13 Mar

Episode 122: Picking up Your New RV

To listen to this week’s podcast, click on the arrow!

On this weeks show my guest is Lynn Butler, owner of Setzers World of Camping in Huntington, West Virginia. Lynn and I discuss picking up you new RV at the dealership. What kind of walk through should a consumer expect? How does a PDI (Pre Delivery Inspection) differ from the consumer walk through on purchase pick up day? What is looked at in a PDI? When is it done? How can you remember all the things you’re being told?

On walk through day I got a thorough explanation and demonstration of all the trailers systems.

Tips for a successful pick up day include:

  • Mark out the whole day for this big event.
  • Videotape the demonstrations.
  • Make sure you get all of the manufacturer manuals for appliances.
  • Make sure you do your hitch work ahead of time so you can safely tow your new trailer home.
  • Bring your spouse or a friend along for an extra set of ears.
  • Make plans for a shake down camp out close to home

With the help of the dealer I determined before pick up day what my hitch needs were and had the proper set up to safely tow it.

Also this week I’m chatting about what I learned at Camper College regarding water – hoses, pressure regulators and quick connects! Serious damage can be done to your plumbing if you release water at a high PSI  Into your system. Some campgrounds have water pressure as high as 110 PSI while trailers are manufactured to withstand 40 PSI.  A water pressure regulator is an essential piece of equipment in your RV tool box.

It’s important to make sure you don’t exceed the manufacturer recommended PSI coming into the trailer. A water pressure regulator will help you avoid costly mistakes.





06 Mar

Episode 121: Class C Motorhome Pros and Cons

To listen to this week’s podcast, click on the arrow!

On this week’s show I continue my exploration of all the Recreation Vehicle options out there for RVer’s. In episode 117 I “reimagined” the toy hauler looking at alternate ways to use this heavy duty trailer originally created for transporting quads, motorbikes and whatever “toys” you might use while vacationing. I’m taking a look at the Class C motor home today and some of the things that owners love about them and some of the reasons buyers passed on them for other options. I also have an interview with my friend Jean Taylor, Girl Camper and owner of  Camp Taylor Campground in Columbia, New Jersey. Jean owns a Class C motor home and when she’s not running her own campground she is camping in her Class C.

Class C sizes run from 21′ to 35′. There are many floor plans and styles available, with and without slide outs. Prices range from 43K to 200K dollars and can sleep anywhere from 2-10 people.

When comparing the Class C to the Class A motor home many found the Class C to be:

  • Less expensive
  • Better on gas mileage
  • More maneuverable
  • To have a safer cockpit in crashes
  • Easier to heat and cool

Other Pros for Class C’s are:

  • Access to living area while driving
  • No towing anxiety
  • In many areas it is considered a vehicle and can be kept in a driveway where travel trailers cannot
  • Large overhead cab storage
  • Easy to drive
  • Can sleep a lot of people depending on model
  • Option of towing car

Some of the negatives consumers report on the Class C are:

  • Less storage than a Class A Motor Home
  • Unless you are towing a touring car with you, you will have to unhook your systems each time you leave the campground.
  • They are not as maneuverable as a Class B
  • Can be too small for full timing
  • Parking at tourist sites can be limited
  • Poor gas mileage compared to a Class B
  • Kitchens are not as large as some travel trailer and Class A Motor Homes
  • Larger models can be harder to navigate through towns

Hanging out in Jean’s Class C when the weather was not cooperating with us!

On this week’s show I also shared two new events posted on the Camp Like a Girl Meet Up site. The first is our Camper College event at Bankston Motor Home in Huntsville, Alabama. Here is the link to join us for that event!

We had a great Camper College at Setzer’s World of Camping in Huntington, West Virginia last week. Our next Camper College is at Bankston Motorhomes in Huntsville, Alabama April 26th!

In order to sign up you will need to be a member of www.Meetup.com. You can join here and have access to all the upcoming events.






27 Feb

Episode 120: RV and Travel Lessons Learned

To listen to this weeks podcast, click on the arrow!

On this weeks show my travel buddy and BFF Carol and I continue the conversation on lessons learned while on the road. In the 12 years since we began RVing we’ve traveled thousands of miles in every conceivable weather condition. Along the way we made a few mistakes, dodged a few bullets and had our confidence tested. We are sharing these experiences and those of our online community on the Girl Camper Podcast Facebook page, in the hopes that others might avoid our mistakes or at least know an appropriate course of action if they run into trouble.

Travel Day Lessons 

  • Be realistic about how long it will take to get somewhere when you are towing.
  • When traveling into the night without reservations, look ahead for campgrounds and check availability.
  • Don’t depend on the GPS alone. Always have paper maps.
  • Try to arrive at the campground before dark. If you arrive after dark, consider staying hooked up and setting up in the morning.
  • Fill or start looking for gas when the tank is half empty. Use IExit App to find gas stations. Remember that is sometimes harder to find diesel so don’t let tank go too low.
  • Always have cash with you. Sometimes you can’t use your credit card or don’t want to in unrecognized locations.
  • Have all of your Roadside Assistance numbers in your phone and your account numbers as well in case of emergency. Find out ahead of time if your Roadside Assistance plan will tow your RV and your tow vehicle.

Be realistic about the added time that towing adds to a GPS estimated arrival.

Weather Worries 

  • Be prepared to adjust your driving plans for bad weather
  • Change routes if necessary to avoid extreme weather
  • Pull over and wait out bad weather along the way
  • Delay departure if high winds or sever weather is called for
  • Have a weather alert App on your mobile device to warn about dangerous weather
  • NEVER drive through high water
  • Know where tornado shelters are in the campground before you need them

I was driving parallel to this fierce looking thunderstorm on my way to Buffalo, Wyoming.

Campground Booking  Lessons Learned 

Call the campground when booking rather than booking online.

Ask the campground employees:

  • What is the most requested site?
  • Are the sites level? Shady? Sunny?
  • How close am I to the access road with all the rigs coming in, bathroom, playground, pool?
  • What time is check out? Is late check out available? Is there a fee?
  • Full hook ups?
  • Read the online reviews

This campsite in the Tetons was thoroughly investigated before booking it and it did not disappoint.


Packing Tips 

  • Put extra t-shirts, towels, soft items in decorative zippered throw pillows and use them as decor while storing extra supplies.
  • A five gallon bucket can be used as a porta potty, foot stool, wash bucket, dry lock for fire starters, extra seat to name just a few.
  • Use a Dollar Store pack of shower caps to put on muddy shoes before storing them, as a cover for bowls and to cover the seat of your bike in the rain.
  • Have designated camping bins in the garage for grilling supplies, and campground gear so that you can load the trailer or tow vehicle quickly and not forget anything.
  • Use packing cubes, and ebags to keep cabinets organized.

Packing cubes and bins helped me stay organized in my trailer.

Tips From our Online Community

“Run water before attaching your hose and filter. I ruined a new water filter when mud ran through it. It also gets the earwigs out.” Liz Deck

“Always have headache medicine and sunglasses with you. Driving and squinting in the sun can give you a headache.” Sally Bauer

“Replace factory tires before you have to.” Lori Little Wolf

“Be willing to take a day off from driving even if you have an itinerary.” Karen Polansky

“If you dry camp and stay hitched, don’t leave your electrical hooked up to the tow vehicle. If you use all of your trailer battery it will pull from your tow vehicle battery and you will wake up to a dead tow vehicle.” Denise Webster Mahoney

“Go to Harbor Freight and buy solar rope lighting for $10. Charge them on your dashboard while driving and when you arrive at the campground lay them out around the drive in area so you can see your margins in the dark.” Debbie Hamm

Camco’s Curved levelers  are designed to level your travel trailer by raising it up to four inches. You wedge them under the tire that is lower and drive up onto them until the trailer is level. You then place the chock under the wedge to hold it in place. So easy! Camco’s curved levelers have fixed a few of the problems similar brands struggled with. They are made with a honeycomb design that will hold up to 30K pounds and prevents slipping. The chock has a built in handle and anti slip rubber grippers to hold in place. They are shorter than other levelers so if you have closely set tandem wheels they will fit without needing to be cut down. There’s a great Youtube video channel here!!








22 Feb

Episode 119 – Rookie Mistakes Explored

On this week’s show my guest is my BFF and travel buddy, Carol Thompson. Carol and I joined the Sisters on the Fly over twelve years ago and we have many road trips under our belt. Along the way we’ve learned a few things, some of them the hard way. I polled the members of several Facebook groups dedicated to RVing women over 300 comments detailing some of their rookie mistakes as well. These mistakes can bruise our egos, erode our confidence and cost us real dollars. Hopefully this podcast episode will help you avoid making some of those mistakes and also provide a laugh or two. It is great to belong to a community of women who help and support each other.

Sometimes we learn as we go and we often learn from other RVer’s. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This was a beautiful site in the Black Hills but the entry to it was on a downward curve. It took several spotters to help me get in it! I’m always grateful for campground assistance!!

First, the Top Six most mentioned Rookie errors.

  • #1 Hitch came off the ball
  • #2 Forgot to put antenna down
  • #3 Not holding down sewer hose when dumping
  • #4 Forgot to unplug before pulling out
  • #5 Locked out with no back up keys
  • #6 Forgot to put wheel chocks in place before unhooking

When polled the number one fear Girl Campers have is the hitch coming off the ball. After you have secured the hitch to the ball, crank the tongue jack down until you can see it pulling the tow vehicle up. You will know it is secure if it does that.

Trailer Towing Mistakes Most Mentioned 

  • Getting stuck on road with no room to turn around
  • Backed over something and pulled forward ripping up bottom of trailer
  • Hit something backing into driveway – post, mailbox, tree, porch, neighbors fence, garage
  • Took off awning or AC at gas station
  • Towed small car behind Class A with emergency brake on

Set Up Mistakes 

  • Mistakenly put water in gas tank of motor home at campground
  • Used boards in stead of stacking blocks to level and boards kicked out and damaged underside of trailer
  • Forgot to put wheel chocks in place before unhitching
  • Unhooked trailer when car was in neutral
  • Hooked up freshwater hose to black tank back flush and flooded trailer with black water tank fluids
  • Bent anti-sway bar by backing up without loosening it
  • Turned on hot water heater with no water in it
  • Didn’t leave enough room for slide out to open

Dumping Mistakes

  • Not holding down sewer hose while dumping, pops off sewer and sprays area and person!
  • Leaving black tank valve open when hooked up to full hook up site
  • Opened blank tank when they thought it was empty

Don’t make the mistake of leaving your black water valve open when at a full hook up site. The fluids will exit and the solids will sit and solidify on your tank floor. The waste dissolvant drop ins need fluid to work in. You can empty it every few days much more conveniently than having to unhook and take it to the dump station but it is not designed to work like a home sewer system,

Packing up Errors 

  • Pulled out with electric or water hose still connected to campground
  • Drove out with slide out open
  • Awning not locked and opened up
  • Steps ripped off when forgot to put them in
  • Drove away with storage compartments open or unlocked
  • Pulled forward with tongue jacks still down
  • Forgot to lock fridge, cabinets or trailer door
  • Didn’t check site – Left behind wheel chocks, jack crank, hoses, awning crank, electric cord
  • Drove away with trailer and storage compartment keys on bumper

Working off a check list and not chatting while packing up will help you reduce the possibility of skipping an important step in your hitching up and pulling out process.

 At Campground

  • Damaged awning when left out in rain or wind storm
  • Ran out of propane on cold night
  • Locked out with no back up keys
  • Pipes froze when heat was not high enough
  • No surge protector – electric damaged
  • No back up fuses

Some of the reasons women sited for making these mistakes gives some insight on how to avoid them. Working with a “Before You Pull Out” checklist and “When You Arrive” checklist helps cut down on these mistakes. Having a comprehensive list and a strict policy of always working off it is what every seasoned RVer will tell you to do. Even when we have done something 100 times and created a good muscle memory we can get distracted by conditions and forget something. Many people sited that they were talking while getting ready to pull out or when arriving and setting up. Impending bad weather, trying to beat rush hour, trying to get to the dump station line before its too long can all distract us and make it easy to miss something. Having that checklist laminated in a cabinet or on a file in your phone cuts those chances of dropping the ball on something important way down.

Arriving at the campground late and tired is another recipe for set up mistakes. Driving for long periods causes real brain fatigue and it can be easy to miss something. Make it a habit to know what you’re daily driving limits are.

Setting up in the dark is  another oft sited reason for making mistakes. The woman who put the water in her motor home gas tank was working with little light in the dark. She thought she was filling her fresh water holding tank but in the dark she put the water hose in her gas tank. Fortunately she had a dual gas tank so was able to get home on the untouched reserve tank and get the other tank pumped out.

Mark Polk from RV Education 101 has a comprehensive checklist to help us avoid a hit to the ego and pocketbook.

Mark also has a very helpful video on determining your pivot point and trailer swing that everyone can benefit from.

While some of our mistakes are things we can laugh at later, some have the potential to be serious. Educate yourself and stay safe out there while enjoying the back roads of America, the Beautiful.

BFF Carol and I have traveled thousands of miles together. Rain or shine we have fun on the road!

To listen to the podcast and hear the tips for avoiding rookie mistakes, click on the arrow!


















13 Feb

Episode 118 – Mid Winter Camping Fixes

Winter’s grip seems particularly strong this year and we are only half way through it! For those that love to camp that snow covered trailer in the backyard is like an ice cream sunday to someone on a diet.  I have compiled a list of things to make that longing a little more bearable.

  • Stay at a Lodge – Make reservations at a state or national park lodge. Each year we take a midwinter trip to Blackwater Falls State Park in Davis, West Virginia and take advantage of the parks beauty in the winter. Sitting by the roaring fire after a hike to the falls in the snow is like a tonic to the spirit. The Lodge has a great restaurant, comfortable rooms and great gathering areas for socializing.

Blackwater Falls in winter. Photo courtesy of Tucker County CVB.

  • Gateway Communities – Gateway communities is the phrase the tourist industry uses to describe towns near attractions such as state and national parks. If the parks lodges are closed for the winter, chances are that the local hotels are open and prices are cut for the off season. Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a great gateway community that gives you access to the Smoky Mountains, great restaurants,  and entertainment. It’s a great time to visit the parks and see them without the crowds and in a different season.
  • Do A Trailer Project – Sew a set of sheets that actually fits an RV bed! Make new curtains, matching napkins or pillowcases. Think about something that bugged you last year and find a solution. I need a magazine rack and key holder this year. Think about what needs upgrading and do it. Make a new First Aid Kit and throw away all the expired things in your old one. Order storage containers, new floor mats or something collapsible for the RV.
  • Practice Your Camp Recipes – Learn how to master dutch oven cooking at home in your oven or on your backyard fire pit. Start making foil packet meals on Friday nights in the oven and create new recipes for when camping season begins. Break out the pie irons and get inventive. I use my Toastite Pie Irons at home all the time in the winter. Having a camp meal beside the fireplace helps! Light the firepit and eat outside on your back porch even if its in the 40’s. That’s what we do when camping!

I’m practicing new cast iron recipes in the off season.

  • Online Collecting – Pinterest is full of beautiful pictures of campsites and all of the accessories, collectibles and antiques used in them. We swoon over them but don’t think to look for those items. Gather some things to set a magazine worthy dinner table at your first camp out. I collect vintage flashlights, wool throw blankets, vintage metal pie tins which I use as plates, souvenir plates with state names on them, vintage Coleman camping gear to name but a few! Usually there is a buying lull after the holidays and that is when I hit up Ebay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace looking for hidden treasure. I really use the things I collect though. I pass out wool throw blankets to guests at my campfire. I use vintage thermoses to store coffee, rice, sugar and pasta. I display and use my vintage flashlights at home and while camping.

I use my collectibles while camping and at home. This was our Christmas dinner table full of red and green vintage flashlights!

  • Trip Dreaming – While we are chilly up here in the northern parts of the USA our southern friends are camping. I am just a bit jealous but I am also trip dreaming about where I might want to go this coming year and someday. It’s a great time to crowd source friends favorite places, study maps for hidden gems, contact CVB’s and tourist offices and get information about what you can see if you visit, and search the Net for documentaries about those someday locations. Before you can trip plan, you have to trip dream.
  • Go To an Outdoor Retailer – Grab a friend and visit an outdoor retailer. Make a day of it. Sign up for one of their classes. If they don’t have the class you want, ask if they can find someone to teach it. Treat yourself to a new piece of gear. Pick an associates brain about the gear you are interested in and gather information. Soak up the outdoor vibe.
  • Host a Camping Party at Home – Invite your camping buddies over and have a camping party. Create a slide show of some of your best camping trips from last season. Serve your favorite camp food. Do a craft project for next season – fire starters are always fun to make. Watch a good camping movie like  The Long, Long, Trailer with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Relive last years fun and make plans for the coming year.
  • Read All About It – Gain knowledge on any camping subject. I love to read old camp guides and ‘how to’ outdoors books that are at least a couple of decades old. They were written in a time when most people tent camped and are full of practical wisdom and evoke lots of sentimental memories for those of us that grew up camping. One of my favorites is, The Complete Book of Camping by Leonard Miracle and the Camp Fire Girls Book which are both full of inspiration not only for camping, but for improving yourself on all levels.
  • Waste Time On Line – Spend time researching  people, places and things. Get the story behind the story on that tiny plaque you read at a stop along the way. Go to YouTube and watch ‘how to’ videos on anything! Dutch oven cooking, leveling your trailer, draining your black water tank, or knitting mittens. Read the blogs that you bookmark because you’re too busy to read them when you see them. Roam the Internet and don’t feel bad about it.
  • Take A Factory TourThe Airstream Factory in Jackson Center, Ohio gives tours weekly as do most of the RV manufacturers. I had some fun googling “factory tours in Ohio” while I was making plans for my summer travel. I was so surprised by how many there were and the variety of them from the Dum Dum Lollipop factory to the largest makers of American Flags.  Find a factory to tour near you.
  • Shop Online for Preseason Bargains – Start stocking up on the items you know you will be buying for your RV and camp outs next season and spread the cost of starting up again  over a few months. Many retailers offer discounts  and free shipping during their slow season to entice buyers to purchase now. Stock up on tank, awning and black streak remover supplies.
  • Visit a Year Round Campground – Stay in a cabin at a year round campground. Last year we left our trailers in hibernation and drove from NJ to Tybee Island, Georgia and stayed at a campground with rental cabins. It was a great midwinter fix. Many campgrounds that do not allow trailers in the park because their water is shut down still rent out their cabins. You are still camping, spending time with friends and enjoying a good campfire.

Whatever helps you make it to “Opening Day” is all good!

To listen to the podcast, click on the arrow!