PPL Motorhomes: Is the new RVer getting younger?

One of the things I’ve been seeing a lot at PPL Motorhomes is that the age of new RVers is getting younger, specifically with the “Baby Boomer” generation who are approaching retirement. This isn’t news to anyone, especially the “boomers” themselves, but since we sell Used and Consignment RVs, we see a lot of first timers. Owning an RV falls right in line with the 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 who have a love affair with anything on wheels.

The following are excerpts from a piece from an occasional series published by the Miami Herald I think you may find interesting.

Oh, how Baby Boomers love their wheels. Weaned on hot rods, raised with Mustangs and Camaros, inspired by the rebellious freedom of the counterculture film Easy Rider, they’ve had a lifelong affair with all things motorized. Whether it was the VW microbuses that symbolized 1960s hippie life or the Hummers that screamed excess at the turn of the century, what they drove defined who and where they were. Cars, motorcycles and recreational vehicles became more than transportation. They were fashion statements.

“For Boomers, a car wasn’t just a car,” says George Hoffer, a Virginia Commonwealth University economics professor and auto analyst. “It was freedom. It was mobility. It was the fun that came with being able to go.”

For the parents of Boomers, most of whom who had suffered through the Great Depression and World War II, a car was something of a luxury. By the time the oldest Boomers posed for their driver license pictures, however, teenagers thought of a vehicle as a necessity. Desire varied a bit by geography. Miami, for instance, has always had more of a car culture than New York, with its mass transit.

“Boomers grew up with the expectation of mobility,” says Lance Wilson, executive director of the Florida Recreational Vehicle Trade Association. “They also were raised with more affluence.”


Boomers are definitely in the driver’s seat:

  • Four years ago, AAA published its first Easy Reading North American Road Atlas, which offers 40% larger type than standard atlases. It has been marketed to Boomers as “easier on the eyes for the generation known for its independence and wanderlust.”
  • Baby Boomers account for more than half of all new vehicle purchases and make up almost 60 percent of all drivers, according to Scotia Economics, a research and policy development outfit.
  • Motorcycle riders 45 and older made up 46% of all riders in 2008. Boomers outnumber Generation Y riders by a margin of 2 to 1.
  • Aging Baby Boomers nearing retirement are fueling the increase in RV demand, industry experts say. Today one in 10 vehicle-owning households in the age group of 50 to 64 own at least one RV. The average age of an RV owner is 49.

As they age, experts say Boomers’ transportation choices will force them to balance image with comfort, desire with reality. Those who once zoomed down the highway on fast bikes will want something easier on their backs.

“Boomers want to experience the road with all the comforts of home,” says Dick Shaefer, owner of the website boomerrver.com. “They want to enjoy the experience of camping with their microwaves and their queen-size beds.”

We hear about  perfect examples everyday. Parents who camped with her sons throughout their Boy Scout career  Now purchasing Class A motorhomes for those grown children and their families in hopes of continuing the tradition of travel and the outdoors.

Trust me, there’s nothing like retiring in style! Do you already have an RV? Are you planning on getting one? Did you stumble on this post and want to know more information about RVing? Leave me a comment or call PPL Motorhomes…we should have all of the answers!

New and Used RV ownership at Record Highs

Did you know that the number of RV-owning households has grown to a new peak of 8.9 million households, up from 7.9 million in 2005. Nearly one-in-nine U.S. households now own RVs, up from 8.0% in 2005, according to an RVIA news release I had recently read. I’ve heard a few times before that a good gauge of the strength of the economy can be partially judged by the RV industry.

RV ownership levels reflect the enduring appeal of the RV lifestyle despite recent economic challenges said RVIA President Richard Coon. In addition to showing that RV ownership rates have climbed steadily, the new RV Consumer Demographic Profile also offers promising news on future RV purchase intentions.

From everything that I’ve read and have been hearing, the survey results gathered this year clearly indicate continued strong demand for RVs in the years ahead. This has been especially noticeably at PPL Motorhomes. We are finding that a number of current RV owners plan to purchase another RV to replace their current unit. The is good news for the entire RV industry

Among new market entrants, defined as households that have never owned an RV in the past, 14% planned on purchasing an RV in the future with more than a third of them intending to purchase a new RV. Of all former owners, 27% plan to purchase another RV in the future. Here age was a determining factor with younger former owners (age 18-34) more likely than older former owners to purchase another RV. This underscores the need for the RV industry to stay in touch with recent former owners and to continue to present them ownership options.

I’ve also noticed that customers are looking for “more sensible” purchases in the $30,000 to $35,000 range. These tend to be lighter and easier to tow in order to get better fuel economy. What that tells me is that RV sales in 2011 are expected to show an increase compared with 2010 sales due to more baby boomers seeking New and Used RVs for leisure. Even better news is that there is a continuing rebound in the industry is great news in Elkhart County and surrounding areas, where thousands of workers are getting work done in the industry. Officials have had their fingers crossed that the rebound is lasting…so does RV Nana.

Do You Know What it Takes to Be an RV Owner?

Putting effort into researching, choosing and buying your first RV is commonplace, but many prospective RV owners are not fully aware of the realities of RV ownership. There are many things to keep in mind if you are getting your first vehicle, such as driving, breakdown assistance, insurance, storage and maintenance.
Insurance for RVs are usually provided by specialist providers who operate only in the leisure vehicle arena. Use magazines and the internet to research what’s appropriate for your needs – you should find better value compared to normal car insurance as usage is normally much reduced compared to the family car.

Parking the vehicle at your residence can be an issue for some. If you do not have extensive garden and driveway space around your home, you may be looking at on street parking. This will be either illegal, dangerous, annoying to neighbors or all of the above. Some owners may wish to house their vehicle indoors to avoid any winter damage typically caused by ice, rain and sun. Consider storage facilities  – these can be both indoor and outdoor. They usually provide a level of security such as lock up, video surveillance etc. Many RV owners choose to use this facility during the winter months only, when they have no intention of using their vehicle. Consider also the damage that certain tree types can do to a RV, if parking under trees.

Finally, be aware of the regular servicing that RVs require. The habitation area requires certain procedures to be undertaken at regular intervals. Some of this servicing requires expertise not normally undertaken by the average owner. Likewise the vehicle engine and mechanical parts require regular servicing from a qualified mechanic.

Hopefully this has pointed you in the right direction to start acquiring the knowledge to owning a PPL Motorhomes RV. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

PPL Motorhomes Extends a helping hand to Fort Bend County Women’s Center

All of us open our hearts and wallets to various organizations  throughout the year and, for some unknown reason, I have always helped the Fort Bend County Women’s Center.  I’m not real sure why this has been a favorite charity of mine because, fortunately, I have never been in or even had close friend in a domestic violence situation.   The fact that 74% of all Texans has experienced some sort of domestic violence is astonishing and my heart simply goes out to these victims and it makes me want to help.  My local ladies group has been involved in clothing drives, Easter baskets and Mothers Day bags for this group and I simply wanted to do a little more so, as always, I am turning to my RV friends.  My RV family here at PPL consists of employees, customers, vendors,and friends and I have been so fortunate to be surrounded by such a great group of individuals.  After all, people involved in the RV lifestyle are living their dreams and enjoying life, so being “upbeat”  is a part of each day for them.  At PPL we are in the middle of a facebook campaign encouraging RV enthusiasts to help us help this great organization.  October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so please help PPL help these families.

LP “Beep” Means Danger: The skinny on Lp detectors and Regulators


A dear friend of mine was talking to me about her RV and I almost came unglued when she told me how she had dealt with the beep from her LP gas detector.  After a long day in the office, she went back to her Houston home (her 5th wheel trailer) ready for a glass of wine and some much needed rest.  A few minutes later she heard that annoying beep (it is annoying because it is supposed to get your attention) from the LP detector.   She hit the reset button thinking that would solve the problem and it just kept beeping.   Being too tired to deal with it, she just took the battery out and turned off her hearing aid so she could get some sleep.  She’s actually lucky she woke up the next morning.  That beep means there is something wrong and LP gas is not something to fool around with.

The next morning, all bright eyed, she decided to investigate the cause of the beep.  As soon as she opened the outside compartment she could smell the strong smell of LP gas.  Apparently she had an LP regulator leaking on her LP tank so she immediately turned off the valve and the leak stopped.  Now all she has to do is have someone come out and repair the connection.  This story has a happy ending, but it could have ended much differently. She was lucky.  LP Gas is dangerous and needs to be taken seriously.  Don’t ignore the beep!!


TACO day at PPL Motor Homes

Make plans now to attend a special event sure to be fun and informative for all RV enthusiasts…TACO Day at PPL Motor Homes September 24th!  At PPL, we understand that buying and RV is only part of your RV experience because you have to decide what to do with it now that you have this new motor home, travel trailer or fifth wheel.  This is where the Texas Association of Campground Owners comes in with information on parks throughout Texas.  A great way to learn more about where to go and what to see!

We had our first TACO Day at PPL in March and it was a huge success, complete with a guest appearance by Yogi Bear himself.  This was our crazy way to help the RVers in our area learn more about the wonderful parks and campgrounds in Texas.  Every park has its own personality and this is a great opportunity for the park owners and representatives to chat with campers and “show their stuff.”  At PPL, we always want to have fun so we have added a special twist to the day.

As you walk around and visit with the parks, you can have them stamp your “PPL Game Card” and then your card will be entered in our hourly door prize drawings.  We will have door prizes ranging from Weekend stays at some featured parks to $100 gift cards and RV accessories so don’t miss this fun filled event.   We will also be serving what we refer to as “PPL Style Tacos”…some really great nachos with meat, cheese and jalapenos so come on out and have fun!

Bastrop Wild Fire Hits too close to home

Here in Texas, we’ve been recent victims of the worst brush fires in our history. A relentless Texas wildfire in Bastrop County east of Austin destroyed over 1,550 homes, consumed over 34,000 acres and has set a somber state record: The highest number of homes lost in a single fire in Texas…ever. Increased winds and lack of rain helped fuel the fire that jumped the Colorado River at least twice. That’s no small feat.


Some families were given only minutes to evacuate as the raging blaze surrounded homes and neighborhoods. Some had time to gather a few important belongings, others fled with only the clothes on their back. I know because my niece and her family were one of the evacuees. They lost almost everything. Even though their home is gone, they still have their family and pets all safe together.  Fire could not take everything from them.  They still have their spirit and friends and family who care.  (Thanks to all of you who have helped us help them) Below is a picture she took looking behind as they left their home for the last time.


How did this fire start? I heard it was a teenager who was burning a love letter, but it could have just as easily been a cigarette thrown out of a car window, or an ember from a BBQ that floated away. What we should take away from this tragedy is that, when conditions are ripe for fire, you should think twice before throwing your butt out of the window or gassing up the grill. 90% of wildfires are a direct result of human error or negligence. Remember, a fire starts with a single spark, but can affect thousands of lives, tens of thousands of acres and countless numbers of wildlife.

If you’d like to contribute to rebuilding and clean up of Bastrop and the surrounding areas, secure, tax-deductible online donations to the Texas Wildfire Relief Fund can be made by visiting, www.txwildfirerelief.org.

Protect Your RV During Hurricane Season


Here in Houston, the news media made sure we were all aware of the start of the 2011 hurricane season and my mind immediately went back to Hurricane Ike and all the preparation we did to take care of our fifth wheel and wanted to share some hints with you. We have now compiled a hurricane season checklist and always have good intentions of taking care of these items long before a storm watch or warning. First, I want to warn you that an RV should not be used as a safe haven during a storm. It is a wonderful means of transportation to exit a storm area and an even better temporary home when you return should your home be damaged or destroyed. Here are a few simple steps that could help you weather the storm a little easier.

  • Determine an evacuation route now and make sure, in the event of a storm warning, that you leave early. I have heard horror stories of people trying to leave a storm area and spending 12 hours on the road to go 10 miles. Don’t let that be you.
  • Stock your RV early with water, non-perishable food and enough supplies for a week.
  • Keep your fuel tank and LP gas tanks filled during hurricane season to avoid long lines at the last minute.
  • Check your tires and make sure they are road worthy and filled with the proper air pressure.
  • Take time now to pack a fresh first aid kit in your RV
  • Pack your prescription medications in a waterproof bag so you are ready for a for a quick exit.
  • Pack sleeping bags, bedding and linens in waterproof bags to protect them from moisture. Space bags are great for this.
  • Make copies of all important documents and store them in a plastic bag so you have them ready to take with you. (insurance policies, drivers license, credit card information, titles and vehicle registration)
  • Make a list of important phone numbers and information and keep this in a zip lock bag, too.
  • It is not a bad idea to have some cash stored in your RV or in your important document bag because there may be no ATM or credit card purchases if there is a major power outage.
  • Pack plenty of batteries and flashlights so you are ready for any emergency.
  • Make sure you have a battery powered radio so you can keep informed during the storm.
  • We have a hand crank combination battery charger and flashlight for charging our cell phones. A great way to keep you in contact with family and friends.
  • And, don’t forget your pet. Pack some food and emergency information for your pets, too!

If you are evacuating and leaving you RV behind, here are a few helpful hints that could help your motor home travel trailer or fifth wheel weather the storm, too.

  • Buy insurance and buy it early. After a storm is in the gulf, you can no longer bind insurance on your RV.
  • Decide where you will store your RV and try to find a place that is not in a low lying area prone to flooding.
  • Package your belongings in waterproof bags.
  • Close and lock all windows, vents and doors.
  • Secure any lose items located near your RV.
  • Turn off the propane at the cylinders.
  • Close and lock all outside compartment doors.
  • Return as soon as safely possible after the storm and check for damage and leaks.

These are only a few things to consider when getting ready for hurricane season. We had our Fifth Wheel stored at our daughters home during Hurricane Ike. We had parked it as close as possible to there travel trailer and we were both so lucky. The only thing we lost was a small vent cap. Take some steps now that could save you time and money later. Good luck and be safe.



RVers, Did You Bring Your Firewood?

Pack some firewood in your RV

Remember, it is against the rules to pick up firewood at a State or National park and most merchants in areas around the parks know this. Save yourself a bundle (no pun intended) by packing some firewood in your motor home or travel trailer and be prepared to save some money. We have seen local merchants selling small bundles of firewood that range in price from $6.00 to $20.00. We’re always happy to pay the small fee to the parks when they sell it but some of the local merchants know that campers will pay anything for their campfires and they charge accordingly. It’s all part of the camping experience…the ambiance. Just a reminder. Pay close attention to burn bans at the parks. If the park is under a burn ban you need to stick to your little gas or charcoal grill.

Are your RV tires healthy enough to save your life?

Your tire health is so important when you are talking about your RV, whether your RV is a motor home, travel trailer or fifth wheel.    In fact, if your RV tires are in poor condition, a blow out could cause you to lose control of your RV and may result in a major accident.  There are many different things you need to take into account when dealing with your tires such as weather, overall condition and age of your tires.

No one wants to be stranded on the side of the road with tire problems.I have heard so many horror stories about tires and decided to share a few helpful hints that may make yoru RV travles more fun and enjoyable.

  • Tire pressure is so important. Use a qualified inflation pressure gauge to check pressure.
  • Make sure you always check pressure when the tires are cold, before traveling because hot air expands and may give a false reading if measured after use.
  • Always follow the tire manufacturer’s pressure recommendations or the information on the Federal data plate on your RV. The maximum pressure allowed for a tire is also embossed on the side wall.
  • Many RV owners recommend having RV valve extenders installed on their dual wheels for ease of use. It is also recommended that you have the rubber valves replaced with steel valves.
  • Take time to check your tires for uneven wear and cracking on the side walls. Tire wear should be the same all the way around the vehicle. If one tire shows much different wear than the others there could be a more serious problem. Have the tires inspected by a professional before using yoru RV.
  • RV wheel covers will protect your tires from serious damage caused by Ozone and UV rays. When not in use, tires should be covered to prevent dry rot and deterioration of the tire.
  • Just like your car, the RV needs to hae the tires rotated on a regular basis. Rotation helps to equalize tread wear and can save you money by extending the life of your tires. Generally a rotation interval of 6,000 miles is recommended.
  • It is a good rule of thumb to replace tires after 6 or 7 years. Regardless of how many miles a tire has on it, the age of the tire is important. You can determine the age of the tire by looking for the in use date embossed on the side wall.

Hopefully these tips will help save a trip or save a life.  We all know the heat in south Texas can wreak havoc on your tires.