New and Used RV ownership at Record Highs

Did you know that the number of RV-owning households has grown to a new peak of 8.9 million households, up from 7.9 million in 2005. Nearly one-in-nine U.S. households now own RVs, up from 8.0% in 2005, according to an RVIA news release I had recently read. I’ve heard a few times before that a good gauge of the strength of the economy can be partially judged by the RV industry.

RV ownership levels reflect the enduring appeal of the RV lifestyle despite recent economic challenges said RVIA President Richard Coon. In addition to showing that RV ownership rates have climbed steadily, the new RV Consumer Demographic Profile also offers promising news on future RV purchase intentions.

From everything that I’ve read and have been hearing, the survey results gathered this year clearly indicate continued strong demand for RVs in the years ahead. This has been especially noticeably at PPL Motorhomes. We are finding that a number of current RV owners plan to purchase another RV to replace their current unit. The is good news for the entire RV industry

Among new market entrants, defined as households that have never owned an RV in the past, 14% planned on purchasing an RV in the future with more than a third of them intending to purchase a new RV. Of all former owners, 27% plan to purchase another RV in the future. Here age was a determining factor with younger former owners (age 18-34) more likely than older former owners to purchase another RV. This underscores the need for the RV industry to stay in touch with recent former owners and to continue to present them ownership options.

I’ve also noticed that customers are looking for “more sensible” purchases in the $30,000 to $35,000 range. These tend to be lighter and easier to tow in order to get better fuel economy. What that tells me is that RV sales in 2011 are expected to show an increase compared with 2010 sales due to more baby boomers seeking New and Used RVs for leisure. Even better news is that there is a continuing rebound in the industry is great news in Elkhart County and surrounding areas, where thousands of workers are getting work done in the industry. Officials have had their fingers crossed that the rebound is lasting…so does RV Nana.

Do You Know What it Takes to Be an RV Owner?

Putting effort into researching, choosing and buying your first RV is commonplace, but many prospective RV owners are not fully aware of the realities of RV ownership. There are many things to keep in mind if you are getting your first vehicle, such as driving, breakdown assistance, insurance, storage and maintenance.
Insurance for RVs are usually provided by specialist providers who operate only in the leisure vehicle arena. Use magazines and the internet to research what’s appropriate for your needs – you should find better value compared to normal car insurance as usage is normally much reduced compared to the family car.

Parking the vehicle at your residence can be an issue for some. If you do not have extensive garden and driveway space around your home, you may be looking at on street parking. This will be either illegal, dangerous, annoying to neighbors or all of the above. Some owners may wish to house their vehicle indoors to avoid any winter damage typically caused by ice, rain and sun. Consider storage facilities  – these can be both indoor and outdoor. They usually provide a level of security such as lock up, video surveillance etc. Many RV owners choose to use this facility during the winter months only, when they have no intention of using their vehicle. Consider also the damage that certain tree types can do to a RV, if parking under trees.

Finally, be aware of the regular servicing that RVs require. The habitation area requires certain procedures to be undertaken at regular intervals. Some of this servicing requires expertise not normally undertaken by the average owner. Likewise the vehicle engine and mechanical parts require regular servicing from a qualified mechanic.

Hopefully this has pointed you in the right direction to start acquiring the knowledge to owning a PPL Motorhomes RV. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

RV Snowbirds, take your motorhome to the desert, really!

Whenever fellow RVers come into PPL Motorhomes to talk about their winter trips, Florida is always a topic of conversation. While Florida is a fabulous destination (we still have our favorite spots)we hear things like: “It’s too crowded. It’s loud. Florida? Isn’t it getting dangerous?” Of course, we get many more positive comments, but that got me to thinking…Why not travel to the southwest? Specifically a Southwestern desert destination!

Basically, if you can’t take the humidity, don’t like the crowds flocking to Disney World, are not a fan of lush foliage and winter rain storms that are common to Florida, try the Mojave and Sonora Deserts in Southeastern California and Southwestern Arizona. No I’m not kidding! I did a little research and came across a good article on Southwestern Desert RVing on blog.rv.net. It sums up the experience much better than this tired old brain could : )

Here’s the rub, RVers head south to the deserts mainly to leave behind the frigid and wet northern winters. Days in most of the low desert destinations will warm to the mid-50s even on the coolest days, while most of the winter rising into the middle and upper 60s and even warmer on both ends of winter. You will experience a few cold days with a cold wind and blowing dust, and snow sometimes will appear on the highest ridges.

But winter rains are generally light, soaking into the soil rather than running off, and don’t last long. Otherwise the deserts might have some of that lush foliage common to Central Florida. Those dangerous desert flash floods that you may have heard about happen mostly during summer thunder storms in areas with steep canyons. This is not usually a winter threat.

But another reason for heading to the deserts is that you can find just about any type of desert camping that you want on hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands. You can choose locations with lots of friendly human neighbors, or with only coyotes, jack rabbits, and turkey vultures as your neighbors.

Your boondocking options include:

• Primitive, no hookup campgrounds. Sometimes a water fill station and trash dumpsters. Dump station nearby. No other amenities, other than possibly hiking and birdwatching and enjoyment of the desert landscape.

• Designated campground, un-designated campsites. Usually a large area of  land that has been allocated for boondock camping, sometimes called a Short Term Visitor Area (STVA), with no defined campsites or other amenities. Seldom a trash dumpster. Free but usually limited to two weeks camping, then requiring changing to a location at least 25 miles away.

So there you have it, Snowbirds: options. If you are looking for another destination this year besides Florida, be adventurous and check out destinations in the Southwest. Plus, if you happen to be swinging through Houstonand check out PPL Motorhomes and , maybe even have them give your RV a good “once over” before you continue heading west!

PPL Motorhomes and one of our favorite RV artists

One of the great things about being an RVer, is that when you are on the road you run across some really interesting, creative and quite frankly, amazing folk. Since we RV so much, I love to stop along the roadside and visit fun and unusual shops and events…even junk yards occasionally. You never know what treasure you might be able to find, especially if you are crafty! I met a real “trash to treasure” artist, Kiki Neumann, a couple of years ago at a sale in Matagorda Texas and have been amazed at her fun twist on recycling.  From scrap metal license plates that are being discarded she has created everything from bird houses to dust pans and house number signs.  Her creativity never ceases to amaze me.  At PPL Motorhomes, we collect all of the old license plates from all the consigned motor homes, travel trailers and fifth wheels and donate them to her…a much better solution than destroying them.

I don’t think a day goes by that someone doesn’t comment on the cute name sign she made for me.  I have it proudly displayed with all of my other fun RV memorabilia.  Bet you look at those old license plates a little different now!!

I linked Kiki’s website here and up there to here name. Click on the link and take a look at all of her really creative ideas. I think you’ll like it.

 

PPL Motorhomes Extends a helping hand to Fort Bend County Women’s Center

All of us open our hearts and wallets to various organizations  throughout the year and, for some unknown reason, I have always helped the Fort Bend County Women’s Center.  I’m not real sure why this has been a favorite charity of mine because, fortunately, I have never been in or even had close friend in a domestic violence situation.   The fact that 74% of all Texans has experienced some sort of domestic violence is astonishing and my heart simply goes out to these victims and it makes me want to help.  My local ladies group has been involved in clothing drives, Easter baskets and Mothers Day bags for this group and I simply wanted to do a little more so, as always, I am turning to my RV friends.  My RV family here at PPL consists of employees, customers, vendors,and friends and I have been so fortunate to be surrounded by such a great group of individuals.  After all, people involved in the RV lifestyle are living their dreams and enjoying life, so being “upbeat”  is a part of each day for them.  At PPL we are in the middle of a facebook campaign encouraging RV enthusiasts to help us help this great organization.  October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so please help PPL help these families.

Looking for an RV? Get your RV financing facts straight.

That’s right, for all of the really fun stuff we do in our RVs, and for all of the wonderful places we go, there are still some things of importance to RVers that have nothing to do with the great outdoors. We’ll almost nothing. Financing an RV. The bottom line is that owning an RV is an expense and a fairly large commitment. Before you can even get to all the really fun talk about black water tanks, campground etiquette and tow vehicles, you have to get an RV first! Now this is the “fun” stuff. How do you finance your first RV?

Instead of giving you a step by step instruction, I’ll just give you the short answer. If you live in Texas and are looking for RV financing, make sure you call Terry Woodard at Associated Credit Unions of Texas (ACUTX).  The bottom line is that they offer great rates and terms for PPL customers and Terry makes the entire RV finance process really enjoyable.  The finance rates and terms vary depending on the customer, but these are the “old school” bankers who look at the customer as a relationship, not a credit score.  We love everything that they have done for our customers and our customers love Nicole. Don’t wait, give them a call and tell her RVNana Sent you.

Terry Woodard | ACU of Texas | Loan Consultant/Certified Trainer | 409.942.1534 | TWoodard@acutx.org

Your RV Really is Your Home Away From Home

I might be pointing out the obvious here, but it really is one of the golden highlights of owning an RV. Being a subscriber of the RV lifestyle you get to pack what you want and take anything and everything you need with you. On a recent flight I was quickly reminded of how much I cherish being able to take my day to day necessities with me without having to worry about someone taking it from me as I check in through security.  Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate and understand the great job the security team does at the airports, but that does not make me like my packing restrictions.

Further, when you finally do reach your seat, nothing is more frustrating than having to worry about someone taking up more than their fair share of space with laptops, papers…you name it. I found myself instantly missing the sprawling space of my RV. I guess this is just another reason I love the RV lifestyle. In your motorhome, travel trailer or fifth wheel you can quite literally bring the kitchen sink with you… Your only real limitation is the total weight capacity of your particular RV.  Trust me, you’ll think about how great RV travel is the next time you book a flight, your rental car, your hotel room and your activities…the list goes on. RVing is simply a better way of travel for 1,000’s upon 1,000’s of people across the country. All of us at PPL Motorhomes like to think of it as…our home away from home.

Keep your RV Drinking Water Hose Clean

Most RV owners have been advised to roll up their drinking water hose when they disconnect at the campsite and make sure to store the hose with the ends connected. I always thought of that as my easy way to stop spiders and other critters from crawling into the hose and homesteading. I recently heard about a great little tip to help reduce any mildew buildup in your hose.  As we all know, where there is moisture, there could be mildew.  Before you hook up your hose at the next campsite, squirt a few tablespoons of Clorox in the hose. This will help sanitize the hose and your drinking water. My first concern when I heard this was the fear of carrying a squirt bottle of Clorox with me in our RV.  I could see it now…I save a $20 hose and discolor the carpet in the RV when I spill a bottle of Clorox.  Then I came up with an easy solution. I simply used my old dish-washing soap bottle (the one with a flip top) and labeled it CLOROX. No leaks and it works great!  Of course, I’m a little paranoid and accident prone so I put the bottle inside a ziploc freezer bag.  It works great and I keep it in the compartment with the hose and connections.  Give this one a try.

 

There are Rules to Boondocking at Walmart

 

Keep your heads up Walmart boondockers…literally. I heard from a friend, who knows this guy, who hangs out with this couple who overheard that some Walmarts may be installing overhead bars at some of the their stores across the country. If there is a bar at a Walmart you wished to stay overnight at, it is likely due to a city ordinance. These bars will restrict height limits to 12 feet at the entrance to their parking lots. From my understanding, a spokesman from FMCA contacted Walmart for comment, and this is what they got in reply…

If any Walmart location has an overhead bar to prevent over height vehicles, it is either because there is local ordinance against overnight parking, or conditions at the store are not favorable for large vehicle parking.  The company policy is that Walmart welcomes RVers overnight but requests that they secure permission from the local store upon arrival, or call ahead so they can be directed where to park. However, it should be kept in mind that Wal-mart is not meant to be used as a campground but only as an overnight situation.

That being said, Walmart also counts RVers as some of their best customers and will do everything they can to accomodate your RV. So, while in between campsites or RV parks, most Walmarts are OK with you staying the night. Just keep in mind that they are a business and you should still follow the same protocol as you would at any campground. If you wish to boondock at a Walmart, call ahead and make adequate preparations.

Of course, before you even pull into the parking lot, remember to “watch your head”…there could be a vehicle height restriction bar you may not have assumed would be there. Hitting that would certainly be unfortunate.

LP “Beep” Means Danger: The skinny on Lp detectors and Regulators

 

A dear friend of mine was talking to me about her RV and I almost came unglued when she told me how she had dealt with the beep from her LP gas detector.  After a long day in the office, she went back to her Houston home (her 5th wheel trailer) ready for a glass of wine and some much needed rest.  A few minutes later she heard that annoying beep (it is annoying because it is supposed to get your attention) from the LP detector.   She hit the reset button thinking that would solve the problem and it just kept beeping.   Being too tired to deal with it, she just took the battery out and turned off her hearing aid so she could get some sleep.  She’s actually lucky she woke up the next morning.  That beep means there is something wrong and LP gas is not something to fool around with.

The next morning, all bright eyed, she decided to investigate the cause of the beep.  As soon as she opened the outside compartment she could smell the strong smell of LP gas.  Apparently she had an LP regulator leaking on her LP tank so she immediately turned off the valve and the leak stopped.  Now all she has to do is have someone come out and repair the connection.  This story has a happy ending, but it could have ended much differently. She was lucky.  LP Gas is dangerous and needs to be taken seriously.  Don’t ignore the beep!!