Texas Wildflowers 2013

1-Bluebonnets2While folks in the northeast are still struggling with record snowfall, our Texas RV campers are already enjoying their first glimpses of spring as wildflowers begin to bloom.

Before you go…
In Texas, more than 5,000 species of wildflowers line the highways, and April is usually considered the prime month for the ever-popular bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes. But this year, the flowers seem to be popping up early. If you’re planning a Texas RV tour to see the wildflowers in Central Texas this year, you may want to visit the Texas Department of Transportation’s website or call the wildflower hotline at 800-452-9292 in advance of your trip to get the most current information on the best viewing spots.

1-PaintbrushPhoto tips…
As many of you know, my hubby, Bill Reaves, spent the better part of three decades photographing Texas for Texas Parks and Wildlife and for Texas Highways. One of his all-time favorite drives is the 13-mile long Willow City Loop near Fredericksburg. If you go, you can set up camp at one of Fredericksburg’s top-notch RV parks, and if you want to take photos, Bill shared four tips for photographing wildflowers:

  1. You’ll get your best photos on a cloudy day.
  2. Experiment with using your flash and decide which photos you like best.
  3. Don’t be afraid to move in close on your subject.
  4. Photograph early or late in the day to avoid harsh shadows.

1-BluebonnetsWatch your step…
And, here are a few more things you may want to think about before you pack up the travel trailer and take to the roadsides:

  • Watch for traffic. It’s easy to get distracted by the vibrant flowers and forget to watch for oncoming traffic when you’re crossing the road or opening your vehicle door.
  • Before you plop your child or grandchild into the flowers for photos, check the area for fire ants and rattlesnakes and copperheads. The snakes have been known to rest in the shade of the flowers.
  • Be aware that Willow City Loop roadsides are privately owned. Do not trespass to get the shot. Make sure you’re on public right-of-ways or consider visiting cultivated fields such as those found at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center http://www.wildflower.org/ or Wildseed Farms http://www.wildseedfarms.com/.
  • Don’t trample the flowers. While it’s not illegal to pick them, it’s important step lightly and not to damage flowers. They need to go to seed and create a whole new crop for next year.

Be sure to share your wildflower photos on our Facebook page! We’d love to see your smiling faces!

~ G. Elaine Acker

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