RV Park Co-Ops

What is a coop? A co-op (or coop) as in a “cooperatively owned entity” is one in which everyone involved in the entity is also an owner. Companies can be coops (like REI, Ocean Spray, and Welch’s), but so can neighbors who have a collective stake in their communities and who want to build a better neighborhood. Residents of mobile home parks have been forming coops over the years, inspired by heartbreaking and heartwarming stories about landlords who raise lot rents so high that people are left homeless, and neighbors banding together to collectively purchase and run their parks. Just last week, VTDigger published a story about 4 mobile home parks converted into resident-owned coops. This 1986 LA Times article about a group of tenants who banded together to buy their home from their landlords is especially empowering, because their actions created a whole new category of government loans. Mobile …

Read the rest of this post.RV Park Co-Ops

RVing with Cats: Taking Walks!

When we moved into our RV, we knew the cats would have a tougher time adjusting than we would. Their whole world (their indoor home) was squished down to less than 300 square feet, with all kinds of new smells and sounds. We’ve done a lot to “cattify” our RV, like adding scratching posts to the slide-out trim (blog posts forthcoming!) and low-profile cat condos handmade by David. But it’s not the same as being able to really stretch their legs and get some exercise. When we were still living in a “sticks and bricks” house, we started practicing walking our cats using a Kitty Holster cat harness. We have four (yes, four!) cats, although at the time we had five, and the fifth was a professional traveler. Sadly we had to say goodbye to her about a year ago. Of the other four, two are little old ladies who …

Read the rest of this post.RVing with Cats: Taking Walks!

Insulating the RV for Hot Weather

This summer we are going to be spending an unfortunate amount of time in the famous Phoenix, Arizona heat. In order to make things as tolerable as possible, we learned from the examples set by our neighbors. Last year, before we moved into our RV but when were spending many hot summer days customizing it, we cut pieces of Reflectix foil covered bubble wrap to fit the windows. The added insulation and reflective material made a big difference during the hottest parts of the day, and our electric bill went down about 30%. This year, we wanted to improve on that. Our space is oriented so the bulk of the day’s sun is directed at our two main slides: our bedroom and our main living space (couch and kitchen table/work desk). Slide walls are thinner than the rest of an RV’s walls, so they have less insulation. When the sun …

Read the rest of this post.Insulating the RV for Hot Weather

Cherry Grunt: gluten-free, vegan, low-sugar dessert

I recently discovered fruit grunts: stove top cobblers that don’t require an oven, or much effort! I had a bag of cherries hanging out in my freezer, and decided to adapt this Farmer’s Almanac orchard fruit grunt recipe to make it vegan, gluten-free, and lower in sugar.

The view from above a saucepan of cherry dessert with 8 light yellow dumplings on top.
This worked well for a Saturday night dessert emergency!

Read the rest of this post.Cherry Grunt: gluten-free, vegan, low-sugar dessert

Roof Care

Have you thought about your RV’s roof lately? So many things can affect the life of your RV, and having a good roof is one of the most important ways to protect your RV. Our Keystone Laredo travel trailer has a single-membrane rubber roof, and rubber roofs need regular maintenance and protecting. We are currently staying in Arizona, so our roof has to withstand blistering sun, sweltering heat, blowing dust, monsoons, frequent bird visits, and… you get the idea. While we duck inside our RV to escape the sun, our roof is taking the brunt of it, day after day. I try to make regular trips “upstairs” to check for clogged gutters, sticks, leaves, animal nests, and droppings that might break down the membrane material. Thankfully, our unit has a walkable roof, that makes the process much easier. A tip before we begin: if you plan on cleaning your roof, …

Read the rest of this post.Roof Care

Preserve Tableware: Recycled Eco-Friendly Dishes

For about three years before moving into our RV, we regularly complained about our dishes. We were tired of our ten-year-old, inexpensive, drab gray, and super heavy Ikea set, but we didn’t have a good reason to replace them. They were still doing what they were designed to do, even if we were tired of looking at them. It seemed wasteful to replace dishes just because they weren’t pretty any more. But after counting the chips and cracks in that old set, and considering the unnecessary added weight, moving into our RV was a doubly exciting time for us: time to get new dishes! (We enjoy our simple pleasures.) After lots of research, we first decided on Corel because of their designs, weight, and durability, but we weren’t ready to commit to a pattern (or a price tag), so we looked for something inexpensive and environmentally friendly that would last …

Read the rest of this post.Preserve Tableware: Recycled Eco-Friendly Dishes

Our Maxxair 7500K Fan Install

The following walk-through and review were not sponsored by any of the manufacturers mentioned. This review is based purely on my research and experiences, in the hopes that it might be interesting or helpful to you. Like most off-the-shelf travel trailers, ours came with a tiny little bathroom exhaust fan. It was fine when we wanted to vent steam from the shower but that is about it. The original fan had a few big drawbacks: the air draw rate was poor for assisting with ventilation, the vent cap needed to be cranked open with a crank that was mounted flush with the ceiling, the vent cap allowed rain to enter when open, and the vent cap could be torn off in a strong wind. The crank-height was a serious ergonomic issue that needed to be rectified soon after we moved into the trailer. I was able to make the crank …

Read the rest of this post.Our Maxxair 7500K Fan Install

Vegan Chocolate Bark

A DIY Valentine’s Day treat. Ingredients 1 cup chocolate chips 1/4 cup any combination of nuts, seeds, dried fruit Instructions Line a baking sheet, plate, or cutting board with parchment paper. In a double boiler (or a makeshift double boiler), melt the chocolate. Mix in the nuts/seeds/fruit, and then pour onto the parchment, spreading the mixture out to a thickness of 1/2″ or less. Allow to cool somewhere undisturbed, and break into pieces. Store leftovers in a sealed container someplace cool.

Chocolate “Magic Shell” Ice Cream Topping

A super easy chocolate sauce that hardens on cold ice cream. Ingredients 1/2 cup chocolate chips 2 tbsp coconut oil Instructions In a microwave-safe dish (like a glass measuring cup, or a half-pint or pint-sized mason jar), microwave the chocolate and coconut oil in 20-second bursts, stirring very well in between, until sauce is smooth (about 2 minutes). Notes Works well with any kind of chocolate chip– white chocolate is awesome, and if you’re looking for vegan or dairy-free white chocolate, we love No Whey White Polar Dream Bars. Enjoy Life makes allergy-friendly chocolate chips, too. Try peanut butter or sun butter instead of or in addition to the chocolate chips. Leftover sauce can be stored in the fridge for a week or two. Microwave in 20-second bursts to reheat, stirring between each burst. Be patient! Chocolate will burn or seize up very quickly, especially in the microwave where hot …

Read the rest of this post.Chocolate “Magic Shell” Ice Cream Topping