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

RV Gifts for Cyber Monday

This weekend, I avoided the black Friday crowds like the plague. But I did spend some quality time online, browsing all the new gadgets and goodies for the RV in Camper Clinic II’s catalog.

And while I was clicking along, I started thinking about my favorite camping memories. Having the travel trailer is a wonderful thing, but it seems some of my best memories happen just outside the door. My sister decorates her awning with lights, everyone scrambles for their favorite chair, and somebody’s always throwing something new on the grill.

The patio is definitely where most of the magic happens, from tasty food to tall tales. I’m thinking this is a great time to pick up a few gifts for the RV.  They’ll be fun to unwrap now, and will set the stage for festive new memories all year long.

Here are three ways you can personalize your patio and make it a warm, welcoming space for your friends and family.

Patio Lights

When you’re not stargazing, these colorful lights brighten the night. I almost feel obliged to get the flamingos, which go with any Airstream, but now I’m leaning toward the Solar Lanterns. They’re so colorful, and easy to hang!

 

 

Chairs

I mentioned that everyone scrambles for their favorite chair when we set up the patio. For me, it’s usually my chair with the built-in table. But the recliner may come next. This looks super comfortable!

 

Grilling

When you’re camping, the easiest way to cook with minimal cleanup is grilling, and there are plenty of grills and accessories to choose from online. One of the best looking grills is a stainless steel barbeque grill. It’s a great size, and looks easy to set up.  And if the weather doesn’t cooperate for outdoor grilling, I also found a simple, stove-top smoker, which can give you that delicious smoky flavor inside on the stove.

Whatever you decide to buy for your grill, happy shopping! Cyber Monday beats Black Friday any day!

 

 

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!

Nature Tourism in Texas: Best places to watch and photograph wildlife

This month, we’re highlighting Texas Parks and Wildlife. And for every new “like” on Facebook, we’re 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!

Coyote

Photo by Mike Sloat

Wildlife means big bucks. Not just the whitetail variety, but real revenue for Texas cities that promote nature tourism. From butterflies in Mission to prairie dogs in Muleshoe, the wildlife programs promoted by Texas Parks and Wildlife offer opportunities for RV travelers to connect with nature in a personal way, and help promote conservation and sustainable development statewide.

If you want to discover the amazing diversity of wildlife in Texas, you can start by checking out the Texas Parks and Wildlife’s website. On the left side of the webpage you’ll find links to Birding and Nature Festivals, Great Texas Wildlife Trails, and Texas Paddling Trails – plenty of ideas to help you plan your next camping trip!

Here’s more info about three nature tourism events planned for October.

National Wildlife Refuge Week – October 9-15
Since Theodore Roosevelt established the first national wildlife refuge in 1903, the Refuge System has become the world’s premier habitat conservation system, encompassing 553 refuges and 38 wetland management districts. Special programs are planned for several of Texas’s 17 refuges over the next few weeks.

Texas Butterfly Festival – Mission, Texas
The Lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas is the most biologically diverse region in the United States with 300 species of butterflies and 512 species of birds. The Butterfly Festival is scheduled for October 25-28.

Wild in Willacy – Raymondville & Port Mansfield, Texas
The 13th annual Wild in Willacy celebration is planned from October 30 through November 3rd and includes music, ranch tours, and cook offs. Tours offer nature lovers the opportunity to “get up close and personal” with many species of wildlife in what organizers describe as one of the wildest places in Texas.

And if you go, don’t forget your camera! Texas photographer Mike Sloat offered a few tips on getting great wildlife shots.

“Photographing animals is a little different,” said Mike. “You need to know what animals you might run into, and how you might expect them to behave. There’s a ton of information on the Internet to help you plan ahead. Remember that you never want to corner an animal. Stay back, and use a telephoto lens when you can.”

Whooping Crane

Mike understands whooping crane behavior, and was ready when this one landed. Why? There were three other whooping cranes just to the right of this image and he’d already noted that this particular crane was aggressively territorial and knew he’d come back in for a landing. (Photo copyright Mike Sloat)

Mike is a frequent nature tourist, and shared a couple of his photos along with information about how he got the shot. “I use different lenses, depending on the animal I’m photographing,” he said. “For example, with whooping cranes along the coast, I’m using a 200-400mm lens, or even a 600mm lens. I also shoot wildlife in Aperture mode.  If your camera offers this setting, it will allow the camera to set the shutter speed and let you concentrate on your subject.”

Mike suggests “panning” or moving your lens with the animal before clicking the shutter.  If your camera allows you to shoot multiple frames per second, you can often capture all of the action in several images – one of which may be that special shot you’re hoping for.

Gator

When he got this shot, Mike had his Nikon camera set on “Continuous High” setting, shooting multiple frames per second. There were 35 images before this shot and 6 after. This one was the “money” shot. (Photo copyright Mike Sloat)

Experienced nature tourism guides will help you stay safe while you’re exploring nature as well. Mike’s encounter with a 14-foot gator was a great reminder to always be alert. “The gator was near a photo blind, and when we entered, the gator charged, unannounced,” he said. “Always have a way out.”  Mike described the situation as “unhealthy.” Judging from the photo, I’d guess that’s an understatement, but like any great photographer, Mike took advantage of the opportunity and got the shot.

Be sure to send us YOUR wildlife and camping photos this month! When you do, you’ll be entered to win a free one-year Texas State Parks pass!

~G. Elaine Acker