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!

 

07 Nov

Girl Camper: Episode 109 Favorite Gear of the Year with Jeremy Puglisi

 

On this week’s show I am talking gear with my favorite gear geek, Jeremy Puglisi from the RV Family Travel Atlas Podcast. It’s almost comical when Jeremy and I are camping together. Our poor spouses just sit on the sidelines while we compare our wish lists of the latest gear we saw at someone’s site, read about in a trade magazine or happened upon in the camping section of a store we went into to buy motor oil and we are now coveting.

Stephanie and Jeremy Puglisi of the RV Family Travel Atlas Podcast

This year it seems like I got a lot of new gear and with over 50 nights in the camper so far, it all got a thorough testing. Today I am naming my Top Five Gear additions of the 2017 season and Jeremy is chiming in with his. Warning: Gear Geeks on board – talk may be dangerous to your budget.

Ryobi ONE+ P731 18V Volt Dual Function Cordless Inflating/Deflating Air Compressor, Bare Tool

My Ryobi Air Compressor was a great addition to my tool kit and I used it daily on my National Parks Tour in the summer of 2017. It is lightweight and the lithium battery holds a charge for weeks.  It reads the tire pressure and the can be set to the desired PSI. It has two speeds for airflow.  The lower speed allows it to fill air mattresses and bicycle tires while the higher one allows for filling truck and trailer tires. It comes with adapters to inflate sporting gear and the hoses wrap and pack up tightly for storage. This retails for $39.95 and was the best bargain of the season in gear!

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.

The Dometic Refrigerator/Freezer was a great addition to my summer gear. It can hold 60 12 oz cans and runs on AC/DC, 12V and off of solar panels. It has a USB port built into it and a WIFI app that allows you to raise and lower the temperature remotely. The interior is lighted when you open the lid and it has an adjustable storage bin for flexible use. It can be used as a refrigerator or a freezer. I found it to be very well built with reinforced corners and heavy duty metal hinges. The compressor was very quiet and I used it at home as well as for camping trips. We plugged it in to the 110 in our car although it could have been used off the cars battery as well. We loved having our lunch each day and cold drinks and fruit with us. When we got it back each night we plugged it in on the outside of the trailer and lowered the temperature to add ice from our ice machine to it. This turned out to be a great addition to our camping gear that we also have gotten a lot of use out of at home as well. It is the largest model and retails for $599.00.

 

The Luci Light by MPowered is not only a great way to support under served nations struggling to find solutions to  dirty energy issues but it is a great little light! I wrote an article about it a few weeks ago and find that I am using this product at each camping trip. The light makes a great nightlight in a camper bathroom and you don’t need to turn on the light in the middle of the night. I love using them on the dinner table at night because they allow you to see your food without having to ruin the mood with bright lights. I so love the companies mission that I have taken to giving these at baby showers. I gave it to my nephew for his new baby and his wife loves having it on the changing table where she can turn it on low in the middle of the night for a diaper change. The lights are inflatable, have three light settings and an emergency flashing light as well. The are sold at most retail outlets and are also available at Amazon for the best price.

My new bed linens for the Max trailer were a home run. Beddy’s Beds make this great bed set that makes making the bed in a trailer a piece of cake. The bed set has a bottom sheet built in to the quilted side panels and a matching quilt top zips in place to give you an easy to make and neat and tidy bed. I chose the grey Chevron pattern that is a neutral and I added my own favorite accent pillows and throw blankets. The upper quilt is lined with a soft fabric that acts as the top sheet. The set came with two Queen size pillows shams and two regular pillowcases. I loved having the bed neatly made all the time without all the huffing and puffing and calorie burning !! The set retails for $399.00

My favorite piece of personal gear for the year were the Cabela’s hiking boots that I got before my Yellowstone trip. The Gore-Tex low rise boot dries quickly and has good support. I normally run into trouble with hiking boots over time but these are still comfortable and I didn’t need a big break them in period before hitting the trails. I paid $130 for them but they are on sale now for half price so I ordered another pair for next year. They also have been great running shoes for home.

 

01 Nov

Scout Inflatables: The Scout 365

The Girl Camper Podcast welcomes a new sponsor, Scout Inflatables, makers of the new Scout Inflatables pontoon boat. I had the pleasure of testing out this boat over the weekend and fell in love. I wasn’t really in the market for an inflatable boat but what I did have was an issue transporting my kayak that made me willing to give this a try. 

To be honest I think that row boats are a lot of work. When you think about the physics of row boats, it’s a hull that is partially submerged in water and you are the power source that moves it through the water. About every five years I succumb to the allure of renting a row boat and I am never more than 100 feet from the shore before I remember why I don’t like them!! They’re a lot of fun if you are the person in the bow that is lounging back with a shade umbrella and a festive summer drink while someone else rows you around the lake. That was what I was thinking when I heard “inflatable row boat” but I was heartened when I learned there was an option for a small outboard battery or gasoline powered motor and I decided to give it a try.

Last weekend Stephanie Puglusi, co host with her husband Jeremy of the RV Family Travel Atlas Podcast and the producer of the Girl Camper Podcast,  and I,  did a little Girl Camping. We decided to test out the Scout. I was thinking that it would take us about an hour to an hour and a half to take it from box to on the water. It took less than 30 minutes, ten of which were devoted to figuring out the valves for inflating and deflating. Once that was figured out we had the boat in the water fifteen minutes later.

Stephanie inflates to floor mat on the Scout 365.

I inflated the pontoons with my Ryobi Air Compressor to the prescribed 70% and then inserted and inflated the floor piece of the boat. The floor piece gives the boat incredible rigidity. After that was inflated the pontoons get finished off. I finished the pontoons with the foot pump that came with it. It provided more pressure than the battery operated one and was so large that it only required five or six compressions to make the pontoons as hard as any wooden or metal boat.

We attached a set of oar extensions that came with it and then the oars themselves. The oars attach to posts which have a screw on top that prevents them from coming off easily. After the oars were in place we slid the aluminum bench seats in place and set off for the water. The boat has a nice pull handle at the bow and both of the rear pontoons have heavy duty easy grip rubber handles. It was easy to tug across the lawn to the launch site and the bottom of the boat is designed with heavy duty vinyl to allow it to be dragged across rocky beaches without being damaged.

The Scout 365 glides over the water when rowing but also can be paddled kayak style or used with a small battery or gas powered motor.

The flat bottom design makes the boat very stable when getting in and out of it but also, to my delight, makes it incredibly easy to row. Rather than pushing through water, the design allows it to glide over water. I took a turn around the 22 acre lake without breaking a sweat. I began to see a world of possibilities for RVers with this boat.

  • The first big advantage to me is the fact that it is inflatable and fits in a carrying bag that is stored in your RV, backseat or truck bed. That means no towing a trailer or hoisting a heavy kayak above your head onto a roof rack. It also means not having to purchase that additional equipment, maintain it or in NJ, register a trailer with the state and keep current motor vehicle tags on it!
  • I also thought that it gave me everything I love about my kayak but more. I love taking my kayak out in the afternoon to look for water fowl and to just troll the shoreline but that’s all I can really do in it. The Scout offers many more options for use.
  • I like the idea that the boat can hold two people so its a couple or friend activity if you want it to be.
  • It can also carry cargo much easier than the kayak can so if I want to pack a picnic lunch and stop at a shore or island on a lake I can do that.
  • I can also add a motor if I want to go further with it than I would be willing to paddle it.
  • I do like the option of being able to fish from it as well. It does have an optional guard that can be installed to allow standing and casting from the boat.
  • Another option is the duck blind that comes with it that lets you duck hunt, bird watch and use it as a tent for camping when you are done on the water for the day.
  • It is far more stable getting in and out of it than a kayak or canoe and once on the water does not rock like a canoe or kayak.
  • It can be paddled in the same manner as a kayak, rowed like a row boat (only much easier) or used with a motor.

I was so pleasantly surprised by the easy way the boat inflated and deflated that I am already rethinking my camp sites for the coming year. Last year I stayed at a lot of campgrounds with water access and did not take advantage of the opportunities available at them. I am already planning my adventures for next year to include using this boat. I think it will add so much enjoyment to my RV adventures! Stay tuned on this one. I’m going to get the motor!!

 

31 Oct

Girl Camper: Episode 108 Personal Safety for Girl Campers with Holly Boros

My guest today is a returning one, Holly Boros, personal safety expert and NRA Firearms and Safety Instructor. Holly was a guest on the show way back when on episode number 28 where we chatted about some strategies for personal safety in daily life and on the road. We are taking up that subject again today because…as my Mom is fond of saying, “You can’t be too careful.” Often women who travel alone and in groups ask the question of whether it is safe to sleep over night in a rest stop, at a Walmart parking lot or in an obscure place where they are unlikely to be seen. Holly brings her experience as an Army brat, military wife, solo woman traveler and safety expert to the podcast.

Holly Boros solo travels in her own Girl Camper as well as with her husband in their larger family trailer.

Holly discusses personal safety on a daily basis and defines “white alert” – a state of awareness of your surroundings at all times. She shares the posture, attitude and air we should possess when shopping, going to our cars and in our daily errands. She includes safety tips for getting from the store,  back into your car.

  • Have keys out and in hand.
  • Walk to car using the center  of the parking lot aisle.
  • Pass your car and look between your car and the car next to it to make sure no one is there before going to drivers side door.
  • Unlock the drivers side door only with one press of the key fob.
  • Immediately lock the door and drive away.
  • Do not sit in the car and check email or make phone calls.

Holly also shares her tips for resting on the road during long trips, using rest areas, and staying safe while traveling solo.

Save the date!! Waxahachie, Texas!

24 Oct

Girl Camper: Episode 107 Full Timing – Dream v. Reality with Ginny McKinney

On this  weeks show returning guest Ginny McKinney shares the ups and downs of full time RVing. Many people share the dream of one day selling the house and packing up an RV to hit the road full time. Freedom from the cost of home ownership and the work of maintaining a home are two frequently sited reasons for wanting to make an RV your prime residence. Ginny shares her journey and what she liked and disliked about a life lived on the road.

Ginny’s first trailer purchased after her husband Dan passed away.

Ginny writes her own blog called Marshmallow Ranch, is a blogger for the Sisters on the Fly and is a sought after speaker.

When Ginny made the decision to sell the house and full time she upgraded to a larger trailer and tow vehicle.

To listen to Ginny’s interview, click here.