Friday, October 21, 2016

Your RV Makeover

Blog copyright janetgroene, all rights reserved. To ask about one annual rate to advertise on all Janet Groene blogs, email

Subscribe to this blog for Kindle and Amazon will send it to you automatically each week.  If you have an Amazon account, get the Kindle app free at right, then go here for a free trial subscription.  

    It’s smart to have a reserve fund for upgrades to your motorhome. Sometimes you just have a yen for something new. Other times, the upgrade is required right now, like if the refill station refuses to refill your propane tank because it’s rusty or damaged. (It’s the law).
    Here’s how an upgrade might fit into your budget.

    Mini-blinds take a beating from highway motion and strong sunrays. They may need replacing every few years. Standard sizes cost about $35 to $90 and up each. Installation can add $50 or more. 

    Upgrade to heated, remote-control rear view mirrors for about $350. 

    Patio awnings can be added for $900 to $2,000 or more depending on size, material and the complexity of the mechanism. Installation adds about $100 to the cost of a simple, hand-cranked  awning and $200 or more to the price of a pushbutton awning with wind sensor and automatic retraction. If you need replacement for the fabric only, get quotes from two or three awning specialists. 

    Patio mats pay for themselves in good looks while keeping sand and debris out of your RV. Buy an all-weather, lightweight, reversible, folding mat to carry in the RV  for under $200. This one comes with its own carry case. Sweep or hose it clean, fold and stow.

    Privacy matters.  Even when your computer firewall is secure, it does not mask your personal  IP address and location. For additional cyber privacy, get an IP address you can set up to make it look like you're somewhere else. Hide My IP costs less than $30 and you can change your “address” every day if you want. Click on the ad at right below to see how it works. 

    Sleep better. Get a memory foam RV size mattress topper. 

     Toilet upgrade. Many RV johnnies are on the small size or low profile or both. Change up to  this taller, larger toilet for only $122. 

    A tow dolly  allows you to tow a car behind the motorhome, two wheels down. Prices start at about $1,200. It's so convenient, and it saves fuel dollars to leave the RV in camp and have a car for errands and sightseeing.   
    Tire covers take a beating from the sun while saving your tires. Get new ones for  $22 to $38 a set.

    Windshield wraps  keep the RV cooler inside and provide privacy. Get a bright, new white one here.

See  easy recipes for RV cooking and the campground at

Friday, October 14, 2016

RV Women Turn a Profit

Blog copyright Janet Groene, all rights reserved. To inquire about placing an ad or sponsoring a post email

    Never miss another post. Amazon will send  this blog to your Kindle by subscription.  If you need the Kindle app, get it free above right. Then go here for a free trial.

Crafty Solutions

    Could your RV be your ticket to a nice new income? Do you yearn to take your RV on the road full-time while supporting yourself with your art or writing skills? 

    Many women, some of them full-timers, make money by selling their wares at  art shows, craft fairs, hometown festivals,  ordinary flea markets and online. Your mobile business might even make your RV tax deductible. 

    Any product might sell well depending on the site, the time of year and public whim. Your choice of a craft also has to fit with the RV travel life, and that means keeping it compact and portable. 

    Here are ways to expand your profits. 

    * Sell demonstrations as well as products. Let's say you are a master quilter. You can sell quilted pieces (wall art and pillow covers, not just big bed quilts), quilt fabrics or kits. You might offer quilting classes, sell patterns online and take orders for custom work.

    * To follow the crafts fair circuit in your RV, do a  Google search for “fairs+festivals”. It’s essential to plan a travel schedule that makes the best use of your time and fuel dollar, then book your booth well in advance. Competition and the cost of booths are soaring. It may take a season or two to learn what shows are cost effective you you.

    * Most campgrounds don’t permit soliciting and selling but they might let you organize a seminar on beading or writing poetry, or a crafts weekend at the clubhouse. I once met full-timers whose teenager daughters took orders on Saturday to deliver hot donuts around the park on Sunday morning. 

    * Selling homemade items is a crowded field, so you need a unique specialty. Online sites used by crafters include Ebay, Amazon and etsy,com . Stay current on new sales tools such as phone apps. Camera skills are a must. 

    * Give yourself a deadline, say six months to a year, to make a go of your traveling business. The IRS permits write-offs of business losses for only a limited period.

    * Network with other crafters through social media and in person.   Learn what sells, what gives you the best return per hour. Then focus.  I know a woman who crochets baby outfits from an antique pattern. She has a unique pattern and uses hard-to-find yarn.  She can’t keep them in stock.

    * Sign your work and become a brand. Improve not just your craft but your name recognition and profile.  Add value with signed works, creating a collectable series and/or limited editions 

    * Assemble the tools of your trade including selling tools. You may want to bring your own folding table and tent, get a device that takes credit cards and have signage professionally made. 

    These can help you set up a traveling business. 

This book is a guide to homemade soap, always a good seller.

      This book tells how to show and sell your craft items.

Here's a book on how to sell your crafts online

      Make money at art shows

This large tent makes an impressive booth. It folds away into a 50-pound bundle.

     This smaller, lighter tent makes a 10 X 10 block of UV protection and it's easy to set up.

How to make money as a retail vendor at events,
See Janet Groene's easy recipes for RV travel and camping at

Friday, October 7, 2016

Survival Tips for Women in RV Life

blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved. To ask about rates to place an ad or sponsor a post email 

Amazon will send this blog automatically to your Kindle each week by subscription. For a free trial go here

Survival Skills From a
U.S. Navy Seal

   The carefree life of RV travel has its own hazards for women. They range from facing road rage or wilderness emergencies to terrorism at malls.  The best book yet on survival skills comes from Clint Emerson, retired Navy Seal and author of 100 Deadly Skills, Survival Edition.

    The book has a sturdy,  field guide binding  meant for years of hard use. It’s a smart investment you’ll want to  read over and over depending on your current RV destination. 

    Drawings make every step understandable and do-able. Chapters are divided into categories so you can easily review the right one for each trip: water or desert survival, vehicle safety, first aid, natural disasters and much more.

    Emerson doesn’t sugarcoat the risks nor does he use scare tactics. This is a wise mentor who knows his topic and gives calm, expert advice. Here are just a few tidbits from his large supply of lifesaving ideas.  

    * Closed toe, low-heel shoes are always a wise choice for tough situations and, if they have laces, the laces themselves can be part of your survival kit. 

    * When you enter a crowded setting such as a theater or stadium, look for exits, crowd choke points and any unconventional ways you might escape during a fire or panic.  

    * On the road, do not try to out-run a tornado. It’s unpredictable. If you’re caught in a vehicle keep your seat belt buckled. 

    * Build a tactical nightstand that includes a flashlight that can also be used as a truncheon, a phone and charger and your weapons of choice including a can of wasp spray.  (It shoots a long distance.) 

    * He shows methods for barricading outward-opening doors, which applies to the RV, some homes some motel rooms.

    * If you are held against your will or otherwise need someone to find you, leave a DNA trail using hair, urine, sweat, nails or blood. 

    * In a survival situation you need to extend the life of your phone charge. Turn on the location function,  turn the ringer to Silent, put the light in low mode, turn off all apps, vibration, Bluetooth and wi-fi and put the phone in Power Save mode. Keep the phone cool. 

     * On pages 68-69 he shows how to short the battery in a phone to start a fire but he warns this is dangerous. Use it only as a last resort when you need a fire for a signal or heat. 

    * Emerson’s wardrobe tips for traveling women include pants versus skirt, hair pulled back and secured,  minimal jewelry, no necklace and a well tucked-in cell phone.

    I give  100 Deadly Skills, Survival Edition a full five stars for yourself and gifts. The latest edition, with a cover price ot $19.99 is found in book stores and it’s sold for less  on Amazon.  

My book, Survival Food Handbook, complements Emerson's book. It's simply a cookbook for ordinary supermarket foods you can stow in your RV or camp for weeks, sometimes years. It's a help with planning provisions for the long haul. for boondocking and for emergencies. 
Will you be camping Florida this winter? See what’s up down there at 

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

Friday, September 23, 2016

RV Life Under Tow

blog copyright janet groene. All rights reserved. This blog has had more than 117,000 views.  To ask about rates to place an ad or sponsor a post email

Sometimes the RV is towed by a car, SUV or truck. Sometimes the RV tows a car, boat or trailer. Either way, towing has its special rules

This blog is available for Kindle by subscription. Get the Kindle app free above right, then go here for a free trial.

Tow Your RV, Tow With Your RV

    BoatUS is a wise and worthy organization for boat owners. If you have a boat of any size, joining the group is a smart way to network, get discounts and learn more about boating. We mention them here because the advice they give for towing a boat trailer may also apply to RV travelers who tow a travel trailer or have a motorhome that tows a car.

    1. Check your hitch setup. Make certain the ball is secure to the mount and that pins holding the mount to the receiver have locking pins.

    2. Chains should cross. If the trailer comes loose, it will fall into the X made by the chains.

    3. It’s a good idea, says Boat US, to replace S-hooks, which can break under load,  with screw-type pin shackles, which are stronger and more reliable. 

Some additional tips on towing:

    * The debate in towing a car behind a motorhome is whether to trailer the car or tow it two wheels down or four wheels down. All three systems have advantages and disadvantages in  terms of wear and tear on the vehicle, cost and drive-ability.  

    * To make sure you don’t go head first into situations you can’t get out of, learn to back up with a tow.  Find a big, empty parking lot and enlist the help of someone.  Stick with it until you have the hang of steering, braking and  interpreting what you see in the mirrors and/or rear-view  television. Shouting in the campground makes you look like a rube and it probably can’t be heard anyway

    * Know the exact height of both vehicles in feet and inches. One might fit through the tunnel or drive-through but the other may not. Don't forget the rooftop air and any pods you've added to the roof.

    * Learn to estimate distances between your vehicles and others on the road so you'll be alert when you are passing or being passed. A big, boxy trailer can be buffeted by wind, putting stress on the tow car.

     * Get acquainted with overhangs. For example, your trailer might scrape when going up or down a steep angle. 

    * Safe towing begins with the right hitch in the right places on the right vehicles. Get advice from your hitch specialist, tow vehicle specialist and an expert on the vehicle that will be towed. 

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

Friday, September 16, 2016

Money Saving Tips for RV Women

blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved. This blog has been viewed 117,000 times, To ask about rates to place an ad or sponsor a post email

Subscribe to this blog for your Kindle. If you need the Kindle app, click above right to get it free. Then go here for a free trial subscription. 

RV Travel Dollar Stretchers

    Here are some wrinkles and dodges I’ve discovered along the way to save money on RV travels.

    * Did you buy annual membership in any museum? (It’s often cheaper than paying admission more than three times.) As you travel, show your card and ask at every museum you visit whether it honors other memberships. Many do.  Most museums have a free day or evening once a month. They are a good way to meet and mingle with locals. 

    * Think “travel” when you purchase other memberships too. Some fitness and gym chains allow guest privileges at all their sites, sometimes free and sometimes at a discount. 

    * Call sightseeing attractions ahead  to ask about admissions policies. Some parks lower admission after a certain hour; some also allow you to bring a cooler with your own drinks or picnic. This money-saving information may not be on the website. 

    * Always have enough food in the RV pantry to last at least three days. If you never need it, give it to a food bank and restock with fresh. Roads close. Delays happen. And sometimes you simply like a place so much, you want to stay longer than you’d planned. Food is the ultimate insurance.

    * Even if you don’t sew, make up a sewing kit with spare buttons, thread and assorted notions. Iron-on tapes make easy patches; fusing tapes let you repair a hem with an iron. Many campground laundries provide an ironing board and iron. I find it worthwhile to carry a travel iron.  I just use a folded towel on any flat surface to do touch-ups and “mending”. This small, inexpensive craft  iron is designed for hobbyists but it also does all the wardrobe touch-ups I need.

    * I carry a compact, inexpensive,  single-burner electric hot plate.  It can be used indoors and out. When I’m plugged in at a campground, it saves propane and it’s also handy to use outdoors as an extra burner when grilling. 

    * An inexpensive night light plugged into any electric outlet in the RV lets me know at a glance when power goes out. Be sure to get a stay-on type, not one with a sensor that turns it off at dawn. I also like to have at least one of these rechargeable emergency lights. It fits in any 110V outlet, recharges when power is off and comes on when power goes off. 

       * Are you forever leaving an expensive bar of soap behind in the campground shower? Try this. Before leaving for the shower, dampen a wash cloth, put in a sandwich bag and add a a generous squirt of body wash. It will provide enough suds for the entire shower and the wash cloth comes home in the same plastic bag. 

      * When shutting down the rooftop or engine air conditioner, turn off the compressor and let the blower run several more minutes to dry out the works.  Once mildew takes hold in the unit, it’s difficult to dislodge. If campground electrical power is interrupted, turn off the compressor immediately. Its starting load is substantial and the unit could be damaged by weak or intermittent power. When electrical flow settles down, wait a few minutes before starting the compressor. 

    * Empty the black water tank as soon as possible after a hard drive. When solids are still in suspension, you get a cleaner, more complete discharge. Ditto oil changes. More contaminants are flushed away if oil is hot. 

    * Follow your driver’s manual’s instructions for a radiator flush. It saves money when you do it yourself and it’s a job that almost anyone can do. 

Looking for the ultimate gift for the camper, man cave, patio or a loved one who is deployed in a hot spot overseas?  A portable icemaker can be used anywhere there’s a 110V outlet. Tent campers can make ice at the campsite and fill the ice chest as needed. 

Save water, fuel, time, space, hassle. See shortcut camping recipes at 

Friday, September 9, 2016

RV Travelers Go Walk-About

blog copyright janet groene. All rights reserved.  This blog has had more than 116.000 views.

To ask about rates to use this material, place an ad or sponsor a post, email

Go walk-about before each start to check that all is well around the exterior of the camper. 

Subscribe to this blog for Kindle and Amazon will send it to you automatically each week. If you need the free Kindle app, click above right. Then get a free trial subscription

Observe tires. If one of a dual  or tandem set goes flat or throws a tread, it could drag and catch fire before you realize there is a problem. 

The Walk-About Checklist
    Have you ever noticed that long-haul truck drivers and airline pilots walk completely around their vehicles before every start-up? I learned the value of this walk-about, thanks to fellow-drivers.

    I was in a small town, just past the railroad tracks, when folks behind me started honking and waving.  It was broad daylight and this seemed like a safe place to stop and pull over. So I did and was glad. They were trying to tell me that I’d lost a hub cap crossing the rough tracks. I should have noticed earlier that it was loose. 

    The walk-about is simply a stroll around the entire RV before moving.  If nothing else, it’s a time to psych myself for the on ramp after I have stopped to shop, sightsee or have a meal.  For some drivers it’s also time for a deep breath, short prayer or brief meditation. Here are things you might observe. 

    * Doors all closed and nothing sticking out?  (My friend ruined a good cashmere sweater when a door closed on a sleeve that hung out for miles in rain and slop.) 

    * All other doors closed and latched? (A common problem is to lose the sewer hose. If  it’s stored in the bumper and the hatch isn’t latched, the hose ends up on the side of the road.) 

    * Are straps and other restraints secure on things like bicycles or lawn chairs that are attached to the exterior? 

    * Step and awning in?

    * Slide fully retracted and secured? 

    * Tires look good? (Don’t forget inner tires in duals.) 

    * Look up. Are antennas and the satellite dish safely stowed?

    * Look ahead. Is your rear overhang going to clear when you hit that steep driveway? 

    * Windshield need cleaning? Rear-viewing camera clear? 

    * Brake light lenses clean and bright? (When RV-ing Alaska I had to clean the mud off all lenses every time I stopped.) 

    * Leaving a campsite, is anything left behind? 

     I think in terms of a single vehicle, my Class C, but additional checks are needed if you have a car or trailer in tow. 

    An unthinkable tragedy happened when a camper driver took off, forgetting that his dog was tied to the vehicle.  Get in the walk-about habit.  Someday you'll be glad you did.
See shortcut RV recipes, fresh each week at