Monthly Archives: October 2013

Campground Review: Rainbow’s End – Escapees – Livingston, TX

An easy “cruise-control drive” west on I10 returned us to Texas.  We’re bound for a longer landing near Houston but for now we’re still in “approach” mode, spending a few days here near Livingston, then a couple of weeks in Conroe before doing our major stop for the winter.

2013-10-31 14.23.24.jpg It was strange coming to Rainbow’s End because, officially, this is where we live!  Our mailing address is, as it is for thousands of fulltimers, right here on Rainbow Drive.  We are legal residents of this place even though this is our first visit here.  Escapees is the club for fulltime RVers and Rainbow’s End is where the headquarters for the club is located.

2013-10-28 15.11.20.jpg Our campsite here is average at best but its strangely comforting to be among so many people who have opted for this lifestyle.  It’s easy to strike up a conversation with folks who have fulltiming in common.

Rainbow’s End has several unique features:

1. The Escapees mail service is an industry standard.  We enjoyed a tour of the place, especially the mail facility.  I even saw the “folder” where we live!

2. It is much more than an RV park.  There are permanent residences everywhere – most with accommodations for campers.  When people “retire” from fulltime RVing they buy a place here so that they can stay connected to this lifestyle.  Some of the residences are very, very nice!  Others are basically a big tall carport for the RV along with a small storage building.

2013-10-31 14.33.35.jpg 3. Maybe most impressive is the Care Center – it is an absolutely unique place providing assisted living facilities for people who retired to RVing but are now unable to travel.  It’s a wonderful program that serves a great need.

Our time here is short and, in addition to that, it has rained almost constantly since our arrival.  Because of that we haven’t gotten to know the campground as well as we would have otherwise.

Off hand, I’d say this place does just what it’s intended to do.  It probably doesn’t measure up to some of the nicer RV Resorts, but no where is as geared to fulltime RVers as is this place.  My guess is that we’ll return here about once a year for a short stay.  After all, it is “where we live.”

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Murphy Memorial Library, Livingston, TX

Name: Murphy Memorial Library

Location: 601 West Church Street, Livingston, TX 77351

Located on a major thoroughfare Murphy Memorial Library  is serving it’s community offering  free internet access  along with books and materials for all ages.  They have ongoing story times for children,  a genealogy section, a reading area and a large section of paperback books.  Free one on one help with research and computer needs is available by appointment.  When the renovation is completed at the new location the library will have more to offer with meeting rooms, and a separate computer area; a place where the community can gather.

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May – October, 2013 Expenses

Natchez Trace and vicinity: southwestern Mississippi

2013-10-22 15.00.30.jpg Natchez, Mississippi is known for it’s antebellum home tours.  We chose to go to Melrose which is operated by the National park service.  There is some remodeling being done to the exterior but we enjoyed our tour with a volunteer guide. The McMurran family moved into this home right after it was built in 1841 and it has been restored to that era.  We entered through the massive front door and stepped in the wide hall that runs the length of the house. The furniture and fixtures throughout are elegant and remind us that this was a family of means.  The main hall floor is made of painted oilcloth that feels like linoleum.   In the dining room is a large elegant table and there’s a large mahogany fan that has a pull rope to be used to keep the air moving around the diners at all times.  Wood venetian blinds and silk curtains cover all the windows.   There are bell pulls in each room running to a set of bells with different tones in the back of the house to summon a slave to that particular room when something was needed. There is also a room where the women could entertain, sew, and chat as well a separate room for the men to go to smoke and talk.  The bed rooms upstairs are nicely furnished with four poster beds, day beds, desks for writing for the adults, and toys in the children’s room.  Behind the big house is a two story building housing a kitchen, a cooling room for milk and other perishables.  There are two other buildings for slaves that are open for viewing as well as buildings for the animals and carriages.  Most of the flowers are gone this time of the year but gardens are still a nice place to visit.  There are many different types of trees.  The two that caught my attention are the very old and large Magnolia beside the house on one side and a sweet olive tree that has fragrant blooms on the other.  We thought this was a very interesting and enjoyable tour.

From Melrose we drove downtown to visit the William Johnson house.  He was a freed slave turned barber.  William Johnson was freed by his white slave owner of the same name.  As a boy he was trained to be a barber by his brother-in-law who was a free black man.  William became a prosperous business man and land owner. He owned and operated three barbershops and a bathhouse in Natchez as well as property outside of town.  We were surprised to learn that he, himself, was a slave owner.  The family lived in town in the upper level of the house on State street over the commercial space.  Johnson was a prolific writer who journaled daily.  His journals not provide invaluable information about the day to day life of a free, and successful black man in Natchez.  Sad to say, he was murdered in 1851 over a disputed land boundary.

image-002.jpg Mount Locust Inn and Plantation is just a short drive north of Natchez on Natchez Trace Parkway.  it is one of the oldest structures in the area.  It was purchased by William Ferguson in 1784 as a farm.  Since it was a day’s walk from Natchez this place became a stopping spot for the the “Kaintucks” who had floated their goods down the Mississippi and sold them in Natchez or New Orleans.  They then walked the many miles back up the Natchez Trace.  Mount Locust Inn provided a place to sleep and a meal of corn mush and milk. It started as a simple inn and later a four room, two story annex was added for the travelers.  We enjoyed seeing the old house and taking a quiet walk around the grounds.  We walked just a short distance along the Old Trace to see what the early travelers walked through on a beautiful sunny day.

image-009.jpg Overall, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed exploring the areas along Natchez Trace Parkway; both the beauty of nature and the rich history of the area.  In spite of our spending nearly a month along the Trace and spending time in three different area campgrounds we know we’ve barely scratched the surface of all there is to see and do along Natchez Trace Parkway.  We hope to return in future journeys to continue enjoying the area.

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Campground Review: Natchez State Park – Natchez, MS

2013-10-22 17.27.21.jpg The last leg of our journey down Natchez Trace Parkway brings us to our third Mississippi State park, and our favorite of the three: Natchez State Park.  This park is just a short distance off the Parkway; in fact, there’s a sign pointing to it right off the Parkway.  The route in to the park is an interesting one.  From highway 61 you turn on to State Park Road.  The weary RVer thinks, “Ah, here I am at the park!”  Well, not quite.  You drive a short distance on a rough section of road with abandoned buildings nearly sitting on the pavement.  Then, to get to the state park Campground (and you want Loop B) you actually turn off of State Park Road on to Wickcliff Road and after a few minutes you come to a nice park entry.  After that, you are still a couple of miles from the campground.

But it’s well worth the effort.

Our 2015 review – focused on Campground A – is here.

2013-10-22 11.39.07.jpg We’ve visited some campgrounds and wondered just what the person who designed it was thinking.  This park, though, is laid out wonderfully.  Whoever put this one together could give lessons on campground design.  The sites are level, paved, big enough, and angled so they are easy to back in to.  The campground has 50 amp electric and water but no sewer hookups.  The dump station is right at the entry to the campground and it, too, is an easy in and out.

This is a big park on a nice lake.  The campground, though, isn’t really on the lake – although there are a few sites down on the end of the campground that have a partial view of the lake though the trees.  There are rental cabins, though, a mile or so from the campground that are built with beautiful lake views.

2013-10-21 16.18.42.jpgWe were allowed to change sites upon arrival, moving from one of the somewhat-close-to-the-lake sites to one closer to the bathhouse and, even better, with a small adjacent open area that gave my satellite dish a view of the southern sky.   Also, my Verizon cell service is working fairly good with the signal booster along with about 3 bars of 3G data.

2013-10-22 17.36.24.jpg I’m tempted to complain about our noisy campground neighbors – no, not fellow campers, but the herd of deer making a bit of noise in the woods settling down for the night just a short distance outside our door!

In case you missed it I really like this park.  Obviously, this is Mississippi and a late summer stay here would include plenty of humidity and mosquitoes.  The October weather during our stay here has been absolutely perfect.  I can’t imagine it being better.  Jackie will post a review of our sightseeing in the area so I’ll just say that Natchez State Park is an excellent base of operations for exploring nearby Natchez, MS.  We’re about 13 miles from the city.

image-001.jpg Since this is our last stop on Natchez Trace Parkway I’ll add a few comments about driving the parkway.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the 400+ mile drive down the Parkway.  The pretty, unspoiled scenery, the rich history, the lack of commercial traffic or even roadside advertizing, and the leisurely 50 mph speed limit combine to make this a terrific drive.  I highly recommend this Parkway; it is truly an American treasure.  If you RV Natchez Trace Parkway I highly recommend that you spend some time at Natchez State Park.

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