Walter and Sara On the road to who knows where
We spent much of the past week in Livingston, Texas at Rainbow’s End RV Park. On Monday February 1st, we went into our new insurance agent’s office and signed the papers to get Texas auto insurance for the truck and trailer. Then we drove back to Rainbow’s End and hooked up the trailer and drove out of town about six miles to get them both officially inspected.

On Tuesday, we went to the local county tax office and filled out way too many forms and got the truck and trailer licensed in Texas. While we were at it we filled out the forms to register to vote. In the process of getting registered, we discovered that the VIN number on the trailer’s insurance was wrong and that the inspection guy had taken that number and made a couple of more typos. So we drove back to the inspection place and got the VIN number fixed and then back to the county tax office to turn in the corrected papers. With that we got our new plates and stickers.

Texas plates and stickers

From the tax office we went on up the road to the Department of Public Safety and filled out more forms to get our new Texas Driver’s Licenses. You sure do need a whole lot more proof that you are who you say you are (including being thumb printed) than you used to! We also discovered that we hadn’t needed to fill in the voters registration cards, they’ll do it automatically when you get your license. Ah well, we’d missed the date to vote in the primary by 2 days so it really doesn’t matter. We’ll be able to vote in the general election via absentee ballot so all’s good.

Next our goal was to go to the library and get library cards. But the GPS sent us to the old library which is now a fitness club! So we packed it in and went home for lunch. We put the new plate on the trailer.

Genevieve's new Texas plate

And on the truck.
Truck front Texas plate Truck rear Texas Plate
And that sure made it feel like we’d made serious progress. After lunch, we drove back into town to the new library and got our library cards ($5 a year because our address isn’t in the city limits). Now we can get books for our Kindles from them too.

Wednesday was dedicated to dealing with health insurance and we used the whole day up with phone calls and forms. But we got it done. Come March 1st our old policies will stop and our new ones will kick in and we’ll be officially Texans.

Our drivers licenses are good for 6 years and we can pay our registration via the mail so we actually don’t need to return to Texas again for a while. Maybe by then we’ll have settled some place.

Thursday we spent doing grocery shopping and getting ready to hit the road again. I went out for a little walk in the afternoon and tried to photograph the deciduous magnolias (purple tulip trees as they’re called by some) that were in bloom. But my camera thought I needed photos of the background instead. The week before I’d seen maybe 2 magnolias in bloom along the highway in Livingston. By the time we left I counted over a dozen. Spring is on the way.

I did manage to get a nice shot of this pretty orange vine that was in bloom on the fence next door.

Orange vine in bloom Livingston TX

On Friday February 5th, we drove west again to Huntsville State Park only to discover that they were FULL for the weekend. The Rocky Raccoon 100 mile race was being run the next day—10 laps around the park with the winner doing it in just over 13 1/2 hours—doesn’t that sound like fun? And they were camping too.

We had planned on camping at Huntsville so we could go down to The Woodlands and pick up Walter’s glasses on Saturday. So instead, we called up the Woodland Lakes RV Park and got a spot there for the night ($50 a night but hey it was only 3 miles from The Woodlands). We set up the trailer and then hustled over to The Woodlands to do our errands. The GPS only sent us on one wild good chase (which isn’t bad here in Texas where the maps are clearly out of date) and we were done by late afternoon.

Then we settled down with the internet to plan the next week or so. We discovered that ALL of the parks in Houston area had been full this weekend and nearly all the parks in the Hill Country would be full the next weekend because of the President’s Day holiday. So we did some searching and actually made some reservations for the coming week so we could continue on without concern.

On Saturday morning February 6th, as we were leaving Woodland Lakes RV Park we had to stop so I could photograph the flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks at the pond at the entry of the park.
Black-bellied whistling ducks

Black-bellied whistling ducks

Just to our right we discovered that they’d taken over the entire camping spot.

Black-bellied whistling ducks

And when we turned to go out the drive another flock came hurrying our way with great purpose.

Black-bellied whistling ducks

We drove west out of the Pineywoods area, through some fairly flat prairie land (with cattle) and into the beginnings of the Hill Country. We stayed the night at Columbus RV Park in Columbus, TX not far from I-10. It sure was strange to drive on the interstate again after several weeks on blue highways.

This RV park had great free internet and good cable TV. It was windy and in the 50’s so we just settled in for a quiet afternoon and evening.

On Sunday, February 7th we headed west again to Palmetto State Park just outside of Gonzales, TX. We got a spot here for only $18 a night with water and electricity (with the day use fees paid by our Texas State Parks Pass). Our hot spot worked and Walter managed to get some TV over the air but no Super Bowl which was fine with us since as Walter said, we had no horse in the race.

We’ll stay here another night and hike in the park on Monday. Then we’ll move on to San Antonio for a couple of days—gotta see the Alamo—and then we’re set to spend the holiday weekend at Garner State Park northeast of San Antonio.

It’s nice to have all the errands and paperwork done and to be back to wandering even though as spring develops we’ll have to be a bit more careful about the weekends, at least while we’re in the more populated parts of Texas.