Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Brazos Bend State Park's gators, trails, star gazing = amazing family RV Short Stop

Two alligators bask on small island in Elm Lake at Brazos Bend St. Pk (Julianne G. Crane)
Less than an hour from downtown Houston is one of America's top state parks, according to National Geographic Traveler magazine. There is plenty to do in this 5,000-acre park, so, if you aren't traveling by RV, be sure to pack a picnic. (No food service at the park.)

Explore on foot, bike, or horseback. There are more than 35 miles of multi-use trails, some of which are wheelchair-friendly. Take a virtual tour on the park's Interactive Trails Map.

RVer Jimmy Smith checks out alligators on trail. (Julianne G. Crane)
Hike and bike trails:  We bicycled many of the trails that circled six small lakes, connecting with each other and heading into the hardwood forest.  Along the way we encountered lots of wildlife, including many  American alligators. (Read about alligator safety.)

American Alligator (Crane)
Nature Center: Stop by to learn more about the park and its residents (more than 300 species of birds). See exhibits on the three ecosystems in the park--wetlands, prairie and woodlands. Hear about the 21 reptiles and am­phi­bians, that live here. The center and gift shop are open weekdays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and week­ends 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

(Source:  George Observatory)
George Observatory is open on Saturdays from 3 to 10 p.m. The observatory is part of the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Visit the observatory website or call (979) 553-3400. 
Adults: $7. Children, Military, Teachers, or Seniors: $6.
All pricing excludes the Brazos Bend State Park Entrance Fee of $7 day/adult.

Julianne G. Crane
If you go:
Brazos Bend State Park,
21901 FM 762
Needville, TX 77461
(979) 553-5101

Latitude: 29.371000  Longitude: -95.631921
Day use entry fee: Adult $7/daily; Children: 12 years and under: Free 

For more information and costs of camping at Brazos Bend State Park click here.

-- Julianne G. Crane

To read more about the RV lifestyle, go to RVWheelLife.com  
Click on images to enlarge.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Lutes Casino in Historic Downtown Yuma

Memorabilia everywhere in Lutes Casino. (Julianne G. Crane)
If you want to gamble, this is not THAT kind of Casino.  

Lutes Casino Restaurant is a fun historic destination in Old Town Yuma that appeals to both locals and Snowbirds who are looking for a casual dining experience with lots and lots of memorabilia covering every surface in the place.

Entry to Lutes Casino. (Julianne G. Crane)
Located in the heart of Historic Downtown Yuma, Jimmy and I were taken there by RV friends on a warm afternoon for a cold drink.

While the place might look a little rough when you first enter, it's not. This is actually "a place for young and old,” says Bobby Lutes, co-owner of the Casino with his brother, Billy.

The building dates back to 1901 and has functioned as a store, hotel and billiards hall. Lutes took ownership in 1959 and "started collecting the wall stuff in about 1960,” he recalls.

Two pool tables, Foosball at Lutes Casino (Julianne G. Crane)

"Politicians, dignitaries, celebrities, and artists have paid visits to the Casino." According to our very friendly wait-guy, during the winter months the place attracts folks from all over North America who are escaping the snow and ice. (We are from the Pacific Northwest and at the next table were six Canadians from British Columbia and Alberta.)

Do not be in a hurry when you visit. The food service can be slow. Take this time to walk around and check out the hundreds of fading posters and photographs.

The menu is mostly average American bar food. Prices are reasonable. Pint of craft beer was $5.
If you go:

Lutes Casino Restaurant
221 Main St.
Historic Downtown Yuma, Az
(928) 782-2192
Monday-Friday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Plenty of parking in the back (on Maiden Lane). RVs welcome.


-- Julianne G. Crane

To read more articles about the RV lifestyle by Julianne G Crane, go to RVWheelLife.com