After a quick dash to Texas, it was time to spend some quality time with friends and former co-workers of mine from many years ago at Xerox; people we hadn't seen since 1996 during the Atlanta Olympics.
I used to work FOR Rhonda Lea. I used to work WITH Allen Lea. Rhonda was usually working hard to keep Allen and I from committing professional suicide with our sometimes quirky sense of humor – always funny (to us), but not always understood by others. Fortunately we both survived and lasted many years at Xerox. But we hadn't seen each other for many, many years. So when in Texas, it was a natural thing to head to the northern suburb of Dallas known as Frisco, TX. We don't usually pay as much per night ($60) as we did for this campground, but there is a dearth of available campgrounds in decent places north of Dallas, and as it was also situated on Lake Lewisville we felt the three days there were worth it.
The nice thing we discovered about Texas is that it is very flat, therefore there is little trouble finding level sites upon which to park the motor home. Our levelers have always done a great job of leveling our 36LA, but the more it needs to level, the harder it is to get it just right so that the shower door doesn't slide open while in use, or that the half bath door doesn't fly open when using it. An added benefit is that the lower step is always very low, making it easier for us and our guests to get on up into our home.
The campground we stayed at was Hidden Cove Park and Marina. It's quiet, with very little light spillage due to it's remote location. But it's also close enough to Frisco to get food (I can recommend the Nolan Ryan beef at Kroger) and meals if you want to. Warning signs for this park included being on the lookout for coyotes and bobcats. Didn't see or hear either, which was fine by me. The sites, as you can see by the attached picture, are fairly large; either pie shaped to the back or to the front due to the curves of the roads onsite. Our back-in site was just long enough to tuck our tow dolly underneath the back of the 36LA and still have room to park the Mini across the front of the coach.
Texas features many strange and quirky places; none more strange than the Toxic Waste Dump Farm, featuring the tag line: “Beef To Die For”. OK, so it's not a real cattle farm (or any farm for that matter), nor does it contain any toxic waste on the property. It DOES contain a very disgruntled owner whose next door property is being developed as a pretty posh neighborhood of brand new and expensive homes. Doesn't sound like a big problem, unless you're the guy next door who didn't want the property developed but didn't want to buy it on his own, either. So in his own fashion, he's finding a way to protest development on his terms. Not sure how effective it will be, but I give him high marks for creativity!
After a little sightseeing in historic downtown Denton, TX, and a couple of really good meals where some tall tales were swapped, we headed to our next destination; Stephen F. Austin State Park just west of Houston in San Felipe, but not before we encountered our next Texas institution: Buc-ees.
If you have never experienced Buc-ees before, well – it's hard to describe. The first thing you notice is the unbelievable number of gas pumps. Nearly 100 at the Melissa location, and that's not even the largest Buc-ees in the state! The interesting thing about Buc-ees is that tractor trailers are NOT allowed in any Buc-ees; it is NOT a truck stop. But it can accommodate our 37 ft RV just fine. Diesel is available for pickups and RV's as well, but NO 18-wheelers! But that's only part of the Buc-ees experience. Spotless restrooms (a miracle given the huge number of customers who stop by). A bakery, a sandwich counter featuring real Texas brisket, homemade candy and fudge, an incalculable number of flavors of jerky, and enough souvenirs to make any traveler happy. Think of your average CVS or Walgreens store, quintuple it's size, and stuff it with all of the above. It is a sight to behold, and their gas prices are the lowest around.
Full of gas, we point our RV south towards the port city of Houston.
We're Dave and Barbara Richard, and we're living the ultimate retirement experience - traveling the U.S. and Canada in style in a Tiffin Open Road 36LA Class A motor home, playing golf and stopping at every weird and wacky roadside attraction we can find.