Friday, September 22, 2017

RX for an RV Refrigerator

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CPR for a Dead RV Refrigerator

    I once forget a stick of butter when I put the RV away. It melted, ran, stained, soaked, turned rancid and stank to high heaven.

      A friend of mine left the RV plugged in and returned in a few days to find that someone had accidentally (or maliciously) unplugged it. The fridge and everything in it was road kill.  

    Another friend left her RV plugged in at a storage facility, where a rat chewed through the power cord, killing both the rat and the power to the fridge. Weeks later, the smell could be heard for miles. 

    Get the picture? When a fridge dies, ordinary cleaning isn’t enough. The unit’s plastic liner is porous and absorbs odors that can cling through several washings.

    1. Take out everything including trays and shelves. Discard spoiled food where wildlife and pets can’t get at it. It’s toxic. 

    2.  Any food containers that are dishwasher-able can be soaked in very hot water with dishwasher detergent. (Put things through a dishwasher or hand-wash it in scalding water with dishwasher detergent while wearing rubber gloves.) 

    3. Wash trays and shelves in warm, soapy water with a couple of tablespoons of baking soda. Rinse and dry completely, preferably in the sun. Set aside to air until you're ready to restart the fridge. 

    4. Wash the fridge interior with soapy water and perhaps a bleach solution to remove icky stains.  Rinse with clean water and dry well. Wash again with baking soda water mixed at the rate of 2 tablespoons soda per quart of warm water. Pay special attention to the gasket, edges, hinges, nooks and crannies.

    5. If the fridge has a drain, remove and wash the plug. Use a turkey baster to flush  out the drain with baking soda solution. Make sure it's running free. It could be plugged with debris from melting or decomposing food. Leave the drain plug out to dry drain completely. Repeat flushing if necessary.  Leave the drain plug out until you’re ready to cool the fridge again. Don’t forget to replace it. 

    6. If there is a drip pan under the refrigerator, empty and clean it completely. If any grime or mold spores remain here, they’ll start new growths as soon as they get damp. 

    7. Once the fridge is clean and dry, fill it with crumpled newspaper or put in a tray filled with kitty litter, baking soda, activated charcoal or coffee grounds. Close the door and let things stand overnight. Remove the tray. Repeat if necessary.  

    8.  Don’t put it all back together just yet. Unpleasant smells may continue to belch out of the vents, so run it empty overnight except for tray of baking soda or activated charcoal in the main unit and another in the freezer section. Don’t add food until it smells sweet and clean again.

    Needless to say, the fridge should be clean and empty when the RV is put away, and the doors left ajar for ventilation. And don't forget the butter.

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

Friday, September 15, 2017

Women, RV Travel and Crime

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Don’t be a Crime RVictim

Modern women know it’s no longer unusual, or even especially risky,  to travel alone in an RV. Still, there are new and unique dangers out there.

    Do you  check crime stats before deciding on a place to travel in your RV? Statistics can be misleading but it’s revealing to look at sites such as and neighborhood

  According to USA Today, citing 2016 figures,  America’s Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities are St. Louis, Detroit, Birmingham (Alabama), Memphis, Milwaukee, Rockford (Illinois), Baltimore, Little Rock, Oakland and Kansas City.

    According to the safest cities are Naperville (Illinois), Irvine and Thousand Oaks (California), Provo (Utah), Round Rock (Texas), Ann Arbor (Michigan), Carlsbad (California) and Port St. Lucie (Florida).

An excellent reference book for solo women travelers is 100 Deadly Skills by Clint Emerson, a retired U.S. Navy SEAL.   It makes fascinating armchair reading and will prepare you for anything from avoiding capture to punching a shark.. Here are additional suggestions:

Before You Go

    *  Privately let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, when you plan to arrive and how to contact you. Let them know when you arrive or if you deviate from the plan. This information should be private between you and a trusted homie, never shared on social media.

  * Have large number or symbol painted on the roof of your RV. If you call for help you can be spotted from the air. 

     * Make your RV look occupied. Close curtains so crooks don’t know if you’re inside or not. Lock all doors and windows. Run a light, TV or radio if you can do so without depleting the battery when you’re not on board.    

     * Don’t give thieves a place to hide in ambush.  In shopping centers park in well lighted areas away from  shrubs and other hiding places. Try to park among cars, not with tall vehicles that form dark canyons where crooks could lurk.  

     * Keep alarms armed and powered. Even in a secure campground, don’t open the door to strangers.

On the Road

    * Always lock all doors in the RV, tow car or dinghy including trunks and basement (except the propane compartment, which should not be locked.)  You may also want to add a locking gas cap to prevent fuel theft.  Keep valuables out of sight. It may take a few extra minutes to close cockpit curtains, but there are a lot of tempting goodies there for a smash-and-grab thief.

    * Never pick up hitchhikers or stop for someone in distress. Use your cell phone to call 911 on their behalf. 

       * Park in well-lighted areas close to the building.

      * Don’t stop on the road if you can help it. If you are bumped from behind or if someone indicates there is something wrong with your vehicle, continue to a service station or a well-lighted, populated area. 

    * Fill the fuel tank before dark. Lock all doors and close windows if you step away from the RV for any reason.

Travel Destination: Checking In
    * When checking into a campground, know what security features are in place. You may need a code to get into the gate at night. Know where to find the campground host’s site and how to get help if you’re in a zone without cell phone reception.

   * Get a safe that can be bolted to the RV frame so it can’t be removed.
   * When away from the campground, be wary about telling strangers the name of your campground and number of your campsite.  

On the Town

*  Take only the cash you need in your purse or wallet. Bring only the necessary credit card(s) with you and carry money separately from credit cards. Women should keep purses closed and snuggled tightly against the body.

   * Know your route and stick to well-lighted, well-traveled streets. Select ATM machines in visible, well-lighted locations.

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


Friday, September 8, 2017

RV Wheels Down in North Carolina

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by Janet Groene

If  your RV had a leash that wouldn’t let it leave the state of North Carolina, you’d still be in paradise. The geography of the Tar Heel state stretches from Atlantic beaches to the highest mountains in the East. The state has history, culture, nature and activities ranging from sailing to skiing. 

    The boomtown of Concord is most famous for Concord Mills, a massive mall filled with  attractions and Olympic-quality shopping, and the Charlotte Motor Speedway, scene of some of the greatest infield RV parties in NASCAR-land. 

    You can pay more than $1,000 to camp the infield during races but something is going on at the track almost every day, all year. The Christmas display of lights is a five-star event.  Around the area are affordable campgrounds with plenty to offer even if autosports aren’t on your wish list.  

   Here’s a sample Cabarrus Country and Charlotte area sightseeing menu for before, after or instead of the races. For more information and a list of area campgrounds go to

    THE BEAD LADY, downtown Concord,  Everything needed to make custom jewelry, accessories and beaded clothing is here in one shop. Visit room after room filled with beads, crystals, gems, glass clasps, threads and inspirations. One entire room showcases supplies for making wedding jewelry and. decorations. 

     You can also take a beading class. Or, choose makings for a necklace or other piece that will be made for you. Don’t miss the rest of historic, strollable UNION STREET . Eat, drink, shop and don’t miss the family-owned  Cabarrus Creamery for the best ice cream on the planet.

   NORTH CAROLINA RENAISSANCE FAIRE in Huntersville, north of Charlotte, is worth a special trip every November. Lords and ladies in period costumes joust and jest just like in the days of yore. Eat like the royals, listen to madrigal music, see dancing and artists and falconers.

    WHISKEY PRISON SOUTHERN GRACE DISTILLERIES. Small batch bourbon is produced in this former jail but you don’t have to be a drinker to enjoy touring the facility in Mt. Pleasant northeast of Charlotte. Take the Behind Bars Tour on Food Truck Fridays and bring your leashed dog if you wish.

    Other must-see’s in the area include many auto museums and garages,  panning for gold at the Reed Gold Mine and driving the self-guided Dale Trail devoted to the late driver  Dale Earnhardt. Take a selfie with his larger-than-life statue in his home town of Kannapolis. Also in Kannapolis is the Curb Museum collection of famous autos and  the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame with exhibits devoted to music stars including Randy Travis, Eric Church and Fantasia Barrino.

See Janet Groene's shortcut recipes for camping and RV at


Friday, September 1, 2017

RV Women Run for It

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A Running Start

    I’m a big fan of Kinsey Millhone, the fictional private detective in the crime novels written by Sue Grafton. Kinsey is an avid runner, inviting readers to relax and sweat with her as she unwinds after a tough day of driving, doing paper work or collaring bad guys.  Like Kinsey, women in the RV lifestyle know that running is one of the best and most carefree sports.

     Running gets you outdoors, it’s good exercise, it’s travel and it’s  absolutely free. It's so much a part of everyday life,  it will connect you to almost any place and any group at any season of the year. 

There is sure to be at least one great trail near your campsite. Even if you’re in a city campground, the campground manager or the concierge at a nearby hotel can  recommended a jogging route.
    All you need are running shoes and the gumption to get out there. Whether your goal is better general health, weight loss or entering marathons, here’s how to get started in running. 

    * Get your doctor’s OK. 

    * Research the right shoes for your body and for the type of running, jogging or power walks you plan to do. 

    * Stay hydrated before, during and after the run.

    * You have to walk your dog anyway, so  running with the dog is a sport you’ll both love. You might need a different collar or harness for better control.

    * Running is  one of the best ways to connect with people everywhere you travel. Sign up for local events ranging from small town 5K runs and fund raisers to the Boston Marathon and the Eggnog Jog through the annual Christmas wonderland at the Charlotte Speedway. 

    * Little investment is required, moneywise or space wise. Good shoes are a must and it’s also a plus to have a good sports bra.  Running shirt, shorts, hydration vest are optional. 

    * Have a warm up and a cool-down regimen. 

    * Establish a routine so running becomes a compelling habit. Set goals and work up gradually to your own level, whatever that might be for YOU. Depending on your body clock,  running first thing in the morning, or after a long days’ drive, may be best for you.

    These books can help you get off on the right foot.     Running Revolution. How to Run Faster, Farther and Injury-Free for Life,.

Also The Non Marathon Runner’s Guide

Friday, August 25, 2017

Your Most Important RV Decision

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When your RV is two vehicles, you can use or change either as needed. When your RV is one vehicle, just lock the doors and you're home anywhere you park. 

Your RV: 
Two Vehicles or One? 

The most basic decision in choosing an RV is not the color scheme,  fuel mileage or even the price.  Only you can decide whether to drive your RV or tow it. 

The One- Vehicle RV is Best Because

* A self-contained, single RV is best for the solo woman because you’re always “home”. When you stop for lunch or a rest, you’re already behind locked doors. Park, eat, nap, use the bathroom without going out in the rain. 

* Driving most motorhomes is a snap, just like your family car only bigger. Maneuvering a trailer can be tricky. 

* Tolls are based on the number of axles. You’re insuring only one vehicle, buying tires for only one vehicle.
* Engineering-wise, a motorhome is designed for the best fuel efficiency, drive-ability, space utilization, payload, aerodynamics. 

* Most of today’s motorhomes are insulated, heated and air conditioned for use in all seasons. Some are 4WD. 

The Two-Vehicle RV is Best Because

* A travel trailer gives you the same living space for much less money. 

* The tow vehicle can be your everyday car or truck. You’re not paying depreciation and maintenance for an expensive engine and drive train that you use only in season. 

* Change either vehicle any time. You might tow a travel trailer now but switch to a trailerable cabin cruiser or toy hauler  next year. Or, it’s time to trade in one or the other for something newer, smaller, larger or a different layout.

* When you get to the campground, unhook the trailer and you have a street vehicle for sightseeing and errands. Fuel costs are less. 

None of the Above
         Of course there are other choices besides a motorhome versus a travel trailer-plus-tow vehicle. Your motorhome might tow a boat, utility trailer or small car. Your everyday pickup truck could carry a camper top or pull a 5th wheel trailer. Isn't it wonderful to have so many choices? Let's get out there and RV like we mean it! 

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Friday, August 11, 2017

A Trio of Top Ten Lists for RV Trips

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Your RV Travel Bucket List
3 Top 10 Lists
  10 most visited national parks
  10 most luxurious RV parks
  10 best state parks 

What do others say about the best of the best? Here's how others rate the great RV destinations. 

America’s Most Visited National Parks
Does your RV travel bucket list include visiting as many national parks as time allows? Here’s the Top Ten for visits according to the National Parks Conservation Organization. 


1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the eastern U.S.  is the nation’s most visited, with more than 11 million visits each year.

2. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

3. Yosemite National Park, California

4. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

5. Zion National Park, Utah

6. Yellowstone National Park in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming

7. Olympic National Park, Washington

8. Acadia National Park, Maine

9. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

10. Glacier National Park, Montana,  with not quite 3 million visits per year

Top Ten Luxury RV Resorts

Do you like luxury activities, amenities like spa and golf and rich neighbors? We found an RV lot for sale in a Florida luxury RV resort for $350,000, with maintenance fees an additional $2,800 per year.  That's just for a place to park your RV in a fancy gated community. According to, the nation’s Top 10 Luxury Camping Resorts are

1. Zion River Resort outside Zion National Park, Utah

2. Bella Terra, Gulf Shores, Alabama

3. Norrmandy Farms, Cape Cod

4. Shady Dell, Bisbee, Arizona

5. Bluewater Key RV Resort, Key West, Florida

6. Poison Motorcoach and RV Park, Montana

7. Aztec RV Resort, Fort Lauderdale

8. Petoskey RV Resort, Michigan

9. Mountain Falls Luxury RV Resort, North Carolina

10. Solstice Motorcoach Resort, Nevada

Top Ten State Parks
According to Fodor’s the nation’s Top Ten State Parks are

1. Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas

2. T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Florida

3. Adirondack Park, New York

4. Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee

5. Itasca State Park, Minnesota

6. Franconia Notch  State Park, New Hampshire

7. Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

8. Slide Rock State Park, Arizona

9. Lime Kiln Point State Park, Washington

10. Custer State Park, South Dakota

See Janet Groene's easy recipes for camping and RV trips at 

Friday, August 4, 2017

RV Checklists: Safe, not Sorry

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A Checklist of Checklists

    My friend DeeAnn was two days into her RV trip from Ohio to Maine  when her credit card was refused for a Walmart purchase. Wisely, her credit card company flagged the charge as a possible theft. It was “suspect activity” for the card to be used so far from DeeAnn’s home address.   Before she left home,  she could have called the company to alert them to expect such charges. 
    Checklists are lifelines to the RV woman. Keep yours on your phone, iPad, clip board or spiral notebook. Each list must be precise and personalized to you and your trip, such as letting your pet sitter know how to reach you in an emergency or getting a SIM card for Canada or  having someone water your prize hydrangeas. How many of these will work for you?

Leave Home Checklist. Before your RV trip, stop the mail, set the alarms and let a neighbor or loved one know your route and contact information. These sound like no-brainers but trust me, you’ll feel better seeing them checked off in writing.  Load clothes and shoes for the places you’re going. Put an ICE (In Case of Emergency)  number in your smart phone. Bring your DNR.
    Check due dates on monthly bills and know how you’ll handle them while you’re gone. Pickup dry cleaning. Return library books. Arrange for your cousin’s 25th anniversary present to arrive on time.

Startup Checklist.  This list should be used before every startup, even if you’ve just stopped for fuel. Walk all the way around the rig to eyeball tires. Make sure slides and  hatches are closed, the step is in and there are no puddles from leaking hoses or tanks. Are inside cupboards and fridge closed, no loose gear on counter tops. Propane oven and furnace off? 

Annual Checklist. Month by month, list when to review insurances and warranties. Even if you use the RV only in season it’s good to have reminders of things that have to be done infrequently such as reserving campsites, renewing your driver’s license and paying dues in FMCA. In addition to warranties on the RV itself, the meter is ticking on things inside the RV such as the television and  microwave and the 90-day free trial on the mattress. 

Emergency Pantry Checklist. No matter how small your RV it’s wise to have enough food on hand for two or three extra days.  Roads close. Engines quit. Plans change. Stuff happens. Stash away a good balance of  foods,  safe and separate, and re-do as often as possible. It takes little space to keep a small supply of protein bars, dried fruit, rice,  Spam, canned beans.

Hookup Checklist. A checklist of hookup routines is useful when you break camp too so you don’t leave behind your own water pressure regulator, clothes in the dryer or pigtail. It addition to the written list it’s also wise to hop out of the RV after pulling out of the campsite and quickly check the site for items left behind. 

What is on your checklists? Email me at