Planting Trees at Bastrop State Park
Our 2017 Travel:
Travel-wise, 2017 began just like 2015 and 2016... we joined our neighbors and fellow RVers, Judy and Scott, at Bastrop State Park to plant baby loblolly pine trees. Wildfires and a breached park dam have done their share of damage to both Bastrop and Buescher State Parks in recent years. We really enjoyed our annual pilgrimmage to plant trees and help to reforest Bastrop. It appears that 2017 was the final year for volunteers to help with the reforesting efforts. So now, we're excited to watch the little saplings grow!
Previous flood damage to many of our local parks, along with family and work commitments, and later Hurricane Harvey limited our travel in 2017. We didn't get on the road nearly as much as we like to. The highlights of our 2017 travel included visiting several Texas State Parks for the first time, seeing the solar eclipse, returning to one of our favorite RV parks (Jamaica Beach RV Park in Galveston) and meeting lots of great people throughout the year!
Sunset at Tyler State Park
Floating the Lazy River at Jamaica Beach RV Park
Things We Experienced for the First Time in 2017:
We camped for the first time at two of Texas' most popular state parks: Garner State Park and Tyler State Park (video and write-up coming soon). We absolutely understand why these two parks are so popular!
We also visited two other awesome Texas State Parks for the first time: Lake Corpus Christi State Park and Palmetto State Park. Both of these parks are true gems, and we highly recommend you check them out.
On our way to the Southwest RV Supershow in Dallas in the fall, we experienced our first engine trouble with our RV. Luckily, we were fairly close to the Cummins shop and we switched to Plan B... a daytrip from Houston to Dallas. We met so many awesome folks while we were at the show, it made it all worth it!
And finally, we were honored to be included in two RV Blog rankings for the first time (Top 100 RV Blogs Every RV or Motorhome Travel Enthusiast Must Follow and Top RV Blogs). And in December, we learned that we had been included in the Top 75 YouTube Channels for RVers. We are humbled to be included in these lists with a lot of folks that we have personally followed for years, and will do our best to improve every day.
Solar Eclipse Party at Palmetto State Park
Huge Hollow Cypress Tree at Garner State Park
2017 Was All About Building Community:
Y'all have heard us say it a ton of times, but we really enjoy meeting other RVers and folks interested in the RV lifestyle. That is a big reason why we started RVTexasYall.com back in 2013, and it's a really big reason why we are so active on social media. In 2017, we put renewed focus into building community. We published our first monthly Newsletter on January 5, 2017. We just added a Newsletter Archives page, so you can read back issues if you are interested.
In 2017, we streamlined our website to make it more user friendly and faster-loading. We added a Search Feature and a Site Map so you can easily find what you are looking for. And we built our RSS Feed so folks who like to be notified of new content via content aggregators like Feedspot or Bloglovin can add us to their follow lists on whatever platforms they like.
We removed a few old pages that were no longer relevant from our website, and replaced them with other sections like RV Lifestyle, Top 10 Lists, RV Manufacturers and our #BeyondTX section (because even though we didn't in 2017, we do occasionally step a toe outside of Texas!). We also launched a section that's been on our mind since we started our website: Camp Cooking! Teaser Alert: Watch for a new cooking video coming soon!!
We published 25 videos on our YouTube Channel and 41 posts on our website.
Socially, Twitter and Facebook were our top focus for most of the year. We tweeted 1,447 times in 2017 from our @RVTexasYall account, and Twitter tells us those tweets were seen over 296,000 times! We also began tweeting more from our other Twitter accounts: @RVAmericaYall (our #BeyondTX tweets), @DieselTex (our RV's perspective), @RVTXCat (Lilo, our cat's perspective) and @RVTXDog (Star, our dog's perspective).
Facebook was our first entry into social media back in 2013. We are happy that over 7,700 folks follow our Facebook Page today. But in our effort to Build Community, we launched our Facebook Group, The RV Texas Y'all Community, in mid-July 2017. We are so excited by how active the community has become in such a short period of time. From mid-July to the end of December, our community grew to near 900 members, with over 95% of those being active members who shared 421 posts and commented over 2,500 times... in less than 6 months! If you are looking for a positive place to share your favorite campgrounds and ask RVing questions, consider joining our group!
Our Campsite at Lake Corpus Christi State Park
Our Plan for 2018:
In our December 2017 Newsletter, we asked folks if they plan to RV/camp more or less in 2018. Not surprisingly, a whopping 91% answered that they plan to travel more in the new year. We are no exception to that! We definitely hope to be out on the road exploring Texas (and maybe beyond), finding awesome campgrounds and meeting as many of y'all as we can!
Our first stop of the New Year will be the Tarrant County RV Show on Saturday, January 6, 2018. If you are at the show, be sure to stop us and say "Hi"!!
We try to do something to improve every day, and RVTexasYall.com is included in that. In 2018, we will continue to make improvements to our website and work to produce more content that you find interesting, helpful and maybe even entertaining. Watch for more videos on our YouTube Channel and more resource and blog posts here on our website.
And finally, we really look forward to continuing to build community with folks through our RV Texas Y'all Community on Facebook, and to jumpstart the very small RV Texas Y'all Community on RVillage. We will be putting more time into that one in the coming year, and we're excited to see how it will grow!
Happy New Year! We wish you a 2018 full of fun adventures, interesting experiences and wonderful memories! We look forward to meeting you out on the road. Until then, Safe Travels and Happy Camping!
PS... There's one more thing... The Houston Astros Won the World Series!!!!!!! Wooo-Hoooo!!! :)