Good Times in Texas 2017-Planning and Preparations

For months I had been planning and preparing for our first big road trip with the Fancy Nancy (out travel trailer).  Typically, we camp for 2-4 nights at a time and mainly in the surrounding states but last year John and I talked about using our trailer in a different way and using it for lodging and meals when we head out on our long road trips. We knew we wanted to hit the road and explore all that the great U. S. of A. has to offer.  When looking at the map it took me awhile to land on Texas for our first big trip with the Fancy Nancy and I am not sure what led me to that decision but boy I am so happy that is where we ended up.

Trip Stats:

  • 3, 073 Total Miles traveled
  • 5 Campgrounds
  • 11 Nights, 12 Days
  • 5 States:Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas
  • 4 National Park Sites:  1 National Recreation area, 1 National Seashore, 1 National Historic Site, 1 National Monument
  • 82 Hours waiting in line (an exaggeration but we spent a lot of time waiting in lines on this trip)
  • 1 State park that we were turned away from due to high crowds

Our Itinerary:

I love the planning process of the trip.  I love researching and finding new things to do and new places to eat. I enjoy planning the route to take and the interesting things we can see and do along the way.   When I first started planning out the trip I thought we would end up spending a few days in Fort Worth, a few days in Austin, and a few days in San Antonio.  But once I started digging into the travel guides I soon discovered there was just too much to do to try to cram it all into one trip-so we scrapped Fort Worth and Austin and we plan to head there on future trips and decided to focus just on San Antonio and the surrounding areas-including Texas Hill County.

To plan our trip I ordered Moon Guide-Austin, San Antonio, and Hill Country and Moon Houston and the Gulf Coast , a San Antonio visitor’s guide, used Google Maps  to plot and track places to see, campgrounds to stay at, and restaurants to eat at or recommendations by family and friends.  I also used Furkot and Roadtrippers to help with the planning process as well. Another book that is key when I plan a trip is Roadfood by Jan and Michael Sterns.  Love, Love Love this book!!

Our route and itinerary changed continuously throughout the planning process.  We even were changing even after we departed home.  We were watching the weather, trying to avoid some overnight thunderstorms and it also depended on how far we felt comfortable driving so we didn’t even know quite where we were going to spend our first night.  Would we end up boon docking at a Walmart parking lot or a Cracker Barrel Restaurant or would we find a KOA to pull into for the night?  This is what our trip ended up looking like and besides the first night and the last night of our trip it was pretty much how we planned it out.    ** as posts from out travel gets published I will link them to the itinerary below.  I will also include campground reviews.

Thursday March 9th-Depart home and head south.  Spent the night at the Wellington KOA in Wellington, KS just south of Wichita.

Friday March 10th- Drive from Wellington to Waco, TX and stayed at Midway Park, and Army Corps of Engineers campground located on Waco Lake.  We stopped at Chickasaw National Recreation Area for a hike and some exploration. And we hit A LOT of traffic.

Saturday March 11th – Thursday March 16th- Traveled from Waco, TX stopping at Magnolia Market at the Silos and Waco Mammoth National Monument to San Antonio TX.  We stayed at the San Antonio KOA for five nights and explored the San Antonio area along with a day trip to Padre Island National Seashore.

Thursday, March 16th-Sunday, March 19th-Departed San Antonio and headed west to the Texas Hill Country.  We spent three nights at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort: Hill Country, Texas.  We enjoyed the resort and spent some time exploring Hill Country.

Sunday, March 19th – We began our journey towards home and much like our trip south, we didn’t know where we would end up staying between Joplin, MO or Kansas City, MO.  We ended up at the Kansas City East/Oak Grove KOA.

Monday, March 20th – We made the final few hours of our trek home.

Looking back, I am so happy we decided to visit only a few locations because I feel like we really had a chance to experience that area.  With that being said, I definitely see a return trip to Texas Hill Country in the future.

Planning Our Food

Besides the itinerary, I created a meal plan for the trip.  Thanks to having a home on wheels we planned to eat two meals a day at the camper and one meal a day out.  I wanted to have as much prepped ahead of time so I wasn’t worrying about making food on our travels.  I try to cut up as much fruit and veggies ahead of time so we can just grab it.  This worked out well.  I also pre-made numerous breakfast burritos and breakfast sandwiches, froze them and then when we wanted to eat them we just threw them in the microwave.  We also had a few meals as picnic meals to eat either while on the road or when we were out and about sight-seeing.

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Breakfast Burritos that I made ahead of time and froze-enough for 3 or 4 meals.

Here are a few of our meals for our 12 day trip.

  • Breakfast: Breakfast Burritos, Breakfast sandwiches, pancakes (made fresh) and bacon (which I cooked and froze ahead of time), Toast, yogurt, cereal, oatmeal
  • Lunch/Dinners:  Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps, Hamburgers, Hotdogs, steak, pork chops, tortellini, kielbasa and veggie foil packets.
  • Sides:  Baked potatoes (I brought along my instant pot to cook these quickly), chopped salad mixes, frozen steamer veggies, regular salad mix, grilled potatoes.

Typical of how I do things, I packed and prepared WAY too much food.  Thankfully, most of the food I prepared ahead of time I had also frozen and it stayed frozen during our travels so we were able to enjoy it when we returned.  Many of the restaurants we ate at we brought leftovers home and we were able to incorporate those into meals as well.

Planning and Packing Everything Else

Weeks before our trip started I began packing up the Fancy Nancy.  This was quite the undertaking because it was our first trip out for the season and only our second trip ever with this rig.  A lot of the stuff that I had to pack will stay in there always or for the season.  Unpacking took WAY less time.  A week out I checked the forecast for the days of travel and it was actually forecast to be in the 80’s most days with the lows only in the 60’s.  I packed quite a few shorts and warm weather clothing but always include pants and sweatshirts as well.  The day before the trip I looked again and the forecast drastically changed with some days the highs only in the 60’s!  This led to a last minute scramble to throw in a few more pairs of pants for everyone which was a good decision in the end.  As for a packing list, I created one specifically for the trip.  Eventually I would like to create a standardized one that I can edit for each trip but I just haven’t gotten there yet.

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Comparison of the forecast one week out from departure on top and one day out from departure on the bottom.

For the girls I packed their clothes in a few of their packing cubes and for us I was able to just take our clothes right out to the wardrobe and drawers in the camper.  Jackets were hung in the wardrobe and shoes were stored in the closet shelf organizer (see picture below).  That wardrobe is HUGE and I am still trying to figure out the best way to maximize the space available.

IMG_5109

For in the truck I packed each girl a square tote that had activities and books for them to enjoy and keep them busy for the 15+hours on the road.  I also had a plastic storage bin filled with some of their favorite snacks like trail mix, fig bars, peanut butter crackers, goldfish, and granola bars and placed the bin within arms reach of me.  It was nice to have this in the truck on the way south as well as for all our day trips.  I plan to go into detail more in another post about some tips and tricks with road tripping with children since we have done quite a few of them over the years.  I also keep in the truck a first aid kit and a bin with an extra set of clothes for the girls, diapers and wipes, paper towels, and water.  That also came in handy on our day trips.

In the end I know I put a lot of work and time into the front end of the trip but I really feel like it helps the trip go smoothly.  Plus, starting the research process early allows me to reach out and get some wonderful recommendations.  Despite all the planning and research done I have learned that we have to stay flexible and go with the flow as well. As we drove into our hometown after being on the road for the 12 days I gave John a high five.  Our trip went so well. No one got sick, hurt, we had no major issues with the camper, we had a great time and made lots of wonderful memories together as a family.  That’s what I call a success!!

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