Celebrating Veteran’s Day with Warriors RoadTrip

Camper Clinic II launches its latest campaign to provide outdoor experiences for America’s heroes

American Flag

 

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.
~ Elmer Davis

 
This Sunday, November 11, is Veteran’s Day. And I’ve been thinking about ways that those of us in the RV community can celebrate our veterans’ bravery, not only on Sunday, but all year long. With this in mind, Camper Clinic II is launching a new campaign to support Warriors RoadTrip Network.  This incredible organization offers outdoor opportunities for veterans, as well as our dedicated men and women of law enforcement, fire departments, government agencies, Veterans and children with special needs.

Photo credit: Warriors RoadTrip Network

I look forward to sharing their stories during the coming weeks, and you can help make these outdoor experiences possible with a simple click. For every new “Like” on the Camper Clinic II Facebook page between now and December 9, we’ll add $1 to a donation to Warriors RoadTrip. Please “Like,” and “Share!”

Every day, we have valuable opportunities to honor and support our veterans, both active and civilian, and here are some ways we can show our appreciation:

Say “Thank You”

Simply thank the veterans in your life and your community, with words or even with a handshake or a hug. I find veterans among my fellow campers at almost every stop. Another simple yet profound way to thank our service men and women is through Shutterfly’s Thank the Troops Campaign. Shutterfly’s Facebook App lets you send a free thank you card to service members overseas and in VA hospitals. You can also send a care package to troops, and there are a number of organizations that help make this easy. Google “send a care package to troops” to get a comprehensive list.

Arlington National Cemetery

Take part in a local Veteran’s Day observance or ceremony

From parades, to moments of silence, to terrific deals especially for vets, there are fun and meaningful events planned across the U.S. for the whole family. Vetfriends lists hundreds of ceremonies happening all across Texas or wherever you happen to be on your road trip.

Support military charities or service organizations that directly support our veterans and other heroes

From outdoor experiences to clothing to educational opportunities to mental health services, there are a wealth of opportunities to help make a difference in the lives of active-duty and retired military personnel. Warriors RoadTrip is a great place to start!

To all of our American veterans: Thank you!

~ Contributed by blogger G. Elaine Acker and

 

 

 

 

Campaign for Texas State Parks a Success!

Sunset over Blue Mountain

Sunset over Blue Mountain, taken from the top of Skyline Drive in Davis Mountains State Park. (Photo credit: G. Elaine Acker)

For the past month, Camper Clinic II has been celebrating Texas State Parks and as promised, we’ll be donating $1 for every new Facebook fan who joined us between September 25 and October 31. That’s $527!

We appreciate all of our fans who stopped by the Camper Clinic II Facebook Page, and we want to give a shout out to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department staff and volunteers. We know you work long hours to keep the parks clean, well-maintained, and open for all of us RV campers to enjoy, and we can’t thank you enough!

We also want to congratulate the people who won the one-year Texas State Parks passes!

Galveston Island State Park

Galveston Island State Park. Photo by Robyn Ball.

Our first winner is Robyn Ball, who shared her photos of Galveston Island State Park and a female collared lizard she discovered in Caprock Canyon State Park. Thanks to all of you who sent your photos! We loved seeing them, and shared several on Facebook during October.

Our second winner is Heather Amaro – one of our most recent Facebook Fans!

We’ll be in touch with both of you shortly and will send you the details on your passes.

Speaking of photography, we also need to thank Earl Nottingham, Mike Sloat, and my very own hubby, Bill Reaves, for sharing their wildlife and parks photos and photo tips and generally brightening the pages of this blog for the past month.

Keep camping, and I’ll see you in the parks!

~ G. Elaine Acker

Texas State Parks: 10 Hidden Gems

Beat the crowds and discover 10 of Texas’ overlooked state parks
by Rob McCorkle, Texas Parks and Wildlife

This month, we’re highlighting Texas Parks and Wildlife. And for every new “like” on Facebook, Camper Clinic II is donating $1 to help save Texas’ State Parks.  Please “like” our page on Facebook and “share” links to our campaign with your friends and fans!

Palo Duro Canyon

Parks like Palo Duro Canyon get – and deserve! – lots of attention. But Texas has many more hidden gems waiting to be discovered. (Photo copyright Mike Sloat)

Texas state parks make up a sprawling spider web of more than 90 sites stretching from Amarillo to Brownsville and El Paso to Sabine Pass. Most of us have frequented or at least heard of iconic parks like Bastrop, Garner, Palo Duro Canyon and others. But what about the lesser-known, unpolished gems in remote pockets of Texas just begging to be discovered?

Whether you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path spelunking adventure, a glimpse of prehistoric Texas, a place for your kids to see a longhorn or bison, the perfect spot to pitch a tent beneath starry skies or simply a peaceful refuge from frenetic urban life, the following 10 unsung state parks have you covered.

Consider spending a day, a weekend or a week in one of these under-the-radar parks and discover why “Life’s Better Outside.”

  1. Village Creek State Park – Lumberton, Hardin County

  2. Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site – Comstock, Val Verde County

  3. Copper Breaks State Park – Quanah, Hardeman County

  4. Caprock Canyons State Park – Quitaque, Briscoe County

    Texas Bison Herd at Caprock Canyons

    Camper Clinic II fan Bob McSpadden shared this photo of the Texas Bison Herd heading to Lake Theo for water at Caprock Canyons State Park. Send us your photos, too, and you’ll be entered to win a one-year Texas State Park pass!

  5. Kickapoo Cavern State Park – Brackettville, Kinney/Edwards counties

  6. Estero Llano Grande State Park – Weslaco, Hidalgo County

  7. Fort Richardson State Park & Historic Site – Jacksboro, Jack County

  8. Goliad State Park & Historic Site – Goliad, Goliad County

  9. Meridian State Park – Meridian, Bosque County

  10. Purtis Creek State Park – Eustace, Van Zandt and Henderson counties

Female Collared Lizard

Robyn Ball, another Camper Clinic II fan, enjoys watching wildlife in the state parks, and snapped this shot of a female collared lizard in Caprock Canyons State Park.

This excerpt was reprinted with permission. Visit Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine to read all about Rob’s list of hidden gems! All are great choices for your next road trip with your travel trailer!

Many thanks to Mike Sloat and Bob McSpadden for sharing their photos photos for this blog post! Send us your photos of camping trips or wildlife, and you’ll be entered to win a one year State Parks Pass!

~G. Elaine Acker

 

Meet Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Chief Photographer, Earl Nottingham

Earl NottinghamThis week, I talked to Earl Nottingham, chief photographer at Texas Parks and Wildlife. He shared a few thoughts on his favorite places to shoot photographs. He also offered a quick photo tip for our readers.

“If I have one favorite place to shoot in Texas, it’s the Big Bend region,” says Earl. “Specifically, Big Bend Ranch State Park. This is photographer’s country and there is everything to shoot here from grand landscapes to wildlife to flowers. I find it is a very addictive country in that it keeps drawing you back.”

I have to agree with Earl on Big Bend. I find myself hitching up the travel trailer and heading back there time after time. I’ve written articles for Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine about four-wheel drive trips with my sisters, hiking the South Rim, and rafting on the Rio Grande, and I never get tired of it. You could literally spend a lifetime there and never see it all.

Earl also reminded me that we’re approaching prime time for the fall bird migration. “If you’re a bird photographer, the Texas coast is the place to be during migration,” he said. “From the smallest hummingbird to the graceful whooping crane, the variety of birds along the Texas coast draws birders from around the world.”

Whooping CranesTo learn more about all the birding hot spots and activities at the parks, check out Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine’s article written by the agency’s Nature Tourism Manager Shelly Plante. The article includes guided bird walks, talks, bird banding and much more.

Whether you’re a serious birder adding species to your life list, or simply enjoy exploring the colorful diversity of birds in Texas (a whopping 638 species!) There are plenty of great places to take your camper and hang out along the coast.

Earl’s photo tip of the day

“The three most important things that make a good photograph are light, light and light,” says Earl. “To be more specific, regardless of your subject, the quality of light is what makes a beautiful photograph. Typically, shooting during early morning or later evening hours produces a more eloquent light. Also, days with unique atmospheric conditions such as fog or even rain adds interest to a photograph. Try to avoid harsh noonday light, which is typically the time most photos are shot.”

Don’t forget to email us YOUR photos from the parks, or photos you’ve taken of wildlife! You’ll be entered to win a one-year Texas parks pass!

What’s YOUR favorite Texas State Park?

This week, Camper Clinic II kicked off its campaign to raise money for Texas’ state parks, which are facing an unprecedented budget shortfall.  Camper Clinic II fans can help by doing two things: 1) Go to the Camper Clinic II Facebook page and clicking “Like.” For every like up to $1,500, Camper Clinic II will donate another dollar to the parks. 2) Share the campaign with friends. It’s important to raise money for the parks, but it’s also important to raise awareness about the challenges being faced by these Texas treasures!

From now through the end of October, we’ll use this blog to explore the parks, discover the wildlife, and remember our outdoor heritage. Be sure to join us on this journey!

~G. Elaine Acker

 

“Like” Camper Clinic II and Help Texas State Parks

Vermillion Flycatcher

I’ll share a few photos over the next month from my husband, Bill Reaves, who photographed the great State of Texas for nearly 30 years, and is the former photo editor for Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine.

Last February’s issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine made it clear: the state parks need our help. “We’ve had a season of record drought and devastating wildfires, and all of that has caused declines in state park visitation and revenue,” said Carter Smith, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department executive director. “For most of us, this is the drought of a lifetime, and we’ve seen very, very substantial effects on our parks.”

Because we at Camper Clinic II love our parks – and watching the incredible wildlife that live there – we’re excited to launch a new campaign. We’re spreading the word about how people can get involved, and from now through the end of October, we’re donating $1 for every new “Like” on our Facebook page.*

Fox Squirrel

Can you help a squirrel out?

Here are four ways you can help right now:

  1. Go to the Camper Clinic II Facebook page and click “Like.”
  2. Share this post with friends. Anyone, anywhere, who loves the outdoors can make a difference right now with a “Like!”
  3. Send us your photos from your visits to state parks, and of the wildlife you’ve seen, whether in your backyard or along your favorite hiking trail. Be sure to tell us more about the locations you’ve visited and the critters you’ve seen. We’ll share these in a future photo gallery so we can all take a mini vacation!
  4. Plan a visit to a state park. Fall is prime camping season, and there are lots of activities on the park calendars as well!  We’ll share links and suggestions throughout the month of October, and if you hear of any fun events, be sure and send us a note about those as well!

By the way, when you email us YOUR wildlife and park photos, we’ll enter your name in two drawings for FREE Texas State Parks Pass!

We’re looking forward to spending the month with you, going camping, birding, hiking, stargazing… you name it! We’ll cook outdoors, build campfires, and finally, spend Halloween in the parks. Thanks for tagging along!

~ G. Elaine Acker

* Camper Clinic II is donating $1 for every “like” up to $1,500! Thanks for sharing and helping us reach our goal!

Heart & Sole Epilepsy Walk

Saturday, September 15, Lakeway, Texas

One of the things I enjoy about working with Camper Clinic II is learning more about the great causes they support – especially when the cause affects one of their own.

Cathy PearlsteinCathy Pearlstein manages the Camper Clinic II offices, and will be participating in the Heart and Sole Epilepsy Walk in Lakeway, Texas on September 15.

“My daughter’s husband has epilepsy, so our family is walking under the team name, ‘Sieze Epilepsy’,” says Cathy. According to the Epilepsy Foundation of Central and South Texas, which is hosting the walk, every four minutes, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with epilepsy. The Foundation emphasizes that learning to cope with and manage epilepsy takes a coordinated effort by family, friends, teachers, and the community.

Over the years, I’ve had friends and co-workers with epilepsy, but it’s been a long time since I really stopped to consider how epilepsy affects families in their daily lives. Even simple joys like camping require a little extra caution and planning.  “Our family loves to camp,” says Cathy, “and we always do one big campout in the spring to celebrate birthdays. But while we’re camping, my son-in-law needs to be sure to eat healthy, get plenty of sleep, and take his daily meds. Missing just one dose can cause a seizure.”

Precautions when planning a camping excursion could include setting reminders for medications, wearing life vests when participating in water sports, or wearing protective headgear when cycling or horseback riding. Polarized sunglasses can help minimize reactions to flashing lights such as reflections off the water or sunlight filtering through the trees.

Kudos to Cathy’s family for not letting epilepsy slow them down, and to the Epilepsy Foundation for serving the more than 100,000 people affected by the disease in Central and South Texas.

Epilepsy Walk LogoTo participate in the walk, donate, or volunteer, visit EpilepsyRun.com.

Do you have any tips to share managing epilepsy or other conditions during camping? Or, do you have a great story about someone who’s not letting a disease stand between them and the great outdoors? Let us know!