Category Archives: Full timing it!

About Thousand Trails at Lake Conroe

Thousand Trails Lake Conroe is located about an hour north of Houston, TX.  Thousand Trails was originally an exclusive members only park.  There are several throughout the US, but you had to buy in in order to be able to use the facilities, more often than not for thousands of dollars.  TT was then bought out by another company and is now open to the public.  You can buy a pass for different zones, NW, SW, NE, and SE, the the US roughly divided into four regions.  And then you pay for yearly dues.  It’s much cheaper now to be able to use TT.  

This particular TT park, and the only one I’ve been to, is a bit older, with the roads being difficult to drive on.  They really need to be redone, but in my opinion, the potholes really help keep people from driving too fast.  The sites are gravel and in need of levelling.  But because it’s on a lake, with natural hills, I don’t know how level they can all be.  It is what it is.  If you want flat and paved, go to a Walmart parking lot.  

On top of your pass, you can also opt in for an annual spot.  This doesn’t give you 365 days a year to stay there.  it only gives you about 210 to stay over night.  But it DOES mean that no one else can stay in your spot for the year.  So if you’re full timing it, you can have a “home base” and not have to worry about getting a bad spot when you come back from a trip.  Your spot will still be there ready for you.  You can also make improvements to your site if you wish.  Some have brought in better gravel, or pavers, flowers and even some trees.  And there are a lot of people who’ve put up small sheds to store some extra gardening or outdoor items.  

With the high percentage of people who stay for at least six months a year, it’s still nicely kept and doesn’t look like a trailer park, which we’ve seen in other places that offer long term stays.  The sites themselves are very spacious, with lots of large grassy areas in between different groupings of sites.  Amenities are vast.  There is a baseball field, a volley ball court by the lake, two tennis courts, a 18 hole mini golf, ping pong table, tetherball, two full basket ball courts, one of which also is used for pickleball (something in between ping pong and tennis).  There are two stocked ponds for fishing, as well as Lake Conroe which is good for fishing and all sorts of other sports as well.  There are boat and kayak rentals.  The pool is Olympic sized and the spa is large enough to seat thirty people!  There is a large activity center with a store inside and a cafe that opens mostly on the weekends for everything from hamburgers to banana spilts.  The activity center itself is home to many tables to play bingo or put together a puzzle, toys for smaller children, and a large flat screen TV with three recliners and a sofa.  Concerts and demonstrations like the one of the hula dancers are done in this large room.  There is a large pavilion outside the activity center that is half covered and is where a lot of concerts take place so there’s enough room for lots of dancing!  There is also a large grill that the manager kindly uses to BBQ up some good grub on the weekends!  Across the pavilion is a family center.  This is a smaller version of the activity center.  It has a smaller TV in it with a few sofas, and some card tables.  It is the place where many members find themselves in the evenings playing Fast Track or Texas Hold em.  Attached to the family center is another room that is called the Adult center.  It has a few pool tables, some card tables, and some books and puzzles.  No one under 18 may enter, so it’s a nice place to get away from the swarms of kids during the summer.  And to the side of the family center, is another room that is a small gym.  This gym is unlocked with a code, and you must be over 14 to enter.  

When TT was members only, there was a lot of activities that were put on for the members.  BUt now that the members aren’t having to pay quite so much for membership, headquarters wants the members to put on their own activities. This has been met with mixed reactions, but the older members are mostly upset about it since they’ve been around for a long time and still remember “the good old days”.  But some have come up to bat.  There is line dancing lessons twice a week in the family center, pickup games of pickle ball and volley ball, and some bon fires now that summer is here!  More members are still needed to start up activities on their own, but our schedule is still pretty full just from the activities that are offered weekly.

If I hadn’t been living close by and was just visiting this park, I would want to come again.  I know the roads suck.  We all know that.  Everyone mentions it when they come and visit.  But the amenities are unparalleled from what we’ve seen at other parks.  It’s a great place to come as a family and we’ve known a few different families who were just passing through and ended up finding a way to pass through again and again because it’s such a great place for kids to explore.  Did I mention it’s gated?

Advertisements

Full timing it!

We are now official full timers. We’re in the process of starting a business where we’ll be traveling and working the rodeo/fairs/festivals/trade shows circuit. That will keep us out about half the year, since it is pretty seasonal. WE’ve also been talking for the last few years about selling our house and moving onto some property, nearby, but not in an HOA. We’ve gone back and forth about building a house VS staying in our rig on our own property, but for now that’s still a bit in the future.

Gabe got onto even time, four weeks gone, four weeks home. Which means a pay cut of 25%, give or take. It also means that he’ll be home a bit more to help out with starting the business.

So, we’re selling our house. We’ve moved out (mostly) of our house and are currently living in our trailer at Lake Conroe, TX, close by where all our activities and whatnot is.

We had to get rid of our animals, which at the time was three dogs and three cats. The dogs was such a hard thing to do. But in our situation, it wasn’t fair to the dogs or to us. Even if we stayed at the house, sooner or later, we’d have to give them up. With being gone half the year with the business, they’d be with my brother more than with us.

We got two storage units, one for our stuff that we’re not getting rid of (at least for the time being, as these things tend to go), and one for all the business stuff so we can start working while living in the trailer. Let me just say, for those of you who are wondering, we have a lot of stuff….and there isn’t ONE item that is light. (Gabe’s sitting next to me saying ” I think there were a few t-shirts that weren’t too heavy.”)

During the process of our move that was supposed to last 14 days, with 21 days of him being home afterwards to just hang out together, we had a Tae Kwon Do tournament where I got kicked in the face twice, we got sick, I pulled my back (a few times), we set our utilities to be shut off and they were…..a week before we were actually out of the house, we got a 20 cubic yard dumpster, and we used about 25 cu yards (luckily some people out of work showed up to take our metals off our hands). I decided to sew the kids Halloween costumes (no, I don’t sew), our truck rolled over something on the freeway and it took a week to get the parts and another week to get it back, our trailer was getting warranty work done and was in the shop, and we celebrated Caelan’s Birthday. So in the end, it took us 4 weeks to move out, with one to still be sorta moving out, but actually living in the trailer.

So here it is. Monday. Tomorrow we drive Gabe back to Louisiana so that he can make his 2:30 am crew change on Wednesday.  Me and the kids will hopefully be home Wednesday midday, just in time for Tae Kwon Do practice.  However, after that, we can get back to homeschooling (which we haven’t done in nearly a month), and the regular rhythms of our lives.  Gabe will be gone six weeks this time around because he’s changing boats and he needs to get into rotation.  He’ll be gone for both Thanksgiving and Christmas (getting off on Dec 28th), so the kids and I will probably spend our holidays serving a the Houston soup kitchen.