RV Travel Advice for you and your pet from PPL Motorhomes

We hear all of the time about dogs being left in hot vehicles. Well the same precautions with an RV should be taken when the weather begins to heat up. At PPL Motorhomes we understand that one of the facts of life inherent in RVing is the need for climate control in the vehicle, and when accompanied by pets, it is imperative that cooling systems not fail when the vehicle is parked. Even the best maintained systems can hiccup; generators can lay down, and that can be fatal for a pet left in the camper while the rest of the family is away.

Did you know that you can safeguard your traveling companion with an alarm system that plugs into the cigarette lighter, designed to send a call to a designated cell phone number or even a two-way radio if the temperature rises above or falls below a margin you set as your safe climate zone for your pets. Most will continue to alert you at intervals of two or three minutes until the temperature is stabilized within acceptable levels once again. An additional measure is to place an emergency rescue sign in a prominent window of your RV, letting anyone assisting in an emergency know there are pets that may be in need of rescue as well as what kind they are.

While you should never, ever leave your dog unattended at a campsite, there are times when you’d like to be able to let the dog out without being tethered to you or a stake out. You can’t, in most places, leave your dog off leash, so it can be a problem. Invest in a portable exercise pen! They are typically sold in panels that hook together and fold flat to accommodate the storage limitations of an RV. You can get them in varying heights and different numbers of panels, and add panels to create a larger space so your dog can have his own little backyard home away from home and you can man the grill without four footed assistance.

Planning ahead can help you keep track of your pooch while hooked up. Losing a pet while away from home is tragic; often a dog or cat who would ordinarily find their way back home becomes disoriented because “home” is a moving target. Before you make the first reservation, seriously consider having your pet microchipped. Also, invest in a tag or plate for their collar with your name and a number where you or a responsible person can be reached. It’s fairly safe to speculate that everyone who has ever lost a pet while traveling thought, “it will never happen to me.”

While on the road, it’s best if your pet is contained. A sudden stop can turn a pet into a living projectile, injuring you and injuring — or killing your pet. After all, you wouldn’t dream of letting a child bounce around a moving vehicle! There are a variety of ways to restrain your pet in comfort and safety, depending on the size of your pet and your preference.

The most common is, naturally, the crate. If you’re using a crate, settle it in a secure space in the RV and make certain it won’t slide around or end up hurtling through the vehicle in case of a sudden stop or impact. Strapping it in place is definitely a good idea. Another possibility for small dogs is a dog car seat. These belt into a seat similarly to a child’s car seat. The dog is then harnessed into the seat — usually a padded box like set-up. One of the nice features of most of these car seats is they allow a small dog to sit up high enough to see out of the windows and catch the breeze.

Larger dogs have the option of harnesses that belt directly into the existing seat belts. They allow the dog to sit up and look out of the window and flaunt their gypsy existence to less fortunate canines.

At PPL Motorhomes, we have a lot of really great accessories for you and your pet to make your trip both more enjoyable and safer. Check out what we have to offer.

Texas RVs: The Top 10 reasons to Start RVing

OK, if you ask any one of us at PPL Motorhomes you’ll hear literally hundreds of reasons to join the RV lifestyle. There are so many, in fact, that RV Nana has to narrow it down to just 10. Really though, I come up with at least 10 new reasons to go RVing every time we hit the road, so I’ll constantly add and adjust this list….there really are just so many wonderful reasons. I guess you have to figure them out for yourself too.

If you have a hint of the RV itch, then here are 10 common reasons for taking an RV vacation:

  1. Getting Back to Nature: If you are interested in the great outdoors, an RV is a great way to vacation. You can visit state or national parks, tour famous landmarks and simply enjoy some fresh air and natural settings. Take a hike or go fishing. Try white water rafting or canoeing. Play some golf, go swimming, ride your bike. Get some exercise or simply do nothing but enjoy your surroundings.

  2. The Comforts of Home: With an RV vacation, you can have the best of both worlds. Enjoy the great outdoors with more creature comforts than tent camping. Whether you own an RV or try a rental, most RVs are well equipped. You will likely have a kitchen with microwave, fridge and stove, a TV and VCR, beds, living and dining areas and bathroom with shower. Many RVs have slide out rooms that increase the size of the living area at the touch of a button. You can sit outside under your awning, get out of the rain if the weather changes, and turn on the air conditioner if it gets too hot.
  3. Family Matters: Family members of all ages tend to connect with each other when they are away from their normal routine enjoying a simpler lifestyle. Remember that family togetherness can be a double-edged sword. While the RV is comfortable, it is a small living area for a large family. If you are renting, bear this in mind in choosing the size of your rental RV. During the day, try to spend time outdoors or in different activities, so that each family member gets a bit of personal space and time for themselves. But the minor logistics can be managed.

    The general consensus among RVing families is that an RV vacation tends to bring the family closer together with more communication and the sharing of good times.

  4. Cool for Kids: An RV vacation can be a great way to travel with children. They can go out to play or take part in campground activities. There are likely to be other kids to meet and new places to explore. Children of all ages will enjoy an old-fashioned campfire complete with stories, songs and stargazing. And most kids think it’s pretty cool to be in an RV “home on wheels”.
  5. Campgrounds: There are many choices in campgrounds and RV parks. In peak season and tourist areas, you should make reservations. Look for the amenities that are important to you. Campgrounds may have swimming pools, lakes, boating, fishing ponds, miniature golf, playgrounds, hiking trails, game rooms, walking or bike paths, tennis courts and activities for kids and adults. You may find dances, barbecues, contests or other entertainment. Consider the size and setting of the campsites and check out overall campground ratings in campground directories. Also consider proximity to other attractions or landmarks that you want to visit on your RV vacation.
  6. Flexibility: In an RV, you have the flexibility to change locations if you get the whim. But take this with a grain of salt. For popular destinations, you may not be able to pick up and find another campground without a reservation. You also want to strike the right balance between seeing different areas, the amount of time spent driving and ensuring you have enough time to relax. Cautions aside, an RV can give you a lot of freedom and spontaneity. RV travel appeals to an inner pioneering spirit and allows you to create your own adventure as you go along your way. You can explore the country at your own pace or take off for last minute mini-vacations, tailgating events and weekend trips. There are all sorts of destinations for an RV vacation.
  7. Affordability: The question of whether it is cheaper to take an RV vacation doesn’t have a “one size fits all” answer. The comparison really depends on the type of vacations you would take instead, as well as the way in which you plan to RV. For a one-time trip, you can compare the costs of renting a suitable RV to the costs of hotels, airfare or other means of travel. Or if you are considering regular RV vacations, you may want to purchase a motorhome or towable trailer. In this case, you would need to factor in operating costs, maintenance and the purchase price. In an RV from PPL Motorhomes, you can save money by cooking meals at home vs. dining out. You can minimize expenses if you take advantage of activities and amenities already included in the campground rate. Fuel expenses can be managed by reducing the distances traveled and staying longer at a given campground or park.
  8. Driving the RV: Driving yourself gives you control over where you go and the pace of your travel. You don’t have the hassle of airline counters and keeping to schedules. You can stop and take a break when you choose. You don’t need a special license to drive an RV. Sure, it takes some getting used to — but the number of RVs on the road should tell you that it is doable. Practice on your own (or with one other person) before you load up your passengers. Take advantage of any classes available through your dealer or one of the many RV organizations.
  9. How about a relaxing vacation for a change? How many times have you returned from a trip saying you need a vacation from the vacation? Now don’t kid yourself – if you are the type who likes to schedule all the details of a trip, that’s not going to change simply because you are traveling in an RV. But in choosing an RV vacation, you may shift your thinking and be more apt to use your time off as an opportunity to truly relax and unwind.
  10. Test out the RV Lifestyle: The RV vacation may serve as a test drive to gauge your overall interest in the RV lifestyle. There are RVers who spend several weeks per year in RV travel. Other RVers take off for months. Snowbirds are RVers who make an annual trek to warmer climates for the winter season. And then there are fulltime RVers whose only home is their RV. Many of these people started out by vacationing in an RV as a way to try out the RV lifestyle.

Now how can you argue all of those great reasons? Go RVing TODAY!

High road winds can wreak havoc on your new motorhome or trailer

There are a lot of hazards out there on the road that really can put your new or used RV in a pickle. It’s not just the other drivers out that you have to worry about, there’s a whole slew of new obstacles for you to be aware every time you hit the road. High road winds being one of those obstacles.

Even though most RV’s will never see extreme weather while traveling, they are exposed periodically to bad and possibly violent weather.  High gusting winds, torrential rains, driving hail and thunderous lightning bolts have all been experienced at one time by many of us.  RV’s are particularly vulnerable.  Almost all RV’s have a relatively high center of gravity and a poor vertical body structure to weight ratio.  In other words, they can be adversely affected by winds.

Wind can be an issue even on an otherwise nice day.  Hey, we live in Texas, a fast moving front can produce substantially strong winds seemingly at anytime in the State.  Also geographical terrain, such as the mountains in Big Bend or the Hill country in and around Austin and even on flat ground of the Coastal plains can deliver unexpected high winds and gusts.  The affect of these winds on an RV can cause difficulty in maintaining its lane when running down a road or highway.  This occurs when the wind speed is in the high twenties to the mid forties, depending on the size and weight of the vehicle.  Wind gusts, as opposed to a steady wind state, can amplify the problem greatly.  There are many accidents that are a result of driving in high wind conditions.  These range from damaging a mirror from striking a passing truck to leaving the road due to loss of control.

Know your vehicle and control level in windy conditions.  If you are driving with white knuckles or become nervous, you have passed your RV’s comfort level.  Slow it down.  As a general rule, I reduce speed by 10% when wind conditions are between 15 and 20 MPH and additionally a further 10% for every 10 MPH over 20.  Never however, on a clear day, albeit windy, drive at a speed less than the minimum posted.  If such a speed is warranted due to wind, it is time to stop.  Winds approaching 50 MPH can cause dangerous driving conditions, and even more so if it is also gusty.  In high winds or when you are out of your comfort level, either stop for the day or re-route to a slower road where you can drive with full lane control.  In many cases driving or towing an RV in winds at or above 50 MPH may endanger both property and safety of yourself, your passengers and those in the immediate area.  Remember, you might be able to hang onto it, but can that panel truck passing you?

Can RV’s blow over?  Yes, all RV’s are capable of being upset by the wind force.  Fortunately, in general, it takes a considerable wind force, far more than you would think to flip a trailer or motor home.

If high winds or inclement weather ever have you concerned while driving or towing your new or used RV, your best bet is to simply pull off the road and wait it out. It’s simply not worth jeopardizing your safety and the safety of your rig.