I am so happy to tell you that Marc and Julie Bennett from RV Love have put together a virtual summit for those wanting to enter the RV world. This summit will take place on Saturday, June 16 on line! Marc and Julie are the authors of Living the RV Life – Your Ultimate Guide to LIfe on the Road. They know what they are talking about! They have been at it for 6 years and basically wrote the book they wanted to read before they got started themselves. They also have created an RV school chock full of lessons you can take at your own pace and in whatever order you decide.
Now Marc and Julie have gathered industry experts to share their field of expertise. They want to help all of you still on the side lines, by answering the questions you have. I was so happy and humbled to participate in this summit speaking about the things that solo women travelers are concerned about. There are 14 other experienced RVers on board to offer the wisdom of their own travels to those of you wanting to learn more about the RV life.
The Summit is free but you need to register. All of the details are below. If you do not have 15 straight hours to binge watch the Summit, you can purchase it along with other educational programs Marc and Julie have created. There is a pre-order price of $27 now and that will allow you lifetime access to the Summit and many of the educational tools created by Marc and Julie.
Get Ready to Hit the Road in an RV With 15+ RV Experts at This Virtual Summit – Register For Your Free Ticket Now
Be sure to listen to today’s podcast with Marc and Julie Bennett and get the details on the first Hit the Road RV Summit.
Have you ever come home from a trip and scrolled through your phone looking at your photos and been so disappointed in them? Do you think they can never live up to the feeling you had when looking at them? It’s hard to recreate the emotion we have when standing in front of an epic waterfall or creamsicle sunset but there are tips that even an amateur photographer can employ to make their photos inspire others to visit great places.
Guest Podcast host Catherine Goggia is sharing tips for taking better photos on this weeks podcast! Over the years she has learned a few tricks that can help even a cell phone capture look magazine worthy. Check out Catherine’s tips on her Girl Camper Northern California site.
Girl Camper Guide Catherine Goggia is pinch hitting for me for the next two weeks while I am on a little sabbatical. She is taking us through her purchase of new trailer tires and explaining trailer tires (ST) versus regular tires (LT).
Catherine is our Northern California Girl Camper Guide. She is an R Pod owner who grew up camping and encourages others to get out there and do things. She is the editor of her own Girl Camper site. You can follow her here.
Some of the topics Catherine discusses include:
* ST tires are built differently than LT tires * Why the tread is more shallow on ST tires * Why side walls on ST tires differ from LT tires * C and D rated tires * Tire maintenance * Things that impact load capacity* Open range tires * Made in USA tire manufacturers
Click the link below to hear the podcast and the full scoop on buying trailer tires.
It’s my great pleasure to introduce the newest member of our Girl Camper family, Northern California Guide, Catherine Goggia. She grew up in a camping family and made great memories with her parents and siblings. She is on board to share all she knows about the beautiful part of the country she is privileged to live and explore in.
Catherine’s territory includes the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, the northern edge of the Sacramento Valley and all the way to the Pacific Ocean. What a great place for an adventurer to live. So much diversity in nature all within a few hours drive of her home base near Chico, California.
When I started the Girl Camper Guide program I imagined women across the country sharing their inside knowledge of where they live. The best places to camp, eat and hike like only a local can do. We are blessed that Catherine’s day job is as an educator!! She’s brilliant at conveying information and pretty tech savvy too, a skill I deeply both admire and envy!!
Catherine is a talent in so many ways. She goes deep with the things she loves and I am looking forward to her sharing her life as an artist, wildlife photographer, boater, R Pod owner and active outdoor adventurer with us. Part of the escape of RVing is the opportunity to get off grid, turn off the noise and indulge our interests. It’s easy to get caught in the whirlwind of life and lose track of the inner us.
You can follow Catherine’s many interests and journeys at her Girl Camper microsite – Girl Camper – Northern California. She also has a Facebook group of local women who travel together and those planning trips to that area. You can become a member here. Catherine will also be substitute hosting the Girl Camper Podcast from time to time. Her first guest hosting gig will be May 19th and 26th. I can’t wait to see what she is bringing us!! Welcome aboard Catherine. We are so happy to have you on our team!!
Have you been wondering how an outdoor enthusiast with a top rated TV show became the host of the number one RV Show in the country? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to own a campground? On this week’s podcast, I turn the tables and interview my friend Alan Warren from the RV Show USA.
Alan began his career in broadcasting by creating a TV show specializing in hunting and fishing. Three reincarnations later the respected expert was ready for a new challenge. He sold the ranch he lived and filmed on and pivoted to an old love – RVing.
Although The RV Show USA is only three years old, it is the #1 RV Show in the country. Alan has a reputation for calling out bad practices in the industry but, also gives industry leaders a chance to be on the show and answer consumer questions.
Alan jumped even deeper into the RV lifestyle by buying a campground on beautiful Lake Buchanan in Burnet, Texas. The Big Chief RV Resort is an ideal spot for the sportsman who wants to launch a boat straight from the campground as well as those who just want to enjoy stunning lake sunsets. The campground offers many amenities including a pool and spa that feel like a resort hotel.
The sunsets at Big Chief are beautiful on Lake Buchanan.
If you are one of those who dream the full time RVing dream, – in technicolor, black and white, on the job and off, you will enjoy meeting Sandy Ellingson, Executive Director of RVWA, the Recreation Vehicle Women’s Alliance.
Sandy Ellingson is the Executive Director of the RV Women’s Alliance
After achieving empty nest status, Sandy, still working full time, and her retired husband, began researching the possibility of full time RVing. There was so much to consider and to do. What type of RV? Travel trailer or motorhome? What travel style? RV Parks or boondocking? Keep a condo or sell it all and pack all of your worldly possessions in an RV?
On today’s show Sandy shares the process of going from dreamer to doer and what she would do differently if she knew then, what she knows now.
At Girl Camper we receive so many letters from full time wannabes and stories like Sandys help to shine some light in the dark places of those dreams and, let us see the realities we may be overlooking. I always enjoy an interview with someone who has gone from home on turf to home on wheels because each story is different and will speak to each of us in a different way.
Sandy and Mark Ellingson, enjoying road life!
Mary Kirlin, Girl Camper Contributing Editor has posted her new spring Gear Guide with her favorite hiking essentials! Mary lives in Northern California and frequently travels the Pacific Northwest where she hikes and captures beautiful photos. I invited Mary to contribute gear guides to Girl Camper because she is a dedicated researcher, loves finding companies with a conscience, and is aware of the impact that a product leaves on the environment. Head on over to Mary’s “More Camper Than Glamper” page under Girl Camper Wisdom and read about the best hiking gear for the season ahead!
Hiking and Hydration: Spring Gear Guide
If you want to travel with all the comforts of home but not need a big tow vehicle to do it, this is the podcast for you. In Episode 190 I shared five RV’s under 3K pounds that you can stand in. I had to leave quite a few off the list though and this week I am filling in that list with the box trailers that fit that bill.
My criteria was that it had to be under 3 K pounds, have a bathroom and be tall enough to stand up in. I decided to concentrate on the box style trailers with a length of 19″ to 21″10″. These RV’s have many similarities but each has a defining characteristic that sets it apart from its competitors.
Working heaviest to to lightest the first is the Winnebago, Micro Minnie 1706FB. This RV weighs in at 2,980 pounds and is the only one with a dual axel. It also has the largest fresh water tank at 43 gallons. Another great feature setting it apart is the standard tankless hot water heater. It’s got a built in ladder and good outside storage. The negatives to me are not front window and limited kitchen counter space. The Micro Minnie has a MSRP of $21,464.
The interior of the Micro Minnie 1706.
The Jayco Hummingbird 16MRB weighs in at 2,890 pounds. It has a flexible floor plan with a Murphy bed that folds away to reveal a love seat for daytime leisure. It has a portable table that can be set up inside in front of the love seat or outside under the 10′ awning. Without a dedicated dining booth there is room for a bigger kitchen and more storage across from it. The rear bathroom on the Hummingbird is really spacious and has a lot of storage. The negatives in my mind are that it has no front window and some people may not like having a dedicated dining space. The MSRP for the Hummingbird is $25,440.
The murphy bed hidden away with the love seat showing.
The Forest River Wolf Pup has several models including one that is a toy hauler. The 14CC weighs in at 2,884 pounds and is 19′ long. It’s defining feature is the rear entry. The window over the dining booth is really large and the booth folds down to become a small sleep space or day bed. There is a lot of kitchen counter space and good storage underneath. The negative is the east/west bed and the separate toilet and shower which are on opposite sides of the rear entry. The MSRP on this unit is $14,380.
The KZ Sportsmen Classic 160 QB is a great entry level model that weighs 2,860 pounds. It is 21′ 10″. The added two feet allows for this model to have a walk around Queen bed. It has a small dinette across from the kitchen. There is a three piece bath and a large wardrobe in the rear of the trailer. Outside there is pass through storage under the Queen bed. The MSRP for this model is $16,995.
The Sportsmen Classic 160QB.
Lastly, the Lance 1475 is the lightest of the five models I chose weighing in at just 2,600 pounds. They have another model with a small slide out but I am focusing on the non slide out model.
My guest today is Michelle Graña Almodóvar our DelMarVar Girl Camper Guide. Michelle and I came to know each other through social media when each of us owned a Little Guy Max trailer. It wasn’t long before we were regular camping buddies!
Michelle with her husband Luis & their Little Guy Max
I immediately realized Michelle had a spark that drew people to her and a big desire to help others achieve their goals. She was then – and is now – so generous with her time and knowledge, that I asked her to join the team and help other women in her area learn the ropes as our Girl Camper DelVarMar Chapter Guide! (Del Mar Va by the way stands for Delaware, Maryland & Virginia;).
Michelle shares her extensive experience in all-things-camping on her Girl Camper dedicated website with events, meet ups, favorite local finds and much more.
Michelle’s Airstream – and example of her amazing photography!
Michelle makes her home in Maryland but camps all over the country in her 27′ Airstream. Like many of our Girl Campers, her husband often joins her, whether they’re on quick weekend getaways or cross country adventures. They have a new addition to the family named Bella who will join her sister Maci on their camping trips!
Maci & Bella
She is a beach lover, a seasoned photographer, crazy about all-things-solar, an amazing Mom and a really cool Grandma! Be sure to check out Michelle’s DelMarVa Girl Camper website when planning a trip to that region and join here on Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/GirlCamperDelMarVa/
Don’t forget to visit our favorite RV dealerships on line and in person – right now, there are amazing opportunities to make your RV dream come true!
Have you wanted to have a truck but not something quite as big as a half ton? Are you wondering what light duty trucks out there will deliver on tow capacity, mileage and comfort? Mike Caudill is an auto expert, owner of Driven360, experienced RVer and my guest today as we go over the top four light duty trucks. You can check out Mike’s product reviews at Our Auto Expert!
We have already covered the Ford Ranger in its own segment so, today we will be focusing on the Nissan Frontier, Chevy Colorado and the Jeep Gladiator. To listen to our show on the Ford Ranger, click here.
2020 Nissan Frontier
The Nissan Frontier began production in Smyrna, Tennessee in 1997. When it first came out if offered a few cabin options but not many trim packages. Today the Frontier has five different trim packages to choose from – S, SV, Desert Runner, Pro04X and the SL.
It is a great option for those that want a light duty truck with some substantial towing capacity but don’t want to pay the hefty price tag often accompanying these trucks. You can purchase a Frontier with a tow package of 3,500 #’s for a starting base price of $19,290. It’s a great vehicle for those who don’t need an off road vehicle and who will be driving on pavement.
2020 Nissan Frontier
* MPG: Up to 19 city / 23 highway* Towing capacity: 3,500 to 6,500 lbs* Max towing 6,720 lbs* Payload is 1,460 lbs* MSRP: From $19,290* Fuel tank capacity: 21.1 gal* Engine: 2.5 L 4-cylinder, 4.
Have you harbored a dream of buying an RV and taking off for parts unknown? Do you dream of a life where you can make money on the road and live your best life but don’t know how to get started? My guest today is Jody Duquette, Executive Director of Workamper News. She’s sharing their newest program for those wanting to learn about the RV lifestyle.
The Dreamers Journey is a new program offered on line for a monthly fee by Workamper News. It is a way to look realistically at the pros and cons of the Nomadic life. How would you get mail? Insure yourself? What would the actual costs be? What if I got sick on the road? What are people who are already doing it saying about what the down sides are? Can I get work easily? Should I sell my house, rent it or use it as an Air B and B?
A lot of thought went in to developing this program that not only covers the practical side of RVing but the emotional side as well. The program is designed so that those considering the lifestyle can take a practical look at it and build confidence before making a decision. The classes are taught by experts in the field and available on line for study at your convenience. As long as you are a member, the classes are available. The monthly cost is $99 for the comprehensive classes.
Classes are taught in a Live webinar on Tuesday afternoons and a bonus webinar on Thursdays. If you can’t participate in the Live, the webinars are saved for you to watch at your convenience. After looking at the whole program I feel it is money well spent. So many of the questions I receive at Girl Camper have to do with “How to get started full timing and workamping.” I am so pleased to see this program offered.
You can check out the Dreamers Journey here and also Workamper News which is a great resource for those hitting the road and hoping to stay employed along the way.
We all have concerns when we head out and the best way to deal with fear is to acknowledge the possibilities and have a plan for if and when they happen. That is what we do here at Girl Camper, we educate new RVers and help them understand the principles of what may be happening and ways to counterbalance them. We have done many podcasts on safety from towing to tires to weight distribution hitches to weather tactics.
It’s never fun having a breakdown on the road but having good insurance and roadside assistance takes a little bit of the sting away!!
Some of my worst trips have resulted in my best lessons and made me a stronger and smarter RVer. I am sharing them today because I know that fear sometimes stops us from doing things we want to do. Sometimes fear is an alarm that common sense sets off in us and warns us to use caution. It’s a good thing that we should pay close attention to and not dismiss. There’s also a fear that is placed in us by other people who are worried about us. It’s really their fear being projected onto us. It’s a “What If?” and may be something that could happen but never will. What If’s can paralyze us and keep us from getting out there. You have to look at the situation and decide if there is real danger or if the FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real.
Some of the issues I cover in today’s podcast include:
* Driving in high winds * Driving in dense fog* Getting stuck for the night without a campsite * Truck breakdowns * Sway problems * Middle of the night tornado warnings
There’s a fun new thing from Camco that everyone will want to have. I think most of us can relate to the problem of needing a weight to secure the elbow of the sewer hose to the dump spot. If that thing is not weighted down and you pull the lever for the blank tank to dump, it can and will pop off and spew the contents of your blank tank all over the place!! The Camco Retro RV sewer hose fits on top of your hose and is weighted down by water or sand poured into the top. It keeps the sewer hose from popping off when the rush of fluids hits it!! Check it out here!
Thank you to Bankston Motor Homes of Alabama and Tennessee for sponsoring Girl Camper. To visit one of their six locations, click here!
I am wrapping up the coverage on my big trip to the Arizona desert to camp in January. It was on my “to do” list for so long and I enjoyed every minute of it. Unlike some bucket list items, this dispersed camping is not a “one and done” thing. I know I will make it part of my winter for a long time to come.
Craggy Wash BLM spot near Lake Havasu, Arizona
I had the opportunity while I was there to meet Frank and Sandy Schrader who were all set up for a winter of free camping in exchange for about 30 hours of work per week. I met Frank on my second day there when he pulled up in his truck to say hello and give me my two week tag to be placed on my dashboard. It is Franks job to welcome people, lay out a few ground rules and make sure no one overstays their welcome. Camp hosts do not handle things like unruly campers. They are there strictly to alert local authorities to any trouble that may require the law to become involved. Frank was happy to report that it is indeed a rare occasion for him to have to contact authorities.
I wondered what would make Frank and Sandy want to spend the whole winter in one place when in reality, they could camp for free all over the place with no responsibilities at all. So many people talk about camp hosting and workkaming that I thought their story was intriguing. You can hear it from both the husband and wife’s perspective on today’s podcast!
Frank and Sandy loving the simple life!
Also, Congratulations are in order for the winner of our R Pod Charity Raffle trailer. We chose the winning ticket on Valentine’s Day and the lucky winner was Michelle Wyland of Pennsylvania. Michelle was at work when she checked her phone to see if the winner had been chosen. When she saw her name she let out a scream that made her co workers fear she had been hurt!! She will be picking it up in March at Setzer’s World of Camping in Huntington, West Virginia. They were gracious enough to detail it and are going to do a thorough walk through with her when she attends Camper College there on March 21, 2020. Camper College is open to all and starts at 10 AM. There’s no charge…just come and we’ll fit you in.
Nancy’s craft and sewing tent on their Camp Host site. She uses this as her little she shed over the winter.
I can honestly say that I like every kind of camping. Resort RV Parks, State and National Parks, backyard camping and now I can add, dispersed camping to that list. On today’s show I am sharing my first experience camping on BLM land with no amenities at all, including roads!
Last January I headed to Arizona to see what all the fuss was about. Hint -it’s the weather. Mid 70’s and sunny everyday and lows in the 40’s at night. In my mind, this is PERFECT camping weather. I muddle through the heat and humidity in New Jersey all summer long for a few weeks of this weather each fall, often accompanied by rain. In southern Arizona you can set your watch by this weather for weeks on end and RVers across the nation know it. They flock to Arizona each year after the Christmas holidays and camp for free on BLM land.
For those new to all of this BLM stands for Bureau of Land Management. It is land managed by the US Department of the Interior and comprises over 245 million acres. Some of these lands have actual campgrounds with bathrooms and water and electric all on them. Most do not though and are just come and get it spots. No hook ups, water, bathhouses or for the most part, even roads.
You locate these cost free campsites through word of mouth and by using the App, Campendium. Campendium is the most recommended source for off road camping by those actually doing it. I asked lots of people when I was out there how they find spots and Campendium was the answer 9 out of 10 times. With Campendium you will get a set of reviews and tips that are really useful when dispersed camping because Google Maps is often not available in the middle of nowhere and these old fashioned directions are a lifesaver.
Once you find your spot, be prepared for everything. You must bring everything you need in and everything you use, out. Leave no trace. I was ready for my first stop, Craggy Wash outside of Lake Havasu with full water tanks and empty holding tanks. I had a 100 watt solar panel and an AGM battery along with a full propane tank. I was hardly roughing it since I could take hot showers and have heat whenever I wanted. The perk of these sites is the stillness. Although others were there, they are not on top of you. There is a solitude that is hard to find when camping any other way. I completely enjoyed opening my shade at dawn and watching the sunrise with unobstructed views. I loved the long walks and just waving at fellow travelers. I loved the dark night skies without the lights from other RVs ruining the sky views. I mostly loved feeling truly ‘checked out.’
After I left Lake Havasu I headed to Quartzsite Arizona to see what the Big RV Show there is all about. Each years thousands and thousands of RVers meet in groups to do this show. I don’t know how many go to the show as just gather for the community and camaraderie. There are miles of roads with signs indicating the groups – Airstream Owners, Class A groups, Escapees and even Vegan RVers. The RV Show itself was hot, dusty and nothing I haven’t seen a million times but the gatherings were incredible. So many people enjoying the lifestyle, each others company and the fantastic weather and incredible sunsets Arizona offers each night.
There are a few rules, spoken and unspoken about this type of camping that everyone should know before they go.
There are a few rules spoken and unspoken among the community
of modern day homesteaders that I’d like to share.
* Don’t crowd each other. There are 245 million
It was my pleasure to head out into the Arizona desert in January to road test the Lance 650 truck camper. I have been fascinated with the idea of truck camping since I was a kid and my grandfather put a cap on his truck, two cots with a cooler between them in the bed and took off for Colorado. The whole idea of traveling around with your home on your back really appeals to a nester like me.
A little known secret about me is that I hate being uncomfortable in any way. It seems like a contradictory trait for one who loves to camp but, camping today is not what it was in the 1970’s. There is no need to be too cold or too hot or too anything when the RV industry is making so many products to get us out there and protect us from the elements at the same time. The truck camper seemed like a great way to see the country with minimum hassle and still have all the comforts of home available any time I needed them.
One of the things that made this adventure so enjoyable was the ability to pull in and out of parking spaces easily.
I picked up the Lance 650 at their factory in Lancaster, California and had two weeks to roam around in it. Shout out to Lance for sponsoring my adventure. Some Girl Camper friends were staying on BLM land around Lake Havasu so I planned on visiting with them before I headed down to Quartzsite, Arizona to see what all the fuss was about there. I had no plans to camp in campgrounds so I would not only be checking out truck camping but, off the grid camping as well.
A great sunrise my first morning in tbe 650!
The Lance 650 is the smallest truck camper that Lance manufactures and can be placed on the bed of of a 1/2 ton truck. Caveat Emptor – not just any 1/2 ton truck. You will need to make sure that your particular 1/2 ton truck has the suspension system, axel ratio and beefed up build to hold the 1700 pound 650. Air bags can help increase the trucks ability to carry the load. A good way to see what your truck can carry is to do a VIN number analysis. That analysis will give you lots of information like what your actual axel ratio is because, the same truck can have different axel ratios. Check out your vehicles actual ratings at this VIN number analysis site here.
The truck the 650 was set on was a Ford F-150 diesel with heavy duty leaf springs and bed air bags to cushion the RV.
My first impression upon stepping into the Lance 650 was how small it was. This was a plus for me because it was my goal to be nimble and get in and out of sites without worrying about hitting things and jumping curbs. I have a Ford F150 as my daily ride and the 650 I was borrowing from Lance was placed on the bed of an F150 diesel truck. The good part for me was that I was accustomed to the size of this truck. It didn’t feel large to me. My first outing in it was to the grocery store to load up the fridge. I was thrilled to not have to look for a special space. I pulled right in as I would in my own F150. The 650 has the same footprint as the truck. It is designed to not hang over any part of the truck. It has no slide either. It did come equipped with a rear camera which is essential for backing out of spaces!
My first stop was a BLM site called Craggy Wash outside of Lake Havasu.
My goal was boondocking on BLM land in Arizona. I met up with a few Girl Campers already settled in on a quiet strip of land outside of Lake Havasu. I was operating solely on the 650’s solar panels, AGM battery and the available propane in the 3 gallon horizontally installed on board tank. The unit has a 22 gallon fresh water tank and a tankless hot water system. The grey tank holds 15 gallons and the black tank 16 gallons.
I have just returned from a visit with the good folks at Lance Manufacturing Company in Lancaster, California. I went out there to road test the Lance 650 truck camper. More on that in the coming weeks but, hint, hint… great way to enjoy road life and not tow. My full review of the 650 is coming out in the next two weeks.
Lance started in California in 1965. They began as a manufacturer of truck campers producing the number one selling truck camper in the industry. For sixteen years running they have won the National RV Dealers Association’s Quality Circle Award.
I had a great time testing the Lance 650 but they have many great options for those who want the freedom to roam and the possibility to tow a boat or toys behind them too.
Lance spread to light weight towables after establishing a reputation for innovation and quality. This year they have unveiled the 2445 and 2075, two European inspired RV’s. We had the chance to show them off in a Live walk through on Go RVing’s Facebook page. You can check that out here. The 2445 has a great bunk bed system that is open and airy while also offering the flexibility to raise the lower bunk to store gear. It also offers a Master Bedroom with a walk around Queen bed, large windows and a ceiling window as well. The dining booth is in the slide out and offers the feature that I love in Lance units – the pull out drawer under the bench seats.
The 2445 is a great option for families as well as those with gear. The bunks fold up to store kayaks or bikes and it has a large three piece bathroom.
The 2075 has many great features but my favorite is the outdoor kitchen that would make any tailgater the envy of the trailerhood. It has a two burner stove, plumbed sink, refrigerated Dometic drawer and lots of prep space. It is all covered by an automatic awning to keep you shaded in the sunshine and dry in the rain.
This outdoor kitchen was a favorite feature of mine because it gives you the option of making meals a family activity.
I had the opportunity to tour the Lance factory in Lancaster, California and see the innovation they are well known for. In today’s interview Marketing Director, Bob Rogers and Marketing Manager, Jim Waters explain some of the unique practices that sets Lance apart from other manufacturers and justifies the higher price tag that Lance products command.
Lance is known for their custom cabinetry all built on site, large European windows, ducted heat and U Shaped table with telescoping 360 degree adjustability.
It was a pleasure to see the production from, what I call the “Geek Squad” office of engineers, hard at work on designs on their computers. From there a mock up happens just to see if it all fits as they had imagined. A full prototype is then built and everyone gets to weigh in on what is working and what needs to be tweaked. A second and third rendition happens and they actually get taken out on the road. When everyone is satisfied, the big production begins.
I know you will enjoy this interview with the Marketing team at Lance. I learned so much there about the company and their commitment to their customers. Drop us a comment and let us know what you like better – the 2445 or the 2075!
We’re on sabbatical this week and highlighting some of the top rated podcast episodes with a quick review. You can check out the full episode from this highly rated show right here!!
This weeks show is a quick refresher on reducing the possibility of RV theft.
While I am on sabbatical from the podcast I will be out in the Southwest checking out the happenings at Quartzsite while road testing the Lance 650 truck camper. Our friends at Lance are known for their high quality truck trailers and I have always been intrigued by the possibility of having all of the bells and whistles, without towing anything. I am so excited to experience this form of camping and add truck campers to our list of RV’s that I have personally tried.
The 650 is the smallest truck camper in the line up and can be placed on an F150
It’s hard to believe they fit all of this in this space with a bathroom!
We will be bringing everyone a LIVE look at what Lance has in the shop at their factory in Lancaster, California on the Go RVing Facebook page at 2 PM EST on Friday, the 10th of January. Be sure to mark your calendar to get a peek at Lance’s new 2075 travel trailer. It has already garnered praise within the industry and took home the enviable Best of Show in RV Pro. This unit is a tailgaters dream!
Oh, the windows in this unit!!
We will also be touring the Lance Ultralight 2445, the family trailer with a master suite, double sized bunk beds and a kepad operated app that allows you to control the HVAC, awning, lights and holding tanks from your phone!!
The Lance 2445 is a great family unit with tons of light and space.
This kitchen is nicer than many home kitchens I have seen. It is compact but open to the dining table for extra counter space.
I’m a huge fan of these bunks not just because they are big, but because they are so open.
Today we are celebrating our 200th podcast episode and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate that than to welcome Girl Boss, Joyce Shulman to the show. Joyce is an attorney, the founder of multiple businesses including Macaroni Kid and 99 Walks, a recent Ted Talk alumna and a constant advocate for women.
I came to know Joyce through our mutual friends at Go RVing. Joyce gave RVing a try and wrote about it on her Macaroni Kid site. She discovered what so many of us already know, that RVing is good for our souls! Nature is also good for our souls, our spirits, our moods, and our health. A walk in nature is an old fashioned recipe for a lot of what ails us and that’s what lead Joyce to found another company, 99 Walks.
Photo courtesy of 99 Walks
Walking can release all kinds of good hormones – dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins elevating our moods and helping us adapt a positive outlook. It’s a great way to stay healthier longer because a regular walking habit helps reduce the risks of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and several types of cancer. Lastly, it’s really good for the brain! Forget the New York Times crossword puzzle! One study showed that regular walking increases executive function, fuels creativity and improves memory.
I got so excited about 99 Walks that I joined, became a fan of the program and its benefits and reached out to Joyce to congratulate her. We had a great time talking about women – all the hats we wear, the energy we put into our families, homes, careers, volunteer projects and how we have never been busier. All that business comes at a cost and that cost is usually us. We tend to take care of everyone else first and put off our own self care. Joyce founded 99 Walks not just to facilitate good mental, emotional and physical health but to form communities with other women, something our mothers enjoyed but today’s women suffer from a lack of.
Learning to Walk in the Rain!
Girl Camper and 99 Walks are partnering to get women out there, walking, talking and sharing while getting in better shape, mentally, physically and emotionally! We’re making a commitment to being better! Click on the link to hear Joyce on the podcast and then join a Girl Camper 99 Walks team near you. There’s a drop down bar front and center on the Girl Camper home page. Walk at your own pace, set your own goals and celebrate your victory each month with a beautiful inspirational piece of jewelry. Everyone joining through Girl Camper will get a special, limited edition bracelet that says, “Going Places, Doing Things!” There’s a coupon code for a discount too!!
Photo courtesy of 99 Walks
Each year I get lots of products sent to me to test and I also buy lots of things that I see and want to test out. This is a list of some of my favorite products from last year.
First let’s start with a few simple things from Camco that make great stocking stuffers.
A great stocking stuffer! Camco’s hitch ball cover will keep your hitch from rusting and maybe, just maybe, mitigate the pain just a bit if you walk into it!!
Camco makes the cutest night lights and this little vintage style camper one is available in orange and aqua.
The bamboo cutting board is bamboo and reversible. One side is for cutting and the other side for serving!
Scotch Plaid Flannel Shirt by LL Bean. They call it a shirt but I used it all fall as a jacket. It’s got a zipper front, hoodie, side pockets and is soooo soft. I’ve washed mine a few times and the color is still bright. The shirt retails for $59.00 but I got mine on sale for $29.
The Land’s End Plaid Bag is what I chose to give the Girl Camper Guides for Christmas. I love that the plaid is all in the Girl Camper colors. The bag is such a heavy canvas that it will hold 500 pounds before the straps break. It has a extension with a zipper on it that opens up and extends the height of the bag. Inside the bag are two side pockets, one full length and one with compartments that make it easy to find things. The best part is that we were able to get them all monogrammed with the phrase – Girl Camper! $56
The Way Light Light by Sylvan Sport is a combination hiking stick with a light on the top that can be directed to the ground in front of you or to illuminate the surrounding area. It is rechargeable and has a USB port that you can use to charge things while hiking. It is adjustable for any height hiker and can be staked in the ground. It also has some basket slots on the bottom for bamboo stakes to roast marshmallows. $59
Wander Art is a company that creates art posters for bucket list destinations and achievements. It was created by the husband and wife team of, Nathan Downey and Kait Erickson as a stylish way of recording their “adventure related accomplishments.” The beautiful posters list the 61 National Parks, fifty states and the wonders of the world among other things. With each poster comes a diamond stamp and ink pad to mark off your latest successes. Not only are they inspirational, they are art. Kait and Nathan donated their National Parks piece to our Charity Raffle Trailer and it looks spectacular in their. I liked them so much I asked if we could carry them at Girl Camper. You can get 15% off by buying them through our Affiliates page. Starting at $59
The National Parks poster was donated by Wander Art to our Charity Raffle Trailer, the R Pod 196. The winner of the R Pod will get the pleasure of stamping all the parks they’ve visited.
The whole RV world (okay, not everyone!) heads to Arizona each winter and it always looks like so much fun. I have always wanted to go and this year I am making that happen. I couldn’t go it alone though. I needed my friend Kelly Beasley from Camp Addict to help me. Kelly and her business partner, Marshall Wendler, co-founded Camp Addict, which is a great resource for gear reviews, RV use tips and travel know how.
Kelly is on today’s show to talk about where to camp, what BLM land is and how to find it, what’s going on under the Big Tent and what you can do beside look at RV’s and their accessories. Kelly has created a fantastic guide with all you need to know to “arrive and thrive” in Quartzsite this year.
Marshall Wendler and Kelly Beasley are business partners with a mutual love for RVing. They are co-founders of the Camp Addict and seasoned Quartzsite visitors.
A few of Kelly’s tips
* Make sure you have enough of any medication you take on hand * Try boondocking in your driveway before you get to Quartzsite * Bring along solar lights for the outside of your RV * The Quartzsite Post Office has limited hours but does General Delivery* Once you find a parking space, pin your location on Google Maps
I had so much fun preparing our R Pod 196 Charity Raffle trailer for touring. We took it from factory to fabulous in just one short week. I felt a little like the Shoe makers kid passing the finished trailer to Ginny McKinney for road tripping. It was beautiful while my Max trailer sat in the driveway with all kinds of unfinished projects.
The whole summer went by and I never did get around to doing much more than covering the cornices and finally installing a few kitchen items that I had purchased for the camper. Now the season is over and this week I will winterize my camper for its long nap. I may not be camping in it for the next few months but I plan to work on it and finish up a few projects I have had on my to do list. I have three practical tasks that need doing and three cosmetic jobs I want to complete.
The first practical job I want to do is to install rolling baskets in my pantry . My pantry cabinet has five shelves and is very deep. I can’t get at what is in the back. I also look forward to the baskets keeping things in place. As it is right now, the canned good slide around and often cause the doors to open no matter how many different locks I have tried.
This will help me reach things in my very deep pantry .
The second practical thing I want to do is put hinges on the bench seats in my booth so I can get at the contents easier. One of the benches has a door but it is hard to get into and you can only see what is right upfront. I’d like to be able to easily open the lid and see everything inside.
This school bus renovation from Pinterest shows the booth framed out with holes in the top to make it easy to open and hinges to flip it open and hold it in place.
The last on my list of practical jobs is to replace the locks on my RV door and storage cubbies. Most RV storage compartment locks have a universal key called the CH751 that will open about 70% of RV storage units. It’s time to replace those. I also want to replace the main door lock with a keyless entry pad so I don’t have to worry about someone using a Master key on it or just forgetting the spare. There are several companies that make these and they range in price from $100 – $250, less than the deductible on an insurance claim.
Keyless locks run on AA batteries but have a key that will override that if the battery runs out before you have replaced it. Photo: Courtesy of Campendium
After I finish my practical to do list, I want to get a few aesthetic things accomplished before I hit the road next spring. It is often the finishing touches that don’t get done and those are usually the things that take a room, an RV, or a garden space from “ok” to polished.
Recovering the cushions in my Mini Max made it so much homier. I added a thick layer of upholstery batting to give it a custom furniture feel.
On the top of my list of cosmetic things to do is to recover the cushions in my Max. RV manufacturers choose fabrics that are “practical” and “durable.” Mine are a neutral grey with a white inset that reminds me of an upholstered auto seat from the 1950’s. I want a warm fabric with a complimentary pattern on the reverse so I can get a different look when I want it. I am going to make these box cushions, the most detailed and labor intensive version of slipcovers, myself. It’s a big project but worth it because the going rate in NJ for labor alone is about $125 per cushion. I have four cushions to cover so would be spending $500 on labor before I even buy the fabric.
You can do a shortcut to cushion recovering by s...
Each year I dread the task of closing up the RV. I never want the season to end and I hate that I can’t driveway camp in it when it’s all closed up. All my comfort items are removed and I have to just live without it all until spring.
Because we have so many followers who are brand new to RVing and own their very first RV’s I thought I would walk you through my process of tucking in my RV for a long winters nap.
Listen to this week’s podcast!
Winterize it – When I say this I am referring to removing all of the liquid from the tanks and putting antifreeze in its place. If you don’t know how to do this, there are lots of YouTube videos on the subject. You can also pay a mobile RV company or take it in to a dealer and have it done.
Thoroughly clean it – Wash the inside like your mother in law is going to use it. I remove all the clothing, bedding, linens, and food from the RV. I leave in the pots, pans, kitchen utensils and dishes. I bag the silverware and utensils, clean the drawers and leave them open.
Refrigerator maintenance for winter storage involves a thorough cleaning. I vacuum the vents of the fridge, place an odor eater (baking soda or charcoal briquets) on the shelf and leave the door open all winter.
I use this along with the Camco long handled flow through brush.
Clean the exterior by scrubbing off all dead bugs, baked on bird poop, road dirt and dark streaks. I do this with Camco Wash and Wax RV Cleaner and a long handled flow through brush with hose attachment. I also check all of the window seams and seals on the storage compartments at this time.
Awning clean up and maintenance is next. I made the mistake once of closing up my awning for winter when it was wet and had leaves on it. I release the awing and clean it making sure it is bone dry before rolling it back up for the winter.
Trickle chargers can help maintain the life of your removed battery.
I then remove the battery from the front holder and place it indoors on a trickle charger for the winter. Keep it in a cool, dry place and periodically check it to make sure it is staying charged. A trickle charger is an inexpensive investment that can save your having to buy a new battery in the Spring.
I have used Grandpa Gus’s All Natural Pest Control in my house and this year I will use it in my RV
Pest control management is one of those things that can save you big money. Mice can do a lot of damage in an RV from chewed wires to nesting in your oven. Plus, they’re just gross. Many RVers recommend Fresh Cab and I am using Grandpa Gus’s in my Max. I used it in my garage and shed last year with great success. Even though I have never had a mouse in my RV, I am not taking any chances. Maybe they are not there because I am not letting them!!
I am thrilled to share that Girl Camper has just launched a bucket load of exciting new features to our site! We have just released a special edition podcast episode with all the details.
Every new feature is thrilling to us and a dream come true but, our most exciting news is the creation of our Girl Camper Chapters. We love that so many of our Girl Camper enthusiasts are willing to create their own pages within the Girl Camper website and bring us stories from the road. They will also be sharing what’s happening in their own backyards so you can know where to camp, dine and adventure when you hit the road. Find a chapter near you.
Kate Dunbar, is our new Food Editor and we couldn’t be happier!!
The new site will feature weekly recipes, cooking tips and food ideas from Kate Dunbar, founder of The Campground Gourmet. Kate is our new Food Editor and brings so much to the table – literally!!
Dawn & Mark Polk
We have also added Industry Experts like Mark and Dawn Polk. You cannot stump Mark Polk! I double dog dare ya’ to try. Mark is the leading expert in RV Safety and Maintenance in the country! Ask him a question from our site!
Mary Ellen Arndorfer is the founder of Camper Groove and a huge advocate of a life spent outdoors.
Check out our Wisdom Writers. Our editors have a lot to say and we are pleased to give them a space to share their insights and life lessons. Check out Mary Ellen Arndorfer’s post on Giving Yourself Permission to fly!
Our Girl Camper community is glowing and growing! We’re privileged to share it with you! Send us your comments! We love hearing from you!!
Have you thought about what you would do if the life you planned with your spouse didn’t materialize? Lorri Weisen, our Girl Camper Health and Wellness Expert, is my guest today. Lorri lost her husband of 23 years and with him all the plans they had made for their future.
RVing was not something that was on the table for her and her beloved husband, affectionally known as Klink. When Lorri got a taste of it though a dream took root and was nurtured by the many similar women she found on line. She started learning all she could about what a life on the road would be like. Over time at all she went from thinking about taking long road trips, to actually selling her house and becoming a full timer.
Lorri did a lot of research before making the decision to buy a Max by Extreme Outdoors.
Although Lorri has a military pension from her husbands service in Viet Nam, she has been an entrepreneur her whole life and wanted to continue challenging herself. While her husband battled cancer for nearly seven years, Lorri learned a lot about health and nutrition. She became a Certified Holistic Health Coach and founded The Nomadic Health Coach, an online resource for those who want to live healthier lives. I was so inspired by her blog that I asked her to come on board at Girl Camper and coach our members to better health. She will be writing a monthly column for us on a wide range of subjects that matter to women trying to live a more holistic lifestyle.
Lorri has been on the road since last Spring and is spending the fall in the Pacific Northwest. She is learning as she goes and creating a full life for herself. She will be joining me in Arizona in January and in Texas for my annual April trip. It’s not the life she dreamed of but, she’s living her best life, chasing her dreams and inspiring others to do the same.
Lorri’s blog, The Nomadic Health Coach.
Follow Lorri on Facebook here.
Lorri on Twitter.
When I hit the road, whether I am towing my trailer or road tripping in my truck and staying in hotels, there are certain things that I must take with me. Some are for safety purposes, some in the event of an emergency and some for comfort. Here’s my “Must Have Road Trip Essentials” list.
* Tire pressure tester and tire inflator. Always check tires when they are cold.
* Car Emergency Kit
* Car Tool Kit
When buying a tire pressure tester and inflator, make sure that you buy one that runs on a battery. When you need to inflate the tires, you many be someplace where eclectic is not available.
Make sure your car emergency kit has:
* Reflective Warning Triangle ,
* Reflective Safety Vest,
* Tow rope,
* Gloves with Gripping Palm ( 1 pair) ,
* Safety Hammer and Seatbelt Cutter, (good for breaking windows if necessary)
* Hand Driven LED Flash Light ,
* Adhesive Tape,
* Jumper Cables,
Make sure that you buy a car tool kit and not a home repair tool kit. A home repair tool kit has items to help you hang pictures on the wall and change an outlet cover but won’t have adjustable wrenches and socket sets that you will likely need in the event that you have to make a repair or adjustment under the hood.
* WD40 – loosen things, keep things from squeaking,
* Electrical tape – to cover LED lights and to actually use on electrical fixes
* Duct tape – to keep anything together!!
* Wire cutting splicing tool – in case you need to fix your 7 way plug
The Girl Campers are taking to the water! We have booked the Arizona Rafting Adventures company to host the Girl Campers for a bucket list Grand Canyon river rafting trip that will take us the full length of the canyon. Out trip will take place the week of July 30-August 6, 2021. That is over 18 months away but Arizona Rafting Adventures books out that far in advance. We applied for a spot in their private group tours over 6 months ago and just received our dates.
We made the decision to go with the motorized rafting trip for a number of reasons, the first being the ability to do the entire canyon with the motorized raft. With the motor doing the work that humans normally do moving the craft downstream, much more ground can be covered. Another reason is that the motor option allows for less muscle power needed on the part of the river guests. This can lead to less time spent on sore muscles and more time to enjoy the sites.
On today’s podcast my guest is Mary Ellen Arndorfer, Girl Camper and former river guide for Arizona Rafting Adventures. Mary Ellen is going to be a co-pilot with us on this trip and on this episode walks us through what a day on the river is like. It’s so much more just looking at canyon walls. The Girl Camper Rafting Trip Adventure will include:
* coffee at daybreak and a hearty breakfast prepared by the guides
* teamwork to load the raft and set off for the day
* side trips down tributaries of the river to swim and hike
* lunch breaks along the way on quiet areas of the river
* history lessons by the guides on the rivers history and geology
* making camp on the beach for the evening with dinner prepared by the guides
* evenings under the stars deep in the canyon with time to hit the reset button
We will be provided with a sleep kit which includes a thick sleeping mat, sheets and pillow and tents for those who want one. Some people just sleep under the stars. We will also receive a bag that we will transfer our clothing into for easy packing on the raft. All of the supplies for the 8 days including food and gear used by the guides goes on the boat. Everything that goes down the river, comes back.
* The cost of the trip is $3,065.00 and a 5% discount is given once the trip hits ten guests.
* Our boat can hold 14-15 guest and we will have 2 or 3 guides for a total of 16-18 people in the raft.
* The fee does not include airfare to and from our starting point in Flagstaff, Arizona or the one night we will stay in a hotel before we set off.
* Reservations can be made starting on November 18 and can be made by calling 1-800-786-7238.
* A $400 deposit is required and is non refundable but is transferrable if you had to cancel.
* The balance of the fee is due six months before the departure date.
* It is highly recommended that trip insurance be purchased. The cost is about $170.
To listen to the podcast with all the details from Mary Ellen click here!
Have you ever been told not to park your RV on the grass when storing it for winter? Have you wondered what calamity would befall it if you disregarded this advice? Have you wondered if that advice was the Gospel truth or an old wives tale? Well, on today’s podcast I am answering Frequently Asked Questions sent in by the Girl Campers.
Which comes first, choosing your camper or tow vehicle? Sent in by Vicki Tripplet.
This is such a great question. You will need to ask yourself a few questions to get the answer which, of course, is going to be different for everyone.
Let’s start by approaching this as if we are speaking to recreating campers. Those weekend warriors and two week summer vacation RVers. In other words, not full timers or retired people.
Most of us drive our car every day so it is important that we really like what we are driving. There are some people who have a vehicle that they use just for towing but most do not. Their tow vehicle is their everyday ride.
The question I would be asking myself is:
Do I have an RV in mind that I really love and am unwilling to change? If so, you may have to change tow vehicles to accomodate that . Walter Cannon gave a great explanation of matching tow vehicles to RV’s. The link for that very important topic is here.
Conversely if you own a car or have brand loyalty to a vehicle that you don’t want to stop using, you may have to compromise on the RV you choose in order to keep that tow vehicle. The good news is that there have never been more options for the lightweight towable world.
Full timers need to be asking different questions.
* Where do I plan to travel?
* Will I be boondocking on BLM land and need an off road model or larger tanks and solar options?
* Will I be in one place for a long time, like those who park in Maine all summer and Florida all winter but don’t really travel in their RV’s.
* Will I be outdoors a lot and just want a comfy bed?
* Will I be working remotely and requiring an office area, wifi capability and a floor plan that won’t make me stir crazy if I am in the RV for long periods?
A good place to start is to listen to all of the Girl Camper Podcasts from last year where we covered the pros and cons of all the different RV types.
* Re-imagining the Toy Hauler
* Pros and Cons of the Class C Motorhome
* The Pop Up Camper Explored
* The Pros and Cons of Teardrop Trailers
* The Pros and Cons of Class A Motorhomes
In the final analysis, it is such a personal decision and I recommend not signing on the bottom line, especially for full timers, without first renting the unit you are considering through RV Share or Outdoorsy. That’s a great way to get a realistic feel for the unit before you buy!
What do people on the road do for full time health insurance? Sent in by Chiarrai O’Mathghamhana
This is a tricky topic because most networks operate in a geographic zone so you’re signing up for doctors In Network in a prescribed area and some insurers require policy holders to live “in state.” You have to carefully search this out though and do your homework.
Recently the Road Life Project,
I am just back from the big Open House in Elkhart, Indiana where the RV manufacturers were displaying their new products and updated older ones. There are some new RV’s out there for the lightweight set and some older ones that deserve a second look. My criteria for this list was that they unit weigh less than 3K pounds and that the user be able to stand up in it. I am often asked, “What can I tow with my (insert midsize SUV or Crossover with a tow package around 5K pounds here)? The Chevy Traverse, Ford Flex and Toyota Highlander are a few that come to mind. Here are a few travel trailers that make the cut for those tow vehicles.
The Evasion by Prolite. This is the classic floorplan used in canned hams throughout the 50’s and 60’s. I have often wondered why they stopped using this floor plan. It’s perfect for a small family. This 1,900pound trailer can sleep five people, two in the rear convertible sofa, two on the front dinette once it is put down and one small child (weight limit 125 pounds) in the upper storage cabinet that can covert to a bunk. They even managed to get a bathroom in it. The unit is perfect for a Girl Camper who doesn’t want a vintage trailer, and the accompanying headaches, and for a family with small children. Prolite is a Canadian company moving into the US market. I think they will be successful because there is a growing need for the lightweight models that offer a lot. What this trailer lacks in interior material choices, it makes up for with the practical layout. I’d love to see what a Girl Camper could do styling this trailer!! US pricing around $20K.
* Old school flexible floor plan
* Sleeps five
* Dry weight of only 1900#’s
* Many nice standard features
* Lots of windows and light
* AC is an option and not standard
* Small tanks (grey, black and fresh are each just 15 gallons)
* Bland interior
Great Ascape by Aliner. This unit is made by Aliner, the folks that brought us the cute A frame pop up. The Great Ascape Plus weighs in at just 1850#’s. It has a rear entry and a big U-shaped dinette that can be made up as a two twin beds, one large bed or a single twin with the use of the table on the side of it. That’s a lot of options for such a small trailer. It’s got a wet bath, kitchen with two burner stove, three way refrigerator, a standard rear awning, and nice windows. The interior finishes are also nice and it would not take much to make this a rolling She Shed. An added bonus in my mind is that the rear entry would allow you to store a bicycle in it and not have to do a bike rack. It’s a mini toy hauler!
* has everything the larger models have
* ability to arrange sleeping quarters to fit taste
* has a wet bath
* could store a bicycle in it while traveling.
* light enough for midsize SUV
* small inside
* limited interior storage
In Tech RV’s Sol Dawn is a new addition to the lightweight towable world. Last year In Tech RV made a big splash with their Luna model. These folks know how to design and choose finishes. The Dawn looks like a sleek European rail car. The windows are huge and like the Ascape, the front bed has options for how you want to use the space. You can create two twin beds or one large bed across the front while maintaining the option of keeping the table in place. I normally don’t like a floor plan where the booth becomes the bed and the table needs to be removed or lowered at night in order to ma...
We just kicked off the second annual Girl Camper Charity RV Raffle benefiting HoldYou Foundation.
Forest River has partnered with Girl Camper by offering us their 2020 r pod 196 for our raffle. We’ve take it from factory to fabulous and our West Virginia Girl Camper Contributing Editor, Ginny McKinney is taking it on the road and giving us a full report on all its attributes. Full details on the raffle can be found here.
We kicked off the raffle by taking our r pod and transforming it Girl Camper Style! Many people tell me that they are afraid to personalize their trailer because they fear devaluing it in case they decide to resell it. We decided that everything we would do to our r pod would be strictly cosmetic and be reversible in the event that whoever wins our trailer could change the design easily.
We started with Spoonflower, makers of over 750K fabrics, wallpapers and home linens. Spoonflower really intrigued us because their designs are consumer contributed. You can upload your own creations and Spoonflower will make them into fabric, wallpaper or even a table cloth for you! They make a wallpaper that is removable and works very much like contact paper. You peel it and stick it on the wall, smoothing it with a plastic tool that comes with it. Because the wallpaper is actually made from fabric it doesn’t tear easily like actual paper wallpaper does. I chose three different designers patterns for our RV and it took me just two afternoons to put up all of the paper. It was very easy to put up and and is repositionable if you did not make the match perfectly. I put on and removed a corner piece about 10 times before I was happy with it.
Other small changes that made big impacts included changing out the factory installed hooks that came on the bar just inside the door. The new larger hooks hold everything from aprons, to shopping bags to dog leashes and kitchen brooms. We also installed artwork that inspires as well as adds style. WanderWide Art produces several prints we love but our absolute favorite is their National Parks Register print. All sixty one parks in our National Parks system are listed and the print comes with an ink pad and stamp that allows you to check off the parks as you go along. We thought it made a great addition to our RV.
We created a window treatment in the bed area that would allow for light, privacy when needed and airflow. A straight panel on clear 3M removable hooks allows us to raise the panel all the way up for maximum light and air or drop teh top panel down to a second set of hooks allowing privacy while sleeoing but still havingair flow available. We can drop the bottom rod and have complete privacy.
The jack knife sofa makes a great guest bedroom and in this area we did old fashioned curtains with rod pockets to push open or closed as needed. Although our r pod only weighs a little under 3,600 pounds, it comfortably sleeps 3 people.
There are so many ways to make an RV feel like home without structurally changing it.
* paint, wallpaper, stencil walls
* use Washi tape and create your own wall designs
* change out the cabinet hardware to something you love
* add personality with wall art
* buy good hooks that are large and non commercial in style
* get rugs that you love
* create window treatments that work best for you
* reupholster the furniture in a fabric that you love
Are you part of the crowd that goes to RV Shows and comes away thinking that the designers of these units are enamored with brown and grey? Do you wonder if Elkhart, Indiana is actually the set of a 1950’s TV show and it’s all in black and white? Well, I’m here to tell you that the times they are a changing, even if it is slowly.
I have just returned from the annual Manufacturers Open House in Elkhart, Indiana. This is the big kick off to the RV Show season and where all of the manufacturers show off what they have been working on all year. The new models are displayed for RV dealerships, media and industry insiders. The show is closed to the public but plenty of Press is there to report on what’s new.
I am happy to report some design changes happening in the industry. There are literally thousands of units on display and I had to stay disciplined to cover what I think all of you are most interested in – the lightweight towable world.
For so many years it seemed that all the bells and whistles that the RV industry had to offer were limited to the big Class A and Fifth Wheels out there. They were rolling residences with all the amenities of home while the lightweight world of travel trailers seemed to have the necessities with one or two luxury items thrown in for good measure. At this years Open House there was a trend toward more upscale features in small trailers, partly because there have never been more manufacturers making only small trailers.
In Tech, Riverside Retro, Camp 365, Pro-Lite, A Liner and Extreme Outdoors are all vying for a larger slice of the light weight towable market and they have to compete for it. In additon to these small independent companies the big guys at Forest River an Thor are producing small units with everything the big guys offer. Within the small manufacturers, In Tech and Extreme Outdoors are leading in design and innovation, but the others are catching up. Better awnings, convection ovens, trending design choices and thoughtful layouts are showing up in small trailers.
Some of the longtime standard features on large RV’s that are making their way into smaller units are:
Outdoor Kitchen and Appliance Storage
The Outdoor Kitchen is something we are now seeing on even small trailers. In Tech had a great one on their Sol trailer. This solves the storage problem I struggle with when bringing my Camco Olympian grill and Dometic refrigerator with me. I love how these are secured and easily accessible.
Even small units like this Riverside Retro 135 comes with an electric awning, an option normally reserved for larger RV’s.
Farmhouse Chic has made its way into RV design and one of the components of this style is shiplap paneling. The Riverside Retro 199FK has had the interior redesigned to include shiplap on the dining booth walls and behind the bed. Although I dislike the cushion fabric and window treatments, those are easy cosmetic changes.
Many smaller units now have more residential furniture in them now. The details and comfort in the RPod 196 jackknife sofa made reupholstering it worth the expense. If you are planning to keep a unit for a long time and spend a lot of time in it, going to the expense to make well constructed furniture feel even more homey is worth it!
Lighter wood on the cabinets
The dark, dark woods we are accustomed to seeing are giving way to lighter shades. Grey tones predominate following the national housing and home decor trend. There are lots of accent pieces available in home decor stores to compliment this color scheme.
Sleek European Styling
NuCamp’s Avia and Barefoot, In Tech’s Sol and Winnebago’s Boldt are just a few of the many RVs under the influence of the European market. The Avia and Barefoot are European imports but Winnebago and In Tech are homegrown bra...
On this weeks show Kate Dunbar walks us through her 4 ingredient Dutch Oven bread. You will feel like a Parisian baker when you pull this from the pot. I’ve been making it twice a week now since she shared it with me. There’s no need to knead this bread and it can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for a few days. I love that because you can bring it to the campground ready to go.
I did mine in a parchment paper lined enamel Dutch Oven at home but it can be done on a campfire as well in a cast iron pan.
Girl Camper No Knead Overnight Bread
Makes 1 loaf
* 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
* 1/4 t. instant or active-dry yeast
* 1 1/4 t. Sea salt
* 1 1/3 c. room temperature water (may need more due to climate)
In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and stir until all the ingredients are mixed well together, the dough should be wet and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, let the dough rest 12-18 hours on the counter at room temperature. After the proof time, the dough will have lots of bubbles and have a good sweet yeast smell.
Lightly flour your hands and a work surface. Turn out dough on work surface ** and sprinkle with more flour. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice and using floured fingers, tuck the dough underneath to form a rough ball.
On a piece of parchment paper lightly dust it with flour and place the dough, seam side down on it. Sprinkle the top of the dough ball with flour and place a piece of parchment loosely over the dough. Let rise for about 2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
After about 1 hour, place a 6-8-quart cast iron Dutch oven in your cold oven. Set the oven to 450 degrees to preheat. After the dough has risen, remove the top piece of parchment paper, take a knife and slash the top of the dough ball about ½ inch deep from the 12’ocolck position to the 6 O’clock position. Carefully remove the hot Dutch oven from the hot oven and carefully remove the lid, gather the parchment paper the dough is sitting on and carefully place that inside the hot pot. Cover with the lid and return the Dutch oven to the oven.
Cook, covered for 30 minutes, carefully remove the lid and continue baking for 15 more minutes, until the crust is a deep brown color.
Remove the bread from the pot and let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
**Rosemary and Kalamata Olive Bread
Remove the bread dough from the bowl, softly deflate the dough. While the oven is pre-heating, add the fresh rosemary leaves to the bread, as well as the kalamata olives if using. Softly knead so the rosemary and olives are distributed. Gently reshape the bread and follow directions.
**Everything But the Bagel Bread
Remove the bread dough from the bowl, softly deflate the dough. While the oven is pre-heating, sprinkle 1 teaspoon everything but the bagel seasoning to the bread side facing you. Turn bread dough over and sprinkle 1 tsp of everything but the bagel seasoning, softly knead so all the seasonings are distributed. Gently reshape the bread and follow directions. You can buy this seasoning already mixed at any grocery store, my favorite is Trader Joes version.
On this week’s show, friend of the podcast, Kate Dunbar is sharing her campground Apple and Pear Crisp recipe. What a great way to take advantage of summers bounty. Kate is a food blogger who founded The Campground Gourmet, a former restaurant owner and author of The Campground Gourmet; Simple. Delicious Meals for Dining in the Outdoors. She literally wrote the book on simple, delicious campground meals that are just as good at home!
Apple and Pear Crisp
* 3/4 cup old fashion rolled oats
* 1/2 cup flour
* 3/4 cup brown sugar
* ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
* 6 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
* 1- 16oz can of pears in pear juice, chopped
* 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
* ½ lemon juiced
* 3 tablespoons cornstarch
* Zest of 1 orange
* 1 teaspoon ginger powder or 2 tablespoons candied ginger, chopped fine
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* ½ teaspoon sea salt
Combine brown sugar, oats, flour and cinnamon in bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
In a bowl add chopped apples, pears, sugar and lemon juice, mix well. In a smaller bowl add cornstarch, orange zest, ginger powder, cinnamon and salt, mix well and sprinkle over fruit. Toss to coat.
In a 4 qt camp dutch oven place a parchment or aluminum foil liner in it.
Add fruit mixture to camp dutch oven, Sprinkle topping evenly over fruit, place lid on camp dutch oven. Arrange coals for baking with 12 coals under oven and 18 on lid. Cook crumble for 15 minutes then rotate the dutch oven 180 degrees, turn the lid and additional 45 degrees. After an additional 15 minutes of cooking remove the lid and check to see if the topping is browned and the filling is bubbling. If it is not, replace some of the coals on top of the lid and around the camp dutch oven, rotate camp dutch oven 180 degrees. Check again in 15 minutes for doneness. Remove camp dutch oven from fire, uncover, and let crumble cool at least 15 minutes. Serve with whipped cream.
Kate Dunbar is in the house today and she is sharing her Girl Camper Chicken Fajita recipe. Food seems to taste better at the campground and Kate, founder of The Campground Gourmet, is the author of The Campground Gourmet; Simple, Delicious Recipes for Dining Outdoors. She is a recipe developer, food photographer, former restaurant owner and a happy resident of the Lone Star state.
Girl Camper Fajita Chicken and Rice
* 2 teaspoons Chili Powder
* 1 teaspoon Paprika
* 1 1/2 teaspoons Cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon Oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon Salt
Mix ingredients in a jar, place lid on and shake to combine. Can be kept for 6 months.
* 1-pound chicken thighs boneless and skinless
* 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
* 1 yellow onion, chopped fine
* 1 green bell pepper, chopped fine
* 1 red bell pepper, chopped fine
* 2 cloves garlic
* 2 cups long grain rice, rinsed
* 4 cups water, chicken broth or vegetable broth
* 2 tablespoons fajita seasoning
Cut 1 pound of chicken thighs into smaller pieces, place in a zip top bag.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bag with the chicken and distribute well.
Add 1 tablespoon of the fajita seasoning to the bag with the chicken and olive, seal bag and massage the seasoning into the chicken. Place in the fridge for 4 hours up to overnight.
Heat a medium-sized dutch oven over medium high heat, add in seasoned chicken and brown all sides. Once browned remove to a clean plate and set aside. Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil into the hot pan along with chopped onions and bell peppers, sauté until softened, 10-15 minutes. Add in chopped garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add in remaining seasoning and stir well. Add in rinsed rice and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add back in your browned chicken, stir well and add 4 cups of water or stock.
Cover the pot and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Give it a gentle stir and simmer for another 10 minutes. There should be no water left when it is done.
Left over uses
Heat cooked chicken and rice you may want to add ½ cup water or broth until warm. Heat tortillas in a pan or on a griddle. Place the chicken and rice in a warm tortilla, add shredded cheese and your favorite salsa. Roll up tight and enjoy.
Order The Campground Gourmet here!
Fun with Ford! I recently had the opportunity to test drive the Ford Expedition for a week. I have been considering switching from my F150 truck to an SUV so I put the question out there to Girl Campers – do you prefer an SUV to a truck and, if so, why? There were those who would only drive a truck and others that only want an SUV. Here are some of the pros and cons from our Girl Camper Poll.
* The bed of the truck is a great place to dump dirty stuff you don’t want in your SUV.
* If you have a Crew Cab you will have extra interior storage space and added seating as well.
* You can keep often used items in the bed of the truck all the time making packing for a camping trip a lot easier.
* You can’t hear things in the bed of the truck that may be rubbing and squeaking.
* You can use the bed of your truck for other things beside camping gear – furniture, firewood and landscape materials can be loaded up without marring the interior.
* A truck is cheaper than an SUV with the same engine and chassis.
* The F150 weighs less than the Expedition so it will get better mileage.
* You can carry a generator without worrying about fumes.
* You can put a cap on the back and use it to camp in.
* You have easier access to the things in the rear of the vehicle. You don’t have to get out and uncover the bed to access your gear.
* It is easier to carry bicycles and kayaks than it is with a truck. Kayaks don’t fit in the rear of the truck bed while you are towing but bikes will fit in the rear of an SUV and kayaks will load easier on the top.
* You have more seats with the SUV. The crew cab will hold 5-6 people with no leg room or space for purses, backpacks or purchases. The SUV will hold 7-8 people with plenty of room behind the third row seats for gear.
* You can camp in an SUV really comfortably if you don’t want to tow. With the seats folded down you can fit a full size mattress in the rear or make up just one side as a twin and use the other space for gear.
* The rear of the SUV has more cubic feet of storage space than a truck. There is up to 120 cubic feet of cargo space in the Expedition Max.
* Your gear is more secure in the rear of an SUV than in the bed of a truck.
* The tailgate clears the tongue jack on a trailer (at least my Max trailer) when you open it with the trailer attached. The tailgate on the truck will not fully open when the trailer is attached.
Listen to the podcast
Ford Expedition Review
This past week I had the opportunity to road test the Expedition. I was personally interested in this particular model because, as I said earlier, I have been considering switching from a truck to an SUV and the Expedition has the same engine as the F150 that I drive. They both have the 3.5 L V6 Eco Boost with the ten speed transmission. I knew that I would be happy with the engine performance but didn’t know if I would prefer the enclosed luxury model SUV to the Crew Cab Lariat short bed that I currently own. In 2018 the Expedition got a complete overhaul. The redesign included the 10 speed transmission, more horsepower, and better gas mileage.
In addition to mechanics, the interior was completely re-imagined as well.
* Newly designed console with a large touch screen
* Voice activated navigation system
* Wireless phone charging pad,
* Connectivity package
* Adjustable pedal with memory
* Three zone auto climate control
* Three rows of seating with optional Captains Chairs in second row
* Heated and ventilated front and second row seats
* USB ports in each row for every passenger
* Heated wrapped steering wheel with cruise and audio controls
In addition to the beautiful interior,
My guest today is Marlene Caraballo. She’s a wife of 30 years, mom to three almost grown sons, an avid blogger at Cheers 2 Chapter 2 and a long time RVer who is now looking Chapter Two straight in the eye and, guess what, it’s looking good for this almost empty nester. I invited Marlene on the show today to talk about her annual RV vacation to Myrtle Beach and how what started out as a cheap way to travel, has turned into something that is keeping her family ties tight.
Marlene was not born into RVing as so many of us were. She came to it through a friend who kept telling her about how affordable RV vacations could be. “You get to choose the cost of your site, whether to buy or make meals, how far away to travel.” To Marlene it seemed like a great way to take her three sons to Disney without having to stay on site at an expensive hotel. They could cook their meals and do the trip on a budget. She and her husband rented a Class C motor home and by the time they took their third RV trip, they did it in an RV they purchased and that they still own today.
Somewhere along the way Marlene discovered a campground called Pirateland Family Campground. For over ten years now the Caraballo’s have made an annual pilgrimage there. Their now grown sons love it so much that they are willing to fly in from out of state, use some of the precious few vacation days allotted to freshmen in the workforce and, sleep in their old RV bunk beds under the Power Ranger blankets still stored there!
What magic spell did Pirateland cast on them? Pirateland, while big in size with over 1,000 sites, still manages to create a family feel. Paved streets allow kids to ride bikes through the RV neighborhoods, play in the pool or ride the lazy river, test their arcade skills or use one of the paddle boats on the man made water ways. This campground has it all and its all included in the price of the site. An added bonus is that it sits right on the ocean in beautiful Myrtle Beach. Location. Location. Location.
When a family finds a sweet spot, a campground that they really love and use it annually for their family vacations, they have allowed the campground industry to foot the bill for their summer home. Whenever I open a magazine and see some gorgeous spread featuring someone’s multi generational summer home on a pristine lake, I think that anyone can have that if they own or even rent an RV. You can have a great gathering spot, fire pit, lake views or mountain top sunsets and all it takes is an annual reservation. Many families have enjoyed all of the aspects of a great family home without the insurance, maintenance, utilities or mortgage payments that go along. They have done it by revisiting their favorite place year after year, getting the same site, the same week and with the same friends.
I was so excited to have Marlene on the podcast today because I want young moms to know that what started out as an inexpensive way for her family to vacation, turned into a family tradition that just keeps going. I can see Marlene pushing grand babies in strollers on those roads her sons once independently rode their bicycles on. I can see the future generations enjoying shovels and buckets on the beach again. I can see the Power Ranger blankets warming the next generation of Caraballo’s. I want everyone to know that they have that option even if they don’t own an RV because campgrounds offer so many rental options these days. Everyone is welcome around the campfire.
Check out Marlene’s blog here.
Check out Marlene on Facebook.
Check out Marlene’s Instagram.
On this week’s show I interview friends, travel companions and business partners Kelly Beasley and Marshall Wendler. Their paths crossing turned into a grand blessing for the RV world. Kelly is full of chutzpah and courage and made her dream of full time RVing a reality. Once in that world she met a “technical nerd” named Marshall Wendler. Marshall possessed all the qualities us non techies love in techno nerds, starting with a passion for research and an ability to simplify things that seem complicated to the technically challenged. When Kelly was new to RVing she kept researching RV related topics looking for solutions to problems, recommendations for equipment and ways to improve the experience. More often than not she found the answers in her friend Marshall’s vast knowledge. They combined their skill sets and developed Camp Addict, a comprehensive site for all RVers, not just newcomers and not just full timers.
They have over a dozen years of combined RVing experience yet, they are still learning. On this week’s show they share a scary incident that could have ended very badly. Limbs – okay, maybe just digits, were in serious peril. The scare taught them some new lessons and I love that they are not afraid to tell a story that some RVers may have wanted to keep to themselves.
They also shared the realities of full timing. It’s not really a solo adventure for them, but more like a traveling troupe of like minded, good willed people who share an unconventional but, full and happy life. They have a lot to teach us and I really enjoyed meeting them and getting a peek into their lives on the road. To listen, click the link at the bottom of the page.
My favorite rabbit holes on Camp Addict!
The Ultimate Guide to the 27 Best RV Brands! Make yourself a cup of tea!
RV Clubs and Discount Groups.
Follow the fun and information!
When I see a vintage camper I am transported back to the camp outs of my youth! They hold so much in the way of charm and nostalgia for me. We did some tent camping and had a home made pop up that we rented from a neighbor each year. When we would walk around the campground I would always want to look inside the little trailers. When I returned to camping in 2006 I bought a 1959 Field and Stream with the birchwood interior. I also joined the group Tin Can Tourists to learn as much as I could about vintage trailer ownership.
Membership in that Facebook group was the first place I ever saw any questions raised about the damage that exists in many (most) vintage trailers. Of course that damage varies depending on how well they were cared for, what part of the country they were in and what manufacturing methods were used. Canned hams that were stick and tin built did not fare as well over time as the riveted aluminum trailers. One thing seemed certain though, any unit that was at least forty years old would have at least some issues that needed addressing.
Enter Tim Heintz, founder of Heintz Designs Vintage Trailer Restorations. Tim has a love for and extensive knowledge of vintage trailers with a specialty in trailers manufactured from the 1930’s through 1960’s. He is one of the country’s leading restorers and does custom rebuilds for customers at his Panama City, Florida location. I invited Tim on the show to share his wisdom on vintage trailer restorations and help those enamored with these nostalgic beauties know when to buy and when to walk away and when to leave the revitalization to a pro.
Tim has done many, many trailer restorations over the years and has a big personal collection of vintage trailers. One of my favorite restorations was this 1951 Vagabond.
Tim’s website, click here!
Tim’s Facebook page
Walter Cannon has dedicated his career to RV Saftey. He was a founding member of the RV Safety and Education Foundation, an organization created to increase awareness of RV saftey issues and create educational materials for that purpose. Over the years the Foundation has grown to be a comprehensive source for all things related to RV safety.
I first met Walter when he and I were both speaking at the same RV show. I was fairly new to RVing and towing a little trailer with a big tow vehicle. That was my way of making certain that I was “covered.” Go big or go home. I was uneducated about how to match a tow vehicle to the RV. Walter was doing a talk on matching your tow vehicle to your RV. I sat in on all three presentations.
Each year Walter hosts a hands on RV Safety Conference in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Last year several of the Girl Campers attended the conference and found the event to be so comprehensive and invaluable for new and experienced RVers. This event is taking place again this year from September 29 – October 3. The RVSEF is offering a coupon code for Girl Campers for $25 off registration. The code is Girlcamper2019. You can access the registration in the link below.
For those who may not be able to make the Kentucky event, Girl Camper and the National RV Inspectors Association is offering a three day program in Athens, Texas from November 6-10, 2019.
Does the prospect of a camping trip sometimes become stressful? Are you tempted to just settle for an evening around your neighbors fire pit? You are not alone. Today I am giving you a set of tips that I have honed over the years that make camping trips, whether just a weekend or weeks away at a time, way easier to manage.
The difference between a happy camper and an unhappy one often comes down to planning. Having a plan and working that plan can often make a trip
Plan Your Campsite
Don’t leave this to chance. Peak season is no time to risk arriving to find no sites available.
Research campground ahead of time
Read all of the online reviews
Study map of campground for proximity to things you want or don’t want to be near
Call park and inquire about their most requested sites
Plan Your Clothing
Being prepared for whatever weather situation arises is just smart. I nearly froze on a late April camping trip in Texas because I just expected it to be hot. When my heater wouldn’t kick on I had to put every piece of clothing I had with me on to keep warm because I only had a light blanket in the RV. Here are some things I keep in the RV all the time now.
Thermalware – long johns and shirt (Under Armor)
Quick dry hiking clothes
Bathing suit and cover up
Plan your budget
Going over budget on vacation is one sure way to make you an unhappy camper. When it comes to vacation planning there are things you can control and things you cannot.
Start by being realistic about what the actual costs are.
Things to budget for are:
The cost of getting there – gas and tolls (partially controllable)
Check on Google Maps or other Apps to get an estimated cost for gas
Fill your tank before you leave home and avoid paying inflated thruway prices
Check the turnpike and tollroad websites of the states you will travel through for the fees with an RV
The cost of staying there – the campground (your choice – some control)
Campsites vary based on state, national, private or resort.
Another option is to boondock, or mooch dock.
Consider camping clubs like Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome.
Tourist things – kayak rental, fishing licenses, museum fees. (not controllable)
Souvenirs (not controllable)
Plan your route
Don’t just consider the cost of gas and tolls when planning your route. Consider the volume of traffic, time of day, condition of the roads, look at construction zones you may want to avoid. All of these things can make you an unhappy camper if it is a big surprise.
If there is no way around a congested area at peak traffic time, lean into it and accept it. So many of my friends that live in the Atlanta area just live with it! It seems to always be busy and congested there.
Start the vacation when you pull out of your driveway by having the mindset that you are on your way to fun. With each mile you drive the weeks stressors are farther behind you. Use the travel time to begin unwinding.
A catch up with a friend by making a long overdue phone call
B listen to an Audible book that everyone is talking about and you have no time to read
C download some new tunes to your playlist and tap your steering wheel to the rhythm all the way there.
I had a lot of fun last week answering listeners questions and this week I am wrapping up this installment of FAQ’s. There’s a lot of information out there and plenty of trusted resources. When I am unsure of something I pull in an expert which is why you will see links here to past podcasts with those “in the know.”
Part Two – FAQ’s
Submitted by: Ginny McKinney
Can you be a Girl Camper if you have never camped before?
I can’t say yes to this in enough ways! I am so glad to have the opportunity to answer this question because it really is at the top of the FAQ list!
I want to go back a bit here and share a little story. When I started the podcast 3 1/2 years ago, I thought that the listeners would be Girl Campers, those already camping, towing, RVing etc…It shocked me then and still surprises now, that our audience is about half and half. There are so many Girl Camper wannabes. Over the years I have dedicated many podcast episodes to the topic of Becoming a Girl Camper and just a few months ago I gave these episodes a special spot on the Girl Camper website so that they would be easy to find. A few of the titles in that link are:
I don’t have a trailer
I don’t know how to tow
I don’t have anyone to fix up a vintage trailer for me
I live in an apartment and can’t store an RV
Episode 68: Becoming a Girl Camper in 2017
Episode 38: Hope for The RVing Widow
Submitted by: Jeanne Gaffney
How do you bake in your camper if you don’t have an oven?
That depends on whether you have hook ups and how badly you want that baked item. If you don’t have hook ups, you can use a Coleman Cook Top oven that sits on top of a Coleman two burner portable stove. You can bake biscuits and small cakes in it. It folds flat, has a built in thermometer on the door so you can adjust the flame to maintain a desired temperature and then use it to keep food warm.
If you have hook ups at the campground and don’t mind carrying around a portable oven, Camp Chef makes a great outdoor oven that is much nicer and more reliable than the Coleman. You can also use it much more safely inside.
A last option is just a toaster oven. I have one that I paid $19 for at the grocery store and it heats up so quickly and also broils. I use it to heat up leftovers,to make toast, bake things and it is small enough to take in a camper without giving up storage or a whole lot of counter space. Both the Camp Chef and the toaster oven can be placed on a table outside and used there as well keeping the heat out of the RV.
Submitted by: Elizabeth
Do most girl Campers travel solo?
It depends on whether you are an experienced camper who is looking for friends to camp with o...
On this week’s podcast I am answering listeners questions! I think it is so important to remember that for many, this camping thing is all brand new and we definitely want to be the site that says, “There’s no such thing as a dumb question” so, here we go!
Submitted by: Michelle Cole
Travel Trailer vs motor home with toad behind – Which would have better gas mileage?
Answer: This is so much a matter of personal preferences. In 2018 I did a podcast episode on the many different types of RV’s out there. In the list below you can listen to the pros and cons of all the different RV’s and see what resonates most with you. I will say that my preference was a travel trailer because I didn’t want to take down camp each time I left the campsite. I also like “coming home” to my RV after a day of sightseeing. I gave up the perk of having a bathroom, kitchen and bed with me everywhere I go, but the trade off of being more mobile in my tow vehicle rather than a larger motor home, was worth it to me.
Submitted by: Beth Jordan
Is it okay to turn your propane fridge on the day before you leave so its cold in the morning?
Answer: It’s not only ok, it’s highly recommended. RV refrigerators work best when they are prechilled and you put cold food in them. I did a mini podcast episode about this a few months ago. Here are a few of the tips to get you started but you can see all the tips for RV refrigerators in the blog post below!
• Plug it in the night before so it is cold when you put food in it.
• Make sure the food you put in it is already cold.
• Use an RV refrigerator air circulator to keep cold air moving around. Camco makes several different kinds.
• Set it on Auto and then it will run on electricity as soon as you plug it in. When you disconnect the electric it will go to propane automatically.
• For the quick retrieval of foods organize the lunch foods or snacks in plastic, open weave baskets or bins that you can pull out with everything you need in one place.
Submitted by: Debra Allen
I am using my Ford Transit Connect to car camp. What kind of extension cord or converter can I use to run my refrigerator, DVD or pressure cooker?
Answer: Car Camping is a great option for many reasons. When you arrive you are really already set up. No tent to find level ground for. If it is raining you are bound to be drier in the car. You are off the ground. You can make camp before you leave home by setting up your bed and curtains ahead of time. One of the women I regularly car camp with has an extension cord in which the wir...
On this week’s show returning guest Mary Ellen Arndorfer returns to gives us the 411 on how to start enjoying water sports. Kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding and surfing are great ways to play in the water and get outdoors.
I grew up in the midwest and spent time at our cousins summer home on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin where we all learned to water ski. It was so much fun. I was pretty much off the water until one of the Girl Campers brought her kayak on a trip. We all took a turn around the lake in it and went out and bought kayaks. I also now own a inflatable pontoon boat that I really enjoy using on trips. I asked Mary Ellen to come on the show because she is a water safety expert with experience with all the different types of recreation water crafts. Here are a few of her suggestions.
Check weather conditions – storm forecasts, wind advisories and water temperatures can affect your outing.
Water temperature and water conditions (water levels, currents, contamination, flooding)
Have a PFD – personal flotation device
Helmets are a necessity in white water
Clothing (quick dry, brightly colored, dress for conditions)
Carry a whistle and flashlight
Never go alone
Beginners should stay close to shore
Kayaks and paddle boards come in hard shell and inflatable
Avoid the flimsy inflatables sold at box stores and online
You can borrow or rent before you buy to see which style you like best
Consider buying used to save money
How to Learn
Group classes at outdoor retailers
Watch YouTube videos
Meet Up groups are a good resource
Go with friends
Gloves (prevents blisters and sunburns)
Sun Shirt (will prevent sun burn)
Dry bag for valuables (phone, car keys, lunch!)
Hat with string or clip to stay on in wind
Small soft sided cooler for drinks and snacks
PFD for dog
Canoe and Kayak Magazine
Local outfitter groups
My guest this week is award winning radio and TV host Alan Taylor. Alan is a 30 + year veteran broadcaster and auto expert. He also hosts the popular Entrepreneur Weekly Podcast for Entrepreneur Magazine. He has worked with Motor Trend, Car and Driver, Inc. Magazine and Popular Science. He is a regular contributor to ABC’s “LIVE with Kelly & Ryan” as well as guest appearances on CBS, CNN, Fox News, NBC and the SPEED channel.
I asked Alan to come on the show to talk about midsize SUV’s and lightweight trucks with a tow capacity of at least 5K pounds. I often see women who purchase an RV thinking that they can tow it with their existing vehicle. A lot of the times the numbers just don’t add up though. Perhaps it’s a 2000 pound trailer when empty and they want to tow it on their vehicle that has a tow rating of 2,500 pounds.I always encourage women to use no more than 80% of what their tow package allows for. I personally go much lower myself.
Tune into the full podcast episode to hear Alan’s thoughts on what’s new in the automotive and towing world. You can listen to the podcast by clicking the arrow below.
Ford Explorer has been redesigned and is coming out with a hybrid that will tow on battery power. It will be able to go 500 miles on a single tank of gas. It has three rows of seating, skylight roof and a towing capacity of 5.5K pounds. It boasts a 3.5 L engine with a V6 eco boost and 6 speed automatic transmission. Base price is 32K.
On this week’s show I am excited to announce our first annual Camp-In Camper College. I developed Camper College when I first founded Girl Camper in 2014. I wanted to show women that owning, operating, and towing an RV is not complicated. Before I owned a “real” trailer I camped in a 1959 Field and Stream that only had a cold water pressure hose that drained onto the ground. There was no toilet, shower, air conditioner or water tanks of any kind. It took me about ten minutes to pack it up. I always looked at people who had “real” trailers and thought they had to be mini engineers to do what they were doing. When my friend Mike Harlan, GM of North Trail RV in Florida, showed me how to put the water in and how to get it out when the trip was over. It was NOT hard after all. I learned how to check my fuses, see if the panel box was on and understand the voltage, amps and electrical systems. I learned how to level, stabilize and unhitch my trailer by myself. I was so surprised at how easy it all was. I wanted other women to learn and developed Camper College to demystify trailer ownership.
At our Wonderful Women in Waxahachie event in April we invited Stephanie Henson from National RV Inspection Association to teach an extended Camper College with four stations focusing on the different operations of an RV. It was a big success but we wanted to offer an even deeper opportunity for women to really have a hands on experience learning how the RV’s they already own can be maintained and repaired and how women wanting to join Girl Campers can have the experience of towing, hitching and hooking up an RV first hand.
I have partnered with Stephanie and her husband Todd to host a three day Camp-In Camper College where we will camp at the Texan RV Campground adjacent to their learning center. Cabins and RV’s are available for those who don’t yet own an RV. Stephanie and her staff will teach each morning for four hours and then we will have the afternoon to explore the Texas countryside. We will gather as a group for dinner and an evening campfire and meet again in the morning for coffee and breakfast before school begins again. We have three days scheduled but anyone can come early and stay late. The details of the trip are posted on our events page and sign ups will be on www.girlcamper.com.
Did you know that a campground is a great place for non RV owners to learn about camping? Did you know that they are also a great place to host an event? Hip Homeschool Moms, Trish Corlew and Wendy Hilton recently took their followers on one of their Homeschool Road Trips to explore the World’s Longest Cave System at Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. Rather than the usual hotel arrangement they’ve used in the past for their HEART (Homeschool Enrichment Adventure Road Trips) trips, they chose Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park and Camp Resort near Mammoth Cave for their event.
On today’s show Hip Homeschool co-owner Wendy Hilton shares the experience her HEART group had on their trip to Mammoth Cave. They explored the caves and learned hands on about the geology and history of the World’s Largest Cave system which became a National Park in 1941. There are over 400 miles of explored caves at the Park including Crystal Onyx Cave, the Lost River Cave and the Diamond Caverns. In addition to the caves visitors can enjoy the American Cave Museum, The Corvette Museum which made headlines several years ago when a sink hole swallowed up eight collector Corvettes and The Mammoth Cave Wildlife Museum. The HEART participants got to take in all of the sites and return each evening to compare notes with their fellow homeschool families all staying at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Mammoth Cave.
Campgrounds like Jellystone are a great place for non RVers to experience camping without renting an RV or buying any camping equipment. They are also a great place to host reunions, family gatherings, youth group conferences and group vacations. Jellystone offers many different cabin accommodations from simple cabins for two – four people to deluxe cabins with full kitchens, bathrooms and common living space to enjoy.
There are many benefits for any group hosting a big event at a campground like Jelllystone:
* No need to rent an RV or even know how to camp
* Choose a cabin that fits your needs
* Control the budget by preparing your own meals
* Be part of the community but have a space of your own
* Bring your own linens and blankets and feel at home
* Enjoy all the activities at the park without having to leave the grounds
* Large gathering areas for group events
* Seasoned RVers and those new to camping can attend together
While looking at the Jellystone site I realized that this park is not just for kids. Although it is geared toward family fun I thought it would make a great place to host a Girl Camper event. It looks like the perfect place to camp in September when the kids have gone back to school. I imagined a weekday trip where we could get our cardio in on the bouncy pillow, paddle the lake, and enjoy the water slides. We often say that Girl Camping is about “Making Girls Out of Women.” It’s about giving yourself permission to be a “girl” again and stop “adulting” for a few days. To lay on the grass and watch clouds roll by, to ride a bike with no hands, to dive into a pool without worrying about your hair, to walk to the camp store with your girlfriends and get ice cream! I think it’s time for me to revisit the National Park of Mammoth Cave where I spent my 12th birthday. This time though, rather than the no frills campground we stayed at, I think I’d like to stay at Jellystone and be 12 again.
On this weeks show I welcome returning guest, Sandy Newkirk. I first interviewed Sandy way back in Episode 12 of the podcast. Sandy and I met when she happened by my house on her way to a garage sale and saw me in my driveway working on my vintage camper. She pulled up and asked if it was for sale. I explained that I was a “Girl Camper” and used it to camp with other like minded women. She felt immediately that she was mysteriously led down my street to hear those words. I invited her over and indoctrinated her into our subculture of women going places and doing things in RV’s! I profiled her in a blog for Go RVing after she got established.
Sandy took to RVing so thoroughly that she recently sold her home and 95% of her worldly possessions and purchased a 2019 Aktiv by Hymer. The Class B motor home would enable her to zip around much more easily than the Class C she had first imagined and it seemed like the easiest way to ease in to the life she had imagined. In March of 2019 Sandy left the driveways of her family and friends in New Jeresy and headed south. She has only been on the road for a few months but I wanted our campfire community here to take the journey with her so I invited her to come on the show and talk about life on the road “so far.” I was interested in hearing about the learning curve regarding the motor home, finding camping spaces, living in such a small space and being alone so much. Sandy shares all of that in today’s podcast!
Shout out to Bankston Motor Homes today for sponsoring this episode! We always have a great time working with them. If you have not visited their Youtube channel, check it out here!
Thanks as well to Camco! I want to share their bamboo table with all of you! I have lots of Camco goodies but this is one of my absolute favorite things!! I have two of them so I can put them together and make a table under the shade of my awning or I can separate them and use one as a coffee table between my chairs and the other as a bar or serving table. They only weigh eight pounds!!!
Have you wondered if there’s a pecking order to setting up the RV once you arrive at the campground? Well, there is! Today I am going over the steps to help you make sure you don’t make a costly mistake but, before we cover that I want to chat for a minute about the whole backing in thing! If you’ve been at this for a while, please think back to your beginner days and remember the fear that once struck your heart at the mere thought of backing a trailer or motor home into a site. Bear with us for a minute while we encourage the newbies.
For two years I only camped in pull through sites because I didn’t know what the he** I was doing! After several humiliating efforts at campgrounds I resolved to simply pay extra and stay in a pull through site. That all changed one day when my friend Salliane Brown offered, not to park it for me, but to walk me through the process using her method for backing in. Once I did it I was so proud of myself that I parked every Girl Campers trailer as she arrived for the weekend. I got it down and although I still have to pause at times and really think about what direction I want to turn the wheel, I very rarely need help getting backed in. I do make these few suggestions to those still on the learning curve though.
Tips for overcoming the FOBI – Fear of Backing In
* Just give it the old college try. Each time we try, even if we don’t succeed, we have learned something. I joined a ladies golf team once and just couldn’t tee off straight to save my life. On the last week of play I stepped up to the tee box and for reasons I cannot understand, the swing all came together. Suddenly knees bent, elbows straight, head down, eye on the ball all came together at once and worked. The ball sailed straight down the green. It was a beautiful sight. It seems to happen this way with backing in too. Just keep trying.
* Get out of the tow vehicle and walk your site. Look for where the hook ups are; check for low hanging branches that might scrape your roof; see if the picnic table or fire ring are going to create a problem. When you are standing at the back of your site look at your rig and see if it is pulled up enough to make a tight turn into the space. Sometimes this is much clearer from the back of your site than it is from a side or rear view mirror.
* If you have tried and are getting frustrated and feeling low – ask for help. There’s no shame in that. What is a shame is staying home because you are not yet good at one aspect of RVing. Many times someone from the campground will help you and if that’s not the case, there is usually a Good Samaritan nearby to pitch in. Sometimes you don’t even have to ask, they will come out of the woods like woodland fairies and offer assistance.
* Only take direction from one person at a time. It seems that the fairies sometimes arrive in droves and they all want to assist together. There’s nothing helpful about three different people set up at three separate angles all chiming in together. Just concentrate on one persons directions and tune the others out.
Once you have arrived at the site:
* First check to see where your hook ups are. It’s an awful feeling that I have personally experienced when you are all unhitched and stabilized and you go to plug in your water or electric and you are too far away from the hookups. The sewer hose is normally the shortest so check to make sure you will be able to reach it from the spot you have chosen to put your RV in.
* Check to see if your RV is level left to right. It can be off a little bit and not bother you but if it is higher on the door side that will could mean you are sleeping at a slight downward angle if your bed is set up with the head on the opposite wall. I use the
Do you love the roar and crackle of a good campfire? Are you mesmerized by the flickering lights, glowing embers and radiating warmth? I’ve got some tips on building the perfect campfire!
* Tinder or fire starters
* Dry hardwoods
* Fan or bellows
* Fireplace gloves or tongs
Start by preparing your ring or stone circle. Remove old debris and rake around the outside of your ring to make sure that any combustible materials are away from the ring.
Good campfires get going by using three levels of materials that burn. Tinder is the fastest burning material and it is used to ignite the kindling. Kindling burns slower than tinder and long enough to get the hardwood larger logs started.
* Tinder – You can forage the forest floor for dried leaves, pine straw, pine cones and very small dry twigs. You need really dry material that will burn up quickly. I usually use balled up newspaper to which I add homemade fire starters that will burn longer than newspapers or twigs. A well made fire starter made with a wax base will burn for several minutes, long enough to get the kindling burning well. If you are not using fire starters you may want to invest in a set of bellows to fan the flames.
* Kindling – Kindling is the medium sized wood that is used to ignite the hard wood logs. It can be fallen branches found on the ground, scrap wood from home improvement projects or slices of hardwood cut off the larger logs with an axe.
* Hardwood logs – Most campgrounds sell seasoned, dried hardwood for campfires. Most states have restrictions on bringing wood in from out of state locations. These regulations have to do with an effort to control the spread of insects that ravage certain species of trees and should be strictly observed.
Tinder is in the center of the fire surrounded by kindling and topped off with the hardwoods. There are a few ways to stack the hardwoods to get your fire going. The teepee style, the log cabin and the upside down. I prefer the log cabin to the teepee which collapses as soon as the kindling is burned up and can smother the fire out. Once the large logs are burning you can add more large logs without having to use additional kindling and tinder. A pair of fire gloves is handy to move wood around.
Fire starters are easy to make at home and I like to make them in big batches on a rainy day and give them as gifts. A new one I have recently begun making from paper bags basically eliminates the need for tinder. It’s tinder and a fire starter all in one.
* I buy old candles at garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores.
* The Dollar Store has some great bargains on ten packs of wax candles.
* I ask the ‘church ladies’ who clean the church to save the candle stubs for me. It’s a higher quality wax that doesn’t smoke or smell.
* I save all the old birthday candles, gouda cheese wrappers and candle stubs from holiday table settings and use them for these projects.
Melting the Wax
* You can use an old aluminum small sauce pan, preferably with two handles. You place it in the oven on 300 until it’s all melted. You can just let the leftovers solidify in the pan and reheat it the next time you make starters.
* Disposable aluminum pans are a great way to melt and remelt wax. Place them in the oven on 300 until the wax is melted. You will need to use two or even three pans together to get enough rigidity to keep the pan from twisting when you take it out of the oven. The downfall for this method and the old sauce pan is that once they are removed from the oven they begin to harden up and you need to keep placing them back in the oven.
* Buy an old crock pot at a flea market or thrift store and ...
Have you found the perfect trailer but are afraid to pull the trigger because it has a wet bath? Are you imagining sloppy pools of water on everything and mold incubating on the walls? Think again. RV’s with wet baths can keep a trailers weight down significantly and give you added floor space where you really want it. Here are a few of the tips I’ve employed in my RV wet bath.
Keeping Towels Dry
* Put towels up high by creating a shelf out of spring rods.
* Hang your towels on spring rods and then use another spring rod for a shower curtain to go over them when showering.
* Hang wire baskets high on the wall and put shower supplies and rolled up towels in them.
Keeping Other Things Dry
* Put toilet paper in plastic container
Photo credit: Outdoorsoul.net
* Make spring rod shelf for shampoo, bath gel and shower items
* Use a bamboo mat to keep your drying off towel from dropping into any pooled water on shower floor
Consider an adjustable shower rod to store things
Image courtesy of Wayfair
Solutions in a Wet Bath
* Hang a rod across shower wall and hang baskets or cans from it for storage.
* Mount a shower shampoo, conditioner and body gel dispenser.
* Keep cleaning supplies in a caddy between toilet and wall.
* Use large Command hooks to hang towels from after the shower.
* Have a squeegee in the shower and remove water from walls as soon as you are done showering.
* Use a microfiber towel to get any excess water left behind.
* Turn on overhead fan after each shower.
My Favorite RV Kitchen Hacks
I want my RV kitchen to do everything my home kitchen does and I am always scouring for RV kitchen tips because it has to do all of that in 10% of the space. Here are a few of my favorites!!
Magnetic Knife Holder – Chef style magnetic knife holders have so many uses in a camper. In the kitchen they can be used to store knives obviously but also to hang other things from. I love the idea of old soup cans on the kitchen magnet holding the potato peeler, wooden spoon and can opener. It would also make a nice place to stash a few wildflowers picked on your hike.
Baby Food Jar Spice Rack – courtesy of Coach Vaughn
Old school baby food jars are a great way to store spices in an easy to grab way. You will need a magnetic strip under the cabinet to hang them from. You can also buy empty food jars with metal lids on Amazon for this purpose.
Stackable Food Containers – are a great way to save space, keep food fresh and find what you are looking for in a hurry! They can be costly but are worth the investment. Stackable food containers can be purchased at Home Goods, The Container Store and through Amazon.
Tension Rods are a great way to create storage space in a cabinet for hard to store things. When installed vertically they can define a space for serving plates, cutting boards, and cookie sheets. Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart.
Sink Basin – Camco makes a kitchen kit that has a small basin, drying rack and sink mat all in one set. I use the basin within my sink and fill it half way with hot soapy water in the morning. Rather than running the water each time I have an item to wash I drop knives, plates and coffee mugs in it all day. Before I start dinner I add some hot water to it and clean up the days dishes all at once. When I am boon docking this is a great way to conserve water.
Shelf liner – Shelf liner has so many purposes in an RV. You can use it to keep your pots and pans from sliding around in a cabinet while you are driving. You can cut it into small squares and layer it between your stacked plates to keep them in place. You can use small squares on the counter top under a cutting board or mixing bowl to keep them from sliding around while you are preparing food. You can use the
On this weeks show I am walking you through the basics of matching your tow vehicle to your RV. I am breaking down and defining the terms associated with towing safety. I’m also laying out the formula used to determine what size RV can be safely towed by what sized tow vehicle.
Some terms we hear discussed at RV dealerships and on social media groups dedicated to RVing are below. It’s a good idea for those new to towing to familiarize themselves with these terms.
GVWR – Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. This number indicates the maximum amount of weight that can be carried in that RV. This would be fully loaded. It is what the industry has determined through federal guidelines that the frame, and axle, and wheels can accommodate. It is a federal law that each RV or travel trailer that leaves a factory must have this number in the left front corner of the outside of the trailer on a non removable plate.
UVW – Unloaded Vehicle Weight. This is sometimes referred to as the dry weight. When a travel trailer leaves the factory it is individually weighed. The weight for that trailer is connected to its vin number and is specific to that individual trailer. You can have two trailers made the same day at the same plant that will have two different UVW ratings. It depends on the options that are put on them. An awning on a trailer can weigh a lot. An added 30 # propane tank can add another 25 pounds empty – 54#’s when it’s full. Also keep in mind that if you bring that trailer home and do modifications to it before you put one thing in it, every modification you make adds to your UVW.
CCC- Cargo Carrying Capacity. This number is also on the label in the left front corner of your RV. It can also sometimes be found on the inside of the door. This number tells you how much weight you can add to your RV when you’re packing it. The CCC on my Liberty Outdoors Max is 660 pounds. The axle and the tires are not rated to carry more than this amount of added weight.
GVWR – UVW = CCC
The GVWR on my Max trailer is 3800 pounds. When I deduct the 3,140 pound UVW (or the dry weight as some people like to say), I arrive at the number 660 which is my Cargo Carrying Capacity. This simply means I cannot put more than 660 pounds of stuff in my trailer.
Tongue weight – the downward force that the tongue of the trailer exerts on the hitch that is connected to the vehicle. … Experts agree that an acceptable tongue weight for any trailer is somewhere between 9 to 15 percent of the gross trailer weight.
Your tow vehicle also has ratings that you need to be aware of.
There are three numbers to concern yourself with in your tow vehicle.
Your tow vehicle also has a GVWR which can be found on the door jam or the door itself on your tow vehicle. This number reflects the maximum amount of weight that vehicle can have in total. It’s made up of the weight of the vehicle itself, what’s in it and the tongue weight of anything it’s pulling.
The Cargo Carrying Capacity number is also listed on the door. That’s how much stuff you put in your tow vehicle.
The UVR or dry weight, is what it weighs empty but with a small amount added for gas. This number is a little trickier to find. You can find it in your owners manual. You can also get that number by taking your gross vehicle weight rating and deducting your cargo carrying capacity. That will give you a number close to what your vehicle weighs dry.
There is one last number to concern yourself with and it’s called the GCWR. This number reflects the total of the GVWR for your tow vehicle and the RV together. It is the maximum allowable combination of your tow vehicle, its passengers and cargo combined with the weight of the RV and its cargo. This rating is set by the vehicle manufacturer. I got this number from my owners manual but you can also get it from a
On today’s show I am sharing the results of my online survey asking Girl Campers for their favorite things they won’t camp without. There were so many things that I decided to just start with their favorite kitchen things. Whether you Camp Like a Girl with all the comforts of home or go with a simpler style you will probably find something here that you want to take with you.
Ice Maker – An indulgence for sure but one that I have learned to love. It’s great having ice on demand and not worrying about whether the campground is out of it. I know I will always have it for a cool drink. I have the Igloo version but there are lots out there varying in price from $89 to $150. I set mine up as soon as I arrive and fill it with jug water. As the ice is made I put it in zip lock bags and store it in the freezer. I always have enough to share!
Blackstone Grill – Everyone is talking about the Blackstone Grill and I have resisted this purchase so far but I see what the buzz is all about. These grills offer a lot of great options for outdoor enthusiasts and home BBQ enthusiasts. They come in many different sizes. You can adjust the temperature on different sides of the grill so you can have a lower temperature keeping food warm on one side while cooking something at a higher temperature on the other side. You can cook several different foods at one time so you can do pancakes, eggs and bacon all on one unit. Less pans to clean. You season them like a cast iron pan and like cast iron they get better with time. It has a grease collection system that makes cleaning up easy. I normally camp alone or in small groups but think this would be just the ticket for big Girl Camper events and parties at home. I like that it is available portable models and I could use it at home as well as the campground.
Listen to the podcast here!
French Press Coffee Maker – So many people brought up the French Press. It’s great for boon docking and camping with hooks ups as well. A French Press allows you to make coffee to your taste and can be used to steep loose tea and herbs as well. They can be a bit of a pain to clean because you don’t want those coffee grounds going down the RV plumbing system but when making coffee for one or two it’s just the ticket. French Presses are always available at thrift shops too so you can give them a try without making a big investment.
Coffee Carafe – Those Grandma things that our mothers always used for company or to put the leftover coffee in on a Sunday morning are making a comeback with Girl Campers. I used one when I had my vintage trailer that did not have a hot water heater. I would heat up water in the morning for my French Press and then put the extra in the Urn to save for later when I wanted to have a cup of tea or an instant oatmeal. It was also handy to have to wash my hands in warm water or wash a few dishes. They are also always at thrift stores for a few bucks so you can see if you’d like it without busting the bank. Our Girl Camper friend, Yvonne Artis from Texas bought one and customized it to match ...
On this week’s show I am highlighting some of my favorite new gear. It’s time to clean out the camper and find a spot for all the new gear, gizmos and gadgets.
Out of the Box Camping is a quarterly subscription box delivered to your door for campers, glampers and RV enthusiasts. If you buy the annual subscription you can get your box with shipping included for $46.25. I think this is a great gift to give yourself or a camping buddy. I love surprises and with this box you not only get a great RV gear but you get treated to a surprise 4 times a year. Anything you don’t love, you can regift to a friend. You can get a discount of $5 off your first order by using the coupon code: Girlcamper
Haul Guage “measures tongue weight, pin weight, payload, and gross combined weight in real-time with an OBD-II connector that communicates wirelessly via Bluetooth with an app on your iPhone or Android device.” It’s a great way to get the information you want about your tow vehicle and trailer each time you use it. Most people take a different amount of geat depending on where they are going, how long they will be there and what they plan to do there. Adding a canoe, mountain bike or generators to your rig can really add a lot of weight. It’s also a great way to get a measurement if you don’t live near a scale. It costs $99 on Amazon and can be swithched from vehicle to vehicle.
Smart Bottle Inc. introduced the Wolverine Collapsible Water Carrier for camping and outdoors. These new containers are compact, collapsible, BPA free and durable. They are cost effective and come in several different sizes. The one gallon jug sells for $6.95!! Last year when I traveled to Colorado to boondock I had a lot of one gallon hard shelled water bottles in the back of my truck that I kept refilling. What I like about these jugs is that once they are empty they fold flat. They also have upped the design on them offering handles on both ends for easier pouring and grommets on the top and bottom to hang and connect them. I got the one gallon and 2.5 gallon jugs with the pour spouts.
Oxx Box is a heavy duty coffee maker made for those who drink coffee in the rugged outdoors at camps or construction sites. It’s a single serve pot that works will all K cups so each person can choose their own blend. The machine is designed for heavy duty use. It has a cruxh proof chassis with a 1500 pound load rating. It can accomodate 8, 10, and 12 oz cups as well as adjust to fill a thermos. It preheats in 30 seconds and brews a cup of coffee in 70 seconds. It’s weather and dust reisitant and has an 85 oz capacity water tank as well as a handle on the top for carrying it around. It also has an integrated carbon water filter and a three foot long retractable cord. When I consider that I just ditched my second Kurig I think this is a great value. I am usually the one serving breakfast at my site and I think this will really hold up! It sells for $229 and has an optional carrying bag for an additonal $69.
Seed Geek Company is a Non GMO seed company started by a husband and wife duo that became interested in organic seeds when they started researching where their food came from. They started growing their own food and then began selling seeds to others. As they expanded their business they began offering organic non chemical solutions for health care products. Their Bug Off bar is not only beautiful but its made from mango butter,
Are you ready to shake off winter and get that camper ready to roll? Mark Polk is here today to talk about projects you can do yourself to get the camper ready for this season’s camping adventures. Mark is the founder of RV Education 101 and an industry expert on safety, maintenance and RV repairs. There are a lot of RV maintenance projects you can do and Mark provides great tutorials and videos to encourage and instruct us.
I asked Mark about five things that I normally do myself and he gave me his tips on doing them correctly. Mark has more Spring Checks below so be sure to check them out.
Listen to the podcast here!
Five Spring Rv checks to do before your first trip.
Battery – Assuming that you properly stored your battery at the end of the season these tips will help you make it ready for the coming season. If you left it over the winter without a trickle charge on it and it dropped below fifty percent, it may need to be replaced. Be sure to watch Marks whole video on battery maintenance in the at the bottom of the page.
* Check to make sure it’s charged.
* Recharge it to capacity if you didn’t do so over the winter.
* Add water if necessary. Mark has a video for that below.
* Check all of the connections to make sure they’re secure and don’t have corrosion.
* Clean up any corrosion or dirt on the battery.
* When working around batteries be sure to wear safety gloves and goggles.
Tires – Your tires are arguably the most important part of your RV. They carry you and your possessions safely to where you are going. If they are over or under inflated, have excessive wear or are not rated to carry the weight of your trailer you could cause a serious accident and injure yourself and others. Beheck for loss of air over the storage period. They could lose 3-10 percent per month.
* Check the tire pressure with an accurate gauge. Tires can lose air at a rate of 3-10 percent per month.
* Add air to the manufacturers specifications.
* Check the tire tread.
* Don’t forget the spare tire.
* Check the lug nuts.
Vents – Be sure to check the appliance vents on the outside of your RV. Bugs are drawn to the odor of propane exhaust and sneak in the vent areas to build nests.
* Check the latches on your vents to make sure they are all working. Replace or repair as necessary.
* Remove any nesting or bugs you find inside by thoroughly vacuuming the area.
* Replace any broken panel covers.
* Some RVers suggest placing a pet flea and tick collar in the vent area to discourage bugs.
RV Water System – After you have dewinterized your RV, there is a simple way to sanitize the tanks for the coming season.
* Check for leaks. Mark has some simple tips in his video for making sure your RV lines are not leaking.
* Sanitize the system with lots of fresh water and everyday bleach.
* Mark recommends a formula of 1/4 cup for every 15 gallons the tank holds. After the bleach is placed in the tanks, run the water until you smell bleach coming from each faucet including the shower, bathroom sink and outdoor faucet. Let the solution sit for at least 12 hours.
* Drain the bleach water and replace it with fresh water. Run all of the faucets again until you don’t smell bleach.
* Replace all of the water filters.
Trailer Hitch and Components
* Start by familiarizing yourself with all of the components of the hitch again.
* Check all components for loose or rusted hardware or broken we...
On this weeks show I am sharing all the details of our Fly and Drive vacation to parts warm! We left cold and snowy New Jersey with temps in the 30’s and flew to warm and sunny LA. Once there we picked up a Class C Motorhome that we rented from El Monte RV in Van Nuys, California. We were in deep need of sun but also in need of a camping fix. Our trailer had been parked in the driveway for over four months and it would be at least another six weeks before it would be safe to de-winterize it. Our niece was getting married in Palm Springs, California the first weekend in March and I had a big RV industry event in Salt Lake City, Utah the third week in March. I could fly home and go back 10 days later or, I could rent an RV, get a camping fix and get some sun. I’d never been in this part of the country before and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to explore it by RV without having to spend five days driving there.
I contacted El Monte in Van Nuys, California to ask if I could do a one way rental, picking it up in LA and dropping it off in Salt Lake City. Although it is not an option at all of their 20 locations across the country, it was available from Van Nuys to Salt Lake City for around $850 for ten days. I have never driven a Class C before so I decided I wanted the smallest and least complicated model available. I chose the 25′ Thor Four Winds without any slide outs. It had a rear bed with a cab over bunk for extra sleeping and a booth that folded down to create an additional bed.
When we first pulled into the Van Nuys location there were several motor homes parked up front. We noticed a sign hanging from the rear view mirror on one of them that read, “Vacation Ready – Pettit!!” and boy, were they correct! We were vacation ready! The pick up went very smoothly and we were at the location less than 90 minutes. We watched a 20 minute video on the motor homes systems which I recorded on my phone just in case we needed reminding. All of the systems were very similar to my travel trailer and we never needed to revisit the video. The staff was great and had all the paperwork ready ahead of time. We opted to take out an insurance policy with our agent from home before we got there and we saved a lot of money by doing that. The El Monte policy was $30 per day. We were planning a ten day trip so that would have added up. Our agent wrote us a policy for the ten days for $35.00. After all of the paperwork was done the El Monte rep took us out to our unit and walked us through all of the systems showing us how to operate everything! We left with total confidence.
El Monte offers a convenience kit for a small additional fee but we opted to bring our own sheets, pillowcases, towels, table cloth, dish towels and blanket along with dinner service for two with cutlery and minimal cooking utensils. We purchased a coffee pot, frying pan, some tupperware, plastic cups that we rewashed and used over and over and four pillows from Target. We spent less than $50 on those items and the items we brought from home were all in a carry on that we didn’t pay an additional airline fee for. I loved having my own sheets, blanket and pillow cases. It felt very homey and immediately made me feel like I was in “my” RV.
I was a little nervous about driving something so big but wasn’t on the road for more than five miles when I realized that it’s just a big truck. I drive an F150 as my daily ride and use it as my tow vehicle. It didn’t feel much different than my own truck. We thought that it might be a hassle to have to use it for everything since we were not towing a touring car behind us but it actually wasn’t. The opposite was true. It was very simple to unplug and hit the road with each morning.
When we toured Joshua Tree National Park we loved being able to pull over at the rest stop and make lunch, use the rest room and take a power nap before continu...
Would you like to camp more and pay less? Would you like to meet fellow RVers and get their tips on the best places to eat, tour and get services in their towns? Would you like to set up camp in quiet spots without other RV’s five feet away? Marianne Edwards and her daughter Anna Maste have built a site with over 1600 RV owning hosts willing to offer space to fellow Rvers on their private property. Boondockers Welcome is a pay it forward system of fellow sojourners helping each other see the country while keeping expenses down.
Mairanne is not new to saving money while camping. She is the founder of Frugal-RV-Travel which she founded after taking a one year road trip in 1999. Marianne and her husband Randy discovered they could make their travel budget stretch if they didn’t give $40-$60 a night to a campground. She took the knowledge she gained on money saving RV travel and built a website that covers all aspects of RVing from health insurance to RV repairs to fabulous destinations. Be sure to check out Mariannes other fabulous site and sign up for their newsletter.
Listen to the podcast here:
* You can boondock for one day or several depending on the hosts availability.
* 1600 sites are listed on Boondockers Welcome
* As a host you don’t have to accomodate all RV types or be available 365 days a year
* You can be a user without being a host yourself
* There is a review system that allows you to see how other guests reviewed the property and hosts
* You must have a self contained RV to be a guest
Frequently Asked Questions for potential boondockers.
You can sign up for Boondockers Welcome and get a 10% discount by using the coupon code: Girlcamper
I first experienced cast iron food on a Girl Camping trip in Tennessee many years ago with some serious cast iron mavens. Not only was the food delicious but I was completely sold on the idea of mastering this art, being part of this subculture of old fashioned cooking and connecting to the generations of women behind me for whom cast iron cooking was not a hobby, but a vital part of their daily duties.
I can remember my grandmother’s cast iron pan hanging unceremoniously from a hook on a peg board wall in the pantry. It was not part of any set. It was her skillet. She had a dutch oven one as well and those were her pots and pans. Actually, to be accurate, they were her pot and pan, her two kitchen tools from which every meal that graced her table sprung. I’m emotionally connected to the idea of generations of women passing down not only the skills, but the tools involved in making that magic happen. I can pause at a cast iron pan on a flea market table and just take a moment to imagine its original owner, the grandmother that prepared meals in it, cleaned it, and seasoned it and who valued it because it was a family asset. Those were the times when there was not disposable income to replace things that were not properly cared for.
I’m lucky to have cast iron that came through family channels and I treasure it. I have also added many new cast iron pieces that I use daily and hope my children will use and save someday.
I wanted to have Kate Dunbar on the show to talk about the history and care of cast iron. Kate is my “go to” cast iron diva. She’s the founder of Kate’s Curious Kitchen and author of the Campground Gourmet as well as a fellow Girl Camper who has a camp kitchen set up that draws a crowd to her site. She’s on today’s show to share her knowledge of cast iron and a few recipes and ideas from her new cookbook.
On today’s show Kate will cover:
* The two types of cast iron; enamel and bare cast iron.
* Preheating cast iron.
* How to season a cast iron pan.
* How to properly clean a cast iron pan.
* The tools needed for cast iron cooking – Kate’s five piece starter kit.
* Cast iron cooking at the campground and home.
* Dutch oven and skillet cooking.
I’ll be cooking Live with Kate from Waxahachie, Texas when we have our Wonderful Women in Waxahachie event April 25-28. Be sure to follow Girl Camper on Facebook. Follow Kate on Facebook.
All photos courtesy of Kate Dunbar!!
Most people think of the Ford Ranger as that old, small, white truck that service industries used for a fleet vehicle. The cable guys truck. The pest control guy. Your local plumber. The Ranger was everywhere you looked from it’s debut in 1987 until production stopped in 2011. The truck was small, practical and inexpensive.
Ford has brought back the Ranger and it is NOT your light duty, clean up the back yard, truck anymore. This mid size truck has a EPA estimated MPG of 21/26 city and highway, seating for 4-5 and offers and a starting price of $24,300.
Listen to the podcast here:
Ford has also created an off road adventure version of the new Ranger that Girl Campers and any outdoor adventurer that wants a smaller truck with great MPG will be sure to love. It offers a 2.3 liter turbo charged four cylinder engine that will provide horsepower of 270. The Ranger has a gas engine that in testing has shown the best MPG of all the mid sized gas powered rivals. With an added tow package the Ranger can tow 7,500 pounds and has a payload of 1,860 pounds.
To hear more about the new Ford Ranger tune into today’s podcast interview with Chad Collandar from Ford.
On this week’s show I am chatting with friends and co founders of the Road Trip Mojo site about the music festival scene and Rving. These two things go hand in hand and Jeff Zbar and Barry Bluth have a love for both. They’ve combined that love to create a website that helps fellow music and Rving aficionados find the festivals, navigate the best ways to get there and introduce us to those in the know.
I first met Barry and Jeff at the Florida RV Show two years ago. They are both from Florida and follow the RV scene as closely as the music scene. They were at the show exploring the many new RV’s available and stopped by the Liberty Outdoors booth where I was showing off my Max trailer. I was hooked on their site the minute I logged on. First, I love their tag line, “camping with a better playlist,” and I am giving them the completely worthless “Best in Show” award from Girl Camper for the “Best RV Influencer Tag Line.” The line to me reveals their low key attitude about enjoying life, camping, music, people, and the journey. Exactly the kind of people I like to travel with.
Jeff is a writer, entrepreneur, and pioneer for the work from home movement. He just celebrated 30 years of employment from his office off the kitchen. He and his wife are almost empty nesters looking forward to that light at the end of the parenting tunnel that so many of us Rvers longing to travel more have focused on.
Barry by contrast is a dentist in a busy practice with a few more years to go before he can dig in for more RV travel. He lives in south Florida in a beautiful home on the water, enjoys cooking, and camps in a BIG and beautiful Fifth Wheel. He’s come a long way from his and Jeff’s first music festival in a borrowed tent.
To hear more of Barry and Jeff’s story on today’s podcast, click on the arrow below.
Check out Road Trip Mojo for great festivals, interviews and tips for navigating the best camp sites.
Have you ever dreamed a really big dream? A dream that wouldn’t make sense to most people? Have you ever thought of just chucking it? Quitting your job, selling your house, retiring early and hitting the road for a year or two? Leslie Abbott of southern California did and within one year of dreaming the dream, she made it happen. She retired early, sold her house and bought a Class C motor home and set out to see the country and connect with old friends.
She’s on today’s podcast talking about what propelled the dream, the steps she took to make it happen, the obstacles along the way both and how she overcame them.
Leslie has now been on the road for nine months. Long enough to have some wisdom about the full time RV lifestyle. She’s learning about her rig along the way and herself as well. Leslie chose her model because she wanted to be able to have company. Two weeks after setting out Leslie had her first guests. Her parents flew from North Carolina to the southwest to meet her and fulfill their dream of seeing the Grand Canyon.
She ventured north from there enjoying time with her sister and one of her nephews in the Ice Fields of Canada. Leslie is not traveling with a strict itinerary but rather a general idea of when she’d like to be by a certain time. When she left California she knew she wanted to spend the fall in New England and she did.
To hear Leslie’s interview you can click the arrow below.
Are you stuck in analysis paralysis? Have you seen so many RV’s that you can no longer remember which one had the Murphy bed and which was the bunkhouse? There comes a time when you have to take all the spreadsheets, pros and cons and checklists and just PICK ONE before you miss out on another season of camping!! Here’s one more checklist to help you choose the right RV for you. .
Tips for Choosing an RV
* Determine if you are going with a towable or a motor home. They each have their pros and cons and the decision will be different for everyone. A travel trailer allows you to have a touring vehicle available once you have unhitched and set up. A motor home will require you to break camp or tow a vehicle behind you to get around in once you have arrived but the travel itself is so luxurious. There’s also safety advantages to a motor home that are important to many solo women travelers. Being able to pull away without leaving your vehicle if you ever felt unsafe is a big plus to many women. The first step in pulling the trigger to your RV dream is to decide which type of RV best suits you.
* Decide which type of RVing you’re most likely to be doing. Do you want to boondock for long periods of time in remote places with no hook ups or access to water? If so you are going to want to be looking at units with large holding tanks, battery and generator power and solar panels to boost your ability to stay off the grid longer. If your plan is to resort camp at full hook up campgrounds for a few weekends a year, you may be happy with an entry level RV that keeps you cool in the heat and warm in the cold.
Listen to the podcast here:
* What are your kitchen, sleeping and bathroom needs? Do you love to cook? You are going to want to pay close attention to the available prep space, cabinet storage and refrigerator size in the kitchen of the RV you are considering. It’s also important to think about how many you want your RV to sleep. Will you use it alone or as a couple? Do you want the ability to host guests? Do you want a walk around bed or are you okay with a bed against the wall? Lastly, think about the bathroom. Do you prefer a three piece unit with a separate shower or can you live with a wet bath? Pay attention to the ventilation and lighting in the bathroom too. Many units have skylights and ceiling fans that make the bathrooms easier to keep mold free.
Pay attention to the kitchen, bathroom and sleeping area of the trailer and make sure it will meet your needs.
* Set a budget. Be sure to include the cost of annual maintenance, storage, insurance and purchase taxes in the price. Also include any upgrades you will need to make to your tow vehicle for weight distribution hitches, tow packages or lighting. Another budget component to add would be any after market products that you might want to purchase. Solar panels, tankless hot water heaters and keyless entries are a few common RV upgrades.
* Become an investigator. After you have narrowed down your choice, get online and start getting user feedback. Search the internet for user groups, chat rooms, and articles on the model that you are leaning toward. Check out the YouTube users for videos on the use and any problems the unit might have. It’s also a great place to see what modifications the owners are making. Consider renting one first from Outdoorsy or from a rental company. It could cost several hundred dollars to do this but could save you thousands if the weekend rental reveals that the bathroom, kitchen or floor plan is something that in realty is not practical for the style of camping you plan on doing. Go to RV shows and rallies and look at the different models in person. Lay on the bed, spin around in the kitchen and pretend you’re showering in the bathroom. Make sure you can use the unit comfortably.
On this weeks show we are talking about keeping those camping resolutions. I polled the Girl Campers on line to see if they had made any Camping Resolutions for the New Year. They sure did and here are the top six and a few tips for helping to keep them.
Listen to the show here!
#6 – So many people want to attend more music festivals. That’s a good thing for sure and I have just the right people to help you out here. Follow along with my friends at Road Trip Mojo. Barry and Jeff are buddies whose families indulge their love of music and RVing and sometimes even join them. They combined their love of camping and their love of music and created an outlet for those who want to “camp with a better playlist!” They’ve got a great blog full of festivals, tips and their favorite venues. Check them out if you were one of the Girl Campers making music festivals a resolution for 2019.
#5 Camp with Dogs – So many camp with dogs and it is a topic we’ve covered before. In Episode 39 of the podcast I covered Camping Etiquette with Your Dog. You can listen to that here. Also always travel with your dogs records, any medicine you may need, extra towels and blankets, a way to secure the dog at your site and always have an ID tag on your pet. Even if you have treated your dog for ticks, always check for ticks after a hike.
#4 Boondock More. I covered the big Boondocking Experiment last season in Episode 135. I tricked my husband into camping without hook ups and told all about it! You can listen here. Other great boondocking outlets to check out are Boondock.org. – a great site created by Andrew Koransky a self professed frugal camper who shares his tips for free camping and much more. Also check out We’re the Russo’s. Kait and Joe Russo made their way to the nomadic life in 2015 by purchasing a Class B motorhome. Along the way they learned a lot and created some great YouTube content along the way. There are tons of APPs for boondocking including the All Stays App, FreeRoam and US Public Lands full of free places to camp. You can also check out the Visitors Centers in any town and ask where you can park for free.
#3 Outfit the Trailer for Quick Get Aways – I have always thought that if I had everything in the camper all the time I could take off whenever I wanted without a hassle. After I combined three camping lists and outfitted the trailer with everything I could ever need I still had trouble getting out of Dodge on Friday afternoons. I discovered that I had to rearrange the way I unload on a Sunday when I get home. I clean it on Sunday nights now and bring the dirty towels and linens in then. I throw those sheets right in the washer and put them back on during the week. When I have leftovers during the week, I create a camp meal or foil pack dinner and put it in the freezer to have ready on Friday night to toss in the fridge. No stops for food or meals on Friday night traffic and the meal is a good one. Here is a link to my episode on Simplifying Weekend Getaways.
#2 Go on First Trip – You;ve got to just do it. Find a group, sign up for a trip. No trailer is necessary, Get a rented cabin. Rent a motorhome. Bunk with a friend. Stay in a tent or car camp. You have just got to make it happen. All the information has been given here and on so many sites.
Making a New Year’s resolution can be a little like setting a date to have lunch with a friend that always cancels. Sometimes we don’t really believe we are going to have to make good on it. In our series ‘Transforming in 2019’ we are taking a serious look at the things that keep us from doing the things we want to do. In week one we talked about The Mind Game. How to get in the right frame of mind for success? In week two our conversation focused on Dealing With Stumbling Blocks. What are those things that always trip us up? How can we identify them ahead of time and increase our chances of success? In week three we talked about Creating an Action Plan. They say if you want to succeed at anything you create a plan and work the plan. Bob gave us some of the elements every good action plan should include.
On this weeks show we are talking about Dealing With Setbacks. They are going to happen. My dad used to look at all of the romantic endeavors of his children and say, “the course of true love never did run smooth.” That can be applied to just about anything we set our minds to do. It’s never Point A to Point B. When the setbacks happen, how can we deal with them so they do not derail our goals? Bob Thompson, founder and CEO of Legion Transformation Center’s has led thousands of people to better health and fitness. He specializes in helping those who want health and fitness but don’t particularly love exercise or eating right. Along the way he has learned a lot about human nature. Here is Bob‘s advice on dealing with setbacks.
* Understand from the onset that there will be setbacks. Enthusiasm will wain. You might become ill. You may be asked to work overtime at work and that will interfere with your action plan. There will be situations you can’t control that will trigger you to fall back into old behaviors. From the onset, identify ahead of time what things might be waiting in the wings to trip you up. Be ready for them when they happen and don’t let them become an excuse to quit.
* When the setback happens, focus on what you can control and let the rest go. Put your energy towards the things that will bring you back to your starting point. The food you are eating. The money you are spending. The people you are hanging out with. These are all things that you have control over. Hit the reset button as soon as possible.
* Do the next right thing. Take action that will turn you back toward your goal. Do not allow yourself to become comfortable in the “old self.“ Do not beat yourself up. Don’t allow yourself to become demoralized. Call a friend and ask for encouragement. Find a member of your tribe and share what you are dealing with. Try to think of the setback as a pause button. Press unpause and move forward.
* Go back to the action plan and work it. Remind yourself of what your “why“ is. Take the bigger picture here. Do not hyperfocus on the thing that is making you pause but instead pull back and look at the big picture. Focus on the finish line and not what it is taking to get there. Behave like a long-distance runner. Don’t think about how much your feet hurt. Think about how great it’s going to feel when you cross the finish line.
Making lasting changes requires rethinking the systems we have in place. In our final installment we will be looking at staying in it for the long game.
According to Bob Thompson, transformation expert and founder of Legion Transformation Centers, in order to accomplish anything you need a strategic plan, You also have to do things that make you uncomfortable. You have to be willing to be radical. On today’s show we continue our series on transforming. In week one we talked about The Mind Game and how to create a belief in yourself. On week two’s show it was all about the stumbling blocks and how we have to create an environment for success. This week we are talking about creating an action plan.
They say to succeed you need to have a plan and work the plan but, how do we know what goes in a plan? What makes one plan better from another? Is a good plan all action steps or are there other emotional quantifiers at play?
Bob’s action plan components.
* Set the goal. Sounds simple right? Not so fast though. Most of us have an innate self protecting gene that doesn’t want to fail, be humiliated, look foolish or bite off more publicly than we are really willing to chew so we downsize our goals. I said my goal was to lose thirty pounds and Bob said, “What’s the real number?” Yikes! How did he know? I really want to lose fifty pounds but that seems daunting, unlikely, too big and more than I am willing to commit to. Bob says in order to reach our true goal, the one we only tell ourselves in our heads, we have to set a goal and then super size it. We have to make it BIG! Why make it big? Because setting an audacious goal makes us work harder. Even if we don’t reach 10K in savings, or fifty pounds or the whole marathon, the chances are higher that we will far surpass what our “play it safe” goal was. So… set a goal and blow it up!
* Put it Out There. Most of us keep our goals all tucked inside of us unwilling to risk ridicule, unsolicited advice and looking like a quitter if we drop the whole thing by month two. By putting it out there we make it real. We’re not playing it safe. We’ve created a scary situation and fear drives us with adrenaline and a higher level of motivation. We don’t want to look like a quitter and we are now more accountable to ourselves! Creating accountability increases our chances of succeeding. Say it out loud and show the world you are in it to win it.
* Be Willing to be Radical. I have to admit that I am the queen of Monday morning “cut backs.” I am not even out there enough to say diet. I start each week with the idea that this week I am going low carb and high protein and I will get a walk in at least three times after dinner. That is not exactly radical behavior and it is also exactly the kind of behavior that you fall away from by Wednesday when you worked late and your husband made pasta for dinner. Because I don’t put it out there, he doesn’t know I am “cutting back.” Bob says this is a recipe for disaster. If you want to do achieve a goal that has been alluding you, you are going to have to do things you have never done before. In the case of weight loss you may have to go old school and start weighing and measuring your food for a month. If you are getting out of credit card debt, it’s not enough to keep the plastic in the hard to reach zipper section of your pocket book. You are going to have to not just cut up the cards but call up and close the accounts. You have to take a radical approach because change requires changing habits and there’s no way to do that other than to rip th...
Change is hard! Eighty percent of those that make a New Years resolution have dropped it before February first. If we are going to get serious about change we need more than a desire to change or a frustration with our current state of affairs. We need a plan and that’s what we are doing for our Mini Episodes in January. We’re breaking down the trip hazards of change and this week we are chatting with transformation expert, Bob Thompson about how to deal with the stumbling blocks that are inevitable when we set out to change.
Listen to the podcast here.
Bob is the founder and CEO of Legion Transformation Centers. He has helped thousands of clients overcome inertia, stinking thinking and bad habits to reach their health and fitness goals. The techniques Bob talks about can be applied to any area in which we want to make a life change. What’s your goal? Traveling more? Getting a handle on your budget? Decluttering your house? Letting go of broken systems that create a cycle of failure, lost opportunities and low self esteem will require a change of mind first. We covered that in last week’s show. This week we are talking about how to deal with the friend that wants to go on a shopping day. The mother that tells you that your thick ankles are genetic and you can’t fight nature. The office buddy that keeps bringing you donuts from the employee lunch room even though she knows you’re trying to make better food choices.
Bob’s tips for reducing stumbling blocks
* Create an environment for success. You have to shape the environment for the outcome that you want. If you are a couch potato and want to be more active, cancel cable. If you are trying to pay off credit cards, don’t just take them out of your wallet, close the accounts and start paying for things with cash. If you are serious about weight loss, empty the cupboards of all junk food and don’t have anything in the house that will trip you up in a weak moment.
* Surround yourself with five people that will inspire and support you. You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with so make sure they are people who are building you up, not tearing you down. Make sure they are people who are living life fully and their attitude reflects that. Who you spend your time with is something that you can control.
* Get a mentor. Having someone to help you navigate uncharted waters is really valuable. You can find a mentor in a group related to your goal. Much like a 12 step sponsor a mentor can help you pull back and look at the big picture when you might be tempted to hyper focus on the tasks or daily grind losing sight of the goal. A mentor helps you to keep your eye on the prize. If you don’t have a volunteer mentor you can hire a coach in the area you need help in. A nutritionist can help you meal plan and a business coach can analyze your business plan and help you set realistic goals. Be willing to pay for help. When you pay for advice you will take it more seriously and when someone is paid for their services, they will be more serious about what they are giving you.
* Find Your Tribe. Whatever you are trying to do, others are also trying to do. Find a group that can support you and that you can contribute to. Create a social media group for sharing tips, offering encouragement and venting frustrations. Having others who are traveling the same road will help you realize that “it’s not you.” Everyone feels like you do while change is happening.
* Eliminate people who bring you down. If you are going to seriously go after a goal you many need to eliminate people who don’t respect and encourage that. You don’t have to break up a family over it but you might just have to detach with kindnes...
On today’s show I’m starting a five part series on transforming. I know lots of us have made New Year’s resolutions and set goals for what we want to accomplish in the coming year. It has been several years since I set a New Year’s resolution. I stopped doing it because I never finish them. Statistics show that 80% of people abandon their goal by February. Only 8% accomplish their resolution. I decided to look into the psychology of why we don’t accomplish the goals we set and look for ways to tackle the obstacles to our success.
I invited transformation expert Bob Thompson to join me in delving into this topic. Bob is the CEO of Legion Transformation Centers and has changed thousands of lives through fitness. Bob’s clients are not gym rats though. They’re me! The reluctant, the pessimistic. Those that want to be fit and healthy but really don’t like exercise. How he helps them transform was of great interest to me and it all starts with the mind.
If we want to change the way we behave, we need to change the way we think. Our best (or worst) thinking got us where we are now. Bob says that changing our mind set starts with a belief in yourself. Whoa! This is my first stumbling block. I believe in myself when it comes to homemaking, podcasting, child rearing, trip planning, traveling afar etc… those are the things I know I’m good at. I have no belief in my ability to get a handle on my health! In fact I’m a proven failure in this area. I’m the direct opposite of what one needs to succeed in this arena.
I asked Bob if you can suddenly get a belief in yourself. What if you grew up in a family where you were never encouraged? What if your whole life you have felt “less than?” Bob says that yes, you can but you have to start by asking the “why?” question. Why do I want to lose weight, save more money, get rid of the clutter in my house, be more active? On the surface we may say we want to lose weight to look better but dig deeper. When your “why” is vanity based, it’s easy to drop the goal. Over time we come to accept our shortcomings. That’s how we end up thirty pounds overweight instead of ten pounds. We passed ten by accepting it and rationalizing it and got ourselves to thirty. When our “why” is to look good at our nephews upcoming wedding we may get 15 pounds off and feel better and make that good enough but when we dig deeper and find a better “why” our goals may find better staying power. If the goal is to be healthy for our grandchildren and be able to be active in their lives or to gain better health to be around for your spouse, it’s loftier than vanity and more likely to have staying power.
Once we find a deeper “why” we can build a sense of belief in self in a few ways.
* Have the mind set that you will not be defined by the past. You are in charge of your own choices everyday. Be kind to yourself in your own mind. Speak highly of yourself to yourself. Treat yourself as you wish to be treated by others. Don’t replay a loop of past failures in your head. Stinking thinking will not get you anywhere, You are the author of your life story. Write a feel good story!! It’s your book!
* Remind yourself that your value comes from your own humanity. You’re a human being created in the image and likeness of God who, as we know, doesn’t make mistakes. He created you for a purpose and you are infinitely valuable. Remember that it is His opinion that matters most. Who cares if your boss doesn’t appreciate you or if your kids don’t call often? It’s painful but, its them and not you. It’s a broken world and when the brokenness...
On today’s show I review a few highlights and low lights from my 2018 travels. I logged over 15.5K miles and spent 98 nights in my trailer. I set out to do more boondocking, stay longer in one place and to do some more extended “solo woman traveling.” It was a wonderful year and I am thrilled with what I accomplished.
I had a lot of fun in 2018, almost too much fun. My travel schedule was exhausting at times and I felt I was away from my family too much. When trip planning it can be easy to get caught up in the wonder of far away places thinking they’re easily accessible by only a three day drive. It’s always fun getting there but not always fun getting back.
In April I traveled from NJ to Texas on a five week trip and came home via North Carolina. In June I headed to Colorado for close to a month. I switched trailers and drove to Michigan’s beautiful Upper PI in July. I was off to Maine in August to tour beautiful Acadia National Park. I spent September roaming around Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana and finished off the year with a two week trip to Stone Mountain in Georgia and then Alabama in October.
Although I loved all of my adventures I am planning on staying a lot closer to home in 2019. I want to camp more often with the friends I used to camp with in the past. I want to drive less! I want to really get to know Smokey Mountain National Park. I want to experience travel in a motor home.I want to get my husband out there more and reacquaint myself with old hobbies.
Listen to the podcast by clicking the arrow below.
Transforming in 2019
Because of all the things I want to do I am going to have to change some things that slow me down, starting with my health. I am dedicating 2019 to Transforming. That will be the theme of our Podcast this year, and I do mean “our” podcast. We have become a community of friends that help and encourage each other. That is why when I think of all of those who have written to me and have been following along for three years now but, still have not taken the leap into Girl Camping, I feel I’ve let you down in some way. There’s been a gap in our help and coverage. We used Year One to look at Overcoming the Obstacles to Being a Girl Camper by delving into the fears and misconceptions about women solo camping. We dedicated Year Two of the Podcast to Becoming a Girl Camper, covering all of the technical stuff, GVWR and Weight Distribution Hitches! Last year we looked at Finding the Right RV for you, studying the pros and cons of everything the RV industry offers. What was left to be said that hadn’t been said? It was boiling down to one thing – emotional baggage. There are things that stall us or slow us down and stop us from doing the things we deeply desire doing. It is time to look at how we can overcome those things and that is why I chose Transforming in 2019 as the Podcast theme for the coming year.
I am kicking off our year of Transforming with a five part series with Transformation Expert Bob Thompson, In our five mini episodes in January we will explore five areas that need to be looked at if we intend to stick to any of our New Years resolutions.
We will start with The Mind Game. What state of mind do we need to be in to succeed and how do we get there if we have the desire but not the will?
In Part Two we will look at how we can Identify the Stumbling Blocks. What if we are hanging on to an old core belief that we can’t shake? What if we are sabotaging our own success?
In Week Three we will look at how to Create an Action Plan for Success. They say to achieve you must have a plan and work the plan to achieve a goal but how do you make the plan?
It’s finally here!! All the details on our third annual Wonderful Women In Waxahachie event!! April 25-28, 2019. Registration is now open!
To listen to the podcast with ALL the details, click the arrow and your phone or laptop media player will play it for you!
We are going to circle our wagons once again in the best little town in Texas, Waxahachie! The site will be their beautiful Getzendaner Park where any Girl Camper is welcome to join us. You do not have to be a Girl Camper already, you do not need a tricked out vintage trailer, you don’t need to know what you are doing!! Wanna be’s and those figuring it out are not only welcomed but encouraged to come and join us. It’s a great opportunity to meet women who are already doing it, to see their set ups; trailers, tents, motor homes, cars and vans styled to delight, to learn what it’s all about from those doing it and to just have a great weekend with girlfriends old and new!
Here’s the weekend itinerary.
Thursday Arrival day. Arrive any time and someone will be there to greet you and show you to your site. Set up quickly if you want and get into town to check out the shops and restaurants or take your time greeting all of the arrivals and getting to know your neighbors. On Thursday evening we will have a group dinner in the VIP tent for the Film Festival. All of the Film Festival activities are included in your ticket. Campfire and S’Mores after dinner in the park.
Friday You’ll have a lot of choices on Friday. Take in the shows at the Film Festival. Grab a cup of coffee and meet us in the morning around our campfire for a talk by one of our Guest Speakers. Use the day to explore the City of Waxahachie, their shops, their restaurants, and their famous Gingerbread homes. Sign up for our Camper College RV Workshop at the Park, the details are below. You can also take a ride in the country and see the beautiful Texas Blue Bonnets in bloom. Before dinner Kate Dunbar, guest chef, will be demonstrating Cast Iron cooking techniques behind her trailer. There’s bound to be food and libations there. In the evening we will gather again at the VIP tent and enjoy dinner, cocktails, fellowship and friends. Campfire and S’More bar afterwards at the Park.
Saturday Another day to explore all the offerings of Friday but the Park will be open for touring. It’s not necessary to man your site but if you’re around to chat, the locals are always interested in learning what we are all about. Start the day with coffee at the Gazebo and a Continental breakfast with our Guest Speaker of the day and head out to explore. At 4 PM we will gather at the Gazebo for cocktails and to draw the winners of our tricky tray fundraiser for HoldYou Foundation. We will then commence our own walking tour of the Girl Camper set ups. We will have a final nights group dinner in the park followed by the Campfire and S’Mores bar.
Sunday Our event draws to a close. There will be a departure Brunch for the Film Festival attendees for those who can linger a little and coffee in the gazebo for those who have to pack up early and hit the road. Our City of Waxahachie hosts will be on hand to help move everyone out safely as we wrap up another fun event.
The Film Festival – The Crossroads of Texas Film and Music Festival is an annual event in Waxahachie celebrating the historic nature of this Texas town which has been the setting for so many films. Over 30 motion pictures have been filmed in Waxahachie, three of which were Academy Award Winners including Places in the Heart. Every attendee of WWW3 will receive a VIP pass to the event which gives them access to fulm screenings, concerts, food, fun and so much more. It’s a big hit every year.
City of Waxahachie – Waxahachie is full of history and so proud of their heritage.
We have spent this year exploring all of the different kinds of RV’s available. Today we are looking at the tried and true Pop Up trailer. That magic box that so many of us grew up camping in and that is still out there today. On today’s show we are taking a look at t in but don’t consider for ourselves. Maybe it’s time to reconsider this classic. Here are some of the Pro’s and Con’s of the Pop Up trailer.he frequently overlooked Pop Up trailer. This family classic is one many of us grew up
* Big and Airy – there’s lots of sitting room, sleeping areas, site lines and airflow in a pop up.
* Great Way to Start Towing – A Pop Up is low to the ground so you can see over it. There’s less wind interference. You get better gas mileage. You can see over it in the rear view mirror.
* The Sleep a Crowd – The large wing beds that slide out are King sized and can hold several small children. They also have two tables that fold down for added sleeping. There’s nothing else in their size range that can hold that many people.
* Easy to Store – They can be stored in a garage and their hard shell top allows you to stack camping equipment on top of them. You save on storage fees when you can store it at home.
* Easy to Find in the Used Market – There are so many pop-ups in the used RV market. Because they are not as popular a choice as many other models, there are more available.
* Light Weight – Compared to most travel trailers, the Pop Up is light weight and can be towed by most six cylinder vehicles.
* Less Costly to Maintain – They have fewer systems so there is less to repair and maintain.
* They fit in small spaces – Even the longest pop up is only 16′ long and can fit in most campsites.
* They are Maneuverable – A Pop Up sits high and is easy to take on dirt roads. It can also be moved around by hand when it’s disconnected from the tow vehicle.
* Requires Assembly – Has to be set up and broken down in any kind of weather
* You Can’t Access things in storage – When you are driving and need something that is stored in it you can’t simply open the door and get it. It’s folded down and not easy to reach.
* You Can’t Nap In It While On the Road – Because it’s folded down you can’t easily open it and take a nap along the way.
* Soft Side Walls – The soft side walls require maintenance and offer less protection from wildlife and cold weather. They also need to be dried out as soon as possible when the trailer has been closed up in the rain.
* Kitchens are Not Great – The kitchens in pop up are low and cooking and prepping meals in them can be awkward. Most pop up users set up a camp kitchen outdoors. They also have small sinks, very little refrigerator space and poor storage.
* Potty Situation – The porta potty in a pop up is not ideal to say the least. Some have none at all and some offer a hidden portable johnny that has to be taken out and dumped and also has no real privacy around it unless you consider a curtain on tracks adequate protection. Most people are a little more self conscious than that but if you are alone it would be a better option that a flashlight in the dark at 2 AM.
* Less of a Four Season Trailer – The Pop Up would not be a great choice in really cold weather. You can take a winterized travel trailer and stay warm in it in cold weather but the pop -up will offer less cold protection.
* Noisy – In heavy winds and rain the pop up can be a noisy option. The canvas snaps in the wind and the rain can sound like a real weather event on the canvas sides.
A Pop Up trailer is a great way to transition from tent camping to RVing.
My summer of fun with my Mini Max by Little Guy Trailers has come to an end and the good folks at Liberty are donating her to charity!!
BUY TICKETS HERE
She’s traveled over 10K miles across 14 states. Kept me safe and sound and warm and dry for over 60 nights. I’ve used her in campgrounds with full hookups, fields and driveways by solar power and in my own driveway as a quiet place to get work done.
I styled her to make me feel at home no matter where I traveled. I “wallpapered” the walls and reupholstered the cushions and cornices. I created a second set of cushions so that I could use it with as a single bed while traveling alone or return it to a Queen size when my husband camped with me. I asked the Tear Drop Shop to make me two covers, a big awning and a smaller visor. The visor and awning attach via a keder rail and can be used on either side of the trailer. I have loved this awning and use it as my “porch”. It’s been great sitting out at night when it’s raining and watching the weather. It’s great to have my chairs and table dry when there’s dew in the morning and it’s great being protected from the sun when I settle in to read a good book. The trailer is personalized and pre loved! Whoever wins it will get “my” trailer with its cushions and wallpaper and awnings!! The winner will also get a new set of twin bedding from Beddy’s Bed, a complete starter camping kit from Camco Manufacturing and a $100 girft card from the Tear Drop Shop. It’s been a great cottage on wheels and I am thrilled and grateful that Little Guy has been so generous with it.
The recipient of the raffle earnings will be HoldYou Foundation, the official charity of the Girl Camper Podcast. HoldYou is an organization that helps parents who have children enduring a medical crisis. They provide the kind of help that many parents with a sick child are in desperate need of. and that other charities often cannot offer. Keeping gas in the tank and food on the table isn’t something someone with a seriously ill child should have to worry about.
Click here to purchase tickets!
To listen to the podcast click on the arrow.
The Girl Camper dream comes in different sizes and for Jo Lynn Black, Texas retiree and quilting enthusiast it was as big as her home state! When she first dreamed the dream she thought a Class C was her destination but she took my advice and rented one before diving in. There were things she didn’t like. She kept researching and looking for a different model Class C. When she was at an RV show a salesman suggested she step into a Class A that was the same length as the C she was looking at. Eureka! Same length but because the chasis on a Class A has no step down to the driving cab it felt much bigger, like an open floor plan home.
She discovered she preferred the full wall slide out but was hesitant because she’d heard there were problems with them. She dug in online and visited the owners forums. There she learned exactly what problems existed, how they were being repaired and improved upon and the manufacturers response to the problem. She was satisfied that the early designs had been significantly improved upon and that it wouldn’t be an issue.
She also leaned heavily on the Motorhome Comparison Guide, a comprehensive rating guide featuring the products of multiple manufacturers producing Class A, B, C and B+ motor homes. It’s an expensive book but well worth the cost.
Jo Lynn took her time, used podcasts, forums, old fashioned leg work at RV shows and dealerships and rental experiences before she made her final decision.
Jo Lynn’s Tips for Finding the Right RV
* Listen to podcasts – Jo Lynn learned much from the Girl Camper Podcast and the RV Family Travel Atlas Podcast. She listened and relistened applying the advice she learned and taking her time deciding.
* Get involved in online forums – when researching a specific product get online and learn from the actual users. Online forums are where owners of particular models share information about the operation of their units. It’s a great place for trouble shooting issues and getting advice.
* Visit RV Shows – Visit lots of RV shows but do your homework ahead of time. Know what you are going there to see and stay on task. Keep a file of what is still in the running.
* Find a reputable RV dealer that you trust – Finding the right dealer may involve going to quite a few quite a few times before you feel comfortable. Making sure that you will be getting the service that you need is an important part of finding the right dealer.
* Rent first – It’s a good idea to rent the size and style RV that you are considering buying. The cost of rental can be far less than the cost of reselling a 6 month old RV. Renting allows you to feel out the motor home for size, maneuverability, layout and mileage and help you narrow down your choices.
* Attend driving school – There are quite a few rental schools and RV ownership and use schools that go a long way in bolstering confidence and enhancing the RV walk through done at dealerships.
* Make use of the Motor Home Comparison Guide– this Guide is a comprehensive look and comparison of all the models made by all of the manufacturers.
The Sewer Saddle Bag is a new product designed and developed by Jo and Dennis Baggett, long time RVers. They saw the problem of escaping methane gas at the site and dump station issues in which water pressure could cause the hose to pop out of the receptacle while dumping. They designed this saddle bag made out of 18 gauge vinyl that is nylon reinforced to solve that problem. It’s well constructed, washable and the bright yellow “caution” color makes it easy to spot. every purchase from the Sewer Saddle Bag helps Veterans in need. The bag costs $24.95 and you can get a 10% discount with the coupon code Girlcamper.
I am happy to welcome Kate Dunbar to the podcast today. She’s a former restaurateur, the genius behind Kate’s Curios Kitchen blog, Campground of the Week Podcast correspondent and hostess with the mostest at Girl Camping events all over. Kate is here to dish about her newly released ecookbook, The Campground Gourmet: Simple Delicious Recipes for Dining in the Great Outdoors.
Kate grew up on a ranch in Southern California checking the orange orchards by horseback with her sister and cousins. Sunday gatherings centered on food and family. Kate was inspired early on by the cooking shows on PBS and asked for a Weber Kettle for her 12th birthday. Today she is the one inspiring others with the recipes she’s perfected over the years.
The book has something for everyone offering appetizers, entrees, side dishes, desserts and even cocktails. The food is simple and the secret ingredient is that it’s all homemade! It seems like all cookbooks should be “homemade” but many actually contain lots of prepackaged ingredients. Everything in the Campground Gourmet,from the marinades to the rubs, is made fresh and from scratch. The simple “from scratch,” not the list of ingredients the length of your arm “from scratch.” Kate provides a detailed list of resources for everything from the products she uses in her camp kitchen to the spices she’s curated from her favorite vendors. The book can be downloaded onto your IPad or Kindle for easy access at the campground. It’s available today or a presale price of $4.99 but will go up to 9.99 on Black Friday.
Breakfast is not my favorite meal at home but at the campground I love to break out the cast iron and make a special meal. Here’s a sneak peak at what may end up being my favorite breakfast recipe, the pancake dippers!
Thanksgiving foods rank high on the top of my list of most anticipated meals. Kate’s recipe for skillet sweet potato’s with pecans and cranberries had my mouth watering when I saw it. I’m definitely going to try this at the Thanksgiving table this year. One of the things I loved about Kate’s book is that the meals are for anywhere, not just the campground. Check out this future family classic here!
Pre-Order Kate’s Book
Kate’s Camp Kitchen Complete Product Guide is available here.
In other news this week there are a few new Camp Outs posted on the Girl Camper Podcast Facebook page under Events. You can sign up for these events right on Facebook.
Petaluma Holiday Adventure- San Fransisco – Petaluma KOA December 7-9, 2018
Solano Spring – Lake Solano Putah Creek Rd in Winters, California April 4-7, 2019
What a Hoot Spring Event – Beaver Creek State Park East Liverpool, Ohio May 7 – 12, 2019
On this weeks show we continue our exploration of the different types of RV’s and their pros and cons. The Class A motohome is the largest in the motorized family ranging in length from 21’ to 45’. This list of attributes and drawbacks is not meant to be a comprehensive study of the coaches but my observations from years of viewing them at RV shows, talking with owners and former owners and as an RV owner myself.
Home Feel. The Class A really feels like a stick and brick home with full size appliances, marble counters, walk-in closets and master bedrooms. For many full timers and snow birders the interior finishes may be as nice if not nicer than their house.
Storage The Class A offers incredible storage below the coach as well as inside. Many newer models have walk in kitchen pantries and bedroom closets. The basement storage offers plenty of space for chairs, grills and golf clubs or whatever hobby you want to do on the road.
Comfortable Ride Most Class A owners report a smoother ride than their Class C cousins. The bus chasis doesn’t feel the bumps in the same way as the truck chasis Class C’s have.
Amenities The Class A’s are loaded with amenities from multiple televisions, built in WiFi and Bluetooth speakers to faux fireplaces, ducted air conditioning and lighting packages.
Pet Friendly The large open space in Class A’s make them a great choice for pet lovers. You can travel with multiple pets and have room for them to roam while you’re out for the day and while you’re driving.
Room With a View The viewing window from the cab of a Class A is hard to beat. When you have traveled thousands of miles to see Yellowstone, it’s nice to see all of it.
Auto Leveling Most Class A’s have built in leveling as a standard feature. No messing with cranks and blocks. The push of a button does all the work.
Larger Tanks. With a larger coach comes larger everything, including the holding tanks. Gray water, freshwater, black tanks and gas tanks as well. This allows you to boondock longer without needing to refill or dump tanks.
Full Season Class A coaches have all of their plumbing contained within the motorhome. Unlike a travel trailer and some other motorized vehicles, the waste pipes are not exposed allowing them to be heated in cold weather for year round use.
Tow Ready You can tow behind a Class A motor home making it possible to bring a day use car, boat, or trailer carrying motorcycles or a golf cart.
Big Size Limiting The large size can be limiting in many ways.
Not all campgrounds can accommodate the length. State and National Parks that were built in the 1930s often have limited availability for motorhomes of this size.
HOA’s may have regulations against parking somethings this size in your driveway.
Not all roads can accommodate Class A’s. Tunnels and bridges are sometimes too low and narrow for them to pass through.
Tourist sites often have limited parking for vehicles this size and parking can become an issue.
Maneuverability The size of Class A’s make getting around a little harder than smaller models. It’s not easy turning around on single lane or back roads. Getting gas requires some skill and maneuvering parking lots can be a challenge.
Expensive Bigger also means costlier. More materials, more components, more labor costs, and higher shipping rates equals bigger purchase price.
Repair costs will ge higher. The larger the trailer, the more working parts, the more things that can go wrong. Slides, pumps, multiple AC units are all subject to needing repair. The more complicated the coach, the higher level technician needed to work on it at a higher hourly rate.
Maintenance and use will also cost more. The larger the coach the higher the cost of gas, insurance, maintenance and replacement parts.
Need a Day Use Car All motor homes are the ride as well a...
On this weeks show I welcome DeBorah Loomis. Her entry into the Girl Camping World reads like an episode of I love Lucy. Every imaginable thing went wrong but Deborah just kept searching for that side door. She was determined to make her dream happen. Her story is a lesson in hope, perseverance, and faith.
It had been years since DeBorah camped but she somehow stumbled onto the Girl Camper Podcast and then the Sisters on the Fly. She felt an instant kinship with the group and made up her mind to buy a trailer and learn to tow.
DeBorah learned to tow by jumping in the deep end and just doggy paddling until she got it. Her son accompanied her from Georgia to Indiana to pick her trailer up. She just got behind the wheel and took verbal tips and encouragement on her way back to Georgia.
After two years of trip taking two or three hours from home Deborah bit the bullet and signed up to do a trip with the sisters on the fly in Texas. She caravaned from Georgia with two other sisters on the fly. It was a grand adventure and a great conference builder.
Fall Gear Guide – Part Two
On this week’s show I continue my Fall Gear Guide. Last week we covered all of the things having to do with Food Fun. This week we are moving on to cover all the other gear relating to camping and glamping. I’m going to start with a few glamping items.
Victorian Trading Company – makes a whole set of floral glamping gear that every serious Glamper will love. If you are part of the Shabby Chic club or have a Nostalgia driven decorating style you will really love these. They offer a glamping gazebo with optional bug netting, a glampers sleeping bag and two different styles of chairs all available in a pretty yellow background with red and mauve colored cabbage roses and pretty greens all over it.
The Glamping Gazebo is a great dining room for camping. It comes assembled in a wheeled bag that is easy to pull around. It also has handles. It has a locking system that allows you to put it up alone although it goes up quicker with two people. It’s really easy to take down. We set it up at the Country Living Fair and it will hold 8 chairs beneath it. It’s waterproof and has bug netting available with it. It costs $199.00 and the bug netting is an additional $79.00.
The Chintz Chair – single or duo. Your basic Camp Chair with great fabric on it. Cup holders in arms and cute carrying bag to boot. The single chair is $29.95 and the dual “tete a tete” is $49.95.
The Glamping Sleeping Bag – A great common use bag for tent camping, grandkid sleepovers or as a body sleeve while sitting around the campfire. This bag is nylon on the inside so if you are wearing flannel jammies you are free to twist and turn. It’s a heavy cotton on the outside so if you have another blanket on top of it, it will not slip off. The glamping bag costs $39.95.
Geek Air Hand Held Fan – There are two versions of this. One is hand held and one has a stand and a detachable battery pack that allows you to use it in a pinch to charge your phone or something else. It’s an America’s Choice product on Amazon and they sell for $19.99 or $24.99. I have both but if you are only buying one, I’d go with the stand model which allows you to position it to blow on you at your desk, picnic table or tent. It takes 3-4 hours to recharge it and it lasts 3-12 hours depending on which setting you have it on. It also has a strap to hang it up and a LED light to indicate fan speed and remaining battery life.
Motion Activated LED Security Light – This light is a great way to add additional security to your campsite. I liked the idea that it’s battery operated and can be put on a trailers tongue jack, tree or campground post for lanterns to set off a light if anyone approaches your campsite. I spent a restless anxiety filled hour when I heard something moving around the outside of my trailer while camping last spring. I didn’t want to open the shades and risk being seen and I toyed with the idea of setting off the alarm on my car. Eventually the noise ended and an hour or two later I was finally comfortable that no one was out there. It turned out to be an animal as evidenced by the garbage strewn about the campsite.
It’s that time of year again and I am sharing my favorite gear from my summer camping adventures. I am starting off this two part series with all things food!! My favorite things that made prepping, cooking, serving and eating better!
Fresh Paper – It’s the little company that could. These are paper sheets that are infused with aromatics and botanicals that keep food fresher longer, up to 2-4 x’s longer. You can use them in the refrigerator or on the counter top in your fruit bowl. Each sheet lasts about thirty days. It is reported that 25% of the food that we purchase is lost to spoilage. I think it might be higher in my house where I keep buying as if I am cooking for 4 or 5 when most of the time it’s two… a habit I have been unable to break. They also have sheets or bread now that can be put in a cookie jar or a muffin tin. The original Fresh Paper product can go in the produce drawer of your refrigerator and even in a bag of spinach in the fridge to keep it from beginning its journey to the rubbish bin sooner than necessary. I used these all summer and if they are still emitting a Maple smell, they are still working. I actually write the date on mine with a pen though when I put it in the fridge. They are inexpensive and save you money. In the RV where the refrigerator is not as cold as at home and is subject to more ebbs and flows in temperature when you travel about, they are really effective. On Amazon they sell for 7.16 for 8 sheets. Each sheet lasts 30 days so it costs less than a dollar a month. The bread sheets cost $7.75.
Air Lock Bag Resealer – While we’re on the subject of wasted food lets talk about the gadget that keeping me in crackers. The Air Lock Bag Resealer reseals any plastic bag to airtight status. Potato chips, salad bags, cookies and crackers can all be resealed with this little gadget that is smaller than an office stapler. It’s done by heat and comes with a USB charger to recharge it. Each charge though can provide 1000 seals without having to recharge it. That’s a whole lot of sealing going on. It reseals any type of bag and weighs only 2.5 oz. My favorite thing is that it is magnetic and after you use it, you just pluck it on the fridge until the next time you need it so you’re not digging around the utensil drawer trying to find the smallest item in there. This was a big win for me because of crackers. I have a “go to” appetizer that I always bring to happy hour and it’s a bunch of Italian meats with olives, artichokes and cheeses. I always bring crackers but the whole box never gets eaten. Chips never sit in my house or camper long enough to go stale but crackers do. This little gadget reseals crackers and if I use them a month later, they are still super fresh. The Air Lock is available on Amazon and is a Top Rated item. It costs $16.99 and has over 300 reviews with a four star average. I think it would pay for itself pretty quickly!
Wildwood Grilling – Wildwood Grilling is all about infusing flavor into food. They offer aromatic wood chips and blocks for smoking foods, wood planks for grilling on, wooden skewers and wraps for kabobs and meats and veggies you might want to cook on indirect heat. They have everything you need to take any camp cook out up a n...
On this week’s show I have the honor of interviewing a woman I greatly admire, Vicki Hill. Vicki is an avid hiker, outdoors-woman and experienced Car Camper. She keeps her trips as simple as possible in order to keep her focus on what she is there to do, enjoy the great outdoors. Vicki’s love affair with hiking began later in life by most people’s standards. She became interested in hiking and camping while chaperoning Boy Scout trips for her two teenage sons. She fell in love with the outdoors and bought some camping gear to use as a family when not camping with the Scouts. After her sons aged out of Scouts Vicki and her husband camped with them as a family. When her sons and daughter headed out to start their own lives Vicki found few people who shared her passion. She soon realized that while she enjoyed the company on a camping trip, she didn’t need someone to come along with her in order to do it.
This past summer Vicki left her home in Kansas for an extensive trip hiking and camping on her own. She travels in her car without a trailer or even a tent and has honed her layout and equipment down to just what she needs. She is a bare bones camper who enjoys dispersed camping in out of the way places where she can really enjoy the feeling of space. I learned so much from Vicki about her “rules” for a woman camping in such out of the way places completely alone. She and her husband have a system for communicating that all is well (or possibly not) when she is in places with little or no wifi. To listen to Vicki’s interview click on the arrow at the bottom of the post and be prepared to be inspired.
On this weeks show I welcome Joel Holland, owner and COO of Harvest Hosts, a network of wineries, farms and unique locations that offer overnight parking for fully contained RV’s. Joel and his wife took an extended RV vacation crossing the country and enjoying the open road. The feeling of freedom often left them though when they pulled into a crowded campground and spent the night sandwiched between other trailers with obstructed views. They were members of Harvest Hosts and really enjoyed the opportunities that membership offered them to meet new people, stay in beautiful settings and experience what life is like “on the farm.” Joel liked the experience so much that he tracked down the founders and owners of the company and got to know them. After many conversations and mutual agreement they sold the company to Joel. He is now honoring the founders original intent while taking the company in new directions.
Harvest Hosts is membership based with an annual fee of $49. With that fee you gain access to over 600 sites that offer overnight parking on their property. There is no fee for this parking but you are encouraged to make a purchase at the location. Some owners allow multiple night stays but that is at their own discretion. With membership you will receive access to a site map with locations and contact information to make reservations. Drop ins are not allowed. There is also an App that allows you to search by RV size and preferred location type. Harvest Hosts is offering a 10% discount to Girl Camper Podcast listeners when you join. The coupon code is Girlcamper.
I have had a membership to Harvest Hosts for a year now but still have not used it. I have bookmarked several properties though for my fall trip down south!
We also have a give away this week in celebration of our Fall Season. We’re kicking off Fall with a drawing for a Camco Big Red Campfire. .
Some of the things I love about my Big Red Campfire!!
* quick set up – without the fuss of firewood and kindling I have an instant fire.
* it’s usable at most state and national parks when there is a fire ban in place
* no smoke! I get to enjoy the fire and warmth without the stinging eyes and wheezing lungs
* it’s cost effective – the fireplace pays for itself in the savings on firewood
* time saver – I love that I can use the campfire for fifteen minutes and turn it off
To be in the running go to Instagram and Follow Camconet and tag a friend. You also have to go to www.girlcamper.com and subscribe to our email list. A winner will be chosen and announced on our October 16th show!
This summer I took my youngest on a Mother / Daughter road trip from New Jersey to the western side of Colorado to camp in the Grand Mesa National Forest. It was my hope to teach her to tow, something she was not excited about. While I was doing the driving I was tutoring my daughter on things to be aware of when behind the wheel. I used Mark Polk’s tips for towing to teach her road awareness, merging rules, and safe speeds for the conditions and terrain. As we rolled along though I saw a few things that became lessons in the “what not to do” category.
Don’t load a bunch of stuff on the bumper of your trailer and then not properly secure it.
Many rear hitches on RV’s are designed to carry a bicycle rack or bumper cargo carrier for a generator or cooler. They are generally rated for about 150 pounds. Carrying coolers, generators, extra lawn chairs and grills and strapping it all down with bungee cords is a recipe for disaster. We were driving behind an RV with a fully loaded cargo bumper carrier filled with all of these things. In addition they also had large blocks of wood that were bouncing around because they were not secured properly. I moved to the right lane to avoid the debris falling off the back of the RV. Both blocks of wood came off and landed on the highway in heavy traffic. If you carry gear on the outside of your RV secure it with ratchet straps and/or cargo netting and make sure you’re not exceeding the weight limit.
Stay a safe distance while caravanning with friends.
We sadly witnessed the rear ending of one trailer by another in a congested area. Sometimes those traveling in groups feel the need to stay right next to each other and tailgate too closely in order to prevent other vehicles from getting between them. The whole point of caravaning is that you are vacationing together, not driving together. If you give yourself several miles of length between the lead driver and the tail of the caravan everyone arrives at roughly the same time. The lead driver and the tail driver should be in touch by walkie-talkie or hands-free cell phone. The lead driver sets a safe speed and the tail driver makes sure no one has broken down and the group is staying together within several miles. When you are slightly staggered and you arrive at the campground several minutes apart, there is no line to check in.
Dont forget to put the cap on your sewer hose bumper storage.
This little mishap was actually kind of funny. A trailer in front of us forgot to put the cap on the bumper with their sewer hose stored in it. Every time they turned to the right a little more of the hose came out of the bumper. On a sharp curve the whole thing finally fell out and rolled onto the shoulder. Although we honked we were unable to get the drivers attention. Unfortunately unless his next camping site was a full service one he would be unlikely to discover the loss until the next time he was at the dump station with a full tank! Make sure this step is on your exit checklist!
When moving your trailer just a few feet to adjust it on a site, be sure to roll the tongue jack all the way up.
This mistake is one of my very own. I had my trailer parked at home and I just wanted to move it forward a few feet. I hitched it to the car and rolled the tongue jack up 6 or 8 inches. I didn’t bother to pull it all the way up because I was only pulling the trailer forward a few feet. Sure enough though I hit a divot and the tongue jack struck a rock and bent. I was unable to move it up or down. It wasn’t the most expensive RV mistake I’ve ever made but it was a real nuisance. The whole tongue jack had to be replaced because I didn’t take the extra 15 seconds to roll it all the way up. Live and learn.
Girl Camper: Episode 113 Towing Tips with Mark Polk
On this weeks show I’m sharing Jason Stevenson’s Ten Hiking Blunders Beginners Make. Jason is the author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Backpacking and Hiking.Jason wrote the article for Backpacker Magazine. I had a small problem with the altitude while hiking in Colorado this summer. While searching for tips on hiking in high altitude I came across this article with great advice. I made a few of these mistakes and was still making a few of them. I definitely had a limited First Aid Kit and needed to add a few things to it. How many of these mistakes have you made?
Top Ten Hiking Blunders as per Jason.
#1 Hiking in denim
#2 Buying your tent or sleeping bag at Walmart
#3 Hiking a trail with a road map
#4 Packing a first aid kit as if you’re landing on Omaha Beach
#5 Being overheard saying, “lightning can’t strike me – I’m not carrying anything metal.”
#6 Going ultra light without ultra experience.
#7 Wearing boots fresh from the box
#8 Starting too late in the day
#9 Ignoring the weather forecast
#10 Skimping on leave no trace
Today I am looking more closely at the Leave No Trace Program. I have always thought that the program was a single directive, “take out what you brought in.” Gail Bable, Ohio State University certified Naturalist and Beaver Creek State Park Camp Host is with me today to talk about the seven principles of the program which was formally adopted by the National Forest Service in the mid 1980’s. In addition to these principles the program covers education, training, conservation efforts and research and outreach. A Boulder, Colorado based staff carries out the programs missions and educational workshops.
The Seven Leave No Trace Principles
* Plan ahead and prepare
* Travel and camp on durable surfaces
* Dispose of waste properly
* Leave what you find
* Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire.)
* Respect wildlife
* Be considerate of other visitors
In July I had the opportunity to camp at Mill Creek Campground in Mackinac City, Michigan when Liberty Outdoors hosted its annual Tear Stock event there. It’s a large family owned campground started in 1965 and is still owned by the same family today.
The Campground has over 1 mile of shoreline on the Straits of Huron and offers waterfront campsites for tent, trailers and motor homes as well as a rental cabins. Although it offers over 600 sites the campground is laid out well, is very large and doesn’t feel crowded.
One of my favorite features is the great lawn, an area along the straits that the original designers designated as community space. Rather than allow campsites directly on the water there is a large open area that everyone can enjoy. About every 100 feet there is a fire pit available so that anyone from any section of the campground can come and enjoy the water, the views of the Mackinaw Bridge and the colorful sunsets.
The Campground has public swimming beaches, a large pool, game room, bike rentals, and a great camp store with a large selection of camping gear, groceries, liquor and hot food service. The roads throughput the campground are paved which makes bike riding to and from the beaches, pool and camp store a pleasure. The sites are nicely landscaped with native plants offering shelter and privacy. The sites are level but not paved.
The campground itself is a great destination for a family vacation, reunion or rally. You could spend aceeek there enjoying bike riding, beaches, water sports and fishing but there’s a lot to do in the area. You can cross the Mackinaw Bridge and explore the Upper Peninsula or take a ferry to Mackinaw Island and visit the Grand Hotel for high tea. There are no cars allowed on the island but bike rentals are available. You can also pay a fee and take your own bike over on the ferry.
The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is a short distance away with displays on the Edmund Fitzgerald and lesser known maritime disasters. Other points of interest include The Historic Mill Creek Discovery Center, The Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, Colonial Michilimackinac, and the Headlands International Dark Sky Park.
On this week’s show I welcome my very own real life sister Natalie Hill. Natalie is a wife, mom and the founder of Holdyou Foundation, the official charity of the Girl Camper Podcast. Besides being incredibly altruistic she’s my only sibling that camps and she camps the old school way – in a vintage trailer with no AC, propane or plumbing. I thought it would be cool to send Natalie out to an RV Resort to experience camping from another perspective. As we like to say here at the Podcast, there’s no wrong way to Camp Like a Girl. We sent her to the Highways West Flying Flags RV Resort and Campground in Buellton, California for a weekend of camping and pampering. She’s here today to share the inside story on luxury camping.
Highways West Resorts has ten locations on the west coast offering luxe family getaways in resort settings for campers, glampers and those looking for a destination location that also offers all the things we love about camping. These high end campgrounds are loaded with amenities for all ages. Multiple pools, restaurants, glamping tents that are magazine worthy, and cabins and cabanas all in a pristine setting. Their Beullton, California location was the first in their brand and they spent millions of dollars transforming a once a sleepy campground into a resort that you could spend your whole vacation at. They then took that model and began building a series of destination campgrounds and resort facilities along the west coast. The results allow not only RVers, but those without trailers as well, to have a camping experience while being pampered and treated to all of the amenities we love on resort vacations. It’s the perfect blend of camping and glamping.
To look for a Highways West destination near you or for your next road trip, family getaway, girlfriend weekend or solo trip, follow this link!
Here are a few links I talked about in today’s show. To get tickets to the Country Living Fair in Ohio on September 14-16, 2018 or to the Stone Mountain event near Atlanta, Georgia on October 26-28.
Don’t forget about our Camper College event at General RV in Canton, Ohio on October 5, 2018.
On this week’s show I am continuing my exploration of all the available trailer types out there for Girl Campers and everyone else and this time it’s my personal favorite, the Teardrop trailer. Born in the 1930’s as a mobile shelter for the Great Depression nomads traveling from job to job, they’ve evolved and steadily held the public’s interest for close to 90 years. From the 1940’s dreamer reading the plans under covers by flashlight in Mechanix Magazine to today’s dreamers clicking away on line at all the different options, the teardrop remains an American classic, a symbol of bold spirits and a means for just about anybody to hit the road and see America the Beautiful.
The first Teardrops were made in the 1930’s and served mostly utilitarian purposes for the Great Depression era job seekers traveling from town to town. They were sparce, offering a bed and a rear camp kitchen to store a propane cooking stove and coffee pot. They were made from salvaged materials and used old car tires. In the 1940’s they were made from WWII scrap materials and were projects for the home mechanic. A 1947 article in Mechanix Illustrated contained the plans for a homebuilt trailer and set off a wave of enthusiasts building them for recreational purposes. In 1945 the Kit Kamper Company was formed in California and is still in operation today. They quickly discovered that there was a market for already built trailers and not just the kits. They made a few prototypes and at their first exhibition took over 500 orders.
The teardrop trailer is still popular today and is experiencing a bit of a boom. The trailers resonate with those who wish to travel lightly, cost effectively and without the necessity of a large tow vehicle. Below is my list of the pros and cons of teardrop trailers.
* Fits in a garage. Many people have HOA restrictions that do not allow a trailer to be parked in their driveway, A garagable teardop is a good solution for those who want their trailer accessible and don;t want to pay additional storage fees. It also protects it from the weather saving the cost of building an outdoor cover or purchasing an expensive cover for it.
* Towable by most vehicles. There are teardrop trailers available that are as light as 1K pounds. If you have a vehicle that you are attached to and don’t want to own a large tow vehicle you can find a teardrop to fit that car. Being able to travel lightly and not have a separate tow vehicle is a big plus to teardrop owners.
* Price. The teardrop comes in a wide range of prices. There are many national teardrop manufacturers as well as many small privately owned builders who can custom build a teardrop to your size, specifications and budget. Of all the available trailer types out there, the teardrop is the most budget friendly.
* Easy to tow and maneuver. Because of its light weight the teardrop is easily towed and maneuvered. It’s much less intimidating to the new RVer. Among the Girl Campers it’s often referred to as the starter trailer. Many newbies start out with a teardrop and once they feel comfortable towing move up to something larger. It’s also much easier get around in a teardrop. Getting gas, backing into campsites and hitching up are all easier with a small trailer.
* Beats a tent any day of the week. The statistics show that the top buyers of teardrop trailers are those graduating from tent camping. There’s comes a time when even the most die hard minimalist just wants a real bed to sleep in off the ground. A teardrop allows you to keep your gear stored for quick weekend getaways and still allows you to enjoy the outdoors without TV’s. holding tanks, generators and all the accouterments that come with large RV’s.
* Add on options. Teardrops have great add on options that maximize and expand the available space. Big awnings, visors,
There are so many places I want to camp in and foreign countries make that list as well. When I see pictures of New Zealand I always imagine myself there. My sister lived there at one time and I have many friends who have traveled there on vacations but not to camp. On this week’s podcast I interview world traveler Jackie Gishbaugher about her recent trek to New Zealand for a van camping tour of the lush island. Jackie and her partner Nate are taking a gap year to explore the continents and New Zealand is best explored on four wheels. Jackie and Nate share their experience as well as trip planning and camper van rental advice for camping in New Zealand.
Jackie writes a blog, A Gish Out of Water, all about her and Nate’s adventures abroad. Nate also does a podcast, Oyster World Radio which can be found on ITunes and other Podcast outlets.
On this week’s show I am taking a fresh look at ways in which to find money for travel and possibly a trailer purchase. RV travel is the most budget friendly way to see the country. It offers a flexibility that resorts and hotels cannot. You can choose different levels of campgrounds and services, types of travel trailers and ways in which to eat – all of which impact the bottom line and increase the amount of travel you are able to do. Whether you are in a Class A coach at a high end RV resort or rented used trailer at a state park, when you are taking in the majestic beauty of our National Parks, the view is the same for all!! Today, I am taking a look at some new ways to find money in your budget for travel and trailers.
* Facebook Marketplace – Sell stuff you’re not using. Marketplace was started two years ago as a rival to Craigslist. Its’ user friendly, has features that let you set a radius to promote to, has a payment feature and allows you to set the terms for pick up. I have used it several times to get rid of things that are too valuable for a Goodwill donation. I am still not recouping what I paid for antiques I’ve owned but aren’t using now. but I am getting more than garage sale prices and I am putting it in my travel account. The trick is to not get caught up searching and buying instead of selling!!
* Food Delivery Services – There has always been local pizza delivery but now a wide range of restaurants offer food delivery through Apps such as Post Mates, Door Dash and now Uber Eats. It’s a flexible job that allows you to work when you can and when you want to. You can work every other weekend and still have time for your normal weekend activities. With most of these services you need a valid drivers license, proof of insurance, and be at least 19 years of age. Weekends between 11 PM and 1 AM are peak in big urban areas.
* Automate your Savings – Like an old school Christmas club or vacation club but now automated. Ask your employer to automatically deduct a percentage of your paycheck that goes straight into an account designated for travel or trailer savings. If the funds never get into your checkbook they won’t be there to use for other discretionary purchases. It’s the old “pay yourself first” idea but not for retirement, for something fun!
* Freelance Your Skill Set – It’s never really been easier to get a side hustle going. You don’t have to post homemade paper ads for lawn cutting or window washing on the supermarket wall or laundromat anymore. Social media sites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and Up Work allow you to market your professional services. Up Work can be used by consumers and providers to search for or provide services such as photography, accounting, party planning, IT help, legal work and web design. Both sides pay a fee on a sliding scale and the site provides the platform for users to chat, file share, track time and get paid. Consider what skill or hobby you have that is easy for you but torture for others and put your talent to work making money for you.
* Rent Your Trailer – If you already own a trailer and it’s sitting in your driveway when not being used by you consider renting it locally through Outdoorsy, RV Share or Campanda. Rules vary within each company but you choose the price per night and whether you will provide linens and provisions or the renter will need to bring their own. The RV industry research shows that RV owners use their units 3-4 weeks a year.
On this weeks show it’s my pleasure to welcome Laura Fahrenthold, author of the Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles. Laura and her husband, Mark Pittman were living their dream life in New York. They were both writers, Mark in the financial world for Bloomberg and Laura as a featured writer at Woman’s World. They were raising 8 and 10 year old daughters when the unthinkable happened, Mark suffered a fatal heart attack at home one night and passed away before their eyes.
Laura had no choice but to carry on. Marks congenital heart condition made insurance impossible for him to obtain so Laura was suddenly the only parent and principal bread winner as well. After months of watching the girls sinking in sadness she decided to take them on a summer camping trip away from the house where it all happened. Away from the spot where the medics worked to revive Mark. Away from the bedroom he passed away in. Away from the room mommy comforted them in. Laura thought that camping would move their minds from trauma to fun. That first tent camping trip led them to HaRVey, an old motor home looking for a family. The spontaneous purchase changed their lives.
The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles is not a book about widowhood and single parent survival tips. It’s a book of hope and humor and overcoming your fears. Laura and her daughters eventually took HaRVey across the country leaving Marks ashes in his favorite places, places he would have wanted to see and going full circle and finishing up in his hometown in Kansas. The stories along the way are funny and poignant but mostly full of love.
Laura is now on her book tour in HaRVey and is teaching her daughter to drive him. Their adventures continue and a new generation takes the wheel. Tune in to hear Laura’s story of inspiration and determination.
My topic on this week’s podcast is forming a regional Girl Camping group and my guest is Sharon Cormican, co founder of the Rocky Mountain Glampers. Sharon is a member of several Girl Camping groups but was looking for more regional camp outs with women who lived in her area and had similar interests. When she didn’t find these people in the groups she already belonged to, she started her own group. They say you write the book you wanted to read, well Sharon formed the club she wanted to join.
Some of the issues she was experiencing have been stated by many members of larger groups.
* Events close up before you can sign up for them.
* They can be clique with older members reuniting with old friends they’ve camped with before and leaving newcomers feeling left out. Although you may meet new people there can be a feeling of being on the outside when groups are too big. Old members think someone else is making newcomers welcome and in reality no one is acting as hostess.
* Camp outs themselves can be too large and the intimacy can be lost.
* It’s not always easy to find people with your camping style in large groups. The large events tend to be more of a party than a camp out and finding the hikers, fisherwomen, kayakers or whatever form of camping activities you prefer can be harder.
* The events taking place in national groups are sometimes too far away to be able to participate in on a weekend.
* Many of the posted trips are big events planned months in advance that require non refundable deposits and big fees for things you may not want to do.
* Sometimes the “rules” within groups are just too daunting to those who just “want to camp.”
Although I keep my membership in bigger groups because I love the parties and celebratory gatherings once or twice a year my main goal is to camp more often in small groups with people who like to hike, kayak and fish. I understand the frustration of those who aren’t crowd people and are looking for a truer camping experience. The best of both worlds would be to keep the big groups if they make you happy and you enjoy the camaraderie which takes place at events as well as on line. It ‘s a great resource for tips, tricks, advice and recommendations but if it’s not feeding your inner Girl Camper, consider these ways to find local groups to camp with in the way you enjoy it.
Start looking for like minded locals using:
* Facebook. Pick a name, state your goals, and run a targeted ad finding those people and host a get together. It’s not much harder than that. Just start. I have used Facebook targeted ads to find women in all different cities when I do speaking engagements and they have been very successful. You don’t need hundreds of people to respond. My NJ tribe of Girl Campers is about 18 women who come and go as lifes demands allows. We can usually pull a few trips together with 4-5 of us with a few weeks notice.
* Meet-Up. Start a group on Meet-Up.com and find a tribe the same way. Write a good mission statement about what your goals are. Limit the rules to keep it simple. Plan an event to kick it off and let it evolve from there. I found my NJ tribe through Meet Up and have been camping with them for a few years now. We have a simple system for weekend camp outs. A hostess picks a date and location and everyone makes their own reservations. There are no fees with any camp outs. We meet and share appetizers or light snacks on Friday nights. Breakfast and lunch are on your own. On Saturdays we do BYOP – Bring Your Own Protein. Someone offers their site for for cooking and we eat leftovers from the night before as side dishes and cook up a protein on the community grill. Normally someone offers to bring a salad, side dish or dessert. We never go hungry.
* Community Outreach – Public libraries,
On this week’s show I am talking about dry camping and I also welcome a VERY special guest, my own husband and patron of my hobbies, Rick Pettit. Regular followers of the show know he’s “not a camper!” He is however a great husband and a couple times a year indulges me in some couple camping. I talked him into joining me for an 8 day camp out at Rocky Mountain National Park and “forgot” to tell him that our site had no hook-ups. There was a nearby spigot for water but no running water, electric (no AC) or sewer. In this episode we break down what we learned boondocking or dry camping, two phrases that are often used interchangeably.
First he had to ask, “and why are we doing this?” Good question. The answer for me was simple. In short it’s prettier, closer to nature, quieter and cheaper.
* Location. Location. Location. You cannot beat the beauty of the sites in remote areas and National Parks and the vistas they offer. It seems the more remote, the less likely to have amenities but there is something better than on demand electric usage and that’s a site with a view.
* There’s also often more access to wildlife in its natural habitat. Each night we enjoyed sitting and watching the elk graze in the valley below. You don’t get that at large franchised campgrounds.
* The quietness that boondocking offers campers is another big draw. It’s not the kind of camping drawing racous crowds of revelers keeping you up half the night.
* Lastly, there’s the cost. We paid $13 a night for our site at Rocky Mountain National Park, about 1/5 of what we pay to camp in a campground on the east coast.
Much of boondocking boils down to conservation of some kind. The number one thing to conserve is water. We had a full 30 gallon fresh water tank, a 20 gallon grey water tank and a 9 gallon black tank.
* Switch to paper plates
* Wash dishes outside in old school camp kitchen
* Use basin in sink to catch water and then dump outside
* Have a good supply of refillable water jugs
Change Shower Habits
* Military Showers – pits and sits
* Don’t use water from fresh water tank. Heat water from reserve supply on stove and use old school wash basin to “bathe”
* Get a shower bag and fill it from campground tap in the morning and leave it on picnic table to heat up in the sun. Bring it in and use it in your trailer shower.
* Use Epic Wipes and dry shampoo
Minimize Water Going Into Your Grey Tank
* Do your dishes outside
* Flush quickly
* If you are in a campground use the camp bathroom
* Get a shower tent and shower bag
* Use biodegradable soaps and dump water outside when possible
* Cook outside when possible
* Turn on heat to take the chill off but then use wool blankets to stay warm at night
* Make more than one meal at a time. Cook the chicken breast for lunch while you are making bacon and eggs for breakfast
* Refrain from opening the fridge too often. Put drinks and things you want to get at often in a cooler with ice
* Keep back up propane tank in the bed of tow vehicle
* Bring extra water and empty water containers with you
* Plan meals to avoid going into town
* Make sure you fill the fresh water and dump the grey and black water before you get to your site
* Know where the spigot is at the campground and get a site close to it
* Have extra water and propane in case you run out
* Have a funnel to put water in your fresh water tank by hand if necessary
On today’s show I am talking towing technology with Brian Bell, the Ford Marketing Manager for F150’s and the Ford Ranger. Each week in my mail bag I receive letters from women wishing to hit the road in an RV and they often express the same fear – towing! “I’m afraid to tow.” “I don’t think I can hitch a trailer up by myself.” “I won’t be able to park it at the campground.” “I’m so afraid of trailer sway.”
I can tell you this – these are concerns for many people and the engineers at Ford have been developing technology that makes towing easier and safer than ever before. Today Brian Bell is talking about the F150, Ford’s biggest selling truck. I have had an F150 fan since I bought my first truck over 11 years ago. That V8 5.7L work truck had very few amenities but was as comfortable and reliable as an old shoe. When I replaced it my husband insisted I buy one with a few more bells and whistles considering the number of miles I drive each year. I bought the Lariat V6 3.5L ecoboost with lots of bells and whistles.
* The rear camera is great for backing up and hooking up the trailer especially when I am traveling alone. Rather than getting in and out of the truck cab to see where I am I can maneuver the truck to the trailer hitch in one move.
* My new truck has a built in trailer brake controller for use when I need a little extra braking power.
* Tow Haul Mode allows me to not have to figure out myself what gear I should be in for the conditions I am driving in. It automatically “reduces gear hunting, improves power delivery.”
* The Smart Trailer Tow Connector lets me run through a check list to make sure I have not forgotten any of the steps in hitching up.
Ford has many other towing features that provide not only safety but confidence on the road.
Trailer Reverse Guidance offering three cameras to assist in backing up and maneuvering a trailer. This is a great feature for those new to RVing concerned about backing into a campsite, getting in and out of a parking lot and getting gas in tight spots.
Lane Keeping Alert sounds to let you know you may be drifting out of your lane.
The Smart Trailer Tow Connector allows drivers to be alerted to problems with their trailer lights and battery,
Anti Sway Technology
Trailer Reverse Guidance
In addition to all of the smart towing features I really love my rear step that folds out of the tailgate allowing me to get in and out of the bed of the truck much easier; the heated and air conditioned seats; the hands free features for using the phone while driving and the leather seats which are not only comfortable but so easy to clean and maintain. Last year I drove close to 30K miles and this year it’s looking like I will match or beat that number. I am so glad that I decided on the Lariat since in so many ways my truck is my office, home away from home and safe harbor when I am on the road.
I really hope that knowing about these available features helps ease the fears that those new to towing have. It has never been more comfortable or safer to tow an RV. Click here for more information about the F150.
On Part Two of my interview with Karen Peterson, solo woman traveler, I ask Karen the questions that wannabe solo travelers submitted on line. Many people are drawn to the open road and adventure. They seek the opportunity to spend significant amounts of time in places they’ve only seen in photos or stayed in for a week or two vowing to return to when time and budget allowed. Those dreams can sustain you when you are counting down the days until retirement but there are practical concerns that need to be addressed when taking months long road trips or endeavoring to become a full timer in an RV. I asked the Girl Campers what they wanted to know about the practical side of Karen’s life on the road. Here are a few of the questions.
* How do you get mail?
* How do you address health issues far from home?
* How often do you connect with family?
* Does someone know where you are at all times?
* Have you been ripped off for motor home repairs because you are a woman?
* What do you do in really bad weather?
* What about safety? Do you carry a gun?
* How do you fend off loneliness?
* Do you have any hobbies on the road?
* Do you travel with pets?
* Do you create a routine for yourself?
* Are you on a budget and have you had to increase it?
* Does your RV depreciating concern you?
* What are your favorite travel APPs?
* What would you live in and where would your pets go if your motor home needs a repair?
Each person considering such a big life change has a different set of concerns. I appreciated that Karen was willing to be so honest in sharing what her own reasons for pursuing the nomadic life were. It is hard not to be inspired by this woman who is forging a life without regrets. Leave a comment or question for Karen and be sure to share this podcast episode with a would be traveler.
On this week’s podcast I interview Karen Peterson on her path to becoming a full time solo woman RVer. Karen took a look at her retirement income and the travel she wanted to do. She knew that if she kept her brick and mortar house she would have to limit her travel plans to keep paying house bills and also limit the type of RV she would have to travel in. She decided to forgo the permanent residence and live full time in a Class B Motorome that she would buy and design herself.
Karen joins me for a two part episode discussing first, what her family thought; what kind of apprehension she felt; how she approached downsizing forty years of accumulated stuff and why she chose an empty Class B Mercedes Sprinter and decided to outfit it herself.
Many women have the dream of going full time and I was so pleased to hear Karen share her vision and how she made it happen. You can have the dream, the means, the chutzpah to do it, but you will also need a starting point and an action plan. Listening to Karen’s story was inspiring and I hope it helps those with similar aspirations find their starting point. On next weeks episode Karen answers listeners questions posted on line about her actual life on the road once her dream became a reality. Happy Trails Karen.
Topics discussed on today’s episode.
* Reactions from friends and family
* Nerves? Second thoughts?
* Why a Class B?
* Why design your own van?
* Must haves in a motorhome?
* Where you camp?
* Travel goals?
* Choosing where to go?
On todays Podcast I welcome Mike Wenner, owner of the Grand Mesa Lodge on top of the largest flat topped mountain in the world. Mike chucked corporate life, smashed his cell phone on a big rock and signed on the dotted line to purchase an over 100 year old lodge in a National Forest. The Lodge is open year round for summer hiking, camping and fishing as well as winter skiing, ice fishing, and snow mobiling adventures.
The Grand Mesa Lodge was recently completely rebuilt and now features a big great room where you can purchase locally brewed beer, bar food and gather with friends at the end of a long day of fun. The Lodge has a camp store with the standard items one needs at camp; S’more supplies, propane, food basics and a good selection of funny T-shirt’s.
The 14 cabins available at the Grand Mesa Lodge are authentic log cabins built in the 1930’s. If you are looking for indulgent, luxury cabins with a spa feel you will be disappointed. These cabins are old fashioned weekend fishing cabins with seasoned furnishings in them. They reminded me very much of the weekend cabins I grew up around in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Time worn and loved with puzzles, board games, and cards for late night Rummy and Crazy Eights playoffs. While the furnishings are time tested the important things are brand new. When Mike and his wife bought the Lodge they replaced all the mattresses, bedding and hot water heaters. Many of the cabins have fireplaces and great views of Island Lake.
To visit the Grand Mesa Lodge you will be treated to the long and winding road up to the top of the Mesa. The views are spectacular. Take your time and pull over! If you take the whole ride you will have actually traveled the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway. Be sure to go to the town of Cedaredge and see one of the best Pioneer Villages out there.
If you are in Western Colorado for a day or a week, don’t miss the spectacular beauty of the Grandest Mesa in the world.
To listen to this weeks podcast, click the arrow below.
On this week’s show I am reviewing the Mini Max trailer by Little Guy Trailers. I recently took the Mini Max, the smaller, lighter version of Little Guy’s Max trailer, on a five week trip to Texas and parts south. I traveled over 4,000 miles in her; slept in it for over 25 nights, only four of which involved RV hook ups; used all of its systems and came away with an insiders view of this 1,993 pound addition to the light weight towable world. Today I am sharing the skinny on the MINI.
The Mini Max by Liberty Outdoors, parent company of Little Guy, has filled an opening in the teardrop world for a lightweight towable trailer with added head room, more storage, larger appliances, more available floor space and a hydraulic table system that eliminates the need to remove a heavy table and find storage for it when you want to convert the area for sleeping.
The Mini has a big U shaped banquette around a table that easily seats six people for dinner, game night or as a work space. The table compresses on a hydraulic system when it is converted to a full Queen sized bed. Because the trailer is 2′ longer than most teardrops there is added space for cabinetry and space to move around when the trailer is made up for sleeping. I opted to remove the table and create a full twin bed across the back leaving me with plenty of seating and floor space. I appreciated the flexibility the space offered without making radical modifications.
The kitchen in the Mini offered everything one would expect in a larger RV. A two burner propane stove, microwave, deep stainless steel sink, large front operational window and a staggering 5.0 cubic foot refrigerator. I was able to get all of my cooking supplies, food and dishes in the available cabinets. Every inch of space is used to its maximum advantage including a base cabinet drawer in the kickplate under the sink that I used for serving pieces.
The wet bath was large enough to use in comfort. The shower had nice hardware on an adjustable pole with a built in soap dish. The bathroom also came with mesh storage caddies on the wall. I stored my towels over the toilet on adjustable curtain rods that I purchased. They work well there but need to be removed when you shower to keep them from getting wet. (The Max bathroom is large enough that you can shower without having to remove the towels.) I thought it was a minor inconvenience compared to the great convenience of having a wet bath in a trailer this size.
The sleeping area in the Mini has three large, functional windows. One is on the front of the trailer and on the opposite wall on the back of the trailer. The rear has the same large viewing window the Max has which I fell in love with. The windows in the Mini are the same as those on the Max. They are an integrated system with built in shades and screens. They allow you to crack the window open, pull the shade up from the bottom, screen down from the top and have air and privacy. The windows are also tinted for temperature control and privacy which is a bonus for solo travelers.
The cabinet on the door wall of the trailer held all of my clothes in packing cubes that I purchased from Amazon. I used the last empty shelf in that cabinet to store my hair and health products. There is additional storage under this cabinet, beneath the benches, under the refrigerator and above the windows. I was able to pack everything I needed and wanted for a five week trip. For a small trailer, the storage was more than sufficient.
While I was road testing the Mini I was regularly reporting m...
On this weeks show we are continuing our exploration of the different types of RVs available and their advantages and disadvantages. My guest is Class B owner Carole Steinberg who has been full timing in her Mercedes Sprinter for four years now. Carole purchased a new Sprinter and outfitted it to fit her needs.
Before transitioning to the Class B Carole owned many vintage trailers and was an experienced trailer flipper. In our interview Carole talks about her decision to go full time and why the Class B was the right RV for that time in her life.
Pros and Cons of the Class B Motor Home
* Easy to park and maneuver
* Costs less than a Class A or C
* Can be used as your main vehicle as well as RV
* Gets you outside more – more of a sleep space than lounge area
* Easy to store. Can be parked in a driveway
* Good way to test if you like RVing before you make big purchase
* Easier to customize – can be purchased empty
* Better fuel economy than Class A or C
* Offers passenger access to kitchen, bathroom, food while driving
* Good touring vehicle for day trips – tailgating
* Extra guest room at your home
* Can still tow something – boat, travel trailer, bikes
* Diesel or gas powered available
* Can travel under the radar in an unmarked version offering increased safety for solo travelers
* Can leave an unsafe situation without having to get out of vehicle unlike travel trailer
* Small space with limited storage
* Stuck inside in bad weather
* Pricey compared to travel trailer
* Limited flexibility in floor plan options
* Appliance sizes are much smaller
* Only comfortable for one or two people
* Have to unplug it every time you leave campsite to sightsee
To listen to the podcast, click the arrow below.
On today’s show I have some tips for keeping your RV refrigerator clean and organized. RV refrigerators do not work like a home refrigerator. They don’t have a circulating fan to move the cool air around them. When you open an RV fridge to get something, it can take an hour for it to recool to the former temperature so here are some tips for making the most of an RV refrigerator.
* Plug it in the night before so it is cold when you put food in it.
* Make sure the food you put in it is already cold.
* Use an RV refrigerator air circulator to keep cold air moving around.
* Set it on Auto and then it will run on electricity as soon as you plug it in. When you disconnect the electric it will go to propane automatically.
* If you are having trouble getting the fridge to light on propane, light the stove first and draw the gas through the line.
* If you travel with the propane on, be sure to turn it off at gas stations, tunnels and wherever state highways regulations require it.
* If you are traveling without propane on, use a cooler to put the snacks and drinks you might want on the road in the tow vehicle with you.
* When traveling without the propane on, use freezer blocks in the refrigerator to keep it colder.
* For the quick retrieval of foods organize the lunch foods or snacks in plastic, open weave baskets or bins that you can pull out with everything you need in one place.
* Transfer salads from the hard plastic containers to zip lock bags. Reuse them when you are finished.
* Use Rubbermaid shelf liner on the bottom of door bins to keep the items from sliding.
* Use a fridge brace to keep large items from moving while towing.
* You can use the spring rod braces for the refrigerator to keep the items in place while moving.
* Empty all of the items out of the fridge after each use. Wipe the refrigerator with bleach wipes and dry the walls. Keep the doors ajar when you are not using it.
* Use an odor deodorizer in the fridge.
* To defrost quickly, cut a flexible cutting mat to fit the floor of the freezer and back walls. The frost will build up on that and then you just have to take them out and shake them off. Dry them before putting them back in.
Camco Manufacturing makes great RV refrigerator products. Many are available at the Teardrop Shop.
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On this week’s show I am reviewing two of my favorite campgrounds from my recent five week trip to Texas and parts south.
While visiting Fredericksburg, Texas I stayed at the municipal campground for that town, the Lady Bird Johnson RV Park. It is located just three miles from downtown Fredericksburg on the same grounds as the municipal golf course and county pool. It’s a beautiful drive down a long road into the campground which is adjacent to the Gillespie County Airport. The campground has 98 available RV spaces offering full hook ups. The sites also include wifi and dedicated cable lines. They rent for $40 a night with monthly rates available in the off season. They also offer a great tent area with lots of shady trees.
The campground is old but loved. The sites were paved and level with large grassy areas between each of them. Each site holds two trailers end to end. There are no fire rings here but you are allowed to have portable propane fires. The campground had a lot of mature trees offering shade but not too much. It is surrounded by open fields allowing for nice sunsets and the airport was a great bonus to me. It had small single engine colorful planes taking off and landing during the day. I heard no planes at night and because they were single engine they didn’t make much more noise than a lawn mower. It was fun watching them come and go.
The bathhouses were probably the most dated thing about the campground. They looked original but were clean and enclosed. I had just come from several campgrounds in which the bathhouses had lofted spaces which were open to the elements. Not only was that unpleasant in the unseasonably cold weather, they were full of bugs and even birds. I appreciated the closed doors and windows of the Lady Bird bathhouses.
All in all I really liked this campground. It was so close to town but away from the noise and surrounded by grassy fields. It felt so out of the way. If you like a good hike in the morning it was big enough with paved roads to get a good walk in. Also, I thought the price was a real bargain. Full hookups, cable and working wifi for $40! Bargain. I’d definitely stay here again.
The other take away campground from my last road trip was the Honeycomb Campground in Grant, Alabama. This was the site of a Girl Camping trip and the campground was right on the waters of Guntersville Lake adjacent to the Tennessee River. This campground is owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority and was completely renovated and reopened in 2009. There are 141 sites available, some long term. Most sites have electric and water available although there are a few primitive sites. None of the sites offer sewer. A dump station is available. Honeycomb also has three cabins available for rent.
The lakeside sites at this campground are so beautiful. I was staying with my friend Jeanne who had reserved her site in February for our April camp out. You are able to fish, kayak and canoe right from your site. If you want to dock a boat that you have towed to the campground they do rent slips for $8 a day. Honeycomb also offers boat, kayak and canoe rentals at their office. There is a day use beach that is open to the public for a fee ($8 for a carload of five) but is included in your site rental. Word around the campground from the regulars is that if you want a good seat, picnic table or grill at the beach, get there early and stake your claim. It’s a hilly campsite with water views from just about ...
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On this weeks show I’m talking about using your vacation as an opportunity to hit the reset button on bad eating habits. After the long, long winter most of the country experienced in 2017-2018 I had really fallen into a bad sugar and snacking habit. I had to stop the madness and reset my body clock for good food. In the Pettit house that is not always easy. Snacking is a competitive sport here and there is always something in the junk drawer when boredom, frustration, and anxiety take over. A few weeks before my planned departure I began thinking about using my solo trip as an opportunity to hit the reset button.
I started with the food part. I knew it was unrealistic for me to count points or follow any specific weight loss plan. I did hope to take off a few pounds but the goal was not weight loss per se but cutting the junk and getting my energy level back up. Way back in the seventies when my grandmother would see any of my five sisters eating cottage cheese she would say, “Are you trying to reduce?” It always makes me laugh. The formula was simple. Burn off more than you take in. My plan was simple. Lots of protein, lots of water, no sugar, minimum white flour and get moving.
* The temptation to eat fast food on road is high. It’s so convenient. Rest stop tacos and hot ready burgers are quick but they give you nothing but convenience. Half an hour after eating them you want to pull over and nap. Here’s a few ways I overcame my normal pitfalls.
* Plan ahead. I prepackaged quick protein breakfasts for travel days and snacks for lunch. Being able to grab a frozen slice of crustless quiche or frittata for morning was simple and got my day off right and also reinforced in my mind the goal to eat better that day. The stage was set for the day.
* Shop ahead. I planned food out for several days at a time. No stops in quickmarts along the way. I didn’t even go in when getting gas. I had everything in the trailer for success. I pre-purchased lots of water, packages of pre-cut celery and baby carrots, mini hummus containers that fit in my cup holder, rolled up lunch meat and sliced apples became my daily go to’s. I put them in easy to grab plastic snack bags so I could save time prepping and keep driving.
* Rest stop exercise. When stopping at a rest stop I parked as far away as possible and walked fast, jogged or ran to the potty. Before heading back to my car I made a big loop around the outer rim of the area to get my blood going. I also did squats and stretches. Most stops were about 15 minutes but because I was drinking so much water I made frequent stops.
* A little education went a long way. I know that cutting sugar out of your system involves cravings. I also knew that they last for about two weeks until the body adjusts. The initial week was bad! ugh! I wanted anything sweet but I told myself the craving was temporary, eating junk was contrary to my goals and lemon square bars were not dropping off the face of the earth. They would still be making them in the future. I used apples and naval oranges to get a sweet fix and stuck it out. Eventually the cravings subsided and it stopped being a battle.
* Encouragement came in the form of healthy food bloggers. There’s just so much inspiration out there. I just needed to tap into it. The cottage cheese and pineapple days are over. There are lots of great food ideas out there and you don’t have to look far. I followed a few inspiring people on Instagram for food ideas and to help me stay on track.
* Dealing with party food. On my trip there were three big Girl Camping events that I attended and they...
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On this weeks show I am answering follower Julie’s question about the realities of long term travel. Julie wrote in: “Dear Janine, I’ve been following your Texas trip and it looks like you are having so much fun. I’m wondering what the “down” side of traveling alone is, if any. I’d like to do the same some day and want to be realistic about managing expectations. Do you ever get scared? Are you ever lonely? Thank you for your constant encouragement. Julie”
Thanks Julie. Most of my travels are fun, educational and personally edifying but there are down sides to everything. I think they will be different for each person and probably different for each trip. This trip was truly a solo trip for me because I was not traveling with a friend. I met up with friends along the way but my five week, 4,140 mile Texas trip was planned as an open ended, ‘do as I will’ trip. I wanted to be free to go wherever I wanted in between my scheduled Girl Camper camping trips.
One of the “downs” for me on this last trip was the work of moving my site too often. I learned this lesson the hard way. Setting up and breaking down each day to move to a new location was a lot of work and did not feel like “camping”. I didn’t bother to put up my awning, get my chair out or visit with neighbors. It was an unrealistic schedule that left me weary. The next time I plan a trip like this I will do more in one place and stay put at one campground long enough to feel planted and rested. It would have been better to drive an hour or two without the trailer attached to see sites than to hopscotch from site to site to be ten minutes away from what I wanted to see. Lesson learned.
Also, not fun was the drive home. I packed all that I could into every minute I was in Texas and left there with a three day window to get myself home in time for appointments I had in New Jersey. The trip home was 1,740 miles and I did it alone in three days. It felt like taking down the Christmas decorations. Why did I put so many up??? Couldn’t I have had as much fun closer to home?? Three ten hour driving days was just too much. I could have done it in four but my head was at home by then and I wanted my body there too. In order to do that I had to practice safe driving. I only ate healthy invigorating food, no carbs! I drank lots of water which keeps you alert and makes you make frequent potty stops! When I stopped at rest stops I parked in the farthest parking spot and jogged to the rest stop and then around it to get my blood going. When all of that was not enough I climbed into my trailer and took a power nap. I was glad to be home after 37 days on the road but the trip home was grueling.
Another thing that became an issue on this trip was the weather. I don’t mind a little rain but spring in the south is prone to violent weather. I was often watching my weather apps for lines of powerful thunderstorms coming through. There were two nights where I just had to stay in a hotel to avoid storms that were producing tornadoes and straight line winds. To me that is part of the adventure. Adjusting my plans to accommodate the weather allowed me to meet fellow travelers also seeking shelter from the storm and turn an unexpected stop into a nice evening sharing travel stories.
Do I ever get scared? The answer is YES!! When I do, I have to stop and ask myself if I am truly in danger or if I am being psyched out by something playing on my mind? I was in a campground that was nearly empty and my site was quite isolated and right on the river where it coul...