Welcome to the Cowboy Capital of the World

20 04 2018

Frederic Remington’s Bronco Buster statue

We’re parked alongside friends in sites #111 and #113 at the Pioneer RV Park, next to the Medina River as it flows through Bandera, TX.  We’ve often driven through Bandera, but have never actually stayed here.  But, we’re here for 3 nights on our way north so we’ll have an opportunity to check out the antique stores, honky-tonk bars and cafes.

Sites in the upper section (1-70) are pull through, back-to-back shared utility sites which means you end up sharing your “patio” and front door area with another RV.  These upper terrace sites are the only ones with cable TV, and there’s nearly nothing OTA here in Bandera. On the lower terrace all sites are back-in; sites 75-88 are very near the highway and bridge but have the most back-in maneuvering space.  Sites 89-118 provide river viewing to the front and sites 121-154 provide river viewing to the rear.  End site #121 would be very private and quiet with a great rear window view toward the river.  Sites 105, 107 and 109 have good late afternoon shade.  Any sites between 103 and 138 are furthest from the highway and probably most quiet.

Pioneer RV Park, Bandera, TX Site #113

Pioneer RV Park, Bandera, TX, Site #121

With temps pushing into the 80’s, we enjoyed the convenience of walking down to the cool shade along the river with our lawn chairs.  We also appreciated the short walk into town from the RV park.  The well advertised OST (Old Spanish Trail) restaurant is within 3 blocks and the antique stores are even closer!  Just around the corner at the intersection of highway 16 and Main Street is the visitors center, well worth a stop for maps, live music schedules and other great information.

While in Bandera we checked out two other RV parks, Riverside RV less than a mile east of Pioneer.  And, Skyline Ranch RV, about 1 mile west of town along highway 16.  Riverside is laid out much like Pioneer, right along the river, closer to highway 16 and with fewer trees.  Some of the Riverside sites have concrete pads – we didn’t see any sites at Pioneer with anything besides grass or gravel.  Skyline Ranch is about 140 sites sprawling through nicely wooded meadows.  Right next door is the Wildhorse Saloon bar and grill, a nice walk-able destination for those not wanting to drive (and park) in Bandera.  Overall Skyline reminds a lot of On The River Campground in Kerrville.  Both would be great destinations – the slightly rowdy honky-tonks of Bandera or the more laid back and bigger town of Kerrville.

Riverside RV, Bandera, TX

Skyline Ranch RV Park, Bandera, TX

Skyline Ranch RV Park, Bandera, TX

We’re here in Bandera for 3 nights, then off to Del Rio – more from there…

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Choke Canyon & SeaWind RV Resort

22 03 2018

Choke Canyon State Park

From Kerrville, the lower Rio Grande Valley is about 300 miles to the southeast and much too far (for us) to travel in a single day.  Plus, we need to circumnavigate San Antonio via a route that takes us through Bandera, Hondo, Devine and Jourdanton.  In hindsight, this was the wrong routing. Turning south at Jourdanton, both highway 16 and eastbound 72 are rough bumpy examples of what too much heavy truck traffic will do to a secondary roadway.  Next time we’ll detour over to I-37 somewhere south of San Antonio and on to Three Rivers via highway 281.

With cabinet contents slightly askew, we arrive at Choke Canyon State Park, on the shores of the first of several impounds that provide water for Corpus Christi.  In a strange twist of fate, we’re assigned site #133, the same site that we occupied 7 years ago during our last visit to the park.  The site provides water and 30/50A electric.  A dump station is near the park entrance.  OTA TV from San Antonio is good and the wildlife is abundant through out the campground.  We especially enjoyed watching the deer as they made their way down to the water and the wild turkeys as they strutted through the campsite.  While the campground offers WiFi near the entrance station, we didn’t try the booster to see if it would work – and instead used the very good 4G LTE T-Mobile service.

Choke Canyon Site #133, March, 2011

Choke Canyon State Park, Three Rivers, TX

Choke Canyon State Park, Three Rivers, TX

Choke Canyon State Park, Three Rivers, TX

Over the past years, we’re heard good reviews for an RV Resort at Riviera, TX – about 2 hours SE of Choke Canyon.  Instead of fighting the seemingly relentless south winds that are blowing out of the Valley, we opt for an overnight at the SeaWind RV Resort.  SeaWind RV is on the shores of Baffin Bay, a large bay south of Corpus Christi Bay.  Here sites are laid out along the water, in 4 spacious row and around Kaufer Lake.  Many of the sites are beautifully landscaped with shrubs, flowers, cactus and palm trees.  We select site #279, a back-in site along the bay.  The full hookup site provides electric, water, and a sewer port.  The Passport America rate here (for up to 7 days) is $20 – a great value!  OTA TV is good from Corpus Christi and the campgrounds WiFi works fine.  This park is somewhat out of the way, but offers some great privacy and quiet sites.

SeaWind RV Resort, Riviera, TX

From Riviera we’ll head to Harlingen, our home for a few nights before moving out to South Padre Island.  More from there…