2014 Palomino Puma 32DBKS

The past few days, in between rain showers, I’ve been trying to catch up on photographing all the new 2014 travel trailers  that have been arriving on the lot. The one that really caught my eye this week was the 2014 Palomino Puma 32DBKS.

2014 Palomino Puma Many families who have come through Camper Clinic II recently have been looking for a Texas RV dealer who can recommend the right model for their family. After all, they’re looking at traveling with a passel of kids and their friends. So it struck me that this 2014 Puma, with the double bunks, seems to have that perfect balance of practical and stylish features for the whole family.

2014 Palomino Puma Sidepaw KitchenFor example, it sleeps 10 (TEN!) but there’s still a comfy queen bed in one end that offers a private place to relax for mom and dad. It’s got a fully decked out kitchen inside, but also has the Sidepaw Kitchen outside with easy access to a fridge, sink, and microwave. The slide-outs give everyone extra elbow room at the end of the day, and all the finishes, from the flooring to the upholstery, are tastefully done and easy to clean.

2014 Palomino Puma 32DBKS FloorplanHere’s a peek at the floorplan! See what you think. The 2014 Palomino Puma Travel Trailer is made by Forest River, which is known for its quality products. Come visit the lot and you can check out the Palomino’s as well as 17 other brands. Camper Clinic II will show you how to choose the the right RV for your family!

~G. Elaine Acker

How to Choose the Right RV

Answer these 7 questions to help choose the right RV for you!

Ever_Green_tt_cover_10_07_10With 18 different brands of RV trailers in all shapes and sizes on the Camper Clinic II lot, how in the world do you decide which one is best for your family?

In my family, I’m traveling in my Texas Airstream, my sister is in her Fifth Wheel, and my cousin is in her Motorhome. So that alone tells you that RV choices are as different as the personalities towing (or driving) them.

To choose the right RV, you might want to start thinking about the following questions:

  1. How big is your family? Whether you’re traveling solo or taking a big family with you, you’ll need a trailer with enough space for everyone to sleep comfortably.
  2. Where do you want to go? There are places that just aren’t suited for a large motorhome or trailer. For example, to camp at the Basin in Big Bend National Park, you’ll need a rig that’s less than 24 feet to make it up the tight curves. Of course, if your heart isn’t set on camping right there at the Basin, there are campgrounds in Terlingua or at Rio Grande Village that can accommodate campers of all sizes.
  3. Are you going for a weekend? Or extended trips? Or RVing full time? For simple weekend trips, you’ll find basic models that will suit you just fine. But, if you’re taking long RV trips (trust me), you’ll start to wish for creature comforts before you’ve logged very many miles. It’s better to begin with a slightly larger, more comfortable rig from the beginning.
  4. What are you going to do when you get there? If you’re planning to spend lots of time in and around your RV, then that’s yet another reason to choose a more luxurious model. If you’re spending most of your time on the hiking trail or paddling on the rivers and in the bays, maybe you just need a comfortable place to rest your weary but happy bones at the end of the day.
  5. Do you need to take your toys with you? As one of the sales folks once told me, when you go on an RV road trip, you’re taking everything you need, and nothing you don’t. It’s great to stock the trailer with everything you’ll need on the road, and if that “must have” list includes canoes, kayaks, four-wheelers, mountain bikes, or other toys, then the toy hauler is no doubt right for you. There are lots of new and used toy haulers on the Camper Clinic II lot.
  6. Do you like to buy new, or used vehicles? If you like the idea of a brand new travel trailer that no one’s ever used before, then go with a new one that fits your budget. If you don’t mind buying one that has been down the road a time or two, then you’re in luck. Camper Clinic II takes in clean used RVs in great condition every week.
  7. What’s your budget? You can get a brand new travel trailer, such as an Aspen Trail, for as little as $11,000, or you can spend $130,000+ on an Airstream Interstate Van. And there are plenty of travel trailers, toy haulers, and fifth wheels waiting in between.

So even though the choices might seem a little overwhelming at first, the good news is that there’s something for every lifestyle and every budget. And if you need help thinking things through, the Camper Clinic II staff are always here to help.

See you on the road!

~ G. Elaine Acker

P.S. If you’re looking for the best deal on RVs, Camper Clinic II has an amazing variety of travel trailers, campers, fifth wheels, and motor homes in its clearance inventory. You can check it out online!


Have you seen the new 2013 Airstream Bunkhouse model?

Wednesday is the first day of Spring! And along with spring fever, I always get the urge to shop the new Airstream models! No, I’m still not ditching my beloved International, but I can’t resist a visit to Camper Clinic II to check out their inventory of 2013 Airstreams.

BunkWhile I was browsing online this morning, I found this brand new bunkhouse floorplan, which I haven’t seen in several years. I previously owned a 25-foot International, and the one I have now is a 27-foot. This Airstream Flying Cloud Bunkhouse model is a 30-footer, and it seems to combine the very best of my other two Airstreams.

c2t0516-06I like that there’s plenty of space to sleep six people – not that I usually want six people in my trailer, but at least it’s possible! There are several color packages. I love the honey-colored interior cabinetry, which blends beautifully with the soft, golden ultraleather upholstery, and the kitchen and bathroom offer just enough extra elbow room.

c2t0515-07The ultraleather has already sold (figures!) but there’s a gorgeous mocha blue one in stock.

If you pop over to the Camper Clinic II website, you’ll find the slideshow with all the photos. If you’re feeling the spring fever, like me, surf on over and check it out!

Happy Spring!

~G. Elaine Acker

New RV Models for 2013

This week, I wondered what fun, new toys were in the works for this coming RV model year, so I called Steve Roberson, Sales Manager for Camper Clinic II in Buda, to get the scoop.

nitroTHFfeat2largeI found out that Camper Clinic II is adding four new lines to their lot this year, which means an even wider array of choices. There’s literally something for every budget. You can get a great family camper for less than $10,000, or you can spend as much as $150,000 for the luxury travel trailer or fifth wheel models.

The newest ones are the V Cross (with a v-nose that makes it very aerodynamic to tow), the Aspen Trail, the XLR Toy Hauler, and the Riverside. There’s also a new Evergreen model called the Sun Valley that you might want to check out as well. It’s affordable, and it’s certified green!

iGo 256BH

Check out this 2013 Evergreen I-GO! It’s less than $30,000 and it’s super light and easy to tow!

It’s awesome to have so many choices, but then sometimes it’s hard to make a final decision. I asked Steve how they’re able to help people through that decision-making process. “Our sales people are trained to help,” said Steve. “They’ll find out how you’re going to use your RV, how many people you need to sleep and feed. They’ll help you think through whether you’re going to do weekend trips, long vacations, or even use it full time. Once they’ve got that information, they can match you with the best selections for you, and make it easier to choose.”

c2e0127-03Some of these models are so new they’re not even featured on the website yet, but you can call the sales staff and schedule a sneak preview.

“Sometimes when you’re shopping, you’re trying to justify how much time you’ll use it against the expense,” said Steve. “But once you have an RV and it’s available, you’ll go camping much more often than you thought you would.”

I know that’s right! I love the feeling that I can hook up at a moments notice and literally go anywhere.

As Dr. Seuss wrote, “Oh, the places you’ll go!” If you’re dreaming about a new travel trailer, go for it. Make a list of travel ideas for 2013, pick out a trailer that’s right for you, and hit the road. It’s the best family time you’ll ever spend!

~G. Elaine Acker


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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Tips for Organizing Family Reunions

Summertime is synonymous with family reunions. Some people embrace this fact with wild enthusiasm, while others greet the idea with a deep groan and an eye roll.

Which one are you?

Acker Family Reunion 2011

The Ackers take up a lot of space. There are typically anywhere from 80 – 120 people at our family reunions, so finding a location that can accommodate those who like to RV as well and those who prefer cabins is essential.

I fall into the first camp. I absolutely love getting together with all my cousins. We may not see each other but once every year or two, but when it’s family reunion time, we always pick up right where we left off.

Twice now, I’ve had the honor of helping plan our Acker Family Reunion, so I thought I’d share a few tips and ideas about organizing a family reunion.

  1. When you’re planning a family reunion, start well in advance. For a group our size, with more than 100 people, we’ll usually plan a year ahead. It takes time to find the right place and negotiate a good deal. Alternatively, if you get the urge to have a spontaneous reunion this summer, don’t spend your time worrying about planning and details. Just make a command decision about the date and location, and send out a note announcing where you’ll be and when. Then, see who shows up! You can let everyone be responsible for their own reservations and food.
  2. Make a list of your “must haves” before you start researching a family reunion destination. For example, the Acker family must have access to water, be it a lake, river, or ocean. We must have a place that’s pet friendly, and we must find a location that can accommodate 100 or more people, preferably in a combination of cabins and RV camping. Then, when you begin your research, you’ll be able to narrow the list of contenders quickly.
  3. Involve the family in the planning. While you don’t want an abundance of cooks in the proverbial planning kitchen, it’s great to get input. I did a quick, free, online survey using Survey Monkey to narrow down the options for dates, a location, and preferred activities. Just remember that you won’t be able to please all of the people, so don’t try. There will still be something for everyone.
  4. Offer planned activities and plenty of down time. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right balance. You’ll probably want a couple of planned, full-group activities, but it’s also important to have down time for reconnecting one on one. We usually plan our group activities around mealtimes. We’ll do a chili cook-off or catfish fry one evening, and then buy the food for one group meal so there’s at least one evening where no one has to cook. I’m proud to say I won the last chili cook-off, but of course, one of my cousins is convinced “he wuz robbed!” We’ll both look forward to the next showdown!
  5. Quilt

    Special heirloom items, such as this handmade quilt, can be great for raffles.


    Our auctions include family treasures as well as homemade goodies.

    Consider adding a fundraising event, such as an auction, to your list of activities to ensure there’s money in the kitty for the next year’s reunion. It costs money to hold blocks of rooms, pay for fun extras like boat rentals, or buy keepsakes to take home. We always announce to the group how much is in the kitty and hand it off to the next intrepid reunion planner, who’s diligent with the accounting.We’ve auctioned things such as family heirlooms, homemade pickles or hot sauce, and even garage sale type items. And, my especially talented cousin Jane made a quilt, which we raffled off. We wanted everyone to have an equal opportunity to win!

  6. Keep in touch and share your enthusiasm. Over the years, we’ve used everything from printed newsletters, to emails, to Facebook to keep in touch and share our random bursts of family happiness. This keeps people engaged and boosts the number of people who show up. After all, no one wants to miss out!
  7. Be flexible. Our family met last summer at Canyon of the Eagles in Burnet, Texas. It was a great spot for us, because they have gorgeous vistas of Lake Buchanan, cabins, and RV camping. By the time July 2011 came around, Texas was experiencing record heat, the drought was in full swing, lowering lake levels, and burn bans were in effect. We rolled with it, opting out of the rented ski boat for safety reasons, and choosing to rent kayaks and canoes instead. We found ourselves gathering poolside instead of swimming in the lake, and a lot of the chili cooking happened in crock pots instead of over a burner.

So, if you’re the brave one who’s planning your next reunion, my advice is to take your time, enjoy the experience, and don’t get caught up in a quest for perfection.

Chili Hat

The goal is to spend quality time together, make a few new memories, and maybe capture a few embarrassing photos that can be used against your relatives in the future. If you’ve accomplished those three things, your reunion is complete!


~  Elaine

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Discover the New Aviator RV!

A couple of weeks ago, I pulled up at Camper Clinic II in Buda, Texas, and did a double take. I’m all about the Airstreams, and hadn’t expected another RV to turn my head, but there it was. I had to go in with my camera and explore!

Here’s the video I shot:

And here’s a gallery of a few photos:

To see even more photos, visit Camper Clinic II!