Monday, October 26, 2015

Return to Brazoria County Free Beach Surfside, TX

I got a rare three days in a row off from Home Depot so I decided to revisit the Gulf beach at the Brazoria County Free Beach which I originally reviewed here:  Brazoria County Free Beach Review .
When I got to the Free Beach I noticed that, contrary to my last visit, there was a strong breeze whipping up the waves and driving them to the beach.  I didn't think much of this but this factor would play an ominous role in my stay later that evening.

The tide rolls in.
 The beach itself is generally wide enough that a rig the size of the Tank can safely (and dryly) camp overnight by setting up close to the dunes, that's what I'd always done in the past, but this visit was going to be different.   Around 5pm I noticed that the incoming waves were pushing more and more over the beach and with the wind undiminished I re-positioned the Tank as far up and close to the dunes (which are protected, you can't even walk on them let alone park on them) as I could.  I awoke at about 11:30pm and felt the Tank swaying in a worrisome way.  Looking out the door window I discovered that the tide had completely covered the entire beach and the Tank was standing in 3-4 inches of Gulf!  I was fairly worried but I consulted the tide tables for the area off a Google referral and saw the tide would be going out from that point in the evening so things wouldn't get too much worse.  I also considered that the Free Beach sand remains fairly solid when wet or damp, you really only get into trouble when it drys out completely and you suddenly sink up to your axle in fluffy white sand.  It was pitch black and I reasoned trying to drive off the beach would probably just get me into more trouble so I went back to bed--and to sleep!

The Tank's rear tire after a night of standing in the Gulf tide.

The next morning the wind was still blowing strongly and waves were washing over the entire width of the Free Beach but water was no longer standing on it.  I decided that I wanted off the beach but first walked the beach looking for bad areas that might be hazardous to drive through.  There were a number and I mentally chose a path avoiding them.  During my walk I encountered a Ford F-150 that had driven into an area off the beach that was dry sand and had gotten stuck up to his rear bumper.  There was no one near the truck so I guessed they must have walked out trying to find a tow truck.

The tire holes the Tank's rear tires left after it thankfully moved.
Having the path reconnoitered in advance really made the difference as the Tank made it off the beach without too much difficulty even though I had to drive through some standing water that was 3-4 inches deep in places.  One of the standard procedures I always use when deciding where to drive the Tank (or not drive) was taught to me by a much more experienced RV'er:  "When in doubt, get out."  Meaning get out of the truck and walk the path you're considering instead of driving ahead and hoping for the best.  It has saved me a ton of trouble and it really helped in getting off the Free Beach.

I still recommend camping at the Free Beach but add the caveat to heed the strong winds and the tide tables in deciding where to camp on the beach.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


This is one of the things an eight hour shift at the Home Depot will get you....ready or not:

Most experts say 10,000 steps in a day is a worthy goal!
When I go to Anytime Fitness and treadmill for 30 minutes I get around 4500 steps.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Return to Stephen F Austin State Park

I've been "urban camping" around the Katy, TX area waiting for Home Depot to assign me some hours and that assignment hit in force last week.  I'm being tasked to work in the Lumber/Building Materials department this time because things are slow in Garden where I used to work and also because there is a labor shortage in Lumber.

My store, taken from Garden where I WON'T be working!
While I was initially disappointed not to be going back to Garden where I knew all the employees and the business, I now see getting assigned to Lumber as a big positive because of what I'll learn there.  One of my ultimate goals is to buy some land out west (Southern Utah and Northern Arizona come to mind) and build an off-grid solar powered "Tiny House" (Hey, after living in the Tank for three years a Tiny House will seem like a McMansion!)  Having no practical experience in home building would make that a daunting task for me although there are plenty of "How to" u-tube articles online specifically dealing with Tiny House construction.  So by absorbing knowledge from the Lumber and Building Materials department and also getting to talk to the customers, many of whom are building contractors,  I figure I'll get "educated" on proper stud frame construction, how to put a metal roof together, how thick a slab needs to be, etc.

I had the last two days off so I went out to Stephen F Austin State Park to camp and dump tanks and replenish the Tank's fresh water supply.  I reviewed the park here: Stephen F Austin State Park Review   It has been so unseasonably hot this October (low 90's) that having hookups to run the Tank's AC for a couple of afternoons has been a real blessing!

A rare opportunity for the Tank to have hookups!
I don't know when the dreary heat wave is going to break.  October in Houston is usually one of the two or three nicest months of the year for weather.  It almost feels like we're getting cheated out of Fall this year, and it also makes urban boondocking a lot more uncomfortable than what I had anticipated.

You have to enjoy this early in the morning because it gets too hot after lunch.

I'll post some updates about my Lumber Department experiences and also any Houston area camping I do.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Return to Fort Anahuac Park Anahuac, TX

I'm waiting to get some hours back at Home Depot in Katy, TX.  They hired me back in September just as their business faded (the economy in Houston is suffering with the low oil prices...there have been thousands of layoffs).  So I'm trying to stay in the Houston area since Home Depot could call any day and tell me I'm scheduled for tomorrow.  So I headed back over to Fort Anahuac Park which I had previously reviewed here:  Fort Anahuac Park Review .

Sunny and 80 degrees!
Here's a few more current pictures of the park.

Fort Anahuac was built on this bluff.
This historical plaque tells the story of the fort where William Travis was imprisoned.
The fishing pier, it's lit until late at night.

I'm trying to keep daily camping costs to a minimum and the three free days Chambers County allows at this really nice park helps out.  I spent $3.00 a day for September so that'll be hard to beat.

Thanks for reading!