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.

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.

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Where Are The Drive-In Theaters In Texas

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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.

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Hints For RV Short Storage In Summer

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ercwttmn/Flickr Creative Commons

 

Thinking about short storage for your RV during the hottest Summer months? It’s no secret that when you live in Texas you have to accept the weather for better, or for worse: “worse” being Summer and “better” being Fall. For this reason, I know many a Texan who decide to store their unit during the hottest Summer months in July and August, when our heat index is akin to walking on the surface of the Sun. However, at the first hint of a cool Fall breeze, those same folks start making their plans for beautiful Texas getaways.  It’s no secret that Fall in Texas is my favorite time of year. For me, there is no better time to RV in Texas.

Now, as we are making our way through July and into August, we’re seeing quite a bit of RVs going into storage for a couple of months. But here’s the deal, folks, you don’t want to just set it and forget it. Even for a short period of time, you are still going to want to do some storage preparation.  Below you will find a few suggestions that will keep your RV in great condition and ready to hit the road with the first cold front.

  • Clean it real well before you park it for a month.  I clean mine inside and out every time I get back from a trip.  Then its ready to go again.
  • Turn off the LP tanks when it is being stored.
  • Clean the tanks and run a few gallons of water in the toilet with a Commando drop in.  They are great.  Keep it clean and fresh.
  • Leave the refrigerator open slightly.
  • Make sure you do not leave canned soft drinks or beer in the unit.  I have had them explode from the heat.  Better safe than sticky!
  • Use your battery disconnect or install one to be able to shut off the batteries completely.
  • Make sure all windows and vents are closed.
  • If stored outside, it is a great idea to have a MaxxAir vent cover over the vent so you can keep the vent cracked just a little.  Heat builds up in these RVs more than we imagine.
  • I have customers who actually have the thermal sheets up on their windows to keep the sun out and stop any type of sun fading.
  • If you don’t have them now, add mud dauber screens to the vents. While you’re away the mud daubers will play.I learned a helpful hint that really seems to work.  Put a small dab of Vicks Vapor Rub on each of the exhaust vents and even up on the gooseneck part of your fifth wheel hitch.  It looks like wasps, mud daubers, and yellow jackets hate Vicks even more than they hate WD40.
  • Keep your unit fresh.  I use fabric softener sheets tucked in around the vehicle to keep a fresh smell.

The tips and hints have worked for me time and time again, Summer after miserably hot Summer and they can work for you too. In fact, I’m sure you have a few tips of your own you can share on how you go about short storing your RV during the blazing Texas Summers. I’d love to hear your suggestions. Just write them in the comments section below. Have fun RVing and I’ll see you on the road in mid-September!

RV To Some Classic Movie Locations

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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!

 

 

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RV to the Crossroads

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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!

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Independence Day – The Perfect Holiday for RVing

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Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays because it’s a perfect time of year to take my RV out and enjoy a few days with my family. But let’s not forget what exactly it is we’re celebrating. First, here’s your history lesson.

On July 2, 1776 the Second Continental Congress decided to legally separate the thirteen colonies from England. In order to explain that decision to the citizens of the thirteen colonies as well as justify their action to the crown, a Declaration Of Independence needed to be written. Five men were chosen to draft the declaration: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston. They wrote an amazingly detailed list of grievances as well as the very definition of “A Free Man” which is duplicated below:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Now here are a few other things to consider during the July 4th holiday:

dani matthew and mark july 4th

  • Safety First – The 4th of July is famous for campouts, boating, fireworks and fun and, with all of these events, there is a tendency to have a few drinks.  Keep in mind that the heat can play tricks on your body when combined with alcohol.  Take time to drink water in between the beers, wine and cocktails.  You have to keep yourself hydrated. This is easier to do when you keep alcohol consumption to a moderate amount.
  • Fireworks – Fireworks are fun, but it’s probably best to leave the fireworks shows to the professionals. In fact, most RV parks don’t allow fireworks on their grounds. Check with the RV park, county and city to make sure fireworks are legal.  Even innocent sparklers can cause a fire, so be very careful.
  • Fire Marshal – Appoint a designated fire marshal in your group.  This needs to be the person most likely to be sober and responsible for an emergency.  Keep in mind that it may not be a problem with the guests in your group, but this designated fire marshal needs to pay attention to all the surroundings.  We once had a couple light a dozen Tiki torches all around their campsite.  Needless to say, that wasn’t the safest of things to do.
  • First Aid – Make sure you have a complete first aid kit with you and hope you never need to use it.  It’s so much better to be prepared and uninjured than be injured and unprepared.
  • Dogs Need Comfort – Help your dog stay calm around the fireworks, too.  Our miniature beagle hated the sound of fireworks, so we would put her in the bathroom of the RV with the back AC running full blast and a radio playing our favorite songs to help muffle the sounds of the fireworks in the area.  It might not be enough to calm your pooch, but it worked for us every year! I knew she appreciated it.
  • Boat Safety – If you have your boat docked near the RV site, make sure the keys are locked in your RV.  The last thing you want is to have one of your fun friends decide to hop in and take a late night boat ride after a few too many drinks.  Aside from being extremely dangerous, you can also get in serious trouble with the law. Boating while impaired (BWI) carries the same stiff penalties as a DWI. You can’t afford to be careless.
  • Campfires – Campfires and S’mores are so much fun for the fourth and pretty much every camping trip.  Make sure small kids are supervised when they are close to the fire. Fire marshal, that’s your job!

 

OK, enough of the lecture, that’s the Nana coming out. What about the fun stuff? Not surprisingly, water activities are immensely popular!

  • Kids, young and old, like getting wet…even when they won’t admit they do.  Think of games to play that have water involved plan to get wet and cool off.
  • Water balloon toss. Just make sure you clean up your mess. The park workers have more important things to do than pick up hundreds of broken balloons.
  • Water guns are always fun and it’s also fun to catch people off guard.  Be careful that Aunt Martha doesn’t get her fancy hairdo all wet!
  • Have a water sponge fight – Fill two large buckets with wet sponges and have fun. Of course you can come up with your own version of the ice water dunk.
  • If the kids are a little bored, play the water bucket relay game.  Give each child a cup filled with water.  Place two empty buckets about 12 feet away from the start line and see which team can fill their bucket first.  The secret is that they have to balance the cup on their head while they walk to the bucket.  I think this could even be fun for adults…watch out for Aunt Martha’s hairdo!!!  Note, if you only have one, or two kids with you, just change the game to a timed event.  Have fun and keep cool.
  • Play the water balloon piñata game.  Trade out a piñata for hanging filled balloons.  Blindfold, give your kids a plastic bat and “go to town”! Again, clean up your messes! That’s just good park etiquette.

 

One final thought. As with any holiday, you can expect there to be plenty of holiday vacationers out and about. I can guarantee your normal RV camp will be packed with families looking to get away for the long weekend. Since you know that there’s going to be a glut of RVers, you should take that into consideration when traveling and shopping for your trip.

It’s a lot to remember, but try to keep all of this in mind over the holiday, especially the reason for the celebration. So, have fun, fly your American flag high and enjoy your July 4th weekend!

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Vjeran Pavic/Flickr Creative Commons

RV Crater Lake, Oregon

 

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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 Motorhomes.com and say howdy!

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RV “Life Hacks” I’ve Used

WD-40 photo from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WD-40#mediaviewer/File:WD40_english.JPGI thought today I’d pass along some of the “RV Life Hacks” I have tried myself over the years. Nothing is quite as satisfying as coming up with an inexpensive method of saving space, time, or money because it all adds up to making life with your RV that much more pleasant. Let me know how these work for you!

– A bag of ice helps clean your black water tank. This may sound a little odd, but it works very well. Before you leave the campground, purchase a bag of ice and place it in your toilet with about 2 gallons of water and a drop in toilet chemical. You will be surprised how much cleaner and fresher your black water tank will be.

– Clothespins, like duct tape, are a must-have item in your RV. Use them as chip clips, for laundry, and (my favorite thing) for securing the trash bags, there are so many uses for these in your RV.

– The uses for WD 40 are also endless! If you own a fifth wheel you’ll find that this simple product may be the way to keep wasps away from your hitch and save your hands, too! I’ve also heard that if you get stung by a wasp, a little spray of WD 40 takes the fire out of the sting…and here’s hoping one of yall will tell me before I find out for myself!

– A simple swimming pool noodle can help cushion some of the slide out corners on your RV and can also protect your windshield wipers while your RV is in storage.

– Vinyl shopping bags are so helpful when packing and unpacking your RV. Use your vinyl shopping bags (like the one you get from PPL) to load all of your linens, clothing, housewares, pantry items, etc. They are so easy to carry into the RV. Once the bags are empty, simply fold them flat and store them until you can fill them up with your dirty laundry and other items you are planning to take back into the house. No more boxes and containers eating us space!

– Ever worry about breaking your wine glasses in the cabinet while traveling?  I found a perfect use for my koozies.  I slide them over the wine glasses and they protect the glass in transit.  I just hate to drink wine out of a plastic cup!

– I hate the thought of spilling bottles of cleaners like window cleaner, counter top cleaner and, most importantly, any cleaner with bleach in it.  The wipes are terrific and so easy to use, but they will dry out when left in the RV too long.  Store your open containers of disinfectant wipes, window cleaner wipes, and all others in Ziploc bags in the RV.  It is amazing how much longer they last.

– Looking for a way to prepare a fast meal on the road.  Next time you are cooking taco meat, chili, browning sausage for tacos or even shredding chicken for a casserole, think about RVing.  Take time at home to make more fun time on the road.  I always store these items in freezer bags and take they are always ready to go for a last minute RV weekend.  Then all I have to do is bring the fixins and my meal on the road is ready in a snap!

– Are you afraid of food particles going down the sink in the RV?  After all, you don’t have that handy disposal there.  I place a coffee filter in the bottom of the sink while I prepare a meal.  It is amazing home much it will catch and it’s easy clean up.

These are just a few of the many hints I have heard and tried. The list goes on and on and I would love to hear from each of you about the many hints and tips you have discovered on your own to save time, money, and space. Enjoy your RV travels and make sure to visit me on RVNana.com.

Hope to see you on the road soon!

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