Tuesday, January 22, 2008

South Texas Ain’t Bad

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Been neglectful, haven’t I? I’m not sure if it is because we’ve been stopped for so long or because we’re really not doing a whole lot.

I love the travelling and travelling is fun, but it becomes very expensive. Not only that – it can be too much in too short a period of time. Different places and experiences start running all together and it’s tough to remember where you saw or did what – time to stay put for a while.

Texas is not the most exciting southern state we have ever been in BUT down here on the coast, the weather has been VERY good. Not to say that it is always like this, but this year, for us, it’s been great. AND the attitude is most inviting. Instead of the distain you often experience as Snowbirds in Arizona, here, the Winter Texans are generally welcomed (they tend to appreciate the boost to their economy that those winter escapees bring).

We have met folks who discovered the area many years ago and have wintered here for nearly a dozen years but Rockport reminds me of a wanna be tourist destination. There are several new (in the past 3 years) RV parks; signs advertising lots for sale and so-and-so Estates sites ready to be build on in front of fancy fences and gates but no buildings. On the other hand there are a few rather excessive places that cater to those who enjoy the luxuries of life.

Once you get away from the water and beaches, the terrain tends to be flat, sandy and scrubby.

The Live Oak are to be the most prevalent form of vegetation. The Live Oak is interesting in that it takes so many different forms. Growing in sandy soil in a humid climate, it flourishes here. Scrubby Live Oak (or Texas live oak) bushes are scattered over vast sandy fields. And then there are the forest-like areas that boast huge 1000 year old trees.

The high humidity is something that gets to me BUT my hair is a lot curlier, my skin isn’t so dry and I seem to be getting used to it (heaven forbid).

When we were in Livingstone TX, Fred found a ‘highly recommended’ new park here in Rockport. We called and were told that we may have to dry camp in the overflow section for a couple of days but there was a spot for us for at least a month. So when we finally found ‘Coastal Oaks’, we thought we knew what to expect.


Yes, we survived without services (except for power) for almost a week and moved into a site where the folks were away for a while . . . BUT . . . it turned out that the construction of the park was proceeding at ‘South Texas standard time’; the sites would not be ready for a while AND the owner had managed to double book most of the sites, anyway. Even though the place has a lot of potential, we decided we wanted something a little more stable so we started looking for another park.

Big D RV Resort

After looking around a bit, we have ended up in an RV park called Big D RV Resort around the middle of December. Big D is owned by a local Vietnamese fellow and named for his son, who is a famed American Football Player or something!

I would say that it was built by people who have absolutely no idea how to design or build an RV Park. It is only three years old and I wonder how it will stand up for even another three years but it had what we want – NOT big (some parks have between 1500 to 2000 sites – there are about 100 here); it’s clean, and has good and reliable WiFi (most of the time). We are on the Salt Lake which is actually a small inlet off the Copano Bay of the Gulf of Mexico. The few trees they have planted don’t give much protection against winds coming off the water so it can be rather windy. There is a swimming pool that nobody uses (saying it is too cold) and a pier going off into the Lake. I’ve looked off the pier and really wonder how any fish would survive in that water.

As with most RV parks, as more and more people moved in, more and more cliques develop. It’s interesting to watch and listen to the goings-on; the party people; the power struggles; the gossip; and the stories.

All kinds of different RVs line either side of the two roads that run from the water to the office, the club house, rec room and laundry buildings at the entrance to the park. There are small pull trailers, big pull trailers, 5th wheel of all sizes, shapes and designs and humongous motorhomes that are bigger than our condo.

The folks who call the RVs home are as diverse as the RVs. themselves. People are from all over; some bring their whole lives and many bring their fantasies. Each and every rig has its own story.

An amazing number of RVers sport pets of some type – mostly dogs – and each morning there is a parade of people walking dogs or exercisers doing the mile circuit up one road and down the other. If the weather is half decent (which it is most of the time), the circuit takes a long time as the walkers stop to visit the non-walkers sitting out with a cup of coffee. Every vehicle that goes by gets the traditional hand wave – even if you don’t know them. Sometimes the vehicles will stop in the middle of the road to visit.

I’m fascinated by the accents – sometimes I have absolutely no idea what people are saying – especially folks from Missouri and Arkansas. I had to laugh at one gal here who calls herself an Ozark American.

The people who are used to going to resort-type places get all gung-ho about what activities there are in the park. Big D let their Activities Director go just before we got here and now any activities are planned and carried out by anyone except staff and I’m not sure what the staff does except man the office, do necessary maintenance work and clean-up the common areas. But, then again, they are all work-campers and only work a limited number of hours a week in exchange for their sites and power. This is an interesting arrangement and makes for a lot of power-plays, poor organization and nothing getting done.

They managed to change some of the rules in mid-January and that gave the residents wonderful fodder for gossip and complaining with threats about not returning and soliciting people to move to another park or even area.

Besides the activities planned by other folks, fishing is a major draw to this whole area. It seems to me that watching football may be the next major activity and certainly going shopping or going out to eat vie for the third major consumer of time. Everybody keeps track of the good deals (like the $1.75 lunch special at the Big Fisherman Tuesdays at noon) and the good food places.

Fred is spending a lot of his time helping people with their computer problems. I’ve stopped worrying about where he is because he’s probably in somebody’s RV getting them onto the WiFi or converting their systems to Vista or just causing hate and discontent. He did one computer session in the Recreation Hall for anyone in the park who was interested.

Oh, I’ll do more pictures once I get them off the camera.