Big Tex – part 3 – Return of the Boondocking

We packed up our rig all confident that we were ready for the next 4 nights of boondocking that we had set up via Harvest Hosts. We were traveling from Dallas to Palm Springs to stay at our first Thousand Trails membership RV spot and had 5 days to make it in time. However because our rig is trying to fight its boondocking destiny we had a few detours in our itinerary.

Our first Harvest Host stay over was at an airplane museum on an active runway. We arrived after they had closed and gone home for the day but they gave us great instructions where to park and access their 15w plug. It was on the runway side and we were a bit nervous that there would be noise from the planes over night but we were pleasantly surprised that there was not. All the over night noise was from a next door steel supplier who loaded trucks all night and they decided to idle right next to us instead of the 100 thousand other places they could had done so, grrrr!

In the morning we headed south toward El Paso, TX for our next overnight boondock stop. Traveled all day through a long stretch of pretty bare land except for what seemed to be a bunch of coal refineries. The towns surrounding these areas were filled with RV parks as far as the eye could see. This was the only time we’ve ever seen such a sight, cool and kinda crazy. Made it to our location which was a petting zoo and dairy farm about a stone throw from the Mexican border and it was great! The family was very friendly and the kids loved the zoo.

Now this is where our boondocking dreams crumbled.

The next day we took the mail to local post office before hooking back onto the RV. When hubs returned he said he heard a not so awesome noise coming from the truck. He also informed me the furnace was not working ,that’s why it was so cold. We decided he go to a local chain auto repair shop to hopefully fix said noise, and they did (kinda). EIGHT hours later he returned, we froze our butts off all day due to rain and wind outside and no heat. With truck fixed but no heat from propane powered furnace we decided it would be best to find a place to hook up for the night to be able to use space heaters and fireplace.

We realized we really had to scrap the following few nights left in our boondocking trip due to cold over night temps forecast and not knowing how to fix our heat issue. We scrambled some last minute nightly stays together and reached our Palm Springs, CA destination as scheduled. Although our plans were derailed the scenery made up for it, the drive through Southern Texas through New Mexico and Arizona on I-10 was awesome. We made it out of Texas, but not with out some drama.  Excited to spend our Winter in Southern Cali and soak up some sun and warm weather, or so we hope!

To be continued….

If you follow our Facebook page you already kinda know all the awesomeness we have been having, please “like” us. Don’t forget to follow us on here as well to keep up with our families trail! Also, our families main source of income is Hippie Hoopla, any purchases on-line allow us to keep our adventure going. Please stop by our site and take a look!

Thanks for your support!

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Big Tex – Part 2, the suburbs strike back

cropped-trailin-white-background-png1.pngAlthough our posts are about a month behind I couldn’t help but show our new Trailin logo, it makes my heart happy!! Thank you so much for all your positive feedback!  Thank You to Jennifer b. Jacobs Marketing.

We are in Texas not only to seal the deal on our residency stuff but also to visit family in Dallas. When making reservations several months earlier we had a hard time finding an RV park with an opening for an entire month, didn’t help we got a late start.  There are so many RV parks in and around Dallas, which rocks! However, a lot more than traveling families stay at them.  The entire city of Dallas is under construction so I’m pretty sure a lot of other people who have moved into the area to help with these improvements are also utilizing the lots.

So we ended up getting a space for just over a month at Shady Creek RV, just North of Dallas in a newly developed area and you cannot travel anywhere without road construction.  They kinda built the housing and commercial first than forgot they had to widen the roads and are doing them all at once.  We were kinda stuck in suburban hell, the very place we ran from! But the RV park was small, quiet, well kept and had large sized lots.  Didn’t hurt that our backyard was a horse farm, except for the flies!

While in Texas we had a long list of things to fix, get, resolve and decide on, a month was not enough time to get it all done.On top of that we were there for 2 holidays, Halloween & Thanksgiving.We bounced back and forth between our suburban sprawl and in-town Dallas to see our relatives, about an hour drive each way due to traffic and construction.  But the bonus was always staying at a really large lovely house with huge bathtubs and all the hot water you could wish for!

So what are all the things that needed our attention on our RV?

The water pump had crapped out before we left Atlanta and all our boondooking was cut short or made slightly difficult because the pump wouldn’t cycle off when not hooked up to a non electric power source. We called Grand Design and we were told to bring in so tests could be run. Well we were pretty sure it was just a quick fix we searched out all the YouTube/Blogs and for $70 we could buy and replace it ourselves. We were right and the $70 was a small price to pay to not have to spend any amount of time w/o our home due to warranty work.

Next we wanted to upgrade our battery situation. RVs typically come with a pretty standard and really crappy 12v battery. They are sufficient enough for the weekend campers but not so much for fulltiming. We got rid of that one and got 2 6volt golf cart batteries. Apparently 2 6v are greater than 1 12v, go figure!  But we also had to purchase a new home for these batteries to live in and install that as well. The new battery box fit great in our front storage area and didn’t take up too much room. Less storage was a small price to pay to have longer power opportunities while boondocking.

If you read our last post you know we had a bent cargo rack issue thanks to the Louisiana stretch of I-10!  We originally went with this style cargo frame because we liked the idea of folding it up if we were in a tight spot and needed more room. But it did become a pain in the butt to lift the generator on and off of it, plus we never ever used the folding option. We decided on the cargo rack type with a fold down ramp used for electric wheelchairs. This way the generator just rolls on and off with only 1 person doing it. It does not fold up like the previous one, however with that model the hitch extended so far out to make that folding option a reality.  We think that’s why it was more likely to bend. Problem solved, for now!

We also finished the final piece of the puzzle to our Texas residency and got our drivers licenses. Because of the lack of childcare we went separately so we were not bring kids in for an unknown amount of time. Hubs was at the DMV forever, I was in and out in probably 45 minutes. My experience was a little different in than you need to bring a form showing ownership of your vehicles if your using your registered vehicles as your permanent address proof. Well for some reason my name is on the RV but not the truck. It’s odd cause the loan is actually in my name. Not a problem now but maybe one to get resolved in case of any future whatnot. The guy helping me out was very nice and asked me at one point what county Livingston, TX was?  I had no idea, cause I just moved there?  He looked it up, I live in Polk co. He also was curious why I was getting my license up in Dallas, nowhere near where I “lived”?  I told him I was in the area visiting relatives, not a lie but still I see why it would seem fishy!  But like I said, in and out and this TX residency thing was now complete.

Besides all the have to’s we did a lot of fun stuff while there, here’s the brief rundown:

  1. Dallas Arboretum & Gardens
  2. Gaylord Texan sledding, ice sculptures
  3. Ice skating @ Allen Community Ctr
  4. Trick or Treating
  5. Thanksgiving
  6. Ray Roberts state park
  7. Several local parks
  8. Lots of eateries,but our favorite is Babes

Hubs and I both got sick midway through our stay and mine lingered into walking pneumonia so my productivity and ambition to do more activities was low. There was a week that it rained daily and never really dried up so I think everything outside was getting moldy and my immune systems is not a fan of mold.

That’s all for part 2, stay tune to hear all about the final installment of Big Tex! Hey it’s a big state so it deserves to be a trilogy, right?

If you follow our Facebook page you already kinda know all the awesomeness we have been having, please “like” us. Don’t forget to follow us on here as well to keep up with our families trail! Also, our families main source of income is Hippie Hoopla, any purchases on-line allow us to keep our adventure going. Please stop by our site and take a look!

Thanks for your support!

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Big Tex -part 1

I know I’ve been a little absent from the website the past few weeks but as always I usually post daily on our TRAILin Facebook page so please like us over there too!  Update, we have been in Texas for 4 weeks takin care of business.

Our first stop was our new home, Livingston, TX. When I say our new home I don’t mean we really live there, but our address does. When traveling like we do you will need a permanent address of sorts. We decided to switch from Georgia to Texas for several reasons.

  1. We need to pay taxes, I know sad but true
  2. We need a drivers licence, car registration and license plate
  3. We need insurance on our vehicles
  4. We need to declare a state to homeschool out of
  5. We need a state to affiliate our business with

We no longer own a home or have a job or actually reside in Georgia so switching it all over to Texas was our best all-in-one stop shop to do so.

“So why did we choose Texas?”

Florida, South Dakota and Texas are the 3 most Fulltime RV friendly states to be a resident of. Look at most RV license plates and usually it will be from one of these states. What makes them so RV friendly, mostly the taxes, then registration as well as homeschooling laws?

Livingston, Texas is our home turf now because a company called Escapees is located there. They are an RV club & mail service and for additional fees they will also give you an actual physical address of your own, not just a POBox, this is important. We need the physical address for our business, Hippie Hoopla. 

OK so on our way to Dallas where we were staying for a month we decided to stay in Livingston  for 3 days and get as much done as we could. First stop was visiting the actual offices of Escapees to fill out/sign paperwork and pay monies to get the official address, which you get right there and then. FYI escapees has a large RV park so don’t confuse their RV park office check-on bldg with the actual business offices which are a few blocks apart.

Now that you have your permanent address you need to get to work on switching all your vehicles over.  You’ll need to get them inspected, have insurance for them both in Texas and then get them registered in same county as your permanent address. Sounds easy enough, bwahahahah?  You also will need to get a drivers license but that’s last and I’ll talk about that down the road.

The inspection thing is kinda a joke, they just have it as a way to generate additional monies for their government, its $7. One thing on the list of things they look for was mud flaps or guards that are required on all dully trucks. We did not have these so we were scrambling the day before to find them. FYI we checked all the major auto part stores in town and it was a no go unless we ordered them. Finally found them at a small mom and pop truck accessories shop. We were going to get the truck and RV inspected at the same small auto repair shop in Livingston but their inspector dude woke up late and my hubs was there right when they opened and he was not so we went on down to the nearest car dealership. Truck passes no problem and he came back to our RV site to hook up and take it to the small mom and pop spot cause the guy finally woke up and was now at work. We arrive, guy asks if we have a fire extinguisher, never looks in the RV and in less then 5 minutes we are on our way, see I told you it was a joke!

Next day we headed to the government building where you pay all sorts of taxes to get our registration and license plates. It’s a small office and no one was waiting ahead of us but there’s a lot of paperwork and after taking forever to fill out it takes forever for them to type it all into the computer. So plan on staying there at least an hour even if it’s not busy. The picture above is what we needed to bring with us to submit for registration for them to have on file. You will also need to take a picture of the label on your rig with all its weight measurements. We had zero issues, paid them their money, got our license plates and were on our way! FYI this small government office does not have parking for a large RV in their small parking lot. I suggest doing what we did and just drive your truck or Toad to take care of business.

Just a reminder you will need to get your insurance for all vehicles switched to Texas before you can get registration/plates.  Coming from Georgia our RV insurance stayed relatively the same but our truck insurance about doubled, crazy! We shopped around a few weeks later and saved a few hundred more and paid for the year in a lump sum so that was an additional saving but it’s still high. Apparently the storms from the past year skyrocketed all the rates due to all the hail damage payouts:(

Yea we got all the things done in Livingston that needed to be done. We don’t have to actually ever go back there to our home turf, I think?  We can get our drivers license anywhere in Texas and we did. Same with inspection, can be done anywhere in Texas. Also for the following years we don’t need to be in the state when our annual registration fees are due. You can send in a letter that you promise to get the inspection within 48hrs the next time your in Texas, see still kinda a joke!

You may have noticed a picture above of our cargo carrier which holds our generator. Well because of how ridiculously bumpy I-10 is through Louisiana into Texas the frame at the hitch bent, a lot! It was not over weight but we think because of how far the hitch attachment extends out from the hitch itself it was enough of an engineering no no resulting in this incident. We were able to bend it back, but not close enough to its original state. We made it safely to our next destination without any drama and got us a new one!  Crossing fingers this one will be our last! The new one is better for us anyways cause its actually a wheelchair cargo holder which has a drop down ramp.  This makes it much easier to wheel it on and off.

To end this on a high note the site we stayed in at Lake Livingston was booked solid, partly cause it was the weekend before Halloween and also because a group of Heritage Girls from Houston had taken it over. They were great, our kids instantly had several dozen new buddies to play with. Most of them homeschooled like us and they even let our girls hang at a few of their scheduled talks. We met a few of their parents who were very nice. One of the dads was very interested in our journey and may even being reading this now, if so “hello!”  We meet a lot of people on our adventure who state how envious they are of our lifestyle. Just goes to show there are so many people stuck in a lifestyle they don’t want to be in. We were there, trapped in that suburban shuffle not 6 months ago. I love the choice we made and continue to make, I’m very excited to see how it all shakes out.

Tune in soon to hear all about part 2 and maybe part 3 of Big Tex!  Hey it’s a big state so it deserves to be a trilogy, right?

If you follow our Facebook page you already kinda know all the awesomeness we have been having, please “like” us. Don’t forget to follow us on here as well to keep up with our families trail! Also, our families main source of income is Hippie Hoopla, any purchases on-line allow us to keep our adventure going. Please stop by our site and take a look!

Thanks for your support!

💕HELP SUPPORT our TRAILin adventure at no cost when shopping through our Amazon link!