A Sonoran Desert welcome to a new camp

Tuesday, January 13

In the last episode of RVSue and her canine crew, Bridget and I arrive at our desert destination under a rapidly changing sky of thick clouds.  Due to rain and darkness, I park the Best Little Trailer in the first good campsite I discover.

1-P1020165Photos look much better on black.  Click the photo and you’ll see what I mean.

The rain stops and sunshine breaks through the clouds.  Bridget and I find a better campsite and I move the BLT into it!

1-P1020168Wednesday, January 14

The first day in a new location is fun.  Clear sky and sunny today.  Bridget and I explore the area around our camp.

1-P1020167Bridget happily leads the way, turning occasionally to let me catch up.

The Sonoran Desert is home to a variety of plants.  In addition to creosote, cholla, brittlebush, and saguaros, we find several organ pipes.

1-P1020174Look closely at the cholla garden below and you’ll see the skinny, upward-reaching branches of the ocotillo.

1-P1020175I’m not going to guess the names of these next plants!  Do you know what they are?


I do know the yellow-green bushes below are creosote.  The grey, smaller bushes are ratanay.

1-P1020172Bridget stays on the road.  Even so, I have needle-nose pliers in my pocket in case she steps on cholla spines.

1-P1020170I’m surprised by how the birds accept our presence.

Within an hour of setting up this camp, we receive a special welcome.

I sit in the lounger and a bird flies around the BLT and hovers over us.  Its fan of wing is yellow on the underside, a small image, spectacular in its own way.

1-P1020186Birds are most active in the morning.

Twice a bird I haven’t identified flies inside the BLT as if to remind me there’s a wonderful world to be enjoyed outside of this computer.  A gila woodpecker clings to the frame of the back window, his underside inches from my face!  Very tiny grey birds hop among the branches of the creosote around our campsite.  A raven cruises overhead.

As I type this, shadows of small birds flash across the curtains and disappear, like the moments of our lives, precious and fleeting.

1-P1020176“I’m right behind you, babe. What would I do without you to show me the way home?”

Our walks are longer than these photos suggest.  We discover a wash running about thirty feet from the back side of our campsite.  Those photos are for another time.

Here’s a photo of our camp taken shortly before sunset.

1-P1020188No bird song at this time of day.  No road noise or people noise.  Peace and quiet in the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona.



Below are a few of the items recently purchased by readers:

Weslo Cadence R 5.2 Treadmill
Richmond Espresso Leather Storage Ottoman
Samlex 600W Pure Sine Wave Inverter PST-600-12
KEEN Women’s Targhee II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
Midwest Quiet Time Fashion Pet Bed
Antigravity Batteries Micro-Start Jump Starter/Personal Power Supply


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186 Responses to A Sonoran Desert welcome to a new camp

  1. Jean in Southaven, MS says:

    Love the pictures. Love the story. Peace to you and Bridgett.

  2. Lindale says:

    Great photos as usual. Peace and quiet would be nice. We have had planes overhead from early morning until late afternoon. Up to four at a time. Soon we will head out and I guess what we will get out of this is an appreciation of quiet when we find it. Hope you have no neighbors to disturb your quiet while you stay where you are. It seems perfect.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Lindale,

      Military aircraft fly over occasionally during mid-day… fighter jets, high speed, sometimes a helicopter. Absolutely no neighbors! No one! This camp is perfect.

  3. Evelyn says:

    Love this post. Mom and I have one more month before we are back in the southwest. Can’t wait till we are seeing beautiful sunsets too. As always your pictures are wonderful.

  4. Leander Linda says:

    I just love the desert. Your photos are such a treat. I would never want to leave that campsite.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Leander Linda…

      New to my blog? Or new to comments… Whatever the case, it’s great to see you here.

      Two weeks is a good length of time to stay here… I like to leave wanting more!

  5. John K - Mobile, AL says:

    I can’t remember you ever saying anything about them, but have you ever run across any venomous snakes while out and about?

    Another round of great pics!

    I read your previous comment about being recognized as an RVSue blogorino while at an Airstream rally in Florida. Pretty amazing!

    • Teresa from NC says:

      Hi John, if my memory is correct, Sue has only seen 2 snakes in 3 years of travelling, with neither being venomous. The one, which got closest, was “captured” with her hat…or, was it;-)

      • John K - Mobile, AL says:

        The hat snake was the only one I remember.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          A non-venomous snake welcomed me and the crew shortly after our arrival at a canyon in the San Rafael Reef, Utah. I chased it away by scraping the ground with a rake behind its tail.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Hi, Teresa,

        That was at Pelican Lake. We stayed there longer than I normally would, it being desert and warm enough for snakes to be roaming around. I extended our stay waiting for the higher elevation of Ashley NF to warm up. And then we camp in Ashley NF and a bear attacks the BLT. Ha! That’s the way it goes!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Nope, not one. Glad you like the photos, thanks.

  6. We have found that a small hair comb is very effective in removing the cholla “pups” from our mountain bike tires. The needles go between the teeth of the comb and then you can pull it off. Those things are relentless in their desire to go for a ride. Beautiful camp – thanks for sharing.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Allison,

      I’m going to try to remember to pick up one of those fine-toothed combs. The ones made to remove fleas from dogs would probably work very well.

      The needle-nose pliers may still be necessary for pulling the spines if they’re stuck inside the mouth. Hope that never happens!

  7. weather says:

    You’re right about your photo’s being best displayed on black backgrounds-all jewels are…the one today including the words “show me the way home” beneath it could be a banner of how you help Light do that for us.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Good Morning from S.E. NM! Love your pictures of the new campsite. Hopefully you and Bridget will enjoy the peace and quiet of your new place! It appears that it might be difficult to see from any nearby road….AND just as important, it looks like there are no possible campsites within parking distance!

    One of these days I hope to have a Class C so that I can travel with my Clyde Cat and
    musical keyboard again! Of course my computer will travel with us as well!
    Hugs from Elizabeth aka E2 & Clyde too!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, E2 and Clyde,

      I’m happy to see you here again! You’re right… This camp is hidden from the road and there aren’t any campsites around us.

      Best wishes for obtaining the Class C. I can understand your itch to travel after 30 years (if my memory is correct) of full-time vagabond living!

  9. Pamela says:

    Thank you for the tip of carrying pliers when you hike – duh, why didn’t I think of that!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pamela..

      Pliers or a fine-toothed comb as Allison suggests. You have to be prepared to act fast with cholla. . . Get those spines out before the dog tries to do so with his/her mouth…

  10. Applegirl NY says:

    What a difference in the sky. Cloudy, bright blue, then an Arizona sunset. Beautiful.
    I would be very stressed out if I had to bring needle nose pliers on walks with our dogs. I don’t know if they’re clever enough to stay out of trouble. Bridget seems like she does a really good job of avoiding those needles.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Applegirl NY,

      If there’s any doubt at all about your dogs staying on the road, then they need to be on a leash. I watched Bridget very closely on our first walk. If she had tried to wander I’d be leashing her.

      Bridget doesn’t look like a rugged desert dog. I give her credit though for a remarkable ability to avoid thorns and spines. Those dainty feet are careful!

  11. Lee J in Northern California says:

    wow, just wow!
    When I was a kid in Carlsbad, New Mexico, my dad owned a service station, it had three bays that were for his mechanic and him to fix broken cars…and he was always repairing vehicles for tourists who were stranded. Once he brought home a man and two women, stranded folks…from Mississippe. Turned out the man was a desert lover… And while his mother and her friend visited with my mother, my sister and I took the young man, a college professor, for walks in the desert, to see the flora and fauna…first time I heard the expression! He gave us new eyes to see the beautiful area we lived in, made us appreciate what we had been taking for granted…just like you do!
    They stayed several days, back in the days of true western hospitality…the mom cooked some wonderful food for us as payback, the young man taught us a lifetime of appreciation of seeing things new….just like you do…

  12. Shirlene says:

    Beautiful photo essay this morning….I can see why you have spent most of your day outside…the birds especially would draw me out into the morning, that and a hot cup of tea or coffee…feeling of peace and beauty are all around you this day….as usual my wish for you is that this continues for as long as it gives you pleasure and as long as we are able to come with you. Good day to you and Bridget, Sue.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, Shirlene, for those wishes. I appreciate the compliment on my photos, too. This morning I wander around with a cup of coffee. One thing leads to another and I realize our camp is no longer in view… sheesh. Love the desert!

  13. Sue (Alabama) says:

    Love the new campsite! We just got the word that Feb 13,2015 is my husbands last day to be employed!! Wahoo!! We are so excited! We have decided that we are leaving the house for the realtor to deal with and get in “The Rover” and start our full time of living the good life!

    I just bought LaciLou a dog backpack that I can carry her in when hiking and she gets tired!! I have had those chollas in my feet before and can still feel the pain!!

    I know you love your keen sandles for summer, do you wear the hiking boots for hiking?We are looking for some good hiking boots, noticed someone bought a pair thru your Amazon acct. How do the sizes fit, are they true to size? Do you buy half size bigger for socks?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      How exciting! Less than a month to go! I’m happy for you both. Your enthusiasm and anticipation are jumping off my monitor. 🙂

      Yes, I wear KEEN sandals in summer. In winter I wear either my BearPaw lined boots or my KEEN hiking shoes.

      I ordered the sandals and BearPaws in my regular size (My feet are average width.) For my hiking shoes I followed KEEN’s recommendation to order a half-size larger. All three pairs fit me well. (I wear regular cotton socks with the boots and shoes.) Before ordering I read scads of customer comments as well as the sizing notes.

      I’d put Amazon links to all three but, for some strange reason, the link-maker is very slow this afternoon!

    • Cynthia says:

      Hi Sue from Alabama,
      What to make of backpack did you get for your dog? I am looking at getting one for my little (16 lb) rat terrier Scout, as I like to walk and hike with him, but he’s getting older, and I’d like an option like a backpack or sling, for when he poops out. He doesn’t like to get left behind!

    • Cynthia says:

      Not sure why, but my comment to Sue from Alabama and it up underneath RV Sue’s comment…hoops

      • Sue says:

        Hi Cynthia, ok this is the third time I have tried to answer, I keep getting knocked off the page.

        I am not sure what brand backpack it is, I bought it from a friend who did not use it. It can be worn either on the front or back. It has netting so the dogs can see out if they lay down, as well as a zippered top if you need to keep them inside for some reason.
        My Lacilou loves being in hers especially after a long hike out but wants to ride back!!
        The backpack is in our coach right now, we will be going there this weekend so will check it out for you and post the brand.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I’m sorry, Sue, about the difficulty in posting a comment. I don’t know why that happens.

  14. Sherri D says:

    Do you ever have to worry about birds of prey going after your little dog? Just curious.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Sherri D.,

      No, I haven’t seen a bird of prey interested in us, not one time in 3+ years of walking in different natural environments. Spike and Bridget, both too big, I think.

      • Sherri D says:

        I just wondered. I have two little rat terrors and even though we live in town, I sometimes worry about the hawks that hunt here!

        I’ve been enjoying your blog for several months now. Thanks for keeping it up!

  15. Pauline in Mississippi says:

    Such a peaceful campsite. Love the sunset picture.

    Right now Rienzi Mississippi is under a Winter Weather Advisory. It has been “spitting” snow for about 30 minutes. Barely touches the ground and they predict any accumulation would be under 1/2 inch….YET…a Winter Weather Advisory has been issued. A little different from our childhood in Cambridge, UPSTATE New York, eh?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pauline,

      Your Mississippi Winter Weather Advisory sounds like springtime in upstate New York — a welcome break from winter!

  16. Captain K (UT) says:

    As always, your photos are beautiful. I can hardly wait to spend more time on the road but until then, I’m happy to see the desert through your lens.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      And it’s a joy for me to share the desert with you with my photos. Thank you for the compliment, Captain K!

  17. Robin Brower says:

    Love your pictures. You give me so much to look forward to seeing.

  18. debsjourney says:

    Hi Sue,
    I absolutely loved the photos in your post today they are so beautiful especially the sunset at the end oh my goodness. You really take some awesome pictures and I do look forward to seeing the desert and all of the trees and flowers and places that I’ve never been before. Florida is so flat and boring unless you’re right at the beach although there is some pretty forests around. I’m just tired of it.
    I have mixed thoughts on whether to sell my home and live in my trailer or to keep my home and just travel this coming summer to see how I like it. I do wish my living space in my trailer was bigger so I would feel more comfortable being able to move around. Several people I spoke to while camping said that my camper was the perfect size but when I look at YouTube videos of people living full time in their RVs having space seems a whole lot better. Of course it would be more expensive too.
    I have lots to think about I guess.
    I noticed you didn’t have your awning up is that how you prefer it?
    another question is how long can you go before you have to dump your black tank?
    well enough questions from me, enjoy the rest of your time at this beautiful camp.
    hugs Deb

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Deb,

      Maybe as time goes by your trailer will seem plenty big enough for you. The bigger the rig, the less places you can take it, the more expensive to drive, camp, insure, maintain, and repair (usually). You don’t need me to tell you that… 🙂

      I make the outdoors part of my “home” and that’s where I spend most of my time. Your “mind set” will determine what type home makes you happy. I bet those YouTube videos don’t show the hassles of living big.

      I don’t need the awning out right now because the sitting room side of the BLT is in shade all day, due to facing it north and the winter sun being low in the southern sky.

      The tanks last about two weeks between dumps. I can stretch it further than that. I dump tanks when the stations are handy, not necessarily when the job needs to be done.

      I’m always happy to answer questions, Deb. Makes me feel important. 🙂

  19. Lisa W says:

    Great photos today, Sue. You and Bridget seem to have found a lovely site with a lot to offer. The peace and quiet, along with the desert sounds, will be a balm to your soul. Enjoy it.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Lisa. This past year took a lot out of me, even though we had some fantastic experiences along the way. The peace, quiet, and solitude is what I need. I’m taking your advice and enjoying it!

  20. Teresa from NC says:

    Great photos of the desert, Bridget and your backyard. You two seem so at peace during the winter in the warmth of the desert. I look forward to following along while you witness and experience more. Have a great day.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      There is a rhythm of our months on the road. Winter is a time to rest, reflect, recharge and take care of maintenance. Although I’ve let maintenance slide after the epic of replacing the damaged door. . . You have a great day, too!

  21. Chris B says:

    After looking at your gorgeous sunsets, I can’t wait to get to the Arizona desert tomorrow and I’m not much of a desert person. I prefer the mountains, but if you want to camp in the winter, we are very lucky to have the deserts close by! Those sunsets that you have been posting are beautiful!

    As always, Sue, thanks for sharing your life with us!

    Chris B

  22. AlanOutandAbout says:

    Great spot. I think the left is a baby saguaro, looks about 3-4 years old. They grow about a foot a year I think. I suspect the animals don’t see many humans and so have no fear of them and are just curious, or maybe looking for a handout. You really should carry some bird seed with you, they would love it.
    Yeah, cholla are infamous for their needles. The teddy bear variety are particularly nasty. I have seen their needles go thru hiking boots and bike tires with ease. Their design is very different from any other cacti needles.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Alan,

      I love to put out birdseed and watch who comes to dine. However, I’ve learned that seed also draws rodents and behind the birds and rodents come the coyotes. At this camp one can watch birds without putting out seed. I think they are curious. They cling to the window and even fly inside!

      • BadgerRickInWis says:

        I also wonder if bird seed might not run the risk of introducing plant species that might prove to be invasive? I’ve never read anything about that but it is seed after all. Leave no trace and all that.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Interesting speculation, Rick. My guess is that some of it wouldn’t survive in the desert… millet and other grains.

          • AlanOutandAbout says:

            I am not saying put out feeders or massive amounts. Just when you see them in the morning throw a handful or so. They will devour it long before any rodents happen by. But I understand your concern.

  23. Denise - Richmond VA says:

    Hi, Sue,

    Oh, what a lovely camp! As usual, I love your pictures…the cacti in your backyard are beautiful! Wow! Those AZ sunsets are just breathtaking! Adorable Bridget looks like she is enjoying your camp and going on hikes. Enjoy your peaceful camp and the company of the birds! Hugs to you and Bridget from me and Gracie pup! 🙂

    DesertGinger….you are in my thoughts….hope all is well! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Denise, for the compliment on the photos. It’s fun taking pictures when there are people who appreciate seeing them.

      I hope you are still able to park in your driveway! 🙂

      • Denise - Richmond VA says:

        It’s all good! We had a slight dusting of snow overnight, which was pretty much gone come mid day. Temps should get close to 50 by the weekend…crazy weather!

        Enjoy your peace and quiet and beautiful surroundings! 🙂

  24. Kitt NW, WA says:

    A blissful peace emanates from today’s blog and photographs, straight to this reader’s heart. Thank you.

  25. Cinandjules (NY) says:

    I have to agree with Alan…baby saguaro!

    As for the others …desert plant #1 and 2.

    Bridget has such a spark in her eye and facial expression!

    The last photo is absolutely awesome!

    Nothing happening here! It warmed up to 28! Had to change out the straw in the “feral” cats Omaha steak Mylar lined coolers! They get condensation from their breaths! Vaccuumed their shed also! So everyone is staying toasty!

    Have a great night…stay warm and get some rest!
    Still waiting for DeGin to check in!

  26. Karen SC says:

    I love your pictures of the cacti. The mountains in the distant are so beautiful. What a wonderful landscape you have to enjoy. I wanted to ask is it safe camping near a wash? You mention you take your walks along them. Do you see any crawling critters along the way? Your new campsite is really nice. You seem to pick them very well.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Karen,

      I’m no expert on the desert. It seems to me to be perfectly safe to camp near a wash during the winter. One needs to be careful in the spring when run-off from melting snow in the mountains and spring rains can turn a wash into a raging river.

      I haven’t see any “crawling critters” in a wash.

      Thanks for the feedback on my photos.

  27. AZ Jim says:

    Snakes are in the desert but they are not out and about quite yet. When they are they are more afraid of you than you are of them. Here in the desert scorpions are much more abundant but they too want to escape you. The only people who end up stung by one are those who in summer walk without light and accidentally step on one. A blue light will make them light up like a Christmas tree as they do appear florescent under a blue light.
    Years ago cowboys used to open their lariats and string them around their sleeping bags claiming rattlers would not crawl over a rough surface like they presented. Whether it’s true or not I will say this, snakes at night seeking warmth will crawl into a sleeping bag. It happened to my brother when we were hiking/sleeping out. No harm no foul because he we kept our cool and gently my brother got out of the bag.

    • AZ Jim says:

      Many will say “don’t harm the rattlers, they are killing rodents” but I am sorry to report that if a rattler is in my vicinity I will kill it. I know I am a bad man, but I am also a man who thus far has not been rattler bitten. I will deal with rodents on my own, thank you.

      • Elizabeth in WA says:

        Yes, agree Jim. We learned while living in remote part of WA state, from neighbors to be sure and bury the rattlesnake head because often hornets, bees, etc will get into the head and then that venom becomes part of theirs and you are in worse danger then from bees too. Had never heard that before but considered it good advice. I never had to kill any, but in mowing the yard ran over a young one!! Did not see it till later either…yikes!!

    • Denise - Richmond VA says:

      A snake in your brother’s sleeping bag….YIKES!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’ve sat around a campfire wondering if snakes were being drawn to its warmth as well. 🙂

  28. AZ Jim says:

    Missy ….That last photo bumped my previous RVSUE pic off the desktop. Dam girl you post some great photos. Love those well framed and foregrounded sunset/sunrise shots.

  29. Sondra-SC says:

    Really enjoyed your photos in this post Sue the cacti are amazing so many kinds!!! Glad you found a campsite to your liking…Bridget looks very happy out and about the pliers are a great idea!! You must have been a scout–Be Prepared is the motto! I was the Cubmaster for my son’s unit for one yr it was so much fun We had about 10 boys in our pack, my best friend took the tiger cubs and I took the Webelos, we took them fishing, canoeing, hiking, we held weekly den meetings and a monthly pack meetings where parents came too and we brought covered dishes…we had a pinewood derby for the boys, and took them to the state Jamboree. Cub Scouts can only go on overnights if a parent comes along due to BSA Policy so not all of the boys got to go camping it was hard to get parent participation!! that was longgg ago now my son is 34 yrs old!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Sondra,

      You certainly enriched those boys lives! I’m sure they carried many positive memories, not to mention skills, through the years since then. It sounds like your son’s cub unit had loads of fun.

      I was a Brownie and, for a short while, a Girl Scout. I quit scouts because our troop never did anything outdoors. It was basically a handicrafts-and-how-young-ladies-are-supposed-to-act club. I wanted to learn how to survive in the wilderness, go camping, have adventures!

  30. Jason Odom says:

    Hello RVSue and crew! My name is Jason Odom and I travel similar to the way you do and authored the book Vanabode – travel forever on $20 a day. I really love your work and travel blog as it is of exceptional quality (my wife and I love the West to).

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jason,

      Thank you for the flattering comment about my blog. I edited your comment, removing the links, because it looked too much like advertising. As a blogger I have to be careful what I allow because more of the same will follow and I don’t want this comments section to have advertising. I hope you understand. If my readers are interested in Vanabode they can click on your name and it will take them to your site.

      You asked for advice on how to increase your Amazon sales, especially big ticket items. There’s no easy formula. The readers who shop Amazon from my blog do so, I believe, out of gratitude for the work I put into my blog. You put work into your site also. The difference is in the personal relationships and sense of community I have developed and continue to develop on my blog. I don’t reply to comments in order to increase sales. I reply because I care about my readers, I’m interested in their lives, and I want to help them realize their dream of RVing or present a way for them to travel vicariously. In other words, sales aren’t the primary focus of my blog. I hope this is helpful. Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

      • Jason says:

        Sorry if my offer for the book for free and the links to the photos that I thought might interest you looked like spam. I could not find any other way to contact you (cannot find a “contact us” email address) so I felt I had no other options. Meantime thanks for the help and if there is anything I can do to help let me know. Sincerely Jason Odom

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Oh, no! No need to apologize, Jason. I didn’t mean to imply your message was spam. I’m sorry if I gave that impression. I just have to be careful about products being promoted in comments in order to retain the tone of the comments section.

          You’re right about no contact email posted. When I started this blog I decided to devote my energies into building a comments section. Posting an email address encourages private conversations, and I want this to be a sharing place, where all can benefit from questions asked and experiences told.

          I wish you well with your website and your book, Vanabode, and encourage my readers to click on your name to see what it’s all about!

  31. Dawn in MI says:

    Wow. Love this spot. This is going to be another place where you can only hear nature isn’t it! 🙂 I think of you often as I commute to work in bumper to bumper traffic. And tonight as I took the dog out for her business and a helicopter flew overhead inspecting the freeway a mile away. I’m looking forward to silence someday! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Dawn,

      Traffic and noise is rough on the nervous system. It probably seems strange to think of absence of noise in this way . .. .When I’m out in the desert I can feel the silence wash over me. In the afternoons, when even the birds are quiet, I love to listen to it.

  32. Bill & Ann says:

    I like the arms on that Organ Pipe. Pretty amazing. I may have a picture of Bill and Samantha in front of the same cactus. Wavy arms. Pretty neat.

    Nice sunset picture.

    We are camped at Fort Pickens. Hope the sun comes out tomorrow so we can explore.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Bill & Ann,

      Fort Pickens is a beautiful area on the Gulf. I hope you do have a calm, sunny day to enjoy the beach and all there is to see there.

      Thanks for the update!

  33. edlfrey says:

    AlanOutandAbout and Cinandjules (NY) may be correct with their baby saguaro identification. I would say they are young Organ Pipe for the following reasons.

    The two arms appear to be coming from a common base which is how Organ Pipe grow. Saguaro almost always begin life under the protection of a ‘nurse tree’ whereas Organ Pipe may also have a ‘nurse tree’ they can take full sun. Your photo does not show any ‘nurse tree’ which I would expect to see if it were a Saguaro.

    My second comment is about a fine toothed comb for the removal of cholla. That is not necessary, any common comb that has half the teeth close together and half with bigger gaps will work just fine. I have used the one I carry twice, in the field, since we have been here. The third time was after we got back “home” and I was petting Patches and found a tubercle sticking out her side that had been there for a good portion of our walk (she paid no attention to it).

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Ed,

      Before posting this blog entry, being curious about that cactus, I wandered onto a site for cactus identification. I was astounded at the number of cactus varieties!

      You may be correct about that one being Organ Pipe. I’ve seen some baby Saguaros around here and they look different… The color doesn’t have a yellow tint and the shape isn’t as narrowly cylindrical. I need to come back here in 20 years to take another look! 🙂

      Good to know re the comb…

  34. Biz Crate says:

    Hi Sue (and Fellow Blogerinos);

    I am a long time blog creeper but now am a first time commenter. I think this provides me a sense legitimacy so am happy to be outing myself!

    The occasion of my first comment is that I am celebrating a milestone:
    Today marks 500 days until I am released from my indenture. With good planning, I may be able to earn an early release in 318 days (but who’s counting?)

    I will be hitting the Chicago RV show this weekend with my mechanic SIL and open minded and supportive daughter in tow. With the education that you, Sue, and all of you blogerinos have provided I am feeling confident that I can select an appropriate rig (not at the show! I can’t afford new!) when my release draws nearer.

    Thank you, Sue! Thank you, crew! Thank you, Blogerinos everywhere! Your insight and sometime debate has been such invaluable help to me.

    Many, many thanks,

    • Timber n' me says:

      Hey Biz, you sound like your staying a, a gray bar hotel, are ya?, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      • Biz Crate says:

        Something like that, Timber n’ me! No bars, though, they let me out every night and I have to go back every morning. I get weekends free so I’m happy about that.
        I call it indentured servidude – my employer calls it work.
        Ugh! (lol)

      • Timber n' me says:

        Ya know, If you know how to work with wood, fiber glass, and go on line to Glenn L and buy camper full size plans, $ 48. to $ 80. and build your own camper that will fit a 1/2 to 3/4 ton pick up for the fraction of the cost of a factory camper and make it to your needs, your way. and by spring, you could be on the highway, I did and saved a bundle. ,,,,,,,,,,,,me

        • Biz Crate says:

          That’s actually not a bad idea. I appreciate the tip! I’ve been seeing a few short buses posted for sale and wondered what it would take to convert something.
          I’ll check it out!

          • Timber n' me says:

            And later, if you want, put that camper on a trailer, then like Sue, leave your camp and explore and come back to your camp, er. ,,,,,,,,,,,,,me ( Rusty)

      • Timber n' me says:

        No pun intended,

    • Denise - Richmond VA says:

      Welcome to Sue’s blogorino family, Biz! Have fun at the Chicago RV show! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Biz!

      I’m pleased that my blog, including the contributions of those who read it, has been helpful. I know it has been for me, too.

      Yes, you are now officially a blogorino. I welcome you to join in our discussions anytime!

  35. Lynn Brooks says:

    Just lovely!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Isn’t it though? I was going to say thank you, but I can’t take credit for the beauty found here.

  36. Norman in San Diego says:

    Hi Sue,

    Your campsite looks so peaceful and quiet. Must be very relaxing to hear the rain on the roof in the BLT.
    No work, no traffic and just enjoying life in the Southwest. Thanks for sharing your journey and the pictures. Enjoy everyday of your retirement.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You describe my life very well! Nice hearing from you again, Norman. I do plan to enjoy every day. I hope you can, too.

  37. Timber n' me says:

    Beautiful Sue, All I can say is Beautiful. We went to town today for water, dump, our shopping, mail, and got the needs for putting up the Wilson duel band antenna, more fiber glass stuff, a another battery so I wont be using the truck battery, so now there’s two for the camper and the one for the truck, bought Timber a big Ham bone and it disappeared in 2 hours, it’s just a nub now and He’s a sleep, satisfied. I had chicken and for a treat to me, a dark chocolate candy bar that has orange peal in it, Whooo Hooo, taste great too !!, for $ 3.95 each at Hearb’s Herbs, got 2. Have a great and Glorest Day n’ Night, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,me

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Rusty,

      Sounds like you and Timber are enjoying life! I’m happy you have another battery. And, oh, dark chocolate… Now I want some!

      Do you have a Verizon jetpack with a port for the Wilson antenna?

      I can imagine Timber working on that big bone. He must be a very happy guy…

      Have a great day, Rusty!

      • Timber n' me says:

        Sue, I have At&t , Netgear WiFi Hot spot 770s and it’s working great so far, with the Wilson Duel Band Antenna, 5 bars yay!!!!!!

        • Timber n' me says:

          And ,,,,,, Orange from Astrophil and Stella,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, A strife is grown between Virtue and love, While each pretends that Stella must be his: Her eyes, her lips, her all, saith Love, do this, Since they do wear his badge, most firmly prove. But Virtue thus that title doth disprove, That Stella ( O dear name ) that Stella is That virtuous soul, sure heir of heavenly bliss; Not this fair outside, which our hearts doth move. And therefore, though her beauty and her grace Be Love’s indeed, in Stella’s self he may By no pretence claim any manner place. Well, Love, since this demur our suit doth stay, Let Virtue have that Stella’s self; yet thus, That Virtue but that body grant to us. ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Sir Philip Sidney,,,,,,,,,,,,,, This was on the inside of the wrapper of the Orange Peel in Dark Chocolate candy bar ,,,,,,me

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Candy bars and five bars… Hooray!

          • Timber n' me says:

            I ate that candy bar two days ago and the taste of the Orange Peal is still there ,,,,,,,,,,

  38. Pamela K. says:

    Your newest camp site is really nice. I like the lay of it.
    Question for ya…
    Do you ever walk with a hiking pole while on your walks in the wash?
    I just bought one at a local sports store and they really are surprising handy, especially for longer walks.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pamela K.,

      I have some really nice poles that were given to me. I’ve used them a few times when climbing. Most of the time we walk on fairly level ground, like in washes. I take so many photos that it’s cumbersome to handle the camera and the poles, too.

      • Pamela K. says:

        I can relate. I used to have the regular hiking poles too. Now I have the telescope kind that has the camera screw mount on the top. Great for small cameras or a GoPro, I use both links of cameras when hiking or longer walks. The new pole has a rubber hand grip below the camera mount. Steadies the pole for walking, sort of like a unipod and hiking pole together. I find I do not need it but if I fall I can walk myself back up using it, so I take it along with me.

  39. BadgerRickInWis says:

    So wonderful.
    You sound good, Bridget looks great, excellent weather and a perfect secluded camp.

    Awhile back you were yearning to return to the desert so you could just “be”. It would appear that you have made your wish come true.

    So take some time, heal your soul, and let yourself be open to the abundance of the universe. No one deserves it more than you.

  40. Laurie in NC says:

    I loved the pictures and the post! I really enjoy watching the birds in my backyard and can imagine how wonderful it is to enjoy them in the desert! They must be very curious to fly into the BLT! What does Bridget think about that? My dogs would go crazy if a bird flew into our camper!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Laurie,

      I’m happy you liked these photos. Bridget didn’t know about the bird inside the BLT, neither of the times. She was under the comforter, her favorite place to nap.

  41. Karla in Ky. says:

    All I can say is “WOW”. These pictures are awesome and an outstanding representation of the Arizona desert. What a gift to start my day with! Thankyou so much. The birds sure put on a neat show for you to welcome you into their world of peace and tranquility.

  42. Marcia GB n MA says:

    When I read the first line, I thought for a moment that “last” referred to this being your last blog post. Then reason took over and I read it again. Thank goodness!

    Isn’t the Sonoran Desert amazingly beautiful? You must feel such joy when you wake up and look out at the sunrise. Your pictures make me want to pack up, skip the rest of FL and speed right out there. I’m tired of the gawd awful traffic in SW FL, and yes, I realize I’m one of those gosh darn snowbirds that contribute to it. Oh well, we love the Florida State Parks with their beautiful wild scenery, so we won’t leave now. Next year is a different story. We WILL head west!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Marcia,

      I should’ve written “previous” instead of “last.” Sorry about that! 🙂

      Speaking of waking up… This morning I wake up and look up through the window and there’s a cactus wren sitting on top of the saguaro in back of our camp. The wind was making the saguaro sway ever so slightly. A peaceful sight and I hadn’t lifted my head off the pillow.

      My heart goes out to you re traffic. I left FL because I couldn’t take the traffic anymore. You’re right about the FL state parks… I particularly enjoyed Ft. Desoto State Park… I caught some mighty fine fish off that pier.

      • Pamela K. says:

        Fish ?? I was thinking you didn’t fish. Do you still fish or did you used to and have since given it up? I love to fish, catch and release only. I taught my son and my husband how to fish, it was just something they never did as they stayed in the golf cart or would picnic while I did all the fishing. Well, when my son was 30 yrs old I thought it was time enough to put a stop to that, lol. Pulled him over and handed him a rod and showed him how to bait the hook…he caught a sunny first time casting. Just a little thing but he so so proud and over joyed with it. I still keep the photo on my cell phone! My husband still does not fish, something about fishing and a trip to the ER! He has since declared fishing to be a Dangerous Contact Sport! We still laugh about that! A story for another time 😉

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I used to fish, saltwater only. Gave it up several years ago. Never cared for fresh water fishing.

      • Marcia GB in MA says:

        We’re looking forward to two weeks at Ft. DeSoto in Feb!

  43. Denise - Richmond VA says:

    Good morning, Sue and fellow blogorinos!

    Hope everyone has a great day! It is bright and sunny here (still cold), with clear, blue skies – all is good! For those of us still working towards our dreams….Thank Goodness it is Friday!! Whoo-Hoo! 🙂

  44. AZ Jim says:

    We have a large non-denomination church nearby so we occasionally see a bird of pray here. Ok, Ok,….so, I am corny…..but you should have known my Dad (RIP).

  45. Utah Bonnie says:

    Thank you for the visual feast and lovely commentary. The idea of hearing nothing but birds makes me smile. Bridget is looking very trim and I’m waiting anxiously for the new crew member to come aboard.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Utah Bonnie,

      I’m anxious for a new crew member, too. I never imagined it would be this difficult to adopt while living “on the road.” I won’t be able to resume my search until we leave this area. We may go to California… I haven’t seen the redwoods yet. 😉

  46. Wonderful – like a nice, long deep breath. You two must be such a curiosity to the local bird community, they all just have to see for themselves 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jodee,

      Apparently the birds around here have not been frightened by human behaviors in the past. I’ll try not to do anything that would change that.

  47. weather says:

    Snowflakes so large that they bumped into each other began falling at first light,they seemed to hold hands as light wind sent them circling ,turning,dancing by…As the temperature dropped so did the size of each new flake until they actually disappeared.
    Forecasters call what’s left here a dusting,if dust looked as beautiful I don’t think anyone would ever clean things again.

    A few folks I know have been telling why they chose certain places to spend their lives in.The common denominator is what pleases each about somewhere they’ve been or want to be.What I find striking is that whether well traveled or not most seek what’s become a familiar comfortable fit.On land I tend to wear clothes that stretch with me,guess that’s part of why having water close matters so much to me.In it is the only time clothes don’t restrict me at all.Good morning Sue,I think that’s all you ever wanted,too,why your life now suits you so well.Hope today’s plan is a loose one again for you.I haven’t even made one,fun 🙂

    • AZ Jim says:

      No matter how beautifully you describe it Weather, If I never see snow again it will still be too soon. I’d much rather read your descriptions of it from here..

      • weather says:

        Hi Jim,I’m glad that you get to experience it at least on that level while being warm.I always buy the boots I need for it with enough room to wiggle my toes like I’m walking barefooted in grass or on sand.Like you can any day you want to…I’ll bring my boots and leathers when I leave,Washington and Oregon have some ocean side places I haven’t felt snow in yet so I know I won’t miss this.I like all the gifts mornings bring,your note’s are always among my favorites.

        • AZ Jim says:


        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Weather! You’re going to Washington and Oregon? Wow! Did you tell us that and I missed it?

          • weather says:

            My intent is to primarily travel west of the Rockies during the first few years on the road to see/visit/stay in places I’ve missed previously.I’ve not mentioned most details of my plan,I tend to stay in the moment ,guess that’s influenced my sharing here.For now I’ll say I don’t intend to miss any of the ocean experiences of both the east and west coast and southern gulfs.So,no,you didn’t miss anything,I’ll share it with you as it happens!

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              I understand completely… Your mention of snow on the beach sounded imminent. I’m like you, stay in the present, keep plans — if any — very loose.

            • weather says:

              Ha Ha-it felt imminent as I pictured it,neat that you read it that way!Cold cereal sounds like fun,hot toast has been working better lately for me.’til later enjoy!

            • Weather, Washington & Oregon have gorgeous beaches. Every inch of beach in Oregon from the high-water mark (basically high tide) on down has been public property since the mid-60’s, thanks to former Oregon Governor Tom McCall. Jim says Oregon beaches are more rugged. I think there are many more accessible tide pools on the Oregon Coast.

              Washington’s beaches are punctuated by bays & estuaries so the beaches seem less expansive. For some reason, Washington permits people to drive on the beach. I don’t like that. Oregon (my home state, which I am very proud of) does not permit that kind of folly. Our favorite Washington beaches are just south of the Quinalt Nation. Miles & miles of beauty…and a few cars. sigh…

            • weather says:

              Thanks,Dawn,that’s all useful to know.It’s nice that you describe fondly areas you’ve so recently become able to leave in the rear view mirror of the RV- as you began a new phase of life! 🙂

    • Shirlene says:

      Good Morning Weather, hugs from the beach.

    • Elizabeth in WA says:

      Weather, the West Coast truly does have some of the most spectacular sights and you may find you do not want to leave. We always say that the West side of the Cascades Mt range has the friendliest people. I will tell you, to not spend one moment in the central part of the state if you can avoid it, one area in particular. But we have lived in 3 different places in Western Wa. and 2 different places in the far Eastern part of this state…and loved all of those. People and scenery both. Be sure to take plenty of time to explore when you come this way. Idaho is a very remarkable state as well. And parts of Oregon and Northern California even are quite nice too. But then that is simply my opinion.

      • weather says:

        Gee Elizabeth,what great advice “be sure to take plenty of time to explore” is.Thank you.Regarding not wanting to leave-being blessed with enthusiasm for what’s next has always helped me go forward.Having moved so many times you must have great stories,your family and visitors are fortunate to have you nearby-for that and many other reasons sweet lady.

        • Elizabeth in WA says:

          Thank you for your sweet comments, Weather…heh, we have moved about a bit. Moving is not all bad however…we learned things in each place and have friends sprinkled around too. I think this little apt is about the 27th or 28th place I have lived in my 62+ yrs. In 15 towns or so. Most all related to job needs…though a couple of those moves had to do with other reasons. I do wonder how it might have been however to have lived always in the same town. Something to be said for that too.

    • weather says:

      The snow sitting on blue ice makes the lake look like a sky full of fluffy clouds here today.Good morning Sue,your real sky must be equally beautiful and far warmer to enjoy being under.I loved you describing feeling silence…That type of recognition is the source and evidence of so many gifts…Hope yours bring you more wonder than ever today.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        I can see the sky in your lake, too. Thank you, weather, and good morning!

        The birds are quieter this morning. I guess we’re no longer a novelty for them! That’s okay. It’s all good. 🙂

  48. Shirlene says:

    Good Morning Sue, today again I awake to clear skies, blue skies, cold skies, burr…but as the day goes by, they say that it will be 73 degrees at the beach today…Yesterday it was warm enough to take the top of my car and feel the breeze in my hair again, like coming out of a box and into freedom…for me freedom is wind in my hair and sun on my face, I am so lucky to be able to have both, without having to cover up with layers of clothes…Tomorrow we are going to take a trip out to the Salton Sea, it should take about 3 hours to get there, leaving early, looking for the early bird and its worm…I will be thinking of you as we will be sharing the same topography at times, desert, cacti, road runners, but I am told that we are looking for Costa hummingbirds…I personally will be looking for Sandhill Cranes which will have migrated to that area for winter…Hoping your day today is filled with wonder and wildlife, and you and Bridget have wonderful walks with the sun on your face and wind in your hair…ahhh freedom!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good morning, Shirlene…

      Your excitement is contagious! I haven’t had breakfast yet. I think I’ll make a bowl of cereal and take it outside. It’s windy today and sunny. I may have wind in my hair, too, right into my cereal… Haha!

      Thanks for the good wish for our day…. I look forward to hearing about your Salton Sea excursion!

      • Shirlene says:

        Hi Sue, I just had my bowl of cereal, no coffee this morning, trying to cut down, I will let you know if I get through the day without falling asleep at my keyboard…enjoy your cereal hair and all! Breathe in that clean air, it is good for the soul.

  49. Karyn says:

    You certainly never disappoint with your spectacular photos and description of the peaceful place you are.
    As I sit in my noisy cubicle…. so envious!!!!


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Karyn,

      You wrote on Friday and I’m replying on Saturday…. Hope you are out of that noisy cubicle and enjoying a relaxing weekend!

      Thank you for complimenting my photos and blog.

  50. Cinandjules (NY) says:

    Okay DeGin…..we are patiently awaiting to see how you’re doing!

    Know that you are in our thoughts! The next couple of days may be a bit rough, but you’re tough and you have so many Blogorinos behind you…wishing you a speedy recovery!

    • Pamela K. says:

      I, too, hope we hear from Des Gin sometime today. Wonder if they got her up and walking yet? I know they tend to do that the next day or so. When I had my C-section they had me walking the next day and that was over 30 years ago. I sure remember that, I cused like a sailor from the pain but I got through it 🙂 I worry about not hearing from her, hope she is doing fine. She has such high hopes for her recovery and new life. Very brave to have the op.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Yes, patients are “urged” to get up and moving soon. Ginger may be able to write us a message, but she might not feel like doing so. I wouldn’t worry. She’ll come back to us when she’s ready. 🙂

  51. Taranis says:

    Ms. Sue, you have made me a fan of the desert over the last couple of years of reading your blog and enjoying your photos. Simply beautiful!

    Great to see you back in serenity.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Taranis,

      Your phrase “over the last couple of years” has me reflecting on my experiences in the desert. When I came here shortly after picking up the BLT, my idea of desert was a flat, empty, thorny, dry and dusty place with creepy things lying in wait to inflict pain and death. Ha!

      I’ve become a fan of the desert along with you. 🙂

  52. Eliza says:

    Ms. Sue,
    Have you thought about going to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Angel Canyon, just outside of Kanub, Ut. Kanub is just over the line from Arizona. Best Friends is the most wonderful place in this country for animals. Have been there myself and have contributed to them for over 20 years. I believe you would certainly find your next crew member there.
    Stay well.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Eliza,

      Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve been to Best Friends in Kanab twice, each in separate years. You can see and read the post of the tour here.

      Photo Essay: Best Friends Animal Sanctuary Tour

      My second visit to Best Friends was after the death of Spike. I didn’t apply for a dog because I doubt I’d pass the adoption requirements, due to my lifestyle.

      I invite you to read my old posts. You can go back to the beginning at rvsueandcrew.com (not .net)

  53. Hi Sue! Loved your photos in this post–what a great variety of cactus in one place. We’ve found a really private camp in Tyson Wash LTVA about 2-3 miles south of Quartzsite. Jim & I watched a big motorhome stop at the top of the area we’re camping in & Jim cracked me up when he said “Move along, folks. We don’t need any clingers here.” They didn’t come into ‘our’ area & we remain blissfully private. The sunset was stunning tonight–I haven’t seen anything like it! BTW, we had breakfast at the laundromat this morning while we were doing our laundry. The food was good!

    Take good care, have fun & ear skritches for Miss Bridget.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Dawn,

      I’m glad you and Jim found a private camp where you can enjoy the warmth and beauty of Arizona. I know where Tyson Wash is… very handy to Big Q.

      Maybe the folks in the big motorhome saw your camp and said, “Nope, no good. We don’t want to be clingers on those people.” 🙂

      I had a sandwich at that laundromat’s restaurant… clever of them to combine the two services.

      You and Jim are having a fine journey!

  54. Biz Crate says:

    May I say what a warm and inviting place you have created here, Sue. Such a lovely place to sit, sip coffe and linger over breakfast or, as I am currently, sipping my evening glass of wine in my flannels and fuzzy slippers. I feel that I am polietly listening to bits of friendly chatter, strands of poetry, and admiring sunsets and sharing plans with dear friends.
    I feel that way even though I’ve never met any of you in person. There is a strong sense of welcome here. I appreciate Sue creating that for me.
    On a completely different note, I am excited about my trip to the RV Show tomorrow. My son-in-law seems facinated with my facination in RVs. He has been very helpful and speaks to me as a peer and not a crazy lady. He has earned a greater respect from me for that – actually I just love the guy and am very blessed to call him “son”. He and my daughter are happily joining in my excursion.
    I find myself waffling from C class to Bs and travel trailers and back to Cs again. I am looking forward to walking through a few and at least narrowing down my scope of possibilities. I took a look at a conversion plan site as suggested by Rusty. Rusty, thank you. But now I’ve discovered Skoolies and I want one of those, too!
    Wish me luck! I’m taking another step closer to making the dream reality!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Biz,

      I do wish you luck in choosing what is best for the way you want to RV. How wonderful that your daughter and her husband are sharing this experience with you. Have a great time at the show….

      I read your first paragraph with delight, as I’m very glad to know you feel the warmth and welcome of my blog. It’s a blessing to have such kind and loving readers and I’m happy you are now a part of this “community.”

  55. PookieBoy says:

    Sue, just found your blog 2 days ago and am still trying to read and catch up…..great reading and sorry to hear about your invasion of privacy but I know you will get through it OK…..
    keep up the good blogging for us shutins that cant get out and away from it all….and I know about your love for pets as I have for my Pookie and Lulu Chihuahuas..

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, PookieBoy,

      Welcome to my blog! I’m happy to have you with us, and thank you for reading my past posts.

      If you want to read the posts prior to June 2013, enter my blog via rvsueandcrew.com (not .net) in order to see the slide shows that accompany some of the posts.

      Here’s a link to the first post for anyone interested.

      Hugs to Pookie and Lulu… 🙂

  56. Kay Dattilio says:

    Good Morning, Everyone and esp. Sue!

    It is going to be warm today, (Thank goodness!) so need to do some yard work which will only consist of hauling the old Christmas tree down to our burn pile. I’m going to get some more bird food and wish they would stick around long enough for me to get some pictures! My birds are ordinary midwest type, but they sure are fat! Sue, love your pictures and blog and really enjoy reading what everyone else is doing. Weather, where do you live or is that a no no? I like your descriptions of where you are. Take care!

    Kay from KC!

    • weather says:

      Kay I live in central NY on the states largest lake within it’s borders,Oneida Lake.If you’re allowed to have a burn pile,I’m guessing you must be in a rural location,too.Are you?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Kay… It is fun to read “what everyone else is doing.” I appreciate those who take the time to share something of themselves here…. like you and your yard work. 🙂

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