I know I promised to post information about some of the online resources I’ve been using to plan my trip, but after posting yesterday’s blog, a good portion of my November – February plans went totally to hell. Not a problem, though – I was able to find some alternatives that will work out fine. Here’s the latest …
October 15, 2015 – October 29, 2015
Lake Corpus Christi State Park
I booked the reservation yesterday morning. It looks like a pretty nice place and the campsites each offer a bar-b-que, picnic table and fire ring (although they monitor fires pretty closely). The only issue I can tell is that the lake looks pretty low in the photos they’ve posted online – one of them shows a few kids fishing on the lakeshore with a dock / pier about 20 feet behind them. And about 10 feet above them as well! I remember when I lived in Silicon Valley and my commute took me right by Lexington Reservoir. Back during the drought we had in the early 90’s, the reservoir completely dried up! I hope South Texas gets some rain this next summer so that it’s not any lower by the time I arrive.
As I said yesterday, my site has water and electricity and the weekly rate is only $96! There’s an additional daily “use” fee of $5 … most states waive that, but not Texas. The good news is that I can buy an annual pass that will allow me to bypass the use fee. Granted, the pass costs as much as I’d pay in fees for the two weeks I’m here, but it’ll save me down the road – I have plans to visit at least 2 more state parks on this leg of my journey (and possibly one more within the year) and that’s where I’ll get a payback!
October 29, 2015 – November 2, 2015
South Padre Island, TX
Because of the way things worked out, I’m going to arrive in south Texas a little sooner than I had planned. I had a few extra days after leaving Lake Corpus Christi that needed filling, so I decided I’d find a cheap hotel right on the Gulf of Mexico … and Motel 6 in South Padre Island obliged. I figured that I’d not have another chance to sleep in a real bed for at least 4 months and thought I’d make the best of it! Got the deal through AARP (one of the best investments I’ve ever made was an AARP membership)! The daily rate worked out to a little under $45 and it included a fridge and microwave! It’s right across the street from the beach, so the odds are pretty good that Frank and I will be spending most of our time out there! It’ll be my first chance to try out a surf rod in a long while!
November 2, 2015 – December 16, 2015
Oleander Acres RV Park and Camp
I firmed up my reservation yesterday and put down a deposit. We’ll be arriving on the same day the butterfly festival starts … evidently Mission is a stopping ground for butterflies on their annual migration to warmer climes. I probably won’t be going though, as Frank’s told me it would hurt his reputation with the “bitches” if he’s seen going to a butterfly festival! We’ll probably take a few day trips around the area over the month and a half we’ll be here, and I think the four night stay on Padre Island will allow us to sightsee elsewhere. After all, once I leave here, I’ll be spending a lot of time right on the beach in a few months.
The only wrinkle here was that I discovered electricity isn’t included. Sure, I have a hookup … I’ll just have to pay $.18 per kilowatt of usage. I figure that will add about another $30-$40 a month on my tab.
December 16, 2015 – December 30, 2015 and
January 13,2016 – January 27,2016
I.B. Magee County Park
Port Aransas, TX
So this is where my plans went totally to hell. I had planned on staying here for a month straight, but when I called to make reservations, I was told that while RV campers were allowed to stay for a month at a time during the winter, tent campers weren’t. Talk about discrimination! :o)
Then a brainstorm (at least, so I thought)! I was going to stay a month here and then drive down the beach and stay in another county park for the following two weeks. I asked, “so would I be able to book two weeks, go to the other park for a couple of weeks, and then come back HERE for two weeks again?” I was told
that would be fine, so I made the reservations that way. That daily rate is $20, with water and electricity included. The sites are separated from the beach by some large, well-placed sand dunes … aside from that, I’m about 70 yards from the water’s edge. As at South Padre Island, I have more than a sneaking suspicion that Frank and I will be spending most of our time here.
December 30 – January 13th
Goose Island State Park (tentative)
No, this isn’t the other county park. After hanging up from speaking with I.B. Magee’s staff, I called Padre Belli to make my “sandwich” reservation. They couldn’t book it – the campsite area is presently closed for renovations. And they’re experiencing the typical county vs. state bureaucratic nonsense that was obviously affecting the park’s staff. I asked the ranger what she thought my chances were, to which she replied, “Honey, I have a better chance of guessing Jesus Christ’s second coming than I do figuring out when we’re gonna get out of this mess!” Martha, tell me how you really think.
Given that my confidence was shot, I figured I’d best find another spot. And do it quickly. Fortunately, luck was on my side, and in more ways than one. Just take a look at the campsite photo – these grounds are much nicer than what was being offered at Padre Belli. I guess that explains the renovation! Goose Island State Park is only 20 miles away and I’ll be able to reserve a bay-front campsite for $22 / night (while avoiding the day use fee because of the pass I bought the prior month at Lake Corpus Christi).
I couldn’t reserve it yesterday – their system only allows them to reserve one year in advance, so I have to wait until January 31st to book it. I was told not to worry though. People don’t start reserving these sites until later in the spring.
Frank wasn’t too happy when I told him that there were a few gators in the park and immediately let me know that he’d be cool with following the “dogs must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet” rule to the letter!
January 27, 2016 – February 27, 2015
Lake Texana, Brackenridge Recreation Complex (tentative)
My next call was to the Lighthouse RV Park and Campground. The guy I spoke with said he couldn’t reserve that far in advance. When I told him that I had spoken to a women a week earlier and she didn’t have a problem with it, he replied, “Well, she don’t know shit!” and hung up the phone!!! I don’t know if “she” was his wife (and had made him sleep on the couch the night before for being an ass) or what. Regardless, I knew from his tone that this was an example of protection from above. There’s no way I would have been happy staying at this place if this was one of the guys running it!
So another scramble. I decided to go inland a bit in order to up my chances of finding a good place, which was a great idea because I found this gem of a park! This is a beautiful campground … I’ve just exchanged being on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico for the shore of Lake Texana!
Again, this site is marked “tentative” because they must use the same reservation system as Goose Island. I have to wait until next week to make my reservation, but the pleasant woman I spoke with said I wouldn’t have any problem getting a site even though I’m waiting a week.
There’s lots of fishing here, from the shore and from the pier. Frank and I will have a site with water and electric, but Frank has opted for us to stay off the water – he overheard me acknowledge the fact that there are a few gators in the cove area of the lake. Frank didn’t want to stop here at all, but I passed along the fact that gators are never seen in the lake itself … only in the cove … and I assured him that I’d keep a careful eye out for him. (I didn’t want to let on that I’m probably as fond of gators as HE is … don’t want to shake his confidence in my “protection” abilities!)
The monthly rate here is $275, plus the cost of electricity which is billed at a nickel less than Oleander Acres.
So there we have it. Except for the overnight stays on the road, and the two reservations I’ll firm up in the next week, it looks like I’m all set for camping through February 2016.
This has come together well. I’m starting to feel mildly optimistic about this journey, which scares me. Whenever I get the least bit optimistic, fate seems to play a little game with me. I’m going to try real hard to let go of my worries, though. Overall, I feel pretty good about the lifestyle decision I’ve made. I have four more months of logistical and mental preparation … hopefully the work that still needs to be done will keep my mind occupied enough where I don’t fall into another period of blackness. This last one seems to be lifting.
Tomorrow, I’ll keep the promise I didn’t keep today and list some of the online resources I’ve been using to plan my trip.
Oh yeah, one more thing … I signed up for a one-day fly fishing class in early March. I think I mentioned before that I’ve always wanted to learn this technique. It seems very “zen” and I’m hoping it helps me achieve a bit more peace. I know a 6-hour course is going to be nothing more than a start – I’ll have to practice quite a bit after the class ends. But there are worse ways to spend your time, right?