The Best Laid Plans..

Now, I’m not a superstitious person, but I think Doug and I jinxed ourselves.  We’d heard so many horror stories of things going wrong when people launched their full-time traveling plans that when we didn’t have anything major go wrong, we got a little cocky.  I mean, we did have some trouble – the open neutral fried some of our electronics, the landing jacks had a big problem, etc.. but it was all easily manageable.  So we were all, “Yeah, I don’t know what’s wrong with those people, we’ve had it pretty easy!”

Ha.  Ha.  Ha.

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Hamilton Pool

by Lachlann Raum

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Hamilton Pool is a natural swimming hole about 30 minutes away from Austin, Texas.  Located in Dripping Springs, the preserve has forests that look like the jungle, lots of wildlife, several trails, rocks to climb on, a waterfall, and a river.  That’s why, on our one Saturday in Austin, we chose to go to Hamilton Pool.

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Carlsbad Recap

The drive from Austin to our next destination, Carlsbad, was farther than we wanted to drive in one day, so we decided to stop for two nights at San Angelo State Park in, you guessed it, San Angelo, Texas.  We weren’t expecting much – I had an idea of what to do with the kids while we were there, but the campground was so much fun that we just stayed ‘in’ – by which I mean, played outside the whole time.  We lucked out and got a pull-through in a pretty empty area of the park, so the kids had tons of space.  Thankfully, we didn’t have to unhitch because we were still using the manual crank for the landing jacks.  Surprisingly, we had a little bit of wi-fi there, which was great – but of course, there were no sewer hook-ups.  We both wished we’d stayed there a bit longer – San Angelo State Park was that nice.

 

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Austin Recap

Austin has been our favorite stop so far, hands down.  I will admit that a good part of this is due to the fact that we had amazing friends drive down from Dallas to visit with us for a few days!  Man, I didn’t realize how lonely I’d been feeling until getting to hang out with friends!  We had an awesome time – part just hanging out at playgrounds, part sightseeing, part swimming at their hotel.  So.  Much.  Fun.  Here’s our recap of everything we did while in Austin:

Hwy 71 RV Park

I typically get a little nervous about booking spots in RV parks (vs. state parks).  I never know how run-down they’re going to be.  They never look anything like the photos online.  In some ways, Hwy 71 RV Park was that way – it didn’t look much like the website showed it.  However, everyone was friendly, the sites were clean ,the bathrooms were wonderful (private, residential style bathrooms), all the utilities worked well, the laundry was more than sufficient, and we were able to get mail delivered.  The park is conveniently located between Bastrop and Austin – it’s easier to go into Bastrop for your shopping needs (about a 15 minute drive), but Austin is only about 20 minutes away – if there’s no traffic.  So.. despite the park having some super old permanent trailers and not letting the kids roam around unsupervised, we’d definitely go back.

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Houston Recap

After New Orleans, we wanted to go over to Houston, but it’s too long of a drive for us to do straight through.  We decided to spend two nights in Lafayette, Louisiana at Acadiana Park Campground.  It’s a city-run park and, in many ways, really lovely.  It’s small, quiet, and nestled in the woods.  There isn’t much privacy, but the sites aren’t right on top of each other, either (though I wouldn’t call them spaced far apart, either).  The one drawback to this park – most of the sites were not level, and many had relatively steep drops immediately along the paved parking pads.  In other words, if you’re not great at backing up yet and sometimes end up in the grass, it can be really nerve-wracking.  There are also some tight turns and trees right alongside the road that can make driving through and backing up a bit nerve-wracking.  We had planned to do some sight-seeing while we were there, but the playground was literally directly behind our site, so the kids opted to spend the entire day playing outside.

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New Orleans Recap

Wow.  New Orleans was just.. wow.  We loved it so much, we kept finding ourselves making comparisons to Disney – “I felt like I saw enough, but I would LOVE to just sit and soak up the atmosphere and watch the city go past!”  and on the ferry on the way home, “Hey, it’s dark and we’re exhausted and on a ferry home – but we’ll still have another 20 minute drive after we get off the ferry – it’s just like Disney!”

Bayou Segnette State Park

While visiting New Orleans, we camped at Bayou Segnette State Park.  I was really looking forward to this campground before we launched because I’d heard really wonderful things about it.  However, once we’d been on the road for a few days, I began to get concerned.  The problem:  Bayou Segnette doesn’t have sewer hookups, and we have to empty our black tank OFTEN.  Whew.  We ended up having to move the RV to the dump station every other day that week.  Let’s just say we got pretty good at packing up quickly!

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USS Alabama

by Colwyn Raum

The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is a fantastic way to visit the battleship USS Alabama and the submarine USS Drum. I think you should really visit it. By the way, did you know that there were at least seven other ships named Alabama?

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The USS Alabama is also called the Mighty A. The USS Alabama is 75 years old. It was commissioned in 1942 and fought in WW2.  It was launched on February 16, 1942, and was decommissioned on January 9, 1947. Its sister ships are the USS Massachusetts, the USS Indiana, and the USS South Dakota. The USS Alabama was brought to Mobile bay, Alabama in 1964. It weighs 42,500 tons and is 680 feet in length from stem to stern.  The ship’s length is half of the height of the Empire State Building.  The USS Alabama had 130,000 horsepower engines.  Originally, the USS Alabama was to be scrapped, but it was turned into a museum instead.

The captain of the USS Alabama was Captain George B. Wilson.  The USS Alabama’s first deployments were in the Orkney Islands, Newfoundland, and Norway. She spent most of the war after that fighting the Japanese in the Pacific. The USS Alabama fired 1250 shells, and shot down 22 enemy aircraft. She never incurred any damage, nor lost any men due to enemy action. This gave her the additional nickname, the Lucky A.

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It costs $6 for kids, $15 for adults, and $13 for seniors. Hours are: Mon-Thu 8am-3pm, Fri-Sat 8am-4pm, and Sun 8am-3pm. You can check out aircraft, tanks, and artillery as well. You can host private parties and birthday parties there. There is also a program for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and church groups where you can stay overnight in the USS Alabama (In the bunks, of course). It’s $20 per person for admission.

Again, the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is a wonderful way for people to see the battleship, submarine, aircraft, artillery, and tanks in person. I would recommend it to people (and kids!) who want to see a battleship, but don’t want to leave the state of Alabama to see one. You can even pretend to man one (or two) of the guns.

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