My new permanent page is now up! Even though this is just a start for this page, I think it is a good start. This page can also be found going forward at the top of my site, just above the header.
As I mentioned a few posts ago, I am working on this permanent travel page that is mostly related to our RV trips, and here’s why. It is pretty common to find such a map on blogs of people who are living full-time in their RVs and even on some that just take a number of extended, long-distance trips. As you probably already know, we are mostly RV weekend “warriors” and longer RV vacation travelers, but we have attempted to visit as many state parks as we could over the past three years since we purchased our RV. We live in a part of the country that is too often bypassed by tourists, based on our sometimes well-earned reputation for harsh weather at times, but I believe that is an unfortunate situation because there are some absolutely stunning places to see in our part of the country. Actually, visitation is on the rise, as more people discover the epic beauty of some of these places for themselves.
For instance, the #1 rated state park in the nation, as rated this year by Fodor’s, is Palo Duro Canyon State Park, which sits just south of Amarillo. Amarillo is located right on I-40, one of the busiest interstates in the nation, yet I am amazed at how many people in other parts of the country have never even heard of Palo Duro Canyon. It is the second largest canyon in the United States, and it is just a magnificent sight to see anytime of the year. So with this one example in mind, over time, I hope to share a little more about this greater West Texas region for those that might consider adding it to their travels plans at some point in the future.
read listened to Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck, narrated by Gary Sinise, and I would highly recommend that book, especially this audiobook, to anyone that has a bit of wanderlust in the soul. One quote really jumped out and stuck in my mind concerning the big highway systems, too.
“When we get these thruways across the whole country, as we will and must, it will be possible to drive from New York to California without seeing a single thing. ”
— John Steinbeck
I. could. not. agree. more! Even with all of the travel resources at our disposal these days, most of them for free online, we are still drawn to these super-highways and away from the real parts of our country that, to me, make it so very special and unique. I also look at many of the commercial RV parks and how RVs are literally just crammed side by side, and I know in my heart that this part of the RV lifestyle will never be for us, except for a short-term stay at times.
From the very beginning three years ago, our desire was to get away from the urban centers more during our limited vacation time, and travel to state and national parks as much as possible. Since then, we have visited over twenty such parks, and we have made some fabulous memories with friends and family, just doing simple things together, such as hiking, biking, cooking over real campfires, playing games, looking at skies full of stars that took our breath away, seeing and listening to some really wild animals, watching breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, meeting people from just about everywhere and talking with them at length, and most of all, seeing so many of the “little” places that we would never have seen otherwise. Even on our most recent trips to Kauai and Big Sur, we once again found ourselves in the middle of some exquisite state parks, as that almost seems to feel like “our thing” to do now.
I adore seeing more and more young families in their tents, pop-up campers and small trailers doing the same thing, too. I have never seen a kid that didn’t like to go camping, and I hope in some way to also encourage more families to give camping a try, in whatever manner you are most comfortable. We camped in a tent for years in our early married life, and those were some of the best memories ever. I’m probably beyond tent camping days now, but I wouldn’t trade for those fun times either.
Hubby travels extensively for business, and over time, he has grown quite weary of airline travel. It has lost its’ appeal to him for vacations now, and that is yet one more reason why we made the decision to buy the RV. We certainly still enjoy the occasional trip to places further away, for sure, but we absolutely adore getting away regularly in the RV now and bringing our two special four-legged pals along with us.
While more detailed information on my travel page is still in process, I finally have the map ready to share. I hope this will be a good start for anyone that might want more information on places to visit and camp in this greater West Texas area. I have only listed the places we have personally visited to date, though. Hopefully in a few weeks or months, I will finish the page with a little summary of each place we’ve visited, too. As we visit new places, they will be added to this same map.
Unfortunately, the map is quite large and will be best utilized by opening it up at the “View Larger Map” link, shown just below the map on the left or by simply clicking the link provided here.
Learning to create and use this interactive Google Map has been a bit of a challenge, but it seems to work very well when the full map is used. So, please… check out the full map!
The map has three main categories, which is the most I can create for free apparently, and they can easily be toggled on and off on the map, as desired.
1. State and national parks/forests where we have camped (Must-see places are denoted by *)
2. Other campgrounds where we have camped
3. Places of interest for any visitors (All places on this list are highly recommended. I have also included a few restaurants in several areas, too. We all have to eat, of course, and if you dine out of the RV for one meal in an area, you have my recommendation on where to go. Please check to see if reservations are suggested, too.)
While I had RV travelers somewhat in mind when creating this map, it can certainly be a little travel guide to these areas for others, too. These beautiful parks are certainly not just for campers, especially since many of them have other lodging options inside the park or very close by. There are many more points of interest that I could share on the map, but for now, I felt it prudent to just stick with the more popular ones that I would most recommend to visitors with limited time in the area. Of course, that is just my opinion, too. Over time, I think I will add more points of interest, featuring more of those “little” places we’ve discovered.
One way to quickly “tour” the map is to just click down the list of each of the places in the box, and a small box will pop up with a photo and a web link to the internet site for that page. You can also click directly on the map icons to bring up the information boxes, too. I personally selected the best photos and link online for each place just under the photo, along with any posts that I have written about that park and a few brief comments about it. Again, please use the larger map for this feature.
We hope to continue to explore new parks over time, with a goal of visiting at least one new park each year. We have grown so fond of several of the parks we’ve already visited, though, that it is a little tough to pull ourselves away. But, Texas has so many wonderful parks that I’m sure we will continue to push on out to explore even more of them as time off from work permits. We have certainly enjoyed really getting to know several of these parks and their staff members so well that they feel like our home away from home now, too. I’m anxious to share even more about so many of these great places here as well.
While I continue to work on the travel page, I am happy to answer questions about any of these places shown on the map. Just leave a comment below with your question. If I cannot answer it, I’ll try to find an answer for you. 😉
The greater West Texas area is a special and unique and often quite wild part of the country with some amazing scenery to share and some special stories to tell to those that take the time to see and hear them. I can tell a few myself. I hope this map helps to begin to share just a few of those stories to you, too.