Beware of Horse Trailers

We set out for our favorite local campground, Live Oak Ridge Park at Belton Lake, Texas for a few nice days of relaxation in late July, 2020. We had picked a lovely site (39), well shaded with a view of the park, near the washroom, and with an excellent southern sky access for satellite TV.

This picture was taken after the previous two-day fiasco… Our first hint should have been the horse trailer converted into camper that drove three times around the park looking for his site. Sure enough, he finally pulls in right next to us (in the same space where you see the big fifth wheel camper in the picture above.) Being the friendly, outgoing type, I walk over after he gets set up and show some interest in his unique camper. In return, I got a scowl and a low grunt. He proceeded to pull two big pit bull dogs out of the camper, and hooks them up to a cable he had strung between two trees. One was obviously quite old, and the other young, loud, and aggressive. Both dogs could reach the driver’s door of my truck. I was quite thankful that I did not need to go anywhere, or I would be crawling into the driver’s seat from the passenger’s side.

Some time later, his wife shows up in a separate car, and they commence to fighting loudly from inside the trailer. She leaves. He leaves. He returns later. She doesn’t. He stayed overnight, and left an hour after check out time, without picking up the mess he left behind.

Soon thereafter, this huge RV pulls in with six kids. The parents greeted us and apologized in advance for six noisy kids. We told them we’d rather hear the happy noise of six kids than the angry barking of two pit bulls and their owners.

One of the “regulars” at Live Oak Ridge has a pack of chihuahuas, and the unique rig you see below….

I had never seen a toy hauler that doubled as a screened in porch before. This couple eventually became park hosts.

The family next to us turned out to be a wonderful family, and we enjoyed seeing them playing with their kids.

This was also the trip where our factory-issued television died.

Ode to the NAXA television – I’m glad you’re dead. We were so excited the day we ordered our Casita. We had looked at them years earlier, just waiting for the day I would retire and we could start traveling. We definitely wanted a television, and ordered the TV with cable-ready hookups. There are many things that are not learned online. That knowledge only can only be acquired in the School of Hard Knocks. The NAXA TV that comes with the Casita is one of those lessons. Oh, the hours I’ve spent in agonizing frustration trying to get this TV to work. We tried two antennas and a satellite system to no avail. The picture, when we could get one, was fuzzy. The sound was so quiet, we had to use an external powered speaker. I have honestly spent more time trying to get this TV to work, than in actually watching it. But now, finally, the NAXA died in its sleep. When I plugged it in for the last time, the screen appeared to have shorted out with a web of lines going everywhere.But with this death comes new life. We have replaced the NAXA with a 24″ smart TV. I plugged it in, hooked it up, and IMMEDIATELY had 1080p HD TV!!!! WOW! The moral to this story: DO NOT BUY the TV from Casita. Get the cable-ready connection, and buy a decent TV elsewhere.

But I have been going on far too long about human concerns. This is a Two Terrier blog. and they had quite a time on this trip as well. The squirrels were very active, and in full view of our campsite. Here they are on full squirrel alert.

Last, but not least, here we are as Happy Campers!

Hickory Creek Park and Little Home on the Road (July, 2020)

We took a memorable trip to Hickory Creek Park on Lewisville Lake, Texas in early July. We had site 44, which was memorable for the merciless sun beating on the side of the Casita, which faced to the west. But that is not why we remember this campground. I (Frank) had taken the Two Terriers on a long walk and toward the end, thought it would be a good idea to let them bound through some tall grass (and weeds) for a short distance as a shortcut to the road leading back to our trailer. But when we got back to the Casita, Mikey had swollen up like a balloon under his chin. It was quite scary how fast he was swelling up. I feared he might not be able to breathe or swallow. We found a 24 hour vet about 20 minutes away, and rushed him there.

Fortunately, the treatment given to him (steroid shot and antihistamines) worked, and 24 hours later, he was back to normal!

The campground was nice, but the heat was excessive that day, so we really didn’t get to enjoy the campground as much as we could have. Here are a couple pictures of our setup there.

From here, we went to Little Home on the Road (LHOTR) in Haslet, Texas, for a couple of mods to the trailer, and to get it weighed (Weight and Balance). We had a shelf put in to hold a DVD player or satellite TV receiver, and we had an electric door lock installed. Our weight and balance was as close to “perfect” as they had ever seen, only 5 pounds difference left to right, and 14% tongue weight.

I highly recommend Terry and his crew for any mods you may be thinking about. They are excellent at their craft, and free with their advise and knowledge. We love LHOTR! It was 103 degrees that day. We took the Two Terriers to a dog park. Mikey (the smart one) stayed in the shade. Toby, on the other hand, had to play fetch the whole time we were there, taking occasional breaks to cool off in the running water of the water fountain! He would lay in the bowl and let the water run over his head and body. I wished I could have done the same!

From LHOTR, we stopped by Weatherford, Texas to visit our daughter, and saw her boyfriend’s new law office, just off the courthouse square.

Live Oak Ridge, Belton Lake, TX 15-17 June 2020

Our next trip was to our “go to” campground, Live Oak Ridge COE at Belton Lake, Texas. We had a wonderful couple of days relaxing in Site 40. It’s a well-shaded site and close to the main bath house. We enjoyed reading a playing Yahtzee.

If you look closely in the line of trees, you can get an idea of what our site looks like from a distance. We had a great view of the campground, yet were completely shaded. You can see why the campground is named Live Oak Ridge!

We enjoyed the site, but had no satellite reception. No matter, we enjoyed the time without television anyway. With beautiful weather like this, who needs to be inside the camper?

We’re Back!!!

The Two Terrier Travelers blog has been down for quite awhile, but we now have it up and running again. Meanwhile, the Two Terriers have been very busy Traveling, mostly around Texas.

We will get our records and photos organized and begin posting our trips since the previous travels.

Our biggest news is that we have taken over hosting the Javelina Roundup fiberglass trailer gathering in Davis Mountains State Park, Texas. More on that later.

Some of our recent camping neighbors at Rocky Creek COE, Somerville Lake, Tx. They drove the Two Terriers crazy all week!

3443 Miles, 19 days, and 10 States! What a trip!

Nothing will keep a grandparent from seeing their newest grandchild! Especially when he is the Cutest. Baby. In. The. World!!!

We had planned this trip for months to go from our home in Central Texas to our son’s house in Pennsylvania. We were going to be gone about 3 weeks, and follow the “3/30 rule” (go no further than three hundred thirty mile, and stop by 3:30 pm). With this as a plan, we reserved overnight stays near Texarkana, Memphis, Monterey TN, and Roanoke, VA.

Then COVID-19 happened. Two of our reservations were cancelled. One at a Corps of Engineer park near Texarkana, and one at a Virginia State Park. Still, I held out for trying to complete the trip. We were going to leave on May 1st, and be gone about 3 weeks, taking 5 days to arrive at our son’s house on his birthday.

As the time to leave approached, we were seeing the first indications of relaxing the stay at home rules, and decided to make a break for it. I reserved a private park near Texarkana, and we stayed at a Cracker Barrel parking lot in Virginia. (more on that later).

This was our first stop near Texarkana, TX at the Shady Pines RV Park. It was a good overnight stay.

Our second night brought us to West Memphis, Arkansas, and the Tom Sawyer Park right on the Mighty Mississippi River. We enjoyed watching the barges pushing their loads up and down the river.

Our next stop was a nice campground near Monterey, Tennessee. It was rather hilly, with trails and caves and a pond… but we just slept overnight and continued the trip.

And then we entered Virginia – the only state that was Completely Closed. They would not even let the private RV Parks accept overnight guests. We were forced to boondock, and did so at a Cracker Barrel. It turned out great with good meals for dinner and breakfast.

And on the fifth day, we arrived in Pennsylvania! We stayed at the Pinch Pond Family Campground. It was a very nice stay, though most of our time was with Jerry, Olivia, and little Evan.

And now, what you’ve been waiting for: Evan Asher Knight! He really is always happy.

And then we said our farewells to Maisy and her family, and headed south to Alabama.

One more night at a Cracker Barrel before staying near Athens Tennessee at the Overnighter RV Park. Small, but adequate.

And then on to Athens, Alabama to see Steve and Michelle Olney, our long-time friends from Frank’s Army days. He is the Pastor of a Cowboy Church!

After going to church with the Olneys, we headed west toward Texas. Since we were leaving later in the day, it was a short trip over to Tupelo, Mississippi, and the Browns Crossing RV Park.

Our last night before reaching home was at a gorgeous park in Louisiana, the Lincoln Parish Park. We hope to return to this one some day.

Not to mention the beautiful drive through Louisiana…..

But it is always good to get back into God’s Country: TEXAS!!!

We’ll do it again, it was a wonderful trip for our first Casita trip of any real distance. Safe travels, and Godspeed to all.

Casita Mods

I wanted to record all the modifications and useful items have gone into making our Casita so enjoyable, practical, and safe.

The Zarcor vertical shades. This mod enables us to see who is outside, and provides privacy when closed.
A plexiglass cover over the screen to keep the Two Terriers from tearing up the screen door.
Keyless latches for outside compartment doors.
A holder for the 7-pin connector, to keep it clean and dry when not in use.
One of the first things I did was to purchase a new home for the new Casita. Just a couple of weeks after we put up this carport, we had several tornados in our area. I lost 12 big trees on my property, uprooted by the high winds. But the Casita and carport were unfazed, safe and sound!
Ceramic window tinting from All Pro Tinting, Decatur, Texas.
Front scissor jacks installed by Little Home on the Road, Haslet, Texas.
Guttering above all the windows and door.
Our Two Terrier Travelers logo on the spare tire cover.
The pull-out battery compartment.
Another view, with battery slide fully extended.
The gray water tank vent mod makes draining the gray water tank considerably faster.
A shut-off valve behind the toilet.
Not a mod, but useful information: The color-matched gray paint from Home Depot.
I broke my hitch lock with a simple hammer and crowbar, then replaced it with this unbreakable Proven Lock.
A 5″ vinyl fence post with end caps bolted to the bumper for storage of a longer sewer hose.
A 4 1/2″ vinyl gutter with internal end caps to slide out the hose.
A full width shower curtain held up with command hooks to keep the toilet area dry.
A bungee cord keeps the shower curtain from sucking into the shower when the vent fan is blowing. The curtain will pull all the way across the door opening.
Deb made a curtain for the bathroom window held in place by a stick-on paper towel holder.
Two PVC towel rods clamped to the vent pipe.
Vinyl decorations, non-adhesive.
Nice hooks that fold away when not in use at the top of the closet door. (Thanks to Louis and Katy Fernandez for the idea!)
A very nice pull handle for the pantry from Louis and Katy Fernandez of Rosebud’s Travels.
A tire monitoring system. The monitor is mounted in the tow vehicle to keep an eye on tire pressure while driving.
I hate those long safety cables that want to drag the ground but you’re afraid to wrap around something. This coiled safety cable is the perfect solution! (shown here in the storage position)
A nice weatherproof cover to keep the electric jack functioning for a long time!
Not a mod, but a very useful addition – each leg is adjustable for keeping the platform level on uneven ground.
The original faucet was defective and extremely hard to switch from faucet to shower. It broke completely on a trip to Kansas City. I replaced it with this faucet, not a color match, but at least it is fully functional.
A lot of folks have discovered this shower head. We kept the original holder, and just replaced shower head. It is the Oxygenics kit from Walmart. It really does save water. The buttons by the handle are an easy on/off cutoff, and the dial controls the volume of water.
Every Casita owner with an outdoor shower unit has been frustrated trying to push the hose and shower head back in the space to close the door for travel. That problem is solved with this mod. It features a quick disconnect and a garden style faucet with multiple spray options, and a 15′ coiled hose. I keep it up in a convenient place with a suction cup hook. (Casita finally provides this as the standard outdoor shower now!)
Another non-mod addition is the Progressive Industries Electronic Management System (EMS). It has two unique features that I really like: First, if the power is not 120v (give or take a few volts), it will cut off power to the RV, so it is impossible to ruin your electrical system by accidentally plugging into 240v. This unit also protects against LOW voltage – which is a killer of compressors (found in the air conditioner and refrigerator).

Matagorda Madness

Oops! It has been awhile since I updated our blog. Life happens fast around here. I’m only 6 months late in posting this, but I’ll get caught up over the next week or so.

We attended our first Matagorda Madness rally from 4 to 8 December, 2019 at the Matagorda Nature Center, a park run by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA). We had a wonderful time, meeting and making new friends, and spending time at the nearby beach.

A great gathering of Casitas under a perfectly blue sky!

The walk out to the beach was a nice hike with a long elevated walkway. The Two Terriers (Mikey and Toby) were very excited to smell the beach smells and play in the water.

Mikey and Toby’s first time in the Gulf of Mexico!

They were just plain worn out from all the fun!

Being that it was December, we decided to get in the Christmas Mood with a little decorations on our Casita!

We had such a great time there, we made reservations for 2020 before we left! See y’all in December (2-6 2020)!

Pineknot Rally

We enjoyed another fiberglass RV rally at the Salmon Lake RV Park near Grapeland, TX October 23-27. We shared a hook up post with our good friends George and Sandy Childs. The park is quite unique. The previous owners bought numerous old buildings, brought them in, and renovated them into several cabins (nice on the inside, Old West on the outside). The ground there is very sandy, so rain just soaks right in.

We had beautiful weather (except for one night and day of drizzle). But even the rain didn’t dampen the spirit of the group who attended.

Of particular note was Little Home on the Road in attendance. I was able have them install the first “factory install” of the new battery slide-out. It makes servicing and testing the battery a piece of cake!

Pineknot was entertaining and very enjoyable. There were also several Escapes in attendance, and the president of the company flew down from Canada to give a presentation. But the best part of all were all the friends we saw and the new friends we made (Ray and Ron among others!)

Javelina Roundup 2019

We had a wonderful week in the Davis Mountains State Park at the Javelina Roundup 28 Sep – 5 October. We decided to stay the night before, and again on the way home as well, at Fort Stockton RV Park, just east of Fort Stockton on I-10. It was a wonderful stay. We enjoyed the cafe on the grounds, and Two Terriers loved the dog park. They met many new canine friends, helping greatly in their socialization.

Shortly after we arrived at the Fort Stockton RV Park, another fiberglass RV (Escape 21). When they got set up, I went over and introduced myself. It turned out to be Jerry and Lou Todd, who were also going to Javelina Roundup. We had a great time with them for dinner and breakfast, and travelled together to the state park.

The Davis Mountains State Park is a wonderful park with spacious sites, full hook ups, and beautiful views. Mikey and Toby (the Two Terriers) drug me all over those mountains, and showed that they were trail-running fiends. They LOVED going on trail walks. We also visited the McDonald Observatory, and attended a Star Party. We were able to see the moon up close, and we saw the rings of Saturn. Amazing!

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The Black Bear Restaurant at Indian Lodge has good food and good views of the valley below. The town of Fort Davis has a very well-stocked grocery store (Porters), and a Blue Bell ice cream parlor, The Caboose. In the town of Alpine, we stopped at the Davis Mountains Nut Company, and bought various flavored pecans. I had a nice conversation with the owner – very friendly.

Music for the Roundup was provided by “Slim Pickens and the Can’t Hardly Playboys”. They were very entertaining. I gave a Cowboy Poetry recital one morning during the morning coffee gathering.

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We saved a visit to the Fort Davis Historical Site for next year’s roundup. We WILL go back again.

A Weekend Getaway

We decided to take a last minute trip out to Belton Lake for the weekend, and stayed at Live Oak Ridge Park, an Army Corps of Engineer RV park just above the spillway at Belton Lake Dam, Belton, TX.

“Live Oak Ridge” is the perfect name for this park. The pups and I took many walks among the large, old live oak trees that cover the campground. It is enchanting to walk through a dense canopy of live oaks that are certainly many decades old. The park sits atop a ridge overlooking Belton Lake on one side, and the spillway along another side.

The restrooms were tiled, clean, and well-stocked. The entire park was mowed and the park hosts made the rounds. It is obvious they take pride in the park. Even the crushed granite patio areas had been raked! I also saw the county sheriff twice. It felt good to see them on patrol.

There was one other Casita there, an older Spirit Deluxe. On Saturday morning, I saw them hooking up, so I went over and introduced myself. They were Dick and Mary Herrmann from Tomball, Texas. Their daughter lives in Temple, and they had been here four days visiting her. Dick is 80, and Mary is 78. Could have fooled me! They looked much younger! This is their second Casita. They purchased this one used, about five years ago. They go to Salmon Lake Park a lot, so I told them about Pineknot Rally in October.

I was very pleased with how both our refrigerator and air conditioner worked in the 100+ degree heat. We took the pups to Belton Lake for a swim. When we got back, we bathed them with our new outside shower! It is so nice!