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, November 2, 2018

RV Women Shoes You Can Use

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Shoes to Fuse with Your RV Life

This post is dedicated to Wanda Ferragamo, who recently died in Italy at the age of 96. When her husband died in 1960, leaving her with six children ages two and up, she took over her husband’s desk at the shoe factory and continued the tradition of shoemaking excellence. Made from the finest leather and timelessly Italian in style, Ferragamos are a lifetime investment for travelers. 

    What woman does NOT need more shoes?  We need shoes for all seasons plus hiking boots, dress-up shoes and perhaps ski boots, waders, cross trainers.    Space is limited 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.

Driving Shoes give your feet more feel for the ride. That means better fuel mileage, better control 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. 

    Driving shoes are supple and 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.  I like these shoes for bicycling too, although a serious biker will probably want dedicated biking shoes made by bicycle gear suppliers such s GIRO.

    Race drivers and other experts say high heels are a special problem because they keep you from judging pedal action and pressure.Spike heels can get caught in carpeting or floor protectors. Platform wedgies are also a no-no for driving because of the thick soles and high heels.

If you don't need hi-tops these mid-height hikers are a good choice. They provide ankle support and total foot protection
Hiking shoes or boots should fit snug at the heel with plenty of wiggle room at the toes, say the expert at To that the experts at REI add “tight nowhere.” It’s a tall order, so get your fit towards the end of the day when your feet are larger than in the morning. Try them on with the socks you plan to wear with them and, when traveling, always have a least one spare pair of these socks so you’ll always have dry socks to change into.  

Dress shoes. Black pumps are as essential as the little black Coco Chanel 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. You can always dress them up with clip-on bows or bangles. 

Special find! Take a look at these all-weather, wedge heel Neoprene dress flats above. They're made with smart, London Fog styling. Wear them anywhere, even dressier occasions. 

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? Many RV-ers plan their trips around square dancing or clogging.  Do you need high-tops for basketball or volleyball? Golf shoes? Bowling shoes? Ski boots? Waders for fly fishing?  Need snake boots for the terrain where you hike? Go for it!

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.

  * Versaility plus! These active cross trainers, also called water shoes, have drainer ports in the sole. Perfect for women on the go.

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

Friday, October 19, 2018

RV Woman's Got to Florida Antique Malls

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An RV Woman’s Guide to
Florida’s Five Best Antique Malls


    Florida is RV country, so it's no surprise that 15 out of every ten RV women (joke intended)  here will hit at least one antique mall per RV trip. Some of us do  major antiquing, yard sales, rummage sales, discount malls and related moneysaving on our RV trips. Here are five must-see antique malls in the Sunshine State.

    Call ahead for directions and hours. Malls may not have websites, or sites may not be up to date. 

Dania, South of Fort Lauderdale,  Davidson Antiques and Collectibles. Dania is now part of the unbroken city between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Its old downtown strip malls make the perfect setting for antique stores. Browse from one wonderful shop to the next.  Although we’ve singled out Davidson Antiques, many shops are clustered close along Federal Highway. Reserve an entire day, preferably two, to discover this goldmine. Different shops have different specialties so you’ll find good selections in almost any category.  (954) 923-8383

Jacksonville, Fans and Stoves Antique Mall. To “do” Jacksonville’s best antique malls means seeking out the old neighborhoods such as Avonlea, San Marco and Riverside, where this antiques mall is found. With 35 dealers, this mall offers a tempting variety of items as well as experts in areas such as restoration or appraisal.  Locals come here often because of the ever-changing inventory and always the thrill of the hunt. (904) 354-3768

Madison, East of Tallahassee off I-10, Madison Antiques Market and Interiors. Built in 1948, when Madison was abuzz with tobacco auctions and downtown shoppers, this building is a treasure and it’s filled with fine furnishings, jewelry, high-end antiques and everything vintage. Take time to do the self-guided driving tour of this city’s historic streets. See the history of American architecture from the 18th century through the 1950s. (850) 973-9000

Micanopy, Near Gainesville. Dakota Mercantile. There’s a big antique store just off I-75 but to hit pay dirt you must come into the tiny hamlet of Micanopy itself. A half dozen small shops add up to a delightful travel experience in what is said to be one of the oldest occupied sites in the states. Native Americans thrived here long before Columbus. The Herlong Mansion, now a bed and breakfast inn,  is elegance itself and the tiny, walk-able village is an antiquer’s paradise. (352) 466-5005

New Smyrna Beach, NSB Antique Mall. This hamlet, settled centuries ago, is a community of culture and heritage, so the booths in this antique mall are likely to be stocked with caringly curated treasures from artisinal pottery to chamber pots, cachepots to potpourri pomanders.  The city’s location between a pristine Atlantic beach and the Intracoastal Waterway is just perfect for a weekend of beach camping plus strolling to restaurants, antique shops and galleries. (386) 426-7825. 

Do you dream of a full-time life of travel in an RV?  You don't have to wait for retirement. I lived ten years on the go, making a living along the way. You can too. Book tells. how.  Order in paperback or Kindle.

Could you support your RV travel lifestyle by buying and selling antiques?  Of course, but you have to know your business. Think small things you can carry on board, sell online and  ship at low cost. The more specialized your product and the better you know it, the easier to find a worldwide audience. Italian Cameos?  Art Deco brooches? Rare coins? Thimbles? Stamps? Miniature tools or toys? Antique postcards?

Once you establish yourself as an expert in, say, antique poodle collars or art nouveau letter openers, expand your income by offering to be a finder of these things for collectors. Or a curator. Or consultant or appraiser. Your mobile status is a plus once you have a wide network of followers.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Love Your RV, Hire a Pro

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When It Pays to Pay a Pro
    The name of our game, girls,  is INDEPENDENCE,  always and forever. A life of RV travel is the ultimate freedom but, as the old adage says, no man (or woman)  is an island. In  every lifestyle we must depend on others for some things some of the time. The wise woman knows when to call for help. Here are some of my favorite professionals. 

    Cleaning. Auto detailers and carpet cleaners have products and equipment that are more effective than you can do on your own. Periodically have RV carpets and upholstery professionally cleaned. Ask about protective coatings that can be professionally applied after cleaning.

    Tax Accountant. It’s possible that your RV has tax advantages. Do you use it in charity work? Do you travel on business? Make a living on board?  Use it as a “home” office?  Rent it out? A tax professional can sort it out.  

     Mail Forwarding. It’s easier and cheaper to have a friend or relative handle your mail when you travel but individuals get sick, go on vacation or get too busy to run to the post office with that Special Delivery letter you need forwarded to you NOW. And, if all your mail goes to New York or other high-tax state, their address becomes your address. You're now subject to their taxes, insurance rates, even to their jury duty.  I recommend getting a full-service mail forwarding service that is on the job 24/7 in a state that does not have a state income tax.

     Personal Trainer. There isn't room in  the average RV  to exercise and, if you go to a different gym as you travel, equipment varies.  Have a personal trainer evaluate your condition and design a regimen you can live with anytime, anywhere. It may also pay to join a national gym network, one that  has the same equipment and philosophy throughout and allows guest privileges at each site. 

    Resume Writing. If you are a full-time RV traveler and work as you go,  you’re  constantly applying for positions in person and online. Invest in a clean, professionally prepared resume. Go to a pro who knows how  to present your skills in a readable format. Then put the master document on your computer and update as necessary.

    Storage Facilities. Do you need to put some things in storage so you can go full-timing? When you store things in a friend’s attic or garage, problems can arise. If there is a robbery, fire or flood, or if  their  cat decides to use your antique rocker for a scratching post, who pays?  If your friend moves, you have to scramble to move your things elsewhere. A professional storage facility  offers insured, secure, heated, dehumidified,  anonymous storage.  

    Upholstery. When updating an RV nothing makes it spring to new life faster than new upholstery.  Here’s where special skills, materials and equipment are worth the investment. You may need household upholstery specialists for the living area, auto specialists for the cockpit.  It will pay off in looks, comfort, long wear and resale value.


Friday, October 5, 2018

When Your RV Meets a Mandatory Evacuation

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    It can happen to anyone any time. Authorities tell you it’s time to leave your home or campsite and head for safety because of a storm, flood, fire, chemical spill or other  emergency. 

    Lucky you if you have an RV! It means you can take your family including the baby, the  aged and handicapped plus  pets, food,  your own water supply and much more for family comfort and safety.

    Here are some thoughts on preparing your RV for a quick getaway.


Always Prepared

 *Full tanks (water plus fuel for the engine, stove, heat,  generator ) Empty gray and black water tanks.

    * An ample backup of shelf-stable food supplies. Don’t forget pet food, baby food, diapers and foods for those people with life-threatening allergies.  You don’t have to spend a fortune. Survival Food Handbook has lists, tips and recipes for many types of emergencies.

    * Copies of important papers such as medical records, prescriptions, financials, ID and credit cards, insurances, home business, family contact information. All it takes is a thumb drive or two. 

    * Cash including change and small denomination bills. There are times when only cash will do. 

    * First aid kit kept fresh and up to date. Written prescriptions for eyeglasses and essential meds that you may have to pick up as you go. Oxygen tank? EpiPen? 

    * Basic wardrobe for keeping clean, warm, cool, dry

Nice to Have

   * Alternate means of communication such as a  cheap prepay phone, ham radio, CB and/or walkie talkie. Alternate means of charging, such as a solar charter for the phone. 

    * Empty jerry cans for water and fuel. (Collapsible water jugs take up little space). Pumps and hoses may not be available.

Grab and Go

    * Essential medications
    * Phone
    * Fresh milk and any other essentials from the fridge that time and space allow
    * Spare keys (house, outbuildings, RV, post office box, safety deposit box)
    * Valuables as time and space allow.
    * Count noses. In a panic you don’t want to forget anyone or a pet. Remember McCauley Caulkin? 
    * Firearms if you use them

Here’s a Tip
    We rely to much on our smart phones, we may forget that someday we may need a street address, mail address or fax number. Make it a goal to fill in the blanks in your address book.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Camping and Motorhome Memories and Traditions

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RV Life Should Have Traditions Too
    Call it habit, ritual, tradition or just OCD. We all  love our comfort zones at home and away. Cherished traditions are the touchstones of  our lives. Just as we remember old camp songs or college cheers or taps at sunset, we can create new traditions in our RV lives to remember and share forever.

    Here are some ideas. 

For You Alone

    You might start every day with a prayer or meditation in the driver’s seat with its  view of the outside world. Or do  a tai chi workout at sunrise. Set aside time each day for a  soothing cup of peppermint tea. Design a quilt with a new square for every special place you visit. Vow to learn a new French irregular verb each day, or a sonnet or Psalm.

      Start a diary devoted solely to times spent in the RV.  Join RV social networks on the Internet and/or ham radio. Never miss a full moon camp-out. "Collect" lighthouse climbs or cemetery rubbings. 

For the RV    

 Everyday habits bring sameness and sanity to life on the road. Food traditions are always good. Bean soup and cornbread every Saturday night? Celebrate the first Friday of the month with dinner and a movie? Set aside every other Tuesday for housecleaning and maintenance followed by a Chinese takeout dinner? 

    Some traditions are best when the RV is at rest; others are best on the road.  One very practical habit to adopt is to walk completely around the rig before every start-up, even if you’ve stopped only a few minutes for fuel. From the safety standpoint, it gives you a chance to make sure everything is in order.  

    Did you leave your credit card behind in the gas pump? Did your wallet or phone fall out of your pocket when you used the rest room? You also use the time to put your mind in highway mode for  the serious business of highway safety.

    Old birthday and holiday traditions don’t always work in the RV lifestyle. Adapt them to create new traditions. Cupcakes instead of a big layer cake? Cornish game hens instead of a big Thanksgiving turkey?

    Start an RV-only Pinterest account. Or mount a cork board in the RV for photos and souvenirs. Start a Fun Fund where loose change goes at the end of each day. When the kitty is full, splurge on a special RV outing.  Always take your daughter,  granddaughter and/or nieces on Mother's Day.

    Decide on specific times when you will look back, take stock of your RV travel goals both good and bad,  and regroup as needed. These times might be only once or twice a year but stick to them. Think if them as promises to yourself, an escape hatch when you give yourself permission to  travel more, or get a larger RV,  or spend more time at each destination. Instead of chafing  over everyday annoyances, save your wants and gripes for these times, then take inventory.
For the Campground
    Could you adopt a tradition that others will remember you for? You might become known as the woman in the campsite who has tea daily at 3 p.m., everyone welcome to bring a cup and join in. 

    Everyone who has ever camped with him remembers the fellow I met at a campground where he played Taps at sunset every day. You might be remembered for your famous potluck dish or the homemade snack mix you take to the neighbors.

    Memories. The best ones will be made today and tomorrow.