“How’d you end up in TEXAS ??”
This is a question I still get occasionally.
"Was it your lifelong dream to build and run an RV park?"
Never. And yet, here I am.
I remember the things my husband told me when he came home to Washington (the state) after working on an oil rig in west Texas for more than a month. It was January, and at times the wind chill would bring temperatures to well below zero. Their coffee would freeze in their cups in a matter of minutes; ice would form on the rig – frozen into unique shapes by the relentless, freezing wind and rain. And then the next day, the temperature would be in the seventies. Welcome to west Texas.
He warned me that it was not beautiful. (Actually, I think he said something closer to “the unshaven armpit of America...”) And he continued to warn me throughout our decision for me to quit my job and join him in Texas; throughout packing up our home and saying goodbye to friends and family; throughout the LONG drive with eight dogs. And his warnings became more frequent, and more strident, the closer we came to our destination.
Okay, so I was warned.
I actually came to Texas with an open mind and excitement for new experiences. Texans are uniquely patriotic and proud of their state; most would never dream of living anywhere else. We've all heard the slogans: “Don’t Mess with Texas” and “Everything’s BIGGER in Texas” – it’s true! I’d heard all about that “southern hospitality” and how friendly Texans were, but what I quickly realized was that Texans are just people – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
It was no fun having my bubble burst. I thought I was walking into some idealized southern experience, but what I learned was:
When a large influx of transient workers overruns a small community, the locals sometimes get less friendly.
Those people who LOVE Texas were not talking about this part of it. (They meant the part with trees.)
Everything really IS bigger in Texas. (Have you seen 3-liter bottles of Diet Coke? Woo-hoo!!)
Too much sweet tea and fried okra will quickly make ME one of the “bigger” things in Texas.
Learning to live in the desert was a novel experience as well. Despite the tarantulas, scorpions, and rattlesnakes (oh my!), there is amazing life here. Tortoises and horny toads (they call them Horned Lizards here), coyotes and bobcats, and migrating birds of every imaginable color. Although every tree, bush, and weed seems to be covered with thorns – some up to five inches long – the yuccas throw up extravagant shows of creamy flowers, the cacti bloom in red, yellow and fuchsia, and on a year with adequate rainfall, wildflowers, some that have lain dormant for years, burst forth in every color of the rainbow!
It’s true, the dust can just about drive a woman to drink, and dust storms quickly went from an interesting novelty to a complete annoyance, but it also makes for some incredible sunrises and sunsets. And did I mention the amount of SUNSHINE Texas gets? HALLELUIAH!!!
However, when circumstances found us, and our eight dogs, searching for a place to park our RV, we discovered that west Texas has one major problem: housing for all those transient workers. After looking at what RV “parks” (term used loosely) were available, we decided to just purchase some land and build our own RV Park. We wanted to include some of the things we missed about our “home” and that make those other parts of Texas so popular, like grass and trees. We wanted everyone to have some personal space and not feel like their neighbors were living right on top of them. And, we wanted to make a place for people who, due to whatever circumstances brought them here, needed a safe and comfortable place to live, whether alone or with their family and their pets. I think we are succeeding!
Despite all my husband’s warnings, I still wasn't fully prepared for what I would experience after moving to west Texas. I have learned a lot and adjusted reasonably well. (The dogs have even figured out how to avoid getting stickers in their paws!) As a result, I hope to share my experience, and whatever wisdom I may have gleaned, with others who are coming to west Texas for work. And I've found that I actually enjoy running this little RV Park in Texas!
(This post was originally published on 2/24/14)