Maiden Voyage in Austin, Texas


Meet Pearl… our Minnie Winnie 2455bhs

Well this is it… our maiden voyage in our new RV! We picked up Pearl, our Minnie Winnie 2455bhs, on Thursday from the dealer. Being the newbies we are, we wanted to do a trial run at a park close to home/dealer in case anything went wrong. So we booked a long weekend at McKinney Falls State Park. We have lived in Austin for four years now, and for some reason haven’t been there. I didn’t bring my camera on this trip, because I didn’t think there would be much down time. So excuse the picture quality :)

We started the trip with all the basics: plastic dinnerware, septic toilet paper, sewer/water hose, tank treatment packs, leveling blocks, pressure regulator, Y-attachment for water hose, cordless drill for stabilization jacks, and the list goes on and on. This trip was mainly to familiarize ourselves with RV living and to see what all we needed to purchase for future trips. We did go on a short hike to the falls. I am sure there were several longer great hiking trails, but it was cold and rainy so we spent most of the trip taking measurements, making a list of things we needed, stalking other sites for ideas, and of course decorating. Well… Nicole worked while I decorated. I changed out the silver cabinet hardware for more modern black handles, hung a few pics, and organized cabinets. I think our best purchase was the zero gravity chairs. We of course wanted something cute, like Acapulco style chairs starting out. But a fellow camper said to go for comfort, and recommend this style. These chairs made sitting around a campfire so cozy. They are basically like a reclining lawn chair. A must have in my opinion! Couple that with a Mexican blanket for sitting around the fire, and we quickly realized camping was our jam! Sadie loved camping as well, even though I need to figure out a way for her to jump up on the bunk or bed so she can see out the windows. Because she seems a little scared inside the camper. But, I was surprised at how much she loved camping! Even though we live on 3 acres, she is typically found right by our feet. Partly, because we are helicopter parents. She won’t even go in the backyard by herself, but just sits by the door if we don’t follow her out. We also loved her raised cot, as it gave us a piece of mind that nothing was crawling on her. Yes, we are neurotic!

It wasn’t all stress free though! There was a huge learning curve and everything took us so long to get hitched/unhitched and set up. I know we will eventually get the hang of our hitch, but for now it is our biggest headache. We were dreading the dump station and emptying our gray/black tanks. But surprisingly, that went well. Guess that is easy for me to say, because it’s Nicole’s job :) The best advice we were given, was to wear disposable gloves, closed toed shoes, get a clear elbow, and to flush your gray tank last to clean out the hose. What didn’t go so well, is me and those bouncy RV steps. Apparently, I am not coordinated enough to use them. In my defense, they have a much higher riser, bounce with the camper, are slick, and the top one is narrow from the over hang. But, the main point is, I took a HUGE fall! I was carrying some blankets and pillows when we were packing up and came a tumbling down pretty hard. Basically, I dropped to my knees on the top step and rode my chin all the way down. Pretty sure it felt like an earth quake for Nicole inside. So guess I need to be a little more careful… or get some new steps.

Overall, we had a very successful maiden voyage and am so glad we stayed close to a Walmart. Because we forgot so many things. Can’t wait to see all the places Pearl will take us!

Campground Review: McKinney Fall State Park (Austin, TX)

This state park is so close to Downtown Austin and there is a Walmart only 10 minutes away. When booking, I wasn’t too sure about the area but read several great reviews. As soon as you pull through the drive the park is so spread out and tranquil, safety wasn’t a concern after that. Plus, after 10 pm the gates are locked and you need a code to access. And we kept asking ourselves, why we hadn’t been there sooner. I read a bunch of reviews to try to find a great pull-through site, because many mentioned unlevel sites. We wanted to avoid this being our first time and wasn’t even sure how to use the leveling blocks. We started out wanting to stay in the Big/Little Oak area, and got our first choice spot of Site 3. Unfortunately, the heavy rains the day before had the entire site holding water as soon as you step off the asphalt drive. We also went during the winter, so this area of the grounds was brown and dreary looking. Anyone that knows Nicole and I, knows a dreary site just wouldn’t suffice for our first camping trip… ha! So we drove around and picked what we felt was the most dry and green site, Site 71. This was in the Big Cedar Camping area and was close to restrooms. It was a pull-through and offered so much space! The RV blocked you off from the road and it felt so private. The site was very spread out and even had a private foot path through woods to the trail. Only downfall was about 6-8 ft from the RV was about a 3' embankment with a few steps up to the rest of the camp site. This was good though because it kept the site dry, but we had to put most of our chairs, etc further away from the RV away from the awning. If you have a short RV the middle of the drive is level. Unfortunately, our slide prevented us from being in the middle, so our back stabilization jacks needed a lot of blocks. But we loved the site size and privacy!

Texas State Park Camping Tip: If you plan to visit other TX State Parks make sure to get the park pass. It is $70, waives the park fee for two adults, and gives you one night 1/2 off. Otherwise, in addition to the $20 campsite charge, you would have to pay the park fee of $6 per person per day. We are two adults, so it saved us $58 and pretty much paid for our pass for the year.