Any RVer would agree with me that the open road is what we live for. We take pride in our planning and preparing for the weekends and extended vacations with our families and friends. The hours of plotting and figuring the miles between each destination is actually fun for us when, for most people, it seems boring.
One thing I’ve learned after being on the RV kick for many years now, is that getting off the beaten path and exploring some place that other people would drive by has made some of the best traveling memories that I can recall. Sure, going to the Grand Canyon is nice, but what about that time you just decided to drive and go where the road took you? You may end up nowhere, but you also may end up somewhere wonderful! Either way, you’ve got a story to tell.
When you decide to strike out on your own, without a plan, be sure and carry the Rand McNally Tripmaker. It’ll make sure you can find your way home. It’s also a great tool for travelers because it’ll tell you of weather events, notify you of routes that your RV can and cannot make due to height and weight restrictions, and give you the lowdown on campsites in your path (propane, RVs allowed). It’ll even tell you where the nearest RV service location is, just in case you have an issue that can’t wait until you get home. One of my favorite features is the real-time traffic monitoring. It’s good to know when you’re approaching a traffic jam so you can take another route to get out of it.
If you don’t do all the fancy GPS stuff, then maybe the Rand McNally Road Atlas is what you need. Come to think of it, you need one anyways. All of these technological advancements are nice and all, but what happens when something goes wrong with it and it can’t pick up a signal? That’s when an old-fashioned map in book form comes in handy. As cost-effective as they are, there’s really no reason NOT to have one.
Photo by Fred Pflughoft, provided by Wyoming Travel & Tourism
It’s a dream that most of us RVers have. Selling all of our worldly possessions and heading out on the road full time. While it sounds like a great idea to many of us (including those here at PPL Motorhomes), it requires a lot of work and isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are plenty of factors you must take into account before you make the decision to live your live in an RV.
Being out on the road eliminates the possibility of having a career that requires you to come in to work everyday. The best options for a life on the road are internet-based careers, one that allows you to be anywhere in the world (as long as you have an internet connection). Crafty RVers can make their products on the road and sell them online to fund their lifestyle. Photographers and painters are also a great example of being able to travel at all times and not be required to be in a specific place at a specific time.
Every RVer loves to travel. It’s in our blood. But after a certain amount of time, you begin longing for the normalcy of home. Living on the road, traveling is a daily occurrence and your RV is your home. There’s no going back. Make sure you’re committed to the lifestyle.
Obviously, if you have children who are in school, you should wait until they are out of school and off to college or out on their own. If you have a family member who is under your care or in constant need of medical access (dialysis, etc…), full time RVing is out of reach. The same goes for animals. Dogs can generally join you and will probably enjoy themselves immensely, but I have a hard time seeing a cat coming with you!
Sure, we all dream of hitting the road for good and visiting all of the places we wrote down on out bucket list, but it takes a lot of preparation and planning to get to the point where you can cut the strings that tie you down and make the road your home. Do you know of anyone who is a full time RVer? Do you think you could do it?
There’s a certain appeal to camping and RVing. The escape from everyday responsibilities, exploring someplace new, getting out of your element, and enjoying a night by the campfire. With that being said, there’s a new craze taking hold in the adventure seekers world. It’s called “glamping”, quite literally “glamorous camping”. Gone are the drab tents, dirty campsites, and your “average” RV. With RVing, you’re traveling in, and living in something that is yours. Glamping aims to get you out of that familiarity and into a lavish and unique environment with comfortable amenities.
The good news is that when you travel with an RV, you’re afforded all of the luxuries of some of the highest-end glampers out there. After all, you’re hauling around a living space full of all of the creature comforts of home. All you really need now is few additional items and you can glamp in style!
Outdoor furniture is an integral part of the glamping lifestyle. Comfortable, plush, well-made outdoor furniture that you can sink into and spend some quality time in. No cheap plastic chairs here! Only the best will do! Another addition to consider is a hammock. What better way to watch the sunset than in a comfy hammock with pillows? Maybe even a blanket if it’s chilly? Spare no expense if you’re serious about living the high life out on the road. Eliminate plasticware, paper cups and plates. Take the time to find the freshest ingredients for your gourmet dinners instead of frozen pre-made entrees. Pamper yourself with the finest linens and bedding for tthe utmost in comfort. Glamping is all about taking you out of your element and into a higher standard of living. All the things that you wish you could have in your house, can all be taken with you for your travels. The options are limitless!
Oh, and decorate, decorate, decorate! It’s your RV, so make it truly YOUR RV! Let the inner interior and exterior designer loose and you’ll quickly be the talk and the envy of the park. Nothing excites me more than seeing a decked out RV that is a true reflection of the RVers personality and style. Need some ideas? Call PPL Motorhomes!
There are so many ways to transform your normal RV experience into I realize that there’s a big difference between RVing and glamping, but I think it sounds like a great vacation and it’d definitely be something different and unique. What do you think about the idea of glamping in your RV?
Gone are the days of carrying around a printed map in your glove compartment. The new technology is here and it’s not going away anytime soon. The mapping applications available to you on your smartphone are great for leading you where you want to go. Some of them even tell you if a police car, congestion or construction sites are coming up in front of you. Here are just a few of them!
RV GPS by Rand McNally
This one is by far the best one for RVs. It allows you to input the type of RV you are driving and will cater your directions to that vehicle. It’ll warn you of sharp turns, changes in speed limit, dirt roads and other potential hazards. It also provides real time weather updates and notifications of wind speed and forecasted and current precipitation levels. As an added bonus it also has an RV Checklist feature built into the app so you don’t forget something vital.
One of the most popular apps out there! You can always depend on Google Maps to get you where you need to go. This app is tried and true. It features turn by turn navigation along with traffic avoidance navigation to help keep you out of a jam and on time!
A newcomer into the traffic app marketplace. They were recently acquired by Google, so you know they are doing something right! Waze is different because it crowd-sources traffic in real time. If you are driving down interstate 35 and there’s a slow-down approaching, it relies on members of the Waze community to report it and it will notify you and ask if you would like to re-route. It will also report police cars, construction sites and general traffic backups so you can know what you’re getting into before you get there!
There are a ton of other apps out there to help you get where you’re going. Which ones do you use?
When you take a family camping, it can be hard to get everyone together for a few hours and spend time with them. Kids will bring their iPads or play on their phones, if there’s a TV in the RV, sometimes we’ll lose a few hours flipping channels. We encourage putting down the electronic devices and spending some quality time with everyone, that’s what RVing is all about. Here’s a few things that crossed my mind on how to make a Family Fun Night a success!
1. Bring board games!
Starting a rousing game of Monopoly or dominoes is a sure fire way to spend some quality time with your family. Be sure to bring a few different games, you want as many people as possible taking part in it. Playing cards are great to keep in the RV, simply because of their versatility. You can play “Go Fish” if your group is younger, or “Spades” if you’re with an older crowd. The possibilities are endless. Here are just some that you can order from PPL Motorhomes!
Travel Board Games $14.95
Road Trip Game $19.95
Texas Trivia $19.95
Rally Ho RV Travel Game $19.95
Mexican Train Domino Game $25.95
Dominos to Go $9.95
2. Pick a family friendly movie for Movie Night!
You might even consider projecting your movie onto the side of your RV and getting everyone outside to enjoy nature! You can even go as far as implementing a “No Cell Phone” rule during the movie to keep everyone from multitasking (checking Facebook or texting with friends) and into the movie.
3. Explore walking trails!
Most campground and RV sites have walking trails and nature walks within the site. Make it a point to get everyone out for a walk and explore the grounds around you. Give the kids a list of 5 different flowers to find, or see who can spot the most different insects while out for a walk.
What do you guys and gals do for family time on your trips? Find us on Facebook and let us know!
We are nearing the end of National Fire Prevention Week, but that certainly doesn’t mean in any way, shape or form that the dangers of wildfire is gone. If fact, there is no time to be more vigilant about stopping the cause and spread of wildfires. Nothing makes me more upset to see people being careless with either an open flame, cigarette butts tossed out of moving cars or campfires that aren’t properly extinguished.
As the weather changes and becomes more arid, the already dry leaves and grasses are perfectly primed for fires. It doesn’t take much to start a fire and have it burn uncontrollably in mere minutes. Remember Bastrop? Of course you do! That fire was a careless mistake and jumped a 100 yard wide river and continued it’s devastating burn on the other side. It burned millions of dollars worth of property, hundreds of livestock were consumed and it quickly became the source unbearable anguish for many people it left in its fiery wake.
There’s not much more I can really say in regards to preventing wildfires that I haven’t already said in the past. It is clearly your responsibility to make sure that you are careful with any flame you are using at your campsite. One stray spark can literally destroy thousands of lives, acres and wildlife. Fire prevention is everyone’s responsibility. That means making sure that you have fire extinguishers on your RV and you obey all open flame laws. If there is a burn ban in effect, use your head, don’t fire up the grill. I for one, never want to see anything like the destruction in Bastrop, TX again. The really sad part is that I know I will.
With Fall just around the corner, this is the time of year RVers start dreaming about. The weather is getting cooler and that RV bucket list isn’t empty itself. The time to start your planning should have been last month, but I’ll cut you a little slack. So, where do you start? For me, if I’ve ever said, “I’ve always wanted to…” that was a pretty good indication that it’s probably going to be a good bucket list item. Now things like going to the Grand Canyon or camping in Yellowstone or finding the World’s Largest Ball of Aluminum Foil are all perfectly good bucket list items. However, did you know that the amount of things to see and do right here in Texas you quickly fill your bucket 100 times over? From festivals, fairs, football and more, Texas has destination locations perfect for the Fall camping season.
Here’s a nice video I found done by an RVer in regards to how he feels about how to empty your RV bucket list.
So, where exactly can you go in Texas? You can head up to Dallas. Fall is the time of year when things really start picking up in North Texas. For one thing, the Texas State Fair kicks off complete with carnival, games, rides, fried foods, a car expo, football games, live music. Just about any type of entertainment you want can be found in the DFW area in Fall: SMU & TCU football games, the Dallas Cowboys, The Red River Rivalry… and that’s just football! Trust me, you can’t do it all in one trip.
Of course, there are other great places to visit and things to do as well. Austin is a Texas hub of entertainment and seat of our State Government. The festivals like Austin City Limits Music fest and The Austin Film Fest are just two of a multitude of fests in the area. Of course, the Texas hill country is at it’s most beautiful this time of year with a myriad of colors on display.
What about Marfa, Salado, Caddo Lake? There really are so many wonderful things to do and see, It’s a wonder why I ever leave this great state to vacation.
If you have places that you think should be on every RVer’s bucket list, let us know in the comments section below. And of course, when you are getting ready to plan those trips, remember PPL Motorhomes has everything you need to make it a memorable experience.
Day in and day out, most of us are still caught up in the rat race on a daily basis. Not all of us are retired and our work lives are usually at the center of a majority of our stress. Stress can affect us both physiologically and psychologically, leading to issues such as an abundance of anxiety. Stress can also affect your overall thinking processes. I’m sure we all know that stress manifests itself as physical pain as well. As much as we’d all like to get deep tissue massages every day, that’s just not practical or affordable.
So, what can you do to alleviate and deter your daily stress? Having a healthy, well-balanced diet and getting some exercise is a great start. Further, taking time periodically for yourself is a prime way to lift some of the burdens of both work and family which cause unnecessary stress. It’s no surprise that one of the most important stress relievers for me is simply going camping.
There is a natural calming effect that nature can bring if you let her. For me, going to one of our Texas State Parks is one of the best things I can think of to easily wipe away the chaos of previous weeks. I can imagine the breeze blowing away my troubles or the sound of the chirping birds taking the place of office bickering, or non-stop talking with manufacturer reps, sales and service employees, and customers. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the latter (office bickering I can do without), but there are just times that simply filling your ears with the sounds of nature can bring a calming peace over me. It’s as if I can feel my mind, body, and soul rejuvenating.
When I go RVing, it’s as if I can breathe again, and when I return, I’m ready to pick-up where I left off, with more energy, more focus, and, most of the time, a new perspective of the complicated tasks that I partake in on a daily basis. Somehow RVing and camping remind me of the things that are important: God’s presence in nature and my family’s love and company. The stresses of work and life at that point just seem trivial.
Want to experience the greatest stress relief? Go RVing.
If there is one thing I can guarantee you, it’s that you will make a memory or two while RVing. Actually, you’ll make hundreds of memories, and take thousands of pictures…or, is it make thousands of memories and take hundreds of pictures? Either way, it’s a really good idea to document them. It might be easy to just say to yourself, “Oh, I’ll remember everything we did”. You may, but that’s not really the point. The point is to be able to not just remember those moments, but to relive them as well.
How many of you keep a journal of your RVing experiences? I love sitting and writing about my days while I’m out on the road. It helps me remember the places I visit in greater detail. When I meet new people, I can easily remember their names and hometowns because I take the time to write them down and describe my experiences with them. I even write down the names of their pets. It’s not for any other reason other than, one day, I may want to go back and revisit that long trip to Yellowstone. Or, relive the last time we visited the river when we had the time of our lives.
I could write up my trips here in my blog, and sometimes I do. However, there is something really special in taking pen to paper. Watching the ink forever bleed into the fibers of my notebook, know that I took the time to personalize my travel journal. Not that starting a blog of your experiences isn’t a good idea. There is no right, or wrong way to document your RVing memories. The point is to never be struggling to remember, “where were we when we saw those Monarch butterflies”? Or, ” was it in Big Bend that we met that couple from Houston?” For some travelers these types of memories may be not that important, for others, like myself, they are paramount in my RV experience.
You never can tell, say 15 years from now, when you want to open up your journal and relive those wonderful days in your RV with just you and your significant other. It certainly is easier to keep it in a journal than extract from memory sometimes…then other times, you’ll have make memories that you’d never be able to capture on paper.
Maybe those are the memories I’m really challenging myself to have…the ones that reside in not just on paper, or your mind, but in your heart.
Being an RVer is like being a modern explorer, although we generally follow the beaten paths, we still experience new and exciting things on every trip. For me, I find that when I travel, my new experiences are necessarily in finding a new place to eat on the road, or a place to shop, or museum to visit. It’s outside. It’s walking around and exploring the parks we stay at and the forests we visit. I can spend hours outside just sitting in a chair enjoy the breeze, even on hot summer days.
When it rains, every part of me just wants to go and play in the puddles like I used to as a kid. Maybe I should do just that? Maybe it’s time to appreciate the outdoors even more? When was the last time you went for a walk in the rain? For me, it’s been too long. When was the last time you studied a flower or butterfly, not just looked at one, but really studied it? When was the last time YOU appreciated the outdoors?
All too often, as RVers, we tend to revel too much in the comfort of our RVs. Of course that’s exactly why we buy them, we get all of the comforts of home while we’re on the road, I certainly understand and appreciate that. However, don’t let those comforts keep you from going outside more and actively explore. Take a walk. Watch the sunset…watch it rise. My point is, going RVing isn’t just pulling your rig into a stall and sitting under your awning for your entire trip.
You are an RVer, and being an RVer, that means you are a born explorer, a vagabond by nature with souls of gypsies. Remember, when you show a greater appreciation for the outdoors, so will your children and grandchildren. After all, who wouldn’t want to pass on an appreciation of the outdoors to the next generations of RVers? I certainly do.
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!