Friday, February 27, 2015

RV Women and Rubber Meets Road

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Did you miss a previous post? Scoll down to see other topics for women on the RV road.


 Tire covers (below) aren't just for show. Sun damage is a major killer of tires.

 The Right Tires Keep
 Your RV  On a Roll
copyright janet groene

Independence is more than a city in Missouri. Kevin Gallagher at Big Brand Tire and Service in Alondra, California says,  "If you want to be an independent woman on the open road,  get yourself a sturdy set of tires for your RV or trailer. Nothing is worse than being stranded in the boonies with a blown out tire."
    Gallagher finds that one of the biggest problems is that people choose tires that can’t handle the weight of the vehicle. The RV you purchase will be far different after you’ve filled all tanks and loaded your personal gear on board. Have it weighed or, better still, weigh one wheel at a time.  (A service often offered at some dealers and at RV rallies and club meets.)
    How do you choose the right skins for your ride?  Manufacturer recommendations are one key, but a tire specialist can also consider your load and the way you use the RV.
Trailers vs. Motorhomes

    Steering capability is the main difference between a towed RV and a powered RV, says Gallagher.  “A  trailer requires require special trailer (ST) tires while an RV with an engine often utilizes light truck (LT) tires. It’s important to know how they are different so you choose the best option for your RV. Special Trailer (ST) tires have a three- to five-year lifespan and are made specifically for hauling heavy vehicles.  

     Meant for speeds less than 65 mph, ST tires have stronger sidewalls to reduce the risk of rollover. ST tires have some of the highest load ratings based on inflation pressure, meaning their specific design is meant to haul heavy items with the lowest risk of giving out. Since ST tires also employ stronger sidewall technology, they are great for hauling trailers around corners and when turning. These specifications make ST tires a solid choice for your trailer, Gallagher told me. Light truck (LT) tires can also be used for vans, SUVs and trucks, and therefore are made with more general specifications.”   

Things to Consider.
    First, know the weight of your RV fully loaded, provisioned and fueled. Then consider the terrain and climate where you’ll travel: snowy mountains, hot dessert, and so on. To learn tire terms and understand the meaning of model numbers, see below.

Safety Tips
    The most common cause for tire failure is the tire not being fully inflated, warns Gallagher. Learn to take tire pressures and keep inflation correct. He also recommends having a spare and keeping a cap on the valve stem to prevent contamination. Tire pressure changes with temperature, so if you’re traveling at a time of major weather changes, check the pressure periodically to ensure you’re always ready for the road, Gallagher says.

    Wash tires with mild soap and water, avoiding tire care products containing alcohol or petroleum distillates. Use tire covers to protect them from the sun. When you store the RV, use jacks to reduce pressure on tires. To learn more, visit one of the many Big Brand Tire and Service locations throughout California.

Knowing the Lingo
Section width is the distance from the widest part of the tire’s inner wall to its outer wall. This is where the tire’s treads are, and is the first number in the model number for a tire. For example, model number ST175/80-R13 would have a section width of 175 millimeters.
    The measurement of the sidewall is also known as section height. This is the length of the tire from the wheel to the tallest part of the tire. Aspect ratio is the second number in a tire’s model number. For example, model number ST175/80-R13 would tell you that the aspect ratio is 80% of the section width of 175 millimiters, or 140 millimeters.
    How a tire is made can affect its hauling capabilities, says Gallagher. The letter after the aspect ratio in a tire’s model number indicates its internal construction.   R: Stands for radial construction, meaning the tire's body plies branch out from the imaginary center of the wheel.    D: Stands for diagonal or bias ply construction, meaning the tire's body plies crisscross.     B: Stands for belted construction, meaning the tire's body plies crisscross as bias ply does and then are reinforced with belts.
    Wheel diameter is just that. In our example tire model number ST175/80-R13, the 13 measurement indicates that the wheel is 13 inches across.

See Janet Groene’s easy recipes for camping and RV travel at

Friday, February 20, 2015

Finding Lost Cash in the RV Life

blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved. To ask about rates for sponsoring a post or placing an ad email

Wouldn't it be heaven to sink into a hammock and snooze or read all afternoon?  To order a great hammock click here.

Product Pick of the Week
When you’re seriously on the go but need to save space and weight, Nomad Lightning to USB hookups  take up no space yet keep all your devices charged and ready. I especially like the Caribiner , which clips on so it can’t get lost. Another tiny Lightning-to-USB hookup carries on a key ring.

Your Personal Treasure Hunt
    copyright janet groene

    Did you get back the deposit you paid years ago when you signed up for electric service? 
    Did the “worthless” stocks you abandoned when you changed brokers suddenly come back to life and accumulate value?
    Did you open a bank account while visiting a city and then forgot about it?
    After a period of time determined by state law, inactive accounts and unclaimed assets become the property of the state. They’re held for a specified period, then you’ve lost them.

    If you live on the go in an RV it’s harder to keep up with some things including monies that might be owed to you. Here’s how to find  unclaimed assets.

    At one time, most states gave you 10-15 years to collect forgotten assets. Now most states gobble up unclaimed funds much faster.  Each state is different, but the time to start your search is NOW.
    There are legitimate businesses that find your unclaimed assets for a fee but you can do the work yourself for nothing. If you get a letter out of the blue claiming money has been found for you, investigate cautiously. It could be a scam or it could be true, in which case it is not illegal for someone to charge you a finder’s fee.

    To do your own search, do a Google search for “unciaimed funds” or “unclaimed assets”. A number of choices poo up such as  If you’re not comfortable with providing more than your name and the state(s) where your assets might be found, go with sites that do not ask for your date of birth or SSN.

    Search under your own names in every form they have ever been used (maiden name, married name, birth name if adopted or changed, first name plus full middle name, first name plus middle initial, hyphenated name, etc. ). Search too under the names of spouses and relatives for whom you have rights of inheritance or power of attorney. Their money could be your money.

    Also search websites that cover other assets such as forgotten pensions, perhaps owed your late husband, your ex or yourself. Go to for help from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.  Further helpful  information on lost assets is found at  Put “unclaimed assets” in the search window. 

      Save money, run the generator less, get the most from solar or your batteries, live cooler when you switch to LED lighting. It's easy when you change a bulb here, a fixture there, as the budget allows. 

     It's your money. Go for it. I'll see you down the road. 

See Janet Groene’s shortcut recipes for RV and camping at Camp and RV Cook. To order a subscription from Amazon to the recipe blog for Kindle readers, click here.
Smart women on the go need snacks that are filling and fulfilling, healthy and economical. The easy solution is to make your own from recipes at Create A Gorp. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

What's Up with the Full-time RV Llifestyle?

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Janet Groene's RV Product Pick of the Week

Handy, lightweight and it takes a handle that can also be fitted to a mop and many other accessories. Save space. Save weight and it's made for RVs so it does a superior job of sweeping the patio or interior. Click here

Would you like a quick email reminder each time new posts go up here (usually each Friday)? Email and put RV Woman in the topic line.

As Others See Us...
By Janet Groene

    Do you dream of ditching the daily grind and taking off in an RV that will be your full-time home?  RV full-timers have been the subject of a scholarly study. It’s enlightening to read what sociologists think of the lifestyle.

    In the book Over the Next Hill , two anthropology professors survey the world of RV full-timers.  Although their focus was  mostly on retired couples, there is much of interest here for younger couples, families and for singles too.
    As the book title suggests, the professors found that RV full-timers have the curiosity to keep looking for what’s over the next hill. The authors, who call themselves field anthropologists, pulled into a boondock camping area and were immediately invited to a wedding. They said it was as though they had stumbled into some native ritual in the South Pacific.
    What fun! They had stumbled into a place where they immediately found the sense of family and fellowship shared by full-timers. They interviewed 50 retirees who are full-timers and surveyed almost 300 more.
    It’s about freedom. The authors tell one story of a large group of dry campers living free on government property at an old military airport. One of them thought he’d make a killing by buying a 99-year lease on the land and charging the rest of the gang to camp there. 
     The next day, the entire community moved out and settled on another government tract nearby.  Typical of these rugged free thinkers, they refused to return even after the owner offered to reduce rates and relax the rules. His funds now tied up in the lease, he was forced to continue living here, alone and rejected by his former friends.
    The authors met at least one couple who announced they were on their way to their home town to get divorced because full-timing had been a disaster for them. Most were, however, content with the travel life. Some full-timers reported a better relationship with their children. Their rolling home allowed them to visit the kids without getting in the way. Others admitted they were full-timing to get away from their grown kids. One man hadn’t spoken to his wife and children in years and wanted to keep it that way.
     Are full-timers individualists? You bet! On the other hand, the authors’ research was primarily with RV-ers who were living cheek-by-jowl at free parking spots for months at a time. The full-timer family is much more diverse than this. You can still boondock free but you can also spend $100k or more to buy a campsite in in a campground resort that has a golf course, spa and a full-time activity director.You can stay put for months but you can also move as often as you wish.
    What say you? Do you want to travel alone and anonymous or do you love the social life of campgrounds, rallies, volunteerism and family visits?  The big, wide, wonderful world of RV travel has room for everyone. I’ll see you Out There.

Janet Groene’s RV-ready recipes post weekly at CampAndRVCook. Included each week is a galley recipe and a campground potluck recipe. She also posts a pantry recipe of the week, requiring no fresh foods, at Boat Cook.  To subscribe to her CampandRVCook blog for Kindle go here.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Laundry Tips for Campers and RV Travelers

blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved. To ask about rates for placing an ad or sponsoring a post, email

Are you re-doing an RV for yourself or for profit? LED lights save energy, look brighter and are a smart upgrade inside and out. For a huge choice of bulbs as well as complete new LED figures click here. Scroll down for additional tips on refurbishing an RV.

Come Clean  

    On most RV vacations you can save all the laundry until you get home. However, things change when you take a long trip or, better still, become an RV full-timer.

    Did you ever have to do the entire laundry by hand when boondocking? Forget to pick up your dry cleaning before you moved to a new campsite? Camp in places where the well water was so hard, rusty or stinky you didn’t want to use your own washer in your own RV?  Use coin-op washers  that ruined good garments?

    Here are some tips on a camping washday without washouts:

    * Compact washers-dryers are available in larger RVs but before you buy, consider whether you’d rather devote the weight and space to something else. 

    * Plastic laundry baskets are too bulky for a small RV. Make or buy fabric bags. Sort laundry into bags, add a detergent pod, then simply dump everything into the coin-op washer. The bags will be clean and dry too, so bring the clean laundry home in them.

    * If it’s safe for the fabric and appropriate for the type of soil, use a stain stick on dirty spots before putting items in the hamper.  You won’t forget later to treat the stains.  

    * Use dye-absorbing sheets in every load. They prevent accidents (the elusive red sock among the white tee shirts) and allow you wash all colors in one load. I like these affordable dye absorbing sheets.

    * Take plenty of hangers to the laundry room. Give wash-and-wear garments a few minutes in the dryer to fluff up, then hang them and they’ll dry wrinkle free. 

    * Don’t trust an expensive item (your silk blouse; the custom RV  bedspread) to a laundry machine you haven’t tried before. It could be hotter, colder or more harsh than similar machines. Too, water hardness varies widely around the country, so you could use too much or too little soap if this is your time experience with this machine. 

    * Observe campground rules. Drying laundry outdoors may be verboten. In any case, don’t tie clotheslines around trees. Tender bark could be damaged. Retractable clothesline reels that mount permanently indoors (the shower stall may be a good spot) are available.  I like this one for a tiny shower stall and this one if you have a little more room.

    Portable, folding dryer racks are lightweight and easy to stow if your RV has a large basement compartment. This folding bamboo drying rack has the space of a 25-foot-long clothesline. 

    * Read labels on new garments and observe laundry instructions. Using chlorine bleach, for example, could destroy forever a fabric treatment that was meant to last the life of the item.
See Janet Groene's easy recipes for camping and RV travelers at Camp and RV Cook.