Camping Eagle Ford RV Park in South Texas
Camp Texas: I’m talking with Frederick today. He is one of the Owners at Eagle Ford RV Park in Texas. Frederick, why don’t you get us started by giving us a little bit of history about Eagle Ford RV Park?
But we have a little different take on what it is we saw that was going on. And in the RV world, usually there’s probably a lot of planning that goes on as far as the characteristics that you want to have in the Park and the way you’re trying to appeal to people to come to your Park, if they’re coming on a nightly or weekly or vacation purpose. In Eagle Ford Shale area, you’re kind of accommodating a need for just some place for people to park their RVs, and then they’re off to work because it’s the only place and only way they have of really finding housing. And so, what we did is we went in and tried about 15 acres and built a really nice Park with trees and grass, and room and a nice little place for the kids and the mothers and the wives that kind of accompany their husbands in that work environment.
so, we built a little park area and barbecue area, and have a really nice office center. Meeting center, where we collect their mail. We have a nice laundry facility for them. We have nice showers and restrooms so that they don’t have to use their RVs for a lot of the dirty cleanup work that kind of comes in their business. And so, you know, we went through a lot of effort and work and expense to produce such a place, and we feel like that sets us aside tremendously from the other RV facilities that are around that tend to be just gravel yard or parking lots, or whatever it is that are accommodating those needs.
Camp Texas: Well, I’m glad we got a hold of you for that reason then, because we certainly like to have as many different types of parks as we can on the website. So, it’s nice to talk to someone that’s in a kind of different situation. So, what percentage of your guests there are long-term camping or extended stay who are working in the shale field?
Frederick: I’m going to have to say over 90 percent right now.
Camp Texas: Okay, but you have a couple people here and there that are coming through.
Frederick: Yeah, we have people that are working their way down to Mexico or down to South Texas. You know, and then there are events that happen around us. Recently there was the Formula One event down in Boston, and so the overflow from that. We got a couple people that stayed with us and just things because we’re close. We’re within 60 miles of San Antonio. We’re on the northern edge of the shale.
Camp Texas: Sure.
Frederick: So, we do get some of those things that come along. And they find us and, you know. But like I said, you know, 90 percent of our clientele right now appears to be the oil and shale workers.
Camp Texas: Sure, and so it sounds like it’s worked out. How full are you guys?
Frederick: Well, we’ve been open about three months and we’re about half full.
Camp Texas: Those are pretty good stats as far as I can tell.
Camp Texas: So it’s almost like you setup, like you built sort of a little mini town for these people.
Frederick: Yeah, that’s what you have to do and, you know, we’ve got expensive. When you get down to the basics of water and sewer and electricity, we kind of take that for granted in the cities. But when you get out in the middle of nowhere, you have to manufacture some of those things. And so, we were able to get city water, and even that was a job.
Camp Texas: Yeah.
Camp Texas: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, in a situation like that, it’s interesting because you end up being sort of more of a, for lack of better word, Mayor than like a camping host, because you have these people that are staying there for such a long time. And so, you get to know everybody well. Everybody comes to you when they need things. Do you find that to be the case when you have long-term residents like that?
Frederick: Yeah, we’re learning how that works and the neediness of people that are in that situation, and you’re right. I mean they use us now. They’re starting to use us for getting their mail sent. All kinds of mail. Packages and their regular mail. I mean we have a good, solid place for that to collect, where they’re living in an RV and it’s kind of hard to have a mail address that way.
Camp Texas: Yeah.
Frederick: And there’s not a lot of mail centers, so the whole communication. We do provide Wi-Fi, so they can communicate with their family and friends via social media and email and things. And so, we try to provide all those little lifelines that they need and try to be there for them, and some of that requires just being helpful and helping them setup. You know, deal with the things that break and this repair that needs fixing. So, all those things. We’re starting to become kind of, like you said, a lot more involved than just renting them a space.
Camp Texas: Yeah, absolutely. You know, your days aren’t sitting down and like: “Hey, here a couple brochures and your family can go do these things.” Maybe you do a little bit of that, but I think it’s mostly that sort of day-to-day. You know, people are in and out, and they’re going to work, and they need all those extra little ends tied up.
Camp Texas: So that’s pretty awesome. I think it’s pretty amazing that you guys setup shop there to help everybody out. So, you do have a couple people that come through, who are kind of making their way to somewhere else. Just a couple here and there, but for the most part long-term. If somebody is staying there and maybe staying there for a night and then moving off to somewhere else, I mean it sounds like you’re kind of remote and sort of in the middle of nowhere, but is there a little bit of hiking or a couple shops around there?
Frederick: Well, Gonzalez. They’ve got a little town center, and so there are some. You know, that little kind of stuff you experience when you go to these smaller towns in Texas, where there is the little history to explore, and then you go downtown and there’s some restaurants and a little that sort of thing. And there are shops down there, but you know, Gonzalez is squarely in that oil and gas zone.
Camp Texas: Yeah.
Frederick: So that’s pretty much what they are. But we are close enough to San Antonio. We’re close enough to Austin. We’re close enough that whole coast area, where people come through there. Hit some of the sites along the way. We make sure all of those things are on our website so they can see them, and that’s the beauty of Texas; is there was a lot of history, a lot of interface with Mexico, a lot of wars, and a lot of battles, and so all that’s there in that area.
Camp Texas: Sure. Sure.Frederick: So we put it on there for them, and so of course there was a battle in Gonzalez that many of the townspeople were slaughtered at that time by the Mexican Army.
Camp Texas: Yeah.
Frederick: But it was one of those historical events where they stood up and said, “All right, we’re in Texas now.” And so, there is that, and some people enjoy that, and so we like to provide them those little sites and things, and we have a tab on our website to show them that.
Camp Texas: Absolutely. Well, it sounds like you found sort of an unmet need in that area and rolled the dice and started the Park, and it sounds like it’s working out well for you. So, Frederick, I wish you the best of luck moving forward.
Frederick: Thank you.
Camp Texas: Yeah, and thank you so much for taking some time to talk to us about Eagle Ford RV Park in Texas.
Frederick: All right, thank you.