Posts Tagged With: Texas

Cross Country Road Trip

After an amazing summer in the Pacific Northwest it was time to start making our way back east for the winter. We had 6 weeks to get from Washington to Florida. This post will cover the stops we made along the way.

First we spent a quiet week in eastern Oregon on the Idaho border, recovering from a couple of very busy weeks in Washington. We stayed at Farewell Bend Recreation Area on the Snake River across from Idaho. It was beautiful and peaceful!

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The 2nd week we spent celebrating Jake’s 13th birthday in Park City, Utah which I already wrote about. You can see it here if you missed it:¬†Birthday Celebration in Park City, Utah.

Week #3 was spent in South Fork, Colorado where the fall foliage was gorgeous! Our campground was right on the Rio Grande River.

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We spent week #4 in Amarillo, Texas for a couple of days and then the rest of the week in Oklahoma City.

In Amarillo we used the complimentary limo service to go have dinner at the Big Texan. This was so much fun and a shining example of true Texas hospitality!

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We also stopped by Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo to leave our mark on the classic cars and to meet up with our good friends the Thomas family. Somehow we always end up on the opposite side of the country as them, and our paths crossed here in Texas as they were headed west and we were headed east. Someday I hope we’ll be in the same state again for more than a day or two!

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My beautiful friend Erica who I miss so much!

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After a busy 2 days in Texas we moved on to Oklahoma City. Our campsite here was interesting, right on the mini golf course!

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While in Oklahoma City we met up with my sister’s good friend Rene who gave us a personalized tour of the Oklahoma City National Memorial where she lived and worked at the time of the tragic bombing. This was a very sobering site to see, and so interesting to hear Rene’s story of the events that happened that day in 1995.

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We also visited the Science Museum in Oklahoma City which we could go to for free on our ASTC reciprocal membership. The boys enjoyed this science museum very much!

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We moved on to Arkansas for week #5 to visit Hot Springs National Park. I have to admit we were not all that impressed with this national park after all the amazing and scenic parks we’ve been to out west. This was basically just a town with historical bathhouses. Maybe were missing something, but it seems like it’s probably more interesting for adults… not including Chris and me, we’re not adulting right now. ūüėČ

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It turns out we were parked next to another Fulltime Family at the Hot Springs KOA and we enjoyed getting to know them. I hope we meet up with them again in the near future.

The Mid America Science Museum is located near Hot Springs and it is also included on our ASTC membership so we went there too. Another super fun science museum that the boys really enjoyed!

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After an overnight stop in Tupelo, Mississippi where Chris & I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary at a Japanese Hibachi grill along with our kids, we moved on for week #6 in Woodstock, Georgia where we were able to visit with my sister and her husband for the week. We stayed at Victoria Campground which had very nice and large sites and beautiful sunsets on Lake Allatoona. We had lots of fun with Cheryl & Chris playing games and just being our silly selves.

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And then finally, after 6 weeks and over 3000 miles we were back “home” in Florida at our happy place, Disney World just in time for trick-or-treating at Ft. Wilderness.

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We purchased new FL resident annual passes and got busy exploring our favorite amusement parks all over again. Lots of other Fulltime Families spend the winter in the Orlando area also, so it was fun to meet up with some of our friends at the Disney parks.

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We even enjoyed a visit from my parents at Ft. Wilderness one weekend while they happened to be in the Orlando area.

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As much as I love traveling out west, it is good to be home. We’ll spend the rest of this year hanging out with friends and family in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. I will probably be taking a break from blogging until we begin traveling again next year. Until then, I hope you all enjoy a blessed holiday season. Remember to make the most of your time with loved ones and be thankful. ūüôā

 

Categories: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Amarillo Texas

Our last stop in Texas was in Amarillo, and we really enjoyed our time there.  There are several free things to do close to the RV park we stayed at.

Cadillac Ranch is free and you can’t go to Amarillo and not go see that iconic roadside attraction. ¬†We bought a couple of cans of spray paint and went to leave¬†our mark.

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The RV Museum is free and super cool!  Well, that is if you like RVs which of course we do.  But my biggest reason for wanting to go there was to see the Gornicke bus from the RV movie, which just so happens to be my favorite movie.  It was so neat to see this bus in person and get to go inside it.

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Another free thing we did was visit the Don Harrington Discover Center.  It was free because it is included in our zoo/science center reciprocal membership.

They currently have the Grossology exhibit on display which was a big hit with the boys. ūüôā

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We also visited Palo Duro Canyon which was awesome.  Not free, but only $5 per person over 12.  That needs its own blog post so please click the link if you are interested in reading about that visit.

We stayed at the Fort Amarillo RV Resort which was really nice. ¬†We usually prefer state parks and national recreation areas better than RV parks because typically you have a lot more room at your site and more privacy, not to mention they’re cheaper. ¬†RV parks usually pack RVs in so close to each other that you barely have room to breathe. ¬†But there were no state parks in the Amarillo area other than Palo Duro Canyon and there was no cell phone coverage there so an RV park was the only option.

I’m glad we chose this park¬†because it was very nice and had a reasonable¬†weekly rate. ¬†The people that work there are also super nice! ¬†They have an indoor pool, a nice playground and a fun game room which happens to be underground and serves as a storm shelter. ¬†I guess if you have to spend the night in a storm shelter the game room is not a bad place to be. ¬†I thought we were going to need to go there the first night we were there. ¬†It was so windy that night, the RV was rocking like crazy! ¬†I kept getting lightning¬†and tornado alerts on my phone, yet Chris was sleeping through the whole thing! ¬†How he does that, I don’t know. ¬†I finally woke him up to ask if he thinks we should head to the storm shelter. ¬†He didn’t so we didn’t, and shortly after that the storm quieted down and we were all able to get some sleep.

Anyway, the RV park is really cute.  There was a really cute duck pond where Jesse liked feeding the ducks.

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And at the front of the park is this set of cute, old fashioned shops.

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Did I mention that Amarillo is windy?  This town reminded me of Kansas.  It was very flat and windy.  No wonder we saw so many wind turbines as we got close to this area.

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Fat Cat liked climbing on the fence next to our site. ¬†There wasn’t much of a yard for her so I think she’s ready to get back to another state park where she has more room. ¬†I can’t say I blame her.

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We really enjoyed our time in Amarillo in spite of the wind.  Bye bye for now Texas, we have places to go and things to see!

Categories: Texas | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Palo Duro Canyon

Palo Duro Canyon is considered the Grand Canyon of Texas.  We wanted to camp there but there is zero cellular coverage in the campground, so we ended up just spending a day hiking there.  And it sure was beautiful!

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I love when they like each other!

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Jake is enjoying his new camera, he took lots of pictures!

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Back at the visitor center they earned Junior Naturalist badges (not the same thing as Junior Ranger badges that they earn at national parks). ¬†Jake looks really worn out. ¬†We did 4 hikes that day. ¬†It has been awhile since we have gone hiking, but it’s good to be back at it. ¬†It’s that time of year for lots more hiking for us!

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Categories: Texas | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

North Texas Jellystone Park

We had reservations to stay at Bear Creek Campground in Ft. Worth, but at the last minute our reservation was cancelled due to flooding at that location so we ended up spending the week at North Texas Jellystone Park instead.  The kids were super excited about that!

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We have stayed at several Jellystone Parks and I have to say this is probably my least favorite one we have visited. ¬†Jellystone Parks are not cheap so we don’t splurge on them very often, but when we do we expect it to be an awesome park, and this one just wasn’t. ¬†I don’t think it was worth the cost. ¬†The kids would disagree with me however¬†because they loved it. ¬†They are so easy to please, I should try to become more like them. ūüôā

They especially loved the Air Zone which had several bouncy houses. This was only open on the weekend so the boys were counting down the days all week waiting for it to open.

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We also rode the hay ride, fire truck ride and the boys loved this train ride.

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Most campsites at this park are super close together, but thankfully they put us on the other side of the park in between 2 cabins that were unoccupied for most of the week.  This site was really nice and at least had a bit of a yard unlike the sites on the other side of the park.

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Some places we stay have awesome views, but this one — not so much. ¬†We had a nice view of the parking lot and the water park that wasn’t open.

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We enjoyed a visit with another Fulltime Family.  We met the Thomas family in February at the rally in Tampa.  It was fun to meet up with them again in Texas.  We really enjoyed getting to know their family a little better, and we hope to meet up with them again later this summer.

Look how many kids they travel with! ¬†And all 6 of them are super sweet and polite. ¬†I have had people tell me they could never live in an RV fulltime like we do because they have 3 or 4 kids and it’s easier for us because we only have 2 kids. ¬†Well here you go. ¬†A living example of a large family making it work. ¬†We’ve actually met many large families living on the road. I think we’re in the minority with our small family of 4.

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I’m currently blogging at 60 mph on our way across North Texas on to our next adventure. ¬†Sometimes a place we go doesn’t quite live up to our my expectations, but I guess that’s all part of this unpredictable lifestyle. ¬†So it’s onward and westward!

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Cagle Recreation Area

We spent two weeks at Cagle Recreation Area in the Sam Houston National Forest north of Houston, TX.

This campsite ranks up there with my favorites.  We had lots of space to spread out, and the view of Lake Conroe right from the site was beautiful, especially the sunsets!

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Judy & Kylie visited us on the weekends while we were there and we always have so much fun with them.

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The kids set up what they called the “Museum of Bones” on the log by the lake. ¬†They found lots of animal skeletons and set them all up on this log and wrote signs to indicate what kind of animal it was. ¬†Anytime someone walked down the pathway they had to stop and check out the museum. The kids also set up a tip jar. ūüôā ¬†Their creativity amazes me!

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There are many hiking trails there and the weather was beautiful so of course we went for a nice walk through the woods.

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The kids were collecting pine cones for our campfire.

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We met some awesome friends last year while we were in Texas at Canyon Lake.  Neil & Beth and their kids Gabe & Marlie came to visit us here on Easter weekend and it was wonderful to see them again!  I just wish they had more time to stay and camp for the whole weekend.

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Jesse had fun playing ball with Gabe,

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and playing in the sand with Marlie.

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Time for s’mores!

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Chris is the master chef cooking up awesome meals in his outdoor kitchen whenever we have guests.

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Another great visit was from the Lundy family.  About 2 years ago when I first got the crazy idea in my head to sell everything we own and hit the road in an RV, I wanted to know if there were other families doing this.  So what do inquiring minds do?  Google it of course!  The very first blog I found of a family living and traveling in their RV was the Lundy 5.  I started following their blog at that time and I was so excited to hear that they were staying nearby and they came over for dinner one night.  We really enjoyed getting to know them and their amazing kids!

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Most of our time here was spent doing fun things at the campground with the kids.  We set up an Easter egg hunt for them on Easter weekend.

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And the next weekend Chris surprised the kids from the roof of the RV by throwing water balloons and buckets of water on them.  He is such a big kid himself!

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Fat Cat loved this place!  She had lots of room to roam around and lot of rabbits, birds and squirrels to watch.

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Fat Cat doing what she does best — being lazy and showing off her big belly!

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But she’s a pretty kitty. ¬†(Photo by Kylie. She takes great pictures!)

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This campground was awesome and I would definitely return again someday.  Here are some more random pictures of Kylie and the boys.

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Categories: Texas | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Big Bend National Park

We just spent an amazing week at Big Bend National Park.  I heard this is one of the least visited national parks probably because it is so remote and far away from everything.  If you decide to visit, you should plan on spending a few days there.  Not only is it a long drive to the park entrance, but just driving around the park itself takes a long time.  This park is BIG!  It is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.  We spent 3 days visiting the 3 main sections, and each area is several miles away from the others.  The really neat thing about this park is that the 3 main areas are all so different.  You can visit the river, the mountains and the desert all in one park.

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The River: Rio Grande Village

We spent the first day hiking the trails at the Rio Grande Village. ¬†Big Bend is on the border of Mexico and is separated from Mexico by the Rio Grande River. ¬†One thing I found very interesting was how narrow the river is and how easy it is for anyone to cross over to the other side. ¬†Of course it’s illegal to do that so we didn’t but I was so tempted to just go stand on the other side of the river and get my picture in Mexico. ¬†I really didn’t feel like getting arrested though so I didn’t. ¬†ūüôā

Below are some pictures from our various hikes around the river.

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In the picture below there is a camp of people from Mexico with their horses.

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The people across the river sometimes sneak over and leave little trinkets for tourists to purchase (shown below). ¬†I guess they use the honor system expecting that you’ll leave money for any items you purchase. ¬†One of the park rules is to not purchase these items as they are considered contraband. ¬†And since we wanted to follow the rules we didn’t buy anything. ¬†However, I do feel sorry for these people. ¬†Before America started requiring passports for us to cross over into Mexico, people used to come and go freely and support businesses on the other side of the river. ¬†The passport regulations hurt a lot of businesses in Mexico because now it is so difficult to just cross over for dinner or to buy some souvenirs. ¬†I’m not trying to get into a political discussion regarding immigration laws, and I do see the need for border security, but visiting this park opened my eyes to other perspectives.

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The two pictures below are at the hot springs. ¬†This water was very hot and since it was so hot outside it did not feel very nice to sit in this. ¬†We ended up going in the river to cool off. ¬†I guess we don’t always follow the rules because we weren’t really supposed to go into the river.

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See how easy we could have just stepped over into Mexico?

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The next day we went for a drive on the “River Road” between Lajitas and Presidio. ¬†National Geographic described this as one of the most scenic drives in the United States. ¬†The views were absolutely breathtaking!

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The Mountains: Chisos Basin

Later that afternoon we went back into the park to hike in the mountains.

Doesn’t this sign make you want to hike there?¬† Don’t worry Mom, we didn’t encounter any lions or bears. ¬†Thankfully we didn’t see any rattlesnakes all week either which is what I was most afraid of seeing.

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The opening in the mountains below is called “The Window”.

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We tried to time it so we would get to The Window in time for the sunset, but we were a little early. ¬†We didn’t wait around for it because it was so hot and the bugs right at this spot were horrendous.

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The Desert: Castolon

On our third day we hiked in the canyons and desert.

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Cool fossil looking thing in the wall.  Looks like a big fish, shark maybe?

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Nice shady spot for a cool drink.

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I love when they act like they like each other! ¬†ūüôā

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The ruins of an old house at the Sam Nail Ranch.  We also saw a windmill with a well that the Nail family made which is still working today!

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This area looked like a ghost town.

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We saw some really neat looking desert plants. ¬†I’m amazed that these plants can grow and flower in such a dry climate.

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Colorful lizard. ¬†Doesn’t look like the lizards we have in Florida.

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We ended the day at the ranger station where the kids earned their first of hopefully many Junior Ranger badges.  At each National Park we visit we can get a Junior Ranger booklet that teaches the kids about the park.  While visiting they need to do the activities in the booklet and then return to the ranger station when they are done so the ranger can award them with a Junior Ranger badge and certificate.  They also have to raise their right hand and repeat after the ranger a pledge about protecting and supporting the national park.

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Visiting this park was such an amazing experience. ¬†I was in awe of the beauty of God’s Creation! ¬†I am so thankful for my family’s health so that we can do these hikes together. ¬†I am thankful that we live in an RV and can travel to these far away places that we otherwise would never have seen. ¬†I am thankful that I have legs so that I can walk around places like this. ¬†I am thankful that I have eyes that can see the spectacular scenery that my God made. ¬†Sappy? ¬†Yes, but after the incredible sights I have seen this week I can’t help it. ¬†ūüôā

It is also so rewarding to hear my kids say this was their favorite trip so far. ¬†I wasn’t sure how much they would like hiking around a National Park and learning the history, especially since they are so used to going to Disney World and riding rides. ¬†A National Park is so different since there are no rides and no artifical entertainment. ¬†I was happy to see how much they enjoyed themselves and how much they learned.

Next I just have a few tips about visiting. ¬†We were there during the off-season. ¬†The peak season is from November¬†through April. ¬†I realize now why this is the off-season — it is so hot! ¬†The nice thing about being there during the off-season is it is not the least bit crowded. ¬†But it would be nice to hike these trails in cooler weather.

Another tip: ¬†if you plan to RV here, there are several campgrounds within the park, but only one with full hookups that can accommodate a larger rig. ¬†We almost stayed at that one, but I’m glad we didn’t. ¬†It is literally just a parking lot with hookups. ¬†We ended up staying at the Maverick Ranch RV Park at Lajitas Golf Resort. ¬†It is about a 20 mile drive to the entrance to Big Bend. ¬†The longer drive each day was a little inconvenient, but the resort was so nice it was worth it. ¬†It also costs the same as staying at a¬†full hookup site within the park. ¬†And after those very hot hiking days, it was so nice to come back to a campground that had a pool to cool off in. ¬†Below are some pictures of the resort.

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Below is the view from our campsite.  Not crowded at all!  I guess we were one of the few people crazy enough to come here at this time of the year.

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Cute boardwalk of shops at the resort.

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The Lajitas town mayor is a beer drinking goat!

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I know this was a long post and if you’re still reading, thank you! ¬†I hope you enjoyed this post about Big Bend and I hope you’ll be able to visit yourself someday and experience all of the beautiful sites in person because my pictures just don’t do it justice.

Categories: National Parks, Texas | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Texas Hill Country Part 2

Our next stop in the Texas Hill Country was at Thousand Trails Medina Lake. ¬†This lake is quite different from Canyon Lake because there is no water in it! ¬†The lake is totally dry except for a very small section by the dam. ¬†It’s actually quite sad to see the area and hear the stories about how the lake dried up about 8 years ago. ¬†The campground has photo albums of years when there used to be a lake and how it even flooded one year. ¬†It’s amazing to think this area was once covered in water and now it’s totally dry. ¬†The picture below was right near our campsite and believe it or not it used to be a lake:

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There are several boat docks and ramps that are falling apart, and it’s hard to imagine there used to be water holding up the docks:

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The kids found a little cave:

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There are several homes around this lake that have boat docks that are falling apart and the homes used to be lake-front property.  It really is sad to see this and I feel bad for the people who live here and used to enjoy living on a lake.

We heard there was a little bit of water left down by the dam which was about 8 miles away so we took a drive to go see it. ¬†We found the dam but the entrance was all gated up and we weren’t allowed to go out to it. ¬†A little further down the road we saw a sign for Joe’s Marina so we decided to go down there and see if we could see the lake from there. ¬†We got to the entrance and the gate was open, but there weren’t any people around. ¬†There was a parking lot, a picnic area, a playground and a restroom so it looked like a public place and nobody was around to tell us otherwise. ¬†We parked and Chris & Jesse decided to use the restroom. ¬†While they were in there this guy comes up and asks me what we’re doing there. ¬†I immediately felt so uncomfortable like we had just trespassed on someone’s private property, but there were no signs anywhere indicating that. ¬†I told him we just wanted to see what the lake looks like, and he told me we have to pay him $5 for using his restroom. ¬†Seriously?! ¬†$5 to pee? ¬†Okay, so when Chris came out he paid¬†the guy $5. ¬†Then he told us we could look at the lake for 5 minutes, but if we give him another $5 he’ll let us look for 20 minutes. ¬†Definitely not the Texas hospitality that we had gotten used to! ¬†We decided to just hurry up and take a couple of pictures of the lake and get out of there. ¬†Below are some of the pictures we took. ¬†I guess we’ll always remember the story behind how these pictures cost us $5! ¬†ūüôā

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Strange Man was no where in sight when we got back to the truck. ¬†I still felt really uncomfortable though. ¬†When we first got there he was nowhere in sight and then shows up right¬†after Chris went into the bathroom. ¬†Then when we were leaving he was nowhere in sight again. ¬†Just felt kind of creepy to me! ¬†I looked up the website of that place and it sounds like it was a campground and RV park at one time, and some website testimonials mentioned how welcoming and hospitable they were. ¬†Not anymore! ¬†We won’t be back.

Anyway, in spite of the lack of water in the lake, this place is so beautiful.  The view from our campsite was amazing, and we had the perfect view of some spectacular sunsets.

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And the best part of this park was all the deer! ¬†So many deer — one day Chris¬†counted 22 at our site, and on the day we were leaving he counted 33! ¬†And they were so tame and friendly and would eat right out of our hands. ¬†Chris got lots of deer feed corn throughout the week for these new pets of ours. ¬†I think he’s going to miss them!

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Jesse wanted to make sure I included the story about how he tricked a deer into petting it. ¬†They didn’t start coming up to us and letting us feed and pet them until we had been there a few days. ¬†The first day, Jesse put some deer food in a pail and waited until the deer had its head buried in the pail eating, and then he snuck up on the deer and pet its neck. ¬†The deer quickly ran away from him, but he thought it was funny how he tricked it so he could at least pet it for a second. ¬†He was pretty happy once the deer got used to us and started letting him pet them without having to trick them.

We really enjoyed our time in Medina Lake. ¬†I think it’s so beautiful even without the lake, I can only imagine what it must have been like when they still had water.

Categories: Texas | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Texas Hill Country Part 1

I have to write about the Texas Hill Country in 2 blog posts because there is just too much to write about. ¬†This section of Texas is so beautiful! ¬†Since we started traveling this has been the first part of the country that I could actually see myself living in. ¬†The only problem is there is no ocean and I really can’t see myself living in an area that is not near the ocean. ¬†And at this point I can’t see myself living anywhere except in my house on wheels because there is just so much more to see of this country, not to mention¬†I think I have a serious case of wanderlust. ¬†It helps that my husband and kids feel the same way. ¬†Jesse (who did not want to do this) said just yesterday, “I want to live in an RV and travel for 400 years!” ¬†Okay Jesse, let’s hope you live long enough to do that. ūüôā

Anyway, when we first drove into this part of Texas, the kids were asking “are those mountains??” ¬†Being from Florida, we’re not used to anything higher than a bridge. ¬†I told them that I think they are considered hills not mountains since they call this the “Hill Country”, but they sure look like mountains to us and they sure are beautiful!

So our adventure in Hill Country began in Canyon Lake at Jellystone Park. ¬†We love to visit Jellystone Parks whenever we can, and this one was just as much fun as the others we’ve been to.

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Splash pad:

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Jumping pillow:

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Indoor pool that we went to every night.  We had the pool all to ourselves for the whole week until the weekend crowd came on Friday.

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Judy and Kylie came for a visit on the weekend. ¬†We have really enjoyed spending just about every weekend this month with them, but unfortunately we are getting a little too far for them to continue coming to see us on the weekends. ¬†It was such a blessing to have this time with them and we can’t wait to see them again.

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Fun laser tag activity:

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Speaking of catching up with old friends while we’re traveling, Chris got to spend some time with his old high school friend Pat that he hasn’t seen in about 20-something years.

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Staying at this Jellystone Park for the week was interesting in that we were just about the only ones there for the whole week until Friday. ¬†Suddenly the whole park filled up with so many people for the weekend! ¬†On Friday we watched a steady stream of campers pulling in and setting up. ¬†A camper pulls into the spot right next to us and the strange thing about how these sites are arranged is that they had them pull in the opposite direction as we did which means we share a common area. ¬†You can see what I mean in the picture below — we’re in the tan camper on the left and our neighbors are on the right. ¬†Well, initially this seemed like it could be a very awkward situation having to share our outdoor area that we had all to ourselves for the whole week. ¬†But it ended up being such a blessing in disguise. ¬†We could not have asked for a better family to pull in next to us! ¬†We had so much fun with them and their kids and now we have to make sure we get back to this part of the country again so we can see them again someday. ¬†It really amazes me how quickly we connect with people over a campfire. ¬†We never used to connect with people so easily and quickly before. ¬†By the time Sunday rolled around we were so sad to be saying goodbye to people that we didn’t even know on Friday!

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Jesse seemed to really enjoy playing with their little girl.  She was such a cutie!

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Just five minutes away from the campground was Canyon Lake and I don’t think I have ever seen a more beautiful lake. ¬†The water was such a pretty blue-green color just like the Gulf Coast water we saw in Destin. ¬†But the mountains hills surrounding it with all the greenery and flowers were just so incredibly beautiful.

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We were not far from San Antonio so we took a day trip to visit there. ¬†The River Walk has always been on my “bucket list” of things to see. ¬†We walked over 5 miles on it!

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A little section of the river walk has this really cool cave you walk through that looks like there is a monster inside:

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The kids were trying to get out quickly before getting eaten alive by the monster:

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We went to visit The Alamo while in San Antonio which was really cool to see since I have heard about it before but never really knew what it was. ¬†After we left¬†I couldn’t get that song about Davy Crockett out of my head. ¬†This is a picture of the outside, we weren’t allowed to take any pictures of the inside. ¬†I’m not sure why, I guess they want you to come and see it for yourselves.

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And we ended our tour around the River Walk at Rita’s Tex Mex restaurant on the river. ¬†Yummy!

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Stay tuned for Hill Country Part 2!

Categories: Texas | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Flying L Guest Ranch in Bandera, TX

We are currently parked near¬†Bandera, TX, also known as the Cowboy Capital of the World. ¬†We visited the Flying L Guest Ranch for the day which was loads of fun. ¬†This is a ranch that has beautiful accomodations for guests to stay overnight, but no RV sites unfortunately. ¬†For any of our RV’ing friends, if you’re ever in the area we would highly recommend visiting for the day. ¬†They have a variety of activities to do like golf, horse-back riding, mini golf, a playground and our favorite — a water park. ¬†We spent most of the day at the Lone Star Lagoon water park which had a few small water slides and a splash park:

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a wave pool and lazy river:

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and this tree walking thing:

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After the water park closed we enjoyed some putt putt:

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Later we studied these pictures of wanted criminals just in case we happen to spot these outlaws and can earn a reward:

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And we met a real live cowboy. I asked him if they have ever considered adding RV sites to the ranch, and he seemed to think it might be a good idea to do that at some point.

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The really nice cowboy invited us to come back that evening for s’mores around the campfire and to hear some cowboys singing, but as you can see in the next picture we were all pretty wiped out after that fun and sun filled day and didn’t make it back that evening.

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For anyone planning to visit for the day, they offer half-priced Mondays and $10 Tuesdays.  Children under 3 are free.  They also have a bar and grill at the water park, but you are not allowed to bring in your own food and drinks.

We had a great time at this place and would definitely go back next time we’re in the area. ¬†Everything was very clean and well-maintained, and the staff was very friendly and helpful. ¬†I really hope that someday they’ll have RV sites and we can stay right on property.

Categories: Texas | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Traveling around Texas

We are spending several weeks in Texas, and so far we are having a great time! ¬†Our first stop was Thousand Trails Lake Conroe which is north of Houston. ¬†My very dear friend Judy who I knew when I lived in Charlotte, NC now lives in The Woodlands, TX which is just about 20 minutes from the campground. ¬†We got to spent a lot of time with her and her little girl Kylie. ¬†Jake and Jesse used to love when Judy and Kylie would visit us in Florida, but since they moved to Texas 3 years ago we haven’t seen them. ¬†So it was really fun to get to spend some time catching up with them. ¬†They stayed with us for Easter weekend in Lake Conroe. ¬†The campground had visits with the Easter Bunny and an Easter egg hunt on Saturday that was really fun for the kids:

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The campground also had a really nice pool, playground and mini golf area:

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Judy and me… it’s funny how years can go by without us seeing each other, but once we get together it’s like no time has passed:

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We also got to visit with my uncle John and his wife Patty while we were in Lake Conroe. ¬†I usually only see them at weddings and funerals so this was a very nice treat! ¬†ūüôā

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Next we moved onto Thousand Trails Colorado River in Columbus, TX. ¬†Our campsite backed right up to the river which at the beginning of the week was mostly dry. ¬†I wasn’t all that impressed until we got some rain and suddenly it’s a real river again!

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One thing we loved about this site is all of the deer! ¬†There are so many of them and it was an everyday occurrence to see several of them eating in our yard. ¬†It might have something to do with all the deer feed corn that Chris and the boys scattered all over. ūüôā

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The kids also enjoyed the playground here:

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A few weeks ago when we were in Mississippi, I mentioned how nice it was to meet the Newschool Nomads; well once we pulled into this campground I was so excited to see the rig of another Fulltime Family that I had been following since last year on their blog. ¬†The Ticknor Tribe¬†is a family that travels with 8 kids, but before some of them grew up they traveled with all 12 of them I think. ¬†Anyway, since I started following their blog last year I have been amazed at the things they do. ¬†One thing they do that I think is so awesome is they work with Samaritan’s Purse to help with re-building efforts after hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters. ¬†I’ve always thought it was so neat that by traveling they had the flexibility to go where they were needed when they were needed. ¬†If we are still traveling when our boys are old enough, I would really like to get involved with something like that. ¬†I had the privilege of talking to Dana Ticknor at the pool one day; I’m very thankful that they happened to be here at the same time as us so I could meet her.

In case you’re wondering why we stay at so many Thousand Trails campgrounds, it’s because we bought a zone pass at the beginning of the year to save on camping fees. ¬†Thousand Trails (TT) is a camping membership where we buy a pass that is good for one year and we can go to any of the TT parks in the zone we purchased and stay the first 30 nights free, and each night after that is only $3. ¬†Utilities are included too! ¬†This makes camping really cheap. ¬†I was able to buy one zone and got two free, so we can go to any TT park in the Southeast, Southwest and Northwest zones. ¬†I chose those zones because those are the locations we plan to visit within the next 2 years. ¬†We don’t always stay at TT parks, but when there is one in the area where we are traveling we try to stay there to cut down on camping fees.

One thing that I am really enjoying about this lifestyle is the constant change of scenery. ¬†It is really neat to go from one area/campground that has lots of activities and things to do to another that is more secluded and closer to nature. ¬†TT Lake Conroe is¬†a very big park with lots of amenities and fun things to do, while TT Colorado River is really out in the sticks with lots of wildlife and pecan trees. ¬†I enjoyed our stay at each of them. ¬†It’s fun to have all those activities to do, but sometimes it’s nice to just have some down time and enjoy nature.

The sale of our house was finally closed this week! ¬†It seemed to take a really long time for that to happen. ¬†I don’t know if all mortgage lenders are the same but from my experience they just can’t seem to get their jobs done on time. ¬†When Chris & I bought that house 12 years ago, Chris had to literally go sit in the lender’s office the day before our scheduled closing to make sure she got her job done. ¬†We still almost didn’t close on time; it had to be pushed back by a few hours. ¬†Well it happened again with the sale of our house. ¬†The buyer’s lender couldn’t make the closing date either, which was only made more complicated by both us and the buyers closing from out-of-town. ¬†I guess there’s a lot to be said for buying a house with cash and bypassing the lender altogether! ¬†Anyway, after a few delays and mishaps (like our closing package not arriving via FedEx until after we moved onto the next campground!), it finally closed and I could not be more relieved. ¬†It’s an odd feeling knowing that our house is now sold. ¬†I wasn’t as sad as I was when we left our house for the last time which I¬†wrote about in an earlier blog post. ¬†I guess now that we’ve moved on it didn’t feel so emotional, but it was still a weird feeling to know that we don’t own that house anymore. ¬†We can’t go back there now even if we wanted to. ¬†Since we started traveling and still owned the house, I always knew that if we changed our mind about doing this, we still had a house to go back to. ¬†Not anymore. ¬†The good thing is we’ve had enough time to adjust to this new lifestyle and we have no regrets. ¬†I certainly won’t miss the mortgage payment!

So it’s onward and westward for us, there is so much more to see and do in Texas!

Categories: Texas | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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