Boone RV Park: One Big Happy Family
There's a mom and a dad, a nanna and a papa, aunts and uncles, long-time friends and a teacher.
That's the community environment that encompasses toddler Chloe at the Boone RV Park on U.S. Highway 281 in Lampasas, Texas, and it's not just her — her adoptive mother and park manager Trudy Robertson feels the same way.
"We fell in love with this park and the people," she said. "They were a godsend to us."
Park owners Charlie and Carolyn Brown exchanged the sentiment, the Killeen Daily Herald reported.
The park, previously known as Boone's Trailer Park, was started by Carolyn's father in 1965. In the '60s, RVing wasn't popular yet, and the park's 10 sites were for permanent residents.
"In the '70s, people going from the North to the valley for the winter started stopping and asking if they could stay the night," Carolyn said. Her father phased out the permanent trailers and transformed the property into an RV park.
In 1996, after the death of her father, Carolyn and her husband, Charlie, bought her siblings' portion of the park, changed the sign to read Boone RV Park, and gradually built the establishment to its current 53 sites and a large extended family.
"We become friends with the people that come and they've become family in that we look forward to them coming through," Carolyn said. "You get used to those people and you get close to them."
Robertson said a lot of Texans stop at the park in the wintertime on their way to warmer weather in Brownsville.
"We all know they're coming, and we get ready for it," she said.
RVers themselves, the Browns enjoy the community of people the hobby affords them.
Carolyn paints a scene of pulling into a campground on a Friday afternoon and watching everyone unload their rigs and children's bicycles.
"They may not know the people … (but) in a very short time, the kids become friends," she said. "We enjoyed watching that."
The community extends past worldly possessions or the cost of a camper when a popup camper and the owner of a $2 million RV park next to each other.
"Both of you are campers and it doesn't make a difference what you spent on yours," Charlie said.
"The size of the rig doesn't make a difference," Carolyn agreed.
For Robertson, the attraction of RVing was freedom and meeting people.
"You're home everywhere you go," she said. "RVers don't meet strangers."
But the Robertsons, as work campers, have found a home at Boone RV Park and one they don't plan on leaving soon.
"We love Lampasas," she said. "We hope to raise Chloe here; we like the family values."
Gloria Connell, a retired school teacher from the Killeen area, has lived at the park with her husband for seven years.
"It is a nice community," the resident park teacher and "cheerleader" said. "People speak to you and you feel safe talking to people."
Three years ago, the Browns opened an antique and supply store that doubles as the park's office and where they sell propane.
The interior of the store is covered with tin from an old building that used to be on the property. A cardboard cutout of John Wayne stands in one corner near Chloe's play pen, and Charlie's grandparents' old wood cookstove sits in the other corner.
"It gives a place for people to gather," Carolyn said.
Guests often stop in for coffee in the morning, and filter in and out throughout the day to pick up mail and supplies.
The park also offers a recreation hall, bathrooms, showers, 50 channels of cable TV and free Wi-Fi. While it doesn't have its own pool, the park is a block from the historic Hancock Pool.
For more information about the park, go to www.boonervpark.com.