Camping Plans

aliner at gails

Driveway camping in the Aliner at Gail’s house in December 2010.

We were trying to be conservative with our travel budget this year due to the new roof and other unexpected expenses.

However, the government shutdown with its loss of affordable camping for us gave us a priority check.  Since another shutdown looms February 7, we decided we’d better get out and enjoy camping while we can.

So we are planning to visit my sister Gail in East Texas for Christmas.  It’s been three years since we’ve been there.  The photo shows us driveway camping at their house in December 2010.  Since the Casita is the same length as the Aliner Expedition’s frame was (17′) we know we will fit.

Of course, Gail didn’t have her van back then, so we might have to do some creative parking!

We will take our time getting there, camping a couple of days here and there along the way.

At the Stephen Foster State Park Festival of Lights in December 2011.

At the Stephen Foster State Park Festival of Lights in December 2011.

We will probably head to North Florida after we leave Texas.  We would like to meet up with Peggy for a couple of days at Stephen Foster State Park.

The last time we were at Stephen Foster was right before Christmas in December 2011  to enjoy their Festival of Lights.

It is turning cold here.  Friday night it is supposed to get down to 28 degrees.  Since I’m a fair weather camper, our upcoming trips will probably be pretty cold for me.

But the alternative is staying home, and I just can’t bear to do that!

I am going to have the Casita furnace repaired so we won’t have to rely on the little one pound propane canisters if we are without hookups.  I’ve got a guy coming out to look at the furnace Wednesday.  Then, as soon as he can order the parts and get it fixed, we want to head out to meet up with Cozygirl for a couple days camping in Alabama in early November.

I notice that WordPress is inserting ads now.  While I love their free blog service, I, very selfishly, don’t want their ads on mine!  So I am thinking of moving my blog to my own domain.  It’s just a case of gearing up to do the switch.

Solo Van Camping


Gail’s campsite at Wolf Creek near Livingston

My sister Gail is really getting into this solo camping thing!  She is finding her trips alone to be very therapeutic.  It seems to be adding a nice balance that improves every aspect of her life.

There are steps down to the water with a white sandy bottom that is perfect for swimming.

She plans to go camping every other weekend.  But since she also really enjoys having hubby along, they have a deal.  He gets to go with her every other trip!  😀

He is taking vacation next week, so they plan a longer trip up to visit their new grand baby.  They plan to camp a couple of days going up there, visit the kids, then reserve another few days for themselves on the way back home.

Another view of her campsite

Another view of the water



She says her new independence spices up their marriage, too!  Who’d a thunk running away from home could provide so many benefits!

San Augustine, TX & Tatting Update

Our Aliner at an RV park operated by the City of San Augustine, TX

We left Gail’s house around 11:30 in a steady rain, which soon turned into a driving rain.  We were supposed to pick up US 96 in Beaumont, but missed our turn.  We continued on US 90 and I-10 which ran together.  The rain was so hard that Ron couldn’t see which lane he was supposed to be in, and visibility was very poor.

I made a quick call to Gail and asked her and Mike to pray for our safety.  Shortly afterwards, the rain lightened up.  I found an alternate route to 96, so it wasn’t a bad setback.

San Augustine RV park. There is a museum and other historical monuments in San Augustine.

I located an RV park in San Augustine on the net, and the reviews at gave it a good rating.  So here we are.

The park is nice.  Very clean and very quiet.  There are a lot of oil workers staying here full time, but there were plenty of spots for overnighters.  The park operates on the honor system.  You pick your spot, then put a check for $24.00 in an envelope and put it into the drop box.

It took me several tries to get backed into our spot–not because it was difficult, but because I was pretty tired.  As soon as we were parked, we were greeted by the very friendly and welcoming camp host in the next site.  I was glad to see that they have wifi, because cell reception is very poor here.

It’s raining now with occasional lightning and thunder, but it feels safe and warm inside the camper.

We stayed hitched up so we can get an early start north tomorrow.  We plan to catch I-20 near Shreveport for the rest of the trip home.

By the way, it’s true what they say about people being friendly in Texas.  No matter where we went–malls, restaurants, fast food places, service stations — people were smiling and helpful.  I thought the era of people acting that way was a thing of the past.  What a pleasure to experience it in person!

Everyone loved their Christmas gifts.  Here’s a picture of a couple of the cross bookmarks I made for family members.  I’m working on a very pretty one with butterflies and flowers surrounded by very lacy “greenery.”

Cross bookmarks made for family members for Christmas

Texas Next Week

It is COLD here.  Tomorrow’s high is supposed to be 27, with a low of 14.  I’m sure it doesn’t sound cold to a lot of you, but as a Florida native living in Georgia, it’s brutal!

We are planning to visit my sister and brother-in-law in Texas next week.  We plan to leave Sunday the 19th and make a leisurely trip of it.  I talked to my sister yesterday and she said it was 75 degrees there!

So we will de-winterize the Aliner’s water system after we get on the road and into warmer temperatures.  If we can, we’ll do it at a campground.  If not, we’ll just wait until we get to Gail’s house.

We’ll be driveway camping while we are there.  Fortunately it’s okay where she lives!

Leaving Gail’s House

We left Mom’s house and arrived at Gail’s house on Friday, April 2.

Aliner tucked behind azaleas

Aliner tucked behind azaleas

After our great dry camping initiation at Juniper Springs, we weren’t worried about going without hookups for a couple of days.  So we tucked the Aliner way out of the way under a giant live oak tree, screened by azaleas.

Gail and Mike weren’t planning to pick up the U-Haul until the next morning.  So that night they took us out for a wonderful all-you-can-eat rib dinner.

Early the next morning their friend Pete arrived to help load the truck.   He had worked until 3:30 the night before, so it was a heroic act for him to show up to help.

The Mike and Gail picked up the truck and the guys went right to work.  I had thought that I’d have more to do, but they were so efficient that Gail and I mostly visited with the people who stopped by to say goodbye.

The new owner (also Pete) brought his big lab mix dog with him to introduce him to his new home.  Every time Pete let the dog off his leash, he headed straight for the river and jumped in for a swim.  We warned him to be careful, because years ago an alligator had gotten one of Gail’s dogs.

Also, the next door neighbor came to say goodbye.  Funny, Gail had lived there for years and had never met her until recently when her husband was hospitalized with a serious illness.  They both regretted wasting all those years they could have been friends.

The U-Haul ready to roll

The U-Haul ready to roll

Then Jeannie (my baby sister) and Darrell showed up.  They hadn’t been able to make it to Gail’s goodbye party the previous weekend, but were here to make sure they got to say goodbye, too.

So we visited almost all day, and had pizzas delivered for dinner — while they guys kept on loading the truck.

After everyone left, Gail still had a few small things to pack.  And she wanted to leave the house spic and span.  So I vacuumed and she mopped.   By then it was late, so I headed for the camper and bed.  She continued packing until early in the morning.

Aliner and U-Haul ready to leave

Aliner and U-Haul ready to leave

The next morning, after breakfast from Hardees, they locked the door for the last time and headed west to Texas.

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