The Very First RV

The very first RV. Many of you may already know how the Recreational Vehicle came into existence, for those that don’t:

It appears the first motor touring vehicles were handmade out of necessity from existing vehicles, like the Model T and such. As the early pioneers traveled west, they tweaked their cars to fit their specific needs. Back then these vehicles were pretty unreliable and the country’s roads were barely developed, so it made travel very treacherous. So, you ‘could’ say it was Henry Ford and his consumers… (source:

For those of you who have an hour and want a great history lesson on the history of the RV, watch the video below. It give a very detailed history of America, Travel and the origination of the first RVs

The RV has a lush history in the United States and their popularity is only increasing. Even during some economic time, the RV industry has seemed to weather the down times and come out with just a few bumps and bruises. We see new RVers daily here at PPL Motorhomes and it makes me so happy to see new generations and younger families and couples stepping into the RV lifestyle. I think people are starting to catch on to the fact that RVing and getting outdoor and communing with nature and fellow RVers is one of the most enjoyable experiences ever. The best part is that you can go anywhere you want, anytime you want without leaving the comforts of your own home.

My First RV Trip

This was sent to me by a reader and fan of this blog. Apparently he’s been around the RV lifestyle for a while with friends, some family and even as an element of his job; however, he never had the opportunity to actually take a trip for himself. Here is his open letter to me.

Dear RV Nana,

Let me first say, I LOVE YOUR BLOG! You might find my story interesting, or at the very least moderately entertaining. I’m 40 years old and have worked on the marketing side of the RV Industry for 14 years. That’s not the interesting part, up until now I have never taken a single trip in an RV of any kind. It’s hard to believe, and I know what some of your readers may be thinking; “How could you sell an RV if you’ve never spent time in one? Well, the only thing I can say to that is, through my clients direction, manufacturer education and RVer’s stories, I consider myself as knowledgeable as the next RVer, at least in theory, but not in practicum.

However, I’m excited to report that I have now joined the ranks of the RVing public. My family and myself decided to take the opportunity, on a recent trip to Colorado, to rent a consignment RV and have our hand at RVing. I can say with utmost certainty that I THOUGHT I knew what RVing was like, but it wasn’t until we spent just a little time in our rented unit did we realize how an RVing was such an incredible way of traveling. I’ve written about the basics of RVing for years, such as actual savings when compared to other forms of travel and lodging. The comfort level was extraordinary and it truly felt like a “home away from home”.

One of the main reasons we decided to rent a RV as opposed to a large SUV or van really was because of your blogs. You make RVing sound like such a great adventure and suitable for everyone! So far, you’ve been right. That just reinforced everything I already knew, but never thought to put into practice. There is no doubt that we will be looking into getting our own RV very, very soon.

Thanks for all of your effort and championing the RV lifestyle! If you see fit, feel free to share my story with others so they know that there are different options out there when it comes to travel. RV rental really is one of them.



Well, there you have it, a long time reader, but first time RVer…or something like that. You are certainly welcome, Dave! I’m glad to have played a minor role in your decision to try out RV travel. I’m even more happy that you are now considering an RV of your own!

If you are like, Dave and think it’s time for an RV, don’t hesitate to call PPL Motorhomes. I’m sure we have the right RV for you and your budget.

RV Parks Are Great For Family Reunions

Every year, all across America families plan reunions in hopes of staying in touch with those who can sometimes be on the other side of the US. Summer is prime season for reunions too. The weather is generally nice, kids are out of school and people have been saving up their vacation time. I know all of us here at PPL Motorhomes look forward to reuniting with our family members ever summer.

What better place to hold a family reunion that at an RV Park? Generally the amenities that are provided will more than suffice for even larger reunions. Many parks across the United States have pools, activities, eating halls, picnic areas, covered pavilions and more. Not only do you have all of this at your disposal, but many RV Parks also offer packages to help you organize your family reunion. Even if you have family members who don’t own an RV, some RV Parks also have permanent lodging facilities for rent.

However, PPL Motorhomes recommends looking into renting an RV and experiencing how comfortable the lifestyle can be first hand. Who knows, maybe one of your family member will love it so much they will want to get an RV for themselves! Not to do any shameless self-promotion here, but I know a great little consignment RV center in Houston that you can recommend.

Texas Travel For The Holidays And After

I’m constantly amazed at how much the great state of Texas has to offer travelers of all types. You can literally find nearly every type of land formation and climate from the Gulf Coast the the tip of the Panhandle. That’s why I’m shocked when I hear people sometimes saying things like, “I wish Texas wasn’t soooo big”, or “There’s not much to do in Texas”. Are you kidding me? There are thousands of miles of things to do in Texas. If you are having trouble making a trip plan for this holiday season, or after, one of the best sites you can visit is

This site literally has every event that is happening across the state. If you are thinking about planning a statewide trip, take a look at Traveltex first. It is chock full of things to do and to see. In fact, if you plan right, you can tour Texas in it’s entirety and see everything from mountains to coastal plains. You can take part in small town events and big city activities.

If you plan on traveling during the holidays, there are drive though forest Christmas light displays in East Texas that will know your socks off. There are flea markets, antique showcases and craft shows galore. Here are a few videos to show you what you are missing.

A trip across Texas this holiday season might be exactly what you need to decompress after a long year of hard work. It’s time to take a look around you, around your city and around your state, jump into your Houston RV and see what you’ve been missing. There is so much to see and do, I don’t expect to ever hear, “What is there really to do in Texas, anyway”?

PPL Motorhomes: Time To Put Your RV On A Diet

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.

PPL Motorhomes: Do You Have All Of Your RV Travel Medications In Order

I was recently chatting with a PPL Motorhomes consignment 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:

  • Basic liquid medications (antacids, cough syrup, decongestants, vitamins)
  • 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.

The Electric Skillet PPL Motorhomes’ Favorite Small RV Appliance

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.

Have any favorite recipes? Share them with your consignment RV center, PPL Motorhomes.

PPL Motorhome: RVs and Hurricane Preparedness

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 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.

PPL Motorhomes: Checklist For Checking Out Of The Park

Your consignment RV center, PPL Motorhomes was wondering if you have a checklist for checking out of your RV park? We all know that RVers are consummate list makers. There’s checklists for everything. From pre-trip and bathroom inventory checklists, to cockpit supplies, gadgets, food and basic travel checklists, you can bet an RVer has made one.

But what about a departure checklist? Here is a great one I found at


check box Lower roof-mounted TV antenna
check box Lower roof-mounted satellite dish (TV & Internet)
check box Collect and store all items from outside the RV (chairs, mats, satellite dishes on tripods, grills, etc.)
check box Secure items inside cabinets and storage compartments
check box Secure items on kitchen sink and counter
check box Secure items on bathroom sink
check box Secure items in shower
check box Secure all other loose items
check box Latch shower and closet doors
check box Latch all cabinet doors (use heavy Velcro strips, rope, or elastic cords for doors likely to open during adverse driving conditions)
check box Latch refrigerator doors
check box Close and latch stove top and oven door
check box Lock tabs on external range hood vent
check box Secure TV’s and sliding TV trays
check box Secure other entertainment electronics (stereo, DVD, VCR, etc.)
check box Secure computer and accessories (laptop, monitor, printer)
check box Secure all other items in and near driving compartment which may fall on or otherwise injure passengers during an emergency
check box Close roof vents and windows (except those left open for ventilation)
check box Remove decorative and other items from awnings and store (lights, bird feeders, etc.)
check box Stowe and secure awnings
check box Check slide tops for debris and water
check box Move items out of the slides’ way inside the RV
check box Move in slides and lock slide mechanism, if available
check box Lay down and pad large items which may fall or shift (chairs, tables, cabinets, etc.)
check box Confirm that all sliding trays are latched and secure (external storage compartment trays, propane bottle trays, battery trays)
check box Empty black tanks (do this first so sewer hose gets flushed with contents of gray tanks)
check box Close black tank valves
check box Empty gray tanks
check box Close gray tank valves
check box Add treatment chemicals and a small amount of water to black tanks
check box If traveling with pets, make arrangements for their needs (put food, water, bed, leash, etc. into accessible area of motor home)
check box Disconnect cable TV and telephone line, and store cables
check box Disconnect electricity, and store cable and adapters
check box Disconnect sewer hose, and store hose and relating accessories
check box Disconnect water hose, and store hose and relating accessories
check box Confirm that refrigerator is running on 12 volt DC or is turned off (if 120 volt AC is available in the motor home, then it may stay on AC)
check box Turn off all other propane appliances (water heater, furnace)
check box Shut off all propane bottle valves (unless propane is necessary for the operation of motor home)
check box Discard all trash
check box Stowe all remaining external RV features such as hand rails, steps, decks, etc.
check box Secure all items carried on outside or roof of RV (chairs, bicycles, coolers, etc.)
check box Raise or remove all stabilizing jacks
check box Raise leveling jacks
check box Collect and store leveling blocks from under jacks
check box Remove wheel chocks
check box Confirm that all is clear under the RV (all jacks are raised or removed)
check box Confirm that all slides are moved in completely and check overall exterior of RV for protruding items
check box If RV wheels are resting on leveling blocks, move RV off blocks, collect and store blocks
check box If carrying items on hitch platform, load and secure (bicycles, motorcycles, etc.)
check box If towing, hitch trailer or toad to motor home
check box Close all internal doors (bathroom, bedroom, living room)
check box Lock all external RV doors and panels
check box Check motor home lights (including signal and brake lights)
check box If towing, check trailer or toad brakes
check box If towing, double check that trailer or toad is hitched securely to motor home. Confirm that all safety devices have been correctly applied.
check box Perform a final walk around. Look under and around RV. Confirm all jacks are up and nothing is protruding from sides or roof.
check box Check motor home mirrors, and adjust if necessary
check box Leave marker in RV slot, if returning (common markers are tables, chairs, or a vehicle)
check box Fuel up the motor home
check box If you are not certain how much your RV weighs, drive to a truck scale and confirm that all weights are within motor home ratings

Now that’s a pretty detailed list! For the most part is should look just like your pre-trip list. Keep in mind that there are lots of things you can forget before you hit the road again, so go over them twice and preferably with your travel companion. Two sets of eyes will really help you see that you left your black water lines dropped, or something equally as bad. A misstep in your packing and departure really can ruin a trip.

Have any other lists you’d like to share? Feel free to leave some of your tips in the comments section below! Your consignment RV center, PPL Motorhomes and all of our customers may find them useful!

PPL Motorhomes: Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day from your RV consignment center, PPL Motorhomes!

It was Dad who picked us up when we fell. It was Dad who taught us how to ride a bike and bait a hook. It was Dad who taught us how swim in the deep end, paddle a canoe and shoot a bow and arrow. He’s the same guy that would take you either to a ball game or a dance recital, it didn’t matter to him, as long as he could see you succeed at the stuff you liked to do. When you didn’t, it didn’t matter, he was always quick with a “Good Job”, or “You’ll get ’em next time, sport”.

I found a great little video that I wanted to share. I think it captures the essence of  Father’s Day pretty well.

Remember how much Dad used to like to go camping? Well not much has changed, he may be a little older, but I’m sure his love for the outdoors hasn’t changed. If you are here, reading this now, was it Dad who got you into your first tent? Was it Dad who took you on your first RV trip? Probably. Return the favor, plan a RV trip with dear old Dad, I’m sure he’d love it. Be sure to bring him by PPL Motorhomes first and take a look at some great RVs…just like you did when you were a kid.