Airstream Photography by Brett Scarola

A few days ago, one of our sales pros, Brian Mallory, walked up to me with a gorgeous, vintage airstream photo in his hand. The image was created by Austin photographer Brett Scarola and the magic of the iconic Airstream and mood of the moment was all captured there on the print.

Photo Copyright Brett Scarola. All Rights Reserved.

Photo Copyright Brett Scarola. All Rights Reserved.

Jealous, I promptly went online to Brett Scarola’s Etsy Store and found a treasure trove of photos rendered with a vintage look. The store features classic Central Texas images such as Guero’s Taco Bar on South Congress, the famous dance hall in Gruene, fields of bluebonnets, and Hamilton Pool. My favorites, of course, are those that showcase the Airstreams in all their silver glory.

At Camper Clinic II, we’re lucky to meet lots of creative adventurers (and always take time to sit back and admire their Airstreams). If you’re adding a taste of Texas to your décor – or if you’re in the mood for something customized just for you – check out Brett Scarola.

–Elaine Acker

Groundhog Day!

PhilSince 1887, the legendary Punxsutawney Phil pops outside to have a peek at the weather on February 2nd.

After a long winter sleep, he’s taking a look around for his shadow. If he sees it, it’s a sign that six more weeks of bad weather are on the way, and returns to his hole. If there’s no shadow, he says, “Ah! Spring is here!” and stays above ground.

I’ve been reading all about groundhogs (cute little critters!), but especially Phil and the events planned on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. It looks like a fun, quirky slice of Americana, and if I lived closer, I’d hook up the Airstream and head that way. There are several RV parks nearby, and if you’re within driving distance, you can find one on!

Cargo RackSo if Phil were the RV-loving type, what would that shadow say about the next few weeks? If he sees his shadow, we should probably spend the next few weeks making plans for all the fun things we’ll do when spring does arrive. Maybe you can get out that maintenance checklist and get your rig ready to roll. Or, maybe you can stock up on a few new gadgets and accessories. I know there are lots of goodies like this cargo rack to hold all the extra toys online in the Camper Clinic II online store.

And if he doesn’t see his shadow, it’s time to roll! I say break out the maps and plan a sweetheart’s road trip for Valentine’s Day, or look ahead to spring break. It’s just a few weeks away!

Have a great Groundhog Day weekend!

~ G. Elaine Acker




Inauguration Day 2013

American FlagOn especially historic and patriotic days like this one, inauguration day, I always find myself thinking about the past history that led our country to this particular place in time. Because we live in the good old US of A, we’re able to hop in our travel trailers and take a leisurely roll through all 50 states (well… 49 I suppose, if you cross Hawaii off the RV list because of that challenging little float across the ocean).

It’s been awhile since I’ve studied my American history, too, so I always end up needing to look up proclamations, oaths of office, and the constitution itself, just to see what it really says. Today, I looked up the Oath of Office, and thought I’d share it with you. It’s very simple, and is set down in Article II, Section 1, of the U.S. Constitution:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

As you probably know, the official Oath of Office took place yesterday on the 20th, as is legally required in the constitution.

If you’re interested in learning even more about our past presidents’ inaugurations, Wikipedia has an abundance of information, including which presidents were sworn in by whom, and even audio recordings of the ceremonies.

And for all the latest quirky details from today’s events, you might visit the Huffington Post’s page, where you’ll learn things like the fact that President Jimmy Carter is SUPER EXCITED to be in the front row when Beyonce sings the National Anthem.

IMG_2705Many thanks to all our American Commanders in Chief of every political persuasion, who keep us freely rolling down the highway!


Pearl Harbor Day

Texas’ historic sites commemorate World War II

If you’ve spent more than five minutes on this blog, you already know that we take advantage of every opportunity to honor our military heroes, past and present. This week we’re taking a moment to remember one of the most poignant dates in American history.

Tomorrow is Pearl Harbor Day. On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu. More than 2,400 Americans were killed, and more than 1,100 were wounded. The attack also sank or damaged 15 ships and 188 aircraft. The next day, America declared war on Japan and entered World War II.

Thinking about Pearl Harbor day made us remember the rich World War II history preserved in Texas memorials, and we wanted to share three of our favorites. If you enjoy discovering history on your RV road trips, consider adding these historic sites to your list of places to visit.

Battleship TexasBattleship Texas

Last Saturday, the USS Texas, at the San Jacinto Battleground Historical Site, hosted its annual Pearl Harbor remembrance. The ceremony honored 90-year-old Lewis Lagesse of Houston who was a telephone talker on the USS West Virginia at Pearl Harbor. An article by Louis Roesch in The Cleveland Advocate shares more about Lagesse, including the story of how he was at first presumed dead in the attack.

Photo credit: Veterans War Memorial of Texas

Veterans War Memorial of Texas

In McAllen, visit the Veterans War Memorial of Texas and learn more about World War II, as well as World War I, the Korean War, and Vietnam. The memorial highlights Hispanic and Texas Medal of Honor recipients.


The National Museum of the Pacific War

In Fredericksburg, the National Museum of the Pacific War honors the sacrifices of those who served in World War II. Friday at 12:25, the museum will host a commemoration ceremony. And over the weekend, re-enactors in the Pacific Combat Living History program will use weapons and museum pieces to bring history to life. Check out the re-enactment video.

What other World War II memorials and museums have you visited? Be sure to share your favorites with us so we can visit next time we hitch up the travel trailer!

~ G. Elaine Acker

Happy Thanksgiving to our Country’s Warriors!

Today, those of us who work with Camper Clinic II just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

Personally, I’m super-thankful for a shiny Airstream to travel in, open roads to travel on, and a wonderful family to share good times. And, I’m thankful for the freedom to hitch up and travel across the country whenever I like.

For that, I want to thank all veterans who have kept our country safe, and for all the active-duty military who continue to do so every day. We wish you could be safely home with your families today, but we appreciate your service, wherever you are!

I found this photo on Facebook today, and just had to share!

Don’t forget that this month’s Facebook campaign for Camper Clinic II benefits The Warrior’s Road Trip Network. Whenever you and your friends click “Like” and become a Camper Clinic II fan on Facebook, they’ll add another dollar to a donation that gets our military heroes out of the hospital and back into nature!

Have a wonderful holiday with your family, and to our active-duty military: We’re thinking about you and appreciate all that you do!

Celebrate Native American Heritage Month

Most of us now know that the romanticized, pilgrim-Indian Thanksgiving we learned about in elementary school is more fairy tale than historic truth. And if you decide to brush up on your history before our next national feast next week, there are plenty of enlightening websites ripe for the Googling, so I won’t go into detail here.

But, it just so happens that November is Native American Heritage month, making this a great time to reflect on the Native cultures that have influenced our nation, including foods, art, music, crafts, and more. The President recently issued this proclamation: “This month, we celebrate and honor the many ways American Indians and Alaska Natives have enriched our Nation, and we renew our commitment to respecting each tribe’s identity while ensuring equal opportunity to pursue the American dream.”

Those of us who roam the roads in our travel trailers have a great opportunity to experience those cultures and Native American history firsthand.

First, you can do a little online research, starting with the Native American Month website. Here, a number of leading institutions, including The Library of Congress, the National Park Service and the Smithsonian, have collaborated to create a site that highlights events around the country, and includes online museum exhibits, support for veterans, audio, videos, and resources for teachers.

And, here are a few more interesting links:

  • The National Park Service has created a special list of park sites called “Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary: Places Reflecting America’s Diverse Cultures” not only for sites of Native American significance but all cultures of the Americas.
  • The National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, DC, is not to be missed if you’re anywhere near our nation’s Capital, with our without your RV!
  • Also, with Veteran’s Day fresh on our minds, you can read more about Native American Veterans from World War II to Iraq with this collection of personal stories.

My favorite website so far is the Texas Historical Commission’s site, which includes links to groups working to preserve native cultures, and to two great stops on any East Texas road trip: Caddo Mounds State Historic Site, and Livingston, home of the Alabama-Coushatta tribe.


You’ll find Caddo Mounds just 26 miles west of Nacogdoches. Three earthen mounds still rise from the lush green landscape where the Caddo Indians, a mound-building culture, first built a village and ceremonial center 1,200 years ago. Artifacts on display include pottery, tools, and weapons. There’s a KOA campground close by in Rusk, or, you may want to reserve a campsite at Mission Tejas State Park.

In Livingston, you’ll find the Alabama-Coushatta tribe, which called Texas home long before Texas became a state. The tribe proudly shares their heritage through special events and craft shows, and RV camping with full hookups is available on site in the tribal community. You may also want to consider RV campsites at Lake Livingston State Park, just 20 miles or so down the road, or check out the Livingston KOA.

The next time you hitch up your camper, whether or not it’s officially Native American Heritage Month, think about spending some time exploring sites that highlight the rich, varied, culture of Texas’s Indian tribes.

What sites have you visited? Any recommendations?

~ G. Elaine Acker



F1 Fever in Austin

RV Camping at the Newest Formula One Track Puts you at the Heart of the Action

Mario Andretti

Photo Credit: Circuit of the Americas

After last month’s ribbon-cutting ceremony and a lap around the track, Formula One racing legend Mario Andretti pronounced Austin’s new Circuit of the Americas F1 track “absolutely fantastic.” Competing drivers will make their way around the 20-turn, 3.4-mile track for the first time on November 16 with the race scheduled for Sunday, November 18 at 1:00 pm Central time.

Race-day ceremonies will include a pre-race tribute flyover by four iconic fighter aircraft symbolizing the history of the United States Air Force. This Heritage Flight, an aerial display of U.S. combat history, will include: Captain Garrett Dover in the F-16 Fighting Falcon, Dan Friedkin and Tom Gregory in two vintage P-51 Mustangs and Steve Hinton in a vintage P-38 Lightning.

Historic Aircraft

Photo Credit: Circuit of the Americas

At the heart of the action will be a few lucky people in travel trailers who nabbed prime, track-side parking spaces. “There’s been a huge amount of interest since the inception of the project,” said circuit spokeswoman Ali Putnam, talking about the RV parking options. “The demand is there. It’s something people are looking forward to — watching the race from that perspective — so that’s something we wanted to offer.”

Andrew Booth, a spokesman for Florida’s Daytona International Speedway, which hosts NASCAR and other races, echoed Putnam’s sentiments. “It’s a great way to experience 100 percent of an event,” he said. “You really feel like you’re in the middle of the action. It’s almost like you’re tailgating during the entire race.”

Race Car

Photo Credit: Circuit of the Americas

This heart-of-the-action tailgating experience doesn’t come cheap. $15,000 buys a secured RV spot with hookups for up to four races a year and includes eight tickets to each race.

When I called for the latest info, Circuit of the Americas officials declined to say whether the RV sites were sold out or whether there was a waiting list – don’t ask me why – so if you’re interested, you’ll have to give them a call: 512-301-6600. Then tell us what you learned!

And if you’re camping at the track on race day, be sure to take a few photos and send them our way!

Ladies and gentlemen… start your engines!

~G. Elaine Acker








Patriot Day Proclamation

American FlagEleven years after the attacks on Twin Towers in 2001, we pledge to remember those who lost their lives, and celebrate the courage that continues to inspire Americans year after year.

Below, you’ll find the original Proclamation that forever designated September 11 as Patriot Day. It makes us proud to be Americans, and we wanted to share it here with you.

Patriot Day, 2002 
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

On this first observance of Patriot Day, we remember and honor those who perished in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. We will not forget the events of that terrible morning nor will we forget how Americans responded in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in the skies over Pennsylvania — with heroism and selflessness; with compassion and courage; and with prayer and hope. We will always remember our collective obligation to ensure that justice is done, that freedom prevails, and that the principles upon which our Nation was founded endure.

Inspired by the heroic sacrifices of our firefighters, rescue and law enforcement personnel, military service members, and other citizens, our Nation found unity, focus, and strength. We found healing in the national outpouring of compassion for those lost, as tens of millions of Americans participated in moments of silence, candlelight vigils, and religious services. From the tragedy of September 11 emerged a stronger Nation, renewed by a spirit of national pride and a true love of country.

We are a people dedicated to the triumph of freedom and democracy over evil and tyranny. The heroic stories of the first responders who gave their all to save others strengthened our resolve. And our Armed Forces have pursued the war against terrorism in Afghanistan and else-where with valor and skill. Together with our coalition partners, they have achieved success.

Americans also have fought back against terror by choosing to overcome evil with good. By loving their neighbors as they would like to be loved, countless citizens have answered the call to help others. They have contributed to relief efforts, improved homeland security in their communities, and volunteered their time to aid those in need. This spirit of service continues to grow as thousands have joined the newly established USA Freedom Corps, committing themselves to changing America one heart at a time through the momentum of millions of acts of decency and kindness.

Those whom we lost last September 11 will forever hold a cherished place in our hearts and in the history of our Nation. As we mark the first anniversary of that tragic day, we remember their sacrifice; and we commit ourselves to honoring their memory by pursuing peace and justice in the world and security at home. By a joint resolution approved December 18, 2001 (Public Law 107-89), the Congress has authorized and requested the President to designate September 11 of each year as “Patriot Day.”

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 11, 2002, as Patriot Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities, including remembrance services and candlelight vigils. I also call upon the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, as well as appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff on Patriot Day. Further, I encourage all Americans to display the flag at half-staff from their homes on that day and to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. eastern daylight time, or another appropriate commemorative time, to honor the innocent victims who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-seventh.


To the victims and heroes of 9-11: We remember.



Antique Shopping in Round Top, Texas

Kathy Johnson, owner of Pieces of the Past in Johnson City, has enabled my husband’s architectural antiques habit for the past 15 years. When I started researching camping trips to Round Top, I knew exactly whom to call! She offered to share a few insider secrets, so now we can all plan an October road trip! ~Elaine

The Inside Scoop on Antiques Week at Round Top and Warrenton

By Guest Blogger Kathy Johnson, Owner, Pieces of the Past

Antiques in WarrentonRound Top Weekend.  You’ve heard of it, right? It’s one of the biggest collections of antique…ers and junk…ers in the country. Made famous more than 40 years ago by Houston’s Emma Lee Turney, you’ll find Round Top tucked halfway between Houston and Austin.

The Spring show is the first weekend in April and the fall show is the first weekend in October.

 I’ll let you in on a little secret…that’s not exactly correct.

My advice? Don’t go those weekends.  Go at least one week prior to those dates.  Why?  Because all the dealers and shoppers “in the know” have already arrived, set up, and started shopping. Some have even been there for two or three weeks.

No way you say?

WAY, I say.

Warrenton AntiquesWhen you decide to go will depend on what you want to see and do. Two of the big shows, Marburger and the Red Barn, have very specific start and end dates.  You can check their websites for dates and information.

In my opinion, Warrenton has some of the best shopping and deals to be found…especially for those out and about before the “published” show dates.  There are a very large number of Fields/Shows and if you haven’t been before, you may be a little overwhelmed.

What’s a person to do?

Kathy Johnson

Kathy travels to Round Top in her retro Airstream.

A good way to plan for the show is to get that camper up and running and ready for a road trip.  This might be a good time to leave the dogs and kids at home so you’ll have more room to carry your treasures.  There are several reasons the RV is the way to go.  You’ll probably get hot, tired, confused, and hungry during your trip; and, you may be just a bit upset at all the “sold” tags you’ll see on the things you would like to have bought.  Last minute hotels and B & B’s are scarce, but you can usually find a RV site.  Then, you’ll have the luxury of going to your place for a quick lunch and nap or to drop off your treasures.  And, while you’re hanging out under your awning for happy hour or your morning coffee, you will certainly meet some of the coolest people and hear some of the best stories around (well, at least at Elaine’s place, anyway).

To find an RV park, check out the Round Top Chamber of Commerce website. The Chamber staff is very helpful, and you can feel free to call them with any questions.

Warrenton AntiquesWhen you get to Round Top, pick up The Show Daily. It’s a must for all of you new folks.  It has all the info you’ll need, such as maps, info on dealers, and stories on the shows; you can find it in some of the local businesses and restaurants, and a lot of the dealers will have it as well.  Check it out online if you want to plan in advance. It also has suggestions about the best places to eat, and even who will ship your purchases.  You’ll never see all of the fields and shows…in fact, you’ll be lucky if you drive past half of them. So The Show Daily is the perfect way to plan each day.

Finally, here’s a tip on the weather. It’s Texas. One day it will be so hot you can’t stand it, and another it’ll be chilly and rainy.  Pack a hat and a water bottle, and throw in some rubber boots (after all, for the most part, you’re walking in cow pastures).  Some folks bring wagons to carry their goodies; some even bring golf carts to carry their tired bodies and beat the other guys to the next dealer.

I’m a University of Texas fan, so I’ll close with a quote from coach Mack Brown: “Come early, stay late and get loud!”

…I’ll end with, “and have fun!!!”

Airstream Turns 80

Austin is a time capsule for Airstream history

Bambi AirstreamThis week, I’ve been camping at one of my favorite parks in Austin. Nope. I’m not telling you the name of it, because it’s already hard enough to get a spot! I(But it’s easy enough to find it if you’re really determined…)

International AirstreamLast week, I got my Airstream set up in a nice, shady spot, and took a walk around. The park – and Austin itself, now that I think about it – is something of a time capsule for Airstreams. From aging Bambis to food trucks to my own late-model International, Austin’s got it all.

The Huffington Post recently shared an article that captures Airstream nostalgia with 21 photos that pay tribute to this little slice of Americana, including a shot of one Austin’s very own “Hey Cupcake” trailers.

Food truck Airstream

As Airstream turns 80, we thought you might like to take a quick road trip down memory lane with us!

Check out the Huffington Post.




~G. Elaine Acker

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