The last you heard from us was in South Carolina. Well, if you’ve popped by our FB page in the last month or so, you know we made a 1,000-mile dash West to Texas at the first of the year with another family.
It was a spur-of-the-moment decision that took us through five states in as many days. Traveling with close friends helped the apprehension, and I’m glad to say that the trip was flawless. This was a huge test for, helping us gain the confidence in this RVing lifestyle. I mean, that’s what we started the journey for . . . to explore the country.
Why West to Texas
- It isn’t Florida. Yes, we understand that a large majority of full-time RVers migrates to FL when it starts to get cold out. But we’re different. We needed a change from FL, having lived there for 20+ years. Nothing against Florida, it was just time for us to reach a little further.
- We needed to push our boundaries. Nope, living in an RV full-time wasn’t enough. We needed to remove ourselves from the Southeast and really test our RV legs. Texas seemed as good a place as any to stretch away from our comfort zone.
- New scenery. I (Lou) have never been to TX. Tricia has flown in a couple times for business but never experienced the state either. This trip has given us a hint of what the West must be like . . . and we’re loving it.
- “Go West young man!” I know, heading west to Texas isn’t really considered the West, but it has staged us nicely for the next leg of our travels. We had grand dreams to go West as soon as we got the RV, but stuff got in the way. Now with everything sorted, we’re chomping at the bit to explore a new part of this grand country.
For the last few weeks, we’ve been embracing new locations around the state of Texas . . . this is the fifth park we’ve been to since New Year’s.
Fort Worth: Stockyards, Waco, & Mammoths
Let me start with the fact that the first week of January, Texas was enveloped in uncharacteristically cold weather. We had some lows in the teens and got a quick education on how to keep from freezing to death in an RV. Turns out, if you unhook the water connection and run the propane furnace, everything turns out just fine.
We were nestled in the cedars in a really cool campground about an hour south of the Fort Worth area. If not for the cold temps, we would have enjoyed exploring the campground a bit more.
We spent one day heading to the Stockyards. Got an education of longhorns, and it turns out they are really good meat producers. But . . . a couple times a day they do a cattle drive through a few blocks, and that was a sight.
Waco & Mammoths
We played tourist in Waco for an afternoon, taking in some sights and visiting the Magnolia. There is so much history and culture to be found in all these great towns, and it was definitely an afternoon to remember.
Did you know there were Mammoths in Texas? Really, it’s true. We popped into the Mammoth Historical Site and were quite amazed at the setup and tour. They have a preserved dig site where they unearthed Mammoths, Saber Cats, and a Camel (random right?). As part of Nevaeh’s on-the-road-education, she was sworn in as an official Mammoth Historical Site Junior Ranger.
I have to say, our favorite place in Texas (so far) has been nestled in the scenic Hill Country. I was shocked with the rugged and scrubby terrain, peppered with ranches containing exotic animals. We spent two solid weeks exploring and enjoying our time outside of San Antonio.
The park we were in had a slew of deer all over the place. Literally, it was like we were tripping over them at times. In the evening we would take walks down to the lake bringing corn and carrots along to feed the deer.
I have to say that one of the coolest experiences of living on the road has come from so many tours that are completely free. It just takes a little digging, but there are so many neat places that offer free tours.
We toured the Toyota factory and were astonished at how many trucks the plant tolls off the line each day. The automation of the machines combined with the skill of the workers was a sight to behold.
On another day, we toured the San Antonio Shoe (SAS) factory. Now we know why the cost so much, as each shoe is handmade be a slew of skilled workers.
The Hill Country of Texas has numerous state parks, and we spent a few days hiking in different ones. The most breathtaking has to be Enchanted Rock.
Just outside of Fredericksburg, is this huge granite dome that reaches over 1800’. It was completely surreal and an awesome day of hiking.
Next up on the list was a park about an hour north of Houston. We toured a local brewery, spent an evening waiting for bats to emerge (they didn’t), and explored an underground cistern.
It was eye-opening to see how the city has rebounded from the destruction of Harvey. There were signposts set up around the city that indicated where the waterline was, covering roads and bridges.
Probably the coolest thing we did while in the Houston area was visiting the Johnson Space Center. It was exciting to watch the amazement on Nevaeh’s face as she soaked in some of our country’s triumphs exploring the heavens. This was a full day, and we all left with a better appreciation of what we can achieve when we set our minds to it.
La Grange & Austin
We’re currently parked about 20 minutes south of a little town called La Grange. Being on the Colorado River we are again reminded of the strength of the hurricane that came through this summer. Some sites were completely washed away, and the rangers told me that our rig would have had a waterline to the tops of the windows.
We’ve taken in some sights and generally relaxed, preparing for our next big move. Austin is further up the road, and we plan to explore it a bit on Monday (Feb. 12th) before we begin our next trek.
Now that we’ve made it this far, we’re going to keep pushing West. We really traveled fast while heading west to Texta and it will take us a couple more days as we move on. Our next destination looks to be a state park outside of Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico.
I think this is the first time we’ve actually stated where we are going next. Not out of selfishness, but because we encountered so many challenges during our first few months of RVing.
We’re now as confident as can be with our next move. We are pushing onward into new states to be explored. It’s exciting and scary.
This is our journey, but we’re so glad to share it with you.