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Monday

Crimson Berries Beckon Hungry Tourists to Poteet.


"Crimson Berries Beckon Hungry Tourists to Poteet."  

So read the headlines of the San Antonio Express back in the early days of the Poteet Strawberry Festival.  Located in the heart of the Artesian Belt, Poteet is recognized as the "Strawberry Capital of Texas."  It began as a small kitchen garden crop of the city's founders Henry and Ida Mumme.  The first year of marketing Poteet strawberries proved very successful and strawberries sold for $20....that's more than they sell for on today's market.  In the early 20's some of Poteets residents invited their San Antonian neighbors to share in their harvest and sample their newest fruit crop.  The Poteet Rotary Club continued the tradition when it organized the 1st Annual Poteet Strawberry Festival in 1948.

Then and Now

 

Since then, each April, on the first or second weekend, Poteet welcomes, not only San Antonio, but the world, to partake of their sweet delicacies.  The 67th annual Festival is on April 4, 5 & 6, 2014. The festival has 14 areas of continuous entertainment featuring concerts with nationally known Country Western and Tejano stars, regional bands, gunslingers, carnival, various contests, and rodeo performances. There is something for everyone!

Easy to Get to


The Poteet Strawberry Festival Grounds are located 22 minutes south of Hidden Valley RV Park on Texas Highway 16. The Festival Grounds will open at 6:00 PM Friday and at 10:00 AM both Saturday and Sunday.  
Buy online and SAVE
Admission is free on Friday evening.  On Saturday and Sunday at the gate, adults pay $15.00.  Online tickets are available for $12.50 or $10 if you buy 2 or more.  Children age 12 and under are admitted free of charge.  Gate admission covers all stage entertainment on the Festival Grounds---the best entertainment package in Texas!  
Poteet Strawberry Festival  from Hidden Valley RV Park
Address: 9199 South State Highway 16
Poteet, TX 78065

Can we help?

Need your tickets printed or a computer to order them?  Need a map to easily find your way?  Give us a call or stop by the office and we'll do it.  210-623-6737


Teri welcomes you to Hidden Valley RV Park


Teri Blaschke is the RV Park operator of family owned HiddenValley RV Park in San Antonio, TX and writer of the park blog “A Little Piece of Country in San Antonio.” Teri contributes to various other blogs with a focus on either travel or social media and how it relates to the outdoor hospitality industry but her passion is serving the RV travel community by providing a memorable RV camping experience and growing the Hidden Valley RV family.  Connect with us on Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter@HiddenValleyRV
     








Real Men Use Maps



And evidently so do real women.  This new app, MAPLETS, boasts map downloads in the millions.  
Do you use Google Maps in your travels?  MAPLETS, compliments Google Maps with 10,000 offline maps in the US and worldwide including Yosemite, New York Subway, London Tube, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, State Parks, and more! 

 DESCRIPTION 



This is great for RVers because you can download maps when you have online access at your campsite so that when you are traveling and online access is not guaranteed, the maps can be at your fingertips.

There is an initial cost of $2.99 to download the app.  Then you can download and store maps of national parks, state parks, metro, subway, bike maps, ski resorts, college campuses, zoos, theme parks and more! Never a charge for any map downloads.

It was surprising to see that even campgrounds had their site maps in there.  One of the reviewers raved that they called to get a map they wanted into the app and within a week it was there.  (Think I'll call and submit Hidden Valley RV Parks site maps.) You can see a list of all available maps at http://www.mobilemaplets.com/places. Here are some examples: 





NATIONAL and STATE PARKS:


1000+ National and State Parks, including:
Yosemite National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Grand Canyon National Park
... in fact, ALL the US National Parks, National Monuments, National Seashores are available
State Parks in every state
Local parks such as Central Park, Prospect Park, Griffith Park …


METRO and TRANSIT MAPS:


300+ Metro, Subway, Bus and Train system maps
New York City Subway
London Tube Map
Paris Metro
Washington Metro
San Francisco Muni


MARTA
SEPTA
… and many more!
I've never even heard of many of these but it seems there is NO map unavailable.  


BIKE TRAILS MAPS:


500+ maps for bike routes, rail trails, ATV, OHV or snowmobiling, including:
San Francisco Bike Map
Portland Bike Maps
St Louis Bike Map
Washington DC Bike Map
Many rail trail maps
… and much more!

And then there are SKI RESORTS, UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES, ZOOS, THEME PARKS … There are just too many maps to list!


F E A T U R E S


Every map download is free, with a continually updated source of maps.
Fast Display – Much faster than viewing the equivalent PDFs
Once maps are downloaded, they are stored on the device for quick access even if you have slow or no internet connection at the location.
GPS location for supported maps (see website for complete list)
The app remembers the last map you used and what you were looking at
Notification of new map updates
Hotlinks to get up-to-date information such as weather, snow report. Requires live internet connection.


Check out the app description pages available at the download links above to view the many reviews, mostly 4 or 5 stars.  I was impressed.  


Any travel apps that you can't live without?  Please share them in the comments.



Teri welcomes you to Hidden Valley RV Park


Teri Blaschke is the RV Park operator of family owned HiddenValley RV Park in San Antonio, TX and writer of the park blog “A Little Piece of Country in San Antonio.” Teri contributes to various other blogs with a focus on either travel or social media and how it relates to the outdoor hospitality industry but her passion is serving the RV travel community by providing a memorable RV camping experience and growing the Hidden Valley RV family.  Connect with us on Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter@HiddenValleyRV
     

Tuesday

Over the Border We Go

Mexico Border townsCrossing INTO Mexico can be as simple as walking down the street from a US border town into a Mexican border town. As long as your stay is less than 72 hours, you do not need a visa. The easiest way to cross, based on interviewing others is parking on the US side and walking across.  Crossing back INTO the states is more complicated as there are border officials who check passports. It is likely that many in line with you will be American and Canadian retirees sporting new glasses, healthier teeth, prescription medications and/or a bottle of liquor. Prepare to wait in line for an hour or more, especially if you return after noon.  NOTE: A passport IS a legal requirement to re-enter the states.  If you don't want to extend your time being held at the border, don't chance trying to getting back without one.  The process becomes much more involved if you want to drive your vehicle across:  Mexico insurance policy required and a wait of 2 to 3 hours on your way back in.

1 Liter of Alcohol Permittes without Taxes 

LIQUOR:  You can bring one liter of alcohol per person into the US without paying any taxes on it, and most border towns have many liquor stores that sell liquor inexpensively.  

Brand Name and Generic Drugs at Discount Prices 
MEDICATION:  You can purchase prescription medication without a prescription in Mexico and legally bring in up to 50 dosages as long as it is an approved FDA drug (i.e., not an illegal narcotic.)  There are many pharmacies ('farmacias') in Mexican border towns that sell both brand name and generic prescription medications for a fraction of their cost in the US.  Usually the border officials are fairly lax on the dosage laws.
Cash is always best 


MONEY:  Almost all vendors in border towns will accept US cash and/or credit cards, so there is no need to change US dollars into pesos. When getting dental or other medical services rendered, cash is the preferred mode of payment.                                                                                    
SAFETY:  Unfortunately, Mexico has been suffering from drug-related violence recently. However small border towns like San Luis and Los Algodones near Yuma, Arizona, are relatively self contained and distant from the trouble spots. Both towns are accessible by a short walk, and the dental offices are lined up on the very first streets as you enter town. Nuevo Progresso in Texas has also reportedly a decently safe border entry.Another favored border town is Ciudad Acuna, across the border from Del Rio. The majority of the town close to the bridge is predominantly pharmacies and various doctors that cater to senior citizens here in TX. It is not uncommon at all to literally see buses of US travelers and retirees scattered out from Granbury, Brady, Abilene, or Brownsville getting off in Acuna to have some dental work done or buy glasses or medications. Hwy 277 going into Acuna is not a major North - South corridor, so drug trafficking, although it undoubtedly exists there, isn't as prevalent as in Matamoros, Laredo, or El Paso.
 
eye doctorsDOCTORS:  When visiting doctors in Mexico, whether eye doctors or dentists, it's wise to depend on advise from others, preferably friends, family or fellow RVers, who've seen these doctors.  Although I haven't been south of the border I always hear the scuttle from our RV friends and guests and try to keep posted on their latest good experiences.  In your travels and when you meet up with Mexico visitors keep your ear to the ground for their tales of "the good, the bad and the ugly."


TRAVEL:  Traveling to Mexico requires a US passport or pass card.  Check out this website: travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html .  A good introduction to travel in Mexico is traveling with a group of RV's in a caravan.  This is especially true if you plan to travel further into Mexico or stay for and extended period, perhaps with your RV.  Escapees and others have groups who travel down regularly.  Of course, traveling with someone who speaks Spanish can make things more comfortable as well.  The  most important thing is to educate yourself on your particular place of crossing the border, plan ahead for all possibilities and remember that a trip to the local grocery store can end up in trouble just as well as a trip to Mexico.  Do some Internet research on border towns and their businesses and restaurants and ask for tips from fellow RV'ers who've crossed the border or visited doctors, pharmacies and restaurants to get their opinions.  


I recently came across a great RVer's blog "Gone With the Wynns."  They made this informative video of their experiences with crossing the border, specifically for dental services.
          
SOME SURPRISES:
  • Although some of the border towns can be a little shabby by some peoples standards, many of the photos like the ones from the video above show doctors offices that surpass even some in the US by way of hygiene and cleanliness.
  • Be prepared to be "badgered" by locals selling their wares.
  • Although these towns are not necessarily the "real Mexico" they can offer us a glimpse of a rich culture and a beautiful loving people.
Tell us about any experiences you've had with travel and services across our southern border.

Teri welcomes you to Hidden Valley RV Park


Teri Blaschke is the RV Park operator of family owned HiddenValley RV Park in San Antonio, TX and writer of the park blog “A Little Piece of Country in San Antonio.” Teri contributes to various other blogs with a focus on either travel or social media and how it relates to the outdoor hospitality industry but her passion is serving the RV travel community by providing a memorable RV camping experience and growing the Hidden Valley RV family.  Connect with us on Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter@HiddenValleyRV

     
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Thursday

Need Heat While Dry Camping? Try this.


I don't do many product reviews but I've wanted one of these propane radiant heaters for some time.  When I saw it reviewed by the Long, Long Honeymoon Blog I decided to try one on for size.

In most cases I prefer to use an electric heater because the electricity is usually included in the RV site fee so it saves on the propane bill.  However, there are several situations, including dry camping or desert camping when electric is only available from the battery and needs to be conserved as much as possible.  Even a regular RV propane furnace draws on the battery.

Here are the features of the Camco Olympian Wave Heaters:

  • Suitable for use in RVs, cabins or at home
    http://amzn.to/KGvA23
    Optional legs force air in desired direction but heater can also be wall mounted
  • Utilizes warm, safe and efficient HD-5 propane gas
  • Produces no harmful amounts of carbon monoxide and causes no battery drain
  • Produces warm convective radiant heat
  • Safety shut-off valve
  • Can be used as a portable space heater or can be wall mounted vertically
  • Optional legs radiate heat up and in the direction you want
  • There are 3 strengths available: 
Camco 57331 Olympian Wave-3 3000 BTU LP Gas Catalytic Heater

Camco 57341 Olympian Wave-6 6000 BTU LP Gas Catalytic Heater  and

Camco 57351 Olympian Wave-8 8000 BTU LP Gas Catalytic Heater

Click the individual product links above to get more details and photos.

This heat output will heat anywhere from 130 to 290 square feet of interior space.

The product description outlines how it works and it's similarity to heat from the sun.

"Camco Olympian Wave heaters are designed and built to provide years of comfortable, radiant heat and economical LP Gas consumption. Olympian heaters produce mostly radiant heat as a result of a flame-less catalytic combustion process. Its efficiency is high because combustion takes place at relatively low temperatures. The radiant heat produced by Olympian heaters is particularly effective for creating a feeling of warm comfort similar to solar radiation.


The sun is an excellent example of radiant heat transfer, because it transmits energy through space, releasing heat when its rays strike objects and people. Like the sun, Olympian heaters radiate heat directly to people, floors, walls and other objects without heating the air first, so warmth is felt immediately. Radiant heat is absorbed by objects and then emitted into the air to heat the surrounding area. Therefore, your Olympian heater should be oriented to direct its heat rays toward the space to be heated, much like a floodlight is positioned to illuminate a desired area"

My personal comments on my new heater...

I got the 6000 BTU for around $220.00.  I love that it's quiet and there's no fan or blower.  Because of the way they operate, you can be confident that carbon monoxide is not a concern.

Installation?  I couldn't do it but hubby had no problem.  We hooked it up as pictured above, with the legs.

They still suggest you leave a window cracked while using.  Not because of the carbon monoxide rather because these heaters need a fresh air supply.  I was trying to get away from that but a 1/2" crack in a window doesn't seem to cause any drafts.

All in all, we are very pleased with our Camco.  We also have it as a backup in case a winter storm interrupts our electrical power in our house.

Have any RV products that you especially like or would like to know more about.  Tell us in the comments. 




Teri welcomes you to Hidden Valley RV Park

Teri Blaschke is the RV Park operator of family owned HiddenValley RV Park in San Antonio, TX and writer of the park blog “A Little Piece of Country in San Antonio.” Teri contributes to various other blogs with a focus on either travel or social media and how it relates to the outdoor hospitality industry but her passion is serving the RV travel community by providing a memorable RV camping experience and growing the Hidden Valley RV family.  Connect with us on Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter@HiddenValleyRV

Saturday

An Activity Thats "For The Birds"

Red-tailed Hawk
Red Tailed Hawk

This year marks the 114th Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Since the Christmas Bird Count’s birth on Christmas Day of 1900 with 27 observers at 25 locations across Canada and the United States the Count has grown to include well over 63,000 counters at more than 2200 locations each year from above the Arctic Circle to the waters of the Drake Passage off Tierra del Fuego.  









Across North America the CBC (Christmas Bird Counts) occur on Saturdays and Sundays and have assisted us in gaining much knowledge of birds, their migratory routes, their habits and living conditions.  They do this by promoting a culture of conservation and by connecting people with nature.  As we participate and involve ourselves in this educational endeavor we ourselves become more aware of the need to share this planet generously with our feathered friends and all wildlife.  



Vesper Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow


Birding itself is amazingly satisfying.  Even as a novice it is very fulfilling to have a list of birds, divided into species and types and to systematically check off the ones indigenous to your yard, your nearby parks, your vacation spots and soon...every place you go.  My first experience was with a regular birder and almost once a minute she would stop in mid-conversation with her ear averted skyward and a quizzical look in her eye.  Then the look of accomplishment when a bird darted out of a bush or tree and she'd say "I thought that was a chickadee" or some other local bird.  


Fox Sparrow
Fox Sparrow


This centuries old tradition has been held for longer than I can remember, at our own Hidden Valley.  The Sunday before Christmas is the usual date and our local chapter of the Audubon Society breaks up into many organized groups and heads out to various locations  to make a fastidious count of where, when and how many of each bird species they sight.  

Chickadee
Chickadee



Our local group is usually led by Mariann and Keith, adventurous and zealous birders for years.  Each year we anxiously wait for the completion of the count to get an accurate idea of the wildlife that our park supports and is graced by.  This year 23 species were sighted at the time our park was counted.  The list was small this year.  I was surprised that the birds we see most in the part of the park where we live were not among them.  During this last week, in addition to the birds below we have seen scissor tails, mockingbirds, titmouse, grackles, killdeer, our mascot "Roadie" the roadrunner and of course, cardinals.  Other parts of the year have many other varieties as well. 

Savannah Sparrow
Savannah sparrow
 
  

Here's the list:

Red-Tailed Hawk                  Black Vulture                              Kestrel
                                              Turkey Vulture

Great Blue Heron                  Mourning Dove

Fox Sparrow                          Golden fronted Woodpecker
Song Sparrow                        Flicker
White-Throated Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Vesper                                    Red-Winged Blackbird             Chickadee
Savannah Sparrow
House Finch                           American Goldfinch

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet          Eastern Bluebird
Chickadee                              House Wren

W. Pelican                              Barred Owls
Quote from Geoff LeBaron, Nat'l Audubon Society

If you've never tried birding, feel free to come by Hidden Valley (advance phone call required: 210-623-6737) and see what you can see.  We'll point out some good spots and you can take a relaxing stroll through the park.  Binoculars are helpful but not required.  A field guide or smart phone apps are available that can be very beneficial in identifying the individual birds.  A remember, if you'd like to participate in next years CBC...google Christmas Bird Count or your local Audubon Society for information of how to sign up. 

If you already love birding and have seen your life bird or an unusual bird where you live, tell us about it in the comments.



Teri welcomes you to Hidden Valley RV Park
Teri Blaschke is the RV Park operator of family owned HiddenValley RV Park in San Antonio, TX and writer of the park blog “A Little Piece of Country in San Antonio.” Teri contributes to various other blogs with a focus on either travel or social media and how it relates to the outdoor hospitality industry but her passion is serving the RV travel community by providing a memorable RV camping experience and growing the Hidden Valley RV family.  Connect with us on Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter@HiddenValleyRV

     
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