19 Sep

Girl Camper: Episode 102 Girl Camper Danielle Howard

On this week’s show I interview Danielle Howard – Girl Camper. Danielle grew up tent camping with her family primitive style! Each year they took their tents and equipment by boat to an island where they camped without running water, showers or bathrooms. They were her favorite vacations and even though her husband was not a camper, she knew she wanted to camp with her daughter. When Danielle’s young husband died suddenly from a heart attack she made a decision to give her daughter the life she had imagined before widowhood- road trips, adventures and camping. She bought an older trailer without any towing experience and made up her mind to renovate it and learn to tow.

One brave mama and one lucky girl head out on an adventure!

While her daughter napped she took the baby monitor out to the driveway and started making her dream a reality. With help from her supportive dad she rewired and renovated her fiberglass Trillium.  This summer Danielle and her sister loaded up the car and set out with her daughter on a nearly five thousand mile adventure. From there home in Southern California they made there way to the Texas panhandle for a family reunion and then toured Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee and everything in between.

San Antonio stop on their epic road adventure!

Tune in to hear this inspiring story from a woman who would not let the crushing loss of her husband take away her dreams for her family.

Danielle mixed up her campground choices to experience state, national and RV resort parks. Ella really enjoyed the Jellystone Park where they started the day with the Pledge of Allegiance with Yogi.

Danielle captured this beautiful bayou sunset on the Louisiana portion of her trip.

12 Sep

Girl Camper: Episode 101 My Top Ten Reasons to Go RVing

On this weeks show I am talking about my top ten reasons for choosing RVing as my favorite mode of travel. As I pondered my reasons I actually had to cut it down to ten. There seem to be so many advantages to owning an RV but here are my top ten.

  1. You can go where you want. What interests you? Fiber arts? Railroad history? There are museums and fairs and towns that celebrate what you’re interested in. In an RV you can travel there at your leisure, in comfort and make all the stops you want along the way.

    Traveling to Yellowstone allowed us to stop at so many places along the way.

  2. Budget Friendly. RV travel allows you to travel as your personal means and style allows. You can stay in state parks over resort RV’s. You can make your own meals and save on restaurants. You can travel longer and farther on the same amount of money others spend on one nights travel.

    I paid $11 to camp at Badlands National Park in South Dakota! Yes, I said $11!!!

  3. Pet Friendly. RV travel allows you to travel with your fur family. You save the expense of kennels and  you don’t have to worry about how long you are gone or how your pet is being treated when he’s away from you.
  4. Nature is a tonic.  Being able to  spend time in nature has a healing effect on the senses. Sitting around a campfire watching the stars and being disconnected from wifi allows you to decompress in a way that hotel vacations don’t.

    Road side picnic stops are my favorite restaurant when traveling.

  5. Visit family and friends. So often we really want to visit those special people in our lives but when we fly over them all the time we never quite make it. Having an RV allows you to visit your roommate from college or your best man and they don’t even have to make up the guest room.

    I got to stop and visit my buddy Mad Dog Grundy at her home in Montana. She just qualified for the International Weight Lifters competition in Moscow! Not bad for 48!

  6. Food. RV travel allows you to control the menu. If you are on a restricted diet or are watching  your waist line  there’s no problem because you are traveling with your own kitchen. You are able to pull over and have last nights leftovers. You don’t have to wait in long lines and overpay for food you don’t even like.  If you deal with food allergies you can control what you are eating.

    I travel with a Dometic refrigerated cooler that lets me have what I want for lunch, when I want it and best of all, where I want it.

  7. Quality time. Road trips give you time to connect. There’s a simple pleasure in following your path on an old fashioned road map on your lap and discussing the upcoming towns, marked historical sites and possible stops ahead. It gives  you the chance to indulge in togetherness without laptops, books or televisions to compete with.

    Road trips give my husband and I a chance to explore new places without phones, televisions or laptops detracting us.

  8. People Friendly. It would be hard to find a group of people more willing to share their experience, knowledge and tips for RVing than those you meet at a campground and the active online community of RVers.  Whether it’s a restaurant recommendation or a tip for keeping your RV running smoothly, fellow RVers are a great source of information and inspiration.
  9. You are always home.  As  much fun as it is to tour your favorite historic sites and National Parks when the day is over it is great to come home to your home away from home. You can relax in your trailer,  sleep on your own sheets and clean up in your own bathroom. As they say, there’s no place like home. When you travel with an RV, you are always home.

    It’s great to come home to my home away from home when I’m done touring for the day!

  10. Backroads America. Traveling the two lane highways of America allows you to get away from strip malls, chain restaurants and toll booths. It also allows you to see where and how other people live. Stopping in a small mom and pop diner and meeting the owners and hearing their story allows us to look at our fellow citizens in a different light. We become less red state and blue state people and more friends in different parts of the country.

 

05 Sep

Girl Camper: Episode 100 Ageless Aunt Sue

In celebration of 100 episodes of travel inspiration I could think of no better guest than my own Aunt Sue! My Aunt, Suzanne Saunders to the rest of the world, is an 81 year old continent hopping, mountain climbing, adventure seeking, parachute jumping, wonder woman who has inspired me to go places and do things. She has solo traveled the US multiple times in her Class C RV.

Suzanne’s 80th birthday portrait. Like her it’s casual,  chic and a little sassy!

On the Rio Grande, Big Bend, Texas.

She has been to over 70 countries so far and has no plans to stop. She is not one for big city travel to famous European locations but prefers small travel groups and immersion experiences. Her favorite travel agency for far out vacations is OAT, Overseas Adventure Travel. With this group she has traveled to Mongolia and slept in a Yurt with local sheep herders. She has also traveled to all of the “stans” – Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Her coming travels include a trip to Sri Lanka and southern India.

Catching a 21″ German brown trout on the Green River in Wyoming.

She was first on the podcast on episode 38 which generated more mail than any show to date. Women all over with wanderlust wrote in with questions for my Aunt and I put them to her in this 100th episode show.

Suzanne in Myanmar.

Galapagos—in shell of giant land turtle!

“With golden eagle in Mongolia—it’s on my arm!” 2010.

Aunt Sue and I are planning an epic adventure in 2019. I’m letting her pick the location and I’m going along for the ride. I just hope I can keep up!

29 Aug

Girl Camper: Episode 99 Charlotte Brown, Tent Camper

My guest on this week’s show is New Jersey Girl Camper, Charlotte Brown. Charlotte is a single, empty-nester whose long term plan does not include the purchase of a new trailer. She did not want to let that prevent her from going places and doing things so she jumped in with a borrowed tent and had a blast.

Right Line gear makes this great tent that attaches to your SUV or van!

She came across the Girl Campers when she was doing an online search for women who camp. Charlotte’s childhood memories of camp stoves and campgrounds kept surfacing in her and she felt it was time to see if she could find like minded souls to camp with her. Her kick off camp out was this past spring at a local campground. She was a little chilly but otherwise loved the experience and camaraderie.

Charlotte, on the left, and Laureen both made their Girl Camping debut in April and have been camping ever since!

There are two pending events on the Meet Up site, Camp Like a Girl. One is the Wild West Weekend at Inn Town Campground in Nevada City, California that is taking place the weekend of October 20-22 and the other is What a Hoot 2 at Beaver Creek State Park in East Liverpool, Ohio. The What a Hoot trip is a Mister Sister event that all are welcome at. You can sign up for either trip by joining Meet Up and becoming a member of Camp Like a Girl.

 

23 Aug

Girl Camper: Episode 98 Tips for Touring Yellowstone

On this week’s show I’m sharing my tips for camping in and touring Yellowstone National Park.

When camping in Yellowstone you have 12 campgrounds to choose from offering 2000 sites within the park. Seven of them are run by NPS and are offered on a first come, first served basis. They have no hookups but offer fire rings and lush surroundings.

The only campground in the park that offers full hook ups is Fishing Bridge Campground. The campground is conveniently located but not very camp like. There are no fires allowed and the sites are stacked on top of each other without even picnic tables.

 

Touring the park requires patience and a plan. Some of my tips are:

1) Start your day early before most tourists are out. The roads don’t start to get crowded before 10 am and you can see two sights by then without all the people.

2) Ask a Ranger for advice. They know the peak and off peak times to see things, where the animal sightings are and the best hiking trails.  A ranger suggested to me that we travel counter clockwise on the lower Grand Loop because the majority of people travel clockwise.

3) Pack a lunch. You will save time, money and be healthier! The food is concession grade, expensive and you have to wait a long time for it.

4) Wear appropriate shoes. Yellowstone is not a sanitized theme park. The hiking trails are full of sticks, vines and gravel. Flip flops can ruin your day.

5) Keep jackets and rain gear in the car. The weather can change dramatically and very quickly.

6) Allow extra time for animal jams, heavy volume and poor parking. Everything takes longer than you think it will.

7) Follow the rules for staying away from the animals. Photograph them at a safe distance.