Category Archives: Planned Trips

Fall Trip

We’ve finally made most of our reservations for our fall trip to the Smoky Mountains.

We will be taking three days to travel each way.

The first night we will be staying in Little Rock Arkansas at the Little Rock North / Jct. I40 KOA.

The next two nights we will be staying at the Nashville North KOA.

This will allow us one full day in Nashville to do some sight seeing.

Finally we will be staying five nights at the Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg KOA.

Originally, we had planned on staying longer in the Smokies but when I went to make reservations all the weekends were filled.

We could have planned for only two days travelling each way, but we wanted the trip to be more relaxing.

Also, after having tire troubles on our Hot Springs trip wanted to arrive before dark even if we had some unexpected delays.

We haven’t made our return reservations yet.

We felt we could use our stops in Little Rock and Nashville on the way to scout out the areas.

If we feel we’d like to spend more time in either place we can make our reservations appropriately.

Planned Trip: First Trip of 2016

Most years we have taken one last trip around the first week of December.

After that trip we usually have the trailer winterized and leave it in storage until the end of February or first of March.

This year is not exception.

After our December trip to Eisenhower State Park, we had the unit winterized.

We now have reservations for our first trip of 2016.

We will be travelling to South Padre Island.

We will be leaving February 26th and returning March 4th.

We will be staying at the South Padre Island KOA.

According to Google Maps, the drive is nearly nine hours.

We decided to take it easy and stop in San Antonio both going and coming.

We have reservations at the San Antonio KOA for one night on the way and two nights on the way back.

That leaves us with five nights at South Padre.

We don’t have any specific plans for the trip, but we hope to do some site seeing and bird watching at South Padre.

We’re staying an extra night in San Antonio on the way back so we can spend a day site seeing.

Planned Trips: Padre / Goose Island Trip Cancelled.

We were supposed to be somewhere along the Texas Gulf coast about this time, but instead I’m writing this from home.

We had two issues with the travel trailer that prevented us from leaving yesterday (12/10.)

First the tail / running lights were not working.

A blown fuse in the truck caused this.

Next the refrigerator was not running off the inverter.

A blown fuse also caused this. This fuse was in the “thingamabob” that balances current between the two batteries.

In theory we could have left today for an abbreviated trip but Mandy has been fighting a cold, so we decided to stay home.

We are currently having the rig winterized, so our next trip will probably be in February.

Stay tuned.

Planned Trips: Padre Island: December 2014 Finalized

I’ve completed my research and made our reservations for our December trip to Padre Island.

We actually will be going to Goose Island, but we’ll be in Padre Island area.

We have camping reservations at Goose Island State Park for December 10th through the 14.

In an earlier post (http://chuck-brennaman.com/CampingBlog/?p=155) I had more questions than I had answers about when and where to go.

Those questions and our decisions are discussed below:

How Many Days Should We Schedule?

We decided leave on a Wednesday, which gives us all day on Tuesday to prepare after volunteering on Monday.

By staying four nights, we will be returning on Sunday.

This means we could theoretically volunteer on the following Monday.

We are thinking that what we will probably do is check to see if there is another day on that following week when we can volunteer.

This would mean we wouldn’t miss a week but we would still have Monday for “getting caught up.”

Where Should We Stay

We’ve always been big fans of the Texas State Park System and as I mentioned in that earlier post, we prefer the state parks to commercial campgrounds.

Goose Island SP did have a couple of negatives, which we had to consider.

First, they do not have full hookups, so we would have to bring our portable waste tank and/or use the public showers.

I also read that the Bayfront sites can be very windy with blowing sand and spray.

The wooded area sites can be somewhat tight for larger rigs and only have 30-amp electric service.

I really thought that we cold probably get by on 30-amp service since we won’t be running the air conditioners.

On the other hand from its description this park could our perfect park.

Wildlife observations and photography opportunities are said to abound.

It is also close to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, which are the wintering grounds for whooping cranes.

It is also close to Copano Bay fishing pier, Mustang Island State Park, Fulton Mansion State Historic Site, Texas Maritime Museum, and the Texas State Aquarium.

Before I made our reservation, I actually called the park and asked about the space in the wooded area for a large rig.

The person I spoke to verified that some people have difficulty maneuvering into the spaces with all the trees.

She also said that in the hot season it could actually feel hotter in the wooded area because the trees block the wind.

Based on that conversation, I made our reservations in the Bayfront area.

After we made our reservations, our decision was confirmed when I went back and re-read the reviews on www.rvparkreviews.com.

I have never before seen so many “10” ratings for a state park.

They also recommended the scheduled activities including a morning shore bird walk.

I’m hoping after our stay, I’ll be adding to those “10” ratings.

Planned Trip: Padre Island: December, 2014 (Updated)

As I mentioned previously (http://chuck-brennaman.com/CampingBlog/?p=47) we are hoping to make a trip to Padre Island in December.

Right now I have more questions than answers about the trip.

How Many Days Should We Schedule?

First of all, I’m not sure how long we should schedule for the trip.

Since we are volunteering at Christine and Christopher’s school on Mondays, I would like to schedule the trip so that we don’t miss any Mondays.

After our “Victory Tour” earlier this month, I have decided that I’d like to limit our daily drives to eight hours or less.

The trip to Padre Island would be very close to that self-imposed limit.

I’m thinking that we would want to take two days for the trip to Padre Island since it typically takes a couple of hours to get the trailer from storage and load it.

I might consider making the trip home in one day but if I do I would probably not take the trailer back to storage until the next day.

Taking an extra day or two for the drive and limiting our trip to Tuesday through Sunday would mean we would only have two days at Padre Island.

Where Should We Stay?

Last year when had originally planned this trip I was thinking we would stay at one of the two state parks (Mustang Island SP or Goose Island SP.)

We have a definite preference for staying at the state parks over a commercial campground.

Neither of those parks, however, have full hookups.

Also, if we try to make the trip to Padre Island in one day, that means we would arrive after dark.

Setting up after dark might be quite a challenge.

(The commercial campgrounds are more likely to have pull through sites and may also provide assistance in getting situated in the site.)

So this year, I am considering staying at a nearby commercial campground such as KOA.

Time For More Research

It sounds like I have research to do before we finalize our plans.

 

 

Planned Trip: “Victory Tour” October, 2014 (updated with reservations)

In October, we plan on making our “victory tour.”

This will be our first real trip after retirement.

We plan on visiting Kansas City and Columbia Missouri to visit relatives.

We now have reservations for the trip, so our itinerary is getting firmed up.

Here are our current plans:

October 1: Leave Fort Worth and spend the night at Twin Fountains Resort in Oklahoma City.

Originally we had planned on driving to the Kansas City area in one day, but we have since decided to break that trip up.

If you look on Google it will say that the travel time is about eight hours.

My experience however is that when you add in time for fuel and bathroom stops and meals the elapsed time is closer to ten hours.

I also expect it to take a little longer pulling the travel trailer than it takes in a car.

An early start is also a little difficult with the travel trailer since we have to load up the trailer with supplies.

It takes about an hour to drive up to the storage lot, hook up the trailer and drive back home.

When you add an hour for loading the trailer, the total elapsed time is close to 12 hours.

I thought about parking the trailer in front of the house overnight.

That would allow us do most of the loading it the night before but I’m not sure that the refrigerator will run all night on the truck and trailer batteries.

I don’t want to plug the trailer in because the connection is on the left side so it would stick out in the street.

Another advantage of spending the night in OKC is that we might be able to see a second cousin of mine who lives there.

October 2: Leave OKC for Basswood Resort in Platte City, Missouri.

Platte City is not terribly far from Mandy’s sister Gerri.

Of my siblings in the area, my sister Amy is the furthest from Platte City but its only about an hour drive.

We have reservations for six nights.

October 8: Leave for Columbia, Missouri where we will my brother Brian and his family.

Our reservations are for two nights at Cottonwood Park in Columbia.

That campground has had mixed reviews, but there aren’t very many campgrounds in Columbia.

Brian and his wife Lisa adapted a daughter two years ago who we have never seen.

This visit is way over due.

We plan on leaving Columbia no later than Friday, October 9th since Mizzou has a home football game on Saturday, the 10th.

October 9: Leave for Branson, Missouri.

We have reservations at the Branson KOA for four nights.

The reason I decided on the KOA campground is that I’m thinking they may have the best laundry facilities and after a week on the road, we will probably need to wash clothes.

October 14: Leave for home.

 

Planned Trip: “Victory Tour” October, 2014 (updated)

In October, we plan on making our “victory tour.”

This will be our first real trip after retirement.

We plan on visiting Kansas City and Columbia Missouri to visit relatives.

While our plans are not finalized, here is our tentative itinerary:

October 1: Leave for the Kansas City area. Right now we are planning on staying at Basswood Resort in Platte City.

That campground has good reviews.

Platte City is not terribly far from Mandy’s sister Gerri.

Of my siblings in the area, my sister Amy is the furthest from Platte City but its only about an hour drive.

Currently we plan on staying until October 7th or 8th at which time we will go to Columbia.

Tentative plans are to spend two nights in the Columbia area visiting my brother Brian and his family.

Brian and his wife Lisa adapted a daughter two years ago who we have never seen.

This visit is way over due.

Right now, I’m thinking of staying at Cottonwoods RV Park.

That campground has had mixed reviews, but there aren’t very many campgrounds in Columbia.

We plan on leaving Columbia no later than Friday, October 9th since Mizzou has a home football game on Saturday, the 10th.

Our next stop after Columbia is Branson, Missouri.

We are hoping that we will be there for the peak of the fall colors.

I’m not sure where we will be staying in Branson, but I have three possible campsites in mind.

They are Tall Pines Campground, Branson KOA, and Table Rock Lake State Park.

Last year we stayed at Tall Pines would definitely stay there again.

I’m thinking the state park may be a better campground for taking in the fall colors.

The reason I’m considering the KOA campground is that I’m thinking they may have the best laundry facilities and after a week on the road, we will probably need to wash clothes.

As our plans evolve, I’ll be posting them.

 

Planned Trip: Eisenhower State Park September 12 – 15, 2014

This week I made reservations at Eisenhower State Park for three nights beginning September 12.

This will our first post-retirement trip.

We originally were planning on making Eisenhower the first stop on our “victory tour.”

At that time I was thinking that we would make that trip in September.

Since then we decided to schedule our “victory tour” so that we would be in Branson around the time the trees’ color would be close to its peak.

With the longer trip moved to October that left us free for a short trip in September.

My first thought was a trip to Eisenhower since it has always been a favorite camping destination.

I then thought that if we were going to stop at Eisenhower in October it might be nice to go somewhere else in September.

When I suggested going to Tyler State Park, Christine indicated that Eisenhower would fit better into her schedule.

Now that I’ve made a “short story long” we’re now planning on going to Eisenhower in September and will probably not stop there in October.

Since this will be a post-retirement trip we won’t be limited a short weekend trip.

We plan on driving up during the day on Friday and staying until Monday morning.

Christine and Christopher will be joining us although Christine is going to return hone one night for a birthday party.

This will be the first time Christopher gets to spend the night with us in the Travel Trailer without Christine.

Based on previous trips, we will probably doing some hiking, photography, fishing, and swimming. (The swimming is mostly for Christopher.)

Planned Trip – Missouri – October, 2014

We’re hoping to make a trip to Kansas City and Columbia to visit family.

Currently I’m thinking we will begin this trip by spending two or three weekend nights at Eisenhower State Park at Lake Texoma. We are hoping that Christine and Christopher can join us there.

Next I’m thinking we will spend a couple of nights in Branson.

After that we would travel to either Kansas City or Columbia.

In Columbia we are hoping to spend some time with Brian and his family. We have not seen his daughter Lucy yet.

In Kansas City we would like to visit with the remainder of my siblings, Mandy’s sister Gerri, possibly an aunt and uncle or two.

I’m not sure if we will try to make the return trip in one day or two. (That will partially depend upon whether we are leaving from K.C. or Columbia.)