Friday, September 14, 2018

RV Travel: Play for Pay

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Workamper, Still the Best Bet
Travel:  Play for Pay

 
    If you think you can’t live and travel in an RV until you are retired and collecting a pension, we have good news for you. Workamping has been the gold standard of camping jobs since the 1980's,  when a win-win-win partnership was established among RV travelers who need work, employers who need seasonal workers and the Workamper organization that brings them together.
    With Workamping you work only when and where you wish, for as long as you need to “feed the kitty”. Then you move on. 


    “Many people didn’t quite get it,” admits company president Steve Anderson, who  holds seminars to educate employers about the Workamper model. “Our Workamper members aren’t looking for jobs as jobs. They are looking for a job as part of the total RV full-timer experience. ” 


    The average Workamper gig lasts three to four months. Then the RV-er moves on with no  ill feelings on either side. Of course, some campers do establish relationships with employers and take the same jobs each year. Still, the best thing about Workamping is that is temporary, no frills, no promises.


    Anderson finds that employers are astonished at his members’ work ethic.  Most Workampers are reliable, able and hard working. The organization now has thousands of  members, about half of them future full-timers who may be as much as five and even ten years from living their dream. 


    Little Heber Springs, Arkansas has always been the home of the Workamper family. Now the community has built a meeting center where Anderson gives seminars for Workamper employers and Workamper wanna-bes. He also holds festive “jubilees” for dedicated Workampers.


    Why are you, as a full-time RV traveler, an employer’s dream employee?  For one thing, you bring your housing with you. For another, you’re not climbing a career ladder. You want a temporary gig, then wanderlust kicks in and it’s time to move on. 


    Since its founding, big changes have come to Workamper  due to technology and also to the migration of jobs to business-friendly states. Amazon, for example, has huge new shipping centers in many states.  Where Workamper jobs were once heavily dependent on vacation seasons (theme parks, campgrounds) jobs in these Amazon centers are now strongest during the Christmas holidays, back to school and other brisk buying seasons. The company installed hookups at some of its centers and it loves Workampers.


    The other big change is in communications.  Workamper jobs were once advertised in the organization’s snail-mailed newsletters. Now an employer can post a job opening online on a Workamper Hot Line in early morning and have half a dozen applicants by noon.    The Workamper News newsletter is free and a good way to get acquainted with how things work.


    If you are an RV-er who needs to work at least part of the time, Workamper.com may just be the pot of gold at the end of your rainbow


 

After full-timing for ten years, and making a living along the way, I wrote Living Aboard Your RV, now in its 4th edition. It covers the RV full-timing lifestyle, from making the initial decision through living the life, making a living and hanging up the keys when and if that time comes.  See the book in paperback or Kindle at http://amzn.to/29XFEkq

Friday, September 7, 2018

Drive for Independence: Women, RV, Motorhome




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New to RV-ing? Afraid to move up to a bigger rig?

Things Women You Need to
Know About Driving an RV

    Even if you’re a seasoned driver, some of these may be new to you.

    * Afraid to take the wheel? Driving a motorhome is easier than you think. You’re sitting higher and can see farther ahead and on both sides. Good mirrors and/or closed circuit TV give you a birds-eye  view to the rear. Power assists let you adjust your seat exactly to achieve the best control of your hand and foot controls and your  mirrors.  





    * Other drivers can see you better too You’re a big target, so drivers can see you sooner.

* Know your rig’s exact height in feet and inches (including rooftop AC or pods) so you’ll be prepared to go under bridges and through drive-thru’s at banks and McDonald’s. 




    * Eyeball the length of the overhang of your RV behind the rear wheels. This determines how steep an angle you can drive over (such as a culvert or steep driveway)   before some part of the overhang drags.



* Tire pressure is crucial, especially if you have duals. (With duals the driver isn’t always aware if one of the duet goes flat). 



    * Get acquainted with all means of escape from a motorhome including all door(s) and any emergency window exits.  In an accident the rig could land on one side or the roof .




* Everything should be stowed and secured before the vehicle moves. Forget to lock the fridge, the door flies open and you’ll have broken eggs all over the  floor. If you forget to stow the step,  it could collide with something or someone such as a bicycle rider.  If you forget to lock the awning, wind could catch it and tear it up. In a panic stop, any unsecured object, erson or pet behind you could whack you in the back of the head. Checklists can be life savers for yourself and others.

    * A walk-around check before every start-up is good practice, even if you’ve just stopped for fuel. You may have forgotten something in the campsite or left a door ajar. You might spot a soft tire or a leaking liquid that should be investigated. If you have a damp rag with you, this is a good time to take a quick swipe at mud-splashed light lenses.

* RV Driving schools are found all over the country. Take a course, seminar or safety refresher. Find locations at https://www.rvschool.com/school-locations/  It’s also reassuring (and loads of fun) to take a winter driving school such as the Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs CO.  Slick conditions can occur anywhere.

    * Even the most experienced truckers can be surprised by RV handling and other quirks. Motorhomes, especially RV trailers, are light in weight while presenting a very large expanse of area to winds and gusts.      

Friday, August 31, 2018

What are the "I Forgots" in RV Travel?

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Carefree RV camping....
WHAT DID YOU FORGET?   


copyright 2018  janet groene

    It’s a common panic.
    You just left for a relaxed RV weekend and you wonder if you turned off the stove or unplugged the iron.
    Worse still, you are a mile down the highway after leaving your campsite when you realize you didn’t unhook the RV sewer hose. 


    The  “I Forgots” in RV life can be embarrassing, expensive and downright dangerous. 

     Here’s a list to print out and save. It’s from  Jim LaBelle of the International Insurance Group, Inc. (iggins.com)., who reveals his hit parade of insurance claims caused by “I Forgots”   
    Will some of these tips work for you?


 
1.      Check all fluids and tire pressure on your tow vehicle.

2.      Check your battery charge.
3.      Check RV wheel lug nut torque and tire pressure, Jim says. 


4.      Check propane tanks and generator levels – fill if necessary.
5.      Fuel tow vehicle before hooking up.
6.      Items inside camper secured, counters cleared, and cabinets latched? Refrigerator door locked shut?'


7.      TV and countertop appliances secure?
8.      Roof vents and windows closed?
9.      Air conditioning off? (It goes off when you unplug but it’s smarter to turn it off, then unplug. When you hook-up to electricity again, turn it back on manually.
10.     Awning stowed and secured? If awning is loose it becomes a hug wind sail at 55 mph and usually self-destructs. 



11.     Slides checked for water and debris?
12.     Inside RV clear of items in slide path?
13.     Slides closed and locked?



14.     Refrigerator off or running on DC?
15.     Black and gray tanks empty?
16.     Black and gray tank valves closed?
17.     Treatment chemicals and small amount of water added to black tank?


18.     Cable/phone, electricity, sewer hose, and water hose disconnected and stored?
19.     Water pump off?
20.     RV interior lights off and outside lights working per legal requirements?
21.     Propane tank valves closed?
22.     All trash removed before you close up and leave? It will stink and attract rodents and bugs
23.     Stabilizer jacks raised or removed?
24.     King pin lock removed if applicable?
25.     RV breakaway switch, umbilical cord, sway bars, and safety chains attached where applicable?
26.     Tongue or leveling jacks raised? Leveling blocks stored?
27.     Chocks removed and stored?
28.     All doors and panels on RV locked?
29.     RV and tow vehicle lights working?
30.     RV brakes checked?

 
Now take a walk completely around the rig. No items left behind? Campfire cold? jacks up? We’re good to go. 


Live the carefree RV travel life now, not later. We sold everything, bought an RV and hit the road for ten years, earning a living along the way. Our book tells how you can do it too. Living Aboard Your RV is available in paperback or Kindle.  http://amzn.to/29XFEkq

 


Friday, August 24, 2018

Secrets of RV Rental


blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved. To donate $5 per year in support of these weekly publications, use your PayPal account to janetgroene at yahoo.com




10 Reasons to Rent an RV
    Why rent an RV if you never tried RVing before?
    Why rent if you already own one? 

 Here’s why.

   
1. With a rental RV you’ll have an extra guest suite in your driveway or back yard (where allowed by your homeowner association). 

    Helping out with a wedding or event at the beach or other remote outdoor spot? Park an RV nearby to serve as a dressing room, kitchen, bathroom or other staging area. 



 


2.  No garage?  Or you live in a place that doesn’t permit yard sales? Stage a yard sale out of the RV at a flea market, swap meet or other high-traffic area with good crowds.

3. Leave your own RV at home and take a fly-drive rental to a far-away locale. Time is money. Save fuel costs and also the time it takes to get all the way to Yellowstone or Alaska or the Florida Keys. 






 


4. Stage a family reunion at a campground that has a variety of campsites to accommodate your rig, other family members’ rigs and cottages for families who have no RV.




5.  Have magnetic signs made for the RV to advertising your business, website or twitter handle everywhere you go.




6. The best tailgate parties and infield parties begin with an RV with its own kitchen.


7. Take children to camping in a hard-sided camper that keeps them warm, dry and bear proof.

8.  Rent an RV similar to one you’re thinking of buying and test drive the layout, space utililization, comforts. By the end of the week you may realize you may want something smaller, larger or with a different floor plan.

9. Have housing with you while you follow NASCAR, volunteer work or your child’s sports meets and gymnastic competitions. 




10. Remodeling the house? Move into an RV rental to escape the sawdust, noise and mess. 


 


Renting has pluses, minuses and pitfalls. Before you make reservations with any RV rental company, read The Complete Guide to Renting an RV, https://amzn.to/2wkZeUB







Then get a good camp cookbook to help plan easy meals and provisioning lists for the trip. http://amzn.to/1NdWI4o

Friday, August 10, 2018

Top 10 RV Women Personal Packing Mistakes

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


 

TEN TOP WARDROBE MISTAKES
RV WOMEN MAKE




 


1. Aflutter with Clutter. We all have too many clothes and shoes. RV travel takes us to so many wonderful activities and destinations as well as boutiques, shopping centers, souvenir shops and discount malls. One way to cut the clutter is by sticking to one color palette such as pastels, or denim or chinos or  red-white and blue. If you shop only for blacks and whites, you can go wild with accessories in any color. One pair of dressy black shoes can be partied-up with clip-on bows.

2. The Wrong Fabrics. For short trips, where you save the wash until you get home,  it’s just a matter of fabrics that travel well without wrinkling./ However, for longer trips you’re looking at hand laundry and/or trips to campground coin-up laundries. 


      If your camping life is mostly outdoors, look into performance fabrics treated for bug resistance or UV protection. For hot weather and working out, specialty fabrics wick moisture away from the body. For cold weather, new high-tech fabrics provide more insulation for less weight and bulk.

3.  Something Old, Something New.  It’s tempting to show off your newest togs for travel. Most authorities recommend laundering garments before wearing them for the first time. On the plus side, new garments are treated to resist wrinkles, Unwashed, they are usually good for several wearings before they soil. On the minus side, some fabric treatments are downright unhealthy. Some  people are sensitive to any fabric treatments.  

4. Trouble Afoot. Nothing spoils a trip more than blistered feet. Bring shoes you have already broken in, shoes suitable for the terrain and climate. Bring plenty of clean socks. It’s important to keep feet clean and dry.

Speaking of shoes do you have a rules about indoor/outdoor shoe inside the RV?  Many people do. Just make sure everyone is on the same page.


 Don’t forget waterproof shoes to wear in the campground shower. 

 

5. Social Security. Because travels take me to many unfamiliar places I add an extra layer of security to a travel wardrobe. This can vary greatly. Depending on the place (indoors, outdoors, crowded, deserted) it may be anything from zippered pockets or a ScotteVest to a fanny pack.


This versatile all-season dress has seven pockets, some zippered, and comes in several colors. 

Scottevest dress    https://amzn.to/2JwOfzV
Scott vest $140  https://amzn.to/2JS3Qv3

6. Shoulder Arms. A handbag, day pack or backpack should be sturdy enough and

large enough for the load, well balanced for spine health, fashionable enough that you don’t look like a bag lady,  and not so unwieldy that you hate taking it with you.  

7. Head and Shoulders. Even if you never wear hats, it’s wise to have one for sun protection. Many types of hats, from sporty to stylish, are available in roll-up materials. Speaking of shoulders, many women carry a light silk or pashmina scarf or shawl for their shoulders in summer because air conditioning can be just too cold.

8. Be Culture Conscious. These days almost anything goes but do be considerate when visiting religious points of interest. That may be a head covering, covered knees and, in some places, removing your shoes.



9. Layers. Everyone tells you to bring layers, but it isn’t that simple. It begins with the right underwear and ends with the right outerwear such as a jacket with zip-off sleeves or cargo pants that zip apart to become shorts.

 For winter travel I love my silk long johns and long-sleeve white silk undershirt. They insulate, feel great, pack light, launder easily and double as pajamas.

 Another of my secret layers is a pair of dancer’s leg warmers, which I can slip on under slacks or sleeves in very cold weather.


10. Two for One. Versatile garments are always a plus. One of my favorites is button-front dress. It’s a real dress that can be worn belted or unbelted. It can also be slipped on as a robe or swim suit cover-up. 

Little extras:
 RV women also need flexible, women's-size work gloves for dirty work such as hooking up and fueling.  High-temperature fireplace gloves are also a good idea for handling embers and I like this log carrier. 
It takes up no room at all and is ideal for handling firewood and other oddments around the campsite. It also holds a small dog and, when I'm shopping the farmer's market, it holds long, stalky items such as asparagus, rhubarb and greens.





Friday, July 27, 2018

Janet Groene's Solo Woman RV Travel Tips

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RV Ideas, Inspirations,
Tips and Trips
copyright janetgroene 2018

Highway or the hard way? Here are some lessons I've picked up along the way.


    * My Class C motorhome lost a hub cap once and it cost bigtime. It was a rare design and size. Another like it could never be found.  To make a match I had to  buy a whole new set. Then I heard about this tip. Inside each hub cap on your RV, tape a waterproof note with your name and phone number. If you wish, add an offer to pay a reward for return of the hubcap. If it the hub cap is lost,  it just might make its way back to you.



    * I always end up camping in places with sandy soil (think beaches) and too much of the sand always ends up inside my camper. Now there is Sandlite, a new kind of material that allows sand to fall through. Use it as a beach mat or runner on the campsite patio. It rolls up for easy storage, hoses clean and dries quickly.  At home it’s a good runner to lay down  from, say,  the kids’ sandbox to the back door.  https://amzn.to/2O6tcDM

     * Also a wonderful find  for beachgoers are the new  microfiber beach towels. Unlike a loopy terry towel, the weave is flat so it doesn’t trap sand. The quick-drying towels come in lots of kicky colors and patterns. https://amzn.to/2OaaiMn



* I always stock up with green bananas before a long trip but they may get ripe faster than I can use them. Try this. Put whole, ripe bananas, still in their skin, in a  bag and freeze them. Thaw out one or two, cut off one end and squeeze out the squishy banana like toothpaste out of a tube. It will mix right into your  smoothie or pancake batter. 


    * For serious travel and long camping trips it’s worth investing in a Scrubba Bag. Inside this waterproof bag are little nipples that scrub dirt out of socks or underwear, or gently coax soil out of bras and delicate undies. The bag is easy to fill from any faucet, bucket or brook. Instructions are written right on the bag. The bag can be used to haul or carry extra water or as a dry bag when hiking or kayaking. The black model can be placed in the sun to heat water for laundry or a shower.  See details at  https://amzn.to/2NE2hOJ


 
    * You say you don’t travel enough to invest in a real Scrubba? Put water, a little detergent and a few pieces of laundry in a big zip-top plastic bag with one or two of the little bristly gadgets known as as scalp brushes or shampoo brushes. They are gentle, snag free, small to stow  and very inexpensive. Seal the bag (make sure it won’t leak) and let it jostle while you travel. Later you can rinse and wring in the RV sink or in the campground restroom.

    

 
* No matter how tight we are for space, most of us RV women like to have at least one good outfit on hand. My  favorite “little black dress” (It also comes in colors) is this all-season, easy care dress with seven (!)  pockets. Accessorize it six ways from Sunday.  Made by the people who make famous Scottevest travel vests,  the dress is so cleverly designed it took me a while to find all the pockets. For security, convenience and versatile good looks, see it at    https://amzn.to/2JwOfzV

    * Don’t load your cupboards with too many spice jars. Buy empty gelatin capsules, the kind that medicines come in. Fill them with spices you use most often. When camping, add the capsule to hot soup, stew, gravy, etc. It will melt and disappear, adding the right amount of seasoning just like that. I found refillable capsules in small, medium and large sizes on Amazon. 


Come back every week for more tips and trips.

Friday, July 20, 2018

A Llifesaver for Women RV Travelers



Your Personal Lifesaver
copyright Janet Groene

    What is a PLB and why do you need one? Picture yourself stuck upside down in a ditch, or injured, or lost and alone with no battery power or no phone service. Press a button and a  Personal Locator Beacon will contact a satellite from anywhere on land or sea, bringing  you rescue. 


 This issue and a new issue every week are available for Kindle by subscription from Amazon. Try it free for two weeks at  http://amzn.to/1OV7ywL


    As a solo woman RV traveler,  you need the very best search and rescue aids.  Of course, some phone apps can call for help or report your location. Authorities might also get your location via your cell phone.   


    However, phone signals are much weaker than those of a PLB and they’re all subject to battery failure, weak signal, or no signal at all. 




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


Once used primarily in boating and aviation, these locator beacons 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 smart phones just aren’t smart enough.   


Which PLB is For You?


    First, determine basic needs. To keep it smallest and lightest choose a small, basic PLB.  If you want to take it on the water, order one that is waterproof and buoyant.  (Some activate automatically when they hit water).  Some units have a strobe light too. And, because of the PLB’s very long battery life, it keeps working for days. 


    A PLB isn’t a two-way communication device. You activate it only when you’re in grave and imminent danger. 


    The devices use a special frequency that’s reserved just for search and rescue. Government rules require units to undergo rigorous testing.  One manufacturer, for example, has units that work for more than 30 hours at minus 20 degrees C. You’ll probably pay about $250 for a PLB but that’s it forever except for replacing the special batteries about every five years. There are no monthly fees. 


See a PLB here,  https://amzn.to/2LrIYrg It's a lifetime investment. The only additional cost is to replace batteries every 5 years.

 
    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 local ground station and transferred to the Mission Control Center (MCC). A Rescue Coordination Center passes the information to Search and Rescue (SAR) forces closest to you.  


    To date, more than 30,000 lives have been saved. Once you own a PLB, whether new or used, you must register it with NOAA.  After that, SAR forces worldwide have your back.