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Oct 29, 2017 12:47 PM CST
Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level
I realize this is a bit off-topic from gardening, but figured this was the best place to get responses from Texans. I live in the Pacific NW. I have a less than stellar impression of Texas, mostly based on flying into Houston for connecting flights - windy, brown ground, brown rivers. I am interested in curing this and plan to do an RV road trip during January and February. I realize the state is huge, and (oops, was going to put this in the Sandbox, but hit finish by mistake...). Anyway, I'm looking for info on places to visit, what the weather might be like in the winter, and suggested routes. We prefer not-freeway travel and would likely be coming in the NW corner, then going who knows where. No particular time crunch, although I'd like to be back home mid March or so.

If this forum has a moderator, feel free to move this to the Sandbox.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Last edited by Bonehead Oct 29, 2017 12:51 PM Icon for preview
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Oct 29, 2017 1:21 PM CST
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX (Zone 9a)
Cat Lover Charter ATP Member Keeper of Poultry I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Keeps Horses
Roses Plant Identifier Farmer Raises cows Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 2
Your post does ask about Texas weather so perhaps it is in the right forum. The NW of Texas contains a whole lot of nothing, the SE is pretty wet, flat, and ugly - perhaps I am not being helpful... Someone else had better answer.
Porkpal
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Oct 29, 2017 1:44 PM CST
Moderator
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Master Gardener: Texas
Region: Texas Tropicals Plumerias Ferns Greenhouse Garden Art
I would suggest looking at Big Bend as one spot. Padre Island along the the coast, and close enough to cross the border to Mexico, if you dare. Austin is in the middle of everything too. I'm sure others will chime in.
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Oct 29, 2017 2:23 PM CST
Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level
I have no problem crossing the border. We are more off-the-grid campers - not so much interested in cities, museums, or nightlife - would rather just experience the countryside, do some hiking. Back roads are good. We will be traveling in a 26' RV.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
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Oct 29, 2017 6:22 PM CST
Name: tfc
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Suggest you take a look at Big Bend National Park and surrounding area.
This would meet what you outlined. It is definitely off-the-grid and a 'back roads' kind of place. One could easily spend weeks here.
https://www.nps.gov/bibe/index...

Temperatures at Big Bend in January/February can vary but this should give you some basics. As the website states, 'winter visitors should be prepared for anything; temperatures vary from below freezing to above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.'
https://www.nps.gov/bibe/plany...

Also in the same general area is the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis. It has some of the largest telescopes in the world. I've been there in the daytime but would love to go to one of the Star Parties at night.
http://mcdonaldobservatory.org

A totally different trip would be to far South Texas. Here you'll find the National Butterfly Center as well as the World Birding Center. I hope someone from that part of Texas will hop on this thread as they will have more information about these places. Here's a link that might give some general information.
http://www.stxmaps.com/go/bird...
Last edited by tx_flower_child Oct 29, 2017 7:15 PM Icon for preview
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Oct 29, 2017 6:50 PM CST
Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level
Thanks, FlowerChild, both look promising and we're always ready for temp changes (layers are our friends).
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
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Oct 29, 2017 7:32 PM CST
Name: tfc
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Haven't been to it but I know many people go to Palo Duro Canyon. It's another place that would be good for hiking, camping, etc.
http://www.palodurocanyon.com

Here's an interesting link that I just stumbled on.
https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwil...
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Oct 29, 2017 7:35 PM CST
Name: Karen
New Mexico (Zone 8a)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Region: Ukraine Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Plays in the sandbox
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We've been to big Bend, and to McDonald Observatory. Very nice areas if it's not full summer. Go early when the weather is nice.
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Oct 29, 2017 7:49 PM CST
Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level
We plan to travel in January and February, perhaps into March. I want to be home for gardening by April.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
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Oct 30, 2017 7:36 AM CST
Texas (Zone 8a)
Passionate about Native Plants
Bee Lover Salvias Native Plants and Wildflowers Hummingbirder Critters Allowed Garden Photography
Butterflies Birds Region: Texas Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Photo Contest Winner 2021
Texas is big and diverse with many different landscapes. In my opinion, the prettiest area is the Hill Country. I've lived here for almost twenty years and never get tired of hiking the beautiful rivers.

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GrammaChar
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Oct 30, 2017 8:47 AM CST
Name: tfc
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Totally agree about the Hill Country. Lived in Austin off and on for many years. Beautiful pictures. Making me miss it.
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Oct 30, 2017 9:02 AM CST
Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level
Beautiful. That's what I'm after, serenity and peacefulness.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
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Oct 30, 2017 9:25 AM CST
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX (Zone 9a)
Cat Lover Charter ATP Member Keeper of Poultry I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Keeps Horses
Roses Plant Identifier Farmer Raises cows Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 2
Then you will be wise to avoid the Houston area as you predicted.
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Oct 30, 2017 9:41 AM CST
Moderator
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Master Gardener: Texas
Region: Texas Tropicals Plumerias Ferns Greenhouse Garden Art
The Guadalupe, @GrammaChar? Beautiful area!
Last edited by Bubbles Oct 30, 2017 9:41 AM Icon for preview
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Oct 30, 2017 9:53 AM CST
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Raises cows Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Texas Plant Identifier
Depending on what you like, the suggestions have been good, I think.

Since you will be entering Texas at the top, it would be a shame to pass on Palo Duro Canyon providing the weather cooperates. Texas can be really fractious and unpleasant at times during the months you will be visiting.

The Big Bend area has a lot to offer as does the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The latter is probably the most remote. Lots of square miles here.

If you have any interest in birding and the climate and vegetation which leads to birds overwintering, then the Texas valley is a good place. However, from Del Rio all the way up east of Corpus Christi are also good places though I'm not sure how far the recovery from Harvey may be east of Corpus Christi along the coast. This part of Texas can be an escape from the fractious weather much of the time.

The Texas hill country between San Antonio and Austin is definitely scenic and puts you in central Texas. For an eastern location I would suggest Caddo Lake on the border between Louisiana and Texas. I think you can circumvent the Houston population and still get a feel for the piney woods of east Texas to get there.

Hope you enjoy driving. Lots of geography to cover just getting from one place to another :).
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Oct 30, 2017 10:17 AM CST
Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level
Well, we're never in a hurry. For me a 2-3 hour drive is about enough, then time to camp for a couple days. It has been our general experience that every place has beauty. And, since we bring the dog with us, we don't have anything at home drawing us back. We can be gone for 3 weeks or 3 months or 3 years. Well, I do have adult children and grandkids so likely not 3 years...

Meanwhile, I am marking on my Texas map all of your lovely suggestions. It's a huge state!
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
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Oct 30, 2017 10:54 AM CST
Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level
What can you tell me about these areas, which are from 'Off the Beaten Path' -- Alibates Flint Quarries Nat'l Monument, Grapevine, Blackland Prairie Scenic Farm Road, Jefferson, Hueco Tanks State Historic Site, Fort Davis, Marfa, Monahans Sandhill SP, Fort Concho, Seminole Canyon SP, Lost Maples, Luckenback, Westcave Preserve, Brenham/Washington, Palmetto SP, Varner-Hogg, Padre Island, Gladys Porter Zoo.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
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Oct 30, 2017 3:01 PM CST
Name: tfc
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Fort Davis -- this is where you'll be if you go to the McDonald Observatory (link in earlier post.)

Marfa -- Nice little town that got 'hijacked' by the modern art crowd. You might want to google 'Marfa Lights'. The town is between Big Bend and Fort Davis.

Grapevine -- Small town about halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth.

Lost Maples -- Beautiful area, especially in the fall when the maples turn gold. Probably has some good hiking.

Luckenbach -- Unless it's changed, it's a 'one stop' kind of place. An old building houses the Post Office and a bar. I think that it was Jerry Jeff Walker that wrote the song ' Luckenback, TX' which mentions Willie Nelson and friends.

West Cave -- Another beautiful place. GrammaChar can probably fill you in, maybe has some pictures.

Brenham -- Known for Blue Bell Ice Cream and roses. Don't know anything else about it.

Padre Island -- someone else can tell you all about it.

Monahans SP -- have friends who have camped there and would definitely recommend it.

Sorry. Not all that helpful.
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Oct 31, 2017 1:26 AM CST
Texas (Zone 8a)
Passionate about Native Plants
Bee Lover Salvias Native Plants and Wildflowers Hummingbirder Critters Allowed Garden Photography
Butterflies Birds Region: Texas Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Photo Contest Winner 2021
Yes, @Bubbles, that's the Guadalupe River. The Frio River in Leakey is also beautiful - as is the area around Hunt and Ingram. @Bonehead, if you can stay in Texas through March, you'll see amazing wildflowers including the iconic bluebonnets.

Thumb of 2017-10-31/GrammaChar/14f0b0
GrammaChar
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Oct 31, 2017 10:50 AM CST
Moderator
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Master Gardener: Texas
Region: Texas Tropicals Plumerias Ferns Greenhouse Garden Art
If you go to Luckenbach ( though it's just a small store on the side of Hwy 281 and a bit disappointing) you may as well head on to LBJ's ranch (first time I'd ever seen a cow wash stall). Maybe the bluebonnets will be blooming by the time you get here. They have tours of the grounds and the ranch house. Fredericksburg is on 290 ( about 50 miles west of 281)and a quaint German town that seems to have a festival every weekend.
West Cave is right outside of Austin. Heard it was beautiful and has lots of plants you don't see anywhere else ( on Hwy 71). DD did a Jr League volunteer session one spring. Took people on tours around the grounds. Would point out the snakes sunning themselves. I was too chicken to go after that.
Hippie Hollow is ....well, you just have to look it up...
......
If you're thirsty, you could plan to stop at the wineries after LBJ Ranch and before authxentic German food in Fredericksburg.

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