Rio Grande Valley RV Park Helping Save Monarch Butterflies

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Flickr Creative Commons/John Flannery

There is something fantastic I love seeing every year in Texas, and that’s the remarkable migration of the Monarch butterflies. However in the Rio Grande Valley, their numbers are in steady decline because their natural habitat is disappearing due to the economic growth of the area, increased corporate farming and the use of pesticides and defoliants like Roundup. However, there is one RV park in the Rio Grande Valley that has done something to help promote and stimulate the success of these winged beauties. Oleander Acres RV Park, with the help of funding support from the Rio Grande Valley Garden Club and the Native Plant Society of Texas has planted 200 milkweed plants of 7 different varieties during the past 6 months.

Monarchs will actual drink nectar from almost all flowering plants that produce nectar, so why is milkweed important? Because milkweed is actually the only plant that Monarchs will lay their eggs on. Even though they don’t really provide a direct commercial value like honey bees do, seeing clouds of of migrating butterflies every year is worth quite a bit in human experience. It was Oleander Acres RV Park that decided that they would be able to provide a great spot for them to rest on their long journey.

Visitors are welcome to come out to Oleander Acres to see the butterfly gardens which in turn will help the butterfly population in Texas just in time for the next Butterfly Festival. For more information, check out Oleander Acres website and plan a trip out to the Rio Grande Valley for a really unique an beautiful experience.

Join The Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation

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There are many causes and foundations that I hold dear to my heart and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation is one such organization. It’s no secret that I am absolutely in love with the great state of Texas and it takes a massive amount of mobilization to help provide support to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. That is exactly what this non-profit does. By helping to provide  key resources aid the TPWD manage and conserve natural and cultural resources of Texas. Because of member’s donations to the this fantastic foundation, the TPWD is able to provide better hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation opportunities for all residents and visitors and not to mention the generations to come. Below you’ll find an excerpt from the foundation’s website that further explains the importance of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF), our nonprofit funding partner, supports enhancing park experiences for Texans all year long. From the spectacular acquisition of Powderhorn Ranch on the coast to providing equipment for introducing families to camping, TPWF treasures the state parks of Texas.

TPWF leverages public funds with private philanthropy to provide quality parks for all. We invite you to consider supporting TPWF’s efforts by becoming a member today.

As a member, you’ll receive exclusive benefits like insider information, invitations to special events and other members-only perks. And, you’ll be supporting Texas State Parks, now and in the future.

https://secure2.convio.net/pwft/site/Donation2?1880.donation=form1&df_id=1880&_ga=1.188897707.167376198.1471034648

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation was founded in 1991 and has raised over $100 million since its inception. This non-profit is overseen by 21 trustees, ten full-time and three part-time staff members all working very hard to support the Texas Parks and Wildlife department. The bottom line is that with your membership funds and donations all Texans can continue to enjoy, explore, and “be inspired by the incredible wild things and wild places in Texas”. Show your love for this great state and  become a member, or make a donation. The importance of your participation can’t be stressed enough. Join me in keeping Texas beautiful.

RV To Langtry, TX!

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Mike Fisher/Flickr Creative Commons

Some of y’all may remember a wonderful Paul Newman movie from 1972 called The Life And Times Of Judge Roy Bean. It was about this rough around the edges semi-rascal huckster named Roy Bean who left San Antonio to sell whiskey to the railroad workers who were building the Southern Pacific. Through a series of events usually involving his own hubris and willingness to never let an opportunity pass, Newman/Bean declares himself judge and “Law West Of The Pecos”. He names his town Langtry after a famous actress of the 1890’s he’d never met named Lilly Langtry. Bean also names his courthouse/saloon after the actress as well; The Jersey Lilly.

Langtry, TX today swelters in the Rio Grande border region heat. Located on Hwy 90 in Val Verde County about 50 miles upriver from Del Rio, Langtry is the site where the Silver Spike was driven completing the railroad and apparently Judge Bean was among several folks who fought to steal that spike out of the ground as soon as the railroad folks were out of sight! The Jersey Lilly still exists today, and is right next to the Judge Roy Bean Visitor’s Center, a small museum commemorating the colorful past of the region. Langtry is a virtual ghost town now with perhaps 30-40 residents in the town and immediate surroundings, so plan accordingly when it comes to fuel, food, and water.

Also the area has some spectacular views especially at dawn and dusk. There’s nothing quite like a west Texas sun at the horizon and the beautiful golden light it casts. Outside of town on 90 there is a beautiful bridge over the Pecos River, and Seminole Canyon State Historical Park over near Comstock TX. It’s a great place to go and see the petroglyphs on the canyon walls from an earlier Texas civilization. This little visited part of Texas is well worth the trip!

www.pplmotorhomes.com

Let’s Take the RV and Hit a Swimming Hole!

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Nan Palmero/Flickr Creative Commons

Lordy it’s hot. It’s so darn hot the fire hydrants are praying for dogs. Which naturally leads one to the question, “How in heck do I beat this heat!?” Used to be a trip to the ol’ swimming hole was the best cure so let’s do just that! Pack up your RV with a couple towels, a watermelon or two, a cooler full of ice and everything you like to drink that’s cold, and let’s hit the road for some good ol’ fashioned Texas Swimming Holes!

Now if you’ve ever been to the San Marcos River, the Comal, or the Guadalupe why then you know what a shock it is to your posterior when it hits that chilly water. But with that said, once you realize that it ain’t cold…it’s just relaxing, then a leisurely float down one of these rivers is just what the Dr ordered for a bad case of August. All these rivers have tubes for rent, and rides from down river back upriver so don’t worry about that, just pack your sunscreen and don’t worry about getting anywhere fast. Head for San Marcos, New Braunfels, Martindale, or just about any other town these rivers pass through and enjoy your float.

Just outside of Austin is a wonderful spot, and no we’re not talking about Hamilton Pool this time…that place has just gotten too crowded. We’re talking about Krause Springs there in Spicewood, TX. Beautiful clear 65 degree water, towering cypress trees, and way less crowded than your usual Austin area water spots. Plan on about a 40 minute drive with all that traffic, but also plan on relaxing at an absolute OASIS when you arrive.

Another neat spot in Central Texas is Jacob’s Well there near Wimberly, TX. Like the others mentioned today it’s spring fed, crystal clear, and cool. You can swim right there in the artesian spring and it is one beautiful bit of nature.

As always, before you hit the road, hit us up at the website…we’ll be only to glad to help y’all out!

Pullrite Fifth Wheel Hitches

I haven’t written about the Pullrite hitches in a couple years, but I went back to what I wrote in 2013 and it still holds true…these things are GREAT! They truly are a well-engineered, labor saving, stress reducing, making-life-easier piece of equipment and I urge all of you who struggle getting your trailers hitched, or if you’re always having to do it solo, to look into one. Here’s what I had to say a couple years ago:

“Have you ever watched the endless minute adjustments being made by folks who may not use their fifth wheel hitch very often? Forward, reverse, forward, reverse, forward, reverse, pull out, readjust, start over. It’s even worse when they’re driving a long bed truck and the adjustments have to be amplified to counteract the longer pivot. Sometimes I just want to go knock on the window and ask if I can hitch ’em up real quick so these folks can get down the road, but I can never decide whether or not that would be rude or helpful. As they get more and more frustrated, you can just imagine them cursing the hitch, the truck, and the trailer.

Well I’m here to ease that frustration in a not-rude, very helpful sort of way today! For you long-bed truck having, fifth wheel trailer dragging folks who are tired of feeling like you’re wasting your time getting hitched up, Pullrite has an awesome light weight, high mounted fifth wheel hitch that will be the answer to your prayers! First of all the hitch is touted as the easiest fifth wheel hitch in the entire industry to couple. Secondly, it IS light, weighing in at only 52 lbs which means the UPS guy won’t even break a sweat lugging it to your door. And thirdly, what Pullrite has done in the engineering of this hitch is incredible.

What they’ve done is combine the functions of the hitch plate, rocker arm, and crossmember into the king pin adapter, which clamps to the trailer’s king pin and mounts an upside down ball hitch. Then, a gooseneck coupler is mounted upside down onto a base which attaches to most industry rails (unless it has the bole mounted in the middle, call for details). A funnel is mounted to the gooseneck coupler so instead of fine-tuning your long bed truck, all you have to do is contact the ball with any portion of the funnel and you’re all hitched up! Plus, the funnel and ball are completely visible from the cab! How easy is that? They are available right HERE. You’re welcome!”

The link is still good so check ’em out!!

RV to a Family-Style Water Park

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Mark Gstohl/Flickr Creative Commons

It’s not everyday you discover a pretty cool water park that is ALSO an RV park! Now how perfect is that for a Texas summer? Well Splashway is just such a place. Splashway is not your regular water park either, this place is dedicated to family. Located in Sheridan TX, which is on 90 just south of Schulenburg (so you can get there easily via I-10), this is the perfect place to bring the kids or grandkids.  The campground features everything from cabins to primitive camping for you tent folks, as well as pull-ins and pull-throughs, 30 amp or 50 amp.

Having had most of my water park experience at the old Water World in Houston, the first thing that struck me when I walked in to Splashway was that this place is not covered in groups of obnoxious, noisy teenagers. What I saw was families enjoying the water slides, splash pads, lazy river, and wave pool. It was a refreshing experience, pun intended. If you have kids who are less than confident in the water, they even offer swimming lessons.

Aside from the water activities, there are snack bars for taking the edge off your hunger…and you’re even allowed to bring in your own cooler in case you want your own snacks and drinks. Scattered throughout the park are tables and chairs covered by awnings so you parents and grandparents can have a nice shady spot to sit and watch your kids if you’re done playing in the water. Not only that, but when the whole family is done with the water, they have an entire zip line course throughout the complex so the adventure can continue even after you get all pruney.

I’ve been to most of the big name water parks in Texas, but I’ve never seen a place like this. So if you get hot and want to entertain the kiddos this summer, plunk ’em down in the RV and head to Sheridan, TX!

www.pplmotorhomes.com

It’s So Hot, Let’s Go To Oregon!

We will seamlessly be moving from July into August next week and the oven that is Texas will subtly be set from Bake to Broil. It’s times like these when the going gets tough, the tough go to……Oregon! So let’s hit the trail and talk all things green, and lush, and cool!

Oregon is a beautiful, highly natural, and mostly uncluttered state. And they’re hilarious too. I remember being in south central Oregon in their “outback” portion of the state, it was maybe 83 degrees and everyone was talking about how hot it was. I smiled quietly to myself until I was out of ear shot and then just belly laughed. 83 degrees with no humidity and it was killing them! I felt like Superwoman! So, I’m going to name two incredibly beautiful places that have nothing in common with anything you can see in Texas and that are both worth the trip:

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Jonathan Miske/Flickr Creative Commons

Crater Lake National Park

Oh my God y’all, this place is amazing. It’s a crystal clear, giant lake in a volcanic caldera and it is incredible. There is camping, a cool old lodge, and hiking aplenty. What’s more, there is Wizard Island down on the lake and you can take the ferry boat out there and stay on the island all day…but be sure you don’t miss that last boat! Plus it’s pretty hard to get lost when you hike around a round(ish) lake…just keep the water on that same side and eventually you’ll be right back where you started.

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Bjorn/Flickr Creative Commons

Astoria

What a beautiful coastal town! It is quintessential Oregon coast. It has those amazing pyramid shaped rocks, the Columbia River, the house where they filmed Goonies back in the 80’s, a gigantic bridge over the river….it’s like a poster advertising the Pacific Northwest. Needless to say, there are plenty of great places to eat and things to do as well. Head across the river to Washington State and check out the old Lighthouse at Cape Disappointment for example, you won’t be disappointed!

Don’t forget to come say howdy to us at the website, we’re standing by to help you with whatever parts or accessories you need to stay on the trail!

Nana’s Recipes: Ceviche!

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Gustavo Andrade/Flickr Creative Commons

As it gets hotter and hotter here in Texas, it’s only natural to think of meals that don’t require heating up the kitchen. Now the only thing better than not heating up the joint would be put put together a wonderful tasting south-of-the-border style meal so I thought today we could talk ceviche!

Ceviche is one of those classic Mexican seafood dishes that oddly enough requires no heat to cook! The secret is this: the lime juice cooks the shrimp for you. Shhhh! Don’t tell anybody. Let’s go!

You’ll need a couple pounds of decent sized shrimp, let’s say three pounds. Peel ’em, devein ’em, cut ’em into quarters and place them in the bottom of one of those glass baking dishes. Juice a half dozen or so limes and maybe 3-4 lemons then pour the juice over the shrimp. Put that dish in the fridge and let the juice work it’s magic for the next two hours. While the shrimp is “cooking” dice up four decent sized tomatoes, no need for seeds by the way. Also dice up a red onion, a couple serranos, a cucumber (peel it first), chop up a fistful of cilantro, and cube up an avocado.

Once the shrimp is “cooked”, throw all those ingredients plus the shrimp into a bowl and add a teaspoon of olive oil, salt and pepper (to your tastes) and then toss it all together. Once everything is good and mixed, put the bowl back in the fridge for an hour or so to let all the ingredients get good and friendly and it’s ready to eat! Granted it’s about 3 hours of fridge time to prepare this meal, but if you like do it the night before and leave overnight, it’ll be just as tasty. And it’ll be ready to go when you are! Speaking of which, when you’re ready to hit the road, hit us up at the website so we can help you get on your way with any parts or accessories you may require.

Eurochair RV Recliner

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I may be showing my age a little bit, but there are some days where all I’d like to do in my RV is have a nice…brisk…sit. And I’m telling you, we have an awesome recliner that suits the bill just beautifully. The Eurochair from Lippert is a great little recliner that doesn’t take up much room in the RV. All it needs, space-wise, is 7″ at the top, and 12″ clearance at the bottom to be opened fully. They’re covered in Alternate Latte upholstery and packed with high density foam, which is dang comfy.

So let’s picture it in our minds OK? It’s one of those sweltering hot July days in TX and we’re at our favorite State Park for the weekend. Luckily we’ve found a spot in the shade and it’s not too crowded. This morning we woke up early and went for a hike down to the water. The park offered a beginner archery class at 11, and then we followed that up with a good lunch. Now what is better than taking a little siesta in our new Eurochair Recliner? Have a little nap through the heat of the day so we’ll be bright eyed and bushy tailed when it’s time for thjat sundowner and some star gazing this evening.

I’m telling you these things are comfy. Is there much better than kicking up your feet at the end of a busy day, maybe with a frosty beverage of your choice in one hand and maybe a fan blowing on you? So check one of these recliners out and have that comfort you deserve. Not only that but you can do the Archie Bunker thing when your grandkids try to sit in your chair! “Get outta my chair kid!” you can mock growl, winking at them as the get up. The benefits of age people. Click right HERE for more information.

Quiet Little Yamaha Generator

Well y’all we’re headed into that part of summer where we here on the Gulf Coast start paying closer attention to the weather. Hurricane Season is here with it’s powerful storms and side effects as well. Anyone who has lived in the Gulf Coast region of America for any length of time can regale you with tales of Hurricanes past. Hurricanes like Ike, Rita, Katrina, Alicia, Andrew, Mitch, or even those classic baddies from the 60’s like Carla, Camille, or Beulah. All of them wreaked havoc due to their incredible wind speeds, torrential downpours, or the storm surges they created. So with that said, if you’re down here enjoying the coast this summer or if your RV is in a semi-permanent berth within shouting distance of the beach…are you prepared?

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We’re offering a new quiet running Yamaha generator for a couple hundred dollars less than their list price that would be a perfect back up electrical supply this hurricane season. Plus it is truly lightweight and portable, only weighing in at twenty seven or so pounds. It supplies electricity at 12V and is perfect for use with your RV’s AC/DC converter. It holds a smidge over a gallon of fuel and that gallon will provide a 12 hour run time between refueling. Yamaha has innovated up some Noise Block technology that will allow this generator to run for those 12 hours and not drive you out of your mind or make you feel like you’re listening to a lawn mower all darn day! Another great feature of this little guy is the fact that the folks at Yamaha have thought in the long term and installed a shut off valve between the fuel tank and the carburetor so when the generator is being stored for extended periods, the carburetor won’t have old fuel sitting in it clogging everything up. If you’re interested in learning more, just click HERE!