Friday, April 21, 2017

Boost Your RV Cell Phone Signal

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Can You Hear Me Now?
    Are you getting enough use from your smart phone when you’re on the go in your RV? There are still many dead zones out there and many other regions where reception is slow or unreliable.  What do you need to know about cell phone signal boosters for vehicles?

    The test site rates ten units, scoring them them 7.48 to 9.8. Maximum gain (in decibels) in their tests is as low as 23 with their top six models delivering 50 db.  Test models  have 2, 3 or 5 frequency bands. Weights vary widely. The site’s  top award winning weBoost Drive 4G-M weighs just over a pound, with some models weighing as much as 3.5 pounds.

    The success of the new weBoost Drive 4G-X RVcell phone signal booster (it's made specifically for RV's)  brings up questions women should ask before spending several hundred dollars for such a unit.

    In addition to peace of mind, such a unit may also be a business tool that is (1) tax deductible or (2) paid for by your employer. Ask. 

      * I have a smart phone, laptop and a tablet. How many devices does this unit serve?

       * The installation of a booster in my office took hours, a technician and a mile of wires. Can I install and set up an RV unit myself? What is involved?
    * My last booster worked only with some cell phones.  Is this one compatible with all  major networks?

    * Just how much of a signal boost does it deliver?  Most units now promise “up to” 32X.

    * I love movies.  I hate dropped calls. Will it improve upload and download speeds? Voice quality? Signal reliability? 

    * What kind of warranty does it have? Money back guarantee? (The weBoost has a two-year warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee.)

* Does it work as well underway as when I’m parked?

* Does it require an antenna? Permanently mounted? Directional or omnidirectional?    

* Are any other accessories required at added cost?
See Janet Groene’s easy recipes for camping and RV travel at campandrvcook

For today, any day or Mother’s Day, Janet Groene’s paperback book Cooking Aboard Your RV, 2nd Edition, is filled with delicious shortcut recipes 

Leslie’s Lane

Leslie Royal is half sunshine, half jumping bean. An energetic writer,  she specializes in consumerism with endless tips for women on travel,  finance, freebies, scholarships and jobs.  Her upbeat enthusiasm is boundless and her smile lights up a room. You’ll see her features in magazines such as Essence, Fortune and Black Enterprise and perhaps you follow her blog, Leslie’s Lane. Now get her book.

Friday, April 14, 2017

RV Full-timing with Children? Homeschool Rocks

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What RV Women Need
To Know About Homeschooling

    Is your children”s school schedule keeping you from going full-timing? Homeschool can get you Out There sooner than you think. 

    For answers I went to Shirley M.R. Minster, M.S. Ed., a Master Degree certified teacher with credentials in education, educational guidance, and counseling. A founder of Royal Academy Education and a long-time leader in the homeschool field, she works full-time as an online teacher.
    Learn more about Royal Academy at

    QUESTION: I am a single mother on a budget. I can’t afford a large RV. What space do I need for a school setting?

     SHIRLEY MINSTER. A child needs only  a flat space on which to write or draw. The table is fine, but so is a lapboard.   Have a quiet area (the bed space, for instance) so reading and writing can be more focused. A good reading lamp is helpful, too, and internet capability. Younger children  need art materials, which can be boxed up so they don’t roll around.. I recommend a math textbook and some reading books, but with the accessibility of textbooks online, and excellent choices of literature online, space isn’t as much of an issue as in earlier years.
    Children can work inside or outside. Keep one school box per child so school materials are all together.

    QUESTION: When leaving a homeschool program, how can I return my children to  public school?
    SHIRLEY MINSTER. Records are important. Keep a portfolio for each year that each child was homeschooled. It should include the child’s picture, a list of courses completed, names of textbooks and materials used, a list of literature read,  field trips taken includingphotos of places visited and proof of projects completed (e.g., murals, posters, science experiments). (If you keep these reports and photos on a thumb drive, make sure to have a backup.)
    If you kept grades for your child, write out your grading scale (i.e., A = 90-100, B = 80-89). If you didn’t use a traditional grading system, write a simple explanation of how you knew when your child was ready to move on to higher levels. I also recommend that you include an explanation about the many enriching opportunities your child had while Rving.

QUESTION; Is any financial aid available?
SHIRLEY MINSTER. No, but look for materials in used bookstores, Goodwill, and Salvation Army stores as well as online. Suggest to family members that they give gifts of books and materials, but be specific so you have what can be used that year. If you have more than one child, look for materials that can be re-used.

QUESTION: My son has ADHD and is now in a special program in public school. Is it fair to him to try homeschool?
SHIRLEY MINSTER: Often a child with ADHD is very successful in homeschool because he can focus on one subject at a time for a smaller amount of time. The atmosphere is more conducive too. There is no classroom noise, no other students distracting him. Because you are celebrating what he is learning and his personal interests, he will enjoy homeschooling, too.

QUESTION; When I’m on the road, all alone, where can I get help?
SHIRLEY MINSTER.  First, go to state and national websites. They often list free, downloadable materials. Also, check out the state library. AAA and the National Park Service have  interesting materials, many of them free.I also work with families who are on the road, on the ocean, in the air!
JANET GROENE ADDS: There are also online support groups for full-timers with children such as (www.) and (www.) 

QUESTION: How far can my children go in homeschooling?
SHIRLEY MINSTER: You can continue through high school. Students who are considering college can take online courses. Some parents stay in one location for a semester so their high schooler can attend a local college on campus. If a student is considering a career in science, it’s important to have lab equipment and materials available. They can be purchased through supply companies. Your child can take an online course, do the experiments in the RV, and complete the course.

QUESTION; I don’t have a college degree. Can I handle homeschooling for my kids?
SHIRLEY MINSTER: One does not need a college degree to homeschool. If the parent does not feel qualified, either hire a tutor for that  subject or enroll the student in an online course. A LIVE-TIME course is better, in my opinion, than one that has been taped because the student can ask questions immediately rather than emailing questions and waiting  until the teacher gets back to him.

QUESTION; Tell us more about your role.
SHIRLEY MINSTER: Royal Academy is a full-time, internationally accredited, year ‘round school. Our staff will design the program that best fits your child. We work live-time (personally present) with each child .We also write courses to fit each student. Some classes have up to 5 students and they can interact, encourage, and have fun with others. Other courses are taught one-on-one. Our teachers and staff love to travel, too, so you’ll be talking with like-minded folks!

JANET GROENE. Thank you, Mrs. Minster. /

RV Travel on a Budget, a Mother and Son Guide to Roadschooling the USA is available at

Friday, April 7, 2017

Washday in the Campground

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When you use the campground's coin-op machines you do all your loads a once. 

Avoiding Washouts

    When you’re home, you do laundry as needed. When you’re in the RV for a weekend or vacation, laundry can wait until you get home. Things change greatly, however, when you leave for a long RV trip or, better still, when you go full-timing.

Here’s how to come clean.
    * Compact washers-dryers are available for installation in larger RVs. Before you buy, carefully consider whether you’d rather devote the weight, water and space to something else. 

    * Plastic laundry baskets are bulky. Make or buy fabric bags. Fill them with dirty clothes, add a soap pod and put everything in the washer including the bags. Bring clean, folded clothes back to the RV in the clean bags.  

    * Check machines before adding clothes. I’ve found crayons, chocolate and lipstick left behind in washers. They would have ruined my wash load. Also, small items such as socks get stuck in dryers due to static cling. Check before leaving.

    *When using coin laundries, be there. Waiting for a machine, another camper might remove your clean clothes and put them just anywhere. Or, a well-meaning neighbor might put them in the dryer for you, not realizing that the wrong heat setting will ruin the load. 

    * Never forget to treat a stain. If it’s safe for the fabric, use a stain stick on dirt as it happens. Then put in the hamper. 

    * Use dye-absorbing sheets in every load. They prevent accidents (the red sock in the white tee shirts) and allow you wash everything in one load. Even if you sorted your own laundry carefully, you can miss things left behind by a previous user of the same machine. 

    * Take plenty of hangers to the laundry room. Fluff-dry items until they are warm and wrinkle free but still damp. Shake and hang. No ironing. 

      *When bookdocking I do laundry by hand in a child-size, inflatable swimming pool. It's roomy enough for sheets yet it stows in no space at all. Soak, agitate using a toilet plunger, rinse.

    * Don’t trust an expensive item (your silk blouse; the custom bedspread) to a laundry machine you haven’t tried before. It could be hotter, colder or more harsh than similar machines. Too, water hardness varies widely around the country. If this is your first time to use this machine, you may use too much or too little soap.  

    * Observe campground rules. Some do not allow you to hang wash outside. Install a retractable clothesline reel in the RV. Some reels are tiny, suitable for quick drying of swim suits. Some provide up to 98 feet or more of drying space. I like this one, which has four, ten-foot lines. 

See Janet Groene's easy recipes for camping and RV travel at   

Friday, March 31, 2017

RV Warrants and Service Contracts

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    Warranties. RV service contracts. Is it a scam or a lifesaver? Some of each? None of each?

    Extended warranties are offered these days on almost everything we buy including the RV and everything inside it from the built-in microwave to the flush toilet. Let’s start with the RV itself.

    When you’re wrapping up the purchase of the RV, decisions are many and pressure is intense. Before you pop the cork over an extended warranty or service contract, take a deep breath and a long look. 

    Most new rigs come with a boilerplate warranty and perhaps optional service contract after the expiration of the original warranty. With a used RV you may be able to negotiate a “new car” warranty on all or parts of the rig as part of the deal.

    In any case, it’s worth the time to get a copy of the warranty to read at your leisure. You may even want to have your attorney or mechanic go over it with you.

    * If you have to pay for it, it’s a service contract and not a warranty. Your RV and many of its components and furnishings came with warranties good for a specified time. Even if you’re buying a used RV it’s possible that some manufacturer warranties  on some components are still valid. Know what you already have before paying for more.

     * When you buy a service contract, know who issues the contract and who fulfills it. Read the entire contract, not just the brochure. If it’s a dealer contract and you  have to have the work done at this dealership, that's no help if you’re in California when the trouble starts and the dealer is back in Ohio. 

    * Be prepared to pay something for each repair. You probably aren’t covered for every possible claim.  Many service contracts come with a co-pay or deductible. You are probably also not covered for what is called consequential damage. That’s damage that occurs to one component due to a failure of another part. Say, for example, there's a plumbing leak that ruins the expensive flooring or a tire blows out and ruptures through a closet floor. Oh, how tricky that clause can be!

    * Be prepared for a waiting period. Under a service contract you may be required to visit only authorized shops and/or get authorization before work begins.

    * A transferable warranty is a plus when you sell your RV,  although you or the new buyer may have to pay a fee for the transfer. 

    Bottom line: be a comparison shopper, read the fine print. The relax and enjoy your RV to the max.
Think you want to live in your RV as a full-time way of life? Here's how to begin it, live it, end it when and if the time comes.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Better RV Life, Better Towing

blog copyright janet groene. All rights reserved. To ask about rates for one ad, one year, all Groene sites, email

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Things to Know Before You Tow
    Think you’ll never tow? Even if your RV is a motorhome, providing you a complete home and complete vehicle in one, you may want to tow something someday: a small car, a trailer with watercraft or motorcycles, a sailboat, a jon boat for fishing . 

    You already have insurance on the vehicle that does the pulling. You have insurance on the car, boat, water toy or ATV that is being pulled.   But what about the trailer or dolly under that car, boat or ATV?
  Here, from Boat Owners Association of the United States, are tips on protecting a tow.

    + First, says BoatUS,  understand the roles of your homeowner*, auto, boat and boat trailer insurances. 

    + When shopping for insurance for your trailerable boat, ask if the policy provides boat trailer coverage. Not all insurers provide it.

    + Know the value of the dolly or  trailer itself.  Your insurer needs to know the cost of the boat and trailer separately. If not, the insurer may have difficulty compensating you fairly in the event of a claim.

    + Are there geographic limits on how far you may trailer a boat? 

    + Check your auto/truck/motorhome insurance. Does it include liability coverage for  damage to others’ property caused while trailering? Say, for example, you are driving the motorhome while towing a trailer and back it into a fence. Is your motorhome liable? Your trailer? The boat or motorcycles on the trailer?  

    + Check your homeowner’s insurance to make sure the trailer itself is covered when it’s parked at home. 

    + Read the fine print. If you store a boat trailer at a marina or other storage facility, what about insurance?  It’s likely the facility isn’t liable for any loss. 

    + Roadside assistance?  Your RV's coverage may include roadside assistance but what if it’s the trailer that is disabled and you have to leave it at the side of the road? Coverage may be available at added cost, usually with a towing limit of 50 or 100 miles.

    The more travel toys you have, the more important it is to get insurance from a specialist who covers all the bases from all possible angles.
* If you are a full-time RV-er with no homeowner insurance, look into extra policies to cover things usually covered by a homeowner policy. (Such as your dog biting a neighbor or your golf ball hitting another player.) 

    Janet Groene’s recipes and tips for camp cooks are found at Camp and RV Cook.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Health Care, Jobs and the RV Lifestyle

Blog copyright Janet Groene, all rights reserved. For permissions or to ask about rates for one ad, one year, all Groene sites,  email

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 Medical Skills Can
Fund Your RV Fun

    Do you dream of going RV full-timing now, not after retirement? Unless you win the lottery you’ll need a portable profession. The medical field is wide open and getting hotter. And you don’t necessarily need a college degree, R.N. or M.D. after your name.

    Thanks to sites such as BecomeAnXray, and, jobs in the medical field can take you anywhere.

How it Works

    Contact a staffing or recruitment agency that specializes in travel healthcare jobs. Are you a clinical laboratory scientist? At we found more than a dozen temporary jobs ranging from nine to 26 weeks, in locations from Boston to California. Are you a Cardiovascular Intervention Technician?  Choose from half a dozen 13-week gigs from Connecticut to Kansas. A Cath Lab Tech? How about 13 weeks in San Luis Obispo, California?

    As a traveler you’ll be employed by the agency, not the clinic, hospital or medical practice. The agency takes care of your state licensing, travel and housing. Many hospitals have RV hook-ups or are near fabulous campgrounds. Agencies may also provide health benefits and other perks. Search  by job description, preferred location and duration of the job. Then work where you choose and move on when you need money again. 

    Healthcare occupations that are available as travel jobs include  nursing, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, medical imaging, cardio cath and many other skills.  Agencies generally want professionals who’ve had at least one year of clinical experience. You should  be adaptable because your work environment, job duties and fellow employees will change constantly.  You’ll also need to be a quick learner because job training for each new assignment is short and intense.   

    Benefits are many. Traveling healthcare jobs usually pay better because they are temporary and critically needed, although pay varies depending on  your qualifications and the area where you work. You’ll have lots of adventures, meet wonderful people and live in a variety of places along the way. 

I’ll see YOU down the road.

Janet Groene’s book Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition takes you through the full-time life on wheels from making the decision through choosing the rig,  earning a living on the go, how to choose a home base and much more. It's available here.