Friday, April 3, 2020

Change of Life? RV and Motorhome Travel

Blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved. Place your ad on all six Janet Groene sites for one low, yearly price.  Contact janetgroene at

Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition, a Guide to the Full-time Life on Wheels, begins with making the decision and continues to choosing and equipping the rig, the house-less lifestyle, making a living on the go and easing out of RV life when and if that time comes. Author Janet Groene was happily homeless for ten years. In Kindle or paperback at



As Others See Us...
By Janet Groene

    Did you know that RV travelers have been the subject of a serious scholarly study?

Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote, “O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us. To see oursels as ithers see us!” Well, somebody has.

     In the 1996 book Over the Next Hill , two anthropology professors surveyed the world of RV travelers.  Although their focus was mostly on older couples, there is much of interest here for anyone, including a solo woman,  who is thinking of going roaming.

     This is a time of rapid change in American living and travel habits.  If you’re thinking of making a major lifestyle change, this book is just one of many ways to gain insights.  The book makes good reading  in addition to the many newer, practical how-to books that go with choosing an RV and living the life. 

    The title credits full-time RV-ers with the curiosity to keep looking for what’s "over the NEXT hill", a healthy attitude compared to living in the past as some seniors do. The authors, who call themselves field anthropologists, pulled into a boondock camping area and were immediately invited to a wedding. They said it was as though they had stumbled into some native ritual in the South Pacific. What fun! They interviewed 50 full-timers and surveyed almost 300 more.

    They found that it’s about freedom, but we already knew that, didn’t we?  It’s also about a stubborn sense of fair play. They tell one story of a large group of dry campers living on government property at an old military airport. One of them bought a 99-year lease on the land and promptly issued a rate sheet, charging his neighbors who lived there.

    The next day, the entire community moved out and settled on a BLM Long Term Visitor Area nearby.  They refused to return even after the owner  offered to reduce rates and relax the rules. His funds now tied up in the lease, he was forced to continue living here, alone and rejected by his former friends. 

    The authors met at least one couple who announced they were on their way home to get divorced because full-timing had been a disaster for them. Some full-timers reported that the life gives them a better relationship with their children, allowing them to visit the kids without getting in the way. Others admitted to running away from their kids. One man hadn’t spoken to his wife and children in years and wanted to keep it that way. 

    Are full-timers individualists? You bet! On the other hand, most of the interviewees were living cheek-by-jowl at free parking spots for months at a time. The authors could have used more interviews with the thousands of RVers who travel constantly,  enjoying travel and not just scraping by. 

    What’s your position? Do you prefer your privacy or does the RV lifestyle give you opportunities to socialize that you would’t find elsewhere? . Do you love the social life of campgrounds, rallies, volunteerism and the ability to visit family and friends without having to sleep on the couch? Or do you, like Greta Garbo, just want to get away from it all?

    The big, wide, wonderful world of RV travel has room for everyone.

Over the Next Hill, An Ethnography of RVing Seniors in North America is $19.99 at

Friday, March 27, 2020

RV Luxury Life on a Budget

blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved. To ask about rates for placing an ad on all six groene blogs for one year, one low rate, email

Living Large in a Small  RV

    One of the travel life’s most overlooked benefits is that many four- and five-star  hotels and resorts invite non-guests to use their facilities such as spa, golf, fitness center, tennis or watersports for a fee. 

In fact, hotel “daycations” and “staycations” are one of the hottest hotel products these days (or will be when the Chinese Flu crisis passes.)

     Let's say you're on a tight budget and are usually boondocking or camping at bare-bones places. Once a month, once a year or maybe just once in a blue moon you just HAVE to sample the luxury life offered by a five-star resort with poolside cabanas, penthouse spa treatments or a famous golf course. Here's how. 

     You can be camping at a state park for $15 or $25 a night, yet have a spa day, golf day or a gourmet meal in a resort where others are paying $400 a night. One of the best-kept secrets in travel is that many hotels and resorts, usually the most luxurious chains, offer day packages at least some of the time. There may be blackout times or hours. and, of course, tee times and spa treatment appointments must go first to hotel guests.

    Prices for a day pass start at $25 to $30 per person, but you can easily spend $100 for a family day pass, not counting food, drinks and spa treatments or the required golf cart rental.  Book through sites such as, which specializes in the Los Angeles area. There are also apps such as daycationappcom and that find locations and book for you.

    Such day visits don’t come cheap but after weeks on the road they can add an exclamation point to a woman’s  most humble RV travels.

Some Things to Know
    * Reservations are essential and a deposit or full payment in advance may be required. Understand cancellation penalties. which can be costly, especially for individual spa treatments.

    *Parking for your RV, pickup truck or toad may be unavailable or available only at a fee or by valet. Ask before you go.  

    * Ask where to check in for your day visit. If it’s for the pool area or a sports facility, check-in may be at the Recreation Desk. The spa may also have its own check-in. 

     * Websites and apps can't keep up with all the hotels and resorts that offer a day pass. Call the resort and ask. Don't overlook the restaurants, which are almost always public and are always a major feature at luxury resorts.

    * Know what is included in your basic package. A pool package with cabana may include cold water but drinks, food, towels and pool toy rentals may be extra. Some golf courses require cart rental and you may have to rent shoes and clubs.

See Janet Groene's latest addition to her Yacht Yenta mystery e-book series. It's April Avenger by her pen name, Farley Halladay. Widowed Farley, now beached after a life at sea, finds herself sleuthing again with her pal Sheriff Danielle Dassault and her dog, Scuppers. It's on Amazon Kindle at

Friday, March 20, 2020

Come Clean About RVs, Motorhomes

Blog copyright janetgroene 2020, all  rights reserved. To donate $5 a year as a voluntary subscription to this weekly blog, use your PayPal account to janetgroene at


Keep a packet of disinfecting wipes (such as Clorox wipes) in your pocket. Each time before re-entering the RV from fueling, shopping, etc. wipe the door handle before entering the RV. Then go in and wash your hands.

Survival Food Handbook is a guide to stocking your RV or home pantry with familiar, affordable shelf staples from the supermarket. 

Extra food is the ultimate  travel insurance.
Spot on!

    Stubborn water spots have always been an eyesore on a shiny RV surface. Now things are worse because so many campgrounds, parks and cities use recycled water on gardens, lawns and golf courses. Automatic sprinklers can sabotage your RV before you know it. The strike where where you are camped, where you shop, where you park at home.  

You never know until it dries that you’ve been spotted. 

    Recycled water  has been treated, of course, but it isn’t safe to drink nor to let dry on your paint job. The residues it leaves behind make for crusty water spots that are very difficult to clean.  Even some safe drinking water from wells or other hard water sources can leave your RV windows and your shiny paint job full of spots.

Water sports on the windshield are a safety issue

    Mineral water spots are not only unsightly, they can damage paint through abrasion or a chemical reaction. 

    Here from Shurhold, a major supplier of RV cleaning products, are tips for minimizing water spots and dealing with them if they occur. 

    * Campground sprinkler heads can get out of adjustment. If you find that your RV gets overspray from the automatic sprinkler system, the manager will gladly readjust the spray pattern.

    * If you wash your RV with a hose, buy an in-line filter.  If you use a commercial drive-through car/truck wash it’s likely their water is already filtered. Commercial water softener  units are bulky to stow at home or in an RV but they are available for supper-fussy RV owners. See Amazon for a selection of in-line water filters that screw easily into the hose line. 

In-line water filers are easy to use


    * Don’t use just any detergent. Cleaners made to wash the RV have special additives that soften water and deal gently with hard cleaning problems on RV surfaces including fiberglass, paint, metal and rubber without stripping wax. A telescoping brush helps you reach high spots on the RV.

    * Never wash the RV in the sun. Wash small areas at a time. Rinse diligently to remove all soap residue and any abrasive dust or grit. Dry them quickly with a high quality squeegee and/or chamois  or a supersize PVA towel. Invest in a stainless steel squeegee for years of outdoor use. Better still is this large, extra-flexible squeegee to dry contoured surfaces. 

    * Wax the RV’s exterior regularly to keep deposits or bugs from getting a grip. 

Products that are useful in washing your RV:

Stainless steel squeegee (wipe downs are important and stainless steel won't rust like cheaper squeegees)
Shurhold wax polish
RV soap concentrate saves money and space/ gallon
RV wash brush with telescoping  handle
PVA towel for RV
Filter for garden hose
Filter for drinking water hose

At home or away, e-books are good reading. Travel vicariously with widow Farley Halladay (Janet Groene's pen name)   in January Justice, February Felony, March Malice and the new April Avenger.  

Available for Kindle, Nook and other e-book formats. Kindle books can also be read o a PC, Mac, phone or tablets with a free Kindle app, available from Amazon.

Friday, March 13, 2020

RV Travel and Boating Too

A day sailer is very light to tow with your camper

Blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved. To ask about rates for placing one ad, one link, one year, one low rate on all six groene blogs, email janetgroene at

Just add water to make the best of RV travel...
Tow, Tow, Tow Your Boat

    Do you tow a travel trailer with your car or truck?  Tow a car behind your motorhome?  Pull a utility trailer or toy-hauler behind your Class A RV?  Hitch a bass boat to your truck camper?

    BoatUS is for boat owners,  but their advice for RV-ers makes good sense. BoatUS is  THE place to go for information and other services if you are planning to use a boat in your RV travel life.

Advises Boat US:

    1. Check your hitch setup. Make certain the ball is secure to the mount and that pins holding the mount to the receiver have locking pins.

    2. Chains should cross so that, if the trailer comes loose, it will fall into the X made by the chains.

    3. Boat US says it’s a good idea to replace S-hooks, which can break under load,  with screw-type pin shackles, which are stronger and more reliable. 

Some additional tips on towing:

    * When you tow a car behind a motorhome you have to decide whether to carry the car on a trailer or tow it two wheels down or four wheels down. All three systems have advantages and disadvantages in  terms of wear and tear on both vehicles, ease of hooking and unhooking, cost of the tow apparatus, ease of handling on the highway and costs for fuel and tolls. Ask questions to learn the pro’s and cons.

    * Don’t drive into situations you can’t get out of. Learn to back up with the trailer even if you plan to use only pull-thru campsites.   Find a big, empty parking lot and enlist the help of a buddy if possible. Stick with it until you can interpret  what you see in the mirrors and/or rear-viewing  television and put wheels where you want them. Agree with your buddy on hand signals. Shouting can’t be heard anyway, and it makes you look like a greenhorn

This Class B RV tows a runabout

    * Know the exact height of both vehicles in feet and inches. One vehicle might fit through the tunnel or drive-through but the other may not. You also need to know the weight of the boat (with water, fuel and gear on board) and width of the boat and trailer.

    * If you have a rear-view RV camera on your tow vehicle it may have to be re-positioned when you add a tow. 

This car is towed on its own trailer
    * Learn to estimate distances between your vehicles and others, especially when you are passing or being passed.  Know how steep an angle you can drive over without scraping the lowest point on the trailer, hitch  or motorhome. Expensive damage could occur.

    * Bright orange traffic cones are light and they stack, so carry small ones in your RV. Set them up for roadside emergencies, to mark a campsite as occupied if you’re out for the day. Set them up to make practice courses where you can polish your parking and backing skills.These inexpensive, nine-inch  mini cones are helpful for practice and to make places around a campsite.

    * Whether you travel alone or with a buddy, get out of the rig when you get to a campsite and look over the situation on foot before pulling in. Check the clearance on both sides and overhead. Note the location of hook-ups. Agree on where the rig should be positioned. Then proceed.

Friday, February 28, 2020

This Full-timer's RV Life Pays Benefits

Blog copyright janet groene 2020. To donate $5 a year as a voluntary subscription to this weekly blog, use your PayPal account to janetgroene at


    When life handed Kathe Moore, 67,  a bag of lemons, she shot back by making lemonade, tea, and a lifetime of other great beverages, foods and a travel life that many of us can only dream about.

    Already a passionate cook and avid traveler, the pretty blond describes her former  life as a country and western song.   During the last recession she  lost everything--  her relationship, her home, her job.   Her tiny pile of worldly possessions ended up in a friend’s closet and suddenly  that spelled FREEDOM. It took a few years  but now it's here. Really here.

This is all Kathe left behind

After a hip replacement at age 65, she bought Mary, her 26-foot Coachmen Class C motorhome and a tow car, then took a lease on a campsite in her then-home city, St. Petersburg, Florida. While learning the RV life from the ground up, she stayed put for a while.

     It turned out to be a wise move.  There were things to pack and arrange. Warranty work. A new kitchen to learn about. Hooking up. Driving lessons. More warranty work.

    Things began to turn around from that time on and soon she was back in her zone. A job opened up with the Spice and Tea Exchange (R), where she is a contract consultant. The job means travel from one trendy shop to another, meeting new franchisees and making new friends for the fast-growing chain. The stores, which sell thousands of spices, teas and blends are found in trendy shopping areas from Washington State to Key West.

Kathe travels to stores nationwide

    Now on the road,  Kathe enthuses, “I have my own business, the opportunity to continue to work with The Spice and Tea Exchange (R) part time, semi-retired,  as a contract consultant.  It allows me to schedule the hours I choose to work,  yet I can  RV full-time, travel, explore and have the time to pursue additional business opportunities to build on.

        “I’m focusing on areas of passion in my life that include traveling and enjoying a healthy lifestyle to share with others. I have a “fresh paint”  list that presents a blank canvas each day!" Kathe says. 

Working with this company fits well with Kathe's passions

     “ I truly believe I have something to offer, something different, a different angle.  It’s in there somewhere for me to discover.  I will have that Aha! moment.  I took my desire to travel, minimize, and acquire an RV close to my heart and made it happen. 
      I love my lifestyle and feel like I am dreaming out loud.  From the chapter of my "country and western" song to "back in the saddle", it was quite a journey!
    Her advice to other women? Keep it spicy! 

To contact Kathe Moore about opening a Spice and Tea Exchange retail store,  email 

Is the full-time travel life on your wish list? Janet Groene's book Living Aboard Your RV covers the lifestyle,  from making the decision to living the life to easing out when and if that time comes. Living Aboard Your RV, 4th edition, has many suggestions for ways to make a living on the go.

Do you operate a business out of your RV, always on the go? An Amazon business account provides delivery options, simplified purchasing, multiple payment options and competitive,  business-only pricing and quantity discounts. Details at

Love a cozy mystery? Meet Janet Groene's alter ego, Farley Halladay.  A widow now, Farley's only way to live her former life as a sailor and traveler is virtually via her online business. She is salty, funny, gutsy as she cooks, copes and solves cozy mysteries. February  Felony is book two in the e-book series. 
Order for Kindle, Nook and other e-book formats.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Buy Your Own Motorhome Campsite?

blog copyright janetgroene 2020, all rights reserved. To volunteer $5 a year as a subscription to this free blog use your PayPal account to janetgroene at

Good Deeds

Should you buy 

your own RV lot?    

Recently a scandal broke when RV lot “owners”  in a commercial campground were left holding the bag when the campground was sold.  They’d paid the original owner for lifetime rights to their campsites. The new owner of the land did not honor that deal.

    If high nightly campground rates are getting you down and you’re thinking of investing in RV real estate, how can you make a wise buy?

    When you own your own RV lot you come and go as you please.. No reservations, no time limits. Owning an RV lot can be a safe harbor or an albatross, so let’s sort it out.  This isn’t about campground memberships or time shares.. We are talking a deeded  purchase of your own patch of ground. 

    At its simplest it might be country acreage where you can install septic, electric and water. Then you can come “home” and plug in as you please (zoning permitting.) Raw land is likely to grow in value and meanwhile you are free to sell the property, continued to use it as an RV lot, or build something else there.     

    At the other end of the budget scale, if luxury is your aim you can easily spend $100,000 or more for a small slab  in a luxury RV resort with swimming pools, tennis and golf.  Monthly maintenance fees including real estate taxes are additional.

Know what the future holds for this area

    If the RV is your full-time home, you might even invest in lots in two camping resorts  move with the seasons. Another choice is to buy an RV lot at today’s prices as a future RV retirement spot but lease it out (if permitted by your contract) until you’re ready to use it.  

    Today’s real estate market is a casino. There’s always risk but also the possibility to profit. As the old saying goes,  “They can print more money but they can’t print more land.” In many popular vacation areas, RV lots are sold out and there’s a waiting list. Worse still, some campgrounds campers and the valuable land is used for high-rise condos.

    Why buy a deeded RV lot in a campground?  (1) Financing is probably available. (2) As a member of the owners’ association you’ll have a vote about costs and management. (3) Unless special circumstances arise, the property can’t be sold out from under you. (4)  If  management has a rental program for your site when you’re out roving, the lot earns money for you.

 Before signing, have a real estate attorney look over the contract in case there are hidden snares. Know exactly what is in deed convenants, ongoing costs, assessment fees,  park rules. Know how rules will affect you now and in the future when, say, you want to install a more permanent structure on the site or whether you must get a new RV after so-many years. Look at the land use plans presently in place to see what might be in store for property adjoining yours.  

 An RV lot purchase can take many forms. Just as in other real estate deals, you’ll see condo lots, co-op parks, long-term leases, rent or lease with option to buy, owner financing, perhaps even short sales and other exotic wrinkles. Know before you buy.

See Janet Groene’s recipes and tips for the RV chef at Camp and RV Cook.


Friday, February 7, 2020

RV Rainy Day Fun

blog copyright janet groene 2020. All rights reserved. To donate $5 a year as a voluntary subscription to this weekly blog use your Paypal account to janetgroene at

Rainy day? Read Janet Groene's new e-book mysteries 

January Justice is the first of Janet Groene's Yacht Yenta series of e-books for everyone who loves travel. Farley Halladay is a widow who operates an online charterboat business while caregiving, cooking and crime solving.  Available for Kindle, Nook and other major e-book formats

Save It For a Rainy Day

    Longfellow said it. Into each life, some rain must fall. When you’re cooped up in a tent or RV, a rainy day can be a challenge. When you’re cooped up in there with bored kids, it can be a crisis. Here’s how to have a Plan B up your sleeve.

    * Keep DVD’s, popcorn, unread books and other treats in reserve  to bring out as surprises on shut-in days.

     * Get a DVD based on fitness routines that can be done in a small space, even sitting or lying down.

Make popcorn; bake cookies

    * When the weather channel tells you a rainy spell is coming, check into a camping resort that has a clubhouse and planned activities. Do the laundry and catch up on ironing and mending.

    * Spend a day in a local library. Even if you’re a stanger in this area without a library card the library can offer  periodicals, children’s storytelling hours, activities for all ages and computers.  

Keep  a stash of quarters for the campground's game room
     * Learn a quiet, compact, indoor skill and make a family project out of turning it to a good cause. On rainy days you might quilt or crochet lap robes for nursing homes, stuff animals for children’s hospitals or make a scrapbook for a shut-in family member. Bake a batch of cookies and take some to campground neighbors after the sun comes out. 

Keep some games and surprises in reserve

    * Break your “no electronics on this vacation” rule to start a blog or online family newsletter. Get an online pen pal in another country. 

See what you can see through the RV window


    * Get in the siesta habit. Depending on the weather patterns in this area, you may have to do your outdoor activities in early morning before thunderstorms form, or after dark when the skies clear. Nap through the bad hours. Enjoy the earliest  sunrise or stargazing or a full moon hike.

* Play "I Spy with My Little Eye"  through the raindrops on the RV window or windshield. What nature discoveries can you make by watching and waiting?

    * Instead of staying inside, embrace the gray days as people do in places where there’s a lot of rain such as the Pacific Northwest,  Scandinavia, Alaska, the beautiful British Isles.  Don comfortable, breathable foul weather gear and boots and get out there to enjoy the wildflower bloom or salmon run, geocaching or trout stream or morel hunt.

    When you return to the RV or tent , wet and muddy, have plastic shopping bags handy at the entrance to hold the mess until you dry them. 

Change of Life? RV and Motorhome Travel

Blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved. Place your ad on all six Janet Groene sites for one low, yearly price.  Contact janetgroe...