Friday, December 8, 2017

Freewheeling, Free RV Camping, Free Sunshine

A Solo Woman’s Guide to Quartzite

Blog copyright Janet Groene, all rights reserved. To ask about placing one ad, one link for one year on all six Groene sites for one low rate, email

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.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Already? It's Time to Plan Your RV Alaska Summer

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(That's me in the red hat, reading the plaque on the Zero Mile Post marker.)

10 Things You Need to Know About 
RV Cruising Alaska

It’s time to book next summer’s RV trip to Alaska. Wouldn’t that make a great Christmas gift for the family? In any case, the season is short and intense, so advance planning starts NOW.

1. Even if you live in the northern U.S. or eastern Canada, just getting  to Alaska can consume too much of a short vacation. Consider a fly-drive rental. Rates vary widely depending on the date and the length of the trip. Plan to spend $80 to $110 a day for a standard size RV and up to $230 a day for a larger model in high season.

2. One-way fly-drive and round trip rentals are available. offers a rail trip from Anchorage to Fairbanks, returning to Anchorage  by motorhome. Other one-way options begin or end in other cities including Vancouver or Seattle.

3. One-way Seattle-Alaska trips are a good bargain in the early spring, when rental fleets are being repositioned for the summer season. Fly to Seattle, pick up an RV, leave it in Anchorage two weeks later. 

4. Whether you go in your own RV or rent, the latest edition of The Milepost is a must. It gives detailed highway information with everything you need to know about sightseeing and services.  Fuel stops and other points of interest can be far apart, so it’s essential to plan ahead. Most roads are narrow and lay-bys not always handy,  and you're driving a large vehicle that can't pull over just anywhere.  

5. Don’t plan on covering a lot of miles each day. The joke is that Alaska has two seasons, winter and “under construction”.  This means delays.  Sightseeing everywhere is awesome, and you’ll want to spend time in campgrounds to chill out, build a campfire, take hikes and jawbone with other campers. 

6. Never pass up an official Tourist Information or Visitor Center. They have adequate parking for the RV, clean rest rooms, guidance from knowledgeable locals, discount coupons and often a small museum or other displays. 

7. Don’t miss at least one passage on the Alaska Marine Highway, a network of ferries connecting a state that is mostly made up of water. Most ferries carry RV’s and sightseeing from the water is a special treat. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Kids on Board, Not Bored

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Bored Kids on Board? 

   It takes plenty of jet-propelled entertainment these days to wean little ones away from their screens and screaming earphones, but many RV campers try. 
A new season of books and games helps introduce children to the silence, serenity and sanctity of nature’s world.

Are you trying to unplug? With holiday giving in mind I found three  wonderful books and two fun card games that are perfect for camping and RV trips. Here are my discoveries, from Age 0 to 100. All are priced at about $15.

Little Houses, a Counting Book, is ideal for baby’s first book up to age three. It’s not just about learning numbers but about types of houses around the world. The drawings are delightful, educational and the binding is sturdy enough for little hands to handle time and again. Order from

Animal Architects, Amazing Animals Who Build Their Homes is for older children with an interest in anthills, beaver houses and termite towers. A well-constructed hardback, it should serve the family RV book shelf for years.  Order from

Sticky History of the World educates about history and geography by providing 150 colorful stickers that kids can place on 15 scenes of worldwide locations. Never has a social studies workbook been more fun. Order from

 Flower Families is a card game for all ages. It’s light to carry in the RV, neat to stow, sturdily built and boxed for many years of sit-down family fun. Based on the “go fish” card came it’s not complicated to learn and the whole family can play. Order from

Match A Pair of Birds is a more challenging card game. Like the Flower Families game it’s compact, boxed and sturdy for travel but it’s brainier to play. The goal is to match up male and female bird pictures. Along the way players learn a lot about birds. Order here 

Chores for Kids

Here are just a few age-appropriate chores for children on an RV camping trip.

* Keep checklists on their phone or iPad. Put kids in charge of almost any list from provisions to the break-camp checklist.

* Give everyone a trash bag and go on a “trashure” hunt to pick up any litter around the camp or trails.

* Take a wildlife or bird census. Add to these sightings on each camp-out.

* Gather tinder and kindling for the campfire.

* Participate in the state or national park ranger program.

Friday, November 10, 2017

RV News About Recalls

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I Seem to Recall
copyright Janet Groene
Recalls of any products can be a pain in the neck as well as a pain in the pocketbook. Yet to RV travelers they are also a heads-up that can save a highway breakdown or even your life.

The Takata air bag recall is just one example of a huge recall nightmare that continues to make news.  This product recall is so widely publicized, it’s fairly easy to learn if your vehicle is affected. Smaller recalls, however, may send you to the pantry or freezer to look for code numbers or manufacturer dates to see if your product is one of the unlucky ones. 

It's good to know that the product is defective before you find out the hard way but it’s also a burden. What comes next can be a real headache.  I just spent an hour rounding up my Kidde fire extinguishers, finding forms online, squinting over serial and model numbers and filling out forms that I only hope will eventually bring me replacements. 

Even when a company promises to make good on the product, it’s a nuisance to go through the drill. You may have to take the vehicle or product  in for service, return it to the store, ship it to the manufacturer or, in the case of food and other small items, just throw it away and chalk it up to experience. 

Here’s what’s new:

* On November 2, a massive recall of Kidde fire extinguishers was announced. Kidde is one of the most common brands used in RV’s, cars, trucks and households.
I was shocked to find that two out of three of my familiar red fire extinguishers are under the recall. One death has been reported from a malfunction, so don't ignore this recall.  

Go to for information and a long list of  fire extinguishers that are affected. It takes patience  just to find out if you have the exact years and models that are recalled.  I filled out the online form, which supposedly will bring  replacement extinguishers and information on what to do with the recalled ones. 

* Speaking of recalls, one good way to stay current on recalls for an RV or related highway product is through the NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Association, . Here you’ll find information on vehicles that are affected by recalls including the massive Takata air bag recall.

* Recent class action suits have been settled for RV refrigerators. At any time, such suits may be underway for any product from toys to televisions.  If you think you are a party to such a claim, check

How to be ready for a recall:  
* Save time and anguish by knowing your vehicle VIN number as well as the brand, model number and year for everything. Keep it handy because it’s the key to knowing if you’re affected by a recall.

* Manufacturers can’t notify you of recalls if they can’t find you. Fill out cards that come with everything. Keep a copy because it contains the model and serial numbers as well as manufacturer contact information.

* Network with the RV community through forums, clubs, magazines, dealers. Stay in touch with your  manufacturer and the brand’s club if there is one. 

* Some retailers, such as Walmart, often post recall notices of product recalls in their Customer Service department. Take a quick look there from time to time to see if you have a product on board your RV that is recalled. 

* The Consumer Product Safety Commission ( is a goldmine of recall information for all products of all kinds. The Search window lets you check out products by category such as dishwashers or bicycles. 

* To report an unsafe product call 800-638-2772 or  go to

* Subscriptions to the indispensable weekly RV Travel newsletter are free. The newsletter promptly reports recalls of RV’s and RV-related products. Never miss an issue. Go to

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

Friday, November 3, 2017

Sell Your RV for Top Dollar

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How To Sell Your RV

Can you get more for your RV by selling it outright than trading in?  Maybe so with the advice of Shane Malpass at .  A seasoned expert in motorhomes, he’s in Burton-on-Trent, East Staffordshire, England. 

Do you dream of someday buying an RV overseas,  exploring Britain and the continent and then selling the RV before returning home? He’s  the person to contact.

Thanks to Shane Malpass for supplying these tips on How to Sell Your RV. Much of your RV’s resale value is destined from Day One depending on the care you give it.  Here are just some highlights of his full statement. 

* Papers Matter. A new buyer will want all the instruction manuals that go with the RV  plus warranties and  logbooks of its maintenance history. The more complete, neat and authentic these records, the more credible your sales pitch. 

*Wear and tear hurts resale. Make repairs. Check behind the scenes. For example, Malpass finds that a common flaw is awning damage caused when an awning is not correctly re-wound and stowed. A smart buyer will want to see the entire awning, slide-outs in both in and out positions, and convertible furniture in open and closed positions.  Maybe you never use the dinette as a bed but make sure you know how it works, and clean out all the crumbs in the crevices, so you can demonstrate it with a flourish. 

Water Damage.  First, says Malpass, remove and dispose of any soggy or damaged materials. If any wood displays signs of excessive rot and decay, it’s best to replace it with new wood. If the wood can be salvaged, then apply a coat of hardener and let it dry before adding wood putty to the more heavily damaged parts. 

Paintwork.   Malpass says there is a whole range of automotive touch up paint products for minor paint repairs.  He also suggests caring for the RV from the beginning to protect against damage from sun, scratches and acid rain.

Tires dry out. They should be replaced every six years, even if they appear sound. 

Roof condition. Inspect the roof at least once a year, preferably more, for leaks. Bedding around fittings that hold roof-mounted gear can dry out, loosen and allow leaks. He suggests re-sealing the roof every five to ten years. Here in hot, sunny Florida we have to re-seal the roof and re-bed sealing compounds more often. 

De-personalize. Malpass makes the interesting observation that when you add shelves, hooks and other accessories they can add a cluttered look.  Consider returning the RV to its original look. 

Cleanliness and presentation. Shampoo. Polish, Clean windows, Vacuum. Consider getting your RV detailed by a professional. Put flowers on the table, fresh bread in the oven, fragrant coffee in the pot. 

To make the sale quick and relatively painless, many people will sell direct to a motor home dealer. When you sell your motor home to a dealer , Malpass says you are sure of a guaranteed sale. You might be looking at less money than you would get if you were selling privately, but a dealer will take all the hassle out of dealing with private buyers. 

More Points:
* Digital photos are a must. 
* Describe the RV accurately. 
* Try getting quotes online or go to a motorhome appraiser. Use NADA guidelines.  Use as many sources as possible to get an idea of the price range. 

Summing Up:
1. Be friendly and try to build a rapport when people call. People buy from other people they trust
2. Never lie about your vehicle
3. Encourage people to come out and see your motor home in person
4. When a potential buyer arrives, have the sales paperwork at hand
5. Get complete buyer information prior to signing anything

If your dog is like mine,  she’s in the driver’s seat the minute you leave it. Why not? It’s the best view in the house. Solvit, a company known for its car pet accessories, offers a serious, stay-put bucket seat cover.

Friday, October 27, 2017

8 Ways RV Women Survive Campground Showers

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8 Ways RV Women
 Survive Campground Showers

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Even those of us who have showers in our RV sometimes want to, or have to,  use campground showers. Here are ways to cope:

1. Buy a toiletries kit large enough to bring everything including a bath towel and clean clothes. The gym bag that works for you at the spa or fitness center may not work in campground showers.  Sometimes the only place to put your gear is a damp bench in the shower stall. Sometimes there’s just one nail or clothes hook to hang everything you need. I like this large size hang-up travel toilet kit with a hefty hook. 


2. Eliminate the ick factor by wearing good clogs or water shoes. When I get back to the RV, I wash and dry them and spray with Lysol. It’s just a personal choice, but I also feel better about athlete’s foot if I use a medicated powder in shoes and socks after using a campground shower.

 3. Liquid body wash and a shower puff are better than a washcloth and bar soap. Nylon shower puffs dry very quickly. 

4. A travel size spray-down of the whole shower adds a freshness factor. Lysol spray is available in travel size. 

5. Campground shower stalls are often very dark. Bring one of the new, tiny, ultra-bright LED flashlights. 


6. This rechargeable, waterproof shaver works anywhere. 

 7. No bath mat?  Look in the baby products department for disposable place mats. Parents use them on the table at home and in restaurants. Usually about 12 X 18 inches, they make ideal bath mats to use once and throw away. Or, look in the pet care department for disposable pet training mats. They are absorbent paper on one side with a plastic barrier on the back. Both products are inexpensive.   

 8. The shower head in each campground is different. Tuck a shower cap into your kit just in case.

Do you long for the day when you can take to the open road in an RV and travel free? I did. My book Living Aboard Your RV  covers it all, from choosing and furnishing the RV to making a living on the go.