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  • J.F. Rowan

McKinney Falls & Austin House Sitting


Mckinney Falls State Park (Google Photo)

Remember how I touched on the subject of light pollution in the last blog post? Well, if you didn’t and want to catch up, CLICK HERE. At any rate, keep in mind that light pollution can sometimes play a part in a good nights sleep when you’re camping in state parks. Our curtains are good, but like most campers or RV’ers those curtains sometimes lack that certain “Atomic-Blast-Flash” glare blocking ability that is sometimes needed. Mckenny was just such a campground where those curtains might have come in handy.

A great time at Buescher left me a bit reluctant to leave as we drove out the gate. We got to know some of the staff pretty well and they took very good care of us. I know a few motel chains back home that learn a thing or two from the Texas State Park people about hospitality (In particular, The Holiday Inn Express in Hadley, DOH!). Off we went heading to Austin. Pretty routine drive for the most part. The park was easy to find since it was right off of I-35. Uh-huh, right off of I-35. (First red flag). When we pulled in, there was a sign next tot he front gate that said, “NO, VACANCY”. (Second red flag) Once again, my wife to the initiative and called ahead earlier in the day and reserved a spot for two nights so we were covered.

We purchased our permit and headed to the area suitable for a vehicle of our size. Not bad, but some of the spots definitely looked like they could you use some TLC. We found a decent spot, backed the trailer in and unhitched. Then, it was off to town to do a few errands. Let me just say at this point that I don’t think of myself as a good writer. Maybe I write well, maybe I don’t but one thing I know for sure, I sure as hell don’t write well when I’m peeved. So, instead of me getting all worked up about the Austin calamity they call a traffic infrastructure, just go over to YouTube and watch Vlog #9 on YouTube. There are a few choice dash cam pieces that might be able to describe the traffic situation better than I.

Vlog #9 Click HERE.

Okay, after our little interaction with the heart of Austin, back to camp. A quick bike ride to see the falls (Not much rainfall equals no falls.) and then a nice dinner in the coach. We have to be up early in the morning to drive a few more miles and meet with the homeowners of our week-long house sit, so we turn in around 9:45 pm. I read a little and stow the Kindle and close my eyes. But where is that light coming from? I open the shade and it’s as if there are about 4 full moons. Well, I don’t live on Jupiter so I slide out of the upper bunk to see what gives. The short answer is, the ambient lighting from Austin and nearby airport have the whole park lit up like it’s 4 am at Walmart on Black Friday. We deal with it.

Early to rise, breakfast, then off to Austin through the same traffic. An old colleague friend of mine has since advised me that traffic, “Starts at 5 am and it ends when it ends.” We met the homeowners and the pets, go over what needs to be done while they are away and head back to the campground. Another night of "sleeping with the light on" but to look on the bright side (oh yeah, I just did that), at least the campground was quiet. We awake and head to the home where we will house-sit for the next week. We write letters, get mail, work on videos, make chili and meatballs for the coach freezer and all kinds of errands that need attention. We even get to partake in some of the local food trucks. One, in particular, made the absolute best Tacos.

These house-sits are a real oasis especially when it comes to WiFi. I had hoped that we could mooch of WiFi here and there for uploading videos but it’s just not always practical. Having to house sit and being able to access the internet for keeping in contact with our peers is essential! But the week zips right by and in that time, we become attached to the two dogs and the cat. Us leave the following Friday and set our sights on two more state parks before Big Bend. Stay Tuned!


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