Posted in: Campground Review, Holidays, Sightseeing, YouTube Video Link

Lake Conroe Thousand Trails (Houston/Willis, Texas) Campground Review

This Thousand Trails location is located in Willis, Texas near Houston. There were RV spots (mix of pull through and back-in) and cabin rentals. The map lists tent sites, although I did not see anyone tent camping. There was also a section for long term stays. The cabins and the front RV spots looked very nice. The front RV spots were back-ins with concrete pads.

Those were not what we got. We went to check in and the Ranger (not wearing a mask) at the gate told me how full they were and was just not very welcoming. I told him we had a reservation and he pointed me to the back of the lot saying only one lane had openings. Spots back here were gravel, the roads in the back of the park were rougher (not the nice paved lanes like the front of the park), and sites were tight together. We picked our site from the few open in the lane. Driving around later, we saw other open spots that were not given to us as an option. I am not sure if it is because we are Thousand Trails members and we just get assigned the worst spots in the park and the non-members who are paying per night get assigned better spots.

Ice was sold at the Ranger station at the gate for $2.25. The campground had bathrooms and a laundry room. Washers were $1.75/load and dryers $1.50. The campground did not offer change or a coin machine. Half of the washing machines were also out of service when we were there.

There was also a single station car wash for $1 and a vacuum for $0.50. The car wash did not have any soap in it, but we could at least get some of the dust and dirt off of the truck. There was also a tire air station there.

Gate codes changed on Tuesdays, which we were not told until our code did not work.

The pool was open Tuesday-Sunday and was not heated. It was a nice sized pool with tables and chairs. The spa/hot tub was not working while we were there. It wasn’t closed off, just told it wasn’t working. There were bathrooms and two outdoor showers at the pool area.

There was a playground, a putt-putt course, tennis courts, and small basketball hoops. Across from the office/laundry/pavilion area was a small field which was nice for the boys to play ball in. Fishing was mentioned on their brochure, although the office did not sell bait. You could walk to a small beach area on Lake Conroe. The beach area also had a volleyball court and picnic tables. It was too cold to go in while we were there, but I can see it being nice in the summer.

The office was technically open, but they kept the doors locked during open hours, so you had to get their attention to get any assistance. We had some problems in the laundry room (a washer broke mid cycle) and had to get someone to help with the water that was leaking and refund the coins. The younger woman in the office was helpful with the laundry problem, but the rest of the staff seemed grumpy and not interested in interacting with anyone. The staff at the gate never had masks on, even when talking to people checking in. There was another building at the office/Pavilion that was closed for Covid.

Video: Campground Walk Through/Tour

We had decent reception with Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. The water pressure did drop one day, but came back to normal in a couple of hours.

It was close to a Kroger, some fast food restaurants, and a park. Houston was about an hour away, Galveston 1.75-2 hours, Waco 2.5 hours from the campground.

I don’t think we would stay here again. Houston was not our favorite town in Texas to visit, so I don’t see us coming back to the area. Even if we did, the park wasn’t very welcoming. I think if you were in a cabin or in one of the nice front RV concrete pad spots, it would probably have a completely different feel.

SUMMARY OF CAMPGROUND:

Our rating: 2-2.5 out of 5 hitches

Cell Phone Reception: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile

Laundry: Yes

Bathrooms/Showers: Yes

RV Sites: Pull through, Back-in

Pop Up Tents/Gazebos/Outdoor Rugs On-Site: Technically no, but we did see a few people put up outdoor tents.

Amenities: picnic table, fire pit/grill, cable, playground, putting area, tennis courts, basketball, dog park 

Cabins: Yes

Tent Camping: Yes

Full Hook Ups: Yes. 30 or 50 Amp sites

Pool: Yes

Food On-Site: No

Camp Store: No

WiFi: No

Accepts Mail: No USPS, $5/package from FedEx or UPS

Food On-Site: No

Fishing: Yes, no bait sold on site

Posted in: Christmas, Elf On The Shelf, Holidays

Elfing Around: Adventures of Mini E, Days 21-23

Day 20-21: Hid in my hat. Kids couldn’t find Mini-E the first night and asked the he stay put so they could find him.

Day 22: Writing a postcard to Santa.

Day 23: Hanging out in the kitchen.

Posted in: Christmas, Food, Holidays

Wineing In The RV: Advent Calendar Days 21-24

Day 21: Red wine. I liked this one, it had a nice taste. A little sweet. Barcelos, Red Blend Touriga Nacional, Portugal

Day 22: White wine. This one definitely had a puckering lip reaction. Ben called it “sour grapes” taste. I would not drink this again. Flutter, Chardonnay, Spain.

Day 23: Red wine. This one was ok, not my favorite. Ben liked it though. Chateau Cap De Biolet, Bordeaux, France.

Day 24: Brillant Sparkling, Vino Spumante Brut, Italy.

Posted in: Christmas, Holidays

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas Campground Edition (Poem)


Happy Christmas Eve! In the light of the giving season, Ben wanted to share the poem version of his book. No matter where you are, we hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (Campground Edition) by Ben Tepe, 2020

‘Twas the Night before Christmas, when all through the park, quiet hours dictated even dogs shouldn’t bark.

The stockings were hung on the slide out with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were restless and wiggly in their bunk, until I yelled “Be still or Christmas is sunk”

Mom in her Christmas jammies and I in my suit, had just fell asleep tired out and kaput

When out on the gravel there arose such a clatter, I tumbled over mom to see what was the matter.

Was it a new neighbor or just a giant racoon? This late arriver flew in without plane nor balloon.

No diesel pusher, nor skoolie, nor gas; this guy was unorthodox and travelled en masse.

He drove his ultralight barely room for his stuff, with his load quite unstable, he wasn’t looking too buff.

All the campers around him peered out through their blinds, this sleigh and reindeer nearly made them lose their minds.

No need for a pull through nor hook-ups at all, this guy was in a hurry to bring joy with a doll.

More rapid than campground billing, his team he could enflame, they listened to him ‘cause he called each one by name.

“Now, Keystone! Now, Grand D! Now, Thor and Jayco!  On Airstream! On Tiff! On Winnie and Pal-o!”

“To the peak of that A-frame, to the dome of this rig. Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away jig!”

So, up to the roof top of course they flew, with a satchel full of treats and Santa Claus too!

Fearing the load this furry group had created, Magic alone kept the roof unperforated.

Down through the bath fan Santa came with a bound; dressed for the hunt, he was Christmas Camo gowned.

No time for chit chat he had things to do. To torture the neighbors, he started by leaving a kazoo.

Not sure how he did it with his magic of lore, the whole living space was filled, gifts ceiling to floor.

It doesn’t take much to fill up 200 square feet, but he managed to jam in four TVs, and a pound of dried meat;

A propane fire pit, bike lights and a hammock chair too; St. Nick left nothing out, even single ply for our poo.

Just as fast as he’d come he was gone with some speed, His job now complete he was done with this deed.

But I heard him exclaim in his thick Texas drawl, “Merry Christmas to you, and safe travels to y’all!”

To buy the eBook, complete with the story/poem and illustrations, click here.

Posted in: Christmas, Holidays, School, Word Find

Christmas Word Find: Travel Trailer Shaped

I know I did one of these at Thanksgiving. However, the kids requested a Christmas one, so I thought I would share.

We hope you and your families have a very Happy Holiday season!

For a printable version click here.

Answers, click here.

Posted in: Christmas, Holidays, Sightseeing, YouTube Video Link

Drive Through Christmas Lights

Although it is really nice for the weather to be between 60-70 degrees (F), it is a little weird that it is so warm the week of Christmas. Saturday we bought a ticket to go see illumiNight, a drive through Christmas light show. It was held at the AT&T Center. The tickets were for timed entry, although there was still quite a wait to get in. A ticket (per car) was $35 (plus online “processing” fees) and $63 for entry/Santa picture (physically distancing). It was cashless, so online ticket sales were recommended.

After entering the grounds, you kind of wrapped around the parking lot, weaving back and forth to make it seem like you were moving (but were still really just in line to get in to the main event). There was a light tunnel and a few other glowing decorations. There was a stop for bathrooms (portable kind) and drive through food. The food was similar to the Fair Foodie Fest we went to in California, although it wasn’t as well run. It was confusing as to whether you should get out of your car to order or not, as they didn’t come up to your window very quickly.

Passing the food and the bathrooms, you finally wrapped around again and came to the main entrance of the light show.

There were some awesome light displays. I loved the train, polar bear, and huge ornaments. There were some quirky things too, like statues of a coyote and antelopes. I’m not really sure on how those fit in.

There was a section for the 12 days of Christmas. It was a neat take on a Christmas light show, although we had a hard time remembering what all the items were. Number 3, we titled Paris Christmas Chickens.

  • A partridge in a pear tree
  • Two turtle doves
  • Three French hens
  • Four calling birds
  • Five gold rings
  • Six geese a-laying
  • Seven swans a-swimming
  • Eight maids a-milking
  • Nine ladies dancing
  • Ten lords a-leaping
  • Eleven pipers piping
  • Twelve drummers drumming

One of the last tunnels had fake snow!

Video: Drive Through Christmas Lights, San Antonio Texas

Posted in: Christmas, Food, Holidays, Sightseeing

Exploring Austin, Texas

Austin was a little over an hour away from the campground and we were excited to see it. We had heard a lot of good things about the city, plus there were a few holiday events there that we wanted to check out.

We started off at the Blue Genie Art Bazaar. It was a really neat store with booths from different artists. Nick made out with a new baby Yoda face mask and a keychain guitar pick holder. I found a chocolate bar with locally sourced ingredients. It looks like it will be tasty. They did a great job with Covid precautions: everyone had to wear masks and they were limiting the amount of people allowed in the space.

We drove further into Austin and had a little bit of a hard time finding parking. There were several artist booths with items for sale ranging from food to jewelry and clothes. We found a couple of items for Christmas gifts. We wandered around and tried pizza from Home Slice and ice cream from Amy’s. We explored this amazing candy store called Big Top Candy Shop. The inside decor was awesome and they had all different types of candy (chocolates, gummies…).

We also saw the Austin Motel’s Winter Wanderland. This must be a fun place to stay. It was close enough to walk to shops and restaurants and had a really cool vibe. They decorated the courtyard (even the pool area!) for Christmas with a lot of trees and garland. Even the prickly pear cacti had ornaments on them! It was really neat to see, super festive.

I did notice as a whole, the part of Austin we were in did a much better job with wearing masks, even outside.

Posted in: Christmas, Holidays

Elfing Around: Adventures of Mini-E Days 16-19

Day 16: Mini-E was found lying on top of the LevelPro.

Day 17: Oops! Didn’t move.

Day 18: Hiding behind the TV. Both kids told me it was creepy. Will said something along the lines of “this isn’t a horror show”, so I guess no more peeking out from thin openings. 😂

Day 19: Left a game. Maybe as an apology for yesterday?

Posted in: Christmas, Holidays, Sightseeing

Drive Through Nativity

Although we certainly do not miss the Ohio winters, there is something about snow and lights that get you in the holiday spirit. There are not a lot of Christmas lights or decorations up at the campground yet, just our lights and two other RVs. It certainly doesn’t feel like Christmas time yet, even with our River Walk experience.

After searching online, we found a few Covid safe events. Our first event was a free one at a local church, a live drive through Nativity.

It was only held one weekend and had quite the line to get in. The church had its own app which had a music track. If you didn’t have the app, they also offered a CD for you to borrow for the car. They had their own radio station playing a live broadcast as well.

The story began with the three wise men and their three camels. These were the only animals we saw, the rest of the “live” was from the people. The town setting of Bethlehem was really neat (although I only saw 1 person wearing a mask in the scene). At the end there was even an actual baby for Jesus! The scenes, props, and costumes were quite elaborate.