Thursday, October 12, 2017

Off the Wall RV Storage Ideas

blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved.

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 Take It Outdoors
 If your RV’s skin is steel (and the cab may be steel even if the rest of the body is aluminum or fiberglass), think of it as a big kitchen cabinet for days when you cook outdoors or under the awning.

 Crazy? You’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it before.

 With magnetic kitchen tools and accessories you can set up an entire kitchen that goes up in seconds and stows away just as quickly when you’re finished.

 Just as you use the refrigerator at home for stick-up accessories like a towel rack or hook,  you can use the entire side of an RV to hold things handy for an outdoor meal.
Here are some things you can do with magnets:

 * Some kitchen gadgets, such as the familiar “church key” bottle opener, may come with built-in magnets. 

 * Magnetic hooks are available in many sizes and strengths, from small ones for hanging a tea towel to large hooks for pots and pans. With magnetic cup hooks you can hang up your favorite mugs, pot holders, measuring cups or spoons, cooking mitts and 
much  more.

* Have all the knives you need right there on the "wall" with this magnetic knife holder.

 * Convert anything to a hang-up tool.  Buy a large sheet of stick-on magnets and use as many as needed according to the weight of the item you want to hang up.

* A magnetic spice rack can hold the seasonings for today’s cookout. Magnetic spice jars don’t even need a rack.

 * Don’t overlook other steel surfaces too, such as your steel-belted  ice chest.  An ice chest can also be used as a  seat, a work surface and a expanse of steel where you can stick up cooking tools, the corkscrew and bar supplies.

 * Many useful magnetic items are found in tool departments and in  office supplies. Magnetic boxes and baskets are available in many sizes. Stick them on the side of the RV to hold barbecue sauce, condiments, tools, paper napkins.

 * A magnetic paper towel holder keeps towels handy . Magnetic towel holders can also keep terry towels handy yo your outdoor kitchen, shower or dog wash.

* This set of fold-up clothes hampers is just the ticket for trash holders in your outdoor kitchen. Line with trash bags, remove and re-line as needed. Use one for general trash, one for recyclables. They fold flat and small magnets hold them closed for storage and also help stick them to the RV or to each other.  

* A magnetic towel rack can hold towels or....? 

 Just don’t forget to remove everything before driving again.

 What’s your favorite magnetic item for RV travel? Leave a comment and share your tip.

 Don’t miss this week’s easy recipes for camping and RV trips at campandrvcook.

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Friday, October 6, 2017

Downsize for RV Life and Travel

Copyright Janet Groene. To ask about rates to place one ad for one year on all six Groene sites, email 

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Downsize to Live Big

    Would you love to get rid of too much “stuff”, move into an RV and travel in search of your personal pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? 

It’s smart. It’s liberating, but it’s scary.

 First,  you’re forced to decide what to sell, what to keep  in the RV and what to put in storage until you return to “real life”. Suddenly you find yourself crying over stupid things like the ugly lamp he gave you or your grandmother’s chamber pot. 

Then you worry yourself sick over whether you’ll make as much on the sale as you hoped.  
    The good news is that you will end up with money in your pocket. And you can start with a clean slate when and if you go back to living in a house again,  I was Early American when I sold out. Ten years later  I wanted Scandinavian modern.

    Here are some ways to get rid of the possessions that are holding you back.

    AUCTION. The auction house will pick up your items or an auctioneer come to your home or farm to hold the auction there.  In a few, bittersweet hours, everything you want to get rid of is gone.
    Pro: It’s quick, final and all the work is done for you by the auction house. You don’t even have to be there.
    Con: Commissions are high and returns could by iffy if the auction isn’t well promoted or is held at a bad time.

    CONSIGNMENT puts your items in a regular retail store. The shop owner advertises, displays, promotes, knows the marketplace and sets realistic prices.
    Pro: Just sit back and wait for the check. If possible, choose a consignment shop that specializes in the types of things you’re selling, such as vintage clothing or shop tools.
    Con: This can be a briarpatch, so read the contract carefully. Shopkeepers are picky and may reject many of your items. Things may sell at a reduced price or not at all

    CRAIGS LIST is local and brings in local buyers
    Pro: It’s free and you keep all the money.
    Con: You’re exposed on the Internet, so scammers and thieves know about your sale. The listing process can be sticky until you get the hang of it. You’ll have to handle customers, phone calls or email and the sale itself.

    DONATE TO CHARITY and take a tax write-off.
    Pro: Many charities will pick up donations.
    Con: Unless you take advantage of the tax benefits, you get nothing out of it except the satisfaction. To get the tax advantage you have to have good records of what things cost new and what they are worth today. Your figures are always open to IRS challenge.

    EBAY is a worldwide marketplace if you’re willing to pack and ship items.
    Pro: Showcases your goods to a large audience. Bids could lift prices beyond your wildest dreams.
    Con: You pay a commission and some fees. Competition is keen. Listing procedures and account management require time and attention. You can list items as non-returnable but angry customers could bad-mouth you for future sales. There’s a learning curve in using the service and selling a houseful could take weeks, even months.

    ETSY. Much like EBAY. Etsy began as a way to sell one’s crafts but now you can list a variety of items such as collectibles.

    FAMILY AND FRIENDS GIVEAWAY. If you want to get shed of things permanently, give them to friends and family.
    Pro: Keepsakes go now to people you want to have them. You don’t have to insure or store them or worry that they’ll go into the wrong hands in the future.
    Con: Hard feelings can result if loved ones think you were uneven in your distribution.

    YARD SALE. You don’t have to have just one yard sale. Spread them out for the best return. There’s no need to lower prices until the last hours of the last day.
    Pro: You keep all the money and control any dickering.
    Con: You do all the work , from placing ads and signs to hauling stuff back into the house if it didn’t sell. Get help to help control crowds, reduce theft. 

Become a full-timer. Janet Groene's book Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition,  starts with making the decision and takes you through the full-timing lifestyle from A to Z. Too young to retire? Work as you go. Kids on board? Homeschooling is one way to handle their education.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Personal Saety for Women in RV Travel

blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved. To donate in support of this blog use your PayPal account to send to  

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PLB to the Rescue

    In your RV travels it’s almost a sure thing that you are sometimes in places where you can’t get a cell phone signal.  As a solo woman RV traveler you need the very best search and rescue aids available in or out of the vehicle. 

      Here’s where a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) can be a life saver.  

    It’s true that some phone apps can call for help and report your location. It’s also true
that authorities can sometimes also read your location via your cell phone. Too, you can buy a GPS receiver that pinpoints your exact location, or a satellite messenger that allows you to contact friends and family. 

    However, all these signals are weaker than those of a PLB and they’re all subject to battery failure, communications failure or just plain failure. And most of these systems,  including your phone,  require a monthly charge

    The best Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) do just one thing. They do it strongest and clearest, bringing the most effective and professional rescuers,  and they do it without a monthly charge. 

    Once used primarily in boating and aviation, these locators are now being used by skiers, archaeologists, hikers, climbers, parachute jumpers, rafters, paddlers and anyone else who might ever need rescue in a situation where other SOS calls fail.  

Which PLB is For You?

    First, understand that a PLB isn’t a two-way communication device. It is activated only when you’re in grave and imminent danger. Then it sends a signal saying one thing. HELP ME! And it sends it longer, stronger than your phone can. 

    Offered by several manufacturers, PLB’s are small and light weight, about the size of a pack of cigarettes. It’s easy to carry a PLB on an arm band or in a pocket. Many models are  waterproof and buoyant.  (Some activate automatically when they hit water).  Some units have a strobe light. Some are GPS enabled. 

    You’ll probably pay about $300 for a PLB but that’s the end of it except for replacing the special batteries as needed, usually every five to seven years. There are no monthly costs,  no annual subscription fees.  

    Here’s how it works. When you need rescue, press a button.  Your unique signal code is sent to satellites that were launched just for this purpose.  In seconds the  signal is routed to a ground station and transferred to the Mission Control Center (MCC). A Rescue Coordination Center passes the information to Search and Rescue (SAR) forces in your location. 

    Here's one example of a non-buoyant PLB.  Marine models and PLB's with more and different features are also available. Get one for yourself, one for someone you love.

    To date, more than 30,000 lives have been saved by these systems. Once you own a PLB it’s essential to register it with NOAA. (Some models come pre-programmed for U.S. registration).  Once you’re registered, SAR forces have your back.  Period. 


Janet Groene’s book Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition, is a guide to the full-time life on wheels.  It begins with getting into the lifestyle and covers all aspects of life on the go such as finding jobs, voting, home schooling and managing a budget. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

RX for an RV Refrigerator

Blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved. To ask about rates to run your ad on all six Groene sites for one year, email

CPR for a Dead RV Refrigerator

    I once forget a stick of butter when I put the RV away. It melted, ran, stained, soaked, turned rancid and stank to high heaven.

      A friend of mine left the RV plugged in and returned in a few days to find that someone had accidentally (or maliciously) unplugged it. The fridge and everything in it was road kill.  

    Another friend left her RV plugged in at a storage facility, where a rat chewed through the power cord, killing both the rat and the power to the fridge. Weeks later, the smell could be heard for miles. 

    Get the picture? When a fridge dies, ordinary cleaning isn’t enough. The unit’s plastic liner is porous and absorbs odors that can cling through several washings.

    1. Take out everything including trays and shelves. Discard spoiled food where wildlife and pets can’t get at it. It’s toxic. 

    2.  Any food containers that are dishwasher-able can be soaked in very hot water with dishwasher detergent. (Put things through a dishwasher or hand-wash  in scalding water with dishwasher detergent while wearing rubber gloves.) 

    3. Wash trays and shelves in warm, soapy water with a couple of tablespoons of baking soda. Rinse and dry completely, preferably in the sun. Set aside to air until you're ready to restart the fridge. 

    4. Wash the fridge interior with soapy water and perhaps a bleach solution to remove icky stains.  Rinse with clean water and dry well. Wash again with baking soda water mixed at the rate of 2 tablespoons soda per quart of warm water. Pay special attention to the gasket, edges, hinges, nooks and crannies.

    5. If the fridge has a drain, remove and wash the plug. Use a turkey baster to flush  out the drain with baking soda solution. Make sure it's running free. It could be plugged with debris from melting or decomposing food. Leave the drain plug out to dry drain completely. Repeat flushing if necessary.  Leave the drain plug out until you’re ready to cool the fridge again. Don’t forget to replace it. 

    6. If there is a drip pan under the refrigerator, empty and clean it completely. If any grime or mold spores remain here, they’ll start new growths as soon as they get damp. 

    7. Once the fridge is clean and dry, fill it with crumpled newspaper or put in a tray filled with kitty litter, baking soda, activated charcoal or coffee grounds. Close the door and let things stand overnight. Remove the tray. Repeat if necessary.  

    8.  Don’t put it all back together just yet. Unpleasant smells may continue to belch out of the vents, so run it empty overnight except for tray of baking soda or activated charcoal in the main unit and another in the freezer section. Don’t add food until it smells sweet and clean again.

    Needless to say, the fridge should be clean and empty when the RV is put away, and the doors left ajar for ventilation. And don't forget the butter.

    See Janet Groene’s easy recipes for camping and RV life at

Friday, September 15, 2017

Women, RV Travel and Crime

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

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Don’t be a Crime RVictim

Modern women know it’s no longer unusual, or even especially risky,  to travel alone in an RV. Still, there are new and unique dangers out there.

    Do you  check crime stats before deciding on a place to travel in your RV? Statistics can be misleading but it’s revealing to look at sites such as and neighborhood

  According to USA Today, citing 2016 figures,  America’s Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities are St. Louis, Detroit, Birmingham (Alabama), Memphis, Milwaukee, Rockford (Illinois), Baltimore, Little Rock, Oakland and Kansas City.

    According to the safest cities are Naperville (Illinois), Irvine and Thousand Oaks (California), Provo (Utah), Round Rock (Texas), Ann Arbor (Michigan), Carlsbad (California) and Port St. Lucie (Florida).

An excellent reference book for solo women travelers is 100 Deadly Skills by Clint Emerson, a retired U.S. Navy SEAL.   It makes fascinating armchair reading and will prepare you for anything from avoiding capture to punching a shark.. Here are additional suggestions:

Before You Go

    *  Privately let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, when you plan to arrive and how to contact you. Let them know when you arrive or if you deviate from the plan. This information should be private between you and a trusted homie, never shared on social media.

  * Have large number or symbol painted on the roof of your RV. If you call for help you can be spotted from the air. 

     * Make your RV look occupied. Close curtains so crooks don’t know if you’re inside or not. Lock all doors and windows. Run a light, TV or radio if you can do so without depleting the battery when you’re not on board.    

     * Don’t give thieves a place to hide in ambush.  In shopping centers park in well lighted areas away from  shrubs and other hiding places. Try to park among cars, not with tall vehicles that form dark canyons where crooks could lurk.  

     * Keep alarms armed and powered. Even in a secure campground, don’t open the door to strangers.

On the Road

    * Always lock all doors in the RV, tow car or dinghy including trunks and basement (except the propane compartment, which should not be locked.)  You may also want to add a locking gas cap to prevent fuel theft.  Keep valuables out of sight. It may take a few extra minutes to close cockpit curtains, but there are a lot of tempting goodies there for a smash-and-grab thief.

    * Never pick up hitchhikers or stop for someone in distress. Use your cell phone to call 911 on their behalf. 

       * Park in well-lighted areas close to the building.

      * Don’t stop on the road if you can help it. If you are bumped from behind or if someone indicates there is something wrong with your vehicle, continue to a service station or a well-lighted, populated area. 

    * Fill the fuel tank before dark. Lock all doors and close windows if you step away from the RV for any reason.

Travel Destination: Checking In
    * When checking into a campground, know what security features are in place. You may need a code to get into the gate at night. Know where to find the campground host’s site and how to get help if you’re in a zone without cell phone reception.

   * Get a safe that can be bolted to the RV frame so it can’t be removed.
   * When away from the campground, be wary about telling strangers the name of your campground and number of your campsite.  

On the Town

*  Take only the cash you need in your purse or wallet. Bring only the necessary credit card(s) with you and carry money separately from credit cards. Women should keep purses closed and snuggled tightly against the body.

   * Know your route and stick to well-lighted, well-traveled streets. Select ATM machines in visible, well-lighted locations.

See Janet Groene’s easy recipes for camping and RV at


Friday, September 8, 2017

RV Wheels Down in North Carolina

blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved.  This site has had more than 140,000 views. To ask about rates to place your one ad, one year, all six Groene sites, email

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by Janet Groene

If  your RV had a leash that wouldn’t let it leave the state of North Carolina, you’d still be in paradise. The geography of the Tar Heel state stretches from Atlantic beaches to the highest mountains in the East. The state has history, culture, nature and activities ranging from sailing to skiing. 

    The boomtown of Concord is most famous for Concord Mills, a massive mall filled with  attractions and Olympic-quality shopping, and the Charlotte Motor Speedway, scene of some of the greatest infield RV parties in NASCAR-land. 

    You can pay more than $1,000 to camp the infield during races but something is going on at the track almost every day, all year. The Christmas display of lights is a five-star event.  Around the area are affordable campgrounds with plenty to offer even if autosports aren’t on your wish list.  

   Here’s a sample Cabarrus Country and Charlotte area sightseeing menu for before, after or instead of the races. For more information and a list of area campgrounds go to

    THE BEAD LADY, downtown Concord,  Everything needed to make custom jewelry, accessories and beaded clothing is here in one shop. Visit room after room filled with beads, crystals, gems, glass clasps, threads and inspirations. One entire room showcases supplies for making wedding jewelry and. decorations. 

     You can also take a beading class. Or, choose makings for a necklace or other piece that will be made for you. Don’t miss the rest of historic, strollable UNION STREET . Eat, drink, shop and don’t miss the family-owned  Cabarrus Creamery for the best ice cream on the planet.

   NORTH CAROLINA RENAISSANCE FAIRE in Huntersville, north of Charlotte, is worth a special trip every November. Lords and ladies in period costumes joust and jest just like in the days of yore. Eat like the royals, listen to madrigal music, see dancing and artists and falconers.

    WHISKEY PRISON SOUTHERN GRACE DISTILLERIES. Small batch bourbon is produced in this former jail but you don’t have to be a drinker to enjoy touring the facility in Mt. Pleasant northeast of Charlotte. Take the Behind Bars Tour on Food Truck Fridays and bring your leashed dog if you wish.

    Other must-see’s in the area include many auto museums and garages,  panning for gold at the Reed Gold Mine and driving the self-guided Dale Trail devoted to the late driver  Dale Earnhardt. Take a selfie with his larger-than-life statue in his home town of Kannapolis. Also in Kannapolis is the Curb Museum collection of famous autos and  the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame with exhibits devoted to music stars including Randy Travis, Eric Church and Fantasia Barrino.

See Janet Groene's shortcut recipes for camping and RV at


Friday, September 1, 2017

RV Women Run for It

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

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A Running Start

    I’m a big fan of Kinsey Millhone, the fictional private detective in the crime novels written by Sue Grafton. Kinsey is an avid runner, inviting readers to relax and sweat with her as she unwinds after a tough day of driving, doing paper work or collaring bad guys.  Like Kinsey, women in the RV lifestyle know that running is one of the best and most carefree sports.

     Running gets you outdoors, it’s good exercise, it’s travel and it’s  absolutely free. It's so much a part of everyday life,  it will connect you to almost any place and any group at any season of the year. 

There is sure to be at least one great trail near your campsite. Even if you’re in a city campground, the campground manager or the concierge at a nearby hotel can  recommended a jogging route.
    All you need are running shoes and the gumption to get out there. Whether your goal is better general health, weight loss or entering marathons, here’s how to get started in running. 

    * Get your doctor’s OK. 

    * Research the right shoes for your body and for the type of running, jogging or power walks you plan to do. 

    * Stay hydrated before, during and after the run.

    * You have to walk your dog anyway, so  running with the dog is a sport you’ll both love. You might need a different collar or harness for better control.

    * Running is  one of the best ways to connect with people everywhere you travel. Sign up for local events ranging from small town 5K runs and fund raisers to the Boston Marathon and the Eggnog Jog through the annual Christmas wonderland at the Charlotte Speedway. 

    * Little investment is required, moneywise or space wise. Good shoes are a must and it’s also a plus to have a good sports bra.  Running shirt, shorts, hydration vest are optional. 

    * Have a warm up and a cool-down regimen. 

    * Establish a routine so running becomes a compelling habit. Set goals and work up gradually to your own level, whatever that might be for YOU. Depending on your body clock,  running first thing in the morning, or after a long days’ drive, may be best for you.

    These books can help you get off on the right foot.     Running Revolution. How to Run Faster, Farther and Injury-Free for Life,.

Also The Non Marathon Runner’s Guide