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Posted by Mtn. View RV | Posted in Tales From the Road | Posted on 02-05-2012
WomenRVers.com publisher Julianne Crane will be on hand to talk about the RV Lifestyle at the “Celebrate Life Expo” Saturday, May 12, 2012, at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center (404 N. Havana St., Spokane).
Julianne has been writing about the recreation vehicle lifestyle since the mid-80s when she owned first small Mini-Winnie motor home. Between 2003-2007, she wrote ‘Wheel Life,’ a weekly RV column and blog for The Spokesman-Review. In 2008, Crane began publishing RVWheelLife.com and, in 2011 started contributing to RVShortStops.com. She is currently the RV lifestyle specialist for Motor Matters, an automotive content provider serving the print and online pages of daily and weekly newspapers across the United States. Thousands of her articles and posts have been published in newspapers, magazines and online.
She recently returned to Eastern Washington after ‘snowbirding’ for five months with her partner, Jimmy Smith, in their 29-foot fifth wheel trailer, traveling as far as the Texas Gulf Coast.
The previous winter they spent six months in an 8-1/2-foot truck camper on a 12,000-mile RV trip circumnavigating the USA; during 2009-2010 their three-month, 8,000-mile journey crisscrossed the Southwest.
Stop by the “Life On The Road” exhibit booth on 5/12, in the Expo’s travel corner and bring your questions.
The Celebrate Life! Expo supports successful aging throughout the Inland Northwest by bringing boomers, seniors, and their families together with local businesses, educators, entertainers, and wellness experts. Nearly 200 exhibitors, an arts exhibit, and dozens of free health screenings combine with educational presentations to inspire the community to engage in life and live out ones dreams.
Tickets are $ 10 at the door. Call (509) 326-1471 with questions. For more information go online to www.ped-spokane.org
Photo: Julianne Crane
Posted by Mtn. View RV | Posted in Tales From the Road | Posted on 24-04-2012
Two Pacific Northwest women spent part of February and March traveling America’s Southwest in a vintage Vogue motor coach in search of special objects for their antique business in Cashmere, Wash.The Women:
Longtime friends Peggy Littlefield and Harley Bratrude aren’t exactly Thelma and Louise, however they were armed (with an antique six-shooter) when we crossed trails in west Texas, just south of the Pecos. We both had circled our modern day prairie schooners around the campground in Balmorhea State Park.
Peggy, a mother of three, homemaker and retired rancher, was born and raised in the panhandle of Idaho. She owned the Kid Zone, an educational toy store with “a lot of neat things in it,” and was a fixture for many years in downtown Sandpoint.
Harley, also a mother of three, spent her youth in Detroit before making her way to the Pacific Northwest “because of a man.” She is a community volunteer with the performing arts center and has been in the antique business for more than 20 years.
They met through a book club and soon discovered mutual interests in cooking, good martinis, scrabble and antiques.
1983 33-foot Vogue II gasoline motor coach.
Owned by the Littlefields, Peggy found it on Craig’s List and convinced her husband, Brad, to go look at it. They “own the very first Airstream motor home built,” however, it is a 23-foot unit and they needed something larger to travel in.
The Vogues were very high end coaches in their day (rock and roll entertainer Chuck Berry owned a similar rig) and at that time 1983 Vogue cost more than $ 100,000.
They came extremely well equipped with standard dual air conditioning, and a 50 amp power system with matching 6.2 generator set, according to Brad. “It was equipped with hydraulic leveling system, large tanks for waste and fresh water, and two 4D batteries for the house and one for the chassis.”
It had also been equipped with a GV overdrive, Mark VI 454 and a solar system to keep the four golf cart batteries up on their charge, said Brad. “All the systems work very well, and the coach runs like a Swiss watch.”
The interior of the coach included leather front seats with 6-way power on both, pretty fancy for its day. There is a rear bathroom, twin beds, and a modern kitchen complete with bar with ice maker.
Seek out great regional food and western relics as they moseyed across the Lone Star State–from Houston and Galveston to San Antonio and Austin … then through the Hill Country and west Texas. Meander a while in New Mexico and Arizona before taking separate trails in Tucson. Peggy to be joined by her husband for their slow return trip home to Wenatchee, Wash., and Harley to visit friends in southeast Arizona before heading north.
Where to find their antique outlet:
Apple Annie Antique Gallery
100 Apple Annie Ave.
1-866-504-8460 · 509-782-4004
Hours: Daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Upcoming big event at Apple Annie’s:
Semi-Annual parking lot Flea Market Saturday, May 12, 2012, from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
To read more by Julianne Crane go to RV Wheel Life.com
Photos of Peggy Littlefield (left) and Harley Bratrude by Julianne Crane
Take this Portable Folding Hammock, BIG BUCKS OFF! An oversized slice of paradise, ready to swing you into the best, most relaxed mood ever! Fun facts: Hammocks were developed in tropical regions for sleeping. Today, they’re popular around the world for relaxation and can be used as lightweight beds on camping trips. Relaxation made easy: Fully portable, foldable, sets up in seconds; Ultra-strong steel frame, over 8′ long with plenty of room; Mesh fabric bottom improves air circulation for a coo
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Posted by Mtn. View RV | Posted in Tales From the Road | Posted on 10-04-2012
Fulltime RVer Nancy Bridges has an infectious laugh and an invincible outlook on life, specifically when it comes to her life-on-the-road.
This Georgia-born steel magnolia first came across my radar on the day her 2006 40-foot Alfa See Ya Gold motor coach almost tipped over sideways.
It seems a friend (who had only recently returned to the campground after being away for several months) had unknowingly directed Nancy onto a patch of ground that had been previously weakened by several days of rain, hail and snow. Within moments the verge’s side gave way under the weight of Nancy’s Alfa diesel pusher.
“Oh this was nothing,” remarked Nancy, as her motor coach was being inched to safety. “My first motor home burned down only three months after I started RVing.”
That incident happened one extremely hot summer day in 2008. Nancy was traveling west along U.S. Highway 2 in northern Montana. She was heading toward Glacier National Park and was about 90 miles east of Havre, the nearest town.
“A couple came racing along beside me, honking their car horn and frantically pointing to the side of the road,” said Nancy. “I couldn’t see anything wrong with my rig, but I gradually pulled over behind them. The man came running back to my motor home yelling that my coach was on fire.”
Nancy grabbed her purse, jumped out of her rig and saw smoke boiling out of her rear battery compartment. Within only a few minutes her entire recreation vehicle had burst into flames and was reduced to a burnt-out hulk. Her toad, a late model Prius, was totaled.
Only a few days later, Nancy had acquired a rental car, ordered a new Alfa motor coach, and decided to drive to Glacier on the way to picking up her new Prius in Spokane, Wash.
“Quitting was never an option,” said Nancy. “My husband, Paul, and I had always planned on RVing fulltime after retiring.” Unfortunately, Paul died in 2004 at 60 only a few months after being diagnosed from lung cancer. Then her mother became ill and Nancy helped care for her until she passed in late 2007.
Once Nancy started living her dream, she was determined to continue, even after her first RV was destroyed. In 2011, between May through August, Nancy solo RVed 1422 miles along the Alaska Highway.
“I just keep checking things off my bucket list,” said the determined Nancy.
Photos (click on to enlarge): Nancy Bridges and her Alfa See Ya Gold and Prius; (middle) her tilting motor home (Julianne Crane). Nancy’s first motor home burning (Courtesy of Nancy Bridges). Bottom: Nancy’s Alaska Highway T-shirt. (Julianne Crane)
Read more of Julianne Crane’s writing at RVWheelLife.com
Posted by Mtn. View RV | Posted in Tales From the Road | Posted on 23-02-2012
Dar Hoch is among the army of working RVers.
Dar and her husband, Thom, retired in 2007. Since then they have been living full time in their 2007 39-foot Newmar Kountry Star motor coach traveling throughout North America.
During the winter months, the Hochs, of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, migrate south to the Coastal Bend of Texas.
“We knew in advance of starting this lifestyle that we’d have to do some kind of work along the way,” said Dar.
Three years ago, Dar, a registered nurse, found a per diem position at the Care Regional Medical Center in Aransas Pass, Texas. Now, during their winter stay, she dons her uniform and reports three days a week for 12-hour shifts.
“Being an RN it’s helpful to keep your fingers in the profession on a regular basis,” said Dar. And, “due to large increases in private health insurance after our first year on the road, it was time for me to look for work.”
“Most hospitals want at least a three-month commitment,” said Dar. “It is to our advantage to earn some income working only three months, that way the rest of the year can be spent with family and seeing the country.”
Dar’s advice to other nurses looking for work while living on the road:
“There are different ways for medical professionals, not just RN’s, to go about finding work while traveling:
1) Work through an agency – There are a number of traveling nurse and other medical profession agencies that can help find one work almost anywhere around the country. Choose where you want to spend a few months and they will place you.
2) Research on your own what is available in the area you spend time – Smaller hospitals, nursing homes, etc. often don’t use agencies and instead hire per diem (per day).”
Dar researched what was available in the Coastal Bend of Texas (on-line, phone book, talking to RV park management). She made contact, decided what was the best fit for her and filled out applications.
“It didn’t take long to find myself sitting in hospital orientation,” she said.
One final piece of advice from Dar: “RNs need to look on-line into whether or not the state they are licensed is part of the 30 states currently in the Compact States. Nurses licensed in any one of the Compact States can work in any other of the listed states without having to apply for and pay for another license in that state.”
The Hochs chronicle their journey online at “Thom and Dar’s RV Sabbatical Journal,” tdhoch.blogspot.com.
- Sturdy cooking accessory makes it easier to grill your outdoor feasts
- 24-by-16-inch (W x D) grilling surface
- Made of heavy-duty welded steel
- Designed for cooking over an open fire
- Legs fold up for easy storage
Heavy – duty Camp Grill keeps you cookin’. Don’t spill the beans! This sturdy food fryer won’t go topsy-turvy on you. It’ll stay right where you put it. That’s because it’s designed for cooking over an open fire with its rugged iron frame and expanded metal grill surface. Ideal for cast iron cooking or for grilling directly on its surface. Legs fold under for compact storage and transport. Weighs 8 1/2 lbs. For steady cooking at the camp… order ONLINE now! AVAILABLE SEPARATELY: 36 x 18″ Heavy-
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Posted by Mtn. View RV | Posted in Tales From the Road | Posted on 14-02-2012
Joyce, a fulltime RVer since 2007, is currently spending the winter in Arizona before heading back to the Pacific Northwest in the spring where she will once again volunteer during the summer for the Nez Perce National Historic Park Service at the Wallowa Lake State Park in Oregon.
Prior to wintering in the Tucson area, Joyce volunteered during October and November 2011 at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Visitor’s Center in southwest Arizona.
A retired registered nurse, Joyce lives in a 2007 26-foot Itasca Sunova, with two slides. Her tow car is a 2006 Saturn. — WomenRVers.com editor Julianne Crane
Joyce Caudell’s Update
“Being an average, intelligent and competent 67-year-old, I find it quite humbling taking clogging lessons. Seems my feet and my brain are sometimes disconnected. But once I let go of being average, intelligent, competent and 67 years old, I’m having a whole lot of fun clogging and making new friends.”
“Another humbling, but ‘brag-able’ recent activity was bagging the summit of Picacho Peak with my friend, Laura. It’s only 2 miles up and most people allow 4 hours. Took us 6-1/2 hours.”
“Every move for days afterward reminded us why no one in our age group, that we know of, was willing to try this peak.”
“I thought I’d join the Senior Center and do some “old folks” exercise classes for the social benefits — another humbling experience. You wouldn’t think standing and sitting repeatedly to music with a big ball in your outstretched arms would be hard. But it was — not is, because I’m developing upper body strength and it’s a piece of cake now. Which is a good thing because I pulled a shoulder muscle using the cables climbing Picacho Peak.”
“I got a new bike. Another humbling experience. I’ve had my old one for 17 years but I had to give it up because arthritis in my upper body made my neck, shoulders, elbows and back complain loudly after just a few miles of leaning forward like Lance and the guys. Now I sit more upright, kinda like Mary Poppins…sigh. But it’s fun riding in the sunshine the many miles of paved, level bike paths along the rivers and neighborhoods nearby.”
“I’m enjoying the sunshine this winter here near Tucson, AZ. I’m not sure when I’ll leave.” – Joyce Caudell
For more information:
Picacho Peak State Park, northwest of Tucson, Arizona
Photos provided by Joyce Caudell. Click on photos to enlarge. Read more about Joyce Caudell’s volunteer work by clicking here.
If you have a story to share with other Women RVers, please send it to Julianne at RVWheelLife@gmail.com
Posted by Mtn. View RV | Posted in Tales From the Road | Posted on 06-02-2012
Lee Cowan, CBS National News correspondent interviewed Jaimie recently in Quartzsite as the RV lifestyle expert for a segment the program is doing on women RVers. The piece also features The Texas Ramblin’ Roses’ chapter of RVing Women.
Jaimie was interviewed on the far edge of the Scadden Wash on the Bureau of Land Management’s 14-day area where she and her husband, George Bruzenak, had parked their 32-foot New Horizon fifth wheel, along with the Boomer group of the Escapee RV Club.
Read more of Jaimie and her co-author Alice Zyetz by clicking on: RV authors Jaimie Hall Bruzenak and Alice Zyetz pen another book”
Photo: Lee Cowan, CBS National News correspondent interviewing Jaimie Hall Bruzenak. Courtesy of RVLifestyleExperts.com
To read more by Julianne Crane, click on RVWheelLife.com
Posted by Mtn. View RV | Posted in Tales From the Road | Posted on 28-01-2012
Gina Williams is a young writer whose dear friend died as the result of a motorcycle accident “after driving too fast over a highway overpass.”
That accident gave her life focus. She began writing about motorcycle safety and established Motorcycle Accident.org. She herself is a hobbyist biker “on the weekends. I don’t have my dream bike yet, but one day I’d like to get a Yamaha VMax Cruiser.”
The 20-something lives in Houston, Texas, and although she’s not an RV owner, she does love the outdoors and has been drawn back into camping after being away from it since her childhood.
“I love camping on the beach,” said Williams, “even though it is a mess.” Two of her other favorite camping locations in Texas are on Lake Travis, in Austin; and Lost Maples State Park near Vanderpool in the Hill Country.
As for the percentage of women motorcyclists, Williams, said that “the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety released statistics in 2008, which states that 12-percent of motorcyclists were women, but only 4-percent of fatal motorcycle crashes were female.”
Women RVers.com asked Williams to write about safety tips for trailering motorcycles behind RVs.
‘Motorcycle Towing: Safety Tips’ by Gina Williams
Traveling in your RV is too much fun; you get to see things you wouldn’t ordinarily and at the end of the day, you don’t have to sleep in a hotel room where only God knows how many other people have slept.
Even more fun is bringing your beloved motorcycle along with you. However, towing it by trailer can be dangerous if you don’t take the proper safety precautions.
Choose the Right Trailer
To ensure the safety of yourself and the motorists behind your tow, who are the ones most at risk, you must ensure that you have the proper trailer for what you’re towing.
The trailer you choose must safely and properly fit your vehicle and sustain the weight of your motorcycle.
These are the basic types of trailers for towing a motorcycle: Open flatbed, Enclosed, Two-wheel, Lifts, Towing cradles.
Properly Connect Everything
Here are four imperative steps you must be sure you complete in order to properly connect your trailer to your RV:
- After connecting your trailer to your RV, ensure that the trailer hitch pin is in, and in the whole way. This reinforces the towing apparatus to your RV.
- Ensure that the hitch coupler and spring bar hinges are secured.
- Utilize your safety chains; secure them from the trailer to your RV. If your trailer detaches for any reason, the safety chains will ensure that your trailer does not fully detach from you vehicle and harm other motorists.
- Secure the light wires to your trailer. Test them to make sure that drivers behind you will see when you initiate your turn signal and brakes.
Triple Check… Everything
Once you’ve connected everything, make sure you double and triple check all of your connections. Secure Your Motorcycle on the Trailer Motorcycles are one of the most difficult things to transport by trailer as they are on two wheels, and two wheels simply do not provide much balance for your bike when you are towing.
What you’ll need:
1. Towing straps.
Utilize towing straps by placing them through your motorcycle’s frame, wheels, etc., and securing the straps to the sides of the trailer. Ensure that the straps are locked and tight to prevent your bike from shifting during transport.
2. A wheel rail, cradle, or chock.
All three of these devices prevent your bike from rolling around by securing its wheels. Additionally, you should ensure that your motorcycle will not put more weight on one side of the trailer more so than the other; make sure your bike is centered on the trailer.
Practice Safe Driving Techniques
- Always practice safe driving techniques, including:
- If you’re inexperienced or will be towing a new trailer, practice in a safe, empty area before driving on a busy road.
- Always remember that you’re towing a trailer, which requires different driving techniques and considerations than when driving your RV.
- Take wider, slower turns than you ordinarily would.
- Drive slower than you ordinarily would.
- Begin braking sooner than you normally would; the additional weight that you are towing means it will take you longer to stop.
Reach Gina Williams at:
To read more of Julianne Crane’s writing, go to RVWheelLife.com
Posted by Mtn. View RV | Posted in Tales From the Road | Posted on 23-12-2011
Full time solo RVer Malia Lane who is spending this holiday season in her homebase of Austin, Texas, sent in this story about a favorite holiday memory in her recreational vehicle:
“The first Christmas I celebrated in my new rolling home was in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2001.
“I was traveling with my best friend who had introduced me to RVing – the best Christmas present ever. I cooked a full-on Christmas feast in my tiny kitchen and it turned out to be one of the best meals and times ever, complete with a wreath, fragrant candles and wine from plastic glasses.
“We decorated a rather sad looking little tree outside the RVs and laughed about it looking like a real Charlie Brown Christmas tree. We took a trip to the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, NC, and were excited as little kids with how they had each room elaborately decorated with huge trees and different themes celebrating the holiday.
“Several times I’ve been asked if I was sad about being away from ‘home’ during the holidays. From the very beginning, my little 350 sq. ft. space has felt like home and no matter where it’s parked, I celebrate being home for the holidays.
“Sometimes I’ve celebrated with family and other times I’ve embraced new friends who feel like family by the time the new year has arrived. Either way, I am thankful for the freedom and gifts this lifestyle brings. Merry Christmas to all and to all happy trails!”
Read Malia’s “Inspiration’s Journey“
Photo: Malia Lane sitting at her first Christmas dinner on the road. Courtesy of Malia Lane.
Posted by Mtn. View RV | Posted in Tales From the Road | Posted on 18-12-2011
Professional photographer and author Fran Reisner began traveling the highways fulltime in mid-September 2011, just a few weeks after selling her home in Denton, Texas.
She bought her motorhome “only days before having to hand over the keys to my home,” says the solo RVer who travels with her two rescue dogs, Jazzy and Sadie.
Recreation Vehicle: “I got a SWEET deal on a very slightly used 2010 Winnebago Adventurer, affectionately referred to as The Beast” — 35.5’ long, 12.5’ high, and 8.5’ wide. “In high winds this baby can rock and roll,” says Fran.
“With the three slides out it is very spacious, which was important to me since I’m traveling with two dogs. I’ve never owned an RV and went cold turkey into full time RVing.”
“The visibility is great, especially with the back-up camera and side cameras. Without the back-up camera I would not be able to see the car unless in a tight turn.”
Toad: “Zippy,” Honda CRV EXL, weighs in at about 3,200 pounds. “I went with the Blue Ox system and I’m very happy with my choice.” The toad added 17-feet behind her motorhome, equalling “a whopping 52-feet. “The benefit of adding the tow car is that I am now able to travel down many ‘roads less traveled’ without the worry about getting stuck,” says Fran.
“You cannot be in a hurry in a big RV, which is just as well because I don’t want to be in a hurry any more. You also can’t be worrying too much about the guy behind you when there’s nowhere to turn off and ya just can’t go any faster. I’ll use the turn outs when they’re available, but otherwise … I’m just going to be another one of those old farts toodling down the road like I’ve got all the time in the world.”
Customizing RV for traveling companions:
“I built a portable platform (doubles as a table) that fits over the passenger seat with space enough for both Sadie and Jazzy to ride eye to eye with the ‘big boys’ out there. They love it,” says Fran.
“After leaving a two-acre fenced property where they could run freely, I though it might be a big adjustment for them. Not so. They’re happy to be with me and jump in willingly when I ask them if they’re ready to go for a ride.”
The Dogs of Central Park (Hardcover) 2011.
The Mountain Dogs of Colorado (In process).
Photographs: Courtesy of Fran Reisner.
- 23-piece kitchen utensil set designed for destination camping
- Glacier stainless whisk, Glacier stainless grater, and cutting board
- Two 2.3-ounce squeeze bottles; waterproof salt-and-pepper shaker
- Telescoping spoon and spatula; 12-piece plastic silverware set
- Scrubby sponge and camp towel; stores in closed-cell EVA foam case
Sure, there’s no kitchen sink, but the Kitchen 23 includes just about every utensil you need to fix a meal in the great outdoors. This all-in-one, 23-piece kitchen set comes with a bunch of handy prep tools, including a Glacier Stainless whisk, a Glacier Stainless grater, a 9.5-by-6-inch cutting board, and two 2.3-ounce squeeze bottles that are ideally sized for your secret sauces. Serving your meals is easy thanks to the telescoping spoon and spatula, which break down for more efficient transpo
List Price: $ 39.95