Friday, May 14, 2021

Host a Party in Your RV

Blog copyright Janet Groene 2021. \

 


 

 

CAMPGROUNDS: The New Normal
    Scroll down to past posts that have this weekly feature.  

    *Before your camping trip  review the destination’s latest  COVID restrictions. Some events and places now require proof of vaccination.

    * Understand the difference between single, family and buddy campsites. All campgrounds place limits on the number of people, pets.  vehicles and units on each site. For example,  you may have a tow car, travel trailer, motorhome with toad or  one or more small tents or a freestanding screen house.  

Party Hearty

    We once set up our RV in a friend’s yard and hosted their daughter's small, informal  wedding party. Remember when you could give a party for 20 in your dorm room? Hosting a crowd out of your RV is easy by comparison, especially if your RV has an awning or you can rent a canopy or tent. Many campgrounds and parks also have group shelters or pavilions for rent. 

 

    Here are ideas on hosting a whale of a party in a minnow-size space. Some may work for you.

    * First, check zoning rules at a home site or understand campground rules. Observe quiet hours and park rules regarding alcohol.

    * Think through electric needs to string lights, plug in the coffee maker and run long , heavy duty power cords. 

    * Inventory what you already have on hand then make a list of items to rent (such as a big coffee urn, chairs, folding tables)  or buy (disposable dinnerware, trash bags, paper goods)



    * Barbecue in an  out-of-the way spot and keeps kids away.

    * Cold drinks will be very popular, so set them up in several spots around the site to relieve crowding. Wheeled ice chests are easy to move, easy to drain. Have plenty of ice on hand and save one ice chest for watermelons. 

 

    * Set up several different food stations around the site so guests can easily serve themselves without crowding.

    * Go online to find specialty foods that can be delivered on party day. They range from fresh lobster or Chicago pizza to Louisiana King Cake.

    * Use your RV as a prep area, not a public rest room. If possible, try to keep guests outdoors. Just in case,  have stain treatments on hand in case something is spilled on your upholstery or carpeting.

    * If this is an informal lunch party, make nosebag lunches in advance. Make two sizes, one for kids and one  for adults. Pack each lunch in a colorful paper bag or tie it in a new bandana.
    Sandwiches that don’t have to be kept cold include peanut butter and jelly, sharp cheddar with chutney and crisp bacon, cream cheese with jelly or olives or provolone with thinly sliced tomato and sweet onion. Butter bread or rolls to keep fillings from soaking into bread, then use mustard or pesto if you like. Avoid mayonnaise and other spreads prone to spoilage. Add a shiny apple,  a packaged brownie and a napkin, and lunch is on.

* Provide bug spray, sun screen and, ground covers to spread on the grass or sand.

    * Set up several trash stations around the site. A good choice is pop-up bins lined with trash bags. Leave no trace.   

    * Make things easy on yourself. With advance planning, you can be a guest at your own party.



 

 


 


 

LIVING ABOARD YOUR RV, 4TH EDITION, is your guide to the RV life from A to Z including full-timing and working as you go. The perfect gift for Dad for Father’s Day. Kindle or paperback.   https://amzn.to/3kncznw

Friday, May 7, 2021

Clothes for the Motorhome Lifestyle

 Blog copyright Janet Groene, all rights reserved. 

 

 


 


 Scroll down to see the new, tell-all weekly feature

Campgrounds: The Next Normal

Dress the Part

copyright janet groene 2021

    For the active, on-the-go RV life we all want duds that are versatile, easy care, flattering and durable.  Except for “casual” there are no rules for dressing like an RV-er.

 

Closets crammed? Join the club
 


          We all want to save space. Most of us need at least one special outfit on board, perhaps for church or the sparkly jeans we rock at Saturday night line dancing. Here are some general guidelines that may help you dress better with less closet space.

 

    * Stick with that one palette. It helps you mix and match tops, bottoms, shoes and accessories. One  choice is to buy only black, white or black and white garments, then go wild with colored accessories such as scarves, belts and shoes. Other one-color choices are denim, camo or khaki. Everything goes with them. 

 

Never enough space for accessories?

 

 *Button covers (below)  clip over plain buttons to transform a blouse front (and cuffs too). 

 


 

Special clothes for special nights

 

    *Microfiber coats and jackets are compact and water-repellent. Bonus points if they have a hood.  For very cold weather, down-filled vests pack compactly and provide a lot of warmth. Fleece is compact and easier to care for than knits and wool.  

    * Double-duty garments are always a plus: jackets with zip-out linings and/ or zip-off arms. Slacks that zip apart to become shorts or pedal pushers. Camisoles that double as a bra. Reversible skirts, vests, skirts and sleeveless shells. 

    * Get two looks from the same pair of pumps or sandals. Clip-on bows, jewels and other trim are found in shoe stores to turn plain pumps into party pumps. Look in novelty stores for  button covers that turn a plain blouse into a designer showpiece. 

 

Look for convertible shoes, flats to heels

    * “Get rid of anything white,” advise some seasoned RV travelers. It’s hard to keep whites white on the road.

    * Tilley, maker of the famous Tilley hat, also offers socks, quick-drying underwear and other travel clothing, http://www.tilley.com Magellan and TravelSmith both specialize in easy care, versatile travel clothing.  

    * Great outdoor clothes are available from R.E.I. Bass Pro Shops, North Face and Orvis. However, you don’t have to be an outdoor woman to be an RV-er. Your travel life can consist of museum visits, looking up old friends, and visiting (or working in) big cities.

 

 

 

 


Just in time for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Cooking Aboard your RV provides new ideas and more than 200 recipes for space saving ways to make great meals on the go. Author Janet Groene writes from experience in field testing RV’s large and small and from living in her own 21-footer as well as rentals in the U.S. and abroad.   https://amzn.to/31tDGom


CAMPGROUNDS; THE NEW NORMAL

    * Rumors are swirling around the end of  overnight RV parking at all Walmarts, so here is the official quote from Walmart’s corporate headquarters, “While we do not offer electrical service or accommodations typically necessary for RV customers, Walmart values RV travelers and considers them among our best customers. Consequently, we do permit RV parking on our store parking lots as we are able. Permission to park is extended by individual store managers, based on availability of parking space and local laws. Please contact management in each store to ensure accommodations before parking your RV.”

    * A new campground in Florida will get tough over lingerers. They'll charge $10 per hour  for over-staying your check-out time.

    * I can’t believe how many campgrounds warn newcomers NOT to use GPS to find them. See the campground’s website or call direct. Many campgrounds are in remote locations where GPS is not accurate. Too, getting there in a large RV may require using a different route or entry. Roads and bridges used by cars aren't always suitable for a heavy RV.
    
   


Friday, April 30, 2021

Out-run your Allergies in an RV


Blog  copyright Janet Groene 2021. 

Control your own environment

Allergy Escape Clause


    The good news for seasonal allergy sufferers who have an RV is that you can simply drive away and look for better air. That works if your allergy is to plants that grow in a certain area or pollen that blooms in certain places at certain times. However, other allergies come along with you,  no matter where you go.

    Let’s talk about ways to stop those sneezes.

 


 

 

    Do a search for “pollen forecast” + name of the city or state. Weather.com and Accuweather are among several sites that give  daily pollen alerts for major cities all over the U.S. Depending on wind velocity and direction, these alerts change daily. Relief may be just over the next hill or on the other side of the lake.
     More than half of the “worst” allergy regions are in the sunny sout. Some mountain states aren’t on the “worst” list at any time. Camping seaside is often a good choice but beachfront campsites are in high demand, so reserve as early.     
    Another website, AirNow.gov reports on all air quality, not just pollen. Do a search by the nearest city.


 
    Using one of the new devices now available to consumers, you can also monitor the air inside your RV yourself. Then get a suitable filter to use as needed. There are many systems and types of filters, so do your homework. 

    Allergy specialists tell us that pollen counts are usually higher on warm, windy days and less after a rain. Doctors also recognize that many factors can affect allergies. Poor diet, stress, overuse of antibiotics and air pollution can trigger allergy responses. As a traveler who is exposed to new environments often, you might stay outdoors in small doses when you’re in a new area to give your body time to adjust.

 

Benefit from clean sea breezes

     If allergies are ruining your life, consider joining a support group through the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America.Go to aafa.org and click on the state you are in or plan to visit. You’re also welcome to start your own support group. 

 


 

 

     Thanks to new technologies it’s easier than ever to control your RV’s indoor environment. It’s probably already equipped withr filters on the heat and air system, microwave, stove hood exhaust and vacuum cleaners. It’s up to you, then, to buy the highest quality filters and replace them as needed.

    Lastly, these time-worn tips still make sense for the RV traveler. 


    1.  Wash b
edding in very hot water that is at least 170 degrees.
     2. Discard  fluffy, dust-trapping fabrics. Use hard finishes such as chintz fabric or vinyl or  leather upholstery. Get a plastic shower curtain rather than fabric. Select  hard surface flooring or  tightly woven carpeting. Install vinyl blinds rather than cloth draperies


For yourself or a Mothers Day/ Fathers Day gift ....

    When you travel in an RV you can drive away from many allergies. And, if you live on board full-time you can also outfit the RV with air filters and other allergy-fighting tweaks that go everywhere with you.  Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition, is a guide to full-timing at any age. Retire or travel to raise a family, make a living on the go, take a sabbatical. Kindle or paperback, LARV  https://amzn.to/3kncznw

 

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Friday, April 23, 2021

Safety for the Solo RV Woman

Blog copyright Janet Groene 2021 




Don’t be a Crime RVictim

    Modern women know it’s no longer unusual, or even exceptionally risky,  to travel alone in an RV. Still, there are new and unique dangers out there.

Some of the most effective security steps are also easiest and cost least. For one, upgrade locks on doors, hatches and windows.  For another, buy an air horn (found in marine stores) and keep it handy. The noise can wake the dead, scare the daylights out of the bad guys and, in an emergency, you can sound SOS for long distances. Third, have one or two remote control outdoor lights you can activate from bed  if you hear suspicious noises in the night.


    * File a travel “flight plan”.  Privately let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, when you plan to arrive and how to contact you. Let them know when you arrive or if you deviate from the plan. This information should be private between you and a trusted homie, never shared on social media.

  * Have a big, bright,  distinctive number or symbol painted on the roof of your RV. If you call for help you can be spotted from the air. 


    * Make your RV look lived-in no matter where you park. Close curtains so crooks don’t know if you’re inside or not. Lock all doors and windows. Run a light, TV or radio if you can do so without depleting the battery when you’re at the mall or on the hiking trail.
   
     * Don’t give thieves a place to hide out.  In shopping centers park in well lighted areas away from  shrubs and other hiding places. Try to park among cars, not other tall ve
hicles that form dark canyons where crooks could lurk.

 



   
     * Invest in  alarms. Keep them armed and powered. Even in a secure campground, don’t open the door to strangers. Many solar-powered, motion-activated alarm are simple, self-contained and very affordable.



     * Don’t let them call you by name. It’s just too cute to mount a flag or sign outside the RV announcing “The Smith’s” or “Patsy’s Paradise” but an intruder now has a sure way of disarming you by calling your name.

    * Arrange for one or two remote control lights that you can turn on from bed if you hear suspicious noises in the night. The new LED batter lanterns are inexpensive, bright and can be found with rmotes.
 
    * When on the road  lock all doors in the RV, tow car or dinghy including trunks and basement (except the propane compartment, which should not be locked.)  You may also want to add a locking gas cap to prevent fuel theft.  Keep valuables out of sight. It may take a few extra minutes to close cockpit curtains, but there are a lot of tempting goodies there for a smash-and-grab thief.
 
    * Never pick up hitchhikers or stop for what appears to be a woman and baby in distress. Use your cell phone to call 911 on their behalf. A common scam now is to put an advertising brochure or other obstruction on a car’s rear window. When you leave the driver’s seat to remove it, you’re an easy target.

       * At rest stops, park in well-lighted areas and close to the building.


      * Do not stop alongside the road if possible. If you are bumped from behind or if someone indicates there is something wrong with your vehicle, continue to a service station or a well-lighted, populated area.

    * Fill the fuel tank before dark. Lock  doors and close windows if you step away from the RV for any reason.

    * When checking into a campground, know what security features are in place.  Is there a night contact? You may need a code to get into the gate at night. Know where to find the campground host’s site and how to get help if you’re in a zone without cell phone reception.

   * Invest in a safe that can be bolted to the RV frame so it can’t be removed. 


   * When away from the campground, be wary about telling strangers the name of your campground and number of your campsite.

   * Know your route and stick to well-lighted, well-traveled streets. Select ATM machines in visible, well-lighted locations.

Please share your best personal security tips at janetgroene at yahoo.com and let us know if you want to be credited by name. Please no product promotions. 

CAMPGROUNDS; THE NEXT NORMAL

    *Imagine checking into a campground and finding your reservation can’t be honored because your beloved family pet, an Alaskan malamute or a pit bull mix, is banned. Don’t blame the campground.  Often this is a municipal- or county-wide rule not only at this campground. It may also be required by the campground’s insurance company. This is another reason why it’s important to read all the rules ahead of time. Often they are pages long and list banned breeds by name. 


 

Just in time for Mother's Day. Let Amazon send it with your gift card. Cooking Aboard Your RV has more than 200 practical, shortcut  recipes designed for RV cooking indoors and out.  https://amzn.to/31tDGom

 
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Friday, April 16, 2021

RV Travel, Why not You, NOW?

 BLOG COPYRIGHT JANET GROENE 2021


Want to Bust Out and
Go RV-ing, Girlfriend?

Why you? Why now? 


    Well, why NOT you and why NOT now? If you truly have wanderlust, the ability to live with minimal material things and the flexibility to greet each new day as a welcome challenge, you go, girl! All alone? That's OK.  Go lean, green and mean where you want, when you want.


    Take an honest look at the things you believe are tying you down now and determine how many are cop-outs and how many are real  problems that can be solved.

 

    Can’t afford it? It’s cheaper to live in an RV than in an apartment or a house. There are  many ways to make a living on the go, even if you’re unemployed now.  (See below for Groene book Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition).
    The key is to take your time, not sprint place to place like a vacationer. Take advantage of monthly and seasonal campground rates. Take advantage of “off” season prices at attractions.

 
    Disabled loved one holding you back? A reader of one of my magazine columns wrote to tell me she took off in an RV with her husband as a way to have an affordable lifestyle for herself while also caring for her husband, who has Alzheimer’s Disease. The camping family is  very understanding . In campgrounds this woman finds the support system she needs and the social and visual stimulation so important to slowing the progress of her husband’s disease. 

 


     Kids on board? Dozens of couples and single parents live full-time on the go in RV’s. Some home-school the children; other parents get jobs and settle in one place during the school year and put children in public schools. Some campgrounds have special rooms or patios where lessons take place. Many state and national parks have ranger-guided programs for home schoolers.

 


 


     Have a physical disability?  An RV can be adapted, or designed from the start, for people with all sorts of disabilities . Virtually all state and federal campgrounds in the U.S. and Canada, as well as many private campgrounds,  are handicap accessible. This includes accessible campsites,  restrooms and showers, hiking trails, fishing piers and much more. 


    RV’s are a lousy investment.  Well, maybe.  No matter how great a deal you make on a new or used RV, it’s almost certain that your RV will depreciate. However the real estate picture isn’t that secure these days either. With wheels you can drive away from areas with high unemployment, crime and other social ills. A year or two or RV exploring is also a way to experience many different places while deciding where to put down roots. 

     If you want to live and travel in an RV and still  include real estate in your investment portfolio, you can buy a deeded or co-op RV lot or simply buy into a real estate mutual fund. A well maintained RV can provide a decent home for decades.  Most importantly, there is no price tag on the freedom and friends you’ll find once you join the full-timer fraternity.


    Afraid you’re too old? The Escapees Club in Livingston, Texas  has senior day care centers and campgrounds for full-time RVer’s who have come to the end of the road. You have to be a member for at least two years, so don’t put off joining. It’s a wonderful group with many benefits that began immediately. 

 


With more and more RV travelers going full-timing while still in their pre-retirement years, The 4th Edition of Living Aboard Your RV expands the section on how to make a living on the go. The book covers RV full-timing from making the decisions to get it, all the things you need to know about RV life and ends with your decision to go back to “real life” when and if that come comes.  https://amzn.to/3kncznw

Friday, April 9, 2021

Your RV Water Supply


5 Reasons Why You 

Need an RV Water Filter
copyright janet groene 2021

 

1. Cheaper in the long run than bottled water

2. Consistent taste in coffee, drink, no matter where you fill up

3. Better showers, shampoos, laundry

4. Less water spotting after washing dishes, RV exterior

5. Save space with right filters in right places

    Traveling in an RV with a 40-gallon water tank, I fill up almost every time with water different from the day before. Today it may be saltier, harder, softer, more highly chlorinated or, in some areas, rust colored or slightly stinky with sulphur. 

    According to health standards it’s all safe to drink, but coffee and other drinks taste different each time. There are also bad hair days because the same shampoo or conditioner works differently with different water.

 

Under-sink filters have their own faucet


     For a small investment in time, money and handygirl skills you can have tap water that behaves the same way every day, no matter where you filled the tank.  First, understand that we are talking water filters, not water sanitizers that made bad water potable and not desalinators that turn sea water fresh. 

 


 

    If you’re traveling to countries where tap water is not safe to drink, serious water treatment devices are needed. Also be aware that some irrigation water is not fit to drink but may be available to wash the RV. If so,  it’s not just impure it will probably leave stubborn spots unless you wipe it dry and/or use a filter on the hose. This reduces water spots but does not make the water safe to drink.

So, we are talking about water filters that are practical for your needs and your RV. Here’s where it gets confusing. There are many styles of water filters, from countertop portables to sink or shower attachments to installed systems that have their own faucet. There are also many types of filtering media, taking out varying amounts of particulate and dissolved contaminents. It takes time to research just the filtration specs. Generally, the more expensive the filter, the more contaminants it handles. 


    You may want filters at the kitchen sink for drinking and cooking water and filters at bathroom sinks for brushing your teeth or taking pills plus another filter on the shower head. Outdoors, a hose filter can provide a soft water wash that doesn’t leave water spots.
    Here are reasons to consider water filtration here and now.

 

    Bottled water is expensive, bulky, weighs a lot and clogs the landfill with plastic. Filters, by contrast,  last for years before they have to be changed. The trash impact is almost nothing.

 

 

 

 

 


 Live in an RV. Travel to your heart's content. Be totally free. It takes planning and know-how. Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition, is based on my own 10 years on the go, earning a living as a travel writer.   https://amzn.to/31tDGom

 



 

    This filtering shower head is a snap to install without tools and it takes out most of the chlorine, sulphur and scale. It is a must for travelers with sensitive skin and it means more consistent results when your favorite shampoo and conditioner. It also means less scale build-up in your RV shower stall, making cleaning easier. http://amzn.to/1NXbkEl

 

 

 

 Favored by organic gardeners, this filter is easy to screw onto a house to remove chlorine and other irritants.   http://amzn.to/1LyuUqo   


 

Just screw it into the hose line when and where needed



Friday, April 2, 2021

Women and the RV, Motorhome or VanLife Lifestyle

Blog copyright Janet Groene, all rights reserved.

SCROLL DOWN TO SEE CAMPGROUNDS, THE NEXT NORMAL


Plan to Live and Travel in an RV, Girlfriend?
What Will It  Cost? 

 

Wake up to a new scene as often as you please

 

 

 

Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition has a full chapter on assessing what costs will be, will probably be, and could be in the full-timing life. Other chapters cover choosing a home base, pets, travel with children, choosing the right rig for full-timing, making your RV your own and much more based on my own ten years as a full-time traveler.
https://amzn.to/3kncznw

 

 



    The freedom of the open road, the thrill of moving on, the relief of leaving nasty neighbors behind, the route where it’s always summer, or ski season, or surfing season. 

  

    If you decide to go on the road full-time, future costs are a mystery but there are ways to get a handle of what expenses will be and which ones MAY be. And for those that can’t be anticipated, it’s smart to keep an emergency fund.


    Go through your checking account and credit card bills for the past year and get a ballpark figure for what you spend per month for basics. They will probably remain much the same.

Don’t forget expenses that are paid weekly or annually. Be honest with yourself about cash purchases that are easy to forget such as daily latte or weekly lottery tickets.

     Despite good intentions it’s probable that these small indulgences will go on the road with you.

Now that you know where your money goes, let’s break it down with full-timing in mind. 

 


 

 


 

 
 List Present Expenses That May Change or Stop
            
♯ Bus fare, commuting, uniforms, other costs related to your present life
♯ Rent or mortgage, homeowner association fees related to living in your present home
♯ Utilities, home maintenance, yard care
♯ Other         

 


 

Here, List New Expenses in the RV Life
Even if Unknown At This time 



 ♯ Auto, truck or vehicle other than the RV*
♯ Campsites
♯ Cell phone
♯ Equip a new RV (a one-time expense)
♯ Fuel, oil, propane. Fuel costs are rising, so much depends on how much you play to he on the road.
♯ Insurances specific to this new life
♯ Mail forwarding service
♯ Medical insurance **
♯ RV payments, maintenance, repairs, license
♯ RV rainy day fund***
♯ Satellite TV and Internet; phone,  radio
♯ Storage unit, vault, safety deposit box    

# Homeschool supplies, services, hardware and software

* If you tow your travel trailer with a vehicle, tow a car behind the motorhome, or carry another vehicle such as a motor scooter or ATV,  it must be maintained, fueled , licensed and insured.
** Even if you have medical insurance now you may need wider coverage that is good outside your current area or state. 
***To avoid nasty surprises later, keep a special fund for replacing things that wear out or break down. Some items such as tires,  batteries, awnings, window coverings, upholstery and carpeting have a fairly predictable life span

See  Janet Groene’s RV-ready recipes new weekly at Camp and RV Cook


CAMPGROUNDS, THE NEXT NORMAL

    * New FMCA members receive a one-year membership in the KOA Rewards program. Get 10% off daily registration rate at any of KOA's 500+ campgrounds in the U.S and Canada. Also get points that are redeemable toward dollars off future stays AND access to exclusive KOA member-only offers! See the many, many benefits of FMCA at fmca.org

    * Have you noticed how many private campgrounds are being added to popular chains? This can be bad news or good news to you but it also may mean higher rates to pay for the added amenities and services added to meet the chain's standards.

    * Before paying a fee for a discount campground program take a close look at their member locations. Some are clustered more in some areas but sparse in other. Are there blackout dates during some seasons or special events? Does the discount apply for the entire  stay including already discounted  monthly and seasonal rates?  Some member camps are so far out of the way, it hardly pays to take a long detour just to get, say, only 10% off. 

     Make sure member listings are current. Member campgrounds enter and leave these programs,  although some who have recently left the program  may honor your card as a courtesy. If you joined Passport America ($44/year) to get campground discounts, take a look at the long list of participating campgrounds that have cancelled. (Cut and paste)
 https://www.passport-america.com/campgrounds/cancelled-campgrounds
.

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Host a Party in Your RV

Blog copyright Janet Groene 2021. \       CAMPGROUNDS: The New Normal      Scroll down to past posts that have this weekly feature.       *B...