Give a Welcome Center a Chance

I love to travel. Sometimes I do a lot of research and sometimes I wander until I have found what I am looking for, whatever that is. I have been traveling for years, first hoteling it and now Roadtreking it.

Each time I enter a new state I stop at the first Welcome or Visitors Center I see. I find these centers to be a wealth of information and I get a free state map. I love these state maps.

Yesterday I stopped at the Texas Welcome Center west of El Paso. Following is what I learned in the short time I was there.

  • There is a Big Chili Cook Off in Terlingua and there will be no camp sites available in or near Big Bend National Park this weekend.
  • I received my free map.😄
  • I learned about the state parks in the western area of the state.
  • Gabe, who was assisting me, researched online, RV parks en-route.
  • He called the Terlingua Visitor Center to make sure that he was correct in his assumption that the camping would be sparse in the Big Bend area this weekend.
  • I learned about the many things there are to do in the area.
  • I now know which rest stops I can camp in overnight.
  • He helped me locate gas stations where I could get diesel and not bio-diesel fuel.
  • Gabe was willing to do as much research as it took to make me feel comfortable with my entry into the Lone Star State.

When I left this visitor center I felt ready to explore a small section of a very large state.

This visitor center is not an anomaly. I cannot think of one state where the people in the Visitor Center were not welcoming, friendly and helpful. I have always left these centers better prepared to explore a new or returning place. And I get my free state map. 😀

Even if you are someone who researches like crazy before you leave on a trip, I might still suggest you stop at these Centers. Sometimes they have films. Often I find brochures of places I may never have heard of. You never know where the employees or volunteers may send you. Tonight and for the rest of the weekend, thanks to Gabs, I am happily camped in a lovely state park and am going to spend a greater part of tomorrow at the McDonald Observatory. How cool is that?

So give those visitor centers a chance. Use their free wifi, stay connected. The restrooms are usually clean and well kept up. There is more information than you will ever need. If you are ever heading east into Texas, stop at the Anthony Visitor Center and ask for Gabe, a delightful young man. Oh, and don't forget your free map. 😀

 





  • Gail R

    Your article about the Welcome Centers reminded me of one time one saved us a lot of grief. About 20 years ago We were going someplace out west with our then newish trailer (which we still travel in) in April. We were staying off the interstate, but I wanted to get a new Colorado map, so we detoured over to I 80. As we were looking around I overheard some travelers talking to the attendants about a big storm coming in. We quickly paid attention to the conversation. A big snow storm was coming down from the Rockies. So much for our planned route! We knew from our skiing days with our pickup camper that there was a municipal campground in Brush Co which was free for one night & $10 afterwards, so we headed for there for an early stop over. It turned out that we got just a little wet weather while there, but we spent 3 days riding our bikes all over the town waiting out the snow storm . When we went thru Denver we saw more snow there in April than in all the years that we went thru there on our ski trips. We camped just outside of Colorado Springs where they had just plowed enough snow from some sites to park! We spend a couple days there touring and visiting a niece up in Dexter where they had No! snow before moving on.