Well folks, that “winter” here in Southeast Texas wasn’t much of a thing now was it? Don’t get me wrong, we had a few days below freezing and one or two of those rainy, chilly gray days (like you see in England during the summer, haaaa!), but it seems to me like the majority of this last winter we could have spent in shorts and wearing a light jacket. So, unless you just planted a garden and your little green shoots are starting to pop up, most of us reckon there won’t be another freeze before December. With that said, shall we declare Victory over winter and just go ahead and move on to spring?
Spring. Man I love it. Spring is a great time to pull the covers off the RV, and get her all spiffed for driving season. Might be a good time to go back and read a few of our blogs from weeks past and map out some great destinations too. And I know y’all have a checklist of things to do to get the RV or camper all ready to go, but I was wondering if I could make a suggestion? It’s one of those things that tend to get ignored a little bit because…well…they’re just not pleasant.
I’ll put it to you like this: Have you ever seen somebody at a waste station at a park or campground and their sewer hose is just thrashed? Like Randy Quaid in Christmas Vacation dumping his sewer into the storm drain with his hose leaking and covered in duct tap “patches”? Well, that is one of my pet peeves. Seeing somebody with a beat up sewer hose that may be leaking that black water where all the rest of us might accidentally track through it. Not only is it disgusting, but that sort of laziness poses a health risk not only to the user, but to the rest of us as well. They aren’t expensive, we have them in stock, click right HERE to replace your beat up nasty old hose will you? Please? ALL of us out here thank you!
Well y’all we’ve been talking about a whole series of problem solving products these last few week, and I thought of another one this morning. How many times have you needed to get something out of the little baggage cubbies underneath your slideouts and had those baggage compartment cubbie doors come down and bang your head? Always seems to happen when you have your hands full, or it’s dark, or when it’s raining. There you are with your flashlight trying to find whatever it was that you went down there looking for and hoping you spot it before it gets all wet.
You know what would solve that whole problem? Some of those little hydraulic spring thingies that hold the doors open so you can fetch what you need helmet-free. We offer complete retrofitted kits by Hatchlift that will accomplish that very task. They’re great and you can set them to hold the door open at 90 degrees, which is perfect for under slideouts, or you can set them for 140 degrees which is perfect for those doors mounted with nothing above them. That 140 degree hold open will keep the door up and out of the way while you rummage, pack, or unpack.
These kits are pretty inexpensive and come with one hydraulic spring, so if you have longer doors that need this problem solved, you’ll probably have to get two springs…depending on the door’s weight. They’re super easy to install, and believe me once you’ve got them attached you (and your poor head) will wonder why you didn’t put them on years ago. If you’re curious to know more, or wonder what different sizes they come in, click right HERE and you’ll be whisked away in internet comfort to our website where you can find out all about them. And don’t forget folks, with the driving season rapidly approaching, hit our website before you hit the trail for all those parts and accessories that keep you happily rolling in this RV lifestyle.
bjoern/Flicker Creative Commons
It’s almost time! One of my favorite events is about to kick off on February 28th, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. This is one fantastic month of awesome rodeo action complete with trail rides, chili cook-offs, parades, FFA (Future Farmers of America) shows, concerts and much, much more. The Houston Livestock Show is one of the largest in the country and it is all manned by wonderful volunteers. My family and I have been going every year, as my grandchildren actually participate in a few of the FFA events and I thought it might be a good idea to do a little blast on the rodeo and livestock show.
Now if you’ve never been, and you live in or around the Houston area, you must attend. There is quite literally something for everyone. You don’t have to be a farmer, a rancher or even a cowboy/cowgirl to have loads of fun. I’m talking, non-stop action, for folks from all walks of life. From events like barrel racing and calf roping, to the best artists in Country Music today and a whole host of farm animals that are certain to bring a smile to the faces of even the biggest kids.
Aside from all that is happening with the event itself, it will not escape your attention, the massive collection of RVs that are present at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. I truly believe there are no less than 1000 RVs in and around the NRG stadium complex during the 3 weeks event. This is a great opportunity for RVers to walk among and check out RVs of all shapes, sizes and ages. You’ll see them all, motorhomes, travel trailers and fifth-wheels both new and road worn. It’s a virtual cornucopia of RVs and is sure to give a few of you that “New RV”, or “Go Rving” bug. Seriously, you won’t be able to miss them.
Like I said, the Rodeo has been a part of my memories throughout my lifetime and I can’t express to you how excited I am to have two of my grandchildren active in FFA. This year, they are showing goats and bunnies at shows in the area. To make this year even more special, we have several PPL Motohomes employees who work full time here at PPL and then donate hours to the livestock show committees. It takes thousands of volunteers and I am so very proud of my team for their participation. We all appreciate how important this event is to both Houston and our local farmers and ranchers.
Make plans to go this year. Trust me, it could be one of the most enjoyable family events you’ll have this year. For mor information about the show, just click here!
Amy Meredith/Flickr Creative Commons
Have you seen those almost improbable sounding commercials on TV where the proud father and beautiful young daughter are standing side by side beaming at the camera and talking about their special family tradition of changing the batteries in the smoke detector on her birthday? First time I saw that commercial I rolled my eyes to myself at the sheer cheesiness of it, but the fact of the matter is… it’s very important to change the batteries in your smoke detector annually and it very much helps to remind you to do it on an important day that you actually remember. We change ours during the Thanksgiving holidays, and to my knowledge we’ve only forgotten once!
When it comes to these sort of safety features and RVs, there are a couple things other than smoke we should be concerned with detecting. Carbon Monoxide is the silent killer for sure, and our engines in the RVs produce it. Having a Carbon Monoxide detector in the cab of the RV somewhere is a very very good idea, especially with the older models where the seals and exhaust system might not be in the best condition. LP gas leaks should also be detected as early as possible.
We actually have a combination Carbon Monoxide/LP gas detector in our RV and it works great. It’s made by Safe-T-Alert, and mounts flush to the wall and powered by the 12V system which means we don’t have to worry about changing the batteries in these detectors! It’s incredibly simple to use and test too. Best thing is if the alarm goes off and you mute it…it will still operate normally in muted mode and if the conditions do not improve the alarm will re-sound. It’s a pretty handy gadget, and offers some peace of mind so you’re not worrying about what you can’t see! If you’d like to know more about these detectors, click right HERE.
Is it spring? If I ask that question will there be 6 more weeks of Winterpocalypse 2016? I don’t know, but this winter been a bit… um… nonexistent here in southeast Texas, I can tell you that. I remember when I was a kid, my grandparents would get the garden chopped in around Valentine’s Day because there would probably be one more freeze and that would be it for winter, but I’ve got to tell you in all honesty, I have no idea what’s going on with the weather anymore. It’s been so mild I feel like I should have gotten the garden in before Christmas!!
But thinking of spring and gardening and getting the RV cleaned up and ready for the road after it’s “long winter’s nap”, reminds me of a product we have here at PPL that is one of those frustration-reducing life savers. Have you ever gone out to the RV to hose it down and somehow your garden hose has gotten itself all twisted up and tied in knots? I mean, you haven’t used it since probably October (here in Texas anyway) and you know you stowed it away carefully, but as soon as you drag it out to the shed or driveway, there it is looking like a green rubber version of the Largest Ball Of Twine up in Kansas.
Well we have a solution for that problem, have you ever tried Neverkink Hoses? They’re great! You roll them up, and then…tah DAH! They unroll. Simple as that. They don’t get pinched and shut off water flow, you won’t spend hours untying your huge mess of a knot, they just stow simply, cleanly, and effectively. If you’re interested, we’ve got them, and they are NOT expensive, so come by the website and pick up one or two. Man they’re nice!
Have you ever pulled up into your spot, gotten the power and water and sewer all connected, and you’re ready to relax after a long day’s drive? For those of y’all that have satellite TV antennas, what happens next? Yep, you’ve gotta find that signal then get the antenna pointed just right so you can couch it for a little bit before bedtime and just relax. Sometimes it seems like the signal meter just flat lies to you doesn’t it? Well, I have a solution to that particular problem! Install an automatic aiming antenna!
Here’s all you need to do after you have one installed: turn the antenna on, hit the scan button, and in a couple minutes the antenna will have completed a full three hundred and sixty degree scan and determined signal strength of broadcast towers and determined an optimal position for the antenna to receive the greatest number of channels. With one push of a button! While it’s scanning you can be running out the slide-outs and getting a bowl of popcorn cooking in the microwave!
This means no more arguing over where to point the antenna, or fighting over which channels you want to try and receive, no more cranking the dish out, all you have to do at the end of a long day’s drive is just relax and enjoy yourselves while watching free digital TV! Where can you get one of these beauties? On our website of course. We carry the Winegard Rayzor auto tracking HD antenna in both white or black, and they come with mounting hardware, power supply, and coax cables; everything you need to get that relaxation going quickly. As you can see from the photos, the housings are pretty sleek, low, and quite stout so no reason to worry about wind resistance, heavy rain, or even hail beating them up. And if you’re interested, please swing by the website and say howdy, we’ll be glad to set y’all up with one!
Lauren Mitchell, Flickr Creative Commons
I got to thinking the other day about this RV Lifestyle and wondered about a few things and so before I knew it, I’d spent about half a day wandering around the internet mining for facts and statistics. I found some pretty interesting stuff that I thought I’d share with y’all. Thought I could do my own state of the union, except about RV’s and RV’ers! Some of these figures come from the RVIA (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association) some of them came from different state associations, but they’re all fascinating.
Did you know that the average age of an RV owner is only 49? That kind of flies in the face of the stereotype that implies that “only retirees are out there in their campers driving slow and leaving their left blinkers on across several states” doesn’t it? The average is 49, so there are just as many people under 49 as over who own these awesome machines! According to one study in Michigan, more RVs are owned by the age group of 35-54 than any other demographic. My interpretation of that number is that even with the huge increase in RV ownership among the babyboomer generation, the generation behind them is outbuying them when it comes to RVs. Granted the 54 year-olds could still be boomers, but they are on the ragged edge of that scale.
The current estimate is that 1 in 12 households own an RV. That’s over 8 million!! Can you imagine? Did you ever think we would see such numbers? There are over 12,000 RV-related businesses in the US with an estimated combined revenue of 37.5 BILLion per year. Those businesses are estimated to employ over a quarter million people here in the US with an estimated payroll of almost 5 billion per year. Holy mackerel folks, this is one big industry and I’m so proud to be a part of it! Thanks to all of you who count on us for your parts, accessories, and our help selling your old RV for you as well! Come by the website and say hi won’t you?
Now this may be one subject y’all may not have expected to be reading about this morning, but I have had some questions lately from customers about what they can do to upgrade their RV’s either for their own comfort, from the standpoint of increasing resale value, or doing some inexpensive upgrades to help decrease the amount of time their RV is on consignment. A lot of folks skip the lav area…other than making sure it’s clean.
Thetford Aqua Magic STYLE PLUS Toilets
If you own an RV that’s 10 years old or older, chances are that installing a new toilet is just what the doctor ordered. Not only does it allow you an opportunity to change the seat height if needed, and if you’re getting older that is a surprisingly helpful option. Let’s talk about seat height for a minute. Have you ever had that stiff back first thing in the morning? Maybe you didn’t stretch before playing 18 holes the day before, or maybe you spent a fair bit of time walking on concrete, or maybe that mattress just isn’t as supportive as it used to be. Well, having a higher seat will prevent you from wincing as much when you have to sit down in the lav. On the other hand if you’re traveling with young children and having a higher seat isn’s as important to your age group, installing a lower seat will help prevent…um, accidents with your kiddos.
If some of you have the older style blade-and-seal style toilets, you know how sometimes toilet paper can get caught in that groove that the blade goes into. Well, if you upgrade to these more modern styles that particular problem will go away. The ball and seal on these newer models do wear, but you won’t have to get after them with a screwdriver at the most inopportune times to clear a jam! If you’re interested in checking these new toilets out, more information can be found HERE.
There are those days, and sometimes those parking situations, where a little help making that first step up into the camper or RV is greatly appreciated! Y’all have probably been there too: managed to park perfectly over that pothole so now the last step down onto the ground is almost twice the length it used to be. Pretty dangerous when you think about it, especially in the dark! So one of the ways to mitigate that problem is either carrying a small folding stool with you, or mounting those retractable step that you can extend when needed. It just depends on what kind of gear you’re camping in as to what you need, both have their advantages and disadvantages.
The folding stool needs no introduction, everyone has seen one in there Mama’s kitchen or out in Dad’s workshop. Their advantage is their portability, lightweight, and overall handiness. I mean you can sit on one next to the campfire, use one to step down from the RV, step up to reach something in the top cabinets, as well as use them to help out during maintenance. The disadvantage is that they need a fairly large area of fairly flat surface otherwise they tip over, and take you with them.
As for the retractable step, they are amazing! They’re very sturdy, rigidly mounted to the entrance door area of your camper or RV, they come in various sizes to fit various uses, and most of all they are always there when you need them. The disadvantage, of course, is they’re only able to be used in one spot…and if you’re independent like me…the other disadvantage is asking your son-in-law to help you get them mounted to the RV, I prefer doing things myself!
Both styles are beneficial, and help solve some fairly unique problems, so my suggestion is to have both available for all those “what-ifs” that seem to pop up. And why not? The retractable steps fold up and out of the way under the chassis, and the folding stool obviously folds up and you can stow them out of the way next to the fridge or where ever it fits in your own situation. Both styles can be researched, priced, and admired right HERE. Adding a step to your RV beats adding a limp to your life! Love y’all, Nana.
donireewalker/Flickr Creative Commons
OK, everyone makes resolutions of some kind. Some are simple and easily attainable while others are over the top. I’m one of those who makes simple attainable resolutions. This year, mine was to spend more time doing special things for others. It could be as simple as waving “good morning” to one more driver on my morning commute, to making dinner for my neighbor, to volunteering at a woman’s shelter…the opportunities are virtually endless. The way I look at it is, that if have ANY chance to bring a smile to someone’s face, I’m going to take it. Not only might it make their day better, but it certainly makes mine better.
Now, although I only made one resolution, I did commit to traveling more in 2016. Actually, I jumped right into the new year and started making plans for some great getaways in my RV. In fact, I have already been on MANY of the reservation websites to start making my reservations. As many of you already know, RV parks are not like hotels, you cannot find one on every corner in an area, so you have to make your research and make reservations early. Most of mine are short weekend getaways, but at least I have them on the calendar. Even though I may have to forfeit one, or two during the year, at least I have them planned now and am looking forward to every trip!
Here’s the thing with how I approach planning an RV trip. If I just cannot decide what to do, or where to go, I simply check out the newest addition of the Texas Association of Campground Owners park guide. It is a must have for making plans. Check them out online, or contact them and they’ll send you out a free issue of their park guide.
Now get out your calendar and make time to have some family fun!! See you on the road!