Friday, January 12, 2018

Should You BUY a Campsite?

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    With reservations almost impossible to get in the most popular areas, should you buy a campsite for your very own?
    *It is real estate and could be a wise investment
    * It’s yours when you want it. You might even leave your RV there and come and go as you please.
    * When high standards are imposed, such as no RV older than X years or smaller than Y feet, the “neighborhood” holds its value. 
    * Financing may be available.

    * It is real estate and could be a lousy investment
    * You always camp in the same place. It's a good choice if it’s near your favorite fishing or hunting spot, or close to family,  or in a place you never tire of,  but it isn't for you if you plan to travel.  
    * If it’s a time share, it’s available to you only during your time slot. 
    * Even if you rarely use the site you may be subject to owner association fees,  real estate taxes, utilities, insurance.
    *  Standards may be imposed, such as no RV older than X years or smaller than Y feet. Your own RV may not meet the standards in a few years.
    * Financing may not be available. 


    *Resort campground with full facilities such as swimming pool, golf course, clubhouse, fitness facility. Management may rent your site when you’re not there,  generating income for you. On the other hand, you may also be prohibited from sub-letting.
    * Time share. (You buy certain weeks to stay there and pay a yearly membership fee.)
    * Membership in a campground network with many locales, allowing you to visit many areas. Length of stay may be limited and co-pays apply. Membership may or may not be transferable to a new owner or to your estate.
    * Bare land. Where zoning allows,  you might buy one or more acres all your own.  Zoning permitting you can put in electrical power, a well and septic tank and have full-hookup while here.

    * Zoning could change, turning the area into something different from what you bought it for.
    * Land values fluctuate. Real estate prices can rely on many factors. For example, your campsite in a resort’s older area could be worth  less if the developer opens a new area in the same campground.
    * Do your due diligence. The site could be in an area subject to flooding or forest fires.

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Friday, January 5, 2018

For a Quieter Motorhome Day and Night

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Quiet, Please       
    Could your motorhome or travel trailer be more quiet at night in the campground? Underway? Your RV is built to be space efficient and also light and agile on the highway. Any soundproofing has to be a compromise. No lead soundproofing. No bulky egg crate baffles.
    The good news is that many new, high-tech materials are noise-absorbant and good looking too. 

    Ryan Anderson, a specialist in noise control at Acoustical Surfaces told me that good soundproofing begins during construction but much can be done in an existing RV. It begins with suitable materials including resistance to mildew, mold and fire. “There is no regulating agency for acoustical materials, so consumers need to do their homework when it comes to specifications for noise suppression, size, weight, ease of application and durability,” he says. 

    “We have a Sound Silencer material that weighs only 1.7 pounds per 2 X 4-foot panel an inch thick.  Here’s where a complete consultation comes in. Send us pictures and we’ll give you choices. Primarily it’s important to treat the entire space, such as the generator compartment.”    

    When I asked about living areas of the RV, Anderson continued, “A one percent opening anywhere, such as a gap under a door, lets 33 percent of the sound escape. Simply closing that gap adds a lot of soundproofing. A lot can be done with simple, inexpensive, absorbative materials such as acoustical caulk, butyl rubber damping sheets, vibration mounts and our Acousti-Gasket Tape. For the decorator we have acoustical fabrics such as AcoustiSuede and a sound-absorbing Rattan. 

Acoustic materials can be improved in the engine and generator compartments. 
    Does Anderson have special tips for a from-scratch, tear-down, RV renovation? You bet!
Under new wood and file flooring you might add a sound-soaking sub-flooring such as Acoustik, Duracoustic S.T.O.P. or QuietFloor.  

Acoustic panels can be used to create a wall graphic or printed with the picture of your choice. Prices for a 24 X 24 custom printed panel start at $125.
    “Our most exciting DIY  product is as easy as hanging a picture,” enthused Anderson.  “Our Noise S.T.O.P. Fabrisorb  fabric-wrapped acoustical wall panels soak up noise and vibration. They’re custom made by size and color, and they can even be custom printed with the artwork of your choice.  Silk Metal is a handsome, micro-perforated material used for ceiling tiles and wall panels. It’s installed on a grid and tiles are reversible and they can even be custom printed. 

    In the consumer market today you can find sound-absorbing curtain and wall covering materials and thick carpeting. Even rubberized cupboard lining or a fabric shower curtain can absorb sound rather than bouncing it back at you.

    For more information see 

Whether you’re hooked up or boondocking, this book is a lifesaver when you look to your pantry for emergency vittles. Have a back-up supply of familiar, affordable supermarket staples. No high-priced survival rations needed with Survival Food Handbook.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Plan NOW for Your Yellowstone RV Trip

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Plan RV Travel NOW
For Yellowstone Country

You’ve heard about long lines and hard-to-get reservations at national parks. Start planning now to see the most and best of Wyoming’s magnificent Yellowstone County. Here’s how solo RV women  get the inside track:

* First, know that some of the best touring is not just inside Yellowstone National Park itself. Cody and other communities in northwest Wyoming are the Old West at its best. Book campground reservations at

Here’s more:

* Go early. Most of the best attractions, such as Cody Trolley Tours and the Cody Nite Rodeo,  open on June 1 or earlier but the crowds don't get heavier until about June 20. 

*  Cody, Wyoming is the heart of Buffalo Bill Country, so it makes a good home base. To get the lay of the land, start with the Cody Trolley Tour.  You’ll hear a lively narration and scope out all the places you want to visit later at your own pace.

* Know that the Buffalo Bill Center of the West is a destination in itself. One day isn’t enough. See changing exhibits in five superb  museums plus a season-long schedule of special events. 

* Visit Yellowstone National Park with an expert and you’ll see more, learn more, waste less time. Several companies offer one-day and multi-day tours with guides. They know the best places to find wildlife, scenic sites and colorful thermal features.

* Be safe. National park rules protect you and the wildlife. Wildlife have the right of way and it's against the law to interfere with them. Pull off the road if you see bison, bighorn sheet, elk and other creatures. Use binoculars and stay well away from wildlife.

* Don’t miss the Cody Nite Rodeo. It has an 80-year record of authentic ridin’ and ropin.  

* Bring clothes for layering. Temperatures can range from hot and dry to sharply cold. Remember this is high altitude travel, so you need good sunscreen and plenty of hydration. RV cooks should also review high altitude recipes. 

* Don’t miss the nightlife in restaurants and saloons. The Irma Hotel is known for its historic bar and bodacious western buffet meals. 

* Embrace all of Yellowstone Country’s scenes and attractions, not just the park. Walk the boardwalk and see the Old West come alive in the hamlet of Meeteetste. Visit its small museums, book a fishing trip, eat in down-home restaurants. Also  Visit the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center where President Roosevelt required thousands of Japanese families, some of them American citizens, to be held in a concentration camp after Pearl Harbor. 

The best guidebook to Yellowstone National Park. 

The best guidebook to Wyoming 

The best women's western boots

The best souvenir coffee table book on Cody, Wyoming. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

RV Women Dress Right for Travel

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Pack more outfits into your travel life if you choose carefully, coordinate wisely. 

New RV Wardrobe:
Your New Year’s Resolution

    Why pack and unpack your RV for every trip?  Many women leave a complete wardrobe in the RV, ready to go anywhere, any time. The keys to a permanent travel closet are versatility, easy care and season-spanning PLUS suitability to your lifestyle.

    Women’s tastes , budgets and activities differ, so there isn’t a one-size-fits all answer to the wardrobe question. However, here are thoughts on dressing up, dressing down, and dressing clean in your RV travels.    

    * We all have colors that work for us, so stick with that one palette rather than chasing each year’s “hot” hues. Staying with one’s tried-and-true spectrum  saves space and money, not just on the clothes but on coordinating makeup, shoes and accessories. 

    *  I once worked with a woman who seemed to wear a chic, new, colorful outfit each day. It was months before I realized that all of her her basic clothes were black, white or black and white. That allowed her endless variety in kicky scarves, belts and other accessories. Another one-color choice for you might be denim, camo or khaki.

    “Fleece pullovers and jackets are more compact and easier to care for than sweaters,” says wardrobe expert Barbara DesChamps. I’ll add that jogging suits are another of those versatile wardrobes that may women find comfortable for day wear and even PJ’s.


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

* If you do yoga, these Yoga Paws allow a workout anyplace--beach, gym, in the water-- without a mat.


    * One pair of plain pumps or flats can go from casual to dressy just by adding shoe clips. Buy a dozen “blanks” and use a glue gun to turn them into custom fashion accessories festooned with fabric, feathers, seashells, ribbon, buttons or jewels  Order shoe clip blanks at


I have two travel vests, one that is quilted for warmth and another that’s a cargo carrier with security pockets. It’s ideal for anything from fishing and photography to shopping. The gold standard in travel is Scott Vests with their chic look, sturdy and slipping tailoring and pockets, including hidden pockets for security,  in all the right places. Scott vests come in both sleeve and sleeveless styles.


Friday, December 15, 2017

Follow Azalea Trails in your RV Travels

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Springtime Azalea Trails
Do your RV  travels have a theme such as antique shopping, genealogy research or visiting Civil War battlefields? It can be a compelling hobby to “collect” destinations. 

One springtime when I was northbound from Florida to Canada, I planned a slow itinerary to take in strawberry festivals along the way. As weather warmed and strawberries ripened, I feasted on fresh, local berries from early April through mid- July. 

Here’s an idea for this spring. Azaleas burst into glorious bloom in the South as early as January. There are hundreds of colors and varieties as you drive north, all of them a-bloom on house-size shrubs that spill down hillsides and fill dooryards with color. 

At least a dozen states celebrate Azalea Festivals. Most are in the East and Lower Midwest but we also found one in Oregon and one in California. 

All the festvals have azaleas and probably other spring blooms such as dogwood plus music,  the crowning of an Azalea queen, parades, food, arts and crafts and special events ranging from antique car shows to piano concerts and ice cream socials.

These hometown azalea events are a joy to singles, families, young and old. Dates and details are subject to change. Do a search for State+Azalea Festival and more events may appear as spring gets closer. 

January 6, the annual Wild Azalea Trail Challenge is slated for January 6, 2018 at 6:00 am in the Evangeline Ranger District of the Kisatchie National Forest, just outside of Alexandria, Louisiana. At 26 miles, this is the longest continuous trail in the entire state of Louisiana. This event is for all who appreciate the “old school way” of running and biking trails and suits primarily the intermediate to advance level of trail runner/biker.There will be five  classes: 13, 27 or 50 Mile Ultra Individual; 27 or 50 Mile Mountain Bike. All Mountain Bikes will go off approximately 30 minutes before runners

March, dates TBA. A one-day Azalea Festival, Semmes, Alabama

March, dates TBA, Azalea Festival, Jasper, Texas
March, dates TBA, Valdosta, Georgia . Music plays on four stages and there’s a 5K run. 

March 3-4, Ravine Gardens are a showplace for the annual Azalea Festival in Palatka, Florida. 

March 3-31, Azalea Bloom Out is a spectacle at famous Bellingrath Garden, Theodore, Alabama

March 17, White Springs, Florida, Wild Azalea Festival

March 16-April 1. Drive the Azalea Trail in Tyler, Texas.

March 24, Mobile, AlabamaCome to the Azalea City for the annual Azalea Trail Run, one of the nation’s foremost 10K road races. Routes are flat, fast and scenic.

March and April. Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Georgia, is famous for its seas of native, wild azaleas. 

April TBA The famous Norfolk, Virginia Azalea Festival is now the NATO Festival with a European street fair look and theme. See  azaleas and other spring blooms as well as dancers, buskers, food booths, art, children’s activities.

April, dates TBA, Azalea Festival, Muskogee, Oklahoma 

April 6-8, Summerville, South Carolina. The Flowertown Festival is held in Azalea Park and attended by 200,000 people. Included is a juried art show. 

April 11-15, Wilmington, North Carolina. This is one of the nation’s major festivals. The Cape Fear Garden Club offers garden tours. 

April 20-21, Azalea Festival, Pickens, South Carolina. 

April 19-22 Charleston, Missouri, annual Azalea and Dogwood Festival with carriage rides, piano concerts from 12 pianos, old-fashioned ice cream social

Mother’s Day in May is the traditional date of the annual Azalea Festival in Hamilton, New Jersey. 

May, dates TBA, Brookings, Oregon. The Azalea Festival includes a juried art show. 

September 19 is reportedly the date of an Azalea Festival in South Gate, California. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Freewheeling, Free RV Camping, Free Sunshine

A Solo Woman’s Guide to Quartzite

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Warm winters. Sunshine. Free camping.  Flea markets galore. Rock and gem shows.
      What could be better? In the RV world, Quartzite is synonymous with The World Capital of Boondocking.  The huge RV community began as a colony of boondockers who dry camped free on  Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. Then commercial campgrounds sprang up in the surrounding area.

Today’s Quartzite campers can find almost any type of RV service they want, from boondocking to full hookups, and a friendly RV neighbor is always just a shout away. 

Melanie Cullen, vice president of operations and marketing at Blue Sky Energy ( is an expert in solar energy technology, especially as it applies to RV’s. She is also a Quartzite veteran who first began camping there with her parents. Reporting on what’s there for the solo woman RVer she says, “That partly depends on how you like to camp. There are some RV type ‘parks’ that are mostly just RV’s next to each other nearer town with hookups. There are a few actual nice parks too with some amenities

“Most of us just dry camp out on the BLM lands for a small fee. We stay at the area called Las Posas North, and it is a first-come,  first grab your little piece of desert. People are generally friendly, so I can see if you walked by a few circle of rigs or lone ones too, you can strike up conversation and get invited to a campfire.

“Many groups go (to Quartaite)  as well, and I can imagine there is one for traveling females alone. If not in a park with attached sewer, but on the BLM or even some of the parks with electrical, you would need to drive to a dump station. They have them in the BLM area and its free or for pay at the RV parks.

“It is easy to ride a bike around the town if camping at Las Posas North or South or one of the local RV parks. There are many swap meets that don’t require a partner to shop with. Often, my husband and I split up as I want to linger ‘way longer than he does in my areas of interest and he lingers in all the tool places. I only linger in the tool places to buy my annual bag of gardening gloves. They are really cheap so I buy a bag of about 20 each year to get me by. I love all the rocks and minerals in the raw and always buy some for my yard each year. There is lots of inexpensive jewelry and also some nice stuff too. A number of places specialize in fossils, whether it is something for display or bowls, plates, sinks, etc made out of polished fossil rock. There are yard items, old junk yard items and I have always maintained that if you can’t find it at Quartzsite, it probably doesn’t exist!

““ There are plenty of nice hiking areas. They’re still desert but pretty in their own way. I wouldn’t recommend a solo anyone going out unless they told someone where they were going. There is a lot of desert without a lot of people and you could get stuck out in the middle of nowhere. I think the single travel, is partly how a person likes to travel and how much they want to meet new people vs. enjoying their own time to themselves. It could certainly work out either way.” 

Learn more about Quartzite, and desert camping in general at

Friday, December 1, 2017

Specialty Campgrounds from Spa to Slot Machines

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Yes, There's a Campground for YOU!

    RV travel is a different lifestyle for every woman who hits the road. You might travel to visit friends and relatives or to shop. You might camp to follow bird migrations or NASCAR or your favorite baseball team or to make gravestone rubbings. Some RV travelers “collect” national parks or golf courses or roller coasters. 

Begin with the best basic campground directory by the one and only Good Sam folks. It's published every year and is indispensable as armchair reading as well as a guide. It lists campgrounds and their facilities including offbeat features  such as, say, ATV trails, tennis courts or a free shuttle to the nearest ocean beach. 

No matter how specialized your travel interests, there is probably a campground network just  for you.  Here are just some specialty areas that can mesh with your RV travel lifestyle.

Campgrounds for Horseback Riders

Do you travel with a horse trailer because you follow the rodeo circuit or love to saddle up Old Paint and explore wilderness nature trails? They are found throughout North America, most of them in some of the most scenic terrain on the planet. Some are private parks. Some state park campgrounds have equestrian facilities.

      The range of amenties varies from basic hookups and stable facilities to resort features such as a swimming pool and extensive riding trails. For your mount there may be boarding, arena and hot walkers. Negative coggins required for all horses. Go to

Campgrounds with Spa

       Long before the first European settlers came to North America, the natural healing of mineral hot springs was sought out by Native Americans. The word “spa” in connection with a campground could be a full-service facility with massage and salon services or just a place to soak in healing mineral mud that smells bad.  Research carefully to get the type of campsite and also the kind of spa experience you seek. A list of spas with RV access is found at

Campgrounds with Casinos
     You don't have to be a gambler to enjoy the razzmatazz lifestyle of casino resorts. At least 21 states have casino gambling. With them come campgrounds to accommodate RV travelers. Before you go, look into the facilities themselves and how you get from your campsite to the hotel. Since most casinos are also glitzy resorts, campers usually have access to a variety of resort services such as golf and restaurants. 

     Shuttles may be provided. In Nevada, slots are probably in the campground itself.  Go to 

Campgrounds for Volunteers.
       If you travel to volunteer, hook up with the group first. Here are just two examples. is Roving Volunteers in Christ’s Service, traveling to do projects for churches and charities. Habitat for Humanity, welcomes volunteers who can travel, bring their own housing with them, and hammer out new homes for the needy. Here the focus is on a short, intense work projects, camaraderie and self-satisfaction rather than lolling by a campground pool. 

Janet Groene’s shortcut recipes for RV and camping are found at

Do you yearn to take your RV on the road for good and live the full-time life on wheels? I did it for ten wonderful years, never staying in one place for more than a week. This book Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition, tells how you can too.