STE2 Hop 8: Austin TX to Rockport TX

STE2 Hop 8

STE2 Hop 8

212 miles via TX 620, TX 71, TX 210, US 183, TX 188 and some local roads, with a refueling stop. Cumulative tow miles: 1665. Truck miles: 367. Cumulative truck miles: 1930.

The refueling stop was unplanned and was due to remembering, too late – I was already hitched up – that I hadn’t taken the truck down to the corner gas station to fill the tank. So we had to start off looking for a place that we could get the rig into. We found one about 10 miles into the journey, which wasn’t all bad as it reduced the anxiety on the destination end when the gauge hovered near “E”.

Once again, the trip was pretty boring. Lots of flat farmland (after fighting our way through Austin church traffic) and nothing to really catch our attention until we were about 20 miles from Rockport. Then the Hurricane Harvey damage started to show up. Fences down, roofs being repaired, piles of debris lining the road.

Rockport itself is, reportedly, a mess. I will check it out today. But the park is located directly across the street from a restaurant that is being rebuilt. Looks like it lost most of its roof and windows and probably had lots of water damage.

We spent our three nights in Austin at La Hacienda RV Resort. This is a very nice medium-sized park near Lake Travis. It was packed, which didn’t surprise me a lot as I had had a lot of trouble finding a park in the Austin area that had vacancy. I asked the office staff why it was so difficult finding a campsite near Austin and the answer surprised me: winter seasonals are starting to arrive. That is very different than our experience in Florida where the parks seem to be only about half full until Christmas. I guess snowbirds in Texas roost earlier.

The biggest problem with the site we was given at La Hacienda was that it was designed for a motorhome – you drive in, back out. Except with a fifth wheel you can’t just drive in because you need to unhitch, too. We were lucky in that our site was at the end of the row with a large grassy field to our right, so I was able to unhitch and drive around using the field. But we had to back out of the site, which is, I believe, a first for us.

We have been having problems with the large 47″ TV in our living room. It has always been very poor at pulling in stations, whether we are on cable or antenna. Typically we get about two-thirds of the stations that the bedroom TV gets. Lately, this problem has been compounded with the screen simply going black at random times. As I was out, taking Rusty for a grooming, I got a text from Jett telling me to buy a TV while I was out. Well, the PetSmart was right across the street from a Best Buy, so I returned with a groomed dog and a new TV and spent most of the day on Friday replacing the television. It was harder than I expected, mostly due to the two televisions having very different mount points. I had to improvise to get the new TV mounted.

Our site

Our site

Swapping out the TV

Swapping out the TV

Sadly, the new TV doesn’t pull in stations much better than the old one, so the problem must be in the cable connection. Which is not easily solved. The new TV does have a better picture on the stations it gets and does have WiFi, so we now theoretically have the ability to use Netflix. And it doesn’t go black. But I now have a used 37″ Samsung TV that is probably not as bad as I thought, so I need to find a way to donate it – to either a person or an organization.

Part of the attraction of the Austin area was visiting with Jett’s nephew and niece and having another spectacular dinner at his restaurant, Café Malta. If you ever get to Austin, make an effort to get to this restaurant. It is always imaginative and always superb. The big winners this time were the cream of broccoli soup, the braised lamb ribs and the brisket ravioli.

Braised lamb ribs

Braised lamb ribs

Jett’s sister was also visiting which was another reason for being there at this particular time. Of course we had to have a couple of games of hand, knee and foot and I am happy to report that Christine and I simply crushed Jett and her niece.

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