magnolia Bar & Grill serves an outrageously good chicken fried steak with mashed taters and cream gravy.  I love that poison!  Kat loves fried catfish and MBG does them very well.  Their prices are right, and this is the rare eatery whose auto-calculated tip choices (15%, 18%, 20%) are based on your tab before sales taxes.  It’s my kind of place!

Steinhagen Lake Sunset


A Little Later
Too Dark to Focus

As a bonus we ran into beautiful weather following a big rain event.  The result: one magnificent sunset and a fine spring morning captured by Kat and her trusty Nikon.

The Sun Also Rises


Around 9:00 A.M.

2 thoughts on “Magnolia Ridge Campground

    1. Thank you, Nanner, but the water is beautiful there only early and late. After 10:00 and before 6:00 it was brown as Caddo Lake, another victim of invasive plants. But it’s cool, iif n a dopey kind of way, to hear Ford Mustangs racing on the water. When you and I were young, very young, guys raced hydroplanes on Caddo Lake. Hydroplanes were basically hollow surf boards attached to 10 HP Mercury outboard motors … and then the moss took over and ruined that along with the fishing and skiing.

      But you and I knew her when she was young and pretty. And hey, we’ll always have Paris.


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