We finished our time in New Orleans catching up with our friends who we met while in NOLA for Mardi Gras at the beginning of the year.
I love how travel is like the superglue of friendships. You can meet someone so briefly, yet can quickly become great mates.
That’s Whitney and Mike, and their two daughters. We were stoked that the stars aligned and they were in town at the same time as us.
We stayed an extra day so we could see them. They took us to a cool neighborhood eatery in Marigny, the New Orleans Cake, Cafe and Bakery (You get delicious $1 cupcakes with your meal!!)
We had only learned on our cemetery tour a few days before that this area was once a plantation and had to be sold off by the owner, Bernard de Marigny, as he got into bad gambling debt.
It was so cool for Kalyra to make that connection that the land he sold off in parcels is now this local, artsy community where she was eating breakfast.
Our friends now live in Houston and invited us to stay in their empty house for Christmas.
Well, I know that the girls are not regretting the chance to live in Goldie as they said they wanted to have Christmas in Goldie not a large, spacious house!
So we kept on driving past Houston to the Hill Country, Texas, which is near Austin and San Antonio.
Time to let the chaos of change happen
I found myself feeling flat and exhausted by the time we pulled up to our RV park. I couldn’t be bothered even trying to figure out what to see and do.
Change is chaotic (as I explain in my Money Mindfulness course). It takes time to manage the upheaval and if you don’t understand it or let it be, it can create a lot of damage and leave you to turn the the car around to head home.
The two day break over Christmas just hanging in our travel trailer at the RV park gave me some much needed pause to let the gigantic life change of the past 4 weeks of our USA road trip sink in.
We had a warm Christmas day with clear skies (finally). We were able to sit outside and BBQ. It was the first time I felt the true RV lifestyle – relaxed with oodles of time on my hands to just be.
I sat in my camp chair with my glass of wine and opened the travel guides. By the time an hour had passed I was enthusiastic again and ready to explore.
I had a plan – a simplified plan.
Less is More
I’m sure like you, I suffer from the desire to see and do it all. You never know if you’ll come back to this and while you’re here you might as well do it all. This leads it rushing around and feeling exhausted.
On this trip, I’m looking for simplicity.
While we are near Austin, the capital of Texas, I did not incorporate it into our Hill Country travels.
I’m tired of city exploration. I want this trip to be about nature – reconnecting to it and simplicity.
I can easily come back to cities and explore with a good flight deal. Plus, city exploration with an RV can be expensive and cumbersome.
I feel like after we’ve finished I’ve put myself in a wheel that’s reversed 100 miles. It takes ages to catch back up on work and health. Our week in NOLA, while loads of fun, put me so behind.
I got zero work done and didn’t work out once the whole time as we were out from morning till night.
I actually hate that. I want more routine, better health and slowness. I’ll continue to report each week how we are making that work.
I felt SOOO good after my first workout after New Orleans. I realized just how important it is for me to do it each day. It keeps my sanity, vibrancy and energy high.
It’s important to be present and pay attention to your feelings and energy so you can catch what works and what doesn’t and make the necessary changes. That’s what being in control of your life is called.
Once I realized I needed to cut the cities out I began to feel excited about our upcoming travels – hiking, biking, sand boarding, and so many other adventures my spirit is thirsting for with Mother Nature.
If you want more real and personal connection, where we share the real story of how we unplug, how we manage the ups and downs, the sweet the funny, the strange and chaotic, than jump in my Notes from the Road virtual suitcase. Its like receiving letters from an old friend. Just click the following:
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What we did in the Hill Country, Texas
Christmas in the RV
We enjoyed a simple Christmas at home with a BBQ, games of rummy, playing with our new toys, and watching The Karate Kid (and Karate Kid II the next night!!).
Each Christmas we choose a classic movie from our youth to watch with the girls!
We made use of two days of glorious weather to explore Fredericksburg and New Braunfels.
Fredericksburg is an historic German town and very touristic. We weren’t overly impressed with it. It’s full of German restaurants, boutique stores and breweries. I just couldn’t really connect to it very well.
I did however love two places near Fredericksburg.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Enchanted Rock reminded me so much of Australia. As soon as I saw the pink granite rock rising up out of the dry landscape, I felt the spiritual nature of Uluru. The views from atop the rock were mesmerizing and peaceful.
Luckenbach Picking Circle
This two shed town by the creek was the stuff travel dreams are made of. Grab a beer and a spot in the shade under the 500 year old oak trees for the daily picking circle. A trio of older men playing country tunes, cracking jokes and sharing local stories and folklore.
You may have heard of Luckenbach from the famous Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson song. Yep. There just isn’t a care to be found here. It reminded me of a good Aussie outback town.
I loved driving along the river road, which runs beside the Guadalupe River.
The only thing you can see now is the crystal clear water and the odd fly fisherman. But in summer this place is meant to be loads of fun with river tubers.
We definitely want to come back in the warmer months to experience it.
Like Luckenbach, Gruene is a true Texas icon. The oldest dance hall in Texas, here is where you’ll find good country tunes and the two step. Don’t be shy and join in.
I will remember this beautiful spirited lady forever and hope that when I reach her age, I dance and express like that.
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Another great Texas Hill Country find yesterday. My favorite was the oldest dance hall in Texas, Gruene Hall. What a fantastic place to kick up your heels and dance. I read in love with this gorgeous lady showing us how to live in the joy of the moment. She was a firecracker. I took the girls out exploring and we decided we want to come back in the summer to go tubing down the beautiful rivers in this area. I’m really enjoying Texas – lots of raw, homegrown culture here. Swipe leftt to see more. What about that brisket burger. When in Texas…. Do you love brisket? Do you dance like no one is watching? . . . . . #texascountry #hillcountry #hillcountrytexas #AmericaUnplugged #Usaroadtrip #USAtravel #visittheusa #usroadtrip #rvlife #rvlifestyle #fulltimefamily #gruenetexas #gruenehall #gruenetx #gruene #texashillcountry #dancelikenooneswatching #dancelikenooneiswatching #brisket #smokedbrisket #brisketburger
We’ll have posts upcoming that go more into depth into the things we did in the areas we are visiting with lots of useful tips and information to help you plan your trip.
These are just basic wrap up posts that share more the RV lifestyle we’re experiencing.
RV and on the road lessons
- RV’s and travel trailers don’t commit to excellent craftsmanship. Things are already falling apart in the van. Maintenance will be an ongoing thing. We were almost involved in a multiple car pile up driving into Texas. We had to pull up Goldie and the Beast hard and fast, which thankfully, they did well. That sudden jarring did not bode well for Goldie though A few screws and cupboard facings came loose.
- Our kitchen island was consumed by all the dirty and clean dishes so we had to find a solution to free up space and reduce the clutter. The island is pretty large so could be used for different purposes. We got a stainless steel dish rack that sits into one half of our farm style sink. So know we can put the dishes there and clear the space beside it. I’m looking for some kind of solution to put the dirty dishes now.
- Late starts suck! I’m usually a person who gets up and out exploring really early. It’s been hard to get everyone moving and we set out on our day too late. I didn’t realize the drive to our first place was nearly 2 hours away so that was poor planning by me. Next time I’ll check that the afternoon before instead of at 7:30am. Oh no, we should be leaving now!
Where we stayed in Hill Country Texas
Anther expensive RV park, but unlike the campground in New Orleans, this one had a few extra amenities to justify it. Sort of.
We decided to stay at the Hill Country Resort & RV Park as it was Christmas and we wanted the girls to have a few extra things to do while we caught up on work.
However, that didn’t happen too much as we had a few days over Christmas where we just hung out together anyway and then a couple of days out exploring.
In hindsight I would have just went to a cheaper RV park.
The park was huge, clean and had great amenities like a playground, games room, indoor and outdoor pool, hot tubs, and my favorite, an excellent fitness center with everything you need to maintain your fitness.
The showers were clean, powerful and hot and the wi-fi connection was excellent. It was enough to work online and watch a couple of Netflix shows and movies. You couldn’t upload any files though!
We have a Passport America card, which offers discounts at RV parks around the country. According to its directory we were to get a great discount at this park. according to the park, all those discounted spots were taken.
Hmmm. I wonder. I’m annoyed it wasn’t honored and I wonder how many more are going to pull that card.
- Fuel: $196
- Parking: $10
- Camping: $427
- Park Fees: $14 (Enchanted Rock: $7 each adult Kids free)
- Tips: $10 (band tips)
- Restaurants: $120
- Coffee: $22
- Groceries: $337
- Take out: $90.37
- Alcohol: $20
We eat a mostly whole foods, organic diet, which means our grocery bills are higher than what would be typical.
Don’t forget with eating out costs, tip will be included in the prices below.
RV supplies and living
Total paid by us: $ 1,244
Good news. We reduced the amount we were spending on coffee and eating out this week. Another bonus of heading to nature. It still can be a lot better!! And our grocery bill was higher this week thanks to Christmas snacks!!
Where to Next?
We planned to go to Bend National Park but the government shutdown is creating quite the problem. Most of the places we wanted to experience in the park are shut down.
We just don’t know how long it will last and I don’t think internet connection will be great down there. So hanging around waiting until it gets back up and running could be a problem.
Videos of the trip coming out soon. We’re very behind! Subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss it. We have Disney videos coming out at the moment.
More Texas Travel Tips
Planning to visit San Antonio?
In Dallas, we visited the JFK Museum.
Don’t forget your San Antonio Explorer Pass to save money on San Antonio attractions