We’re nine days into our new life as a full-time traveling family, and after a busy week of daily driving with one-night stops chosen more for their locations than their amenities, arriving in Galveston, Texas feels like the adventure, as we envisioned, has truly begun.
Leaving Lafayette, Colo. last Thursday afternoon was a mix of excitement with a touch of trepidation as we headed east to Burlington, Colo. for the night. There wasn’t a ton to do in the eastern part of the state other than let the kids climb on some old farm tractors and hit the local playground the next morning before continuing our journey towards our next stopover in Salina, Kansas.
Stopping along the way at the Ellis Railroad Museum and grabbing a quick bite to eat at a quaint diner was a bit of a letdown. The food was fine, but the museum was little more than a collection of old uniforms and train station benches with a model train railroad layout with only two operating trains. Even Goosey, the eternal train optimist, was more content walking with me along the tracks outside than checking things out. We weren’t long for the former railroad town before we pulled out in search of Salina.
Many miles of driving accentuated the immense sprawl of plains and farmland as hours turned to days spent travelling through flat land with open sky as far as one could see. The trip was both beautiful and mundane, but the realization that we had begun what seemed like a pipe dream of becoming a full time RV family for so long imparted a magical quality to just about everything.
Salina gave way to Stillwater, Okla., which was the first stop where we were able to work some fun activities into our day. After grabbing dinner at a local sports bar we had a great time playing at a park and playground before discovering a great coffee and ice cream shop downtown. The boys thought the gelato and sorbet was “the best ice cream ever!” The shop owners were a nice young couple that we ended up chatting with and we left with a pound of specially-roasted coffee beans and two pints of ice cream.
Heading further south to Arlington, Texas, we battled thunderstorms and heavy rain much of the morning. There’s nothing like trying to navigate a 43’ bus through inclement weather while trying to learn the intricacies of its operations in real time. It was a great opportunity for me to figure out how to use the windshield wipers and headlights and to realize that Melody, who was following behind in the Jeep with the boys, wasn’t comfortable doing 75 miles an hour through the rain! They caught up to me just as the check engine light in the RV came on. Luckily, it turned out to be nothing, and we pulled into the Dallas/Arlington KOA later that afternoon.
We’ve been pretty much television free for a couple of months and have continued that on the trip, so I took the boys out for an hour at the Dallas Dave and Buster’s to get some gaming time. I think we got our fix in that hour as the boys haven’t shown any interest in watching one of the six televisions in the RV at all. Why you need six televisions when vacationing I don’t understand, but I’ll leave that to ponder further.
230 miles later we made it to Livingston, Texas, home of Escapees RV Club, where we’ve established a mailing address and begun the process of setting up domicile inn Texas. My original reservation was for five nights since I was unsure how long it was going to take to get Texas driver’s licenses, transfer vehicle titles and registration, and set up an LLC for Melody’s Etsy business. I also had to get a non-exempt commercial driver’s license because the RV is so large, but the entire process only took two days. We were able to leave Livingston on Wednesday which was great because there was nothing for the kids to do there except go swimming.
Arriving in Galveston was refreshing and the drive was pretty exciting as we travelled over an impressive bridge passing over oil tankers and huge cargo ships as we approached the Gulf of Mexico. Melody and the boys left before me since I was waiting to take the skills portion of the commercial driver’s license test and arrived at Stella Mare RV Resort in time to get some tacos and let the kids run around for a bit.
The drive was uneventful for the most part until the sound of crashing glass accompanied a right turn onto The Seawall a few miles from our site. It turned out a cabinet door had shaken loose and dumped some glass Pyrex cooking pans on the floor and glass was everywhere! It took us (mostly Melody) the better part of an hour to get everything cleaned up and put back together again. I took the kids swimming in the park’s pool, complete with chaise lounges in the shallow end, a beach-style sloped entrance, and waterfalls.
Thursday we spent time at the beach and pool along with a round of mini golf complete with ocean views. The 80 degree water seemed a world away from Colorado, and the California blood in all of us seemed to recharge a bit at the beach.
We made it down to Pleasure Pier today to enjoy the amusement park rides before I took the kids to the movies so Mel could work on her Etsy products (Secret Life of Pets 2 was awesome!). We’re currently unwinding in the coach and continuing to get things organized as we make the best use of space we can. We’ll be in Galveston for a couple of weeks before heading north to experience Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park on the way to Canada!