Friday, July 21, 2017

Home Again from Your RV Travels. Now What?

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Coming Home: 10 Ways to UN-Trip Your RV

You’ve home again after a wonderful RV trip. You’re exhausted but energized  with great travel memories. It’s time to put away the RV, safely and with gratitude,  until next time.

Do it right and it will pay off in an easier departure  next time. It will also pay back eventually in resale value.

Do you live in your RV full-time? These tips work for you too when you get to a place where you have time to catch up on your housekeeping. 

Make a shut-down checklist, just as you have a start-up checklist. Here are ways to UN-trip your motorhome, RV or camper for short-term storage. (We’ll cover long-term  lay-up at another time.) 

* Empty the black water tank as late in the home-bound trip as possible, preferably after a long run, so solids are stirred up. The tank will drain more thoroughly. It’s also good to store the rig with the fuel tank full and ready to go. 

* Launder everything, even if you slept on the sheets only one or two nights. Modern fabrics have a special affinity for body soil. That’s why we like fabrics that “wick away body heat and sweat”.  However, odors and stains stay in these fibers and develop stinks and stains, even in garments, bedding and towels that were used briefly.   

* Deal now with any stains in upholstery or carpeting. The longer they set, the tougher it will be to dislodge them.  

* Charge all batteries and battery-operated accessories like the Dust Buster. For longer storage times, remove batteries so they don’t leak and corrode. (Don’t forget the TV remote and the kids’ toys). 

* If possible, put galley gear through your home dishwasher from time to time. The hotter water and harsher detergent will rout out soil that is missed in hand dishwashing. Don’t forget the cutting boards and the crumb tray from the toaster oven. 

* Remove opened food packages and anything that could attract roaches or mice. After washing the fridge, leave the door ajar for air circulation. 

* Covered storage is a plus. If not, close curtains and use shades where possible such as in  the windshield and over the tires. 

* Leave drawers and interior doors ajar for air circulation.

* In some situations it’s wise to use jacks so tires don’t develop flat spots. If you leave the refrigerator on it’s essential that the rig is stored level. 

* Lastly, set off a bug bomb as you close the door for the last time, especially if you have had a pet on board.  If any fleas or flea eggs were left behind, they continue to breed. I’ve heard horror stories of people being swarmed by starving fleas as they stepped into an RV that had been stored for even a few days. 

What’s on your shut-down checklist? Please share by leaving a Comment.
See Janet Groene’s easy recipes for RV travel at Camp And RV Cook

Friday, July 14, 2017

8 Ways to Save RV Battery Power

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Do your slides require battery power to open and close? Know all the places in your RV that require electricity. The full list may surprise you.

8 Ways to Conserve
RV Battery Power

    By now you know that your RV batteries allow you to light up and cool down even if you are not plugged in or running a generator. 

    Known as the “house” batteries (as different from your engine’s “start” battery)  they are designed for long periods of use. Even if you operate on household power that is supplied by an inverter, it’s the batteries that provide the juice.

    House batteries are charged when you plug into an electric hookup and may also be charged by solar panels or running the engine. 

    How long and how strong depends on how you use them. Here’s how to make them last longer.

    1. First, know what items in your RV draw on battery power. It isn’t just lights and a 12-volt fridge. It’s pumps, electronic ignition in the gas stove and gas furnace, entertainment electronics, the electric awning, vent fans, slides  and the chargers for your phones and other devices. It’s easy to forget that you’re using battery power when, say, flushing the toilet or  running the electric step in and out. 

    2. Learn new habits when it comes to using juice. You can’t just take it for granted any more. For example, when running the fridge on battery power you can turn off the automatic icemaker, which uses extra power. 

    3.   Even if you’re not tech savvy, have a general idea of what appliances are the biggest battery drainers. Generally, that’s is anything that makes heat such as a 12-volt hair dryer or slow cooker. Do the lights go dim when a motor kicks in? That too is a clue to high energy use. 

    4. When you plug into shore power don’t forget to fully charge all your rechargeables including tools, flashlights and the Dust Buster. When recharging from an inverter, unplug chargers when finished or they will continue to consume power. 

    5.  As much as possible switch to LED bulbs. They give much more brightness for much less power. 

    6. You don’t have to go to a complete solar installation to make use of sun power. The RV market offers solar vent fans that are easily installed on existing overhead vent spaces. Automotive and office supply  markets offer inexpensive windowsill solar phone  chargers for phones and other small appliances. This solar fan cools the refrigerator vent when the RV is parked in hot sun.

    7. Watch that energy waste when you are outdoors and using RV power. Replace awning lights with LED bulbs. Use LED lanterns outside instead of the RV’s lights. Keep tabs on the kids when they are using 12-volt inflaters for beach toys. In fact, this is a good time to educate kids in all types of energy conservation. In an RV, supplies are limited.

    8.  Explore alternatives to 12-volt appliances. Heat water on the gas stove to use in a drip coffee maker or French press. Devise a fireless cooker to replace the slow cooker. Snuggle under a goose down duvet instead of a 12-volt electric blanket. 

         When we were kids, Dad always reminded us to turn off the lights when we left the room. It's still a good habit to have. 
See Janet Groene's RV-ready recipes at htttp:// 


Friday, July 7, 2017

12 Great RV Space Savers

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12 Smart Ways to
Save Space in Your RV

    Today’s marketplace offers many space-pinching gadgets but your RV moves. That means stored items must be secured, not just stowed.  

    Hanging from a hook, an item will sway from road motion and scar the wall. Left on a open shelf, items will fall out when you round a tight corner. In a panic stop, things leap off shelves and hit you in the back of the head.  
       Here are ways to help you carry more items, more secure and handier too.


* Invest in a lifetime supply of square, space-efficient, stackable,  storage modules for food, hobby supplies, nuts and bolts.  Square and rectangular containers store better than round. Small containers here
Larger square containers here


* Instead of throw pillows, buy or sew pillow shams and covers. Stuff them with things you have to store anyway such as down vests, beach towels, extra linens, fleece throws, lingerie, knits. Bonus points: these refillable covers are usually machine washable.

* Designed to roll between washer and dryer, these rolling storage shelves will fit a nook or cranny in your RV. They  are only 5 inches wide. Once it’s in its nook, devise a strap to keep it in.   

* Save ribbed tops from worn-out socks and use them as storage sleeves for rolled sun hats, bras and paired shoes and slippers. 

* Pull out the drawers in your RV galley and see if there is any wasted space behind them. Often there’s enough room in what I call “dead storage” to stow lightweight supplies such as tissue boxes and toilet paper. 

* This high quality “shelf” rolls up for storage. It unrolls to fit over the sink as a drainer, defroster or shelf space. I love its easy-cleaning lines for the galley.
 roll up sink drainer.

* Raise your computer monitor and add storage space too. See this space saving
monitor stand  

* Attach these grippers anywhere. They are just the right size for spice bottles.
Spice bottle gripper 

* Tuck in your scarves and paired socks or hose in this hanging scarf holder.

* Swing-out towel racks are always a plus in the kitchen and bath areas of the RV, especially when they are heavy duty, high quality stainless steel like this one.

* Most rolling storage shelves are at least five inches wide, which is necessary for storing most food or laundry supplies. However, this little gem is only 3.5 inches wide. That’s ideal for spices. Rolling spice storage shelves only 3 ½ inches wide see

See easy recipes for camping and RV travel at New feature, Foil Recipe of the Week is a recipe you can cook in, and eat from, foil. No dishes to wash! 

My friend Laurie bought a used RV that had belonged to a smoker. She washed hard surfaces and rented a carpet cleaner but the stink remained in upholstery until she unzipped the covers and gave them a home dry cleaning  in her dryer. While covers were off she sprayed the foam cushions with an odor neutralizer and put them in the sun to dry. It worked!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Women! 5 Reasons why an RV Can Be Your ONLY Ride?

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 Top 5 Reasons Women Can Have an RV and Only an RV

    My friend Angie no longer has her Casita  trailer and she misses it. She loved having  a bathroom, bed and basic kitchen on the road. 

With her RV she was free from gas station restrooms. 
Free from greasy spoon roadside meals. 
Free from airline delays and body searches. 
Free to sleep in the woods or to splurge on a site in a resort campground complete with golf course and spa. 

    Now she’s moving into an apartment where she is allowed only one parking space. She’s thinking about replacing her everyday car with a self-contained Class B motorhome. 
Is it too crazy to do all your errands, your commute and your grocery runs in an RV? 

“Why not?” I asked her.”It will park in the same size space you use now.” 

     Is this the year you’ll have, drive and ENJOY your own RV?   Here are 5 Top Reasons to go for it.

1. It’s possible to have a fully self-contained motorhome in only 20 to 24 feet. That’s not much longer than  a classic 1955 Cadillac or a 2017 Ford Silverado pickup truck. You can angle park it anywhere and sometimes fit in a parallel parking spot.  You'll soon get used to a wider, higher vehicle. Height may be a problem only at some drive-throughs. It's possible to get a Class B motorhome that fits in a regular garage or car port.

2. Driving, backing and maneuvering a motorhome is easier than ever before thanks to power assists and rear-viewing TV. Moreover, you’re sitting higher in an RV than in a car, so you have a better view of the road and surroundings.

3. Mileage probably won’t be as good as in your present family car but you can get at least 15 mpg from a gas or diesel motorhome in the 20-to-23-foot size. Look at the big picture. If a small motorhome is your only vehicle, you’ll have only one insurance to pay. You’ll pay tolls on only two axles.
You’ll no longer have to pay to store an extra RV. 

4. In terms of maintenance and warranties,  you'll have only one maintenance calendar to worry about. And the depreciation meter will be ticking on only one vehicle. If you finance your rides, you'll be making payments on, and paying interest on, just one loan.

5-10.  In my view, the whole top 5, even the whole top 10 reasons to drive an RV everywhere are to have a clean, convenient, private bathroom. No more stinking vault toilets in campgrounds. No more grungy gas station restrooms.  No more need to get out of the vehicle in dangerous areas only because you have to use a rest room. To be fully self-contained I also want my own shower. That’s do-able in as little as 21 feet and maybe less.  

For 10 years I lived full-time in a 21-foot motorhome and a 29-foot sailboat. If you want to go full-timing, here's how. Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition

See easy recipes for camping and RV travel at CampAndRVCook

Friday, June 23, 2017

Top 5 Motorhome Mishaps and How to Avoid Them

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Five Motorhome Mishaps
You Can Avoid

    Here from Shield Total Insurance, a British company, are the five mishaps that are most responsible for  motorhome insurance claims.
   1.  Motorhome windshields are large, odd shaped and costly. “Windscreen/glass damage accounts for a massive 46% of all insurance claims," finds this insurer. Damage ranges from chips, cracks and scratches to full blowouts. Here’s where it pays to be insured because a replacement MH windshield can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars. 

    Stuart Craig, of Shield Total Insurance recommends, “Always report a chip immediately to your insurance provider and get it repaired as quickly as possible. From a cold snap to a bump in the road, a chip can easily turn into a crack, increasing the cost of repair. 

    “Keep your windows and wiper blades clean because stones, grit and sand can scratch your windshield, reducing visibility. Close all windows before you hit the road. Leaving a window open even slightly can result in a crack or a window blow-out due to high pressure when traveling at speed.

2. Road accidents are responsible for 19% of the company’s claims. Of these,  24% were from vehicles that were hit while parked, 14% from collisions from ahead and 14% from being hit in the rear . Accidents when reversing came in with 12% ;  incidents when pulling out accounted for 9% of all road accidents.

    Stuart recommends parking outside big cities and taking public transportation where possible.  He finds that multi-story parking garages may not be able to accommodate large rigs or may charge extra.  When parking on the roadside, be aware that your wide width  could invite a sideswipe.”

 3. Third party and impact related claims account for 12% of  claims made by this company’s customers. Says Stuart “Expect the unexpected. The beauty of a motorhome is having the ability to go anywhere, but not every place can accommodate a large rig. Don’t rely on your sat-nav. Buy a good map and take time to look at the roads and consider if they are (suitable for RV travel)”. Janet adds: also know the exact height of your rig and beware of low bridges and drive-throughs.

4. Theft accounts for only 6.5% of all motorhome insurance claims says this company.  The good news is that 40% of stolen  motorhomes are  recovered. Most thefts occur from home, so increase security there. There are a number of excellent security products on the market such as trackers, immobilizers and alarms. The investment is worth the extra peace of mind.  Adding security devices can also reduce your insurance premiums, Stuart says.

5.  In addition to the tips above from Stuart Shields, I’ll add that right turns can turn and bite you. Whether you’re in a motorhome, car or truck with a trailer in tow or any oversize rig, you can hit the curb (or, heaven forbid, someone or something)  if you make a right turn too early. Worse still, the tail might swing and hit something roo. Know your pivot point and the point at which you can safely turn.Practice in an empty parking lot.

Are you a slow walker or know someone who is in a wheelchair? My friend Candy Harrington is a leading authority on travel for people with physical challenges. Her newest book outlines everything you need to know about travel in three fabulous national parks: where to go, where to stay, where to rent specialty equipment and  much more.  Go to to order Barrier Free  Barrier-Free Travels; Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks for Wheelers and Slow Walkers Look for a dozen other locales in her Barrier Free Travel series too.
See Janet Groene's easy recipes for camping and RV travel at

Friday, June 16, 2017

Breaking In: Full-timing by RV or Motorhome

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Going Full-timing by RV?
Don’t Break Those
Bonds Just Yet

Are you thinking of ditching your present job, home or lifestyle to go full-timing in an RV? I did it at age 31 and can say now that it was a good decision. But it wasn’t a quick decision, nor an angry one. The old expression, “Don’t burn your bridges behind you,” makes excellent advice. Here’s why. 

    * Remnants of the old life  could be solid currency to you in the future. No matter how bitter your divorce, how grief stricken you are over the death of a loved one or how much you hate your job, there may be things worth hanging onto.

    Another old saying is, “Keep your words sweet. You may have to eat them later.” Memories fade. Tempers cool. Forgiveness happens. Always leave a door ajar. Impossible as it seems now, you may need a reference someday from former coworkers, landlords, neighbors, spouses or roommates. 

    * If your parting with your employer is amicable, ask now for a letter of reference and carry it with you. 

    * Keep memberships in your professional associations, at least for now.  Dues may be high but it’s usually easier and cheaper to stay a member than to get in for the first time.

     * If your career requires a professional license, try to keep that current too. Some licenses (masseuse, nails, many health care professions, beauty operator) are issued by states, so  that makes them more difficult to use as you travel.  However, many states have reciprocal agreements and in others you can get a new license just by passing a test.

    An instructor’s or commercial pilot’s license is portable because it’s federal, but to keep it current you need regular physical exams and periodic rides with check pilots. A number of women also have marine captain’s licenses, also federal. With a small-boat commercial license you might skipper a nature cruise for six people or less, or work as a fishing guide. 

    *  Don’t be too quick to sell everything you own. If your RV sojourn will be for a set period and you’ll want to reclaim your furniture after a year or two, it can be put in a storage facility. If you’re hanging onto, say, a coin or art collection because it’s growing in value, put it in a  fireproof, insured safety deposit box or  vault. Get adequate insurance from your own insurer. The standard coverage offered by the rental facility is rarely enough. 

    *  You may decide to keep your apartment and sub-lease it, especially if you’re in a rent-controlled unit. You might also decide to rent out your house rather than sell it, at least for the first year. If so, hire professional management to collect the rent and take care of maintenance. Even the most willing neighbor or relative may soon weary of midnight calls about leaky roofs and clogged toilets. 

    * Sometimes it’s possible to tap a retirement fund early but don’t hatch that nest egg if you can help it. The younger you are now, the more important it is to keep feathering your nest.  Money continues to grow tax free in your IRA.  It’s insurance against the day you can no longer work or travel or both. 


Learn more about the full-time life on wheels. Order Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition.

Friday, June 9, 2017

RV Llfe and a New YOU

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Reinventing YOU

Do you yearn to take to the open road in a home on wheels, free as the wind?
You don’t have to wait for the magic age of 65. Chances are you can “retire” now, head out on the highway and support yourself by doing what you love to do.
     Here are just some of the passions and profits that might work for you.

* Writing is extremely satisfying for many women and it can also have a profit motive. Some romance writers earn thousands of dollars a year selling fiction, chapter by chapter,  through Amazon or a personal website. No longer do you have to pay a lot to have a book published and sell them yourself. E-books cost little to set up and a smart marketing program can go viral. 
Blogging is another way to make money with writing, photos or videos. Collamer points out several ways to monetize blogs. Podcasts are also rising in popularity.

* Collamer points out that a love for pets can take you into many careers such as doggie daycare, dog walking, pet photography, pet grooming or selling pet paraphernalia.  Of course, some of her career suggestions  require adapting for RV travel and life. You may have to outfit part of your RV as a mobile grooming studio. For some careers a license may be required. 

* One of Collamer’s chapters explains traveling as a tour director, an ideal choice for women whose passion is to travel and get paid for it. In the world of RV full-timing, this could mean staying in one place long enough to work as a step-on guide or perhaps a tour director in a large resort campground. You might also organize RV caravans and lead groups of RV-ers caravan style. 

* Want to be an entertainer? Get into the fashion industry? Become a sports groupie? Work as a tutor? The sky’s the limit but first you have to know yourself, then know your field, then know how to turn it into income, the author points out. 

In Second-Act Careers the author explains about the kind of training and commitment  that are required, ways to turn a profit with your talents and strategies for living by your wits.

   The book's final pages are a workbook to be filled in with honest answers. Once you have the big picture before you in black and white,  you can stand back and see if semi-retirement, and the roving life, are for you. 

These books will help you decide if there is a second act ahead for you. 

Second Act Careers,

Boomer Reinvention How to Create your Dream  Career After 50

Second Acts: Creating the Life You Really  Want, Building the Career you Truly Desire

The Encore Career Book, How to Make a Living and a Difference In the Second Half of Life