Friday, February 16, 2018

Pets and RV Travel

blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved. To ask about rates to place your ad on all six Groene sites for one year for one low rate, email 

Free trial subscription brings these posts to your e-reader automatically each week from Amazon. Try it free for two weeks, then it's only 99 cents a month. 


1. Pets don’t get motion sickness. 
They do, according to WebMD and, as in traveling children, motion sickness is more common in puppies and young dogs. They pet may not vomit but could  drool, vomit or lick its jowls. Or it could show its discomfort by whining, yawning or being extra active or extra lethargic. 
Stress adds to chances of a pet getting car sick, so make the whole experience as comfortable as possible. My dog Gypsy loves being in the camper, so she joins me there when I’m working inside even if we are not going anywhere. This makes her feel right at home when we are underway. 
If possible the pet should see out the front or at least out of side windows. This helps orient its balance system to the world around it. A crate is a good idea, both to contain the pet and any vomit. Position it if possible to the pet can see the road ahead. I haven't tried them but these relief drops for motion sickness might work for you.

2. Pets don’t need restraints
Pets have incredibly fast reaction time but no pet is quick enough, or strong enough, to withstand  the G faces in a panic stop or crash. It isn’t just the pet’s safety at stake. Even a small cat or dog could be turned into a cannonball in a crash, slamming into humans. 

Here's just one of the many Pet Seat Belts available. 

I knew an elderly man who always drove with his beloved pet parrot on his shoulder. In a minor crash, it was thrown into the windshield and killed. Here's a special bird cage made for safe bird travel. Birds are pets too.

3. Traveling Pets don’t need special food, water or medication
Depending on the trip, your vet may recommend shots or pills for snake bite, “kennel cough”, fleas, ticks  or other problems. 
Some pet owners carry bottled water, or water from home, to avoid upsets from drinking different water in every campground. 
    It’s always wise, my vet says,  to keep a pet on the same food or to introduce a new one very gradually. Abrupt changes in diet give Gypsy stomach trouble and a skin rash. Because her  brand of food isn’t available everywhere, I get the same dog food by mail order no matter where we are.

4. It’s OK to Let the Dog Piddle
Most RV travelers are meticulous about cleaning up dog poop but many will just stand there when the same dog piddles on someone’s tires or tent ropes.  It’s very hard to keep the dog from marking its territory and impossible to keep a male cat from squirting, but please don’t let another “No Pets Allowed” sign go up in another campground due to your pet’s bad manners. 

5. Campground showers are a great place to wash the dog
Not! Some people go bonkers if find pet hairs in the campground bathrooms. They go straight to the manager, complain, and yet another "No Pets Allowed" sign goes up.  If you have to bathe Bowser on the road, buy a small, inflatable swimming pool. 

6. My Dog Doesn’t Bark 
I once parked next to a couple whose large dog began barking as soon as they left and didn’t stop until they returned. They, of course, didn’t know that the din could be heard even when all their windows, and mine, were closed. It might take a tranquilizer, or a bark collar, or just playing the radio or TV while you are away but please don’t make all of us dog owners look bad. 

7. It’s a Cool Day, So Rover is OK Inside the RV
Even with windows open on a 70-degree day, a pet can suffer heat exhaustion in as little as 30 minutes According to the Humane Society, signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes,  rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.
Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke, say the Society,  if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Some breeds of dogs—like boxers, pugs, shih tzus, and other dogs and cats with short muzzles—will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.

8. My Dog Obeys, so Leash Laws Don’t Apply to Me
Dogs can suddenly bolt or disobey out of hunting instinct, fear or need of romance. I once stopped to rescue a beautiful German shepherd that had wandered away when the owners stopped at a rest stop. Apparently on a schedule, they had to move on, leaving the dog. The heartbroken pet was desperately running up and down a busy highway, looking for its family. 
You could lose a pet, or be evicted from a campground for ignoring leash laws. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Living Large, Small Motorhome

Blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved. To donate $5 per year in support of this blog use your Paypal account to

Never miss out again. Subscribe to this blog. Amazon will send it to your e-reader automatically each week. Free trial

Take it outside. 

Living Large in Small Spaces
RV Decorator Hacks:

Loving the RV life and the travel freedoms it provides, we all sometimes need to renew, re-do or punch up the RV’s decor without spending a fortune. Here are some ideas.

* To make new curtains, buy a duvet cover. It’s a lot of fabric for the money and it’s already double to give you extra privacy and insulation. Most are white or a drab color but   This brand comes in many  decorative colors, most of them reversible.

* Replace a bothersome wood door with a shower curtain? They are a lot of fabric for the price, lightweight,  and they are available in many colors, textures and patterns to go with the RV color scheme

* A wood-like wall covering called Belbein is a thin film that is easy to apply and give a rich new look to walls, cupboards, furniture. Just be sure to prepare the substrate perfectly smooth or any defects will show through.

* Instead of a hodgepodge of colored spines glaring out of a book case, put books in backwards. Your eyes see only a pleasing expanse of neutral white and beige pages. 

* If the vinyl floor in the RV has lost its shine and it looks worn, paint it. Get advice at a good paint store about surface preparation, primer and what paints to use. If you’re creative, use tape to make graphics or stencils to create a pattern. 

*Mirrors, mirrors, mirrors are an inexpensive and attractive way to make small spaces lighter and looking larger. However, glass mirrors are heavy. These reflective stick-ons go up easy, reflect light and weigh almost nothing. Use one or a pattern in any area of the RV.  Acrylic mirrors come in many sizes and qualities, allowing endless possibilities for placements and arrangements. 

* In the bathroom use a clear shower curtain. It lets light through, doesn’t divide the small space and makes the room larger, brighter. Pay more to get a better quality, mildew-proof curtain.

* Although it has to be well secured, many RV’s have some freestanding furniture. If yours does, replace it with clear lucite pieces that are light, bright, and see-through to make the room seem larger.

Here’s a party idea: Buy a package of inexpensive ponytail rings in many colors. Put them around glasses, mugs, paper cups at a campground party to color code them and guests won’t lose track of their own drinks. 

Do you dream of living the full-time RV life someday? I did for ten years, making a living along the way as a travel writer. More and more temp and portable job opportunities are popping up every day, so why wait for retirement age when you can go on the road now? My book tells how. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Hair Care and the RV Woman

Blog copyright Janet Groene. All rights reserved. To donate $5 per year in support of this blog use your Paypal account to 

    Subscribe to this blog for only 99 cents a month and Amazon will send it to your e-reader each week. Two week free trial.  

RV Travel: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
    As a traveler you want your hair to be clean, carefree, flattering and, most of all, healthy. The problem with travel is that you go from drenching humidity to the bone-dry desert, from searing sun to sticky sea water.  

    From one day to the next you’re in the pool, then sweating in the fitness center or cramming your hair into a helmet for zip-lining. You want  to look good for dinner tonight in the campground lodge but your shampoo doesn’t work right with this campground’s  hard water.  

Here are tips on managing your mane on RV trips.

    * Lucky you when your RV has its own shower. No matter where you’re hooked up, this easily installed shower head gives you filtered, softened water. It’s said to be good for 10,000 gallons before you replace the cartridge. 

    .* The website Fabulous 40 and Beyond says:  before jumping in the pool, wet your hair thoroughly. Hair that is already soaked will absorb less of the chlorinated water.

    * Some waterproof sunscreens are so greasy you can’t get them out of your hair with regular shampoo. If nothing else works try Dawn dish-washing soap, say some experts, but be careful to keep it out of your eyes. After all, they use Dawn to rescue birds from oil slicks.


    * Does the swimming pool give you green hair? Triswim anti-chlorine shampoo is said to remove both chlorine and bromine, which is used in hot tubs. 

    * Protect your hair and scalp from harsh sun by wearing a hat, but be sure your ears are protected. In sunny Australia they see an increase in skin cancer on the ears of women who wear baseball caps, which don’t protect the ears. 

    * Sweep your hair into a ponytail to get it out of the way when you’re active, but don’t pull too hard says You risk damage when hair is under constant tension. Elastics can also break or damage hair. Use only snag-free elastic bands without metal connectors, say these experts.

    * If your hair has static cling, run a dryer sheet over it as you comb or brush. 

    * Hair spray and perfume don’t cut it when your hair is soaked in smoke from the campfire. Wear a hat while cooking. Then use a spray-in dry shampoo.   You might also fluff baking soda into your hair and then brush it out completely.

    * A Coral Velvet turban towel stays in place to dry your hair and keep your head warm as you make the walk back to your campsite from the campground showers. 

    * Just spray it in, style and go when you use a leave-in hair product. This one is not only a leave-in conditioner but is called a repair and treatment.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Surprising First Aid Tips for RV Women

blog copyright Janet Groene, all rights reserved. To donate $5 once a year to the support of this blog, use your PayPal account to send to

Never miss another post. Subscribe for Kindle and you'll get this blog on your device every week for only 99 cents a month. Try it free for two weeks. 

First Aid on the Go

Think you have everything in your RV first aid kit? How many of these are you missing? 

When you’re roving by RV and medical woes hit , here are some ideas for items to have on board with you. No endorsement of any product is implied. In any health situation, get professional medical care as soon as possible. 

* Among the first things medical advisors want to know are your temperature, pulse rate and blood pressure. I could never get the hang of the gadgets nurses use, so I like an  automatic  blood pressure monitor that is compact, inexpensive and idiot-proof.   I also have a tiny oximeter, which measures blood oxygen level and pulse rate just by clamping it to a finger. .

* Rod Brouhard, a paramedic in California, advises everyone to take a CPR class. The new guidelines are different now. CPR is also different for babies and children than for adults. 

* Here’s what the Mayo Clinic says about performing the Heimlich maneuver.

* “I suggest adding a small supply of travelers checks,” says American Express spokesperson Joel Kaiman.  “Extra cash might be needed  for a first aid emergency such as an all-night pharmacy that doesn’t accept credit cards.” Travelers can’t always cash personal checks.  To find the nearest place selling official American Express Travelers Cheques go to
Locations include supermarkets and large pharmacy chains. 

* David Sweeney, O.D. of InSight Vision Source in Atlanta reminds us to include first aid for the eyes. A pharmacist can suggest what items to carry such as eye drops for driver eye fatigue or for allergies you encounter in your travels. If you can’t legally drive without glasses, spares are a must. A copy of the written prescription can also come in handy.  

* Ask your doctor or pharmacist about treatments for minor burns, wounds and nosebleeds. Good products are available over the counter.

* First responders carry high-tech reflective tape with a sticky back. You can instantly rip off pieces of tape to turn your clothing and any objects into reflectors. Use it in any night-time emergency scene.  

* Dental wax is sold for braces wearers as a temporary cover for rough spots. Carry some in your first aid kit to put over the sharp edge of a broken tooth, crown or braces,  to protect cheek and tongue until you can get to a dentist. Denture adhesive such as Poligrip or Effergrip is a good temporary fix for a crown that comes off.   Don’t use a permanent adhesive such as epoxy. It’s likely there is decay underneath and you don’t want to re-attach a crown over it.  See a dentist ASAP. 

* A first aid Mylar emergency blanket takes up no space at all, costs pennies and weighs almost nothing. It can wrap a patient for warmth or rig it as a sun shade. 

Do you your participles dangle? Are your antecedents ambiguous?  Do you double your negatives?  See this site by author and RV-er Cheryl Norman for a fun lesson in grammar.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Free Yourself for RV Travel

Blog copyright Janet Groene, all rights reserved.  This blog has had more than 146,000 views. To ask about placing one ad, one link for one year on all six Groene sites for one low rate, email

Cure your FOMO. These posts soon disappear. Subscribe to this blog for your e-reader and it arrives automatically each week.  Free trial. 

Campground designers are adapting to the slide-out craze but sites can be very tight.  

How Free is RV Freedom?

by Janet Groene

    You’re in the RV showroom, going ga-ga over today’s motorhomes. Press a button and the step slides out, your seat adjusts, the awning unfolds, the RV expands with one or more slide-outs and leveling jacks build a solid foundation under your parked rig.

    Hold on!

    One of my readers sent me a three-page, single-spaced letter listing all the glitches, failures and break-downs in a fancy motorhome in the first few months. They were covered by warranty but she couldn’t travel because the rig was always in the shop. No fun!

    Here are things to consider when shopping for a new or used RV. 
  Remember the KISS rule, "Keep It Simple, Stupid".

    * After the recent scare when some RV refrigerators caught fire, many manufacturers started providing only household-type refrigerators. They are not designed for off-again, on-again power supply.  Do you want to be dependent on a 110V power source 24/7? 


* Small is beautiful. Campground designers are trying to adapt for the slide-out craze but some sites are very tight when your slides, fold-outs and/or and awning are deployed, especially if your neighbors also have slides. Adding width will also restrict where you can boondock. 


    * Can you back up and maneuver this RV or will you be forever required to find large, pull-through campsites? 

* Look at the length of the overhang behind the rear axle. How steep an incline can she handle? 

    * In the showroom insist on seeing the RV in highway mode, with slides in. When you take a break at a rest stop, can you get to the bathroom, make a meal, take a nap? 

    * Cosmetics count. You might find a whale of a deal on a fixer-upper or a converted school bus but some campgrounds won’t accept RV’s that aren’t up to snuff.

    * What is the payload including fuel and water? Some RV’s are so heavily equipped there is little margin left for you and your gear. 

Janet Groene's book Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition, is based on 10 years of full-timing, earning a living along the way.


Friday, January 12, 2018

Should You BUY a Campsite?

Blog copyright Janet Groene.  To ask about rates to place one ad, one link, for one year on all six Groene sites for one low rate, email

    Did you lose your favorite Solo Woman RV post? To make sure you never miss another post, subscribe and Amazon will send each one to your e-reader automatically. Free trial.


    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.

See Janet Groene’s delicious shortcut recipes for RV travelers and campers at

Friday, January 5, 2018

For a Quieter Motorhome Day and Night

Blog copyright Janet Groene, all rights reserved. This blog has had more than 145,000 views.  To ask about placing one ad, one link for one year on all six Groene sites for one low rate, email

     Never miss another post. Subscribe to this blog for Kindle and Amazon sends every post to your device the minute it’s published. Free trial. 

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.