Tag Archives: I.B. Magee County Park

The Best Laid Plans …

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
Mathis, TX

Lake Corpus Christi campground

Lake Corpus Christi campsites look pretty comfortable, dont’ they?

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
Motel 6
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
Mission, TX

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

Port Aransas Beach

I don’t know if the beach will be this inviting in December … knock on wood!

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)
Rockport, TX

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.

Goose Island State Park

This looks like it’ll be a great camping spot!

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)
Edna, TX

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!

lake texana

Frank asked, “Do those deer know there are GATORS in that lake????”

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?

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Posted by on January 22, 2015 in 2015


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Itinerary – October 2015 to December 2015 (and Beyond)

Good news!. A couple of days ago, when I wrote about having trouble with planning the packing, my brother suggested that I look into Space Bags, another infomercial legend on late night TV. They’re the large bags you can put soft items in (i.e. clothes, pillows, blankets, etc.) and then suck all the air out using a vacuum cleaner. At that point, your stuff takes up a fraction of the space it might otherwise use. Great idea, except … how would I find a vacuum cleaner out on the road? I sure wasn’t planning on bringing one with me!

New and improved Space Bags

New and improved, no less! :o)

The people at Ziploc (the Space Bag creator) weren’t any help … they had no idea what I could use! All they said was that it was designed for a standard vacuum cleaner hose. The people at Coleman weren’t any help either. Neither answered the email inquiry I had sent in two days earlier, by the way – I had to call them.

Nevertheless, I found my answer after going back onto Amazon and doing a search for “mini vacuum cleaners”. I found the Shop-Vac Micro Wet/Dry Vac. It weighs only 6lbs and stands 11″ tall, with a 10″ diameter. And it has a standard-size vacuum hose. Even better, one of the reviews made mention of the fact that they had used this model on Space Bags with success! I might even be able to ditch the bucket I was planning on bringing and use the canister for dishwashing instead. I’ve ordered both the vacuum and some Space Bags and will test it out when they arrive.

I figure I can not only use the bags on the blankets and such, I might even be able to ditch one of the suitcases since I can pack down my shirts, sweaters and sweat pants as well! Andy, thanks for the suggestion … much appreciated!

Now, on to the remainder of my 2015 itinerary. I’m not yet going to post in the detail I’ve done the last couple of days since I need to firm up reservations, but here’s the plan so far:

October 2015

As mentioned yesterday, I extended my stay at the Circle Your Wagons campground in La Veta, Co for an extra two weeks, which meant I had to drop a visit to Taos, NM from my plans. The next campground, near Tucumcari, NM, doesn’t open up reservations for October camping until mid-April, either. Based on that, I’ve decided to scrap New Mexico from my 2015 plans.

Instead, I plan on spending two weeks at Lake Corpus Christi State Park. They have campsites with both electricity and water and are far enough south where I won’t have to worry about snow, the way I would have in New Mexico. Its a little over 900 miles from La Veta, so I’ll take three days to get there, with planned stops in Amarillo and San Angelo.

November 2015

South Padre Island

South Padre Island is only 90 minutes away!

From there, I’ll head due south to Mission, with plans to stay at Oleander Acres, an upscale RV Park and campgrounds. I spoke with them on the phone last week. A one month stay … with water and electric … will be only $250! I plan on staying there through mid-December. Frank liked this because they have some very nice dog parks in the area: I like it because we’ll be able to take some day trips over to South Padre Island and do some beachcombing. It’ll be a bit of a trek, but it won’t be as far as going to Atlantic City from where I was living in New Jersey!  That’s doable … and it’s worth it to spend a day near the water!

December 2015 – February 2016

In mid-December, I plan on heading 200 miles north along the Gulf to Port Aransas, TX. I.B. Magee County Park offers camping right off the beach. Their sites, with water and electric, are $20 / night and I plan on another month-long stay. This will be a perfect spot for more fishing and beachcombing. Hopefully the weather will hold up and we won’t have to deal with too much rain.

I’d have stayed there a little longer, except I’m already planning on the 1-month maximum stay. Instead, I’ll go a couple miles down the beach to another county park, Padre Belli for a two-week stay. They offer the same $20/night rate for water and electric campsites. Both are located on the north part of Padre Island. These two stays will take me to the end of January.

I plan on travelling further up the coast from there, to the Matagorda area. Lighthouse RV Park in Bay City is located about 10 miles from the Gulf. I plan on a month-long stay at their quoted rate of only $300.

Lighthouse RV Park

LIghthouse RV Park in Bay City, TX (not sure why it’s called “Lighthouse” when they’re 10 miles from the Gulf …)

Beyond February 2016

That takes me to the end of February 2016. From there? Who knows. At this point, I’ve put about 8,000 miles on my car … not bad, but I would like to cut it down a bit. This means a bit more focus in my locales. My initial thought for 2016 is to head back up to Dallas in order to see friends again). From there, go across the Tennessee Valley to the East Coast, head north again (with a stop in New Jersey to see some more friends) to spend the summer in New England and upstate New York. As summer ends, I would head back down south, with the goal of spending New Year’s in the Florida keys.

That’s it for now. As things firm up, I’ll expand a bit on each of the places I’ve outlined in this post.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk a bit about some of the resources I’ve been using to plan out this journey. I’ve found some very helpful websites that would be of use to anyone planning a road trip …whether it’s for a couple of weeks or the rest of their lives!

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Posted by on January 21, 2015 in 2015, 2016


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