11 Apr

Girl Camper: Episode #79 Mike Harlan RV Industry Insider Answers Listeners Questions

On this week’s show Mike Harlan, Airstream Manager at  North Trail RV of South Florida answers podcast listeners questions. Mike is an industry insider who has worked in sales, service and manufacturing. I asked podcast listeners for their questions and Mike was game to answer and very candid. He had so much to say that this is part one of the two part interview.

Mike was instrumental in helping me start Camper College when he was the GM at Haydocy Airstream in Columbus, Ohio.

Girl Campers sent in their questions ahead of time on the Girl Camper Podcast Facebook page. Most of the questions had to do with dealerships and service. Mike gave insiders insight into the how’s and why’s of dealership decision making.

Airstream of North Trail is one of the Top Five Airstream dealers in the country.

In the Campfire Chat I am talking about my fool proof fire starting method! Tinder, kindling and fuel wood make for a perfect fire but it’s the stacking method that’s key! Teepee versus log cabin? Tune in to hear which is superior!

Cutting my own kindling is a favorite camping task. I got lucky last week when my site had a built in chopping block.

04 Apr

Girl Camper: Episode 78 Long Haul Driving Tips

On this week’s show I am talking about long distance driving.  When you hit the road this summer whether it’s a big trip of thousands of miles or across your state there are ways to make the drive more of a journey and less of a chore. Getting there can be half the fun if you follow a few simple principles for driving  while towing.

Travel and towing can be a pleasure if you follow a few simple rules.

Be rested when you leave. Sometimes we pack up and get the feeling that we have to get going because  we’re “burning daylight”. It’s always a good idea to be rested and non stressed when you head out. The process of getting ready can take longer than we think and be stressful in itself. Try to adapt a “journey” not “destination” attitude about travel.

Take a break every two hours. Even if you don’t feel tired it’s a good idea to get out and stretch your legs every two hours or so. I park as far from the rest area bathroom as possible and jog over to the building. It’s good to get your blood flowing and take in some fresh air. If the driving conditions are stressful it’s even more important to stop for the mental clarity as well as the physical boost. Take a cat nap in your trailer if necessary. Staying alert means staying safe.

Eat light. Nothing brings on drowsiness like a pile of carbs from a rest stop fast food restaurant. You are barely burning calories behind the wheel and the food you take in should help you stay alert not make you tired. I keep a cool pack on the passenger seat with fresh fruit, nuts, string cheese and humus. I only drink water after my morning cup of coffee. My favorite thing is knowing that a great dinner awaits me at the campground. I like to have a marinating chicken breast or steak waiting to go on the grill when I have arrived and am set up and look forward to that on my drive.

I keep this soft pack cooler on the passenger seat for a quick healthy pick me up while driving.

Slow and steady wins the race. It’s always better when you can approach the drive to your ultimate destination as part of the vacation too.  If you are in a “just get there” mindset you will miss the beauty along the way. Study a map and see if you can plan a stop along the way. Be willing to get off the highway and drive a stretch on a county two lane. Be willing to stop in a town and find the local mom and pop diner, quirky gas station slash museum, or weird roadside attraction that you will be talking about ten years from now. Most of the cool things on vacations are unplanned. Be willing to be open to back road travel.

A friend of mine tipped me off to the town of Granville TN which is southeast of Nashville. I took the opportunity to get off the highway and visit. I was so glad that I did!

The General Store in Granville had fallen into extreme disrepair and had been closed for a long time when a descendant of the original builder who was doing family research visited the town and saw it. He purchased it, renovated it and donated it back to the town where it is used as a Saturday night dance hall and dinner spot now.

Mark Polk’s blog on trailer sway is worth the read. He always provides so much insight into the causes of RV issues. Please take the time to educate yourself on ways to minimize trailer sway and handle it when it does happen.

There are lots more tips and travel help in this weeks podcast as well as all the news on the News Roundup and Campfire Chat! Hope you enjoy this weeks episode!! Happy trails!!



28 Mar

Girl Camper: Episode 77 – Camping in the Shenandoah with Cindy Davidson

On this weeks show my guest is Cindy Davidson.  Cindy is an outdoor woman who camps, hikes, kayaks and fishes. One of her favorite places to do all of those things is the Shenandoah National Forest in Western Virginia. Cindy has camped their campgrounds, hiked their trails and fished their waters and she is here today with her best advice on how to make the most of a trip to the beautiful Shenandoah Valley and its remarkable Skyline Drive.

Cindy regularly hikes the trails in the Shenandoah National Park with members of her hiking group.

There are many hiking trails and three campground at the park. You can also camp along the Appalachian Trail and in the wilderness with a park issued pass.

Cindy has camped all the campgrounds in the park in her Tag trailer.

There are many waterfalls in the park and specific hikes for waterfall enthusiasts.

Cindy has a bucket list of trips she’s waiting to take! She does things!

21 Mar

Girl Camper #76: Vintage Trailer Pop Up Shops with Jennifer Megliore

My guest today is Jennifer Megliore of Artware Designs in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Jennifer also owns a beautiful vintage Shasta that does triple duty in her life. She uses it to camp like a girl with the sisters on the fly, on tours for charity fundraisers and as a pop up shop at festivals and fairs to sell her happy camper line of goods from her brick and mortar store in Hilton Head.


Jennifer imagined a shop that would be for the art lover what a hardware store is to tinkerers! Her personality is all fun and games!

Jennifer talks about her own experiences finding festivals and fairs to sell her goods and we talk about other ways to use a vintage trailer a a source of revenue.

Vintage trailers make great back drops for shops. People come to see the trailer and stay to shop!

Jennifer is giving a $50 gift card to a lucky winner. To be in the running just sign up for newsletter at the top of this page. You can also get 10 % off your first order by using the code SAVE10.

Jennifer’s stovk includes a Happy Camper line of camping themed merchandise.

Last year the RV Family Travel Atlas Podcast Network set out to raise ten thousand dollars to supply a campground with a travel trailer to be used by retuning active duty service personnel asa respite spot. This week we reached our goal!!

Thank you to all who donated to our wonderful cause!


14 Mar

Girl Camper #75 Financing an RV Purchase

On this weeks show my guest Amy Parsons helps us understand the components of financing a travel trailer purchase. Amy is the Finance Manager at Setzer’s World of Camping in Huntington, West Virginia. Amy talks about why an RV loan is not like a car loan and what kind of down payment and credit rating you need to get the best interest rates. If you think you need deep pockets or perfect credit rating  to buy a trailer, you will be happy to know that buying and financing a trailer is within most people’s means. 

Amy Parsons is the Finance Manager at Setzer’s World of Camping in Huntington, West Virginia. She is pictured here with owner Lynn Butler, who happens to be her mother!


The whole Setzer’s team works to make RV ownership a reality for customers. The service staff hosted a great Camper College event last summer.

In our Campfire Chat on this week’s show I am sharing ideas for foil packet dinners! This great camping meal option has endless possibilities. It’s a great make ahead meal that can be taken out after the camper is set up and warmed to a perfect dinner in minutes. It’s also a great way to use leftovers.


Foil packet dinners are a great campfire favorite. The possibilities are endless.

Two of my  favorite combination of foil packet dinners are below.

Cowboy Stew: After putting a little olive oil in the bottom of the pan, add a layer of fresh green beans, precooked white sliced potatoes or thinly sliced fresh ones and a salisbury steak on top. Season with salt and pepper and seal pouch with an air pocket.

Salmon Steak: Marinade a salmon steak in equal parts of soy sauce and fresh lime juice with fresh chopped garlic. When you place the salmon skin side down in the foil pouch, add a tablespoon of the marinade before sealing the packet. Cook veggies in a separate pouch.