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Thursday

Another RV Antenna Bites the Dust



If I pull out with my TV antenna up one more time I am going to turn my keys in!

One of the most common things missed while getting ready to pull out of a site is leaving the TV antenna up.  I have even had people honking at me trying to let me know that my antenna was sticking up and I actually waved at them like they were my friends.  

Funny RV Toon showing the hazards of not having a hook up check list


It doesn't matter what type of RV you are sporting, Motor Home, Bumper Pull, or 5th Wheel, there is probably a TV antenna up there. Most of them are a crank up system; some are stationary.  If it is the movable type you must remember to lower it before you hit the road.

 Some people use a check list to remember all the little hook up duties and some just wing it.  I use a system that fits somewhere between the two.  Along with a fairly detailed written checklist I have learned to leave myself stop-guards, tricks and reminders. 

RV Park sign reminding RVers of the most forgotten steps for departures

I have hooked my 5th wheel trailer up so many times it is like second nature.  But, if I am parked in one place for an extended period of time the process becomes more like 3rd or 4th nature.  I forget my routine. I find myself saying "Oh yeah, yeah, yeah" as I go through the hook up process, so I have developed some break-point reminders.
 
Here is how I have saved myself from the embarrassing and costly mistake of leaving my TV antenna up.   The minute I unhook, I take the lock pin from the hitch lever and hang it on my antenna crank handle.  Then when I hook back up I have to go retrieve the pin off the antenna crank and “Aha” this is enough to remind me to roll the antenna down while I am there.
Hitch Pin hanging from antenna crank
                                               

I don't know how many times this has saved me but I CAN tell you how many times it didn't.  That information is documented in my check book.

Any tips that you'd like to share in the comments would be appreciated.  The crazier, the better: those are usually the best tips.


Travel Safely
Janice
Janice has recently become a solo RVer. Having Oregonian roots she now is a "6 time across the US" RV traveler and enjoys workamping, yarn crafts, hiking and biking and everything horses. Guest blogging is a new addition to her interests.




Saturday

Hidden Valley RV Radio Interview

This post has just been updated to include the latest Hidden Valley guest appearance on the Lonestar Sportsman Radio Show.   Listen to the latest radio link to discover the new promotion mentioned and how you can cash in. 

Many in my age group have grown up accustomed to "talk radio."  Saturday and Sunday mornings, especially, were abuzz on the radio waves with travel journals, political banter, and interviews with some local or renowned expert.  Although they are not as popular today, it is a fact that talk radio still exists.  One example is the Saturday morning broadcast on the syndicated WOAI station that focuses on the great outdoors and is hosted by Alan Warren.
photo of Lonestar Sportsman host Alan Warren

After a 30 year outdoor TV career traveling the globe in search of extraordinary fishing and hunting destinations, Alan Warren has returned to his Texas roots as the Lone Star Sportsman. Airing live each Saturday morning from 5-7am, the Lone Star Sportsman is an engaging blend of outdoor information and education and is FUN for anyone who loves the great Texas outdoors. From answering listener calls about fishing, hunting, RV’ing and camping, Alan also discusses conservation, education, property rights issues and outdoorsy news stories that every Texan should know about.  
They have listeners and callers that have an interest in hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities. You may hear some humorous, could have been fatal type, hunting stories or learn how to make your own fishing flies. The 5:30 to 6am half hour has been detailing specific RV camping venues in Texas - associated with the TexasCampgrounds.com (TACO) group of over 400 member campgrounds. Michael Moore of TACO, teamed up with Alan to feature Hidden Valley RV Park this past Saturday. We had the opportunity to talk about some of our park amenities as well as the unique features of Hidden Valley, the great city of San Antonio and the direction the RV lifestyle is heading today.

If you want to see what kinds of questions they asked me and my humble opinions OR if you just miss my voice (Teehee)...head on over to this link for the 20 minute recording.


We will air again on the Lonestar Sportsman on January 17, 2015 to talk about more Hidden Valley news and our involvement with the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo through our annual kickoff event at Hidden Valley's Cowboy Breakfast on January 23rd.

Although this is a syndicated broadcast we especially invite our local and nearby friends to listen in at the link and our next "appearance" on the Lonestar Sportsman on January 17.  So if you can muster up the energy to get up for the 5:30 AM (yes, I said AM) broadcast, tune into WOAI 1200 on the AM dial or watch for a post here and on Facebook too.

Okay folks, update time! Here's the January 17th Hidden Valley radio broadcast.  Listen closely for a unique promotion only available at this link:


If you've never stayed at Hidden Valley RV this promotion makes it the perfect time to reserve an RV site for a long weekend with the family or a quiet romantic getaway.  Click on over to our RESERVE NOW page on the Hidden Valley website and make your reservations today.



Teri welcomes you to Hidden Valley RV Park



Teri Blaschke is the RV Park operator of family owned HiddenValley RV Park in San Antonio, TX and writer of the park blog “A Little Piece of Country in San Antonio.” Teri contributes to various other blogs with a focus on either travel or social media and how it relates to the outdoor hospitality industry but her passion is serving the RV travel community by providing a memorable RV camping experience and growing the Hidden Valley RV family.  Connect with us on Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter@HiddenValleyRV

Monday

A Digital Eye in the Sky

While sitting by the fire with some guests this past week and talking "geek," you know,  ipads and new ways to edit photos and get WiFi in the boonies - an RVer introduced us to the wonderful world of the starry sky and planet, comet and constellation location with a handy app that works by pointing your smartphone towards the sky.  

GoSkyWatch Planetarium - the astronomy star guide

GoSkyWatch Planetarium - app icon



So simple and full of animations that make sky gazing a fun experience even for new astronomers.  No matter how remote the location (the remoter the better if you want to escape city lights) you can still access the app since it will work even without an internet connection once you have it downloaded.  


It's available on iTunes for iOS for $3.99, CLICK HERE (you'll need to sign into your iTunes acct for iPhones and iPads) and there's  

A compatible app for androids called SkEye for free on the Google Play Store CLICK HERE


Constellation Screenshot from the iPhone appGalaxy Screenshot from the iPhone app 

   Screenshots from the iPhone app

















So the next time YOU'RE out by the campfire - share this great and easy to use app with your friends.  Do you have any favorite apps that you couldn't live without?  Please share them with us in the comments.


Teri welcomes you to Hidden Valley RV Park

Teri Blaschke is the RV Park operator of family owned HiddenValley RV Park in San Antonio, TX and writer of the park blog “A Little Piece of Country in San Antonio.” Teri contributes to various other blogs with a focus on either travel or social media and how it relates to the outdoor hospitality industry but her passion is serving the RV travel community by providing a memorable RV camping experience and growing the Hidden Valley RV family.  Connect with us on Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter@HiddenValleyRV

Saturday

Your 2015 San Antonio Event Calendar

As we're finishing off 2014 in San Antonio with a bang, 2015 is almost upon us and most of us RVers are already planning an itinerary for winter, spring and beyond.  The Hidden Valley RV Park Calendar is also coming together and we urge you to click on over to it so you can make your RV site reservations during your favorite park activity whether it's our Cowboy Breakfast on January 23rd, our Mardi Gras Happy Hour or one of our special potluck get togethers.

If, like many, Hidden Valley RV is one of your regular stops, you already know that we share all kinds of local and nearby happenings with our Hidden Vallian guests too.  December is one of the fullest months on the calendar locally and the Riverwalk Lighting Ceremony and River Parade the Friday


The Riverwalks all Lit Up for the Holidays
The Riverwalk during the holidays

after Thanksgiving is always one of people's favorites.  If you prefer to visit the Riverwalk during a more quiet time, you can still view the festive lights all the way through December.  La Villita and El Mercado downtown are a buzz with hundreds of unique gift ideas if holiday shopping is still on your mind and we'll be glad to help you get your gift packages mailed home from the park.  After the holiday rush is over, treat yourself to a New Years Celebration on the Riverwalk, San Antonio style with fireworks, music and entertainment.

If you'll be here the weekend after Thanksgiving we invite you to our Harvest Potluck on that Saturday.  The Hidden Valley facebook page has posted a great link to some potluck recipes to die for in case you're at a loss for ideas.

Post by Hidden Valley RV Park.







Wanted to share this great San Antonio Calendar infographic by  VisitSanAntonio.net.  If you need a reminder of some of the unparalleled reasons to visit SA, bookmark this post to keep it handy.



Thanks to VisitSanAntonio.net for this fantastic graphic.
18 reasons why to Visit San Antonio
Thanks to VisitSanAntonio.net for this fantastic graphic.


We'd like to know what activities interest YOU.  Do you like organized nature walks, hobbies and crafts, tours, festivals, etc.?  Drop in a comment and let us know.


Teri welcomes you to Hidden Valley RV Park

Teri Blaschke is the RV Park operator of family owned HiddenValley RV Park in San Antonio, TX and writer of the park blog “A Little Piece of Country in San Antonio.” Teri contributes to various other blogs with a focus on either travel or social media and how it relates to the outdoor hospitality industry but her passion is serving the RV travel community by providing a memorable RV camping experience and growing the Hidden Valley RV family.  Connect with us on Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter@HiddenValleyRV

Thursday

How to Find New Friends on the Road



Traveling like we do, it is difficult to find people to do things with that share your  interests.  I am not referring to dating but to a network of people that get together to enjoy and support each other in whatever they enjoy doing.   

I have found a solution to this dilemma with a couple of websites that specialize in helping people meet up with other people out there enjoying life.  I also talk about one site to stay away from    There are so many interest groups to check out.  Like groups for  foodies, knitters, road cyclers, Mt. bikers, Harley bikers, poets, photographers, winers, beer lovers, natural plant lovers, gardeners, etc.  The list is almost endless.

1. MEETUP.COM

Probably my favorite website is called MEETUP.COM.  After a very simple registration process, you will find that no matter where you travel in the US (and probably in the world) you can choose from thousands of interest groups with invitations posted for you to shop through.

For example, just today in San Antonio there are 2,483 different interest groups meeting up to do fun, interesting things!  This is what the home page looks like.  There were so many groups to pick from I could not show all of them so here is a sampling.

Meetups.com home page
Home Page of Meetup.com Groups
 

2. RVILLAGE.COM

For those that are RV diehards and want to find and meet up with other RVers near their location check into the RVILLAGE.COM site.  I love this one and it is very easy to use.   

Most sites are so protective of their member’s privacy that you never get to communicate with any of them.  However, the express purpose of this site is to help members locate each other.  From that point you will be able to find out where the parties are, if someone is going on a tour or if anyone wants to do an evening walk by checking out the get-togethers posted on the site.  

I am located at Hidden Valley RV Park just south of San Antonio, TX.  As you can see by all the bubbles on the map below I found so many other RVillage members near me I couldn't count them.  All I would have to do is click on one to get their contact information then sail out a message to find out if there is anything fun going on that I could join. There is also a button to help you locate people you have put onto a "friends" list.  


RVillage Sample Friend Page
RVillage


3. YAHOO GROUPS

I would stay away from this choice.  After signing up for a "5 string banjo group" and getting accepted as a member, all I found was a chat room that was 100% sex and filth.  The OTHER kind of hooking up.  Not one post was about banjos.  Then they tried to sell me the "advanced membership".  Ha Ha Ha, I am afraid to know what that might get me. 

As always when meeting new people and groups please use common sense and keep yourself safe.  Those tips may be for another time. 
Are there any ways you've found to meet people while you travel?  Tell us below in the comments or join the conversation on facebook. 

Happy travels; get out there and enjoy life!






Janice has recently become a solo RVer. Having Oregonian roots she now is a "6 time across the US" RV traveler and enjoys yarn crafts, hiking and biking and everything horses. Guest blogging is a new addition to her interests.

Saturday

Thinking About Texas Vehicle Registration and Inspection?

Many of us travelers share blog and newsletter articles with each other and greatly benefit from the research of our fellow travelers and RVers.  On of the ezines (email magazines) that I read twice each month comes from Jaimie Bruzenak over at RV Lifestyle Experts.  She recently interviewed an Escapees staff member.  Escapees have been working with Texas officials to keep policies convenient for RVers.  With her permission I have reprinted the article here. 

 *******


"There has been some confusion as to whether RVers who have registered their vehicles in Texas must get them inspected prior to being able to renew their vehicle registration. Depending on what office and person you talk to, you may receive differing information.

In the past, RVers could renew their vehicle registration online and then take care of their inspection when they returned to Texas. That changed with the passage of a new bill. However, Escapees has been working with officials to continue the former policy. This is what Jim Koca, Advocacy Director for Escapees, replied when I asked him how RVers could handle this.

I have talked to Polk County Tax Office this morning where vehicle registration takes place. They assured me that it is not their office that tells people that RVers will have to return to the state for the inspection.

The clerks are instructed to tell the citizens that a process will be in place to allow the registration of vehicles without the need to return to the state for the inspection. The “DMV” is sometimes called the DPS office where people get their drivers license. The Tax Office says they get confused with DPS sometimes.

RVers, students, military, truckers and contractors will be able to renew their vehicles while out of state. This process can be done by mail or online. The individual will do a “self-certification” process stating they are out of state at the time of renewal. Polk County or really any county tax office, will be able to override the need of the inspection sticker requirement. Once the vehicle is back in the State, owners will have 72 hours to get the vehicle inspected. Even the inspection stations are not up on the new process and they are also telling the RVers that they will need to come back to the state before re-registering.

I am trying to get the word out to them also."    Jim Koca
 *******

So note the point of confusion mentioned:
  • the DMV, (TX Department of Motor Vehicles)  handles registration of vehicles, title transfers and license plates
  • DPS (Department of Public Safety) oversees the issuance of drivers licenses and although they make the regulations regarding vehicle inspections, the inspections themselves can be self-certified online with the DMV. 
  • Go to the DMV here to register your vehicle online

Department of Motor Vehicles Registration Link

Hope that clears up some seeming discrepancies in the requirements.  Remember to check the DMV website before completing any online forms just to verify that no new laws have been put into effect.

Have you had any difficulties in getting your vehicles registered in Texas?  Comment below if there are any other Texas residency or registration questions you may have and we'll research them for you.

The text within the asterisks is from Jaimie Bruzenak.  The opening and closing comments are mine.

Teri welcomes you to Hidden Valley RV Park

Teri Blaschke is the RV Park operator of family owned HiddenValley RV Park in San Antonio, TX and writer of the park blog “A Little Piece of Country in San Antonio.” Teri contributes to various other blogs with a focus on either travel or social media and how it relates to the outdoor hospitality industry but her passion is serving the RV travel community by providing a memorable RV camping experience and growing the Hidden Valley RV family.  Connect with us on Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter@HiddenValleyRV


Jaimie Hall Bruzenak is an RV lifestyle expert, specializing in getting started in the RV lifestyle, life on the road, working on the RV road, and solo RVing. She has been RVing since 1992. She and her late husband weren't retired so RVed on a budget and worked on the road. She is the author of Support Your RV Lifestyle! An Insider's Guide to Working on the Road, Retire to an RV: The Roadmap to Affordable Retirement and other RV books. Find out more at RetiretoanRV.com and RVLifestyleExperts.com.

Monday

Your San Antonio RV Park's New Logo

Many of you Hidden Vallians, our readers, guests and friends, have already noted the new Hidden Valley logo.  Our Facebook page, Instagram, twitter, pinterest and google plus pages have all had surveys in early September asking for your choice of several options with different colors and features and the votes were pretty heavy on this one:

Hidden Valley RV Park's New Logo


 Now we're in the process of replacing the old logo with this new one on all our handouts, literature, websites, blog, etc.  This redesign represents a new face for Hidden Valley.  Over this year and next we will be focusing on adding features to make the park more modern but still keeping it's quiet country atmosphere and rustic outdoors feel, intact.

In early 2014 we had our grand opening of the new "Top of the Valley" premium RV sites. We plan to add to that area progressively with more new sites.

We are almost finished construction of the Medio Corner RV sites, a cozy, quiet area for extended stay guests, nestled among some mature shade trees and on a terrace above the Medio Creek. 
Our new RV Site Map with the Medio Corner and Top of the Valley Sites

We have improved our bandwidth for our WiFi systems and are adding WiFi to all of our sites and areas.

Although our entrance road will always be a gravel road, we've instituted a heavier maintenance schedule for it's upkeep and have recently topped it with over 200 sq yards (12 large loads) of road gravel.

In early 2015 we will begin construction of a new registration center, laundry and restroom/shower facility.

We've been joined by a few camp hosts to our team and are very excited to have them begin their stay with us in only a couple days.  Watch our following posts for a formal intro to our new team members.

With our Winter Texan friends about ready to arrive we are very anxious to share our new projects and also to continue to build features that our guests are interested in.

As always we are very attuned to your needs and greatly desire to get your suggestions.  I's like to take this opportunity to encourage all our visitors to use any of the RV review sites they prefer to  inform other RVers of our "Little Piece of Country in San Antonio."   Many of our guests have told us that park reviews are the biggest help in assisting them to find a park to fit their needs.  In case you've never posted a review, here's a list of choices where you can do so:

Trip Advisor

Guest Rated.com

RV Park Reviews.com
(note:this is the Von Ormy, TX page, you need to scroll down to get to Hidden Valley RV Park)

Google Review

Yelp 

Feel free to choose any other review sites as well or to suggest your favorite in the comments below.



Teri welcomes you to Hidden Valley RV Park
Teri Blaschke is the RV Park operator of family owned HiddenValley RV Park in San Antonio, TX and writer of the park blog “A Little Piece of Country in San Antonio.” Teri contributes to various other blogs with a focus on either travel or social media and how it relates to the outdoor hospitality industry but her passion is serving the RV travel community by providing a memorable RV camping experience and growing the Hidden Valley RV family.  Connect with us on Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter@HiddenValleyRV


Saturday

A Travel Tip to Keep Your Teeth Healthy

Ever seen that Seinfeld where Jerry's girlfriend uses his toothbrush that had fallen into the toilet?  That's what came to my mind when I heard it said the other day that our toothbrush has more germs and bacteria than the toilet.  Ewww.  That reminded me that I hadn't cleaned my brush in a while so I headed it over to the dishwasher, my usual fix to disinfect my toothbrush.  Then I wondered if the hot water alone would really get rid of all those streptococci, staphylococci and treponema denticolas that were hopping around on my brush.  Hmmm, I think not.  I also got to thinking that when we travel, our toothbrushes are often 'in touch' with a lot of surfaces instead of being stashed in their normal holder. So this fix is especially important when traveling or RVing.  So what WILL get rid of those harmful, tooth decay causing bacterias.

I've heard of several options.  I saw advertised a special UV lamp that claims to ward them away.  Some people use bleach, (...in my mouth?) rubbing alcohol or dish washing soap.  After a few clicks around the internet I found this natural 'make it yourself' idea over at The Natural Singer blog.

Now, when we travel in the RV, "make it yourself" cleaners are often not practical unless you plan and make them ahead because unusual ingredients are often required and you can only carry around a small number of 'unusual ingredients' in an RV.  But every RVer has these simple ingredients in the cabinet.  And it's cheap and easy to make.
Ingredients, baking soda, water and vinegar

Need: Baking soda, water, white vinegar
Pour about 1/2 cup of water into a glass. Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and 2 tsp of baking soda and mix well. Place your toothbrush (es) into the glass and leave for about 30 minutes.  
Rinse well (unless you want pickled teeth.) Now you have a happy toothbrush!

Vinegar and baking soda are both effective disinfectants and, in addition to disinfecting your toothbrushes, can be used throughout your RV or home as an alternative to toxic commercial household cleaners.

Do you have any easy to make and travel with natural concoctions?  Please share them below then check out all the other comments for ideas.



Teri welcomes you to Hidden Valley RV Park

Teri Blaschke is the RV Park operator of family owned HiddenValley RV Park in San Antonio, TX and writer of the park blog “A Little Piece of Country in San Antonio.” Teri contributes to various other blogs with a focus on either travel or social media and how it relates to the outdoor hospitality industry but her passion is serving the RV travel community by providing a memorable RV camping experience and growing the Hidden Valley RV family.  Connect with us on Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter@HiddenValleyRV



Monday

Some Timely RV Water Safety Tips

If you're a seasoned RVer or full-timer, these simple tips are probably "old hat" to y'all but if you're a newbie, or like me...if you've always let hubby set up the rig, these may be helpful tips to know.
RVs Need a Water Pressure Regulator

Recently we've added several new sites to our RV Park and found that the water pressure there is very high, especially in the quiet season when we have only a few campers. So we've been advising all our RVers to take note of these few important steps. 

First, always use a hose approved for RVs and drinking water.  they are usually white.  Regular garden hoses add a not so sweet rubber flavor to your water and chemicals can also leach into the water from a hose made for other purposes.

An RV Hose, approved for drinking water

Just noticed a great video outlining how to safely hook up RV Park water to your RV and what you need to know for safety.  Mark Polk from RV Education 101 makes it very simple.

In this video you'll learn:
  1. What a water regulator is and how to hook it up
  2. What kinds a regulators are available
  3. Ways to filter water entering your RV if desired
  4. A few other water safety tips for when you RV       




        


Keep in mind that most RV's safely handle 40 to 60 psi (pounds per square inch) but city water systems tend to spike at much higher rates - as high as 120 psi here in Texas.  A regulator will keep the water at a balanced rate. At Hidden Valley we do have a regulator at the entry point of water into our park but these can fail so we still recommend that each RV has their own regulator.  We have seen some who install the regulator at the RV itself rather than at the water source and experienced a bulging hose and eventually a spraying, wet mess.  Of course the worst scenario would be water getting through your hose safely but flooding compartments or rooms of your RV.

Fortunately, an little advance preparation and know how can prevent this from happening and lead to a much more enjoyable RV experience. 

Happy Trails from your San Antonio RV Park!



Teri welcomes you to Hidden Valley RV Park

Teri Blaschke is the RV Park operator of family owned HiddenValley RV Park in San Antonio, TX and writer of the park blog “A Little Piece of Country in San Antonio.” Teri contributes to various other blogs with a focus on either travel or social media and how it relates to the outdoor hospitality industry but her passion is serving the RV travel community by providing a memorable RV camping experience and growing the Hidden Valley RV family.  Connect with us on Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter@HiddenValleyRV
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