Happy 4th of July

WOW…Happy 4th of July to everyone.  The RV parks will be so busy, pools full, flags flying, ice cream melting …all is good.  The show will air starting this Saturday so many will already be on their way to a week long 4th of July celebration.  Be safe on the road and in the parks.

What is your favorite 4th of July food?

https://wCollin Harvey

I know most people say hot dogs and hamburgers and I think those are both great choices.  It’s always hot in Texas on the 4th so we love watermelon and home made ice cream.  When was the last time you made homemade ice cream.  Why make it when we have Bluebell?  I think we are going to do that for the 4th.  Make sure you drink plenty of water, use sunscreen and bug spray and HAVE FUN!

Now on a more serious note, it’s time again for another list from RV Nana.  When I am preparing for an RV outing I always use a list, but I also have one for special outings, too.  You know, the ones where you have friends and family joining you for a little celebration.  Remember to think about all age groups.  From popsicles to cold beer, make sure you have fun food for everyone.  I also have to bring some patriotic décor (flags, plates, tablecloth, red solo cups, napkins, etc.)  I also always make sure we have lots of fun decorations so the kids can decorate their bikes or the golf cart.  From glow sticks to fun hats and glasses and balloons.  All are great for decorating.  And don’t forget a fun cool game for everyone.  Have a water balloon fight or bring some water guns with you or bubble wands.  Cool off and have fun.

Now, with this family outing you may find yourself in the same predicament many other RVs are in.  You have too much family and too little RV.  PPL is here to help you.  With over 650 motor homes, travel trailers and fifth wheels to choose from, we have the RV of your dreams and we can help you sell yours or even take it in on trade.  So go ahead, start looking.  Check out the website where you will find floorplans, pictures and information and, if you have a special make or model in mind, create a wish list and we will keep you updated if we add that model to our inventory. 

Stop by and meet one of our team members in Houston, Cleburne and New Braunfels and let us help you make your RV dreams come true. 

RVing Tip : Let Me See Your Papers

RVing Tip: Let Me See Your Papers

What documents do you need to take with you when you travel? That’s a pretty good question with “not-so-obvious” answers.  Of course, you will have your standard drivers license, insurance and registration, but you need so much more.  In fact, some of these items you may not even know you need. 

Now, I am mix of a little old school and a little techie so, with both of these traits in mind, I have come up with a solution that works for me.  I actually have made hard copies of all the important items listed below and have also scanned them.  I have a zip lock bag in the RV with this information. But, I also have three memory sticks with this same information: one in the RV in that zip lock bag, one in my purse, or in my make up bag and the other I have left with my daughter.  And “Yes”, it is that important. If something happened, I have several ways to get this information. 

Here are a few items you should consider having with you and I’m sure this list will help you think of other things, too.

  • Copy of your insurance declaration pages for home, auto, life, etc.
  • Copy of your driver’s license and passport in case your is lost. (Yes, both.)
  • Complete list of emergency contacts including their phone numbers, email addresses, snail mail addresses and relationship.
  • Information about doctors, special health issues and medications.
  • If you travel with a pet, make sure you have information about the pet, vaccination records, vet information and special needs.  I have also heard of RVers who made sure they kept a card on the refrigerator in their RV with the pets name and information.  If something happens to them they want a first responder to know about their 4 legged friend, too.
  • Directives.  If you have a medical directive, please make sure it is with you along with a copy of your will or power of attorneys.

This list can go on and on.  Next time you have a rainy afternoon at home and have nothing special to do, take time to put this together and be prepared.

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.

Hunting and RVing


lovz2hike/Flickr Creative Commons

When I think of hunting I am reminded of my dad and brothers and their weekend hunting trips.  They would pack for days, my mom would pack all the groceries for them and they would head out on their big weekend.  It was a bonding weekend for the guys.  We had an older travel trailer and that, along with a couple of tents, became their 5-star accommodations for a weekend of storytelling, laughter, adventure and maybe even a little deer hunting.   For all of us girls, this was our weekend for shopping and fun adventures too.  As soon a we saw the tail lights pull out of the driveway we started our shopping, cooking, laughing and girl time fun. 

As I got older, the story was about the same.  My husband would go hunting with the boys and the biggest difference was how much the dear meat actually cost us per pound.  You see, when I was a kid, camping and hunting was all done on a budget…a small budget.  As we got older, hunting trips started with several trips to the sporting goods stores for the latest and greatest hunting equipment.  I guess the real difference was that venison costs a lot more per pound when the hunters were a little older.  I used to tell everyone we had $100 per pound venison in the freezer. 

I remember buying our first motor home for the deer lease.  An old 89 Coachmen that was in need of some TLC.  My daughter and I cleaned it and packed it for our great hunters to embark on their big adventure…and we never spent a night in the RV.  We, in turn, would go out and shop ‘til we dropped getting all the Christmas shopping done, presents wrapped in our girl weekend. 

I have recently met a few girls who enjoy every minute of the hunting weekend in a way that is much different than mine.  They go out with the guys and make it a fun weekend for everyone.  I really think this is what the RV lifestyle brings to the hunting adventure…family fun.  So, now is the time to prepare for those hunting weekends.  There are great buys on RVs to make sure your hunting accommodations are 5-star for you and your family.  Make it a weekend of family, fun, adventure and, most important of all…take time to make memories.  You, too will look back and cherish these memories! 

Independence Day 2018

Tom Ipri/Flickr Creative Commons

Back in 1776…242 years ago this week…the Founding Fathers of our nation were still arguing and compromising, drafting and redrafting the document that would declare the independence of the 13 colonies from their King and Country, George the III and England. It is one of the most important pieces of political writing in recent history as it is one of the first, and certainly longest lived, guarantees of personal liberty for individuals. We are all created equal. Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness have sense-forth become Rights not Privileges, and these are affirmed before everyone. Because of that document, we separate from England and after a long bloody war, we are truly independent. Other great documents follow.

For the first time in recorded human history the modern concepts of liberty and freedom are spelled out. We can believe what we want. We can say want we believe. We can worship how we wish. We can defend ourselves from tyrants at home and abroad. We are supposed to be served by our government, not the other way around. These are but a few of the changes brought about by our Declaration of Independence, and we lucky few who were born here, or who have become citizens, are members of the greatest nation on Earth.

This weekend please enjoy your burgers, and hotdogs, and fireworks, and beers, and get a little too much sun, spend time with your families, and celebrate the freedom and liberty that is yours. But, while you’re enjoying yourself, please do no forget that your liberty and freedom are threatened every waking moment of every waking day. Be vigilant in its defense. Never allow the word “security” to take the place of “freedom” in your vocabulary. That way your future generations will enjoy the same Rights as you and your ancestors enjoyed. Long Live The Republic, and the Freedom for Which It Stands!

Keep Your RV Cooler This Summer

Flicker Creative Commons/ By: ercwttmn

I worked last Saturday and it was a terrific day at PPL.  Customers and employees were all in great moods! People were buying new RVs and we got some amazing new consignments. I couldn’t believe it! Not one person came to me with something to weigh in on! What did I deserve to get this wonderful but very…very…VERY hot day? 

“I don’t think ANYTHING could ruin today!”, I casually thought to myself.

And that’s when our parts manager  came to me and said; “Emergency! We have a customer who just got his replacement A/C…and it was DAMAGED in transit!”.

I don’t think I even took a breath before I got out, “GO OVERNIGHT ONE…NO! OVERNIGHT TWO!!! AND, REFUND HIS MONEY!!! No one should endure the heat in an un-airconditioned RV.”

True story.

RV Nana really likes that cool A/C! Want an planned RV trip to come to an abrupt re-route? Mess with RV Nana’s air conditioner!  I have some information to share with Mr. & Mrs. RV Owner.  One of the most important things you can do to maximize your comfort is to make sure you clean the filters on your AC units…and keep them clean! You can even clean the fins on the back side of the roof ac.  Wind, hail and road debris can cause those lightweight aluminum fins to get bent and then reduce the air flow.  Little things do make a difference in AC units.

How else can you keep some of the heat downHave you ever seen people put vent pillows up in their vents?  This is just one more way to keep the heat from beating into the RV. That works for virtually every RVer, but there are options. There is an awesome new product that we sell for the standard vents.  It’s is a vent shade.  Easy to open and close and, in my opinion only, looks nicer than the vent pillows. Try them both and decide for yourself. 

Now, I have a love/hate relationship with the reflective sheets. I don’t use them when I am actually RVing. Though they work really well, too well actually. I like to see out of the windows. And when you want to take them off, they can be cumbersome and unwieldy.  THAT BEING SAID, I do use them when we leave our trailer at Galveston Island RV for a month. Putting that simple insulated rolled reflective sheeting up while we were storing it was a great help in keeping the heat down. 

OH! Also, don’t forget to always leave a vent cracked when storing your RV.  I have the MaxxAire vent covers, so I always like to leave my vent open an inch, or two to let some of the heat out. This is probably my strongest recommendation.  If its 95 outside, then it could easily be 120 inside your RV.  The heat plays havoc on the interior as well as the exterior of the unit.  I’ve seen wallpaper curl, seam tape come loose, items secured with command strips just drop to the floor and things are just uncomfortable. 

There’re are just a few ways to keep your RV a little cooler. Happy RVing!!!


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  http://www.texaswatersafari.org/


Fairy RV Gardens

I love RVs! That’s not really a surprise now, is it? I also love all the cutesy “stuff” that goes along with the RV lifestyle. Again, not really a surprise. A few years ago, I took an old washtub and made it into a Fairy Garden. More specifically, I made it into a Fairy RV campground. Many of you have seen it on my blog and have sent me pictures of your own creations, well we did it again this weekend.

My granddaughter and I visited my favorite nursery, Enchanted Forest in Richmond Texas and they have the biggest selection of fairy garden supplies I’ve seen. I always leave there inspired and excited to go home and play in the yard. Well, girls, the fairy gardens are like a dollhouse for adults and they are not just for girls. I have a friend in Plano who he and his wife have created fairy villages in their yard. Amazing. From the plants to the accessories, we have fun. Now, I can say I have a new fairy garden made out of a double washtub and it is ready for RVing with an airstream and a large tent. Those tent fairies have to start somewhere.


The Meeting With Hurricane Harvey We Didn’t Want to Have

The beginning of “Uncertainty”.

In a word, Mother Nature is: “Unpredictable”. She can wreak havoc and at the same time also teach you about resolve and even go as far as to restore your faith in humanity. In the last week, Hurricane Harvey has brought a keen awareness of feelings to my life. As I waited to see where and when the Brazos River would crest, I started “thinking”. Thinking about the roller coaster of emotions and feelings I’ve just been on. In the last week, I have had so many different emotions, I have been bombarded with feelings of all kinds as I try to make sense of it all. This is what I realized:

Denial. Plain and simple. When I heard the storm was approaching, I just knew it wouldn’t hit us. It was going somewhere else, far away and you wouldn’t have convinced me otherwise. I was in complete denial.
Second, I felt pretty Confident if it did hit us, I had been through several storms in my life, I’d handle it with ease.  Besides, this wasn’t my first rodeo and I knew what to do. I believed I was in total control.
Then the Uncertainty started to creep in. Is it really going to be that bad? It sure was starting to look like we were going to get our fair share of rain and heavy winds. Never mind the fact that this storm was going like 2 mph and sucking the ocean up in its path then dumping it on land as it turned up the coast. If you know Houston, you know that the bayous can only take so much run off then everything becomes below sea level. What should I do now? I didn’t feel so sure and confident all of a sudden. Do I go to my daughter’s, leave town or stay at home? I decided to stay.
Then I felt what I can only describe as “Relief” after the first night of wind and rain. It seemed that the worst was over but I knew better, it was merely the calm before the storm.
I was worried-Would the storm really be that bad? Which, in turn, made me feel pretty Indecisive. Those who know me, know that I have no problem making a decision and following through, but this was different. Here, we had a mandatory evacuation order issued, which didn’t really matter, because I was the one who would decide if I should stay or go. My daughter’s house was in a voluntary evacuation area, so I could go there, or they could come to my house because I had a two-story home.
I would have these bursts of PANIC.  Watching the news was frightening. But, there was no time to waste, I chose to stay, so I started to prepare by moving things upstairs. I was on a mission, rushing around from one thing to another, moving it to higher ground. I also found out that I was in pretty good shape!
One of the feelings I felt was massive amounts of Gratitude for my neighbors checking on me and in turn, I invited everyone who was scared and wanted to be up higher to come on over in case of a flood. I really got to know my neighbors well and found out that they are all truly wonderful people.
Now I can’t say that there weren’t moments of abject Fear. For example What if a two-story house still wasn’t high enough? How will I protect my daughter and grandkids? At that point I realized, I can’t. We’d have to rely on rescue and the grace of God at that point. It wasn’t a good feeling or thought to have. It was painful to think about, though it had to be done. Then it start’s to set in. The Sorrow– that unbearable gut-wrenching feeling as your heart drops into your throat as you watch the rescue efforts and hear about of the losses. Then Sorrow and Sympathy lead to feeling Guilty that you are still OK while others literally face death and unimaginable loss. Even worse, there is absolutely nothing you can do but hope and pray.
I learned more about Compassion in the past 6 days than I have the past 6 years.  Texans stood with Texans, doing everything they could for their neighbors…even if they lived hundreds of miles away. Then help started pouring in from everywhere, all over the United States. It was incredible. I felt an immense amount of pride knowing that Texans, and others, were so quick to help total strangers by putting themselves in harm’s way to do so. If only the rest of the world would take a few notes from Texas on how to treat one another, maybe we’d be live in a much more hospitable world.
And this brings me to “HOPE” – As we came through the storm, I never lost sight of my hope and faith in God and actually reaffirmed my hope and faith in man.
As I reflect on my personal meeting with Hurricane Harvey, I quickly realize that I am one of the luckiest people I know. I thank God for my blessings, for being here today, for having the opportunity to share all these feelings and for you for taking the time to read them. I am thankful for the many people in my life who care and support me and my family. I am blessed to have a wonderful family and a wonderful PPL family, to be RV Nana, to have friends here for me, to live in this great state, in this great country and to have the good health and good fortune to live my life and make memories. I hope for the same blessings for every Houstonian alike.





How To Let Go of Your Beloved RV


As you know, in March of 2014 I purchased the sweetest little 2007 Roadtrek.  This became my little “gypsy mobile” and my way to escape.  You see, for years Mike and I had always pulled 5th wheels.  We had everything for all the family and our RV was the hub of entertainment at every campground on our travels.  I missed the lifestyle and knew I was destined to go RVing again.  My wonderful son-in-law told me I was welcome to just sleep on their sofa when we all went camping, but I knew that was not for me.  One evening, I was sitting at my desk and this beautiful gold Roadtrek had just been parked outside my window.  It was a beauty.  I looked at it and I knew it was love at first sight.  The next morning I became the proud owner of RV Nana 2!

Now, I am the crazy woman who had been car shopping for months and could not make a decision on a car, but I could buy an RV in 24 hours.  I called the owner to discuss the vehicle and immediately knew this RV had been treated with tender loving care.  He and his wife were so nice and he was so excited that I was going to take care of his baby.

Well, about 8 months ago I decided I needed a little larger RV and purchased a Winnebago View.  The two slides gave me so much more room and it had a real shower so I could travel to an industry event and have a place to shower and get dressed up for a business meeting or after ‘5 events if needed.  That is something very hard to do in the Roadtrek, although the Roadtrek was a great dressing room for my teen age grandkids in FFA when they were showing animals at the fairgrounds.   Everyone asked me if I was planning to sell the Roadtrek and I simply could not let go.  I had it in storage and would still take it out to camping events occasionally.  It only had 41K miles and I knew I had to make a decision to sell it or keep it.  I really think I was having trouble selling it because of the memories.  This RV had helped me at a time in my life when I needed healing.  It had been a part of me. 

Finally, the day had come.  I was at the airport headed off to our Cleburne location and I just knew the time was right.  I called my office and told them to put it on the market.  I had my dear friend and my COO at PPL deal with the pricing and everything from that point forward.  I was not going to negotiate or deal with it at all.

About 10 days ago, a call came in at the office asking if I was the owner of that Roadtrek because he wanted to talk to me.  As soon as I saw the name on the memo, I knew it was the original owner.  They had seen the RV on PPL’s site and wanted their baby back.  They had missed it and, although they have a Phoenix Cruiser, they wanted the Roadtrek.  We chatted for an hour or so and they realized I had taken good care of it, too.  We made arrangements for me to drive it to Cleburne where they would meet me.  They were from Oklahoma, so my Cleburne store was the halfway point.

We met and had the greatest couple of hours telling stories of our Roadtrek.  I knew this was the right thing to do.  They were excited and, after a few signatures, I handed them the keys and they drove off into the sunset. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a few quiet tears.

Now, I’ve been here 37 years and I don’t recall ever hearing of a person buying their RV back because they missed it.  Who knows, in a year or so I may miss it and want it back again.  I know we will stay in contact and will likely meet at a campground in the next year for a fun weekend.  RV Nana 2 has been a huge chapter in my book of life!

If anyone has a similar story or can share the best ways to say “goodbye” to an old RV friend, we’d love to hear about it.