Friday, March 25, 2022

Lake Conroe Thousand Trails RV Park

Lake Conroe   Highs: 57, 73, 63, 56, 65, 72, 71 Lows: 39, 48, 30, 32, 48, 51, 46.  Site: B66, new section

Lots of kids at Lake Conroe, lots of families
We are settled in at Lake Conroe Thousand Trails RV Park for three weeks. This is our chance to get our slide fixed, (it's not retracting properly and stops part way in,) see Sparky's daughter and grandson, visit with some old RVing acquaintances who live not too far away, and sit tight for awhile as we watch diesel prices climb to over 5.00 a gallon...sigh....It's gonna get worse before it gets better, so we will try to stay put longer and decrease our driving distances, doing all the obvious to save fuel strategies as much as we can. 

Lake Conroe has a new section, which is very nice...big concrete pads not too close to your neighbor, but they are so popular, it's hard to score one. With Thousand Trails, it's first come, first served when you arrive at the park. Timing is everything, get there too early and the people who are scheduled to leave haven't vacated a spot yet. Get there mid to late afternoon, and the prime spots are already taken. It depends on what day of the week you arrive as well. Usually arriving in the middle of the week like Wednesday or Thursday, bodes well for getting a decent spot. Likewise, leaving on a Monday or Tuesday for traveling is better than leaving on a Sunday, but we have done that before. Here is our site for three weeks. We back up to some woods, which is really nice.
Since this is an urban area, there are no great trails to hike or bike trails to ride close by to the park, unless you venture into the Woodlands area which has wonderful walking trails for their subdivisions, but you can ride out of the RV park, turn right on MP Clark Rd., and ride up and down hilly residential sidewalks towards Longmire Road to get an easy 12 mile ride if you go out and back. The Thousand Trails Rd. leading out of the park is a heart pumper, climbing up a ways to get to the intersection where you turn right at MP Clark Rd. and start down the residential sidewalks--unless you want to ride in the street. It's hilly in this area, so you can get a good workout. There is also a small county park on FM830 on the left side as you head towards interstate 45 where you can walk around in circles, haha. It's still a nice little park in the middle of suburbia for a little walk. The trail is about a half mile loop. Sparky just walks in circles and listens to music till she gets 3 miles in.

What is this? Anybody know?

There is also a state forest a couple of exits away--William Goodrich Jones State Forest with some really wide packed dirt trails which would be great for bike riding or just walking. The main trails are laid out in a grid fashion, the scenery just tall pines, not much else. These trails are shared with cyclers (almost none during the week) and horseback riders. (Sparky didn't see any the times she went). This state forest is home to the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, so if you are a birder, you might look for them. 
internet photo

We see that the interior roads are still bad in the park, full of potholes, some eroded and washed out portions, and there are some drainage issues near the new section due to new construction, but overall, the the park is beautiful. Big, massive pool, (unheated), nice restrooms, new laundry facility, and of course, access to Lake Conroe which is a really big nice lake. If you have kayaks, you can just launch right in the park down at the docks. Sparky might even rent a kayak while she's here and head out on the lake for the first time! 

The park is also heavily into putting in new small homes in a section called The Reserve. LOTS of them! 
The redbuds are in bloom.....A lovely sign of spring!

This park is close to every single type of store you could possibly need and amazing restaurants. Sparky met her daughter and grandson for lunch one day at Uncle Julio's, a terrific Mexican restaurant, on Grand Parkway in Conroe. Awesome food! Sparky's grandson is growing like a weed!
Sparky got in lots of hugs from her grandson while we were in the area. He's almost as tall as her!
And she got soundly trounced at Connect 4, a fun game to play with kids. Sparky just might have to find out how to be more of a challenge at this game and check out YouTube for strategies. (That's where you can find out how to solve the golf tee challenge at Cracker Barrel!) By the way, a really great movie for kids 7 and up to watch is The Adam Project. Just as soon as she can, she wants to watch it again, this time with her daughter and grandson. It's really great...It would have a lot of kid appeal to the young who are growing up on video games and smash 'em, bash 'em battles with the good guys and the bad guys, time travel quandaries for the older generation and the kid, Walter Scobell, who stars in the movie, is really really great. He talks too much, and his lines are so funny! It has a time travel element in it, and showcases family relationships with all that comes with a normal family struggling with some things. Sparky gives it a BIG thumbs up!

We met up with Janice and Dave Evans, former RVers who have since come off the road, for a nice lunch with friends of theirs, at Walls BBQ in Huntsville, TX. Then we surprised another couple whom we know from RVing, Jan and Greg White, who were at lunch with the Evans on another occasion!

Sparky is back in treatment temporarily here in the Conroe area for bad sciatic pain. It just doesn't quit. At some point, we will settle in an area for a more long term stay, maybe in Maine this summer, and get some consistent, more long term PT help. That's one disadvantage to traveling, if there is a medical issue and you are transient, it's tougher to get the issue resolved. Luckily, this problem is more of a persistent annoying problem, albeit painful, and not a serious, life changing problem as some encounter while out on the road full time.

On rainy days, which there are more of here in Texas than there are in Tucson, Sparky crafts---metal stamping, quilting, making jewelry and knitting. Here is a cabled headband Sparky knitted for some very cool days in March. She is also working on a pretty quilted and embroidered spring bee pillow cover, shown at left.

We got our slide fixed by 4 Girls Ranch RV maintenance, whose facility is right next door to the Thousand Trails park. Our big living room slide was going out ok, but then stopping part way when coming back in. The guys explained that it was a little out of kilter, they could tell by the decal strips not lining up and that the window gasket around the window at the side of the slide was pushing against the wall of the RV when trying to come in. That caused the slide to "stick" and stop. They jacked up the slide from underneath, and two guys pushed hard against the side of it, shifting it a half inch to the back of the rig, getting it back in alignment. They brought in 4 guys :-) to fix it because it's a big heavy slide, but it didn't take too long. They did a great job and the price was very reasonable!

Despite fuel prices, we still love doing what we do...traveling and seeing different parts of the country. We will hope and pray that fuel prices don't stop us from traveling, but we can always slow down and stay longer in an area. Sparky loves the different hiking and biking trails, and Eldo loves the change of scenery, atmosphere, and the freedom of traveling to different parks and parts of the country. It's a wonderful lifestyle, and still affordable despite the fuel price changes. However, campground prices are skyrocketing as well, as big companies are buying up smaller campgrounds to take advantage of the big increase in RV travelers. You have to plan carefully and think long term for booking reservations and use camping memberships to save money in order to be able to full time in an RV, that's for sure. So we do!

Our site at Lake Conroe in "B" section

So, that's it for now....Our next destination in three weeks is Mammoth Cave, KY and we will see you there!

Monday, March 7, 2022

The "New" Colorado River Thousand Trails Park

Weather: CLOUDY.  High: 81  Low: 72 for one day. Site: E90.

Site E90, corner lot, new section

Here come the temperatures this coming week in Lake Conroe, TX, where we go next. 

Highs: 49, 63, 70, 54, 56, 67, 74. Lows: 47, 44, 38, 40, 49, 30, 32

Eldo is missing Tucson.....So is Sparky.....But we are in an eastern and northern traveling direction from here on visit family, to visit doctors for annuals, to head towards Maine for the summer.

We've been to this Thousand Trails park in Columbus, Texas three times. Since the first couple of times, the park has upgraded with the addition of ONE HUNDRED new full hook up sites, a new bathroom facility, and paving of the entrance road to the park and the roads to the new section. Hallelujah! This is the Thousand Trails Lane leading into the park.

If you've been following our blog, you've probably heard Sparky gripe about terrible pot holed interior roads in many Thousand Trails parks, unlevel sites or old facilities, but Thousand Trails has outdone itself on these renovations here at Colorado River RV Park. Can't quite figure out why they spend 4-5 million on upgrading a park that is out in the boonies in rural southeastern Texas, and not bother to fix TERRIBLE roads and poorly graded sites some of their other parks like Lake Conroe, TX, for example, which is 30 minutes away from Houston, but go figure! Guess Lake Conroe brings in enough money, they don't have to fix the roads!

The new sites at Colorado River TT Park are HUMONGUS, they are super wide! Level gravel, very side entry lanes to get to the sites, ample green spaces with picnic tables interspersed through the new section, and a lake. However, they placed the new bathroom in an odd place, quite far from the new sites, but close to the main road that goes down to the river to the old sections. Here is an example of a site in the old section down by the river, a 30 amp site because it's not on the river side. It's one of the more level sites.

The laundry has NOT been updated. We heard there were plans to add a laundry, and they are going to need it. Right now there are 4 washers and 4 dryers for the entire park. A word about the laundry...They have the new CSC laundry app, (a big pain in the butt) but you can still use quarters. By the way, the CSC laundry app has TWO apps--one is called CSC Go, and the other is called CSC Mobile. Depending on the internet at different parks, you have to use one or the other. If one doesn't work, try the other one. It has something to do with the internet and being able to scan the bar codes on the machines. When it works, it works really well! It tells you what machines are available in your park laundry room, and how much time you have remaining for your wash. BUT--THAT feature is not always accurate.

The pool is small and the shower building next to it very outdated. The office has moved from the old brown building to the farmhouse on the left at the top of the hill. When you come in, pull to the gatehouse, use the call box to let them know you are there, then pull straight ahead and over to the right side where people normally hook up or unhook their toads. Walk over to the white farmhouse and check in. This procedure will probably change, but as of March, 2022, that's how you do it!

If you want to stay in the new section, you will have to pay an additional 10.00 a day. That gets pretty expensive if you stay three weeks, but we didn't mind for three days. The sites are so spread out and so much room between them, it's a whole different atmosphere from the old section. 

The mighty Colorado River-NOT!
The river is still extremely low and sand bars seem to take up more of the channel than the water does, but we know the river can flood at times. Sparky loves this park, it's so quiet and peaceful. She has seen lots of bluebirds and other birds at different stays. This is the park where deer roam freely around sites and in the meadows, but since they mowed down the main meadow in the old section, the deer are not as plentiful. Sparky did not see any deer this stay until she got out of the park and back onto a main road leading back to highway 71.

We love the new section of the park, we just wish there wasn't a charge on top of the membership fees we already pay, to stay in the new section. Colorado River Thousand Trails park has a limited number of full hook up sites in the old section, but these site additions were a much needed upgrade and seem to be worth the extra charge. Guess they have to try and bring in more revenue to help pay for the renovations. Sigh....Tomorrow, we head for Lake Conroe, TX to the Thousand Trails Park there....the one with the bad roads, but fantastic pool, terrific shopping, and most importantly, close to one daughter and grandson! Bye for now......


Friday, March 4, 2022

Eldo on the Move

Traveling days....High: 76, low 41.

We left Tucson with sad hearts, as we had really grown to love the area  in the short time we were there and the amazing scenery. We decided that next year we will splurge and stay THREE WHOLE months, figuring on saving on crazy high diesel fuel costs by staying put for awhile, not eating out so much, (HA! That will be the day, laughs Eldo) and wherever else we can trim the budget, we will. To stay at a beautiful resort with classes, amenities, and a restaurant on site will run you about 900 on up for a month. There are cheaper ones out there that are more like staying in a parking lot and don't have trees, plus they crowd you in closer together.

We left Monday from Tucson, traveling about 260-280 miles per day to drive through the western part of Texas on I-10 heading towards Texas. Our first one night stop was in Las Cruces, New Mexico. There is a dearth of decent campgrounds around certain parts of I-10, heading east, so we picked the Las Cruces KOA park. They only had a couple of sites left when we called on the road, and ended up paying about 80.00 for a deluxe site with a chimnea and a beautiful patio. 

We had a campfire that night, the first one in MONTHS as it is very dry in the southwest, and campfires have been prohibited at most campgrounds unless you have a propane fire pit. It was worth it! And we got to see a beautiful southwestern sky sunset. It was spectacular! (no filters, no editing, this is what we saw. WOWZA!)

The only part we didn't like about the KOA was that they expected you to back onto two sections of concrete pads getting your tires lined up on them. Not sure why, the rest of the site was all gravel. Why not make the whole site just plain gravel? It would be a LOT easier to back in. Restricting the rig to all four wheels on the cement was a lot harder angling in, but we managed to make it work.

As we traveled through New Mexico and towards El Paso, we continued to see the beautiful concrete work that these states use, and it really makes traveling a little more pleasurable to see it.

Sparky really enjoyed seeing the amazing colors they use, and the beautiful motifs reflecting the culture and geography of the area.

The next day we left and continued east. Our next stop was Fort Stockton, TX for one night, Fort Stockton RV Park, not to be confused with Fort Stockton RV RESORT park. It was a nice park, a no frills park, and reasonably priced at 36.00. The facilities were older, but the sites were level gravel, and it was perfect for an overnight stay. And here's a cautionary tale from the park brochure....They are not kidding. It's very windy in a LOT of places in Texas!

Oakwood corner lot site 41
By this time, as you have noticed, we were in Texas. Our next stop was Fredericksburg, TX, a German inspired town with a great little shopping center downtown, with many wineries nearby, (39 on the Texas wine trail). The park was called Oakwood RV Resort. Oakwood was beautiful, 54.00 a night with a Good Sam's camping discount. Lots of trees in the park, but not interfering with parking a big rig. We scored a corner lot that was the biggest corner lot we have ever stayed in. It also had a glider and a deluxe fire pit. The new managers were super nice and welcoming. We loved our stay there. We think the Fredericksburg area is worth spending a little more time there next time.


The pool was the BIGGEST pool Sparky had ever seen. It was big enough to get lots of good laps in. (Sparky used to be a competitive swimmer way back when.) She was going to go swimming, but the water was FRIGID, so no dice. Now Sparky is not a wimp, she likes cool water. BUT--It was not heated, so if you are a polar bear, you would like it! (It had been in the 40's at night for several nights, so that's why it was so cold.) 

We had gotten up, packed up and hitched up three straight days in a row, so we decided to spend TWO nights in Fredericksburg to give Eldo a driving break. And no, Sparky REALLY does not like to drive the rig, so she's got to take good care of her driver. He needs a break? Sparky needs a break, too. Time to quickly check out the area, and take a little walk the next day at Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park, a

BIG park of about 320 acres which had a little nature trail, little--like one mile, but hey, Sparky has got to keep moving and stay in shape for hiking in Arizona next year. Gonna be hard to do to stay hiking fit heading back to the midwest, but she will do her best! It was not a pretty park at all,  but these are the winter months in Texas, and everything is brown and dry. There was a cool "Fairy House" at the park, though.

We had really nice neighbors at Oakwood. Meet Billy....

And his buddies....There was another goat who had really sharp, narrowly spaced horns, not pictured here. Sparky made the mistake of sticking her hand thru the fence to scratch his head between his ears and horns, and almost got her hand stuck between his horns and the fence as he vigorously shook his head! Guess he didn't like that! Sparky didn't like that, either!

Site E #80

We reached our destination for this week, Colorado River Thousand Trails Park in Columbus, TX. This park is out in the boonies, away from any major towns, but we like it very much. There are herds of deer that feed in the meadows and walk around the campsites all the time.There is a brand new section of 100 ample, large level sites with full hookups, but they are charging an additional 10.00 a night to stay in this pretty section on top of your camping membership. As there were no full hookup sites available in the old section, which would have been a free stay, we decided to take a corner lot in the new one. 

The Colorado River does run through this park, but it's a mere shadow of itself, barely a creek right now. We will be here for three nights, then head for three weeks to Lake Conroe, TX on Monday. 

We are having slide problems, one of the slides will go out ok, but not come in all the way, or stop part way, so we will use our time at Lake Conroe to try and troubleshoot that with a mobile tech. We will see you in Lake Conroe, TX, next time.  Bye for now!