Well y’all, it’s finally October and that means two things that I can think of when traveling in Texas this month: Oktoberfest! Halloween Parties! If you’ve spent any amount of timing driving around Texas during the month of October, you’ve probably wondered how so many towns could suddenly be German, and how many towns could find enough hay bales in a drought to make mazes for the kids. So let’s go for a quick drive and explore some October, Texas Style!
Oktoberfest! Lord have mercy, what a party! No offense to the Oktoberfest celebrations held in other parts of the state, but if you want that real German Oktoberfest party, you need to head to New Braunfels or Fredericksburg! Oddly enough New Braunfels’ Oktoberfest is called Wurstfest, but don’t let the name fool you, it’s the best! Their slogan is “Sprechen Sie FUN?” and all the details can be found here! Not to be outdone in German party antics, Fredericksburg plays host to polka, pretzels, and Pilsner themed fun that is absolutely legendary and everything you need to know is right here!
For those of y’all who prefer more gluten-free entertainment, or perhaps sausage, oom-pah music, and dirndl-clad lasses are just not your thing, Texas hosts plenty of Halloween themed events in Rv Parks and Campgrounds all across the state! Pumpkin carving contests, hayrides, corn or hay bale mazes, costume contests, BBQ, are all available and heck it’s still Texas so you can probably hit the pool one last time! One such campground is Mitchell Resort up west of Dallas is in Perrin, TX (on Hwy 281 in between Mineral Wells and Jasckboro). They are fully geared up for family fun, and have a full listing of everything you need to know about their Halloween festivities up right here!
The best thing about traveling in Texas is we’re just so dang big, there is no way you can hit the road and not see something new. And before you hit the trail, hit our website for all your parts and accessories!
It’s not often we get into philosophical discussions in this blog but by gum, we’re going to today! There seems to be a schism among travelers these days: those that can navigate with a traditional map, and those that absolutely cannot get out of their driveway without their smartphone or hand-held GPS. This tends to cause a fair amount of discussion amongst the two groups with both feeling superior to the other. The attitude of “We do it the right way” get’s bandied about from time to time, but let’s look at this in a practical terms.
Maps are the oldest and most tried and true navigational aid in human history. Maps used to be so prized that map makers themselves warranted the highest respect, even the GPS crowd has heard of Magellan. But in today’s more immediate-result, instant-gratification, digital, and satellite-heavy technological world…maps are out of favor. And I think I know the reason why. In order to use a map you have to already know where you are. The downside to a map is: if you’re already lost, what good are they? Of course the map crowd’s rebuttal would be: if you have a map, how did you get lost? Using a map promotes situational awareness, keeping your eyes outside the vehicle, as well as the security that you know where you are, and how to get where you’re going.
GPS has to be one of the biggest advancements in navigation in history since the invention of the magnetic compass…as long as you have access to batteries or electricity. Putting a GPS in your smartphone was an incredible idea, so thank you to whomever’s idea that was. It is a more or less stress free form of navigation in that as soon as you turn it on, it tells you where you are. Routing however has been a little sketchy in the past and I suppose continues to be in some regard or other. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the following complaint “Man! Google Maps (or Mapquest, or insert your nav provider here) totally took me the long way around! The road wasn’t even paved!” So the irony is, to use the GPS in the most efficient way, you more or less need to be familiar with where you are and where you’re going. The awesome awesome awesome thing that GPS does in my opinion, is calculate distance and ETA for you.
So whichever camp you belong to, recognize that there is an alternative and learn the alternative as a backup to whatever method of navigation you are using. That was there is less fuel and time wasted, and your stress level stays low!
I love September so much. Mainly because it means that August is over and we’ve survived another Texas summer! But also it’s that time of year when school starts back up, football season is just beginning, the afternoons start to lose some of that habañero flavor, there’s one more long weekend coming up before things get too serious, tailgater parties at the ball fields, the good life. The whole month seems to be filled with somebody saying, “Not as hot as last week!” So now that we’re all coming out of the shade a little bit, and starting to socialize outside again, wouldn’t it be awesome to have a light show under your RV awning?
Imagine: you’re sitting in your lawn chairs, deck chairs, what-have-you… the grill is smoking, the sun is starting to edge closer to the horizon, the chips and salsa are set out, there’s a cooler with something drinkable cooling off inside it, and some good friends are there all enjoying each other’s company. What do you have left to do? That’s right, set the mood with some LEDs under the awning! They come in assorted colors, you control them with a remote, they can flash or strobe like Christmas lights, they’re waterproof, and are a whole lot of fun.
When we were camping last weekend in Matagorda at the LCRA park, there was a group of 5 RVs together enjoying their weekend getaway. They all had LED light strips on their awnings and it was just too cool looking. Two of them even had the lights set to rotate through the colors so one minute their trailer had a green hue, then blue, then red, and on and on. It’s time to think fall camping and fun and these lights really add to the festivities. I already got a set for RV NANA 2!
We talk a lot about the outdoor activities you can participate in in this RV Life, places you can go and enjoy nature, different routes you can take to get there and the like. But what about when it’s raining or nasty outside? What about if you just want to curl up an veg on the settee for a little while, switch that mind to autopilot and just relax? What if you want to go in the RV, hide from your spouse and kids and watch a little TV? Well, we’ve got the perfect HD TV antenna for y’all to try out! They’re inexpensive, way cheaper than a new cable box and can be used in the camper or RV just as easily as in your home!
The Rayzor Amplified Indoor HD TV Antenna has an approximate range of 70 miles, it is phenominally simple to install and believe it or not I have one in one of my guest bedrooms upstairs and it is terrific!! For a room that gets used maybe 6 times a year, the Rayzor is a much better deal than a new cable box. These antenna’s are made to be repositioned too, so if you have on in your Rv it is very simple to move the antenna for maximum reception. All you have to do after repositioning the antenna is to run a channel scan and you’ll be amazed at how many you can pick up, and how far away they are. These antennas even mount to windows! Just think of them the way you do your cel phone, chance are where you phone works best, the antenna will too. Oh, and since these antennas are flat, the “sides” of them get the least reception, so point that big flat area towards your signal.
If you’re interested is easy, portable HD TV coverage, click right here for details and happy relaxing!
I used to know an old man who built custom wooden yachts to order for most of his adult life — everything from the day-sailor all the way up to a 65′ Schooner that sailed the Pacific for a couple decades. He had a very witty ratio worked out for his idea of the “perfect sailboat” and it went like this: “It should float six, feed four, and sleep two,” meaning six people could sail aboard, four people could fit in the galley for lunch, but only two were gonna spend the night.
In these days of bigger is better, when it comes to renting an RV for a road trip with the family, is bigger really better? It comes down to the question, do you really need more space or less stuff? So to buck the bigger is better trend, I thought today we’d talk a little about actually renting an RV that is as small as you may need.
Everybody knows that economy is the name of the game these days. Economy of space and size equates to economy of weight and complexity, which directly equates to the cost of operation. So for example, if you’re a family of four on their way across country to a family reunion, then a Class B RV might actually best suit your needs and budget. Especially if your priority is looking towards traveling in comfort with more than the average elbow room of the family SUV, then a Class B might fit your bill.
Also in the family of four on the road scenario, many Class Bs come with lav facilities, which will help keep the family on the road and avoid stopping frequently for the restroom. With a small galley and lav, a Class B can keep the family on the road for longer, making more efficient use of your time. Plus if you can drive a van, you can drive a Class B and they take up about as much space when you’re parking, so if you are more of a weekend warrior and not looking to live aboard full time a Class B might be for you!
We’ve all been there. Imagine you’re headed down the road, it’s a beautiful late afternoon up in the mountains. You’re in between towns and you’ve got just enough time to make it to your campsite and get everything set up while it’s still daylight and then make it into town for margaritas at that place you both enjoyed so much last year. And then it happens. You get a flat. You slow down and start looking around for a place to pull over because the shoulders don’t look flat or wide enough. Once you find a wide spot, you pull over and the stream of cars behind you go whizzing by all headed into town to drink the margaritas you were so looking forward to. Doesn’t matter if you’re dragging a trailer or have a full size coach, it’s at times like these that you could use a helping hand.
That’s where a company like Coach Net comes in. They are a 24 hour roadside assistance service, so in the above scenario you would simply call the number on the back of your membership card and leave the rest up to them. They can even determine your location based on your cel phone, if you give them permission, otherwise you’d need to provide a location to the nearest mile marker or cross street. After that, simply describe your break down in as specific manner as possible so they can dispatch the corresponding equipment to your location. They are tied into a network of over 40,000 service providers nationwide, so if you need a tire, or if you need a tow they are standing by to help. Realistically, and hopefully, years will go by before you need to call them, but once you do they will quickly and efficiently respond to your call. And there’s no need to worry about paying for a service then submitting a receipt for reimbursement, Coach Net is pre-paid. So if you’re about to hit the road in a new RV, or one that is new-to-you, may I suggest getting this sort of coverage so that your next RV trip will be all the fun you hope it can be, and suggest that you hit our website for any parts or accessorires.
We’ve all had those tropical-style Texas summer days, and more of them are coming. Hot, humid, sweat-soaked days where all you want to do at the end of it is step into a hot relaxing shower. Of course water tanks being sized the way they are in the RV, those marathon showers aren’t too practical. So I’ve been on the hunt for ways to make the shower run more efficiently for quite a while. Then I stumbled on the Oxygenics shower head. Their advertising claims that the shower head reduces water consumption AS WELL AS increases water pressure. Oxygenics also state that the head won’t clog from mineral deposits, and the usual easy-to-install, carefully engineered use of specialized plastics bullet points you read in advertising.
Well I’m here to tell you, I got one and I’m not sure I want to RV without mine! The pressure is noticeably higher than the stock shower nozzle and a by-product of that higher pressure is the ability to knock the soap and shampoo off quicker, which of course would require less water. Nothing is worse than trying to rinse off under a trickle of soft water and feeling like you can never get the soap off your body and the shampoo out of your hair. Even if your water is soft, at the least the pressure will help blast the soap residue off of you. It also lived up to the easy to install claim, as well as the anti-clogging function, as well as being very very inexpensive. I paid around $30 for mine! Now we carry them at PPL Motorhomes.com and are happy to report that our customers are quite satisfied with theirs as well. So if you’d like to add some efficiency and luxury to your shower, click the link below and shower in comfort!
Now that spring has fully sprung here in Texas, as evidenced by the lakes of pollen coated water laying about state-wide, some of us look at the old RV we’re meant to be dusting off and getting ready for the 2015 touring season and our thoughts go something like this:
“The ol’ girl is well…and I mean WELL…over 100,000 miles now, the galley needs some upgrades, the propane system has that slow leak, the water tanks have that slow leak too. Time to upgrade to something a little more comfortable, a little more modern. But I just can’t say goodbye to my old baby!”
Granted, the above is a dramatization and probably not everybody is thinking those thoughts at all, BUT, that probably is the mindset behind one of motor-sports dare I say coolest ideas: RV RACING!
Whether it’s on the drag strip, the oval, or even hauling a classic (read super tired and wore out) camper trailer around a figure eight track, motorhome racing adds a bit of comic drama and demolition derby style ethic to what can sometimes become a fairly routine and rule-soaked day. I read an article recently about a classic GMC Motorhome get together at a Florida drag strip. Not only was it a chance for the owners of a certain type to gather together and compare and contrast each other’s old-school RV’s. They also had a chance to talk about mods, parts, BBQ, beer, etc while awaiting their turn to go head-to-head down the drag strip! Apparently a new record was set for front-wheel drive GMC 1/4 mile speed: 22.514 seconds, which equates to 62 miles per hour, set by Bob Heller in a 1974 GMC with a 455 and 110,000 original miles! The article also noted that Mr Heller performed all his own maintenance.
So the long and short of it is, if you have an adventurous mindset and you’re feeling like maybe it’s time to pasture Ol’ Bessie, maybe give some thought to cleaning her up, painting her all NASCAR style (we’d be glad to supply some PPL Motorhome stickers as well as parts and accessories), and taking her out to perform before the public in hair-raising style!
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, we’re 105 years into this whole RV’ing thing, so, today I thought I’d write about how some of this stuff we enjoy now came to be. First there came the car, then the next logical step was a car owner thinking, “How can I make this thing suitable for camping?” Well, in 1910, the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company presented the first ever purpose-built RV they called the Touring Landau. Those early automobiles were named after differing styles of high-end horse drawn carriages; coupe, sedan, cabriolet, brougham, limousine, phaeton, etc might be words familiar to classic car enthusiasts as well as people with only a passing interest in automobiles. This was pre-Henry Ford “a car in every driveway” thinking, this was at the very beginning when owning an automobile was thought to be exclusively for the upper classes. Pierce-Arrow calling their RV a Touring Landau is a perfect example since a landau was a very high-end carriage. Think of the times you’ve seen the Queen of England riding in a horse-drawn carriage on TV, well she was riding in a landau. Better yet, a landau is what Cinderella’s fairy godmother turns the pumpkin into, pretty fancy eh?
But back to Pierce-Arrow for a moment, Pierce-Arrow was a top-of-the-line manufacturer based in Buffalo, New York, and they were highly enough thought of that when the White House switched from horse-drawn carriages to automobiles, President Taft ordered two Pierce-Arrow gas powered automobiles (McKinley had the first presidential car, a Stanley Steamer which was steam powered). So when a manufacturer with that sort of up-scale reputation decides to delve into the recreational vehicle/camping market the automotive world took notice!
That first 1910 Touring Landau featured such novelties/necessities as a water tank, chamber pot style toilet, wash basin, trunks, roof rack and side boxes for storage, hot and cold running water, a folding bed, AS WELL AS a telephone for communicating with the chauffeur! My how times have changed. Back in those days you would have needed to contact Pierce Arrow by telegraph to have them mail you a parts catalog, then order your parts by mail, and await rail delivery. Well today all you have to do is type www.pplmotorhomes.com into your browser and we’ll deliver those parts and accessories straight to your door!
A few days ago, I wrote about cleaning out your RV and removing all of the stuff you really don’t need. As we all know, when we let our RVs go, it’s very easy to start packing on top of old trip junk. If you haven’t totally cleared out your RV and decided on everything you do need, organizing isn’t going to do you any good. The idea is to get rid of useless stuff that is just taking up space and adding weight. Remember, every extra pound you have in your RV that you don’t need is just a waste of gas.
OK, let’s say you went through your entire RV and cleaned out everything you don’t need; now you just need to organize the stuff that “lives” in your RV. This is where a little ingenuity will come in handy. When we first bought our RVs, of course storage space was on out mind, but maybe we saw large open spaces and thought, “Wow, that’s a lot of storage,” only to find that stacking and balancing your items in your cabinets is just asking for trouble. What do you do now? Harness that space somehow. I’ve heard of RVers going as far as making brilliant use of space like in the video below.
If there ever was a time to visit a container store/organization store, it’s now. You can use glass dividers, plate holders, a lazy Susan for loose spices and condiments. You can pick up a few water tight tubs for large items and small items alike. The bottom line is, to simplify your RVing experience, try organizing your RV lifestyle.
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!