I-10 across West Texas

15 03 2018

The Roadrunner of Ft. Stockton, TX

Traveling I-10 through west Texas can be an endurance test of winds, rough roadway and constant semi-truck traffic.  After a bit of a reprieve on the scenic Trans-Mountain highway that leads to the north around El Paso, we’re back on I-10 just east of town.  It’s been a number of years since we’ve traveled much of I-10, generally we divert south for Ft. Davis and/or the Big Bend area.  This year we’re headed nearly all the way to San Antonio – over 500 miles to the east.

With few options for overnight stops here in West Texas, our first night will be at Van Horn, a former KOA that works well for a quick overnight stay.  PARK REVIEW  Arriving around 1PM (after moving into the Central Time Zone) we watch as the nearly empty park fills with overnight rigs.  But, by 11AM the next morning, nearly every site is one again empty.

Our plan was to check out one of the city parks in Iraan, TX.  However a call this morning indicates that the no-reservation park is full – so change of plans, tonight we’re parked at another former KOA, the Ft. Stockton RV Park.  Just east of town, this is a fairly nice park and once again nearly full overnight and empty by 11AM.  On a bit smaller scale than the Las Cruces roadrunner, here in Ft. Stockton, “Paisano Pete” greets visitors and poses for pictures in a small park near downtown.

Ft. Stockton RV Park

Ft. Stockton RV Park

After quick overnights at Van Horn and Ft. Stockton, we’re bound for 5 nights near the Kerrville area in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.  More from there…


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…

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

Broke Mill RV Park, Del Rio

31 03 2017

Broke Mill RV, Site #10

We’ve just departed Del Rio after spending 3 nights at Broke Mill RV park.  A favorite of ours, this is a perfect place to land after several days off-the-grid in Big Bend.  The internet is some of the best we’ve found and the 50+ channels of cable TV will allow everyone to catch up on world events.   Plus the other facilities are top-notch where you can do laundry for $1.25/load, workout in the well-appointed gym or enjoy luxuriously long showers in the bath house.  But, with chilly nights, the very inviting pool is still a bit cool.

As we noted last year, the sites are lush grass, some nearly completely private with tall foliage.  We’re in an end site #10, which has an extended lawn area and nice shrubs all around.  The only downside to this park is the traffic noise from highway 90.  Fairly easy to drown out with A/C or a fan, it may unfortunately get worse as the loop road around Del Rio becomes more heavily trafficked.   Sites that might offer a bit of noise protection are #35 & #36.  But, for value, quality and location, you can’t beat Broke Mill.

We’re off to Laredo, to another favorite campground, Casa Blanca International State Park.  More from there…

Mile High Chili Cookoff, Davis Mountains State Park

23 04 2016
MacMillien RV Park, Ft. Davis, TX

MacMillen RV Park, Ft. Davis, TX

What, a mile high event that’s not in Denver?  We were surprised to read about this event when attempting to reserve a site at Davis Mountains State Park near Ft. Davis, TX.  Boasting  an elevation of between 5000 and 6000 feet, Davis Mountains SP indeed can host “mile high” competitions.  With 27 chili cooks, this CASI suctioned event judges chili, beans and salsa.  And, with complimentary park admission and a $4 donation to friends-of-the park, it’s a great afternoon out for everyone.  We enjoyed talking with the cooks, learned a bit about how a good cook could eventually be invited to the Terlingua International Chili Championship and of course tasting many of the chilis.

Mile High Chili Cookoff, Davis Mountains SP

Mile High Chili Cookoff, Davis Mountains SP

Mile High Chili Cookoff, Davis Mountains SP

Mile High Chili Cookoff, Davis Mountains SP

With all sites in Davis reserved for chili cooks, we opted to try MacMillen RV Park south of Ft. Davis.  We’re in site #25,  about the center of this 30 site park.  The sites are long, spacious and level – providing 50A power, water and sewer plus about 12 analog channels of cable TV.  Many of the central sites have a picnic table and a small tree in between you and your neighbor. Facilities have long deferred maintenance, the laundry room is down to a single washer and dryer – the shower rooms each have rattling fans and flaking paint.  A former patio area is now deep in weeds.  It’s unfortunate that these types of properties are let go – but maybe there’s enough profit at $30/night to keep visitors around long enough to break even.  Or, maybe there’s a complete lack of use of these type of facilities with fully contained RV’s, so it’s just not worth the investment.  Whatever the reason, this park is on par with the others in Ft. Davis and enjoys a quiet, peaceful setting on the outskirts of town.  We’re planning to attend a Star Party at McDonald Observatory tonight, then continue north toward Carlsbad, NM tomorrow.  More from there…

MacMillien RV Park, Ft. Davis, TX

MacMillen RV Park, Ft. Davis, TX

Hidden Valley RV Park, Del Rio, TX

22 04 2016
Hidden Valley RV Park

Hidden Valley RV Park – site #65

Consulting rvparkreviews.com (one of our most used travel websites) we find there are two RV parks in Del Rio with Excellent ratings, Broke Mill RV Park where we’ve stayed several times and Hidden Valley RV Park.  Hoping for a bit quieter setting than we had at Broke Mill about 30 days ago, we opt for Hidden Valley.  Located on the south side of Del Rio, initial impressions from blog posters is that this place may be difficult to find.  We’ve talked with the owner and have explicit directions to the park.  Arriving via highway 277 to what eventually becomes Margarita Ave, we exit just before the overpass at Ogden Street.  (if you miss this exit, just take the next left on Gibbs Street – then another left on Veterans Blvd to intersect E Garfield)

Hidden Valley RV Park

Hidden Valley RV Park

At the stop sign, we’re waived on by someone in a small blue car parked on the side of the road.  After making the left on Ogden, the same car is pulled over in front of us – it’s Janet Casey, owner of Hidden Valley.  She says she was just out running errands, but we suspect she was waiting to escort us into the park.  Directions from here are easy, continue west on Ogden, bear left on Gibson, turn left on Main Street then bear right on Bolner Lane.  The park is literally at the end of Bolner Lane.  Once south of Main St. our 13+ foot clearance requirement took a bit of tree limb avoidance swerving – Del Rio need to do some tree trimming!

Hidden Valley RV Park

Hidden Valley RV Park

The RV sites are set in what appears more like a city park or orchard than an RV Park.  We’re used to very limited vegetation and dry conditions in this part of Texas.  Hidden Valley is green, lush and shady.  In fact, after backing into very deep site #65, we find it almost too dark with shade – but comfortable in the 85+ degrees of muggy heat.  Facilities are limited here, a small wash room and social room is the only public area available.  If you are in need of bath house type facilities, you won’t find them here.  Sites include 50/30/20 amp new power pedestals, new high pressure water taps, a conveniently located dump port and about 100 channels of cable TV.

Our departure this morning took one around-the block maneuver to find the way out of town – we somehow managed to miss Pecan Street (parallel to Main Street which is one-way south).  Little did we know it’s actually signed as Hudson Dr.  To avoid the hassle, reverse your course along Bolner, jog slightly right at Nicholson, then immediately left on Pecan/Hudson.  Pecan will take you back to your right turn on Garfield.  From Garfield you can continue north via 297/Veterans Blvd or east via 90 (on Gibbs)

Over-all ratings of this park is very good.  Is it worth the extra city driving?  Maybe not for just a single night, but definitely for a multi-day stay.  From here we’re headed to Ft. Davis, TX.  More from there…