|Charlie and I crossed into Texas on the 8th of December…just over one week into our journey. This is important because we are going to become Texans with a new driver’s license and vehicle registrations. Several states were investigated however Texas had more plusses rather than minuses in their favor. Additionally, our mail forwarding service is located in Livingston, TX.
Anyone wishing to do this, beware. Lots of companies will tempt you with services they say are designed with the full timer in mind. Vehicle insurance is a great example. Before I left SC, I arranged insurance with State Farm. The RV insurance costs approximately $500 per year but it does not include personal items inside the unit. Checking with two of the major advertisers for dedicated RV insurance I found the coverages to be almost identical with the exception they could insure personal items up to $5,000. But they charge nearly $1400 annually for that service. In ten years that is $11,000 more than State Farm and over twice what they would insure! Somebody steals my camera and computer…I’m out $1500. I’ll stick with State Farm. Besides both have high deductibles….
The campground I’m currently in is rough. There seems to be no one here with plans for a journey. They are permanent residents with kids catching a school bus in the mornings near the office. Three groups of kids…a group of girls that live in or near a good sized house at the rear of the property and the daughter or daughters of the camp hosts who live in a travel trailer parked next to my coach. There are two boys who were seen going into a large travel trailer near the basketball court. The last two groups could almost be combined into one since they are often seen together.
Many of the trailers and/or coaches are in dire need of repair. Some have window air conditioners in one or more windows while another’s small yard is decorated with a couple of automobile small blocks. A kindly gentleman has collected five or six propane tanks he displays in front of his trailer. An old red pickup sits on his site. Its tailgate is open and rests at an angle. There are several piles of firewood stacked neatly against his trailer. He stokes a fire in the pit and has been doing so since I arrived yesterday afternoon. He just sits and stares at the flames as he drinks one beer after another.
The park is located adjacent to a major thoroughfare and the sound of traffic flying by is a constant. Nuts fall from trees startling Charlie and I when they slam into the roof of our coach. There is a bank of post office boxes on one side of the office along with a soda machine. I overhear the squawk of a radio and realize it’s a cell phone’s speaker. Here a young man in his mid-thirties and wearing a black warm-up suit with bright red stripes says into the phone, “I’m here in the motor lodge.” I chuckle loud enough for him to hear and he looks around to see but I am invisible to him inside my coach.
Tomorrow, I will be moving to a real motor lodge on Lake Livingston. My site has a nice view of the lake, cement pads vs. these gravel and leaf covered sites. The plan is to stay for one month while I re-organize research and register as a Texan. Its location is only 14 minutes from Livingston, TX where most of my business will be conducted. The park will charge me $325 plus electric. Where I am currently, it is nearly an hour’s drive to Livingston and as rough as it is, they would charge more if I wanted to stay on their property.
Fact is, I’d like to stay here. It’s colorful. It’s real. But it’s also real far from where I need to be and if I’m going to stay anywhere for a full month, I’d prefer a more secure site like the one in Onalaska.
Midnight approaches quickly and Charlie decides he wants to take a late night walk. As he is the boss, I comply and shuffle out the door with leash in hand. The highway runs silent at this hour and we don’t expect to see anyone. One of the park’s permanent residents, a tall and lanky blond teenager is pacing beside the office just outside the woman’s restroom. He looks dazed, his eyes glance at us but there is no connection and we amble by. There are shouts coming from inside the restroom.
Charlie snoops around the front of the office and finally makes a deposit and we return to the coach. As we enter, a female voice from within the restroom shouts, “One, two, three, four!” Then silence. Inside the safety of the coach, I peer through the window shades at the scene unfolding before me. A young girl storms out of the restroom while the boy follows. She turns and goes back inside. He tries to follow. The door slams in his face. Another girl, of the same age group exits and goes to the trailer next to my coach. A few minutes pass and a woman; the camp host, and the first girl’s mother enters the scene. All four go into the office.
Ten minutes have passed since the group entered the office and now they have come back into my stage view. The mother and daughter physically chase the boy away and return to their trailer. For the next few minutes I hear a man’s voice…sometimes softly, sometimes loud and scolding. I close my window and my shade.
Charlie is cured. It was like magic. I had purchased fairly expensive medicine from those kind folks on Johns Island explaining Charlie’s tendency to get an upset tummy while traveling in the coach. When I stopped giving him the meds, he got better….
It’s only been eleven days since I departed S.C. Seems longer. Weather has been bad most of the time like it has been all over the country. We haven’t been able to set up a nice campsite as of yet…been no reason to. It’s been too cold to sit outside. But so far, we haven’t contracted cabin fever. And on short stays we don’t extend the slides. Point is, not only is this coach livable, it is very comfortable. Charlie and I both love our cozy bedroom where we sleep better than we’ve been able to for a long while.
Friday morning we follow our GPS route to Onalaska, TX and The Northshore Campground. Check-in is a breeze and we are set up within the hour. The day is spent lazily in the warm Texas sun. Temperatures range in the low seventies and we have all the windows open.
Around six o’clock, Charlie and I visit the Laundromat. Walking him around that area he gets a great thrill smelling all the other visitors that have been there recently. Inside there are five washers and dryers all waiting for me. Next door within the same building a group of people in their late sixties to late seventies are enjoying a meal together in a community room. Driving back to the coach in the darkness, brightly colored Christmas lights in and around coaches and campers welcome and delight us.