Sunday, December 27, 2015

Livingston to Harker Heights Texas

I know what you are thinkng..."where the heck is Harker Heights?". I guess unless you live there, or know someone who does, you may have never heard of it. But it was our target for the first leg of the journey west, after leaving Livingston.

Harker Heights is actually just east of Killeen, Texas. Some might say that it is a suburb, but appears to be a city in itself. Not knowing anything about it, other than it had a Walmart which allowed overnight parking, I did my research, mostly using That site tells me whether it is in an impoverished area, the make-up of the population as to ethnicity, the average income and how it relates to the rest of the state as well as national average, and even what facilities are around there, from hospitals to TV and radio stations. With it having an above average income and all other things sounding good, plus the fact that it is just outside of a larger city, all indicators that I look for were positive.

The rains that had delayed us for several days in Livingston had not quite had their final say, yet. It was overcast but dry when we started out, but we ran into several rain showers during our zig-zagging across the state.

Cruising along through central Texas under heavily overcast skies.

Hwy 190, unfortunately, does not run in a straight line. In fact, there aren't many highways that do run fairly straight across Texas, other than 380, which runs from the eastern side north of Dallas/Ft. Worth, all the way to Roswell. It has a few turns on the way, but not bad. We have been on it several times before, but it is unfortunately way too far north to meet our needs this time.

Hwy 190 runs by itself for awhile, and then joins an interstate at a couple different points, and then meanders off on its own again. We found the signage in Texas leaves a lot to be desired, and missed a turn once, but fortunately, the road just takes another right-angled route around a square pattern, and met up with itself again without taking us out of our way.

We arrived in Harker Heights before dark, although the sun had just set as we arrived. We found the HUGE Walmart Super Center right off the main exit, but getting to it is like driving through a maze. There are no straight driveways into it, so you just have to trust your instincts and follow the traffic. No other RVs were in sight anywhere in the parking lot, nor any 18-wheelers, so we just picked a spot at the far end of the parking lot, close to the exit and close to grassy areas for walking Angel. The exit is a lot easier to get out of than getting in through the entrance, although you still have to wind your way out to a stoplight.

The one mistake I made was that I should have gone around and come in from the other direction. Our trailer was slightly out of level, and could have been improved by reversing our direction, but for one night, we could deal with it. We were headed slightly downhill at the front, further aggravated by the slow leak in the van's airbag system, which made for a low tongue height. We'll keep that in mind for the next time.

Earlier, I had written a post questioning whether such "free" parking spots are really "free" and this was a good example. We were in need of groceries and other things to make our near future boondocking easier, so we went into Walmart to buy a few things...$142 worth of "things".

Granted, we needed most of them anyway, and whether we bought them here or not was a moot point. But we do think that because it was a really HUGE store (the largest Walmart we have ever been in) it did sway us into buying a few extra things, just because they might not be available somewhere else.

But other than being out of level and spending a small fortune, our overnight experience was a good one. Despite the store being open 24 hours, and the amount of traffic it gets, it remained as quiet as one could expect, and we got a decent night's sleep.

I apologize for a lack of photos. It's hard to drive and take photos with a cell phone to begin with, but we are new to this "being on the road and blogging thing" and are still forgetting to take photos when we have an opportunity to do so. But we'll get better.

I'll continue with the "leg by leg" posts about our trip, and try to keep them concise, but writers write. It's what we do. Even if it's about relatively nothing. What can I say?

Next up, our next stop in Iraan, Texas, and no, it has nothing to do with the Middle East. But it does have one thing in common...Texas gold...oil...and you can smell it in the air as well as see the pumps along the way. But more about that coming up.

Stick around, subscribe to new posts, and ask any questions or comment as you see fit.

Thanks for reading.


Gary Wood said...

I still forget to take photos after traveling for two years. I've missed some great moments. I'm getting better though. Safe travels John.

John Abert said...

Thank you, Gary! I think we may have to buy a simple point and shoot that can be operated from one hand. The Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge that I always carry, is awkward to use, sometimes even with two hands, although it does have a great camera with a lot of features, including 8X zoom. But I can an even better camera in our future.