On December 2nd we arrived at Rainbow’s End, the flagship campground for Escapees, an organization that supports the needs of fulltime and part-time RVers. We had a nice long pull-through site and had no trouble getting set up.
Our primary reason for coming to Livingston was to get established as Texas residents. The first step was to register our vehicles. Since we hadn’t paid any sales tax when we purchased the fifth wheel in TN, we had to write a big check to TX. The only big surprise with registering our vehicles came when the clerk at the county office noticed that the truck’s VIN number on the IL registration didn’t match the VIN number on the inspection certificate we had gotten in Texarkana. It turned out that Phil had used the wrong vehicle’s VIN number when he applied for insurance on the RAM and the vehicle inspector in Texarkana had copied this incorrect VIN number onto his inspection report. This necessitated calling the insurance company and correcting the VIN number, then getting the truck re-inspected, then returning to the county tax office to get the truck registered. But, by the end of day one, we had all three vehicles registered.
The following day we attempted to get our drivers licenses. We had to make two trips since we had neglected to bring our passports with us the first time. Fortunately the lines weren’t too long and the Department of Public Safety employees were unusually friendly and helpful. Since the truck and fifth wheel have a combined gross weight of over 26,000 lbs., Phil needs a Class A classification on his driver’s license and that requires both written and road tests. Although Phil was able to pass the written test, he wasn’t able to get his license since the next available road test for a Class A license wasn’t until January 22nd and we would be gone from Livingston by then.
The Rainbow’s End campground had a full slate of activities scheduled. We attended movies at the Clubhouse on Wednesday and Friday nights and a social hour on Sunday evening with cake and ice cream.
Livingston is a fairly small town with a population of just over 5,000. While it does have a Super Walmart and a Lowes, it doesn’t have much of a business district. Phil called the insurance company to file a claim for the broken windshield in Jan’s car and the claims person set him up with a “local” glass company to do the repair. After Phil called to schedule the repair, he figured out that the glass shop was in Conroe, TX, an hour away. Fortunately, being semi-retired means that we have lots of free time and we killed nearly a full day with our trip to Conroe (with a couple of stops in Cleveland, TX in route). In addition to getting the windshield replaced (where the repairman was running 2 hours behind schedule), we had some great barbeque for lunch and had time to hit Walgreens, Sam’s Club and Lowes. We stopped at the TxDPS offices in Cleveland and Conroe to ask about scheduling Phil’s Class A road test but had no success.
One day we made a trip to Lake Livingston State Park. We walked along the shoreline and spotted a number of turtles and water moccasins enjoying the sunny day. Since we hadn’t brought a picnic lunch, we visited the camp store and loaded up on junk food which we enjoyed at one of the picnic tables. We were visited by a somewhat aggressive squirrel who was obviously used to receiving handouts. After lunch we went for a 1-mile hike through the piney woods and saw a number of birds and butterflies but fortunately no more snakes.
On our final day at Rainbow’s End we utilized the SmartWeigh facility to get our rig weighed. Unlike regular truck scales, we were able to get the weight loads on each wheel, both with and without the trailer hitched. Other than the need to rebalance our load a little bit, we did pretty well. However we did find that the trailer was somewhat overloaded and we will need to address this before we travel again. Some of the load can be moved into the car and truck but we will also need to reassess some of the things we brought with us and determine if we really need them.