Our New Home
For our next stop we stayed at another state park. (I told you we love state parks because they usually have large, paved/gravel, fairly level sites and have that country feel.) San Angelo State Park is on the shores of the O.C. Fisher Reservoir and next to the City of San Angelo in Texas. The property is about 7,700 acres, most of which remains in its natural state. The park has 8 miles of hiking/biking/equestrian trails that connects both camping areas, and over 40 additional miles of other multi use trails throughout the park.
The reservoir was built by the US Corps of Engineers in 1952 for flood control on the North Concho River and leased to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in May 1995. However, since 2011, and until recently, the lake was only about an acre (down from over 5,000 acres) and less than a foot deep due to Texas’ severe drought. We saw many signs that said “Please pray for rain.” However, the recent rains are beginning to fill the lake up again. When we registered the Park Host proudly announced “There’s water in the lake so I’ll give you a lake front site.” Luckily this area has recently received a lot of rain but has not had the extensive flooding some parts of Texas has experienced. Now there a few signs along the roadways “Praise God for the Rain”.
We found out that the San Angelo State Park is divided into two independent sections – the North Concho Camping area and the South Entrance Camping area – and the two sections are not connected by roadways. This is a very large park and we stayed in the South area.
Park Activities: camping, picnicking, hiking, road/mountain biking and horseback riding on multi-use trails, fishing, boating, and bird and wildlife observation including a park herd of American Bison and a herd of the Texas Longhorn (the state mammal), a bird blind, hunting in designated areas during hunting season, and beautiful Texas sun rises and sunsets
Don and I were getting into the jeep one afternoon and a man came by and stopped to talk to Don. He was a local from San Angelo and often visited the park to observe and photograph the wildlife. He told him that he had recently (2 months past) seen a mountain lion eating fish in the reservoir and a second time he saw the remains of a young deer that the lion had eaten. He wanted us to know this because we needed to be particularly careful because this lion is a mature mountain lion and he could be dangerous. He also told Don that if we hear yelping sounds during the night it could be a fox or coyote because he has seen them both in the area. He also said something about the hunting season that’s about to open because there is an overabundance of deer in the area but I didn’t catch what he was saying. So … there are a lot of deer around … coyotes and at least one mountain lion in the area … and they all are out and about at dusk and dawn.
The restroom/shower building is a little ways down the road from our site. So we take the jeep for the drive at night after hearing his stories. And when we were heading back to the RV last night, we did spot two mature deer and then noticed a young fawn laid down in the grass – but no mountain lion. We need to get a Q-beam to look for the animals at night.
During our walks and bike rides, we came across some of the local Texas wildlife, an armadillo (the Texas state small mammal) that didn’t care about us at all and a couple deer that were relaxing in the campground.
Saturday Farmers Market
San Angelo has a small farmers market so we got up early (for us) to head into town to see if we could find fresh eggs and tomatoes. Lately the markets we’ve been to have been dominated by fresh chiles. This was not much of a market (four tables), but we found what we needed. In the fall, there is not much to choose from. Maybe everybody was out hunting, today was the opening day for deer season in Texas.
Reflections on Our Adventure to Date
Now that we’ve had five months in our RV we have looked back at our decision to even try RV’ing (which we really didn’t consider for a long time!). As brand new first-timers, it was definitely a steep learning curve. But the research we did at the beginning and advice from friends/family and all the blogs we read helped.
I think it has taken us these five months to truly “de-stress” from our mad dash of a double retirement, preparing the house for the market, selling it, and getting on the road. We are finally slowing down and not trying to do everything and see everything. Because we know we WILL be back. We are already making plans for going up the east coast next summer.
As far as seeing the country, to us there is no better way. Traveling in the RV and getting to pick our destinations on a whim gives us maximum flexibility. As my sister-in-law, Patsy, points out we are travelers and not tourists. And having a tow vehicle to explore the local areas is a must. The jeep has worked out great in many different ways – it tows easy, can handle most roads, and has become “spillover storage space”.
We do get questions all the time from other campers – asking about our experience with our RV, some people wanting to downsize from a larger RV and wonder if something this size could work for them, how much storage space is there (never enough!) and what the fuel mileage average is (14-16 MPG). Boy I miss that little Honda Insight hybrid and its MPG!
Overall, the experience has been great and our choice of motorhome seems to fit our needs quite well. And our relationship has never been stronger.