A virtual cooking class on wheels, the RV Cooking Show takes viewers on adventures to some of the most sought-after or interesting but little known RV locales then creates a healthy, easy destination-related RV recipe in host Evanne Schmarder's RV kitchen. Tune in to our RV TV...it's always delicious!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Joy of Being an Artist on the (RV) Road

Donna and her husband Jeff pulled in next to us not too long ago. They were our neighbors for a couple days before we had an opportunity to chat. Once we did we became fast friends. Donna told me she was an artist and invited me in to show me some of her work. Wow - I was extremely impressed. Prior to seeing her work we were talking about careers and ways to make money on the road. Once I saw her art I knew she'd never be at a loss...she's amazingly talented. Donna graciously agreed to pen a few articles about being an artist on the road  - in her case in a trusty Airstream Travel Trailer. Enjoy this, her first installment - Evanne - RV Cooking Show

For the past 3 years my husband and I have been fulltime RVers and can’t imagine a more wonderful life. I am a fabric artist, my husband a writer, poet, composer and musician at this point in our lives. The places that inspire my artistic vision are often in places we could never afford to buy but RVing affords moments of these to absorb, enjoy and take away in memory. The changing of place and surroundings, the seaside spot overlooking a bay, the sunsets are visuals that encourage me to look at color, shape and hue. Inspiration from nature outside our back window continually nourishes my creativity and appreciation for this lifestyle.

My ‘studio’ consists of any spot available but primarily the table where the wrap-around windows allow me light and view. My previous art studio was a 14x18 foot room so the conversion to smaller projects was a must and a challenge since we live in a 27’ Airstream Travel Trailer. You might wonder how I made this work.

Here is how I did it: When we began our fulltime adventure I brought almost all of my fabric (hard to imagine!) and placed them by colors in 4 snap top containers; they live in the truck bed under the truck cover along with one box of other necessary tools. There is also a small art bin of paints (watercolor and fabric) as well as a container of beads - I am a long time beader and do mixed media pieces.

In the coach, whom we call Lily, is the art work(s) in progress plus a number of finished pieces. This consumes much of the under-the-bed space with an iron pad, etc. and Bernina 440QE sewing computer (when not in use) on my side of the bedroom walkway. As you may be able to extrapolate, my husband is incredibly supportive of my art endeavors – a real must in such a cozy space.

It’s no surprise that flexibility is the key to RVing so I take this to include “doing yoga” while I cut fabric on the floor or have to contort my body to squeeze in and out of my sewing space. This often means across my beloved’s lap and his small classical guitar when he is playing. It brings ‘mindfulness’ to our life; in more ways than one.

I try to remember to take a moment, breathe in and breathe out and feel grateful for how lucky we truly are to have this ever-changing, adventurous life filled with love, freedom, art and new friends.

Next time I’ll share with you the challenges of creating my art while on the road in my RV.

Donna Hamson Cooney is a multimedia fabric artist who may be contacted at DonnaHCooney@yahoo.com

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

RV Towable and Vehicle Weight Ratings - Rules of the Road

GVWR, CCC, UVW, GAWR…UGH!! Acronyms like these can make your head spin. One of the secrets to a pleasurable RV experience lies in knowing what each of these mean and applying them to your specific situation. It’s widely known that an overloaded or underpowered rig can be a challenge to drive but the other side of the equation is safety. Let’s explore the common vehicle weight rating acronyms you are likely to encounter when RVing.

If you happen to be in the market for a new (or new to you) RV make sure you understand these terms and make a suitable match...espescially if you are purchasing a towable/tow vehicle combo.

GVWR – Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

GVWR is the maximum allowable weight of a vehicle – be it a truck, car, trailer or motorhome – regardless of storage space. The max weight reference refers to a fully loaded vehicle and includes fuel, people, cargo, etc. The GVWR may never be exceeded!

UVW – Unloaded Vehicle Weight

This is the weight of the vehicle as it comes off the manufacturing line PLUS a full fuel tank (full generator tank also), oil, coolants. The UVW does not include the weight of any dealer or after market installed upgrades such as a sleeper sofa instead of a J Steel, TV or satellite dishes, awnings, etc.

CCC– Cargo Carrying Capacity

The CCC refers to the amount of weight (or cargo) you can load into the vehicle. This is GVWR minus UVW, full fresh water weight (including water in water heater), full LP gas tanks, and passengers.

So, for example:

GVWR is 12,000 pounds (the max it can weight)
UVW is 10,000 pounds
Less fresh water (in your fresh tank plus your water heater) @ 8.3 pounds per gallon
Less propane @ 4.5 pounds per gallon
Less passenger weight

By the way, did you know that the average full-time RV carries 2,000 pounds of "stuff"...that's a ton! Be careful here. Just because there is bin and closet space does not mean the vehicle is equipped to roll packed to the gills.

GCWR – Gross Combined Weight Rating

The combined weight of your fully loaded RV and your towed vehicle or your tow vehicle and fully loaded trailer is the GCWR. The GCWR may never be exceeded!

GAWR – Gross Axle Weight Rating

Each axle is rated to carry a maximum amount of weight thus the GAWR. You may not exceed this number on the front axle and make up for it on the rear axle – it is the weight per axle. The GAWR may never be exceeded!

Tow Rating – Used in reference to a tow vehicle – the tow rating is the maximum weight that the vehicle will safely tow. The tow rating may never be exceeded!

Now that you are familiar with these terms where can you find out your vehicles specs? Cars and trucks usually have a sticker with these ratings on the inside of the driver door. Towables have a sticker on the front left side exterior wall as well as a spec sheet inside a cupboard door. Motorhomes will have this information on the driver door edge or pillar.

Armed with this knowledge, it’s a great idea to weigh your RV regularly – once a year or so should do it. Truck stops typically have scales and charge reasonable fees of less than $20. Prior to being weighed fill your fuel tank, make sure your holding tanks and LP tanks are as you usually travel with them and your passengers are seated in the vehicle. This should give you a true to life picture of your RV’s weight. Remember, never exceed your weight ratings – travel smart – travel safe.


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