When we started this trip in June 2011, we were hungry to travel the country and see some amazing places and boy have we. But that's not all. We quickly realized that it was more about the people we met along the way. The locations are memorable but the people are unforgettable. We've been extended so much generosity along the way, it's really humbling and makes the journey so much sweeter.
Case in point: Joey and Lavonne Helms at Trail's End RV Camp.
If you read the previous entry you already know, Joey offered us a gorgeous campsite for free of charge and then extended his offer for two nights! How could we say no?!?
Our hosts: Joey and Lavonne
Terrific people and they run a top notch campground.
So far on the trip, we've camped about 60% of our time and we've seen all kinds of RV parks and campgrounds. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!
Trail's End is, without a doubt, one of the best we've experienced!
Day 2 at Trail's End, Joey loaned us a kayak and we got out for a little sightseeing on the lake.
Most places would charge money for stuff like this...
Grainy photo, sorry, of LeTigre resting under the trees. The peninsula in the foreground is a beautiful grassy expanse that was perfect for running Kipper. The residents of the RV park all fish from it and launch their boats from the boat ramp. All of this was built by Joey and Lavonne, even the peninsula itself! Except for the house/office, the property was a blank slate when they bought it five years ago. They spent a full year improving and building the place before they opened.
There was a sudden thunderstorm rolling into the area and Joey let us stash LeTigre in one of his empty storage sheds until it passed... then, of course, it never rained!
Fish for dinner!
Complements of, you guessed it, Joey. He had gone out fishing at dawn (long before we were even up) and gave us some of his catch (probably all of it, he's pretty generous). Yum.
In addition to the amazing hospitality extended to us, we were really impressed with all the amenities that Joey and Lavonne built. Most RV parks have a "bath house," which is basically a locker room. Joey built a building with four individual bathrooms so you have a private bath all to yourself! In the same building, he included a laundry room, library, and workout room. Oh, and the wifi was totally reliable. We've stayed so many places where the wifi is just weak, no problem at Trail's End.
The whole place is just well done and thoughtful. So many parks cram everyone together to maximize space and fit in more campers but Trail's End is roomy and most of the lots are covered. Many of their residents are retirees but we also met a student attending UT Tyler (who uses the grassy peninsula to train his adorable 4-month-old lab) and of course they welcome travelers, like us. Everyone we talked to loves it there and Joey and Lavonne have created a real sense of community. For example, we were told by a resident (hey C.T.!) that we had just missed a fish fry the day before we arrived (drat).
Spending just a little time talking with Joey and Lavonne and you quickly realize that this place is their labor of love. They really enjoy it and it shows.
Everything you need to know...
This is a great photo so we're going to end with it too!
Thanks to Joey and Lavonne for their amazing hospitality and for starting off this leg of the trip on such a positive note. Angie and I look forward to seeing y'all again down the road!
P.S. If this post seems like an ad for Trail's End, it is. Go there!