Father’s Day Gifts for RV Dads

XLR Hyper Lite RVLast weekend, we took a brand new Forest River XLR Hyper Lite and an Aspen Trail 2710 Bunk model over to Cabela’s Family Day in Buda. All day long, the kids fished for catfish, tried kayaking with a group of Texas Parks and Wildlife volunteers from Ink’s Lake State Park, and visited with the local K9 Unit’s feisty German shepherd.

K9 Officer at Cabela'sIt was great to see kids grinning and families thinking about ways to spend more time together outdoors. And I can’t imagine anything the RV Dad would love more than family time outdoors.

So, with that in mind, here are three Father’s Day gift ideas for the RV dad.

Texas State Parks Pass1. How about a Texas State Parks Pass? You’ll get unlimited access to more than 90 state parks and never pay an entrance fee! It’s $70.

Zero Gravity Recliner2. A recliner is always a favorite gift, but this year, you can choose this large, Zero Gravity recliner that lets Dad rest in comfort in the shade! Whether you’re on enjoying the Gulf breeze in Rockport, lounging beside the river in San Marcos, or resting in the high desert in Big Bend, this chair will be Dad’s favorite. It’s only $99.

Cadac Grill3. Finally, you can’t miss with a new Cadac Carri Chef Deluxe grill. This 5-in-1 portable gas grill weighs less than 10 pounds and is versatile with interchangeable cooking surfaces: camping stove, BBQ, non-stick reversible griddle, and a wok/dome. It’s $250. (Don’t forget to buy the gas cartridge – it’s sold separately.)

Remember, whatever gift you choose, it’s the gift of good times together that matter most!

~ G. Elaine Acker

P.S. If you’re in the mood to look at new RVs for Dad, we’ve got a huge selection at both the original Camper Clinic RV Super Store in Rockport, or Camper Clinic II in Buda. Come see us!

 

 

 

Mother’s Day Picnic

1-KabobsSome of my favorite family memories are simple picnics in Texas State Parks. When I was little, any time we made a road trip, my mom would pack a basket of fried chicken and potato salad.

Since then, our family has celebrated almost every holiday with a picnic, and even though I still love fried chicken, I’m pleased to say our menus have gotten a lot more exciting.

Food blogger Lisa Rawlinson write the blog "Full and Content," and created a perfect picnic dish:  Mango Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

Food blogger Lisa Rawlinson writes the blog “Full and Content,” and created a perfect picnic dish: Mango Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

With Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday, why not take mom outdoors? Whether you’re RV camping for the whole weekend, or just spending Sunday outside, a yummy picnic will make the day even more fun.

This month, Texas Parks and Wildlife, which is ever-popular with the Texas RV crowd,  is celebrating the art of the picnic; and yesterday, I had a chance to reconnect with some of our TPWD friends at McKinney Falls State Park. Chef Kevin Quinn, a lead instructor with Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, grilled luscious kabobs, and several popular food bloggers brought side dishes ranging from a slaw made with Ramen noodles to sugar snap peas with basil. These and lots more intriguing recipes are posted on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

Lisa Rawlinson, who writes the blog Full and Content, brought her famous Mango Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps, and even the kids give this one a thumbs up! Lisa recently wrote a nice blog post about Picnics, Parks and Mamas, and it included not only recipes, but photos and artwork showcasing several state parks. Be sure to check it out.

1-KEYE

James Seppi and Taylor Cook (left) write the blog, Coseppi Kitchen: kitchen.coseppi.com, and Bill Leamons collaborates with TPWD to showcase outdoor activities on KEYE TV. As they say, “Life’s Better Outside!”

Maybe you were thinking about flowers for Mother’s Day? Instead of bringing the flowers to Mom, you can take Mom to the flowers. Brilliant bouquets of wildflowers line the roadsides at almost every state park. And, KEYE has posted Texas Parks and Wildlife’s video offering several suggestions for creating sweet, Mother’s Day memories in the parks. All that’s missing, is YOU!

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The wildflowers are in brilliant bloom at McKinney Falls State Park.

~G. Elaine Acker

Camper Clinic II is the #1 Airstream Dealer in Texas, and has an RV to fit every budget. If you’re thinking about an RV for your family, come by and see what’s right for you!

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Fresh Limeade

Limeade

Photo of Rachel Ray’s Limeade courtesy The Food Network.

This coming Sunday is Cinco de Mayo this coming Sunday, and the Camper Clinic II crew was just talking about new ways to celebrate. Any excuse for exploring weekend camping spots in your Texas RV, right?

We’re thinking about setting up camp in one of our nearby Texas State Parks, and serving some fresh squeezed limeade for the kiddos using a simple recipe from Rachel Ray. Of course, we may have to whip up some frozen tequila limeade a la Bobby Flay for the big “kids” too!

By the way, check out the Texas Parks and Wildlife Events Calendar for lots of Cinco de Mayo activities.  An RV trailer, good food, and fun times with the family – that’s what it’s all about!

G. Elaine Acker

 

Wiener Dog Races in Buda, Texas

This weekend, Buda will host the 16th Annual Wiener Dog Races. The event, created by the Buda Lions Club to support its programs to assist visually impaired children, has grown into a full weekend of country fair festivities that attract visitors from across the U.S., including some 600 dachshunds!

This year, Camper Clinic II is proud to provide a travel trailer for the event, where heath professionals will offer eye exams for kids. After all, we want to be sure the kiddos can see the pet parade, and watch their favorite doxie cross the finish line!

For your entertainment, here’s the funny saga of dachshund Dudley O. Selleck’s training regimen and performance in 2012. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing Dudley again this weekend!

Come and see us this weekend, whether you come by the store to browse the best rvs in Texas, or head over to the Buda Wiener Dog Races!

Airstreams are Green!

SilverIsGreenWith Earth Day coming up on Monday, April 22, I started thinking about (and appreciating!) how “green” my Airstream is, and how environmentally friendly these shiny silver campers have been for the past 80+ years.

First, nearly 70% of all Airstreams ever made are still on the road today. They’re not taking up space in land fills. Second, they’re constructed primarily of aluminum, which is easy to recycle should the unfortunate need arise. And finally, and maybe most important, they’re aerodynamic, which also means fuel efficient. Whether you’re towing a vintage Airstream or the newest, 2013 Airstream models  you’ll save 10 – 20% on fuel costs with every road trip you take!

When I started checking the facts on the fuel efficiency, I found this video showcasing the Airstream performance on a test track. The video says it much better than I can – take a look!

I’ll have more on Earth Day activities as we get closer to April 22nd, but I just had to kick off the “green” discussions with a nod to Airstream!

~ G. Elaine Acker

Spring Festivals in Texas

When I’m planning a trip in my Airstream, two of my favorite places to search for upcoming events are Texas Highways, and Texas Co-op Power magazines. Both have great lists of upcoming festivals, as well as a library of articles on cities and events around Texas.

Just out of curiosity, I checked to see what’s coming up in the next few weeks, and here are three that caught my eye.

tomato festThe first was Jacksonville, which is the “Tomato Capital of the World,” and is home of the “World’s Largest Bowl of Salsa.” That alone is enough to make me want to run and hitch the Airstream to the truck. This year’s Tomato Fest is scheduled for June 8 in downtown Jacksonville. With a car show, tractor show, and salsa contest, there’s something for everyone.

If music is your thing, head out to the Texas State Championship Fiddlers’ Frolics April 25-28. More than 150 fiddlers will soon descend upon Hallettsville to compete for $25,000 in prize money. They’ve got camping with hookups at the Knights of Columbus hall and a dump station on site. Call 361-798-2311for reservations. 2009_fiddlers_frolics_001

V8_loFinally, just down the road from Camper Clinic II in Buda, you might check out the Circuit of the Americas V8 Supercar event scheduled for May 17, 18, and 19. That weekend, 28 V8 Supercars will hit the track at speeds of up to 185 miles per hour – just a little faster than your average Texas RV!

Wherever you go this spring, be sure to send us photos of you and your rig on the road! We’d love to know what our Texas RV fans are up to, and share it with our Facebook friends!

~ G. Elaine Acker

Easter Egg Hunts in Texas State Parks

The Easter Bunny will be hopping through several Texas state parks this weekend. If you’re planning to hitch up your travel trailer and enjoy a long Easter weekend, check out the events at these state parks!

Photo (c) Texas Parks and Wildlife

Photo (c) Texas Parks and Wildlife

Martin Dies, Jr. State Park, Jasper, Texas
The thick forests of East Texas offer plenty of interesting hiding spots for the Easter Egg hunt scheduled for Saturday, March 30 from 10:00 -11:00 a.m. There will be colorful eggs filled with candy and prizes for the younger ones, while the park will offer games and prizes for the older kids. Bring your basket and join the fun!

Lake Bob Sandlin State Park, Pittsburg, Texas
On Saturday, March 30, from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., the day-use area on Lake Bob Sandlin will set the stage for their annual Easter Egg Hunt, with candy and some extra-special eggs with gift certificate prizes inside! Located near Pittsburg in northeast Texas, the park is a great home base while you explore the area, stock up on the world-famous Pittsburg Hot Links, and discover a little aviation history by visiting the Ezekiel Airship (maybe the first flight really DID take place in Texas!)

Cooper Lake State Park, Cooper, Texas
Located in north central Texas, the park’s South Sulphur Unit has plans to hide more than 1,500 eggs filled with candy and prizes, and kids ages 1-10 are invited to come out for the hunt. There are separate areas for the 1-4 year olds, and the 5-10 year olds, just to keep it fun for all. The Easter Egg Hunt begins promptly at 1:00 p.m., and the park is even offering free admission from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. for the hunt. But plan to be there early! When the kids start the hunt, they can clean out the place in no time!

Mission Tejas State Park, Grapeland, Texas
Located on the northern edge of the Davy Crockett National Forest in East Texas, the Mission Tejas Easter Egg Hunt will begin at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 30. The park asks that all the kiddos bring their own baskets.

Then, on Easter Sunday, the Friends of Mission Tejas State Park will host an Easter Sunrise Service at 6:45 a.m. at The Mission – the first Spanish Mission to be built in Texas. Park admission is free for everyone attending the service.

Indian Lodge Easter Feast, Fort Davis
The Black Bear Restaurant, located at Indian Lodge in the Davis Mountains State Park in West Texas, is serving a full Easter Feast from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013. Reservations are strongly recommended, and guests should call the Lodge directly at (432) 426-3254 ext. 330. The cost is $25 for Adults, $9 for Children under 12, and park admission is free for restaurant guests. Check out the mouthwatering menu!

Photo (c) Texas Parks and Wildlife

Photo (c) Texas Parks and Wildlife

Dinosaur Valley State Park,

If the kids prefer dinosaurs to Easter bunnies, head over to Dinosaur Valley in Glen Rose, just a few miles southwest of Fort Worth. On Saturday morning, March 30, they’re hosting a workshop on the migrating Monarch butterflies, and also a Native American Play Day, with programs about the life ways of the Caddo Indians.
Then, on Sunday, March 31, the park will host its “Eggstraordinary Eggstravaganza,” beginning with a special surprise at 2:00 p.m.
Better Homes and Gardens has all the information on creating tie-dyed eggs!

Better Homes and Gardens has all the information on creating tie-dyed eggs!

Finally, if you’re looking forward to coloring and hiding your own Easter eggs, Better Homes and Gardens offers tips for tie-dying Easter eggs. I’m fascinated, and may have to give that one a try!

It’s easy to reserve your RV campsite at Texas State Parks online. Just visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.
Wherever you go, have a fabulous Easter! And don’t forget to send us photos or from your Easter Egg hunts, or share them with us on our Facebook page!

 

Women’s History Month

Explore women’s history from the comfort of your travel trailer!

stowme

National Park Service Photo.

March is Women’s History Month, and in honor of all the women who embrace the adventure of RV travel, I wanted to share a few places where women’s history comes alive!

The National Park Service is hosting events around the country to help celebrate. They’ve even published a list of travel itineraries showcasing women in historic places. For example, the “Places Where Women Made History” itinerary highlights 74 historic properties in Massachusetts and New York that are listed in the National Register. Other amazing places include the Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Ohio, or the Lucy Craft Laney House in Georgia.

Livinghistory

National Park Service Photo by Marsha B. Wassel

In West Virginia, Harper’s Ferry National Park is presenting, “Necessity: The Mother of Invention” later this month, showcasing many of the inventions of the industrial revolution that made life in the 1800s just a bit easier for women

Every National Park Service itinerary includes interactive maps, descriptions, photographs, and links.

And finally, if you want to celebrate those strong Texas women, Austin’s KUT radio is presenting stories of Texas women who made a difference. Listen in, and I’m guessing you’ll be inspired to get out the road map and plan your own RV itinerary to re-discover the ways that women have shaped our great state (I was!).

Which women in history do you find most inspiring? Have you visited an especially exciting historical park recently? Tell us about it!

~ G. Elaine Acker

 

 

 

Happy Texas Independence Day: March 2

Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession. Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word. ~John Steinbeck

This Texas Parks and Wildlife Photo portrays the Battle of San Jacinto where Texian troops defeated the Mexican Army and won Texas's independence from Mexico.

This Texas Parks and Wildlife Photo portrays the Battle of San Jacinto where Texian troops defeated the Mexican Army and won Texas’s independence from Mexico.

March 2, 2013, marks the 177th anniversary of Texas’s declaration of independence from Mexico.

March and April,1836, were busy months in Texas. The Alamo was under siege, and early settlers were fleeing San Felipe de Austin where Stephen F. Austin had established a colony and began planning the Texas Revolution. Austin’s fellow revolutionaries were making their way to Washington, Texas (now Washington-on-the-Brazos) to formally declare their independence, and General Sam Houston was soundly defeating Mexican General Santa Anna at San Jacinto.

If you’re looking for a reason to hook up the travel trailer this weekend, try celebrating Texas Independence Day by visiting the San Jacinto Battleground, or maybe Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site near Brenham.

Texas Parks and Wildlife is hosting a two-day festival at Washington-on-the-Brazos with music, historic demonstrations and re-enactments, and all admission fees will be waived during the celebration weekend.

While you’re out and about in your RV, you can also check out the Washington-on-the-Brazos Loop, one of the Great Texas Wildlife Trails. And don’t forget, Brenham is one of the best spots in the state for wildflowers!

For more ideas on RV camping, check out the Brenham website.

However, and wherever, you celebrate, Happy Texas Independence Day!

~ G. Elaine Acker

Mardi Gras 2013: Texas Style

Mardi Gras may be the biggest party of the year, but it isn’t just for New Orleans, anymore. If you fancy a road trip in your camper this weekend, you’ll find Mardi Gras done Texas style in Galveston, Dallas, and Port Arthur.

Momus float courtesy Galveston.com

Momus float courtesy Galveston.com

In Galveston, you’ll find the third largest Mardi Gras celebration in the nation. It’s grown a lot since I was last there, and now offers 38 concerts, 24 parades, 20 balcony parties and five elegant masked balls. If you’re taking the RV, there’s a lovely KOA overlooking Galveston Bay in nearby Baytown, or, visit Galveston.com for six more options!

In Dallas, you’ll find 28 bands and lots of benefit events, ranging from a mask auction benefiting young artists to Mardi Growl, which benefits Operation Kindness. There are plenty of Dallas-Fort Worth RV parks to choose from, including several featured in USA Today. Or, you may have seen my recent post about the Vineyards Campground, in Grapevine, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Photo courtesy Galveston.com

Photo courtesy Galveston.com

Finally, you can head to Port Arthur, which is celebrating its 20th Mardi Gras anniversary with parades, motorcycle events, and concerts for the whole family. Don’t miss the snake encounters and performances by “Sonny the Bird Man” Carlin! Their spaces for RVs and travel trailers inside the festival grounds are all booked (sorry!) but the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau lists several other parks in the area.

Wherever you go, enjoy a great Mardi Gras celebration – Texas style!

~ G. Elaine Acker