Bang Your Head?

Well y’all we’ve been talking about a whole series of problem solving products these last few week, and I thought of another one this morning. How many times have you needed to get something out of the little baggage cubbies underneath your slideouts and had those baggage compartment cubbie doors come down and bang your head? Always seems to happen when you have your hands full, or it’s dark, or when it’s raining. There you are with your flashlight trying to find whatever it was that you went down there looking for and hoping you spot it before it gets all wet.

hatchlift-kit_300x300

You know what would solve that whole problem? Some of those little hydraulic spring thingies that hold the doors open so you can fetch what you need helmet-free. We offer complete retrofitted kits by Hatchlift that will accomplish that very task. They’re great and you can set them to hold the door open at 90 degrees, which is perfect for under slideouts, or you can set them for 140 degrees which is perfect for those doors mounted with nothing above them. That 140 degree hold open will keep the door up and out of the way while you rummage, pack, or unpack.

These kits are pretty inexpensive and come with one hydraulic spring, so if you have longer doors that need this problem solved, you’ll probably have to get two springs…depending on the door’s weight. They’re super easy to install, and believe me once you’ve got them attached you (and your poor head) will wonder why you didn’t put them on years ago. If you’re curious to know more, or wonder what different sizes they come in, click right HERE and you’ll be whisked away in internet comfort to our website where you can find out all about them. And don’t forget folks, with the driving season rapidly approaching, hit our website before you hit the trail for all those parts and accessories that keep you happily rolling in this RV lifestyle.

Laundromat Blues

Hey folks, have you ever thought back to how many wasted hours you’ve spent at laundromats around the country? You’re just sitting there watching your clothes tumble endlessly, and hoping that your few remaining quarters would be enough to pay the ransom to get you out of there. Seems like you get to meet a whole new crowd of interesting people at the laundromat as well. When we’re out on the road for an extended period of time, the one thing I truly miss is my laundry room at home. Ah, my washer. Ah, my dryer. If only there was room for them both in the RV, how easy life would be.

pinnacle-combo-silver-sml

Well guess what? Pinnacle makes a front-loading washer and dryer combo that will fit in your RV! These things are amazing! They actually take up less room than one standard washer or dryer, they’re incredibly energy efficient…and you know what else? They are quiet. You can have one of these things running and not have to leave the RV to take a phone call. You can still watch TV and actually hear what Judge Mathis has to say! They come in the traditional white, or in a sporty looking silver with a chrome trim which would look great if you have a newer silver and chrome refrigerator.

These combos can wash up to 13 pounds per load, runs on 110 (15A). and has two methods of exhaust. With the push of a button you can either vent to the outside, or condense it. Condensing the exhaust is where a water cooled system extracts moisture and uses a pump to expel it from the machine. It also features 14 different programmed functions, comes with a water saver option, it’s self cleaning, and has a kitchen sink attachment. If you’re interested in learning more, please click HERE and our website can tell you all about them! There is also a video on that page that explains the venting options in better detail.

Safety First!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jjandames/7776846246/in/photolist-4L9a3B-9bjYd1-fP6i28-4Ldnz7-bDRQrH-a64j2j-9yhWsy-cRdnrY-4L9a78-djEBWb-9bgPZ8-9bjWXy-9bjWmy-9bgQnX-9bjVW7-9bgP8k-6Jma5m-nqhrD6-9bgNSr-9bjXMW-bKGMsP-fDEpQv-9bgPyn-cR5AME-9bjXmq-4LdnBA-72Sp7o-9LjSUY-9LjYVN-9Lh5Lg-9Lh8ap-9LhaJX-9Lh6qF-9LjYHh-eZMmdw-9LjY8o-9Lh9pM-3KTTB4-a64abw-9LjYgf-9LjVBE-eYG9p6-djEBNe-9bgPYa-9bgNt2-7NdpoD-dpeRS7-tafzL-gnhkhA-8bGXYJ

Amy Meredith/Flickr Creative Commons

Have you seen those almost improbable sounding commercials on TV where the proud father and beautiful young daughter are standing side by side beaming at the camera and talking about their special family tradition of changing the batteries in the smoke detector on her birthday? First time I saw that commercial I rolled my eyes to myself at the sheer cheesiness of it, but the fact of the matter is… it’s very important to change the batteries in your smoke detector annually and it very much helps to remind you to do it on an important day that you actually remember. We change ours during the Thanksgiving holidays, and to my knowledge we’ve only forgotten once!

When it comes to these sort of safety features and RVs, there are a couple things other than smoke we should be concerned with detecting. Carbon Monoxide is the silent killer for sure, and our engines in the RVs produce it. Having a Carbon Monoxide detector in the cab of the RV somewhere is a very very good idea, especially with the older models where the seals and exhaust system might not be in the best condition. LP gas leaks should also be detected as early as possible.

We actually have a combination Carbon Monoxide/LP gas detector in our RV and it works great. It’s made by Safe-T-Alert, and mounts flush to the wall and powered by the 12V system which means we don’t have to worry about changing the batteries in these detectors! It’s incredibly simple to use and test too. Best thing is if the alarm goes off and you mute it…it will still operate normally in muted mode and if the conditions do not improve the alarm will re-sound. It’s a pretty handy gadget, and offers some peace of mind so you’re not worrying about what you can’t see! If you’d like to know more about these detectors, click right HERE.

Neverkink Hoses!

Is it spring? If I ask that question will there be 6 more weeks of Winterpocalypse 2016? I don’t know, but this winter been a bit… um… nonexistent here in southeast Texas, I can tell you that. I remember when I was a kid, my grandparents would get the garden chopped in around Valentine’s Day because there would probably be one more freeze and that would be it for winter, but I’ve got to tell you in all honesty, I have no idea what’s going on with the weather anymore. It’s been so mild I feel like I should have gotten the garden in before Christmas!!

But thinking of spring and gardening and getting the RV cleaned up and ready for the road after it’s “long winter’s nap”, reminds me of a product we have here at PPL that is one of those frustration-reducing life savers. Have you ever gone out to the RV to hose it down and somehow your garden hose has gotten itself all twisted up and tied in knots? I mean, you haven’t used it since probably October (here in Texas anyway) and you know you stowed it away carefully, but as soon as you drag it out to the shed or driveway, there it is looking like a green rubber version of the Largest Ball Of Twine up in Kansas.

neverkink-water-hose_300x300

Well we have a solution for that problem, have you ever tried Neverkink Hoses? They’re great! You roll them up, and then…tah DAH! They unroll. Simple as that. They don’t get pinched and shut off water flow, you won’t spend hours untying your huge mess of a knot, they just stow simply, cleanly, and effectively. If you’re interested, we’ve got them, and they are NOT expensive, so come by the website and pick up one or two. Man they’re nice!

Portable Waste Tanks

Have you ever found yourself in that situation where the campground doesn’t individual sewer hookups and you’d have to move the entire RV to the waste transfer station to empty the black water tank? What a pain in the neck that is especially if you’re there more or less permanent for a little while, with everything leveled and the yard pretties staked out. So what would be the easiest option for you at that point? Yep, you need a portable waste tank. Depending on the size of your black water tank, there are different options available for a portable waste tank.

smart-tote-new

Thetford makes a great tank called the Smarttote. They come in sizes ranging from twelve to thirty five gallons capacity. The larger models come with full castoring dual wheels at the front end as well as two wheels at the back to support the weight of the tank when fully loaded. Needless to say with this sort of system the primary concern, aside from the mobility of it, is how to get this thing serviced in the cleanest possible way. They have a patented system called “Permastore” where the 5 foot replaceable sewer servicing line is permanently housed and stored at the bottom of the tank. The hose is replaceable and comes with a bayonet cap to prevent spills.

Another way this tank design helps keep the servicing process as clean as possible is by featuring an auto-stop function that activates when the tank is full, preventing and overload/overflow situation and the mess involved. The hose is designed also so that it is a very simple load and unload, and the stows away tidily in case you need to make more than one trip to the transfer station per servicing. If you’d like to know more about these, please visit our website right HERE.

Rand McNally GPS

Remember the days when you’d have to pull over, unfold that gigantic map and then get yourself oriented? I seem to recall that folding the thing back up was more of a hassle than getting to the shoulder in traffic to unfurl the thing in the first place! Then  the GPS’s started getting a foothold in the 1990’s but they were VERY expensive and had the two ton screen…that sort of gray background with black information on top. Except at night when it was green and black! Even at that point the GPS’s back then were hit and miss. Weather could obscure the antenna, the databases required pretty periodic updating which in turn required a fairly expensive subscription.

Well those days are truly gone. While I still have a Key Map of Houston tucked away somewhere, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen an active RV’r without a GPS mounted to the dash of the vehicle. Some say having a smart phone is good enough, and yes they are…if you never leave the interstate. But we all know those spots in the mountains where the cell signal is weakest seem to pop up right when you need that darn phone to point you in the right direction to the campsite.

rand-mcnally-gps-7730-sml250

 

May I offer an alternative? The Tripmaker 7730 is an awesome GPS put out by the map makers at Rand McNally. What’s great about this GPS vs any of the rest is you can customize your routing for your RV! Not a car! What this means is that in RV mode the 7730 offers you advanced lane guidance which guides you through complicated intersections, calculates toll costs as well as offering no-toll options, as well as the ability to drop “bread crumbs” while you’re traveling off-route so you can make your way back to the original route the same way you left it. It’s one of the most flexible road GPS’s out there and great value for money. If you’re curious to learn more, click HERE.

Propane Tank Monitoring

Man, I’m a problem solver these days! In the last blog we talked about an automated tire pressure and condition monitoring system, and today we’re going to talk about a propane tank monitoring system that will help prevent accidental propane leakage. How many times have you gone out to the travel trailer, maybe to start the spring cleaning and the “getting it ready for the road” chores, and your propane system is bone dry. How many times have you checked the tank valve and it was accidentally left on and a slow leak drained the system? How many times have you just wondered to yourself how much propane was left in the lp tanks, and did you need to go get them refilled? Well, we have a way to answer all those questions!

lp-tank-check-sensor-monitor-kit_300x300

Mopeka offers a Propane Tank Check that is super accurate. The way they achieve this accuracy is based on sonar technology. Simply put, you attach a magnetized sensor to the bottom of the tank and it beams updated tank quantity levels via bluetooth to a display you can mount inside the RV. Another option for receiving this data is to download their app and the lp tank quantity is right there on your smart phone or mobile device. Who would have thought even just a couple years ago that we could be so James Bond with our RVs?

The simplicity of this system is incredible. All you have to do is slip the sensor under the tank during your next refill, or just tip the tank over and attach it. Even the laziest members of our families can do it!! Best part is, this system can monitor two tanks, and the display will indicate separate levels for either the left or the right lp tanks. A video explaining the operation of the system further can be viewed right HERE, and if you’re interested in this product we have them available on our website right HERE.

Remote Tire Monitoring

How many of y’all have had a flat, or tire losing pressure, and not realized it until it was too late? Maybe you couldn’t hear the flat over all the road noise, or couldn’t feel the pull because you’re running dual wheels or the RV had alignment issues already. It’s always an unexpected, unpleasant, and sometimes expensive option to have a flat when you least expect it. Not only does it mess up your schedule, but they always seem to happen when we’re wearing our good clothes too eh?

tire-minder-92-0397

Well I’ve got a solution for this problem! Tire Minder has a remote monitoring system that will report on tire conditions for up to 22 positions. For those of y’all who have bumper pull or fifth wheel travel trailers this system can be a real life saver. Who wants to go through an unexpected blow out on the trailer at interstate highway speeds? I reckon everybody has enough gray hair already, don’t you? Well this system not only will report pressure fluctuations, but it will also send an alert when any of the wheels reaches a temperature of above 167 degrees! This system also will update the readings every 4 minutes and performs self-diagnostics of the entire system every 5 seconds so you will know instantly when an issue arises at one of the wheels.

For those of you with boat trailers, car haulers, or those travel trailers and fifth wheels as well, this system allows for temporary disconnect and reconnect of the trailer from the tractor or truck monitoring system. The information is displayed on a large, easy-to-read screen located within easy reach. The controls are very intuitive and simple to operate as well. Especially when you’re hauling a trailer, I feel like this is one of those items where you are better safe than sorry, not only for yourself and your property but as well as contributing to the safety of everyone else who shares the road with you. For more information, click right HERE.

Automatic Aiming HD Antennas!

Have you ever pulled up into your spot, gotten the power and water and sewer all connected, and you’re ready to relax after a long day’s drive? For those of y’all that have satellite TV antennas, what happens next? Yep, you’ve gotta find that signal then get the antenna pointed just right so you can couch it for a little bit before bedtime and just relax. Sometimes it seems like the signal meter just flat lies to you doesn’t it? Well, I have a solution to that particular problem! Install an automatic aiming antenna!

rayzar-auto-ota-antenna-whiterayzar-auto-ota-antenna-black

 

Here’s all you need to do after you have one installed: turn the antenna on, hit the scan button, and in a couple minutes the antenna will have completed a full three hundred and sixty degree scan and determined signal strength of broadcast towers and determined an optimal position for the antenna to receive the greatest number of channels. With one push of a button! While it’s scanning you can be running out the slide-outs and getting a bowl of popcorn cooking in the microwave!

This means no more arguing over where to point the antenna, or fighting over which channels you want to try and receive, no more cranking the dish out, all you have to do at the end of a long day’s drive is just relax and enjoy yourselves while watching free digital TV! Where can you get one of these beauties? On our website of course. We carry the Winegard Rayzor auto tracking HD antenna in both white or black, and they come with mounting hardware, power supply, and coax cables; everything you need to get that relaxation going quickly. As you can see from the photos, the housings are pretty sleek, low, and quite stout so no reason to worry about wind resistance, heavy rain, or even hail beating them up. And if you’re interested, please swing by the website and say howdy, we’ll be glad to set y’all up with one!

Cleaning Made Easy With Commando Black Tank Pods

walex-commando-bag_300x300

 

First, let me get this out there: I love COMMANDO Black Tank Cleaner pods!

So, many of you have already heard me talk about some of the little hints I have used to keep my RV smelling fresh.  There is something wonderful about walking into a fresh smelling RV.  Being with PPL all these years in the consignment RV business, you can only imagine some of the odors that have hit me in the face.  It seems the most common mistake made by RV owners is simply NOT draining the tanks when they come home from a trip.  That simple step makes a huge difference in whether or not you even want to walk into your RV a month later, much less want to pack it up and hit the road.

When we travel, I have found a really easy and economical trick that really does help keep my RV fresh between uses.  When we are getting ready to leave the campsite, we empty all of the tanks (in the proper order of black tanks to fresh water tanks.)  Then, after I close off the valves, I add about 4 gallons of fresh water to the toilet before I shut off the water.  Then I drop one of the Holding tank chemical pods into the toilet.  You would think that I would stop right there, but I learned a great trick from a fellow RVer years ago.  I pour a whole bag of crushed ice into the toilet making sure it all gets down into the tank.  While we are driving home, the ice sloshes around and helps clean the walls of the holding tank.  This has worked well for us for years, but now I have added something even better to my TO DO list when I leave the campground.

I just learned about the COMMANDO Black Tank Cleaner pods.  I was a bit skeptical at first, but they really do work.  Now about once every 3-4 months, I add one COMMANDO pouch to the tank.  The super concentrated enzyme formula helps to remove waste and paper from the walls of the tank and will help to restore the sensor function.  In fact, they claim that this product will clean the entire tank in 12-24 hours.  That could actually save an RVer hundreds of dollars in tank cleaning services.

RVers share so many helpful hints and ideas with me so I felt like I should share this one with you.  Please let me know if this product is really as great as I think it is.  And, send me your thoughts and hints so I can share them with other RVers.