April 22, 2013 is Earth Day . What does Earth Day mean to you? Do you even know what Earth Day is? Do you know what it is about? Have you really thought about the impact that you make on this planet? I mean, have you REALLY thought about it? It’s not enough for just some of us to take responsibility for recycling, not littering, using less fossil fuels and caring for all of our flora and fauna.
I know that being and RVer can be a double edged sword sometimes. Here we are, with the urge to travel and explore, but that takes, in many cases, a lot of fuel. As a consequence we are not only using fossil fuels, but we are also emitting toxins into the air. Even further, when we visit our favorite parks and forests, I know that we do our best to leave as small of a footprint as we can, but we still have trash, refuse and black and grey water residuals to take care of.
Now this doesn’t me that as RVers we are hypocrites. I think that, in fact, we are quite the opposite. More than most we are very cognizant of the type of carbon foot prints we leave in the areas we visit. We are also some of the first people to make donations or contribute to the conservation of wildlife and forestry! I know many RVers who are members of conservations groups. I also know that they are leaders in their neighborhoods when it comes to recycling and spreading the word of how and why we should keep Texas beautiful.
I think that the bottom line is that when it really comes down to it, everyday is Earth Day. When we go RVing, I for one really am really grateful for everything that we get to see and do outdoors. It’s always a shame to see the slow deterioration of our planet and the places we like to visit. We all should be hypersensitive to the condition of our environment. Not just when we are are RVing, but all of the time.
All of us here at PPL Motorhomes are proud and happy to have the ability to anywhere we want, anytime we want…for now. It’s up to all of us to keep it that way. Remember, April 22nd, 2013 may be Earth Day…but so should every day be for that matter.
OH, BOY, Poison Ivy is back! That 3 leafed terror of nature and destroyer of vacation fun is starting to rear it’s ugly head once again. What should you look for in order to avoid coming in contact with this pesky foliage and what do you do if you do happen to brush up against some while exploring your outdoor wonderland?
First, know what to look for:
Here’s another picture: Note the 3 leaves
What does a poison ivy rash look like and how does it feel? Well, it feels like a constant burning and desire to scratch. Avoid scratching, you can actually spread the oils over other parts of your skin and infect other areas. Also, if you think you’ve come in contact with poison ivy, you should wash the infected area with oil cutting soap, like a dish washing liquid within 10 minutes of contact. Obviously you need to wash your clothes immediately. Animals can carry the oils on their fur too, so if you and your pooch went for a walk out in the woods, just know that they could have picked up some oil on their fur that can be transferred to you as well.
This is what a poison ivy rash looks like:
Looks pretty nasty, huh? You can actually see where the vine made contact. This looks extremely painful. If you are allergic and have had bouts with poison ivy, than you already know this to be true. That actually leads me to an interesting side note, not everyone will feel the effects of poison ivy, you actually have to be allergic to it to respond with blistering. Now keep in mind, if you aren’t allergic now, you can actually develop the allergy in the future, so your best bet is to just avoid the plant altogether.
Here’s a great video on what to look for and how you can help relieve some of the discomfort. Any local pharmacy will have any number of creams you can apply to help with the itching.
Sometimes we are having so much fun out doors in our RVs and camping that we forget that Mother Nature isn’t always nice. There are a variety of plants and animals out there whose defensive mechanisms can be very painful, if not down right dangerous when encountered. A very sever reaction to poison ivy can actually land you in the hospital, so be careful out there.
However, don’t let that keep you from going RVing and enjoying the outdoors. You know as well as I do that there isn’t anything like having the freedom to go anywhere you want, anytime you want in your new, or RV. Give PPL Motorhomes a call when you are ready to tackle the RV lifestyle and come and take a look at some of the fantastic consignment RVs we have to help you hit the road this Spring and Summer.
As an RVer, you know that there are sometimes when we need to either make and unscheduled stop and spend the night in a business’ parking lot. Wal-Mart is a good example. If you plan on doing this, whether the stop is planned, or not there are certain thing that you are responsible for as a guest of that business. And yes, you are a guest and should behave as one. We call it our “Good Traveling Neighbor Policy“.
If you are planning on touring and area and thing it’s a good idea to skip out on a traditional camp site so you can essential sat “free” at a local business’ park lot, think again. First of all, you should get permission from the business owners, or manager before you start setting up shop. Many cities actually have ordinances against boondocking at local businesses. So check if you are even allowed to stay there first.
Next, and only if it is “OK”, don’t stay longer than one night. This is not only rude, but it can affect that business’ traffic, which is something you certainly don’t want to do. Being a nuisance will only make those business’ less receptive towards other RVers who are looking for a place to layover in the future. Most complaints by business’ are have to do with both having a giant RV disrupting the aesthetics of their business as well as the abuse of their good nature for even letting you stay the night.
Here’s a good list to keep in mind when you need to boondock at a place other than a designated camping site. It’s a little blurry, but I think you can still read it and, honestly, it’s all common sense.
The bottom line is that if a place of business and the city ordinance allows you to stay a night in a parking lot, use your better judgement. Don’t start blazing your BBQ. Don’t throw a party. Keep you presence as unnoticed as possible. You will not only be doing yourself a favor and earning the trust of those business, but you are also an ambassador for RVers everywhere. If you decide to abuse the kindness of local business, be prepared to be asked to leave.
Here’s a reminder, it’s always a good idea to call ahead instead of just assuming you can stay the night. Laying over in a local lot can either be a Godsend or a nightmare, it’s hat’ entirely up to you…and mare sure you, at the very least, thank them for their generosity. If you have any questions about travel and boondocking at local lot’s, give PPL Motorhomes a call and we can give you more tips and hints. In fact, we probably can help with a few RV friendly places for future layover.
With the seeming hyperspeed of technological progress these day, our smart phone and tablets can be sources of essential information, excellent education and hours of entertainment. I absolutely love my iPad and use it daily for communication, writing some of these blogs and entertainment, of course. At PPL Motorhomes, we hear about new apps all of the time that our customers could probably really put to good use. Whether it’s for travel, information or education, a good ap for your smart phone can make a huge difference on some of our trips.
I did some very brief research and was looking for a list of a few apps that would be good to have while taking an RV trip, out exploring nature or educating you on things you may have never really looked into. These are just a few I found that were suggested by Texas Parks And Wildlife Magazine and thought you might be interested in them as well.
iBird Pro ($19.99-$29.99) – It’s available for both the iPhone and the Android. Now if you are into bird watching, of which I’m starting to appreciate more. This is a good one to look into. There are a lot of very nice apps out there, but the iBird Pro has a really nice user interface and great content with detailed information, paintings, photographs and several “song” variations for 926 North American birds. It also has a pretty elaborate search function for finding birds by various marks.
Audubon Apps ($5-$20+) Also available for iPhone and Android, Audubon makes many nature apps, including ones for birds, mammals, butterflies, insects, spiders, reptiles, amphibians, trees, mushrooms, wildflowers and fish. This one is probably the most comprehensive one I’ve found, but the user interface takes a little getting adjusted to, but this is still one of the best guides available.
Maps & Navigation
MotionX GPS (iPhone- 99¢) First of all you can’t beat the price! This is an excellent GPS and navigation app and is loaded with features. The user interface is beautiful and allows for downloading various maps that you can use when you are outside of cell range. Basically, you won’t have to rely on your “bar” count and can make it in and out of the most remote locations in the country.
GPS Essentials (Android-FREE) Nothing beats FREE though. This is a great app and I found that it has a lot of the same features as the MotionX GPS.
GeographTX (iPhone- $4.99) The cool thing about his app is it’s uniqueness in it’s ability of displaying dozens of different map layers like vegetation, geology, hydrology, terrain, public lands, land use and more.
Maplets (iPhone-$2.99) This one enables users to download official park and recreation maps for thousands of sites across the country.
Topo Maps (iPhone-$7.99) Provides downloadable, GPS enables, topographical maps for the entire U.S. This one is extremely handy for traveling in remote areas for cellular connections.
Star Walk (iPhone- $2.99) One of the great things about getting out of the city in your RV is the ability to actually see some starts! Well, now you can put a planetarium in your pocket. This app uses a compass and an accelerometer so that your view is always properly aligned with the stars you’re seeing. It’s and incredible tool for learning constellations, planets and stars.
Whether you are a a veteran RVer, or just bought your first consignment RV, use the modern tools at hand like your smartphones or tablet to really take your RVing experiences and adventures to another level. If you have any questions or additional suggestions on how we can use technology to make RVing more enjoyable, don’t hesitate to call PPL Motorhomes in Houston, or New Braunfels and share your favorite apps.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be an RVer. I mean, what does it really mean? What do non-RVers think about RVing? Sometimes I think that many people may think of RVing as committing long durations of time traveling, or being on the road uncomfortably long. Most of these people actually aren’t RVers at all. I think of these people really as just travelers trying to get from point A to point B. They get in their cars and drive to their destination and continue going about their business. The trip itself is just a necessary evil. The non-RVer sees the driving part as “the boring part of this trip that must be endured”. I can see how a traveler would be disgruntled with the trip, squashed into a single position for long durations of time in a tiny car or even an SUV. It’s just not a great time. This is just simply not the case for us RVers.
In a motorhome, being on the road is different. It’s relaxing and comfortable. You can enjoy the scenery without readjusting your position because your leg has fallen asleep. You can freely move around and stretch is different areas of your RV. You can eat, and stretch out or take a nap. It’s like you never left the house. Remember the aforementioned “travelers” just wanting the get from Point A to Point B? Well, for RVers, that can be one of the most exciting times of the trip.
RVing gives you the freedom to go anywhere and do anything you want. You can have all of the comforts of home. You can spend the rest of your life in and RV, or you can spend a weekend. There are many different reasons why people buy new or used RV, but there is one universal reason: Freedom. Regardless if it’s just for the weekend or you are like these people.
If you are ready to take that step and experience the wonderful RV lifestyle and stop just “traveling” and start “exploring”, call RV Nana at PPL Motorhomes.
It can be both relaxing and instantaneously exciting. Goin’ fishin’. I remember the first time I first dropped a line in the water, patiently waiting for that nibble. I took my time baiting my hook, made the best cast I could and fixed my eyes on the red an white bobber silently hoping to catch my first fish. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but when I got that first mite and I saw the bobber dip below the water line I jumped up and yelled, “FISH”! I was 6 at the time and it made such an impression on me that I remember it to this day. It was a tiny sunfish. I was so proud.
Of course, tens of thousands of kids experience this every year with Dads, Moms, Nanas and Papas by their side to enjoy their excitement with them and RVing can be a great way to enjoy a wonder first fishing trip with your kids, or grand children. You’ll have all of the comforts of home, but also be able to enjoy the lake, river or fishery.
In fact many young anglers catch their first fish at places like the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens Texas. Young anglers can learn how to bait a hook at the 1.2 acre stocked fishing pond. They can catch sunfish and catfish all year. Plus rainbow trout are stocked from December through March. The best part about this fishery is that you don’t need a fishing license for adults or kids, and all bait and tackle are furnished.
Visitors to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries center can also explore the 300,000 gallons of aquariums with native Texas fish, watch daily dive shows, take a tram tour of the hatchery and walk the wetland trail for bird watching and turtle spotting.
Owing an RV is a great way to not just travel, but also take memorable trips places like the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. Give PPL Motorhomes a call and we can help you have a great reason to hang a “Gone Fishin'” sign on your RV door.
I have been with PPL Motor Homes since 1980 and have been fortunate enough to grow up with the company. A native Houstonian, I have been blessed with years of wonderful experiences and memories of RVing with family and friends. With 3 children, 8 grandchildren and a ton of friends who I refer to as my adopted family, I was a Nana long before I became RV Nana. I was blessed to have shared this lifestyle with my late husband, a Cajun from Lafayette, and his spirit will live on in all of us as we continue down the road of life.
My life with PPL has given me so many wonderful chapters, from sharing my RV experiences as RV Nana to working with the Texas Campground Owners Association and holding the position of President of the Texas RV Association from 2011-2013, so it’s easy to see that the RV lifestyle is my style. Watch for me on the road …I’m the one with the RV Nana license plates on my car and RV, and share your RV experiences with me. See you soon!