Friday, September 12, 2014

RV Woman, Writer, Author Cheryl Norman

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Meet Author Cheryl Norman, RV Woman

If you love romantic mysteries you already know award-winning author Cheryl Norman, but did you know she is also an avid RV woman?

Growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, Cheryl was only 13 when she wrote her first mystery in pencil. She never stopped writing. Her contemporary romance, Last Resort, won an EPPIE. Publishers Weekly called her “one of ten new romance authors to watch.”

Cheryl and her husband, Norman, started RV-ing in 1984. When they travel Cheryl researches locations by day and brings out her laptop computer in the evening to write. 

Her suspense novel, Running Scared, is an example of how travel and writing go
hand in hand. The book is set in Washington D.C., and Jacksonville, Florida. She
spent time in both places, acquainting herself with streets and landmarks.

Cheryl finds it tough to name her favorite RV trip because she has loved them all,
but she does single out a four-month trip to Alaska. “Getting there was half the
fun,” she recalls. She has now been to all 50 states including Hawaii, a fly-in
destination that didn’t include the RV.

Author Sue Henry used Alaska in some of her mystery novels, starting with Dead
North.  Cheryl met her at a book signing in Skagway, Alaska, in 1997, and
followed her career,” Cheryl reports. “I wasn't published yet, and she offered me
encouragement and advice.” 

A cancer survivor and loyal supporter of the American Cancer Society, Cheryl  loves walking, sewing, cooking, reading and classic cars. All these hobbies mesh well with the RV lifestyle. Her home base is in northern Florida in a small town that looks much like the fictional Drake Springs where her newest mysteries take place. Most of her books are available in Kindle as well as print editions. Reclaim My Life  is just one of her many best sellers. 

See Janet Groene's RV recipes at  Her weekly Pantry Recipe, requiring no fresh foods, is seen at

Snack on a more healthful handful when you make your own trail mix. Find easy recipes at

Friday, September 5, 2014

Smart RV Women Love Great Road Food

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RV Food, Road Food, Right Food
    If you’re a woman on the road, you eat on the road. I love having my own little RV
kitchen but part of the RV experience is visiting local restaurants and exploring regional dishes created by native cooks. How can you enjoy roadside restaurant meals without sacrificing your health?

    For answers we went to cardiologist Dr. Mike Fenster, author of The Fallacy of the Calorie, Why the Modern Western Diet is Destroying Us and How to Stop it.

    Here are Dr. Fenster’s tips on eating better and healthier on the go.

    * Say no to commercial salad dressings, even diet dressings. Stick with olive oil and vinegar, fresh lemon juice or no dressing at all. Shun diet drinks too. Studies show, says Dr. Fenster, that women who drink more diet beverages are heavier and have increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. 

    * Burgers beat deli meat. If you can get a great burger that is organic, grass fed and
pasture fed it’s better than highly processed meat and meat products like those typically used in deli sandwiches.

    * Under-salted food may be a diet disservice. “A properly seasoned meal leaves us more
satisfied and less likely to binge,” the doctor observes. “Over 75% of an average person’s daily sodium intake comes from eating highly processed and prepared foods. Seek out those restaurants that utilize fresh ingredients, from produce to proteins.”

    *  Low cholesterol advertising is a fat trap. (It) has little or nothing to do with your blood cholesterol levels. Foods and menu items promoted as  “healthy” because they are “low in cholesterol” are often loaded with fat, sugar or other additives that cause more harm than a three egg omelet ever could, he says. 

    * Energy bars are bogus, warns Dr. Fenster. “Many of these bars are highly processed and contain high levels of low-nutrient fillers and sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup. Diets high in added sugars, fructose in particular, has been associated with increased risk of developing hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular disease and other life-threatening medical conditions. Bars are also often loaded with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame that’s linked to a myriad of health ailments. The short term energy boost that bars provide is often followed by a “crash” that can cause you to eat yet more unhealthy bars or other food to get revved back up.”

    * Bagels are the “other” white bread, and that isn’t good says Dr. Fenster. Commercial
breads are the number one source of sodium in the average American diet. They also often contain significant amounts of refined sugar and fat in the form of detrimental omega-six polyunsaturated fatty acids.  A seemingly benign plain bagel is equivalent to several slices of white bread…even before the addition of toppings or fillings.

    * Counting calories is a fallacy. For example, a 100 calorie soft drink is not the nutritional equivalent of a 100 calorie apple. Healthful eating is about the quality of the consumable.

Check out Janet Groene’s easy recipes for the RV galley at

 Where go next in your RV? See Janet Groene’s Travel Tidbits at

See our Pantry Recipe of the Week at Boat Cook. It calls for no fresh foods at all. Use what you have, of course, but keep these recipes in reserve for boondocking and emergencies.


Friday, August 29, 2014

RV Travel and Choosing a Home Base

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 photo courtesy Winnebago

When you travel by RV you have a fully self-contained home on wheels

Where’s Home?
    Choosing an official “home” base is the most important decision to be made when you live and travel full-time in an RV. It’s also the toughest, most exasperating and most impossible decision to guess at, let alone to second-guess. It has nothing to do with where you actually spend your time.

You may rarely even see the state that is your “home” although it’s getting more difficult to avoid going back from time to time to renew a driver’s license or to serve on a jury. 

    When I first became a routeless, rootless wanderer it was easy to use my parents’ address as my own. Mother forwarded important mail, asked me what to forward, burned the rest. Then things got more complicated when Dad retired and my folks moved back to New York State, where taxes and fees are among the highest in the nation. Now that I had a New York address, I became subject to state income taxes, insurance rates, licenses, laws and all the rest. I wanted Out.

    I can’t speak for Canadian provinces but in the USA it’s mind-boggling to realize how
much one’s personal rights, costs and obligations are affected by state laws. As security concerns become ever more strict, it’s harder than ever to decide where to call home. For years, all a full-timer needed was a post office box. Now you need a physical address to get a bank account, a broker, a credit card, even some prescriptions.

    Here’s just one example. A woman I’ll call Wanda was RV-ing solo when she met a man
who was also traveling alone in his RV. She sold her motorhome, moved in with the guy we’ll call Steve,  and they drove off into the sunset on a cloud of promises and pillow talk. They did not get married.  She told me it had something to do with keeping her late husband’s pension and, “Besides,” she said smugly, “A wedding license is just a piece of paper. We trust each other completely.” Then Steve died.

    Wanda had no legal status with Steve and the RV was registered in his name in a state
Wanda had never seen.  He had no will. According to the laws of his “home state” his heirs were his children, parents and siblings.  Immediately they wanted to sell the RV and divide the proceeds. Wanda and Steve had considered the  RV to be her home too, but that was then. Now she had no legal status. Thanks to her savings and a loan from her folks, she was able to buy the RV from the estate. Otherwise she would have been out on her ear.

    Wanda’s situation could have been even worse. If she and Steve had joint bank accounts or a safety deposit box in some states, the accounts would have been sealed when one of them died. Only after it all went through probate, and Steve’s heirs got their share, would Wanda have had access to her own money.  In any case, her status and the status of her RV home would have depended on state law.

    Get the picture? State laws determine your privileges and burdens as an heir, as a
biological or adoptive parent, as a legal, common law or ex-spouse, and as a partner who is not legally related by blood, marriage, adoption or business contract.

    Here are just a few things that are determined by state law:  workman’s compensation,
traffic laws and tickets, Medicaid or other public assistance, death, inheritance and your rights if you are a crime victim.  State law determines the cost of licenses for your RV and other vehicles Insurance  rates are based on your “home” city or county. 

The profession you practice may also be governed by myriad state laws and license requirements.  Health insurance including Medicare supplement policies are priced according to your “home” city. The program is federal but identical Medi-gap coverage can vary by thousands of dollars a year from place to place. 

As a “resident” of a city or county you could be called for jury duty, and some places won’t take no for an answer.  Gun laws too vary state to state and according to the type of weapon. To carry a weapon in a vehicle is a felony in some states even if the vehicle is also your sole domicile and you have a permit to carry it in your home state! 

These books can be lifesavers.

Choosing your RV  "Home" State.

Living Aboard Your RV, a Guide to the Full-time Life on Wheels.

A Guide to Gun Laws in all 50 States


Friday, August 22, 2014

RV Women Drive in Style

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Do you want a brief email reminder each time a new post goes up here (usually each Friday)? Email and put RV i the subject line.

Clothes That Go the Extra
Mile in the RV Lifestyle

    What are your favorite double-duty and/or travel garments for RV travel?
    How do you get more wardrobe into less RV space?
    Beyond the little back dress and strand of pearls, how do you dress for a special night out?
    Do you join the rest of the world in wearing jeans only because they’re always safe?  

    Here are some of my favorite wardrobe stretchers:
    * A silk scarf, simple but elegant. I buy these by the half dozen because they are so affordable to paint with any pattern or color. If you are good with an artist's brush, they are also a nice gift or craft for resale.

    * Slacks with length options. Some can be rolled up and snapped in place. Others have
zip-off lengths. They can be worn with flats or let down to wear with wedgies that have a little heel. 

     * A sarong. In many parts of the world, it's the only garment for women and a shorter version is worn by men. Use it was a swim suit cover-up. Throw it on for morning coffee. Trick it out with jewelry for a night out.

    * Snap-on shoe bows carry in very little space yet they can transform your basic black
pumps into party shoes. Prim bows are good for daytime; shiny stones for evening.

    * All my travels are in moderate climates, so I carry only three-season garments.
My ace in the hole for an unexpected cold snap is dancer’s leg warmers.  They store in every little space yet can be slipped on  under a jacket and slacks as extra sleeves or legs.  

    * I love reversibles. Look for a reversible skirt, vest or jacket that is actually two garments.  

    * I wear a Medium but I keep a supply of XL tee shirts. They are ideal for sleeping, beach coverups or a painting smock. Souvenir tee shirts from my travels make good gifts for the home folks too.  

See Janet Groene’s shortcut recipes for RV travel, camping and boating at Camp And RV Cook.

Each week we present a pantry recipe for shelf foods. Use it for emergencies or boondocking. Go to Boat Cook. No fresh ingredients required.
Snack healthier, smarter for less cost when you make your own gorp. Package it by the cup for personal snacking and hikes; dump it into a bowl for the party or potluck. See Create A Gorp.

RV decorator tip of the week: When ordering a new RV, get the most neutral color scheme available. Then trick it out with colorful pillows, spreads, towels, accessories. Soft goods are easy and inexpensive to change at a whim. I have two sets of soft goods for my pearl gray bathroom, bright red and a soft,  seafoam green. Every other washday I can have an entirely new look.