Friday, May 5, 2017

Deming to Livingston and Texas Rest Parks

Continuing with our trip to Florida from western Arizona, we left Deming as early as we could on Sunday morning, and proceeded east on I-10 to Las Cruces, and then south toward El Paso. It was a beautiful clear day, and we had a great view of the Organ Mountains all the way to El Paso.

Heading east on I-10 from Deming toward Las Cruces
with the Organ Mountains in the distance.

We picked up a very handy flier at Dreamcatcher RV Park in Deming, that showed us an easy shortcut to get around the traffic of El Paso, rather than follow I-10 through the city.

The shortcut route had us follow the new Hwy 375 from north of the city to the east and then south to come out on I-10 well east of any traffic and construction toward the heart of the city, and I highly recommend it if you don't like city traffic.

About twelve miles east, we saw truck stops at exit 49 (the Fabens exit) and found a place along the south edge of one of them where we could park and fix a quick lunch. From there, it was about 89 miles to Van Horn, Texas. Unfortunately, we couldn't find an RV park there that had a reduced rate for a boondocking site, and we weren't about to pay $35 for something we didn't need, so we went a few more miles down the road to the first rest park we saw.

Texas allows overnight parking in their rest stops, so we took full advantage of that. The one just east of Van Horn suited our needs very well.

Our first Texas rest park just east of Van Horn had plenty of room.
The Van Horn rest park was very long and easy to get in and out.
Our next Texas rest park was just a lunch stop about 20 miles east of Saragosa, and about the same distance west of Fort Stockton.

At a rest park east of Saragosa we found angled parking for a lunch stop.
This rest park also had a straight-away for truckers and nice facilities.
From here, it was a long drive all the way to Kerrville. We debated about cutting off on Hwy 290, which would have been shorter to head toward Austin, but we didn't see any good places to boondock for the night once we got off the Interstate. So we passed the Hwy 290 exit and continued east, where there was another rest park just before we got to Hwy 87, which would take us back north toward Fredericksburg, TX.

It was at this rest stop that we noticed the smell of raw propane again, after just having the line repaired in Quartzsite before we left. But more about that after we get to Louisiana. For the time being, we just shut the propane off and moved all the refrigerator stuff back to the trailer's refrigerator... again!

The Kerrville, TX rest park was on the crown of a hill and straight through.

The Kerrville, TX rest park also had a huge grassy park for dog walking.
Our next stop was a quick lunch stop at the Fredericksburg, TX Walmart. They don't allow overnight parking there, but the town seems to be steeped in history, and appeared to be a beautiful spot to explore on another trip... in a much smaller vehicle.

At Walmart, Fredicksburg, TX for a quick lunch stop.
From Fredericksburg, our goal was to get through Austin and on to either College Station or Bryan, Texas to another Walmart that allowed overnight parking. Unfortunately, we turned too soon on a fork that led us around to the south side of town and then we had to come back north, right through the heart of the city and the college campus. By then, we had no idea where to get back on the road we wanted, and trying to view a map on a smart phone in city traffic is not a good idea. But I gathered enough information at stops at red lights, that I finally got on what I thought was the road we wanted.

In reality, it was still a road too far south. It got us to a Home Depot, where I pulled in to get my bearings in more detail. It was then that I realized the Bryan, TX Walmart was one freeway exit north of us, so we finally arrived there just as their parking lot lights were coming on.

Our parking spot along the west fence at the Bryan, TX Walmart.
We did buy a few supplies while we were there, checked to make sure our solar panels were still secure, and left the next morning. Our next goal was getting to the Escapee's Rainbows End RV Resort at Livingston, TX, where I knew they had boondocking sites, and for $7.50 a night, we had full access to everything in the park... including the laundry room, which was one of our tasks while there. And fortunately, the boondocking site is right across the street from the laundry room!

Our boondocking site across from the laundry and next to the Smart-Weigh scales.
In the photo above, you can see the laundry room directly behind us, and the Smart Weigh scales next to us.

Our rig at Dry Camp B at Escapee's Rainbows End RV Resort.
At the front of our RV, and across the street is the main Activity Center for the resort, as well as the swimming pool. This building is where the holiday meals and special events are held, as it's auditorium (complete with stage) holds more people than the Clubhouse in the center of the park.

The Activity Center at Rainbows End was across the street from us.
Looking down our street to the west are full hookup spaces for RV's, and at the far end to the right, just before exiting the park, is the famous Rainbow's End Senior Care Center.

More full hookup spaces at the east end of the Rainbows End RV Resort.
While we were there for our one night, not much was happening at the Activity Center, but we did stop and pick up our mail that had collected at the Escapee's Mail Center at their main headquarters building (which is HUGE). We still get some mail there, even though we have officially changed it to Americas Mailbox in South Dakota.

The Escapee's Mail Center and headquarters building.
We also caught a movie at the Clubhouse near the center of the resort, where they always have free popcorn and snacks.

The Escapees Clubhouse in the back, and a maintenance building on the right.
The inside of the Clubhouse is nicely appointed, with a main room, kitchen, and a library and other rooms off to the left side. They usually have an ice cream social on Sundays and a movie every week.

The left side of the main room in the Clubhouse.
The right side and kitchen of the main room in the Clubhouse.
Normally we would stay longer here, but we had a special occasion to celebrate with our friends near Reeves, LA, so we could only delay one night here. The drive the next day was nice, although we made a wrong turn at Singer, LA at the intersection of Highways 110 and 27. Highway 110 makes a slight jog there, and is adjacent to train tracks, which happened to be occupied at the time. Several trucks wanting to make a left turn (which we should have done) were parked along the right side to let traffic through on 27, and we didn't see the sign pointing to the left. So we continued on south on 27 to DeQuincy, and then east to Ragley, which is where we would have come out anyway.

From there, it was just a few more miles east on Hwy 190 and and then south on a county road to get to our friend's place. But more about the nearly two-week stay at their place in the next post. So many things were done there, that it deserves a post of its own.

Thank you for reading my blog and following our travels. Within the next three posts, we will finally be in Florida, a place we haven't been for nearly 24 years! I'm sure there will be many surprises after we get there, and even more to come after that. Be sure to subscribe for emailed post updates.

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