Photo Credit: Diana LeBlanc
I have to tell all of you about my wonderful weekend RV experience. I was asked to speak at an RV rally, something I do often, and this one was completely different from all the others I have ever attended. This was the “Sisters on the Fly” Texas holiday event in Bulverde, Texas. From the moment I first walked up to introduce myself to LeeAnn Moore, the Texas Wrangler (she is the one who spent countless hours making this event happen), to my parting hugs and handshakes several hours later, I was truly amazed by the spirit of this wonderful group of RVers.
I was somewhat familiar with Sisters on the Fly, but had no idea what to expect. As I walked up to the gated area outside Mike’s on the Square in Bulverde, I was shocked at the décor and holiday festival feeling. From the white table linens that made me think of a wedding, not an RV rally, to the elaborately decorated Santa centerpieces, I knew this was going to be right up my ally. Of course, being the quiet and reserved person I am, I jumped in with both feet, distributing tickets, bidding on auction items and doing whatever I could to help out where needed. As the group gathered, I met some of the most interesting women from all walks of life: Doctors, lawyers, wives, mothers, daughters who all come together a few times a year for a girl’s weekend. They share a love for RVs and the outdoors with a huge focus on Glamping. These women (with a lot of help from family and sisters really know how to dress up every kind of RV from the older Shastas and Airstreams to the brand new Class B units like mine. They have a passion for glitz and glamour of camping.
Photo Credit: Diana LeBlanc
As I listened to the various members speak to the group I was amazed by the tight bond they have. I heard stories about everything from fly fishing to antiquing and everything in between. Two things really stuck out in my mind from this event.
- They are a group that strongly encourages children to be a part of the great outdoors. They even have a segment of their organization referred to as Grandmas on the Loose and their motto is the “Leave No Child Indoors.” What a great thing to believe in today when we see all the kids, young and old, so closely connected to their phone, tablets and computers. There is so much to be seen in the great outdoors.
- There is another portion of this organization that strongly supports breast cancer and illnesses that truly effect all of us. They even have a traveling quilt program where a quilt is sent to a sister who is going through a hard time and, upon their recovery, this quilt is returned to the main organization to be passed on to another sister in need. Again, the support was phenomenal.
Photo Credit: Diana LeBlanc
Now, I have to brag a little now because I was so proud of my PPL family. As I finished my few minutes of speaking to the group, I was so moved when several different women stood up to brag about their experience with PPL and the representative that made a difference to them. Wow, that was a great RV Nana moment!
I really thought this was on my top 10 RV outings of all time. And, needless to say, I will be joining this organization in the near future. Now, I want you to hear about the icing on the cake….Today I received an envelope in the mail with no note enclosed. Inside there was the neatest RV t-shirt. I had commented to one of the Sisters about how much I liked their Santa Sleigh shirts and, in true Sisters on the Fly tradition, she literally gave me the shirt off her back. I will wear it proudly to our PPL party!
Photo Credit: Diana LeBlanc
Zach Dishner/Flickr Creative Commons
Well folks we’re about halfway through the 2015-2016 Texas White-tail Season, and I reckon some folks have used their tags and some are still waiting for that right buck to come along. In some families, the Dads wander off to deer camp with a couple buddies and they do a weekend here or there. Some families go to deer camp all together and enjoy their time outdoors as a unit. There are upsides and downsides to every scenario, as y’all know, but there is one thing that’ll keep folks coming back to deer camp every year….keep ’em comfortable!
Let’s say you and your buddies are sitting around the campfire tonight. It’s a little chilly, but you have your iron skillet sitting on the fire and you’re grilling up some fresh venison steaks. A couple Lone Stars or Shiners are in coozies scattered about the campsite, and you’re all about to dive into these awesome steaks. Wouldn’t it be nice to just kind of ease your butt up off that cold hard dirt a little bit? We have some great khaki colored camp chairs that come with their own side tables and cup holders! Check them out here!
Another awesome way to keep your seat out of the dirt AND keep the meat cold are these Yukon Coolers with built-in seat cushions. They are available in Realtree or Gameguard if you want to keep the camouflage theme of deer camp going, they’re 50 quart sized, and you can accessorize them with these comfy, no-slip seat cushions that snap on and off. Every decent deer camp worth it’s salt needs a high quality, high capacity cooler and since space is always at a premium, add that seat cushion and make the fridge another camp seat!
We here at PPL Motorhomes enjoy our time outdoors, and it is our hope that we can help you folks enjoy your times as well. Please feel free to give us a shout over at PPL Motorhomes.com and we’d be glad to help you with any camping or rv’ing accessories you may require!
Viaggio Routard/Flickr Creative Commons
Well y’all, it’s finally October and that means two things that I can think of when traveling in Texas this month: Oktoberfest! Halloween Parties! If you’ve spent any amount of timing driving around Texas during the month of October, you’ve probably wondered how so many towns could suddenly be German, and how many towns could find enough hay bales in a drought to make mazes for the kids. So let’s go for a quick drive and explore some October, Texas Style!
Oktoberfest! Lord have mercy, what a party! No offense to the Oktoberfest celebrations held in other parts of the state, but if you want that real German Oktoberfest party, you need to head to New Braunfels or Fredericksburg! Oddly enough New Braunfels’ Oktoberfest is called Wurstfest, but don’t let the name fool you, it’s the best! Their slogan is “Sprechen Sie FUN?” and all the details can be found here! Not to be outdone in German party antics, Fredericksburg plays host to polka, pretzels, and Pilsner themed fun that is absolutely legendary and everything you need to know is right here!
For those of y’all who prefer more gluten-free entertainment, or perhaps sausage, oom-pah music, and dirndl-clad lasses are just not your thing, Texas hosts plenty of Halloween themed events in Rv Parks and Campgrounds all across the state! Pumpkin carving contests, hayrides, corn or hay bale mazes, costume contests, BBQ, are all available and heck it’s still Texas so you can probably hit the pool one last time! One such campground is Mitchell Resort up west of Dallas is in Perrin, TX (on Hwy 281 in between Mineral Wells and Jasckboro). They are fully geared up for family fun, and have a full listing of everything you need to know about their Halloween festivities up right here!
The best thing about traveling in Texas is we’re just so dang big, there is no way you can hit the road and not see something new. And before you hit the trail, hit our website for all your parts and accessories!
Ed Schipul/Flickr Creative Commons
Ah, the French. Ah, the Italians. Ah, the Sicilians. Ah, the Greeks. Ah, the Californians? All these places have very famous wine-growing regions, and justifiably so, frankly. Luckily you do not need to learn a new language or drive very far, or even drive at all for that matter, to experience the next best thing: Texas Wine Country!
Today we’re gong to focus on Fredericksburg, the capitol of Texas Wine Country. There are a few reasons to focus on Fredericksburg actually:
- Surrounded by wineries
- Lots of other stuff to do
- Plenty of campgrounds, hotels, and the like
- Wine Taxis
Can’t express how important those wine taxis are, those tasting room visits can get a little borderline sometimes, and it doesn’t matter how many rows you walk in the vineyard, you won’t be legal when you get back to the concrete. So play it safe, and support the local wine taxis instead of the local attorneys OK?
There are at least 15 wineries along Hwy 290 in and around Fredericksburg, and they represent a wide variety of wines so if you’re up for a weekend of wine tasting, don’t forget to hydrate! None of us are as young as we were yesterday! A good website for information on the wineries is right here. A lot of the wineries host events and usually the events are free, so there is always something going on! A number of the wineries also feature live music on the weekends, so you can chill in the shade in central TX, sip some fantastic wine and listen to some great music in a beautiful setting.
If you’re coming into central TX from the east, take I-10 west and turn north on Hwy 87 in Comfort, TX and take that all the way into Fredericksburg. If you’re coming in on I-10 from the west, take Hwy 290 east into town. If you’re coming down from Dallas, take I-35 through Austin (sorry) and take Hwy 290 west into town. Guarantee you won’t regret it! If you have a favorite winery to visit, please leave a comment in the section below and tell us all about it!
www.pplmotorhomes.com for all your parts and accessories!
Jack Gray/Flickr Creative Commons
Folks, with the summer winding down and those hot hot hot August days behind us, there may be only a few weekends left to hit the ol swimming hole. I mean, what’s better on a hot day than heading down to the creek, taking the shoes off and going for a quick dip? Especially if that creek has a couple great spots to eat lunch once you’re out of the creek and dried off?
Good news is I know a great old-school resort spot in the Wichita Mountains, just west of Lawton that is a wonderful place to swim, eat lunch, listen to music, and just chill on a hot afternoon… Medicine Park, OK.
The little village of Medicine Park is over 100 years old, and is know far and wide as a cobblestone town. It has a very CCC style look to it, as the cobblestones and a lot of the remaining buildings are built of the native red granite of the Wichita Mountains. It’s entire history has been as a resort destination, even though it was founded before Oklahoma even became a state. Two dams were used to create Bath Lake Swimming Hole, which now features bridges, shaded areas, sunny areas, picnic areas, and of course one big ol swimming area!
Very often Medicine Park hosts live music on the big stage across the street from the creek, so while you’re floating and relaxing you can also enjoy live Country music, Blues music, Americana, Western Swing as you’re cooling off. The folks at Medicine Park are also very friendly and welcoming as they’ve been playing host to visitors for more than a century. Heck the current mayor is a retired school teacher who, besides running the town, also organizes the music on the stage! As of the 2010 census the town’s permanent population is only slightly more than 300, but on summer weekends the population swells into the thousands, so if you’re bringing your RV or trailer, call ahead for a berth at one of the campgrounds, or get there in the morning! And remember to visit our website for all your parts and accessories!!
I love September so much. Mainly because it means that August is over and we’ve survived another Texas summer! But also it’s that time of year when school starts back up, football season is just beginning, the afternoons start to lose some of that habañero flavor, there’s one more long weekend coming up before things get too serious, tailgater parties at the ball fields, the good life. The whole month seems to be filled with somebody saying, “Not as hot as last week!” So now that we’re all coming out of the shade a little bit, and starting to socialize outside again, wouldn’t it be awesome to have a light show under your RV awning?
Imagine: you’re sitting in your lawn chairs, deck chairs, what-have-you… the grill is smoking, the sun is starting to edge closer to the horizon, the chips and salsa are set out, there’s a cooler with something drinkable cooling off inside it, and some good friends are there all enjoying each other’s company. What do you have left to do? That’s right, set the mood with some LEDs under the awning! They come in assorted colors, you control them with a remote, they can flash or strobe like Christmas lights, they’re waterproof, and are a whole lot of fun.
When we were camping last weekend in Matagorda at the LCRA park, there was a group of 5 RVs together enjoying their weekend getaway. They all had LED light strips on their awnings and it was just too cool looking. Two of them even had the lights set to rotate through the colors so one minute their trailer had a green hue, then blue, then red, and on and on. It’s time to think fall camping and fun and these lights really add to the festivities. I already got a set for RV NANA 2!
Check them out by clicking this link right HERE!
Bureau Of Land Management/Flickr Creative Commons
I heard on the news last night that this summer has been declared the worst wildfire season in our nation’s history. Wildfires poses some of their own hazards to us as the RVing population, so I thought I’d ask a friend of mine, who fought wildfires for years as an air tanker pilot, for some advice and hints.
Here’s his email:
“A big wildfire ain’t like in the Planes movie — you don’t see a large amount of trapped tourists threatened by fire… you see property threatened and folks evacuating. Depending on population density, mandatory evacs can cause roads to be choked with people leaving an area that is threatened, which in turn can cause snarls and delays for men and equipment trying to find the quickest way to the fireline.
Remember the fire in Bastrop a few years ago? That was the worst wildfire in Texas history. If I remember correctly it burned over 1600 homes, which was 1500 more than the second worst fire in Texas history. The day that thing started, I was at a roadblock at the corner of Hwys 21 and 95 for several hours and it was absolutely packed with evacuating families traveling away from the fire with whatever they could carry, and in the other direction brush trucks, command vehicles, dozers, pump trucks, and pickups full of VFD were making their way to the flank. It was a very orderly mess.
For me personally, the irony was that this time I wasn’t flying, and this time my family’s ranch was dead in the middle of that huge fire, and I never made a single drop on it. But I spent weeks afterwards cleaning up, rebuilding fence, feeding and watering ours and other folk’s cattle while they built fence, sitting on the porch with a 30/30 to keep the looters out, hauling hay, driving the tractor for us and others, all those community rebuilding type things.
So having been at both ends of wildfire, here’s my advice: If you’re at a campsite in a National Forest or Park and you see smoke, report it immediately. If you get an evac order, don’t whine about how long you’ve planned this trip, or how disappointed you and your kids are, just pack your stuff and git! If you’re traveling and see a big column of smoke on the horizon, go somewhere else. Don’t clog up the highway so you can get a dramatic picture, don’t squat on the shoulder and rubber-neck, don’t flag down the BLM or Forest Service crews and ask em what’s happening, don’t be a moth attracted to a flame.
Here’s what you do: find an alternate route to where ever you’re headed, watch it on the news that night, and if you’re at a gas station or cafe and you see a group of folks in green pants and yellow shirts who look whip strong and like they’ve been rolling around in the dirt for a week, say thank you, shake their hands, and buy their sandwich. They don’t get paid near enough to keep that fire over on the horizon instead of in your backyard.”
Paul Clark/Flickr Creative Commons
Wakulla Springs State Park is one of those intriguing “lost in time” destinations that are slightly off the beaten track, but it’s easily reached by taking Hwy 261 south off of I-10 in Tallahassee, FL. Hwy 261 turns into Hwy 319 as you head south of town, then you’ll turn left onto 267 and right onto Wakulla Springs Rd to enter the park.
Wakulla Springs State Park is centered around one of the Earth’s deepest and oldest fresh water springs, with an estimated average output of around 400,000 gallons per minute! Needless to say the spring has been around since very ancient times, and the bed of the spring and resulting Wakulla River is littered with historical sites, as well as the bones of mastodons, prehistoric armadillos, giant Sloths, camels, etc etc etc. Glass bottom river boat tours are available, as well as swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving within the springs itself. On land there are hiking trails, biking trails, riding trails, birdwatching opportunities, as well as the lodge.
The lodge is a beautiful Spanish style mansion built in 1937 by a relative of the DuPont family. It has 27 rooms for guests and each room has a marble bathroom. Each room also features a telephone and period correct antique furniture, and thankfully a period correct lack of a television set. The Lodge also has a conference room or two as well as The Ball Room Restaurant overlooking the springs.
One of the unique examples of wildlife that can be viewed at Wakulla Springs are the West Indian Manatees. They are present year round, but most commonly during the months between October and January. Of course you’ll see some alligators, fish of all sorts, and turtles in the springs, but the park is also home to a vast array of bird life as well as white tail deer and wild turkey.
Before you hit the road to Florida this summer, be sure to hit us up on Facebook and at the website for any and all of your parts and accessories!
Dhinal Chheda/Flickr Creative Commons
Glacier National Park in northern Montana is home to one of the most beautiful drives in the continental United States, and it goes by the other-worldy name of “The Going-To-The-Sun Road”. Located in far northern Montana, Glacier National Park shares a border with two Canadian Provinces: British Columbia and Alberta. The easiest way to get to Glacier and the Going-To-The-Sun Road is to get to Missoula, Montana on I-90 then take Hwy 93 to Kalispell where you turn right on Hwy 2 until it intersects the Going-To-The-Sun Road at West Glacier.
Glacier National Park is also home to quite a few historic lodges. If you feel like getting out of the RV for a night or two, everything from old-school motor-courts, to cabins, to full-on lodges are available at Lake McDonald lodge, Many Glacier Hotel, Rising Sun Motor Inn and Cabins, Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and Cabins, and the Village Inn at Apgar. Of course camping at campgrounds is available throughout the park as well.
Another unique bit of entertainment at Glacier National Park is the Red Bus Tours. Locally called the Red Jammers, this fleet of restored 1930’s White Motor Co tour buses head up and down the Going-To-The-Sun Road providing a way to take in the spectacular scenery along the 53 mile long road. Why drive yourself, when you can soak it all in form the back of a 1930’s era red bus I ask you?
Of course right now is a TERRIBLE time to head to Glacier National Park, as all but 3 miles of the road are closed to traffic due to snow, but since it becoming spring down here in the southern portions of the States…thoughts around here have started wandering towards “Where are we going to travel this summer?”. If you’re from down south, and want to dodge that heat and humidity of the Gulf Coast come August, Glacier National Park is just about as far north as you can get and still stay in America! Be sure and say howdy to us on the website before you hit the road, and let us help you with any parts and accessories you require before the summer travel season is upon us!
Well, that was a great Thanksgiving y’all! We were enjoying some much needed camping time at our favorite RV park, Leisure Resort in Fentress, and went to a relative’s house for the big family feast. The turkey was awesome, the sides are all gone, the desserts were out of this world and I was wishing I had worn elastic waist pants! This was all wonderful, but the very best part of the weekend was time shared with family sitting out under the stars, laughing and sharing great stories while soaking in the peace that surrounds a campfire. I didn’t even have an urge this year to go out on Black Friday, the day that could be spent elbowing your way through the crowds looking for a good deal, or not. Instead a few rounds of putt-putt golf took the place of all that chaos.
It was just me and two of my grandchildren, ages 16 and 13, at the campsite the first night and we were preparing an all-time camping tradition… Frito Pie. We all pitched in to make this delicious pot of chili and it was almost ready. In fact, our mouths were watering as we set the table and then the unthinkable happened! My grandson ran through the campsite and tripped over the cord to the electric skillet and, yep, you guessed it. About 90% of our big pot of chili was in the leaves. Of course we had RV Nana, a Boy Scout and a Girl Scout all together and, voila, our dinner was somewhat saved. We browned some sausage, added a can of chili to what we had saved and it was almost as good as what we had originally created. It must have been pretty good because my grandson ate about three bags full. That started our fun, adventurous weekend.
We cooked and ate all weekend long. My son in law is a terrific cook when it comes to Dutch oven cooking so we feasted on a terrific quiche for breakfast and finger licking ribs for dinner. Now, you put this great food and a little wine together with the stars in the sky and the cool weather. What more could you ask for? Saturday night that question was answered. We had been away from the campsite for a few hours and when we returned to start dinner around dusk, the neighbors were playing guitar. Sounded great to us, so there was no need for a radio that night. Little did we know that we were about to be serenaded for a few hours by the Jecker Brothers of Georgetown. Yes, the guys who play at Monument Café. This was a night to remember. The only thing wrong with this night was the fact that we were all heading home the next day, leaving paradise and returning to the rat race.
So, for those of you who have not been RVing very long, this is what it is all about. You never know who you will meet or where you will meet them. We were surrounded by great RV neighbors for our special family Thanksgiving weekend.
I would love to hear some of your RV surprises, too!