Texas State parks have a different atmosphere than Corps of Engineers parks.
The first difference I notice are rules and procedures. Lots of them. Signs everywhere. The gate lady is a young woman named Annette. She wants to know the license plate numbers for both the PTV and the Casita. She says a back-in site is $15 with water and electric. And if you want a pull-through, that’s $5 more. However, if you want a view of the lake from your campsite, you can’t have electric. It’s an either-or situation. Oh.
“How long are you staying?”
I try to give Annette eye contact. However, there’s a large poster right behind her head that rivets my gaze. It shows a large snake on a step with the words: WARNING! WATCH YOUR STEP!
“Have a lot of snakes around here?” I ask dumbly.
“It depends on what you mean by a lot,” she replies. Um, a lot is like . . . one. One is a lot.
“This IS west Texas,” she adds, politely refraining from a sarcastic tone.
“One night will be enough,” I answer, immediately wishing I hadn’t added will be enough. I didn’t mean to sound rude.
The bill comes close to $20 for one night. $4 day use fee plus tax added to the $15 electric and water back-in site with no lake view. No charge for snakes.
Annette suggests site #36 because it has a tree. Not a good sign. I wonder if it’s the only site with a tree. A tree being defined as something with leaves on it that throws shade big enough to stand in. A tree as in the opposite of mesquite, of which there are many, none big enough to be worthwhile to any human what with the brutal sunshine.
Watching my step, I return to the PTV where the crew is yelping.
I drive up to site #36 and, lo and behold, a pick-up is parked under the lone, normal tree. No one responds to my shout, “Helloooo! You wanna come move your truck? Pleeeeze, anyone?” It’s getting hotter every second. I phone Annette and she says she’ll send someone out right away.
A few minutes later, up drives an Official State Park Pick-up. A slim guy in a tan uniform steps out. I can’t help but notice how tidy he is. Uniform is pressed, buttons and badges are shining, hair is perfectly combed. Fresh as a daisy in this heat!
He goes into the scrub to follow a path down to the lake. A path, by the way, I will never enter, not on your life, not in a million years will I walk that path. Miraculously Mr. Neat Park Guy returns alive, still looking as if he just stepped out of his dressing room. He gives me a crestfallen look.
“Gee, you’re the only camper in the park and you can’t get the site you want.”
He examines the sticker on the truck. “They’re day use people. They could be anywhere.”
I tell him not to bother any more about it. I’ll find another back-in site.
He apologizes and drives away.
Apparently he made an official call, because he loops around, lowers his window, and smilingly says, “Go up to site#49. It’s a pull-through but we won’t charge you extra.”
And, he proudly adds, “It’s the second favorite site.”
Two things cross my mind: 1) How do these State Park People stay so fresh and neat? Annette was all spit-and polish, too. The COE people look fine, but they look like they could have been watching television on the couch. 2) Of the 150 or so sites, how could there possibly be TWO favorite sites? Let me elaborate on item 2.
First of all, the tree situation.
The vegetation consists of mesquite or some big honking cacti with treacherous-looking thorns an inch long. Spike attempts to lift his leg on one, but I yank him away in the nick of time. Ooh, nick . . . wrong word.
Also when one walks across the bare, dried up, rock-hard ground, one notices a three-inch diameter hole about every ten feet in every direction. Said holes are obviously made by some form of wildlife. Spike attempts to sniff one and then backs up never to sniff another. This is not good. And it’s 115 in the shade if there were shade.
Oh yeah, lest we forget . . . snakes.
Spike looks at me: “Where the h— are we?”
Bridget: “Can we go inside now?”
The Casita is delightfully cool. Trees or lack of them don’t matter any more because we surely aren’t leaving this trailer, not unless absolutely necessary. Tomorrow morning it’s goodbye Colorado City State Park. You may be beautiful in spring, fall, and winter.
However, in summer you’re only good for a one-night stand.
Tsk, Tsk, Tsk, snakes are not a real big problem, they usually stay to them selves it is when they need food or warmth that they come close to humans. That being said caution and a clear view of the area are a good thing-I don’t like snakes either. The holes could be a variety of little animals most likely ground squirrels. Don’t worry about the dog’s and cactus they learn real quick what to pee on 🙂
You sure do know how to make me laugh. :))
Oh, I bet you laugh easily . . .
I’m with you…would not want to stay where you are long…sounds like the COEs are the way to go! Enjoyed catching up with your other posts yesterday that you had been unable to send. Sounds like you are doing a great job of riding your learning curve!!! Stay safe, you and your crew, and I look forward to more posts!
One more thing…I’ve notice in some of your photos of your Casita and PTV that there seems to be a lot of weight in the back of the PTV and/or tongue weight. This concerns me because if I am EVER able to get a Casita…I will start out towing it with a Ford Escape with max tongue weight of 350lbs. I’ve considered getting an equalizer hitch regardless to spread the weight between my TV and trailer…any thoughts? I would imagine, even with the apparent extra weight on your tongue, your PTV can handle…just kinda thinking out loud….Happy Trails!
I’m not sure what you’re seeing, Patti. The PTV and Casita are staying level when on level ground.
I’m trying to keep the weight forward on the PTV. When Victor put on the hitch extension and ball he did not think a WDH was needed. It is something to keep track of.
I haven’t put the PTV to a big hill test yet. On rolling, small hills, she pulls as if the Casita is a Radio Flyer.
Here’s hoping that you cross that state line soon and reach an altitude compatible with human/doggie life.
Still laughing at the Bridget please-don’t-make-me-do-anything-I-don’t want-to-do expression. What a wiener she must be!
Probably not the best place for a long term stay but you gotta agree the folks are friendly. Glad they let you use the pull through without additional cost. Hopefully you’ll be somewhere MUCH cooler after a long drive today. The good news is that you won’t have any traffic jams to worry about crossing west Texas or New Mexico and for most of the way you won’t have to worry about what’s over the next hill – cause there won’t BE any hills.
Don’t let this one park turn you off to all Texas state parks! Have no idea which way you are headed, but we stayed at Palo Duro Canyon SP near Amarillo and really liked it. Also, if you haven’t discovered them yet, Fred and Suzi Dow have a website, http://www.forestcamping.com/ that is great for information about National Forest Service campgrounds. We like NFS because dogs are allowed off leash on their trails :). Also, usually their rates are good.
Hope you get out of the heat soon.
I joined the Casita ranks back in June. 16 SD
One website I found for campsites is
Also a nice find are the Neb. State Parks. Down side is entry fee of $4 but camp is $18.Just elect. If you go north Chadron SP is a dream. Pool, hiking, trails, and it’s manicured! Really…, iris planted around the campsite # posts.
Sorry I missed your invite Sue. I wound up coming down with the flu the day after I posted that and have been recovering ever since. Not to worry because the gathering we’re planning should take places on the 2nd weekend of Oct (5th-10th roughly) at the City of Rocks, NM. I’ll confirm the date in a few days.
Hi Sue, contrary to all the good things Rick Perry says he has done for Texas. State parks did not get their share. Although they a very popular with residents. We deliver for Camping World in North Texas…hottest summer on record and the parks around lakes are always packed. We kind of prefer city and county parks. Better prices, Better amenities. Someone may have told you but, always wear flip flops or something in a public or private park shower. We both got atheletesfoot early on in our full-timing. Really enjoy your blog. You are a very clever. Also, understand why you like replies. Contrary to what some think. RVers tend to enjoy their time alone. Hope you enjoy the cool in Cloudcroft. Cindy
I am totally enjoying the escapades and adventures you and the crew are having. I look forward to your posts and thoroughly enjoy the sense of humor you have, especially when dealing with some of the curves thrown your way. Snakes, ants and cacti . . . oh my!
and the picture of Bridget under the covers is priceless.
Okay, am home. Starting to wax the trailer for winter, make some rainproof shades for Eggie, thinking (I said thinking) of tackling the installment of a new AC (which is in the closet for my 16 footer) and planning on what to take to the rally am going to right after Labor Day. And here you are gal, just out there boogieing down the road and learning so much.
Hi Sue and Crew! I came across your wonderful blog last night while looking at some posts on fiberglassrv.com. My husband and I live in Minnesota and are new fiberglass RV owners ourselves. We purchased a new 16ft Scamp in April from Scamp in Backus, MN. I’ve been catching up on your past entries today. I marvel at all you have accomplished to bring you to this point in your adventure. Your style of writing is thoroughly delightful, and I look forward to following you and the crew on your journey. Wishing the three of you God’s blessings and safe travels!
“one notices a three-inch diameter hole about every ten feet in every direction. Said holes are obviously made by some form of wildlife.” I just realized that the holes are probably the openings of prairie dog burrows. If yes, they are interconnected underground and won’t hurt either you or the crew – unless you step in one and twist an ankle. By now you’re probably sleeping in New Mexico with the window open and under a quilt in blissfully cool weather.