1 - 31 October 2018 Texas (Tom's Water Ski National Collegiate Championship & US F1 Grand Pr

Monday 1st October


Yee-haw, we're back in Texas, feels like coming home. The place of wide-open plains and roads in the sky. Where we first came in the early 80’s to visit friends Chris and David in Mansfield, situated between Fort Worth and Dallas. It was at the height of the TV series Dallas and indeed the city was quite a sight with its skyline rising-up out of the prairies and the towering glass façade of the Hyatt Hotel.

We’re staying at Plantation Place RV Park in Sunnyvale, Mustique, just east of Dallas.

Our campground is at the back of a large plantation style house with extensive grounds. The whole winding road has some impressive properties.

We are taking the opportunity to visit the extensive shopping opportunities while here in the Dallas area.

Bass Pro Shop overlooking Lake Ray Hubbard.

After shopping we called into the Flying Saucer bar which also overlooks the lake. Here we met Cassy and Kelly, a very nice local couple who were very friendly and sociable and we had a jolly evening with them. They left before us and when it came to pay our bill, the waitress advised that Cassy and Kelly had also paid our bar bill. Such generous, kind, lovely people. It is so easy here to make instant friends.

Tuesday 2nd October


Onward to Waco and the Flat Creek Farms RV Resort, for a quick overnight stay.

Wednesday 3rd October

We are fans of HGTV’s show “Fixer Upper” where locals Chip and Joanna Gaines work marvels with old properties by turning them into beautiful homes. In Waco they also own Magnolia Market at the Silos in downtown Waco. It is quite the tourist attraction and fun to visit.

Silos Baking Co – we had coffee and blueberry muffin crumble.

Outside there is a large artificial lawn in front of the silos for the kids to play.

This was one of the couple’s biggest refurb projects, transforming two huge derelict silos and a large barn.

On arrival we were greeted by the very friendly, and mostly young staff before starting our visit. First, we looked around the Magnolia Store. Lots of home design goods in Jo’s particular style, plus gifts and tee shirts, and Chip’s Corner.

The Willys Jeep.

Lovely visit to a very happy place.

On to Austin East KOA.

Thursday 4th October


Austin is the state capital of Texas. The city is known for its live music, pink marble capitol building , University of Texas and LBJ Presidential Library among other things.

Texas Longhorn in the field next to the RV Park.

Monday 8th October

Simon and Ninette arrived into Austin Bergstrom Int Airport, just 7 miles from the RV Park. It had been six months since their last visit and it was great to see them and catch up on all the family news. We’re looking forward to a busy three weeks of fun in the Austin and San Antonio area of mid Texas. Firstly, this weekend coming is the National Collegiate Water Ski Championships in San Marco, where nephew Tom is competing. The following weekend we go to the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, for the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix.

Tuesday 9th October

Into Austin for a look around the state capital. Dinner at the Lonesome Dove, Western Bistro, a very smart modern Texan restaurant with an interesting menu, including Rabbit-Rattlesnake Sausage.

Wednesday 10th October

Moved to the Pecan Park RV Riverside Park, San Marcos. We had lunch at the Craft House in San Marcos with Tom. The University of Monroe (ULM) water ski team have arrived to get ready for the three-day event.

Before we left Austin KOA East we took a few more photos of the magnificent Texas Longhorns in the adjacent field.

Thursday 11th October

San Marcos

2018 National Collegiate Water Ski Championships

Day 1

The championships were held on two large lakes at San Marcos River Ranch in Martindale, just a short distance from our campsite. University colleges from across the country were competing in the championships. Tom was one of the University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM, known as the Warhawks) team captains and was competing in the three disciplines, tricks, slalom and jump.

Tom was not competing today, but we stayed to watch some of the other competitors.

Into San Marcos for drinks at the Crafthouse and then the Root Cellar for dinner. Great pasta dishes.

Friday 12th October

Day 2

Back to the lakes with very mixed weather today, heavy rain, some lightening and wind, eventually clearing to sunshine.

Tom was skiing slalom in the afternoon, his best discipline. There was continuing cross wind over the lake affecting performance. Tom was skiing brilliantly but he fell foul of the effects of weather and did not get the personal best he was hoping for, but still plenty of points towards the team score.

We had some Warhawks war paint applied while we watched the skiing.

Palmers Restaurant and Bar. Nice restaurant in a large house with a beautiful garden.

Saturday 13th October

Day 3

Last day of the competition.

All the teams were in good spirits, singing team songs and chants to encourage the last day competitors.

Tensions rose during the afternoon when the scores between the two University of Louisiana college teams, Monroe and Lafayette were very close. The men’s jump competition was the decider and Taylor Garcia of Monroe pulled it out the bag with a magnificent 186 feet long jump.

The Warhawks got 12,175 points, winning their third consecutive and 29th overall national team title since the beginning of the tournament in 1979. It was so close, with Louisiana- Lafayette who finished second on 12,115 points.

Awards Ceremony Dinner

Presentation for the winning team ULM - University of Louisiana Monroe. Yee-haw!

The winning team Trophy.

We were so pleased for Tom that the team had succeeded in taking home the winner’s trophy once again because this is his last year with ULM.

A great night of celebration and dancing.

Sunday 14th October

Had a quiet day around camp and went into San Marcos late afternoon.

The old City Hall building.

Dinner at the Root Cellar again.

Monday 15th October

San Antonio

Heavy rain and windy all night. Moved south to San Antonio KOA campsite, still heavy rain and cold! It is incredible how the weather has changed in a week, from hot, muggy high 80’s F to mid-50’s. Autumn has come in with a vengeance.

San Antonio River Walk is a walkway through downtown along the San Antonio River. The walk is lined with hotels, restaurants and shops in a park like setting with trees, plants and artwork and is quite the tourist attraction. We met up with Val and Rob who were also here for the water-skiing competition (their son is also on a waterski scholarship at University of Louisiana) and had dinner at Ostra Restaurant on the Riverwalk. Very nice food and wine, I had Ahi Tuna – delish. Afterwards to Howl at the Moon, a lively music bar. Really good entertainment with a couple of dueling pianos and three singers playing well know party and dance music. We were soon up on the dance floor. A good night was had by all and we arrived home at 1am!!

Tuesday 16th October

A cold night, temperatures down to mid-40’s F! Spent the day around the campground, did the laundry.

Back to the River Walk early evening.