Gunshots, border patrol, and drooling over a tow vehicle

Thursday, February 4

Our present camp is Midland LTVA, 10 miles northwest of Blythe near California’s eastern border.

After a few days of turbulent weather, the crew and I are outside enjoying the sunshine and calm.  A hummingbird zips back and forth between the feeder and his perch in the ironwood tree behind my lounger.  Bridget lies belly down on the quilt pallet, happily gnawing on a chew bone.  Reggie urges me to grab his toy armadillo from his mouth.

We’re playing an intense game of tug-of-war when we hear . . .

Gunshots!

Reggie lets go of Armadillo and disappears through the open door of the Best Little Trailer.

“Oh, no, Reggie!  Come back.  It’s okay, sweetie.”

Someone continues to practice their shooting at the edge of Midland’s Long Term Visitor Area. 

I grumble to myself . . .  Acres and acres of empty desert with miles and miles of road running through it and this where we have target practice.  I wonder how many other dogs are suffering.

As much as I’d like to control the world, it’s not going to happen!  Darn!

Reggie’s mojo is lost again.

The passing of time without gunshots is the only thing that will bring it back.

P1090451Not even effervescent Sock Money can cheer him up!

A reader recently asked where to look online for tow vehicles.

My research led me to browse online myself.  Of course, I’m only interested in Chevy Express vans.  The Perfect Tow Vehicle is a Chevy Express.  You may know from reading my blog posts from the early days, the PTV received her lofty name long before she had the opportunity to prove it.

I bought the PTV in spring of 2011 for $8,500.

Being a 2005 model, she was six years old at the time.  In beautiful condition.  Her odometer read 114,940.

A few months later she carried Spike, Bridget and me to the Casita factory in Texas to pick up the Best Little Trailer.  There she was equipped with a hitch extension and her career as our trusty tow vehicle began.

She’s never let us down!

I admit there were times on steep and endless grades that I began to have doubts.  For no good reason!  I should be ashamed!

The PTV’s 5.3 liter, V-8 engine always pulls us up any mountains we want to climb.  And her gas mileage in mixed conditions, while towing, is around 15 mpg.

Need I mention storage space?

Oh, my.  Nothing like a van for storage space.

Alas, all of us are getting on in years and the PTV is no exception. She still has a lot more miles left in her (odometer at present: 158,547)  Even so, it’s fun to see what’s “out there.”

I’m online looking at the cargo van inventory at Pacific Fleet Sales in Washington state when I come across a photo.

A photo of the interior of a Chevy Express van.

My heart goes pitter-patter!  My jaw drops.  Oh, for heaven’s sake.  Is that drool on my keyboard?

cargovan103,591miles-001Shelves!  It has shelves!  Oh!  Oh!  Maybe a kayak would fit on that floor?

I’ll be honest here.

At present my dearly beloved PTV is in disreputable disarray.  The landslide in the back, quite frankly, is the worst it’s ever been and it’s been pret-ty bad over the years.  I blame this condition on a lack of shelves.

(Well, I said I’d be honest — It’s really my fault she’s a mess!)

A recent incident, while the crew and I were en route from Ajo to Gila Bend in southern Arizona, illustrates the monumental mess that the poor PTV has become.

The incident happens at the border control checkpoint.

Three agents wait for us as I bring the PTV to a stop.  Hmm . . . no drug-sniffing dog today.

Bridget and Reggie commence barking their fool heads off.

Over the ruckus, one of the agents offers the standard greeting . . .

“Good morning, ma’am.  Are you a U.S. citizen?”

“Yes, I am,”  I answer with my honest-est smile.

“What are you carrying in the back?” he asks.

“Everything I own.”

Cupping his hands on the sides of his face, he tries to peer through the tinted windows behind me.

“I can’t see inside,” he reports.

“Would you like for me to open it up?” I offer.

“Yes, please.”

He steps back from the driver’s side door to let me climb out.

As I step down from behind the wheel, I add, “I warn you. It’s quite a mess back there.”

I reach for the handle of the side door behind the driver’s seat as the agent stands behind me, looking over my shoulder.

“I have to be careful . . . . “

Cautiously I open the door.

Immediately a camp chair attempts to escape.  A plastic Tide bottle falls and tries to make a run for it.  I grab it off the ground and stick it back in the PTV.

The agent steps back.

 “Uh.  Never mind, ma’am.  Thank you.”

I cram the chair back in, shut the door, and return to the driver’s seat.

“You have a nice day,” he says, over the barking of the crew.

I start up the PTV.  I should just leave, but I can’t help it.

I laugh. 

Still laughing, I blurt out,  “I could have 25 illegal Mexicans behind that chair!”

Without letting his professional demeanor slip, the agent repeats, “Thank you.  Drive safely.”

“And thank YOU,” I add and the crew and I continue on our way.

So, like I say, the PTV is an awful mess.

Okay, where was I?

Oh yeah.  I was salivating over the interior of the van with shelves.  Here are the details on that baby . . . .

She’s a 2012 Chevy Express 2500 (3/4 ton) cargo van, 4.8 liter engine, V-8, with 103,591 on the odometer.  Barn doors (my preference to sliding doors), a/c (presumably a/c that works!) and a tow package.  Two less doors than the PTV, but more wall storage space.  No bench seat. Seven years younger than the PTV.

Price is $17,250.

Of course, I don’t plan on replacing the PTV anytime soon. 

It doesn’t hurt to do a little preliminary research, right?  I’d appreciate hearing opinions on the difference between the two vehicles (1500 vs. 2500 and 5.3 liter vs. 4.8 liter).  Let me know what you think, okay?

Update on the Reggie Man!

By late afternoon, the little guy is himself again, eager to walk the desert with Bridget and me.

P1090453All is well again in the world of RVSue and crew . . . Something to cheer about!

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P1090465Here comes my pretty girl.

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