Pecan Grove RV Park (no, they don’t have a website) is one of those mythical places that you hear about as being an awesome place to stay in Austin, but next to impossible to actually get into. I was looking for a place to spend my last week in Austin, which also happened to correspond with my birthday, so I figured I would give Pecan Grove a shot. Thinking I was making plans in plenty of time, I headed down to Pecan Grove RV Park in person a couple of months before I wanted to stay there. Note to self, if one wants to stay at Pecan Grove, plan ahead!
I was able to get something like 5 nights booked (Pecan Grove is total old-school and still uses a paper schedule), but unfortunately my birthday weekend wasn’t available. Fine, I would figure something out later.
I checked about a month out to see if anything had opened up and found out that my reservation had magically disappeared from the reservation book. Great! Fortunately Bob, the manager, remembered me and knew I should be on the books – he said another employee must have erased me somehow. Fine. Whatever. Just find me a place. Please.
Long story short, someone ended up double-booking and only needed one spot (I bet this doesn’t happen so much with a computerized system – just saying), so I was able to get a spot starting when I wanted and going through my birthday weekend – 8 nights at Pecan Grove.
Pecan Grove RV Park isn’t the kind of a place I would normally stay at for a few reasons:
- It is a commercial park and I try to avoid those if I can.
- As far as commercial parks go, it is very, um, unglamorous. That is being charitable.
- It is pretty damn noisy as it is in the heart of Austin, on a busy street, and the site I had backed up to the next door BBQ joint/bar (which could be a good noise generator).
So why would I want to stay at Pecan Grove RV Park and overlook the above three negatives? Why do you have to plan ahead months in advance if you want to stay there? Quite simple – location, location, location.
Pecan Grove RV Park is located in a prime part of South Austin. Within walking distance you can access the trail around Lady Bird Lake, Zilker Park, South Lamar and South 1st Street. And the RV park is on Barton Springs Road, which has a lot of great restaurants, etc. Oh, I almost forgot – downtown Austin is an easy walk across the lake via a pedestrian bridge. In other words, it is a very pedestrian friendly location and I took advantage of that not driving my Jeep much during my stay.
Kathy joined me for much of the time as it not only is fairly close to her work, but she wanted to take advantage of the prime location and have some fun in South Austin.
Side note: One of the reasons why Pecan Grove is so hard to get into is they only have a dozen or so spots available for nightly rental. The rest of the park is full of permanent residences. There are a lot of people living in a prime location for much less than what the guy in the condos next door are paying. I inquired as to how long of a waiting list it is to get a monthly (permanent) spot as I would love to live in this location. The answer was years. I was informed there was only three ways people ever left the park – they moved because of a job, they got divorced, or they died. Seriously.
We did the Butler Trail around Lady Bird Lake a couple of mornings, which was ultra-convenient as there was an entrance about two blocks from where the house was parked. This is a hugely popular trail that goes around the entire lake and is full of joggers, walkers, bicyclists, and people out exploring.
The aforementioned BBQ joint next door sponsors an every Wednesday night event where the Austin Beer Run Club (yes, you read that right) does a 5k run around the Butler Trail. The start and end is at Uncle Billy’s Brewery and Smokehouse, which was conveniently located about 20 feet from my front door. We participated in the run the Wednesday we were staying there, but we did more walking than running as Kathy’s ankle was still bothering her. An amazing number of people showed up for this event and Uncle Billy’s was packed that evening. We enjoyed a brew or two, as well as some food. All I can say is it was a good thing my house was right next door! 😉
There are two food truck parks within a couple of blocks of Pecan Grove, which made it convenient to grab a quick bite to eat. I had been to The Picnic before and only made a single visit during my stay. The surprise find was the South Austin Social food truck park which had a food truck serving the most amazing tacos I have had in Austin up to this point. Considering how good the tacos tend to be in Austin, this is saying a lot! So that truck got a couple of visits. Yum, yum!
I attended a screening of the movie The Wireless Generation that showed how people are using technology to work from anywhere in the world. This screening allowed me to (finally) meet Chris and Cherie of Technomadia, who are full time RVers I have been stalking online for years. I also finally met Lynn, another full timer I have been stalking via Instagram for quite a while. It is always great when I finally get to meet people who I have “known” online.
My birthday this year was conveniently on a Saturday, which means festivities started Friday. Right? Makes perfect sense to me!
Friday evening found Kathy and me walking down South Lamar Street to the Gibson Street Bar as this was on my list of places to visit in Austin and we hadn’t made it there yet. One of the main reasons why I wanted to visit was Luke’s Inside Out food truck, located at the Gibson. We met my friend Sarah, who I have become to know during my stay in Austin. Second stop of the evening for the three of us was a wine bar Kathy and I had visited before, right down the street. Good food, good drinks, and good conversation were had. Not a bad way to kick off my birthday weekend.
Saturday found us going to South First Street, twice. The morning meal was at Elizabeth Street Cafe, a very wonderful Vietnamese cafe and French bakery. An awesome meal was had there. The evening was started at The Ginger Man in downtown Austin, a cool English Pub where we enjoyed a drink and an appetizer. We then hoofed it back to South 1st Street to Sway Thai restaurant, another place on my to visit list. We met Kerensa and Brandon of Drive Dive Devour, a full-timing RV couple that I have been online friends with for a while but hadn’t met yet, as well as Lynn (from the movie screening). More great food and great company!
Sunday was my last day in Austin. Kathy and I made a trip to the Alamo Drafthouse to catch a subtitled foreign flick, wandered portions of Zilker Park, and quickly went through the Umlauf Sculpture Garden as they were closing. In other words, a very pleasant way to wind down my stay in Austin.
Monday morning found me departing the Austin area after being around for the better part of 7 months. Something tells me that I will be back.