Caddo Lake State Park and a visit with family in Nacogdoches, TX

Our campsite at Caddo Lake State Park, Texas

Our campsite at Caddo Lake State Park, Texas

It was a longer travel day than we normally like from Lake Mineral Wells State Park to Caddo Lake State Park on Wednesday. At only 270 miles or so, you would think it would be an easy trip. But going around or through the Dallas/Ft. Worth area is always cumbersome, at least it is for us when were pulling our home. We barely made it to Caddo Lake right before nightfall.

Caddo Lake is a very nice area, as is the state park itself. But we had a very special reason for coming here. This is the final resting place for Sharon’s father and mother. I don’t want to go into great detail about this, but I will say that getting their ashes to this place has been long overdue.

The Fishing Pier at Caddo Lake State Park

The Fishing Pier at Caddo Lake State Park

Another of the Fishing Pier

Another of the Fishing Pier

Bayou that connects to Caddo Lake

Bayou that connects to Caddo Lake

A Section of Hiking Trail at Caddo Lake State Park

A Section of Hiking Trail at Caddo Lake State Park

After a short two night stay at Caddo Lake, we headed south to Nacogdoches, TX. It’s a nice town to visit and is rich with history being the “Oldest Town in Texas”. However, our reason for making the short trip from Caddo Lake (about 95 miles) was my aunt and uncle, Jimmie and Sherry, live there. It was great spending the weekend with them and they allowed us to “campout” in their driveway for a couple of nights. As I’ve said before, it’s so nice to be able to visit family and friends without being on a schedule. That’s something that we were rarely able to do before becoming fulltimers.

Downtown Nacogdoches, TX

Downtown Nacogdoches, TX

A Downtown Courtyard, Nacogdoches

A Downtown Courtyard, Nacogdoches

Historic Building Entrance, Nacogdoches

Historic Building Entrance, Nacogdoches

We’re now at the KOA in Fredericksburg, Texas. We’ll be here for a month before moving on. This is where we spent last winter and though we don’t usually stay at private RV parks, this place is a special “home” for us. We’ve made several friends here (including the owners, Randy and Lisa Snapp) and most of them stay here all winter. We have a variety of things planned while we’re here that we’ll try to share here on the blog. I wrote much of my first novel, Indian Paintbrush, here last winter and I’m hoping to get some more of my second completed while were here.

Don’t forget to check out Sharon’s photos from our travels on her website.

Till next time…

Brian.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lake Mineral Wells State Park

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Like many Texas state parks, Lake Mineral Wells is older with a few historic structures. Just walking through and making my own observations, I first thought this must be a CCC constructed park. But after doing some research, it turns out it was constructed just a bit before that.

Wildlife in the park was abundant. We saw many varieties of small birds and waterfowl. Though, we’re not very good at identifying them so I won’t even try. We also spotted a few armadillos and many deer just wandering without a care it seemed. We don’t fish so I don’t know if the fishing is good here, but there were a few folks trying their luck and we saw and heard fish jumping several times while walking the shoreline.

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We are on a bit of a schedule, which is unusual for us, so we were only able to stay a couple of nights. Even though, we’d like to have stayed longer. We’ll definitely add this to our revisit list. Our campsite was one of the lakeside ones and there were only a handful of other campers there. We enjoy quiet and that’s what we got. Though, that may have been partly due to not being here on the weekend. I got the feeling it gets pretty busy and maybe not so quiet on weekends, due to the few beer cans and other trash we saw here and there. I’m not trying to imply that the park is dirty. It’s not. But, it wasn’t as clean as many other parks we’ve stayed in and some of the trash left behind appeared to very old. We’ll probably make sure we’re here during the middle of the week if we do come back.

We couldn't figure out what this used to be!

We couldn’t figure out what this used to be!

Coming into the town of Mineral Wells, TX, we noticed a very large historic building that looked to be a hotel maybe. It was enormous for such a small town and as we got closer, it was obviously abandoned. After poking around a bit, we learned it is the historic Baker Hotel.

We love history and historic structures and always try to make it a point to visit these places on our travels. This is just another reason we love and fit into this travel lifestyle so well.

The Historic Baker Hotel, Mineral Wells, Texas

The Historic Baker Hotel, Mineral Wells, Texas

Next stop, Caddo Lake State Park, East Texas. Till then!

Brian.

 

 

 

Headed to East Texas…

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We’re finally traveling again! And it feels great to be exploring and discovering again. After all, this is the way Sharon gets her wonderful photos and I get motivation and story ideas for my writing.

We only moved about 220 miles yesterday to Mineral Wells State Park near Mineral Wells, TX. We haven’t had a chance to get out and see the whole park yet, but we’ll take care of that today. This will just be a 2 night stay on our way east.

Our site, #66, at Mineral Wells State Park, TX

Our site, #66, at Mineral Wells State Park, TX

After sitting in one spot for a few months it’s really nice to see new scenery again. After all, that’s one of the reasons we live in a house with wheels. We were able to reach our goal of completing a large project at my parents a day before we left. We had some winter weather delays that put us behind, but we still got it done in the time we wanted.

It seems the Internet here is too weak to upload more pics right now. So, we’ll try later when we post again.

 

 

Another Home Improvement

Sitting in one spot for a few months has really gotten the wanderlust juices flowing. But it has given us an opportunity to do maintenance and address a few things about our travel trailer that we weren’t completely happy with. The first was taking out our old bench style dinette area and building a custom bar with storage in its place. I documented this modification in an earlier post.

The other thing we weren’t happy with was our shower. It was one of those corner neo angle designs with glass walls and door with aluminum framing. While esthetically it didn’t look bad, we’d had a problem with some leaking around the door and between the shower base and the walls since the trailer was new. It was fine for seasonal camping trips, but not for everyday use. I tried re-caulking a couple of times, but there was too much movement between the pieces with expansion and contraction while the trailer is moving and it quickly developed cracks.

Here are the pieces of the old shower enclosure.

Here are the pieces of the old shower enclosure.

We knew we wanted to do something unique that was more our style, but we wanted it to be functional as well. We really like the look of copper. In fact, we had copper sinks in our “sticks and bricks” home and we’ve also changed out our kitchen and bath sinks in our home on wheels to copper.

I’ve gotten more and more where I just don’t like to buy things from a store that I may be able to build myself. We like unique and we like simple.

This is what we came up with.

This is what we came up with.

We bought a 10′ stick of 1/2″ copper pipe and brass fittings from the hardware store. We cut the pipe to the lengths we needed and assembled it all with stainless steel screws. I was going to solder the fittings, but the heat from the torch discolors the copper and brass. It’s attached to the ceiling and walls with 1/2″ threaded floor flange mounts that we painted oil rubbed bronze to match our fixtures.

The painted 1/2" flange mount with brass fitting and copper pipe.

The painted 1/2″ flange mount with brass fitting and copper pipe.

We picked up an ordinary white shower liner, some curtain hangers we liked, and a standard sized decorative shower curtain.

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So far, no more water on the floor outside the shower. And, we like the looks of it so much better.

On another note, we’ve only got one more week of being stationary. Next Monday we pull out of west Texas and point our grill east. We’re both excited about being on the road again after sitting still all winter.

Till next time!

Brian.

 

Snowed In!

Well, not really. But we did get about 8″ of snow here in west Texas. About midnight the other night, I heard what sounded like hail hitting the roof of the trailer. As is it turns out it was only an ice storm, complete with thunder and lighting… in February. Anyway, it later turned to snow for a scene in the morning that is unusual for these parts.

The view from our window

The view from our window

I decided to take advantage of not being able to get to any outdoor projects and work on our website. I plan to have it up in the next month or two. I realize there are plenty of fulltime RVer sites out there, but I’m hoping to put a unique slant on the subject. Everyone does it in their own way.

I sat in front of the computer in my “office”, a hot cup of coffee steaming next to me, watching state vehicles plow the highway and the occasional vehicle slowly treading on the ice. We didn’t really plan to be staying where there was winter weather when we talked about going fulltime and traveling. I don’t really care for it most of the time. We’re all about nice weather and all things outdoors.

But as I sat watching folks trying to get to “regular” jobs in their “regular” lives, I’m glad we made the choice to live life now. Ten years ago I could never have dreamed we’d be making a living doing the things we love; Being able to write my novels, Sharon being able to take beautiful and interesting photographs from our travels, traveling where we want to when we want to, and helping friends and family with no real time limits. We are truly blessed.

Living in 300 square feet of space year round probably sounds like a nightmare to some. But there are others who live in far less space even than us, and they do it by choice. We will live like this until it’s not fun anymore or until something forces us to stop.

Not all couples like to spend almost all of their time together either, but its a big reason we chose to do this. We may not travel that many miles this year, but we don’t have a real schedule. We’ll try to sit longer in places we enjoy and I’ll continue to work on my next novel. Sharon will grow her photography portfolio. These are the things that pay our way and the way we’ve dreamed of making our living for a long time.

So, a day that started out a bit somber has become a day of grateful reflection. I’m so glad we decided to jump off the plank and work toward our dreams… now.

Brian