First Lajitas, Texas. Lajitas is an unincorporated town located between Big Band National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. Yes, I did not know there was also a state park named Big Bend, but there is.
“Welcome To The Other Side Of Nowhere” is the saying down here. Where you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere but sometimes that is exactly what you need. Just to get away from the cities and the noise. To go somewhere were the skies are vast, the views are spectacular and the air is pure. The hiking and off-roading trails are boundless and plentiful, so be sure to bring your Jeep or dirt bike. What you don’t get a lot of here is options. There are a few decent and some what famous restaurants around the area but there are no big grocery stores, just a small corner store where you can get the basics and meet the local mayor, who happens to be a goat. A, dare I say, bigger store is about half an hour away in the town of Study-Butte, TX with a population of a whole 267 people. So you can imagine the size of that store. We were surprised and happy to see that they did carry Blue Bell Ice Cream though.
Our Site At The Maverick Ranch RV Park In Lajitas, TX
Our Site At The Maverick Ranch RV Park In Lajitas, TX
There are a few RV parks to chose from when you are visiting the Big Bend area. Some are closer to Big Bend National Park and are located right in Study-Butte. However, we chose to stay a little further out at Maverick Ranch RV Park. Maverick Ranch RV Park is part of a luxury resort with a world class golf course (which we don’t play), spa, Equestrian center, Skeet and Clay shooting, Zip lines, restaurants and even an International Airport so you can fly in with your private jet. When you stay at the rv park, you are privy to partake in all of the resort and it’s activities, for an additional fee of course.
Restaurant At Lajitas Resort
Shops And Rooms At Lajitas Resort
Enjoying A Prickly Pear Margarita While David Plays With Trevor Hickle
David got to play with Trevor Hickle one night in the Thirsty Goat Saloon while I sat and enjoyed a Prickly Pear Margarita, a specialty down there. We had dinner there as well. It was good food but let’s just say that it certainly reflected resort prices and leave it at that.
Maverick Ranch RV Resort In Lajitas, TX
Maverick Ranch RV Resort In Lajitas, TX
Maverick Ranch RV Park had some nice big sites, enough for our 45 foot Motor Coach and Jeep. Some back in spots were shorter but most were plenty long. We were in site 29 and we had no issue leveling our coach. Being right on the end we had a nice grassy corner next to us and the WiFi antenna was right across the way. We are happy to report that their WiFi actually was usable and worked thru out our stay. This was a good thing because the one thing we did not think when we booked this place, about being down in such a remote location, was our Verizon signal. Our phones were on extended network. Even with our cell phone booster, we could only stand in one spot (near the antenna booster) inside our rig to make calls. Our Verizon MiFi box was on roaming. So having the parks WiFi work well was a real big plus in our book.
The Office At Maverick Ranch RV Resort In Lajitas, TX
Maverick Ranch RV Resort In Lajitas, TX
The wonderful ladies in the office know all the great things to do in the area. They also have a big community center, laundry facilities and full bathrooms for your convenience. Weekly entertainment can be found in the community center as well as in the lounges and restaurants.
The Maverick Ranch RV Park was a great jumping off point to our adventures in the area. We set out to explore Big Bend, of course, as well as the towns of Study-Butte and Terlingua, TX.
National Geographic named highway 170 as a must drive and one of the “True Last Frontiers” to explore. When you make your way into the Big Bend area, you start your journey on this scenic highway, continuing all the way through Lajitas, dubbed River Road, and through to Presidio, TX. All the while traveling along the Rio Grande River.
River Road Scenic Drive
River Road Scenic Drive
Mexico is an easy crossing from inside Big Bend National Park or from Presidio. However, once a year in May the (unincorporated) town of Lajitas put on a festival called, “Voices From Both Sides“. It’s a gathering where the communities from both Lajitas, the surrounding towns and the Mexican communities get together and celebrate the coming together of two Nations. They wade across the river, singing and rejoicing at the reunions of old friends, while enjoying festival food, music and good times together. Now that would be a site to see and experience.
So, would we stay at Maverick Ranch RV Park again? Yes, yes we would. With the understanding that it is a distance from anywhere (but UPS does deliver out there). The people are great and super friendly. The food and entertainment good. The views are boundless. The quietness and peacefulness enveloping.
You know that saying, it’s not about the destination but the journey. Such can be said for this area. So enjoy the drive and the scenery as it passes you by. The quietness of the surrounding hills and canyons. The peacefulness at night walking around underneath the big star filled sky. For you’ll be in a big city again where the noises and lights will filter inside and you’ll long for those dark skies at night once again.
I will write up more on this area in another post. The things that we explored, our afternoon trip into Mexico and David playing at the famous StarLight Theatre. Until then, enjoy this video of Maverick Ranch RV Park from David.
When you find yourself driving to Big Bend National Park in far west Texas, you drive along some very desolate roads. You may not see another soul for miles.
This is not where you want to find yourself with a problem. And recently when we were driving down some of these roads, we found ourselves in such a situation.
You see, we were just driving along, admiring the scenery and isolation when all of a sudden our EEZTire TPMS started beeping at us. David was driving at the time and he noted that our rear passenger tire on our tow vehicle was steadily loosing pressure. Of course we were in the middle of no where without another soul around and we were on a 2 lane highway with little options to pull off. But the lucky part…we were in a construction zone. Lucky?
Yup…you read that right. We were in a construction zone in the middle of no where. However, as luck would have it, because of said construction zone, they had widened the highway with an extra driving lane, as they had one of the normally used driving lanes closed off with cones for them to work on.
Seeing we were also driving on a Sunday, it made the roads more desolate, however, it also made the construction zone a perfect place to pull over as no one was working at that time. So yes, we pulled over, through the cones (which thank goodness were spaced far enough apart for us to squeeze through) and onto a construction area. Which, looking back on the situation, we have no idea what they were actually doing to the road. It wasn’t freshly paved and it didn’t really have any signs of being worked on recently, other than the cones. Oh well….I shouldn’t take it for granted since it really was a perfect place to pull off safely, out of traffic, if their was any.
Yup…Tire Going Flat
David Trying The Green Slime To Plug Hole In Tire
David Adding Air To Tire
So what to do next? Well, after examination of the rear passenger tire on our Jeep, David determined that we had picked up a nail or something, in the construction zone of course, and it made a nice big hole in the tire. So air was rapidly escaping.
Alas, we did not have one. We thought we were prepared for everything. We had a spare if need be but David wanted to try to seal it first. So we did have some Green Slime for car tires.
The theory is, you take the cap off your tire and add the Slime inside the tire. Then air up and drive so the Slime oozes (technical term here) around on the inside of the tire. The way it works is when air hits the Slime, it hardens. So when you roll the tire, in theory, as the air wants to get out of the tire at the hole, air hits the Slime as it tries to get out and thus sealing the hole. Umm….you heard me say, in theory right? Well, We think our hole was just too big for the Slime to seal it properly. So most of it oozed out of the tire, through the hole. Live and learn. (If it had worked, you want to be sure to get the tire to a repair shop as Slime is not meant as a full repair.)
So plan two. David took a piece of rag with Slime on it and shoved it into the hole, plugging it in a sense. All we needed to do was limp to the next town, which was only a few miles up the road. Well, once we got some air into the tire and saw that it was holding pressure, that seemed to work long enough for us to get to the next town. That town was Valentine, Texas. Now Valentine, TX, as of the 2000 census, has a population of 187 people. And of course, this being Sunday, everything is shut down for the day and there is not another person in site. So we pull over into a parking area while David tries to patch the tire again. You see, at this point, we determined that we could not just change our tire too easily as the lug nuts were on there really tightly.
Slime Brand Tire Patch Kit we used. (Different from the liquid)
As David was working on the second plug, low and behold, a Good Samaritan (GS) who lived in Valentine came along and asked if we needed help. David jokingly said, well, if you had a patch kit that would help a lot. The next few words the gentleman said were a mystery as his west Texas accent was undecipherable to us upstate New Yorkers. He then took off in his truck and we pondered what he had said while trying to work on plugging the hole. About 20 minutes later, the GS came back and low and behold…he had a tire patch kit! Exactly what we needed! After talking to him a little bit more, we discovered he did not have a patch kit but his neighbor did. So he drove off to his neighbors house to retrieve it.
Tire Patched And Ready To Roll
So after just a couple plugs, which took all of less than 10 minutes, we were back on the road with a fully functioning tire. Thanks to the GS that stopped to help out strangers in his small town. I’m sorry to say, we do not remember his, nor his wife’s name. We offered to buy the patch kit from his neighbor as we did use it and they would not take anything for it. They just wanted us to pay it forward. So nice and very much appreciated. The perfect solution to our problem.
And before you say it, yes, we do have CoachNet Roadside Service. I actually was on the phone with them, in Valentine, TX, as the GS pulled up with the patch kit.
NOTICE: We just got off the phone with Costco where we purchased the tires last Sept 2016. We wanted to set a time to come in and have the tire checked and repaired properly if needed. We were told because we did a patch on the road, the tire warranty provided by Costco may be VOID. OUCH! So, while we will still carry a kit, we may think about it next time depending on where we are. We never would have thought that fixing a tire with a tire repair patch would void your warranty and we will find out for sure when we see them next week.
So back to the title of this post…How the TPMS system saved us from a worse situation. Well, that is totally true. If we did not have a TPMS system, air would have steadily leaked out of the tire without our knowledge until it was completely flat. We would have ended up dragging our Jeep down the road, on the rim and shredding the tire and then starting rim damage. It is way too easy to drag these tow vehicles down the road with the torque that is behind these giant diesel pushers. Sad to say, we have seen it happen. So a TPMS system will alert you to a leak or a high temp on your tire or what have you, before it becomes a bigger problem down the road.
Here is our blog post and video on why it’s important to have a TPMS system.
And the lesson that we learned was, no matter how seasoned an RVer that you are (we’ve been traveling since 2008), there is always something to learn. We learned that we were not as prepared as we thought/hoped we were. We need to carry a patch kit no matter where we are and let’s face it, they’re cheap enough to always have one. Also be sure you carry a small air compressor to put air back in the tire. (In this case, seeing we had the coach, we used the air system from the coach.) Leave both the patch kit and compressor in the tow car so you have it. After all, you never know when something may take place be it when the car is being towed, or you are driving it.. But rest assured, it is there for when you do need it. But ALWAYS, ALWAYS, be sure you have a good TPMS system!!! We use the EEZTire TPMS from EEZ RV Products.
Sorry there has not been any postings lately. We are currently parked at North Texas Jellystone RV Resort in Burleson, TX, just south of Fort Worth. We’ve been here over a month now as David has been working non-stop on improving this park’s WiFi system.
You see, a friend of ours owns this park and asked for David’s help in expanding his WiFi system. Well, that simple expansion has turned into a complete rip out and re-build of a new and improved WiFi system. The old system was just that….old. So in order to support all the traffic and a new fiber line coming into the park, a whole new system had to be built in its place.
David explains that whenever you put in a WiFi system in an rv park it’s always a “Best Effort” install. You see, it can never be 100% for everyone all the time. You have to remember that rv parks are always in flux. There are rv’s coming and going all the time.
So you may be just fine connecting to the local campground’s WiFi system one day but then you may get a new neighbor and all of a sudden you have half the signal or none at all. It could be how they are parked and the signal could be bouncing off their coach now. It could be where you physically are inside your particular rv, by a window vs behind a wall. It could be that their camper is made of aluminum and therefore blocking anything coming to you. WiFi signals do not pass through aluminum.
Keep in mind also that your signal, strength or speed is also dependent on what the rv park has coming into their park. Some may not have enough speed to adequately support all the users that are connected. We’ve been in some parks where just their location is a hindrance on how much speed they can get, such as this North Texas Jellystone. They are located just 15 minutes south of Fort Worth, TX and you would expect them to have every resource available but this was just not the case. They fell just outside the install zone for the AT&T fiber until now. They could not even get cable tv here, therefore no cable modems. Their only option up until now has been AT&T U-verse. Unfortunately bad WiFi is the norm throughout the entire US. If the park that you are at has decent WiFi, count yourself lucky.
If they have limited WiFi in certain areas of the park, well, David came up with a solution for that too. You can build yourself an antenna to help bring in the signal to your rv and create your own private WiFi within your rv, for under $100. Here’s the post that David did on that and a step-by-step tutorial on setting it all up yourself. I was able to follow David’s instructions on the video and set one up myself. So I know if I can do it, anyone else should be able to. This will not increase your speed, just help bring the signal inside your rv so that you can connect easier.
David And Some Of The Equipment
David Working On WiFi In Park
So with over 70 access points and bridges from Ubiquiti, fiber coming into the park, a heavy duty Cisco Systems Router and a dedicated server, this system should be great by the time David’s done with it.
David Working On The Server
WiFi Headquarters For North Texas Jellystone RV Park
Sorry to say, I can be of no help what so ever. David was able to bring in a friend that is a programmer and he has helped a lot. We really appreciate Michael and his wife for coming into the park for a couple weeks to help out on this install.
Whisper Falling Asleep On Antenna
BK And Whisper Enjoying The Sun
Whisper of course is no help. He falls asleep all the time on the antennas that David is trying to program. He and BK have been enjoying the Texas sun though. Come on….you knew I had to get a kitty picture in here somewhere :)
Tequila Sampling After A Long Hard Day
After long days of programming this does help.
David’s put in some very long hours. Typically starting at 8 in the morning or so and working until well past 9 at night. I’ve learned to plan out meals so they can be eaten without much effort. There has been a few times we’ve been able to go out and enjoy a restaurant, but then it’s right back to work. I feel bad that I cannot help in any way. I guess just making sure he’s eating and drinking something will have to do.
So, we are still here in Texas. We were planning on only being here for a couple weeks as this was just going to be adding a couple more antennas for an expansion. We do have to be at another rv park in Panama City Beach, FL for another expansion of their WiFi that David worked on last year. We’ve delayed them a little bit so hopefully we will be back on the road soon and headed to Florida.
This has really turned into quite some projects across the country. I think I need to start telling David that maybe he should start charging for this. Yes, he does this for free, just to help out the mom and pop parks and friends.
So sorry it’s been so long for another blog posting. Not much in the way of action has been going on here. Programming, programming and more programming. Oh what fun!
Last winter, as you may, remember that we spent a couple months at the RV Ranch in Keene, Texas. This is a great stop if you are passing through the area. Big enough pull throughs for our 45-foot motor home and tow vehicle. You can, in a few spots, easily stay hooked up if you’re just passing through, however, I recommend staying a few days and checking out the area. This rv park makes for a great launching off pad for exploring the Fort Worth area, just a quick 20 minute drive away.
We became good friends with the rv park owners, Ronnie and Ginger and their mother Annette whom runs the front office. The RV Park of Keene is actually off Interstate 35 about 7 miles west and 20 miles south of Fort Worth. However if you are driving through some of the northern part of Texas Hill Country and you find yourself needing a place to stay, this park is easily within reach.
Stopping here not only gives us time with our friends but we can also visit the great food that is in the area. I know we are not the only ones that enjoy finding mom and pop restaurants that make the town what it is. We have a few favorites in this area.
Del Norte Taco In Godley, TX
Del Norte Taco is a great Mexican restaurant located in Godley, TX. Just a quick 20-minute drive and I’m in heaven. Their secret? The chef. Yes, I know this is a small town Mexican restaurant and you wouldn’t expect much, but you would be wrong. He uses only the finest seasonal local vegetables and slow cooked mesquite meats the way his grandmother showed him. Oh my. I have not found anything else in our many years of travels that can come close to Del Norte Tacos.
We just happened to be driving right past there on our way to the RV Ranch of Keene, we of course had to stop for lunch. I wrote more about it here the last time we were in town. There truly is nothing that we have tried that was not excellent.
Another favorite of ours and just 5 minutes away from the RV Ranch is Sweet Peppa’s. They are only open for breakfast and lunch and it’s all good here. Oh, you HAVE TO checkout their Facebook page. It is SO funny with sayings almost every day on a chalkboard. Sweet Peppa’s Facebook.
Breakfast At Sweet Peppa’s In Keene, TX
Lunch At Sweet Peppa’s In Keene, TX
Being so close to the rv park it is easy to just roll out of bed and get a great breakfast. Everything is home made and they have pies that you can pre-order and take home with you if you so desire. I’m not confessing that we actually did that, but one could.
Make sure you treat yourself to lunch there as well. Just not on the same day as you will be stuffed from breakfast. The menu is not huge but let’s face it, some restaurants you could spend all day perusing the menu just from the sheer size of it. They have a good variety of healthy and not so healthy, eat it once in a while kinda meals. Like the above picture of David holding that half a burger. Yes, that’s only half. We ended up sharing this burger, as it was huge. Picture a fresh meat hamburger sandwiched between two grilled cheese sandwiches for the buns. No, my arteries did not close up upon eating said meal. However, this is one of those afore mentioned meals that is good once in a while, not once a week.
Let’s just say it’s a good thing we don’t live here. We did have to stop one last time on our way out of town for breakfast. On Friday’s only, they make French Toast, one of David’s favorites. So we parked across the street and had one last meal at Sweet Peppa’s.
One Last Stop For Breakfast At Sweet Peppa’s
French Toast At Sweet Peppa’s
So, other than eat our way through our two week stay in Keene, what else did we do? Well, our friends Ronnie and Ginger also own The North Texas Jellystone RV Park just a 10-minute drive up the road. It’s a great park if you are traveling with kids. It’s easily accessible from Interstate 35 and they have some large pull throughs that would easily fit our 45-foot motor home. They also have a good-sized water park attached to the rv park along with many other activities. Ronnie and Ginger were anxious for us to see the large water park expansion that they were constructing.
When they said it was a large expansion, boy, were they not kidding.
What better way to draw some excitement for the new water park expansion than to make a video! So David promptly got out his quadcopter and made a great video of it. We certainly have done our fair share of rv park videos along with various parks and activities. However a construction video is definitely a new one for us.
All The Guys Checking Out The Quadcopter
David And Ronnie Watching The Video Of The Quadcopter Through The Goggles
All the guys came out and watched the quadcopter fly around. They all got a kick out of passing around the goggles and watching the flight from the air. It was great for them to get to see the construction from a different point of view.
Then David and Ronnie each donned a pair of goggles and off they flew. It was a blast shooting this project.
New Water Park Construction
New Water Park Construction
It was a wonderful day to fly and we were lucky we flew when we did because the weather turned down right cold and rainy after that.
We can’t wait to see the water park when the construction is finished and everyone is able to enjoy it. A lazy river, multiple slides, various water dump areas and a stage for entertainment are only a few of the new features that are going in.
You can see they really poured their heart and soul into this project along with A LOT of concrete. We feel it will really pay off for them and we’re glad we were able to help out in the little way that we can.
We think the video turned out great and David found the perfect music to accompany it. Hope you like it as much as we do!
We really enjoyed our visit with our friends. We were sad that we could not spend more time with them. We really didn’t get to see them as much as we had hoped as there was a nasty flu bug traveling around their family. So we all stayed away.
Our last evening Annette had invited us out to dinner.
Dinner With Annette
Charleston’s Steakhouse In Fort Worth, TX
She took us out to Charleston’s Steakhouse in Fort Worth. It was a great evening with great company. Good food was had by all. Now we have another restaurant to add to our ever-growing list of places to go.
Thanks Annette for a great evening and we promise, next time we’re in town we’ll let you pay for dinner (crossing my fingers behind my back).
It was great seeing everyone again and hopefully it won’t be so long next time our paths cross. Oh, maybe the water park would be another good place for a Outside Our Bubble meet-up. :) We could have the park to ourselves after 6PM. :) Ok, Ok, one thing at a time, Quartzsite meet-up first.
Sorry it’s been a little while since our last post. We’ve just been hanging out here in Keene, TX at the RV Ranch. We found this lovely rv park last time we passed through here and we made some lovely new friends. So after our trip to San Antonio, we had no where planned to go, so back up to Keene we headed. We figured it’s always best to be around friends if you can’t be around family for the holidays.
Going south for the winter sometimes does not always work out the way you had planned.
The weather has certainly been interesting here. We’ve never stayed so long in Texas for the winter so we didn’t really know what to expect. We also know it varies greatly depending on what part of Texas you go to.
David Watching Football By The Campfire
One Sunday David was outside around our campfire watching football. It was a lovely evening. One that you just have to get out and enjoy.
Then the next couple days the weather changed. One morning I woke up early and looked out the window to see this beautiful foggy morning. I had to grab my camera and go explore.
Foggy Morning At The RV Ranch
Foggy Morning At The RV Ranch
A few days later an ice storm came through the area. I’m sure you saw the news about the Dallas/Ft Worth area and how hard they got hit with the cold and ice. Well, Keene is right in there to, just 20 miles south of Ft Worth.
We woke up to this…
Trees Heavy With Ice
Ice Storm Came Through
Our Car Covered In Ice
Ice Drips Frozen On The Branches
The ice even tried to keep us inside…
David Trying To Escape The Coach
But we fought through it.
Once the weather warmed up a little again and the roads were safe to drive, we headed to the local park and strolled through their Christmas lights display.
Historical Steam Engine Train In Cleburne, TX Decorated For Christmas
David Enjoying The Christmas Lights
Even bundled up it was a cold evening looking at all the lights. Theirs nothing like heading home afterwards and curling up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate.
Christmas Lights In Cleburne, TX
David Enjoying The Christmas Lights
The Town of Keene had a lovely Christmas parade. Complete with the Marines leading the parade.
Marines Leading The Christmas Parade
Santa And Mrs Clause On The Fire Truck Bucket
Santa and Mrs. Clause where riding in the fire truck bucket.
Santa Dunking A Basketball
Large Monster Truck All Lit Up
Then Santa was dunking a basketball. That’s one way to work off all those cookies.
And a monster truck? Well…we are in Texas after all.
Beautiful Sunset In Keene, TX
Another beautiful sunset in Keene, TX.
We hope you all have a wonderful, safe and fun filled Christmas season!