Electrical Protection

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.

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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 Snake Season, Watch Your Step

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.

A Little Something Extra In Your Tank

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!

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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.

If I Become President There Will Be No Cold Showers In America!

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.

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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.

Portable Waste Tanks

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.

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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.

SewerSolution!

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.

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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!

Toilet Upgrade?

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

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.

Take a Step Up!

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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.

Winter Chores to Maintain Your RV

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Vicki Watkins/Flickr Creative Commons

For those of y’all that aren’t year-round RVers and who put their baby to bed to hibernate all winter, this article is for you. You’ve winterized your RV. You have gone down the checklist, everything is buttoned up, and you’re just waiting for springtime to arrive to pull the covers off and head back out on the road. You’re pretty much done for the winter right? You can park your feet on the coffee table and wait for the temps to climb back up right? Well sure, but there are some things you can check on during this winter break that will make your transition from hibernating to vacationing a little smoother.

For example, do you have your RV or camper trailer under a cover? Is it just a blue plastic tarp? Maybe think about using a breathable cover so mildew and mold doesn’t grow under the plastic tarp which you’ll just have to bleach and scrub on in the spring. Also, if you have a camp trailer, make sure that it’s stored with the tongue at an angle so rain or snow will run off and not just collect in big puddles. Water-based storage problems are pretty common down here on the Gulf Coast all year long!

Another thing to think about doing is if you are storing your RV or trailer on it’s wheels over the winter, move it forward a foot or so every now and then so the tires don’t “get square”. While we’re talking about tires, another thing that is good to do especially if you’re storing your camper outdoors is to place something between the tires and the ground. Think about a small sheet of plywood for example, something larger than the footprint of the tires. This will help prevent the trailer sinking into the ground during the winter. And don’t forget those chocks!

Winter is the slow time for a fair portion of the RVing community, but you can use this time to help your transition from shed to road be that much faster. And remember to come say howdy to us over at the website, we can help you with any parts or accessories you may require during the winter.

A Christmas Orange: a PPL Motorhomes Family Story

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Kumar’s Edit/Flickr Creative Commons

One of my wonderful co-workers, Andrea J., has done a really wonderful thing and shared one of her Christmas family traditions with all of us at PPL Motorhomes this holiday. It’s a story that comes with a simple, but powerful message and really captures the spirit of giving and selflessness. Here’s how the story goes.

Jake lived in an orphanage with nine other young boys. In the winter time it seemed any extra money went for coal to heat the old buildings. At Christmas, the buildings always seemed a little warmer, and the food a little more plentiful, but more than this—Christmas meant an orange. It was the only time of the year such a rare treat was provided, and it was coveted by each boy like no other thing they ever possessed.

Each boy would save his orange for several days, admiring it, feeling it, loving it, and contemplating the moment he would eat it. Some would even save it until New Year’s Day or later, much like many of us relish saving our Christmas trees and decorations until New Year’s just to remind us of the joy of Christmas.

This particular Christmas Day, Jake had broken the orphanage rules by starting a fight. The orphanage mother took Jake’s orange away as a punishment for breaking the rules. Jake spent Christmas day empty and alone. Nighttime came and Jake could not sleep; silently, he sobbed because this year he would not have his orange to savor with the other boys.

A soft hand placed on Jake’s shoulder and startled him and an object was quickly shoved into his hands. The child then disappeared into the dark to leave Jake alone to discover a strange looking orange—an orange made from segments of nine other oranges—nine highly prized oranges that had to be eaten that Christmas night, instead of saved, admired, and cherished until a later date.

This year, may the orange remind us all of the unselfish love taught to us by our Savior that we share for each other.

Of course this story was handed out to every PPL employee by Andrea and, of course, it was accompanied by a ripe and delicious orange. Her simple act of generosity, thoughtfulness and sharing of a family tradition inspired me to write and share it with all of my readers. It’s a simple story with a wonderful message that I will never forget. So, as the holidays come and go, it certainly isn’t the only time we should be generous and count our blessings. Every day I wake up, I will look in the mirror and remind myself to always be grateful for my family, friends, co-workers and my fellow humans…then I have an orange for breakfast and give one to someone in need.