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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Women gearing up for RV conference

After reading last week’s Wheel Life column on the upcoming seminar, “RVing Women and Wannabes,” on May 6 (see details page E7), Spokane solo RVer Mary Weigand called in with regrets.

Although Weigand said she really wanted to attend, as a longtime “Bloomie,” she is committed to running in the Bloomsday race that falls on the same day.

As a solo RVer, she says, her biggest challenge is finding other women RVers for camping trips, and she is looking for some good resources.

One woman with a great deal of knowledge about finding such resources is Arlene Janssens of Salem, Ore., a solo RVer for almost a decade.

Janssens will be driving her new 2007 31-foot Safari Passage up from Oregon next weekend to give a presentation at the RVing Women event.

Shortly after retiring in the mid-90s and only 12 weeks after the purchase of a new motorhome, Janssens’ husband was diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor. After his sudden death, she learned to drive, maintain and enjoy her home on wheels.

In 1998 Janssens attended her first RV Life on Wheels Conference held each summer at the University of Idaho in Moscow.

“I had read about Life on Wheels and decided to go because I did not know a single woman who drove her RV by herself,” says Janssens.

“I met three women the first year,” she says. “All of us were recent widows.”

The retired social worker went back the next summer “because there was so much to learn,” she says. By 2000 she was instructor and continues to facilitate an RV Solo Forum.

“There are lots of ways to connect with other solo women RVers,” she says. “One place to start is a national group called RVing Women.”

Many national RV organizations, including Good Sams (www.goodsamclub.com/join), Family Motor Coach Association (www.fmca.com) and Escapees RV Club (www.escapees.com), have singles groups.

There are two national groups that are geared to solos, no matter what gender – Wandering Individuals Network and Loners on Wheels.

“What I would suggest is that if a solo woman wants to do local RV trips, she can contact the nearest Good Sams chapter,” says Janssens.

“But, if she wants to explore a little further out she should consider the Wandering Individuals Network,” she says. “WIN does a lot of dry camping and sports-related activities. One year a group drove all across Canada and down along the eastern seacoast.”

Resources for women

“”The Woman’s Guide to Solo RVing” by Jaimie Hall and Alice Zyetz (Pine Country Publishing, CD, $13.95).

“”RV Traveling Tales: Women’s Journeys on the Open Road” edited by Jaimie Hall and Alice Zyetz (Pine Country Publishing, 2003, 224 pages, $14.95).

Both books are available through www.rvhometown.com; or by calling (928) 607-3l81.

“Follow solo RVer Malia Lane’s travels through her online journal on www.maliasRV.com.

“”Women RVers” blog on RVTravel.com is edited by Adrienne Kristine at www.rvtravel.com/blogwomenrvers/.

“RVing Women, a membership group of women from across the U.S. and Canada “who enjoy RVing and love to travel.” Annual membership is $45. Call toll free (888) 55-RVING (888-557-8464), or go to www.rvingwomen.org.

Solo groups

“Wondering Individuals Network emphasizes active gatherings. First year fee is $70, renewal rate is $60. “We are attracted to who you are, not what you drive.” Web site is www.rvsingles.org or write to WIN, P.O. Box 6068, Pahrump, NV 89041-6068.

“Loners on Wheels is an International RV Club of single men and women “who enjoy traveling, camping, RV caravanning and camaraderie.” Annual membership is $50. Write to LOW, P.O. Box 1060, Cape Girardeau, MO 68702; or go online to www.lonersonwheels.com.

‘RV Women’ seminar

The full-day gathering, “RVing Women and Wannabes” (not associated with the RVing Women organization) takes place May 6 at the Lake City Senior Center, 1916 Lakewood Drive, Coeur d’Alene.

Registration and coffee begins at 9 a.m. Seminar runs 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with a break for a potluck lunch.

Send a check for $35 to Coaching for Life, P.O. Box 3258, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83816. Be sure to include your name and telephone number.

Call organizer Penney Sales at (208) 665-7782 with any questions.

RV Life on Wheels

The RV Life on Wheels Conference happens July 8 to 13 on the University of Idaho Moscow campus.

“There will be more than 100 educational classes on the RV lifestyle presented by experts, writers and educators from the RV industry,” says conference coordinator Peggy Waterman.

Registration is $249 per person. A $130 RV fee includes 30 AMP electrical hookups and water services. Dry camping (no power or water) is a $25 fee.

Those attending who do not yet own RVs can stay in nearby motels.

To register or for more information, call toll-free (866) LOW-GOGO (866-569-4646); e-mail Peggy Waterman at peggylow@verizon.net; or write to RV Life on Wheels, P.O. Box 9755, Moscow, ID 83843. For detailed information about courses, check www.rvlifeonwheels.com.

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