The RV lifestyle is so much fun and I love the opportunity I have to meet so many people from all over the country and the world. I got the title RV Nana during a brainstorming session here at PPL Motor Homes when we were trying to come up with a name for the blog I was writing. I’ve been with PPL for over 30 years and my husband and I love RVing. I guess you could say it’s in our blood. We also have 7 wonderful grandchildren and they all call me Nana, so we put the best of my worlds together. Thus, the RV Nana blog, license plate and helpful hints began.
On a recent visit to the All Valley RV show in Mercedes, Texas we had an opportunity to talk to so many “Winter Texans” who shared their travel experiences with men, telling me all about their annual trek down south. I talked to one couple who have been coming down there for over 25 years and, at age 92, he is still making that drive down from Wisconsin. That’s amazing.
It seems everyone comes down to South Texas in November and ventures back up north before Easter or income tax day, whichever date comes first. What a wonderful way to spend retirement and stay warm and, from what I’ve seen, the RV parks and resorts in the Rio Grande Valley offer everything a retired couple could dream of.
Living in an RV for five or six months at a time presents a different set of needs and challenges than what we have experienced in our shorter RV adventures. From how to pack for all possible weather to how not to accumulate too much stuff, these Winter Texans have shared so many ideas with me. In our seminars and on my blog I spend time writing about helpful hints, product reviews and travel ideas, but I feel like I am preaching to the choir when I try to share these ideas with such seasoned travelers.
I’d like to thank all of you who visit my blog, and if you’re traveling back up north, stop by and see me at PPL Motor Homes in Houston or you can catch me some days at our newest location in New Braunfels. Who knows, you may decide to sell or trade your RV before returning home. The coffee pot is always on and I would love to chat with you about your Texas adventures.
Let me first start out saying, “I LOVE MY iPAD!”. Now that being said, there are a lot of RVers out there who have difficulty embracing new technology, but we’re moving into a faster age of communication that won’t be slowing down anytime soon. With a device like an iPad, RVers can have instant access to virtually anything you can think of – from where to find lowest gas prices, to Medical apps, to entertainment apps, etc. You get the picture…oh…there are picture apps too.
Here are a list of my favorite Apps for Rvers. Each of these apps have been totally worth the nominal purchase price, and have paid for themselves many times over. Many thanks to Escapees.com and Karen Ballentine for the suggestions below.
…and those are just a few examples! Spend a little time searching and I’m sure you’ll find a bunch of great apps for your RV travels.
In closing, I just want to reiterate to my fellow RVers out there that new communication technology is nothing to fear (I still know people who refuse to text). Take advantage of these apps for your iPad or smart phone and you truly can make the most of your RV adventures. If you have any questions about apps that we use here at your consignment RV center, PPL Motorhomes, give us a call, we’d all be glad to discuss what we use the most and which ones are our “Can’t Live Without” apps.
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!
Your consignment RV center and RV Nana love RVing! Even in the heat of summer, you’ll find most of us packing up our rigs and heading out to our favorite camping grounds. Of course, once we are there our kids and grandkids want to jump out of the RV and go stretch their legs around the RV park or campsite….but wait, don’t let them disappear so fast.
With the summer being so hot this year, dehydration while RVing is a very real and very dangerous issue that your MUST address prior to letting the little ones run off exploring.
Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
Decreased urine output — no wet diapers for three hours for infants and eight hours or more without urination for older children and teens
Few or no tears when crying
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Severe dehydration, a medical emergency, can cause:
Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults
Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
Lack of sweating
Little or no urination — any urine that is produced will be dark yellow or amber
Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn’t “bounce back” when pinched into a fold
In infants, sunken fontanels — the soft spots on the top of a baby’s head
Low blood pressure
No tears when crying
In the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness
Remember, don’t rely on your kids to tell you that they are thirsty as a precursor to dehydration. In fact, if they are telling you they need something to drink, they are already dehydrated. Make them rest in a cool area while consuming water and other drinks that have electrolytes in them to replenish the salts and minerals they have been sweating out.
Your consignment RV center, PPL Motorhomes and RV Nana want to make sure that your are keeping a watchful eye on your little whippersnappers while enjoying the Summer Sun. In this case, make sure they drink fluids constantly. As stated in the video, dehydration can set in very quickly and may even be overlooked until it is to late.
Your Consignment RV center, PPL Motorhomes wants to remind you that driving or towing an overloaded rig is a leading cause of RV accidents? Even a slight overload or unequal weight distribution can seriously restrict braking and steering, dramatically increase fuel consumption, and cause sudden blowouts or breakdowns. An overweight RV also creates the danger of early failure in your rig’s tires, brakes, wheels, drive train and other components.This might be something you may not think about all of the time. Really, for many new and some seasoned RVer’s out there the “Gas and Go” approach to RVing can cause some problems down the road (pun intended).
So, how do you know if your RV need to go on a diet? That’s actually an easy question. Your RV is overloaded if it exceeds any of the manufacturer’s established limitations for total load, axle load, or tire loading. The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is the maximum amount your RV can safely carry. It includes both the wet weight and the cargo weight. You can find the appropriate weight limits by checking your owner’s manual for weight limitations.
So how do you lighten the load? Well, that’s another easy question to answer. If your RV turns out to be a heavyweight, look it over from top to bottom and consider what’s necessary and what’s not. Just because your rig has a lot of shelves, drawers and other storage space doesn’t mean you have to fill them all up. If possible, remove all your belongings, then put back only the items you really need.
Also, remember to check your tire pressure before each trip. Poorly maintained tires can become a very real and dangerous issue, especially when combined with an overweight rig.
The bottom line is a properly balanced RV, well maintained equipment, properly inflated tires and good driving can tame almost any road. If you have any questions, or tips for PPL Motorhomes, leave us a comment or two below.
I was recently chatting with a PPL Motorhomesconsignment RV customer who has been enjoying the RV lifestyle for a while as well. We started thinking about all the “stuff” we store in our RVs. From canned goods to paper products to first aid supplies and everything in between, we have our RVs loaded for our adventures. Later that evening it dawned on me that we leave many items in the medicine cabinet of our RV all the time, even when the unit is being stored. This encouraged me to talk to my friend at the pharmacy who informed me that many of the basic over the counter medications should not be exposed to prolonged heat or cold and that lead me to creating this little check list.
I recommend you make a “carry out” bag that should include the following items:
Over the counter medications in pill form (check the expiration dates)
All prescription medications
Simply make this carry out bag a part of your checklist when you get ready to leave for your trip and then take it out of the vehicle when you get home. This gives you an opportunity to check the expiration dates, keep the items fresh and update all prescriptions you may be currently taking.
It is also very important to keep a list of all your prescription medications, including the name, address and phone number of your doctor and pharmacy with you in this “carry out” bag. Keeping it all in this one bag may help a spouse or emergency medical technician in the event of an emergency. (A friend of mine read this and also suggested a spare pair of reading or prescription glasses, too). Before you go on your RV trip, PPL Motorhomes wants to remind you that the easiest thing to do before you leave is to really think about your lifestyle and needs and make a detailed RV checklist. It will come in very handy.
At PPL Motorhomes, we carry hundreds, if not thousands of items that are invaluable to RVers. From lights, to generators, to grills, to parts, PPL Motorhomes has pretty much everything you’d need to make your RVing adventure more enjoyable. That being said, every RVer has 1 item that is totally indispensable. It would be something that you never hit the road without taking it with you. So, what’s RV Nana’s favorite item to bring on every camping trip?
The Electric Skillet! With an electric skillet, there is no guess work involved with getting the cooking surface to the right temperature. Plus, using an electric skillet will free up your stove top burners for other items for your wonderful meal.
There are literally hundreds of recipes you can make using your electric skillet. It is, in fact, one of the most versatile pieces of cooking equipment your RV can have. It will take the place of a number of pots and pans, which will free up some valuable space in your RV. Here is a link to a bunch of great meals you can cook with your electric skillet.
Your consignment RV center, PPL Motorhomes wants to remind you once again that it is hurricane season. Of course that means different things to different people, but for RVers a hurricane is serious business. RVs aren’t designed to weather such large storms, so if you are planning on trying to ride one out, you are going to need to be fully prepared and equipped for the event. Even still, that is no guarantee that your RV (or you) will come out of it unscathed.
I found a couple of great tips from an RVer at rversonline.com who lives in a part of Mexico that is directly in the path of some of the most fierce hurricanes in the gulf. He gave a few really good tips about what you should do in the event of encountering a hurricane. His first bit of advice is by far the best. RUN! Get out of the way. Pack up your rig and move as far out of the path as possible. That may be hundreds of miles in some cases, so be prepared for a long getaway.
Category III, IV and V storms are deadly to RVs. Flee if you can. It is by far the wisest decision. Don’t even consider staying in an RV and trying to weather a category III or greater hurricane. A category II storm is iffy at best and a category I, the least of hurricanes must be treated with the greatest of preparation and respect. It’s always the best idea even with a category I storm to do the best you can to prepare and protect your rig, bail out and head for a nice solid structure, preferably reinforced concrete.
Ever think you’d have to board up your RV’s windows? In the event of an impending hurricane, you’ll want to do this, tape simple will not work as the window will probably be broken into a thousand tiny shards if it isn’t safety glass.
Blown out or broken windows are one of the biggest hazards in surviving a hurricane. I carry three quarter inch plywood pre-cut panels, and drill holes to pass three eighth inch nylon rope on the top edge and on the bottom edge. The top rope is thrown clear over the roof to the other side and joined to a sister plywood panel protecting a window on the other side of the rig. A five gallon bucket filled with wet sand is attached to the bottom of each plywood panel. This is another area in which those handy nylon ratchet straps would make life much easier. The idea is to tighten down on the plywood panel enough to keep it from slapping. All of this works great on rigs that do not have huge windows. Big windows can be protected somewhat by fitting a heavy duty tarp in front of them. Beware of accidentally covering up a refrigerator or hot water heater vent. BTW unless you have safety glass in the window taping it does little good; if it breaks a shard will slice through the toughest duct tape or nylon filament tape like it wasn’t even there. Stay away from the windows and draw the drapes. The bathroom usually offers a refuge.
Remember. you will probably be without power and water so plan accordingly:
Count on the power and water being cut, sometimes for days and days. In Mexico I will purchase and fill as many 5 gallon plastic water jugs and I can fit. I remember using twenty of them during 1995’s Hurricane Henrietta. Made it sort of tough to walk around inside the rig but the six hundred pounds of extra weight really helped, and I went eight-days with no outside water service. Be sure water tanks are filled. Gray and black water tanks are dumped; gasoline tanks and jerry cans are filled to the brim. Propane tanks should be plumb full, and you should have at least a pair of backup spare tanks also filled. You aren’t going to have hookups, and the sewage dump if you have one will probably be filled with runoff.
What are you going to do for food? Lights?
Canned foodstuffs may be unappealing but if it boils down to eating canned food or nothing, then having plenty on hand is important. Shopping trips should be made at least three days in advance of a storm and more if you can do it. Extra flashlight batteries, candles, and ice to fill ice chests is vital. No refrigerator brand can maintain a flame during a raging hurricane due to enormous up and downdrafts pulsing through the vents, and it’s best to empty the refrigerator into the ice chests, shut it off, and then twist the propane valves down tight on the tanks. One less worry.
Don’t think your RV will leak? Think again. Are you prepared?
Count on the inside of your rig getting soaked. Where hurricane leaks come from is anyone’s guess but I have seen high-end brand new rigs drip water right in front of the incredulous eyes of their owners. Have a waterproof plastic tarp handy and place it carefully and tuck it in on top of the mattress on your bed. Prepare to use buckets, pots and pans and whatever else is needed to catch drips and drops. A couple of large sponges can save the day. But at all costs keep your bedding and clothing dry. Assume nothing. I place my clothing inside double trash bags and then zip tie them closed. Put all life-support medications inside a zip-lock bag, and use plastic trash sacks to protect life-support equipment like CPAP and oxygen concentrators.
Don’t forget the First-Aid kit!
Place your first aid kit in the kitchen sink along with flashlights. If you should lose the lights, and suffer an injury you need to access this stuff fast. Finding the sink is easy while your rig is pitch black. If all else fails and you need to light a candle, a candle burns safest within the protective confines of a sink.
Want to see a full-time RVing family get prepared? Check out the videos below. Now while the first part of this video isn’t overly descriptive in regards to hurricane preparedness, it does do a great job of showing you some of the tasks you are going to have to complete in a relatively short period of time. One thing I didn’t think about was finding a place for your outside goods like tables, chairs, toys, plants etc. Remember, this is a full time RVing family, so they may have a few more items out side than your average weekend warrior. Nevertheless, when a storm is coming, you are gong to not want to lose your outside items, so have a plan for what to do with your loose, outside items.
Part 2…Hurricane Irene arrives.
Also, remember, you might have a hard time finding fuel as well, so fill up before the storm hits. Having a few spare gallons on hand probably isn’t a bad idea either. Weather a hurricane can be an intense and harrowing experience in your RV. Your best bet, as i stated above is to remove you, your family and that precious RV from the area and ride out the storm in a secure location. If you can’t do that, prepare well in advance with adequate amounts of food and water, plus you’ll want to board up the windows of your RV the best you can. Face the rear of your RV towards the wind so you aren’t catching gusts across the sidewalls of your RV, this will almost certainly result in the tipping of your RV.
If you have any other suggestions on how you can be better prepared for a hurricane in your RV, please don’t hesitate to let PPL Motorhomes know. We are in the season and, as we’ve seen in years past the Galveston Houston area is a prime landing point for large storms.
There’s nothing more I like to see than a nicely made up patio space outside the RVs at the park. The lights look warm and inviting. A good set of lights no only provides much needed illumination, it can set a wonderful mood. Form solar patio lanterns to party lights, you should dress up the picnic patio space out side your RV, and by far the most dramatic, with the least amount of work is adding RV lights.
Patio lights come in all shapes sizes and colors. Your consignment RV center, PPL motorhomes, has a large selection of RV lights and other necessities. If you don’t find what you are needing on our website, please feel free to call with questions. We have parts experts standing by to assist you with any of your RV accessory needs. We have been in business for over 35 years – PPL Motor Homes is a name you can trust.
There is no doubt that the health of your RV’s tires is often over looked. In fact, your consignment RV canter, PPL Motorhomes suggests that you should inspect your tires at least monthly and before each trip for proper inflation pressure and treadwear and you shouldn’t forget to rotate, balance and align them.
Really, the first aspect of having a healthy set of RV tires is to keep them properly inflated at all times. This is really a no-brainer. An RV sitting on under-inflated tires is putting an enormous amount of pressure on the sidewalls of the tire. This can cause a structural weakness that can lead to sidewall pinches, tread separation, or a catastrophic failure. Maintaining proper tire pressure all year long will really prolong the life of your tires. Be careful not to over-inflate them. Follow the suggestions in your owner’s manual for the right PSI you should be holding.
Also, don’t over burden your tires by stressing them with too much weight. Having a large RV, it’s easy to start cramming tons of stuff in the open spaces. Weigh adds up, even from relatively small pieces you can quickly add hundreds of pounds to your overall weight with thinking about it. Putting too much of a weight burden on your tires will lead to failure. Make sure you check your owner’s manual for the proper towing/driving weight of your consignment motorhome, travel trailer or fifth-wheel.
When you aren’t using your RV, you should invest in a set of RV tire covers. Nothing eats away at a tire’s life more than the elements. UV will break down the rubber over time, so your best way to avoid this is to simple cover your tires with one of the many types of RV tire covers that are on the market right now. Every little bit of effort will be rewarded in the extended lifespan of your RV tires.
Remember, you have a lot riding on those tires, they are the only things separating you from the road and should always be on the top of your mind whether you are using your RV, or not. If you have any questions, comments or other tips, or hints on keeping your RV Tires in good condition, don’t hesitate to let PPL Motorhomes and the readers of RV Nana know.
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!