MaxxAir Low Profile Deluxe Vent

MaxxAir keeps The RV Nana 2 cool!

MaxxAir keeps the RV Nana 2 nice and cool!

Some folks say we have four seasons here in Texas: Almost Summer, Summer, Still Summer, and then when all that is finished we get to have August. Yay!

Right now, we’re in that portion of the year that’s sandwiched in between August and Almost Summer…we’re starting to get those cool evenings here in Texas, the kind that never seem to stay long enough. With the “cooler” weather here, there are nights when the AC is off and, depending on where we’re parked, the windows are open. Isn’t that nice? Yes it is, but it can get a little stuffy if there’s no breeze.

open

Before installation.

Which brings me to the MaxxAir Low Profile Deluxe Vent. This is a complete package ventilation system! It combines roof vent, fan, thermostat, intake, and exhaust, and depending on model, it’s remote operated. The remote allows control for opening and closing, temperature controls, fan speed, etc. The 12V fan runs quietly on sealed bearings, is fuse protected, has 10 separate speeds, and circulates 900 cubic feet of air per minute! The remote operated vent fits into a standard 14×14″ roof opening fitted to most RV’s. If you choose a model that is not remote operated, then there is a keypad on the fan itself for controlling all functions. There is an insect screen which is very simple to remove for cleaning with no tools needed.

open

Open…

So with these beautiful cool evenings we are currently experiencing, now is the perfect time to get those vent systems automated! Click link below for details:

MaxxAir Low Profile Deluxe Vent

closed

… and closed.

What do y’all think of remote operated RV systems? What would you like to see offered with a remote controlled option? Drop a line in the comment section below and tell us about it. We’re always on the lookout for new products to offer. Don’t forget to swing by PPL Motorhomes before you hit the road for any items you may need!

Be a Good Neighbor When You Overnight in a Parking Lot

Overnight parking. phot from: http://rv-roadtrips.thefuntimesguide.com/2009/12/rv_parking-2.php

Photo from: http://rv-roadtrips.thefuntimesguide.com/2009/12/rv_parking-2.php

I read this in the September/October issue of RVing Women and it’s a great set of guidelines for those times you find yourself without a campsite and need to overnight in a parking lot. The individual points are common sense of course, but sometimes when it’s late and we’re tired and road weary, that common sense has a way of wandering off. The last thing we want is to ruin a good thing for an entire community of good folks traveling.

On page 55 it says:

Industry-sanctioned Code of Conduct (RVers’ Good Neighbor Policy)

  1. Stay one night only!
  2. Obtain permission from a qualified individual
  3. Obey posted regulations
  4. No awnings, chairs, or barbeque grills
  5. Do not use hydraulic jacks on soft surfaces (including asphalt)
  6. Always leave the area cleaner than you found it
  7. Purchase gas, food, or supplies as a form of thank you, when feasible
  8. Be safe! Always be aware of your surroundings and leave if you feel unsafe.

These rules are fairly well known and easy to comply with. You just have to realize that your being there overnight needs to have the smallest impact possible on the folks who are there everyday. Rule #5 and #6 are the two biggies because they run the highest risk of moving from a minor irritation to actually costing those folks money to either clean up behind you, or repave where you parked. Jacks pressed into asphalt turn into potholes after a few rains or snow.

We RVers are a responsible, friendly community and we have to ensure that the people we come in contact with leave with that impression as well. There is nothing better after a long day on the road than meeting people that are RV friendly and willing to lend a helping hand. If there is anything you need on the road, please visit us at PPL Motorhomes!

 

 

 

Nana’s Recipes: Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup

If I give y’all a wonderful fall recipe, will summer here in Texas finally end? I don’t know, but I’m willing to do my part and that ought to count for something!

Tortilla soup is a wonderful thing to have warm on the stove when folks come in from the cool — it has a little spice to it, it’s filling, and it leaves that “happiness in your mouth” feeling that lasts for the rest of the day. Oddly enough, it’s also one of those dishes that mature by the second day into an even more flavorful meal, so if you want to give it a try, cook up a batch the day before company arrives. The RV will smell great, and your visitors will begin drooling by the time they open the screen door!

We’re going to make some Tortilla soup that, in my opinion, has more of a traditional Mexican flavor. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 Pasilla chile, dried
  • 1 Ancho chile, dried
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2: purple onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1/2 tbsp Cilantro, chopped
  • Bag of tortilla chips
  • 3-4 oz shredded cheese of your choice (Monterrey, Cheddar, or even Feta works)
  • 1-2 Avocados, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Mexican sour cream
  • (optional) – cut a couple chicken thighs into strips, fajita sized, and add if desired

First boil the chiles in a small pot until they soften. Once they’re soft (and have cooled down!) remove stem and seeds. Then put the chilies along with the copped tomatoes and onion, the garlic, and about a half cup of the chicken broth into a blender and puree well.

Put the remaining chicken broth into a large pot, add in the chile puree mixture and the chopped cilantro, and salt to taste. Serve with tortilla chips in separate bowl so folks can garnish their soup to taste. Feel free to add some strips of chicken (thighs) to fill it out into a hearty soup. ENJOY!

What is your favorite fall soup? Let us know in the comment section below, we’d love to try it! And remember, check PPLmotorhomes.com for all your RV needs!

Hit the Mississippi Blues Trail, RV Style

Hopson Plantation, MS. photo form: http://www.debseitz.com/miss09.htm

Hopson Plantation, MS. Photo source

Mississippi is the birthplace of the blues. One of Mississippi’s most famous sons, Muddy Waters, said “The blues had a baby, and they named it Rock and Roll.” By that token, Mississippi is the grandparent of Rock and Roll — quite a musical family, especially when you think that Mississippi’s next door neighbor is Louisiana, where jazz was born. Blues came out of hard times, and there are still hard times in Mississippi, but there is also a thriving blues-based tourist industry as well, with folks traveling from all over the world to soak up the music and culture that helped give birth to most forms of modern American music.

Crossroads of Hwy 61 and 49, Clarksdale, MS. photo from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarksdale,_Mississippi

Crossroads of Hwy 61 and 49, Clarksdale, MS. Photo source.

We’ll start today’s journey at the fabled crossroads: Clarksdale, Mississippi, the town at the junction of Hwy 61 and 49, where Robert Johnson himself was reputed to have sold his soul to the devil in exchange for mastery of the guitar. Clarksdale is also home of the Delta Blues Museum, the Juke Joint Festival in April, the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival in August, as well as world famous juke joints like Red’s, Ground Zero, and Shack Up Inn. At the Shack Up, you can rent real shotgun shacks that have been “renovated” into hotel rooms for folks who’d like to sit on the porch,watch the cropdusters spraying the cotton fields surrounding the hotel, and listen to live blues music in the converted cotton gin, renamed the Juke Joint Chapel.

Lightnin Malcolm playing the Juke Joint Chapel at Shack Up Inn. photo from: https://www.facebook.com/142957862420209/photos/a.318012458248081.70036.142957862420209/318012474914746/?type=1&theater

Lightnin Malcolm playing the Juke Joint Chapel at Shack Up Inn. Photo source.

To the south of Clarksdale, on Hwy 49 past Indianola (birthplace of BB King), Belzoni, and Yazoo City is Bentonia, home of Mississippi’s oldest surviving juke joint, the Blue Front Cafe. Bentonia’s most famous blues player, Skip James, used to play at the Blue Front. You may remember Skip James’ most famous song “Hard Times” from the movie “O Brother Where Art Thou” where the Tommy Johnson character plays the haunting melody around the camp fire. Jimmy “Duck” Holmes is the current proprietor, as well as one of the last remaining Bentonian bluesmen.

Blue Front Cafe, Bentonia, MS photo from: http://www.bentoniablues.com/

Blue Front Cafe, Bentonia, MS. Photo source.

What is your favorite blues song? Drop a line below in the comment section and tell us. And before you hit the road, hit PPLmotorhomes.com for all your RV parts and accessories.

HDTV Antennas for your RV Tailgate Party

Saturday is almost here folks, and this time of year Saturday brings with it a huge dose of college football! All across America people are firing up their grills, rolling out the awning, getting out the face paint, and getting ready for a tailgate party. And to top of an awesome tailgate party you’ll need TV, and guests these days expect that TV to be in HD!

Dish TV Tailgater photo from: http://news.discovery.com/tech/satellite-tv-carrier-dishes-out-portable-antenna-110916.htm

Dish TV Tailgater photo from: http://news.discovery.com/tech/satellite-tv-carrier-dishes-out-portable-antenna-110916.htm

In order to tune into your favorite teams and not miss a minute of the action, you are going to need a reliable satellite system. One of the best tailgating satellite dishes currently on the market is the Tailgater Portable Satellite HDTV System. It’s easy to carry in the RV, bringing live satellite TV to all of your favorite outdoor pastimes and, weighing in at only 10 pounds, you won’t be weighing your RV down with excessive poundage. The DISH TV Tailgater was designed in conjunction with DISH Network. It’s automatic, it’s portable and it will provide quick and easy access to a a more than generous selection of  your favorite premium HD channels.

What do you get with the DISH TV Tailgater? Two easy to set up pieces:  the Tailgater Satellite Antenna, a HD Solo Receiver and a 110v AC power supply. You can add it to your home DISH Network service or, if you prefer,  try the ‘pay-as-you-go’ service option with no start-stop fees, which is an added bonus for part time RVers.

How easy is it to set up? Let’s put it this way: you probably could have done it in the time it took to read this paragraph. Just connect the single coaxial cable between the antenna and the receiver and just like that you’re done. That’s pretty much it for setting up the system.

Additional power or control cables are not needed. Given that most RVs already have a portable satellite antenna input, connecting the Tailgater to the receiver inside an RV is pretty much a “no-brainer.” Just follow the instructions in the manual.

Once you have connected your devices, follow the instructions that will be displayed on screen. Seeing as I can be electronically challenged at times, I find that one of the nicest things about the Tailgater is that it will automatically find satellite locations for your DISH Network programming. Then once you’re finished watching and want to start really celebrating you team’s victory, simply power down the Tailgater and receiver, disconnect the cables, and pack it up. It’s that simple.

Click the link below to order:

Tailgater HDTV Antenna system

If you have used one of these systems, please leave a comment below and let us know how your party went! If you need one, you know where to get it… PPL Motorhomes!

Nana’s Recipes: Texas Riviera Redfish

 

If you find yourself camping along the beautiful Texas Gulf Coast, chances are pretty good there might be some fish on the menu! Imagine yourself in Port Aransas with the awning out, a cool sea breeze coming in, the western sky lit up by the sun, and the redfish you just caught about to go in the oven. Sounds just about perfect, no?

Here are a couple of regional suggestions on how to cook them – we’ll try Tex-Mex Style and Cajun Style. We’ll make each fillet in its own individual tinfoil packet so each person can season their fish to suit their own taste.

Preheat that oven to 350 degrees and choose your style.

Tex-Mex Style

Take your fillet and place it into a pie pan that has been lined with tin foil. Cut and squeeze one lime over the top of the fillet, sprinkle with red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and a pinch of cumin. Chop some cilantro and sprinkle over the top. Fold edges of tinfoil over the fish and bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillets.

*Depending on taste, some folks might add a little salsa on top as well

Cajun Style

First, you need to melt some butter in a pan. While the butter is melting, get a bowl and put in about 5 or so teaspoons of Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning (or about a teaspoon each of black pepper, cayenne, lemon pepper, salt, and garlic powder). Once the butter is melted, dunk the fillets in it and then coat both sides with the seasoning. Once the fillets are seasoned, sear each side in a skillet for a couple of minutes until they’re charred very slightly. After searing them, place them in a pie pan lined with tinfoil, pour some Italian salad dressing over them, then fold the tinfoil over the fillets, and bake for 25-35 minutes.

Hope you enjoy your Gulf Coast style fish! Where do you go for a good fish dinner on the Texas Riviera? Let us know in the comment section below because we love trying new seafood places while we’re out traveling the coast! And if you find yourself in need of any kitchen items, propane stove accessories, and the like please stop by PPL Motorhomes!

 

 

 

Tailgater!

It’s that time of year y’all! Summer’s just about over, the first little cool spells are getting closer and closer (fingers crossed!), and that means football season is here! I was thinking about this coming weekend – the Longhorns are playing UCLA up in Dallas, the Aggies are taking on Rice over in Bryan, and we’re supposed to get a little front that’ll knock the edge off this heat – so what better way to enjoy yourself than throwing a tailgater?

We have a couple items that will for sure help set the party tone, so imagine this:

You have the awning out on the RV, you have the grill going, you have your beverages iced down in the cooler, the portable HDTV satellite antennae is out, the flatscreen TV is fired up, and the sun is going down. What are you going to do when it gets dark? Turn on the floodlights? That puts glare on the TV! How about some LED strips for your awning?

http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv-awnings/awning-led-light-strips.htm

We have Carefree Universal Awning Light Kits perfect your your RV! They’re wireless, dimmable, come with a remote, and you can trim them to custom length! You can choose white, or any of 15 other colors, and for that true party atmosphere these things strobe, flash, or fade so you can feel like a superstar as you’re doing your victory dance when your team scores!

http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv-awnings/protective-awning-cover.htm

Of course if you’re gonna be out enjoying yourself under the awning this fall, we have covers from Awning Pro-Tec that will keep your awning looking good, and in great condition. They are simple to install as well as being UV, wind, and water resistant…plus they will greatly increase the life of your awning fabric.

What’s your Game Day tailgating tradition? Drop us a line in the comment section below and tell us about it. As always, please visit PPL Motorhomes for all your Rv related Game Day needs!

Caldwell County BBQ

amanderson2/Flickr Creative Commons

Lockhart, Texas, has been featured on The Travel Channel, The Food Network, on countless foodie shows, and in countless articles and books on authentic Texas BBQ, and with good reason! Lockhart is home to four well known, world-class examples of pure Texas BBQ, but there is also BBQ scattered throughout Caldwell County that is just as authentic and tasty, even if less well known and off the beaten path.

Lockhart is about 30 miles due south of Austin on Hwy 183, 17 miles north of I-10 on 183, or you can get there from I-35 by exiting on Hwy 80 in San Marcos, and turning left on Hwy 142 in Martindale. Lockhart feels like south Texas, and when you arrive in town you’ll be able to smell all that lovely lovely mesquite smoke coming from the 4 most famous BBQ establishments in town: Black’s, Smitty’s Market, Chisholm Trail, and Kreutz Market. We all know the quickest way to get in an argument in Texas is to talk about how one place has the better sauce, sides, brisket, or what-have-you, so the safest way to experience Lockhart’s famous BBQ is to go eat it and find out for yourself!

Luling is 17 miles south of Lockhart on Hwy 183, as well as being situated on I-10. Luling is the crossroads of railroad, road, and river as well as being one of Texas’ oldest oil boom towns. There are two well known BBQ restaurants in Luling, both on Davis St, just north of the railroad tracks. City Market BBQ is on Davis just west of Hwy 183 and Luling BBQ is an almost identical distance east of 183 on Davis. Both places have that pure small town Texas BBQ charm, and once again I won’t play favorites, so y’all need to sample these places yourselves!

McMahan is northeast of Luling on 86. It’s a very small, quaint little town with a “well known to those that know” BBQ joint called R&G BBQ. Hope you’ll take the time to get off the beaten path, enjoy some beautiful country, and head out that way (it’s a back way into Bastrop and Hwy 71).

What is your favorite Texas BBQ? Please let us know by leaving a comment below, as there’s nothing we enjoy more than navigating across Texas by sauce! Also, if you’re BBQing, don’t forget to visit PPL Motorhomes for all your gas grill and propane needs!

 

A Beautiful Road

Interstates are good if you need to be somewhere by a certain time on a certain day, or if you’re one of those travelers that prefers to know what sort of food is available at each exit, but sometimes it’s nice to take it slower, turn the GPS off, and just wander down an enchanting road.

Smack dab in the middle of New Mexico is just such a road: Highway 55, just north of the White Sands missile range. If you head north out of El Paso on 54 on your roundabout way to Santa Fe, you’ll pass through Alamogordo and Tularosa. If you don’t wander off to the east and head through the mountains to Ruidoso, Cloudcroft, Loncoln, Capitan, or the ghost towns of White Oaks or Ft Stanton, that is. That’s Billy the Kid country up there. But even if you deviate up through the mountains, when you head back west you’ll intersect 54 once more and as you head north the land gets more and more empty, and eventually you’ll see highway 55 heading off to the left.

Old School House in the ghost town on Claunch, NM

Old School House in the ghost town on Claunch, NM.

As you head up 55, it zig-zags through some of the emptiest country left in New Mexico. Antelope and jackrabbits outnumber the cows out there. Abandoned ranch houses, farming equipment, vehicles, churches, schools, and towns like Claunch litter the countryside as if everybody high tailed it out of the country pre-WWII. About halfway between Hwy 54 in the south and Hwy 60 at the north end of 55 are the Salinas Pueblo Mission Ruins and Gran Quivira, which are ruins of both a Spanish Mission dating from the late 1500’s as well as a Peublo Indian city that dates back to the 1200’s.

Abo Mission and Kiva in New Mexico

Abo Mission and Kiva in New Mexico

After leaving the Missions, the nearest gas and food are in Mountainaire at the intersection of Hwy 60 and Hwy 55.

Where do you go to get away from it all? Please leave us a comment and tell us about it, because there’s nothing we enjoy more than heading somewhere new! Be sure to check PPL Motorhomes for travel specials before you depart your driveway!

Claunch school photo from: http://livingnewdeal.berkeley.edu/projects/claunch-school-claunch-nm/

Gran Quivira photo taken from: http://www.nps.gov/sapu/historyculture/gran-quivira.htm

Lake County, Oregon

970362Lake County is one of the largest and most remote counties in the beautiful state of Oregon. Situated in the south central portion of the state, along the California border, it is accessed from the north/south on hwy 395 which comes down from I-84 at Pendleton through Burns, and The Steens area of eastern Oregon, as well as up from Reno through Susanville and Alturas, CA. If you’re in western Oregon, then take 140 from Klamath Falls through Beatty and Bly as it winds through the Fremont and Winema National Forests.

Lakeview is the county seat of Lake County as well as the largest metropolitan area in the county, and there is not one single stop light in town! Groceries can be had in town as well as fuel, propane, tires, and services. If you’re passing through on Labor Day Weekend, then the Lake County Fair is in full swing complete with rodeo and demolition derby as the real life buckaroos come in off the high desert to blow off some steam for the weekend.

If you base out of Lakeview, you are at a crossroads of 4 different ecosystems.

To the south is 26 mile long Goose Lake, which straddles the Oregon-California border.

To the north is Lake Abert and the huge geologic fault that goes with it, Abert Rim (this is antelope and bighorn sheep country).

To the northwest is the Winema National Forest with fishing available in the Chewaucan River.

To the northeast past the Warner mountains, which are Lakeview’s eastern city limit, you have a fire lookout on Drake’s Peak that is available for rent as well as other cabins in the Fremont-Winema National Forest. Further on past Drake’s there is the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, which features many natural hot springs for bathing.

To the west, is heavy timber and mountains, as well as the Sprague River.

To the east of town is the Warner Mountains with many natural lakes and creeks. If you are a nature lover, and you prefer to enjoy the natural over concrete, then Lakeview, Oregon, has everything you need. They don’t call it the Oregon Outback for nothing!

Have you found your special spot out in one of America’s Big Empty Spaces? If so, please leave us a comment and tell us about it! And if you’re going on a road trip out through those lonesome spaces, be sure to check PPL Motorhomes for coolers, tires, batteries, and all those items that carry you down the road!

 

 

 

http://www.lakevieworegon.org/

http://www.fs.usda.gov/fremont-winema

photo from:

http://www.panoramio.com/photo/970362