12 Dec

Girl Camper: Episode 114 RV Industry News with Courtney Robey

On this week’s show it is my pleasure to welcome Courtney Robey, Director of Marketing and Communications for Go RVing. Courtney’s job is to find ways to share the RV lifestyle with new audiences. It’s also her job to find that audience and today she is sharing some ways in which the RV industry is meeting the changing demographics of RV buyers.

Myself, Mark Polk, Courtney Robey and Stephanie Puglisi. Mark and Stephanie are industry experts and Go RVing bloggers.

Every year the Go RVing team makes beautiful videos on the RV lifestyle and this one featuring adventure skier Brody Leven is one of my absolute favorites. It makes me want to get a Class B or at least borrow one and hit the road.

The Go RVing website has so many tools that help those new to the RV lifestyle “find their away.” The Find Your Away videos resonate with RVers or RV wannabes of all types. I love to  sit with a cup of tea and my laptop and watch the different ways in which people use their RV’s, the places they travel to and the rigs they choose.

As a woman who loves fly fishing I really appreciated this one!

Take a few minutes to explore the Go RVing website and “find your away.”

TO LISTEN TO TBE PODCAST CLICK ON THE ARROW

 

 

05 Dec

Girl Camper: Episode 113 Towing Tips with Mark Polk

It is always a pleasure to have Mark Polk on the show. Mark and his wife Dawn run the RV Education 101 website, have produced over 350 YouTube videos, and Mark has a widely read blog on Go RVing. He is an industry leader in safety and education and always provides his expertise and experience to seasoned RVers and newcomers alike. I asked Mark to come on the show today to talk about towing.

Mark has helped us before on the show when he discussed the pitfalls buyers of vintage trailers may fall into. We all love the charm but Mark shared his own experience restoring a vintage trailer and created a punch list of things to look for when you look at one. That episode (#9) can be found here and it could save you a lot of time and money.

Mark, myself and Dawn Polk at the recent RVIA Show.

Mark also made a guest appearance helping us to understand tow vehicles and the meaning of all the terms. Axle ratios, tongue weight, GVWR, and torque! It can be confusing and Mark walked through the terms and industry ratings to help us make the right choice when looking at tow vehicles. Episode 61, Talking Tow Vehicles with Mark Polk can be listen to here.

 

Another fan favorite is Mark’s show helping us understand what a weight distribution hitch is and whether we need one or not. I had the feeling I needed one when I went up a size in my trailer and Mark explained how to make that determination and how to decide which one to purchase. Episode #83 with Mark Polk is available here.

Dawn Polk and myself admiring the prototype of the Scotty Sportsman coming out in the spring.

Mark has three guidelines for towing:

Always travel at a safe speed. For Mark that is 60 MPH or under if conditions warrant a slower speed.

Stay Alert. He advocates for knowing what is going on around you and shares his system for monitoring conditions and traffic flow while driving his motorhome or towing a trailer.

Anticipate Driving Situations. When you are alert you will be able to see what is happening and respond appropriately. Mark talks about some of the scenarios in which you can be a good steward of the shared roads by anticipating and reacting accordingly.

Mark with Courtney Robey, Director of Marketing at Go RVing and Stephanie Puglisi from the RV Family Travel Atlas Podcast.

Mark also talks in this episode about:

  • use of mirrors
  • trucks passing you
  • knowing what gear to be in
  • Auxiliary braking systems
  • Sudden jerky turns
  • bad weather driving
  • making turns and knowing your pivot point
  • downgrades and upgrades
  • trailer sway

To Access Mark and Dawn’s library of RV Safety and Education materials click here.

To listen to this weeks podcast with Mark Polk click the arrow below.

 

28 Nov

Girl Camper: Episode 112 Christmas Gift Guide from our Women Entrepreneurs

On this weeks show I am highlighting the women out there who are creating beauty and sharing it with all of us. This Christmas Gift Guide is made up of the Girl Campers who create and share their talents with us. Buying a handmade gift not only supports artists but I think it’s a statement of caring. It is so easy to jump on Amazon and swipe and say “done.” I love the idea of procuring something special that you really put thought into as a way of saying to someone, “Thank you for your friendship throughout the year.” Isn’t that why we give a gift to someone? To thank them for being special in our lives? Here are the women creating beauty to share-

Dawn Wilson, is a solo woman traveler, award winning wildlife photographer, writer and entrepreneur. She has a new book out called, Preparing for the Next Shoot as well as three calendars to choose from –  Elk of Colorado, Rocky Mountain Wildlife and Inspiration From Wildlife. Dawn has been a guest on the podcast and the subject of my Go RVing blog. Her story is one of tragedy to triumph and I always love seeing her images come across the screen.

Lori Simon has an eye for nature. She sees things the rest of us walk by and she is patient enough to sit and wait for the right moment to capture the picture. She is a Vermont resident and a Girl Camper who takes her restored trailer on long road trips where she photographs the outdoors and participates in workshops. She just completed a trip that took her from Vermont to Rocky Mountain National Park and then on to Arizona. Lori’s story is also one of triumph over adversity and is part of my Go RVing lineup of can do women. Her 2018 calendar is now available.

My friend Mary Gregory creates art that takes my heart to a place I don’t ever want to leave. When I am feeling a bit overwhelmed Mary’s images bring me to a place of appreciation for the simple things in life and remind me of what really matters. She has a way of transferring hope to canvas and bringing beauty into ones day. I am so thrilled that Mary has a calendar to offer us with these soothing images on them. She is also offering Girl Campers a discount of 10% on anything on her site. Just use the code GIRLCAMPER at checkout.

And last but certainly not least, the calendar that saw me through 2017, Simone Ritter’s beautiful watercolor renditions of vintage campers. Each year Simone gives vintage trailer enthusiasts the opportunity to submit photos of their vintage trailers and she paints a painting a day for thirty days. People get to vote on their favorites and they become the upcoming years calendar pages. She has a second calendar available called Creative Journeys and it is full of her plen air paintings. Simone really paints on location in all kinds of weather and since she lives in Canada, north of Maine you know that’s cold. She has a great Instagram feed that you can follow her at as well and see her at work. Simone is giving one lucky winner a calendar, set of gift tags and a set of three greeting cards. To be eligible to win, sign up for the Girl Camper Newsletter on the homepage.

 

Our next entrepreneur is Patti Hughes, the founder and creative brain behind the brand Natural Life. I met Patti many many years ago at the Country Living Fair when her brand was starting out and it is so exciting to me when I began seeing her little treasures pop up in airport stores and gift shops. They make clothing and accessories as well as things for your home and unique gifts. It has a great happy boho vibe to it.  I was recently given the cutest little pack of thick clothespins with vintage trailer designs on them. They have a line of things called Happy Caper from t shirts to mugs to hats.  The artwork is so cheerful on everything they make and it is a company that gives back which I always love. They donate these boxes full of happy things to people in need of a pick me up or to charities for auction items. It is a box full of little sweet presents! They are giving one away to a Girl Camper. When you go on line and see their catalog you will want one of everything they make. I get their catalog in the mail and sit with it like the Sears catalog of old. There are a lot of turned corners on those pages. What I also love is the price range. There is something to give someone special to you in every price point. To be in the running for the Happy Box, head over to Instagram (girlcamper528) and find the picture of the happy box. Tag two people and share. PS Natural Life has a brick and mortar store in Jacksonville, Florida and they are in 5000 stores across the country.

I have another shop keeper whose product line I love. Our friend Jennifer Megliore. Jennifer was on episode 76 of the podcast and we talked about using your trailer as a pop up shop. Jenn is the proprietor of a beautiful shop in Hilton Head, South Carolina called Artware. She has a great online presence as well though on her site Artware Designs  and sells some great Girl Camper ware. One of my favorite things in her Happy Camper line are the National Parks puzzles. She has the National Park patches poster that has been made into a puzzle for only $24 as well as a great map of the USA puzzle. I love puzzles and if you’ve shopped for puzzles lately you know that $24 is a good price. There are five online pages of Happy Camper treats ranging in price from $7 to $40. Jenn is giving the happy campers a 10% discount as well. Thank you Jenn. I’m getting the parks patches puzzle. Say that three times fast!!

And now for the seamstresses and stampers out there. May I present Lindsay Ostrom. It is so hard to sum up Lindsay in a paragraph. She’s a lifelong creator, published author, teacher, shop keeper and now has a line of fabrics! I have followed her on Instagram forever but had the pleasure of meeting her and getting a wonderful handmade wooden Girl Camper sign from her when I was in Nevada City, California a few weeks ago at Inn Town Campground. Lindsay creates in so many mediums it is hard to pick one to apply to her. I love her lettering and scribbles and scrapbooking journals. She has some video tutorials as well and can be found on her blog LindsayOstrom.blogspot. She has a  New stitching monthly kit club of appliqué and stitching a girl a month from Just Another Button Co. coming out soon as well as the fabric line coming from Adorn. Keep watching this smart, prolific creator.

Our girl Suzie Q, known to us east coast campers simply as Q creates the most amazing crocheted tire covers. She sells them on her Etsy shop and if you don’t have the time or patience or skill for this particular project Q is your girl. She will custom make on in the colors of your choice. These make such a cute statement at the campground. Talk about camping like a girl!

Another great handmade item for the discerning Girl Camper are the camp chair sleeves made by Adrienne Leibowitz, a California SOTF with an embroidery machine. Adrienne makes covers that slip over the back of your camp chair and she can embroider the back with different  designs. I saw a great one with a cowgirl boot but she has other designs as well. They sleeves are adjustable but Adrienne will take measurements from you to customize. She makes the sleeves with your name on them, group name, or your favorite quote. She also included a pocket in the sleeve for your cell phone. She has a dozen colors to choose from and they start at $25 and go up from there depending on how many extras you choose.

Girl Camper Angelita Bonita has opened her tea room! We have been watching her mix her magic blends for friends and now they are available to anyone through her Instagram page, AngelitaBonita. Angie is a true Girl Camper who has traveled across the country camping in a tent. She and her boyfriend Damian are renovating a vintage camper and chronicling it on Instagram under the name Backroadbetty.

Last year my husband surprised me and bought me a necklace for Valentines Day from sister on the fly Caren L Cook who makes beautiful jewelry out of sterling silver spoons. She flattens the spoon and puts a little tiny vintage camper on it and then embellishes the rest of it with sparkly costume jewelry and embosses your name or whatever message you want on it. Mine says my name, sister on the fly number on it and the words Girl Camper on the bottom. Caren sells these through Facebook and you can message her via Facebook Messenger for information. They are $35 each.

Lastly, I have an item. I have not put this out there yet because I have been giving them to my little helpers and people I meet on life’s big highway but I created a new hat! It is a red baseball hat that is on the pink side actually and it says Tow Like a Girl on it.

 

21 Nov

Girl Camper: Episode 111 Stephanie Puglisi on Girl Camping

On this week’s show I welcome Stephanie Puglisi, co host with her husband and business partner Jeremy Puglisi of the RV Family Travel Atlas Podcast and the Campground of the Week Podcast. Stephanie co founded the RVFTA Network and co-authored the Idiots Guide to RV Vacations with Jeremy. She is also the Producer of the Girl Camper Podcast, mom to three active boys and in her spare time, a Girl Camper. Stephanie shares some insights on this weeks show about her recent purchase of a used Pop Up trailer and how she plans to use it. She also delves into the topic of making your own choices for how you unwind, the atmosphere that can exist among women whose choices may be different than yours, and claiming your own person-hood without feeling guilty about it.

Girl Camping is not always as simple as knowing how to tow a trailer or pitch a tent. Sometimes there are dynamics involved on the home front with a husband who doesn’t ‘get it’. Sometimes women give up the dream because it’s takes too much energy to fight for it. I can say that across the board every woman I have met whose husband or partner didn’t get it and they did it anyway, came away happy they did. I can also say that the spouse who doesn’t get on board when he sees the benefits of it is the exception. Most end up pleading to have a turn.

The outside judgement can also come from a mother in law with a “I never left my children when they needed me. I was happy to be with them” attitude.  Discussing these things with Stephanie reminded me of my own start in the Girl Camping world. My husband was always on board and thought it was great. He was grateful he didn’t have to come with me. My mother in law had passed away the year before I resurrected this childhood pleasure but I can assure you she would not have liked it one bit. I would have done it anyway because there was an exceedingly immature part of me that needed to show her at every possible opportunity,  how marriage is ‘suppose’ to go. I delighted in making sure she knew that her son was completely capable of not losing any kids while I was gone.

Having these women to hang out with, do new things with and sit around the campfire with saved me! They came along when I really needed to do something fun!

Another source of judgement are the  “super hero” moms who gauge their own motherhood by the number of sacrifices they’re willing to make in order that everyone else’s lives run smoothly without realizing the toll it is taking on them. Sometimes these mothers are the ones to judge someone else’s need to recharge with a grown up time out. My own circle of friends thought I was crazy when I joined the sisters on the fly. I had just adopted a second grader. My two biological children, affectionately referred to as the “prototypes,” were in college and late high school. My mom friends judgments were across the board from the ridiculous, “How will your husband eat all weekend?” to “you’re joining a subculture. Are you sure you’re alright?”

My first Sister on the Fly trailer, a 1959 Field and Stream named Roam Sweet Home.

Having this somewhat serious conversation with Stephanie brought me back to my own feelings at the time I jumped into the girl camping movement. I was at a place where I needed to do something for myself. I was running on empty and I am not afraid or ashamed to say that. I needed something fun to do that was just mine. I needed something to look forward to. I think the five camp outs a year that I did while I was still raising my youngest saved me. When I wasn’t camping I was playing with my trailer and chatting on line with new friends and looking forward to the next outing and testing camp recipes. It all saved me. Women don’t have the right to camp out with friends because they give so much and deserve a little time to themselves. They have that right because they are human beings who require self care. It’s okay to feed your body, mind and soul with whatever you need to keep moving. It’s okay.

14 Nov

Girl Camper: Episode 110 – Building a Campground with Erin Theim

On this weeks show my guest is Erin Theim of Nevada City, California. Erin and her husband Dan are the owners of Inn Town Campground in Nevada City, California. While living in New Zealand they had the opportunity to camp New Zealand style and they liked much of what they saw in how the campgrounds operate there. When the opportunity arose in their own town of Nevada City to buy a property only one mile from the historic downtown area, they took a leap of faith and bought it to build their dream campground.

 

I had the opportunity to stay there a few weeks ago and experience the glamping tents that draw in visitors from all over the country. The Girl Campers held a camp out there and we had a chance to camp like girls but also to enjoy the beautiful downtown Nevada City.

 

Our glamping tent came fully equipped with beautiful linens, towels, heated mattress pads and a covered rear porch with a stunning view of the woods and colorful trees. Since I flew in to the Sacramento Airport to meet up with local friends I appreciated that I could camp without having to bring any equipment other than my clothing. The tent was so comfortable and clean and each bed had its own plug for charging and reading light. Each glamping tent at Inn Town Campground has been beautifully curated with finds from local antiques shops.

The gathering space off the office is like a community center and has a communal kitchen with two stoves and a refrigerator and is stocked with pots, pans, cooking  utensils and dishes. We only had to bring our food and beverages. The gang all gathered there on Friday night for a pot luck meet and greet. The three rooms are very inviting and it was wonderful meeting the other people camping there. It’s a great place for tent campers who might not want to break out the camp stove to share meals.

Attached to the kitchen and dining room is a great room with wood stove, Foos Ball table and cozy reading nooks. I was the first one there each morning to get the coffee brewing. We used this room for our meals and as a meeting place to gather for hikes.

 

There’s a one mile trail that begins at the rear of the campground and leads into town. It was an easy hike and great exercise on a fall day. We all enjoyed a great day in town shopping at the Farmers Market, souvenir shops and local artisans wares. Nevada City is an old mining town with a rich history and beautifully restored buildings. It’s where old hippies and Gen Xers peacefully coexist. It’s inviting, friendly and full of an interesting cross section of smiling, dog walking locals and day tripping tourists.

 

Erin and Dan Theim have created an urban campground with a very state park feel. You have the best of both worlds there with the deeply wooded and peaceful campground with an historic town and all its offerings a short hike away. I’m alrea working out a way to make this an annual event!