Ketzirah Lesser & Art Drauglis/Flickr Creative Commons
As a Texan, there are just some states you don’t hear about much down here. Vermont is one of those. Nothing against you Vermonters, but we could fit your entire state onto I-35 between Austin and Dallas, and you guys are a looong way away. BUT, it is summertime and folks head north to chase that cooler weather, so I thought today we could talk about heading up to Vermont, and some of the things you can see and do there.
Prior to doing some research on this article, the only thing I really knew about Vermont was that Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream is from up thataway. Here are a few more completely AWESOME things I found out about Vermont:
- 80% of the state is covered in forest
- there are no billboards on the highways, and that is state law
- it looks and feels like a Norman Rockwell painting
If that isn’t enough to make you want to head up north, their average high during July is only 81! Lakes, streams, hiking, biking, hills, mountains, and all of it at a reasonable temperature…sign me up.
If you’re an interstate highway user, you can traverse the entire state on the east side on Interstate 91, or east to west on Interstate 89. The Green Mountains run through the middle of the state on a north/south line. However, most roads are the smaller state highways which are not traffic heavy and occasionally blocked by cattle moving from pasture to pasture. Life seem to moves slower there, the way it used to down here before hustle and bustle became our reality.
If skiing is your thing, head to Stowe. This tiny little town seems to be the epicenter of the skiing world in Vermont, so in summertime you can ride the ski lifts up to the top for incredible views, and alpine style hiking. If you like nature, and green things, and fall-like temps…head to Vermont!
goblinbox_(queen_of_ad_hoc_bento)/Flickr Creative Commons
This is Texas y’all. We like gravy on everything. I don’t think I could even point to a moment in my life when I didn’t know what gravy was…maybe before I had teeth. Anyhow, seeing as how we are in Texas, we don’t just do the plain old brown gravy that is smothering meals all over America. No sir. We also do Chili Gravy. The spicy mix of the standard Anglo-fied brown gravy and pure Tex Mex chili sauce. So if you make your own enchiladas for example, wouldn’t it be nice to drown it in some home made Chili Gravy? Let’s get started.
Since this is an old-school recipe, we’re going to use lard today. If you don’t feel particularly old-school you can of course replace the lard with vegetable oil…but it’s not going to taste as good. Tee Hee.
Here’s what you’re going to need:
- quarter cup of lard (or your new-fangled vegetable oil)
- quarter cup of flour
- two cups of chicken broth
- two teaspoons of chili powder
- half teaspoon of black pepper
- teaspoon of salt
- one and a half teaspoon of powdered garlic
- two teaspoons of cumin
- half teaspoon of dried oregano
What you do is heat the lard in a skillet on medium heat, and add in the flour. Stir it for a few minutes and stop when it’s made a roux, which should be a light brown. Blend in all the dry ingredients while continuing to stir for a minute or so, then add in the chicken broth, stirring the whole time. Then you turn the heat down low, and let simmer for fifteen minutes. If you want to adjust the thickness afterwards, use water…sparingly…until you get the desired thickness.
This gravy will add that perfect bit of zing and Texas-ness to any dish you care to use it on! And don’t forget to swing by our website and let us help you with any parts or accessories you require to get on down the trail!
mobilius et mobili/Flickr Creative Commons
Fort Sumner is located in eastern New Mexico at the junction of Hwy 60 and 84. You can reach it easily by coming north out of Roswell, west from Clovis, or turning south in Santa Rosa off of I-40. The original fort was built in the 1860’s to help contain Navajo and Apache Indians but after the end of the Civil War the fort and it’s buildings were sold to private citizens and the town began springing up.
If you’re a fan of the Old West, then Fort Sumner is definitely a place you’ll want to visit. Once of the first true cattle drive trails (The Loving-Goodnight Trail) ended at Ft Sumner when the cattlemen drove beef there to feed the Navajos who’d been moved there by Kit Carson, thus being right at the beginning of the cowboy era of the American West.
Needless to say though, Fort Sumner’s main claim to fame is as the sight of the death of Billy The Kid. Pat Garret surprised Billy The Kid at night while Billy was cutting a piece of meat for a snack. Billy famously asked, “Quien es?” (Who is it?) before being gunned down by Garret. Naturally, the legend was born in that moment as well. Many people are divided on whether or not Garret gunned down the right man that evening, or if Billy survived and lived to a ripe old age in Texas. If you think Billy died in Pete Maxwell’s place, his gravestone is nearby and can be visited.
Another interesting fact about Fort Sumner is that the Air Corps had a training base there during WWII which was used post-war by NASA as a launching spot for their high altitude balloon program. If you traveled to Fort Sumner through Roswell, you may recognize the significance of the balloons in the story of the UFO landing in Roswell back in 1947.
Miguel Discart/Flickr Creative Commons
Like it or not, Texas has had a long and storied relationship with professional wrestling. Mom may not have liked it, but you have to admit…watching professional wrestling is a guilty pleasure for a lot of us. Whether you’re throwing popcorn at the TV or laughing at the horrible acting during the promos…wrestling is thoroughly entertaining. Even the “Doubting Thomas” super-skeptics get into watching as close as possible to spot the “fake” hits and falls.
Needless to say, it doesn’t matter what generation you belong to…Texas has represented itself in the highest tier of professional wrestling going back 50 years. From Stone Cold Steve Austin to Eddie Guerrero to The Undertaker to name some of the most famous modern day wrestlers, to The legendary Von Erich family, the Funks, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, and Dusty Rhodes who were some of Texas’ most famous wrestlers from the 70’s and 80’s, all the way back to the classic era of the 60’s with the likes of Ivan Putski, Texans have been the creme of the crop.
All of this is celebrated in Wichita Falls at the Professional Wrestling Museum and Hall of Fame. If you’re headed east or west across the Red River edge of Texas, you’re more than likely going to pass through Wichita Falls. It’s located on highway 287 and is the southern terminus of I-44 coming out of Oklahoma. The Professional Wrestling Museum is full of exhibits and paraphernalia associated with Texas wrestling past. Also, since the Hall of Fame is located there and there are numerous gatherings throughout the year with autograph signings and get-togethers.
So if your husband has dutifully walked quietly behind you at the quilting supply stores or art galleries or antiques stores and participated in all those things you like to do, give him an hour or so to wander through the wrestling museum. You may not like the road conversation for the next hour or two, but I bet he’s smiling and chuckling.
Corey Balazowich/Flickr Creative Commons
Roanoke Island in North Carolina is, believe it or not, one of the oldest continually occupied settlements in North America. Originally settled in 1585 under the organization of Sir Walter Raleigh, Roanoke saw the first birth of an American settler named Virginia Dare. Oddly enough that first colony soon gave rise to one of America’s oldest unsolved mysteries as well when the colony and everyone in it vanished by 1590 leaving no trace of what happened to them. Archaeologists and historians are still working to solve that mystery.
Fast forward 450 years or so and it’s 2016 and Roanoke Island is a charming destination between mainland North Carolina and the famous Outer Banks. To get there simply take Highway 64 off of I-95 towards the Atlantic and you’ll cross Croatan Sound from Mann’s Harbor over to Roanoke Island where the main towns are Fort Raleigh City on the north end, and Manteo and Wanchese just south of there.
There is a beautiful campground in Wanchese called The Refuge which is on 345. They have almost 60 sites, 44 of which are available for year long leases, the rest are day use and are located right on the water. From here you can easily visit Nag’s Head, Cape Hatteras, or the birthplace of aviation…Kill Devil Hills.
This is a beautiful part of the United States, and very unique as well. If you like history, there are the light houses, Fort Raleigh, and all the old houses. If you like outdoor activities, well…this area is slopping over with just that! From all the water-borne stuff like boating, skiing, canoeing, swimming, and fishing, to the land-based stuff like hiking, photography, horseback riding, and just plain old sitting…Roanoke Island has you covered. Just outside the campground at The Refuge is the Roanoke Island Nature Reserve where you can wander to your heart’s content.
Remember folks, please come visit us at the website before you hit the road…we’re glad to help get you squared away!
Back in 1776…240 years ago this weekend…the Founding Fathers of our nation were still arguing and compromising, drafting and redrafting the document that would declare the independence of the 13 colonies from their King and Country, George the III and England. It is one of the most important pieces of political writing in recent history as it is one of the first, and certainly longest lived, guarantees of personal liberty for individuals. We are all created equal. Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness have sense-forth become Rights not Privileges, and these are affirmed before everyone. Because of that document, we spearate from England and after a long bloody war, we are truly independent. Other great documents follow.
For the first time in recorded human history the modern concepts of liberty and freedom are spelled out. We can believe what we want. We can say want we believe. We can worship how we wish. We can defend ourselves from tyrants at home and abroad. We are supposed to be served by our government, not the other way around. These are but a few of the changes brought about by our Declaration of Independence, and we lucky few who were born here, or who have become citizens, are members of the greatest nation on Earth.
This weekend please enjoy your burgers, and hotdogs, and fireworks, and beers, and get a little too much sun, spend time with your families, and celebrate the freedom and liberty that is yours. But while you’re enjoying yourself, please do no forget that your liberty and freedom are threatened every waking moment of every waking day. Be vigilant in it’s defense. Never allow the word security to take the place of freedom in your vocabulary. That way your future generations will enjoy the same Rights as you and your ancestors enjoyed. Long Live The Republic, and the Freedom for Which It Stands!
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.
How cool would it be to have a real chandelier in your RV? Granted they tend to take up a fair bit of room and you’d probably bump your head on it, or knock it down and cuss it from one end of the RV to the other….but…wouldn’t it be cool to have one just for the added ambiance during a nice sit-down dinner with the hubby?
Well the folks at Heng’s have come up with a light ring called the “RV Chandelier” that mounts around the base of your air vents. You have your choice of either cool white light or warm white light and the option of using a clear bezel or a diffuser. Just imagine you’re sitting down to a romantic dinner…the kids and grandkids are hundreds and hundreds of miles away, you two are at your favorite campsite, you’ve cooked up a special dinner…now wouldn’t it be nice to have one of those vent ring chandeliers with the warm white light and the diffuser to help set the mood?
Another awesome thing about this light rig is that it uses LEDs, so you’re getting good bright light (when you want it) and the fixtures aren’t adding heat to the inside of the RV. The rings are easy to install also, and they operate off of 12V. If it were me I’d buy one for each vent and hook them up to their own independent dimmer switches, that way I’d have full control over how much “ambiance” my RV is soaked in. Wouldn’t be good to have everything so dang ambient that I stubbed my toe or tripped over something you know!
Anyhow, swing by the website and check out these fixtures, they’re super cool. Oh, and we’ve got them on sale until July. You can learn all about them right here. And don’t forget to come by the websote before you hit the road, we’re happy to get you all fixed up!
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!