Saturday, December 6, 2008

In Rockport Early

written Saturday, December 06, 2008
Rockport, TX.

It's way past time for an update. I think my last post to the blog was almost a week ago... way behind again.

In my last post we were getting ready to leave Texarkana and move south. Because our reservations in Rockport for the holidays had us arriving on the 12th, we had a good week and a half to kill along the way to the Gulf Coast -- about the right amount of time for a stop in Austin to see the State Capitol and the LBJ Library and Museum at the University of Texas.

So on Monday, December 1, we escaped from Shady Pines RV Park near Texarkana and headed south on US-59. The agreed upon route for the day had us picking up I-20 west near Marshall, to US-271 to Tyler, around the west loop to TX-31, which we could take all the way to a Corps of Engineers campground on Navarro Mills Lake, about 30 miles northeast of Waco. The plan was to enjoy the Corps park for a couple days, if it was decent, before heading down to the Austin area for the weeks main event. But fate intervened and the plan changed on the fly.

First, let me explain our thinking about the holidays. While our lifestyle is nomadic and most every week we're moving somewhere new, the idea of settling in for the Christmas and New Years Holidays makes it possible for Dar to exercise her drive to decorate the bus-house with colored lights, a small Christmas tree, and all kinds of other stuff. It allows us to get closer to a holiday family -- all the other campers here at the RV Park. And it allows us to linger in a place where there's a good chance the weather will be good and warmer than most of the continental U.S.

We really hit it off with the group at Sandollar Resort last year even though we were only here for less than a month. By the middle of January we were back on the road, heading west, and exploring West Texas and the Big Bend area -- and man-o-man, it was cold.

The entire state of Texas is tilted toward the Southeast and the Gulf Coast. Most all big rivers run from the northwest toward the Gulf in the southeast. Conversely, any route to the north and west is an uphill climb. For instance, in Rockport we're sitting at a few feet above sea level. By the time we got to Marathon in West Texas we were over 4,000 feet. And elevation means it's gonna be cold in the winter -- we hit a low of 6f degrees one morning in Marathon. It was all I could do to get Dar out of bed to make coffee that morning.

Anyway, back to our thoughts for this winter. Back in September we decided to do the Holidays in Rockport again and, if space was available, to spend up to two full months -- December and January. This would allow the world to warm a bit before setting off on further explorations in 2009. Sandollar Resort, like most RV parks, has some sites that they rent out monthly and others that are daily/weekly. Monthly sites are a much better deal at about half the cost of daily/weekly sites. Last year we had one of their weekly sites which are more available due to the higher price. When we made reservations earlier in the fall all the monthly sites were spoken for, so we reserved the same weekly site and put our name on a waiting list for a monthly.

Monday, as we were driving down TX-31 on the way to Navarro Mills Lake the phone rang. It was Sandollar Resort in Rockport letting us know that a monthly site had opened up and would be available until February 1. Perfect! After about 2 minutes of deliberation we let them know we'd take it and could be there in two days.

Where TX-31 intersects with I-45 I pointed the bus-house south and we pressed on to the town of Madisonville, TX where we overnighted in a WalMart parking lot.

The next morning, Tuesday, we continued on I-45 South to the Houston area, picked up the Sam Houston Toll Road, circled around the west side of the Metroplex, and caught US-59 West. After another hundred miles or so, we stopped in Victoria for the night.

Wednesday morning the drive into Rockport was 65 miles but complicated by strong gusty winds. By 1pm we had the toad disconnected had eased into our site. But with all the reunion greetings it took the rest of the day to get settled.

So, here we are for nearly two months. Even during our extended stays in Vancouver, WA. and in Wisconsin, we have never been in one place for two full months. In a way, this will be an experiment -- the suppression of a need to travel and explore, to find what's waiting for us over the next mountain range. But I like Rockport. And Dar likes Rockport. Good People. It's not pretentious and there's something about being right on the Gulf. Two months will evaporate and we'll be off on new adventures before we know it.