Shoes, trout, desert dogs, and a new camp

Friday, October 18

The crew and I drive north to Bishop to pick up the Amazon order at the United Parcel Service “hub.”  When I placed my order, I first call The UPS store in Bishop to see about them receiving packages for me.  The young lady brusquely informs me it would cost $5 per package.

Then I call the other UPS (the “hub”) number and I hear, “Sure.  You can send them here.  No charge.”

I’m excited and a bit apprehensive.

I really hate returning stuff and the KEEN trail shoes I ordered are notoriously tricky to fit.  Many of the reviews on Amazon say to order a size up.  I’ve always been a “perfect” size 7.  Even so, I took the advice of previous customers (I love that Amazon feature!), and ordered a size 7.5.

All my purchases arrived.

In the parking lot, I open the boxes to see if anything needs to be exchanged.  I pull the KEENs out of the box and tear off my tennis shoes.  Oh, I hope they aren’t too big!  I half-sit on the bumper of the PTV and slip them on.  “Yes!”  I walk around with a grin on my face.  Gee, I couldn’t ask for a better fit.

More about my new stuff in another post.

1-DSC00986Later that afternoon as the crew and I are hanging around our site at Tinnemaha Campground near Big Pine, California, a man and woman carrying fishing rods walk by.

“Hello!” I call out.  “Did you catch anything?’

“No, not this time,” the man replies as they walk over.

“What are you fishing for?” I ask. 

I ask this question because the stream that runs by the campground is barely five feet wide in places and not very deep.  I’ve seen a lot of fishermen walking its banks and casting, if you can call it that, around their feet.


Sensing my skepticism, the man continues. 

“The other day I caught a 20-inch trout, and my wife here caught a 13-incher.”  She nods her head, smiling.  I can tell she’s the kind of wife who lets her husband do most of the talking.

“What?  Out of that itty-bitty stream?”

“Yeah,” he grins.  “There were four of us and we each caught our limit.  Mine was tagged.”

Tagged?”  I’m not sure I heard what he said.

“Well, I was cleaning it for supper and found a tiny tag on it’s gill.  Almost missed it because it was the same color.  They tag ’em to keep track of them.”

Saturday, October 19

Several campers with ATVs and loud music arrived last night.  I have my Amazon order, so there’s no reason to stay any longer.

Off we go further south on Route 395.

It’s a beautiful drive through Owens Valley.  Great swatches of yellow, gold, tan, russet, burnt sienna, and burgundy lie like plush fabric spread across the valley floor.  The morning light sets the landscape aglow in the foreground of the massive Sierra Nevada on the west and the Inyo Mountains on the east.

It’s only forty miles to Lone Pine.

We left this morning with the gas gauge reading below a quarter-tank.  Shortly before Lone Pine I fill up the tank at the pumps outside a casino run by Native Americans (Paiute?  Shoshone?).  The $3.69 a gallon price makes me glad I didn’t get a fill-up earlier in Big Pine at $3.99 a gallon.

We go by the turn to Fort Independence.  We also pass the Manzanar internment facility of World War II.  I see the depressing wooden dormitories in the field behind a newer building, as well as the watch tower.

I have a plan.

I’ll drive us up into the Alabama Hills to that great spot I wanted last year but was occupied.  I don’t want to camp again over where the tourists wander around.  If the primo spot is filled, we’ll drive further south.

In the middle of downtown Lone Pine (Downtown is all there is!), I turn right onto Whitney Portal Road.  Memories of our two-week camp here last year come to mind in quick succession… Chuy’s tidy little house, the horses grazing in the meadow, the first pile of boulders that signal the uniqueness of the Hills, the crew wandering around our campsite . . .

How could I even think about skipping this camp!

Oh, I hope no one’s in that great spot!  I drive us past a hill of boulders and my eyes scan the desert for the boondock I want.  It’s open!  No one’s there!  I want to set up camp next to those golden trees.

1-DSC00961 - CopyAbout half-way up the lane, the sand is softer.

“C’mon, guys.  We’d better walk this.  Let’s go see if we can find our new home.”

The crew is excited. 

Bridget starts yipping with happiness when she recognizes the word, home.  Together we walk up the lane. The sun is hot but feels good. I notice the familiar crunch of the coarse sand under my feet.  I check the lane as we go.  If I’m careful the PTV won’t get stuck in this.

We come to three established campsites, all of them appealing but terribly sloped.  I choose the one I want and we walk back to the PTV.

1-DSC00963 - CopyIt will be lovely.  Our door will face the cottonwood trees.  We’ll have the mountains out the back window.  Somehow I’ll overcome that unlevel ground.  This is too good to pass up!

It took a little effort, but I did it.  We’re in!

1-DSC00983In the next post I’ll show you how I made the Best Little Trailer sit level on this sloped site, along with early morning scenes around our new home.

1-DSC00981It looks like Bridget and Spike are happy to be desert dogs again!



I appreciate you doing your Amazon shopping from my links.


In late February, 2013, the crew and I are camped in the Darby Well Road, Ajo, Arizona area.  I’ve become frustrated with a new hummingbird feeder that leaks, that is until I find a solution to the problem.  I create a tutorial to share with readers.

“Every problem has a solution”

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76 Responses to Shoes, trout, desert dogs, and a new camp

  1. Cinandjules (temp in CA) says:

    Glad your packages arrived and the keen’s fit!

    Yum. Fresh trout in a cast iron skillet or foil baked on coals sound scrumptious!

    Manzanar. My aunt just came to visit my mom last Thurs. She was sent to Manzanar as a little girl. Sad indeed as the past still haunts her today.

    Spike and Bridget look happy! Was Spike rolling in the dirt lately? I’m laughing at his mud boots….was that the Salton sea? You can see in his smile that he doesn’t have a care in the world. Life is grand!

    Once again you have a gorgeous view!

    Have a marvelous day!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cinandjules,

      I’m sorry your aunt’s life included Manzanar. How awful for her.

      Spike hasn’t been rolling in the dirt any more than usual. His fur is in poor condition. I’ve started giving him salmon oil. Hope it helps.

      No, Spike got the boots at Delmoe Lake. The water level of the reservoir kept going down which left mud at the shoreline. He looked so pleased with himself when he actually looked like an idiot! What a guy.

      Yeah, they both seem to love the desert like I do!

      • Cinandjules (temp in CA) says:

        I didn’t realize it was the pigment of his skin showing thru his fur!

        Poor guy is going to get a complex! Better not leave your laptop unattended!

        Spike we all love you!!!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          If his fur were thick like it used to be, the skin wouldn’t show.

          Spike… Do ya’ feel the love? 🙂

  2. DeAnne in TN says:

    Familiarity offers peace, many times; doesn’t it?

  3. Tawanda says:

    I’m with you get away from the noisy weekenders, oyee…
    Love the dessert, with mountains in the background even better, awesome pix Sue, the crew look great too…
    Thank you for a good literal ‘lough out loud’ moment re-reading the review mirror post, I so like how you took care of that pesky feeder 🙂
    Enjoy the quiet solitude and awesome surroundings…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Tawanda… We are enjoying it here.

      Re: the feeder… Sometimes there’s no other way! I could not believe how tough that little plastic thing was . . . It’s a wonder it didn’t puncture the tire.

  4. mary strasser says:

    Spike is either getting very gray, or he rolled/sat/laid in something. Bridget better lick him clean before letting him under the covers!
    Nice site, very different from what you’ve been in lately.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Mary,

      Well, I guess I should defend Spike. He’s not dirty. His coat has dulled as he has aged. I’m giving him salmon oil daily in hopes of conditioning his fur. The darkness on his torso is his dark skin showing through a thin coat of fur.

      • mary strasser says:

        My apologies to Spike, yes, Spike I know what it’s like to have thinning “fur” as you age. And I certainly don’t like anyone mentioning it, either! Just take your salmon oil, and as it gets to cooler weather, may your coat grow it beautifully.

  5. Pauline says:

    What happened to Spike?? I had to laugh though…Spike must be having fun. Glad you got a good spot …sounds like it is one of your favorites. Enjoy the desert and give Bridget and Spike a hug from me. A BIG HUG to you! Love you
    Your Sister in Mississippi

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pauline,

      The crew love it here. What we all enjoy about the desert is the way you can easily move from very warm to cool, simply by moving to the shade. It’s amazing the difference.

      A big hug to you, too!

  6. That area looks wonderful – and the dogs have freedom to roam without some ranger or an irate neighbor yak yak yakin’ about leashes! I haven’t boon docked way way out – yet. But, then, I’m a newbie to this wandering life. Enjoy the spot, the new purchases and look for a sprig of something for that hat.
    Well, I started “The Drifter,” yesterday. At first, I thought, oh no, all dialogue; I like descriptions with lots of adjectives. But, after a few taps (turning pages) I got into the rhythm of the dialogue and I think I’m developing a old Western accent just reading it!
    I like it – the old west – Frank Morgan is a gunslinger, but not an outlaw. He’s just decided to stay for a bit as Marshall of this silver mining town, protecting the folks and the silver shipments from the bad guys.

    Looking forward to more on the purchases. I bought the Kindle book to give you credit. There’ll be more!
    Happy Sunday – I just drove in to St. George, UT.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Mary-Pat,

      I haven’t read The Drifter. Hope it turns out to be a winner!

      Thanks for buying through my blog. Hmm…. St. George… On the way to Zion perhaps?

  7. Angie2B says:

    So funny that Spikey is all dirty and Bridgett is still so clean. It’s just like you have described their personalities in past posts. LOL

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Angie,

      Usually that is the case, because Spike loves the dirt. Lately his coat has dulled so it looks worse than usual. Good camo though. He blends into the desert well.

      I don’t know how Bridget stays white and bright. Dirt will not cling to her.

  8. Rod Ivers says:

    What,… pictures of the HAT!! Come on inquiring minds want to see this cat in the hat look a like….. LOL

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Rod,

      I have a story about the new hat. Sheesh… I’ll tell you about it in another post and in the meantime I’ll consider a photo.

  9. Diann in MT says:

    The crew look like they are in their element! Very confident and secure! They are such cute “pups”!
    Glad the Keens fit–I can really relate to the joy you related with perfectly fitting shoes right out of the box! Such a rare event, indeed (at least in my case).
    Great camping to ya, Sue!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Diann… This IS great camping!

      These shoes are very comfortable. I’ve worn them all day and never once wanted to take them off.

  10. Ed says:

    I am usually late to the party but wanted to submit my guess for the tree with the red berries. I think it is a Pepper Tree. Not a California Pepper Tree although that is where you saw it but rather a Brazilian Pepper Tree. There are a lot of web images of said tree with many of them looking different so I’m not very sure.
    I do know it is not a mulberry nor a chokecherry however.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hmm. . . Interesting, Ed. . . I’ll look up the Brazilian Pepper Tree.

      LATER…. I googled images and, boy, it does look like that tree. I think you found it, Ed!

  11. Diane, Blue Ridge Mts. VA says:

    Glad you got your favorit spot! The golden trees are lush and beautiful. Canine Crew look happy to be back in the desert also. Waiting to see what a pair of Keens look like, enjoy.

    Well …I am still laughing…still laughing….laughing…
    “the perky pet bird feeder” Absolutely love it!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Diann,

      I notice some readers ordered KEENs for themselves after seeing mine. Gee, I’m a fashion trendsetter! ppffft . . .

  12. Evelyn says:

    Well, I wasn’t going to comment today but, after looking at your ‘flash back’ post I couldn’t help myself. I too bought one of those hummingbird feeders. I like your style. I just through mine away in the trash, but I like what you did to yours better. Thanks for the ideas.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Evelyn,

      You had the same problem with yours, too? Must have been a defective design. I got so annoyed after spilling sugar water on my kitchen counter and floor!

  13. Eileen P says:

    I’m sorry RV Sue, but I couldn’t read the rearview mirror post tonight about the bird feeder. My sides are still splitting from reading it in February. 😉
    Eileen in Phoenix

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Eileen,

      I’m glad you got a kick out of that post. It was fun setting up the tutorial and deeply satisfying driving over that bird feeder.

  14. Oh, Spike! I can’t believe that final picture. Spike is beyond dirty! He has become a black dog! Bridget really needs to work on him and show him how to stay white. I don’t think Spike will ever be that white but there is hope!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, John and Pam,

      Spike isn’t as dirty as he looks. That may be desert dust but mostly it’s his age.

  15. Dawn says:

    Ah…I remember your solution to the hummingbird feeder problem. Still makes me smile! Glad you’ve found another beautiful spot…. 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Dawn,

      It is pretty here, which is a description the desert doesn’t always inspire. Some may see it as too brown and boring. Not true! Outside our window, as I type this, the cottonwood leaves are glowing bright yellow with a slight breeze stirring them just enough to add sparkle.

  16. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    Put some Lanitone in Spikes food. You might be able to get it off Amazon. Or you can get it at Pet Smart or a vet if you want to pay top dollar. This is what I use to use for my dogs hair and it works pretty good.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Joe,

      I’ll remember the Lanitone. Right now he’s taking daily doses of some pretty pricey salmon oil. Let’s see if that helps first. If not, I’ll take a look at the Lanitone. Thanks.

      • Deborah says:

        If the salmon oil is too pricey, look for some virgin pressed coconut oil and add it to his food. It’s full of good things and cheaper than the fish oil. You can find it sometimes at wally world in the health food section or from Amazon I am sure. Good for you and the pooches.

        This is going to sound like a radio call in-but “Long time listener, first time caller” here. Read you every day from down under in Oz. Love love love your blog and stories and especially the crew. Can’t wait til we’re in your shoes!

        • Cynthia says:

          I agree, coconut oil is great for fur/ skin. I give my rattie Scout some with his food, and rub it into his skin when it gets dry or itchy.

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            Hi, Cynthia… Good to know! Bridget has an itchy spot. It started when we were in the PNW. She used to have that problem when we lived in Georgia. Apparently high humidity is the cause. I’m hoping living in the desert will clear it up. I’ll look for coconut oil.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Thank you, Deborah, for the coconut oil suggestion. I’ll keep it in mind for when the salmon oil runs out.

          What a delight for me to hear from you!

          Thank you for being a faithful reader of my blog. It’s a pleasure to share the daily life of me and my crew. I wish you well as you seek the fulfillment of your dreams!

      • Joy A. No. Cal. Sierra Foothills says:

        Ha ha ha….Spike might just turn a little pink with salmon oil. Hardy har!!!!!

        Ooops, pink wouldn’t be manly for him. Lily says “Watch out Spikey” Those lady’s you are hanging around with probably like pink, so you are in trouble.

  17. Cheryl Ann says:

    Oh, we LOVE the Alabama Hills! Now that I know about boondocking, I’ll have to look for the campers next time we are there. Actually, next weekend we are heading over to Arizona for some R&R. Looks like the “crew” is really enjoying this area! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cheryl Ann,

      Alabama Hills is unique. It’s a handy place to camp, too, what with Lone Pine so close. Although I wish Joseph’s, the town grocery, would lower their prices a bit . . .

      Have a wonderful weekend!

  18. Wheeling it says:

    Always a joy to find your favorite spot! And I love those KEEN shoes. I haven’t worn anything else in 2 years.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Nina,

      KEEN shoes? One pair is not enough! Now I want a pair of sandals! Then I won’t need to buy shoes for a very long time.

      If you happen to come back to my comments section and see this…. Are your sandals your true size or did you get a bigger size? And which kind are they — Whispers? Venice? Thanks.

  19. Jennifer says:

    We loved the Alabama Hills! Unfortunately we only spent one night there, but I’m really hoping to return next year – what an interesting place.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jennifer,

      I’m seeing more of the Hills than I did in our last visit here. I think it’s the kind of place that keeps revealing itself.

  20. Spikey! Don’t you let anybody make fun of you! We know you are just one of the boys! DoogieBowser and I can’t seem to stay brushed and tangle-free as Geri wants us too either, we are too busy just being DOGS! arf arf arf! Radar and DoogieBowser!

  21. Cinandjules (temp in CA) says:

    Just got an email from Spike! Girl ……I told you to guard that laptop of yours!

    Any how’s Spike is thinking that chicken rotisserie everyday may help his fur condition.

    I told him I’d pass it on to you but no promises! 🙂

  22. AZ Jim says:

    Speaking of hummingbird feeders, and we were, I have made a neat discovery for my little flock. I mix 50/50 with black cherry juice (not cheap but they love it). I buy it two 16 oz bottles at a time. Lasts a long time. You are better off not worrying about feeding them on the road as they quickly learn the feeder location and grow to depend on it. My little flock is fun to watch when I’m out on my patio. BTW that area looks like coyote country. Better keep the little ones in at night. You’re getting closer….to the Arizona sunshine….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jim,

      Gee, your hummingbirds have it pretty good. I like that black cherry juice myself.

      I’m not putting out any bird feeders these days. I have to be careful when putting out seed. First the seed eating birds come, then the ground feeders like doves, chukar, and quail, and then the coyotes show up.

      Yes, I saw a coyote cross the road not far from here. I don’t let the crew out alone. Spike often needs to make a potty run in the middle of the night. I walk with him.

  23. Chuck Hajek says:

    Glad to see you checked the road ahead. The new tires are a more aggresive design than the others but better to be safe than sorry.
    FYI, Spike has emailed msgs to both Doogie and Radar pleading for help. He is SOOOO embarrased about you talking of his coat condition………. it’s like baldness in men……please be more consideate of his plight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Okay, okay . . . Well, this is the first time Spike ever showed any concern for his appearance. That’s promising.

  24. Ms. Minimal says:

    Yay!! I love my KEENS! It took a while to “break them in” or get used to them or whatever, but I can wear them all day with no issue now. Snagged mine on ebay for $35 in like new condition and have had them for a year….. best. shoes. ever!

    Ms. Minimal

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Ms. Minimal,

      Great to see you here again. Quite a deal on your KEENs. I didn’t have to break mine in… Slipped them on and instantly — happy feet!

  25. Gayle says:

    Your BLT appears to be sitting smack in the middle of where the temple was built for the filming of Gunga Din! Cary Grant! Douglas Fairbanks! Can you feel the vibes? Maybe you could download the movie just to augment your experience. I watched this movie just to hear the famous Kipling line, and watched … and watched. The famous line was the LAST line in the movie: “You’re a better man that I am, Gunga Din.”

    BTW, my priest was 5 years old at Manzanar. He never got over it, either. His mother fell ill and died there. (The buildings at Manzanar are rebuilds. It was all torn down to erase the shame. But citizens wanted it back, and so it is. There is an audio tour available … a sober reminder relevant these days, too.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Gayle,

      I think the Gunga Din set was our campsite last year. People would drive up and ask, “Is this where Gunga Din was filmed?” as if my purpose in camping there was to be a tour guide. Ha! That’s why I decided to camp away from Movie Road this fall.

      I have no desire to see Manzanar up close. Not that one should ignore the mistakes of our history, but personally I don’t need to seek out ways to become depressed. I am sorry for the lives that suffered there.

      • Gayle says:

        Is there a road actually called Movie Road? I saw pix of some Lone Pine film festival signs posted at film sites. To your knowledge, are those signs up all year-round? And, wow, that’s a lot of reading you bought. Do you consider yourself a very fast reader or is it just that your lifestyle gives you so much extra time to read. I really wouldn’t know (yet)!

  26. Diann in MT says:

    Just saw the crew’s portrait on Rick and JoAnne’s site! (I am becoming such an RV blog junkie-follower! You folks are all wonderful.)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Diann,

      I’m amazed Rick was able to get a decent photo of those two. Bridget was scampering around, thrilled with the attention, and Spike kept trying to lick her ears because that’s his OCD playing out, and I’m yelling at him, “Spike! Stop licking her ears!” and then he’s darting out of the frame, and, well, it was a typical RVSue and her canine crew scenario. . .

      Good job, Rick! And I’m a “rock star” in the RVing world? LOL!

      Gee, I thought I was an old lady in a hat . . .

  27. Gayle Hunter says:

    Sue, enjoy youre blog! In reference to the dogs. You may want to try Green Mush. Good for skin, energy, heart etc. They sell it on Amazon. Lots of good things in it for all of our fur babies.

    Happy trails!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Gayle,

      Thanks. I’ll look it up on Amazon. It sounds so appealing… Green Mush. I cooked something like that not long ago.

  28. Elizabeth says:

    WOW…worrisome about poor Spike…we thought he was really dirty too…hope something helps!!
    Elizabeth soon heading back to NC for a spell (first place I began reading your blog and commenting, in the long ago…)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Elizabeth! You are one galavanting lady! I can’t keep up with you… 🙂

      Have a safe, enjoyable trip.

  29. Marilu Paulson says:

    Hi Sue,
    I’m another dog lover poking her nose into Spike’s business. There is a hormonal disorder that causes thinning hair and darkening skin. If the salmon oil isn’t successful you might want to check with a vet.
    Virtual Hugs to the crew,

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Marilu. Considered me advised.

      Both Bridget and Spike have dark skin in patches under their coat of fur. It’s a typical trait of rat terriers.

      Spike may have an underactive thyroid or any number of malabsorption issues that accompany old age, or perhaps the hormonal disorder you suggest. He’s eats well, eliminates normally, has bright (albeit clouded with cataracts) eyes, and is his usual demanding, happy self, so I’m not terribly concerned at this point.

  30. Cari in Texas says:

    You have the right attitude about moving – got my stuff, noisy neighbors, I’m outta here! A girl after my own heart!

    so glad you were able to return to the spot that you wanted. I remember your post from last year – Chuy’s house, your tour through the town. I know you love to see new sights, but sometimes it’s nice to return to a familiar place. I’m that way with my Texas state parks. I enjoy visiting new ones, but there are several that I keep going back to.

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