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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

Are you Losing Money on Your RV Trips?

It's no secret that the faster we drive the more gas our vehicles guzzle.  Without a doubt there are always going to be times that we are in a hurry and without thinking our foot is a little heavier on the pedal.  But consider these few facts and try to keep them in mind while driving and you may have a bit more control over what you pay at the pump.

Is it really that big a deal?


Your driving habits, like speeding and rapid acceleration, can cut into your fuel use by up to 30%!
The graph below from from fueleconomy.gov shows the direct effect of speed on the miles per gallon your vehicle maintains. 
Note that at 55 mph a vehicle runs at optimum efficiency but that each 5 miles above 55 shows a distinct decrease in a vehicles miles per gallon. This works out to paying 10 cents more per gallon for fuel if you travel 60 mph or 20 cents more per gallon if you go 70 mph. 

Why?


According to MPGforSpeed.com this effect happens for two reasons:

1) Increasing air resistance. According to CNN, "Pushing air around actually takes up about 40% of a car's energy at highway speeds. Traveling faster makes the job even harder...The increase is actually exponential, meaning wind resistance rises much more steeply between 70 and 80 mph than it does between 50 and 60. "

2) Engines are designed for specific speed, temperature, and rpm ranges. Driving out of these ranges goes against the fundamental design of the engine.
Interesting Facts If the national speed limit were reset to 55, it would save 1 billion barrels of oil per year.
Click here to get your own calculator


Remember back in the 70's when they made the national speed limit 55 mph?  There was much research behind the theory that this would help the energy crisis and applying it personally can still address the cost of fuel for us today. Savings on fuel can give us an extra night eating out on the road or a fancy gadget for our RV.  Happy RVing!


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

Are You a Good RV Neighbor?

These reminders were shared from Jamie Bruzenak's RV Lifestyle Ezine:
 
"Have you thought about what it takes to be a good neighbor in an RV park? If not, you probably do recognize when someone parked near you is not! Good etiquette includes:
                                                      
1. Keep arrivals and departures low-key.  If you come in late, dim your lights and turn them off as quickly as you can. Use flashlights or lanterns if necessary to hook up to utilities. If you will be leaving early, get prepared the night before by putting chairs, etc. away so you can minimize noise. Owners of diesels should know they do not need to be run for more than a few minutes before leaving. If you are hooking up, do so, then turn off your engine until you are ready to pull out.

2. Do not walk through other’s space. Stick to the roads and walkways so you don’t violate someone’s privacy. If you have children with you, teach them to do so also, and to keep their toys or bikes on your own site. Make sure all your possessions including awnings and slideouts are on your own site.

3. Keep the volume on your TV, radio or stereo down. Your neighbors don’t want to hear your noise. Step outside your RV and listen. If you can hear it easily, it is too loud.

4. Keep any pets on your site on a leash or penned. When you walk them, keep them on a short leash and under control. Many people are allergic or afraid of animals and do not want to pet your animal. It should go without saying, that no matter how small your pets are, pick up after them and dispose of their waste in the dumpster or provided container.

5. Respect quiet hours. Others should not hear noise coming from your RV site during quiet hours. If you are camped in a campground with no hookups or are boondocking somewhere, do not run your generator after 10 p.m. or before 8 a.m. (Unless other quiet hours are posted).

6. Using facilities—share. Do not hog all the washers and dryers! Be mindful of how long you take to shower. Little things like this make everyone’s stay more pleasant.

7. Clean up when you leave. Make sure you pick up all your items as well as any trash before leaving. Try to leave the area cleaner than you found it. This will be a good time to double check that you are completely disconnected from any hookups!

Camping is a lot of fun. Following these few guidelines will make everyone’s stay nicer."


 
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 and other RV books. Find out more at RVLifestyleExperts.com 
 
Thanks, Jamie, for your timely reminders for all us seasoned and new RVers.
 

Friday

Sparkling Light Craft for Your RV


Are you looking for a fun and inexpensive way to dress up your RV? Here is a fun activity the whole family can help with.

:  
All you will need is:
  • A stapler  
  • 50 9oz soft plastic cups 
  • 100 mini lights string (different color combos can accompany different seasons or holidays)
  • drill 
1. First, drill a hole in the bottom of 50 cups big enough to fit two of the lights from the string of lights.
2. Then, place 12 of the cups in a circle stapling each cup twice to secure them together.

3. Next, form the next layer which is going to be a circle of 9 cups. This time each cup is going to be stapled 3 times on each side and then to the bottom layer of 12.
4. The next layer is going to be 4 cups attached to each other and also the bottom layer. It should have the shape of a half sphere.

5. Then repeat steps 2-4 and form the bottom half of your sphere.
6. Then you are going to take one end of the string of lights and start inserting 2 lights in each cup working around, zigzagging from outer cups to inner cups. End up at the cup next to one you started with. Then repeat this step in the second half of the sphere starting at the other end of the string of lights.

7. Finally you are going to connect the two halves of the sphere by stapling the bottom layer of each half.

This sparking light sphere is perfect for decorating the outside of your RV. You'll be the envy of the entire RV park with your festive lighting.   




 

Contributed by Bethany Castillo. 
Bethany enjoys writing about a variety of topics including travel, animals and food. She is also an avid reader of magazines, 
novels, and blogs.  

Glow in the Dark Bubbles

Fun Kids Activity For Your RV Trip this summer 

glow sticks and bubbles
Looking for some outdoor fun for the whole family try this fun activity. All you will need is glow sticks and bubbles. Simply take your glow sticks and cut or break them open. Then pour the contents into the bubble solution. Shake well and voila you have glow in the dark bubbles. The kids will have so much fun with these on a breezy summer night. 


bubble fun



















 

Contributed by Bethany Castillo. 
Bethany enjoys writing about a variety of topics including travel, animals and food. She is also an avid reader of magazines, 
novels, and blogs.  

Wednesday

A Tip to Save Your RV from Preventable Damage

This is just a shortie post  to share a video with y'all about RV slide out covers.  Most all RV's have at least one these days and there's no getting around it - they add so much space and give you a feeling of more space as well.  This video was made by Pete's RV and although I've watched a few other related videos, this one not only proves the benefits of having slide toppers but also the resulting damage if they are not installed on your RV.

At our RV park I have come across two scenarios in regard to slide out toppers.

  • A guest told me about his winterizing experience.  The RV was parked in his driveway and after a snow, the snow melted in day time and refroze as ice shortly after, stretching the vinyl of the topper.  He solved the problem from reoccurring by closing his slide outs when possible or by putting a large ball between the awning and the slide out roof to keep snow, water or ice from staying on the awning. 
  • At our park, there are many squirrels.  We were watching them one day as this proud mother to be squirrel was building her nest between the roof of the slide out and the topper cover.  We observed this several times...even after removing all the twigs, leaves, etc. that she so conscientiously accumulated.  Our solution was to use a leaf blower, you could use a broom, to remove the debris and put a small 4 X 4 on each side opening to block her entrance.  Worked like a champ.

I always saw the covers as only protection from the elements but there's a lot more that slide outs need protection from and resulting damage can be extensive (slide out seal damage, water damage inside, etc.) and is usually not covered by insurance companies.

So, to protect your RV investment, you can get these RV awnings installed aftermarket or even better when you purchase it.

I am in between RV's right now but this video has sold me on getting them installed on my next RV.  If you look at the related videos section on You Tube after you view this video you'll find several videos on easy DIY installation of different brands on toppers.

Enjoy the video and "Happy Trails!
If you have any experiences with Slide Out Topper Covers, please share them in the comments.



           



 

Teri welcomes you to Hidden Valley RV ParkTeri 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

8 Tips for Sharing the Space in Your RV


“Move over!” “Where are my shoes?” “I need more space!” Conversations like these can likely be heard in an RV. RVing is a pleasant way to travel and see the country with your family however it also doesn’t afford you a ton of space. So here are some tips to help you navigate the tight space in a RV and help you have a fun, relaxing and stress free RV trip, whether you are a full time RVer or a weekend vacationer.  
 

Tip #1 Mutual Respect is Key

Respecting each others space in the RV can dissolve many of the issues. Have your own designated
areas for belongings and respect those areas. Keeping your area clean and tidy can also help to avoid frustration with one another.

less is more 

Tip #2 Less is more

Over packing your RV means less space for you to live in. Try packing only 2-3 days of food and clothes. Many RV parks have washing machines available to you for laundry. Purchasing food on the road as you need it will also save you lots of storage space.

 

 

storage containers create space

 Tip #3 Get organized


Assign places for key items and if you use them make sure to return them to their place. Agree with your family where things will be, this will help your RV stay tidy and organized. Utilize all the storage space available in your RV. Storage containers can help in assigning places to your items and keeping them in order. Resolve to put things back in their designated spot immediately after use.

Planning meals ahead of time can also help take the stress of having to decide on what to eat on the road.  Before your trip, preparing vegies that can be hard to store whole, (think water melon, long celery stalks) can save you time and space. Consider grilling outside whenever possible.  Keep counter space at an optimum by washing and putting away dishes right away.

 

Tip #4 Take breaks

When the family is cranky and tired no one is having fun. So take driving breaks don’t try to overdrive this will just lead to frustration of the driver and everyone else. Try to keep your travel to about 350 miles a day or less. If possible plan your arrival times to you destination during the day. Late check-ins are more difficult and stressful. Checking in before dark is also more considerate of your RV neighbors who may already be asleep.

 

 

Tip #5  Give your pets a space

When organizing your RV set up a space for any pets that you will be traveling with. Whether it's a kennel or a corner of the sofa, set up a spot with their "blankey" and a few favorite toys.  We often forget that our pets enjoy having their own space to relax in. This will also keep them from roaming about in your limited space.

 

 

Tip #6 Go on an adventure

When you do arrive at your destination go exploring. Find local places that the whole family will enjoy. With a little research you can find local gems including restaurants and attractions. Ask the RV park staff where they would recommend you visit. They may have great recommendations for you to check  out.

 

Tip #7 Beware of the souvenir trap

With the limited space in an RV you will want to avoid going overboard in the souvenirs you purchase. If however you can't live without another snow globe or coffee mug from you recent vacation spot consider shipping them home. This will save you space in your RV without having to leave behind your new found treasures.

Keeping the peace  

Tip #8 Keep the Peace

Living in a tight space there are going to be small disagreements. If so remember to forgive one another and move on. Don’t let those small disagreements ruin your wonderful vacation. If you are wrong (or even if you're not) apologize and help each other to let it go. 





These tips will help you to enjoy your cozy RV with your family while seeing and visiting beautiful places throughout the country, finding quiet hidden gems such as Hidden Valley RV Park along the way.

Do you have any more tips for sharing a tight RV space share them below in the comments?


 

Contributed by Bethany Castillo. 
Bethany enjoys writing about a variety of topics including travel, animals and food. She is also an avid reader of magazines, 
novels, and blogs.  
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