San Angelo State Park

26 04 2017

San Angelo State Park

Good Morning from San Angelo.  Located nearly in the center of the triangle formed by I-10, I-20 and I-35, we’re almost equal distant from DFW, Austin and the split of I-10/I-20 in west Texas.  The State Park is west of town on O.C. Fisher Lake.  We’re parked in Site #19 of the Red Arroyo camping area.

Initially backing into site #15, we managed to find a spike embedded in the low wooden wall around the front of the campsite causing a 2” gash and instant flat tire in one of the trailer tires.  With one flat, and another tire somewhat damaged, we opted to make an appointment at the local Discount Tire Shop.  Thanks to the guys at Discount Tire, with nearly pit-stop like finesse, they had us out with 4 new tires in 36 minutes!  And, about $600 later, we’re now sporting 4 brand new Goodyear Endurance, the newest US made trailer tires available.

Cold fronts through the plains of west Texas are noticeable events.  When the strong breeze (we’d call it wind in Colorado) changed from southerly to northerly at about 2AM, it’s a trailer rocking, dust blowing, tree swaying event.  With continued high winds after our tire “detour”, we opt to spend a 2nd night at the state park.

As the front approaching Northern New Mexico and Colorado turns into winter storm warnings for regions north, and the wind continuing to howl at San Angelo State Park, we once again have extended our stay.  We’re hopeful we can continue our journey north on Sunday or Monday…

Buckhorn Lake RV Resort, Kerrville, TX

24 04 2017

Buckhorn Lake RV Resort

We’ve decided to skip San Antonio and continue to the Texas hill country. With the kick-off of Fiesta San Antonio on Thursday, the RV parks are full, the streets are packed and we’re ready for something a bit more quiet than the urban setting of Travelers World RV park south of town.

Instead, we’re parked at site 6028 at Buckhorn Lake RV Resort, just outside Kerrville at exit #501 of I-10. This is a spacious corner site, but nearly as close as you can get to I-10. In fact, we can see the East/West entrance ramp signs from here. This is a beautiful resort – well planned, plenty of space, nice wide concrete pads and patios, blacktop roadways and well positioned full hookups and spotlessly clean. Most of the main sites are organized in two loops of pull-throughs surrounded by back-in sites. There are also coach sites (pull in with hookups on the opposite site) along the small creek that runs through the property. Beyond is the “Adult-Only” area with 6 pull through sites, each with shared utility areas, surrounded by 14 mostly coach pull-in sites.

Across a bridge over the creek is “The Club”, a 60 site, very exclusive residential community for Class A Motorhomes. Sites without buildings are in the $70,000 range. Built-out with a casita, these sites are listed for up to $270,000.

As an added benefit, and completely unplanned, we’ve met up with good friends from Dallas.  Here at Buckhorn Lake for a weekend rally, we enjoy spending an evening with them and fellow-ralliers from all over Texas. Safe Travels M&C – it was great seeing you again!

Standard back-in sites run $39.60/night with Good Sam discounts. Water-View sites are $44.10 and Adult-Only sites run $48.60. Monthly rates get the nightly rate on a standard back-in site down to about $18/night plus metered electric. As nice as this resort it, the noise from I-10 is nearly always in the background. Arriving on Sunday there was a slight breeze from the north that effectively cut the traffic noise. But as the winds shifted from the south, the traffic was always noticeable. Even back in the Adult-Only area, furthest from the highway, you could hear the traffic, especially the drone of the 18 wheelers. For a Hill Country Resort, where you expect peace and quiet, Buckhorn Lake doesn’t measure up to other parks in the area.

Tomorrow we’ll pack and travel west about 50 miles on I-10 before turning north toward San Angelo. More from there…

Sunrise Beach, Lake Corpus Christi

23 04 2017

Sunrise Beach, Lake Corpus Christi – Site G11

We’ve enjoyed the State Park at Lake Corpus Christi on previous trips, but with the park full, we opt for the City Park instead.  The Corpus Christi Sunrise Beach campground occupies a peninsula of land just beyond the State Park and not far from the dam.  Arriving at our designated site of G11, we find that there’s not much in the way of clues of how you’re supposed to park.  And, looking around, it appears that it really doesn’t matter.  In these large sites, some campers have their trailers parallel to the shore and tents set up all around.  Others have backed into the site making it easiest to reach the electric and water connections.  A few motor coaches have driven forward into sites for optimal lake viewing.  Backing into our site, we find that side to side level is good, but the trailer is kneeling nearly all the way to the ground to make up for the slope to the lake.  But, with a couple trees and a cement slab and picnic table, this site will be great for an overnight.

Much of the “G” row sites occupy space along the swimming bay.  On this warm, humid Saturday afternoon there are lots of kids and adults trying to cool down in the water.  There’s constant entertainment of swimmers, kayakers and tubers until the late hours of the afternoon.  Walking around this 100+ site park, there are only a couple of areas where sites don’t appear to be haphazardly sprinkled among the trees.  There are trailers, 5th wheels, coaches, boats, tents and nearly everything in between scattered throughout the campground.  But, layout aside, this park offers large spaces, good lake views and a very quiet evening after the 10PM curfew.

Local Corpus Christi TV channels had information about the annual Port Aransas Texas SandFest which was held April 21-23 in 2017.  This looks very interesting and maybe worth investigating for next year’s departure trip.

Texas SandFest, Port Aransas, TX

Our planned stop in San Antonio has been eliminated and tomorrow we’ll head to the Texas Hill Country around Kerrville.  More from there….

Leaving the Rio Grande Valley

22 04 2017

South Padre Island Beach

We’re northbound from Harlingen!  After 3 days in Harlingen followed by 16 days on South Padre Island and 4 more days in Harlingen we’ve charted a route home through San Antonio and onward to San Angelo.  From there we’ll either travel up through the Texas panhandle or cut over into eastern New Mexico – dependent on weather conditions.

With weather forecasts pushing triple digits in the Rio Grande Valley, it’s time to head north to cooler and hopefully dryer conditions.  The Island weather was about 10 degrees cooler than those in mid-valley locations such as Harlingen, but the wind was nearly relentless.  And, unlike years past, we opted for the complete trailer and truck wash and wax on South Padre versus back in Harlingen.  Sierra Mobile RV Service based in Port Isabel did an excellent job.  Complete with roof wash, hand wax and window polishing we were very happy with the job they did for $140.00.  An additional $45 got the same treatment for the truck.  If it wouldn’t have been for a thunderstorm on Monday evening we would have started our return trip with a sparkling 5th wheel and tow vehicle.  Even with the rain, things look pretty good.

We’re headed for Sunrise Beach campground on Lake Corpus Christi, only about a 2.5 hour drive north of Harlingen.  More from there…

Final Days on South Padre Island and Happy Easter!

18 04 2017

The Painted Marlin, SPI

As expected, Semana Santa was busy on the Island.  During an unplanned grocery run on Saturday the causeway bridge is nearly bumper to bumper all the way across to Port Isabel.  Beyond, reports say that it was a 45 minute trip the last 10 miles or so into Port Isabel.  Definitely one of those weekends you are best on foot or a bike.  Fortunately neither route is required to reach the small island market The Blue Marlin.  We’re quickly in and out and back to calmness of Isla Blanca RV park.

Before our departure from the island, we enjoyed two new restaurants – The Painted Marlin and Parrot Eyes – both directly on the water overlooking the Laguna. We enjoyed a few cocktails and snacks at the Painted Marlin, but would definitely return for a full meal.  Seating is inside or outside over the water, with a small marina beyond.  The wait staff are friendly and efficient.  We’ll be back.  Our dinner at Parrot Eyes was just as good.  With outdoor seating, we enjoyed items from hamburgers to fried shrimp and oysters.  Another place we’ll revisit upon our return to South Padre.

As usual, it’s been a great time on South Padre.  Cameron County has big refurbishment plans for the RV park with new facilities to include an amphitheater, a sea side boardwalk and a swimming pool.  Nothing has started on this effort yet, but we’ll be anxious to see the progress next year.

Arriving back at Tropic Winds

Tropic Winds Site #242

After packing up on Tuesday morning we’ve made the short 40 mile trip back to Tropic Winds in Harlingen.  We’ll spend 4 nights here, resupplying the pantry and fridge.  We took advantage of Walmart’s online ordering from South Padre and will pick up the products at the local store in the next day or two.  This is a good option for travelers who know they will be in a Walmart town at some point in the near future.  With a 7 day grace period, travel schedules aren’t all that critical and the overall process is very efficient – you even get to skip the checkout lines!

Chillin’ on South Padre Island

13 04 2017

After arriving on South Padre last Sunday the 2nd, we’ve checked out all of our favorite places by the following weekend. The beer and burgers are still great at the Padre Island Brewing Company.  Palm Street Pier, with our favorite entertainers – Chuck and Earl – keep the place dancing on Friday and Sunday nights. Saturday morning finds us having delicious Bloody Mary’s and breakfast at the Palms Resort Cafe.  And yesterday we enjoyed dinner at Tom and Jerry’s.  We’ve picked out a few new places we want to check out before departing the island.

The Palm Street Pier Bar & Grill

Sunset from “the Pier”

Palm Sunday the 9th of April, marked the official start of Semana Santa, the most important Mexican holiday season after Christmas.  All week we’ve watched as additional visitors set-up RVs here at Isla Blanca Park.  No doubt the parking lots and beaches will be overflowing by Friday afternoon.  Once the Easter festivities have quieted, we’ll make our way back to Harlingen for a few days before starting the trip back north.

More from South Padre as Semana Santa gets rolling…

Casa Blanca SP, Larado

1 04 2017

Casa Blanca International State Park #119

We’re parked in site #119 at Casa Blanca International State Park.  This former city park is located within the city limits of Laredo and with a clear view of the control tower and jets parked at Laredo International Airport.  Originally assigned site #112, we arrive to find it occupied.  Moving to the pull-through #119, we’re not too picky about where we end up for this quick overnight stop.  The sites on the “M” loop also look promising.  Water and Electric sites are $18/night, limited availability Water, Electric and Sewer are $21/night (plus Texas State Parks entrance fee of $4/person)

The ongoing construction of Loop 20 or Bob Bullock Blvd is making access to Casa Blanca difficult at best.  Approaching from the North, the exit from I-35 is nearly a parking lot with big semi rigs detouring around the city on 69W.   From the loop, the left turn into the park can be a bit frustrating with northbound traffic.  Upon departure, lefts turns are not allowed forcing you to head north, then make a U-turn as soon as possible.  Hopefully the new construction will eliminate some of these frustrations.  Of course for northbound travelers, easy right turns into and out of the park make things much less frustrating.

Next stop Harlingen for a day or two to resupply and then out to South Padre Island.  More from SPI…

Casa Blanca International State Park #119