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 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. 

Friday, January 31, 2020

Space Savers: Organize Your RV

blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved. To donate $5 a year in support of this weekly blog use your PayPal account to janetgroene at

Is your RV too small or do you just have too much stuff?

Maybe you should put it where the sun don't shine

Get Organized, De-Chutter Your RV

    Is the “miscellaneous”  drawer in your RV clogged up with old rubber bands and broken clothespins? Is the magazine rack about to collapse under the weight of  travel pamphlets from last year?  Excess mess costs you peace of mind. Excess weight costs fuel dollars. Excess stuff costs you spaces you could use for better stuff.

    Let’s clean house.

* Start with one cupboard or drawer. Give yourself a time limit of, say, 20 minutes. That may be enough for today. 

:Lightweight containers let you divide and conquer

    * Make a list of the organizers you need to add or remove. Some, such as separate recycling bins, may take up more room than they are worth. Besides, categories are different at different campgrounds. Sort as you go.

* Chances are you have a tangle of cords and transformers left over from your last phone, tablet or rechargeable vacuum. Match up the chargers with everything you now use in the RV and get rid of the rest.

    * Turn this into a game by setting a goal of, say, four things that have to go out today: books, CD;s, DVD’, shoes and clothing you rarely wear, too many purses or bath towels.

* Check use-by dates on foods in the cupboard and refrigerator. Discard those that are expired. If they’re still good and are foods you know in your secret heart you’ll never use, donate to the food bank.

Tired of the mess?

    * You may have an entire set of saucepans, skillets and mixing bowls, but are there some sizes you never use? Why not break up the set? 

Some storage pods can be screwed to the ceiling or wall

* Do you still have spare filters, parts or attachments for tools you no longer have or, hair blower attachments for styles you’ll never wear?  Maybe Goodwill can use them. Ditto the eyeglass “cheaters” that are too weak for your present needs.

    *Most RV’s have large storage areas (under a seat, in the basement, under the bed) that you love to have yet can’t get at. Find containers that fit in them (such as lightweight plastic dish pans) and use them to divide the space and hold the goods for easy removal.

Add caption

* Too many cleaning tools crammed into a closet like a field of corn stalks? Shop RV suppliers for sets that use one  handle that attaches to wet mop, broom and dust mop heads.

    More wise ideas? I’d love to hear yours. Leave a comment.


Dreaming of taking to the open road in your RV as a lifestyle? For ten years I was happily homeless, living in a boat or a 21-foot RV, always on the go and making a living as a travel writer. My book tells how to do it (and it isn’t always easy).

Friday, January 24, 2020

Love Your RV: Keep Something in Reserve

RV Costs: A Reality Check
copyright janet groene 2020

    Some RV owners can coast for years before the roof caves in. Others plan ahead, realizing that that things will wear out, rust, fade and break. It’s wise to plan ahead for these inevitable expenditures.

    Keeping up to date is  even more important now that some campgrounds won’t accept RV’s that look scruffy and/or are more than 10 years old. 

    As a rule of thumb,  put aside 5-10 percent of the cost of the RV each year for replacements and upgrades. This sounds like  lot but trust me, a dribble of outlay can turn into a torrent when you least expect it. 

    If you do most of your own work, are good about preventive maintenance  and are lucky, this should be more than enough. If you must hire everything done, are accident prone and have bad luck,  it may not stretch far enough. 

    Let’s say you start with a $50,000 RV and put $500 in your RV Reserve Fund the first year.  During that first year you may not need anything except maybe some minor upgrades such as extra towel racks, closet accessories, cupboard organizers or more roof vents.

    Interest is added to your fund. By Year Two you add another $500 to $1,000. You now have all the bugs out, furnishings in, and the fund grows. Still loyal to the plan, you add another $500. By Year Three the fund looks fat. However by Year Four  you’ll probably be tapping regularly into the fund for repairs, new batteries, new tires. 

    The object is to stay ahead of the game so that Year Ten finds you able to make major upgrades or repairs, or a substantial down payment on a new RV. Where might the money go? Prices vary widely and depend on whether you can install things yourself, but here are some items you may want to add, replace or upgrade in time.

And the Best Upgrade Yet

 The DISH Playmaker portable satellite receiver can provide the best in entertainment anywhere. The simple setup for RVing lets you watch live news, sports, and favorite shows on the go with no wi-fi needed. 
Key features include:

·        HD programming no matter where you are

·        Pay-as-you go programming, includes all your favorite channels

·        No contract or credit checks required

·        Portable antenna is easy to transport and install, weighing just 7 lbs.

·        Works with DISH Wally, the smallest set-top box in the industry

·        No Wi-Fi needed

Playmaker bundles start at $348, plus programming; existing DISH customers can access their residential DISH programming via the Playmaker bundle for an additional $7 per month.  Don't forget to order mounting hardware suitable for your RV. amazon

And More Upgrades

    Air conditioners wear out, or you may just want a larger, quieter, or more energy efficient model.

    Captain and co-pilot chairs for the cockpit start at about $250 plus about $60 for installation and go as high as $1,200 r more  for a six-way leather power seat. Ready-made slipcovers for the old seats cost about $40; custom slip covers cost twice that and more

    Closed circuit TV with monitor.

    Custom leveling systems cost $2,500 to $4,000 plus materials and installation depending on the type of controls and how many jacks are needed. Shop around to get quotes.  

    Light fixtures can be cheap or classy. Depending on where you need them they have be  DIY or professionally installed.  You’ll probably want more lights in more places than those that came with the RV. For energy efficiency switch to new LED lights.

     Trade your microwave for the latest a combination microwave-convection oven for about $600.  Cost will be higher if you need new ducting for an exhaust fan. 

And in the Repair Department....
    Leaks are one of the major bugaboos of RV-ing. The roof takes a constant beating outdoors and there are countless spots in the body, slides and windows where water could intrude. If leaks lead to further damage such as rust, wood rot, black mold or damage to electrical wires deep inside the walls, look for a big, BIG repair bill.

An RV is, after all, a vehicle that is subject to weather, road damage, vibration, wear. Inside it’s a home, also subject to wear and tear. It’s also an investment not just in money but in a magic carpet. It could be the best investment you ever make. 


No matter how brief the trip or how short the journey, food is travel insurance. Be a prepper at home and on the go with Survival Food Handbook, a guide to provisioning your camper, boat or home pantry with familiar, affordable supermarket staples.

Friday, January 17, 2020

RV Living: The Great Getaway

blog protected by US and intl copyright.  To ask aout placing one ad for one year, one low price, on all six Groene sites, contact janetgroene at

Janet on a Florida beach

Going RV  Full-timing? 
Don’t Burn Your Bridges
by Janet Groene

    Are you planning to move into an RV and hit the road full-time? No matter how committed you are to the new life, the old adage “don’t burn your bridges behind you” makes sense. Contrary to what Tom Wolfe said,  you CAN go home again.
    The transition to becoming happily homeless will be smoother if you leave on good terms with your old boss, landlord, neighbors, ex, parents, siblings and grown children.   Even if you’re leaving in a huff, and we hope you aren’t, memories fade. Tempers cool. Forgiveness happens. Always leave a door ajar.   

    Ask now for a letter of reference from work, You may want to (or have to) find a job in your travels   Ditto the landlord. True, you'll have a real home in an RV, a home you can take anywhere, but a campground may want a background check before granting you a long-term lease or selling you a lot. You might also need a temporary rental home at some point if the RV is damaged or requires major work. 

    For now, keep your memberships in your professional associations. You may need the networking.  If your career requires a professional license, keep that too for now.

     Don’t be too quick to sell everything. Put at least some of your most cherished possessions in storage, then re-evaluate in a year or two. You might sub-lease your apartment or rent out the house while you decide if full-timing is right for you. 

    If you do get tenants for your house,  hire  professional management to collect the rent and take care of maintenance. Even the most willing neighbor or relative may soon grow weary of midnight calls about leaky roofs and clogged toilets.

    It may be possible to tap a retirement fund before reaching  retirement age, but  don’t hatch your retirement nest egg early. The  RV full-timer life is a financial uncertainty, especially for the first year when you're learning how to manage long- and short-term expenses. If possible, keep contributing to your retirement fund. Money continues to grow tax free in your IRA.  It’s insurance against the day you can no longer work or travel or both.

     Visit the Human Resources office at your workplace. Don't quit just yet. See if you can leave a door open, such as taking a sabbatical or a leave of absence. You may be able to hang onto your seniority and some benefits for six months or a year before making the final break. 

Lastly, remember the old adage. Make your words sweet. You may have to eat them later. 

Read Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition, a Guide to the Full-time Life on Wheels. The Groenes full-timed for 10 years, earning a living as a travelwriter and photographer team. The book's updated 4th edition has a full chapter on today's many ways to make a living on the go. Kindle or paperback

Friday, January 10, 2020

RV Women Have a Laundry List

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

Laundry List
copyright janet groene

    Many writers including myself have written about laundry solutions for camping and RV travel.  Remember how John Steinbeck used a lidded garbage can to slosh dirty clothes in his book Travels with Charley

    I’ve done hand laundry using a sink plunger and an inflatable swimming pool. I’ve tried coin laundries throughout the U.S. and abroad and I’ve heard all the arguments for and against carrying laundry machines in the RV itself.

At the campground con-op laundry, do many loads at one

    Meanwhile, smaller washers and dryers have become better at cleaning, drying, getting the wrinkles out. Detergents have gotten smarter. Coin-op machines have become more common in campgrounds, easier to use and better at getting clothes clean. 

    Here are random thoughts on “coming clean”.

    * An excellent non-bleach whitener is a simple sheet, placed in the load. It’s not as effective as liquid bleach on some stains but it’s safe for fabrics and does an incredible job on non-bleachable whites. It’s Super White by Carbona. It’s hard to find in stores but Amzon has it.

    * I use color absorber sheets such as Color Catcher and Color Grabber in every load. They capture and hold any dyes that run. In coin machines, where a previous user may have left a crayon or lipstick stain or a red sock, such sheets can save your load.  This Color Keeper brand from Amazon is far cheaper than store brands.

Many campgrounds don't permit clotheslines

    * DIY dry cleaners save money, used in the dryer, save money, save garments and save the traveler from forgetting dry cleaning she left behind two or three towns back. I like this one from Dryel.

    * Most campground laundries now provide an iron and ironing board. Check fabrics stores for the large selection of iron-on fusible tapes, patches and seam menders now available. Iron-on trims can make a festive tee shirt or cover a stubborn stain.

    * Out of courtesy to others, stay with your clothes while using campground laundries and remove clothes immediately when finished. . If the washer ends its cycle and you aren’t there, your clothes may be removed by someone else and piled just anywhere. Clothes left too long in the dryer will set wrinkles.

    * The new “pods” detergents are a real convenience for travel. Sort clothes into bags while you’re still in the RV. Add pod(s) to each bag and dump everything including the laundry bags into the machines. No need to lug heavy bottles or measure powders. 

    * Mesh bags aren’t just for bras. Use them to keep small things together such as pairs of socks. Such items are easily left behind in the campground laundry, to be discovered after you’ve left. Check machines thoroughly before leaving the laundry room. This seven-piece set will come in handy.

    * I once met a woman who didn’t take dirty clothes home after camping. She did the family laundry at the campground at the end of the vacation. The campground had multiple machines, so she did  three or four loads at once, then folded and packed clean clothes to take home, ready for work or school on Monday morning. 

    * Many campgrounds don’t permit clotheslines or any outdoor drying of clothes. In any case, don’t tie clotheslines to trees. It can damage the bark.

Come back to Solo Woman RV every Friday for new tips, trips and thrifts.

Travel with your pet, your own bed and breakfast, your own bathroom.

Are you dreaming of making RV travel a full-time way of life? My book Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition , based on my ten happily homeless years on the go, tells how. Kindle or paperback.

Friday, December 20, 2019

RV Women and Road Food

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

RV Food, Road Food, Right Food

    If you’re a woman on the road, you eat on the road. I love having my own RV kitchen but part of the RV travel experience is visiting restaurants to try regional dishes created by local cooks.
     How can you enjoy restaurant meals without sacrificing your health?    
    For answers we went to cardiologist Dr. Mike Fenster, author of
The Fallacy of the Calorie, Why the Modern Western Diet is Destroying Us and How to Stop it.  Order from

    Here are Dr. Fenster’s surprising tips on eating better and healthier on the go. 

    * Say no to salad dressings, even diet dressings. Stick with olive oil and vinegar, fresh lemon juice or no dressing at all. Shun diet drinks too. Studies show, says Dr. Fenster, that women who drink more diet beverages are heavier and have increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. 

    * Burgers beat deli meat. If you can get a great burger that is organic, grass fed and pasture fed it’s better than highly processed meat and meat products like those typically used in deli sandwiches. 

  *  Low cholesterol advertising is a fat trap. (It) has little or nothing to do with your blood cholesterol levels. Foods and menu items promoted as  “healthy” because they are “low in cholesterol” are often loaded with fat, sugar or other additives that cause more harm than a three egg omelet ever could, he says. 

    * Under-salted food may be a diet disservice. “A properly seasoned meal leaves us more satisfied and less likely to binge,” the doctor observes. “Over 75% of an average person’s daily sodium intake comes from eating highly processed and prepared foods. Seek out those restaurants that utilize fresh ingredients, from produce to proteins.”

    * Energy bars
are bogus, warns Dr. Fenster. “Many of these bars are highly processed and contain high levels of low-nutrient fillers and sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup. Diets high in added sugars, fructose in particular, has been associated with increased risk of developing hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular disease and other life-threatening medical conditions. Bars are also often loaded with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame that’s linked to a myriad of health ailments. The short term energy boost bars provide is often followed by a “crash” that can cause you to eat yet more unhealthy bars or other food to get revved back up.”

    * Bagels are the “other” white bread, and that isn’t good says Dr. Fenster. Commercial breads are the number one source of sodium in the average American diet. They also often contain significant amounts of refined sugar and fat in the form of detrimental omega-six polyunsaturated fatty acids.  A seemingly benign plain bagel is equivalent to several slices of white bread…even before the addition of toppings or fillings.”

    * Counting calories is a fallacy, this book points out.. For example, a 100 calorie soft drink is not the nutritional equivalent of a 100 calorie apple. Healthful eating is about the quality of the consumable.

Have you read Janet Groene's latest e-book novel under the pen name Farley Halladay? For ten years Janet lived full-time on the go by camper and sailboat. Farley is a widow who reflects on her boating days, takes readers to the seven seas via her online charterboat business, cooks, takes care of elderly alcoholic  Cap Kowalski and solves cozy crimes with the help of her black, Haitian-born friend, Danielle. 

The first two books are January Justice and February Felony.  Third in what will be a 12-book Yacht Yenta Mystery series is March Malice.

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...