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Category: Places We’ve Been

Places we have been.

South Llano River State Park

South Llano River State Park

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Site Quality:  Asphalt roads and pads. All sites are back in. The park was clean and well kept, however a large flood went through the area about six months ago and there is a lot of flood debris along the river.
Type:  State Park
Access: Easy access from U.S. Highway 377 on the south side of Junction, TX.
Staff: The staff fixed an issue with our original reservation that caused us to be overcharged by $60 before we could even ask. ther staff we interacted with were friendly and helpful.
Amenities:  30A power and water only, no sewer. Bird blinds and hiking and biking trails, clean restrooms and showers.
Cellular/WiFi: AT&T was decent with amplification. Verizon was intermittent at best. Most of the time phone calls were impossible.
What we liked: Our site (#33) had plenty of shade so even at 96 degrees we were able to stay comfortable running just one AC unit (due to 30A power). We were also able to receive satellite from site 33 in spite of probably 2/3 tree cover. Nice trails; wildlife – birds, deer, turkeys, armadillos; quiet park. It was a relatively small State Park compared to others we have camped at.
What we didn’t like: Only 30A power available. Not a lot of long spots. Our site was advertised as 55 feet but that included being able to hang over the back of the pad, actual pad was only 50 feet which made it a bit small for us even hanging over. We had to lower the tailgate on the truck and bac up right to the trailer to park on the pad correctly. They do not allow parking off the pad. In April, trees (Elms?) were dropping green pollen pods which were a pain. Flood damage from a large flood 6 months ago.
Verdict: Site 33 was large with plenty of shade and could easily be the best site for us overall. We would stay at this park again.

Broke Mill RV Park – Del Rio, TX

Broke Mill RV Park – Del Rio, TX

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐1/2
Site Quality:  Asphalt roads and gravel pads. All sites are pull through. Mix of long and short term people. The long term folks appeared to be mostly winter Texans. The park was clean and well kept.
Type:  Commercial
Access: Easy access from U.S. Highway 90 on the north side of Del Rio.
Staff: The owners run the park and they were former full time RVers so they understand what people are looking for in a park. They were friendly and helpful.
Amenities:  Full hookups, free fast WiFi, pool, event center, dog park, bird watching area, fitness room, laundry room, restrooms and showers. Premium sites have additional parking for folks with a boat for instance.
Cellular/WiFi: AT&T and Verizon were decent with 3 to 4 bars unamplified and about 4 Mbps download speeds. The WiFi at this park was the best we have seen with download speeds of 7 Mbps or better and it was reliable. Since they no longer offer free cable TV they actually encourage streaming TV – something we have never seen before.
What we liked: Trail through the park and into adjacent properties. Decent diesel prices along with a variety of stores (Home Depot, Walmart, HEB, etc.).
What we didn’t like: We tried a couple of local restaurants, one suggested by the park and another that wasn’t and all were a bit mediocre. No picnic table at each site. There was quite a bit of road noise from Highway 90 even though they had taken steps to reduce it such as planting hedges.
Verdict: Good park when passing through town. Limited things to do in the area.

Fort Davis, TX

Fort Davis, TX

Fort Davis is a small unincorporated town of about 1200 in the Davis mountains of West Texas. We had visited here about 30 years ago and thought it would be a good place to stop on our way east after Carlsbad and El Paso. It is an interesting town with a short walking tour of some of the prominent buildings from the towns history along with the remains of Fort Davis – a key post in the defense system of west Texas, and a small museum to find out more about the history of the area. For such a small town there are actually several restaurants in the area. We really liked the Fort Davis Drug Store and Hotel which offers a soda fountain and grill reminiscent of “the old days”. We had cheeseburgers that were great.

The Fort Davis National Historic site is located within the town of Fort Davis. In fact the town grew up around the fort during the years that the fort was active between 1854 and 1891. The fort was established in a box canyon near Limpia Creek and is one of the best remaining examples of a frontier military post. The fort was named after Jefferson Davis, who was then the Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce. Black soldiers, known as Buffalo Soldiers, served at Fort Davis from 1867 to 1885. Fort Davis’s primary role was safeguarding the west Texas frontier against the Comanche and Apache Indians particularly along the road from San Antonio to El Paso.

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Carlsbad, NM

Carlsbad, NM

As we started planning our trip back eastward, we looked at Lajitas near Big Bend. The problem we ran into was that the week we planned to be there was in the middle of spring break and we could only get a few consecutive days. That area was a bit out of the way to only have a few days so we decided to go to Carlsbad, NM instead. This turned out to be a good idea because March is a slow time for area activities including Carlsbad Caverns. In fact, crowds there are only 1/3 what they would be in the summer at about 2000 per day. We were told those numbers can be as low as 200 per day in January and February.

When we arrived at the Cavern, they offered two self-guided options both for the same price. On the web site it wasn’t clear but it looked like you had to pick one and then not see the other area. Actually, you can do both for the same price. We decided to start on the Natural Entrance Trail – an approximately a 1.25 mile hike down sometimes steep trails to 750 feet below the surface. An alternative to this is to take the elevator down but you would miss so much if you did. At the end of the trail you end up at the snack bar and elevator area where you can join the Big Room Trail which is another 1.25 miles. Where the first trail was a bit more confining than the big room, it’s all relative as the Natural Entrance Trail still goes through some very large areas of the cavern with very interesting things to see along the way. Once in the Big Room you really do get a sense of the size and grandeur of this treasure. We were told that 6 football fields would fit inside the Big Room. Unfortunately, pictures do not capture what it’s like to be in the Cavern. Due to low light levels I would have needed a tripod to capture many of the sights (they allow you to bring one but I didn’t ) so many of the pictures aren’t great. We were here many, many years ago with our kids for a vacation. It was so great to see it all again!

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El Paso, TX

El Paso, TX

We stayed in the Anthony/El Paso West KOA for three days while travelling East toward the Round Rock area. We also needed to get an annual Texas safety inspection for our RV on entry back into Texas and Uncle Bob’s Garage nearby was a convenient stop on the way to the park. We were surprised we didn’t find too many good RV parks in the area for our size rig but the KOA turned out to work well for us so we stayed for three nights. As with the past few places, windy weather and rain kept us from doing a lot but we did get in one pretty good day to see some sights.

Our first stop was at the U.S. Border Patrol Museum. Having already spent some time near the border with Mexico in New Mexico and Arizona and hearing first hand what people living in the area thought about the current border crisis, this museum provided additional context to the origins and history of the Border Patrol and it was free! We found out about not only the problems with people but also drugs being smuggled as well as learning about agents who have paid the ultimate price trying to protect our country. We also learned about some of the methods and technologies they use in doing their jobs. Later in the day we actually saw immigrants being taken into custody by border patrol in El Paso while we were driving along the Loop 375 Border Highway.

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