What is a PLB and why do you need one? Picture yourself stuck upside down in a ditch, or injured, or lost and alone with no battery power or no phone service. Press a button and a Personal Locator Beacon will contact a satellite from anywhere on land or sea, bringing you rescue.
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As a solo woman RV traveler, you need the very best search and rescue aids. Of course, some phone apps can call for help or report your location. Authorities might also get your location via your cell phone.
However, phone signals are much weaker than those of a PLB and they’re all subject to battery failure, weak signal, or no signal at all.
The best Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) do just one thing. They do it strongest and clearest, bringing the nearest rescuers, and they do it without a monthly subscription.
Once used primarily in boating and aviation, these locator beacons are now being used by skiers, archaeologists, hikers, climbers, parachute jumpers, rafters, paddlers and anyone else who might ever need rescue in a situation where smart phones just aren’t smart enough.
Which PLB is For You?
First, determine basic needs. To keep it smallest and lightest choose a small, basic PLB. If you want to take it on the water, order one that is waterproof and buoyant. (Some activate automatically when they hit water). Some units have a strobe light too. And, because of the PLB’s very long battery life, it keeps working for days.
A PLB isn’t a two-way communication device. You activate it only when you’re in grave and imminent danger.
The devices use a special frequency that’s reserved just for search and rescue. Government rules require units to undergo rigorous testing. One manufacturer, for example, has units that work for more than 30 hours at minus 20 degrees C. You’ll probably pay about $250 for a PLB but that’s it forever except for replacing the special batteries about every five years. There are no monthly fees.
See a PLB here, https://amzn.to/2LrIYrg It's a lifetime investment. The only additional cost is to replace batteries every 5 years.
Here’s how it works. When you need rescue, press a button. Your unique signal code is sent to satellites that were launched just for this purpose. In seconds the signal is routed to a local ground station and transferred to the Mission Control Center (MCC). A Rescue Coordination Center passes the information to Search and Rescue (SAR) forces closest to you.
To date, more than 30,000 lives have been saved. Once you own a PLB, whether new or used, you must register it with NOAA. After that, SAR forces worldwide have your back.
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Drive for Independence
What’s to love about your RV lifestyle? I love having everything with me and visiting different places without having to pack and unpack. I Iike having my own bathroom, a familiar bed with my own pillow, and healthful food supplies so I don’t have to stop at a roadside restaurant to get a meal or use the public restroom.
Is driving your RV one of the pleasures of travel or simply the price you pay for getting there? Driving could be easier with these tips.
Here, according to WalletHub are the best and worst cities for driving in the United States. To determine the best and works, WalletHub looked at gas prices, traffic congestion and availability of auto repair shops. Here are the findings: Top Ten Best Cities for Driving Raleigh NC Corpus Christi TX Orlando FL Greensboro NC Plano TX Winston-Salem NC Durham NC El Paso TX Jacksonville FL Tampa FL
Top Ten Worst Cities for Driving Detroit MI (worst in a list of 100) San Francisco CA Oakland CA Philadelphia PA Seattle WA Boston MA New York NY Newark NJ Los Angles CA Chicago IL
Additional Factoids for Drivers from WalletHub * Greensboro, North Carolina, residents spend the fewest annual hours in traffic congestion per auto commuter. It’s four hours per year compared to Los Angeles, where drivers spend an average 102 hours, or 4 1/4 days of their lives, in traffic.
* Gilbert, Arizona, has the fewest car thefts (per 1,000 residents), 0.49. Oakland, California, has the most car thefts at 16.23.
* Oklahoma City has the lowest average gas price, $2.58 per gallon. San Francisco is highest at $3.85 per gallon.
* Riverside, California, has the lowest average parking rate, $1.43 per two hours. Don’t even consider going into Manhattan. Parking, if you can find it at all for your RV or toad, involves a major investment.
Solutions: Do you travel in your RV because you enjoy big-city shopping, museums, nightlife, and pizzazz? Some campgrounds offer a free shuttle into town or to nearby attractions. Others are on public transportation routes.
Serious Savings with CityPass
Many of the best sightseeing cities in the U.S. and Canada offer CityPass booklets of impressive discounts such as 30% off a three-day pass to Disneyland, 51% off admission to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, free admission to the Seattle Space Needle or 42% off admission to the Statue of Liberty.
Depending on the city, CityPass costs $89-$126 (adult) so do the math to see what you’ll save. Unlike free tourist booklets that offer, say, a 15% discount on an early bird meal or a free coffee with breakfast, these are major, meaningful, real savings.
Janet Groene is the author of Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition. It's based on the ten years she and her late husband lived full-time on the go, making a living along the way. She begins with choosing and furnishing the rig and ends with easing out of full-timing as they became avid part-timer RV-ers in the same RV. http://amzn.to/29XFEkq .
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You CAN take it with you. The problem is how to protect it from thieves, burglars and pickpockets.
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CYA: Cover Your Assets copyright janet groene, all rights reserved
Credit cards, computers and PayPal are lifesavers to the woman on the go, but when the Internet is down or the bank is closed, cash is still king. How can you stash it safely? A book from Prima Publishing offers creative advice. It is Hiding Your Money: Everything You Need to Know About Keeping Your Money and Valuables Safe from Predators and Greedy Creditors. See it at https://amzn.to/2Ko0HmQ
The only "little black dress" you'll ever need also comes in colors and lots of sizes. It has SEVEN pockets, beautifully hidden and some closed with Velcro or a zipper. See it at https://amzn.to/2JwOfzV These suggestions from the book listed above are simply offered as food for thought. No endorsement by Janet Groene is implied. * If you have a hollow shower rod, it’s a good place to hide cash or documents, says the author.
* The book reveals that Western Union must report to the Treasury department transfers of more than $750 and banks must report transfers of more than $10,000. If you want to wire more than $750 and less than $10,000 without a report being filed, use a full-service bank.
* In cold weather, the lining of your coat may be a good place to secrete cash, as long as it is not an expensive coat that is itself a target for thieves. “Don’t let it out of your sight for minute,” advises author Jeremy Schneider.
* You might hide flat items behind pictures or mirrors (which in an RV are screwed to a wall at two or more points. Jg) . The author would go as far as hollowing out the wall if more room is needed. He also suggests hiding things inside a chair cushion. Or, fasten a package to the back of a drawer.
* Fender wells make good hiding places he says, but make sure the hiding place is well attached for rough roads and protected against mud and wetness. Can you remove some of the padding in the sun visor, and stash cash there?
* Rare coins are small and easy to hide yet can be worth a great deal of money. One of Schneider’s friends always has two South African Krugerrands on hand for emergencies. You might also have a gold piece made into jewelry and wear it always. An ounce of gold is worth about $1200 at today’s prices. (But it’s not easy to use at your neighborhood supermarket. Jg)
My advice? Keep at least some of your valuables in a fireproof safe in a hidden location and bolted securely to the RV frame. Find your own secret hiding places and keep mum. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t write a book about them. Almost every product you have in your pantry or medicine cabinet, from soup cans to deodorant, is sold as a fake safe. They easy for thieves to grab and most are easily recognize as phony. However, here are a few items I found clever enough for the RV woman to consider.
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Water spots on your RV? Now there’s a portable water softener! Simply hook the water hose to one side of this 10 X 18-inch cylinder and the other side to the hose that will deliver the water you want to soften. It’s easily stowed in the RV or at home. https://amzn.to/2Ix1kVz
Browsing for your Next RV? Avoid These Buyer Pitfalls
copyright janet groene
By now you’ve owned enough cars, computers, campers and can openers to know that complexity breeds breakdowns.
The more bells and whistles, the more potential for trouble . Fancy conveniences also require more energy in camp and on the highway.
Rule One in choosing an RV is the same KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) maxim most of us live by. A frustrated follower sent me a list of everything that went wrong on a new motorhome. He picked it up at the factory, hit the road and during the first three months amassed a squawk list that covered three, single-spaced pages!
Instead of traveling and RV-ing, he was cooling his heels in waiting rooms at maintenance facilities. Although most things were covered by warranty, every failure meant another trip to a fix-it shop, another day NOT enjoying the RV life.
Almost everything in an RV has more than one way to fail. For example, an automatic entry step can fail electrically, hydraulically or mechanically. A three-way refrigerator can stop because of a failure in the refrigerator itself, the 12V system, 110V current or propane supply. If the TV doesn't work the trouble could be in the TV, electrical system or the antenna/satellite. Solar? It's great until the sun doesn't shine or you camp under shade trees. Only you can decide which conveniences are worth it for you. Additional Buying Tips
* When a big investment is on the line it pays to have an attorney go over the financing agreement and the warranties.
* Whether the RV is new or used, insist on getting all the written warranties, operator manuals and instruction books for every system including the engine, flush toilet, individual appliances. It’s also good to get instructions for care of flooring, counter-top materials, upholstery and other materials. Mis-use can void a warranty.
* I’m constantly hearing from hustlers who have a book or product to promote. They use the RV or camping hashtag to get our attention. They may be experts in, say, insurance or cuisine but they don’t really know the unique needs of RV-ers. Know who writes what you read.
Dreaming of going on the road full-time? Do it now, work as needed and, if you have kids, there's home schooling. Book covers the lifestyle from making the decision, getting in, staying in and getting out when the time comes. http://amzn.to/29XFEkq An RV Shopper’s Dictionary
Here are some items to think about.
Awning. Sometimes built in but often added in the aftermarket, an awning shades one side of the RV to form an outdoor seating area. If it’s also fitted with screen walls, it creates an extra room. It’s a nice addition if you are parked a lot. To stay lean, however, it’s better to avoid the weight and wind drag.
Basement refers to storage under the living area of an RV, accessible from the outside. Even the smallest units have at least some basement space. Use this area for tools, buckets and brooms, off-season clothing storage and sports and equipment. Some items, such as the generator and propane tanks, must be isolated from the living area. Bus conversion. A luxury bus, custom converted to an RV, is the Taj Mahal of RV-dom. On the other hand, a ratty old bus converted to an RV may not be allowed at nice campgrounds.
Curb weight refers to the weight of the unit with full tanks but not people and personal gear.
Departure angle. The distance from the rear axle to the rear bumper will determine how steep an incline the RV can climb before the rear bumper (or some piece of the undercarriage) drags on the ground. Beware of RV’s with extra-long overhangs.
GVWR is the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, the most-ignored term in the RV universe. If you’re towing a trailer you need to know its total weight including full tanks and all your gear, so you’ll know what kind of vehicle is needed to tow it safely. Keep in mind total weight after filling every cupboard, closet and storage bin . Your chassis, transmission, brakes and tires have to handle it all at highway speeds. Weigh the fully loaded unit at a truck stop.
Hitch. If you will tow a travel trailer it’s important that the tow vehicle, trailer hitch and RV make a good match. Your mechanic will tell you how much tow can be handled by your engine, transmission and brakes. A hitch expert will bolt or weld on the best hitch for both the tow vehicle and the RV. Leveling jacks. Sometimes portable, sometimes built-in, jacks are needed to level the RV. Even the smallest deviation causes eggs to roll off kitchen counters and keeps water from draining from the shower pan. Slides, slide-outs or bump-outs are room extensions that are deployed once you’re parked in a campground. They look great in the showroom but are subject to leaks and electrical and mechanical problems. They’re great for RV-ers who spend weeks at a time without moving but can be a nuisance if you’re traveling lean mean. You may soon weary of extending slides just for a one-night stop or a lunch break Too, extended slides are a dead giveaway to the zoning police if you’re boondocking in a friend’s yard or shopping mall. If you need a quick overnight in a truck stop, there may not be room in your parking slot to extend a slide and you’re stuck inside the accordion. Before buying, see the RV with slides closed. Ask yourself if you can live with it either way. Toad is a slang term for a small car towed behind a motorhome. Others call it the dinghy. Some are towed “four wheels down”, some “two wheels down” with front wheels on a small trailer. Umbilicals. When you get to a campground you’ll hook up to electricity, water, sewer and perhaps cable television. Wide Body. Standard RV width is 96 inches/243.cm. While “wide bodies” may go to as much as 102 inches/259.1cm, you’ll have enough to handle on two-lane country roads with a standard width RV.
This isn’t about a 55 mile-per-hour speed limit. It’s about big savings on travel, camping and RV life as you approach the age of 55.
Want to pay less for food, restaurants, admissions, fuel, perhaps even repairs and service? Incredibly, most people don’t even know about the huge harvest of senior savings out there, let alone how to harness them. Here’s how:
* Know that discounts aren’t automatic just because you have a touch of silver in your hair. In fact, most clerks are so afraid of insulting customers by offering a senior discount it is never volunteered. You have to ask for it.
* Understand the deal. Discounts kick in anywhere from 50 (for AARP) to as old as 70 (some businesses).
* Read the fine print. You may have to request the discount when you order the meal or reserve the campsite. You may need a membership card or proof of age or state residence. Many places give a senior discount only on certain days, such as Tuesdays or the first Wednesday of the month. Some give the discount only on full-priced purchases; sale merchandise isn’t discounted.
* Stay alert. Read signs, posters, ads. Some discounts are almost a secret. When you find a good one make notes about who, what, when and how.
* Even if you don’t agree with their politics, it may pay to join AARP solely for discounts. Members get discounts starting at age 50 and their spouses get discounts regardless of age.
* Join senior “clubs” and loyalty programs. No meetings, just a free card. Some places punch your card each time you dine. Then you get a freebie when the card is full. Beall’s Outlet stores in the Southeast issue a free card that gets seniors 55 and over a discount every Monday. After you’ve spent $200 on Monday or other days, you get a $5 gift certificate.
* As you travel, keep an eye peeled for regional discounts. State parks, for example, may give a discount to seniors who are state residents. Free local publication found along the highway often have coupons for senior deals.
* Do a Google search for Senior+Discount+Name of a City or State.
* Most states offer a senior discount on state park admission, fishing and hunting license, and sometimes on camping. You may have to buy an annual pass to get the discount, which may be available only to residents of that state. Ask as you go.
* Discounts are at the option of individual franchise owners. The Superburgers discount you got in California may not be honored at the airport Superburgers or in Florida Superburgers.
* Phone ahead. That way you’ll know the rules when you arrive.
* When buying admissions tickets, note senior discount policies, which are usually posted at the ticket window. Be clear in requesting, say, “One senior, one adult” or “Two seniors.”
* When dealing with services that give an estimate (carpet cleaning, repairs) get the estimate in writing before asking about a senior discount.
* Don’t expect to double-dip discounts. Usually you can’t ask for a senior discount after presenting a coupon for, say, a BOGO meal. Often, coupons found in newspapers are a better deal than a senior discount of 10-15%. Never stop searching, comparing, questioning.
* Do your part. Patronize businesses that give discounts and thank them. Tip the server on the full price of the meal, not the discounted price.
Lastly, if the policy isn’t what you expected, retreat quietly. No law requires businesses to give a senior discount.
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BUY THIS RV, NOT THAT RV
Buying your first RV? Trading up? Trading down? The first decision in buying an RV is not to buy Brand X or Brand Y. It’s whether you want one vehicle or two. That’s what will decide costs, stow-ability, ease of driving and maneuvering, depreciation, insurance rates, tolls, fuel efficiency and so much more. There is no right or wrong here. It all depends on your needs, your tastes, your budget.
Motorhome This: In buying a motor home you’ll have a huge choice of sizes, types, layouts. An entire home is with you everywhere you go, even at the mall or at the doctor’s office. Never use a public bathroom again. Excellent buys available in used motorhomes.
Not That: Fuel prices going up. Unless you tow a car, you must unhook at the campground to go sightseeing, shopping, out for dinner. If you’re only a sometime camper, an expensive engine is just sitting there all year, depreciating.
Travel Trailer This: See many choices of brands, styles, layouts, sizes, prices. Unhook the trailer and leave it in the campground while you travel locally in your tow vehicle. Change the tow vehicle or the trailer as needed. You’re not stuck with one unit.
Not That: Towing is not for everyone. Maneuvering can be tricky. You may be limited to drive-through campsites.
This: With a camper that sits on your truck bed you can transform your everyday pickup into a compact home with basic facilities. Compared to buying an entire trailer or motorhome, prices are very attractive. Low insurance cost. Easy to store when not in use. Can be off-loaded in the campground, freeing truck for local transportation. Pay tolls on only two axles. Easy maintenance.
Not That: Not the best choice for space efficiency or handling ease. Toilet facilities will be basic such as a portable potty. Unlike a motorhome, living quarters are not accessible from the cockpit. You have to park and leave the driver’s seat to enter your “home”. Loading and off-loading the camper unit can take time and energy.
Fifth Wheel Trailer This: Like a truck camper or towed trailer, this type RV makes use of a truck that is also your everyday transportation. However, the unique hitch makes a fifth wheel trailer easier to handle on the highway, even in the giant sizes that are available. Because it doesn’t have an engine it’s more living space for the money. Change trucks or change campers as long as they are a good match.
Not That: You’re paying to insure and maintain two vehicles. Tolls are charged per axle. Even though towing may be easier than with a travel trailer, towing and maneuvering into a campsite are not everyone’s cup of tea.
RV with Slides
This: It’s almost impossible to find an RV without slides these days. Because they are so popular, an RV with slides in good condition may have better resale value than one without. With the press of a button you increase the living areas of your RV.
Not That: Until slides are out, your RV interior is cramped and may even be impassible. Stopping for lunch, a nap or a bathroom break along the highway can be awkward. Potential for mechanic or electrical failure. Some owners complain of leaks at joints or structural stress. Not all campgrounds have sites wide enough to accommodate extra width. If a slide sticks in the open position, you can’t drive away until it can be secured. Setting up may require putting jacks under slides. A problem slide can greatly devalue your RV at resale or trade-in time.
Can’t find a campsite at the last minute because everything is booked solid? Discover Camp Nab, an exciting new concept from a team of smart young Canadians. They found that most campgrounds actually have availability at the last minute due to cancellations. Jump in and nab a site just like that! A small charge is involved and you may not always hit pay dirt but this is an outstanding new concept well worth a try. Listed are thousands of campgrounds in the U.S. and Canada. Check it out at https://campnab.com/r/glbrgk
You’ll need a telescoping handle to reach high and low places on the RV, the broom for the campsite patio and the soft buffing pad for the hardwood floor. There’s a quick release to change tools. It’s all the cleaning power needed for the RV, inside and out yet what a space saver! https://amzn.to/2y5KInP
blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved. Thank you for donating $5 a year to support these weekly issues. Send via PayPal to janetgroene at yahoo.com
Businesswoman Has RV,
Has Horse, Will Travel copyright Janet Groene
When GiGi Stetler isn’t riding on four wheels she’s riding on four hooves. An accomplished rider, she’s headed in her RV for Saratoga Springs, New York for a summer of equestrian events including competing in hunter and jumper events.
Her story is a perfect blend of business success, equestrian successes and salvaging a personal life born in tragedy and abuse. RV's play a major part in her happy endings.
Today she is CEO of a major RV dealership, carves out her own path in what is essentially a man’s world and urges other women to “Greet life as a warrior, not a victim.” She is a successful businesswoman, a single mother, an accomplished equestrian and the author of an inspiring new book UNSTOPPABLE: Surviving is Just the Beginning, Second Edition.
No matter what your business or personal battle, GiGi’s book will inspire you to grab life by the horns and come out a winner. Her life began its turn-around when she was hired for $500 a week at an RV dealership. Within two weeks she was promoted to manager. She is still there. Her RV Sales of Broward in Davie, Florida, and the related group RV Planet offer a full menu of RV sales, service, consignments, rentals, repairs, a membership club and emergency housing.
Years of ups and downs led to today’s triumphs. In her early years at the RV dealership she was once $11 million in debt. She was pronounced financially dead. Once again she came back. “With a recession underway, RV’s were a tough sell,” she reports, but her caring customer service kept her customers coming back.
Transforming the business into a service-focused operation, she “fixed toilets and made homes level and did whatever it took to get customers to trust us,” she enthuses. “Then I threw a thank-you party for customers at the dealership and offered a $500 credit for every new customer they brought. People saw we were paying attention to them and started coming in by the truckload."
Keeping her customers front and center has always been the secret of her success.
Says Gigi, “I invented myself. That is my invention. When RV’s stopped selling I quickly went to plans B, C, D and E. I tell people to never give up and keep your eye on the goal. People need to know there is always light at the end of the tunnel even though you may need a telescope to see it. To me, success is how quickly you get up and start over.”
Her books are the story of her life.
What does she have to say to other women who want a full life including travel in an RV? “ I wrote my book in part as a way to exorcise the many demons that have plagued me all my life and, more importantly, to show other women and just as many men that when life happens to you, happen right back," said Stetler.
Her own RV is a 45-foot diesel motohome with four slides and four flat screen TVs. At most of the equestrian events where she competes, she camps right on the show grounds, enjoying all the comforts of home.
To see Gigi’s success formula firsthand, visit her dealership, RV Sales of Broward at 3030 Burris Road, Davie, Florida, (888) 587-3337.
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Ladies in Weighting
We love our RV’s enough to make them homier and more comfortable with every trip. It’s tempting to kee adding little luxuries: a motorized mattress, a larger TV, chunky pottery dishes and mugs, perhaps a bread machine or larger microwave oven.
It’s only human nature that we carry too much stuff in our cars, purses, motorhomes. The problem is that it costs fuel dollars to drive, stop and start all that stuff. Worse still, a load that is too heavy, or too heavy in the wrong spots, can affect handling safety. How can you lighten the load?
* Before making major changes (one Class A motorhome owner actually added an upright piano!) consult an expert. It’s now possible to weigh the RV wheel by wheel to determine where it’s out of balance. It’s not just how much weight you add, but where you add it
. * Cleaning tools. RV supply stores offer space-saving, weight-saving mops, brooms and other cleaning equipment that uses one handle for multiple work heads. Vacuum cleaners are more efficient and lighter now. You might also look into a built-in, central vacuum system. All you need to stow are the accessories.
* Appliances. Replacing an older refrigerator or roof-mounted air conditioner with a new model usually means more energy efficiency and less weight.Tankless water heaterssave weight, water and energy.
* Washer and dryer. Weigh the advantage of a bulky, on-board washer and dryer against the convenience of using a coin laundry where you can do multiple loads all at once. One combination washer-dryer popular in Class A motorhomes weighs almost 200 pounds. Stackables weigh even more and have a higher center of gravity.
* Adaptive equipment. If you need a physical aid such as a wheelchair, lift or electric scooter, see what today’s marketplace has to offer. New devices weigh less are easier for you or your partner to handle in and out of the RV.
* Food supplies. Provisions are one place where I won’t cut corners when traveling in an RV, but I do shave weight where possible. Only trimmed, boneless, skinless meats go into the freezer. Powdered drinks, made up fresh as needed, take the place of cans and bottles. Choose plastic containers over glass and pouches over cans where possible. Use concentrates for such things as broth, orange juice, cleaning products.
Keep your guard up and your weight down. And remember that shoes don’t count.
Do you dream of retiring early for a life of RV travel, even if you have to work along the way? We did it 10 years and this book tells how. Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition. See it at http://amzn.to/29XFEkq Good gift idea for Father's Day too. Be sure to get the 4th edition, which covers making a living anywhere via the Internet.
Thank you for your $5 yearly donation to this free blog, Use PayPal to send to janetgroene at yahoo.com
Janet Groene is a professional travelwriter who lived and traveled full-time on the go for 10 years in a 21-foot diesel camper and a 29-foot sloop.
Each issue of Solo Woman RV is sent to your Kindle by Amazon for only 99 cents a month. Get two free issues here. http://amzn.to/1OV7ywL
Janet Groene’s Little Lifesavers For RV Travel Here are some of my favorite money saving tips for traveling in an RV.
* Buy a museum membership at almost any museum, either for yourself alone or a family membership. With it you get free admission to that museum plus many other perks such as a discount in the museum gift shop. THEN, as you travel, show your membership card at every museum you visit and ask if they’ll honor it. Many do.
* Call ahead to sightseeing attractions ahead to ask about admissions policies. Some theme parks and water parks lower admission after a certain hour. Most museums have a free day or evening at least once a month.
* Many disposable gloves aren’t suitable for use with food. These are. Disposable, food grade plastic gloves allow you to handle and mix foods by hand, spread less mess in a water-short galley and protect hands. Go here https://amzn.to/2IEGFUg
* Local libraries are a great place to hang out on a rainy day. Even if you can’t take out books and movies you can use the computers (free or fee), read books and magazines in a comfortable setting and attend programs. Many libraries sell used books for a pittance, a good way to restock your RV book shelf.
* The easiest way to cook on a campfire is with pie irons. Make hot sandwiches, pastries, patties, pies, biscuits. Assembling recipes and cleanup are a snap and you can make a different meal each time over any fire from a few bricquets to a roaring bonfire. No grate needed. https://amzn.to/2s7yMvm
* Always have enough food on hand to last three days. If it’s never needed, give it to a food bank periodically and restock with fresh. Food is the ultimate RV travel insurance.
* Even if you don’t sew, make up a sewing kit with spare buttons, thread and assorted notions. Iron-on tapes make easy patches. Fusing tapes let you repair a hem with an iron. Many campground laundries supply an iron and ironing board. I carry a compact, dual voltage travel steam iron. https://amzn.to/2IHdkIU )
* I like to have a quick, compact electric hot plate to use as an extra burner indoors and out. Use it when plugged in at a campground to save propane. https://amzn.to/2IF3LtN
* Many campgrounds offer free shuttle bus service to the beach, theme park or city center. Take the bus to avoid unhooking and/or paying a parking fee at the destination for your RV or dinghy.
* When shutting down the generator, cut off the fuel supply and let it die of fuel exhaustion. That leaves the carburetor cleaner and makes for an easier start next time.
* When shutting down the rooftop or dashboard air conditioner, turn off the compressor and let the blower run several more minutes to dry out the system. Once mildew takes hold in the unit, it’s difficult to dislodge. If campground electrical power is interrupted, turn off the unit. The starting load is substantial and the unit could be damaged by off-again, on-again starts. When electrical flow returns and settles down, wait a few minutes before starting the compressor.
* Empty the black water tank as soon as possible after a hard drive. When solids are still in suspension, you get a cleaner, more complete discharge. Ditto oil changes. More contaminants are flushed away if oil is hot.
Camp stove, campfire, RV and motorhome meals are easier, breezier when you use recipes with shameless shortcuts. Cooking Aboard Your RV, 2nd Edition has more than 200 recipes for camping and RV travel. Save time, water, fuel, mess and hassle. http://amzn.to/1NdWI4o
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When your RV is too high to reach and too dirty to ignore, it’s time to look at RV washing services and/or equipment for doing the job yourself. How to sort out the confusing array of services and price packages available? How to Choose an RV Car Wash
* Go to a specialist in washing RV’s. While a truck wash may be big enough for your RV there are differences. An RV specialist will know the best treatments for the roof, body, materials, slides, seals, trims. Different pricing may apply for various surfaces. (Aircraft aluminum campers, for example, require different, and usually more costly, care than a camper made with corrugated aluminum or painted steel.)
* RV detailers often specialize in both boats and RV’s and that’s a good thing. They are familiar with products for steel, aluminum, painted surfaces, decals, plastics and fiberglass.
* Mobile RV wash service franchises are found in thousands of locations around the nation. One company is (www.)nationaldetailpros.com, (800) 601-0626. Just enter your zip code to find the nearest mobile car wash near you. You can also do a search for RV+Carwash+Name of Your City.
* If the detailer comes to you, know what equipment they bring (ladder, pressure washer, wash and wax supplies, vacuum) and what you must provide, such as water and electricity. Your homeowner association, landlord or zoning may not permit this work to be done on your property or campsite because of environmental concerns, water use or runoff.
* If it’s a drive-through truck wash, what about slides and the awning?
* Areas that have a large number of RV travelers, such as Las Vegas and Orlando, may offer specials that include one or two free camping nights or coupons for a discounted meal. Ask your campground host for a recommendation.
Because so many services and products are available for so many types of RV’s it’s difficult to price shop unless you get very specific.
Generally, detailing is priced by the foot with options for regular wash, wash plus wax, and wash, wax and buff plus detailing the interior. Plan to spend about $7 per foot for washing a corrugated aluminum camper, $18 per foot for wash and wax, $34 per foot for wash, wax and buff. Because of the special polishes involved, the full treatment for an aircraft aluminum trailer (e.g. Airstream) may run $80 per foot or more.
Do It Yourself
If you want to clean and maintain your RV’s exterior yourself, costs for equipment such as a pressure washer and materials can add up quickly. However, you can do a lot with a few basic items that can be stowed in the RV itself. This Carrand flow-through brush attaches to a hose, allowing you to wash and scrub gently all at the same time. The handle telescopes to 71 inches. See it at https://amzn.to/2L56dHL A smaller model telescopes to 55 inches.