21 Feb

Episode 72: Getting Ready for the Camping Season

On this week’s show I am talking trailer preparedness. I have been sorting and sifting through my St. George trailer and fixing some issues that bothered me last year while also reevaluating my use of available space. I have also been finding space for those camping themed Christmas and Valentine’s Day presents.  When the cold weather breaks and the camping season begins, I am going to be ready to roll.

A trip to the home supply store set me up for my organization day in the St George.

I grew up in the Midwest where Lake house vacations in  family cabins were the rule. I can still remember the feel of the old pine walls and kitchen items that were several generations old but still put to use.  The loved and worn furnishings and old wool blankets somehow made the cabins feel so safe and warm. I always find myself buying the things that remind me of those days and now I want to use them in my St. George trailer and recreate that vintage cabin feel.

One of my favorite things about my Riverside Retro is the cabin feel it has although it is brand new.

I have been collecting wool blankets for years. I love the old striped ones with the satin edges. I also love to collect knitted or crocheted blankets that are wool. It’s not unusual to find them and see that someone has washed them in hot water and they have shrunk. This is a negative to most people but they make great camping blankets. The tightened stitches make them extra warm and they are usually less expensive.

It’s hard for me to pass up a wool blanket of any style.

Spring Clean Tips

  1. It’s a good idea to reevaluate your use of space and items at the beginning of each camping season. As you go through each cabinet, ask yourself how often you used that item and if it warrants the space its taking up.
  2. Decide if you really want to give space to a camping gift. When you have a passion people tend to give you gifts that surround it. If you don’t have a need for a well intentioned gift, regift or use it in your home.
  3. The annual Spring clean is a great time to top off your first aid kit and make sure you have what you use most and that what you use least has not expired. Stock up on bandaids and don’t forget the butterfly bandages.
  4. When getting ready for the new season give some thought to things that bothered you last year and come up with some resolutions. New reading lights by the bed and a refrigerator fan to even the cooling in my refrigerator are two problems I addressed this year.
  5. Use the space in your trailer in a way that is best for you. Just because the RV designer intended the closet for hanging clothes doesn’t mean you have to use it that way. I am turning my closet into what will be more practical for me – shelves that will hold a lot more of what I need on trips.
  6. Prettify your trailer! It’s a great time to work in some design aspects for your trailer that will make it feel like home. I ordered a National Parks map for the wall in my booth and am finally going to hang some pictures I have been meaning to get to. Think of your trailer like a second home because it is! Find the balance of things you love and make you feel at home but not too cluttered.
  7. The bed in your trailer should be as comfortable as your home bed. This year I will probably spend at least 75 nights in my trailer. I am making the investment in comfortable sheets and blankets and pillows. Don’t forget good reading lights !

Being a happy camper is all about balance. By keeping your camper cleaned out and assessing your needs for it each year,  you will be more likely to enjoy using it. Having the camper comfortable but clutter free makes it easy to hitch up on a Friday night and head out in. Happy trails everyone.

 

14 Feb

Girl Camper: Episode #71 Maurrie Suussman from Sisters on the Fly

On this weeks show my guest is the co-founder of  Sisters on the Fly , Maurrie Sussman. The Sisters on the Fly is the largest outdoor women’s adventure group in the country with over 8 thousand members. She and her sister Becky Clarke founded the group over 20 years ago and have been having “more fun than anyone” ever since. Maurrie is here today to talk about the groups beginnings, the coveted trailers, their bucket list trips and the women who join them.

Becky Clarke and Maurrie Sussman, real life sisters and co founders of Sisters on the Fly.

07 Feb

Episode 70: Collecting Girl Camper Style

My guest this week is my old friend Carol Thompson. Carol and I have been shopping and junkin’ together for decades. We have also been camping over the last ten years with the Queen’s of Glamping and we know what they are buying and where they are getting it as well as what they are paying for it. We are going to talk about how the Girl Campers are using their vintage finds to accent their trailers and provide needed storage solutions.

 

 

We also have a give away from Lawn Chairs USA to talk about. Lawn Chairs USA is donating a set of reproduction aluminum lawn chairs to a lucky winner. These chairs are made in Georgia and can be custom ordered to match your vintage trailer, bring some nostalgic charm to your new trailer or to promote your favorite sports team. Lawn Chairs USA started in 2010 with the  idea to bring back a classic piece of Americana. To be in the running to win a set of two chairs you can go to Instagram and tag a friend on the photo of the chairs and write, “I want to win” in the comments. You can also sign up for blog updates to be entered into the drawing.

 

The classic aluminum picnic chair is still being manufactured in Georgia and Lawn Chairs USA is giving two away to a podcast listener.

I am sharing the details of my new to me 2014 Ford F150 Lariat and why I chose it. The most important feature is its 9200 pound towing capacity. That leaves me the option of a future trailer upgrade without having to replace my tow vehicle. The GVWR of my current trailer is 3300 pounds. The axle ratio allows for another 832 pounds of cargo. At a little over 4100 pounds the new truck can easily handle my trailer but it leaves me the option of upgrading in the future.

 

 

 

 

27 Jan

Camper College – Tom’s Camperland Style!

For about two years I have been cajoling RV dealerships into hosting what I call “Camper College.” For those that don’t know what a Camper College event is, it’s an opportunity afforded to us by dealerships that “get it” to find out what is involved in owning, operating and towing a travel trailer.

Brad Leach, owner of Toms Camperland in Mesa, Arizona walks a group of RV interested guests through the how’s and why’s of trailer operations.

In all the mail I receive from listeners of the Girl Camper Podcast, the fear most often expressed in them is the fear of towing.  Additionally, there is a lot of concern about the trailer coming detached from the car. At Camper College, dealerships walk would-be Girl Campers through the process of hitching up a trailer. The hands on demonstrations let the attendees  do the whole operation themselves. The dealership also takes everyone on a scaled back version of a trailer walk through showing them where water goes in, comes out and how the trailer gets its “energy.” For those that are new to the RV lifestyle these lessons help demystify trailer ownership and give the confidence needed to make an eventual purchase. It’s the first step into joining the Girl Camping movement with confidence.

Chris Baum, COO of Little Guy Worldwide and I have a great time hosting together even if we do fight over the microphone!

It’s been great to have the support of Little Guy Worldwide who often co-host these events with me. This last event was epic though and we created a bit of a circus by inviting our Camp LIke a Girl Meet Up site members to Take Over Tom’s Camperland in Mesa, Arizona. Women from other Meet-ups in the Phoenix area as well as our event partner Sisters on the Fly, all came out to do a Friday night meet and greet with a demonstration and then an all day Saturday Open House. Tom’s is a huge dealership with over 42,000 square feet of covered display space. They were gracious enough to treat us to a great dinner on Friday night which made those traveling directly from work to the event very happy! On Saturday we got to eat the biggest pizza pie I’ve ever seen along with lots of healthy snacks and cookies to keep our energy up as we toured the largest selection of lightweight towables in Arizona.

Maurrie Sussman, co-founder of Sisters on the Fly, tells the would be girl campers about her extraordinary group.

The showroom at Tom’s had plenty of room to gather and talk shop.

The staff at Tom’s Camperland could not have been more gracious and I thank them for sharing their knowledge and for their gracious hospitality. I’d also like to thank Chris Baum of Little Guy Worldwide for coming out to join us. Chris is always cheer leading for us and although he was outnumbered, he held his own! We think he has magic shoes!  A special thanks to Maurrie Sussman the co-founder of Sisters on the Fly, the largest membership based outdoor women’s group in the United States, for coming and sharing fishing stories, towing stories and inspiration with all those new to Girl Camping. My final thank you is to owner Brad Leach for believing in the idea of mentoring and for operating the kind of business that wants customers for life and that is willing to serve those customers before they even make a purchase. When I remarked to Brad during his demonstration that I was told that a power surge protector was an absolute trailer necessity he quickly replied that I must have been at “Camper ‘Junior’ College.”  He was a heck of a good sport and fun to boot!!

There is such a large selection of lightweight towable trailers at Tom’s that each Girl Camper had plenty to think about.

 

24 Jan

Girl Camper #68: Becoming a Girl Camper in 2017

Making 2017 the year we become Girl Campers seemed to be the theme of quite a few letters at the first of the year and the Girl Camper Podcast is making it a mission to help in any way we can. On today’s show I am laying out an action plan for overcoming the stumbling blocks that so many heartfelt letters point to.

You don’t need a trailer to be a Girl Camper. Helga’s mini van serves her just fine!

Arizona Sister on the Fly Kelley made a great camp with an inflatable bed and great linens.

Girl Camper Mari camps however she can! Tents, converted van, 10 year old family camper! It’s the places you’ll see and not what you sleep in.

There is so much fun being had by so many that made the leap that it pains me to see those who are stalled in some way. Each person has a reason they cannot join the fun right now and I hope this show helps you find ways to eliminate some of what may seem like obstacles to you.