A big rock aflame at Antelope Flat

Tuesday, July 15 (continued)

After the brilliant blue of the reservoir, Highway 191 northward takes us away from Flaming Gorge Reservoir across a stark and drab landscape.  The remnants of a forest fire can be seen in the lower half of the photo below.

1-DSC05747I miss the turn to Antelope Flat Campground.

Soon we approach Antelope Flat Overlook.  I park the PTV and get out to read the interpretive signs and to photograph the distant reservoir beyond the dismal plain.

1-DSC05749 - Copy Looking to the right from the vantage point of the kiosk . . . .

A road stretches about five miles out to the point of a peninsula.  This is Route 319 (and can be seen in the Utah Benchmark atlas).

1-DSC05750 - Copy Having surveyed the landscape, I realize we missed the turn to the campground.  We backtrack and take Route 145 west.  It’s a gravel/dirt road, wide and in good condition.

The “flaming” rock appears!    

1-DSC05753 - Copy

The sun plays hide-and-seek behind a dense cloud. 

When the sun appears from behind the cloud, the rock responds with a supernatural glow that is mesmerizing.  I’m anxious to see the campground that resides in a perfect location for watching the light show on the rock.

1-DSC05756 - Copy

The campsite shelters indicate this can be a very windy place.

Heck, yes!  It’s windy today, but not annoyingly so.

1-DSC05757 - Copy

At the entrance to the campground, I pause at the pay station to read the bulletin board.

A notice announces the fee for one of the 46 single campsites is $14 ($7 with Senior Pass) and $85 for one of the four group sites.


I drive past the camp host’s site and into the campground. 

No one is here!  Hmm . . . completely empty.  Anarchy reigns.

“You’re in luck, guys.  I’m letting you out without your leashes.  Be good puppies!”

1-DSC05759 - CopyI carry two poop bags for the inevitable result of two nutcakes let loose after a long ride in the PTV.  We stroll around one of the loops and stop to sit at (or under) one of the picnic tables.   From the campground I see the peninsula I noticed previously from the overlook.

I analyze the landscape.

That looks like prime boondocking over there.  (See photo below… Not the immediate spit of land, the peninsula in the background.)  Finding a site with shade over there wouldn’t be easy.  (Camping within 300 feet of the reservoir is prohibited and that’s where the trees are.)


We resume our stroll.

The campground is pleasant.  The views can’t be beat.  It has a dump station, restrooms, water, and trash bins.  A few reservation tags for the upcoming weekend.   It’s nice here . . . when it’s empty.  With people and their generators and the leash rule, I’d much rather boondock.

1-DSC05760-001Bridget and Spike begin to tire.

“This is enough walking.  How ’bout a drink?”  Refreshed, the crew stands in position for a toss into the PTV.  I drive us over to the boat ramp, group sites, and day area.

1-DSC05761 - CopyIt’s important to have the racing stripe on the boat match the truck.  Well done, fella!

1-DSC05764One of the group sites is occupied.

Several tents of different colors cluster around a large shelter with picnic tables.  People roam about the site and on the narrow beach below.  This doesn’t look like a family gathering.  Maybe it’s a kayaking group or some club . . . .  They’re having fun in the waves . . . .

In order to get down to the water’s edge, one takes several steps from the parking area.  No soak for Spike.  What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.  He’s probably half-asleep by now anyway . . . .

1-DSC05765I watch the kayakers for a while and then sit at a picnic table to view the ever-changing light on the rock.  The breeze sweeps across the water and and brushes my face.

I contemplate Antelope Flat.

The air temperature with this constant breeze is comfortable.  However, it’s still morning.  If the same pattern applies here as we experience back at our camp, the breeze will pick up throughout the afternoon.  Then around four o’clock it will stop.  At our forest camp the air is still comfortable when there isn’t breeze.  Here at this lower elevation — in mid-July — it might be too hot without the cooling of the wind.


It’s lovely, but we won’t camp here on this trip.

On our next visit to Flaming Gorge at a cooler time of year, we’ll travel on this side of the reservoir and I’ll look for a wonderful boondock.

1-DSC05754Now we see why John Wesley Powell named it Flaming Gorge!


NOTE:  In response to the recent bear episode, our engineer friend and technical advisor for this blog, Mick’nTN, came upon the idea of equipping the Best Little Trailer with dual air horns mounted outside and triggered from inside.  Clever!

To read more about the development of the BLT’s “Dual Air Horn Bear Skeedaddle System,” click on Air Horn in the header.  Please use that page for any discussion regarding this new feature for the BLT.  Thanks.


Here are a few of recently purchased items:

Crocs Women’s Huarache Sandal
Camco Olympian Adjustable Sway Bar Control
COLLIER’S ENCYCLOPEDIA 1968 Yearbook covering the year 1967
Wilson Electronics 700-2700 MHz Wide Band Directional Antenna
PowerFilm 30 Watt FM15-1800 Foldable Solar Panel – Digital Camo
SABRE FRONTIERSMAN Bear Attack Deterrent with Hip Holster – 30 Foot Range

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102 Responses to A big rock aflame at Antelope Flat

  1. B Beck says:

    You got great photos!! Thanks for taking us with you!!

  2. Marilu says:


  3. ZenOnWheels says:

    What a striking photo of the ‘flaming’ rocks. Wow.

    Your photo of the burned out area also struck me. Living in California, fire is so very common that seeing burned out areas is sort of normal. I’ve always found these scenes hit me at both ends of the emotional spectrum: stark and sad while also being quiet and serene, representing the beginning of the life cycle of the forest. The eerie nature of a burned forest gives way, upon closer inspection, to the life-giving nature of fire as one spots new growth and new life emerging from the nooks and crannies.

    I wouldn’t want to camp in a fire impacted area, but stop for photos…you bet!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, ZenOnWheels,

      I’m guessing that new life appears quicker after a forest fire in California. In this arid area, the winds come and blow the dirt off the bare ground. No sign of new growth as we drove by, maybe if we examined the ground…

      • ZenOnWheels says:

        Yes, I suspect you’re right about species coming back a little quicker in some areas following a fire compared to others. Many species have adapted to fire where it is common. In southern California there is a type of chapparal that excretes oils that actually intensify the flames – the increase in heat then activates dormant seeds, triggering them to germinate. The Giant Sequoias in the central part of the Sierra Nevada, on the other hand, depend on fire to clear away competitors from the forest. Their seedlings only thrive in direct sun…a rarity except when fire sweeps through. Because fire suppression has been the norm in California for decades, Giant Sequoias, interestingly, have had little opportunity to expand their range. Last year’s Rim Fire near Yosemite did a lot of damage, but the good thing is it cleared out a lot of pine forest range, giving an opportunity for Giant Sequoias to possibly expand beyond their current limited groves.

        I can see how in other ecosystems that are less adapted to fire how the damaged area might take a lot longer to bounce back and show signs of life.

        I suppose that growing up here has taught me to value, in addition to fear, fire.

        • JodeeinSoCal says:

          Maybe it’s a California “thing”, but I too have learned the value of fire for the ecosystem of many areas. The ravaged areas can be very ugly and the loss of wildlife very sad – but to walk through a burn area when the first of the regrowth has begun is inspiring. Not to mention very quiet :-).

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            Jodee and ZenOnWheels… Your comments remind me why I like to see things up close in order to view the small things, like new growth. My drive-by impression (drabness) is a good example of the superficial view one obtains when moving quickly and looking from a distance.

  4. Gayle says:

    Will the Allen Party be able to afford the $85? LOL!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Gayle,

      I don’t know and I don’t care because this boondocker won’t be anywhere near that campground. Haha!

      Two things are stuck in the minds of blogorinos… the hungry bear and the Allen Party sign. 🙂

  5. R. (Western Colorado) says:

    How do you do this Sue? You’re so quick. I just left my comment under your previous post and here you’re with a new one. Thank to you and your great posts I don’t have or need TV.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Well, it’s nice that you think I’m quick with my posts, R. Actually I worked on this one all day long, in short sessions between doing other stuff.

      Thanks for reminding me to take another look at comments under the previous post. I’ve been checking the Air Horn page for comments.

      Hope your recent hikes have been enjoyable….

  6. Marilu says:

    The lake appears to be glowing as well as the rocks. Stunning colors!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Marilu,

      It’s very surprising to come upon the view of that red rock and brilliant blue water after driving through the drab lands. It would be enjoyable to sit in a campsite or on the beach and watch the changing light in the morning and at sunset, especially.

  7. Denise - Richmond VA says:

    Hi, Sue,

    Lovely pictures of that fiery rock formation! I left a comment under the air horn post – cool idea, Mick!

    Enjoy your evening!

  8. Sondra-SC says:

    It probably didnt make a dent but I ordered an ink cartridge via your pathway…
    Oh its so pretty there…I like wide open spaces after being in the trees here so long.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Sondra,

      Those “dents” add up. The more items are ordered, the higher my commission on everything ordered during that month. I appreciate every order, including the 25-cent MP3s and 99-cent kindle books.

      Thanks, Sondra, for remembering my blog when you needed to purchase an ink cartridge.

  9. Sputnik Goes says:

    I didn’t know such a place existed! Thanks for showing us!

  10. DesertGinger says:

    Well, I didn’t know I needed bear education, but I feel so much more informed! And, as usual…..MICK TO THE RESCUE! Mick you have such great ideas! I’m so glad you are helping Sue with this. I’m sure she’ll feel much safer next time a bear comes knockin’. I know I would. In fact, any kind of nocturnal disturbance would prompt a blast or two of the air horns. I suspect that would drive pretty much any visitor, animal or human, away. And sue, if you have clingers, give a few blasts at night, then tell them you thought you saw a bear. That ought to drive any close clingers away.

    Aside from that….the gorge is pretty, the view of the rock is pretty, but apparently you are going to have to camp elsewhere. Boo.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      No need to boo-hoo, Ginger… More beautiful camps are out there waiting for us to show up!

      Mick’s contributions to my life on the road and to this blog are immeasurable. I may not use the horns often, but when I need ’em, I’ll be glad that I have ’em.

  11. Elizabeth in WA says:

    Yea, for Mick’s idea…good friend!! I hope it will help if ever such a time comes again!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Elizabeth,

      The horns will surely scare a bear away. I don’t think about bad things happening to me. However, if I ever were incapacitated at a camp to the point where I couldn’t flag down help and was out of cell phone range, I could use the air horns to signal distress.

      Yes, Mick is a good friend.

  12. Timber n' Me says:

    nice photos Sue, I notice the face on the distant mountain looking up ward and the camping area looks like covered wagons from a distance ,,,,,,,,,,me n’ Timber 8>)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re right! I saw the face,too. I didn’t think of covered wagons until I read your comment. Now I see them.

      I like that the shelters are the soft color of the sagebrush. The flaming rock and water are the only strong colors.

  13. Applegirl NY says:

    Sue, that last picture of the flaming mountain is especially beautiful. The lighting was just perfect for your camera. Love reading of your travels! Do you mind if I ask you how long it typically takes you to set up and break down your camps? It seems like you do it effortlessly. Do you follow the same routine?

    Can’t wait for the next post!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Applegirl,

      I enjoy answering questions! How long does it take to set up and break down camps. I’ll write about the time to break camp . . .

      First let me say, it’s hard for me to estimate the time required because I usually move very short distances from camp to camp. This allows me to break camp at a leisurely pace, sometimes taking care of other things (like washing up a few dishes to put away, raking the ground to remove any traces we may have made, doing a last-minute poop patrol with a shovel, etc.) and also pausing for a drink or whatever.

      Three parts to breaking camp:

      1) Loading the Perfect Tow Vehicle (10-15 min) — Often the night before I’ll take up the stakes and pack the outdoor rug, as well as the lounger, chair, and table. Check air pressure in tires, check fluids, wash windshield.

      Next morning I arrange the beds in the PTV for the crew, put the camera, atlas, my purse, leashes, drink for me and water dish for the crew in the PTV. I also load the air card in order to check for signal when looking for a boondock.

      2) Securing the interior of the Best Little Trailer (15-25 minutes) — Put things in their places (electronics in electronics drawer, dishes in cabinets, clothes in closet/drawers, etc.), take down antenna pole and slide into BLT on the floor, put in “dummy” antenna pole, put loose items in dishpans to be placed on floor, lock all windows, close curtains, put storage drawers on bed and floor, cover with quilt and pillows. Make sure faucet is tightly closed (I had it open once in transit, saw water coming out of the BLT!). Check that all cabinet knobs are secured. Close ceiling vent. Bathroom– dump loose items in sink, close ceiling vent. If black tank is full, tape toilet closed with duct tape.

      3) Hitching up/final check of rig and campsite (15- 30 min.) — Put crew in PTV before hitching. Unlock and crank up tongue, back up PTV, squirt WD-40 on ball, lower tongue onto hitch ball, lock hitch. Crank up tongue to confirm that coupler won’t come off hitch ball. Lower tongue, crank up jack pole, remove cone and store. Hook chains onto PTV, connect break-away cord, plug in power plug and solar plug, attach anti-sway bar and adjust. Remove chocks and store. Check lights, solar panel, awning, sewer hose secure in bumper, lock door, push in step. Drive forward a few feet, remove and store leveling blocks/wood in PTV. Check crew, make sure all the PTV doors are completely shut.

      Hitching is the greatest time variable. I can hitch up in 2 back-ups and then the next time it will take 20 back-ups… never can tell!

      Drive a short distance, test and adjust brake controller if needed.

      • Applegirl NY says:

        Thanks! You seem to do everything with such ease and confidence. I’m going to cut and paste your procedure for my own reference. We’re new to this whole camping trailer thing.

        Things like duct taping the toilet seat if the black tank is full – would never have thought of that without an “incident” first!
        Thanks again!

  14. weather says:

    Good morning Sue,
    With just five photos of the flaming rock you’ve given a way to imagine the myriad ways ,from sunrise to sunset,it,and the surrounding air,would appear differently with each light,angle and cloud change.I’m glad you saw it and shared it here,and I’m especially glad you chose not to stay at that campground.

    Impatience,inexperience,less wisdom or poor judgement would make most easily miss the great opportunity you’ve kept for your next trip there. By letting leash rules and disturbances mar the experience such a beautiful place offers,it’s gifts could have been ruined for you.

    Yesterday separate work crews on both sides of the edges of this property used gas powered tools to obliterate the function or existence of any flora their idea of value doesn’t include.Knowing today’s sunrise would offer me,once again,as all but I sleep,new wildlife taking refuge here amidst pristine water,wind,light and natural canopies of green,- I prayed no one would be injured as they worked.

    Inside doing laundry,meal preparations and pet care I marvel ,on such days ,at the provision He’s given me inside here -appliances that work,running water,music,communication devices galore,walls and windows that keep unpleasantness at a distance.

    With your skills in finding quiet gardens all over for your wee home and family and this building,peace always within reach, we live days indescribably rich.May this be one of your best ever.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, weather, and good morning to you.

      I’m sorry you experienced disturbance at your home and sanctuary. It is upsetting when a rough, destructive force confronts passive, peacefulness. The aggressor always “wins.”

      The day before yesterday I was outside reading in my lounger. It was a balmy day, crew lolling about, birds pecking around for seeds, no motor sounds…. The kind of silence and peace that one notices. All of a sudden a guy (I assume) starts shooting a gun in the woods behind our camp. That’s what I mean about the aggressor always wins. All the creatures and conditions of this area around our camp were in peace — sure, a snake could be killing a mouse or a bird catching an insect — but all in harmony with the laws and processes of nature. Then gun shots… startling, discordant, disturbing . . .

      I can understand you seeking the sanctuary of your home to shut out the noise and activity going on at the edges of your property. I hope all is calm now and the restorative energies of nature have resumed.

      Interesting point you made about not letting disturbances and the leash rule mar a beautiful experience. I often have a similar motivation. I love the adventure of finding new and wonderful camps. Because I knew we wouldn’t be camping in that area right now, I didn’t look for that special boondock that may exist on the peninsula. Instead I “saved’ it for the right time for discovery by me and my crew.

      Every new day is the best ever. They keep getting better! Wishing you the same…

      • weather says:

        A bit after first light I walked along to see the nearby changes that, while hideous to me,gratify others.Even more birds,assorted winged insects,tree climbing and soil walking critters appeared around me as I returned topside- grateful they’d escaped to make new homes here.It’s all good!I honestly want landowners around me happy ,sensing any less would burden my experience.

        ” They keep getting better”-what a wonderful answer,to hear and share! 🙂

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          The critters know how to adapt and like you say, “all is good!” You have a good attitude about the neighboring landowners and what makes them happy.

    • Sondra-SC says:

      I had words with the county “guys” when they came out and cut all the black berries down right before picking last yr! They have no concept of nature and how it works.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        I’ve experienced something similar, only in my case they didn’t cut the berry bushes, they sprayed them . . . when they were loaded with berries!

        • DesertGinger says:

          To be fair, the guys on the trucks are probably dispatched to do a specific job by some county beaurocrat who has a list of tasks to be done, and never considers how the timing impacts the ecology of the area. I guess I feel sympathy for them to an extent, dispatched out to do jobs that are going to make the locals in the neighborhood unhappy; that can’t be comfortable or fun.

  15. Diane, Blue Ridge Mts., VA says:

    Love the light on the flaming rock! Especially the post card perfect last shot! What an interesting place. Looking forward to your chosen campsite.
    Outside horns for the bear scare sound good to me. Hope they work for you.
    You are in another beautiful place, can’t wait to see more… Take Care

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Diane,

      The flaming rock is a source of ever-changing entertainment. One can’t help but check it often as it is very dramatic and compelling.

      We will move soon, maybe today…tomorrow for sure!

  16. JodeeinSoCal says:

    How wonderful to find an empty campground with the perfect view of the flame. I agree with Rusty about the covered wagons in the sagebrush……could have been a hundred years ago.
    Like shoes and purse – one can never underestimate the power of matching truck to rig :-))))))
    I find when I embrace the quiet of a place I am rewarded by being embraced in return. I feel that in many of your posts (not every place and situation is meant for quiet), and always find it very relaxing.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Your last paragraph describes a special sensation… “being embraced in return” by the quiet of a place. I like that! And I’m glad you find my posts relaxing –well, most of them, probably not when I’m griping!

  17. Crystal says:

    Since the leash rule has been a topic of late, I’m looking for advice from you and your readers on how to handle two dogs and tie-outs. I have our daughter’s lab with me camping this weekend. He and my shih tzu are constantly tangled. The lab’s size makes it somewhat dangerous for the ten pounder. If something startles the lab or, heaven forbid I move where he can’t see me, he jerks his tie. It may entangle the little one around the foot or elsewhere. I’m not used to having the large dog with me, and it’s been a chore. His tie-out has knocked over the cooler, patio umbrella, water dish, and other things. If I tie them a space a part, neither is happy. They think they need to be sooooooo near me, like I’m going to leave them.

    I’ve been walking or biking a short distance, like the campground loop, and returning to teach them I’m not far, and that all is okay.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Crystal,

      You have a tough situation — two very different dog breeds and sizes living in a strange, campground environment with campground rules.

      I hate tie-outs. I can’t think of anything else though that you could do to restrain a large breed dog in a campground. I don’t see how the little dog can be within the reach of the lab’s tie-out without being in danger. I guess I’d put the little dog in a foldable pen at the edge of the lab’s circle. That doesn’t help you now.

      You’re walking/biking and returning shortly is good training.

      READERS: Do you have any suggestions for Crystal? How does one manage a lab and a shih-tzu in a campground?

      • weather says:

        For today,attach the lab’s tie well above ground(at or above his neck level)to your vehicle handles or something,only using the littler guy’s tie in the stake,might help?Future pens(like Sue has) may be able to help with or without ties,depending on camp rules.Sometimes using retractable leashes as tie outs helps too.

        • Crystal says:

          Currently the shih tzu is in a large crate. Not the best of circumstances. I haven’t bought an x pen because the shih tzu will whine as soon as I sit down, wanting in my lap. I guess I could lift him in and out a thousand times a day. Lol. I will probably just not bring the lab anymore. He sure enjoys the lake, though

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            Crystal…. With the pen… In the beginning I put my camp chair inside the pen with the crew and sat with them. They have each other for company. Your shih-tzu alone may want you inside the pen longer than I had to.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Quick note. . . All the camp hosts I’ve encountered really appreciate the pen. It helps, I think, that the pen is black wire which seems to disappear visually.

          • Crystal says:

            I should probably try that. Already had the crate so it worked this weekend. As soon as I go in the camper, even for a minute, he’s going to want in. Guess I’ll have to train him. Didn’t really want to carry something more, and I assume they have some weight and bulk to them.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Yes, they are heavy due to metal. A plastic, foldable pen would be lighter and would probably be secure enough since your dog is very small.

      • Sondra-SC says:

        I would put a basket on my bike and take the small dog along…as for when they have to be tied out I would stake far enough away from each other so they can’t entangle. One trick we always did with horses is tie them up so the rope is above the animal, this way he wont get his feet tangled..a zip line with the animal on a shorter tether?

        • Crystal says:

          I have a basket on the bike for the shih tzu, but hated to take him and leave the lab behind so I didn’t. The lab is a big baby, lol. He does better with the shih tzu. He usually stays home, but our older dog died last week and he’s been sad. I couldn’t stand not bringing him. I think shorter tie outs would be better, too. I didn’t have the space to stake them far apart. Thanks for the suggestions.

          • weather says:

            Crystal,may all sadness from missing your older dog soon be easier for all concerned to deal with in every way.

    • Lee J in Northern California says:

      When I camp with my horses, huge trouble if they get tangled up, we make a high line.simply a rope tied up above their head level between two points. We have a welded ring on the rope and tie their lead ropes to that. We restrict their lateral movement by restricting how far the ring can slide. Pretty simple to accomplish by adding a piece of stick to the rope so the ring can’t slide past it.
      The horses can walk around, lay down, roll, eat, drink and the don’t get tangled up at all.
      I would think you could do something like this with the dogs. Tie the large dog to the high line, his rope will stay away from your little dog, won’t be getting in a place that will upset things like chairs, people, lol. Then your little dog can be tied on the usual manner down low, they can be together but the big dog won’t be bowling over the little guy and generally causing upset if he gets excited.

      We have run the high line between a tree and the trailer, two trees, whatever is handy, works great. We have hooked our dog to it also if we needed him to stay in camp and not underfoot, for instance when we take the horses down to the creek to water them and don’t want the dog getting wet.

      • Lee J in Northern California says:

        Just wanted to add…we use leather belts to encircle the tree and hook the high line to that so we don’t damage the tree.
        We have never in probably forty years of camping with horses had a horse break loose or get injured using this system.

        • Crystal says:

          Interesting, although I don’t know that I’d be able to do that. I don’t carry a ladder. I camp in a teardrop. Another rule of the parks is don’t attach things to the trees, but I see it done by others. I suppose the trees would have to be in the right places, too. If it’s far from the camper and the shih tzu, the lab will not be a “happy camper”. lol I know, we’re a difficult case….

  18. Illinois Jane says:

    Hi Sue. Good Sunday morning to you.

    I’ve been researching through your blog. It’s entertaining, educational. You sure have a talent for it.

    What I was looking for is how you hook up by yourself. The Hitchin’ Rods I ordered arrived and I was disappointed with the first try. Granted, more practice is needed, and they got me in the ballpark which, of course, is not close enough. How do you do it?

    Every time (as recently as yesterday at our family reunion) I tell someone my plans to fulltime in my 17′ Casita, I go on to say there are 3 people I know of doing it in the same type of trailer. Further, I tell about this woman and her 2 dogs… You are spoken of, with admiration, quite often I’ll have you know! Some are still not convinced of it working favorably for me and that’s okay. I’m not either! I’m sure looking forward to giving it a shot though!

    Have a nice one,

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jane,

      Interesting comment. Thanks for the positive remarks about me.

      About the hitchin’ rods… Lots of folks depend upon things to help them hitch. It’s my nature to avoid any kind of aid. I see them as a crutch.

      How do I hitch? When towing I check the BLT frequently, looking in the side mirrors. Thus I’ve imprinted on my brain what it looks like from the driver’s seat when the BLT and the PTV are hitched. Then when backing up to hitch, I try to duplicate that image in my side mirrors. I also back up very carefully, of course. I don’t try to back all the way to the coupler on the first try. I back up leaving several feet between the hitch ball and the coupler. Then I get out and study the situation. Am I lined up? Which way do I need to turn to line up better? Is it too far off? Do I need to go forward and back up again to be better aligned? Then I have the PTV approach the coupler in short moves backward, analyzing after each back-up. I do not worry about how many tries it takes. I’m ready to try all day if need be. Of course that never happens, but that frame of mind keeps me from hurrying or getting frustrated.

      I notice more and more, even though I line up the hitch ball and coupler perfectly, I still can’t push down the lever and lock. In this situation, I put the PTV in drive with my left foot at the ready on the brake pedal. I move forward only slightly and then the coupler seats correctly.

      As for the naysayers… They need to have their minds expanded (which is one of the things fulltimer blogs accomplish!). Reading your comment, I was stopped at your statement “I’m not either” regarding your uncertainty whether fulltiming will work for you.

      I hope I’m not offensive in sharing this…. It was essential for me, from the outset, long before I had saved enough money to buy the BLT, when full-timing was no more than a dream… I had to believe I would make it happen no matter what. At that time, I didn’t know how much money was necessary and I couldn’t find information on that subject. I didn’t even know for sure what my retirement income would be. But I was so determined to make it work, I was ready to full-time even if it meant going to bed hungry or being stuck in the desert with no money for gas through the summer in 111 degree heat. Dammit! I was going to do this! I will survive!

      Fortunately, because I’m a loner, I didn’t share my dream with anyone until close to my lift-off. Therefore, I didn’t have anyone’s skepticism undermining my resolve to make it work. I hope you will come to a point where you are so determined to make it work, that you will not accept the thought of possible failure. This confidence in your success will make challenges you face on your full-timing adventure fall away like you’re walking through tall grass.

      I wish you the very best, Jane. I love your line… “I’m sure looking forward to giving it a shot…” That’s the spirit, girl!

      • Annie says:

        Such wise advise,not only for this situation but for any in which we might hesitate for lack of confidence. I’ve been through many challenging situations and conditions in my life and had to put aside my fear and just push ahead, believing that I would succeed. And also believing that if I didn’t succeed then I would figure a way to make it work or find a workaround.
        Reading the comments on your blog is always interesting!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Putting aside fear is the key! Trying to succeed at something while fearful is like trying to win a bag race.

      • Illinois Jane says:

        Thanks so much, Sue.

        I like your sensibility.

        The way you hook up is smart. I’ll do it that way, too. Patiently. Back go the HRs. (That’s not simply a hasty decision, btw.)

        At least part of my fear has been based on finances. My monthly SS income is not as much as yours and though I will have and use a little of the proceeds from selling this place, I’d like to save as much of it as possible. I plan on working or at least volunteering in exchange for a site, too. Not knowing how these things are going to pan out has been part of the anxiety–not knowing when the house will sell, where I’ll go first which is dependent on when the house sells. Then there are the unknowns that follow. Will I enjoy it? I think so, but… I do have a back up plan.

        NOW THOSE THOUGHTS ARE SHIFTING. Your insights are of great value. I’ll use them for the strength they impart. Also, there was nothing by way of offense. You just gave me a little shoulder shake — where the heck is my confidence, my positive attitude anyway!?

        Onward and upward!

        • Crystal says:

          Jane, I’m in Illinois, too, toward the south end. I would like to volunteer in exchange for a site some day, as well. One area we like, Carlyle Lake in Carlyle, IL, has a position to work at the visitor center in exchange for a site. I think I would enjoy that in my retirement. One disadvantage that I see is that many sites available for volunteers are not desirable sites 🙁

          • Illinois Jane says:

            Hi Crystal
            Wow, someone else in the Land of Lincoln! Yay!
            I hadn’t realized that about the campsites though now that you bring it to my attention…
            We had a family reunion Sat at Rockwood State Park, Morrison and a camp host did seem to be tucked into a spot that wouldn’t get much breeze. Looks like a case of “ya get what ya pay for”, doesn’t it.

        • AnnieB says:

          Hi Jane,
          Have you thought about getting some expert financial advice? I have found that the bogleheads.org site is full of people with decades long experience in managing their finances and who are willing to help people figure out their finances. Not just investing but in personal finance as well. You have to be cautious of course in weeding out advice or comments that don’t feel right to you. Hope this helps.

          • AnnieB says:

            I should have mentioned that bogleheads.org is a group of people who have invested with Vanguard.com, an investment company that is owned by shareholders.

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            I’m not going to say getting financial advice is a bad idea… The more you know, the better off you are.

            However, I suspect that talking to a financial expert about plans to live fulltime in a travel trailer will be met with confusion, like announcing you’re planning to orbit Mars.

          • Illinois Jane says:

            Thanks Annie. I’ll check it out.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Jane… Your apprehension is understandable. There is risk involved in making such a dramatic change in lifestyle. A tight budget and an unsold house adds to the anxiety.

          I asked myself, “If everything I’m apprehensive about (not enough money, difficulty finding a way to make money while fulltiming, etc.) becomes reality, would I regret my decision to fulltime?” My answer to myself was a firm ‘NO! I want to do this!”

          Ask yourself the same question… My point about confidence is to put aside irrational fears. It’ still wise to be prudent about real challenges.

          Best wishes to you, Jane!

          • Illinois Jane says:

            Though that question has been stumbling around in the back of my mind, I had never blatantly asked it. Did so and got a resounding “No”. I really want to do it.
            That brought more clarity.
            Thanks again.

        • DesertGinger says:

          Jane, bear in mind that Sue saves part of her income every month, and she has a fair bit of expenses for the crew. you will be fine. You might also think about ways to supplement your income. I am including a link to a newsletter, the Work At Home Gazette, that lists jobs that can be done from a home computer. http://www.theworkathomegazette.com/
          New opportunities are listed all the time so you might want to sign up for a subscription. Or google work at home and see all the resources that pop up.

          Good luck.

          • Illinois Jane says:

            Thanks so much DG. I’ll have a look.
            Thanks for the comforting encouragement, too.

  19. That Flaming Rock is gorgeous!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I bet there are times — like during a particularly glowing sunset — when that rock is even more spectacular than when I photographed it in mid-morning.

  20. ja says:

    I’ve almost caught up to the present from the beginning of the archived posts! Going to miss reading the past stuff. You do have lovely pictures but have to admit I enjoy your words more. Even the ordinary day stuff! I have a question (or two maybe) about the crew. I haven’t seen mentioned (maybe I missed it somehow) other than in the first few months of a yearly check up for the crew. Do they still get rabies shots? And to you use flea/tick treatments with them? When they come in from a walk/dip in the water do you check them for ticks before they get in the bed? I’d be squicked out to find a tick on them (much less me!). I realize these things might be too “ordinary” for you to want to write about. I so enjoy reading about the crews adventures and yours!
    Thanks for sharing

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Ja,

      Nice to hear from you again. No, I don’t check the crew specifically looking for ticks because the last time I saw a tick or flea on either of them was over 3 years ago when I lived in Georgia. For this reason I do not give them flea/tick treatments as dosing them with a poison is unnecessary. I did treat them when we lived in Tick Heaven, otherwise known as Georgia, and they had checks before bed and during the day. I love the West, one reason being the crew no longer have the torment of ticks and fleas!

      I do run my hands over them constantly and check their ears, mouth, nose, skin, toes, pads, etc.

      The crew had 3-year rabies shots in August of 2011. I don’t know if I’ll have them vaccinated again, due to their age and the unlikely chance they will encounter a rabid animal. I’m with them every minute of each day and watch them carefully.

      Thank you for reading my blog from the beginning. I’m not surprised that you like the words, more than the photos. Photos of locations can be pulled up on the web. Words are unique to me. I try not to rely too much on photos, yet I can’t produce good text at the pace people want to see my blog. Writing takes a lot more out of me than posting photos. That’s why I do photo essays between the “stories.” At least I’m putting something out there for people and then, as soon as I have the inspiration, the focus, and the energy, I try to write a “meaty” post.

      • ja says:

        Your reasons for not treating the crew for rabies, ticks, etc makes a lot of sense! I’m all for not having to use poisons of any sort unless absolutely necessary.
        Just to be clear, I do like your pictures very much and they do add to your words very well. I especially enjoyed the pictures when you all visited Washington as that is my absolute favorite place on earth! (haven’t been in awhile alas!). Your pics brought back some great memories. I just like to read so your posts fill that need lol.
        Again, thanks for the posts!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          You’re welcome, ja. I love Washington, too, and want to visit it again next summer.

  21. Cinandjules (NY) says:

    Flaming rock is gorgeous! It reminds me of a volcano with one side blown off!

    Windy err are ya getting close to Wyoming?

    Mick is so clever….even if he speaks in another language!

  22. TexasTom says:

    You take very good pictures and Flaming Gorge is extra nice.

    The outside horn that allows you the be inside while it blasts is a great idea for much more than bears. Can’t wait to see it.


  23. Glenda in OZ! says:

    Such good advice to your readers who aspire to do what you are doing now…….living their dream as you do. You instil great confidence! Loving the photos of the Flaming Gorge……….a photographers paradise. Your captures are great.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Glenda. This is a “photographers paradise” from tiny butterflies to a mammoth gorge. . .

  24. Sondra-SC says:

    I’ve pulled all sorts of “things” from horse trailers to travel trailers my utility trailer, and I do the same thing I line up with the mid point checking mirrors until I think Im close then I get out and say “one more foot” get my ball right under the hitch and lower and wiggle and waggle till it goes down right on! Each time is different but in the end I have the right result!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I make it seem difficult with my detailed report of how I hitch. As you know, it’s not hard. A little patience, some confidence, and practice…

  25. CheryLyn(Oregon) says:

    Beautiful pictures as always! finally getting to read posts to catch up. Had a health crisis in the middle of getting the house ready to sell. I truly appreciate your comment to IllinoisJane in reference to confidence to travel solo being a mindset- something I have been working thru the last couple of weeks. Hook, line, or sinker Lord willin’ I’m heading out this fall. My 17′ trailer is sitting in the yard. I’m adding air horns to the list and the list grows.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It’s all coming together for you, CheryLyn. I’m sorry you had a health crisis. They never seem to happen at a good time. I hope you are well now.

      Your determination will feed your growing confidence. You’re fortunate to have your little trailer already, a tangible reminder of the adventures that await!

  26. weather says:

    Good morning Sue,
    Sunrise’s light today came through spaces in clouds traveling southwest.That warmer air flow will make having shade even more gratifying than usual later today.Hope the change of home sites,whether yesterday,today or tomorrow offers some of your favorite things.

    One month into summer, much that thrives in the heat is celebrating around here.I love seeing what earth’s and life’s seasons give.The stronger sunlight’s made stray leaves on wild vines turn red,yellow and gold- promising that each surprise I enjoy now will be followed with the excitement at autumn’ s beauty around the corner.

    Whatever you’re being gifted to see and hear this early is fun to consider from across the country.It must be amazing.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good morning, weather,

      Two good mornings under the same post tells me it’s time to write another entry. 🙂

      Your description of the wild vines takes me back to my childhood in New York. I can see them perfectly. The hints of autumn are very subtle here in July. The grass crunches under my feet, no longer green.

      Spike is impatient for the day to begin. He demands his breakfast! Usually he’ll let me finish my first cup of coffee and let Bridget finish her slow awakening. Bridget makes me laugh. The first thing that comes alive in the morning is her eyes. She’s motionless except for her eyes following me.

      I do plan to move camp today. This camp has a hold on me and I’m reluctant to leave it. That’s a good thing! I’d love to return when the aspens are gold against the deep green of the pines. It must be lovely. I so enjoyed taking photos of Owens Valley in California last autumn. The light! Autumn’s light is my favorite.

      I almost share things with you here and then remember I’d better save it for the next post! Bye for now . . . Walk in wonder as you wander . . .

      • weather says:

        If today’s move takes up so much of your focus,inspiration,time and energy that you don’t squeeze a new post in,tomorrow I’ll just say Merry Tuesday as a reminder that feeling pressured isn’t necessary any more 😉

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Oh, it’s not pressure. It’s as important to me to keep up with my blog as it is to find a new camp. I’m energized by these two goals!

          • weather says:

            I feel it from here! from your reply and because I just read the new post,the life in the way you view the world comes off the page through every photo there.

  27. AZ Jim says:

    Hi Sue….Quoting you, “Walk in wonder as you wander”. I would just add, if you happen to be where there is cattle, you might also want to watch your step! Good read as always……

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks for the advice and the chuckle, Jim. 🙂

    • weather says:

      Laughing with delight at your combining all that,Jim!My sneakers,AGAIN,are drying out from the hose down needed from my head being in the clouds during my last trip outside.I’m going to write both the Walk and Watch phrases on the chalkboard by the door!

  28. Wow…. you found a much better campsite than we did. but the saving grace for ours was the herd of 20 or so pronghorn antelope that wandered the campground with no fear! loved the photos and loved the great advice and…. still trying to get caught up!

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