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!
Have you ever watched the endless minute adjustments being made by folks who may not use their fifth wheel hitch very often? Forward, reverse, forward, reverse, forward, reverse, pull out, readjust, start over. It’s even worse when they’re driving a long bed truck and the adjustments have to be amplified to counteract the longer pivot. Sometimes I just want to go knock on the window and ask if I can hitch ’em up real quick so these folks can get down the road, but I can never decide whether or not that would be rude or helpful. As they get more and more frustrated, you can just imagine them cursing the hitch, the truck, and the trailer.
Well I’m here to ease that frustration in a not-rude, very helpful sort of way today! For you long-bed truck having, fifth wheel trailer dragging folks who are tired of feeling like you’re wasting your time getting hitched up, Pullrite has an awesome light weight, high mounted fifth wheel hitch that will be the answer to your prayers! First of all the hitch is touted as the easiest fifth wheel hitch in the entire industry to couple. Secondly, it IS light, weighing in at only 52 lbs which means the UPS guy won’t even break a sweat lugging it to your door. And thirdly, what Pullrite has done in the engineering of this hitch is incredible.
What they’ve done is combine the functions of the hitch plate, rocker arm, and crossmember into the king pin adapter, which clamps to the trailer’s king pin and mounts an upside down ball hitch. Then, a gooseneck coupler is mounted upside down onto a base which attaches to most industry rails (unless it has the bole mounted in the middle, call for details). A funnel is mounted to the gooseneck coupler so instead of fine-tuning your long bed truck, all you have to do is contact the ball with any portion of the funnel and you’re all hitched up! Plus, the funnel and ball are completely visible from the cab! How easy is that? They are available right HERE. You’re welcome!
I can’t remember if we’ve ever talked about hail. Of so, it’s been a long, long, long time and we might as well hit it again. So here we are mid-spring, the weather has been mostly wonderful. Central Texas, and North Texas too, have had some pretty powerful weather over the course of the spring and that belt of the state from north of Austin to the Red River gets strong storms pretty regularly. I still remember when Jarrell got wiped out by a tornado back in the 90’s. So what do you do when those storms are coming and they’re bringing hail and damaging winds with them?
Now it’s almost a cliche about RVs and travel trailers being beaten up by bad weather, but there is nothing more important than the well being of yourself and your loved ones. If weather is headed your way, and you don’t have time to get moving out of it’s path, your absolute best option is to seek shelter. That applies whether it’s straight-line winds, severe lightning, floods, hail, etc etc etc. Find yourself a sturdy, permanent structure if possible and get inside. Then keep away from windows and wait it out.
So you’ve made it through the storm and you’re looking your RV over immediately afterwards and it has taken a beating. We here at PPL can help you get it back to looking it’s best with replacement for all that damaged stuff up on top. I’m talking about replacements for refrigerator vent covers, vent lids, A/C shrouds, plumbing vent caps, and if you have punctures we even have self-adhesive rubber roof repair kits. Chances are if you have antennas mounted up top, they’ve taken a beating too. It’s amazing the amount of stuff we have up there that kind of gets forgotten about. So if you’ve gone through some severe weather, survey your RV or trailer, than call us and let us know how we can help you get back on the road!
Let’s admit it, sometimes we all procrastinate. For example, let’s say you’ve got a trip coming up where you’re going to take your beloved RV all the way across the country to some far-off destination where you get to go-see-do all kinds of neat stuff. The destination is wonderful and you’ve told all your friends what you’re going to do. You have the whole thing mapped out right? Well…maybe just the first night or so. You haven’t quite found a campsite out there in the middle because it doesn’t seem like many of the campgrounds out there have a website and you’ve been too busy to call.
When you finally do get around to calling, the person on the other end of the phone reserves you a spot but doesn’t inspire much confidence in you that they understand what you want or need or what you’re even doing there. Once you finally arrive at the campground a little while later, you could swear you can hear banjo music and you start thinking about running away as fast as you can like Ned Beatty should have done in the movie “Deliverance”. But you’re tired after a long day’s travel and now you’re stuck for the night. Thank goodness your RV is equipped with a permanently mounted surge protector because it looks like these folks have only recently even heard of electricity, much less know how to wire up the pedestal.
Matthew Hogan/Flickr Creative Commons
Which brings me to the point. Mount a surge protector, or bring a portable one with you, so you know that your RV or travel trailer’s electrical circuits will be protected. Over voltage, under voltage, power surges, open neutrals, etc etc etc can all wreak havoc with your electrical system. Protect your investment, and prevent that awful burning smell by just installing that surge protector between your RV and the campground owner’s cousin’s wiring job on that pedestal, we’ve got them in stock right HERE!
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.
Hoo WEE, after all that rain we had in southeast Texas these last few weeks, it feels like everything with a leaf on it is pollinating right now. We have that yellow fog down here and if that isn’t a signal to dust off the ol’ RV and wake her up from her long winter’s nap I don’t know what all to tell you. Maybe our fairly consistent 80 degree weather can convince you it’s time to hit the trail again.
True, sometimes waking her up after that winter hibernation can be a booger bear, but I may have a cure for that. We stock this stuff called Start Tron, which is an additive you put into your fuel tank. What it does is it rejuvenates fuel that’s been sitting for a long time. It has some sort of enzyme in it, not sure how that works, but I have noticed in the past that after I add some to the tank of an RV that’s been sitting for awhile…it’ll start pretty easy!
When you add it to your tank it will help break down the gum, varnish and carbon that has built up in storage. And if you live in a humid area like we do, it will disperse whatever water condensation which may have entered into the fuel tank over time. Spreading that water out evenly through the fuel will help burn it off as well as prevent it from collecting in one spot and causing a rusty tank. This stuff will even work if you’re running ethanol-based fuels.
What’s kind of neat is that this product will actually stabilize fuel for up to two years, so if you’re one of those folks that like to buy gas when prices are low, this will enable you to store it for a good while worry-free. Check it out on our website right HERE.
Your alarm goes off, the sun is just peeking up over the horizon and your windows are beginning to brighten up. You stumble out of bed, brrrrrrr it’s chilly this morning. First things first, let’s get that coffee maker percolating. You accidentally spill some coffee grounds on the counter while you’re filling the machine, but you finally get that delicious red light lit and coffee cooking. You reach under the counter for a paper towel, because nobody replaced the roll on the counter, and when you raise up you bonk your head on a partially open drawer. Yep, it’s gonna be that kind of morning isn’t it? You didn’t want to wake up early, leave your warm bed, spill coffee, and bonk your head did you? Might as well hit the shower while the coffee percolates. You strip down, turn on the water and YIKES!! Oh my GOODNESS that’s cold!! Yep, your water heater has crapped out on you.
Which brings me to the problem solving device of today’s blog. A friend of mine has a tankless water heater and I’m here to tell you that thing is amazing. Especially on mornings described above, a tankless water heater would do more than just be a space saving, energy efficient appliance…it would be a morale boosting, confidence inspiring, let’s-get-out-there-and-conquer-the-day kind of necessity! We offer a tankless water heater by Suburban that will fill this role nicely.
It is specifically designed and sized to replace your existing water tank whether it’s a 6, 10, 12, or 16 gallon tank. They can either be operated through a standard on/off switch, or if you prefer, a control center may be installed in your coach that will allow you to set an exact temperature so you can have consistent bliss when you turn the tap in the shower. If you’re interested in learning more about these awesome set ups, click right HERE and treat yourself to a better than average Monday.
Have you ever found yourself in that situation where the campground doesn’t individual sewer hookups and you’d have to move the entire RV to the waste transfer station to empty the black water tank? What a pain in the neck that is especially if you’re there more or less permanent for a little while, with everything leveled and the yard pretties staked out. So what would be the easiest option for you at that point? Yep, you need a portable waste tank. Depending on the size of your black water tank, there are different options available for a portable waste tank.
Thetford makes a great tank called the Smarttote. They come in sizes ranging from twelve to thirty five gallons capacity. The larger models come with full castoring dual wheels at the front end as well as two wheels at the back to support the weight of the tank when fully loaded. Needless to say with this sort of system the primary concern, aside from the mobility of it, is how to get this thing serviced in the cleanest possible way. They have a patented system called “Permastore” where the 5 foot replaceable sewer servicing line is permanently housed and stored at the bottom of the tank. The hose is replaceable and comes with a bayonet cap to prevent spills.
Another way this tank design helps keep the servicing process as clean as possible is by featuring an auto-stop function that activates when the tank is full, preventing and overload/overflow situation and the mess involved. The hose is designed also so that it is a very simple load and unload, and the stows away tidily in case you need to make more than one trip to the transfer station per servicing. If you’d like to know more about these, please visit our website right HERE.
Oh man, sometimes we’ve got to talk a little bit about the gray water and black water systems of these wonderful RVs. In the last blog we discussed how easy it was to upgrade the toilet in your RV, but today we’re going to talk about a product that really helps with dumping those tanks as well as flushing the entire system clean afterwards.
I can’t imagine that servicing the waste system of your RV is your favorite chore, it’s certainly the least glamorous, but it is one of the most important jobs when it comes to keeping your RV free from odor, as well as free from some of the sanitary hazards an inop waste system can create. Here at PPL we sell a lot of accessories, parts, and tools to assist you in keeping that RV up and running as well as being a very fun vehicle to enjoy with your family. The SewerSolution is one of those tools you can use to make those waste system chores a little easier and a little more pleasant.
The SewerSolution is a water powered jet pump system designed to help power the sewage out as well as flush the tanks once they are empty. These things are self-cleaning, so they’ll help keep your hands clean and sanitary, they have no moving parts to become stuck and they are very easy to install. Simply connect one end to the sewer pipe on your RV, connect a garden hose, and then the water jet literally pulls the sewage out of your system and propels it out the discharge line. While the water is running it liquifies the waste and toilet paper making it easier to remove and operates at about 8 gallons per minute. It’s as close to hands clean servicing as you can get, and the water cleans the lines after the tanks are empty! If you’re interested, more information and pricing can be found right HERE!
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.
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!