Monday, November 20, 2023

Virginia to Texas

 On November 1st we left Pocahontas State Park just outside of Richmond and headed south down I-85 to Gaffney, South Carolina.

Leaving the park we saw this small deer grazing just along the side of the road.  It blends in well with the leaves.

We headed south on I-85 and continued our endless Autumn.

Fall colors along I-85
Our next port of call was the Spacious Skies - Peach Haven  - RV park in Gaffney.   We were here to basically wait to get in for service.

Spacious Skies Site C-8

We were able to get the pups some exercise each day at the parks dog park.

Finally our slot came up at Freightliner and we brought the bus in for service at 7am.   It was a two day service due to the amount of work I was having done.    The to-do list was:  Annual Chassis & Engine Service, change all wheel and differential lubricants, full transmission service (fluids and filters) Air dryer filter,  Engine Air filter, replace all coolant hoses, surge tank, thermostat, and serpentine belt.  A full generator service with filters and coolant change completed the list.

They have a nice lounge to hang out in, plus 27 RV sites with electric out back, so we stayed on site at night.

Annie in the Service Center Lounge

It took every bit of the two days to get all the work done and once completed it was late in the day so we spent a third night at the service center and took off the following morning.   Our next destination was Houston Texas - about 15 hours away - so I decided to break our trip up into three easy 5 hour segments.  Our destination for the first night was an RV Park just south of Montgomery, Al.

Our timing took us thru Atlanta around noon time, so it was a painless trip thru the city.

Passing thru Atlanta

South of Atlanta we enjoyed a bit more fall color.   Getting farther south, its not as impressive as it is further north, but still a pretty sight.    We've been enjoying fall colors now for about 6 weeks as we follow Autumn's march southward.

We arrived at our stop - The South Montgomery RV Park around 3:30p.   I did not get any pictures of the place but it was totally fine for an overnight, was easy on and off the interstate, and had a 100' long pull-thru so I did not need to unhook.

Back up and at it the next morning, we had 5 hrs to our next stop at the North New Orleans RV Resort.  This place is truly a resort.   Lots of pools, mini golf, bars, and activities.   The night we were there was a Friday and it turned out to be Swampfest night with Swamp Music.   The park was pretty much filled up with lots of people of all stripes including families.

North New Orleans RV Resort site #29

Pool at the park

Mini Golf at the park

We spent a night and again were on the road the next morning.   We made a stop along the way at Billys Boudin and Cracklins in Shell, La.   Boudin is a Cajun food, basically a type of seasoned sausage with cooked rice added in.   Kate is a big fan of the things, so we grabbed a few packages and put them in the freezer. 

Continuing west on I-10, we crossed the Mississippi River at Baton Rouge, La.

Then we crossed the Atchafalaya Swamp, the largest swamp in the US.   This part of the journey takes you on a bridge thru the swamp that is about 18 miles long.  The eastbound side had construction going on and was down to 1 lane.   It was backed up for miles.   Fortunately for us it was smooth sailing.

Atchafalaya Swamp Bridge on I-10

A little bit later we were crossing the Sabine River and were back in Texas.    From here it is 880 miles on I-10 to the western border of Texas with New Mexico.

Around 3:30p we arrived at our next stop, and one where we will remain for 5 nights - the Katy Lake RV Resort in Katy, Tx.   A western suburb of Houston.    We are here because I am trading in our almost 10yr old F150 for a new 2023 model.   The new truck is the King Ranch Model which has all of the bells and whistles and we will finally have a really sweet ride rather than just a utility vehicle.

Our trip map - Gaffney, SC to Houston.   About 1,000 miles.

And our trip map from the blog showing the last 45 days since we arrived in NY on the QM2

Spotwalla Map:  NYC arrival to Houston

First step was getting all of the stuff out of the truck.   We began this process back in Virginia by sorting and consolidating.   There is truly a lot of stuff accumulated in there.   It's sort of like our traveling garage.

Of course the forecast is for heavy rain, and I will need to leave the stuff outside for a few days while I get the new truck set up to be towed behind the bus, so I needed to enclose everything in heavy duty construction waste bags.

Emptying out the truck before the storms move in

On Monday morning, with the truck empty, I drove down to Discount Hitch in Katy to have our Airforce One braking system removed from the truck.   This system used the brake air pressure from the bus to apply the brakes in the truck.   The harder I step on the brake in the bus, the harder the brakes are applied in the truck.   It's a great system.

After the AF1 was removed, I drove 6 miles to Mac Haik Ford in Houston to turn over the old and pick up the new.     30 min or so after that I was heading back to Discount hitch in a pouring rain storm to have the AF1 installed on the new truck.    

I also needed to have a new baseplate attached to the new truck.   That is the part on the truck that attaches to the towbar from the bus.  This was going to take about 12 hrs so I summoned an Uber and headed back to the RV Park.

The next day I was called that all was complete and I took another Uber down to pick up the truck.
Returning home Kate took it out for a test spin.    Kate gave it her 100% seal of approval.

Kate takes the helm

Back at the shack, I loaded all the stuff into the new truck.   Again I practiced the fine art of stuffing 10lbs of junk into a 5lb box.

The new "garage"

On Thursday the 16th we headed 3hrs Northwest to McKinney Falls State Park in Austin, Tx.   Just minutes to everything but a green quiet oasis in the city.   Our site, #71 has 30amp and water.    I had to shoehorn the bus into the tight site as there is a retaining wall on the passenger side that limits my turning radius.   I have to be careful the back end does not swing into it when I turn.

McKinney Falls State Park Camground site 71

Kates BFF Marys' daughter Morgan lives here with her husband.   We will spend Thanksgiving with them and Morgans 2 sisters and significant others.   7 humans and 3 dogs.     Morgan & Chris  will be heading out in December on thier own advanture fulltiming in their new 27' Airstream, and working from the road.    An exciting time for them for sure.

Morgan, Georgie, Annie & Phoebe

The view of our site from the passenger side.

On Friday I had an appointment with Texas Truck and Trailer to have a custom cap installed.   I had ordered the cap a few weeks earlier -  actually while we were up driving the Skyline Drive I completed the deal.

Getting the cap installed

Truck with the new cap.

The Garage has a roof!

Annie & Phoebe are enjoying the time running around in Morgans house and playing with their full size Doodle Georgie.

Playtime again

Today - Monday the 20th - I replaced the radio in the bus.   Its been acting up for a while.   Intermittently cutting out leaving us without tunes.    So best to do this before it went for good.   It was a pretty easy replacement that took a few hours.

New tunes for the PartyBus

Thursday is Thanksgiving and then Saturday we will be wheels up for the final leg of the trip to Tucson.   It's about 15hrs from here to the barn so we'll see if we break it up into 2 or three legs.    Kate will want to do it in one long push, and I'm wanting to slow down and savor the last few days of this trip before it ends.

Next post will probably be from Arizona.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Gobble Gobble.


  1. Wow!!!! You take care of the bus so well, it' amazing!!! The new dinghy is really impressive! OMG!!! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you....Hayden on anchor off Cocoa

    1. I strive to maintain the bus half as well as you do with Island Spirit. You are the master 😎

  2. H John here. Congrats on all the service and upgrades. Hope to see ya next year. Safe travels.

    1. Thanks John. Sorry that we missed you this trip. Happy Thanksgiving to the 3 of you, and best to Jim & Vicki too.

  3. Exciting times with a new truck, bet the pups will be excited to explore their new home in Tucson. Patty Richardson

    1. It will be nicer for you ladies to go and hunt treasures in Q this year, Gobble gobble to the 3 of you.

  4. Love knowing what you have been doing. Happy Thanksgiving with Morgan!!!!!

  5. Happy Thanksgiving 🍁🦃 o
    Jim & Donna

    1. Happy Thanksgiving to you guys as well. Sorry we missed Beauzone this trip.

  6. Mac here. Very nice and welcome back to the USA.

  7. Hi you two & dogs , Great vlog as usual . Hope your all keeping well, love from , ste, Hayley, Chico n pipster X

  8. Your blogs are always good. Gives me ideas for my next adventures. Feeling the urge to get on the road, probably heading to TX this time and generally on the same path you just took.

    1. Good to hear from you Dave. Hope all is well in your world. Push out a little further and come boondock with us in the desert. Q is a lot of fun. John will tell you.


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