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.”

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.

Paddling The Texas Water Trails

Have you ever considered paddling the Texas water trails? If not, you should and here’s why.

One of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had in my life was kayaking  bioluminescent lagoon waters in Puerto Rico. I can’t even describe to you how surreal and magical that was…I’m talking about the kayaking here, not the glowing waters. Kidding, of course, but I did truly enjoy the serenity of paddling quietly.

That got me thinking…where can I kayak here in Texas? I mean, Texas has 3,700 named streams, 15 major rivers and some 3,300 miles of tidal shoreline along the Gulf Coast, none of them bioluminescent, as far as I know, but they do offer virtually unlimited possibilities for paddling adventures and angling opportunities of all types.

A quick search for “Kayaking in Texas” brought up the Texas Parks & Wildlife website and a fantastic list of both inland and coastal kayaking adventures.

I found it interesting that more people paddle than play soccer in the U.S., a testament to the ease and enjoyability of paddling a kayak, or canoe. Now, that doesn’t mean it is completely care free, of course. There is always an element of danger when doing anything water related, so adhering to safety tips, like wearing a life jacket and filing a float plan, will help you have a fun time. If you are new to paddling, I recommend you take this free online paddling course, which will help you feel like a paddling pro.

So, how do you get your kayak from your house to the rivers? PPL Motorhomes has a great kayak rack perfect for transporting your watercraft!

Now, who would RV Nana be if I weren’t looking out for your well-being? Here’s a quick safety briefing with 10 valuable Safety Tips to keep in mind before and during your river, creek or bayou adventure:

Top 10 River Safety Tips

1. Tell someone where you are going, when you expect to return, and where to call if you don’t.

2. Make sure that your water skills and experience are equal to the river and the conditions.

3. Never boat alone. Always have at least one (preferably two) other boats with you on a river trip.

4. Wear a Coast Guard approved type III-V, properly adjusted lifejacket at all times when you are in or near the river.

5. Know your limits of swimmers rescue and self rescue on rivers.

6. Know when and how to swim for the eddy.

7. Reduce injuries by wearing protective foot wear and proper clothing designed for river recreation.

8. Be prepared for extremes in weather, especially cold.

9. Know about hypothermia and how it can affect you.

10. Plan your trip and stick to your plan.

As with everything you do, know your limits. It’s one of the best ways to keep your paddling trip fun and safe. There is quite a bit of information about canoeing and kayaking that you can glean from this Texas Parks & Wildlife page which I HIGHLY suggest you read!  Remember, your lack of preparation shouldn’t be someone else’s emergency. It’s important to have fun, but it’s also important to respect the environment you are exploring and be prepared for any scenario that might arise. From first aid, to hydration, to just being a good steward of our waterways, the more you know, the less you have to worry.

Now, all that being said, take a look at all of the possibilities for paddling around Texas and plan a trip ASAP. You absolutely will not regret it!

If you have any suggestions of good water trails (Buffalo Bayou, you are on my list), feel free to share them in the comments. There are a lot of hidden gems in this great state and I want to hear about them all.

Happy Paddling!

P.S. If you are really gung-ho about exploring Texas from canoe, you MUST check out


Great Destinations: New Braunfels

New Braunfels
Photo by Jeff Gunn (Flickr Creative Commons)

Taking the kids out for a summer vacation is always a pleasure. To get them out and experience new things and watch them having fun us always a bonus for me. Here in Texas there are so many destinations that are kid-friendly and RV-friendly, it’s hard to choose which ones to write about. The best part about it? Everything is with a few hours of driving! Today I’m going to focus on a great little city south of Austin, but just north of San Antonio. New Braunfels is a city that embraces its small town charm and its German heritage. Here are a few places you should definitely take your little road-trippers (and big ones, too!):


This place has been a constant summer destination for many members of the PPL family. 65 acres of rides including more water slides than you can count, endless rivers, even adult pools with swim-up bars, and more. During the summer, this place is packed to the gills and it’s totally worth it.

Comal & Guadalupe Rivers

There are 2 rivers that run through the city of New Braunfels and so many things you can do in the water. Swimming, fishing, tubing, skiing, kayaking, or even relaxing by the waterfront listening to the water are all acceptable activities.

Natural Bridge Caverns

An amazing tour of underground caverns, perfect for a family outing. You can also search for minerals and gems using their mining equipment and can keep anything you find! Also you can climb, hike, rappel and explore the natural beauty thousands of years in the making. I love this place because it is just a reminder of how breath-taking our world is!

Gruene Hall

If you like to go dancing, Gruene Hall is the place to go. It’s been open continually since 1878 and is an internationally recognized tourist attraction. This place has had some legendary performers grace its stage, names like Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddly, Merle Haggard or Kris Kristofferson. If you get a chance, visit and step into a great piece of history.

Also, while you’re in New Braunfels, stop by our store and say “Hello”! (You didn’t think I’d write about New Braunfels and let you forget about us, did you?)

What do you like to do when you’re in town?

(Photo Source)

Antiquing in Texas

Photo Courtesy of

They just don’t make things like they used to. I have a mix of new furniture and old furniture in my house and you can easily tell what’s new and what’s not. The older chairs are solid, and ornate with designs engrained in the wood, while the new chairs are bland and fall apart easily. There’s a certain draw to older furniture and items that remind you of days past. One of my favorite activities is finding a little known antique store and walking through a warehouse full of solid wood furniture, metal Coca-Cola signs and furnishings from a previous era. Since I love RVing too, we just combine the 2 and head out to some of the best antiquing spots in Texas.


The Hill Country is one of my favorite areas in all of Texas. Not only for it’s antique stores, but for it’s beautiful setting. Lush hills and greenery everywhere you turn. It reminds me of a scene right out of The Sound Of Music. Fredericksburg is well known all over Texas as a haven for antique shoppers. There are an endless number of stores and shops to sift through to find that one perfect addition to your house.


About 45 minutes south of Dallas is another well-known antiquing area. Waxahachie is home to Old Town Village Antiques and Uniques, a 3 story shop that you’d have to visit multiple times to get the full effect of its grandeur. But rest assured, there are tons more shops and stores to visit. Downtown Waxahachie is a sight to behold in itself. The town square is one of the best areas for night-time sights.


Nestled in the Piney Woods of East Texas, Jefferson is the home of more bed and breakfasts than you could shake a stick at. The surrounding area is packed with trees and there’s a handful of wineries within a short drive. Plus, there are quite a few antique malls within walking distance of downtown. Last time I was visiting Jefferson, I made it a point to visit a few shops and the next thing I knew, it was night time and I had missed lunch.

What are some of your favorite antiquing spots in Texas?


Great Destinations: Hill Country

Photo Courtesy of

In the middle of this great state is a picturesque area known as Hill Country. It’s lush, rolling hills, soul-changing sunsets, and miles of wildflowers make it a must visit for me. There’s no way you could possibly see all of Hill Country in one visit, it takes multiple visits in different areas to truly appreciate the beauty of it. There some of the best BBQ joints in the country, delicious wine and plenty of outdoor activity to keep you coming back time and time again.

Natural Beauty

The Hill Country is filled with some of the most beautiful natural land formations I’ve ever seen. Take a trip to Dripping Springs and check out the Hamilton Pool Preserve for some hot weather swimming and hiking. I suggest getting there early, sometimes lines form and you could be waiting up to 2 hours before you can even get inside the park! But it’s worth it. If you take a trip to Mason, you can see one of the United States’ largest bat nurseries. Some 4 million bats live inside the Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve. Stick around until sunset and you’ll get to see a tornado of bats for about an hour.

Wineries and BBQ

There’s 2 things that we Texans do well. Barbeque and wine. Hill Country wine is highly sought after all over the globe and we can spend a couple of hours exploring the vineyards and tasting the different varieties. I suggest the Heart Of Texas Wine Tours, they take you to some of the best wineries and do the driving! Of course, we all know Texas is the home of barbeque, So you’ll likely have your fill of pulled pork, smoked sausage and anything else you can fit in your belly. Take a trip to Bandera and try out Busbee’s BBQ, or head to Concan and enjoy the sights of the Frio River while you’re listening to some of the best Texas Country musicians in the state at House Pasture Cattle Company.

Sports Everywhere

For the family member who love to golf and fish, you’ll never find a better area to take your RV for a week or 2. Some of the world’s best golfers come here to play the courses and experience the quiet of Hill Country. If you’re a fisherman, you’ll be amazed at the fishing spots located all throughout the area and you’ll want to visit all of them!

Have you been to the Hill Country here in Texas? What did you think?

Stargazing through the Darkest Texas Skies

Hi I’m Santi/Flickr Creative Commons

There are no skies darker than those of Ft. Davis, Texas. Yes, the same Ft. Davis that is way out by Big Bend National Park. In fact, the skies out here in Ft. Davis, are some of the darkest skies in the entire United States. Now, as a proud daughter of Texas, I’d be inclined to brag a little here, as every Texan should. But, no folks, I don’t need to brag. It’s  just good old-fashioned, “Science FACT”.

David O’Hearn

At MacDonald Observatory, in Ft. Davis you can easily see deep into a picture perfect, clear night sky.  When you get out this far, you are miles from the harsh city light pollution. Something I think we’ve become immune to at this point. I’ve made the trek out to West Texas many time before and no time is more humbling, awe inspiring and comforting than the last. Out here, the only pollution I can see are skies littered with billions of stars, glittering like diamonds over an infinite bed of Stardust. And, that’s only what I can see with the naked eye. Take a gander through one of the telescopes at the observatory for yourself. Trust me, you will never look at Saturn as “That planet with the rings” again.

Be sure to sign up for the Star Party and on clear nights (which is most nights). You’ll have a front row seat to the greatest show on Earth. Constellations, planets, and stars are pointed out and the interstellar dance is explained that even a Texan can understand. Yes, Texans have a sense of humor as well.

While you’re out there you can head down the road to Marfa, Texas for a little cinematic history (parts of “Giant” were filmed here), some impressive modern art as well as, true, salt of the Earth, Texans. And if you’re the type to go UFO chasing, well, check out the mysterious “Marfa Lights”. See if you can come to your own conclusion of what all those darn lights are out there.

If there are stars to be seen, there is no doubt that West Texas is the place to see them.








Where Are The Drive-In Theaters In Texas
Denise Mattox/Flickr Creative Commons

As a kid, I remember going to the drive-in. We would all pile into the car and go to the Sharpstown Theatre, or Post Oak Theatre.  Mom would bring our own snacks and we would all watch the movie on the big screen.  If it was too hot, we would put a big blanket out on the hood of the car and hang out up there while Mom and Dad sat in their chairs.

As I got a little older in my teens, I would go with my older sister and her boyfriend (my parents thought I made a good chaperone for them) and we all had so much fun.  I remember one night when we ate popcorn, dill pickles, hot dogs, candy and everything else we could find and the two of us got sick as a dog when we got home.  It probably did not teach me a lesson at the time, but I remember it all so vividly that it must have had some impact on me.

One of the craziest things was the night of my oldest brother’s wedding.  It may sound weird now, but he and his wife had an orange and black wedding on Halloween.  After the wedding, friends, family and the entire wedding party went to the Post Oak Drive in to watch the horror movie.  I don’t even recall what was showing, of course, it didn’t really matter, it was such a fun and unique night.

Whatever happened to those wonderful places of our youth? I would never have guessed back then that these theaters would disappear so quickly. But  Now it’s time to make new memories with the Drive-Ins that are making a comeback:

Operating Theatres

  • Town And Country Drive-in
    2902 Vogel Ave. Abilene, TX (915) 677-9899
  • Tascosa Drive-In
    1999 Dumas Hwy, Amarillo, TX (806)383-3882 reopened 1999
  • Fiesta Drive-In Theatre
    13800 Montana Ave El Paso, TX 79938-9676 (915) 857-0000
  • The Last Drive-In Picture Show
    (254) 865-8445 Highway 36, one mile south of Hwy 84, Gatesville, TX
  • Graham Drive-In Theatre
    Jacksboro Highway, Graham, TX 76450 (817) 549-8478
  • Brazos Drive-In
    1800 West Pearl, Granbury, TX 76048 (817) 573-1311 or 573-8086
  • Showboat Drive-In
    22422 FM 2920 Rd. Hockley, TX 77447 Phone: (281) 351-5224
  • Zocalo Theater & Perfomance Art Co
    5223 Feagan St, Houston Texas Phone #:(713)861-2442 Last Saturday of every month Number of Screens: 1 Built 1993
  • Sky-Vue Drive-In Theatre
    South Big Spring Highway, Lamesa, TX 79331 (806) 872-7004
  • Valley Drive-In Theatre
    Hwy 83, Mc Allen, TX (210) 682-8201
  • Wes-Mer Drive In
    2090 West Highway 83, Mercedes, TX 78570 (956) 565-9050
  • Midway Drive-in,
    Quitaque, TX
  • Tower Drive-In Theatre Rule, TX (817) 997-2382
  • Mission Drive-In Theatre
    3100 Roosevelt Avenue, San Antonio, TX 78214 (210) 532-3259
  • Crossroads Drive-In Theater
    Hwy 90A . Shiner , TX 75701 361-594-3404

When you are ready for a little nostalgia, hit up one of the drive-ins that are closest to you. It’s one of the few places that I know of that is thick with history and filled with memories. Just don’t try to sneak your friends in via your trunk, I think that’s still frowned upon.




RV To Some Classic Movie Locations
Mike Warot/Flickr Creative Commons

Have you ever watched a movie and thought to yourself, “Man, that place is so cool! I’d love to go there!” Well, not every movie is filmed on a soundstage. Not every movie is filmed in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, or Toronto! Matter of fact there are some amazing movie locations you can actually visit, and we’re gong to visit some of them right now.

Who remembers “Field Of Dreams”? It’s the classic American baseball movie starring Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, and Burt Lancaster in his final role. Kevin Costner plays an Iowa farmer who builds a baseball diamond in his cornfield so that the ghosts of the 1919 Chicago Black Sox can play ball. Well that baseball diamond built by the movie company and then abandoned as soon as filming wrapped is still in existence in that Iowa cornfield. The family who owned the property has kept the field in great shape and it is open for viewing/touring from April through November just outside of Dyersville Iowa on Lansing Rd. Dyersville is about 25 miles west of Dubuque on Hwy 20.

Remember how much fun “Goonies” was? It’s a Steven Spielberg film about a group of kids going after pirate treasure to try and save their neighborhood from being torn down by evil developers. Goonies was filmed in and around Astoria in far northwest Oregon. The house the main characters lived in is aptly name “The Goonies House” and ask anybody in town how to get there, and even though it was filmed 30 years ago, everyone in town knows where it is. Another nearby location is the appropriately named Cannon Beach where the iconic rocks jutting form the ocean are located and where the climax of the film was staged. To reach Cannon Beach from Astoria simply cross the bay on Hwy 101 and head south through Gearhart and Seaside until you reach Cannon Beach. Once you arrive hold up your Spanish Doubloon and see if they match the rocks on the map!

Driving season is almost upon us, so please visit our website for all your parts and accessories prior to hitting the road this summer!





RV to the Crossroads
Shawn Rossi/Flickr Creative Commons

According to legend, blues guitar player Robert Johnson is alleged to have gone to a crossroads at midnight to meet the devil and trade his eternal soul for fame, fortune, and incredible talent at playing the guitar. Ever since he was “rediscovered” in the 1960’s, folks have argued until they were blue in the face about which crossroads was home to  The Deal. Rosedale, MS claims it happened at the junction of Hwys 1 and 8. Clarksdale, MS claims Hwys 49 and 61 were The Spot. Historians claim it might have been closer to Cleveland, MS over by the Dockery Plantation. Does it really matter? No, it doesn’t because legends don’t survive fact-checking too often because we all enjoy the story more than the reality.

The neat thing is, these days you can go enjoy the culture and music that spawned the legend of Robert Johnson because Clarksdale, MS (winner of the publicity battle of the “true” crossroads location) is host to the Juke Joint Festival every April. Music lovers from all over the world converge on Clarksdale that weekend and it’s not the typical music festival atmosphere you would expect. The average age of the festival goer runs from mid 30’s to Baby Boomers, so if you’re being kept up by the noise and frivolity it’s being created by someone your own age! The main stars of the festival are the local Mississippi bluesmen who still pound out the music in local juke joints and dance halls. Another good thing about this festival is the rooms in town are generally booked up a year in advance so campers and RVs are welcome! Not only that but there is probably no other music festival in America that is better suited to the tailgater BBQ than the Juke Joint Festival. The pre-parties generally get cranked up on Wed and Thurs night, then the main events are Friday and Saturday nights, but there is live music happening all over town, all day long.

And as we always say, before you hit the road, hit our website for any parts and accessories you may need!


RV Crater Lake, Oregon
Jonathan Miske/Flickr Creative Commons

Oregon in the summer is one of the most beautiful places in America. I don’t care where you’re from, if you like being outside and surrounded by gorgeous natural scenery then Oregon is the place for you! One of the most breathtaking sights in Oregon is Crater Lake.

Located in south central Oregon near the California border, Crater Lake can be accessed from I-5. I suppose the easiest way to the Lake is to take Hwy 62 north out of Medford until you reach the park entrance. If you’re coming from the east, take 97 south from Bend or 97 north from Klamath Falls until it intersects Hwy 62. Turn west on 62 and follow it until you reach the park entrance.

Crater Lake is an old volcanic crater with a lake in the middle of it. The lake is the deepest in the United States at over 1900 feet in depth, and oddly enough is the ONLY National Park in the State or Oregon! When you arrive at the park, there is a road that goes around the rim of the lake (and it is a wonderful hike if a little disorienting). Think about it, you’re going in a 33 mile long circle and the only real way to tell where you are is by the position of Wizard Island down on the lake.

Speaking of Wizard Island, you can actually visit the island during the summer months by taking one of the frequent boat tours around the lake. If you want to actually explore the island you’ll need to take one of the early boats and be ready to spend a good portion of the day on the island as well, because boats will only come to the dock for pickup if there is room aboard.

Crater Lake is one of those Wonders Of The World, so if you find yourself in the neighborhood, it is well worth the time to go and see it! If you find yourself wandering around the internet, please swing by PPL and say howdy!