by Michael Boyink / email@example.com
It all sounded good going in.
An animal rescue ranch in Boerne, Texas offered us “free RV parking with full hookups” in exchange for hours spent caring for the animals and doing other chores around the property.
We’d save some money by not paying to be in a campground.
And our animal-crazy daughter would get some experience with alpacas, llamas, sheep, goats, miniature donkeys, horses, pigs, cats, dogs and an emu.
I sent them our availability, and asked for details about the RV spot. The last time we’d parked our fifth-wheel on a farm, we had to cut down trees to get out.
The rescue ranch assured us they’d had an RV parked there before. They said it was a straight shot in and out without any clearance issues.
I was happy. They were happy. We made a rough schedule and started driving their way.
On arrival, they met us on a tractor at their pasture gate. They unlocked it, and we followed them in.
To the lowest point on the property. Just after a record-setting year for rain.
The green grass gave way to black, gooey Texas mud. Deep enough to have standing water on top of it.
They splashed through the mudhole on the tractor. Just past it, they stopped and got off.
And pointed back at the mudhole.
This was the free RV spot.
I’m still not sure why I didn’t just turn us all around and head back up to the gate.
But we had committed. And Miranda was already oohing and aahing over all the animals.
So I pulled forward.
Or tried to.
Our truck was two wheel drive. I made it about 4 feet before spinning out.
They hitched us to their tractor and pulled us into place. We shored up the trailer legs with wood to stabilize it in the soft mud.
Even with the trailer disconnected from the truck, I was still stuck. We again hooked the tractor up and dragged the truck to dry ground.
I asked about the RV hookups. Power and water were easy enough.
Then I asked about the sewer connection.
Our host got a thoughtful look.
And I got worried.
In RV lingo, “full hookups” means water, electric, and sewer. Without a sewer connection, we could only stay for about five days. After that we’d have to hitch up the RV and tow it somewhere to empty the holding tanks.
Which meant dealing with the mud again.
Our host promised to figure something out.
We drove to town and bought muck boots. I scrounged up some pallets and made a rough deck to act as a buffer between us and the mud.
And, as expected, Miranda fell in love with the animals. Not usually an early riser, she was up and out the door every day for the 7 a.m. feeding. She repeated the process at 4 p.m. She learned to drive the farm tractor. She learned how to vaccinate pigs. She witnessed the birth of two lambs.
We did get a sewer solution figured out. And – thankfully – before the tanks were full.
The mud dried up.
Pronounced “burn-ee”, Boerne, Texas was settled by “free-thinking liberal” German immigrants. Boerne is located 30 miles northwest of downtown San Antonio, Texas. Learn more at visitboerne.org.