Chewing the fat at Poverty Flats

Reggie and I meet “the regulars.”

They’re easy to spot, a bunch of guys standing next to an RV, laughing and chewing the fat. Over the past few days Reggie and I have met several of them.

Regulars are a valuable source of information.

When I spot regulars at a dispersed camping area such as this, I usually make an effort to meet them.  I don’t walk up when they’re in a group to introduce myself.  It’s better to meet them singly, like when out walking.

In this post I’ll share some of my conversations with two Poverty Flats regulars.

~ ~ ~

One guy has camped on this mesa overlooking Overton, Nevada, every winter for 31 years.

That’s how long Greg has lived full-time in one RV or another, first with his wife for a few precious years (“We went all over!”), and, since her passing, by himself.  He doesn’t stay at Poverty Flats for the entire winter, like several do.  Rather he uses it as a place to delay his journey southward for a few weeks, much like I’m doing.

“This is a good place to stop and wait for the weather to cool further south,” he says.  “I have to see my doctors in Yuma.  Lots of these guys stay the whole winter.  They like that there isn’t a time limit.  You can stay for six months, if you want.”

Greg is 79 years old and camps in a customized horse trailer (“The structure is solid!”) after going through several other types of rigs over the years. He tells me he still loves the full-time vagabond life.

Greg has a small motorcycle. 

He uses it to zip around the mesa to visit his buddies and to ride into town for groceries.

“I used to have a Harley, but it got to be too heavy.  This thing is half the weight.”

Greg informs me that trash can be disposed of at the wildlife management area, and water can be taken on and waste tanks emptied at the commercial RV park at Echo Bay (about 15 miles south of Poverty Flats).

~ ~ ~

Barry is an interesting fellow.

He full-times in a fifth-wheel, camping at Poverty Flats for the entire season.  This is his tenth winter on the mesa.

After the typical getting-to-know-you chatter, I ask him, “Where does one go to do laundry around here?  The laundromat in town is closed.”

“Yeah, they had to close it.  Couldn’t keep up with the vandals and thieves.  First they had to take out the candy vending machine.  Then they had to put up security cameras which were stolen.  They replaced them and then the cameras and the recorder were stolen.  After that, they gave up and closed the place.”

“What a shame.  Is there a drug problem in Overton?”

“Well, it’s right on the drug corridor that goes through Vegas.”

He pauses, recalling a personal experience.

“I used to ride my bike up on Mormon Mesa.  That was until I suspected drug activity going on.  Guys hanging around.  I decided it wasn’t a good place to ride a bike and stopped going up there.  Since then a guy was stabbed.”

Barry quickly reassures me, “Not here, no, not here.  It’s okay here.”

“So where does one go to wash clothes?”

“There’s a small laundry at the RV park at Echo Bay.  I leave here at daybreak to get the washers before it’s busy.”

Another day, while out walking, Reggie and I meet Barry again.

“Barry, I meant to ask you . . . . You stay here all winter.  How cold does it get?”

“Not too bad on the mesa.  The cold air settles in the valley.  It can be ten degrees warmer up here.”

“What’s the coldest temperature you get?”

“Well, last winter was mild.  We had one night that went down to 28 degrees. During the day it goes down into the 40s.”

~ ~ ~

“RVSue!  RVSue!”

“What is it, Reggie?  What are you so worked up about?”

“Stop talking so much, RVSue!  Show them the dogs that I met!”

“You’re right, Reg.   I should do that.  I don’t have photos of all of them, honey, but here are a few.”


~ ~ ~


~ ~ ~



NOTE:  I stayed out of comments under the previous post.  I left it up to you to keep the conversation going and you did a great job!  I enjoyed reading what you shared, as I’m sure did others.  Thank you very much!

Carry on, blogorinos!  New people, join in!  I’m going to take another break.  — Sue


Follow any of the links or ads you see on my blog and your Amazon purchases will send a commission which defrays the cost of presenting “RVSue and her canine crew.”


This is Cholla (CHOY-yuh).  Her owner found her in Mexico.


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77 Responses to Chewing the fat at Poverty Flats

  1. Karen LeMoine says:

    I’m first?!?!?!

    • Karen LeMoine says:

      I love seeing pics of Reggie’s friends! Its interesting hearing about fellow travelers you meet Sue. Weather sounds perfect. Hey do you think our man Reg needs a new brother or sister? 🙂 Enjoy the day.

    • Linda in MN says:

      No one said Congrats, so I will !!! Yes, you are first!

  2. Mary (CO) says:

    cholla is a beautiful dog! Interesting to know what types of dog she is. She is one lucky dog to be found!

  3. Kevin in CO says:


  4. Bruce says:


    • Linda in MN says:

      Not quite, looks like you are fourth! But I never make it in time to get closer than 20, so you did well!

  5. Chaunte Walker says:

    Hi Sue and Reggie!

  6. Lori S says:

    Reggie is so darn social! And I love Chollo’s coloring.

    That’s kind of scary about Mormon Mesa. If things are that bad, it’s a wonder they don’t come out to Poverty Flats. But if those guys go there every year, it must be okay. I’m NOT sharing information like this with family. They already think I’m “tetched” for wanting to be a full-timer. There was recent discussion on Vandwellers about what people do to stay safe. I think your biggest weapon is trusting your gut.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      NOTE TO ALL:

      Residents in sticks-and-bricks are often surrounded by drug dealers and users. Many just don’t realize it. One is just as safe living the full-time lifestyle! 🙂

      I hope we don’t have a conversation here about how to stay safe, i.e. putting men’s boots by the door, having a rig that will allow for a quick get-away, and all the other nonsense. Use common sense. RVing is safe. Over 5 years and I haven’t had any problems of that nature.

  7. Dawn in MI says:

    Thinking about staying longer up there on the Mesa? Sure is an interesting place. Love all the dogs too. As does Reggie I’m sure.

  8. Dawn in Asheville says:

    RV Sue’s a poet, and dinna even know it! Great post title!

    I enjoyed hearing about the regulars. I keep coming back to what I remember about RV’ing being such an experience of community (when you want it to be).

    Next week I go talk to the local office about pulling a permit for the carport – have found a place I like to put one of those metal jobs up. As long as I am allowed to build 6 feet from the property line, I should be good. I think initially I’ll just drive her up on pavers – but I have this idea, for the pad – using edging, the pavers for the tires and then filling in rubber mulch to keep it looking nice where the grass dies, but it won’t hold on to moisture like a wood mulch will. Just thinking out loud if anyone wants to chime in with opinions 🙂

    • Dawn in NC says:

      Hi Dawn, is the carport for a car or an RV? Don’t know much about installing one, so no opinion there. I LOVE Asheville. I went to school there a lifetime ago, before it became so revitilized downtown. I remember downtown as antique stores, coffee shops and hookers. It’s unrecognizable now, in a good way of course. Do you live in town?

      • Dawn in Asheville says:

        Hi Dawn in NC 🙂
        Yes, live in West Asheville across the river from downtown. It’s for an RV I just bought – a small one. Yes, Asheville HAS changed. Not the sleepy place it was twenty years ago. We lived closer to downtown then and I remember the hookers leaning on our front gate 🙂 Lots of stuff to do, now, although I admittedly don’t take advantage of those things much. Where did you go to school? I’m back at UNCA now – trying to get a degree, but still have a couple of years to go and not sure I can keep up the full-time pace and still work and pay bills!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Dawn in Asheville,

      I assume you want the rubber mulch as a less expensive ground cover than pavers. I’ve tried to think of any “cons” to the idea… Will the rubber give off an odor in hot weather? Other than that, I can’t see why it wouldn’t work.

      You could use railroad ties for edging to make a clean, straight line, maybe using the ties for flower beds on both sides…. Oh my, now I’m wanting to design your property for you! Ha!

      • Dawn in Asheville says:

        LOL – design away!

        Well, I decided concrete was too expensive, have to pull too many permits, have to get a concrete truck in there…and it’s permanent. Gravel is heavy, and I just didn’t like the idea of doing it myself or paying someone to do it. Besides you can’t remove it. I could just let the grass die there, but that would look yucky…so I thought of mulch. But of course wood mulch might create too much moisture, bugs under the truck…so I got the idea of rubber mulch. Easy on the feet, wouldn’t get too hot as it’s covered (no direct sun), doesn’t hold moisture easy to put in and easy to remove. Put in some pavers to drive up on and it should look nice and still protect the underside of the RV (maybe even deter critters? who knows).

        And, I like the idea of railroad ties – would contain the mulch better than edging. Should be easy enough to source…

  9. Pat from Mich. says:

    Cholla with her 4 white paws is a real cutie! Though not as cute as Reggie.

  10. Pat from Mich. says:

    Do they have electric available? I was thinking it might be cost effective for several to go in together and buy a washer even if only for the winter. You’d have to hang the clothes to dry.

  11. Pookie and Chuck in Todd Mission, Tx says:

    wow….you’re moving right along now….came into the house
    after a walk with the pups and there you are………thanks for
    another post for us………I always enjoy reading you…..
    PS>……I know you can take care of yourself…..I worry more
    about my wife driving the streets of Houston than I worry about

  12. LeeJ in Northern California says:

    Interesting that the Greg lives in a customized horse trailer. I have friends that camp with horses and do simple changes to facilitate their using it instead of a tent for a solid roof over their heads. Or have factory made horse/living quarter trailers. Solid built for sure! Which did Greg have? What size?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m sorry I don’t have the details on his trailer, LeeJ. He bought it used in FL, then had customizing done in OK and TX. I think he mentioned Elite Trailers.
      It’s a gooseneck type trailer, looks very nice, complete with awning over the large window.

      • Barbara from Camano Island says:

        Maybe Greg would let you take a picture of it. I don’t know if others would be interested but I know I would. I love when people do something different.

  13. Barbara (Nashville) says:

    Greg and Barry sure are full of knowledge on the area. Nice meeting guys like that. You are probably thinking about taking water and dumping the tanks right about now. Reggie’s new pals are a good-looking bunch.

  14. No stay limit??! That’s the kind of place I’m looking for; I’m tired of moving every 14 days or less. I’m going to have to check it out! Thanks Sue!

  15. Virginia620 (AL) says:

    Enjoyed the post and pics, as usual. 😊
    Home from our short excursion to Gulf Shores. Hubby loved his “Green Bike”. I enjoyed my 2-legged propelled bike. Couldn’t keep up with him at times. ☺

  16. Barb from Hoquiam! says:

    How interesting! I love hearing how everyone else does things…

    Sue, as you may remember we have a tremendous drug issue here in Grays Harbor. We fight it every day. You are correct. Many people live next door to it and don’t realize. I remember in Sandy Springs one of our ‘better families’ were busted, with a very extensive operation in their upscale home. The BMW’s and high life were all paid for with drug $.

    Love seeing that Reggie being the little social butterfly!

    Hugs from a WET Hoquiam,

  17. Cynthia from San Clemente says:

    Looking at the title of your post today, I became curious about the genesis of the expression “chewing the fat.” Wikipedia says the phrase may be attributable “to sailors, who during a period of resting and conversing, or while working together, would chew on salt-hardened fat … [or] from a practice by North American Indians or Inuit of chewing animal hides during their spare time, and even of British farmers chewing on smoked pork.” I dunno, just made me laugh thinking of you chewing on some salt-hardened fat with the guys from Poverty Flats.

    Loved the photos of Reggie with his furry friend – he is so gregarious!! Cholla is a pretty dog, and she looks like many of the strays in Mexico. Sometimes I wonder if they don’t have a little coyote in them.

  18. Velda says:

    Afternoon my traveling friend and Reggie.

  19. I can’t imagine staying in one spot for that long, but if so the desert would be the place I think. Smart to check in with the regulars, bummer about the drug activity taking out the laundry. I imagine Reggie learned a lot about the campground from his meet ups too 🙂 Cholla is a beauty.

  20. Great to know what’s going on the flats Sue,,, the next to the last photo looks like a light version of “Timber”, right down to the # 1 in the middle of the forehead,,,,, 😁,,,, have a great week and stay safe and give Reggieman a huge hug from us,,,, Rusty n Piper

  21. Lorne Green says:

    We spent some time at Stewarts Point last year. We drove by Poverty Flats a few times but didn’t stop. Great to see you and Reggie having such a good time.

  22. ApplegirlNY says:

    I love it when you give us a bit of the scoop from townies or regulars – cowboys, store clerks, fellow travelers, rangers, etc. People are so interesting and you really use them to help make your blog come alive.

    Too bad that the drug issues are everywhere, it seems, from our cities, to the suburbs, small towns and even the great wilderness, it appears.

    Glad Reggie insisted on having his new acquaintances mentioned as well. He’s such a social butterfly.

  23. Diann in MT says:

    Hola Cholla!
    Great pup pictures, Sue. Wonderful information about the Mesa and surrounding areas. You do such a great service for full timers and full time wannabes. Never quit, Girl!

  24. Renee Galligher - Idaho says:

    Hi Sue and Reggie,
    I always look forward to your posts. I’ve heard a lot about Poverty Flats and have seen photos. Some good, some bad, but since you’re stopping there it must be good. Also, using it as a stopover may be the better thing, I don’t know since I’ve never been there. It would be interesting to check it out on Campendium for the reviews. Take care.

    • Renee Galligher - Idaho says:

      When I looked up Poverty Flats, I quickly realized that I was thinking of that other place that a lot of transients stay (not to be confused with full timers and not meant in a bad way). Can’t remember the name of it. Poverty Flats actually looks pretty nice.

      • weather says:

        You may have been thinking of Slab City? If you want to see some photos of it you could type

        from the salton sea to slab city

        in the ” to search blog ” box, that’s in upper right side column of this page..

  25. Pamelab says:

    Hi, Sue and crew – More adventures – and on a mesa, at that. Looks like a dog is a must-have companion in some parts. I like the idea of being up on a mesa. Right now I’m under trees in a Houston RV Resort. Heading to a Boot Camp event put on by Escapees RV club. Hoping to learn a few new things and have my rig weighed. Thank you for your enjoyable blog.
    Happy Trails.
    Pamelab in Houston TX for now

  26. Nivrapa in AZ says:

    Howdy Everyone!

    It’s always a good thing to chat with the regulars and locals. They usually are happy to share their knowledge of the surrounding area. Having that information may expand your intrests of that camp and enhance your visit or perhaps keep you from having any regrets about the stay.

    Barry’s comment about the drug corridor sparked my memory of the time I camped overnight in the middle of a drug traffic route.

    Early in my years of becoming a ‘Zonie, I discovered Sycamore Canyon while checking out the ghost town of Ruby, west of Arivaca, AZ. It is beautiful, isolated, and peaceful there. I would make day trips to visit on days off during the winter months just to escape the stresses of urban life and a demanding job.

    On one particular weekend I decided to throw my tent and sleeping bag into the Jeep and stay overnight in the canyon, hoping to see the early morning wildlife that I knew frequented the area. I was rewarded by seeing my first ever bobcat in the wild crouched on a high ledge of the canyon wall. How thrilling and exciting for me! I could now add a big cat to the list of wild life I had discovered in the canyon such as deer, fox, coyote, turkeys, plus several other more common critters. The outing was uneventful, other than that sighting, and I came back to Tucson refreshed and my inner self batteries recharged.

    The next day at work a coworker asked me about my weekend and I proceeded to expound my trip. Before I could finish, I got one of the worst tongue lashings I had experienced in years. I can remember the horror on his face, his arms waving frantically, and the tone of his voice. “You did what? Camped where? By yourself?!” He went on and on in his tirade telling me I must have lost my mind and was only asking for an early demise by tempting danger with such a lack of caution. I had no idea what he was talking about until another coworker told me that Sycamore Canyon was a heavily used route for drug traffic from Mexico to Phoenix. I about fell to my knees upon learning that and still shudder to think of the huge risk I unknowingly took.

    The lesson I learned here was to make sure I know the reputation of an area before I set out to explore it. I was lucky that trip. I’ve grown wiser as a result of that experience. Even though there is a strong Border Patrol presence in those parts, I have sadly not been back to Sycamore Canyon since that time.—Audrey

    • Renee Galligher - Idaho says:

      You were very fortunate Audrey. The angels were looking out for you.

    • Elizabeth in WA says:

      Audrey…so glad you were safe!! Sometimes our angels protect us…but not a good idea to tempt it once we know what all goes on in an area…what a clever idea…druggies etc using a ghost town…makes sense tho’ doesn’t it??

  27. Dawn in NC says:

    So, I know that is out of the blue, but I have been thinking that I should have at least a one month food supply on hand in case of emergencies. My area was really affected a few months ago when the gas pipeline broke. Made me really think. Does anyone have a recommendation for those food prep companies that sell emergency supplies, or is that a ripoff and I should stick to canned goods. Sue, if you don’t like the topic, please feel free to delete. Thanks!

    • Diann in MT says:

      Hi, Dawn,
      Here is the company I use.
      Their food is always delicious and welcomed on pack trips, and I have a big supply in my little trailer for quick eats. Mind that they are more expensive than most companies, but packit’s food is more interesting than freeze dried lasagna etc.

      • BadgerRickInWis says:

        I can also recommend packitgourmet. Not always the cheapest option for dehydrated food. But the quality is great, excellent customer service and they avoid a lot of the chemicals and preservatives you sometimes find in other brands.

      • Cinandjules (da zone) says:

        Never heard of packitgourmet…..I’ll have to check into that! I personally like Mountain House. Some of it can be a little salty (we don’t eat a lot of salt) but they have low sodium recipes also. The shelf life is 30 years as long as you store them properly!
        Mountain house has an offer…try ANY of their entrees and they will send you a rebate. They also have single serving you can try each before you decide to stock up! We are picky and so far the only one I didn’t like was biscuits and gravy!
        Coming fro EQ country Caleefornia…we always had our supply stashed away for that rainy day!

        • Cinandjules (da zone) says:

          Back from the packitgourmet site….Oh my…way to crazy! I’m a simple girl…nothing fancy ’bout us!

    • Renee Galligher - Idaho says:

      Dawn, My daughter in law have friends that backpack camp, and they have a dehydrator, so they even dehydrate spaghetti sauce. If you have one and the time, that might be another idea.

    • Elizabeth in WA says:

      We have found a few fairly good items at Walmart…the one we found it at is ONLY a food Walmart…and it was Chicken Alfredo…gave to a friend having a hard time…makes quite a few meals for a reasonable price. We have lots of allergies, but if you can eat everything…you might want to hunt at a FOOD Walmart first… We always keep some canned beans of all kinds on hand too…you know refried beans cold from a can are not all that bad really…and any beans can be used to make a salad (us folks allergic to lettuce know that one…just add whatever else you like in a tossed salad to it)…of course, your baked beans type (hubby’s family never have eaten them hot…always cold). Also, some nice crackers of some sort to use with them…peanut butter etc (tho’ you might want it to be the more unhealthy kind so it can be kept awhile at room temp)…We found the best nut bars with chocolate at Costco…made by Kirkland (Costco brand) and not very high in sugars…filling and tasty…and of course, good ole granola bars…good for all sorts of needs.

  28. BadgerRickInWis says:

    Always enjoy learning about the neighborhood and the neighbors. Be they 2 footed, 4 footed or winged.

    Like others I really like the look of Cholla. Might be the perfect size travel dog. (Sorry Reg, you know you are perfect at being you. Right?) I’ll bet there might be a painful story behind how she got her name.

  29. weather says:

    Gosh, 28 degrees at night and days in the 40’s during what Barry considered a mild winter there? Without electricity plug ins the folks that stay there for the whole season must use generators to keep their heaters running a lot, unless they have massive solar panels, that weren’t mentioned or obvious in the photos. Even in a well insulated rig and without spending many hours outside of it one would need to be somewhat hardy to enjoy the coldest months of a normal winter there. I think it’s great that people find ways to stay there, be warm enough to still appreciate a gorgeous free camp and not be complaining the way some others would. As there are ways to dress and live to make the cold easy enough to beat I guess getting used to the noise of a generator would just be another adjustment in life. In any case, I admire those that have done what they needed to in order to be both thrifty and blessed with living there. They must find it really satisfying or at least nice enough or wouldn’t do it again the next year.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, weather,

      I looked up the average high and low monthly temperatures (averaged since 1948) for Overton, NV. and this is what I found for Jan – Dec.:

      Avg Max. Temp (F) 60.9 66.2 73.9 83.2 92.7 103.1 109.1 106.8 100.1 87.0 70.6 61.3 84.6
      Avg Min. Temp (F) 31.1 35.8 41.5 48.9 56.7 64.0 71.2 70.8 61.3 49.6 37.2 30.6 49.9

      Keep in mind that it can be up to 10 degrees warmer on the mesa.

      My post is misleading. I think what Barry meant was 28 degrees was the coldest (it probably didn’t last long) and highs in the 40s is the coldest during the winter, and again probably doesn’t last long (and it’s not a damp cold). Some folks may rely on a generator to run their furnace or they may have propane heaters.

      • weather says:

        Thanks, Sue, for your explanation and for looking up those averages. I have quite a different picture (a really nice one) now of what that would be like. Propane with those temps would last long enough to make using and refilling it reasonable. That’s something I, and most readers could do.

        So, hopefully, is seeing tonight’s super moon. It’s the closest it’s been since 1948 and with only a few clouds here was visible and gorgeous…I hope you catch a glimpse of it ,too, and have a wonderful n’nite.

        • Elizabeth in WA says:

          Heh…well, Weather…and Sue…maybe Sue needs at least one or 2 more dogs…isn’t that part of a 3 dog night?? Doggies are warm little critters…seems that might help in the cold too!!

          • Oh gosh, now I’m singing Three Dog Night songs .. well I’ve never been to heaven, but I’ve been to Oklahoma … Actually, I’ve never been to Oklahoma but many times and places in life seem like heaven. Rock on! 🙂

          • weather says:

            Hi, Elizabeth, I know you long to be able to have a dog of your own again. I hope somehow that works out for you, so your place and heart will be warmed until it feels just right, too.

  30. Lee J in northern California says:

    Thanks for the I formation, elite does indeed make very nice living.quarter trailer (s). What a cool idea for.someone hauling extra goodies
    We used to haul my husband’s Honda trail 90 in the horse trailer, I rode the horse and he rode his ‘putt’!

  31. Sunny says:

    Awe, Nice dog that person found in Mexico. I wonder if it was a stray or do they have animal rescues there like we do in the states? Anyway I am developing a new appreciation for larger dogs. especially as companions for RV’ers. My boxer, Sasha should be pretty good sized when she is full grown. She is 6 mo old now and we have a real special bond. I am really enjoying her!
    Nice to hear that Overton is a relatively safe place. Might be worth a visit for me in the future. I’m adding it to my list 🙂

  32. Denise - Richmond VA says:


  33. Cst Lady, Central. La. says:

    11-15-2016: Happy Birthday, Rusty.

    Hope you have a wonderful day and a happy and prosperous birthday year.
    Getting your own home is a first start. Hugs to Lady Piper. Take care, Rusty.
    We care a lot about you two.

  34. Cinandjules (da zone) says:

    Happy Birthday Rusty. Have a wonderful day!

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