Tuesday, December 29, 2015

TXDot Offers Travelers Information and Roadside Assistance!

The recent Texas snow storms and tornadoes were devastating and sometimes tragic! We can’t stop the storms, but sometimes we can avoid the tragic consequences of them. TXDot (Texas Department of Transportation) offers several programs to help Texas travelers during storms and other roadside emergencies. These programs include the Stranded Motorist Hotline, roadside Safety Rest Areas, storm shelters, and Texas Travel Information Centers.  

If you are stranded due to vehicular problems, call the Hotline at (800) 525-5555. Texas residents will find this number written on the back of their Texas driver’s licenses. All Texas travelers may also call (800) 452-9292 twenty-four hours a day for travel information, trip planning assistance, and road condition information. The line is manned from 8am-5pm daily. It is automated after hours and is updated regularity.

TXDot’s 80 Safety Rest Areas offer a variety of amenities. All have ADA compliant men’s and women’s restrooms, drinking water, and picnic tables. Some have air-conditioned lobbies, vending machines, family/assisted restrooms, diaper changing stations, playgrounds, interpretive displays, free Wi-Fi, and separate truck and passenger car parking lots. Several of these rest areas have storm shelters. These storm shelters are are mostly in the Texas Panhandle, and are available to protect motorists during terrible weather conditions, including tornadoes, ice and snow, and sandstorms.

U.S. 287 Hardeman County Storm Shelter   bk1bennett CC BY-ND

Storm Shelters:

Bell County: IH-35 northbound and southbound lanes at milepost 281, 2 miles south of Salado, TX.
Hill County: IH-35 northbound and southbound at milepost 362A & 362B, midway between Dallas/Fort Worth and Waco.
Navarro County: IH-45 northbound and southbound at milepost 216, south of Corsicana, TX.
Donley County: IH-40 westbound at milepost 129, 1 hour east of Amarillo, TX.
Gray County: IH-40 eastbound at milepost 129, 1 hour east of Amarillo, TX.
Donley County: U.S. 287 northbound & southbound, 4 miles east of Hedley, TX.
Donley County: IH-40 eastbound at milepost 131, just west of Alanreed, TX.
Gray County: IH-40 westbound at milepost 131, just west of Alanreed, TX.
Eastland County: IH-20 eastbound and westbound, just east of Ranger, TX.
Hale County: IH-27 northbound and southbound at milepost 29, about 8 miles south of Hale Center, TX.
Hardeman County: U.S. 287 northbound and southbound, east of Quanah, TX.
Ward County: IH-20 eastbound and westbound at milepost 69, 13 miles west of Monahans, TX (sandstorms).

Harlingen Texas Travel Information Center Patio   Rahel Eden CC BY-SA

The beautiful Texas Travel Information Centers are staffed with professional travel counselors who welcome travelers to Texas, provide information on travel routes, interesting Texas sites, events and road conditions, and offer travel literature, including maps, pamphlets, booklets, and brochures. Information Center amenities include free Wi-Fi, a video theater, information displays, 24 hour restrooms and security surveillance, vending machines, picnic tables, group facilities, and separate passenger vehicle and truck parking. The centers are located in Amarillo, Anthony, Austin, Denison, Gainesville, Harlingen (Rio Grande Valley), Langtry, Laredo, Orange, Waskom, and Wichita Falls, Texas.

Harlingen Texas Travel Information Center Interior  Rahel Eden CC BY-SA

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Texas State Park Closures & Zebra Mussels Invasion!

Zebra Mussels, an invasive species, have been found in Lake Dean Gilbert in the Sherman, Texas Pecan Grove Park! Boats must be cleaned and dried before entering and after leaving any Texas lake!!

Zebra Mussels 

Due to flooding, the Lake Somerville State Park & Trailway Nails Creek Unit is partially open. The Birch Creek Unit is open only to campers who have reservations. The Trailway is closed. (979) 535-7763.

Lake Somerville State Park  TPWD Copyright

Lake Whitney State Park will be closed from 10pm on January 10, 2016 to 2pm on January 15, 2016. Only hunters with drawn permits may enter. (254) 694-3793.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Texas State Park News

Possum Kingdom State Park will be closed for wildlife management from 8am on December 28, to 8am December 30th. Remember that the park drinking water is non-potable due to high salt content!

Stephen F. Austin State Park will not have potable water from 3 January at noon until 2pm on January 26, 2016. The park will be closed from 10pm on December 27 until 2pm on Dec, 30, 2015. Click here for January and February 2016 park closures.

South Llano River State Park will not have potable water from Jan 3 at noon until 2pm on January 26, 2016. Click here for January and February 2016 park closures due to hunting season. 

Stephen F. Austin State Park     TPWD Copyright


Monday, December 21, 2015

We are Six Weeks Old!

The website has been live a little over a month!! We thank all our visitors! We are still working on the weather button, and are rewriting code to increase the capacity of the slide shows so they don’t slow page loading. The main page slide show has over 400 uploaded stunning images – we hope to have it completed soon so you can view all of them! We have over a hundred thousand Texas images and plan to upload the remainder of them in the next couple of months. The next blog will feature all Texas State Parklands’ First Day (January 1) hikes, biking, running races, and caving activities! Have a wonderful Holiday!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Texas Is Decorated For Christmas!! Enjoy The 2016 Lights!!

Visit the many beautiful Trails of Lights in Texas’ towns! Austin's stunning “Zilker Park Trail of Lights” is open until 23 December. The Comanche Trail of Lights in Big Spring is ablaze with over one million lights! The annual “Texas Hill Country Regional Christmas Lighting Trail” has been a favorite for years and is an annual must-see event! I will never forget driving back from a South Texas hunting trip in the 1980s and viewing the Blanco County Courthouse Christmas lights in Johnson City. I was absolutely stunned to see so many Christmas lights on one building!! In addition to Johnson City, participating towns include Burnet, Boerne, FredericksburgGoldthwaiteLlanoNew BraunfelsWimberley,Dripping SpringsMarble Falls and Round Mountain (on U.S. 281 between Marble Falls and Johnson City), Texas; call 1-866-Tex-FEST for a free brochure. Athen's famous annual “Christmas Park Land of Lights” has an amazing 3 million or more lights! The annual “East Texas & Louisiana Trail of Lights” includes the Texas towns of Kilgore, Jefferson, and Marshall (we touted their ice skating rink earlier), and several towns in Louisiana. The annual Hidalgo Festival of Lights in South Texas is an International award winning festival featuring the biggest display of Christmas lights in Texas! Beautiful Trails of Lights can also be found at the Texas Forestry Museum in Lufkin, and the annual Trail of Lights at Monument Hill SHS in La Grange, Texas.  

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Santa Is Coming!!

Children Will Love These Santa Activities!

In addition to emailing Santa, children can write a letter to Santa, request and received his photo and autograph, view photos of Santa, send an email from their pet to Santa, watch the official countdown of how many sleeps, hours, minutes, and seconds it is before Santa next appears, and much more.

This interactive site for children (Northpole.com) offers Santa stories, coloring pages, a printable good deeds calendar, play games, send holiday cards and post cards via email, and more. The site also includes an ideas section for parents and teachers, offers craft ideas and recipes.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (noradsanta.com) helps children track Santa during December. Check daily for Santa updates, and on Christmas Eve, watch Santa’s flight around the world.