Tag Archives: TP&W

Happy Trails, Part 125: Great RV neighbors

COPPER BREAKS STATE PARK, Texas — I had intended for this blog post to be a high-minded tribute to the Texas Parks & Wildlife department’s state park system.

Specifically, I intended to write about how easy it is to back into TP&W park sites. I would pull our 28-foot fifth wheel up to the site, straighten the truck/RV assembly out and back it all in. Slick, man! No sweat!

For some reason I don’t yet know, it didn’t work out that way.

I want instead to devote most of this post to the neighborliness of RVers. I’ve experienced their friendliness and willingness to offer a hand. This time an angel named Jim stepped up and said, “Hey, do y’all need help backing in?”

We answered simultaneously, “Yes!”

We offered him the keys to the truck. He took ‘em and back the rig into our spot.

We learned that Jim and wife, Brenda, have been traveling for two years full time in their RV. They’re originally from Hereford, Texas, just about 30 miles southwest of Amarillo. They’ve been just about everywhere in this country, Jim said.

He also told us he began backing up semi trucks when he was 13 years of age. His father hauled cattle in these big rigs, Jim said, so he got indoctrinated early. “Yep, that’s Hereford, all right,” I said with a weary chuckle.

I do not intend to speak ill of TP&W and its system of state parks. Indeed, the agency does make its back-in RV sites quite accessible – even more for brain-dead RVers such as yours truly. My wife and I are huge fans of the Texas parks system and we visit them whenever we can when we’re traveling in-state. Copper Breaks is a lovely site just south of Quanah in Hardeman County.

Maybe I’ll do better the next time I have to back our RV into a site. Not this time. I’ll chalk it up to, oh, a long day on the road. Yeah, that’s the ticket. I was tired. That works as an excuse.

Now that we’re here, we intend to relax for a few days. We can do that now that we’re retired.

Happy Trails, Part 82

I have to credit a fellow recreational vehicle camper for this term, but I have come down with a case of the “hitch itch.”

It strikes me whenever we’ve been parked for a length of time, yet the open road beckons us. It is beckoning my wife and me. Thus, I get the “hitch itch,” or the “itch” to hook our fifth wheel RV to the bed of our pickup and hit the road.

The cure for the itch will come quite soon as we head out on another road trip. It will be an intrastate journey, keeping us inside Texas for its length.

It will be a lengthy trip.

Our plans are to make ample use of three state parks, which is our RV campsite of choice. We have a Texas Parks & Wildlife park pass, which waives our entrance fees into any state-run park in Texas. There happens to be a lot of ’em. They’re everywhere! They’re all well-run, well-maintained and well-groomed.

They’re also inexpensive!

We’ll be heading to San Angelo State Park to start off. A couple of days later we’ll shove off for Lockhart State Park south of Austin for several days. Then we drive to Village Creek State Park just north of Beaumont for a brief visit before winding our way back to Amarillo — with a stop in the Metroplex to visit our precious granddaughter and her parents.

This “hitch itch” strikes periodically. Frankly, we suffer from it more than we don’t. We have enjoyed this lifestyle so much that we want keep enjoying it for as long as humanly possible — health permitting.

To date, we both enjoy good health. We both have our wits. We enjoy the open road. Toby the Puppy is a serious road warrior as well.

The only nagging “health problem” we cannot eradicate — nor do we want to get rid of it — is that hitch itch.

It will disappear the moment we hook it all up and hit the road.

State parks are the way to go

This is the latest in an occasional series of blog posts commenting on upcoming retirement.

GARNER STATE PARK, Texas — The picture attached to this blog post tells the story: this place is as tranquil and quiet as it appears.

This park is nestled in the gorgeous Hill Country of Texas, just north of Uvalde, which is the hometown of the person after whom the park is named.

I refer to the late John Nance “Cactus Jack” Garner, the former vice president of the United States during the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. It was Garner who once famously declared that “the vice presidency ain’t worth a bucket of warm piss.”

They didn’t call him Cactus Jack for nothin’, you know.

My wife and I have decided that state parks are the way to travel through this vast state of ours.

We have purchased a state park pass, which for a year allows us access to any state park in the state without paying an entrance fee. The nightly fee for camping there in an RV varies: $15 to $20.

I’ve complained for decades now about Texas state government. It spends too little on this, too much on that. It devalues public education and seeks on occasion to legislate morality.

Blah, blah, blah.

I am a big fan of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the agency that runs our state park system.

Our state parks are second to none. Well, perhaps that’s just my opinion, given that I haven’t been to state parks in every state in the Union. I’ll just settle on declaring that Texas’s state parks are inviting.

They’re well-appointed, clean, well-groomed. Park staffers are full of that legendary Texas hospitality.

There’s a decent chance my wife and I — along with Toby the Puppy — will visit most if not all of them as we continue to enjoy this new lifestyle called “retirement.”