Friday, April 24, 2015

Personal Rescue, the RV Woman's Plan B

blog copyright Janet Groene. For permissions or to ask about advertising 

Not much larger than a phone, a PLB transmits a distress signal, long and strong, anywhere on earth. 

The Ulitmate Security Device
copyright Janet Groene

    As a traveler you need extra security measures. As a woman RV traveler you need the very best search and rescue aids available. Some phone apps can call for help or report your location. Most cell phones broadcast a GPS location. But wait! There’s more.

    Smart phones, cell phones and other devices are limited by signal coverage, signal strength and battery power. A Personal Locator Beacon, by contrast, does just one thing. It sends a strong, clear message from anywhere on earth to whatever rescue service is needed for your plight. Best of all, it operates without a monthly subscription.
    Think of the device that sends out a ping after an airplane crashes. Once used primarily on ships and planes, these locator beacons are now being used by skiers, archaeologists, hikers, climbers, parachute jumpers, rafters, paddlers and anyone else who might ever need rescue. And that could be any of us.
     A PLB isn’t a two-way communication device. It is activated only when you’re in grave and imminent danger.

Which PLB is For You?
    First, look at your basic needs. Size and weight are a consideration for easy carrying at all times. If you want it to work on the water, you need a PLB that is waterproof and buoyant.  (Some activate automatically when they hit water).  Some units have a strobe light. Cost is also a factor. There are basic models and others with fancier features. 

    By government standards a PLB operates at a special frequency used only for search and rescue,  and it must undergo rigorous testing.  One manufacturer, ACR, has units that can put out 6.4 watts for more than 30 hours at minus 20 degrees C. You’ll probably pay more than $250 for a PLB but that’s all. There are no more costs until you have to replace the battery, usually about every five years. There is no monthly fee. 

How It Works
    When you need rescue, press a button on the PLB, which you might wear on an armband or carry in a pocket.  Your unique signal code is sent to satellites that serve just this purpose.  In seconds the signal is routed to a ground station (Local User Terminal or LUT) and transferred to the Mission Control Center (MCC). A Rescue Coordination Center passes the information to Search and Rescue (SAR) forces in your location.
    To date, more than 30,000 lives have been saved by these beacons. Once you own a PLB, whether you buy it new or used, register it with NOAA. As soon as you’re registered, SAR forces worldwide have your back forever and ever. Amen. 

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Emergency Cash on RV Trips

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

Do you use your RV to travel to games, concerts, events? Goldstar members get tickets at half price. Join free, then enter the name of the city and type of events you like. Tickets not available for all events, all dates but it’s worth a look.


When You’re on the RV Road
And  Need Cash NOW

    Emergencies happen, even when you who think you have all the bases covered. Did you ever find yourself out of money  while traveling in your RV? Maybe it’s a repair shop that demands cash, or your credit cards are maxed out,  or your bank makes a mistake or your identify is stolen. Here are ways to raise cash today or tomorrow,  no matter where you are.
Pawn Shops
    Pawn valuables for cash and reclaim them later when you have the money to repay the loan with interest. If not, the pawn shop makes its money by selling your stuff. 
    Pro: you leave the shop with cash in your pocket.
    Con: you get far less than goods are worth. Pawnbrokers assume risk  and deserve a profit.
    411: Interest rates, time limits and other terms of the loan are set by state law and vary according to where you are. Understand your rights and risks. Get it in writing.
Yard Sales
    This is the easiest way to raise cash by unloading things in the RV that you can do without. Most campgrounds don't allow selling but there are many places where you can your wares. 
    Pro: cash in your pocket today.
    Con: it’s hard work to assemble, price and display goods.   
    411:. Yard sale thieves are on the prowl. Don’t let anyone inside your RV.  Be suspicious of personal checks. Have one or two trusted helpers . Never leave your goods or cash box  unguarded.  Most yard sale amateurs price items too high or too low. Check prices online to get a ball park idea of what things are worth. Be prepared to haggle.
    Ads are by city so you find people nearby who want your goods. You  decide how, where and when to meet with buyers. You and the buyer make the deal between yourselves. Craigslist doesn’t take part in the transaction.  
    Pro: it’s instant, local and most ads are free.
    Con: it’s anonymous, so be cautious. Meet in public places. It’s city-specific so it’s difficult to sell if you’re not near one of the listed cities.
    411:  You must have e-mail and create a Craigslist account.
Cash Transfers
  Get physical cash from far-away friends or family in the form of a postal money order,  cash sent by registered mail or via Western Union.  Transfers can be purchased online at, on the phone using a credit card,  or in person at a Western Union location. 

    Pro: Both the postal service and Western Union are tried and true.
    Con: Post offices aren't always open. Registered mail can be slow because signatures are required at every step.  
Sell Your Phone, Payday Loans
    Some malls now have kiosks that swallow your old phone and spit out cash  Payday loan storefronts are found everywhere.
    Pro: It’s cash in hand.
    Con: States attorneys general find that these two sources of cash account for an overwhelming majority of their consumer complaints.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Play Hostess in Your RV, Motorhome, Camper

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

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Take Me Along  
copyright janet groene
Renting an RV for a girlfriend getaway? Inviting friends to travel with you in your own RV? Who pays what?
    Whether you’re thinking of a short RV  trip or a longer partnership, money matters come into the picture AND they could also cleave  into a relationship. It’s important that they be settled early and clearly.  If your guest is not an RV traveler, basics must be explained. Even if she is an RV-er, don’t assume that she understands all the costs involved.  

    The total cost of RV travel includes not just highway fuel but propane refills, nightly campground fees, food, generator fuel, tolls and oil changes. There may be dump station fees,  flat tires, repairs, towing. What if your RV breaks down and you and your guests have an unexpected expense for a motel?

    What about damage caused by guests  (Think “flushable” tampons that clog  your RV toilet,  or guests who simply can’t understand the limits of RV tankage.) If you rent an RV there is the basic fee plus such extras as insurance, fuel, cleaning and perhaps charges for items that are lost or damaged.

    Discuss frankly what costs are to be expected,  what unexpected costs could arise, which costs will be shared, and how decisions will be made on the road when, say, you run into an unusual situation.    

    What could come up? Here are just a few examples. You go 50-50 on the grocery list but you usually get the box wine and your guest puts the vintage stuff into the shopping cart. Or your friend insists on taking the scenic, but muddy, route and you have to shell out for a truck wash. Maybe she eats only gluten-free foods, which cost more. She’ll buy her own ticket to Disney World, but should she also share the parking fee if the RV is yours?

     You usually stay at budget campgrounds but your guest wants a camping resort with a golf course. Not a problem, she says, because she’ll pay her own greens fees and club rental. But she doesn’t realize there’s a big difference in nightly rates between your favorite Campground Pinchpenny and her RichPitch Acres.  You didn’t count on having a dog or cat on board but your friend shows up with Fifi because “Of course she goes everywhere with me.” 

    When dining out it’s easy to get separate checks but even that can get sticky if, say, you must use valet parking or pay a cover charge.  

    Negotiating by email is one good way to have a written record before the trip begins. Make the list as complete as possible. If you’re face to face, sit down with your guest(s) and make notes, then keep your written work sheet in case disputes arise.  Save every receipt. The more you have in writing, the better your chances of getting your fair share without hard feelings. 

Solo Woman Money Saver Alert 
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    Thanks and I’ll see you down the road. Janet Groene   
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