Whether you're just getting started or are a seasoned camping expert, Janine's practical tips, inspirational interviews and her own experiences from the road will inspire you to 'go places and do things'!
Episode 180: Tim Heintz – Vintage Trailer Expert and Restorer
When I see a vintage camper I am transported back to the camp outs of my youth! They hold so much in the way of charm and nostalgia for me. We did some tent camping and had a home made pop up that we rented from a neighbor each year. When we would walk around the campground I would always want to look inside the little trailers. When I returned to camping in 2006 I bought a 1959 Field and Stream with the birchwood interior. I also joined the group Tin Can Tourists to learn as much as I could about vintage trailer ownership.
Membership in that Facebook group was the first place I ever saw any questions raised about the damage that exists in many (most) vintage trailers. Of course that damage varies depending on how well they were cared for, what part of the country they were in and what manufacturing methods were used. Canned hams that were stick and tin built did not fare as well over time as the riveted aluminum trailers. One thing seemed certain though, any unit that was at least forty years old would have at least some issues that needed addressing.
Enter Tim Heintz, founder of Heintz Designs Vintage Trailer Restorations. Tim has a love for and extensive knowledge of vintage trailers with a specialty in trailers manufactured from the 1930’s through 1960’s. He is one of the country’s leading restorers and does custom rebuilds for customers at his Panama City, Florida location. I invited Tim on the show to share his wisdom on vintage trailer restorations and help those enamored with these nostalgic beauties know when to buy and when to walk away and when to leave the revitalization to a pro.
Tim has done many, many trailer restorations over the years and has a big personal collection of vintage trailers. One of my favorite restorations was this 1951 Vagabond.
Tim’s website, click here!
Tim’s Facebook page here!
Listen to Tim’s interview on the podcast.
Petite Podcast: Lady Bird Johnson RV Park and Honeycomb Campground Reveiws
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On this week’s show I am reviewing two of my favorite campgrounds from my recent five week trip to Texas and parts south.
While visiting Fredericksburg, Texas I stayed at the municipal campground for that town, the Lady Bird Johnson RV Park. It is located just three miles from downtown Fredericksburg on the same grounds as the municipal golf course and county pool. It’s a beautiful drive down a long road into the campground which is adjacent to the Gillespie County Airport. The campground has 98 available RV spaces offering full hook ups. The sites also include wifi and dedicated cable lines. They rent for $40 a night with monthly rates available in the off season. They also offer a great tent area with lots of shady trees.
The campground is old but loved. The sites were paved and level with large grassy areas between each of them. Each site holds two trailers end to end. There are no fire rings here but you are allowed to have portable propane fires. The campground had a lot of mature trees offering shade but not too much. It is surrounded by open fields allowing for nice sunsets and the airport was a great bonus to me. It had small single engine colorful planes taking off and landing during the day. I heard no planes at night and because they were single engine they didn’t make much more noise than a lawn mower. It was fun watching them come and go.
The bathhouses were probably the most dated thing about the campground. They looked original but were clean and enclosed. I had just come from several campgrounds in which the bathhouses had lofted spaces which were open to the elements. Not only was that unpleasant in the unseasonably cold weather, they were full of bugs and even birds. I appreciated the closed doors and windows of the Lady Bird bathhouses.
All in all I really liked this campground. It was so close to town but away from the noise and surrounded by grassy fields. It felt so out of the way. If you like a good hike in the morning it was big enough with paved roads to get a good walk in. Also, I thought the price was a real bargain. Full hookups, cable and working wifi for $40! Bargain. I’d definitely stay here again.
The other take away campground from my last road trip was the Honeycomb Campground in Grant, Alabama. This was the site of a Girl Camping trip and the campground was right on the waters of Guntersville Lake adjacent to the Tennessee River. This campground is owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority and was completely renovated and reopened in 2009. There are 141 sites available, some long term. Most sites have electric and water available although there are a few primitive sites. None of the sites offer sewer. A dump station is available. Honeycomb also has three cabins available for rent.
The lakeside sites at this campground are so beautiful. I was staying with my friend Jeanne who had reserved her site in February for our April camp out. You are able to fish, kayak and canoe right from your site. If you want to dock a boat that you have towed to the campground they do rent slips for $8 a day. Honeycomb also offers boat, kayak and canoe rentals at their office. There is a day use beach that is open to the public for a fee ($8 for a carload of five) but is included in your site rental. Word around the campground from the regulars is that if you want a good seat, picnic table or grill at the beach, get there early and stake your claim. It’s a hilly campsite with water views from just about every spot on the property...
Petite Podcast: The Realities of Long Term Travel
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On this weeks show I am answering follower Julie’s question about the realities of long term travel. Julie wrote in: “Dear Janine, I’ve been following your Texas trip and it looks like you are having so much fun. I’m wondering what the “down” side of traveling alone is, if any. I’d like to do the same some day and want to be realistic about managing expectations. Do you ever get scared? Are you ever lonely? Thank you for your constant encouragement. Julie”
Thanks Julie. Most of my travels are fun, educational and personally edifying but there are down sides to everything. I think they will be different for each person and probably different for each trip. This trip was truly a solo trip for me because I was not traveling with a friend. I met up with friends along the way but my five week, 4,140 mile Texas trip was planned as an open ended, ‘do as I will’ trip. I wanted to be free to go wherever I wanted in between my scheduled Girl Camper camping trips.
One of the “downs” for me on this last trip was the work of moving my site too often. I learned this lesson the hard way. Setting up and breaking down each day to move to a new location was a lot of work and did not feel like “camping”. I didn’t bother to put up my awning, get my chair out or visit with neighbors. It was an unrealistic schedule that left me weary. The next time I plan a trip like this I will do more in one place and stay put at one campground long enough to feel planted and rested. It would have been better to drive an hour or two without the trailer attached to see sites than to hopscotch from site to site to be ten minutes away from what I wanted to see. Lesson learned.
Also, not fun was the drive home. I packed all that I could into every minute I was in Texas and left there with a three day window to get myself home in time for appointments I had in New Jersey. The trip home was 1,740 miles and I did it alone in three days. It felt like taking down the Christmas decorations. Why did I put so many up??? Couldn’t I have had as much fun closer to home?? Three ten hour driving days was just too much. I could have done it in four but my head was at home by then and I wanted my body there too. In order to do that I had to practice safe driving. I only ate healthy invigorating food, no carbs! I drank lots of water which keeps you alert and makes you make frequent potty stops! When I stopped at rest stops I parked in the farthest parking spot and jogged to the rest stop and then around it to get my blood going. When all of that was not enough I climbed into my trailer and took a power nap. I was glad to be home after 37 days on the road but the trip home was grueling.
Another thing that became an issue on this trip was the weather. I don’t mind a little rain but spring in the south is prone to violent weather. I was often watching my weather apps for lines of powerful thunderstorms coming through. There were two nights where I just had to stay in a hotel to avoid storms that were producing tornadoes and straight line winds. To me that is part of the adventure. Adjusting my plans to accommodate the weather allowed me to meet fellow travelers also seeking shelter from the storm and turn an unexpected stop into a nice evening sharing travel stories.
Do I ever get scared? The answer is YES!! When I do, I have to stop and ask myself if I am truly in danger or if I am being psyched out by something playing on my mind? I was in a campground that was nearly empty and my site was quite isolated and right on the river where it could have been accessed by a ...
Episode 151: The Pop Up Trailer Explored with Mary Ellen Arndorfer
We have spent this year exploring all of the different kinds of RV’s available. Today we are looking at the tried and true Pop Up trailer. That magic box that so many of us grew up camping in and that is still out there today. On today’s show we are taking a look at t in but don’t consider for ourselves. Maybe it’s time to reconsider this classic. Here are some of the Pro’s and Con’s of the Pop Up trailer.he frequently overlooked Pop Up trailer. This family classic is one many of us grew up
* Big and Airy – there’s lots of sitting room, sleeping areas, site lines and airflow in a pop up.
* Great Way to Start Towing – A Pop Up is low to the ground so you can see over it. There’s less wind interference. You get better gas mileage. You can see over it in the rear view mirror.
* The Sleep a Crowd – The large wing beds that slide out are King sized and can hold several small children. They also have two tables that fold down for added sleeping. There’s nothing else in their size range that can hold that many people.
* Easy to Store – They can be stored in a garage and their hard shell top allows you to stack camping equipment on top of them. You save on storage fees when you can store it at home.
* Easy to Find in the Used Market – There are so many pop-ups in the used RV market. Because they are not as popular a choice as many other models, there are more available.
* Light Weight – Compared to most travel trailers, the Pop Up is light weight and can be towed by most six cylinder vehicles.
* Less Costly to Maintain – They have fewer systems so there is less to repair and maintain.
* They fit in small spaces – Even the longest pop up is only 16′ long and can fit in most campsites.
* They are Maneuverable – A Pop Up sits high and is easy to take on dirt roads. It can also be moved around by hand when it’s disconnected from the tow vehicle.
* Requires Assembly – Has to be set up and broken down in any kind of weather
* You Can’t Access things in storage – When you are driving and need something that is stored in it you can’t simply open the door and get it. It’s folded down and not easy to reach.
* You Can’t Nap In It While On the Road – Because it’s folded down you can’t easily open it and take a nap along the way.
* Soft Side Walls – The soft side walls require maintenance and offer less protection from wildlife and cold weather. They also need to be dried out as soon as possible when the trailer has been closed up in the rain.
* Kitchens are Not Great – The kitchens in pop up are low and cooking and prepping meals in them can be awkward. Most pop up users set up a camp kitchen outdoors. They also have small sinks, very little refrigerator space and poor storage.
* Potty Situation – The porta potty in a pop up is not ideal to say the least. Some have none at all and some offer a hidden portable johnny that has to be taken out and dumped and also has no real privacy around it unless you consider a curtain on tracks adequate protection. Most people are a little more self conscious than that but if you are alone it would be a better option that a flashlight in the dark at 2 AM.
* Less of a Four Season Trailer – The Pop Up would not be a great choice in really cold weather. You can take a winterized travel trailer and stay warm in it in cold weather but the pop -up will offer less cold protection.
* Noisy – In heavy winds and rain the pop up can be a noisy option. The canvas snaps in the wind and the rain can sound like a real weather event on the canvas sides.
A Pop Up trailer is a great way to transition from tent camping to RVing.
Hit the Road RV Summit with Marc and Julie Bennett – Episode 217
I am so happy to tell you that Marc and Julie Bennett from RV Love have put together a virtual summit for those wanting to enter the RV world. This summit will take place on Saturday, June 16 on line! Marc and Julie are the authors of Living the RV Life – Your Ultimate Guide to LIfe on the Road. They know what they are talking about! They have been at it for 6 years and basically wrote the book they wanted to read before they got started themselves. They also have created an RV school chock full of lessons you can take at your own pace and in whatever order you decide.
Now Marc and Julie have gathered industry experts to share their field of expertise. They want to help all of you still on the side lines, by answering the questions you have. I was so happy and humbled to participate in this summit speaking about the things that solo women travelers are concerned about. There are 14 other experienced RVers on board to offer the wisdom of their own travels to those of you wanting to learn more about the RV life.
The Summit is free but you need to register. All of the details are below. If you do not have 15 straight hours to binge watch the Summit, you can purchase it along with other educational programs Marc and Julie have created. There is a pre-order price of $27 now and that will allow you lifetime access to the Summit and many of the educational tools created by Marc and Julie.
Get Ready to Hit the Road in an RV With 15+ RV Experts at This Virtual Summit – Register For Your Free Ticket Now
Be sure to listen to today’s podcast with Marc and Julie Bennett and get the details on the first Hit the Road RV Summit.
10 Tips to Improve Your Camping Photos – Episode 216
Have you ever come home from a trip and scrolled through your phone looking at your photos and been so disappointed in them? Do you think they can never live up to the feeling you had when looking at them? It’s hard to recreate the emotion we have when standing in front of an epic waterfall or creamsicle sunset but there are tips that even an amateur photographer can employ to make their photos inspire others to visit great places.
Guest Podcast host Catherine Goggia is sharing tips for taking better photos on this weeks podcast! Over the years she has learned a few tricks that can help even a cell phone capture look magazine worthy. Check out Catherine’s tips on her Girl Camper Northern California site.