One Year on the Road

Last Texas Stop

Lake Tawakoni.

We had been in Texas for over a month – visiting my sister in Sugarland, seeing a cousin in Dripping Springs, flying our goddaughter in for a weeklong visit in Austin, then meeting up with our friend Marsha for a week in Hill Country. We had hit Texas at the best time for temperate weather and an explosion of wildflowers, and we loved all our visits with people. But now we were headed north again. The weather was wet, and we found ourselves a bit tired. So after we dropped Marsha off at the Dallas airport, we drove 90 minutes east to a Thousand Trails RV park on Lake Tawakoni, just shy of Arkansas. We stayed a couple of nights and let ourselves just be lazy and immobile for a bit.

This is the campground where Kate had holed up with a cold when I flew to Santa Cruz for the weekend (see Santa Cruz). The floodwaters had receded, but parts of the park seem rather neglected. Still, it was quiet, we had a view of the lake, and there were lots of places to walk the pets when the rain stopped.

Road Weary Yet?

Gypsy and Bailey love walking together.

Yeah, maybe just a little. For the first time, I’m starting to really look forward to getting home. When we hit our year anniversary at the beginning of March, we’d just left Florida and were eager for more adventure. We were both so glad our renter had insisted on having the house through the school year, giving us really more like 16 months on the road. There was so much more to see! And we got kind of anxious when we thought about returning to Eugene and looking for jobs.

But I felt a little shift at this last rest stop in Texas. We planned to head north through Arkansas, visit friends in St. Louis, and then have one more visit with Dad in Springfield before heading northwest. I started to get a little horse-to-the-barn itch. And found myself daydreaming less about new places to visit and more about getting back in our house and seeing all our friends again.

Plover Nest

Stay away pose.

It wasn’t until we’d backed into our campsite that we realized there was a killdeer plover nesting just a few yards from our door. Why this determined creature had chosen a spot between two moveable RVs to lay her eggs, I don’t know, but she was a fierce and committed mother. We watched her from our window, flattened into a camouflaged puddle all through the rain. She’d call to her mate for reprieve from time to time so she could go find food. If anyone or thing came near the nest, she’d spread out her wings in a threatening pose and screech. If that didn’t work, she’d leave the nest and feign a broken wing, hobbling pitifully and whistling, hoping to attract the predator away from the nest.

Other than our initial encounter, when Gypsy got a little too close for comfort, we did our best to stay clear of the poor thing. How stressful it must be for her, having new neighbors every few days, many with pets. Once we’d made it clear to her that we would not steal her eggs or let the pets get to her, she relaxed more. It takes 24-28 days for killdeer eggs to hatch. I would have loved watching that from our RV window, but when we left, mama was still keeping her beautiful speckled eggs warm.

RV Stairmaker

Port-a-deck RV stairs.

It was such a quiet park; we only talked to one person during our stay. Gary and his wife were right next to us. (They’d been watching the plover through rain and hail for a couple of weeks.)  They remembered us from the Colorado River TT campground, and we chatted a bit. They are full-timers, but Gary started up a new business after retiring. When his wife had a knee replacement and couldn’t manage the RV stairs, he worked and worked to rig up knee-friendly alternative: a collapsible metal deck, stairs, and railing contraption that fits in their front outside compartment when folded up.

While traveling, Gary got so many requests from other RV’ers who had trouble getting in and out of their rigs that he ended up setting up a manufacturing center in Texas. He and his wife still travel and live in on the road, but he’s got several employees creating Port-a-Step and Port-a-Deck RV accessories for his business:

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