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.




17 Jan

Girl Camper #67: Catching Up With Dawn Wilson

My guest today is wildlife photographer and conservationist  Dawn Wilson. Dawn is returning to the show to share her adventures in her first year of full time RVing. She talks about the reality of full time RVing versus the dream. This episode is full of stories of her months in Alaska, the pros and cons of making a living on the road and her assessment of the three different styles of trailers she used in her first year. Dawn’s photography  is a window into a world few of us will ever experience so closely.

Dawn’s dedication to her craft requires long hours in sometimes very harsh environments.

An American bald eagle captured by Dawn as he was about to score a meal.


This is one of my personal favorites of Dawn’s photos.


11 Jan

Girl Camper #66: Heath Padgett host of the RV Entrepeneur


My guest today is Heath Padgett from The RV Entrepreneur Podcast.  Heath and his wife Alyssa traveled the country in an aging Class C motorhome and along the way produced a documentary entitled “Hourly America.” The film chronicles Heath’s hourly job in each of the fifty states they traveled to.  Along the way Heath and Alyssa met many interesting people making their way in the full time RV world and Heath used those contacts to start his podcast.

You can download Heath and Alyssa’s documentary on their website  http://heathandalyssa.com/ .  You can also register for their RV Entrepreneur Summit in Fredericksburg, Texas February 24-26, 2017.

One of Heath’s jobs was as a karate instructor where he got to spend a day with middle school kids taking their lessons.


04 Jan

Girl Campers Take Over Tom’s Camperland in Mesa, Arizona.

Tom’s Camperland in Mesa, Arizona is the location of our next Camper College event which will be a two day event this time around. Camper College is designed to demystify trailer ownership for those wanting to join the Girl Camper movement and to showcase all of the lightweight towable trailers available for those who do not have the time, knowledge or inclination for vintage trailer restoration.

Tom’s has a large selection of lightweight towable trailers including Little Guy Worldwide’s Tag trailer.


The event begins on Friday evening at 5 PM with time to look around the dealership at all of the trailers and meet and greet new and old friends. At 6 PM the knowledgeable staff at Tom’s will walk us through the systems of a trailer. What’s a black tank? Grey tank? When you get to a campground, where is the plug, the stabilizing jacks? How do you level a trailer? After a walk through there will be a Q&A and time to look at trailers with Tom’s staff that you may have a question about.


The new “Scotty” trailers by Little Guy are on the show room floor and are a great entry level trailer for young couples, families or Girl Campers.

Chris Baum, COO of Little Guy Worldwide will also be there to chat about all the new innovation the company that “dares to be different” has coming up. Chris is a hands on COO who listens and learns from customers and is always willing to go the extra mile.

Chris Baum was taking questions and orders from Girl Campers who were letting him know in no uncertain terms what they want in a trailer!!

The Lance truck camper is a great alternative for those who don’t want to tow or those who want to tow a boat or recreation vehicle.


We will be joined by the Sisters on the Fly at Tom’s who will have their campers on display and be hanging around to chat about their adventures in the great outdoors. On Saturday we will be doing an all day Open House with the Sisters who will have plenty of tales and inspiration as well as give aways. Tom’s will be providing a light dinner on Friday and lunch on Saturday. All are welcome…even husbands!

Maurrie Sussman, co founder of Sisters on the Fly (on the right) will be on hand to talk about her group and all the fun they are having. Their motto is: “We Have More Fun than Anyone.”

Maurrie and the sisters will be sharing their adventures and whats coming up on their famous bucket list trips.

Tom’s Camperland is located at 1301 West Broadway in Mesa, Arizona. You can sign up for this event by calling them at 480-894-1267 or by going to https://www.meetup.com/Camp-Like-A-Girl/. You will need to request membership at no fee to register there. There is no fee and all are welcome!!