Friday, January 18, 2019

Caring for Travel Clothes

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Come Clean: 
Clever Cleaning
Tips For the RV Woman’s
High Performance Wardrobe

copyright Janet Groene

    You’re a woman who is going places. That calls for a suitable wardrobe for all seasons and all reasons. Space is limited. Garments should be easy care. How can you keep looking spiffy?  

    Rule One is  to read labels that come with the new materials. Many travel garments are  treated to block water, ultraviolet rays or both. They may have a no-iron finish. The wrong cleaners could destroy these treatments. White fabrics that turn yellow from antiperspirants could look even worse if you bleach them with chlorine.

    * Chlorine can also be deadly on swim suits. Soak in cool water with a little mild detergent, rinse, then hang to air-dry. Ditto for salt water swimming. The suit will dry without rinsing but salt crystals that are left behind will be scratchy. Then they will draw moisture out of the air and make the suit feel damp. 

ALWLj Fashion Summer Women's Sun-Shading Dual Hat Anti-Uv Large Brim Sun Hat Beach Cap Strawhat Visor Hat Wide Large Brim Floppy    * Hats. The best hats for travel can be folded, rolled or crushed  to save space.  Fabric hats are usually treated to resist UVA and water. Clean according to labels.  Straw hats may not be straw at all but another botanical product or raffia, paper or synthetic. Read labels. I love this kicky,  casual, smoosh-able denim sun hat because it’s treated for UV protection and the brim is really, really BIG. 

    * Fitness outfits.   High-performance fabrics are designed to draw sweat away from the body, and that means the sweat smell stays in the garment. Even if you’ve worn it only briefly, it’s going to ripen. Wash promptly in a mild baking soda solution. Baking soda is also a good sweetener for clothing that reeks of campfire smoke. Use ½ cup per gallon of water. Don’t rush it. The solution needs several hours to neutralize odors.  

 Change fitness clothes often, wash ASAP. Here's a good buy on a set of sports bras.

TOMS Women's Alpargata Polyester Espadrille, Size: 7 B(M) US, Color: Drizzle Grey Dots Fe    * Espadrille shoes are a favorite slip-on with many of the travelers I know.  Unlike sneakers, they pack flat and go with any casual outfit. They come clean with an old toothbrush. When the rope soles get grotty, brush or vacuum first, then use a foaming carpet cleaner.  Let it soak in for a few minutes, then gently brush in the cleaner. When it’s dry, brush or vacuum again. 
     Incidentally, espadrilles (canvas shoes with rope soles) come in all sizes and colors for both men and women. If you’re arty, buy them in a plain color and customize with a fabric paint.

DALIX 23" Premium 24 oz. Cotton Canvas Shopping Tote Bag (Gray)    *Canvas totes, like canvas shoes, are a coarse weave that is best cleaned with a vacuuming or brushing, then a spray-on cleaner and a soft brush. Don’t forget to vacuum the inside too. The best quality bags are  as stiff and heavy as sheet metal. That’s plus for grocery shopping and lugging heavy leads from the house to the RV. Don’t machine wash or they’ll turn to cement. Spot clean as long as possible, then soak, hand wash and block to dry.     * Keep red wine stain remover such as Wine Away  (recommended brand)  on hand for stains from red wine, red or blue berries, coffee, blood, ink and  red medicine stains.

    * Do your towels and sheets develop a musty odor in a stored RV?  They may need just a tumble in the dryer with some dryer sheets. If not, machine wash, adding a cup of baking soda to the load.

    * Rust stains on fabric usually yield to vinegar or lemon juice. To remove mildew from washable fabrics, wet the spot and rub or brush in some powdered laundry detergent. Wash in hot water with bleach. If the fabric can’t be bleached or washed in hot water or bleach, brush in a paste made from white vinegar and salt. Sunlight is a natural bleach.

Friday, January 11, 2019

RV Women Chat With RV Women

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 Wise Words from Women in RV-ing

    We went to the RV Aftermarket Association, RVAA to see what advice women in the RV industry have for the rest of us. Here’s what we heard from Candice Kay,  Marketing Director at Torklift International.

    Janet Groene: What tips would you give to women who travel in an RV or live in one full-time?  What should they bring, learn ahead of time, know about travel safety, etc.

    Candice: If you're towing, know and understand proper weight distribution  to ensure your tongue weight is within safe limits to prevent accidents and equipment failure.

    Janet: That’s great advice.If you have a motorhome it's also important to weigh it tire by tire to make sure the load is evenly distributed side to side, front to rear. Many RV owners don't realize that this four-point weighing option is available.  Can you suggest any product must-haves that an RV woman  would need?

    Candice: Get Torklift International’s GlowGuide Handrail. It replaces your factory grab handle with a safer option that extends the length of the RV steps. It glows in the dark.  It can be detached and used as a flexible, long-reach handle for the wash brush.

 Also look into Torklift International’s Fortress Gas Lock to lock up exterior propane tanks that are often stolen.  Also look into Torklift International’s Hidden Power underbed battery mount. It allows for constant trickle charge to your spare batteries to ensure that you don't run out of power while on the road.

    Janet: Thank you, Candice! We also talked to Donna, a national sales manager for a company that specializes in starter kits with basics such as a handy bucket filled with a drinking water  hose, 30/15 amp electrical adapter, drain houses with adapter, RV toilet paper, toilet treatments and such. The company's starter kits are available for different types of RV, starting with pop-ups trailers. 

Janet: what tips to you have for women who have RV,s, especially women who want to travel full-time?

    Donna: Always read the manuals that come with your RV and all of its components. It’s important to know your RV’s limitations.

    Janet: You’re so right. One of the problems in buying a used RV is to see that it comes with all written warranties plus manuals for systems, appliances, drive train, tires, every component from the built-in GPS to the toaster oven. If manuals are missing, negotiate a better price if possible. You may be able to find manuals online but sometimes they come at a price. They’re essential to you as user and also to your mechanic, electrician or plumber.  If written warranties are missing, it’s a red flag

Is 2019 the year you’ll quit your job or take a leave of absence and set off on your dream trip by RV?  It’s different from camping on weekends and vacations. Find valuable tips on choosing the rig for living on board, equipment, living the lifestyle, earning a living on the go and easing back into “real life” when and if the time comes. Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition is available in paperback or e-book.

See Janet Groene’s recipes for smart RV-ers and campers at 

Friday, January 4, 2019

Top 10 RV Resolutions for 2019

blog copyright Janet Groene, all rights reserved.
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Janet Groene's
Ten Top RV Resolutions for 2019

* I WILL go camping and RV-ing in more places more often. If I haven't tried them before, I’ll try a camping resort, a state park, a national site and boondocking.

*I WILL check my fire extinguishers ASAP to make sure they are in date and pressures read full. Ditto smoke and CO alarms. I'll test them and have a yearly date for replacing batteries. Is today the day? 

* I WILL check recall sites more often for any recalls of my vehicle and its components. 

* I WILL use the safest fuel storage available with the new fuel cans such as SafeCan or  Sceptre SmartControl. Winner of the Best in Class Award at last year’s National Hardware Show,  SmartControl containers have a lever that lets you unlock the child safety feature with the palm of your hand, then squeeze to vent the container, then safely pour the right amount of fuel. They are available for gasoline, diesel and kersene and they come in smaller sizes that a woman can handle.

* I WILL look into the hundreds of camping clubs out there to make sure I’m not missing out on  ways to make friends, save money and learn more about almost any subject on earth from square dancing to driving a big rig.  

* I WILL leave every campsite cleaner than I found it.

* I WILL let someone know where and when I’m going so I don’t have to rely solely on my cell phone as a way of finding me if I don’t return.. I may choose to keep my location private except to my loved ones, and that means being more discreet on social sites.  A VPN, or Viirtual Private Network, allows me to surf the net anonymously from anywhere. (See link at right.)

* I WILL learn more cooking shortcuts so I can save money and also control my personal diet needs better by preparing more meals in my RV.
See Janet Groene’s RV-ready recipes new each week at https://Camp and RV

* I WILL be a more responsible pet owner, not just with cleaning up after Fido but by making sure my dog doesn’t bark all the time when I’m gone from the RV. My pet will be safely secured underway. 

* I WILL come closer this year to my dream of going full-timing, whether it’s as a permanent way of life, an experiment or a sabbatical for a specific length of time. The lifestyle is laid out from A to Z in Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition, A Guide to the Full-time Life on Wheels. 

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Friday, December 21, 2018

RV Woman, Are You Solo or Social?

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When You Want to be Alone
Is Your RV Lifestyle
Solo or Social?


     On the Christmas after her husband died, my friend “Mary” went alone to a lonely seaside campsite.  During her week’s stay she read, meditated, remembered, cried and cried some more. She found that it cleansed and healed her soul to be alone, think her own thoughts and take long walks on cold, windblown, deserted beaches.

   Wind-chill and seascapes may be just the opposite of what you need at such times, but I do understand that sometimes we need people and sometimes we need to be alone to write, sketch, compose, grieve, paint, keep a journal,  plan or just to get over a bad cold.

    Also, many of us make a living while traveling by RV, so we simply need time to ourselves to meet schedules, produce goods, fill orders, meet deadlines. For some, camping is parties, cookouts, groups. But for others, camping is a way to Get Away From It All. And that's OK. 

     Some women camp alone out of necessity, some out of choice. Many of us have lost our beloved partners. Some of us have always been loners, comfortable in our own skin. Others of us seek out clubs or campground situations with lots of activities so we can join mixed groups of singles, couples and families. Campers are the friendliest folks in the world. If you want company, it’s always there for you.

    There are also many solo RV women who use the RV as a way to be with family without having to sleep on the sofa or wear out your welcome. Park in the yard or in a nearby campground and plug into their family life as much or as little as pleases you (and them).  Then move on. 

    When you travel in an RV the world is your oyster.

How to achieve RV privacy when you need it

    * As a general rule, campsites in state and national parks are larger, more private,  more scenic. Resort park sites have more hookups and sites are closer to facilities such as the clubhouse and pool. Your neighbors will be close or closer.  

    * You might try the “cocktail flag” rules practiced by boaters. It’s an old tradition. Before radio, ships communicated with flags. A solid yellow flag means quarantine, or “stay away”. On an RV, novelty flags showing a cup of coffee or a cocktail glass mean, “Y’all drop in.” 

    * You’re asking for company if put out a Welcome sign. If it has your name on it, you’re risking intrusion by a stranger who calls your name and ambushes you. 

    * A barking dog can deter company, even if you want it. A well-drained dog is your best friend. 

    * A positive way to make it clear that you need your privacy but welcome friendships is to give out your phone number, suggesting that you appreciate a call so you can plan a time to  get together. 

     * Watch what you say on social media. Don't be too predictable.  

    * Most campgrounds have “quiet hours”. You might establish your own such as nap time, office hours or early bedtime. 

    * Take a cue from businesses. Put an Open or Closed sign in the window. Or copy  mothers of babies, who hang a Do Not Disturb, Baby is Sleeping, sign on the door.

Whether you’re alone for the holidays or awash in good times, I wish you a Merry Christmas and Best Blessings in the New Year. I’ll see you down the road. Janet

Friday, December 14, 2018

Freebies for RV Women

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Top Five Freebies
For RV Women

1. The Freebie: is an enormous network of more than 600 farms and wineries that offer one free overnight to RV-ers with fully self-contained rigs. No hookups or facilities are provided. During your stay you might tour the property’s brewery, wildlife rescue facility, museum,  wine or beer tasting, cider mill, vegetable gardens, dairy, cranberry bog, herb garden or orchard. 

    The catch: Membership costs $49 a year and is required for entry to each farm. Proof of membership and liability insurance must be shown.  It’s recommended that you spend at least $20 on farm products as a courtesy to the host.  


    2. The Freebie: Ranger guided hikes, tours, nature walks, campfire talks and other activities at state and national parks are usually free and I've never met one that was not only entertaining but  educational.  When you check in, note the schedule of these programs so you don't miss one. Rangers are not only expert in their fields as well experts in local history, flora and fauna.  Most  ranger-guided activities are family friendly and are a good way for solo travelers to meet others with the same interests.
    The catch: Park entry and camping fees are extra.  Reservations may be required, group size may be limited and some programs require a charge for materials or transportation.

    3. The Freebie: is a free database of free camping spots located by GPS coordinates. Anyone can enter information here, so there are no guarantees about anything including accuracy, accessibility or security. However, contributors are asked to enter only sites that are free and can be reached by street vehicle. (That doesn't mean  you can get there with your 40-foot towed trailer or even that roads are paved). 
    The catch: As far as I could determine it's totally free. It’s very GPS oriented, so it helps to know latitude and longitude. This information is supplied by users,  who may or may not know what they're talking about. Webmaster takes no responsibility for anything having to do with your experience. Still it's tempting and the price is right. Expect to spend some time finding and checking out each freebie by its geo-code. 

If you're building a home, consider adding extra driveway space to accommodate RV guests
    4. The Freebie: I love this group, which was founded by a mother-daughter team in Canada. Coverage is excellent throughout North America. The idea is simple. If you have a place where a self-contained RV can spend the night, you offer it. If you need a place to park your RV or the night, and your rig completely self-contained,  contact the site owner and see if the spot is available. Don’t expect hookups, access to the house or even any interaction at all with the host. You may be invited in for a cup of tea or a cocktail. Maybe not.
     The entire transaction is between you and the host. Both of you are members. Deals can vary. For example, one or more hookups may be available, but the host may charge a fee. The usual stay is one to three nights.
    The catch:
Your requested dates may not be available. There’s a long list of rules but they all strike me as fair, friendly and reasonable. Membership is $30 a year for guests and $15 for hosts. You can be both a host and a guest. Three-year membership is a bargain at $75.

The sign on the highway may just be a symbol
    5. The Freebie Tourist Information Centers may also be called State or or City Welcome Centers. Don’t confuse these centers with interstate Rest Stops, which are also a good place to find ample RV parking and rest rooms but they do not allow overnight parking. The first challenge is to make sure it’s a legitimate Tourist Information Center and not a highway souvenir shop offering tee shirts and discount tickets to Disney World. 

    Real Welcome Centers are tourism promotion centers. They're funded by the Chamber of Commerce or CVB. The best ones have plenty of parking for RV’s, clean rest rooms, friendly local staff and sometimes a free sample of a local product. I almost always brake for these places, especially in state and national parks and in states such as a Alaska where they usually have a scenic view and a  small museum or display of area relics.
    Knowledgeable hosts (often unpaid local volunteers who love to tout their own home town)  will  offer you discount coupons for camping, restaurants, admissions and local insider information (and that can be invaluable when you’re trying to navigate a large rig). 

    The catch: As long as there's ample parking there's no down side. Non-profit and solely interested in luring you to stay in their area, they’re out to serve you.  

When You Play for Pay
    Freebies are good but there’s also good reason to pay to stay in a full-service campground, starting with location, hook-ups and services such as a dump station or propane refill. You’ll also get security and  facilities such as a swimming pool, planned activities possibly including a children’s program,  and game spaces such as a ball field,  basketball hoop, golf course, tennis courts, shuffleboard.  A free shuttle may be offered to a nearby beach or theme park. Some camping resorts have full resort amenities such as spa, restaurant, lounge. 

Do you dream of quitting your job in 2019 and taking off in an RV to earn as you go? I traveled full-time for ten years, making a living along the way. Book tells how

*How do you make the decision when there are other people in your life to consider?
*Should you keep your present home or apartment? Why? Why not?
* How to choose an RV that will be your home, not just a vacation bunkhouse.
*How to make a smooth segue out of your present lifestyle and, when the time comes, transition back out of the full-timer life. 

Friday, November 9, 2018

Cool Tools for RV Women (and Men too)

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Ms. Fix-It

  Here are some ideas for tools to carry in your RV. Even if you don’t use them yourself they  may be needed when people stop to help you on the highway or in the campground.

Tools to Carry 
    * A hatchet and small saw for wood for the campfire (where allowed). Fireplaces gloves are a plus handling the Dutch oven and other campfire tasks.



    * A tire pump or small compressor for bicycle tires and other inflatable items such as an air mattress or blow-up boat.  This small compressor is a good compromise size, small enough to be easily stowed yet  large enough to fill tires, air mattress, inflatable boat. Works in RV cigarette lighter.

    * A sturdy broom is handy for sweeping the cement pad that comes with most RV campsites. Camping and boating supply stores sell a cleaning “system” that consists of one long handle that can be used with broom, soft scrub brush, mop and squeegee attachments.

* A folding shovel. Not your father’s army shovel, this is the Swiss Army Knife of shoveldom. It comes with extension handles and accessories for multiple uses. It's well worth carrying. You'll find many uses for it.

  * A clothesline and spring clothespins. Even though many campgrounds prohibit outdoor clotheslines, rope comes in handy for many things. Clothes pins do pinching tasks such as closing the potato chip bag. 

    *  If you have room for a metal rake  (not a flimsy plastic leaf rake) , it’s a nice tool for cleaning up the campsite . This adjustable rake has steel tines and it can be splayed out for raking  leaves or tightened up to clean up the firepit. 

When You Deal with
 Repair and Maintenance Professionals
    Honest mechanics are worth their weight in gold. Solid gold are mechanics who specialize in the exact brand of RV or chassis your RV is built on. The same goes for professionals who work in the “house” part of your RV: electricians, carpenters, plumbers, upholsterers, cabinetmakers, ad inf.  They must be familiar with RV electrical and plumbing systems, which are different from household.

    If possible, have work done at large, RV repair centers that work only with RV’s.  Skills required for household repairs are different because houses don’t move. Better still, check with your RV manufacturer to see if it has its own repair station(s). They’re worth a special trip across country when you need a major repair, replacement or re-do.

    If your RV is a towable ( travel trailer or fifth wheel)  or if your motorhome tows a car or boat,  have hitch work done by a hitch specialist who can make the strongest,  safest match for both RV and the tow vehicle. When it’s time to replace or rotate tires, go to a tire specialist who works on trucks and other big vehicles.

    No matter who or what you’re dealing with, know your warranty rights to the letter and make sure you get the benefits you’re entitled to. Repeated repairs for the same thing may come under  “lemon laws”, but these laws differ by state. Too, they are usually designed for autos,  so they may not apply to an RV.  have a look at lemon laws at

For easy camping recipes for couples, families or potlucks see

Friday, October 26, 2018

RV Camp Free or Fee at Quartzite, Airzona

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 Quartzite and the Solo RV Woman 


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In the RV world, Quartzite is shorthand for the world capital of boondocking (camping with no hookups)  on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) property. But is it for YOU?

    Quartzite is actually a small town in Arizona where a huge area is available for dry camping. It’s also a place where big gem and mineral swap meets occur each year. 

    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 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!

    “We started camping in Quartzsite about 16 yrs ago, generally with my Mom and Dad’s group of friends. We have had a few of our friends from time to time join us as well. As time passed on, so have most of the original group of my parents friends (including my Mom). We were down to three rigs this year including us so next year I am emailing everyone I know that might want to join us to get our own ‘old geezers group’ going. You would be more than welcome to join us and I will add you to my list for when I send out a date reminder in the fall.

    “There are plenty of nice hiking areas. They’re still desert but pretty in their own way. I wouldn’t recommend anyone going out (on the desert alone)  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 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.” 

Fall and Winter 2018-19, Quartzite, a Sampling
    Many events come and go. Some stay all season. This is one sizzling place to spend fall and winter. Here are just a few of the many, many events.

Tyson Wells Market Centre Swapmeet. Now thru 3/31/2019

Buck Connor Days, November 9, 2018 – November 11, 2018 Quartzsite Town Park.
Rice Ranch Y'all Come Show. 11/1/2018 - 4/1/2019
Quartzite Showcase and Swap Meet, January 1- February 28

BLM Boondocking
 A two week pass costs $40; a season pass from September through April costs $180. There are also many areas to camp for free. Check rules BLM and free camping in Arizona and California. See