Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Staying at Jim Hogg Park

Staying at Jim Hogg Park

We loved this park! It has big campsites, plenty of places to walk, and a couple of fishing piers for campers who didn't bring a boat. We stayed for 9 days in late June. The temperatures were typically in the high 90s, but we got lucky and there was a couple of summer showers that dropped temps into the low 80s.
Price: Our site was $22 a night, but there are different fees for different campsites. All campsites are 30 amp and also have water. There is a dump station on the way out. Make sure to call if you have any questions - we made our reservations online and there was still a little confusion on our reservations.

Dog Friendly: This is a great park for dogs, but there is no off-leash areas. Most of the trails inside the park lead to the different bathhouses, so be aware that there may be kids using the trails at odd hours.
Motorcycle Friendly: All campsites are back-in. If you are hauling a bike, make sure to check out the campsites by satellite first. We used Google Earth to make sure we had a campsite with plenty of room for both trailer and RV. Jim Hogg Road is a short but fun road to ride just outside the park, but be aware that park roads do have ruts and potholes, and there are deer everywhere! 
Cell Service/Wifi: Verizon was 2-3 bars, without a booster.
Amenities: Each campsite has either a large pavilion or a screened cabin, and also a large, sturdy picnic table. Each site also has a fire pit and a barbecue grill. There are several bathhouses with toilets and showers, and the camp hosts do a great job keeping things neat and clean. The toilets seem to be an ongoing issue. We were here for nine days and there was generally a toilet out of commission on both the women's and men's side at the two bathhouses we used. There is also a 25 mile hike and bike trail near the entrance.
Getting There: We drove north on I-35 to get to this park, but we were coming in on a Sunday and the only real traffic was the usual bottleneck at the Hwy 79 exchange. The drive into the park was fine, but be aware that a lot of campers don't pay attention to the one way signs in the park. We left on a weekday and knew I-35 would be a mess, so we took DB Woods Road down to 29, then out the 130 Toll Road, where we headed south to Hwy 79.

Know Before You Go: The park has both an upper loop and a lower loop. The lower loop has more level spots and a lake view, but very few trees. This is also where most families camp, so it can be noisy on the lower loop on the weekends. 

The upper loop has a lot of nicely shaded spots, but many are not level. We had a pretty level spot on the outer edge of the upper loop, but there were some spots that require a lot more leveling and would probably not work well for a Class A or larger Fifth Wheel. The upper loop is generally closed during the fall and winter months.
Local Stuff: There is a good size HEB nearby and if you take DB Woods Road, you can cut through to a Walmart and a Home Depot that are right off I-35. There is also a very large shopping center called Wolf Ranch just one more exit down on I-35. Both the Cotton Patch Cafe and Fish City Grill are good places to eat at Wolf Ranch. If you want to drive into Georgetown proper, Monument Cafe has great specials and a wonderful breakfast!

10 Things We Have Already Learned!

10 Things We've Already Learned!

We've been on the road for a week and half, and we've learned a lot of things about full-timing. Here are our top 10 (with bonus pictures of Jim Hogg Park, cuz it's such a pretty park!)

1. Make sure to buy TST before you head out out on your first camping trip. Especially if 1) your RV has been sitting in storage for a while and 2) you are camping in Texas in June. Our gray tank was a little funky.

2. It's also a good idea to check that you put the chocks on the motorcycle trailer before you step into it. 

3. Whoever created Reflectix should get a Nobel Prize. Texas summers are hot and we were glad we packed a roll of the stuff!

4. Talking about packing, the best technique is the 2-2-2 packing method. Spend two weeks carefully planning and packing your RV. Two days before you leave, panic that you've overloaded the tail and frantically repack the back third. Spend two days after arriving unable to find anything, give up, and completely repack your RV again. So simple and so easy!
5. Food really does taste best when eaten outdoors.

6. You also get a lot more exercise cooking outdoors. You start cooking and then discover you need 1) a spice you left back in the RV or 2) a utensil you left back in the RV or 3) the lighter you left back in the RV or 4) the extra propane tank that is of course, on the other side of the RV - in a locked compartment. 
7. Full-timing allows you to celebrate the little things in life - like finally figuring where you packed the laundry soap.
8. Always stop for gas when the gauge hits the halfway point. You really don't want to watch the needle creeping toward the 'E' when you are stuck in a highway construction zone.

9. If you want to provide entertainment for your neighbors, just put out the manual awning. We may still be learning how to do that without looking like the Keystone Cops...
10. Full-timing means having priorities. We packed extra kitty toys, extra dog leashes, an extra bag of dog chews - and apparently didn't pack the charging cord to the most expensive electronic thing we own.
Bonus tip! Take the length of your RV, add the height of your RV, then multiply by the number of pets on board. This is how many times you need to sweep each day to keep the RV clean. Round up.

Next post, we will rate Jim Hogg Park and then - road trip to Tennessee! 

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Living High on the Hogg - Jim Hogg Park!

Goodbye Austin! 

After a long and crazy week of packing, we finally manage to fit (read 'cram') our stuff into the RV. It's a good thing we were living in a teeny, tiny bungalow - and that we bought an RV with a pass through!

Straps on motorcycle secure? Check!

Trailer pin and chains secure? Check!

Dog and cats unhappily glaring in crates? Double check!

I put the key in the ignition - and then I turned to Mr. Biker and ask him to please check the microwave in the house.  Sure enough, I had left my lunch in the microwave! Food in hand and crisis averted, we punched Jim Hogg Park into the GPS, and hit the road!

Hello Jim Hogg Park!

Forty minutes later, we pull into Jim Hogg Park, an Army Corps of Engineers park in Georgetown. I hop out of the RV, and immediately feel like I took a time machine back to my childhood. I grew up in a Texas town just north of Dallas, and spent my summers at a day camp near what is now Lake Grapevine. Even the pavilions at Jim Hogg look suspiciously like the ones at my childhood lake. I think the camp had a little bit more greenbriar and poison oak, though!

We're camping in the upper loop, which is much quieter!

Jim Hogg is definitely a locals' park. It's late June and the lower loop is full of families, while the upper loop has only a handful of local fishermen. We find this gives us the best of both worlds. In the morning, we make breakfast and putter around the campsite, without seeing anybody except the occasional camp host. In the evening, we stroll over to the upper loop, where everybody seems to be competing for the best-smelling campfire dinner, and kids chase each other through pavilions festooned with Christmas lights.

Tomorrow, we close on the house!

Our wonderful real estate agent has sent us an email to check on us, and remind us the house closing is tomorrow morning. I think she's a little worried that we may run off to the woods and never come back! So, we have one more adult thing we have to do - and then we can run away for the summer!