Summer = Snakes

I was sent this great article by Texas Parks And Wildlife and found it excellent information for those of us who LOVE the outdoors, but HATE the thought of snakes. Really, most of that fear is unfounded and based mostly on a lack of understanding. So, I thought I’d share a little education with you.

“Summer = snakes. But don’t panic! Of about 80 species of snakes in Texas, only 12 are venomous, and 8 of those are rattlesnakes, which avoid people. 

If you see a snake, it probably isn’t a rattlesnake – though it may pretend to be one, like the hog-nosed snake (video). This is mimicry, when animals imitate their bigger, badder cousins as a form of self-defense. Some snakes even vibrate their tails to make you believe they have rattles! But their tails are silent, whereas a rattlesnake tail makes a buzzing noise.

Think twice before you kill a snake. It may be one of 12 threatened species, like the indigo, and illegal to hunt or kill. Also, snakes eat rats and mice and play a very important part in keeping our rodent populations in check. 

Snakes avoid confrontation, so if you happen upon one, give it space to run away (video). Watch where you walk, and don’t reach under rocks or logs or into dark holes. For more tips on sharing space with snakes in the wild, read our magazine story, “Snake Safety.”

Find all of the information you’d ever need to know about Texas snakes here.

So, the next time you come up on a snake, just let him go about his business taking care of pests and rodents. Chances are he’s non-venomous, but of course it’s also wise to just use an abundance of caution.

Have a good snake story? RV Nana wants to hear about it!

TACO – Texas Association of Campground Owners Annual Shout Out

I just want to write a quick, “Howdy” to all of the great Campground owners I met in Conroe at the Lake Conroe KOA during the Texas Campground Owners Spring Event.  This event was fantastic! We shared three fun-filled, educational days with vendors, park owners, suppliers and guests, all making plans to improve the camping adventures for all RVers. One of the things I got out of this year’s event was that there is something for everyone in Texas.  From small parks specializing in primitive camping to huge resorts with more amenities than I ever even imagined. 

I can say without reserving any enthusiasm, that all of us here at PPL Motorhomes are so proud to be a part of this great group, as well as the Travel and RV Industry in Texas. 

Now of course, being the true Texan that I am, there’s a certain amount of acceptable braggin’ that is in order. I am happy to announce that PPL Motorhomes was honored at this event as the Supplier of the Year by the Texas Campground Owners Association. For which, we truly are honored. Of course, a very special thanks to my wonderful team for making that possible. We can’t be PPL with out our people.

Working From Your Home on Wheels

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Commute to work? No, thank you.
Oran Viriyincy/Flickr Creative Commons

It really goes without saying that one of the best jobs you can have is one that simply doesn’t feel like a job. Obviously, for most people that isn’t the case. Many toil away in misery as they squeeze out just enough money to pay for the necessities of life. At the same time, others may be earning large salaries, but may be missing out on the simple joys of life. 

So, what do you do? What is the happy medium? How can you earn your keep and not watch life pass you by? “Workamping”. It’s a real thing and it might be easier than you think. All it takes is a little creativity and a little more courage.

Being in the RV parts and sales industry for so long has put me in the unique position of talking to many RVers who have learned how to work on the road. Many of the workampers I talk to these days do IT work, marketing, or social media management. Some people like Marc & Julie Bennet have turned their passion for RVing into a wonderful YouTube channel with sponsors that help them continue their journey. Follow their channel RV Love TV, it’s great!

But, you don’t have to be a YouTube maverick to earn a living from your RV. Just recently, I met a couple who have taken their passion for baseball card collecting on the road with them.  They met at a baseball game over 50 years ago and still love to visit baseball stadiums in their travels. They know all of the stats about baseball of yesteryear and today. Why not make what they love doing into a source of income to fund the rest of their visits? Now they set up a sports memorabilia shows and sell baseball trading cards. They combined that with their second passion: garage sales and flea market shopping.  They never pass up an opportunity to go dig through a small antique store for that special find.  So, they have taken their love for baseball, garage sales and RVing and are living a life they’ve dreamed of!

I guess the point is, life is too short to be stuck behind a desk, or in a cubicle. If you have a passion in life, can you monetize it? If you have a love for travel and RVing how can you turn that into a lifestyle? Think outside of the box. There are plenty of people who live out of their RVs and make a living working for campgrounds, casinos and retail stores. Best of all, they support your lifestyle of being on the road and traveling from city to city. Some are long-term commitments, some are just a couple of weeks. 

If you’re seriously thinking about quitting that office job and heading out in your RV as a full-time RVer, definitely keep Workamper.com and WorkampingJobs.com in your bookmarks. They might just be the perfect resource so restart your life working on the road in your RV.

Shark Week Is Every Week On Galveston Island

It’s shark week almost every week off of Galveston Island. At this time of year. When the temperatures outside are soaring, many RVers turn to our wonderful gulf coast for a way to cool off.  The breezes are usually great and the opportunity of dipping our toes, or whole bodies in the Gulf of Mexico is enough to cool anyone off. That is until someone reels in a small Hammerhead while wade fishing…that’s when my toes come out of the water.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against sharks (except that I’m a bit scared of them) and absolutely love the beach, especially the western end of Galveston as it is a favorite place for our family to get away.  Plus, it’s just short drive from my home in Sugar Land.  Of course, it is the Gulf of Mexico and where we are located on the coast, we rarely have Caribbean blue water. However, there are so many activities and fun things to do that make Galveston a favorite spot, regardless of any apex predators silently gliding through the murky 

My kids and grandkids enjoy playing in the waves and sometimes even get a little bit more adventurous and go out a little further than I am comfortable with ,so I am always paying close attention to everyone in the water.  From strong undertows to sharks, anything can happen.  I recently read an article about sharks in gulf waters and discovered that Whale Sharks, one of the largest fish in existence, actually like to hang out along the artificial reefs along the coast. 

Now I know Whale Sharks aren’t aggressive, and are considered quite shy actually, but I wouldn’t want to meet any shark in the water.  It really doesn’t matter to me if it’s a mini or a whale, they all scare me. And yes, I know that they are more afraid of me than I am of them, but just let me have this semi-irrational fear. 

silky shark

There are about 40 shark species found in the Texas waters of the Gulf of Mexico. These 5 are the most common:

  1. Atlantic sharpnose sharks
  2. Blacktip sharks
  3. Bonnethead sharks
  4. Bull sharks
  5. Spinner sharks

Check shark regulations and learn to identify the different species as well as any size limits. Recreational Texas anglers are allowed one shark per person per day with a two-shark possession limit.

whale shark and divers

  • Sharks are the ultimate Texas natives: two 300-million-year-old ‘supershark’ fossils were recently found near DFW. Even sharks are bigger in Texas!
  • Shortfin mako sharks are the fastest sharks on record, clocking in at 46 miles per hour.
  • Whale sharks are the largest fish in existence and hang out at Texas artificial reefs (see photo). Their populations are in decline – as are many shark species.

Find photos and fun facts about Gulf sharks in the recent Texas Parks & Wildlife story, “Swimming With Sharks.”

http://galvestonrv.com/

So, to all you RVers and beach goers, please take care when enjoying the fun of the beach.  Watch your children and pay attention to the area they are wading, or swimming in.  Be safe, have fun and enjoy this great RV lifestyle.  Check out Galveston Island RV Resort on the far west end of the island.  This is a great place to go RVing!

***Also, bonus tip, make sure you watch your dogs.  Many people like to let their dogs play in the water and I have seen some dogs that were great swimmers, but undertows can be severe and ingesting too much salt water can be very dangerous for old Fido. Make sure they get plenty of fresh water during beach play.

The Best Texas RV Travel And Campground Guide

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Adrian Delgado2012/Flick Creative Commones

The 2018 Texas RV Travel and Campground guide is now available!

Usually when I write a blog about Texas campgrounds, I generally feature a stand-out park that I believe is worth visiting. However, I think this time I’m taking a little different direction.

The fact is that I travel a lot. I obviously can’t go everywhere and stay at every campground, but I love the feeling that I can try! When I travel, I never leave home without my RV Travel & Camping Guide to Texas.  When it comes to planning a new trip, or even back to familiar areas of Texas, it is easily one of the most important resources I have. This is a free, four-color glossy magazine that lists more than 350 campgrounds and RV resorts in Texas and surrounding states. I can tell you right now, that this campground guide is worth its weight in gold.

The 2018 directory provides detailed descriptions on roughly two thirds of the private parks in Texas. It’s broken up into seven regions of Texas with locator maps, complete services and amenities, as well as driving directions, a miniature locator map, and even panoramic photos showing off what campers can experience. The directory also features a Texas Saver Card, which provides 10% to 15% discounts; needless to say, I have used this card many times.

If you don’t want to carry around the guide, you can easily view this 150 page guide online by visiting www.texascampgrounds.com.  Ah, the power of the internet. If you’ve been looking for your next great camping spot, you need to take a look at this camping guide.  Click here and you can easily search new destinations. Really, go ahead and check it out. You may discover, as I have, that this is a great way to find new destinations.

Plus, if you contact PPL Motorhomes and have one of our huge parts and accessory catalogs mailed to you, I’ll include the full-color, glossy 2018 Texas RV Travel & Campground guide FREE while supplies last! Just give us a call at 1-800-755-4775 and we’ll get them both in the mail the next day.

Thank you and Safe Travels!

2018 Texas Association of Campground Owners Guide – Big Chief RV & Cabin Resort

It’s time to start making plans for your RV outings and there is no better tool to use than the new 2018 Texas Association of Campground Owners guide…T.A.C.O. for short. This book is full of great destinations in Texas, broken down by regions, and surrounding states and there is no better time than the present to reserve your sites.  So many of the parks now have beautiful cabins, too, making them the perfect place for your next family get together. 

For example, we spent part of our holiday weekend at Big Chief RV Resort and Campground in Burnet, Texas and loved it.  Located on the banks of Lake Buchanan, this park provides you with large open sites, fishing, beautiful cabins and its in the heart of all the Texas Hill Country activities.  We spent one day venturing out to Fredericksburg and the next day touring the Lyndon Johnson home ranch near Johnson City.  Of course, the best part of the weekend was simply visiting with all the great people in the park.  The owners Alan and Lisa Warren bring a sense of excitement and energy to the park and we had so much fun visiting with all the winter Texans.  Their pool area is beautiful, but it was much too cold to take a dip this time, but we will be back.   Make plans now to visit this great park and tell them RV Nana sent you. 

And remember, never leave home without a Texas Association of Campground Owners guide in my car and RV.  Just like Big Chief RV Resort and Campground, some of my favorite parks were found in this book.  Call PPL today,1-800-755-4775, and we will be happy to send you one of the guides along with one of our new 2018 RV Parts and Accessory catalogs and maybe you can start planning your next great RV adventure!

RVing In Texas During The Winter

I see you winter Texans trickling down from the Great White North, and I would like to be the first say, “Howdy, and bienvenidos a Tejas!”

As y’all can probably tell, the further south in the state you go for the winter, the milder it should be, but one of the joys of living here in God’s Country is that the weather changes more than it stays the same! But, to paraphrase Horace Greeley, “Head south young man!” and y’all ought to be just fine for the short winter months, because Texas has 4 seasons: Almost Summer, Summer, Still Summer, and Road Construction.

South of I-10 there are some great winter RV parks, like Hillshade RV Park in Gonzales, TX. They have all the amenities on-site plus laundry facilities, free WIFI, AND they’re only a half hour or so from the Spoetzal Brewery in Shiner, TX. Hillshade is also built in an easy to use U shape so pull-in and pull-out is no problem. They’re located east of Gonzales, TX on alt 90 right by Lake Gonzales.

If you prefer to be closer to the coast, maybe check out On The Beach RV Park in Port Aransas, TX. They have the usual water, sewer, electrical, phone, and cable hookups as well as being just west of town and right on the beach. There are fishing, boating, and all the water borne activities to be indulged in while your less fortunate family members and neighbors are out shoveling their driveways and scraping ice off of, well, everything.

Texas literally has something for everyone and these are only two of many awesome Texas RV parks and destinations for you snowbirds to come and experience this winter. Not to take anything away from other Summer RV destinations, but I’m betting Texas’ Almost Summer, Summer, and Still Summer seasons might convince you to take a few months to enjoy what the northern climates don’t have to offer…warmth, sun and fun!  And remember, before you hit the road, hit our website for all your RV parts and accessories!

Packing and unpacking for a trip

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Ashley Van Haeften/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

When you pack the RV for the weekend, week or longer, make sure perishable items are stored in one cabinet. It’s so easy to stash grocery items in every nook and cranny of the RV. Keeping them all together in one cabinet makes it so much easier. I even use one disposable bag for all the miscellaneous chips, crackers, etc. This makes it so much cleaner and neater while I’m camping and I don’t have to remember where I put something. It’s also easier to unload when I get home.

Last weekend when I was packing for the TACO convention, I kept smelling something that smelled funny, not bad, just different. I discovered a loaf of bread in the back of an upper cabinet …from New Year’s weekend. Preservatives in food must be pretty good because it had no mold. It is now in the trash.

Moral of this story, if you store all of your perishable items in one place it makes it easier to remember to unload them.

  • Make a list
  • Try to not overpack.
  • How many days will you be gone? What activities are you doing? Prepare for a change in weather.
  • Plan or tentatively plan your meals.
  • I use the plastic grocery bags to load everything into the RV
    • Food in one
    • Snacks in one
    • Perishable items (fruit, bread, tortillas, chips, cookies, muffins) I even keep them all together in one cabinet so I don’t forget to unpack them.
    • Toiletries/Medicines -Again I have one hanging carry bag that holds all of this compactly and can hang it on a hook in the bathroom
    • Use those collapsible storage boxes to store can goods, dishes, plasticware, etc in the upper cabinets.
    • Use ziplock bags for all small items.
    • When you get ready to unpack the perishable bag is ready to take back into the house
    • Unload your refrigerator into another bag and you won’t have surprises a few weeks later
    • Check the freezer!!

Visit one of PPL’s two large RV parts store in Houston and Cleburne. Happy to send a free RV parts catalog and we ship anywhere in the US. To your home or home away from home!

What Not To Do While RVing

A funny story….we were talking a few weeks about things that bother you about other campers.  Things you should not do and do not want others to do.  One of my customers told me a story about their outdoor kitchen.  Most RVers have seen that the outdoor kitchens are, in many cases, outdoor bars and they are well stocked accordingly.  One of my customers discovered, when opening their outdoor kitchen, that a neighbor had left them a note.  In the empty spot where the bloody mary mix and vodka bottle had been was a very nice note explain that the stores were closed when they discovered they were out of Vodka, so they grabbed his.  They also said they would replace it the next afternoon.  OK guys, for my friend he had a disappointing bloody mary morning.  This is one of those things on the top of the don’t do list!!!  I never heard if the neighbor had the nerve to confess and bring a new bottle.

RVing and Fire Prevention Week

Every year during this time, I make sure to pay special attention to writing an article about RVing and Fire Prevention Week. This is actually one of my more important topics and usually, dissolves into an outright fire prevention rant by the end. But, that’s OK, it is that important, and I get fired-up about it. (Pun intended.)

Depending on your geographical location, you may be noticing a slight dip in temperature and the familiar beginnings of Fall. The leaves on the trees are just beginning to change color from lush greens to the orange, yellow and brown that comes with the season. It’s certainly beautiful, but it’s also all becoming ripe to burn.

First, let me get this out of the way: Buy a fire extinguisher today for your RV, if you don’t have one.  Make sure it is a good size and I recommend you have at least two in your RV. These are for campfires that might stray or fire that is occurring outside of your RV.

That brings me to my second point: your RV is NOT fireproof. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The materials used in the construction of virtually all RVs are combustible. If you should have a fire inside of your RV, GET OUT! Know where there is an exit window. Make an exit plan and makes sure everyone is aware of that exit plan. Where there is smoke there is usually fire. Smoke inside of your RV is your sign to exit. Watch the video below and you’ll see why you need to know where an exit window is.

Did you watch it? Scary, huh?

It’s also a good idea to keep all of your valuable documents and information in a fireproof safe close to an exit so you can grab and go. Like I said, RVs burn quickly so don’t get fixated on grabbing those documents if they aren’t immediately on your way out. You have to quickly and get away from your unit as fast as possible and start the warning process. Both alarm and fire travels quickly in an RV park, so make sure you knock on the neighbors door and get them out too. If your neighbors are sleeping in their RV under the nice roar of a roof ac, they may not be aware that anything is happening around them.

Remember, you have to move fast, but you must also stay calm and focused on your safety and those around you. Once a fire is lit in either your RV or at your campsite under dry conditions, it is going to spread very quickly. You must take assertive action to either extinguish it, or move far from it.

I just tell everyone that if you aren’t comfortable with fire, don’t play with it. More importantly, use your heads, folks. Don’t turn your campfire into a bonfire and for the love of Pete, if there is an active burn ban, leave the matches in the RV. It’s just selfish foolishness to start any type of fire against a burn ban. You are responsible for what you burn.

Rant over.