RVing with Kids


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.

Leisure Resort: One Of My Favorite Parks


My daughter Jennifer and I had a fun day at Leisure Resort in Fentress, Texas a week ago Saturday at their Benefit BBQ cook-off.  All of you know that I have a special place in my heart for Leisure Resort because this park has been a huge part of our life for several years.  We have watched the grandkids go from wearing their floaties in the river to being daredevils and they have shared so many memories in our big book of life.  So, needless to say, when we heard they were having a benefit BBQ to help rebuild the infrastructure of the park, we were ready willing and able to do whatever they needed to make this a success.

For those of you who are not aware of the crazy central Texas weather of 2015, Leisure was one of the many  parks destroyed on Memorial Day weekend.  Of course, if you knew the owners, Kathy & T.J., you would not be surprised at all to know that within a week the park was open for business.  It may not have had all the amenities that soon, but it was open and families were having fun.  They spent the busy summer months making the park better than ever and then the unthinkable happened…it was hit be a second raging flood and this one was worse than the first.  The workkampers, employees,  friends and family, once again, jumped into high gear to save whatever they could save.  Now, 6 months later, on the service it’s hard to imagine the park was under several feet of water.  It looks terrific! We all know that devastation like this means costly repairs and expenses no one ever planned for or could even imagine.


As we chatted with RVers, young and old, there was a common thread running throughout all the conversations.  They all have made and will continue to make great memories at Leisure Resort.  Everyone wanted to help the park and wants to keep this piece of their RV lifestyle in good condition to share with generations to come.   We all enjoyed the BBQ, the music, the conversation, the raffle and fun!  And, thanks to the generosity of so many friends of this park,  repairs and improvements will continue, a little faster than planned.

If you have never visited Leisure Resort, make plans now to enjoy this beautiful San Marcos River park with family and friends soon.  Tell them RV Nana sent you!!

Best Hamburgers In Texas?


Harvey Rainwater/Flickr Creative Commons

I think we could for sure start some fights with this topic! And I reckon I ought to clarify the category slightly…today we’re going to talk about some of those Mom ‘N Pop Burger joints that are out-of-the-way and are mostly local legends. The food is superb, the staff are awesome, and they’ve been doing it their whole lives. No teenager hostesses impatiently waiting for you to sit down so they can get back to their cel phones here, nope. These are old-school Texas burger joints, go to ANY of them and I guarantee your mouth will be happy!

Schroeder’s – Thorndale, TX

Located on Hwy 79, east of Round Rock-Hutto-Taylor-Thrall in Milam County, Schroeder’s is one of the finest burgers in central Texas. The building used to be held up by the big oak tree on the east side of the building, but when the drought hit so hard these last few years, they built some buttresses on that side to prop the building up in case the tree died. The meat is always fresh never frozen, they serve chips not fires, and the folks there are wonderful. This is a bucket list burger joint, please stop in and grab a bite.

Bellaire Broiler Burger – Bellaire, TX

Located on the corner of Bellaire Blvd and Farris in Bellaire, which is in the southwest portion of Houston’s metroplex, this is one of those wonderful old-school small town burger joints that has been swallowed up by Houston’s expansion. They cook on a charcoal broiler and the crinkle fries are delightful. The ladies behind the counter are a heck of a lot of fun to joke around with, and if you’replanning on getting there during the lunch rush…well don’t. Or leave about 20 minutes early!

Woody’s – Mineral Wells, TX

Located on Hwy 180 on the east side of Mineral Wells, TX up in Palo Pinto and Parker counties west of Dallas/Ft Worth. I’m here to tell you this is the finest burger north of Waco, bar none. Woody’s is in a building that looks like an old Quonset hut from WWII…and I guess it could be because it’s fairly close to the Mineral Wells airport which was a training base back in those days. But if you’re traveling through N TX and you feel a bit peckish, try Woody’s then make somebody else drive, because you’re going to want a nap!




PPL Motorhome’s Big Celebration in Cleburne

Photo: David O'Hearn

Photo: David O’Hearn

Sisters On the Fly Photo: David O’Hearn

It’s hard to imagine we have been open a little over a year in Cleburne (DFW area).  We just celebrated our first anniversary with a big Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting, RV seminars, product demonstrations and more.  To top it all off, we had tremendous support from Sisters on the Fly, an RV group that took time out of their busy schedules to bring their vintage trailers in and show them off for all to see.  Having them there with their trailers was like icing on the cake.
The ambassadors from the Cleburne Chamber of Commerce made us feel so welcome in the community.  Cleburne, a small town Southwest of Dallas-Fort Worth, has been a great home for our newest PPL location and we look forward to making even more friends in this thriving community.

Photo: David O'Hearn

Photo: David O’Hearn


I would like to thank all of our customers, vendors, associates and, of course, my terrific PPL family for all their support.  It was a fun filled, jam packed two days with over 70 door prizes, BBQ and, of course, great buys on RVs, parts and accessories.

So, if you are in the area, stop by and check us out.  Meet Jerry Hopkins and his team and experience, for yourself, the PPL difference.


Photo: David O'Hearn

Photo: David O’Hearn


PPL Dallas/Ft. Worth
2408 N Main St.
Cleburne, Texas 76033

Road Music Revisited


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!

Let’s Head To The Lake!


Michael Gras, M.Ed./Flickr Creative Commons

Summertime is almost here in some parts of Texas, and definitely here in other parts of Texas, and still other parts of Texas are just sitting back enjoying the extended spring. What better way to enjoy almost summer, summer, or still spring than by heading to one of Texas’s many awesome lakes? You may not know, but Texas has more inland water than any state in the continental US, so there are plenty of places to play!

With the recent rains, and Mansfield Dam opening it’s floodgates for the first time since 2007, Lake Travis, outside Austin, will probably be back to it’s normal bustling “party lake” status as soon as the silt settles. It’s the perfect spot for boating, swimming, eating, watching the sunset, and enjoying the water life. If you like fishing, it’s a good spot…but I reckon it’ll be pretty noist this summer!

One of the prettiest lakes in Texas is Lake Whitney, which is currently closed do to all the rain. BUT when it reopens here in just a little bit, it’ll be back to it’s limestone cliffed beauty. Lake Whitney is north of Austin on I-35 and just a little west of the town of Hillsboro. If you like boating, fishing, protected coves, and limestone bluffs, this is the lake for you.

Another gorgeous lake is Toledo Bend on the TX/LA border. This thing is huuuuuuge. I think I read somewhere that it has over 1200 miles of shoreline. Needless to say this is a sportsman’s paradise. If you have a boat, this lake will give you almost a lifetime’s worth of exploration opportunties. You can boat, fish, hunt, explore, swim, ski, or BBQ to your heart’s content.

Lake Texoma is another awesome lake. It’s up in north Texas and offers sandy beaches, nearby resorts, restaurants, and plenty of marinas. If you like to sail as opposed to use a power boat, this is a great lake for you as it is often windier than a mother-in-law convention up there! This lake also doesn’t suffer from the over-development that other lakes,suck as Lake Travis, suffer from.

Doesn’t matter which direction you want to head there will be a lake in front of you somewhere, so go enjoy it!


Nana’s Recipes: Stuffed Jalapeños


Nikki L/Flickr Creative Commons

There is something just a little wonderful about stuffed jalapeños, maybe it’s that hint of danger like it’s the pepper version of Russian Roulette. If you’re not a spicy person, yet you enjoy the flavor of jalapeños, let us first talk about how to pick the right pepper for the amount of heat you can stand. Generally speaking, if you want a jalapeño with less heat you look for a uniform light green color and smoothe skin. The darker the pepper becomes, and if the skin has little lines, the hotter that pepper will be. So for the purposes of this recipe, choose jalapeños that fit into your own personal heat spectrum. Get macho if that’s your thing, or wimp out guilt-free if you need to, because it ALL tastes good.

So here is what you’ll need (ought to be enough for a family gathering):

  • twelve Jalapeños (try to pick uniform color and size if possible)
  • half cup of shredded pepper jack cheese
  • quarter cup of pretty finely chopped white onion
  • quarter cup of chopped bacon (already cooked)
  • quarter cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • teaspoon and a half of cumin
  • teaspoon oregano (dried)

What you’ll need to do is pre-heat that oven to 375. While the oven is warming up to temp, cut the stems off the jalapeños then cut them in half lengthwise. You’ll need to scrape the seeds and ribs out as well. Mix all the ingredients together and pack the mixture into the jalapeños. Then you’ll put the stuffed peppers on a foil lined baking sheet and pop them into the oven for 20 to 30 minutes.  Keep an eye on them as you get close to 20 minutes because what you’re looking for is the cheese to be bubbling and turning a light brown. Once you see that, they’re done. As an aside, some folks will cut a strip of pepper jack cheese and place it on top of the mixture to act as a kind of “lid” to the whole deal and you’re welcome to do that depending on how much cheese you like. Same indicators for being done though, bubbly cheese turning light brown. Enjoy!!



I May Love Galveston a Little More Now


scott feldstein/Flickr Creative Commons

So… Galveston. Man, I love it. Texas’ favorite island getaway just got a little better than I ever thought it could get. Do you know why? I just found out they’re hosting THE TEXAS MARGARITA FESTIVAL! Holy Mackerel, if that doesn’t sound awesome I’m not sure what’s wrong with you…but I bet it’s hard to pronounce! Haaa!

I’m not sure if there is a more Texan drink, especially during those long hot months we have coming up, than the good ol’ margarita. We’ve talked in previous blogs about margarita recipes, where it may or may not have been invented, wether or not Peggy Lee the singer was involved…but I can tell you this: if the Margarita really was invented at the Bali Room in Galveston, what better place to have a durn margarita festival than in Galveston, TX?

So here’s the deal, the festival is happening at Moody Gardens Hotel there in Galveston the weekend of June 19-20. There will be live music, fajitas, and margaritas by the gallon. There will be tequila tours, Sauza and Herradura will be in the house, there will be tastings, and the Texas Tornadoes headline the music side of things. This couldn’t be cooler if they resurrected Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys.

Have you tried all the different flavors of margaritas they have these days? It’s not just triple sec and limes these days, they’ll have cantaloupe, mango, strawberry, and watermelon flavored margaritas just to name a few! At this point I think we ought to all be glad that the fest will be held very very very close to lodging, and if you intend to go you might as well go ahead and book your room now. Think strategically and get that room, so your festival experience remains the most positive it can be.

I love you Galveston, thanks for hosting this!


Texas, Our Texas!


Joe Diaz/Flickr Creative Commons

Q: You have 20 people in a room, how can you tell which one is the Texan?

A: You won’t need to, they’ll tell you themselves!


faungg’s photos/Flickr Creative Commons

Ain’t that the truth? I’m so proud to have been lucky enough to be born here, lucky enough to stay here, and lucky enough to have a great business here too! So I thought today IU could do a little Texas-centric bragging in hopes that those of y’all from outside the state will come and visit, and those of y’all already here would hit the trail and see what all the fuss has been about for the last couple hundred years!


Rennet Stowe/Flickr Creative Commons

Now, Texas is an 800 mile long by 800 mile wide wonderland with the towns of Texoma, Brownsville, Orange, and Anthony being the northernmost, southernmost, easternmost and westernmost towns in the state. In between those towns you have almost every possible ecosystem you could want to visit…high plateau country, black dirt farmland, coastal prairies, piney woods, the limestone hill country, beaches, mountains, etc etc etc. Now since Texas is the biggest state in the continental US, would it surprise you that Texas has the most inland water of any state? We have more rivers and lakes in Texas than any other state but Alaska. And if we were our own country (again) we’d have the 12th largest economy in the ENTIRE WORLD!


John Fowler/Flickr Creative Commons

We have our problems like everyone else, the highway system for example is straining to handle the increased traffic of all the folks moving here, but there is still a lot of elbow room here and True Born-Here Texans will still pull over onto the shoulder to let you pass…and wave while they’re doing it. If outdoor activities are your thing, we have all of those covered. If adventure is your thing…ditto. We also don’t have a state income tax.


Jim Allen/Flickr Creative Commons

Distracted Drivers… Sheesh!


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!