Friday, September 14, 2018

Oktoberfests abound for RVing snowbirds

Wurstfest in New Braunfels, Texas - Nov. 2-11, 2018 (Wursfest)
The world's biggest Oktoberfest takes place in Munich, Germany.  Only about two-percent of the crowd attending the Oktoberfest activities, "typically hails from the U.S. And it’s little wonder why, considering the trip would cost the average American roughly $5,000," according to estimates.

Fortunately, in the United States, we are lucky to have dozens, upon dozens of communities hosting their own festivals featuring over-flowing steins of brew, live music, folk dancing, German food and elaborate parades.

Here are a few of the events popular with snowbirding RVers:

'Ales on Rails' Clarksdale, AZ (AlesOnRails)
Arizona Oktoberfest celebrations - Autumn 2018
Check out more than 15 Oktoberfest festivals in Arizona, including options in Phoenix and Tucson.  With almost one million residents of German descent in Arizona, RVers will be able to celebrate German heritage at one of the many Arizona Oktoberfests. Click here.

Oktoberfest / Beer Festivals in South Florida--
Fall 2018
The Broward-Palm Beach New Times has posted a handy guide to 2018's Ocktoberfests and Fall Beer Festivals.
Grovetoberfest, Miami,  (Grovetoberfest)
For a monster festival on Oct. 13, head to Grovetoberfest in Peacock Park, Miami.

For $44 you will have five hours (beginning at 2 p.m.) to taste samples from more than 500 beers at the largest selection of local craft beer anywhere in Florida. There is also a live entertainment stage.

'Wurstfest' in New Braunfels, Texas - Nov. 2-11, 2018
Originally settled by Germans in 1845 the town of New Braunfels. between Austin and San Antonio, revels in the opportunity to celebrate its heritage each year.

“Sprechen die Fun (Do you speak fun)?” is the theme of Wurstfest, which begins its 10-day run on Friday, Nov. 2. The festival includes a carnival, a Bavarian marketplace, food trucks and five music stages.  Wurstfest even has a popular craft beer garden, giving the many craft breweries their time in the Texas sun.

Potter's Creek COE, Canyon Lake, Tex. (Julianne G. Crane)
After your fill of beer and sausage, there is more to see in this Hill Country town. Nearby is the quite walk-able old town. Take a moment to check out the "Dreamy pastries and historic murals in old downtown New Braunfels."

For nearby public RV Camping click on: COE Potter's Creek Campground, Canyon Lake, Tex.  Other camping in New Braunfels' area is available at: Trip Advisor (click here).

For other great Beer Fests around the United States, click on "2018’s Best Places for Oktoberfest Celebrations" for WalletHub's list of best cities for partaking in the epic German festival. The personal-finance website "compared the 100 largest cities across 24 key metrics, ranging from share of German population to number of beer gardens per capita to average price for Oktoberfest celebration ticket." For fun facts and statistics, click on the Oktoberfest infographic.

-- Julianne G. Crane
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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Meander historic, scenic Natchez Trace

If you're in a hurry to get to your snowbird location in the South this fall, the  is not the RV Short Stop route for you.  So, just jump onto the closest interstate and put your pedal to the metal.

However, if you want to meander (north or south) along one of the nation's most peaceful, serene and scenic drives, make your way to the  that follows a winding course 444 miles between Natchez, Mississippi, and Nashville, Tennessee.

It is speculated that as far back as 10,000 years ago, large animals may have formed and traveled along what is known as the Old Trace. Early on, American Indian hunter-gatherer societies found the trail and followed or 'traced' the migration patterns of deer and bison herds.

The Old Trace Drive, at milepost 375.8, mid-October. (NPS)
Today, the Natchez Trace Parkway commemorates this historic travel route of animals and people. The Trace includes numerous stops that invite RVers to linger a while and explore the region's colorful history. Or, you can simply enjoy the breathtaking and peaceful scenery. "Each fall as the leaves change colors, visitors are rewarded with a spectacular showing in Tennessee, Alabama, and northern Mississippi." Click here for places to see autumn colors along The Trace.

Many opportunities for family RV Short Stops can be found at the Parkway Visitor Center at milepost 266 (Parkway Headquarters). This is the spot for ongoing events and activities.  Click here for the latest calendar events.

Potkopinu Section of the Old Trace

Potkopinu Section (NPS)
There are five sections of Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail that parallel the Natchez Trace Parkway. These hiking sections make invigorating RV Short Stops.  They range from 3-miles to more than 25 miles long.

The Potkopinu section, between milepost 17 and 20, follows the historic Old Trace that was formed in the soft loess soil by the millions of animals, American Indians, trappers and traders over centuries of use.

"The Natchez Indians may have called these paths 'potkopinu' which means 'little valley'," states a post on National Park Service's Facebook page. This is the longest stretch of the 'sunken' trace available to hike, reflect and wonder.

Natchez Trace Parkway is popular with RVers. (NPS Photo)
RV Touring
RVers love, love, love the Natchez Trace Parkway. However, be aware that the length restriction for recreation vehicles is 55 feet, including your tow vehicle. Height restriction is 14 feet.  There are a number of pulloffs that are closed to RVs and bridge clearances under 15-feet.  Click here for the list of those closures and bridges.

Also be on the lookout for cycling tourists, those healthy humans pedaling their way along the Parkway.  The entire 444 miles is a designated bicycling route, according the National Park Service.

Most of the way, the two-lane road is only 22-feet wide.  That's only 11-feet in each lane with little-to-no shoulder. So while you are enjoying the drive remember to avoid looking at the scenery when bicyclists are present.  Although the speed limit is posted at 50 mph in most stretches, there have been numerous reports by bicyclists of locals using The Trace as a commuter highway.  Be cautious and courteous.

RV Camping
There are more than a dozen campgrounds along the Natchez Trace Parkway corridor, three in the park, and many others just outside the park. The three Parkway campgrounds are free, primitive, and available on a first come, first serve basis.  Click here for campground listed from south to north.

For more information

Visitor Center, Milepost 266, Tupelo MS

Mailing Address:
2680 Natchez Trace Parkway
Tupelo, MS 38804
Phone: (800) 305-7417

-- Julianne G. Crane
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