It was going to be one site, just for the two of them. Water, electricity, septic—that’s all they would need. Then it quickly went from one to two, another for their visiting friends and family. Two sites became a row, and if you create one row, you might as well create another one, right?
Since their first visit to Southwest Texas in 2017, Allison and Chris Rogers visited in the winters, each time staying longer and falling deeper in love with the area. Originally from Georgia, the couple set out on what was meant to be a 6-month stint of traveling and touring the U.S. in their RV and working from the road. Six months turned into 4 years, but no matter where they went in the U.S., the pair had an affinity for one of their first destinations on the road: Terlingua, Texas.
So when property within the town became available, Allison and Chris hightailed it from Montana to make sure they were the ones to get it. Their knack for escalation, love for Big Bend, and RVing background led them to create one of the best RV parks in Texas, winning Campendium’s Best Camping in Texas in 2021 with 26 five-star reviews.
With their debut year under their belt, we spoke with Allison and Chris about what it’s like to open an RV park in a remote desert, how their first year went, and why travel and camping are great ways to connect with a community.
The Big Bend region of Texas is known for its remoteness. What first drew you to the area?
Allison: We began RVing in 2017 and didn’t expect to do it full-time. It was going to be a 6-month stint. We both have remote jobs, so we thought we’d try it. Terlingua was one of our first stops, and we completely fell in love with the area. We went around after that to Oregon, Colorado, Montana—all over the place—and every single winter, we’d say, “Why don’t we go back down to Terlingua?” We just kept being drawn back here, and every time we got back into town, we felt like this was home. This is where we wanted to be.
What inspired you to start RoadRunner Travelers RV Park?
Chris: We were in Montana when this property came on the market and rushed down here to buy it. We had no intention of doing an RV park. We knew we needed water, electricity, and septic. We were just going to do a site for us and then one for family and friends. Then it became, “Well, if we do that, let’s do one row and see what happens.” And then it was, “Well, if we’re going to do one row, let’s do two rows.” And it’s been going from there. The RV park is still our side hustle, and we still have our full-time jobs. It definitely grew into something else.
What was it like building an RV park in the middle of the desert?
Chris: When we bought this property, it was bare, vacant land. We started with power and wanted it all underground. As RVers, we didn’t like it when RV parks had overhead power lines.
Allison: That was a big venture because, together, we dug a 600-foot trench, and we had never done any major construction like that. We rented a backhoe and dug a trench from the power pole to the middle of the property here. Chris laid all the pipes, and then we had to fill it back up. Down here, it’s hard to find resources or people to help, so we just jumped in and did as much as we could to move it along.
Chris: Shortly after that, we started getting gravel put down and drilled the well.
Allison: That was nail-biting! Whenever you drill a well down here, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll hit water. Luckily, we found water. It was a gamble, and they dug 740 feet down to get it.
Can you tell us some specifics about your RV park?
Allison: We’ve got several different site sizes, but our shortest site is 50 feet long. Several extended sites go up to 80 feet. You can pull a big motorhome in, leave the trailer hooked up, and just take your tow vehicle off. We kept those big rigs in mind when designing the park because we saw how much of an annoyance it was to unhook every single time at other RV parks.
We also made sure to point the sites toward Bee Mountain, the mountain nearby that’s about 3,800 feet in elevation. They all have a beautiful view overlooking our 40 acres and that mountain.
Everyone’s been to that RV park where you can stick your hand out the door and touch the camper next to you. We wanted it to feel spacious. We like to use our outdoor area a lot whenever traveling. So we wanted everybody to have space to feel like they had enough room to spread out and enjoy themselves outdoors. All sites come with a picnic table, and we have additional fire rings. There are a few deluxe sites that are a bit wider, have better views, and then some premium sites on the front row with big fire pits.
Music is very important to you both. Please share how you brought that into your guest experience.
Chris: This depends on occupancy, but we’ll try to get a musician to perform every 4 or 5 days when we are full. Depending on the wind, we have a couple of campfires going, and the musician plays acoustic. Some of our guests bring out their instruments and play. It’s been a lot of fun for everybody.
Allison: We opened it up to the town so that the community could also support and enjoy the musicians. Our guests seem to have such a good time with it. Next year we’ll begin in October and do it throughout our season since we’ve gotten such a great response from it.
What are your favorite things about owning RoadRunners Travelers RV Park?
Allison: We’ve met so many friends, people we didn’t know before. You hang out with them around the campfire for a week and then keep in touch with them as they’re traveling. Or people who have come back and visited. It’s been enjoyable to see how many relationships we’ve been able to build just in the past year.
It doesn’t feel like you’re stuck in one place. You still get a bit of that travel feeling because perspectives and cultures are coming to you. We all have something in common because we traveled around for 4 years, and it’s nice to relate to everybody on some sort of level. I thought my bucket list was extensive before we started the campground—now I’ve added all sorts of destinations.
Chris: In my daytime job, I work in customer support. I’m the guy you contact when your machine breaks down, so I don’t interact with many happy people. Down here, people are on vacation. They want to be here. It’s fun interacting with them, sharing our experiences, and showing them our town. Some people get the vibe down here, and it’s neat to experience that with them. I remember when we first felt that here, so that’s the best thing for me, sharing where we live.