Back at Lake Livingston Texas and a Day Trip to Nearby Huntsville.

We tried another route south out of Missouri to Livingston Texas which is located about 70 miles north of Houston. Last year we traveled south out of Branson Missouri down US 65 Highway. This year we gave US 69 a try through Oklahoma. I’ve got another route in mind but could use some advice regarding the best highways if anyone is familiar with the route. US 69 was a terrible highway for the most part. Other than over a toll road called the Indian Nations TPKE of Oklahoma which was scenic and relatively smooth.

Route from Missouri through Oklahoma to Livingston Texas down US69/259/59. One of the reasons we take US Highways is to avoid chances of low bridges although I have a trucker’s atlas that lists them all for most highways, as does my trip planning software.

We will be leaving Livingston Texas on 11/19/20 for a 13 day journey to Gulf Shores Alabama with stops in Alexandrea LA, Natchez MS for Thanksgiving and Hattiesburg MS. We are considering a trip to Florida after February 2nd.

Along the earlier trip south from Missouri we stayed at Belle Starr Corp. of Engineer Park in Stigler Oklahoma to take advantage of our 50% off camping rate using the America the Beautiful Pass. Awesome park with extra large full hookup pull throughs. The weather was rainy and caused us to extend the stay for a night to avoid heavier winds/rain. We spent all our time inside because of the weather. Our fifth wheel/truck does great in wind but I don’t like packing up in cold storms.

Belle Starr COE Site W26. Some shade without having branches overhead hitting the rig. Easy in but there were side roads within the park to avoid which had low branches. $11 a night on full hookups in a pull through spot using our America the Beautiful Pass.
Neat morning view across the lake at Belle Starr COE as the water was way warmer than the air.

We paid a little extra and stayed for three nights along the trip at Barefoot Bay RV Marina and Resort located in Pittsburg Texas. Nice park along the side of a lake. Notable was the booking process was confusing. This was the first time we had to pay for the spot plus a $100 refundable security deposit. I had not been told to check out at the office before we left in order to get the security deposit refund. No worries, I called them after the fact and all was taken care off. No need to get upset when parks have rules that are unusual. That’s part of fulltime RVing. I’ve got a decent system for keeping notes using Google Calendar. It might appear to be a lot of work to keep detailed notes, as well as all the trip planning, but it’s not. You come up with a system and use it over and over and over until it becomes second nature. I also use Google Calendar to keep track of our future locations. Sure feels good to know we are booked into spots through February 2nd.

This is an image of my Google Calendar app through the month of November. If I click on a date I can bring up my notes which include everything important to me about a campsite/reservation.

Below are the photos from Barefoot Bay Marina and Resort as well as some RV tips. I’ve got family who want the travel photos for sure – check them out so you don’t miss anything that might be important:)

Site 17 – away from all the “seasonal” campers. I’ll not say what spot the guy was from but his nightly routine was that of a drug dealer. I avoided the urge to follow him one night to make sure 🙂 Although that would have been fun to do. This park is okay to stay at, I just have a hipper awareness and genetic disposition to detect potential creeps.
First RV campground dog park ever for us that was located along a lake view. Wyatt loved it now that he is old enough and has his shots to be around dog parks. Picking up after your dog is a must do rule. Some had not in this dog run. Parvo is transmitted by direct contact with infected animal feces and can survive for months on a surface. A side note would be along the drive on this trip we took a break at a Love’s Truck Stop that had a dog park. Never knew those were out there.
First time seeing an actual towable tiny house in a spot. It’s hard to see, but that white dog skeleton Halloween decoration got Wyatt as it had a motion sensor that caused it to bark.
Wyatt was confused with the Halloween dog decoration barked at him when he tripped the motion sensor.
Compared BBQ tastes with the excellent cook across the street. I bought two bottles of Joe’s BBQ sauce before we left Kansas City!
Park decorated their short nature trail with spooky Halloween decorations.
Yup, we have a full size ironing board that is stored for travel behind our love seats. RVing is not just all about the travel. Life goes on and there is no way Karen will wear wrinkled clothes or allow me to. Those apartment size ironing boards, which we tried, are junk. Often campsite laundry rooms have a board but Karen enjoys ironing back home while watching TV and having a place to hang laundry. PS – there is a towel over our rug at the front door. When it’s rainy we put the towel down. Just another simple tip that you might already be aware of. Our camper still smells new when we walk through the door after a day outside. Yup, even with the new dog who has done outstanding with house training, presumably because he is with us 24/7. We will soon start to work up to leaving him alone inside. We hang our jackets over the dining room chairs unless wet then they go in the shower. No need for a coat closet if that’s on your must-haves when looking at RV’s to purchase.
Among other decorations in our camper is this card which Karen keeps in the kitchen window. Says a lot about the lifestyle.

And finally we arrive in Livingston Texas, home of our domicile. Lake Livingston State Park is our favorite in the area. We have also stayed at the Escapees Headquarters park with reason in the past. Lots of full-timers at Escapees to bounce ideas off. This state park is wonderful even compared against others we have stayed at. $16 a night on full hookups, on a concrete pad, with paved roads. The workcampers in the area have asked more than once if we were interested in a job. Karen and I would be leaning more towards a camp host job in Missouri near family, especially as the Texas summer heat will kill a person. We have another year or more of travel before any decision along that line. Our projected monthly budget is over our income by about $250 to $500 a month but we saved up $$$ to make up the difference for a years travel before we took off. With the virus thing going on, we have not been traveling like we planned so have not been using savings.

Before I forget to mention. While in Livingston Texas we handled our routine stuff like me having a doctors visit and getting the tags renewed on the truck and RV. Doctor says my overall cholesterol level has dropped 50 points in a year. No meds for me for now. Just keep doing what I’m doing. I had no idea reduced stress and anxiety lowers cholesterol. I still eat whatever but can say retirement from the job is helping with the stress. Doctor also advised to take vitamin D3 to help my immune system and Zinc which is good in case you get the virus thing. I went to the store after the doctor visit to find them sold out of Zinc. Karen had a bottle and said people have been buying stores out.

Also replaced the front tires on the truck with a commercial grade tire after a factory tire threw a belt, which Ram truck Nexen tires are known for. You can get about 20-25,000 miles out of the stock Nexen front tires on a dually pulling a heavy trailer. Maybe 40,000 on the back tires which is what the stock tires are warranted to achieve on a heavy duty truck. I’ll change the rear tires next year. Found Larry at Cook Tire and Service Center in Livingston Texas to be a valuable resource. Larry says changing shocks on the front of the truck would allow for longer wear on the tires. I decided to spend a couple hundred extra on better tires, especially as commercial truck tires are way less likely to blow out due to sidewall strength.

Site 3 at Lake Livingston Texas State Park. Easy driver’s side back-in with no overhead obstructions off a wide roadway. We pushed the trailer to the back of concrete pad to allow more room to park the truck and added an extra length of sewer hose to reach the hookup. Our 34’11” trailer and truck prefer 55′ spots but 50′ will work if I park the truck sideways. With no trees near the pad at the rear of the site, we can extend the back of the trailer over the grass for several feet. Did you know you can measure lengths in Google Earth? Lots of room between spots in the woods. There are excellent trails to walk or ride to include a one mile boardwalk. This is a huge lake. Have not seen a gator yet, even when our dog Wyatt goes swimming each day.
Still learning new stuff to cook with cast iron. This time it was spaghetti sauce. This is one serious fire pit. Adjustable cooking surface and a concrete base. Hmm… wonder if having good fire pits is a sure sign of a better managed park? So many have crappy fire pits.

Took a trip to nearby Huntsville Texas to spend the day with Sam Houston. There is lots to do in this town which might warrant a three day stay in the area. We decided to tour locations with outdoor amenities to stay safe from the virus and give Wyatt a place to walk.

Sam Houston was the first President of the Texas Republic and General of it’s army. His statue is 77′ tall and within view of Interstate 45.
The visitors center near the Sam Houston statue has a walking trail, a place for a picnic, gift shop and small museum. Might have RV parking if you take up extra spots on slow days. Easy to get to off a minor highway.
We found Sam’s grave. Huntsville is easy to get around in. The graveyard was huge with places for Wyatt to run. We enjoyed the many markers placed around the park telling about the people of the area who are buried here.
Found a village in the center of town full of old buildings. This one is known at the Steamboat House where Sam died. There is a museum on site and everything was free to see.
Weird – maybe – this is the mock up of Sam Houston’s waiting place after death inside the Steamboat House as seen through the glass viewing area outside.
A garden still in full bloom in November. Got to love Texas weather which in these parts might average 20 degrees warmer than what we were used to in Kansas City.
Sam’s office as a lawyer.
The Sam Houston Memorial Park has buildings scattered around it. Located across the Street from the Sam Houston State College. The huge complex has no entrance fee!

I know these posts can be long but I rarely post more than two a month. I’ve got one more idea to pass along. You will or have figured out a lot of this as Rver’s. If not I hope these tips help.

It’s quick to take a photo of the computer screen with a cell phone when researching park maps. To be referred to upon arrival for directions. For those with smaller rigs you have an advantage when navigating roads. Here are a couple recent examples.

Computer photo on my phone for our spot at Lake Livingston. No need to worry about if a map was available at check-in. Many park entrances are not maned because of the virus thing.
Our spot in Belle Starr COE. Notice the arrow from the entrance.
Barefoot Bay RV and Marina in Pittsburg Texas. I called them to find out where to park upon arrival to check-in as I could not see it on Google Earth nor listed on their website. Marked my map, saved to phone, before taking off on the trip.
It’s a crude drawing I know. A map of sites to visit in Huntsville Texas for our day touring Sam Houston locations. Took only a few minutes to draw it. We drove to town one direction and left in another after stopping at sites in a logical order.

Thanks for reading.

Mark

“The great misfortune is that a notion obtains with those in power that the world, or the people, require more governing than is necessary. To govern well is a great science, but no country is ever improved by too much governing… men think when they are elevated to position, that it requires an effort to discharge their duties, and they leave common sense out of the question.” – Sam Houston.

8 thoughts on “Back at Lake Livingston Texas and a Day Trip to Nearby Huntsville.

    • I can only guess at how many state park annual passes you gives must have had over the years. We are up to five – Texas, Michigan, Kansas. South Dakota and Nebraska. Keep them with a paper clip in the truck storage area. Texas is a great value for sure. No state fishing license required when fishing in waters completely surrounded by a state park.

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  1. Looks like we will be passing you to your south as we head to Texas Rio Grande Valley for the winter… Great to hear about the stress levels, certainly I expected this to occur for you two. None of us realize how stressful “real life” is…

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    • We decided to go north rather than taking I-10. Was a challenge to find parks and US Highways cutting across. Because of storm damage, many of the parks from Alexandria LA over to Hattiesburg MS were full to include with insurance adjusters.

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  2. I can’t help too much with Oklahoma routes but as you noted 69 is horrible. We came from the Austin area this time and went up 35 as we needed to stop in OKC before going to Springfield MO for Thanksgiving with my wife’s uncle. 35 was better than 69 but the only roads that were good were the toll roads. I use the distance tool on google but never really thought of using it to measure a site. Will keep that idea for the future. We need about 60′ minimum and 68′ is preferred. Only 4 sites at Lake Livingston were large enough and we managed to get their largest site which worked well for us.

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    • Sorry again we missed you at Livingston. I would have also like to see that fancy fifth wheel of yours.

      I try and avoid Dallas or I might take a route through it. Those hills in northern Arkansas are no joke so have to watch that way as well. From Springfield I really like the route through Branson on US65 where you leave the moderate hills at Clinton Arkansas then go on to Little Rock and Texarkana. Got another in mind closer to I-49 but there is a state highway that must be a rough one judging by all the curves in the road that presumable go between the hills. Thanks for the comment and route idea.

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