Tag Archives: Texas

2017 – Lake Conroe Thousand Trails, Willis, TX

2017 – Lake Conroe Thousand Trails, Willis, TX

We have enjoyed many stays at Lake Conroe Thousand Trails in Willis, TX.  Since I have written several reviews of this, our sort of “home” campground, I think I’ll forgo writing yet another.  I will, though, mention that this campground continues to receive impressive upgrades.  As I understand it, the plan is to make one property in each state into a showplace.  Thousand Trails promises that other campgrounds are going to see improvements as time goes by, but for now, the focus is on just a few properties.

2017 – Lake Conroe Thousand Trails, Willis, TX – construction

Right now Lake Conroe is getting an entirely new camping loop.  The sites will be closer together than others are, but they will also be paved sites with paved patios.  I’ll be interested in seeing just how these sites are received and also, how some of them are used.  We noticed that the “ramps” to some are rather steep.  Also, some sites are on dead end roads.  I’m wondering how the average RVer will navigate those sites.

2017 – Lake Conroe Thousand Trails, Willis, TX – construction

Another project that has been going on during our stay was leveling and resurfacing the pull through sites.  Those sites have been the worst in the place for a long time now.  The work that is being done will result in considerably better sites.  However, they are still back to back parking and, even though they are no longer rutted and rough sites, several are still downhill, either side to side or front to back (or both).  I think many people will be disappointed that leveling boards, etc. will still be needed in these pull through sites.

All in all, though, the improvements to the campground are really nice and will do nothing but make this already popular Thousand Trails even more popular.  Since we often begin and end our annual adventures here I’m glad for the work that has been, and continues to be, done.

2017 – Eisenhower State Park, Denison, TX

2017 – Eisenhower State Park, Denison, TX

We have had a nice stay at Eisenhower State Park, Denison, TX.  We came to Denison so I could fill in for a pastor friend while he took Sabbatical leave.  The park is located on Lake Texoma and features a large marina and multiple camping areas.  However, only the Bois D’Arc Ridge loop has full hookups.

We enjoyed the beautiful wooded campground with its herd of deer and other assorted wildlife.  The neighborhood roadrunners are comical birds that are especially fun to watch.  The campsites in this area are all pull-throughs, which each site a small loop off the road.  That means everyone’s back is to the road, creating a sense of privacy even when the campground is full.

2017 – Eisenhower State Park, Denison, TX – note low tongue on unlevel site

The biggest negative is that many of the sites are rather unlevel both side to side and front to back.  Some are so bad that only a small camper has any reasonable hope of getting level.  Also, in addition to bringing along plenty of leveling blocks be sure to bring extra sewer hose as the connection is seldom in a spot that will let you get level and be close to the sewer connection at the same time.  And, even though the lake is very close by, there are no lake views to speak of.  Toward the end of our stay the trees had dropped enough leaves that the lake could be seen through the forest from a few spots but there was nothing like a real lake view from this camping loop.

2017 – Eisenhower State Park, Denison, TX – watch out for hedge apples

I really should mention the hedge apples.  Some of the sites have trees with this softball sized fruit on them.  You certainly don’t want to park your RV under one of those trees in the fall!

I really don’t mean for this to be a negative sounding review.  We like this park a lot.  The staff is friendly and easy to work with.  Unless you arrive on a busy weekend, they will let you drive around and pick a site rather than stay in the one assigned.  Also, if they know you are in a bigger rig they will try to assign you one of the longer, somewhat more level spots.

The campground is just a few minutes from Denison with its restaurants, Walmart, and about any other business you might need.

You can see individual photos here

2017 – Lake Texoma Thousand Trails – Gordonville, TX

20170921_183701.jpg In spite of Texas late September summer-like temperatures, we enjoyed our stay at Lake Texoma Thousand Trails, Gordonville, TX. We were last here in May, 2013 and the campground is about the same as it was then. We appreciated the ranger giving us a list of vacant full hookup, 50 Amp sites that were available, I think there were 8 or 9. We picked the one that looked good to us and settled into a large, level, gravel site. There’s a $3 a night surcharge for 50 Amps – in fact, the power pedestals for those sites are padlocked until the surcharge is paid. This Thousand Trails has both a large “family” pool and Activity Center and a smaller Adult pool with spa and Adult Activity Center. There are many annual campsites that have been improved in various ways by the residents. A surprising number of the residents light their sites at night with “running lights” whether or not they are present. However, if a person arrives looking for a 30 Amp full hookup site they would have many nice spots from which to choose. The roads in the campground are typical Thousand Trails: read rough and pothole filled.

We had no problem getting a satellite signal and our Verizon signal was a solid 4G.

20170925_094859.jpg Our arrival day at Lake Texoma was a difficult travel day for us in which a tire on the pickup came apart, doing considerable damage to the pickup. As a result the pickup was in need of repairs and we needed to travel to Houston to pick up our car so we would have transportation during the repairs. The campground management worked with us as we dealt with these unexpected, unwelcome circumstances. We did shorten our stay by a few days as we needed to time our relocation days with the repairs.

20170921_104144.jpg One strange coincidence is that the last time we visited Lake Texoma Thousand Trails we had a tire begin to delaminate as we traveled. We had to stop and buy two new tires. Here we are four years later and, as we traveled to the campground we had a tire (likely one of those bought on that day in 2013) come apart, forcing us to stop and buy four new tires. It almost makes us afraid to schedule Lake Texoma Thousand Trails again!

See individual photos here.

2017 – Volunteering at San Jacinto Battlefield and Battleship Texas

battleshiptexas2.jpg We’re just concluding our third winter of volunteering at San Jacinto Battlefield and Battleship Texas.  Honestly, my previous reviews pretty much say it all.  Once again we’ve enjoyed spending most of our volunteer time talking to people about the Texas – the only remaining battleship that served in both WWI and WWII.  We’ve also enjoyed working with other volunteers who, like us, fulltime in RVs.  Some are have come here year after year, so when we return it is a bit of a homecoming.  Others are new friends and it has been fun getting to know them.  The park staff are a pleasure to work with too.  If you haven’t gotten the message: we like doing this and plan on returning next fall for another winter of volunteering.

As has already been described, 2016 was a non-traveling year for us.  Because of that, we’re looking forward to a return to our touring fulltime RV life.  Our stationary circumstances left me with even more time to plan our 2017 Adventure than I would have had otherwise.  We have a potential route planned and several reservations have already been made.  No doubt, we will end up making adjustments, but if you don’t have a plan it’s impossible to change your plans!  Also, we’re headed for some popular areas in the coming months and without reservations we’d end up struggling to find a suitable spot or end up paying premium prices somewhere.

One change we’re making this year is adding a couple of extended, one month stays.  The idea is to spend extra time in interesting areas, save a bit of money by paying monthly rather than weekly or daily rates, and stay in southern states till warmer temperatures arrive in northern states later in the spring.  Time will tell if we like this strategy and will include it in future planning.

We’ve had a good stay at our winter quarters of San Jacinto Battleground and Battleship Texas and we’re looking forward to great days on our 2017 Adventure.

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2016-17 – Ships on the Houston Ship Channel

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It’s over 50 miles from the Galveston sea buoy in the Gulf of Mexico to the turning basin at the far end of the Houston Ship Channel, a journey that will take a ship around 6 hours at the reduced ship channel speeds.

20170109_142029.jpg Our winter volunteering spot at Battleship Texas at San Jacinto Battlefield is at about the 40 mile mark on that journey.  Ships from all over the world travel this waterway.  Many of them are oil tankers and cargo carriers.  There are also occasional car carriers and a variety of other vessels.   Of course, tug boat/barge traffic is non-stop.  The Ship Channel, also known as Buffalo Bayou, isn’t especially beautiful but it is almost always interesting.   Our campsite is very near the ship channel and we can hear the rumble of the tug boats most of the time.  Interestingly, the big ships are quieter than the tugs.  Once in a while the ships blow their low horns.  We’re glad that they don’t do it very often because they are quite loud.  Most of these photos were taken either from the deck of Battleship Texas or from the walkway along the water.  The walkway is a late addition and we’ve enjoyed it very much these past months.

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