Friday, November 26, 2021

Earn as You Go the RV Way

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

Turn Old-Time Crafts into RV Travel Cash
Copyright Janet Groene 2021

    Are you a woman “of a certain age”, yearning to take off in an RV but too young to retire and too old to work in today’s high tech job market? You’re not alone. Hundreds of women are Out There, earning a living on the go with skills they learned from their mothers and grandmothers. 

    You may prefer to sell your wares at craft fairs and arts festivals but you have to pay for a booth or table. Many RV-ers go this route but if you are a recognized expert in your field there may be a better way. Sell your lifetime knowledge. 

Here’s just a sample of women I’ve met in my travels:
    * In the Ozarks, a woman who makes fiddles by hand. She demonstrates violin making, often playing in a program as well at campground events. She also sells the violins. She’s paid a modest fee for her appearances, which usually come with a free campsite. Her travels focus on places where bluegrass and folk music are popular.People who make other folks instruments are also in demand.

      There is demand at bluegrass festivals for instrument makers and also specialists in repair of old-time instruments. At ethnic festivals there is demand for folk specialists in Celtic, Polish, and Greek music, dance, food.  Barbershop and Gospel quartets. Irish dance teachers. Chain saw artists. Sandcastle builders. Ventriloquists. Tim Allen got his start with a comedy shtick on tools. 

    * In the Smokies, a woman who crochets rag rugs. She sells them on consignment in souvenir shops but she also gets paid to teach the skill. Her travels have taken her to pioneer festivals all over North America. 


    * An RV full-timer who travels with cast iron cookware knows cast iron cooking inside out. Even seasoned campers are wowed by her seminars and demonstrations, from fire building to making awesome meals. She charges up to $50 per attendee but that includes the demo, a copy of her book and a meal from the food she prepares.  


Grants and Government Jobs
    You may have to do a lot of research, state by state, but here’s just one example of government jobs involving old-time skills. Key search words include docent, visiting artist, artist in residence,  master crafter.

     The Bureau of Historic Preservation in the Florida Department of State offers master artist programs that pay $750 for three months, $1,500 for six months and $2,000 for eight months. They look for people who are highly skilled in a lost art such as basket making, Everglades skiff making, saltwater fly tying or Cuban guajiro singing. Artists and apprentices apply as a team and must have Florida residency during the contract. Your  state may have a similar program.

Use Time-Honored Skills
    You might  work several hours a day at a quilting frame in an historic home or bake biscuits in a campfire at a living history event. Perhaps you have the acting skills to pose as an interpretive character ort as a docent  at a state park or state museum. A campground may be hiking an activities director specializing in children’s arts and crafts. Some talents will get you a stipend and free campsite. Others a full salary and benefits. 

     Storytelling is a skill popular with campers. If your talent is the spoken word and your topic highly specialized, such as regional or ethnic  folk lore,  look into registering with speaker’s bureaus such as,, apbspeakers, com or  You don’t have to be a polished orator. I met an RV full-timer who travels the country, speaking to hunt clubs on how to field-dress birds or animals. He commands a high fee for appearances, where he also sell his book on the topic. 

     The key words are “highly specialized” Some men and women have become specialists in an historic character and do a one-person show appearing as, say, Mark Twain or Martha Washington.  Everyone these days, it seems, is creating a side hustle so it takes grit and ingenuity to find one that can travel with you, is something with little competition and can be sold nationwide.

    The knowledge you gained from your grandparents or from a college course you took many years ago may be your secret weapon. 

    The old vaudeville  joke is, “Get your act together and take it on the road.” Now that RV’s provide an economical way to travel without hotel hills, that advice has a fresh ring to it.



Live and travel in an RV, earning a living along the way. My book is based on my ten years as a full-time nomad and travelwriter. Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition, starts with making the decision, leads you through the preparation and lifestyle and ends with easing out when and if that time comes.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Nifty Safety Tips for RV Travel

Blog copyright Janet Groene 2021, all rights reserved. To ask about reaching Janet’s 10,000 followers on all six Groene site for one year, one low rates, email janetgroene at



Prevent Towing Thefts

    State Farm Insurance suggests turning the wheels toward the curb and setting the parking brake to prevent thieves from hitching up your RV, truck or car  and towing it away. Do it too if you must leave a disabled vehicle and go for help. Another problem is poaching. A reader told me he’d been victim of a scheme. He’d left his crippled RV where it died and drove his toad to the next town, where he called his insurance company and arranged for a tow. 

    However, the tow company’s dispatch was overheard on the radio by a competing company that rushed to the scene. No harm was done but now the RV owner found himself doing business with a renegade company, not the one chosen by his insurance company.  





 One Mo’ Time
    More than 10,000 home fires a year are caused by unattended appliances. Before leaving your RV make just one more check, inside and out, using your eyes, ears and nose. Sometimes I also turn off some circuit breakers or  valves depending on the situation.


 DSL Warning
    Also from State Farm comes a warning that improperly wired DSL Internet service can sometimes prevent an alarm system from transmitting alarm signals to the monitoring station. If your RV or home alarm relies on DSL, talk to the alarm company about remedies.

Debit at the Fuel Pump
    These days the penalty for going over your debit card limit is $40 or so. Fees for bounced checks are even higher,  so don’t risk using your debit card at the fuel pump unless you keep a generous cushion of cash in the account. Here’s why. With fill-ups costing $100 or now for many large RV’s  gas stations have started debiting your account as much as $100 automatically, before you start pumping,  to make sure there is enough in your account to cover the full cost of a fill-up.

     If just want only, say, $40 worth of fuel to tide you over, you may not realize that a $100 hold has been put on your debit account and it stays there for up to three days (the time it takes for the gas station to send in its reports.)  If you must use a debit card for fuel, ask in advance how much of a hold has been charged to your account. Better still, keep a wide margin of cash in the account for such “holds” or use a credit card with a high limit.

Outlet Malls 

Most outlet malls have BIG parking lots

    We love the shopping, savings and generous parking at the nation’s outlet malls but there are  tricks to the trade. The term Factory Store means that the merchandise was made for outlet sale and may be made to lesser specs than the same item made for better stores. Check websites such as and for insider outlet news and

Include Me Out
    One way to slow down those pesky robot calls is to go to  (www.) or call 1-888-382-1222.

Make a Friend, Eat Hearty


     Check bulletin boards and local newspapers for news of local fund raiser suppers when you’re a stranger in town. Many are open to outsiders. You'll get a great meal at a low price, help a cause and get an insider look at the community. 


* If you’re a boondocker, finding dump stations can be a challenge. Many private and  government campgrounds will let you use theirs for a fee.

    * Many campgrounds are going up on flood-prone lands on the assumption that they can be quickly evacuated if waters rise. It’s a win-win for communities that need campsites and for RV travelers whose homes are portable.

    * One of the privileges of membership in FMCA, the Family Motorcoach Association,  is the rallies some of the nation’s best tourist hotpots. It’s not just a chance to get together with fellow RV-ers but an inside track to special perks. At the Rose Parade Rally, for example, the FMCA package includes reserved seats at the parade, a hospitality tent with catered meals, full-service campsites and more. To read about FMCA membership perks including group discounts on everything from health care and road service to campgrounds, see or call (866) 638-2293.

    * Last raised four years ago, state park campsite rates in Michigan state parks are up as much as $8 nightly. Cabin rentals went up $10. In Otumwa, Iowa, the city park’s campground will cost $2 more nightly in 2022. 


Friday, November 12, 2021

The True Cost of RV Full-timing?

Blog copyright janet groene. To donate $5 a year as a voluntary subscription to this free weekly blog, use your PayPal account to janetgroene at


    * I’ve written about many ways to make a living on the go while full-timing, with warnings. It's important to know local and state laws about licensing, fees,  permits and rules against soliciting in campgrounds. For example, your cosmetology license from one state may not be valid in another.  Or a license may not be required for your service in one state, but you can be arrested  for opening a lemonade stand without a permit.For tips on making a living on the go see Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition

    * Monthly and seasonal fees are usually the best buy compared to nightly camp fees but annual and seasonal rates may be structured differently. . Extras may include metered electricity and, if there is no sewer hook-up, the cost of dump stations or a honey wagon. Your park model may requite a yearly vehicle license and/or personal property or property taxes.

    * So many campgrounds are announcing higher rates for next year I am not going to list them. Also, some sales or tourism  taxes are going up When making reservations, know what you’ll be paying in 2022. .

Can you afford to live and travel in an RV?
Copyright Janet Groene, all rights reserved

    The answer may be simpler and more complicated than you think. 



    If someone asked  how much it would cost to live in a Maine farmhouse or a condo in San Francisco, you’d be right if you thought it was a stupid question.  But, being a nice girl, you smile patiently and reply, “Well, what kind of life are we talking about?”

    The same is true when people ask me what it costs to live full-time in an RV. I ask:

    Do you buy only organic foods at a high-priced supermarket? Eat in pricey restaurants?  Play the slots?  Have weekly spa treatments or $100 haircuts? Buy season tickets for the opera?  There are no easy answers.

    The RV itself is just part of the budget for women who want to live on the go. Life in the same RV could cost twice as much for one woman as for another depending on personal preferences, your skills as a smart manager, and just plain luck. There are hundreds of variables and unknowns, so get out a sharp pencil and  start with what you know now. You’ll be surprised at how many of your expenses will stay the same, RV or not.

Expenses That Won’t Change
When you live in an RV you will probably spend the about the same as you do now for: 

 $ Banking, brokerage, other financial services
$ Cell phone, ISP, domain
$ Child support, eldercare, alimony

$ Debt service (credit cards, car/RV payment, margin account,  student loans)
$ Dues, church, charity
$ Entertainment (movies, books, downloads, concert tickets)
$ Food and drink including restaurants
$ Gifts
$ Health needs such as dental and eye care, vitamins, birth control, memberships (gym, associations, Weight Watchers)
$ Insurances

$ Non-food supermarket purchases ( greeting cards, cleaning products, magazines)
$ Personal care (toiletries, cosmetics, hair salon, bling)
$ Pet care
$ Retirement fund contributions
$ Soft goods (wardrobe, shoes, household linens)
$ Sports and hobbies (lift tickets, greens fees, court time)
$ Subscriptions, publications, dues    
$  Other    

    Go through your check book and credit card bills for the past year to get a ballpark figure for what you spend monthly, weekly or annually. Be honest about where cash dribbles away, such as a daily $6 latte or $5 in weekly lottery tickets. 

 One of my close friends was sure she could quit smoking after she shed the hassle of a job, then the stress of finding and equipping an RV, then the disorientation of adjusting to her new life as a full-timer. She never quit.

No matter how good your resolutions,  some habits, cravings and addictions will probably go with you. Make a list but be honest.

Friday, November 5, 2021

RV Travel Shoes to Choose and Use

Blog copyright Janet Groene 2021. To ask about placing your ad on all six Groene travel and outdoors sites for one year, one low rate, email janetgroene at



Choose RV Shoes to Use,
Shoes to Fuse with RV Life

    What woman does NOT need more shoes?  We need shoes for all seasons plus hiking boots and heels, perhaps ski boots or waders,  and colors to go with every outfit. Yes, we know space is limited when you live in an RV, so here are ways to have shoes that look good, work with RV life night and day, and are also good for your feet.

    See local outfitters or shop online with Amazon's Personal Shopper , a subscription service that's at your fingertips 24/7 at

 Driving Shoes give your feet more feel for the brake and the gas pedal. That means better fuel mileage, better control overall  and soft, supple comfort on long drives. A British study found that 27% of drivers admitted they’d had driving difficulties because of the shoes they were wearing and 5% actually had accidents blamed on shoes.

    In shoes designed specifically for driving, soles are only as thick as they must be, allowing you a better feel for the pressure you’re putting on pedals. Width should be no more than you need for a good fit because too wide a sole could catch on the gas when you want the brake. Race drivers and other experts say high heels are a special problem because the leverage effect keeps you from judging pedal action and pressure. 

    Spike heels and strappy sandals  can get caught  under pedals or in mats used in the RV cockpit. Simply said, proper driving shoes are safer.


Buy plain shoes, add clip-ons

Dress shoes. Plain pumps are as essential as the little black dress that’s basic to most women’s wardrobes. Whether they are ballerina flats or the highest spike heels, we get longer wear out of basic pumps that are not too pointy, not too snub-nosed and are closed at heel and toe. Dress them up with clip-on bows or bangles.





Hiking shoes or boots. Boots take up a lot of room, need special cleaning and care and usually cost a bundle,  yet the right boots for the right activity are essential. You may need western boots for line dancing and horseback riding. 




Go to specialists and don’t skimp on quality in choosing the right boots for outdoor adventures such as climbing, hiking, trout fishing, skiing, snowshoe trekking. 


 Running shoes. Serious running calls for serious safety and support. The marketplace is large and confusing. Do a search for “how to choose running shoes” and all you see are ads for certain brands. One good source of general information is (you may have to cut and paste) Another is



Bicycling shoes. Putting your sole on the pedals requires the right footwear for  comfort, safety and control. 




Specialty shoes. What are your special needs in footwear?  There is a shoe for you. Need a hard-to-find shoe size? Want to take up tap dancing?  Ballroom dancing? Yoga? Need high-tops for basketball or volleyball? Golf shoes? Ski boots? Waders for fly fishing? Snakeproof boots for hiking?

Wellies are always good for damp mornings in camp

Buttons, bows and socks. Here’s where you can go wild with colors, rhinestones and other clip-on trims for shoes as well as whimsical socks to suit the season, the occasion or outfit. Socks come in many colors and patterns including holiday motifs and team colors.


    * You know where they are and maybe you prefer not to tell anyone else.  “They” are the free camping sites that are passed from ear to ear, quietly sharing news of places where you can dry camp, or boondock, for one night and sometimes longer without interference from the law.  Most are on public lands. 


    Now some of the best boondock sites are disappearing because of a few thoughtless people who disrespect the land.  The primary problem is trash build-up,  but there is also illegal dumping of sewage, petty crime,  drugs and other reasons that prompt the law to step in and take over. As a result, another state forest, rest stop, WalMart parking lot, BLM site or city park is closed to all overnight camping.

    * Winter is here is some areas, soon to arrive in others. Check ahead to see what facilities are available. Water is the first utility to be shut off, sometimes at a certain date and sometimes only when the temperature is forecast to fall below freezing. Showers may be closed. Restrooms may be limited to vault toilets only. The campground may close its pool or may have an indoor pool, heated outdoor pool or year-round hot springs.

    * Repair problems? Some campgrounds prohibit house calls at your site by mobile RV repair services. Some allow them. Some have professional services on site. Do you know the towing mileage allowed by your roadside insurance policy?

Make your own, healthful pocket snacks with Janet’s recipes seen at



Friday, October 29, 2021

When You Have Guests in Your RV

Blog copyright janet groene 2021, all rights reserved. To ask about placing your ad on all six Groene sites for one year, one low rate, email janetgroene at

 New each week. Is there a new campground a-building in your area? More campsites being added? Campgrounds having a party, festival, special pricing or other event. See this week's news at

RED ALERT! Six state parks in Tennessee have installed colorblind viewfinders so everyone can enjoy the fabulous fall colors there. See the list at


Checklist for Your RV Guest List
    Your RV looks like a home and it does almost everything you expect a home to do. Problems begin when your guests treat it too much like a house and not enough like a vehicle. For day visitors,  a quick check-out will do. For overnight guests, you may want to print out more of a Welcome Aboard list and send it ahead of time.

Here are some things they need to know. (If you can add to this list, please leave as a Comment.)

    * Advance notice is the best prevention. Guests need to know how to pack, what to expect, what not to bring. I’ve heard of people showing up with unexpected dogs, kids and even additional guests.

    * If you’re staying in a campground, let guests know about any campground rules they may not be aware of such as quiet hours or cutting through other campers’ campsites. 

    * The old sailor’s sayings are, “Don’t put anything in the head (toilet)  that you haven’t eaten first” and “There are no plumbers at sea.”  Remind guests that the RV toilet empties into a tank that empties into a hose that eventually reaches a sewer. If anything hangs up along the way, well, you don’t want to know. Provide a waste container  in the bathroom for tissues, tampons, anything but toilet paper and you-know-what.

    * Kitchen plumbing should be respected too.  No grease.  No wasted water. No Drano (unless your owner’s manual says it’s OK.) Use a rubber scraper to pre-clean dishes.
    * A generator or inverter can provide household power, but it may have to be rationed or juggled. Induction burners can use as high as 3,300 watts. Appliances such as the air conditioner, compressor type refrigerator and air compressor have much higher starting loads than running loads. You don’t want a well-meaning guest to start blowing up beach toys outside at the same time you’re cranking up the AC inside. Communicate. 

    * Seat belts are smart and are also the law.  Whether it’s the passenger seat or the living room sofa everyone buckles up.

    * At rest the RV may have automatic or manual jacks to keep it  steady. When it’s not jacked up, it can  rock and shock at unexpected  times. It is, after all, a vehicle. Be aware of your footing. Some large slides also need their own jacks before the kids start rough-housing.
    * Show guests where to find and how to open all exits including emergency exits. Show guests fire extinguishers and the locations of light switches for both 12-volt and 110-volt lights.

    * Drawers and cupboard doors have latches for a reason.

    * Even the largest motorhome is a small space and steam builds up quickly. Remind guests to use the kitchen and bathroom fans, especially when showering. 

    * An RV carries its own utilities and they are limited. Depending on hook-ups, explain today’s special needs. For example, you may be hooked up to water, but you still have to be conservative so the waste water tank can handle it until you can get to a dump station. Or, you could get only 30-amp service even though your RV could use 50 amps.

Do you use your RV as a guest house on your property? Let others take your RV on road trips? How has it worked out for you? Please share a Comment.  


Love a cozy mystery to read in your bunk? Farley Halladay’s e-book mysteries are salty, spirited, poignant yet funny as widow Farley works through the loss of her husband while also cooking, caregiving, operating an online boating business  and solving crimes. The series is now six books, January Justice through June Jeopardy.

SOLAR? Yes,  No or Maybe
Is solar as good as it’s touted to be? Well, that depends.

Pro: You can live off grid. Once you make the initial outlay for solar panels, batteries and inverter the sun’s energy is free until it’s time for maintenance, repairs or replacements.

Con: How much time will you spend in the sun?  For those who camp in the Sun Belt, the goal is to get out of the sun and into a tree-shaded campsite as quickly as possible. When you aren’t using the RV, you keep it out of the sun and weather to protect your investment. Are you on the road often, or park in the shade for days at a time?  Batteries are heavy, take up a lot of space and are costly to replace. When you need to recharge them  with campground power, many campgrounds charge extra for the added amps.

Only you can decide.

Friday, October 22, 2021


blog copyright janet groene 2021, all rights reserved. To ask about rates for one ad, one year, all six Groene sites, email janetgroene at


Want a free campsite in Prescott National Forest in Arizona? They are looking for volunteers for the 2022 season starting in March for locations opening on April 1, usually through the end of October. You must have your own "housing" (aka RV), have good work ethic and be willing to do dirty work and light maintenance.
Not all campsites have utilities, so bonus points if you're off grid. You’ll be working every weekend but have two weekdays off. Contact Nina Hubbard, volunteer and partnership coordinator,  (928) 567-1173 or


Windows on Your RV World
  Copyright Janet Groene 2021


  The windows in your RV look out on a different scene every day, a panorama of wonders. The views are a constant reminder of why you went RV-ing in the first place. Yet windows can get cranky, break, leak or let in too much heat or cold air.  

  "With a little guidance and the right parts, anyone can repair their windows on their own," said Dave Pallas, President of SWISCO, a supplier of replacement window and door hardware.

Here are his tips.

1) Faulty Windows - If windows won't open or won’t stay open, it may just be a matter of adjusting or replacing existing hardware. For hung windows that open up and down, first inspect the sash support system. Most sash support systems are located on the sides of the window and may be hidden by a cover. Inspect your sash support system and see if it's causing your window to fall or stick. For a casement or awning window that cranks open with a handle, it may just be a matter of replacing the handle mechanism.

Janet adds: sticky windows may be your first clue that the RV frame is twisting or sagging. Windows may get balky, which may your first clue that wood rot has invaded supporting wood structure. If changes occur, find the cause. It could be serious.

2) Drafty Windows. Replacing weather stripping is an easy solution. Weatherstripping, which comes in many types,  is used around the perimeter of your window sash. Make sure you get a compatible size and shape. 


3) Security - Broken window locks and latches should be replaced for your security and safety.    "This is probably one of the easiest DIY projects," promises Pallas. "Just be sure the replacement parts you order match in size to the old ones."

Janet adds: On the Internet, find many how-to video videos on topics such as re-sealing a window, replacing a window and making a temporary cover for a broken window.

4) Broken or Foggy Glass - If the glass in dual pane windows is foggy, it means the insulated seal was broken and the insulated glass unit needs to be replaced. It’s best removed and replaced by an RV professional. 


5) Damaged Window Screen - Window screens, like glass, can be replaced. Keep your old screen so you can take it to be measured for a replacement. If your screen frame isn't damaged, it can be reused and fitted with new screen mesh.
Janet adds: don’t settle for just any screen mesh. Many materials,  colors and gauges are available. Be sure, however, to replace with a screen that matches existing screens or the new one will stick out like a sore thumb.
For information on RV window parts, which ship from New Jersey,  go to 


Janet Groene was a happily homeless traveler for 10 years,  wintering under sail in the tropics and summering in a 21-foot Class C camper. The story is told in her book Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition. Read about RV full-timing, from making the decision, preparing the rig and living the life to the time when you ease out (when and if that time comes).

See Janet Groene’s shortcut recipes for RV camping at

    I don’t often accept products for field testing but this one passes muster on all levels. The RV Hose Storage Bag is, first of all, something every RV can use to keep things clean, dry, separate and easily retrieved from a storage compartment. Stow the bags in a stack or tuck them in separately  to whatever compartments work for you.
    Second, it’s rugged for years of use and that includes the easy drawstring closures and the three heavy duty labels for the drinking water bag, black water bag and electrical cord. Third is the attractive price at $39.95 for the set of three bags. See it at

PS.  For many users, the drinking water hose bag goes from RV to home, then back to the RV for travel.


Friday, September 24, 2021

RV Travel Problems, Solutions from Janet Groene

Blog copyright Janet Groene 2021





The Plumbing Puzzle 

Lesson One: Hooking up to the sewer isn’t as bad as it sounds.
    Lesson Two: When dealing with gray or black water tanks, dump stations and sewer hookups, get it right the first time. Sewage screws-up are icky, usually illegal,  and are unlikely to bring volunteers who are eager to help.

Small props fold for easy stowing

     Lesson Three: you-know-what doesn’t run uphill. Your sewer hose may need supports to route it on a down-hill slope to the hole. Camping supply stores have a selection of solutions. 

    Let’s start with the easy one,  drinking water hookup.  Buy a drinking water-quality hose for purity and taste. It is white to stay cooler. Some stow flat one to save space. Some are thicker, heavier and can take higher pressures.  A garden hose won’t do.  If you winter in a freezing climate, heated water hoses are available from campground suppliers.


    Hook one end to the campsite faucet and the other end to the RV.  You now have running water just as you had in a house or apartment. Your RV also has a tank for potable water and a pump that delivers it to your faucets, but for now they get a rest. Just make sure water in the drinking water tank is refreshed often, especially in hot climates. If  the tank is unused for more than a few days, your tank water can get stale and perhaps even dangerous.

    Consider two other items when you purchase the hose. Quick-disconnect fittings are a convenience and you might also add a pressure-control device that tames water pressure if the campground’s pressure surges. Your RV’s plumbing could be damaged if incoming water pressure is too high. A camping supply store  sells everything you need and sales staff can check you out on how they work. 

     Once you’re hooked up to campground water,  keep in mind that incoming water has to go somewhere, either into your RV’s wastewater gray and black water tanks or, if you have sewer hookup, into the campground’s sanitary sewer.  It’s illegal in most places to let anything drain into the ground, not even clean water from the shower. 

    We all practice conservation these days. In an RV you learn conservation fast, and sometimes the hard way. Even if you have gauges that indicate when  gray and black water tanks are getting full,  sensors tend to get scuzzy and cannot be trusted. You’ll soon develop an inner radar that tells you it’s time to drain the tanks. 

    Shower and sink drains go into a “gray” water tank and  the  toilet flushes into what RV-ers call the black water tank. Rule one in hooking up to a campground sewer is to make sure the sewer hose runs downhill. Camping equipment suppliers sell simple hose  supports that tuck into a small space and come in handy if you need to prop up the sewer hose so it drains away from the RV.

   After hooking up, empty the black water tank right after parking,  then close it again. After the RV has been on the road, the sludge is riled up and will drain better,  Leave the gray water tank drain open, which keeps the hose flushed out,  but keep the black water valve closed. This allows the tank fill up at least 2/3 full before you empty it, assuring that it empties completely. 

    Don’t skimp on flushing the toilet. Liquids are needed to flush out the solids. It also helps to use quick-dissolving toilet paper. You don’t need an expensive, specialty brand from the camping store. The thinnest, cheapest household brands are also  quick dissolving. Don't put anything else, such as tampons, wet wipes or soap wrappers into the RV toilet.

    Many RVs have a built-in flushing system that allows you to put clean water through the entire system including the black water tank and out the sewer  hose. If you have one, its operation is described in your owner’s manual.

    When using a dump station, preferably after a long run so everything is stirred up and in solution, empty black water first, then gray water to flush the hose. The dump station will also have clean (but perhaps  not potable)  water  to use for a final rinse before putting your sewer hose away. Whatever you do, leave the dump station as clean or cleaner than you found it. Abuse is the chief reason that
free dump stations are disappearing and fee dumps are raising their prices.

    All tanks are vented to allow waste  to “burp”. If you’re getting sewer gas smells inside the RV, look for a vent clogged by a wasp nest or other debris.  Camp and marine suppliers sell chemicals to sweeten tanks. Few of these products, if any, contain formaldehyde any more but check labels just in case. Some campground owners are so fearful of chemicals that can harm harm their water treatment systems,they require RV-ers to arrive with empty tanks.

    In any case, use only chemicals formulated for RV systems. Old wives’ tales include recipes using household sanitizers or even aspirin, but the wrong brew could damage delicate parts unique to RV toilets.        

    No matter how careful you are, the sewer hose that came with your RV will crack or tear eventually. Here is one place where you don’t want leaks. Replace it immediately and with the heaviest hose you have room for.  (The heavier the hose the less it will compress.)  Treat any sewer hose gingerly. Don’t drag it around on rough ground or over-stretch it.

    Also be aware of differing state laws and local practices regarding sanitation,  and carry equipment that keeps you compliant. Ask at camping supply stores about “donuts”, which are screw-in fittings for a more secure hook-up.  There is much more to the sewer story such as macerators, pumps that allow sewage to be pumped uphill, and portable “honey wagons” to remove waste water when you’re boondocking,  but they’re for special situations. For now,  stick to need-to-know basics.  



The following is the latest list of RV recalls was issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA). See your dealer ASAP. :

• Forest River Inc. is recalling four 2021 Berkshire recreational vehicles. These vehicles may have been manufactured with unsealed 5-AMP and 20-AMP mini-breakers, which could cause a spark in the battery compartment.

• Forest River Inc. is recalling 175 2021-2022 Coachmen Nova motorhomes. The Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) battery was incorrectly installed inside the vehicle, which can allow hydrogen gas to enter the vehicle.

• Chrysler is recalling 8,379 2021 Ram ProMaster City and Ram ProMaster vehicles. The seat belt automatic locking retractors may deactivate early, which can prevent the child restraint system from securing properly. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 208, “Occupant Crash Protection.”

• Newmar Corporation is recalling 1,554 2019-2021 London Aire, Dutch Star, Essex, King Aire, Mountain Aire, 2020-2021 Ventana, and 2021 New Aire recreational vehicles. The instrument cluster may intermittently go blank while the vehicle is in motion.

• Forest River Inc. is recalling 41 2021-2022 Coachmen Sportscoach motorhomes. The outdoor cooktop can be stowed with the propane hose connected.

To keep abreast of RV recalls make frequent visits to 

    * It’s not new that state parks have long had a lower rate for in-state residents or at least for in-state seniors and veterans,  but now some states are increasing fees for all out-of-staters. Washington State charges an additional, non-refundable reservation fee to outsiders. Some states and also some private campgrounds are quietly moving out-of-state residents to the end of the line in making reservations.

    * Does it annoy you when a campground website asks to know your travel dates before providing any other information? Dear Campground Manager. Before I decide where and when to go camping I want to know if yours is the campground I want . We may be all wrong for each other from the get-go. Please save my time and convince me I want to go there before asking my name, email, travel dates and what breed of dog I have.  

    * When a state park has a luxury lodge as well as a campground do campers have access to the indoor swimming pool? Golf and tennis? Spa?  Restaurant? 

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