I got to thinking. I know we got some recently foul weather across the state this year. I wonder if there are any special articles about what to do if your motorhome hydroplanes? I looked and didn’t really find anything, so I’m going to write one. Everyone has heard about the possibility of a hydroplane for any vehicle, and that includes motorhomes. Personally, I have not been exposed to that scenario so this “advice” is subject to correction by any reader at anytime. If you can offer advice, or even correction leave it in the comments section below. It is more than welcome.
The way I would approach a motorhome hydroplaning incident would be the same as I would if I were driving my car. Now I know the weight differential poses a significant variable, but physics is physics. I mean let’s dissect it. Why does it happen? Where does it happen?
It happens on roads that are seeing rainfall for the first time in a while. If your area hasn’t seen significant rainfall recently, dust, dirt, oil, and sand all build up and form a thin, slick, slime on road surfaces. Add water on top of that and you have the perfect condition for the rubber of your tires to lose contact with the pavement. That’s one way. The other is on roadways with poor drainage. In both cases speed can play a role.
Here’s a vintage video on hydroplaning that is pretty descriptive:
So, slow down in the rain, or just after the first rainfall in a while. Try not to hit the brakes hard, or at all even. DON’T OVER-CORRECT!!! It’s a waste of effort when your tires aren’t even touching the ground. When they finally do, then you careen in the direction you are steering into.
I hope that no one has ever had to handle a RV or Motorhome hydroplane. If you have, leave me a comment and tell me what you did, or didn’t do, in your particular situation. `
Fire prevention in you RV is something that I’ve written about before and take very seriously. I know all of you know that a fire in your RV is never a good thing, but do really know how combustible your RV can be? Aside from a myriad of fuels and accelerates housed within your RV, the walls of your rig are made from wood and acts as tinder. If a fire does break out your RV can be consumed in a matter of minutes.
Let me reiterate, a fire inside your RV is no laughing matter. If there is a fire on board, your best course of action is to get out and call the Fire Department. It sounds like a no-brainer, but you be surprised at how many people believe they can control a fire. There are hundreds of fires each year due to carelessness and accident. One of the easiest ways for your RV to catch fire is during stove operation especially when using grease to cook. A grease fire can turn into a 5 foot exploding column of flame if not extinguished properly. I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before, but if you have a grease fire on your hands NEVER EVER EVER throw water on it because this is what will happen.
All I’m asking is for you to be careful when you are using fire for anything. Grilling, campfires, cooking inside etc. The damage you can cause by carelessness won’t necessarily be confined to just your RV or your campsite. Fire can spread uncontrollable in a matter of moments and consume your RV or the woodlands/park around it.
Always have a couple of fire extinguishers on board your rig and know where they are at. Just another friendly anti-fire reminder form your PPL Motorhomes and RV Nana.
Daleus, Curmudgeon-at-Large, Flickr Creative Commons
This may be wishful thinking on my part, what with all the hot and humid weather we’ve been having here on the Gulf Coast, but i thought today we’d chat a bit about what to expect if you’re driving your RV in cold weather. I know you snowbirds are probably rolling your eyes at this, but we Texans politely listen to you talk about how hot it is, so please bear with us. Everybody knows that the weather here in Texas can get….unpredictable. Not only that but there are portions of our state which will be getting heavy snowfall at the same time other areas are experiencing beach weather, so here are four tips for dealing with ice and snow on the road.
Granted you’re in an RV, but don’t do anything in a hurry. Don’t accelerate quickly. Don’t stomp on the brakes quickly. Don’t feel like you need to get where ever you’re going in 5 minutes either. Slow and steady wins the race, especially on slick roads in reduced visibility.
Fill That Tank
Most vehicles have fuel tanks near the rear wheels, and if yours does as well, keep it topped off. The extra weight of the fuel in the tank presses down on the rear wheels aiding in keeping traction. You still don’t want drag race starts away from traffic lights, but you’ll have less slippage when you apply the gas than if the rear was lighter.
Driving in adverse conditions requires more attention and focus than regular driving and it can wear you out. Make sure you aren’t fatigued before you start!
Pack Cold Weather Gear
Nobody plans on getting stuck, but just like you pack water when traveling through a desert..pack some blankets and cold weather gear if you’re traveling through the snow. Also make sure you phone is charged and handy in case of a break down or if you get stuck.
www.pplmotorhomes.com for all your parts and accessories
ctj71081, Flickr Creative Commons
Fall here in Texas is one of my favorite times of year y’all. The edge comes off the heat, the humidity rolls back…just a little bit, and you know the days will eventually get cooler. Another great thing about fall is the beginning of football season. Everyone knows how big High School, College, and yes even pro football is here in Texas. For those big-time fans that means tailgate season is here as well. So today I thought maybe we could talk about Fall Cocktails. They work especially well if you’re not as big a fan of the game as everyone else at the tailgater!
Apple Cider Mimosa
There’s something almost Martha Stewart-meets-Texas with this drink. You have that Northeastern apple cider flavor and I don’t know very many people down here who don’t enjoy a Mimosa. So here’s what you do: wet the rim of a champagne flute…or heck a keg cup will do…and then dip the rim into a sugar/cinnamon mixture (2 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp cinnamon mixed together). Fill the glass about a quarter full of apple cider and top off the glass with champagne and enjoy the game!
Apple Pie Bourbon
Now lets mix together two great symbols of America: Apple Pie and Bourbon! This drink requires a little bit of dwell time so plan accordingly. What you do is get yourself a Mason jar and put a cup and a half of Bourbon in it. Then chop one green and one red apple and put the pieces in the jar. Add 4 cinnamon sticks, 3 sugar cubes, 1 slightly shaved nutmeg, and a one inch piece of fresh ginger and let it sit for two to four days. Yes, please taste it after 2 days to see if it is ready. Once it had achieved the level fall flavors you prefer, pour the bourbon through a strainer and into as many different glasses as folks you have whom you are willing to share it with. Then…enjoy!
Darlene Hildebrandt/Flickr Creative Commons
Do y’all remember the lines at gas stations during the 1970’s? Do y’all remember President Jimmy Carter coming on TV to explain how tire gauges work? Well we’re going to talk fuel economy a little bit today. The summer driving season is upon us and granted, RV’s aren’t like driving a Prius…but…there are several things you can do to squeeze more miles out of a tank of gas and that’s what we’re going to discuss today.
Oddly enough one of the biggest influences on the range of your fuel tank is your right foot. For those of y’all who are lead foots or think your RV is a dragster, I’ve seen figures that show a negative effect on your range from five to thirty three percent! For the same reason, use your cruise control whenever possible. That constant speed, and constant RPM equates to a more efficient way of converting your fuel to miles. On the other side of the same coin, don’t just let the RV idle for long periods…just shut off the engine if it’s going to be more than a few minutes.
Sometimes an increase in economy can be achieved just with regular maintenance. Something as simple as a broken oxygen sensor can impact you by forty percent. And the same goes for the rest of the emissions systems, remember these engines are basically air pumps so anything that affects the air flow through the engine will affect your gas mileage. So with that said, air filter maintenance is also a key component to maximizing your mileage. Keep it clean or replace it often especially if you’re driving out west where there is a higher level of airborne dust.
So to recap…by all means check your tire pressures, don’t drive like a teenager, and keep up with the maintenance on your RV and the cost per fuel stop won’t be any higher than it needs to be. Also, we can help you get down the road with parts and accessories over at the website, so come say howdy!
All of you who know me, know that RV Nana would not leave home without my Coach-net Roadside Assistance membership card in my wallet. Yes, there are many really good roadside assistance plans on the market, but this one is, in my opinion, the best for the RV owner. At PPL Motorhomes we have been selling the Coach-net Roadside Assistance plan for years and have heard some great stories from our customers. In addition, many of us have the coverage ourselves and have experienced, first hand, how good it is. Needless to say, my team believes in this product. In addition, we have all seen that there is one thing that sets Coach-net apart from many other roadside assistance plans… They seem to really care about their customers… and it shows.
I received the following tire safety information from Coach-net in a recent email and wanted to share that with all of you. Tires are often the most needed and most neglected parts of our vehicles. I hope the following information will help you travel safely.
(Re-printed with permission from Coach-net via RVDailyReport.com)
Coach-Net offers the following tire maintenance fundamentals for all motorists, particularly drivers of RVs and other heavy-duty vehicles:
Check your tires’ air pressure – Check the air pressure every two weeks, or at least once a month and before any major trip. Look for over- or under-inflation. Proper tire inflation is essential for safe and efficient vehicle operation. Vehicles with properly inflated tires experience optimum ride and handling characteristics, shorter braking distances, longer tire life and improved fuel economy.
Inspect your tires’ tread – Inspect your tires for abnormal wear or damage. Look for fraying, scalloping, cupping or any kind of uneven wear, and take it as a life-saving warning sign. Inspect tires for uneven wear patterns on the tread, cracks, foreign objects or other signs of wear or trauma. Remove bits of glass and other foreign objects wedged in the tread, and be sure there are no leaks after removing any debris.
Rotate, align and balance your tires – Regularly rotating your RV’s tires will help you achieve more uniform wear. A bad jolt from hitting a curb or pothole can throw your front end out of alignment and damage your tires. Have an RV dealer check the alignment periodically to ensure that your vehicle is properly aligned.
Don’t overload your vehicle – Overweight RVs lead to axle problems, accelerated suspension wear and failure, and tire failure. Be aware of the recommended size and load range of your tires and whether they are suitable for your weight needs. If you are unsure, check your owner’s manual or tire information placard. Aim for even weight distribution throughout your RV. If for some reason that’s not possible, tires on the same axle should still be inflated to the same pressure.
Invest in tire covers – Over time, the sun’s heat rots your tires, creating cracks; tire covers are a great way to protect this damage from happening. During long pit stops, throw on the covers to give the tires a break and use them on your RV during the off season.
Keep track of your tires’ age – RV tires age out before they wear out in most cases. Once a tire reaches five to seven years of age, they should be inspected by a tire professional annually for signs that they’re failing. The industry generally agrees that after 10 years, especially when the tires are heavily loaded, they should be replaced regardless of wear.
“Eighty-three percent of U.S. motorists do not properly check tire pressure, and each year, there are nearly 11,000 tire-related crashes nationwide resulting in nearly 200 fatalities,” he added. “Now is a good time for RV owners and other vehicle drivers to perform checks on their vehicle’s tires, including the spare, and to get into the habit of taking five minutes every month to repeat those checks.
There you have it folks. I don’t have to tell you that you have a lot riding on your tires. They are the only physical connection between you and the road. Apart from the large amount of money you have invested in your motorhome, travel trailer or fifth-wheel, safety for you and your family while driving begins where the rubber meets the road.
If you have any questions, or concerns about the tires of nor RV, don’t hesitate to contact PPL Motorhomes.
Andrew Hyde/Flickr Creative Commons
Every now and again I hear folks talking about RV’ing with kids or grandkids, and the conversations tend to revert to hushed tones as though they’re spilling state secrets to ISIS or something. As though people will hear that they’re planning on packing the RV with kids and will immediately try to talk them out of it or stage an intervention. On the other side of the coin, I also hear people discussing a trip with kids as if the kids are the delicate, fragile ones who can’t handle being confined for the course of the road trip. Today we’re going to talk about a few things you can do that will help mitigate some of the problems you face when traveling with kids.
Schedule Regular Stops
This is so important. If you are traveling long distance in a day or perhaps a multi-day cross country trip, plan on stopping every 2 hours or so. If you can make these stops correspond with mealtimes that also helps. Stop at a Chick Fil A or McDonalds or someplace with a playground so those kids can run and MAKE NOISE! An added benefit is that once the kids know there is a scheduled stop coming soon, the “When are we going to get there?” questions will fade away.
Give Them A Map
I realize nobody has maps anymore and it’s all GPS, but buy the kids a roadmap each. Not only will they learn to use one, but they’ll be able to track their progress and therefore that dreaded “How Much Longer?” question gets another smack down. Plus the kids will be able to see what interesting sights are coming up and can make some suggestions on where the next stop will be. For example, “Hey Nana, can we stop at The Thing on I-10 in Arizona?” or “Carlsbad Caverns is off to the left, can we go there?”. They’ll take an interest in the trip, it’ll divert their attention from the passage of time, as well as teaching them a useful skill.
Jay Cross/Flickr Creative Commons
It seems like every day or two there are new lists posted all over social media that tout to have “The Top 5 Songs Of All Time” or “20 Of The Best Songs To Chop Broccoli To” (the writers of these lists have amazing grammar by the way) or even “Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Songs Of All Time” but when you click the link it’s not even an article by Rolling Stone, and there are so many advertisements popping up all over that seeing all 500 songs would take 500 days.
Everyone has an opinion on music because music is 100% subjective. You like what you like, I like what I like. For example, I love The Eagles. However in The Big Lebowski, Jeff Bridges’ character loudly and publicly dislikes The Eagles. And you know what? That’s his, and my, prerogative. That being said, almost nothing can tense up a road trip like arguing over the music.
The accepted rule is “Driver Controls The Stereo” and that should be true unless it’s gonna be a long trip in which case there should be some sort of “your CD, then my CD” arrangement. It’s fair. That way poor Jeff Bridges doesn’t have to listen to two The Eagles CDs in a row and I don’t have to listen to two Creedence Clearwater Revival albums back-to-back.
Even married couples with decades of experience dealing with each other don’t want to listen to the same music. So be at peace people! Just take turns, Your taste is not better than hers, and hers isn’t any better than yours. It’s just super individualized. So for the good of the trip, to keep peace in the vehicle, just suck it up and listen to her music, every other album. Next thing you know, miles have slipped behind you and you might even hear some new music that you can ALL like!
Come say howdy over at the website, we’ll get you squared away!
Ethan/Flickr Creative Commons
OK folks, prepare for a bit of a rant. Several years back I began noticing that one of the key features on I-1o was damaged guard rails. And I mean damaged. Like the idiot who hit the rail didn’t even put on the brakes, just plowed into the thing. And there is a little stretch of road that I travel pretty frequently where no sooner does the county or highway dept replace the rail and install new posts than it’s peeled back and sheared off again more or less within 24 hours it seems. So is the problem that the rails are hard to see? Are they installed too close to an active lane? Is it sleepy truckers (which is what the big push was a few years ago)? Or is it bored motorists Facebooking their way down the highway?
Lord have mercy people, which is more important: being brielfy entertained on your trip by watching the video of that cat trying to jump off the dresser and slipping, answering a chatty text, or arriving at your destination with vehicle, life, and insurance policy intact? Now, some could say this is a generational problem…I mean after all the statistics show that the highest number of distracted driving accidents occur in the 16-24 year old age range, but the funny thing is when I was growing up that age group had the highest number of accidents as well and our phones were on the wall next to the kitchen!
According to TXDOT, over 500 people a year die in our state in distracted driving accidents, and 1 in 5 accidents state wide are due to distracted driving. Granted their definition is not just phone related, they also include the ladies putting on makeup, the folks fiddling with their GPS, folks who are eating lunch, changing a CD, and they even include folks who are READING. I love a good book, I really do, but reading one on I-35 driving through Austin, for example, isn’t a diversion…it’s suicide. So can we all just prioritize a little bit and while we’re in our cars just concentrate on getting from Point A to Point B through the maze of distracted drivers without becoming one ourselves? This has been an Important Safety Message from RV Nana, and I approve this message. Ha!
Terry Presley/Flickr Creative Commons
I can’t remember if we’ve ever talked about hail. Of so, it’s been a long, long, long time and we might as well hit it again. So here we are mid-spring, the weather has been mostly wonderful. Central Texas, and North Texas too, have had some pretty powerful weather over the course of the spring and that belt of the state from north of Austin to the Red River gets strong storms pretty regularly. I still remember when Jarrell got wiped out by a tornado back in the 90’s. So what do you do when those storms are coming and they’re bringing hail and damaging winds with them?
Now it’s almost a cliche about RVs and travel trailers being beaten up by bad weather, but there is nothing more important than the well being of yourself and your loved ones. If weather is headed your way, and you don’t have time to get moving out of it’s path, your absolute best option is to seek shelter. That applies whether it’s straight-line winds, severe lightning, floods, hail, etc etc etc. Find yourself a sturdy, permanent structure if possible and get inside. Then keep away from windows and wait it out.
So you’ve made it through the storm and you’re looking your RV over immediately afterwards and it has taken a beating. We here at PPL can help you get it back to looking it’s best with replacement for all that damaged stuff up on top. I’m talking about replacements for refrigerator vent covers, vent lids, A/C shrouds, plumbing vent caps, and if you have punctures we even have self-adhesive rubber roof repair kits. Chances are if you have antennas mounted up top, they’ve taken a beating too. It’s amazing the amount of stuff we have up there that kind of gets forgotten about. So if you’ve gone through some severe weather, survey your RV or trailer, than call us and let us know how we can help you get back on the road!