Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Thousand Reasons Not To

Well, maybe not a thousand.  But this trip sure did start off on the WRONG foot.

Here's a few reasons why you might not want to go camping:

- It might be COLD. Like, there's snow on the ground when you get there, COLD.
- You might forget your power drill.  Which means you've got to hunt down the hand crack you haven't used since you bought the camper in order to crank down your stabilizers.
- Cans might come falling out of the cupboard on top of you.  "Shift Happens."
- You might burn your fingers on the closed grill lid walking past not realizing it was left on high to burn off the crap from the last time it was used.  A quick Google search will tell you it's a second degree burn.
 - When things shifted in the cupboard, a bottle of olive oil might fall over.  And spill.  And generally make a ginormous mess that you have to clean up with your now injured hand.
- The propane might run out in the middle of the night and the heater will stop.  (See the first item on the list again).
- You might set up coffee for the morning and instead of setting the time, you turn it on.  5 minutes later coffee starts brewing.  This is at 10 o'clock at night.
- The water spigot might be frozen. So you might have to stand outside with your little electric heater to defrost it.  (And you might have to Google 'spigot' because you can't figured out it's not spelt 'spicket').
- You might burn your hand (again) trying to cook breakfast.
- Your sewer hose might not be long enough to reach from your camper to the sewer hook-up. Yea.
- The firewood might not light, because it's been snowed on.
- The snow will melt, and then you'll deal with mud. Lots and lots and lots of mud.

And that was all before the first trip to Wal*Mart Saturday morning. So, why, why on earth would I be all excited that we're going camping again this next weekend?!

Well, you might get to say you've actually gone camping in snow.  Not really that much snow, mind you, but snow nonetheless.

You might get to enjoy some amazing food - both at the restaurant we ate at Friday night (because after burning my fingertips so badly I didn't want to cook) and then again Saturday afternoon once they stopped throbbing and I did feel like cooking.

Stuffed sweet potatoes.  Deee-licious!

You might get to see the ingenuity of your husband (heheh - husband!) as he figures out how to defrost the water faucet.  (And yes, we stayed with the heater the whole time - because electricity and water do not mix!  And, we found out later, we could have called park maintenance and they would have defrosted it for us.)

You might get some studying done....

...or some sleeping...

...or some security guarding...

...or more sleeping.

You can build a fire.  Lake Livingston SP has firewood available for donations.  I put $20 in the honor box and the Ranger said: That's gonna be a lot of firewood.  Sure enough, we didn't end up burning it all, so we've got plenty for this next weekend.  Oh, and a big thanks to the campers next site over who offered their lighter fluid...

And who knows, you might actually have a good time, despite the thousand reasons not to.

We were in Site #55 at Lake Livingston State Park - who is piloting a site-specific reservation system this year.  We *loved* that we could grab one of the sites near the water and knew exactly where we were going when we got to the Park.  We've been here once before: A Relaxing Weekend at Lake and very likely will be back here again.

I know, I know, I say that all the time!  But with so many reasons to go back, why wouldn't we? ;-)

For a few more camping photos, go here.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Texas State Parks - Piloting Site Specific Reservations

Looking forward to camping this upcoming weekend - but last-minute booking left us feeling like Mary and Joseph with no room in the inn (both Huntsville and Steven F Austin SP were booked full).

Thankfully, we have a huge State Parks system, and Lake Livingston has availability.

I noticed pretty quickly, though, the normal online booking for Lake Livingston has changed - TPWD is piloting a site-specific reservation system this year and Lake Livingston is the text subject:

"Lake Livingston State Park will be testing a site specific reservation system starting 1-13-2014. Upon implementation, visitors will be able reserve a limited number of specific sites ... prior to arrival in the Red Oak, Piney Shores, and Shelter camping areas. ...  Individuals will be able to reserve specific sites or groups of sites prior to arriving at the park. We hope this will enhance the experience for our customers. Check back soon to make a site specific reservation."  - TPWD

I called and spoke to the TPWD service center this morning - Livingston is the only park that's testing this (so far).  I couldn't help but just gush about how awesome I think it would be for *all* of the parks to do this! (and if you like it, want it, need it, you should call and tell them that, too - the more public comments they get, the more likely this will spread to other parks in the system.)

So, go make a reservation - a  SITE SPECIFIC reservation - and come camp with us! 

We'll be in Site #55.

Boy howdy, it was once heck of a trip - here's A Few Thousand Reasons Not To go.

UPDATE, January 30th:  Looks like I got the scoop on TPWD, as they just put out a press release on the website today. You can find it here.