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RiverCat Journal : Springdale to San Antonio

Posted by on March 14, 2014

Current Venue: Springdale, AR
Campground: Pilgrim’s Rest
Click Any Photo To Enlarge! ” * ”
Denotes A Definition Available on the Common Terms Page

Thursday March 6

The roads were finally clear everywhere except the park, where there was still over an inch of solid ice in most places.  Not wanting to wait a day longer, I dug out the driveway so that I could back up.

Even still, it turned out to be quite a misadventure.  I tried pulling into my driveway moving forward, but I simply couldn’t find the right angle and, as soon as I’d straighten out, I’d be on a patch of ice again.  Aside from digging up the entire park, there was just no avoiding it.  In the end, three of my neighbors came to my assistance. The good news is, when I escaped the confines of the park, Memphis Red* managed to chug her way up the steepest hill we’ve ever encountered.  Good job, girl! My next misadventure would be a minor embarrassment.  I had to pull over at a toll booth to scrounge around 48 Ugly* for enough change to pay the $5.50 fee.  Who knew it would be that much?!  The attendant was very pleasant and patient. Then, during my race against sunset, I found myself at a crossroads.

terra starr rv park 1
I’d made a wrong turn.  Seeing a field with several RVs in it, I’d turned at a sign that said something like “Belle Starr” — the name of mine was “Terra Starr.” Where I’d turned wasn’t a park at all.  This RV community was just sprawling countryside with little one-lane roads.  In an effort to turn back around, I tried to find my way back on paved roads.  But this wasn’t working.  So I found myself in this jam — turn left on a gravel road or come up to the end and turn right on a mud road!  I hunted down some neighbors who said if I’d turned left I would have ended up at the lake in a world of hurt.  Mud road, it would be.  After a bit of slippin’ and slidin’ I made it to Terra Starr RV Park just as the sunset and broke my all-time record for unhitching and setup — I think I did it in less than 7 minutes. Strangely, I felt quite calm and grateful.  I had no breakdowns and did pretty well on gas mileage.  I slept well.

Friday March 7

I remember someone writing on RV Park Reviews that this camp is not a “destination park.”  I think it depends on your perspective.  I sense he was more the “vacationer” type rather than the full-timer like me who tends to appreciate anything unique.  This one is clearly unique!  I recommend this park to anyone who enjoys nature and morning walks. We woke up to birds.  In all my RVing days, I’ve never looked out the window and seen so many species of birds!  Jeepers couldn’t get enough. I’ve never seen anything like this.  Here are the most spectacular resident setups I’ve ever seen.  Every resident RV is under a large carport!  Most of them are quite extraordinary, complete with large decks, high ceilings, and fans.  Very, very cool.

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And if you like nature?  Take a walk on the beach!   I’ve never seen so many large vultures in one place in my life.  It took my breath away to see nearly 30 vultures perched on about 2 trees.  I’m afraid I didn’t get a great picture of that because I spooked them.  It’s reported that there are even pelicans in this area during certain seasons.

terra starr rv park, vultures

terra starr rv park, fish tails
My trip to Sulfur Springs, Texas went reasonably well.  I struggled for awhile going up hills and straight into a headwind but, overall, quite uneventful.  Cooper Lake State Park has some of the best pull-throughs on the planet. I love how they’re right up against the woods with a very spacious campsite sort of caddy-corner.  Very well done!

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The coyotes made Jeepers quite nervous.  I don’t know if they were in heat, but they were quite active the entire night.  Sometimes you’d hear 5-6 at one time!

Saturday March 8

It was a bit chilly for a cooking demonstration outdoors, but how can you resist?  It’s 50 degrees, drizzling, and we’re cooking with cast-iron pots on hot coals.  Best yet, the cook is packing a pistol!  While the show did move slow at times, I think everyone enjoyed the presentation and the shrimp gumbo was spectacular — best I’d ever had outside of New Orleans!

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Sulphur Springs has a quaint little downtown.  But the highlight is the world-famous glass outhouses.  You can see out, but folks can’t see in.  How weird is that!

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Sunday March 9

This trip was a long one.  A few long hills and bumper-to-bumper traffic for the last 12 miles as a result of a wreck. The I35 RV Park is probably the noisiest highway park ever.  I don’t normally mind highway noise, but this is borderline.  That said, the staff and facilities are terrific!  Nothing lavish, but very thoughtfully laid out.  Fishing ponds, swimming pool and hot tub (closed for the season), driving range, a nice rec hall and — best of all — free made-to-order breakfast in the morning at the on-site diner!

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Monday March 10

No news yet on the gate-guarding job.  Therefore, I decided to stay one extra day and rest.  I did a little research and finally found a reasonably-priced park in San Antonio at a weekly rate.  It looks like I’ll settle in there and start applying for jobs as I wait on the gate-guarding thing.  Is this going to get hairy, again? If you are ever passing through Texas, do yourself a favor.  Deplete your food supplies and go to your local H-E-B grocery store.  These places are amazing!  A nice, big supermarket at about 33% off normal prices.  Simply the best I’ve ever seen.

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Thursday March 13

Everything started off perfect when I arrived at Spring Branch RV Park just north of San Antonio on Tuesday.  The place has some real character and very friendly owners.

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“The Barn” is authentic — part of the original farm that the owner, Gary, worked on as a kid.  It’s now home to the office and a unique, open meeting space for morning coffee as well as a big screen television and kitchen.  The other buildings on property are equally impressive…

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Actually, the laundry facilities has a nice clubhouse attached to it.  Very nice.  And, while each building on the premises is rustic on the outside, they are very modern inside.  The huge restrooms and showers are all private, ultra-modern, , clean — and perhaps the best facilities I’ve ever seen at a campground. But as I was having my morning coffee on Wednesday, I got a phone call.  It seems one of the neighbors complained about the appearance of 48 Ugly* and the owners were having to enforce the 15-year rule.

Great.  So much for job-hunting.  I spent the day looking at the dismal options in the area.  Not only were all the good campgrounds too expensive, but the state parks and COE’s were all booked up due to spring break.  The parks with available spaces were slums — country parks in total disrepair and way below even my standards. Gary worked things out for me.  In fact, he even applied my two nightly’s toward my week rate.  Additionally, when it appeared I’d have to head towards Corpus Christi right away, he offered me a permanent-type space at another campground up the hill in the event I found work here in San Antonio.  (The only drawback is I’d have to drive half a mile to the main resort to use the shower facilities). It’s nice to have options.  Now, as I wait for the gate guarding  call, I can apply for jobs in both San Antonio and Corpus Christi as my Plan B options.  Thus begins my South Texas adventure…

3 Responses to RiverCat Journal : Springdale to San Antonio

  1. Sandie

    I was worried when you said they complained about 48 Ugly but it sounds like things worked out okay. Now for the job. Sure wish you would hear something definite about the gate guarding but I remember when Susan was waiting to hear. Seemed to take forever before she got her gate.

  2. Pleinguy

    Glad to see you made it out of that winter weather. Hope things work out for you in Texas. Once spring break is over, the kids go back to school, and the snowbirds begin leaving. Things should open up then, and you you’ll find plenty of camping options. It will get real hot real fast come April. Good luck!

  3. RiverCat

    Thanks guys. Things will be ok. Actually, now that they’ve allowed me to stay and I’ve found a job, I think I could be really happy with the area and maybe even stay awhile. I may even postpone gateguarding when it comes decision-time.

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