RV Nana found another fun adventure for the kids and a beautiful RV park to make it great for the entire family. We visited the Rusk KOA and had a wonderful weekend. The kids especially enjoyed the Texas Train that runs from Rusk to Palestine and back each weekend. The train ride was fun (got a little warm going back in the afternoon) but the grandkids had a ball. We drove from Rusk to Palestine to board the train for our excursion. The train runs back to Rusk where we got off, enjoyed a picnic lunch, entertainment, a petting zoo and a country fair type hour and a half. Then, with our tummy’s full we boarded the train for the hour back to Palestine. We took a little catnap and the kids enjoyed the ride.
If we do it again, we will make sure that our weekend at the Rusk KOA coincides with the weekend that the train departs from Rusk going to Palestine and back. We didn’t plan very well so we drove all the way to Palestine, parked the truck, rode to Rusk (could almost see the campsite from the picnic area), back to Palestine to drive the truck back to Rusk. You know what they say about the best plans.
We got back to the park where we had the most beautiful view of the canyon from our front porch, the kids checked out all the trails, played on the playground and we all biked throughout the park. What a friendly group of people….employees and RVers! Thanks Rusk KOA for a great weekend.
OK, my husband has now found a new gadget and he loves it. For me, I am very content to not see a lot of TV and I really have no idea what the difference is between HDTV and any other TV, but the new Tailgater is like a dream come true to a sports fan. We can now get satellite TV (of course that means football games) out on the picnic table at the campground or in the back of the pick up out by the lake. Talk about “don’t leave home without it! I think the greatest thing about this satellite is that we no longer have to go through the exercise of searching for the signal because it automatically aligns itself by way of a small dish antenna mounted inside the unit. This is perfect for the RV enthusiast.
From what I have heard, users will pay normal rates for activating the box, except if they opt for a month-to-month solution that DISH offers. Under this plan, users may activate and deactivate the box for an additional $7.00 per month, not paying for service during the winter months or longer periods when they do not plan to use their RV. This means you would not have to subscribe to dish service for a full year when you may only use your RV during one season.
The Tailgater is on display at PPL’s RV Parts Superstore and several RVers have told me that it is, by far, the best bang for your buck for watching your favorite game or TV Show in HD. All I really know is that the guys all love it and the RV feels so much bigger when we can take the game outdoors at the campsite. A good friend of mine bought the Dish Tailgater so they could have portable satellite TV for their outdoor kitchen and patio area. I guess this really is the HD Satellite for everyone!!
Make plans now to attend a special event sure to be fun and informative for all RV enthusiasts…TACO Day at PPL Motor Homes September 24th! At PPL, we understand that buying and RV is only part of your RV experience because you have to decide what to do with it now that you have this new motor home, travel trailer or fifth wheel. This is where the Texas Association of Campground Owners comes in with information on parks throughout Texas. A great way to learn more about where to go and what to see!
We had our first TACO Day at PPL in March and it was a huge success, complete with a guest appearance by Yogi Bear himself. This was our crazy way to help the RVers in our area learn more about the wonderful parks and campgrounds in Texas. Every park has its own personality and this is a great opportunity for the park owners and representatives to chat with campers and “show their stuff.” At PPL, we always want to have fun so we have added a special twist to the day.
As you walk around and visit with the parks, you can have them stamp your “PPL Game Card” and then your card will be entered in our hourly door prize drawings. We will have door prizes ranging from Weekend stays at some featured parks to $100 gift cards and RV accessories so don’t miss this fun filled event. We will also be serving what we refer to as “PPL Style Tacos”…some really great nachos with meat, cheese and jalapenos so come on out and have fun!
Here’s a word of warning for all of you RVers out there. There is a law on the books that you may, or may not know about. It’s actually a common sense law, so there’s really no excuse for not heeding it: “The Move Over Law“.
If a patrol car has pulled over to the side of the road, you have to move over to the next lane (away from the stopped vehicle) and slow down a minimum of 20mph. You may be shocked to know that every state except Hawaii, Maryland, New York and the District of Columbia has this law in place.
In California, the “Move Over Law” was signed into law on January 1, 2010. For some people, this was a very expensive surprise. A son of a friend recently got a $754 ticket for NOT moving over! A police car was stopped on the side of the road and the officer was out of his vehicle and in the process of issuing a ticket. The young man slowed, but didn’t change lanes. A second officer, who was behind the young man immediately pulled him over and gave him a ticket. Of course the law was news to this young man, but unfortunately, “I didn’t know it was a law” doesn’t hold up in court.
Take a look at the video below and you’ll see why this law is extremely important. (The Officer at the beginning of the video was OK in case you were wondering…and I know you will be.)
The Move Over America campaign is the first nationally coordinated effort to educate Americans about Move Over laws and how they help protect the law enforcement officers who risk their lives protecting the public.
Remember, it is your responsibility as a RVer to not only know all of the laws on the road, but also use your head and give other drivers and law enforcement the space they need to conduct their activities safely and without worry. Besides, who can really afford a $754 ticket? I know I certainly can’t. Besides, just think of how you could spend that money out on the road!
Nothing is more scary than traveling along in your RV enjoying the scenery and then experiencing a sudden loss of tire pressure. Believe me, a tire blowout is something that even the most seasoned RV vets don’t want the surprise of dealing with. When handled improperly, a tire blowout can be extremely dangerous…even catastrophic…resulting in a possible extreme damage to your RV (see picture).
So, how do you handle a blowout successfully?
Step 1: Stay cool.
Ignore your natural instinct to hit the brakes or jerk the steering wheel when you have a blowout.
Step 2: Accelerate slightly.
Accelerate slightly to maintain control of the vehicle. Keep going straight.
Tip: Hold the steering wheel firmly with both hands at 10 o’clock and two o’clock on the wheel to avoid losing control.
Step 3: Decelerate.
Ease off the accelerator slowly.
Step 4: Coast.
Maintain your course while the RV slows.
Step 5: Apply brakes.
Apply the brakes gently when your car slows to 30 miles per hour.
Step 6: Turn on right turn signal.
Tip: Never stop on the left side of the road, if possible. This is the most dangerous place to be.
Step 7: Pull over.
Pull your RV off to the side of the road, and breathe a sigh of relief…you’ve just survived a blowout.
Sounds simple enough, right? Well those of us who’ve experience it would beg to differ. It’s always a shock and it’s always scary. Be prepared and you’ll be less likely to make a mistake when dealing with a tire blowout in your RV.
This is a really good video that everyone should watch. Yes it’s older, but the information is still very valuable.
Did you know that driving or towing an overloaded rig is a leading cause of RV accidents? Even a slight overload or unequal weight distribution can seriously restrict braking and steering, dramatically increase fuel consumption, and cause sudden blowouts or breakdowns. An overweight RV also creates the danger of early failure in your rig’s tires, brakes, wheels, drive train and other components.This might be something you may not think about all of the time. Really, for many new and some seasoned RVer’s out there the “Gas and Go” approach to RVing can cause some problems down the road (pun intended).
So, how do you know if your RV need to go on a diet? That’s actually an easy question. Your RV is overloaded if it exceeds any of the manufacturer’s established limitations for total load, axle load, or tire loading. The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is the maximum amount your RV can safely carry. It includes both the wet weight and the cargo weight. You can find the appropriate weight limits by checking your owner’s manual for weight limitations.
So how do you lighten the load? Well, that’s another easy question to answer. If your RV turns out to be a heavyweight, look it over from top to bottom and consider what’s necessary and what’s not. Just because your rig has a lot of shelves, drawers and other storage space doesn’t mean you have to fill them all up. If possible, remove all your belongings, then put back only the items you really need.
Also, remember to check your tire pressure before each trip. Poorly maintained tires can become a very real and dangerous issue, especially when combined with an overweight rig.
The bottom line is a properly balanced RV, well maintained equipment, properly inflated tires and good driving can tame almost any road.
Here in Texas, we’ve been recent victims of the worst brush fires in our history. A relentless Texas wildfire in Bastrop County east of Austin destroyed over 1,550 homes, consumed over 34,000 acres and has set a somber state record: The highest number of homes lost in a single fire in Texas…ever. Increased winds and lack of rain helped fuel the fire that jumped the Colorado River at least twice. That’s no small feat.
Some families were given only minutes to evacuate as the raging blaze surrounded homes and neighborhoods. Some had time to gather a few important belongings, others fled with only the clothes on their back. I know because my niece and her family were one of the evacuees. They lost almost everything. Even though their home is gone, they still have their family and pets all safe together. Fire could not take everything from them. They still have their spirit and friends and family who care. (Thanks to all of you who have helped us help them) Below is a picture she took looking behind as they left their home for the last time.
How did this fire start? I heard it was a teenager who was burning a love letter, but it could have just as easily been a cigarette thrown out of a car window, or an ember from a BBQ that floated away. What we should take away from this tragedy is that, when conditions are ripe for fire, you should think twice before throwing your butt out of the window or gassing up the grill. 90% of wildfires are a direct result of human error or negligence. Remember, a fire starts with a single spark, but can affect thousands of lives, tens of thousands of acres and countless numbers of wildlife.
If you’d like to contribute to rebuilding and clean up of Bastrop and the surrounding areas, secure, tax-deductible online donations to the Texas Wildfire Relief Fund can be made by visiting, www.txwildfirerelief.org.
There’s no doubt that all of us remember where we were when the first plane hit the first Tower and that memory was sealed in our minds and hearts when the second plane hit. It was implausible that it was a deliberate act until that second plane hit. Then, for all of us, we could only watch in horror as the World Trade Center collapsed building by building. I’ve never felt so helpless, so confused and so angry in my entire life. This was something that just didn’t happen. Not here. Not in America.
That was the day we lost our innocence as a country. September 11, 2001 would become a day that would forever live in infamy.
What would we do? This had never happened before. The picture above is a telling answer to the spirit of American resolve. After Flights 11 and 175 were used as missiles that struck at the heart of our Nation’s economic center in a vain attempt to destroy our resolve, three NYC Firefighters raised the American flag as a continued and bold symbol of freedom. The picture above was taken by Thomas E. Franklin. He captured the unforgettable scene that marked the first step in America’s healing process.
This is the image I choose to remember. Not the smoldering buildings. Not the fires. Not the destruction. Not the waste. This picture represents everything that America hold true: Resolve, Honor, Faith, Hope and Love.
We did not ask for that day to happen. We did not ask to become part of the madness, we were forced into it. So, in the names of the 2,976 people who lost their lives in Washington, Pennsylvania and New York that day. I promise I will never forget. I promise that justice will one day be at hand. I promise to up hold all of the values and morals this country was founded on, and for what you ultimately gave your lives for. Not one of you wanted to leave us that day, but in doing so you’ve helped us understand the value of Freedom and Liberty, now and forever.
Take a moment to remember 9-11 in your own way. We cannot change the past, we can only take control of our future.
How many times have you driven right past a State Visitor Center? If you did stop, you quickly used the facilities then hit the road again. What are the benefits of stopping at a Visitor Center besides just making a pit-stop? Well, Texas Travel Information Centers create a positive first impression of the Lone Star State. Our Travel Information Centers are staffed by professional travel counselors who welcome visitors to Texas, help with routings and provide information on points of interest, events and road conditions.
I recently stopped in Orange Texas at the Texas Visitor Center myself and left there with so much important information on parks, events and sights right here in my home state. It was early January and their shelves were loaded with important campground guides, travel directories and more.
Next time you pass one of these centers, even if it’s in your home state, make a point to stop. You will be pleasantly surprised.
Here’s a quick and easy link for Texas travel info to help make your next Texas trip more enjoyable.
Oh no, we left our RV at the campground for the week and returned to find our refrigerator had stopped working and I filled a trash can with rotten food. This could happen to any of us. We had our LP tanks filled before taking the fifth wheel down to the bay where we were planning to leave it for a month. We had it all set up and the refrigerator was ruining fine on electric when we left. The problem apparently started with a power failure at the RV Park when we lost 110 power.
That seems like a minor issue since the RV refrigerator is supposed to switch over to electric. Little did we know that we had to pressurize the LP to get any air out of the lines, or it will try three times to start and then give up. Simply starting the burner on our range would have saved us at least $100 on food and the time it took to clean it all out. It would have been a real mess if we had been gone longer than a few days.
So, take time after you fill your tanks to simply turn on your stove and, this simple little step, may save you a big mess. If you ever have any questions regarding your RV feel free to contact PPL Motor Homes Houston, I know we’ll have an answer.
I have been with PPL Motor Homes since 1980 and have been fortunate to grow up with the company. A native Houstonian, I am married to a wonderful Cajun from Lafayette, Louisiana and we've been able to mix the two worlds and build a fun life together. We have 3 children and 7 grandchildren, so it is obvious that I was a Nana long before I became RV Nana. I also happen too be the 2011-2012 President of the Texas RV Association, so you know the RV lifestyle...is my style.