March 2, 1836 was the day Texas proclaimed itself a republic and independent from Mexico. While the forty five delegates to the Convention of 1836 were signing the Declaration of Independence at Washington-on-the-Brazos, the defenders inside the Alamo were already under siege. Santa Anna’s troops would make their final assault on the Alamo four days later, ending the battle with the massacre of the survivors. Shortly after the fall of the Alamo, Col James Fannin’s men were defeated after running battles along Coleto Creek near Goliad, TX. They too were executed after surrendering. Sam Houston withdrew the demoralized and exhausted Texian army until the final stand at San Jacinto. San Jacinto proved to be the decisive conclusion to the Texas Revolution where over 600 Mexican soldiers were killed and over 700 captured at the cost of 9 Texians killed. The prize jewel of the battle was the capture of the self-styled “Napolean of the West” General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna Himself.
Further scuffles with Mexico ensued as Texas sought to defend her newly-found and hard-fought independence, but ultimately the Republic joined the United States as the 28th State admitted to the Union in 1845. 16 years later in early 1861, Texas seceded from the United States and joined the Confederate States until, oddly enough, the last battle of the Civil War was fought on the banks of the Rio Grande outside Brownsville, TX in May 1865.
Since then we’ve had a pretty rough-and-tumble history of Indian wars, range wars, famous outlaws and bandits, oil booms, oil busts, a couple revolutions south of our Rio Grande border, an economic Depression or two, droughts, and at one point or another cotton, cattle, railroads, and oil were king. These days, we’re still a pretty independent minded, tough, resourceful, and very proud folk. We’ve led the world in technological development, space exploration, energy development, and even guitar playing! So anytime y’all feel like coming to Texas, please come say howdy to us here at PPL Motorhomes.com!
Cabin in Palo Duro Canyon State Park. photo from: http://www.afltriptalks.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/DSCN0569-Palo-Duro-Canyon-TX.jpg
A lot of people drive through the Panhandle section of Texas on I-40, see only empty, flat land and they can’t wait to get to New Mexico or those first hills in Oklahoma. One of the old jokes is that this part of Texas is so flat, you could stand on a beer can and see the North Pole from there. Town names like Levelland and Plainview don’t help dispel that myth either, but I’m here to tell you that one of Texas’ most beautiful natural areas is right there, smack dab in the middle of the flat!
Palo Duro Canyon State Park. photo from: http://www.palodurocanyon.com/
Palo Duro Canyon State Park is what I’m referring to. It features topography, scenery, and out of this world beauty like you would not expect to see in Texas! It’s almost reminiscent of all those movies the late great John Ford shot in Monument Valley, Arizona. The canyon is reached from I-40 in Amarillo by turning south on I-27 until you reach Canyon, TX then heading east on 217 until you reach the park.
Cabins are available for rent, although demand is high and supply is low, but they offer one of the best, most natural ways to visit this beautiful landmark. The cabins were built by the CCC in the 1930’s out of native materials and truly blend into the landscape and are very unobtrusive. All come with electricity and water, but 4 are fairly primitive and have restrooms nearby as well as no A/C. From these awesome cabins you can venture out into the park to hike, bike, photo, and climb to your heart’s content. A small deviation south of track is all you need to break the monotony of the Interstate and add some natural adventure to your travels! If you prefer to stay in your RV, hookups and campgrounds are available in Canyon, TX at the turnoff for the park.
What is your favorite Texas State Park? Leave us a comment below, we’d love to hear from you. As always, before youhit the road..hit PPLmotorhomes.com for all your RV’ing needs!
Hurricane season is here and meteorologists are predicting it to be very active this year. Hurricane are, quite possibly, the most destructive force of nature with high winds, massive amounts of rainfall and flooding that can very easily cripple a community. Just take a look at Hurricane Katrina a few years back. Southern Louisiana will never be the same. There were billions of dollars worth of damage and way too many lives lost. With that being said, I still hear of RVers wanting to ride out hurricanes, if they ever are in the path of one. Of course, I cannot recommend ever staying in the path of destruction. Your RV is not designed to withstand high winds and could easily topple over in the middle of a hurricane. If you are far enough inland and you are certain you will not be receiving the brunt of the storm, you should certainly be prepared and take as many precautions as possible. Here are a few that I’ve come up with.
1. Get a good generator. There’s no telling how well the electrical wires in the RV park you are stationed will hold up. Once a heavy gust of wind rips through the park, you could be out of electricity for days.
2. Stick up on water and food. Hurricanes have a tendency to down trees and cause plenty of damage to roads and bridges. If it happens to cause a ruckus, you’ll be prepared and can live off of your stored food and water for a few days while cleaning up the roads and such.
3. Bring your slides in. If you’re traveling in an RV with slides, you’ll definitely want to bring them in to make your RV less wind resistant. You want to make your RV as small as possible so you’ll have less likelihood of a gust of wind knocking it over.
Again, I cannot stress enough, if you are in the path of a hurricane, you need to get out of it. Your RV is not a safe place to ride out one of nature’s most destructive forces. Always check the weather report before you head out and plan accordingly. Even if you are forced to leave your RV behind, you should get out of there the second you know it’s coming. You can replace an RV, but you can’t replace your life.
If there is one thing that you should learn first, above all other functions of your Texas RV’s, gears, gadgets, and do-hickeys, it’s how to adjust and set your mirrors. That’s right, for all of the amazing things you can do in your RV, you can’t even really start to enjoy them until you learn the basics. One of those basics is mirror adjustment.
Now I know what you are thinking, “I know how to do that. I drive my car daily. Adjusting mirrors is simple.” I know, I know you are a pro RVer, but you might be surprised to learn that there is a system and a skill to adjusting your mirrors the right way. After all, you don’t want to learn about that blind spot for the first time after you side swipe someone, right?
Here’s how you get started.
If you have not adjusted your mirrors before, then the first thing you’ll need to do is look for and loosen the lock-down bolts on the mirror frames and pre-set the frame. Then pre-set the adjustable and fixed mirrors to the middle of their range. Don’t strain against the mirror frames. If you can’t get them to move just loosen the bolts a little more.
Jump up and sit in the drivers seat. You are going to need some assistance, so have someone adjust the mirror frame to where it is close to the setting shown in RV-Figure-1. You’ll have to tell them when it looks good to you.
Once you think you have them set to your proper field of view, lock the mirror frame bolts down. Now you are ready to position the mirrors themselves.
The Top, larger, mirrors are not magnifiers, and give you a larger field of view down the road behind you. So you set these to allow a comfortably seated driver to see the edge of the RV, as well as down the road starting at a point. This is about halfway down the RV’s body.
The lower, smaller mirrors are magnifiers, and give a smaller field of view, so set the edge further in so the driver can see the Bottom of the RV body about 8-10 feet behind the driver.
Check out the video below for and in depth lesson on how to adjust your RV’s mirrors.
Remember, as always, if you have any questions or comments, you can leave them here, or stop by PPL Motorhomes and we can help you adjust them.
Now before we even start talking about what’s better (or what’s best), just remember that this is all subjective people. I want you to know that there are a variety of options out there, some more appropriate than others, but all the options for a good RV tow vehicle could be a simple Mini Cooper, to a full sized sedan, to trucks and SUVs. Two things matter: do you have the right tow vehicle for your RV lifestyle, and do you have enough horsepower to tow it?
These are two of the most important things to consider. The towing limits of your RV may automatically rule out certain makes and models. However, if you are pulling a full sized SUV on an excursion that you’d only need a Fiat for, then maybe it’s time to rethink your tow vehicle.
Let me first say that those of you in motorhomes really understand the value of having a reliable tow vehicle. It goes without saying that having the added mobility that comes with a tow vehicle is extremely valuable. So, that got me thinking, “What Is The Best Tow Vehicle?” After doing research and hitting up forums, I started to get the picture that the best vehicle is the easiest to tow and can still meet your needs.
Check out the RV parks review forum here.
Now, we aren’t the world’s experts on tow vehicles, so make sure you consult other resources also. Specifically, start with your RV’s owner/operator manual. You will find appropriate tow weights in there.
What do you think makes up a good tow vehicle? What make and model has been your tow vehicle and why? PPL Motorhomes wants to know!
Albuquerque has so many great places to visit and fun things to do. Of course, the International Balloon Fiesta in October is a magnificent experience. Plus, there are Casinos surrounding the area and Santa Fe is just an hour away. But, if that is not enough, here are 5 more things to experience while you are in the area.
#1. Take the Sandia Peak Tramway (the longest tramway in North America).
The Sandia Mountians and beautiful New Mexico sky!
It will take you all the way to the top where you can have lunch or dinner. You will enjoy majestic views of the mountains and the city. For a real experience you can take your bikes up the tram and ride the trails down, or hike down to the bottom.
#2. Visit the Petroglyph National Monument, where you can see over 700 Petroglyphys created by Native Americans and Spanish settlers dating back 400-700 years. There are several hiking trails where you can see, touch and marvel over the Petroglyphs, great places to picnic and plenty of RV parking.
#3. Visit the Village of Corrales New Mexico. You can’t really call it a suburb of Albuquerque, as prehistoric sites indicate the Corrales Valley has been occupied since as early as 500 A.D, but it is very close snuggled in between Albuquerque and Rio Rancho. Every Sunday morning in the Summer the Corrales Growers Market offers fruits, vegetables, herbs and much more from farmers in the area. Be sure to get a Breakfast Burrito with authentic New Mexico red or green chile!
#4. Take a trip through the Jemez Mountains – about an hours drive from Albuquerque. A combination of red rock formations and beautiful mountain vistas provide some of the most spectacular scenery in the Southwest. Spots along the way provide a cultural and educational experience as well! Be sure to stop at one of the stands where Native American Indians serve up a variety of New Mexico specialties. (The Indian Fry Bread is awesome!)
And while in that area be sure to visit the Ponderosa Valley Winery, where you will find a wide selection of wines all made with 100% New Mexico grapes.
Take a tour and of course partake in a wine tasting.
They will really make you feel at home!
#5. Visit the Albuquerque Zoo, the Botanical Gardens and the Aquarium. They are all located close together in the downtown area. Walk from one location to another, or there is a train that can transport you. After a full day, have dinner at one of the many restaurants located close by on Central Avenue – part of the original Route 66!
You will find a abundance of RV campgrounds in the Albuquerque area as well as the Sandia and Jemez Mountians.
From all of us at PPL Motorhomes , we hope you have a safe trip and enjoy all that the Albuquerque area has to offer!
PPL Motorhomes and many of our consignment RVs are ready to hit the road and head into the full rush of the RVing season. Of course, that means more opportunities to engage with nature are headed our way. I’ve recently written a post about knowing your venomous snakes, so I figured one about spiders would be just as appropriate. I’ll be honest here, I’m not a big fan of spiders. However, spiders play a major role in our ecosystem and are under appreciated. Either in our homes, or our RVs, most of our widespread fear of spiders is unjustified, as Texas is home to just two that are venomous, the Brown Recluse and the Black Widow.
Of course just hearing their names sends shivers down our spines.
The Brown Recluse Spider:
Bites and Medical Significance
Like other spiders, the brown recluse is not aggressive. It is quite common, in fact, to live in a building that is heavily infested and never be bitten. Most bites occur in response to body pressure, when a spider is inadvertently trapped against bare skin. Some people are bitten when they roll over one in bed. Other bites occur while moving stored items or putting on a piece of clothing that a spider has chosen for its daytime retreat. Brown recluse spiders have remarkably small fangs and cannot bite through clothing.
The initial bite is usually painless. Oftentimes the victim is unaware until 3 to 8 hours later when the bite site may become red, swollen, and tender. The majority of brown recluse spider bites remain localized, healing within 3 weeks without serious complication or medical intervention. In other cases, the victim may develop a necrotic lesion, appearing as a dry, sinking bluish patch with irregular edges, a pale center and peripheral redness. Often there is a central blister. As the venom continues to destroy tissue, the wound may expand up to several inches over a period of days or weeks. The necrotic ulcer can persist for several months, leaving a deep scar. Infrequently, bites in the early stages produce systemic reactions accompanied by fever, chills, dizziness, rash or vomiting. Severe reactions to the venom are more common in children, the elderly, and patients in poor health. Persons bitten by a brown recluse spider should apply ice, elevate the affected area, and seek medical attention immediately.
Of the spiders capable of inflicting a poisonous bite, black widows are the most notorious. The female is about 1/2-inch long, shiny black and usually has a red hourglass mark on the underside of the abdomen. In some varieties the hourglass mark may be reduced to two separate spots. Spiderlings and male spiders are smaller than the females and have several red dots on the abdomen’s upper side.
Widow spiders belong to the cobweb spider family and spin loosely organized trap webs. The webs are usually found under objects such as rocks and ground trash or under an overhanging embankment. Black widow spiders are not as common in homes as the brown recluse. When found in homes, they are usually under appliances or heavy furniture and not out in the open like other cobweb spiders. Black widow spiders are timid, however, and will only bite in response to being injured. People are usually bitten when they reach under furniture or lift objects under which a spider is hiding.
Black widow venom is a nerve toxin and its effects are rapid. The victim suffers painful rigidity of the abdomen and usually a tightness of the chest. Blood pressure and body temperature may rise, and sweating, localized swelling, and nausea may occur. In about 5% of the bite cases, the victim may go into convulsions in 14 to 32 hours and die if not given medical attention. First aid for black widow spider bites involves cleaning the wound and applying ice packs to slow absorption of venom. Victims should seek medical attention promptly. Most black widow spider envenomizations respond to intravenous administrations of calcium gluconate or calcium salts. An antivenin is also available for severe cases.
As you probably already know, we live side by side with these two spiders in our homes as well as in the outdoors. You can just as easily encounter either of these spider species in your closest as you would under a rock, or fallen tree. When out in the wild, or even your own home, remember that we share space with a lot of other living creatures. When left alone, the Brown Recluse and Black Widow pose no threat, but when disturbed, they can be dangerous. Remember, to “look before lift” and “shake it before you put it on”. Follow this link for ways to avoid potential spider bites.
Have and creepy crawly stories of your own? Share them here, or give RV Nana a call at PPL Motorhomes…maybe your story will make my blog!
What an exciting time for our PPL family! PPL Motor Homes, my home away from home, is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this week with a huge RV sale, great seminars for the RV enthusiast, door prizes and fun for all. As most of you know, I’ve been with PPL since 1980 and have watched it grow from the an office with only 2 employees (and our only electronic office equipment was a typewriter without a correcting key) to becoming the largest RV consignment center in the USA, with a selection of over 450 consigned RVs at our Houston location and over 90 employees. In addition, we have almost 100 RVs at our recently opened RV Consignment center in New Braunfels, Texas, making it convenient for our South Central Texas customers to stop by.
Many of our team members have been with me well over 15 years and have often teased me that I should have written a book called “Days of PPL” to capture all the fun, interesting and sometimes weird things that I have seen in the last 32 years. It would have probably been a great soap opera. We love our customers and have had a wonderful time with them through the years sharing stories, ideas, travel adventures, helpful hints and more!
This is an exciting time at PPL and I am so glad that I am a part of this great team! We would love it if you would celebrate our 40th anniversary with us by sharing your memory of PPL Motor Homes!
What clothes do you pack for your RV adventure? That is something you need to think about just like you plan on what food and supplies you are going to pack. We have come up with our own little checklist of clothing for both of us and we still need to do some fine tuning. First you have to consider where you’re going and what you are going to be doing. If you are truly going hiking for a week, then you need to just pack shorts, jeans, t-shirts and hiking shoes, but you should still be prepared for those sudden drops in temperature or for stopping at the nicer restaurant on the way to or from your destination. Above all, just think “comfort” when you start to pack.
There are a few things we keep in the RV year round ad have had plenty of times when we were glad we had these.
For me: Light weight jacket, sweatshirt, heavy jacket, swimsuit & cover up, shorts, t-shirts, sundress, light sweater, swim shoes and shower shoes.
For my husband: The same items but forget the sundress and pack a Hawaiian shirt.
Everything I pack in the RV has to be comfortable and “fun.” After all, having fun is what we’re planning to do in the RV, isn’t it? I always make sure I have a nice pair of jeans or slacks so I can dress them up for an evening out or play all day in them. Leave the iron and ironing board at home and pack clothes that look good without a lot of fuss. You can also leave all those fancy shoes and expensive jewelry at home and enjoy the fun stuff. Basic colors and styles (even a gauze skirt or capris) can be dressed up with a little fun jewelry or a scarf. My husband enjoys his Hawaiian shirts and golf shirts for a nice evening out while on the road.
On most trips we wear only jeans and shorts, but we like to be prepared for whatever comes our way. Keep your clothes cool and breathable so you are comfortable in the heat and you can always add a lightweight jacket or long sleeve shirt for the evening hours when the weather turns cool.
Make sure your shoes are comfortable and that you have more than one pair with you. You will likely be doing more walking than you do at home and there is nothing worse than spending a day outdoors with blisters on your feet. And, make sure you have a pair of shoes like crocs or flip flops that you can slip on real fast to take the trash out or go walk the dog.
The hardest thing for me when we bought our RV was to leave clothes at home. It took me a long time to realize that I could travel without taking half of my closet with me. Planning for a week or a month on the road takes a little planning, but it is easy to pack a versatile wardrobe by doing a little color coordination and preparation. And remember you can throw a load of clothes in the washer at the campground if you really have to so pack a small container of laundry soap and a few dryer sheets. And, as my husband will tell you, forgetting something is a “shopping” opportunity for me.
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!