Let me say up front, I’m not an expert on RV water heaters. 99% of my experience is based on using our Truma AquaGo Comfort Plus system while living and travelling full time in our RV for the past 3 years. We mostly stay in parks with full hookups but do stay in parks without sewer several times a year. We rarely dry camp. How we camp definitely affects our attitudes toward tankless. The Truma AquaGo systems are arguably some of the best you can buy and the Comfort Plus model is the best of the best, but they are also some of the most expensive. For this post I’m talking mostly about hot water for fifth wheels and travel trailers. Large class A rigs may have other options (Oasis and Aqua Hot for instance) including those that run on Diesel or other fuels that are beyond the scope here.
Recently there have been a lot of questions on RVillage and Facebook about tankless water systems and whether someone should upgrade. Everyone has their opinion and there is both good information and bad that people share. To write this post, I’ve tried to capture a lot of the feedback other RVers have shared along with some information from the manufacturers and of course my own preferences and opinions. Hopefully, you will find this information helpful but I warn you – I’m biased based on how we use our RV and the heater we have. We love our Truma system!
One of the criteria we had when looking for places to stay this winter in Texas was that they needed to be close to shopping, particularly Walmart, and medical services so that we could get COVID vaccinations when available or other medical care if needed. We found it difficult to get into a State Park for more than a few days at a time and in particular weekends were pretty much fully booked. We found Brazos Valley and it offered a small Walmart and a Brookshire’s grocery in nearby Caldwell as well as Walmart Supercenters, restaurants and numerous other stores in nearby Bryan and College Station. We thought surely we could find enough things to do in the area to stay busy for a month so we booked our stay without knowing quite what to expect. To our surprise we really liked the park and the area.
We spent two months (January and February 2021) at Tyler Oaks RV Resort north west of Tyler. We originally planned to go back to New Mexico for the winter but due to COVID and continued lockdowns there that were causing long lines just to get in a grocery store we decided to go back to Texas where we would have better medical care due to our insurance. We thought it might be easier to get vaccinations (which I was able to do but not Anna quite yet) and also that it would be warmer. Well, we should have known better about that one. Even as we left Colorado there was snow ahead of us going through Texas.
As I write this we are on the 8’th day of extreme winter weather in North East Texas. During this week, we’ve had temperatures below 0°F (-5°F at the nearby airport) and it has snowed multiple times resulting in about a foot of total snowfall. At 201 hours below freezing, we beat the prior record in this area which was set sometime in the late 1800’s. While I realize many people from the northern states will say, so what – we get that all the time – I have lived in Texas for most of my life and I can tell you this much snow and the low temperatures is very unusual for this part of the country. We just don’t have the infrastructure to deal with it as well as other states might.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐+ (For an overnight stop) Site Quality: Gravel roads and grass pads. Even though they had received quite a bit of rain the day before we arrived the pads were mostly dry and no major mud. There were a few muddy spots on the internal roads. Type: Commercial Access: Right off Highway 287 at College Dr. in Vernon Texas west of Wichita Falls. When coming from the West it is a bit difficult to turn left and go under the highway to circle back to the park because there was no traffic light at the intersection. Staff: There is a husband/wife team who manage the park and they were both friendly and helpful. She checked us in and he escorted us to our site. Amenities: Propane available on site. There is a playground and dog park for those who need these facilities. There is also a small store on site. In the summer a pool is available. Cellular/WiFi: Both AT&T and Verizon were acceptable – for Verizon the signal level was only 2 bars but both upload and download speeds were in excess of 22 Mbps. WiFi was available at the park but we did not use it. Restaurants: We only had an opportunity to eat out on a Sunday and due to that and the fact that many restaurants seemed to have changed their hours due to COVID, we only had an opportunity to stop at Fred’s Corner Grill. This place looked like it had been a Dairy Queen at one point and it had a similar menu. We both had a burger and they were good basic burgers. What we liked: Access to the park was right off Highway 287 so it was convenient to our route. There was also a Walmart right next door to the park which was convenient for supplies. There are some nearby activities including a museum as well as some things related to Roy Orbison who was born in Vernon. What we didn’t like: The park roads were somewhat muddy and could be a real mess if there was a lot of rain. The same situation could occur with the pads although they seem to be packed gravel with grass (or weeds) and they did not appear to have much of a mud problem. Nearby Parks: We did not look into any other parks in the area this time although we did stay once before at Lake Arrowhead State Park in Wichita Falls about 70 miles further east. Verdict: We would definitely stay here again for a night or a few if we are travelling through the area again.