A New Beginning

I’m not sure this is a new beginning but it is definitely a change in direction. After becoming single again, I knew I wanted to try to find more joy in my life so I looked around for the things that gave me joy and embraced them; then, I jettisoned the things that didn’t give me joy. The first thing I did was reclaim my time: I gave up some volunteer work that I wasn’t enjoying and then I retired from a job where some dissatisfaction crept in with some personnel changes. I can’t remember the last time I felt this free. I’m now almost eighteen months into MY new life and the plan is working.

Picking up the Casita in Rice, TX

Checking out Richthofen and Snoopy together.

The procedure for picking up a new Casita was outlined in the Casita A-Z Owner’s Guide and my experience was much the same. Thanks to the access road system in Texas and the failure of the tow-vehicle navigation system I had a little trouble finding the location but Google maps on my phone did a better job. The newly named Snoopy was in the delivery area when I arrived a little after seven.

I watched all the employees arrive until the office opened at 8 am. Harald Clemons, my sales coordinator, was not there but the other folks took care of me and my orientation started pretty quickly. I had been reading the Owner’s Guide, and every blog I could find. As my guide progressed through each part of the trailer, I got his slant on the operation, hands on demonstrations and got all my questions answered.

After the orientation, I settled up, hooked up and was on the road to American RV Park. On the way there, I had the LP tanks filled and the tires balanced as instructed in the Guide.

All hooked up and ready to go. Another happy camper.

Little House Customs

Snoopy undergoing alterations.

Larry Gamble is the guru of Casita enhancements and repairs. He has been a fixture at Casita rallys for years working out of his 20 year old Casita. I noticed him on blogs and recognized quickly that he provided first class advice.  I knew there were some enhancements I wanted on my Casita even before I picked it up so I contacted him at Little House Customs and made an appointment for December 14th. Yantis, Texas is approximately 100 miles northeast of Rice.

Larry made the following enhancements to Snoopy: a receiver hitch, a spare tire carrier, shocks, a battery cut off switch with an Anderson connector for solar panels, coiled brake cable, vent mod to add to tank capacity, and a cover for the fantastic fan.

Little House is like a coffee shop. Interesting conversations among the staff and clientele. While there, I met Dan, owner of Orbital Machine Works. He manufacturers a number of the Casita add-ons that Larry installed.

Review of RV Parks

American RV Park, Corsasina, TX

This park was one recommended in the Casita A-Z Owners Manual. There were several other Casita owners there and it was a nice park. I thought it was a little overpriced but the office kept good hours and the folks are friendly.

Snoopy and two friends at American RV Park. All had been or were going to the factory. Charles’ Casita as in the middle space.

Gov Hogg City Park, Quitman, TX

Larry recommended this park and I liked it. They had spots reserved just for Casitas but it was mostly other brands of various sizes. The campground was close to full which surprised me given the bitter cold and the time of year. I never saw a park manager but I took one of the Casita spots and dropped my $20 in a box on the manager’s mailbox on the front porch. There are several restaurants within walking distance. Detail information is available on recreation.gov  and they have a Facebook page.

Gov Hogg City Park was decorated for Christmas. Note: Gov Hogg had a daughter named Ima. There is also an urban legend that he had a second daughter named Ura.

Magnolia RV Park ( & Resort ?), Vicksbury, MS

This was a Good Sam park. I picked it out from a phone app and called ahead. I forgot to show my membership card but Tony give me the senior discount without my asking which was the same amount. This park was also close to full but you didn’t see anyone walking about. I guess the cold weather was keeping everyone indoors. I ended up paying $26 for the night.

Though the name of this park was Magnolia RV Park and Resort, I thought the Resort moniker was over stated. It is located in an industrial area and I didn’t have a view. None the less, it was fine for the one night I was there.

Tishomingo State Park, Tishomingo, MS

The campsite in Tishomingo State Park was my favorite.

This was my favorite campground. I called ahead but it was unnecessary; I had my choice of sites in the 69 site campground and there were only two other campers there. It rained most of the time I was there but it was still a great place. The campground is laid out around a lake and all the sites had plenty of space. Only $13 with my senior discount.

People I Met

Charles

Charles and his wife parked their Casita next to mine in the American RV Park. He had reservations with the factory to do some repairs to the used Casita he bought recently. We talked about how these little trailers held their value and some other things we liked about them. Charles told me that he had learned to fly several months ago and that he felt that flying was less complicated than hooking up and setting up a travel trailer. Right now, I agree with him.

Charles and his wife live in Austin and he has stayed at several of the Texas state parks. I hope I see them on the road sometime. Very nice folks.

Pat

While at Little House Customs, Larry suggested that I stay at Governor Hog City Park. He has a relationship with the managers and there are sites there reserved just for Casitas. He also suggested that a fellow named Pat was already there and that I should say hello when I ran into him.

Upon arrival, I moved the cone with the “Reserved for Casita” sign and proceeded to back into the site (approximately 3o minutes). While hooking up, an Xterra stopped and Pat came over to say hello. I first thought he might be with the park but after introductions we started a friendly chat.

I finished hooking up and decided it was time seek out dinner. I walked down the road to Pat’s site to see if he wanted to join me. He was walking his dog, Winston.

We picked up the conversation started earlier. Pat is from South Carolina. He has a home there but is traveling in the Casita extensively. He fueled my wanderlust by talking about trips to Canada and the western United States. He is currently on his way to California to visit relatives. He is in Quitman to stop for work at Little House.

Pat was most kind to a new Casita owner. He shared tips and answered questions. He took me for a tour of his little house to show me the interior mods. He has replaced the wood work to make the interior more elegant. He spoke highly of the Casita community and Larry. I hope everyone in this community is as friendly and helpful as Pat.

We didn’t get to share dinner but I hope that we will meet again on the road. Pat also has a blog. I enjoyed reading about his adventures and his ee cummings style.

The Trip Home

A stop at the Jeff Busbee campground along the Natchez Trace.

This trip started at the Casita Factory. There were stops at the American RV Park, Little House Customs, Gov Hogg City Park, Magnolia RV Park in Vicksburg MS and Tishomingo State Park in Tishomingo, MS. The mileage was recorded each time Snoopy was moved. The mileage according to Google was 912. I logged the mileage for each leg of the trip and it totaled 911 miles.

The roads in Texas consisted of state and county roads. At places the two lane county roads had a posted speed limit of 75. I left Texas on I-20 and stayed on it until I got to the Natchez Trace Parkway. I drove the Natchez Trace about 18 months ago and tent camped at the Jeff Busbee campground.

Summing It Up

  • The Casita was easy to pull.
  • The Casita was warm at night when the temps got below freezing.
  • The Casita needs to be very organized to live in a small space.
  • I may want a better mattress.
  • Everyone I met was friendly and easy going. I think it’s part of the lifestyle. I’ll get there.
  • I need a camera. The phone camera is not satisfactory.

 

 

 

11 Responses to “A New Beginning”

  1. Edard Summey says:

    Loved reading about Snoopy and the Red Baron and your trip to the adoption center. Welcome to the lifestyle–you are right– you meet a lot of really nice, interesting people. By recording your trips with pics and maps and people you will have a beautiful travel novel in a couple of years

  2. Kelly Gupton says:

    Man, I am so happy for you…..I wish you all the best in your future travels. By the way, your mic drop exit the other day was priceless! Side note: We put a memory foam mattress topper on our camper mattress and that did the trick. I’m a huge fan of people’s sayings that resonate with me……here’s one the other day that made the list…..”The distance between two points is always under construction.” Kinda ties right in to what you’re fixing to experience……Go get em’ !

    • charris says:

      Kelly, thanks for your good wishes. On Monday, I cut two one inch toppers to fit the corners of the Casita. The bed is a double bed with the back two corners rounded to fit the shape of the Casita. I am planning to try it soon.

      Also a side note: I went to the AnnSue school of proper exits.

  3. Carla says:

    Carter, sounds like you are adjusting perfectly to your new lifestyle. Love the way you mapped out your route for others to see. Could be a route that I might want to travel in the near future. Never really heard much about a Casita before you but you have really drawn me in. I think Robert and I would love this lifestyle too. Can’t wait to read about your next adventure…where to? Sorry I missed your retirement but NC was calling me and it was well worth the reply. Blessings.

    • charris says:

      There are some places in NC where you can rent an RV. You might want to “try before you buy.” I think everyone would enjoy it but I’m often wrong (smile).

      I was planning a trip to Columbus GA the middle of the month but that is probably going to be cancelled. The weather being what it is, I think I want to go South though!

  4. Jeanne Eastham says:

    So happy for you knowing you are enjoying this new phase of your life. I almost envy your independent spirit and desire to travel down roads never traveled. I know you are going to enjoy this time in your life.

  5. John Rissler says:

    So happy for you! Enjoyed watching your freedom evolve. Keep in touch!

  6. Greg Brann says:

    Nice rig, I will be checking in periodically. Site is well done, but of course it would be. Come see us sometime or let’s do lunch.

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