How NOT to visit Texas. Part 1


I’m sure Texas has a lot to offer RVers. Really, I am. And I’m certainly not crossing it off our list of RV destinations yet. But our recent trip through the Lone Star State turned into one of those traumatizing, comical, nightmarish ordeals you might see in a bad movie. Way worse than “Sharknado”.  It was so bad, I had to split it into multiple entries just so I wouldn’t be traumatized writing it.

The trip started out well enough. After zipping through the state to get to the Southwest RV Supershow (where we had a great time, by the way), we were looking forward to seeing some sights, getting some R&R, and checking out the beach. We got in a morning jog, and rolled out of our site at the Vineyards Campground in Grapevine (which is awesome, by the way, and we’ll be posting up a video review of that soon), ready for a day of seeing the sights of pre-Ebola Dallas.

Leaving Vineyards Campground

Imagine the Titanic setting off from Southampton

Now, not being Texans, neither Stef nor I know much about Texas history. I’m sure it’s bold, patriotic, and inspiring. We decided to skip all that and head for the most memorable landmark we could think of near Dallas. Southfork Ranch! <insert groans from actual Texans>

SONY DSC

Now yes, we know it’s not even a real landmark. It’s a fictional landmark. Everything we know about the place is simply made up. But we had fun anyway (and it was just about the last fun we had in Texas, so bear with it). It turns out, most of the inside has never been used for filming. That’s OK. Because what I remember most from the show was the Ewings having breakfast outside on the patio in three piece suits. It hasn’t changed much. Check it out!

Southfork Patio

We were too late for breakfast, but we had a barbeque lunch at the deli there, and then we were off to the only other thing we know about in Dallas. The Grassy Knoll!   (Note to Texans: our caricature-like tour of your state ends after this.)

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These days, there are plaques in the plaza and a museum in the former Texas School Book Depository. Since I wasn’t actually alive in 1963, I found these helpful in providing context. I was about 51 years too late, but I decided to conduct my own superficial investigation anyway. My investigation consisted of the following:

  • Reading the plaques about other people’s actual investigations;
  • Listening to the audio tour until I got bored;
  • Looking out the window next to the window and thinking “it’s not THAT hard of a shot”;
  • Feeling like a terrible human being for my glib attitude;
  • Running up and down the grassy knoll;
  • Checking out the painted “X” on the pavement;
  • Feeling REALLY ashamed about myself;
  • Leaving.
Texas School Book Depository

OK. Maybe I’m missing something, but it just doesn’t seem that hard.

In the end, I was able to reach only one conclusion: If you plan to visit Dealey Plaza in your RV, it had better not be any bigger than our 22 foot class B, or you’re going to have a really hard time.

After the Grassy Knoll, we headed down toward Houston. I have a sister who lives in Tomball, TX, just outside Houston, and we rarely get to see each other, so we were going to meet her and her family for dinner. But since I was involved, we got going late, and so we had to skip out on the only other thing I know about in Texas – the old electric chair in Huntsville.

We hustled down to Tomball and met up with my Sister and her family for dinner. We had some pretty good Tex-Mex grub, but by the time we were finished visiting, it was getting pretty late. But we had reservations that we had already paid for, so we pressed on.

It was a dark and stormy night

Well, there will be no pictures for a while, because this whole thing happened in the blackness of night.  You’ll thank me for the “no pictures” later.

Our campground reservations were at Sea Rim State Park, which is on the gulf coast of Texas, pretty close to Louisiana. The GPS got us right there, but I don’t know if the drive was pretty, because it was night. From what we could tell of the campground, we were the ONLY people there. Perhaps this should have been a warning.

As we pulled into the campground, it started raining. This was not just any rain, mind you. This was a Texas-sized, “Ummm, I can’t tell if we’re at a campsite or not because of the sideways sheets of water” kind of rain. I was seriously wondering if the engine would stall from taking on water. I’m not exaggerating; this was the most water I had ever seen in the sky at one time, period. And it was flying sideways.

I pulled into what I guessed was a campsite and powered down the engine. All the windows in the RV immediately began to fog up. In spite of this, we decided to skip the hookups and air conditioning, mostly on the account of the fire-hose-like rainstorm. But as we were making up the bed, one of the windows started to leak…

And that’s where things started to go badly naked.  Wait…  Astray…  I mean badly astray.  Stay tuned for part two.



James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling certified coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.


    2 thoughts on “How NOT to visit Texas. Part 1

      1. James - Post author

        Hi Karen –

        Unfortunately, we’re not an RV dealer, we just like them. If you let us know where you are and which one you’re interested in, we could try to put you in touch with one. And if you’re interested in our own Das Bus, she’s a one-of-a-kind. We’re not really thinking of selling her right now.

        Reply

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