McKinney Falls State Park, Texas

McKinney Falls State Park, Texas

Finding weekend spot in a Texas State Park during the summer has always been challenging. One of the joys of retirement is being uncoupled from the whole weekend thing. Reservations were made last week for this week Monday through Thursday at McKinney Falls State Park outside of Austin Texas.

All last week, weather forecasters were predicting a weather system developing in the Gulf of Mexico would slide into Texas and dump huge amounts of water. As forecasters predicted, flooding rains moved into Texas and continue to move north. But the rains fell mostly to the east of Austin. Houston seems to have gotten the worst of the flooding.

Leaving San Antonio late Monday morning, expecting buckets of rain, only a few rain squalls drifted across Interstate 10 heading east and across Texas 130 heading north. Arriving at the park around noon, the sun blaring and the humidity rising, camp setup became pure drudgery. The kind of heat where eye glasses need glue to keep from sliding down wet and sweaty noses.

One of the worst realizations a camper can make when setting up camp is forgetting to replace the broken hammer needed to pound tent stakes into the ground. In this case, a canopy and not a tent. A quick and hurried trip to the nearest Walmart, cut shorter by the happy discovery of a regional hardware store not shown by the Apple Maps app, got the necessary and better built hammer for only ten bucks.

Returning to camp with the hammer, eight tent stakes later the canopy was secured and camp setup completed by three in the afternoon.

Downing buckets of water while lounging in a zero gravity chair, traffic noise from McKinney Falls Parkway seemed to grow in volume and intensity. Without warning, deep cloud cover appeared darkening the sky. Moments later, cicadas began their mating songs with such fervor that only their song could be heard. Immersed fully in natures symphony of sound, relaxing, I realized that I really was going to have fun on this camping trip despite the heat, humidity and rain.

Later, as the sun became lower in the sky, it cleared up some providing beautiful lighting for the campsite. A red tailed hawk flew through the campsite a second time. Approaching, camera in hand, he took flight. While my aim was true, autofocus and shutter speed were not.

Red Tailed Hawk in Flight
Red Tailed Hawk in Flight

This is our second time here. While this spot (site #33) is mostly kind of level, it is a far cry better than our first trip (site #73) here where we struggled to level our motorhome using automatic levelers. Looking around, most RV sites seem uneven to some degree. This park is water and electric only. We are making daily dump station runs with our portable RV waste water tank. Cell data service seems better on Verizon than AT&T. Over-the-air television seems plentiful. We found 8 local channels to watch without adjusting the directional TV antenna. No need for cable or satellite with digital TV.

Our site, shown below, is well shaded. This is a good site for summertime camping in a truck camper. Larger trailers or motor homes either won’t fit or won’t easily level. Trees at the back (blocking the view of the camper’s top driver side) block backing up to the cement curb.

McKinney Falls Campsite From Behind
McKinney Falls Campsite From Behind

Restrooms were about average for a state park. Showers offered no privacy so we opted to shower in the camper.

Tuesday we left the park in search of groceries. I was surprised by how close Interstate 35 is. Not close enough to hear but close enough to get to easily. It drizzled off and on. While very humid, the temperature only reached around 80 degrees making it comfortable. Early afternoon, a fawn (complete with spots) approached our campsite. Unfortunately the dogs saw it when we did and the little bugger ran off before we could get pictures.

Wednesday stayed unseasonably cool through the afternoon. The drizzle turned to rain mid morning and continued off and on until early afternoon. The cicadas started singing late morning. We spent most of the day sitting in camp chairs under our canopy chatting away and solving the universe’s problems.

Because of the rain (and threat of rain), we haven’t been out hiking the trails. Our walking has been limited to walking our dogs around the campground circle three times each day.

Thursday, go home day, after a leisurely morning, we packed our damp gear up and left before lunch. The heat and humidity were definitely back.

Hope to see you on the road ahead!

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