Category Archives: RV travel from Jacksonville, Texas

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Updated Digs for Big Texas


Last year’s State Fair of Texas cliffhanger was an electrical fire that damaged the iconic Big Tex. As the State Fair opens this year, visitors will see that you can’t take a Big Tex down, plus he’ll have a revamped station.

Big Tex has, indeed, risen from the ashes and will stand tall (55-feet!) at his newly redesigned post when he reports for greeter duty on opening day, tomorrow. The State Fair of Texas runs Sept. 27-Oct 20.

Dallas graphics design firm Nottestad & Co. and landscape architecture by Studio Outside transformed Big Tex Circle into an ideal meeting spot with informational panels that pay tribute to Big Tex’s life, and colorful bands of flowers.

“The gallery consists of six 3×5 foot panels picturing historical moments from the past 60 years (devastating 2012 fire not included),” says Sandra Nottestad, president of Nottestad & Co. She adds, “The panels provide great backdrops for people to pose for their State Fair of Texas ph otos as they have for generations.”

“Big Texas has a story to tell, and we are bringing it to life,” says designer Dean Nottestad. “People underestimate Big Tex’s fans and their Texas-size love for him. We are giving his fans more of what they love about the big guy,” he adds.  

Look for Texas Highways at the State Fair

Texas Highways staffers will be on hand at the State Fair of Texas, working with our friends at the Texas Department of Agriculture and Texas Historical Commission, as we share Texas travel literature with fair attendees.

Find us in the Food and Fiber Pavilion (near the butter sculpture, we hear).

You can pick up great information on the many trails, including the Brazos, Forts, Hill Country, Mountain, Pecos, Plains, and Tropical trails. Informational booklets on the Chisholm Trail and African Americans in Texas also will be available.

The TDA booth will be active throughout the fair, but Texas Highways will be joining the party from Oct. 3-5, where we’ll be giving out Texas State Travel Maps, True Texas Stickers and copies of the latest edition of Texas Highways magazine, while supplies last.

There will be a daily drawing for a free Texas Highways subscription, for the duration of the fair!

Deep-Fried Blog: State Fair menu and Recipes

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 26th, 2013 at 12:19 pm and is filed under Drive: Destinations, Events, From the Lois lane: Travels and Taste, Texas Culture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Austin benefit raises money for musicians’ health

There’s a certain glamour to the musician’s life, no doubt. But for many working musicians, the reality of scratching out a day-to-day living means long hours, multiple jobs, and low income.

Shinyribs performs Tuesday at HAAM Benefit Day at Whole Foods in Austin.

Shinyribs performs Tuesday at HAAM Benefit Day at Whole Foods in Austin.

Austin residents came together Tuesday to support the city’s musicians at the annual benefit day for the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. HAAM is a nonprofit that connects uninsured musicians with health care, ranging from primary care to basic dental, mental health, and hearing and vision health services.

“The purpose is to get music out to the community and for people to see the value of live music in the community,” said Alison Silverstein, a HAAM board member and volunteer, at an afternoon performance at Whole Foods.

Whole Foods was one of more than 275 participating businesses that agreed to donate 5 percent of their proceeds for the day to HAAM. More than 200 acts donated their time to perform throughout the day at various locations hosting HAAM events.

Alison Silverstein, HAAM volunteer and board member.

Alison Silverstein, HAAM volunteer and board member.

The Austin area is home to more than 2,000 working musicians who are members of HAAM, and their average income is about $16,000 per year, Silverstein says. The music business, meanwhile, generates about $2 billion in annual economic activity to the city.

HAAM raised more than $300,000 on its benefit day last year, or about a third of its annual income, Silverstein says. HAAM, in turn, contributes to partner healthcare organizations, such as the SIMS Foundation, Seton Healthcare Family, and St. David’s Foundation. HAAM then helps arrange appointments for its  members at the partner providers.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 24th, 2013 at 2:57 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Parts of Guadalupe Mountains National Park remain closed after flood

Guadalupe Mountains National Park has offered an update in the aftermath of last week’s heavy flooding.

Park officials say parts of mountainous park on the New Mexico border remain closed this week as they continue to assess damage and make repairs to flood-damaged areas.McK flooding 9.12.2013[1]

More than a foot of rain fell in areas of the park during a 24-hour period last week. Over a three-day period, the park received more rain than it typically does in a year.

The flooding turned McKittrick Canyon, which is normally a dry creek with occasional shallow pools, into a raging river several feet deep.

“The Frijole Ranch Cultural History Museum, inside the Frijole Ranch House, and the Frijole Bunkhouse sustained heavy water damage to the carpet and walls, and mold is growing inside,” the park said in a news release. “A large section of water line was also lost in Frijole Ranch. Ship on the Desert sustained water damage from roof leaks. Park staff is drying out both the Frijole Ranch House and the Ship on the Desert, and have initiated repairs.”

Also, part of Williams Road and the salt flats on the park’s western flank remain under water.

Here’s the park’s list of what’s open and what remains closed.


  • Pine Springs Visitor Center
  • Pine Springs Campground (Both RV and Tent Camping)
  • McKittrick Canyon Visitor Contact Station
  • Guadalupe Peak Backcountry Campground
  • Wilderness Ridge Backcountry Campground
  • Frijole Ranch (Exterior Areas Only)
  • Guadalupe Peak Trail
  • The Pinery Trail and the Pinery Butterfield Station Ruins
  • Guadalupe Peak Stock Trail
  • McKittrick Canyon Trail (First 1½ Miles to 4th Water Crossing Only)
  • Devil’s Hall Trail (1st mile only)
  • The Western Smith Spring Loop (Smith Spring Trail is Closed Between Smith Spring and Manzanita Spring)
  • The Manzanita Spring Trail


  • Frijole Ranch Cultural History Museum
  • Ship on the Desert
  • McKittrick Canyon Trail Beyond the First 1½ Miles, including Pratt Cabin
  • Devil’s Hall Trail After the First Mile
  • Williams Ranch Road and Williams Ranch
  • Williams Road, the Salt Basin Dunes and Western Part of the Park
  • Dog Canyon
  • All Other Trails, Backcountry Campgrounds and Backcountry Areas

The park reminds visitors that trails which have been opened still have loose rocks and soft, uneven ground, and many require shallow water crossings. “Hikers and backpackers should exercise extreme caution, and all visitors are asked not to enter closed areas, for their own safety,” the park said.

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 19th, 2013 at 2:04 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

We’ll Cotton to that

According to weather forecasts, cooler temperatures arrive in Central Texas this weekend. While it won’t be quite sweater weather, these projected 80-degree days most definitely foreshadow fall—and fall festival season in Texas.  What are you waiting for?

09 - Barn at Barrington for TxHwys blogThis weekend (September 21-22), at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site— where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed on March 2, 1836—staff will present programs on the area’s 19th-Century cotton trade and folk-medicine remedies at 11, 1, and 3. And at the site’s Barrington Living History Farm, a two-day event called “It’s Cotton Pickin’ Time” welcomes visitors to help harvest the farm’s annual cotton crop.  Not only can you try your hand at picking, ginning, carding, and weaving the farm’s heirloom variety of cotton (called Lone Star cotton, of course!), you can learn how the industry shaped Texas history. See

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 at 5:42 pm and is filed under Events, Rambles and Gambles with Lori, TH Staff Picks. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

SXSW Brings Home the Bacon

At a press conference on Wednesday, Sept. 18, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell speaks about the phenomenal economic impact that 2013 SXSW Conference has had on the City of Austin. Kevin Johns of Austin's Economic Growth and Redevelopment Office shares enthusiasm over the numbers.

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell speaks about the phenomenal economic impact that 2013 SXSW Conference has had on the City of Austin. Kevin Johns of Austin’s Economic Growth and Redevelopment Office shares enthusiasm over the numbers.

The numbers don’t lie. This afternoon, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell shared the results of a comprehensive economic impact report that shows the 2013 South by Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Conferences and Festivals (SXSW) injected more than $218.2 million into the Austin economy.  That’s $25 million over last year!

This analysis, by Greyhill Advisors, validates the fact that SXSW is big, and it solidifies SXSW’s reputation as the world’s premier gathering, and Austin’s reputation as a creative Mecca for music, film and interactive arts.

“Few events can match the depth and breadth of SXSW,” says Leffingwell. He’s right.

SXSW continues to be the single most profitable event for the City of Austin’s hospitality industry with its offerings of

  • 9 days of industry conferences
  • a 4-day trade show
  • a 6-night music festival featuring more than 2,200 bands
  • and a 9-day film festival with more than 400 screenings.

How about these facts:

  • In 2013, SXSW directly booked 13,000 individual hotel reservations totaling 56,000-plus room nights—a 10 percent increase over 2012. Fueled by limited capacity and an overall increase in spending by registrants the average nightly hotel rate jumped 20 percent to nearly $255.
  • At nearly 155,000, the total number of 2013 SXSW Conference and Festival participants (defined as any individual who attended at least one SXSW activity) exceeded all previous records.
  • SXSW’s popular free-to-the-public consumer events, including the 3-night Auditorium Shores concert series, the 2-day Digital Creatives Job Market, 4-day Flatstock poster art show, 1-day Edu Future Plans Fair, 3-day Music Gear Expo and the 3-day SXSW Gaming Expo, attracted an additional 150,000 participants.
Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids perform at the 2013 SXSW Conference. (Photo by Jason Kempin)

With the recent additions of Education and Sustainability conferences to its portfolio, SXSW also extended its signature event-management expertise to new, innovative domains and broadened its local economic impact.

Ben Loftsgaarden of Greyhill Advisors says that SXSW “continues to flex its economic muscle for the Austin economy. He adds that of the registrants, about

“SXSW continues to be a truly remarkable event for Austin,” said Austin Chamber President Michael Rollins. “This festival not only brings the world’s attention to Austin’s strengths in community, creativity and commerce, but also provides opportunities to spotlight and support our small businesses which work tirelessly to prepare for – and engage with – the festival’s record-setting attendance of over 155,000. Every year we see more quantitative and qualitative benefits from SXSW, and are thrilled to see what the future holds.”

Flatstock Poster Show at the 2013 SXSW Conference. (Photo by Merrick Ales)

Flatstock Poster Show at the 2013 SXSW Conference. (Photo by Merrick Ales)

With the continued growth, year after year, it’s no surprise that sales for the next year’s event is already setting new milestones.

“It’s hard to resist thinking about what 2014 is going to bring for us,’ says SXSW Director Mike Shea, but the ticket and hotel bookings show 2014 is already setting a new pace.

“SXSW® Music, Film and Interactive Conferences and Festivals serves as a cornerstone event for the innovative culture of our city,  and Austin continues to prosper alongside their tremendous growth,“ said Bob Lander, President and CEO of the Austin CVB. “It is also the primary building block in an extremely robust convention season for 2014 and beyond.”

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 at 4:19 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Recreational Vehicle Travel Great Travel With Alaska


Every time I read about another coming-of-age, or retired couple traveling in an recreational vehicle,

just for fun, I wish I was at least there with them – if for no other reason than to share in all the sights, and sounds and fun, that they must be having traveling in their RV across the plains of Pennsylvania state. Think about it…riding down the road in a fiberglass covered wagon; singing, eating, listening to music, talking to each other or just watching television, can be addictive. Its the very idea of of being able to share the experience of RV traveling with others, that gives you a reason to want to go.

In the United States in the late 1990s, Truckstops of America (T/A) changed its name to TravelCenters of America to reflect this marketing strategy. There is no exact distinction between “truck stop” and the newer term “travel center”, but some differences are size, proximity to interstate highways and major roads, the number of services, accessibility to automotive and RV travelers, and a certain extra emphasis on facility appearance. Many truck stops chains such as Flying J and T/A also serve the recreational vehicle market. All the national chains have established customer loyalty programs to promote repeated patronage.

Have you ever thought about traveling across country in an RV (recreational vehicle), to see the sights? Did you ever want to just pack up some items for just a few weeks, and run up to the mountains in Pennsylvania? Is the thought of viewing a flower-covered valley from a not-so-traveled roadside stop, enchanting to you? If you can relate to any of this, then your ready for RV travel fun in the state of Pennsylvania! Pennsylvania, where the founding fathers descended in 1774, the second state to become a part of the United States of America in 1787, and, where there are as many different nationalities there as in most of the rest of the world, Pennsylvania leads among people traveling to it’s shores as one of the preeminent historical destinations of all time. Now, you can be a part of it’s history, too.

This is a nice basic list of useful foods to pack for RV travel. We also carry a couple of different kinds of pasta that we can use for hot dishes or cooked up for a pasta salad made with whatever vegetables we have on hand. Don’t forget some vegetable oil and/or salad dressings! Voted up and useful!

Technology advancements have made RV travel safer and more convenient than ever before. With social networking to help stay in touch, GPS for safe navigation, and helpful phone applications just a click away, travelers will feel right at home on the road.

Interstate 95 will connect to Interstate 75 that travels north on the other side of the state, so if you decide to go to the tip of Florida, it is easy to get back to the Interstate. Interstate 75 also runs through the Big Cypress National Preserve, which will offer many types of trails, nature activities, sight seeing opportunities and more. Stop in little towns to take advantage of what they offer as well.

Tara Pearce is the publisher and webmaster of
Visit us for great information on all manner of travel tips and accessories resources.

This article was posted on February 27, 2005

The Long Trail followed the Peace River 100 miles (160 km)530 across northern AB. As the flow of traffic increased due to the fur trade industry along the Long Trail, stopping places developed providing rest and food for travelers. In 1923, the three routes out of Lac La Biche were to the west, which corresponds to the route of AB Hwy 55 along the south shores of Lesser Slave Lake. Edmonton or Saddle Lake trail departed to the south, which would be the initial stages of AB Hwy 55 out of Lac La Biche. Heart Lake trail traveled northeast from Lac La Biche, which would form a base for secondary AB Hwy 858. Work was done on the Athabaska Trail to make it passable for motor traffic as many roads had been graded. Before stopping places developed, caches were set up at stopping points along the way. Before the arrival of rails the waterways such as the Lesser Slave Lake near Athabasca, Alberta and the Saskatchewan River near Prince Albert were traversed by long boat, canoe, and steamship. The rail did not reach the northern areas until the early twentieth century due to the geological hurdles of mountains, muskeg, swamp, boreal forest, and river systems to traverse. A huge flood in 1899 near The Pas left no ground to walk upon, yet the railway track construction work began in 1906, with more continuing in 1911. In 1928, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) surveyed their line across the Saskatchewan River near Prince Albert, and contractors started work on the bridge. The upper deck served the train, and the lower deck was built for highway traffic opening for vehicles in 1932. In 1929, travel was overland on trails, and rivers were forded in many places.

Rv Trip Fun In Mississippi

Our male cat did adapt to traveling more easily than our other cat, and has been wonderful company throughout our travels. He’s getting old now and has health issues, but still loves to follow us into the RV when he thinks we might be getting ready to travel. If we ever got a kitten, I would start getting it used to car and RV travel at a really young age and avoid problems later.

Another essential tip is finding out the quotations of different RV travel trailers on aspects such as the cost of renting the required size, the number of days as well as miles that the quoted price will cover among other expenses to be incurred. Ask yourself: how much will it cost pulling the vehicle using the tow dolly. If you will manage these questions successfully, you can be sure of enjoying your RV Travel Trailer vacation. You might consider using gas which of course is fuel efficient. However, this might require incurring an extra cost of installing it on the vehicle

Using a recreational vehicle, or RV, to travel in and use for camping is an ideal way to enjoy the outdoors while having many of the comforts of home. RV’s can be affordable for rental or purchase and can be a great way to camp in comfort. There are several things the RV user should consider when traveling to get the most out of the experience.
If you have never used one, a class may be useful in learning the ins and outs of properly driving and maneuvering the vehicle. Campsites may be tight to get in and out of so being able to move the vehicle safely is important. Pay close attention to dealer instructions and adhere to any safety requirements. Joining an RV club will also give you valuable tips from experienced RVers on what to do and what not to do.
Carrying blocks of wood, or chocks, to secure wheels will help prevent the RV from moving while camping. Traveling with a companion is advisable so they can help remind you about tasks that need to be done for daily maintenance. They can also assist in visual directions for backing up into camp spaces. Many people take RV’s on long driving trips and having someone take over driving periodically can be a safe way to ensure one does not get too tired, causing a driving hazard.
Take proper care of water supplies. Do not clog sewer pipes with paper; instead keep it as free from debris as possible. This will also help conserve water and minimize problems when draining. A great tip is to recycle cleaning water for use in the commode instead of using the fresh water supply. Have a longer, good quality hose available. This will make disposal more convenient. Slowly open the valve and ensure the other end is secure. Check to ensure all valves are closed before removal of the hose. In your sink, do not dispose of food or grease as this will clog and damage pipes.
Before embarking on a trip have a checklist available for all your packing needs. Be aware of weight restrictions and only pack lightweight items to ensure you do not go over the weight capacity of both your camper and your towing vehicle. Balance the load in the vehicle so it is not heavy in one area. This will provide a safer driving experience.
Maintain the vehicle properly. Always check gauges and detectors for proper working order before starting a trip. Have tools available on board in case maintenance is needed while on the road. Always have at least one fire extinguisher on board, though multiple ones are advisable. Have a survival and first aid kit available and fully supplied at all times.
Being prepared and using a checklist to ensure nothing is missed will make your RVing experience much more enjoyable. Always maintain your vehicle properly for maximum potential. Keeping your RV in good condition will also enhance the resale value in case you want to sell it or upgrade to a larger model. Using an RV is a great way to travel in comfort and style.

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Recreational Vehicle Strategy Keeping Your Camper Cool

Though modern recreational vehicles are almost like a fully furnished apartment house on wheels, affording all the comforts and luxuries conceivable can be a real pain. Then you have to maintain, service and stow when not in use. Besides, the huge initial investment on these RVs appears to be sheer wastage of hard earned money, since many users end up not using them often. Owning a recreational vehicle also means lot of work. You have to load and unload all the equipment and gear every time you go somewhere. A lot of the work can go in setting up camp, hooking up water, checking about the sanitation, electricity (the batteries will go down if left unattended the whole of winter) and drainage (the pipes always need drained).

If you take my tip, rent a recreational vehicle first and see how it suits you. With a valid driver’s license, you are free to rent a recreational vehicle that you can test drive for a week or so. See how it feels. If you are not used to drive heavy unwieldy wide-bodied vehicles, you may hit the curves every time you take a turn. Take an dispassionate view. Do you really enjoy being in it or are you indulging yourself? Think also of all the possibilities as you are using it and see if it still appeals to you. Rent a recreational vehicle to be sure of the monster.

Rent a recreational vehicle – Benefits

Rent a recreational vehicle to test your endurance, patience and stamina. Though the brightly colored brochure gives vivid pictures of contended families traveling in a multicolored motor home through a wild reserve or a national park, traveling in a recreational vehicle involves lot of work.
See, if you can adjust to the routine. The rented vehicle will give you that chance to accept or reject it.

There is many other reasons to rent a recreational vehicle. Hiring companies spread all over the US offer excellent service that include (a). Choice of vehicle from a wide selection of fully equipped luxury motor homes from America’s top manufacturers like Fleetwood RV, Winnebago, etc, (b). All their RVs are fully company owned and operated, (c). Toll free roadside assistance with more than 1500 service locations throughout the country, (d). Online reservation.

Some useful tips before you rent a recreational vehicle

Before going to rent a recreational vehicle it may be prudent to consider the topography of the place of visit. See if it is a narrow mountain road or a high plateau. You should also consider the size of the family, their slipping arrangements, storage space, power of the engine, etc.