It’s that time of year again…snake season. Love ‘em, or hate ‘em, snakes are an integral part of our ecosystem and live in places that we as RVers love to visit. In fact all of us at PPL Motorhomes have our fair share of snake stories. Now, I didn’t choose this topic to frighten, or scare you, but more as an informative and educational piece. For example, did you know that 85% of snakes in Texas aren’t poisonous? That’s just one of many things I learned from the Texas Parks and Wildlife video below.
Remember, when we visit our forests and parks, we are visiting a habitat of wild creatures, so it is our responsibility to tread lightly and avoid contact with the wildlife. Snakes, like all other creatures, just want to be left alone. Watch when stepping over logs, or putting your hands in cool dark places. These are prime areas for snakes to be as they try to escape the heat.
Have any good snake stories? Leave me a comment below, or come into PPL Motorhomes and we can swap snake tales.
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 http://www.traveltex.com/.
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”?
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.
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.
Collect and store all items from outside the RV (chairs, mats, satellite dishes on tripods, grills, etc.)
Secure items inside cabinets and storage compartments
Secure items on kitchen sink and counter
Secure items on bathroom sink
Secure items in shower
Secure all other loose items
Latch shower and closet doors
Latch all cabinet doors (use heavy Velcro strips, rope, or elastic cords for doors likely to open during adverse driving conditions)
Latch refrigerator doors
Close and latch stove top and oven door
Lock tabs on external range hood vent
Secure TV’s and sliding TV trays
Secure other entertainment electronics (stereo, DVD, VCR, etc.)
Secure computer and accessories (laptop, monitor, printer)
Secure all other items in and near driving compartment which may fall on or otherwise injure passengers during an emergency
Close roof vents and windows (except those left open for ventilation)
Remove decorative and other items from awnings and store (lights, bird feeders, etc.)
Stowe and secure awnings
Check slide tops for debris and water
Move items out of the slides’ way inside the RV
Move in slides and lock slide mechanism, if available
Lay down and pad large items which may fall or shift (chairs, tables, cabinets, etc.)
Confirm that all sliding trays are latched and secure (external storage compartment trays, propane bottle trays, battery trays)
Empty black tanks (do this first so sewer hose gets flushed with contents of gray tanks)
Close black tank valves
Empty gray tanks
Close gray tank valves
Add treatment chemicals and a small amount of water to black tanks
If traveling with pets, make arrangements for their needs (put food, water, bed, leash, etc. into accessible area of motor home)
Disconnect cable TV and telephone line, and store cables
Disconnect electricity, and store cable and adapters
Disconnect sewer hose, and store hose and relating accessories
Disconnect water hose, and store hose and relating accessories
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)
Turn off all other propane appliances (water heater, furnace)
Shut off all propane bottle valves (unless propane is necessary for the operation of motor home)
Discard all trash
Stowe all remaining external RV features such as hand rails, steps, decks, etc.
Secure all items carried on outside or roof of RV (chairs, bicycles, coolers, etc.)
Raise or remove all stabilizing jacks
Raise leveling jacks
Collect and store leveling blocks from under jacks
Remove wheel chocks
Confirm that all is clear under the RV (all jacks are raised or removed)
Confirm that all slides are moved in completely and check overall exterior of RV for protruding items
If RV wheels are resting on leveling blocks, move RV off blocks, collect and store blocks
If carrying items on hitch platform, load and secure (bicycles, motorcycles, etc.)
If towing, hitch trailer or toad to motor home
Close all internal doors (bathroom, bedroom, living room)
Lock all external RV doors and panels
Check motor home lights (including signal and brake lights)
If towing, check trailer or toad brakes
If towing, double check that trailer or toad is hitched securely to motor home. Confirm that all safety devices have been correctly applied.
Perform a final walk around. Look under and around RV. Confirm all jacks are up and nothing is protruding from sides or roof.
Check motor home mirrors, and adjust if necessary
Leave marker in RV slot, if returning (common markers are tables, chairs, or a vehicle)
Fuel up the motor home
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!
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.
It’s that time of year again, folks: Hurricane Season. Your RV consignment center, PPL Motorhomes wants to remind you that the hurricane season began on June 1st and runs through November 30th. Living on the Gulf Coast this time of year can wreak havoc on the area in regards to storm damage and evacuation processes. If you haven’t already, you and your family should not only develop an emergency hurricane plan, but also put together an emergency preparedness kit.
Your plan should include:
Understanding your home’s vulnerability to flooding and wind damage.
Agreeing on the safest room in the house for your family to seek shelter if there is no mandatory evacuation.
Develop an escape route and designate a place for your family to meet in case you are separated. (not everyone may be in the same structure at the time the full force of the storm hits).
Have an out of state contact. It might be another family member, or friend you can stay with ahead of the storm making landfall.
Post emergency telephone numbers in your house and teach your children how to use the 911 emergency phone system.
Better check your insurance to understand your coverage. Flood insurance is usually an add on to most insurance policies. It might be a good time to look into getting it. Oh, and keep your insurance policy in a waterproof container, or bag. You may need it.
Stock up on non-perishable food items and water. If there is a severe storm, you may not be able to just jump in your car and go to the grocery store. Prepare as if you are going to be holed up for a few days without electricity, or running water.
Your Emergency Kit should include:
Flashlights, extra batteries, candles, lanterns, matches and kerosene. Light is going to be the one thing you wish you had more of in case of a loss of power.
Portable radios and extra batteries that fit them.
A well stocked first aid kit. You can buy a complete kit almost anywhere these days.
If you have a baby, they are going to need a ton of supplies: a surplus of diapers and formula, especially.
If you have any family members with special needs, you’ll need to prepare for them as well. This includes medications, or supplies them may need to keep them comfortable.
Non-perishable food items and water in non-glass containers. Next to an abundance of light, you are going to need food and water. Prepare for disaster conditions.
Fresh changes of clothes.
Important documents in water tight containers: birth and wedding certificates, insurance documents, home ownership documentation etc.
Any prescription medication
A fully charged cell phone
Don’t forget about Fido and Fifi…your pets are going to need extra food and water as well.
Living where we do, we can’t be too prepared for a devastating hurricane. We’ve seen them in the past and we’ll certainly see them again. Make sure you are ready when the time comes and know what to do in the event of a evacuation. PPL Motorhomes takes this stuff seriously, so should you.
Your Consignment RV center, PPL Motorhomes know that when it comes to RVing and camping, that firing up the grill is going to be one of the first things you do after getting settled. Now while most grills are designed with your safety in mind, accidents can still happen due to human error. Those accidents, more often than not, are fully preventable. So while you are preparing the food you are going to do a quick assessment of your grill, checking for any leaking fuel lines if you are using a propane grill. In fact a leaking gas line is the leading cause of a majority of grilling related injuries.
Leaking or cracked gas lines if using propane, or natural gas
Misaligned or poorly connected gas lines
Follow ALL of the manufacturers instructions…no shortcuts here
Be sure to maintain your grill through out the year.
If you Have an out of control fire on the grill top, simply close the lid and turn all burners off. If it is under the grill and you can reach the propane tank valve, shut that down. If it isn’t accessible, call your local Fire Department as even a small fire can escalate into an inferno. Also always know where your fire extinguisher is. Every RV should be equipped with 2 if you can afford the space.
If you are using a charcoal grill, make sure you set the grill up in a well ventilated area, as charcoal can emit Carbon Monoxide which is generally undetectable and can cause serious injury and death if continuously inhaled. In fact, both grills should be set up in well ventilated areas away from structures that can ignite. I don’t know if any of you have see how fast fire can travel through your RV, but it is a incredible speed, you will not have time to save anything from inside as your rig will be consumed in minutes by flame.
Of course, with an out of control grill, the chances to sustain a sever burn is a serious one. In fact, never pour lighter fluid on to hot coals, as the heat will cause the fluid to vaporize and linger which can cause an explosion. Further, after grilling with charcoal, let the coals cool down and extinguish the fuel over night before you discard them. Remember, grilling season and fire season go hand in had. Let’s not have another Bastrop, TX incident this year.
If you’d like more information on fire prevention, visit www.nfpa.com.
Grilling is mandatory when RVing, but don’t let your haste to cook up that BBQ cause a lapse in judgement. A burn injury will undoubtedly ruin your trip.
Does anyone else have any tips or hints you can share with PPL Motorhomes about grill safety this Summer RV season? be sure to check out all of the built-in and portable grills PPL Motorhomes has to offer.
I have been with PPL Motor Homes since 1980 and have been fortunate to grow up with the company. A native Houstonian, I am married to a wonderful Cajun from Lafayette, Louisiana and we've been able to mix the two worlds and build a fun life together. We have 3 children and 7 grandchildren, so it is obvious that I was a Nana long before I became RV Nana. I also happen too be the 2011-2012 President of the Texas RV Association, so you know the RV lifestyle...is my style.