Did you know that this week is American Hero week. This is the time to thank our police officers, fire fighters, EMTs, soldiers and more for all they do to protect all of us. Especially in light of some recent event’s such as tornadoes in Texas and Oklahoma, as well as the fertilizer plant explosion in West, TX that actually claimed the lives of many first responders.
This subject is especially close to my heart because my son-in-law is a police officer. I can’t help but say a little silent prayer for him every time he leaves for work. My last words to him are always..Be Safe! It isn’t just him that he needs to be safe for, but also for all of us. His family. I don’t know what we’d do if anything ever happened to him. It’s too tough to even thing about. Knowing the danger, he still risks life and limb on a daily basis to keep others safe and protected.
One thing that really gets my dander up is how often the news media sensationalizes the “bad” things done by American heroes and fails to thank them for the day to day dedication they display. What are those “bad” things anyway? You’d be hard pressed to find the proverbial rotten apple that spoils the bunch. None of these heroes started their careers planning to make a million. They chose their professions because they wanted to help others, because they wanted to make a difference each day.
All I ask is that when you are traveling in your RV around Texas, or any other part of the country, and you see either a soldier, fireman or policeman just tell them, “Thank You”. Most people have no clue about the sacrifices these men and women make on a daily basis. That’s not even talking about the sacrifices their family members also make. A simple, “Thank You” is enough to make any professional service man or woman feel good. I know I thank every one of them I run into. You’ll be amazed at how it makes you feel too!
Recently, Granbury, TX, in the Northern part of the state, was hit with an unexpected tornado that cause severe damage and loss of life. In fact, it was more than just one tornado which ended up being a tragedy of epic proportions for that small town. Much of the damage was to homes and subdivisions. In particular, mobile homes were hit especially hard. Eye witnesses describe the wreckage as if “someone scooped all of the trailers and balled them up together”.
Homes of this type (homes of most types really) are especially susceptible to extreme damage, or total destruction when caught in the path of a tornado. The same holds true for your RV. We are all smart enough to know that being in an RV is no place to ride out a tornado producing thunderstorms. However, sometimes I don’t think we know we are in eminent danger until we are face to face with it.
Finding shelter is imperative! If your home is no match for a strong tornado, then it’s obvious that your RV won’t stand a chance. Be smart. Seek shelter, there’s no other way to say it. You have to find a strong structure, move to an inner space and hunker down.
Also, if you haven’t already ad you have a iPhone, or comparable smartphone, find and download The American Red Cross’ Tornado App. It will alert you of impending tornadoes, or thunderstorms capable of producing large hail and tornadic activity…even if your phone is set to silent. I highly recommend it. I’ve already added it to my phone.
It’s that time of year again…snake season. Love ‘em, or hate ‘em, snakes are an integral part of our ecosystem and live in places that we as RVers love to visit. In fact all of us at PPL Motorhomes have our fair share of snake stories. Now, I didn’t choose this topic to frighten, or scare you, but more as an informative and educational piece. For example, did you know that 85% of snakes in Texas aren’t poisonous? That’s just one of many things I learned from the Texas Parks and Wildlife video below.
Remember, when we visit our forests and parks, we are visiting a habitat of wild creatures, so it is our responsibility to tread lightly and avoid contact with the wildlife. Snakes, like all other creatures, just want to be left alone. Watch when stepping over logs, or putting your hands in cool dark places. These are prime areas for snakes to be as they try to escape the heat.
Have any good snake stories? Leave me a comment below, or come into PPL Motorhomes and we can swap snake tales.
It can be both relaxing and instantaneously exciting. Goin’ fishin’. I remember the first time I first dropped a line in the water, patiently waiting for that nibble. I took my time baiting my hook, made the best cast I could and fixed my eyes on the red an white bobber silently hoping to catch my first fish. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but when I got that first mite and I saw the bobber dip below the water line I jumped up and yelled, “FISH”! I was 6 at the time and it made such an impression on me that I remember it to this day. It was a tiny sunfish. I was so proud.
Of course, tens of thousands of kids experience this every year with Dads, Moms, Nanas and Papas by their side to enjoy their excitement with them and RVing can be a great way to enjoy a wonder first fishing trip with your kids, or grand children. You’ll have all of the comforts of home, but also be able to enjoy the lake, river or fishery.
In fact many young anglers catch their first fish at places like the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens Texas. Young anglers can learn how to bait a hook at the 1.2 acre stocked fishing pond. They can catch sunfish and catfish all year. Plus rainbow trout are stocked from December through March. The best part about this fishery is that you don’t need a fishing license for adults or kids, and all bait and tackle are furnished.
Visitors to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries center can also explore the 300,000 gallons of aquariums with native Texas fish, watch daily dive shows, take a tram tour of the hatchery and walk the wetland trail for bird watching and turtle spotting.
Owing an RV is a great way to not just travel, but also take memorable trips places like the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. Give PPL Motorhomes a call and we can help you have a great reason to hang a “Gone Fishin’” sign on your RV door.
This is a bit of a departure from my normal blog topics, but I feel it is an extremely important one.
At PPL Motorhomes, we simply love the outdoors, that’s really no secret. As an RVer, I can probably safely say the same about you, as well. We are all stewards of the lands we choose to visit. We, as a collective whole, do as much as we can to leave as small of a footprint as possible. That means picking up after ourselves, not dumping garbage, or discarding sewage improperly. It means that we leave the places we visit in better condition than when we decided that THAT would be our home for the following few days.
Now, as outdoorsmen and women, our outside activities aren’t just relegated to just RVing. We go on bike rides, hike trails and some of us are even lucky enough to own a boat and explore our Texas rivers and lakes. I, unfortunately am not one of those RVers, but I know plenty of RVing families who do own watercraft. Those families have even more pressure to take care of Texas’ waters. Now, you may be thinking, “We are as protective of our environment while boating as we are RVing”. And while that might be the case in regards to disposing of garbage and doing your best not to contaminate the water with fuel and oil, there is one potentially catastrophic contaminate that you may not know much about: Zebra Muscles.
Zebra Mussels are a small invasive species of fresh water muscles that can spread from lake to lake by, essentially, hitching a ride on your boat or trailer. One female Zebra Mussels can have up to 1 million microscopic larvae. They mature quickly and attach to hard surfaces, like the hull of your boat, or trailer. Not only can they damage your boat, but even more alarming, the destroy aquatic life and ruin marine ecosystems and fisheries. In fact, these aqua-pests can even affect your water supply. As of right now, North Texas has it the worst, but that certainly doesn’t mean that they won’t make their way south.
So, what can be done to stop the spread of of Zebra Mussels? It’s actually a rather simple solution. You can keep them from ruining Texas’ fresh water habitats by simply cleaning your boat, motor, trailer and gear of all debris and draining all the water from it. You’ll then want to dry it for at least a week, or wash it with hot soapy water before taking your watercraft into another river or lake. By doing this simple task every time you remove your boat from any body of water you are helping protect all forms of aquatic life found in Texas lakes.
This means my grandchildren and yours will be able to enjoy the hundreds of beautiful lakes in our great state. Find more information about the harmful effects of Zebra Mussels at www.texasinvasives.org.
Now, I know this was a little bit of a different post for me than usual. But, I feel I have a pretty good platform to reach other Texans who enjoy the outdoors as much as I do. Even though I’ve been on my fair share of boats, I’m not an avid boater, so I can thank Texas Parks & Wildlife for opening my eyes to a problem that threatens Texas lakes and rivers that I never knew existed. If you are a boater and have more information to share on this topic, please don’t hesitate to do it in the comments section below. I you can point us to more education, we’d certainly appreciate that too as stewardship of our lakes and rivers just isn’t relegated to boaters.
Ah, Valentine’s Day. Flowers, chocolates, cards and romance. Valentine’s Day is a day that makes some giddy like school children and others, well, maybe not as much, but you can’t deny that it is one of the most romantic days of the year. If you are looking for a little history on Valentine’s Day, you can find it here. Now I’m a romantic at heart, and if I have one complaint it’s that the modern Valentine’s Day has become focused on flowers, gifts, and expensive dinners, wandering off from it’s true roots of the historic Valentine figures and their appeal of romance, sympathy, and heroism. However, we can all embrace the notions of the day, even if we’re not currently involved in a romantic relationship.
Take advantage of this day to reach out to family members and catch up with each other. Send an e-card or quick email to a friend that you couldn’t imagine you’re life without and tell them you appreciate your friendship. Even better, drop off some Valentine’s cards signed “Your Valentine” to a nursing home to treat the residents to a sweet surprise. Make this day more special than a purchased gift…give the gift of yourself.
…and what’s the perfect Valentine’s Day for the RVer? Well RVing, of course! There’s nothing quite like sitting under the stars with the person you love witha glass of wine and some wonderful memories.
The RV lifestyle is so much fun and I love the opportunity I have to meet so many people from all over the country and the world. I got the title RV Nana during a brainstorming session here at PPL Motor Homes when we were trying to come up with a name for the blog I was writing. I’ve been with PPL for over 30 years and my husband and I love RVing. I guess you could say it’s in our blood. We also have 7 wonderful grandchildren and they all call me Nana, so we put the best of my worlds together. Thus, the RV Nana blog, license plate and helpful hints began.
On a recent visit to the All Valley RV show in Mercedes, Texas we had an opportunity to talk to so many “Winter Texans” who shared their travel experiences with men, telling me all about their annual trek down south. I talked to one couple who have been coming down there for over 25 years and, at age 92, he is still making that drive down from Wisconsin. That’s amazing.
It seems everyone comes down to South Texas in November and ventures back up north before Easter or income tax day, whichever date comes first. What a wonderful way to spend retirement and stay warm and, from what I’ve seen, the RV parks and resorts in the Rio Grande Valley offer everything a retired couple could dream of.
Living in an RV for five or six months at a time presents a different set of needs and challenges than what we have experienced in our shorter RV adventures. From how to pack for all possible weather to how not to accumulate too much stuff, these Winter Texans have shared so many ideas with me. In our seminars and on my blog I spend time writing about helpful hints, product reviews and travel ideas, but I feel like I am preaching to the choir when I try to share these ideas with such seasoned travelers.
I’d like to thank all of you who visit my blog, and if you’re traveling back up north, stop by and see me at PPL Motor Homes in Houston or you can catch me some days at our newest location in New Braunfels. Who knows, you may decide to sell or trade your RV before returning home. The coffee pot is always on and I would love to chat with you about your Texas adventures.
Don’t you hate it when you pull a soda, or beer out of the fridge and realized that it just hasn’t been in there long enough? How do you expect to relax at your campground without a cold beverage to enjoy. Well, here comes the science. This is a useful trick for parents and grandparents, and a great science activity for kids and grand-kids. We are talking about the 2nd law of thermodynamics here. The salt will lower the freezing point of your ice water in your bucket. Take a look at the video below and see how to super-chill your drink in two minutes.
No more room temperature cokes and beers. You can now virtually pull your can of refreshment out of your shopping bag and super-chill it in two minutes. That’s the perfect amount of time to stow a little gear and then relax with a frosty cold beverage at your campsite.
This was just one little trick you can do while RVing. Know any others you can share? Your consignment RV center, PPL Motorhomes, is curious to know your secrets for having a nice relaxing time while RVing.
Keeping up with healthy habits while traveling in your PPL Motorhome can be difficult. Being on the road doesn’t mean you have to abandon your healthy eating habits and fitness routines. In fact, keeping fit during travels can be relatively simple with a little planning. A few compact and convenient pieces of equipment can do wonders. No excuses though if you don’t want to add clutter to your already tight quarters, body-weight exercises can be done at anytime and anywhere. They are not time consuming, and above all, are effective.
Now, before you even do a single push up, you have to set a goal. Not a lofty goal like losing 100 lbs by summer, but something attainable, like fitting into last year’s pants by May. It’s important that you set short-term, attainable goals prior to starting any exercise routine. Oh, and check with your doctor too before starting any exercise program or diet plan, you could probably use a check-up anyway.
So, is one tried and true way of staying in shape? Cardio. Jumping rope, jumping jacks, jogging or brisk walks, swimming, hiking, bike riding, Yoga or Tai Chi, perhaps even renting a pedal boat are just a few ways to raise the heart rate and keep the energy flowing when you’re not traveling in your RV. Be adventurous and creative in your search for the right exercises. Moving around is much better than not doing anything, and you’d be surprised at how many calories you can burn while enjoying yourself.
Also, strengthening your core abdominal muscles can have a very positive effect on the rest of your body. Abdominal exercises can be done almost anywhere without any equipment at all. Rather than doing traditional and reverse crunches which can strain your neck and back, instead, try doing bicycle crunches or vertical leg raises. These options have been proven to be more effective without risking injury.
There is no shortage of lower body exercises that require no equipment whatsoever. To keep your blood pumping and muscles toned try squats and lunges. This also increases leg strength and stamina. Tuck jumps, squat jumps, and side jumps can be done with or without props and use many muscles of the body to get your heart rate going. These are great ways to gain power and keep stubborn fat away.
Just be creative in your fitness endeavors. You don’t have to do the same workout day in and day out to be healthy. Find unique and fun ways to get your heart rate up. Of course, any fitness you do will be in vain if you do not pair it with healthy eating and sleeping habits. Don’t deprive yourself of the local fare, but do not overindulge yourself either. Keep your new or used RV in Houston stocked with quick, healthy snacks in single servings so that you are not tempted to buy fast food while on the road. And make sure you are getting adequate sleep. Remember to make sure you stop every couple hours to give yourself some fresh air, stretch sore muscles, and get your blood pumping on those days dedicated strictly to traveling.
December 7th, 1941, as stated by FDR was and always will be a day that lives in infamy. In fact, we were at peace with Japan and in talks on stabilizing the European conflicts hours before the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. This unbridled act of aggression gave the United States no alternative but to immediately and unequivocally enter into armed conflict to protect our interests and way of life.
What was not foreseen was, by this single act, hundreds of thousands of patriotic young men would lay down their lives to fight for the freedom they held so dearly in their hearts and on their sleeves. Suffering through horrific engagements on the beaches of Normandy, in Tripoli, Guam and Bataan, the latter of which claimed the lives of over 10,000 prisoners of war through barbarism and war crimes. The war involving our “greatest generation” began with the bombing of Pearl Harbor and ended with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The loss of life on both sides was astronomical.
War is never pretty. It’s a grisly and ghastly, almost unimaginable horror that brave young men and women selflessly volunteer for when the need arises. All the while not knowing that they may never return from their mission to protect our freedom. To die in another land in order to secure order out of chaos.
WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq…there will be more, and we must never forget the values that inspire us and call us to action when needed. Further, we must never forget those who have given selflessly of themselves for our rights, freedom and liberty. They served with honor and many we left on the battlefield defending this country’s honor with their blood. Never forget; never take for granted; never underestimate the American soldier.
I have been with PPL Motor Homes since 1980 and have been fortunate to grow up with the company. A native Houstonian, I am married to a wonderful Cajun from Lafayette, Louisiana and we've been able to mix the two worlds and build a fun life together. We have 3 children and 7 grandchildren, so it is obvious that I was a Nana long before I became RV Nana. I also happen too be the 2011-2012 President of the Texas RV Association, so you know the RV lifestyle...is my style.