Zebra Mussels Invade Texas Lakes

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.

The Perfect Valentine’s Day For The RVer

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.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Where Did The Name “RV Nana” Come From?

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.

Chilling A Soda In 2 Minutes In Your RV

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.

Houston, Stay In Shape While Enjoying Your New RV

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.

What exercises do you do on the road?

December 7, 1941; Remembering Those Lost Then And Now

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.

Thanks to all who serve, PPL Motorhomes.

Exercise Your Patriotic Right To Vote

Regardless of your political stance, or who you think is right or wrong, no one will ever know if you don’t exercise your patriotic right to vote. Living in one of the greatest nations on Earth solidifies your right to choose who should lead our great country. Why would you let your voice go unheard by not voting? If you really thought, and I mean really thought about the history of voting, you might be more inclined to take advantage of this inalienable right. It wasn’t just our forefathers who fought to secure the right to choose, but also African Americans and women as well. The system hasn’t always been perfect, but it is you who can make it better – simply by voting.

Again, this isn’t a political rant, or a “who you should vote for and why” post, it’s simply a reminder to vote tomorrow. Vote for the candidate who you think will better serve America. Vote for the candidate who you think will lead our nation with both pride and humility. Vote for the candidate that will protect our interests both domestically and abroad. The only right you DON’T have is the right to complain about who is leading our nation if you didn’t even take the time to make your voice heard.

We live in an amazing country that has an amazing future and that’s because we choose our leaders. They aren’t forced upon us as in other countries. Here’s some food for thought: Don’t just remember the people who have died to secure this right for you, but consider those who are still dying today just to have the chance to better their lives and countries by simply wanting to have a voice in their future. Don’t squander your right to vote, use it. It’s the most powerful weapon you could ever possess.

PPL Motorhomes

The Two Most Important Things For Your RV

What are the two most important things on this planet? Food and water? No, it’s not food and water, it’s Duct Tape and WD40 lubricant. That’s right, Duct Tape!  As an adhesive it is absolutely, the single most reliable, “I’m totally out of options and I’m gonna’ MacGuyver it, problem solver. Seriously, if I had a dollar for every time my husband’s suggestion for fixin’ stuff is, “Just duct tape it.”, we wouldn’t be in a fifth-wheel, we’d be in a Prevost Motorhome!

This lady feels the same as we do about duct tape: It apparently keeps the chickens out of the kitchen and makes great playpens too.

Now, why WD40? Apart from being the industry standard lubricant (as well as having over 2,000 other uses) one of the most interesting uses that I heard may be that it’s a great way to keep wasps away from your hitch and save your hands, too! That’s right, it can keep them away and if you happen to get stung, I’ve even heard that a little spray of WD40 takes the fire out of a wasp sting. Hope I never have to find out if this really works.

Check all of these uses of wd40 in the video below. I’m sure you’ll find a few in there you can apply to your consignment RV as well.

What Was The First RV

What was the first RV? Well, the earliest RVs were converted from Ford Model T’s. As families moved west, they customized their vehicles to make the journey more comfortable.  But what was the one that really started a love of the RV lifestyle? It was the Redwood Tree Mobile Home, also known as Kellogg’s Travel Log.  Charles Kellogg was a naturist that created this Redwood RV to drive around the country in hopes of creating awareness for the depletion of California’s forests.

Pat Foster of Hemmings Classic Car magazine wrote “the vehicle itself was incredible, a monument to man and nature. It consisted of a huge chunk of giant redwood-said to be the single largest piece of hewn timber in the world-hollowed out and mounted on what was then the toughest, most rugged chassis on earth: the Nash Quad.

It’s a far cry of the RVs we see on the at the parks and campgrounds across the United States. Take a look for yourself.

There were storage drawers, a table, and room for living quarters. I seriously doubt it had a stove of any kind. I can tell you that we don’t have Kellogg’s Travel Log as a consignment RV here at PPL Motorhomes, but how interesting would it be if we did? I could only imagine. We’d be as much a museum as we are Houston’s consignment RV center.

Consignment RVs Houston, Can You Take A Shower In Your RV While It’s Moving

At your consignment RV center in Houston, PPL Motorhomes, we get questions all of the time from new and veteran RVers alike that we are happy to address and answer. Of all the question we have received over the years, one is essentially: Is it okay to use the toilet with the RV is in transit?

The Short answer is: Yes (as long as you aren’t the driver), it is okay to shower while the RV is moving down the road. However, there are a few things you should know first.

First and foremost, be careful when you are moving around in a RV that is in motion. It doesn’t take much to lose your balance and fall. You are increasing your chances for injury the more you move around.

Second, it’s going to take a little preparation on your part. Is your fresh water holding tank full? If not, you could have a very short shower and hitting up that roadside diner with a hair full of conditioner might not be your idea of a fun meal.

Third, you’d better make sure that your grey water holding tank is empty. If it isn’t and starts to overflow, you are going to have a shower full of dirty sink and previous shower water.  (Kind of defeats the purpose of taking a shower in the first place.) Be sure to  drain your grey water tank before you leave your campsite.

Fourth, if taking a warm shower is important, then you are going to have to prep for that and that depends entirely on how your water heater functions and if you have a choice for that function. Are you going to heat your water using 120 volt electric? Then you’ll have to leave the RV’s generator running. If you are heating it using propane, you are literally playing with fire. In the event of an accident, having an open flame going around a fuel source of any kind isn’t a good idea. You might almost be better off just taking a cold shower.

Again, I want to stress the importance of safety here. It’s really a much better idea to just wait until you are locked and loaded into your campsite before trying to shower in a moving RV. I think safety far out weighs how stinky you may be at the moment. Walking in a moving RV is hard enough as it is…standing in a slippery shower? You must really be dirty if you are going to try to do that.  You are better off to just wait.

If you have anymore questions about RVing or the RV lifestyle, don’t hesitate to leave us a commend below or call your Houston RV consignment Center, PPL Motorhomes and ask us!