No sympathy?

The last couple of days have been cold and dreary along the Texas Gulf Coast.  I know, all my friends to the north suffering from below freezing temps and snow measured in feet versus inches are rolling their eyes as I complain.  But remember, I’m living in an RV.  Thin walls and single pane windows do not make for high insulation ratings.  Still no sympathy?  No, I didn’t think so!roseate spoonbill

snowy egretSo with the RV being pelted with a steady down pouring of rain accompanied by a cold wind, I figured this is the perfect opportunity to stop complaining and get the blog caught up with our travels.

Between sightseeing, socializing, and Christmas the past two weeks have flown by.

We pulled out of Galveston, Texas, on December 9th and meandered our way via a series of county back roads to the little town of Lamar where we set up camp at Goose Island State Park.  The trip took us about 3 ½ hours traveling south along the Texas Gulf Coast from Galveston. Goose Island State Park

Goose Island State Park offers two different camping experiences.  Bayside sites, which we chose, are near the water.  The other loops are located within a grove of oak trees.  Some of those sites with low hanging tree limbs could present a problem for larger rigs.  It’s also very shaded which in winter isn’t necessary.  I’ll opt for the sun at this time of year, thank you.Goose Island State Park

Mustang Island State Park

After three very relaxing days watching sunrises, sunsets, and birds, it was time to move on.  We traveled a mere 45 minutes to our next destination; Mustang Island State Park located near Corpus Christi and Port Aransas, Texas.Mustang Island

This was the first time our RV had the pleasure of enjoying a ferry ride which lasted all of about ten minutes.  Since we started in Rockport and were heading south, the shortest route to our destination was via highway 361 which requires crossing the Corpus Christi Ship Channel.Texas Department of Transportation Ferry

Texas Dept of transportation ferryPort AransasThe Aransas Pass Ferry operates in lieu of a bridge allowing free movement of the many ships moving through the channel.

This free ferry is operated and managed by the Texas Department of Transportation.

The Ferry connects Port Aransas to the mainland and operates 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

This was just the beginning of our fun two-week stay.  Next up… cavorting with fellow bloggers and RVer’s.

Texas journey continues…

It’s the 3rd of November we hit the road about 9 in the morning.  We only had about 3 hours to drive to our next destination and we didn’t want to get there too soon.   Al and I are both morning people and during our working days when we would go on vacation it wasn’t uncommon for us to hit the road between 5 and 6 a.m. especially if we had a long travel day in front of us.South Llano State Park Ah, the days of hurry up and get there are thankfully behind us.  But habits don’t break easily.  Now a days, we have to remind each other that we don’t need to get rolling so early.  We try to keep our travel days anywhere from an hour to four hours and keeping check-in times in mind we don’t necessarily want to arrive to our next destination too soon.Cardinal Deer hunting in TexasSo we meandered down the road taking in the countryside and it isn’t long before the land started to roll …… the Texas hill country near Junction, Texas.

We arrived at South Llano River State Park just in time for lunch.  Fortunately the park was only a quarter occupied and we were checked into a lovely site. This is a beautiful Texas State Park with an abundance of wildlife.  While driving into the park we passed turkey and deer. Texas State ParksThe most significant Rio Grande turkey roosts in Central Texas can be found here. There’s over 240 bird species that have been documented in the area.Texas State Park

Texas State Parks
our RV and campsite can be seen in the background

This 507 acre Texas State Park offers water, woods, and wildlife.  There’s 18 miles of hiking/biking trails, 58 campsites with electric and water, and 11 walk-in tent sites.  There are several blinds for birding, and access to the river for summer swimming, tubing, and canoeing.Texas State ParkTexas State ParksI was really excited and looked forward to spending a couple of nights at this state park, but without cell phone service we opted to spend just one night.  Yep, no cell phone service, no internet, no TV.  Sometimes it’s fun being without connection, but we needed that cell connection for a family member.Texas State ParksSo the next day we pulled out of South Llano River State Park…. reluctantly, I might add and drove to San Antonio. In San Antonio we stayed at an Elks Lodge and had hoped to see a few sights we missed during our stay last February.

Road runner
Beep Beep!

Such was not the case as the torrential rains did not let up for 2 whole days and we had a reservation for the weekend at Goliad State Park.  So onto Goliad, Texas….

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Texas here we come!

RVingOne of just many pluses to living in a home on wheels is the way at which we are able to travel.  Traveling can be done as quickly or leisurely as we desire.

That said, when it came time for us to depart Phoenix, we allowed ourselves 2 weeks to travel 1,300 miles; destination Galveston, Texas.

Long gone are the days of Al and me pushing a drive like that in a day and a half.  Actually, more than once we’ve done 1,200 miles in one day… a very long day.  This slow meandering style of travel is the only way to fly drive.Heron

So let’s see …. In previous posts I’ve already talked about our stops in Apache Junction in Arizona, and Rockhound State Park and Alamogordo in New Mexico which leaves us with the Texas journey yet to talk about.

November 2nd we bid farewell to New Mexico and skirted around El Paso, Texas as quickly as possible on an early Sunday morning.  We were grateful traffic was light in what normally is a very congested city.   Knowing this, the early Sunday morning drive was planned well in advance.  The 4 ½ hour drive to Balmorhea State Park was uneventful and whizzed by.  Well, ‘whiz’ is probably an exaggeration because anyone who’s driven west Texas knows it goes on forever.  Texas is one BIG state…. bigger than a lot of country’s.

How big is Texas
Hey look – Balmorhea State Park is located in the same spot as Paris. Our destination is by the S in Austria

We first heard about Balmorhea State Park about 3 years ago from fellow full-time RVer’s.  What makes this place so unique and a destination for families is the large swimming pool.  But this isn’t just any swimming pool, this is the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool.

spring-fed swimming pool
world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool

The Civilian Conservation Corps built Balmorhea State Park and the swimming pool in the 1930’s and nearly 80 years later folks are still cooling off at the park.  Although this particular fall day the air was cool enough and thus no swimmers – including us. largest swimming pool in the worldSan Solomon Springs; water comes from a large underground aquifer flowing through porous limestone and fault lines.  Worker’s hand dug and constructed the pool using local materials. world's largest swimming pool

The water temperature averages 72-76 degrees Fahrenheit (22-24º C) year round.  The depth of the pool goes from a shallow 2 feet to as much as 30 feet (9.1m) deep allowing swimmers and scuba divers alike to enjoy this spring-fed pool.

Swimmers can expect to share the water with plenty of fish.  We saw lots of minnows and some large catfish swimming around.Texas State Park

As we strolled around the park we noticed a series of waterways and wetlands. The fresh clear water quickly moves throughout the park.cienga wetlands

San Solomon Cienga; a wetlands habitat for endangered fish and other aquatic life was near our campsite.Texas State Parks

I found myself strolling over there several times to observe the turtles.Texas State ParksAnd speaking of campsite, Balmorhea State Park offers 34 campsites.  Some of the sites even have cable hook-up which is something we’ve never seen before in any state park.  We didn’t opt for a ‘cable’ site but next time through I think we will because you won’t find any TV reception with the RV antenna…. ‘we be in the boonies, honey!’

Texas State Parks
our campsite at Balmorhea State Park

We enjoyed our one night stay at this state park. We did purchase the seasonal Texas State Park pass for $70 since we planned to stay at more state parks this season.

I loved the use of the local limestone used throughout the state park

Next stop South Llano River State Park.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 12.1 MP Digital Camera with CMOS Sensor and 24x Optical Zoom – Black