Friday, February 15, 2019

Green RV and Motorhome Travel and Camping

Do you dream of chucking everything, quitting the office and taking off in an RV as a way of life? My book starts with making the decision, then  takes you through getting out there, making a living on the go, coping with problems. Be sure to get the 4th edition of Living Aboard Your RV with expanded coverage of ways to make a living on the go.  



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Speed Limits Make  Greener, Cleaner RV-ing
    You need time to chill, and I don’t mean just when you’re making Jello. We aren’t talking about  highway speeds. It’s the pace of RV life. Here’s how to take it easier to make it easier.
       

    * Take time to remove shoes at the RV door and slip into “house” shoes. The RV will stay cleaner and healthier.
   
    * Scrape dishes with a flexible spatula. Rinsing dirty dishes wastes water and flushes grease into your holding tank.


    * Take time to experiment with travel  toiletries. Shampoo, body wash and other personal products react differently as you travel because local waters vary greatly.  You may need a different conditioner to go with your shampoo or a different moisturizer.  Some sun blocks have been banned in Key West and other coastal areas because they destroy reef life.

    * Buy cleaners formulated for RV’s. They work better and they also won’t pollute the environment or damage holding tanks.  Give products time to penetrate, spread or  bond. (Exception: some cleaning products should not be allowed to linger too long. Read directions.)

    * Concentrated products save weight and space in the RV. Liquid laundry detergents come in full strength, 2X and 3X. Use only as directed or you can fade fabrics, require more rinse water, and leave fibers stiff.



    * A 20-minute laundry soak does the work of a longer power wash yet doesn’t require  elbow grease or electricity.

    * When using very powerful degreasers or penetrating oils, allow time for them to creep and soften. They need hours, not minutes.

    * Stains in the RV’s upholstery or carpeting? It takes time and patience to blot repeatedly, then apply dry cloths to “wick” stains out of fibers. Save soft, absorbent fabrics (such as old linen or cotton towels) and weight them down with a heavy pot or pile of books.

    * Some stains in porous materials (teak, plastic, granite, marble) require a poultice. First, note whether the stain is oil based (grease,  tar), organic ( tea, coffee),  metallic (rust, copper), biological (pet stain, blood),  or chemical  (hair dye, nail polish, marker pen). Then get expert advice for the material. Mix  up a paste that is (1) safe for the material and (2) suitable for the stain.  

    Saturate a piece of fabric (gauze, old toweling)   with a paste recommended for the purpose. Put the poultice on the stain, cover with plastic wrap, and weight it down. Let it dry completely. With luck, some or all of the stain will be drawn up into the poultice. 


    * Soap scum cleaners work better in the shower if they soak in for 10 to 15 minutes. 


    * When cleaning RV windows, keep them wet as long as possible before  rinsing. You’re trying to remove a powerful blend of highway grime, greasy stains from diesel exhaust and perhaps stubborn water spots from the campground’s sprinkler system. Give cleaners time to emulsify greasy soot and soften mineral  spots. 

    * Burned-on food stains ruin a cooking pot? Fill the pot with enough water to cover the stain, add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and let it cool completely.  Most of the carbon will lift off with light scraping. Repeat if necessary.

    * To remove odors in carpeting, vacuum well and sprinkle generously with baking soda. Brush it in with a broom, then let it sit several hours or overnight before vacuuming it away. Baking soda also neutralizes odors in the vacuum bag.





See new and easy recipes for camping and RV travel every week at https://campandrvcook.blogspot.com    

   

Friday, February 8, 2019

Say YES to Winter RV Camping


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Snow Kiddin’!
Winter RV Camping Can Be the Best!
But...


copyright janet groene
 
    When you love snow sports there is one more wrinkle to be added. Go to the destination in your RV and have your own bed and breakfast plus an enchanted snow globe of outdoor sports from skiing to skating plus indoor activities involving hot toddies, crackling fireplaces and good company.


Hang out in a cozy bistro or brewpub


    Most winter resorts tout their wonderful restaurants, shops, ski slopes, scenery and spas, but let’s get down to nuts and bolts. Here are questions to ask before you head out in your RV for that winter destination.


    * Are you experienced in winter RV driving? If not, Steamboat Springs, Colorado offers the Bridgestone Winter Driving School. People come from all over the world for classes, private lessons and hands-on experience on their snow and ice road courses. 




    * Are campgrounds open all year and what hookups are always available?  Will you water and sewer hoses freeze?   Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire is a winter paradise and its seven-site campground is available for $25 nightly. However, there are no hookups. Bring everything you need with you. Take everything out with you. 



   * Are all campground features available in winter including showers, hot tub,  wi-fi, propane refill, dump station, restaurants, camp store? Is the toilet room heated? Is it open 24/7? 
 
    * What altitudes and temperatures will you encounter?  If you live in a temperate climate you  may need to learn more about high altitude cooking. Check with your mechanic about winterizing the RV for severe conditions. 



Skijoring is a popular new snow sport

    * What about camping costs in winter? Are they more, less or the same than I found at the same place last summer? 

 
    * If you’re going specifically for the skiing or snowshoe hiking or ice skating, how close is your campsite to these sports? Does the campground run a shuttle to the slopes? 






See quick recipes for the RV galley, new each week,  at https://campandrvcook.blogspot.com 

Order the book  Skijoring with Your Dog, 2nd Edition here.

Order a heated drinking water hose here. 

See heating pads for holding tanks here 

This inexpensive cover protects your rooftop air conditiioner in winter. 


Stuff this insulated custom cushion into air vents to keep cold air out. It's designed to fit standard openings and has a pull tab for easy removal.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Motorhome Travel, Your RV and Show Business?

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Peak Performance
copyright janet groene
 
    Do you see yourself as a performer, traveling in your RV, getting paid and bowing to applause for doing what you love to do?
    This book isn’t written by a woman and it isn’t about RV-ing, so why was I so happy to find a rare copy of the 2012 book, Low Budget Rockstar by Scott Ibex? Here’s why. It’s timely, it’s true and it’s about achieving a dream on a shoestring.

     If your dream is to travel and  make a living performing in some way (not only music), you’re already on your way–especially if you have an RV that will be your home and transportation.   

    This book is one of the best I have ever seen for creative artists who are mobile. If you’ve ever attended a home town festival, RV rally, trade show,  church fund raiser or convention you’ve probably been entertained by a musician, magician, actor, comedian, storyteller or other traveling troubadour. You may never have heard of them on TV but they're excellent performers who make a living traveling in an RV and playing, speaking, teaching or demonstrating.    

    First, the author is bright,  engaging and a very good writer. Second, he is an established music artist.  He has completed many national tours with groups including Chicago, the Rastafarians and Pato Banton. He also knows his business. A graduate of Earlham College, Whittier Law School, he presents music business seminars at universities and libraries. Catch him on video at scottibex.com.

    The book traces its beginnings to early in Scott’s career, when he was presented a major recording contract that is every musician’s dream come true. Then he read the fine print,  had second thoughts and decided to go it alone.  He went on the road and learned every aspect of the business while also honing his skills as a professional musician.

    In 20 chapters he explains how to assemble a road-ready digital office, how to get bookings, how to advertise and promote, how to draft and negotiate contracts, build a solid Internet presence and survive on the road.

    Best of all he explains how to develop multiple revenue streams. For a musician, that means marketing merchandise and CD’s. For you as, say, a quilter,  it might mean selling patterns or giving workshops.  For a cookbook author it could mean judging chili cook-offs and doing book signings. Think outside the box.

    He goes into tax write-offs for travel, learning to accept rejection (at age 16 he was cold-calling on Wall Street), compose a professional looking fax and negotiate for venues (places to perform). In his case, that means both performance venues and hotel accommodations. For the woman in an RV it could mean contracting for a booth at an art show, a  consignment agreement or work as web designer.

    Performing artists who have an RV have an inside track for getting bookings at campground events, RV shows and rallies. 


       Traveling performers, Scott insists,  have to stand up for themselves. When he  travels he is economical but not cheap. He asks for accommodations in hotels that are three stars or better. (Translation: RV travelers need full hookups, security and other must-haves.

     He also makes clear to promoters that he has certain requirements for his group onstage and off.  His equipment is topnotch and he explains how to wangle the best buys. He reminds readers about the tax advantages of keeping receipts for  professional supplies and travel.

    Many public events are open to all types of traveling artists including musicians. They include festivals, county fairs, large church bazaars, art shows and fund raisers of all kinds. Where crowds gather there is likely to be an opportunity to sell a performance or a product. Ibex explains how to learn about these events well in advance so you can assemble a reasonable booking and travel schedule.

    Few how-to books give away so much valuable “insider”  information from a professional
performer who also has a background in business and law. Scott's book can be found at https://amzn.to/2Sfxb5M

Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition, is a Guide to the Full-time Life on Wheels, now or later.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Five Winter RV Parks In Unexpected Places

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Five Hidden Hotspots for
RV Winter Camping


So you think Florida and Arizona are the only places to take your RV for winter camping? We scouted out some spots you may never have heard of but are in states that can have shirtsleeve weather in February.

The actual date of Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is March 5 this year but look for campgrounds to have special events for Valentine’s Day in mid-February and  Mardi Gras events in late February and early March.  


 

LAKE TEXOMA RV CAMPGROUND Gordonville, Texas is well located between Oklahoma City and Dallas. It’s a full-facility , pet friendly Thousand Trails/ Encore Resorts member offering boating on the lake, RV hook-ups, lots of activities and temperate weather, especially as winter morphs into spring. They are experiencing a temporary power outage, so check ahead. They’re putting on a gala Valentine’s Day weekend with a ‘60's party, chocolate fountain, contests, prizes and fun. 




MATAGORDA BAY NATURE PARK AND CAMPGROUND, Matagorda, Texas. This 1,333-acre park and nature preserve is located at the mouth of the Colorado River on the Matagorda Bay peninsula. Visitors can enjoy two miles of Gulf of Mexico beachfront, birdwatching in coastal marshes and wetland paddling. RV hookups, gift shop, watersports rentals. avonsubmissions@harpercollins.co.uk along with the following information about you and your novel.



LITTLE LAKE CHARLES RV RESORT, Lake Charles, Louisiana. One thing I like about this resort is that it offers long-term and seasonal rates, and there are rental cabins if friends or family want to come for a visit. There are Saturday night dances in their covered pavion, a playground, fishing and much more, although The water park is open only seasonally. . Lake Charles, the city, has fascinating French history, so don’t miss the museums and events. Spectacular casinos offer big city-style shopping, gaming, dining.



PECAN GROVE MOTOR HOME RV PARK, Mobile, Alabama. Early settlers found their heaven on beautiful Mobile Bay and some think it still is. The nature and wildlife, boating and fishing are superb. Note that this is a park for motor homes. Showers and restrooms aren’t available. Make side trips to the many sightseeing spectacles of the area including famous Bellinggrath Gardens, Dauphin Island, one of the nation’s largest Mardi Gras museums and much more. 

These latitudes are known for spring azaleas


JEKYLL ISLAND CAMPGROUND, JEKYLL ISLAND, Georgia. Park your RV under native live oaks that have stood for centuries and don’t miss the trolley tour of the millionaire mansions that ounce housed a who’s who of industrial moguls. See the historic Jekyll Island Club. Walk to beaches, fishing, hiking trails, historic sites. The park has fre wi-fi, full-thru7 and back-in sites,   This is a very bike-able island, so bring your own or rent one here. Pets are permitted but the charge is $3.25 per day per dog. This is an island so, although shops and stores are found here, you’ll save money by stocking up on staples on the mainland before you arrive. The island is a bird sanctuary, especially vivid in February when the spring migration begins.

* Although we’ve been disappointed lately with some KOA experiences, the chain does have year-round campgrounds in all the popular snowbird states as well as in all border states such as Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana. One of my favorites is  the Gulf Shores/Pensacola KOA in Alabama with easy access to Gulf of Mexico beaches plus all the things to do and see in western Florida and the Mobile, Alabama area. 



Janet Groene's book Cooking Aboard Your RV, 2nd Edition is available in paperback or Kindle. 

 
See new shortcut recipes every week for camping and RV travel at https://campandrvcook.blogspot.com

 
Janet Groene also offers daily trip teases, just a taste of places to go and things to do,  at https://janetgroene.blogspot.com

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 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 Cook.blogspot.com



* 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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Thoughts, tips and trips from Janet Groene. This blog comes automatically each week to your Kindle by subscription from  Amazon. Go here for a free trial. 




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