Winter crept into East Texas while we slept.
We were enjoying the lovely reds and oranges of autumn here at Providence RV Park, perfectly content with the brilliant sunshine and experiencing the final lazy days of the changing season. Leaves turned crunchy, and acorns began dropping throughout the woods. Migrating geese began winging their way to warmer destinations. Although everyone knows to winterize your RV once fall starts to make her retreat, sometimes in Texas that moment can arrive unexpectedly, unless your nose has been glued to the weather channel.
We had started October with a sweltering 91 degrees during the day and 72 at night. The last night of October, as we all slept, temps dropped to 27 degrees, and winter was officially on. Part of me sighs sadly. I bid goodbye to warm days and begin to batten down the hatches (both emotionally and physically), as we all get ready for the blustery winds of our east Texas winter.
But before we can settle in and cocoon our way through to next year with flickering propane fireplaces and cozy Sherpa fleece blankets, we need to make sure any RV prep work required is checked off our list. Some are veterans at this. The internet is filled with tricks and tips of the seasoned road warriors. Private blogs from the road as well as official RV associations and membership clubs like Passport America or Good Sam can be great resources.
Winterize Your RV
The best way to avoid pipe problems is to inspect before winter begins, and then regularly throughout the season as temps drop
Providence RV Park is valued for its ability to offer full time occupancy when most other area RV parks are unable to do so. Because most are situated on Sabine River Authority regulated land, they are subject to many restrictions. The biggest is how many days per year you are permitted to occupy your RV. Providence counts both full and part time residents as part of our east Texas community, including many newbies to the RV lifestyle. Aging Baby Boomers looking to escape heavy mortgage payments and empty nests have made the hunt for prime, long term RV dwelling a hot one.
For those undergoing such a move, the very first winter can be a bit daunting, even for full time park residents. How long will my supply of propane last? What is a soft freeze vs. a hard freeze? How do I protect my pipes and keep the water flowing? For part timers, those who leave their rigs at the park and visit when they can find time to get away, winterizing is especially important, since Texas is notorious for its unpredictability. One of the strongest “blue northers” on record in North Texas was in November 1911, when temps dropped from a high of 85 degrees in downtown Fort Worth to 39 degrees later that day, then to 21 degrees the next day — a 64-degree drop in less than 48 hours!
Pipe Prep is Priority
But winter is nothing to fear. Just winterize your RV, take care of pets, set the thermostat and arm yourself with hot coffee in the morning and a nice marshmallow topped cocoa for an afternoon treat. For full-timers, the national weather report becomes a welcome friend. But Priority #1? Keeping your water hose protected. Some people use heat tape wound along the length, while others choose foam insulation for the hose. Many do both. Wrapping a towel around the spigot and placing a bucket over the towel is simple, but effective. For the sewer line, you might replace the slinky with hard PVC.
If you’re fortunate enough to have an RV arctic package, you won’t have much to do beyond protecting your city water connection. If not, a little after market insulation and/or a plywood piece or two placed under your RV can help a lot. Although your RV likely came with a couple small propane tanks, many full timers opt for trading up to one large one. This can minimize unhappy surprises. Like when you wake up, shivering, to see your breath and discover it’s 58 degrees in your RV. Of course, everyone’s heat requirements differ, and there are those who prefer the colder weather.
But what if you are not a card carrying member of the Polar Bear club? A couple strategically placed space heaters (the “tip over protection” type, of course), can keep propane usage down while putting your comfort level exactly where you want it. Foam based reflective inserts for skylights can cut the cold in winter and reflect heat in summer. Before winter kicks into high gear is also a good time to check various gas leak detectors since you’ll be spending a lot of time indoors.
Embrace the Changing Season
Isaac knows how this “relaxing” thing works…
So don’t be afraid of the cold! Just get ready for it, and winterize your RV before temps drop low enough to do damage to pipes and fittings. Then relax, put on some great music, invite neighbors and family over for some 5-alarm chili, and spend the down time building up friendships and family ties.
Or take advantage of the stillness to draw deep from your own restorative well, and purge out the old deadwood habits of yesterday to get ready for the next season.
There’s nothing like a warm, cozy home in the woods – especially the piney woods here at Providence RV Park – to remind you why you escaped the commute driven rat race in the first place. So…prepare, relax, and enjoy the breathtaking beauty of God’s creation no matter the season, and know He made it just for you!
Grillmaster & Sandy
Fall & Cornhole, Young & Old(er)
Fall and Cornhole came to Providence RV Park. And the residents enjoyed gathering for a cookout and a little competition. Strange what a little competition can do.
Cornhole and Grilling
Cornhole competition to be precise. It makes strangers into teammates. All our new and old residents quickly mingled finding the commonality of fun. The youngest soon learned who were the more skilled and switched things up. The older boasted of better days. Ah, that’s competition.
The games were numerous and the awarding of prizes difficult because who could remember which team they were on when. And then the residents decided who should really get the prizes based on some unknown merit system. Such is camaraderie. Such is a gathering at Providence RV Park. But then I, myself, am a gamer at heart. Bring it on.
Our designated grill master could flip food with the best of them – your wish was his command – well, under the watchful eye of Sandy anyway. She’s our longest tenured resident and friend. And now she is also the official event planner. She was the creator and finisher of the whole thing. All agreed she was the party queen. The tables were laden, the desserts plentiful. She even provided for those on keto.
I would say everyone left better than when they came because laughter is good medicine. All had a healthy dose. They also all probably took a nap.
Rest or Fishing, Just Flip the Switch
So, if you want a place in the quiet woods of East Texas, but enjoy a dose of laughter, join us. We can be either your home or your home-away-from home. For half our residents, we are their home. They are long term RVers who have chosen Providence. They know each other, watch out for each other, and give each other privacy. For others, we’re their getaway place. They getaway from the busyness of the city. Some come to fish. They come to rest. Most just leave their RV there full-time. When they come for a stay, they just flip the switch and they’re there, or should I say they’re away.
Fall and Cornhole at Providence RV Park – a winning combination.
Welcome Fall, Welcome Sandy
Hello Fall. Glad you’re here. I’ve been looking forward to your visit and hope you can stay a long time. I love your gifts of gold. And you wear the colors of fire so well. I love the red, but I don’t wear the orange near as well as you.
You are always so refreshing. Truly a breath of fresh air. It’s great to spend time together on the porch, just lingering in the evening, and somehow you challenge the sun to show off when he sets. You have a way with him. But be careful; he can get a bit hot over things.
I do love the new foods you always bring. You often surprise me. Today I had eggnog ice cream at Braums. Delish! But then you did cause a ruckus between my daughter and I today when I informed her that the eggnog was better than the pumpkin ice cream.
My daughter loves your pumpkins. I have a few sitting around myself. But she is a pumpkinaholic and must have already tried 20 of your different pumpkin foods. Soup (so yummy), mashed, coffee, creamer, cider, tea, smoothies, seeds, cookies, chips, ice cream, candy. She thinks eggnog is too limited. You might experiment a little more with that. You have done such a great job with the squashes. Really, you should broaden your culinary delights using eggnog.
Fall in the Air
And I would be remiss to not mention the way you literally float through the air. The leaves just drop when you arrive heralding your coming. They love to announce your presence. I do wish they would pick up after themselves though.
Which brings me to my next point. I would like to talk about the acorns. Yes, I know it’s your special gift to the squirrels, but I think you must have a fetish with them. You toss them everywhere. They are under my feet and blowing across the porch even now as we speak. You know you stir up Mr. Wind quite a bit. My other friends, those who live at Providence RV Park, mention that during your visit you enjoy rhythmically tossing them on their RVs. I’m not sure they enjoy your musical serenade.
Oh my, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you. Please don’t cry today. I’m really glad to see you; again, Hello Fall. Let’s enjoy the change from iced tea to hot tea together – did you want that pumpkin flavored or do you prefer eggnog?
How about: Take a rest, have a rest, catch my breath, BE at rest.
All of the above? Yes, all of the above…..and then some.
When I’m at Providence R V Park, Lake Fork, I’m in the “and then some” mode. And these are the things I need the most rest from. Here are a few things on my “and then some” list:
- Rest from worry. When I’m at Providence I’ve decided that, as the old saying goes, most of the things I worry about aren’t going to happen. Rest from worry!
- Rest from frustration. Frustration runs rampant in the city. Frustration from the traffic, traffic lights that don’t work, drivers who aren’t very good drivers, people who don’t pay attention to those around them, clerks who are rude, cars that don’t run, people who aren’t on time…..
- Rest from constant noise, it’s inescapable, it is sometimes unbearable.
- Rest from my schedule, the need for production, results, everyone else’s production, schedule, results, etc.
I look forward to coming to the RV Park to get rest, or maybe it’s relief for just a while/day/weekend.
It IS OK just to rest!
Just Resting and Enjoying.
Come join Carol and I.
Glacier Bay, Alaska
“You are going to take a Vacation from Providence RV Park? FROM it?” Yes, time to think of all the great places I want to visit, spend a little time there, sight see, you know…Vacation.
My wife and I are taking a vacation, our first in a while I might add, from work, and from Providence R V Park in East Texas, you know, the one by Lake Fork, the best bass fishing lake there is!
The thought comes to mind, “Why do you need to ‘GO’ on vacation?” I understand. Being at the “Park” is almost like being on vacation. It’s off the beaten path; it’s shady most of the time; it is quiet and clean. It is relaxing! I mean, you ARE supposed to relax and slow your pace, have fun….did I say RELAX?
Yes, vacation means different things to different folks. To my wife, it means Alaska!
So, guess what, WE’RE GOING TO ALASKA!
To me, what it means is I am leaving Providence RV Park in Quitman, Texas, and going On vacation so I can come back and “go on vacation”.
Makes sense to me!
Long deck, cover, shed, bike, hammock. Nice.
What is the best RV for full time living?
Think through your current lifestyle. Where do you spend your time? In the bedroom? Office? Kitchen? Do you live everywhere in your house or do you find yourself in one chair, one spot?
I MUST have my chair for my Bible time, thinking time, get away from everyone/thing time. It must be comfy with a light and preferably a spot for my coffee cup. Now in an RV, that probably won’t happen in the bedroom, my preferred location. But a kitchen chair is NOT comfy. So instead of a couch that would be shared with others, I’ll opt for 2 chairs and a small table between. I can hang a light or open the blinds.
Now my husband’s #1 need (other than a comfy bed) is an office space. I think in reality it’s his man cave. Since there’s just the 2 of us, that means that we need an RV with the bunk room, but minus the bunks. Grandkids may come occasionally, but he’ll use the office daily. Many RV parks have bunk rooms anyway for the grands and their parents.
Now there’s a 2nd benefit to giving him his office. I get my chair in the main room without him always there. We’ve been married 28 years and a good dose of private space will keep us going for the long haul. So, by carefully choosing my RV, I’m investing in my marriage. (Try that line on your spouse when you want the toy hauler.)
Now what about the kitchen? The hub of the house. Or is it? For me, cook is a 4-letter word. My sister, however, is a master chef and takes great pleasure in cooking for everyone. She definitely got my share of the cooking gene. Her RV needs the best in the kitchen and definitely a bar. I think the actual counter space in the kitchen would determine which RV she would buy. For me, let’s just say I’m a minimalist. And forget the kitchen table with 2 benches. WASTE OF SPACE. Maybe an IKEA drop down table.
Now a lot of people actually use their table to hold stuff, and a table can hold a lot of stuff. Personally, I don’t like clutter so getting rid of the stuff holder is a good idea. A drop down can still hold stuff in a pinch but not forever. Stuff will have to find its place. For me a shelf in a cabinet can be a great stuff holder. This is another good reason to convert the bunk room into an office. There’s a whole room to hold stuff and out of sight.
However, I would consider one bunk and half an office which would then only hold 1 guest so I’m not sure there is much value in it. But an office with 2 desks and chairs – well now, I get a desk area too. Actually, in our last 2 houses we had that set up.
I’m the administrative one and handle a lot of our affairs. My husband does do a lot of work from home as well as searching the internet, listening to talk shows, but his desk is just too messy for my organized mind to function at.
So, our RV design has a living area with a couch (for lazy times), 2 chairs with a small coffee table, a SMALL kitchen table, refrigerator and whatever else goes in a kitchen, an office with 2 desks and chairs, and we’re happy as clams.
And we need a deck or fake grass because I like to be outside every day. ALL my blinds are open so I need good thermal windows that neighbors can’t peak in.
How about you? Do you need the toy hauler because life is just no life without some of those things? Be sure and get it then. Do you love to grill? Be sure yours has the outdoor unit. That will be the best RV for full time living for you.
Do you have kids? Well, wouldn’t they just love a bunk room cave. Or are you well up in years where you think the 2nd bathroom might become quite important? Plan it in. Don’t like stairs? Well, you won’t suddenly start liking them so don’t go that route. Is your girth great and you need extra shower room? Well, come on now, as often as you use that, you’d better get the larger one. Do you like to entertain? That won’t change so make sure you have a larger unit with extra seating. And I think every person should consider an RV with slide outs, especially if you plan on living in it. It can take you from cramped to airy with the push of a button.
So, what is the best RV for full time living? It’s the one with the best design where your lifestyle just transitions to a new space. So, is size important? It can be, but think layout and lifestyle.
And make the most of that lifestyle.
Mad Dog Moore Memorial Bass Tournament is coming to town, just down the street from Providence RV Park. The tournament honors the memory of Garland police officer Michael David Moore who lost his life in the line of duty Feb. 15, 1977. Michael “was killed in the line of duty when apprehending a bank robbery suspect at the Bank One on W. Centerville Rd.” He loved to fish so what better way to honor him than an annual tournament? The proceeds will go to support the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Another bonus to this event are the incredible raffle items. Buy a ticket, or buy a couple dozen. Wouldn’t you like a Massimo T-Boss 410 Camo from Massimo Motors, a Kearney Custom Flatbed Trailer, or a Sun Dolphin with BPS Prowler Trolling motor from Bass Pro Shops. For a complete list of items see the tournament website.
The bass fishing tournament is Saturday, September 7, at Oak Ridge Marina. Bag time 2 PM.
Providence RV Park has a 2-day minimum stay so reserve for the weekend. We have room for your boat and the dock is ½ mile down the street.
Honor the fallen blue, support the children, enjoy the weekend fishing, stay in peace and quiet; it’s a winning combination.
Call us at 903.226.3016.
Is full time R V living worth it? The better question is, “Is it better or worth it to YOU?
Here at Providence R V Parks at Lake Fork in North Texas, more than 90% of our members are what we call “Full Timers” and I think they would all say, YES, R V living is worth it to them.
To keep this blog from becoming a small book, I’d just like to ask a few questions, and this is not an exhaustive list.
Home Sweet Home
Are you just beginning your career or are you beginning to think about retiring? We had a couple of full-timers in our park, age – early 30s. He was a recruiter for a large IT firm, she a physical therapist. They bought a large, mamba-jamba R V with slide outs galore and just about every other amenity you could think of. Their plan: For the next few years, live up to a year at a time in one place gaining experience and seeing the country while they were at it.
Another couple, age 40, stay when they are working, but then take off in the summers to travel.
Others, from every age group, just like the simplicity of full timing as well as the economy of it. As a general rule, R V full time living is 40 – 60% less costly and time consuming as home owning.
Of course, there is a lot more to it and full timing needs a lot of planning and research.
Then there is the park. Our Providence R V Park has been designed and built with full timers in mind. Sort of building a community, not just a park. One thing you’ll need for sure if you are going to be a full timer is to decide if you want a “party” park, or a “come and go,” “in and out” style, or more quiet and neighbor-like park to live in full time. But RV living is worth it for a lot of people.
At least you know that last kind is what we are at Providence.
Sue visiting other FT RV living resident
Prepare for RV Living Interview, Sue F. 6/15/19, full time resident 2 years
Q: How did you prepare for RV living? Why did you decide to live in an RV?
A: I got tired of cleaning the large, 3 bedroom, 2 bath house. For about 20 years we lived in a 1500 sf double wide with a large kitchen, living and dining room, plus a porch. We had sheds, a garage, a pontoon boat and a big yard. I came home from work tired, then had to clean the house. Since I was near seventy, it just became too much; my husband, who is in his eighties, was tired of all the yard work on our property.
Q: Were you prepared for RV living?
A: I love to cook, so the thing I missed most was my very large French-door refrigerator with a freezer at the bottom. And, second I miss having a second bathroom.
Q: Are you glad you bought the RV you did?
A: The slide-outs make the Park Model big; it has better quality and insulation.
Q: How long did it take you to get used to living in the RV?
A: Not long because there was so much less to clean.
Q: What was your biggest challenge moving into the RV?
A: Figuring out what you do/do not need; for example, 2 sets of sheets and 4 towels are enough.
Q: How did you solve the challenge?
A: You need someone to (ruthlessly) ask you questions such as “when did you last use this?” to help you pare down your possessions.
Q: Do most people need a storage shed?
A: Well, it’s better to have it than not, although we have stuff we no longer need. My husband had lots of tools, equipment, stuff that wasn’t used anymore.
Q: What do you wish someone told you about living in an RV full-time?
A: Get used to everything ‘close’.
Q: Do you have any downsizing tips?
A: If you haven’t used something in 1 – 2 years, don’t move it to the RV. Transitioning takes time to decide what’s important to you. TIP: take a picture of the object you think you can’t be without, or commit to storing it 1 year, and if it wasn’t used, sell it or give it away.
Q: How much do you think you’re saving by living in an RV vs. a house?
A: My husband could give you the specifics. We have no property taxes, no house insurance, no yard upkeep; the electric bill is much lower, there is no trash pick-up fee; there’s very little maintenance with an RV compared to maintaining a house.
Q: How does the location of your RV affect your life?
A: Quitman is handy; there’s a grocery store there; the Wal-Mart is not far away.
I hope this interview gives you some insight in how to prepare for RV living. I especially like the tip on having a ruthless friend help you downsize. There’s nothing like a good friend to give you perspective.
Providence RV Park, 1762 FM 288, Quitman, TX 75783
Riding through park.
So, who’s living the full time RV life? I mentioned recently that one of our residents rides a motorized bike. I had never seen one, so was intrigued by it. Check out these pictures. He’ll take a ride to discover trails in the area or make a quick run to a grocery store.
Rick and his wife formerly lived on a houseboat. He said an RV had a lot more floor space as the walls were straight. So I guess they were not downsizing but upsizing. And after several years, they realized they wanted to be on stable ground.
They lived at Providence for a year before they recently had to move closer to their daughter. Rick told me he was sad to leave us and wish he didn’t have to, but family called. Wisely, he answered the call.
Sometime before he left I asked if he could tell me what he thought about our park, Providence RV Park near Lake Fork, TX.
“The thing that struck us when we first arrived was that it all looks precisely like the pictures on the web site. They didn’t cherry pick the photos to show the best like so many do. We soon discovered the noisiest thing in the park – Bird calls greeting the new morning. Well, okay, there is the occasional diesel engine. It quickly became home and the owners / staff and residents became our second family. If your idea of a good time is partying and loud music, this is not the place for you, but if your idea of great living is along the lines of a cabin in the woods next to a lake, this is your dream place.”
I would have to say that I agree with Rick. I do hear the birds first thing in the morning. Of course, we do have a number of residents with numerous bird feeders so that might have something to do with it. Now if I can only keep them off the front porch because of the…well, you know.
Headed for the trails.
Also, we carved this park into the woods. So it does have the feel of a cabin in the woods, and the lake is just a ½ mile down the road. Since most of our spot are large, we also have room for your boat.
That is why in the Spring and Fall we have numerous fishermen join us for the tournament weekends. That lends itself to a tale or two.
So, who’s living the full time RV life? Well, a former houseboater and current “biker.” Follow me next time to see who else is living the full time RV life and the changes they went through to downsize.