I’ve been working with PPL Motorhomes for…well, for quite a long time now, and the stories that I remember the most from our customers are the one’s that involve going somewhere new. You see, taking the unbeaten path has the potential to add a lot of fond memories. For the sake of argument, I’m going to assume that almost everyone reading this post has read, or heard “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. If you can’t remember all the way back to High School, it’s the one that ends:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
Let me first state that this is not an English lesson, or even a life lesson; it’s an RV lesson. Essentially, taken literally and in a language we can all understand, when the traveler in the poem comes upon a fork in the road he chose the unbeaten path. Why? The unfamiliar road was a detour where he could potentially find an entirely new world of sights, sounds and opportunities.
Vacationing? Remember, it’s not where you are going and fast you get there, but where you are going and HOW you get there. Some of my fondest traveling memories started as nothing more as just a fork in the road.
As I said above, at PPL Motorhomes, when we hear stories of new adventures, well, we just can’t help to feel like we were right there with them, as we too know what it feels like to take the roads less traveled. Can anyone share some good stories about taking the road less traveled?
This past year, Texas State Parks have experienced some of our worst luck ever: Blistering heat, drought and the worst wild fires in history. The damages we’re just monetary, although that number is absurdly substantial, it’s the lives that we’re affected the most, the lost of home, property and livestock. I won’t even mention the ecological toll it took.
There is always light at the end of the tunnel and RV Nana and PPL Motorhomes have seen a little of that light in an email that came across my “desk”. Please read below, I’ve reprinted it here in full and included links so you can help Central Texas get back on their feet. It’s one of the most beautiful places to RV and we want to do everything we can to help:
Dear Jennifer Vogt,
I am reaching out to you because you have been a supporter of Texas State Parks. As you may know, record drought and heat, devastating wildfires, and a drop in visitation have led to a critical situation for state parks.
As a result, we need $4.6 million to offset this shortfall and help keep these state parks open. Thankfully there are three simple ways to help:
Second, write in a donation of $5 or more to state parks on your vehicle registration form when you register your motor vehicle by mail, at your local county tax office, or online in counties which offer online payment.
Sincerely, Carter Smith
P.S. If you would like to keep up with what is happening in our state parks, I invite you to subscribe <www.tpwd.state.tx.us/email> to free email updates of your choice, including the State Parks Getaways e-newsletter and much more.
For more information on how you can help get our Texas State Parks back on their feet, just contact PPL Motorhomes, we can direct you to organizations that truly need your help.
This is wonderful information for the Texas RV owner and auto owner. I don’t know how many times we have gone into a state of panic the day before we are taking our trailer out when we happen to see that the license has expired. I think it goes back to the old out of sight, out of mind thought. Receiving an email notification will definitely get my attention and it’s better for me to notice the tag needs to be renewed by a friendly email reminder than have a police officer pull me over to tell me they have expired. However, if you misplaced or deleted your renewal notice you can still renew the registration if you provide your county tax office with:
Your license receipt from the previous year
Your license plate number, or
Your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN)
It’s just that easy. Also your county tax office can also send out another renewal notice to you as long as there’s enough time left before your registration is set to expire.
Now if you don’t think that renewing your tags isn’t all that important, then keep in mind that allowing your registration to expire keeps you from renewing online or by mail. Furthermore, you could receive a ticket (up to $200) if you drive the vehicle on expired tags beyond the five-day grace period.
YIKES! That’s a lot of tacos…
For most of us, forgetting to renew the tags on your RV or car isn’t an issue, just remember that it can cost you some big bucks if you let it go.
Have any questions or comments for RV Nana or PPL Motorhomes, leave us a comment or give us a call.
Family adventures are not new if you are a part of the RV community, but for those just starting to think about joining the RV lifestyle, consider all of the family reunions, cook-offs, historic sites, and folk festivals out there for you to experience. Some families plan all their RV travels around NASCAR races, or ball games. Your goal may be to get close to nature in a state park, or experience thrill-a-minute camping right inside Disney World. Whatever your trip, RV spells FUN for both kids and adults.
Whether you’re a seasoned RVer or a newbie, an owner or RV renter, everything changes when your kids or grandkids are on board. How can you keep ‘em safe on the road while giving them an experience they’ll always remember?
Before You Go
How do you pack? Remember space is limited. When using campground bathrooms, it’s handy to have a bag with handles that can hang on a hook or nail. There is seldom enough clean, dry space to hold one’s toiletries, towel, washcloth, and change of clothes. Bring shower clogs, too.
RVs differ from other small vacation homes in one big way: They travel at highway speeds. So, everything must be firmly stowed before the RV moves. A toaster left on the counter top becomes a deadly missile in a panic stop. Left unlatched, a cupboard door opens when you round a corner and everything spills out.
It’s a good idea to have the youngsters can help with pre-start checklists just like the ones airline pilots use. And, have a fire drill so children know where all exits are. Many RVs have emergency window exits in addition to entry doors. Together, walk completely around the RV before starting up to make sure nothing is still hooked up, hanging out, or left behind.
On the Road
Buckle up. Seat belts — and perhaps a booster seat — are a must, whether or not RVs are required to have them in your state. If your RV doesn’t have belts for everyone on board, have them installed by an RV expert who knows where and how to anchor them. Seat belts rule even during naps. In our RV, no bathroom or refrigerator visits are permitted while the RV is in motion.
Look for roadside stops about once every 60 to 90 minutes. Let the kids loose to toss a ball, play Frisbee, and otherwise let off steam.
Enlist the kids as navigators. You’ll never hear “Are we there yet?” if you put the grandkids in charge of tracking your route on a map. Have them exercise their math skills by figuring out how far you’ve come, and how far to your next destination.
State-run welcome stations are always worth a special stop. They have clean rest rooms, plenty of parking space for big rigs, and free travel information, including campground brochures.
Be on alert for motion sickness. Visibility in the cockpit of an RV is excellent, but back-seaters see less of the view and more motion — such as swaying curtains or towels swinging on their racks. The chief antidotes to motion sickness are a good view of the horizon, plenty of fresh air and/or a motion sickness pill taken 30 minutes before the ride begins.
The United States has about 16,000 campgrounds ranging from public lands to lavish resorts. Public parks offer more space but fewer amenities; resort campsites are usually crowded together.
Choose campgrounds that offer lots to do: swimming, playgrounds, miniature golf, fishing. Most commercial campgrounds also have a video arcade, pool table, or other hangout for teens. Resort campgrounds often feature hayrides, water slides, square dancing, tennis courts, and Wi-Fi access. State parks have ranger-led activities.
Mature, responsible kids might prefer to sleep in a tent next to the RV. Some campgrounds allow one RV and one tent per site.
Campgrounds have rules about pets, quiet hours, fires, pool hours and how many people can stay on one campsite. Respect them.
Have treats and games to bring out when kids get bored, keeping a few surprises in reserve for rainy days. Make popcorn. Teach kids to use a pie iron over the campfire. Practice scouting skills such as geo-caching and GPS hiking. Collect seashells or rocks. Make scrapbooks. Keep a journal. And remember that simply watching a campfire and telling tall tales in the dark still has amazing appeal.
Know who is responsible for each child at all times. In the outdoors, one of the best safety devices is a whistle for each person. Even small fry can whistle for help.
Everyone has more fun when the kids are part of the camping team. Assign age-appropriate chores.
Appetites swell outdoors. Be prepared to serve seconds, even to picky eaters.
Fancy campgrounds don’t allow clotheslines outdoors, so have a plan for dealing with all the wet swimsuits, damp towels, and soggy shoes.
Many young people today are inseparable from their electronics. Use this to your advantage by bringing wholesome movies on DVD or tuning in to helpful podcasts. Then again, you may want to consider banning cell phones and music players so the kids can focus on the people and places around them. RV Nana prefers this for her grandchildren. There is so much to see while RVing and you can’t do that with your head buried in your video game console.
Often I think about what the RV lifestyle has meant to me and to my family. Not just me and my husband, but our kids and our grandchildren. I can come up with a list that would take days for you to read; both positives and a couple of negatives. I try to picture my life without our RV…I can’t. I even try to picture our life without the simplest forms of travel…I can’t.
You see RVing is more than a lifestyle, it quickly becomes a passion. RVing is as much a part of you as the style of clothes you wear. For our family, going RVing is something that is as expected as the rising sun. I guess what I’m trying to say is that RVing for me and my family has been more than a blessing, it has been an entirely different life.
Our children grew up as we were learning the ropes, and our grandchildren are growing up around seasoned Vets now. There is no doubt in my mind that they too will not only continue with the RV lifestyle in their futures, but will have thousands of stories to tell about how they chose to be proponents of outdoor life.
As I reflect further, I realize that RVing is one of our last great frontiers. Not all of us can afford the million dollar price tag to be shot out into space for an hour, or whatever the new fad is. However, I’ve seen more “alien” worlds in our RV than most astronauts. Geysers, Giant Redwoods, amazing canyons, winding rivers and streams overflowing with life.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that instead of wishing your could find something different in life, why not stop searching and start traveling. You might be surprised that the peace of mind or life long experience you are looking for was just down the road.
When you are ready and want to buy your first RV or your fifth, give PPL Motorhomes a call first. We can educate, inform and we’re not to bad at a little entertainment either.
There are many reasons you should consign your RV through PPL Motorhomes, but 2 really stand out. First, you now have the opportunity to upgrade your current RV after your consigned RV sells. Second, it’s simply a great environmental choice. There is less waste involved in building a new product and there are still thousands upon thousands of miles left that RV can travel. Why pay more for new when you can get more for less at PPL Motorhomes?
RV Consignment has been the specialty of PPL Motor Homes since 1972 with the experience of selling over 24,300 consigned RVs. PPL is the Largest Consignment Dealer in the USA. Go to Ready to sell or watch this video, it has some really great information that I know you will not only find helpful, but might give you a little education about the consignment process that you didn’t know about.
Also, check out our booklet. It will give you all the information you’d ever need to know about consigning your RV…and it’s FREE!
When it comes to the bottom line, when you are looking for a new RV, but really don’t want to go through the hassle of finding a buyer for your old RV, let PPL Motorhomes do all of the work for you!
Since the year is just kicking off, I thought it might be a good time to discuss rules and regulations of parks across America. Tenants without rules quickly get out of hand, but too many rules make park living miserable for everyone. Rules must be enforced and enforced evenly for the most part or there is no point to them.
All RV parks must follow rules set down for them by the state and county. You see, not all of rules you see are of the park’s doing and quite often county bureaucrats who have never camped in their lives will try to apply rules to transient RV parks that make sense only for homeowners or benefit only nearby homeowners.
I’m a free spirit, but I do understand the need for rules. I don’t want to stay in a park where all the long-termers have bunches of broken stuff, or an entire living room set sitting outside their RVs. I agree with keeping things picked up and out of sight. I don’t want to stay in a park where children are running wild with no parental supervision at all. I don’t want to stay in a park with unmaintained ugly RVs. I like to see well maintained lawns. But I also like to see fellow RVers asserting their individuality and creativity with decorations, lawn ornaments, flags, lights (preferably solar powered), etc. I don’t have an issue with older rigs that still look decent or the usual BBQs, patio furniture, bikes, etc. being around. Rules can be good and healthy. However, sometimes parks can go too far when there is no flexibility.
This year, make it a point to know the rules of the park as well as voice any opinion you may have about certain park rules. You may find that there is nothing that the park can do about your complaint, but if they can, and you have a legitimate complaint, then voice your opinion. You will be helping that RV Park better understand the needs of it’s RVers. Just like we do at PPL Motorhomes.
You drive hours on end to get to your destination. When you finally arrive, you find the camping spot for your fifth when camper is not stable. This is an all too familiar occurrence for many RV enthusiasts, but it doesn’t have to be if you know what to do. PPL Motorhomes and RV Nana Have a solution.
Uneven Ground Makes an Unsafe RV
Any time your fifth-wheel is unstable, it will shake. You may have experienced this when you tried to sleep; maybe you were laying there and felt a wobble of sorts. This is not only disconcerting to experience, but it’s not really a safe condition for you or your family. That is why it is always important to find level ground for your trailer.
Still, finding level ground is not always easy. After all, when you go to a campsite, you have to take what they give you. While most campsites will be somewhat level, years of different motorhomes coming in and out of the site makes the ground a little uneven.
5th Wheel Stabilizer
When the ground is not even, a stabilizer comes in very handy. They attach to the front, typically at the king pin to act as a stabilizer to level the fifth-wheel and reduce movement. They come in both electric and manual styles for your convenience and ease of use.
There are several types of stabilizing jacks available: C-shaped stabilizer, telescoping jack stabilizer, hydraulic jack, and tripod jack. To find out which one you would like the best, you would need to research each. However, many campers prefer the tripod jack.
Checking the Adjustments
The most important part of a stabilizer is its ability to adjust. The good ones will let you perform height adjustments by moving the feet. The footpads should be easy to move both inward and outward, even when attached to a trailer.
Minor adjustments should also be made. This is what gets you the best “fit” for your RV. Generally, these are made with a turn screw adjacent with a stabilized adjusting level (like the kind you see on camera tripods and carpentry levels.) Remember, if it is not easy to adjust, then you will not use it. Therefore, thoroughly check the ease of adjustment before you buy.
Checking the Weight Limit
While it should go without saying, if a stabilizer doesn’t have the ability to support your RV, then it is pointless. You can expect to pay somewhere around $100 for a stabilizer that can hold up to 5,000 lbs. More weight means more money.
A stabilizer makes traveling in your Fifth-Wheel much easier and safer. Once you start using one, you will wonder how you ever camped without it.
We hear all of the time about dogs being left in hot vehicles. Well the same precautions with an RV should be taken when the weather begins to heat up. At PPL Motorhomes we understand that one of the facts of life inherent in RVing is the need for climate control in the vehicle, and when accompanied by pets, it is imperative that cooling systems not fail when the vehicle is parked. Even the best maintained systems can hiccup; generators can lay down, and that can be fatal for a pet left in the camper while the rest of the family is away.
Did you know that you can safeguard your traveling companion with an alarm system that plugs into the cigarette lighter, designed to send a call to a designated cell phone number or even a two-way radio if the temperature rises above or falls below a margin you set as your safe climate zone for your pets. Most will continue to alert you at intervals of two or three minutes until the temperature is stabilized within acceptable levels once again. An additional measure is to place an emergency rescue sign in a prominent window of your RV, letting anyone assisting in an emergency know there are pets that may be in need of rescue as well as what kind they are.
While you should never, ever leave your dog unattended at a campsite, there are times when you’d like to be able to let the dog out without being tethered to you or a stake out. You can’t, in most places, leave your dog off leash, so it can be a problem. Invest in a portable exercise pen! They are typically sold in panels that hook together and fold flat to accommodate the storage limitations of an RV. You can get them in varying heights and different numbers of panels, and add panels to create a larger space so your dog can have his own little backyard home away from home and you can man the grill without four footed assistance.
Planning ahead can help you keep track of your pooch while hooked up. Losing a pet while away from home is tragic; often a dog or cat who would ordinarily find their way back home becomes disoriented because “home” is a moving target. Before you make the first reservation, seriously consider having your pet microchipped. Also, invest in a tag or plate for their collar with your name and a number where you or a responsible person can be reached. It’s fairly safe to speculate that everyone who has ever lost a pet while traveling thought, “it will never happen to me.”
While on the road, it’s best if your pet is contained. A sudden stop can turn a pet into a living projectile, injuring you and injuring — or killing your pet. After all, you wouldn’t dream of letting a child bounce around a moving vehicle! There are a variety of ways to restrain your pet in comfort and safety, depending on the size of your pet and your preference.
The most common is, naturally, the crate. If you’re using a crate, settle it in a secure space in the RV and make certain it won’t slide around or end up hurtling through the vehicle in case of a sudden stop or impact. Strapping it in place is definitely a good idea. Another possibility for small dogs is a dog car seat. These belt into a seat similarly to a child’s car seat. The dog is then harnessed into the seat — usually a padded box like set-up. One of the nice features of most of these car seats is they allow a small dog to sit up high enough to see out of the windows and catch the breeze.
Larger dogs have the option of harnesses that belt directly into the existing seat belts. They allow the dog to sit up and look out of the window and flaunt their gypsy existence to less fortunate canines.
At PPL Motorhomes, we have a lot of really great accessories for you and your pet to make your trip both more enjoyable and safer. Check out what we have to offer.
OK, if you ask any one of us at PPL Motorhomes you’ll hear literally hundreds of reasons to join the RV lifestyle. There are so many, in fact, that RV Nana has to narrow it down to just 10. Really though, I come up with at least 10 new reasons to go RVing every time we hit the road, so I’ll constantly add and adjust this list….there really are just so many wonderful reasons. I guess you have to figure them out for yourself too.
If you have a hint of the RV itch, then here are 10 common reasons for taking an RV vacation:
Getting Back to Nature: If you are interested in the great outdoors, an RV is a great way to vacation. You can visit state or national parks, tour famous landmarks and simply enjoy some fresh air and natural settings. Take a hike or go fishing. Try white water rafting or canoeing. Play some golf, go swimming, ride your bike. Get some exercise or simply do nothing but enjoy your surroundings.
The Comforts of Home: With an RV vacation, you can have the best of both worlds. Enjoy the great outdoors with more creature comforts than tent camping. Whether you own an RV or try a rental, most RVs are well equipped. You will likely have a kitchen with microwave, fridge and stove, a TV and VCR, beds, living and dining areas and bathroom with shower. Many RVs have slide out rooms that increase the size of the living area at the touch of a button. You can sit outside under your awning, get out of the rain if the weather changes, and turn on the air conditioner if it gets too hot.
Family Matters: Family members of all ages tend to connect with each other when they are away from their normal routine enjoying a simpler lifestyle. Remember that family togetherness can be a double-edged sword. While the RV is comfortable, it is a small living area for a large family. If you are renting, bear this in mind in choosing the size of your rental RV. During the day, try to spend time outdoors or in different activities, so that each family member gets a bit of personal space and time for themselves. But the minor logistics can be managed.
The general consensus among RVing families is that an RV vacation tends to bring the family closer together with more communication and the sharing of good times.
Cool for Kids: An RV vacation can be a great way to travel with children. They can go out to play or take part in campground activities. There are likely to be other kids to meet and new places to explore. Children of all ages will enjoy an old-fashioned campfire complete with stories, songs and stargazing. And most kids think it’s pretty cool to be in an RV “home on wheels”.
Campgrounds: There are many choices in campgrounds and RV parks. In peak season and tourist areas, you should make reservations. Look for the amenities that are important to you. Campgrounds may have swimming pools, lakes, boating, fishing ponds, miniature golf, playgrounds, hiking trails, game rooms, walking or bike paths, tennis courts and activities for kids and adults. You may find dances, barbecues, contests or other entertainment. Consider the size and setting of the campsites and check out overall campground ratings in campground directories. Also consider proximity to other attractions or landmarks that you want to visit on your RV vacation.
Flexibility: In an RV, you have the flexibility to change locations if you get the whim. But take this with a grain of salt. For popular destinations, you may not be able to pick up and find another campground without a reservation. You also want to strike the right balance between seeing different areas, the amount of time spent driving and ensuring you have enough time to relax. Cautions aside, an RV can give you a lot of freedom and spontaneity. RV travel appeals to an inner pioneering spirit and allows you to create your own adventure as you go along your way. You can explore the country at your own pace or take off for last minute mini-vacations, tailgating events and weekend trips. There are all sorts of destinations for an RV vacation.
Affordability: The question of whether it is cheaper to take an RV vacation doesn’t have a “one size fits all” answer. The comparison really depends on the type of vacations you would take instead, as well as the way in which you plan to RV. For a one-time trip, you can compare the costs of renting a suitable RV to the costs of hotels, airfare or other means of travel. Or if you are considering regular RV vacations, you may want to purchase a motorhome or towable trailer. In this case, you would need to factor in operating costs, maintenance and the purchase price. In an RV from PPL Motorhomes, you can save money by cooking meals at home vs. dining out. You can minimize expenses if you take advantage of activities and amenities already included in the campground rate. Fuel expenses can be managed by reducing the distances traveled and staying longer at a given campground or park.
Driving the RV: Driving yourself gives you control over where you go and the pace of your travel. You don’t have the hassle of airline counters and keeping to schedules. You can stop and take a break when you choose. You don’t need a special license to drive an RV. Sure, it takes some getting used to — but the number of RVs on the road should tell you that it is doable. Practice on your own (or with one other person) before you load up your passengers. Take advantage of any classes available through your dealer or one of the many RV organizations.
How about a relaxing vacation for a change? How many times have you returned from a trip saying you need a vacation from the vacation? Now don’t kid yourself – if you are the type who likes to schedule all the details of a trip, that’s not going to change simply because you are traveling in an RV. But in choosing an RV vacation, you may shift your thinking and be more apt to use your time off as an opportunity to truly relax and unwind.
Test out the RV Lifestyle: The RV vacation may serve as a test drive to gauge your overall interest in the RV lifestyle. There are RVers who spend several weeks per year in RV travel. Other RVers take off for months. Snowbirds are RVers who make an annual trek to warmer climates for the winter season. And then there are fulltime RVers whose only home is their RV. Many of these people started out by vacationing in an RV as a way to try out the RV lifestyle.
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.