My First Boondockers Welcome Stay

This was my first time to be a guest at a Boondockers Welcome site. They have been combined into the new Harvest Hosts site and it is not as conducive to hosts as the BW app was, but since this was a public place with a Website and Facebook Page, I was able to talk to the host and secure a spot anyway. The host and staff were very pleasant and laid back. 

Boondockers Welcome allows you stay at over 2000 locations across the US at homes, farms, businesses, etc. for no extra charge (except maybe a few dollars if hookups are available). Click the link above for 15% off your membership. Ask me about my host site in Burleson County, Texas.



4C Market and Brew Barn - Gause, TX

https://www.4cmarket.com/
Milam County
713-838-5227
Type of Park: Boondockers Welcome
Oct 9-10 - 1 Nights

⛺Back-In
💲 15/per night for hookups
  • 30 amp only - a heavy duty extension cord like I have
  • The neighbors had the hose if I had needed to top off my tank
  • Site Pad: Grass. Had a little difficulty finding a level spot

👍🏻 Pros:

  • My site was mostly surrounded by trees and brush, secluded, quiet
  • Cedar Elm trees will be changing colors soon

👎🏻 Cons:

• No water connection or dump station - but it is Boondocking, so… 


📝 "Park" Notes: 

• You are free to drive or roam around the property
• If a gate is closed, be sure to close it back
• Don't mess with the animals
• They have a small above-ground pool if you desire
• There are tables on the porch, picnic tables on the grounds and a hammock
• Locals come by just to get food at the Market
• There is a Munzee here now



🐦 Wildlife and Livestock:

  • Birds
  • Chickens
  • Cows
  • Horses
  • Dog
  • Cat


💜 Highlights:

  • The market has fresh milk, eggs, yogurt, etc. 
    •  Get milk in quart or gallon jars. Bring the jars back for refills
  • Frozen meat - bacon, steaks, pork chops, etc.
  • Some crafty items
  • Several craft beers available on tap- I tried the Blonde
  • Limited menu, but very good homemade food
    • I had a big soft pretzel, bread pudding and brisket-filled baked potato
  • Nice older kitten in the market



Bad Day on the Farm

It's cotton harvest time in the Brazos Valley and it's been going pretty well up until Wednesday. The harvest came to a screeching halt about 3:30 in the afternoon. Daddy was running the module builder, my cousin was on the boll buggy and my uncle was driving the picker. 

The picker was way down on the far end of the field and my cousin was on the way to go pick up the cotton from the basket. He saw smoke coming from behind the cab and called my uncle to shut it down and get off. Shortly after, the entire machine was engulfed in flames. 

Luckily, no one was hurt! They had recently filled it with grease to keep all the parts lubricated and it was pretty full of fuel. The gas tank was plastic so it didn't explode, but when it melted, it turned into an inferno and was further fueled by the grease. The basket was full of cotton and it all on fire. The smoke could be seen for miles.

Snook and Somerville Volunteer Firefighters came out to assist. God bless them too! They made a good path to the picker with the large trucks and put out what they could. They all decided to let the cotton in the basket burn itself out or it would have been a mushy mess. 


As you can see in this photo to the right, the cab and the seat where my uncle sat is no longer in existence. There's nothing like the smell of rubber tires and a bunch of cotton burning!

The guys are either going to have to hire someone to get the rest of their cotton out (over 125 acres) or get help or it's going to sit. There's no salvaging this. 



I gathered up my Mama and some bottles of water and headed to the field as soon as we got the word.They all just looked like they had the starch taken out of them and it was shaping up to be a nice harvest too. So heart-breaking!

So what does a Farmer's Daughter do when her Daddy's cotton picker goes up in flames?  She makes him a big pot of comfort food of course - aka Chicken & Dumplings. I know he enjoyed it, but it wasn't exactly a celebratory meal. God bless the farmers! 🚜

KBTX, our local CBS station out of Bryan/College Station, didn't make it out to the field in time for good footage, but they were able to use some of our photos in the evening newscast. Not something you see everyday. Thank the Lord!

Colorado Landing RV Park


Camped at this RV park in La Grange, TX with several friends for the weekend so we could go to the Jeff Woolsey/Rocky King Band Battle Dance. The campground was nice and quiet and we were able to just relax and enjoy ourselves. It was not far from the Fayette County Fairgrounds. 


Colorado Landing RV Park - La Grange

64 E Bluff Vw, La Grange, TX
Fayette County
(979) 968-9465

Oct 1-2, 2021 - 2 Nights
Type of Park: Private-owned
Check In: 1 pm    Check Out: 12 pm

Site #73 - Pull Thru

$45 per night regular / $40 GS / $36 Rally
Discounts: Good Sam or Rally rate with 6 RVs or more

• Water
• 20/30/50 amp
• Sewer
• Extended Cable TV
• Grill
• Picnic Table
• Site Pad: Gravel, level

👍🏻 Pros:

• Pull-thru sites closest to the Colorado River
• Across from the pool

👎🏻 Cons:

• No direct access to get in the river. It drops off too much.
• The back portion of the site got a lot of afternoon sun

📝 Park Notes: 

• Dump Station
• Wifi
• Propane sold onsite per pound. Site pickup/dropoff
• Swimming Pool
• Community Center with Laundry facility (1 washer/ 1 dryer), kitchen, showers/bathroom
• Pets on leash, big dog park
• Made reservations early, paid when we arrived
• We got a group rate which was even cheaper than the Good Sam discount
• The picnic tables were hand-painted with various designs


🐦 Wildlife:

• Birds
• Deer
• Squirrels

💜 Highlights:

  • Relaxing afternoon/mornings with friends
  • Deer in the park, including a nice buck
  • Local lady selling delicious tamales
  • Restaurants close by
  • Close to the Fayette County Fairgrounds
  • Morning coffee followed by late breakfast/brunch
  • 👢 The bands were awesome and it's great when they are all on stage together
  • The dancehall was HOT and HUMID. No breeze was blowing that night. 🥵





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Let's Make a Map


I have been wanting to do a video training session on how to make a customized map using Google Maps. My allergies have hit me hard as they usually do at the onset of Fall and I haven't had the energy or the voice to do this earlier. I finally sat down and recorded the training and then I edited out all of the coughing and throat clearing for your viewing comfort. 

Google Maps is a great tool, but using the "Saved" lists does not allow for much customization on the map. With My Google Maps, you can customize it to your little heart's content.  Add up to 10 layers and each layer can have a couple thousand points, but I won't show you that many!

Learn how to add custom icons on a map, turn layers on and off, share with friends and family and embed a map on your website. Add photos and videos to your markers. Add custom fields. Use map data in Excel or OneNote. 



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🗺 To see the map we made in the video, click here. Click the Camping tab above to see the interactive Camping Adventures map embedded on my website as shown in the video. 



Labor Day Weekend 2021

Skyline Ranch RV Park - Bandera, TX



https://www.skylineranchrvpark.com/
2231 Hwy. 16N, Bandera, TX 78003
830 796-4958 / 800 267-1402

September 3-6, 2021 - 3 Nights
Type of Park: Private-owned
Check In: 12p    Check Out: 11a

⛺ Site #33 - Pull-Thru


💲 38 per night for 30 amp, $43 for 50 amp
Discounts: Good Sam 10%, TACO, AAA, FMCA
• Water
• 20/30 amp
• Sewer
• Cable TV
• Free wifi
• Picnic Table
• Site Pad: Gravel. Mostly level, but drops off at the end where tow vehicle is



👍🏻 Pros:

• This site has a couple large Live Oak shade trees
• No one was on either side of me

👎🏻 Cons:

• No grill or fire ring
• The end of the site drops down a little, so it was hard to back UP the incline on the gravel when hitching up. 

📝 Park Notes: 

• Restrooms / Bath House
• Wifi
• Propane sold onsite (weekly delivery)
• Laundry facility
• 3 Rec Rooms
• Less than 1/2 mile walk to Medina River
• Gazebo on trail to river
• Walking distance to Wild Horse Saloon
• Cabins and cottages
• Do not put out rugs so that it touches the grass
• This is not a park geared for children
• They do not take Discover card



🐦 Wildlife:

• Birds: various kinds
• Deer - whitetail and Axis



💜 Highlights:

  • 👢 Music & Dancing
    • Arkey Blue's Silver Dollar - my absolute favorite place to hang out
      • Justin Trevino
    • 11th Street Cowboy Bar
      •  Johnny Lee - The Urban Cowboy
      •  Vince Moreno - great singer/musician and Oh, so funny!!!
      •  Jake Hooker
      • Some big names had cancelled out, so I just went to Arkey's to hang out on Sunday
    • Kickback Korner
      •  Rebel Roxie
  • 🍽 Good Eats
  • Hanging out and dancing with Good Friends
  • *Reconnected with an old friend 😊
  • Morning coffee and River Therapy at the Medina! (Tubing too)
  • Labor Day Parade and Longhorn Cattle Drive
  • Tweaked my back while hitching up to go home - OUCH!
    •  Maybe the universe doesn't want me to leave - Bandera is my Happy Place 💜💙



My Birthday Weekend 2021

🥳 My birthday was on Friday this year and I had plans to go dancing with friends on Saturday, so I threw in a quick trip to the lake. I ended up at the State Park because the COE parks and Big Creek have a 2-night minimum on weekends. This was a solo birthday campout and the maiden voyage of my new kayak. It was a quick overnight for the purpose of trying it out and how it would carry in my truck with the camper attached. 

Birch Creek Unit, Lake Somerville State Park

14222 PR 57, Somerville, Texas 77879
Burleson County
979-535-7763

Type of Park: State 
August 27-28, 2021 - 1 Night

Check In: 2p    Check Out: 12p

⛺ Site #42, Post Oak Loop - Back-In

💲20 per night + $4/person/day entry fee (Can use State Parks Pass to waive entry fee)
• Water
• 20/30 amp (had 50 amp outlet, but only 20 & 30 breakers)
• Grill
• Fire Ring with adjustable height grate
• Picnic Table
• Site Pad: asphalt. Site was just long enough for my camper and my truck and not much room between. 

👍🏻 Pros:

• Near the water with a trail to get there
• Green space between the site and neighbors

👎🏻 Cons:

• The spot is tight getting in. My 10' high camper had low hanging branches on it (but they were soft, not stiff)

📝 Park Notes: 

• Park does not have a gate 
• Dump Station for each camping loop
• Restrooms / Bath House
• Boat ramp
• Fishing jetty/pier is closed
• This campground is better for winter camping. Great buffer from wind and neighbors. Only a handful of sites have direct access to the water.
• Lots of trails
• There are Munzees and Geocaches here
• Group pavilion/kitchen available
• 2 group shelters available

🐦 Wildlife:

• Birds: Shore birds, egrets, herons, cardinals, mockingbirds
• Deer
• Raccoons (I saw their tracks, but not the critters)

🚘 51.6 miles round trip - 9.4 mph

Friday

Part One!

Happy birthday to me! Worked half a day and then loaded up. Got out to the site not long after check-in time. Of course, I went the wrong way on the loop and had to go out a bit and turn around. The site entrance was tight with brush so I couldn't back in from the opposite direction. I backed in pretty well with the help of a neighbor checking how far I could go back and still put the stabilizers down. Low hanging branches, but soft. Unloaded the kayak and got the camper set up. 
With a lot of kids back in school, the campground was VERY quiet. There were less than 10 RVs on this side of the park and quite a few tents (but none in the primitive area).

🛶 Put on my swimsuit and dragged the kayak down to the water for the maiden voyage. I loved it!!! She did well even with the patched hole. More adventures to come for sure! When I was done, I dragged Pinky back up to the campsite and made a sandwich for supper. Just for fun, I took the Christmas green/red laser lights and faced them out on the brush instead of on the side of the camper. It looked like a forest full of fireflies. It was mesmerizing. Checked some social media and watched a couple YouTube videos and hit the hay. 

Saturday

☕ Made my coffee on the stove this time and just had blueberry muffins that I made before leaving home. It was a short trip so I didn't want to have a big breakfast and lots of dishes. 

🛶 My brother came out and brought their kayak and his drone. We paddled around a while. In one of the videos, you can see a big gar come to the surface. Neither one of us saw it at the time. Packed everything up and went to the house to drop off the kayak, take a shower and get some lunch. Got back in the truck and headed to Navasota which is a polar opposite from the State Park.




Part Two!


Behind The Western Steakhouse & Dancehall
9524 Highway 6 Loop S
Navasota, TX 77868
936-306-3821
westernrv@yahoo.com

Type of Park: Private-owned

Aug 28-29, 2021 - 1 Night

⛺ Site #30 - Back-In

💲45 per night + 3% for using a credit card

• Water
• 20/30/50 amp
• Sewer
• Site Pad: Concrete

👍🏻 Pros:

• No mud
• On the end of the row, so I had extra room on one side
• Sites are wide enough to put tow vehicle next to the camper

👎🏻 Cons:

• No grass
• It's a bright parking lot. The lights are the reason I got room-darkening curtains after the last stay here.
• No picnic tables
• No grill
• No fire ring

📝 Park Notes: 

• There are Munzees and here
• Sewer hookups were closer to the front of the site. I had to pull up some and use both hoses. 


🚘 58.4 miles round trip - 10.2 mph

Saturday

⛺ Had to get gas on the way, so I went through College Station on 2818. Students are back! Got checked in and picked out site 30 on the end. Waylon Thibodeaux was staying there. He and his wife were escaping Hurricane Ida since the eye was headed right for their home. I was the first in our group to get there, but some of the Roadrunners were there already, Not long after that, it started to rain. No worries on all the concrete. After the rain, we hung around my site for a while and then got ready for the dance. 

👢 We ate at the table since the restaurant side had a long wait. Jody Nix was great! I loved the twin fiddles and steel guitar. He had a good mix of honky tonk music. Good music, good food, Good Friends and good dancing. Everybody was dancing with me and buying shots and beer for my birthday. It was great to have the RVs in the back of the parking lot.


Sunday

🥓 I was the first one up from our group. David was the only one up from the Roadrunners. I made coffee in the drip pot. After the others got up and had coffee, we started the big brunch. Good eats! We broke camp and went home. I went the back way through William Penn this time. I unhitched and crashed for a bit, then went to friends' in Snook. 

Part Three!



🎻 They brought Waylon home with them and he was playing fiddle in the backyard. They had made a big pot of gumbo. I got a taste of it. It was so good, but I had steaks on the agenda a little later. I got to play the rubboard with Waylon for a few songs. 

Part Four!

🥩 Went to Mama & Daddy's. He and my brother got the charcoal pit going. John was there and my son came just as we sat down to eat. I don't get to see him often, so that was treat in and of itself. The steaks were great off the charcoal. Visited for a while and then everyone went home. 

🎁 All in all, it was a GREAT birthday weekend! 🎂

💨 This was the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ida came ashore on the same day. High winds over 90 mph at my aunt's in Jefferson. Her living room ceiling collapsed. No power for up to a month! Relatives north of Lake Ponchartrain had wind, rain and power knocked out. Lots of trees and limbs down in the roads. 



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Thank You

 

Just a note of #thanks to all of you in the fast food industry that showed up to work today. You make it possible for me to eat when I forget my lunch (which happens quite a lot). 

I appreciate you and the fact that you're out there making an honest living. 👏🏻

Flippin' burgers, slingin' pizzas, fryin' chicken, barbequin', bussin' tables, deliverin' orders. You're important!




Google Keep - More Than Just Sticky Notes

 In my last video, we took plain white notes and made them more visually appealing. I wanted to expand on that and show that the notes can be more than just stand alone text on a screen. 

Learn how to create a note from an email and use that note to make a reminder on your calendar or have a notification pop up on your mobile device when you reach a specific location. 


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Making Google Keep Visually Appealing

I haven't done a technical video in a while as I usually do in-person or online sessions for specific groups, but I wanted to share some tips on one of my favorite productivity tools in the Google suite called Google Keep. It's like digital sticky notes, but with more capabilities.


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🎬 In this video, I'm covering the visual aspect and how to "pretty it up", so to speak.
  • Use emojis
  • Change the color of a note
  • Pin notes to the top of the page
  • Add one of several background images (mobile devices only)
  • Add images to use as "headers"
  • Check off items on a list and have them move to the bottom of the list
    • Uncheck all and they go back in the order they were in
  • Add "categories" to checklists (indent individual items)
  • Add Labels and Archive to clean up the Home screen view

Leave comments and questions below the video or on this post and I will try to answer them the best I can. Thanks for watching!

📷 Most of the images shown in the demo were purchased from DPC Digitals. Find her on Etsy and Facebook as well. 

Camping at Yegua Creek Park

This is another COE park on the south side of Lake Somerville. The sites are closer together than Rocky Creek Park. The west loop was less populated than the main area and there were a couple sites that were not filled. The sites here are staggered so that each site has a view of the lake. This park is dominated by Post Oaks where Rocky Creek had the Cedar Elms with the beautiful Spanish Moss. My neighbors were friendly and had good taste in music. The deer came out in early afternoon and in the morning. There was a nice breeze blowing all weekend. I had a couple visitors, but most of my time was too myself. It was a great time to decompress. 

📢 I'm going to emphasize: It is YOUR responsibility to pick up YOUR trash and that of your minor children!!! DO NOT leave trash and cigarette butts on the ground or in the fire ring. The fire ring is not a trash receptacle. I think I picked up more than 2 packs of cigarette butts from this site. 😡 

Leave the site how you would like to find it when you come into a site! 

Yegua Creek Park - Lake Somerville

https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/232752
979-596-1622
Yegua Creek Park Rd, Somerville, TX 77879

Aug 6-8, 2021 - 2 Nights

Type of Park: COE
Check In: 3p    Check Out: 2p

⛺ Site #12 - Back-In

💲28 per night (would be half that with the Senior or Access Pass)

• Water
• 20/30/50 amp
• Grill on a swivel so you can turn it in high winds
• Fire Ring with flip-over grate
• Metal mesh Picnic Table. 
• Site Pad: Crushed Granite and level. Very long site with extra room after the pad site

👍🏻 Pros:

• Nice view of the water toward Welch Park and the dam
• You can get a good view of the sunset and sunrise
• Close to the restrooms/shower 
• Wide view of the lake as it curves around the campground
• Shade, but open areas so breeze can come through
• Grill is in good shape and is on a swivel so you can turn it away from winds (but I did all my cooking on the fire ring)

👎🏻 Cons:

• No sewer hookups
• Table is in full sun in early-mid afternoon, but not for long. A canopy would help or move the table to the shade.

📝 Park Notes: 

• Gates closed and locked from 10p to 6a (can get out, but not back in)
• Dump Station
• Restrooms / Bath House (but had LOTS of tiny dead bugs piled up)
• Most of this campground has a barrier wall, so only limited spots where you can access the water. One place in this loop and a bigger area (but busy) section on the other side of the main loop. 
• Beware of sticker burrs in grassy area behind restrooms
• There are Munzees and Geocaches here and in the area
• You can use your America the Beautiful Access Passes here. They sell them at the main entrance booth, but they were out of the Annual Passes. 

Good sites

12 and 13 have good shade and are big sites, 6 (has a cover over the table but may not be completely shaded). 
1 has a great view of the lake because it is from the other side and the front door faces the lake, but for longer RVs, it may be unlevel. 2 is a maybe - some shade, some sun. The rest on this loop have too much sun. 

24 is still a good site on the other loop where I stayed before. 20 might be ok, but headlights might hit it directly. 23 is ok. Most of the ones in the middle would have shade all day. 


🐦 Wildlife:

• Birds: Cardinals (not afraid to hang out on my site), Mockingbirds, Herons, Cranes, Shore birds, LBJ's (little brown jobbers), Chickadees
• Deer



Got to the site and backed it in all in one step. I wiggled a little, but didn't have to pull up to correct. The sites here are closer together than Rocky Creek and the trees are mostly Post Oak instead of the Cedar Elm and they don’t have the pretty Spanish Moss. There is some Ball Moss though, which is not good for the trees. Site #12 is a good spot. It's an Aggie thing! The site is long. I pulled up just a bit from the camper and there's still room for another vehicle in front of mine. My neighbors were nice and had good taste in music-thankfully. They invited me to have tacos with them and chat. The deer came up close. We walked around the loop and down to the water and watched the sunset, then parted ways so we could have our alone time. 

Neighbors came in late on the other side and set up a tent. With the light inside the tent and various sites with blue or colored lights, it looked festive on this loop. A couple sites had fires going, but I didn't make one  this night. The frogs and the crickets put on quite a concert. Mosquitoes were not bad at all, but I did put out a fly trap for the weekend. I saw a hummingbird, so I should have brought a feeder.



I woke early as usual and walked outside. 
There was a light layer of fog this morning and it was cool to see a few deer out in it. There was a heavy dew overnight and the wood by the fire ring was damp. Took forever to get it gong, but I made my coffee and then made breakfast. Toast, bacon, eggs and hot water for grits - all over the fire. M-M-M! I'll be good for a while! Quite a few boats were out. Sat outside for a while and talked to my brother on the phone and enjoying the view. I put out a physical Munzee. Went to go find a nearby geocache, but it appears to be missing. Talked to the owner and she confirmed the container and location and it is indeed missing. She will replace ASAP.  Went to Wild Bill's and got a crispy chicken sandwich and the hand-cut fries. They are so good! 

Came back to the site to eat. Got a little rain shower - just enough to send me inside, but it didn't last long. Mama came out in the afternoon and we went over to Wild Bill's to get pints of Blue Bell ice cream. We walked to the water and just enjoyed a nice visit. 

She left after a while and I made a fire so I could make my steak for supper. It turned out perfect! I even ate on real plates and had wine with the meal. Sat out looking at the fire and the stars and enjoying the breeze for a while. Is this really Texas in August? 



Got up and made a fire to make coffee. I had separated the logs and doused the fire before going to bed, but there was enough heat left to have a few coals, so I didn't need any starter. Made bacon and then used the pan to make pancakes. The batter was thin so the pancakes were flat, but they tasted ok. My brother came out after I had done the dishes from the weekend. He brought his dog and we took a nice walk around the park. There appears to be new floating docks and walkways on the boat ramp on the west side of the park, so maybe it'll be open and functioning soon. I talked to a couple of the neighbors as they were packing up. He left and I started packing my camper and checking the site for trash. I watched for a time when no one was at the dump station and I headed out. BTW...my fly trap was FULL of flies so it did work! It helped draw the flies away from the table.




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