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Going green is sometimes hard to do when you’re in an RV. When trying to minimize costs associated with traveling out of town for the weekend or for an extended vacation, we often tend to buy the cheapest cleaners at the store and bring them along.
I’ve found a way to break that cycle and it’s cheaper than buying the expensive, so-called “green” cleaners. Vinegar is an essential supply that every RVer needs to have on-board. It’s extremely versatile and you can get a gallon of it for just a few dollars. I’m going to share with you some recipes I’ve collected over the years for cleaning solutions based with vinegar, so no more cleaning with expensive chemicals that are probably making you sick and making your wallet a little lighter.
General Cleaning Solution
50/50 mixture of alcohol & vinegar
1 teaspoon of liquid soap (Dawn, Ivory, etc..)
Distilled water to top off spray bottle
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Start with an empty toilet bowl
add 1-3 cups of vinegar to the bowl.
Sprinkle baking soda until it fizzes.Scrub the bowl with a brush, then flush.
Add 1/2 cup of alcohol with 1/2 cup of vinegar to a spray bottle
Use a microfiber cloth to wipe down glass and mirrors.
RV Exterior Cleaner
Add 2 tablespoons liquid soap & 1/2 cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of water
Squirt straight vinegar into the air as a mist
(Add a drop or 2 of your favorite scented oils to combat the faint vinegar smell)
Bring a mixture of 2 cups of water and 1 cup of vinegar to a boil in the microwaveRemove and wipe down the dried food from the sides
Pour 1/4 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by 1 cup of vinegarLet sit overnight and flush with warm water
This is just the tip of the iceberg, as there are so many wonderful ways to use vinegar in our RV. What do you use vinegar for? Visit us on Facebook and tell us of some recipes you use to keep your RV clean.
Daleus, Curmudgeon-at-Large, Flickr Creative Commons
This may be wishful thinking on my part, what with all the hot and humid weather we’ve been having here on the Gulf Coast, but i thought today we’d chat a bit about what to expect if you’re driving your RV in cold weather. I know you snowbirds are probably rolling your eyes at this, but we Texans politely listen to you talk about how hot it is, so please bear with us. Everybody knows that the weather here in Texas can get….unpredictable. Not only that but there are portions of our state which will be getting heavy snowfall at the same time other areas are experiencing beach weather, so here are four tips for dealing with ice and snow on the road.
Granted you’re in an RV, but don’t do anything in a hurry. Don’t accelerate quickly. Don’t stomp on the brakes quickly. Don’t feel like you need to get where ever you’re going in 5 minutes either. Slow and steady wins the race, especially on slick roads in reduced visibility.
Fill That Tank
Most vehicles have fuel tanks near the rear wheels, and if yours does as well, keep it topped off. The extra weight of the fuel in the tank presses down on the rear wheels aiding in keeping traction. You still don’t want drag race starts away from traffic lights, but you’ll have less slippage when you apply the gas than if the rear was lighter.
Driving in adverse conditions requires more attention and focus than regular driving and it can wear you out. Make sure you aren’t fatigued before you start!
Pack Cold Weather Gear
Nobody plans on getting stuck, but just like you pack water when traveling through a desert..pack some blankets and cold weather gear if you’re traveling through the snow. Also make sure you phone is charged and handy in case of a break down or if you get stuck.
www.pplmotorhomes.com for all your parts and accessories
Some of us in this RV lifestyle do not travel in Recreational Vehicles…we are truly mobile homes. As such the RV is our permanent address, our bed every night, and our table for most meals. With that idea in mind, those folks tend to have a slimmed down list of possessions with all the essentials plus a few luxuries, keepsakes, and heirlooms. Even those of us who are part-timers in the RV have had to park, at one point or another, in an area we would politely call “Sketchy”. Now imagine doing that with your home which is filled with all your treasures…whether they be your insurance and tax papers, wills, firearms, jewelry, laptops, etc etc etc. How secure would you feel about those items while you were parked in a less than ideal spot for the night?
John Fisher ARPS
To help ease that feeling of…well…unease, I’d like to suggest you install a small safe to store those valuable in. We offer an electronic safe by Dometic called the MD 390 RH. It’s small enough to be unobtrusive, yet large enough to store a 17″ laptop. They’re fairly light as well, weighing in at thirty one pounds. With as light a weight as that, they can be floor mounted or even wall mounted. The cool thing about them is that they are fully programmable and you can use from 4-6 numbers in your access code. Needless to say, you can change this code as often as you like. If I remember correctly the interior size is just over a cubic foot which is perfect for all your important documents, spare cash, jewelry, even a handgun if you don’t have a gun safe in your RV. It’s powder coated to prevent corrosion, and felt lined to prevent damage do your valuables. We have them up at the website and if you’re interested in learning more, click HERE.
There is an interesting paradox that happens in Texas in regards to the amount of rainfall we get. Here’s a quick summation. It has been raining voluminous amounts and people are pretty much over the inconsistencies Texas’ rainy season. If you are a Texan, you just accept this as part of living here. Of course, just because you know what the score is doesn’t mean you don’t complain about it. Then, it suddenly stops and before we know it we are begging for the rain to come back. Texans are never satisfied. In the meantime, humidity is just a part of life, especially here in Houston. Not only is the humidity high in our homes and office, it is REALLY high in our motorhomes and trailers. Even though you may not have had any leaks in your RV, it was probably closed up during the storms and just smells a little musty. If there is one thing I’ve never grown accustom to, it’s that dank, musty, stale air. I dislike it so much that I went on a mission to find a few products that really work to help get rid of that musty smell. I have become a big fan of the Eva-Dry Dehumidifiers. These handy dehumidifiers are filled with silica gel, a very “thirsty” substance and it even has a handy indicator on the front of the unit that tells you when it’s time to recharge the silica. At that point, you simply plug it into any power outlet and, in a few short hours, the silica is good to go again for another 30-60 days. There’s no messy crystals, or water to spill out. The crystals just absorb the water and then they recharge. Voila! I love it when things work this easily.
Here are some other great dehumidifiers for you to peruse. All get the job done very efficiently.
The bottom line is that high humidity is not only a odoriferous nightmare, but it can cause damage to your motorhome, travel trailer or fifth-wheel. Look into equipping your RV with a dehumidifier and literally clear the air.
As always, if you have any questions about which dehumidifier might be best for your RV, don’t hesitate to contact PPL Motorhomes.
NH53/Flickr Creative Commons
Sorry if this blog is old news for you long-time RV’rs but there are so many new owners of RV’s out there I thought maybe they would find these tips useful. It’s Full Summer out there people, so today we’re going to discuss different common sense ways to help keep the RV cool during this hot weather.
I once saw an old man holding hands with what I assumed was his granddaughter in a Randall’s parking lot here in Houston, Texas. the little girl was asking him why he parked so far from the store when there were empty spots closer, and the grandfather said, “Because our spot is in the shade.” If you folks are new to Texas, or new to summer RV’ing, you should do your absolute best to park that sucker in the shade every time. Just that slight reduction in direct sunlight can make a huge difference, ESPECIALLY if your RV is painted in darker colors.
This may seem too simple to be true, but if you’re in an exposed parking spot try to park the RV with the awning on the west side. Then run it out and it will block a large chunk of afternoon sun from shining in the windows. While you’re at it, keep the rest of the window shades drawn to keep the sun from being as effective at warming the ambient air inside the RV.
Remember your grandmother’s house before they put in the window unit air conditioners? Or maybe your great-grandmother’s house? Or if you’re too young, perhaps you’ve been to the state capitol up in Austin? You might have noticed lot of the doors in those pre-AC days were built with transoms above them to help the house have good airflow through it. You can do the same in your RV using the vents to prevent a lot of heat from building up inside the RV while you’re out running errands or having that summer fun.
Swing by our website and have a look through our climate control, AC gear, vents, and awnings and we’d be glad to help you get that RV cooler!
Darlene Hildebrandt/Flickr Creative Commons
Do y’all remember the lines at gas stations during the 1970’s? Do y’all remember President Jimmy Carter coming on TV to explain how tire gauges work? Well we’re going to talk fuel economy a little bit today. The summer driving season is upon us and granted, RV’s aren’t like driving a Prius…but…there are several things you can do to squeeze more miles out of a tank of gas and that’s what we’re going to discuss today.
Oddly enough one of the biggest influences on the range of your fuel tank is your right foot. For those of y’all who are lead foots or think your RV is a dragster, I’ve seen figures that show a negative effect on your range from five to thirty three percent! For the same reason, use your cruise control whenever possible. That constant speed, and constant RPM equates to a more efficient way of converting your fuel to miles. On the other side of the same coin, don’t just let the RV idle for long periods…just shut off the engine if it’s going to be more than a few minutes.
Sometimes an increase in economy can be achieved just with regular maintenance. Something as simple as a broken oxygen sensor can impact you by forty percent. And the same goes for the rest of the emissions systems, remember these engines are basically air pumps so anything that affects the air flow through the engine will affect your gas mileage. So with that said, air filter maintenance is also a key component to maximizing your mileage. Keep it clean or replace it often especially if you’re driving out west where there is a higher level of airborne dust.
So to recap…by all means check your tire pressures, don’t drive like a teenager, and keep up with the maintenance on your RV and the cost per fuel stop won’t be any higher than it needs to be. Also, we can help you get down the road with parts and accessories over at the website, so come say howdy!
William Hook/Flickr Creative Commons
One of my favorite memes these days is a photo of a group of 20 Somethings walking down the street all of them doing something on their smartphones and the caption reads, “Where are you gonna stare at your phone this weekend?” I have a smartphone, and I use it when I need to but I guess I’m old enough not to stare at it like the gateway to some magical dimension…BUT…devices are here to stay and nobody can put that genie back in the bottle I’m afraid. So now that we’re all ready to live in modern times, the fact of the matter is this: our lives are electric.
iPods, iPads, smartphones, portable DVD players, laptops, tablets, Chromebooks, etc etc etc…everything needs charging when you’re traveling right? Used to be tensions would rise over who got to use the cigarette lighter socket to charge their flip phones, but we’ve come a long way since then baby. Now it’s not just the cigarette lighter socket chargers everyone needs…it’s USB plugs.
Well let me introduce you to a very nifty gadget. It’s called the Powercube and it speaks every language of charging. 5 devices can be charged at the same time, and it’s able to detect what voltage is required automatically! With three USB ports and two conventional wall outlet style sockets, all you’ll have to worry about is getting all the charging wires tangled up. Now this is the perfect thing to bring on a trip when you’re traveling with teenagers! If they’re still using devices with an actual keyboard, all you’ll hear is the dull clack of the keys. If that’s too noisy, buy ’em a touchscreen!
If you’re interested in one of these chargers, we have them on sale. And all the information you need is right HERE. Happy charging!
Andrew Hyde/Flickr Creative Commons
Every now and again I hear folks talking about RV’ing with kids or grandkids, and the conversations tend to revert to hushed tones as though they’re spilling state secrets to ISIS or something. As though people will hear that they’re planning on packing the RV with kids and will immediately try to talk them out of it or stage an intervention. On the other side of the coin, I also hear people discussing a trip with kids as if the kids are the delicate, fragile ones who can’t handle being confined for the course of the road trip. Today we’re going to talk about a few things you can do that will help mitigate some of the problems you face when traveling with kids.
Schedule Regular Stops
This is so important. If you are traveling long distance in a day or perhaps a multi-day cross country trip, plan on stopping every 2 hours or so. If you can make these stops correspond with mealtimes that also helps. Stop at a Chick Fil A or McDonalds or someplace with a playground so those kids can run and MAKE NOISE! An added benefit is that once the kids know there is a scheduled stop coming soon, the “When are we going to get there?” questions will fade away.
Give Them A Map
I realize nobody has maps anymore and it’s all GPS, but buy the kids a roadmap each. Not only will they learn to use one, but they’ll be able to track their progress and therefore that dreaded “How Much Longer?” question gets another smack down. Plus the kids will be able to see what interesting sights are coming up and can make some suggestions on where the next stop will be. For example, “Hey Nana, can we stop at The Thing on I-10 in Arizona?” or “Carlsbad Caverns is off to the left, can we go there?”. They’ll take an interest in the trip, it’ll divert their attention from the passage of time, as well as teaching them a useful skill.
Jay Cross/Flickr Creative Commons
It seems like every day or two there are new lists posted all over social media that tout to have “The Top 5 Songs Of All Time” or “20 Of The Best Songs To Chop Broccoli To” (the writers of these lists have amazing grammar by the way) or even “Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Songs Of All Time” but when you click the link it’s not even an article by Rolling Stone, and there are so many advertisements popping up all over that seeing all 500 songs would take 500 days.
Everyone has an opinion on music because music is 100% subjective. You like what you like, I like what I like. For example, I love The Eagles. However in The Big Lebowski, Jeff Bridges’ character loudly and publicly dislikes The Eagles. And you know what? That’s his, and my, prerogative. That being said, almost nothing can tense up a road trip like arguing over the music.
The accepted rule is “Driver Controls The Stereo” and that should be true unless it’s gonna be a long trip in which case there should be some sort of “your CD, then my CD” arrangement. It’s fair. That way poor Jeff Bridges doesn’t have to listen to two The Eagles CDs in a row and I don’t have to listen to two Creedence Clearwater Revival albums back-to-back.
Even married couples with decades of experience dealing with each other don’t want to listen to the same music. So be at peace people! Just take turns, Your taste is not better than hers, and hers isn’t any better than yours. It’s just super individualized. So for the good of the trip, to keep peace in the vehicle, just suck it up and listen to her music, every other album. Next thing you know, miles have slipped behind you and you might even hear some new music that you can ALL like!
Come say howdy over at the website, we’ll get you squared away!
Ethan/Flickr Creative Commons
OK folks, prepare for a bit of a rant. Several years back I began noticing that one of the key features on I-1o was damaged guard rails. And I mean damaged. Like the idiot who hit the rail didn’t even put on the brakes, just plowed into the thing. And there is a little stretch of road that I travel pretty frequently where no sooner does the county or highway dept replace the rail and install new posts than it’s peeled back and sheared off again more or less within 24 hours it seems. So is the problem that the rails are hard to see? Are they installed too close to an active lane? Is it sleepy truckers (which is what the big push was a few years ago)? Or is it bored motorists Facebooking their way down the highway?
Lord have mercy people, which is more important: being brielfy entertained on your trip by watching the video of that cat trying to jump off the dresser and slipping, answering a chatty text, or arriving at your destination with vehicle, life, and insurance policy intact? Now, some could say this is a generational problem…I mean after all the statistics show that the highest number of distracted driving accidents occur in the 16-24 year old age range, but the funny thing is when I was growing up that age group had the highest number of accidents as well and our phones were on the wall next to the kitchen!
According to TXDOT, over 500 people a year die in our state in distracted driving accidents, and 1 in 5 accidents state wide are due to distracted driving. Granted their definition is not just phone related, they also include the ladies putting on makeup, the folks fiddling with their GPS, folks who are eating lunch, changing a CD, and they even include folks who are READING. I love a good book, I really do, but reading one on I-35 driving through Austin, for example, isn’t a diversion…it’s suicide. So can we all just prioritize a little bit and while we’re in our cars just concentrate on getting from Point A to Point B through the maze of distracted drivers without becoming one ourselves? This has been an Important Safety Message from RV Nana, and I approve this message. Ha!