You may recall that we planned a little winter campout with our friends last time we were at Inks Lake. We all wanted to go to McKinney Falls, since it's right by the Austin airport and not too far to go, plus we all had great memories of our previous trips there. It got put off one week, because we had some important visitor some talk about our church's new ministerial search last week. We had hoped Ursula would be fixed in time, but, no. So, by gosh, we would not be deterred! We decided to rent a small RV from the place near our house where we rented the first RV we tried out a couple of years ago. Lee dubbed it Ursula Minor. Of course, it did not go totally smoothly...Lee had trouble getting our insurance agency to cough up proof we had adequate insurance, the cleaning lady sweetly put away all the food products Lee had set out to take with us...but we made it!
I had to take my MINI, Ethel, because I had a Texas Choral Consort rehearsal scheduled for Saturday morning. So, I packed all my knitting, reading, music clothing and games—pretty much everything we could think of to bring into Ethel, and I left as soon as I could after work. I'd worked extra a couple of days last week so I could leave early on Friday, but our big weekly meeting had been rescheduled, so I did not get out until 4 pm. Leaving at 4 pm made the trip to McKinney Falls State Park twice as long as it would have been even a half hour earlier. Plus Ethel's GPS took me an odd way. In any case, as you can see, both Lee and I made it!
We got the same campsite we did in July, but notice the greenness of it!
By the time I got there, both my other friends were already there. Our frequent co-traveler, Jennifer, brought her extra cute little pop-up camper. She loves it very much. She met it at McKinney Falls on a trip with Texas Outdoor Women Network (I think?) when someone else owned it. A few years later, that woman decided to sell it and get something bigger, so Jennifer told her husband THAT is what she wanted for her birthday. And now she has it! It tows behind her mid-sized SUV and is easy for her to set up all by herself..
Also, Janet brought her pop-up camper, which she got used as well. It got here quite successfully, towed by her kind boyfriend. Unfortunately, his truck broke in a big way after he got back home...you'll have to read on to see how that resolves! We were joined by Lindy, who stayed with Janet, and 5 was a nice number of co-campers.
end of July. There was no green grass.It's incredibly green there right now. And there is a lot of debris around from flooding last week—this area had 6 inches of rain over one night! The weather in Texas sure changes rapidly.
Speaking of weather, it was a cloudy/rainy weekend. What a nice change to be chased indoors from rain rather than heat! Though we did spend much of the weekend saying, "I need a...oh, that's in Ursula," we at least remembered our games, so having to go inside for a bit wasn't a total loss. I'd brought Super Scrabble. Let me telll you, that's a winner. With more squares and letters, it makes for a more fun time with larger groups of players.
Friday, night, though, we just sat around and talked until we were all talked out. I had to get up early for that choral thing, so I dragged myself up, after a long, long night of rain, storms, thunder and some dang piece of the RV making repetitive noises. Plus we started the night using air conditioning and ended it needing the heat! That made for a long morning of screeching out high notes (I have decided I will ask to be SECOND soprano next time—being the high one hurts). By the time I got back, fun had already been had, but I jumped in and had fun in the afternoon.
Wow, her hair is so shiny in this photo! Love it! We also saw how the limestone formations make cool caves, and a plant I kept having trouble pronouncing.
Jennifer, Juniper, #4.
Everyone was so tired from not sleeping the previous night, that apparently we were all asleep before 10:30. I slept a lot better, since we borrowed a blanket from Janet, and Lee had wrestled the weird noise to the ground somehow. It started to rain early in the morning, so we just slept until it stopped. That was really, really pleasant.
When we finally did get up, we enjoyed Janet's coffee (see, SHE had her usual camping vehicle, so not all HER stuff was in Ursula). Jennifer had to leave a little early so she packed up her little camper and headed off. I watched Janet and Lindy play Scrabble and soon Lee joined us in Janet's camper. It rained a bit more, then stopped. While it was stopped, we women took the chance to go on a longer walk while Lee packed up the stuff in Ursula Minor for her return. We took the trail Jennifer and I had walked last summer, which is much nicer when it is not hot. We saw a couple of cool things, plus the other set of falls.
By the time we got back, it was time to have a bit of lunch and head home. It was easy for me...I just drove our stuff home. Janet had no way home, so Lee drove Ursula Minor back, picked up our pickup truck (oh, that's why they call them pickups?) and went back to the park (again, how nice that it isn't too far!), hooked Janet's camper up and brought her home. Unfortunately, he didn't have the connectors for her brakes and rear lights, so she followed him really closely all the way back to her house, to be sure no one was endangered by that! Whew. I know Janet and Mike are glad we have the truck! By the time Lee got back, the park police had already told her she needed to go! After that, poor Lee had to go back to the RV rental place and clean Ursula Minor. As a reward, I did make chili, rice and a nice salad for dinner.
Honestly, even with the chill and rain, it was worth the trip. We were really able to relax, since we were with friends we didn't feel a need to entertain, as Lindy had put it. But we did have people to have fun with. Just perfect.
About Ursula Minor
The little RV we rented is a Class C RV, truck based. She runs on regular gas, which is nice, and certainly is easier to park and maneuver than Ursula. The truck seating area is very cramped—I swear it's less roomy than my MINI Cooper. And it's very basic. The whole camper is basic. I am guessing it's a base model, which means it would be an economical first RV.
But you sacrifice a lot. There are no slide-outs, and it is not on a long wheelbase, so all there is to it is:
- A banquet seating area with a table, which seats about 4
- A pretty good kitchen with a sink, 3-burner stove, a medium-sized fridge, and a little microwave
- An incredibly tiny bathroom that at least had a reasonable shower
- A couple of storage cabinets, one pretty big with a mirror
- A double-queen (not sure which) bed area that is really a thin piece of foam over a board.
- A "closet" that sorta sticks over the bed, making entry and exit a challenge.
- An over-cab sleeping area where the little TV is, too.
The heating and A/C both worked well, but there was a noise made by the electrical inverter that was a pain, plus the satellite kept looking for a signal. I assume if we owned Ursula Minor, we'd have those dealt with.
She'd be easy to clean. There are no fancy surfaces at all. The whole dang thing (ceilings included) was carpeted.
Ursula Minor would work for occasional camping, and probably more enjoyable in good weather when you can be outside a lot. But a family would be pretty cramped. I assume kids would spend a lot of time in the bunk. And it would be better for small, thin people. There's not much wiggle room.
I admit Ursula is probably overkill for a lot of people. But if you have mobility issues at all, getting in and out of that bed would be a challenge. And if you are a larger person, the bathroom might give you claustrophobia. And I have to say, the lack of padding on ANY seating area in the whole vehicle made it hard on my rear end.