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

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

Texas Fall Foliage

I really wanted to take you with me on an Airstream tour to see all the fabulous fall foliage, but with a state as big as Texas, we’d never see it all!

Luckily, some of our favorite Texas websites have done the driving for us. Here are a few links to help you find scenic drives and prime camping spots close to you.

Fall Foliage Tyler Texas

The City of Tyler is home base for several gorgeous East Texas driving tours. Photo credit: Tyler Texas Online.

From Texas Parks and Wildlife
Whether you’re pulling your camper to the East Texas Pineywoods or setting up in the higher elevations in west Texas’s Davis Mountains State Park, Texas Parks and Wildlife has several great suggestions for places to watch the seasons change.

Click here for Texas Parks and Wildlife’s picks.

And don’t forget that you can still go to Camper Clinic II’s Facebook page, “Like” the page, and Camper Clinic II will add another dollar to its donation to help Texas State Parks. While you’re there, click “share” and help spread the word!

From Texas Highways
In this month’s issue, East Texas photographer Joe Lowery reminds us to slow down and enjoy the view. “I’m often asked how I found a certain scenic location, and how difficult it was to reach the spot,” he writes. “While I have a few adventurous tales to share, for the most part photography is about slowing down long enough to see what we normally rush past.”

Click here to read Joe’s article.

And the magazine offered great ideas from the past couple of years as well.

Click here for picks from 2011.

Click here for picks from 2010.

Finally, Texas Monthly tips its Stetson to McKittrick Canyon and the City of Winnsboro, two often overlooked viewing spots.

Caprock Canyon

Thanks to Dee Dee Honea for sharing this funny picture. What a hoot! And now, Dee Dee’s entered to win too.

If you’re out camping this month, don’t forget to send us YOUR photos of the gorgeous fall colors, the critters along the hiking path, or just photos of happy times with you and your family at your favorite park. When you do, you’ll be entered to win a free one-year Texas Parks pass!

~ G. Elaine Acker