Flying against the wind, lounging in the sun

Wednesday, November 11 (continued)

P1080381Turtle Mountain Road, looking toward Route 95 and the Sawtooth Range, CA

When in doubt, get out.

The crew and I ride the Perfect Tow Vehicle about a mile on Turtle Mountain Road from Route 95.  We come upon a short loop to the left.  Unsure whether it’s okay to drive on the loop (I see vehicle tracks but that doesn’t mean it’s okay), the three of us walk to see what’s there.

The loop is shaped like a teardrop.

At the furthest from the road is the widest part of the teardrop.   It’s an area of desert pavement with no vegetation, an area large enough for three rigs of friends.  The existence of a fire ring tells me it’s an established campsite.  I estimate the distance from the campsite to Turtle Mountain Road to be less than 100 feet.

Hmm. . . . This is a good spot. It’s level and easy to access.   Let’s see . . . How should I position the Best Little Trailer in this wind?  And where does the sun come up and go down?  Uh-oh.  There’s a cholla over there.  Don’t want the pups near that.

P1080432Turtle Mountain Road on the left, a wide wash parallel on the right

Soon I have a general idea of what I want to do.

Bridget, Reggie, and I walk the rest of the way around the teardrop lane and return to the PTV.

Instead of parking on the desert pavement right next to the fire ring and that treacherous cholla cactus, I drive further around the teardrop lane and stop.  This points the nose of the PTV to the north and into the wind.  I don’t want wind hitting us broadside.  The door of our home faces east (I like to step out to sunshine, rather than shade, in the morning).

With this position, our “sitting room” will be at the back of the BLT where we are protected from the wind.  The rays of the sun, as it crosses the southern sky, will warm the doggie beds and my lounger.

P1080390Before setting up camp, I want to satisfy my curiosity.

“C’mon, let’s walk further up the road.”

P1080394As we walk, the road bed soon becomes very soft with — I’m not sure what to call it — a combination of coarse sand and loose gravel.   If I squiggle my feet they sink down until covered higher than my ankles.  I don’t want to drive in this.  We’ll take that campsite we’re in.  It’s far enough away from the main road . . .

Another campsite is off to the left.

This campsite is bigger that the first one.  You have to drive through the section of soft road to get to it (which a Class C did the next day, arriving late in the day and leaving early the next morning).

Gee, this wind is really strong.  We’d better go back and set up camp.

“Do you need a little rest first, honey?”

Bridget sits down in the road.  I don’t annoy her by trying to take a photo.

Instead I look up at the very large palo verde beside the road.

Have you ever looked at something and been stunned because it defies what your life’s experiences have taught you is the normal way of things?  Something that seems to go against the laws of physics?  Something that can’t be happening, but, golly, there it is, happening right in front of you?

Well, that’s the way it is with these butterflies flying against the wind.

P1080400 In the photo it looks like a calm day.

It’s not. 

It’s a hold-onto-your-hat-or-it-will-blow-away kind of windy day.  It’s wind that makes you bend your head down as you walk into it.

“Would you look at those little things!  How can they do that!  It’s a wonder this wind doesn’t tear them apart or blow them away!”

They’re really high up, flying toward the top of the tree.  The light is such that I can’t see them with my camera.  I take some shots in the general direction and hope I got lucky.

P1080397On our return to the new camp, I reflect on what I just witnessed.

Those butterflies, as light and fragile as they are, relentlessly fight this strong wind, a wind that drives me indoors.  The next time I’m discouraged about something and feel like giving up, if my purpose is good and true,  I’ll remember those butterflies flying against the wind.

P1080398Thursday, November 12 – Saturday, November 14

After a breezy Thursday, the days are warm, sunny, and calm.  I read, work on this blog, walk the crew, lounge in the sunshine, and simply enjoy the solitude of this desert camp.

In addition to the Class C, three vehicles pass our camp, one per day.  The last person lays on his horn as he races his truck down Turtle Mountain Road.

I take it he approves of our boondock!

P1080443rvsue

NOTE:  Today, as I post this on Sunday, November 15, is Rusty’s birthday.  Happy Birthday, Rusty!  I wish you and Lady Piper a wonderful year!

 THANK YOU FOR GOING TO AMAZON FROM MY BLOG!

I appreciate you doing your holiday shopping at Amazon from here.  The links below show a sample of what readers ordered recently.

Grip ‘n Grab
Spruce Tree, Hinged
Mrs Santa Claus [VHS]
7-in-1 Film to Digital Converter
LeapFrog Learn and Groove Music Player
Keurig Rivo Cappuccino and Latte System

P1080439-002The Desert Princess

CLICK LINK TO SHOP AMAZON NOW!

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179 Responses to Flying against the wind, lounging in the sun

  1. Sidewinder Pen says:

    Happy Birthday, Rusty!

  2. Suzi in MD says:

    🙂

  3. Chris says:

    First?

  4. Nice campsite! And the butterflies….. It’s amazing what they can do. I’m always surprised and humbled by the Monarchs that travel so far in their migration. Good pictures 🙂

  5. Sue says:

    I think I’m first!!

  6. Sidewinder Pen says:

    PS: I got a laugh out of the link to “Spruce tree, hinged” in the shopping links. I got this vision of narrow boondocking roads where the branches just conveniently *fold* back out of the way 😀 😀

  7. Monarchs on the way to Mexico. Mexico reports there are going to have more than normal this year.

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      How neat for Sue to be in the path of the migration. It does boggle the mind how they can fly in strong winds. Pretty amazing. I also like how vibrant they look in the desert, with their strong colors.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        It’s one thing to know about butterflies and their long migration. It’s another thing to see the way the fight against wind. Unbelievable.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Charlene… Good to see you here again.

      Well, that’s some news that’s happy to contemplate… nice for a change!

    • edlfrey says:

      I was not sure that the pictures that Sue took showed monarchs or not but have convinced myself that they are. However, rather than migrating to Mexico these monarchs have most likely come from west of the Rocky Mountains and are going to the California Pacific coast.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        And what makes you say that, Ed? I’m not questioning whether you are right. I’m interested in how you know. Are migration routes posted online?

        • edlfrey says:

          Yes, there are a lot of migration maps that show that migration pattern. There is also this web site that discusses the migration. http://www.monarch-butterfly.com/monarch-migration.html

          “The monarch butterflies will spend their winter hibernation in Mexico and some parts of Southern California where it is warm all year long. If the monarch lives in the Eastern states, usually east of the Rocky Mountains, it will migrate to Mexico and hibernate in oyamel fir trees. If the monarch butterfly lives west of the Rocky Mountains, then it will hibernate in and around Pacific Grove, California in eucalyptus trees. Monarch butterflies use the very same trees each and every year when they migrate, which seems odd because they aren’t the same butterflies that were there last year. These are the new fourth generation of monarch butterflies, so how do they know which trees are the right ones to hibernate in? Monarch butterflies are the only insect that migrates to a warmer climate that is 2,500 miles away each year.”

  8. Pookie in SE Texas says:

    happy birthday Rusty….good to see ya still kickin..
    chuck

  9. Beautiful pictures of the butterflies. It is so amazing how far they fly to migrate.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Allison,

      Thank you. Those are lucky photos. Of course, I have a photo collection of palo verde branches and blue sky to go along with them!

  10. Pookie in SE Texas says:

    I must say you sure snook this post in on me….didnt expect to find another
    one posted so soon…..HA! but then again Im slow…
    those butterflys are amazing arent they………..I wish they would
    fly over the house here……but Im lucky to have some hummingbirds
    every now and then…
    chuck

  11. Marilu from Northern California says:

    Hi Sue and Pups,
    It looks like you found a good spot to wait out the wind. Do you think the butterflies monarchs on their way to Mexico for the winter? If our storm from this morning is heading your way you’ll be getting some more wind and very chilly temperatures.
    Rusty, Happy Birthday! Do you realize how much you add to this blog?? I neglected to thank you for your service on Veterans Day but I guess we should thank our vets every day. Thank you Rusty and thank you Lady Piper for taking care of Rusty.

    • Piper n' Rusty in Az.... says:

      Thank you Marilu

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Marilu,

      According to Charlene (above), the monarchs are on their way to Mexico in large numbers.

      Lots of interesting clouds in the sky today, some gray, and the desert had a sprinkle of rain. Yes, cold and wind on the way, too close for us to make a run for it. We’ll hunker down. With my Paperwhite and internet, I won’t run out of books to read.

      Good reminder about being thankful to vets all the time…

      • Rita from Phoenix says:

        One year we were near Blythe on I-10 when we encounter a cloud of Monarchs heading south. We immediately slowed to a crawl but you could see horrible scene of dead Monarchs hit by trucks and cars and the road was slick, like lice, with the dead Monarchs…it was so sad to see. Our kids were very upset so we stopped and a few other cars stopped as well. It took nearly four hours for the cloud to disappear.

  12. wildflower in prescott says:

    Happy birthday Rusty!

    ??????

    • Piper n' Rusty in Az.... says:

      Thank You Wild Flower,,,, I hear you might get Snow up there in P V

      • wildflower in prescott says:

        Woke up to 5″ of snow this morning, Rusty. School is delayed 2 hours due to icy roads. I read that the weather will get really messy east of here, so stay safe out there all you Easterners!

        • L. P. n' Rusty / Az. says:

          Wild Flower,,, my friend in Chino Valley called yesterday to wish me a Happy B day and that their in for “snow” Sunday Night,, that’s how I knew,,, drive slow, use your transmission of lower gears to slow you down and use your brakes lightly to stop,, I used to drive 55 miles on solid Ice twice a day up in the PNW in central Washington, from Trout Lake to White Salmon near the Columbia River,,,,,,

          • L. P. n' Rusty / Az. says:

            Oh and there are road signs depicting that there will be Snow mobiles on the roads in the Winter,,,Berrrr

          • kgdan from Wapato, WA says:

            Oh, you must have been close to one of my favorite campgrounds at Lake Tahklahk. Happy Birthday, Rusty!

            • L. P. n' Rusty / Az. says:

              Thank you Kgdan from Mt Adams, (Wapato),, Right?

            • L. P. n' Rusty / Az. says:

              When it snows on Mt. Adams ,, one can see from Glenwood the U S A on the back side of the mountain,,,,,,,,,

            • kgdan lvg Wapato,WA says:

              I didn’t know that! I will be sure to check next time we camp up there.

            • L. P. n' Rusty / Az. says:

              A Yakima native pointed it out to me, he lives on the Res.,,, check it out, for sure and there’s good fishing’ on bench lake, $5 to camp n’ fish per day,,,,,,, rusty

  13. Dawn says:

    Thanks for sharing about the butterflies…a metaphor to take to heart.

  14. Laura says:

    Someone may have already addressed this and if they have. please forgive my missing this in all the comments… but.. what is this? “Uh-oh. There’s a cholla over there. Don’t want the pups near that.” What is a Cholla? And how would it effect your precious pups if they got near them/it? Also, never ever ever change your recipe for writing to all of “us” out here in the “real world” I love how you take the time to include everyone in your day to day activities and of things that interest you and I also love the fact that you request your privacy and you keep you and your lovelies ( your furbabies) as protected from the public eyes as you can! I have the upmost respect for you! Huggles from Laura Ours aka Zolwena

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Laura… I can’t write much at the moment… Just want to point out to you that there is a cholla cactus link in this post.

      Here’s another post about cholla and the poor pup who got too close to one:

      Canine Calamities

      If you don’t feel like reading the entire story, you can see cholla in the first photo of that post.

      Thank you for your kind words. 🙂

      LATER….. I’m sorry about the rushed answer above. I wanted to catch the sunset, the first really orange one since we’ve moved to the desert.

      I want you to know I appreciate what you expressed about my blog and about me. Lots of times I question whether I’m “shaping” this blog to suit what people really want to see and read about. I realize it can’t be all things to all people, but as long as there are readers who tell me to stick to the “recipe,” that’s what I’ll do. As for your support of me and my efforts to be true to myself, gosh, you don’t know what a balm to my spirit your words are.

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      Hi Laura,

      A cholla (pronounced “choyuh”) is a shrub/tree type plant. It looks all soft and fluffy, BUT, the fluffy branch tips are actually balls of really nasty spines. They go in easily and come out hard. Can cause infections, etc.

      Even worse, the balls (or whatever they are actually called) drop off onto the ground, and then seemingly “leap” onto you and get stuck on you (the whole nasty ball). Then the spines dig in. Like velcro and spines combined.

      It’s like a field full of porcupines for dogs…. nasty.

  15. Jolene/Iowa says:

    Nice place Sue. Love the butterflies. Happy Birthday Rusty!!

  16. Linda Hughes North Carolina says:

    Hi RV Sue, this post is about what I was thinking of after I posted in the last blog. The wind…..I was wondering how the BLT does in gusty, hard wind. We were in the NC mountains over the weekend at a festival with our woodwork and the wind gusted so hard it blew tents over and other items over. We have an older travel trailer but it is built heavy, we don’t want to pull it when we full time. The plan is to get a small 17-19 ft. lightweight rv. Have you ever been kind of worried driving or parked with high winds? Miss B is so cute the way she sits wherever and whenever she wants to and waits on you and Reggie Man to explore the area and then she heads back to the BLT! Got to love that sweet little lady, hugs to the Crew and happy camping to you!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Linda,

      I’m sorry your festival was bombarded with high winds. I don’t know much about camping in a tent. I imagine having yours blown over and then trying to put it back up in wind is not what you had in mind when you set out for the mountains.

      To answer your questions: I haven’t driven in much wind over the past four years because, as you know, I avoid that. The few times I’ve been caught in gusts and wind, I wasn’t worried about handling the PTV or how the BLT would behave behind us. What is worrisome is how other vehicles behave. On the way to Needles… Two instances of vehicles coming into our lane because we were in the south side lane and the wind was broadside coming from the north.

      At Cedar Pocket we had a night of powerful and gusting wind coming through the canyon. A few times it felt like the BLT was lifted off the ground. It rocked side to side a lot (as we were positioned sideways to the wind due to the way the pull-through is) and there was much howling and such. I don’t know why it didn’t scare me. I kind of liked all the commotion.

      Re your plan to full-time in an RV 17-19 feet long, make sure you have an anti-sway bar if you buy a travel trailer. Many trailers are shaped with aerodynamics in mind. The only time I’ve witnessed a travel trailer with bad sway was on an interstate and the driver was going way too fast. Speed no higher than 60 mph is my rule. In CA the limit for towing is 55 mph, a good rule.

      Good luck with your plans! Happy camping to you, too!

  17. weather says:

    Such a beautiful post Sue, I so enjoy it when you’re in a contemplative mood and share where your drifting thoughts take you then. I read what you write at such times ,and relate to every word as I realize again what an amazing writer and person you are.

    Yes,I have seen things that can’t be happening yet are-right in front of and around me,though I rarely mention them here.Thank you for letting me watch what that one did for and gave to you. Business as usual would diminish something that fine so I’m not going to mention the other parts of or photos in your post other to say you have my applause,as always.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, weather. Thank you for appreciating my post. I’m not that satisfied with my “drifting thoughts.” As I walked the crew away from the butterfly tree, I mentally composed a rough draft for a post. Of course when I go to type it up, where did they all those fantastic descriptions and insights go? Ha!

      I know what you mean about not mentioning that which is best treasured privately.

      I imagine you’re playing around with your T@B. I assume it is on your property where you can go to it any time you want. I thought of that when you asked about using the stabilizer jacks.

      Thanks again for the encouragement!

      • weather says:

        The butterflies demonstrating that some things ahead are worth whatever it takes to get there,and the discussion about what makes placement of an RV the right one-lay of the land,view ,etc. all help explain why my T@B isn’t on this property.This front yard has a paved road in front of it,this backyard is on top of a cliff and the beach is below -not reachable by a vehicle.

        Wanting what’s in the moment and ahead to be all that’s felt in my new tiny home,and wanting what I see around it to be the lake and glory of it’s gifts I put it on a place five miles from here where there’s no cliff or anything else between it and the water.

        Yes,I can go to it any time I want,and do play around with it. I make it more home than this place each time I do that,needed to for reasons I’m sure you understand.I want to fly away from here on my way to a world,purpose and life rather than away from anything.The best of here is in me,always will be,the rest doesn’t matter because it’s only physical.Your wanting to feel the winds effects so not needing stabilizers built by human hands-perfect-I feel the same way 🙂

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          That’s neat, weather! Your T@B is in a place where you can have fun preparing and pretending — playing house-on-wheels!

          Great message within your message — “The best of here is in me.” That “best” goes with you everywhere! Whether buffeted by winds or soothed by calm, have a wonderful day…

        • Sidewinder Pen says:

          That’s a nice way to look at it, weather. I was kind of “squeezed out” of my childhood home/family land, and it has bothered me ever since, because it was really “me.” I’m sure it still will, but after reading your comment I will try to think of it through your point of view as well.

          • weather says:

            Gosh,it’s hard for me to imagine you in one permanent location because you’ve been to so many in boats and RVs.What about that place was really you,Pen?

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              Well it had been in our family for generations, and I grew up spending summers there (and loved it). Also my Mom valued it highly and moved there as soon as she could, and I was the only one of my generation who also liked that sort of lifestyle (cabin in the woods). So I spent a lot of time there too, and had just always “known” it would be where I would end up. But it didn’t turn out that way (all relatives are not good relatives… ahem….) I guess that’s part of why I travel now. I mean, I do love traveling (always have, ever since I was a kid), but also I don’t know of any other place (yet?) that would really feel homey. But who knows what the future may bring….

            • weather says:

              Oh Pen,what an awful disappointment,I’m sorry that happened.I imagine a cabin in the woods would be a good fit for someone that loves nature as much as you do.As talented as you are with making things work I think you when you decide to make any dwelling really feel homey ,it will.Love your last sentence 🙂

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              Thanks, weather

    • weather says:

      Good morning, Sue, thank you for your note yesterday, I did have a wonderful day.I managed to wrestle the table that came with the T@B into the jeep to store it for now.It’s bigger than I need and awkward to get around so I’m using an end table from the house instead.Lighter because it’s made of wood,has sides on hinges that can be pulled up to make it larger when need be,antique so it’s well built and sturdy,and bonus,I already own it so no expense is involved.Your using the space across from where you three sleep as storage was a great idea. I like all the practical solutions you use to make a small home work.I hope yours and the beautiful setting it’s in help you have a bright day.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Good morning, weather! Isn’t it fun coming up with ways to make your home more suitable for you and how you want to live? Your table with the leaves that lift up is a great idea, and with no additional expense. 🙂

        • weather says:

          Yes,it really is fun 🙂 !Thanks for taking the time to reply on your busy morning.Whoo-hoo!Moving day-may the wind be light and road be gentle. Until we catch up with each other when you’re able to be on here next enjoy and take good care of yourself.

        • Sidewinder Pen says:

          Agreed with both! It’s fun modding a space to be “your own” – and I like your table idea. I have used wooden “TV trays” in the past but your antique version with leaves sounds just perfect! More visual and walk-around space, plus easy to move table to where you want it.

  18. MollyLuvsRoadtrippin (Seattle) says:

    Hi Sue – I especially appreciated your notes on positioning your camp in this post. Such good information for us newbies about taking the morning sun, the day time warmth, the hazards and the wind all into account when you park and set up your outdoor room. I admit I might otherwise be too wowed with a view to consider these other campsite comforts. Thank you for your wonderful blog! The banner photo at the top is just dreamy.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Molly, and thanks for the nice note.

      I didn’t always consider so many elements when positioning the BLT. At first it’s enough to park it where you intend to! Over time one develops preferences, like placing the door to the morning sun. Your feedback is very helpful. I almost didn’t bother explaining all that stuff.

      That header photo was taken at KOFA Wildlife Refuge between Quartzsite and Yuma.

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      I always enjoy the thinking about which way to face at a camp (I bet Sue does too 🙂 ). As Sue points out, there are various things to consider. I don’t have a trailer (I have a Class C), but some things I think about:

      Sun: Is it summer and I want shade, especially afternoon? Or maybe it’s winter and I want sun to stream in the windows early to warm the place up for free. Also: will sun hit the refrigerator wall, etc. etc.

      Also, with rooftop solar panels (I set portables out, but have camped with folks who have rooftop panels on the camping unit), how will they face or tilt?

      Then of course there is the scenery and views (and/or things you don’t want to see, such as neighbors, washed out night sky due to nearby town, etc.).

      With the wind, sometimes its key to choose certain sites. For example, in the area where I tend to camp in winter, north wind is the prevailing direction. ATV’s inevitably go by, spewing dust, so I like to camp on the north side of the road, if possible.

      Then too, I like to position things so it would not be too hard to head out, were it to become necessary in a hurry (fire, flash flood). That’s not a big consideration (because it doesn’t take that long to turn around), but tends to keep me from, say, burying the nose of my rig in a small spot requiring lots of backing and filling. Related to this is “what would happen to the road out of here if there were a flash flood?” Again, not something that’s going to happen every day (or even without general warning, because although they are flash floods, often the rains that bring them are predicted – although perhaps not always).

      What’s right outside the door? Mud? A big pointy rock I can’t move?

      And of course one can’t forget to try to place the bedside window for good night-sky viewing 🙂 Ahhhh.

      I enjoy the “strategizing” in setting up a new camp. Seems like Sue does too (and where do you think I picked up many tips, after all 😀 😀 )

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        I do love it, Pen. It’s one of my favorite things about boondocking. You have so many choices. And you mentioned a lot of things to consider. I always make sure the area in front of the doorstep is flat and without a rock or stump, and also the place where I want to put down the blue mat…

        Shade, possible mud, things to trip over, stuff Reggie’s tether will get hung up on, oh, and rodent holes! We mustn’t leave out those!

        In bad signal areas I have to make sure I can put up the antenna. And sometimes I actually consider what will make a good photo of our camp!

        • MollyLuvsRoadtrippin (Seattle) says:

          Loving ALL these tips from you both – I’m setting off for some unintended storm chasing this very day. : )

        • Sidewinder Pen says:

          Oh, how did I forget the signal check. Duh!

          Some people like to “permanently” nest in one place (and I do too, sometimes); but this way one can “re-nest” and strategize repeatedly. Is fun.

  19. weather says:

    Happy Birthday,Rusty !

  20. Val R. Lakefield On says:

    Happy Birthday Rusty ?
    Amazing shot of the Monarch…There is a program up here “Pledge to help the Monarch butterfly” I joined & have milkweed seeds in the freezer to plant this spring. It was plentiful in the past here, but so many people cut everything down to make their country home look like the city. Sad to know their numbers are in such decline.
    I am enjoying all your posts and pictures. Enjoy your new camp.

    • Piper n' Rusty in Az.... says:

      Thank you Val

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Val R.,

      “people cut everything down to make their country home look like the city”… That is so true all over! Kudos to you for your work on behalf of the Monarchs. Thanks for the compliment on my photos. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  21. Chey (WA coast) says:

    Useful article about the cholla cactus. Did anyone notice it was penned by A.R. Royo?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      No, I didn’t. You are observant, Chey!

      Okay, now you have me trying to come up with pseudonyms for the cholla article… Hmm . . . . by U.B. Ware….. by I. M. Sharp… 🙂

  22. Great shots of the butterflies, they are amazing little creatures. Very nice photo of the Desert Princess too!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, Linda. I’m happy you enjoyed the photos. I should have captioned the last one… The Desert Monarch

  23. Utah Bonnie says:

    I really enjoy your descriptions of positioning the BLT in a new camp. You point out practical things that I probably wouldn’t think about but make a difference to the overall experience for you and the crew. Chollo avoidance is a sound practice and one that my dog and I undertake after learning the hard way. I swear those fuzzy spines jump off and grab your legs if you’re even within two feet away!

    I loved the butterfly photos and they will serve as inspiration next time life throws a head wind my way as life often does. I just downloaded “Party of One, A Loners Manifesto”. I went back to your earlier blog posts where you recommended it and it appealed to my introverted nature. I really get the “being drained” while being with other people but I still crave some social interaction occasionally but it lessens with each year that goes by so 2016 is feeling like the year to launch the RV life. Thanks for being a resource and inspiration.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Bonnie . . . I hope 2016 is one of the best of your life, whatever you make it to be!

      I’m sorry you and your dog had a close encounter with cholla. Fortunately, there aren’t many here.

      I recommend the Party of One book for introverts and loners as it affirms that we are complete, mentally healthy individuals with oodles of good qualities and important strengths. Of course I’m talking about true loners by nature, not people who become loners through mental disability. It’s a shame that semantics lump us into one category. Being a loner is a good thing. I’m glad I’m one. Anyway….

      The first two chapters are great and then IMHO it goes downhill from there. Even so, those two chapters are worth it if they speak to who you are.

  24. Norman in San Diego says:

    Hi Sue,

    Welcome back to California. Chilly and raining here in San Diego. Don’t you just love the desert? A little warm in August but now it is perfect.

    Have a wonderful peaceful week as tomorrow it is back to work and back to the traffic for us working Californians. Have a good week.

    Norman 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Norman,

      Thank you for that nice welcome to CA and the wish for the coming week. My heart goes out to you — traffic and work, oh my. I hope you encounter no delays on the road and everything moves smoothly on the job.

      Yes, I love the desert and I love sharing it with you!

  25. Chris B - Southern California says:

    Happy Birthday, Rusty! It’s also my son’s birthday.

    Sue – I guess sometimes the desert isn’t so bad. I’m a mountain person but when you talk about it being quiet and enjoying your solitude in the desert, it made me realize that it’s a whole different feeling from being in the woods. A different vibe. I guess that it’s about time for a trip to the desert!

    Chris B

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Chris B.,

      I had to laugh at your beginning statement to me “the desert isn’t so bad,” like it’s some horrible cough medicine that Granny forces you to choke down and you know is going to make you sicker.

      Oh me, oh my.

      There is a “different vibe” alone in the desert compared with alone in the woods. For one thing, the sense of being completely alone in an immense expanse of flat land where the sky is a dome all around you, the air so fresh like it was created this morning, the colors soft and subtle, the textures hard, crunchy, spiny, painful…

      You’ve been to the desert. Maybe not in the middle of a gazillion billion trillion vacant acres, but . . . .

      Happy birthday to your son!

  26. Cinandjules (NY) says:

    Okay…how does one tell the difference between Turtle Mt road and a wide wash?

    Wow! You’ve got a keen eye! Quicksand!!!!!! ?

    Nice thoughts about the butterflies!

    Happy Birthday greetings and wishes to Rusty. May you have many many many more years of health and happiness!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cinandjules,

      How to tell the difference between a road and a wash. Basically you can see the difference that one is made by humans and the other is made by nature.

      If the dadburn idiots would keep their vehicles on the road and out of the wash which is prohibited, you could tell a wash by its pristine sand.

      A road is to a wash as a sidewalk is to a deer path. Get it?

      • Cinandjules (NY) says:

        Okay I scrolled back up to look at it TWICE!

        Once again…wow you have a keen eye!

        Seriously, if you took the photo in the opposite direction..I couldn’t tell you that Turtle mt road was on the right and the wash on the left.

        My butt better stick to the paved roads! City girl turned country bumpkin gets lost in the desert….details at 11. Claims she was following page 14 of the Benchmark map when she mistook a wash for the dotted red lined road. Oy!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          You silly thang… You would be able to tell the difference in person. A wash has sticks and dead plants (and, I’m sad to say, often trash) that has been washed up against cutbanks and trees and shrubs that grow on its edges.

    • Piper n' Rusty in Az.... says:

      Thanks Cindy and Jules an A. O.

      • Piper n' Rusty in Az.... says:

        I’m watching a new Birth day movie gift I got for myself and it’s great so far,,, “Interstellar” with Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine,,,,,,,,,

  27. Pat K, Bulverde, Texas says:

    Happy birthday, Rusty! 🙂 Pat in Bulverde Tx

  28. As #75 I want to wish Rusty a very happy birthday with many more happy days to follow! ??????????????????
    So glad you have found a spot that is just right! Not too big, not too small, not too crowded but just right for Sue and Crew! ????

  29. BadgerRickInWis says:

    Yet another lesson from butterflies and you. Two of my favorite teachers.

    Happy Birthday Rusty, it’s late as I type this but I hope you had a great special day.

  30. Larry in AR says:

    I had wondered about how your pups and the prickly things out west got along. I don’t remember your mentioning it before. I have never been west of the the Ozarks (where I live) but what I don’t have to pick sandburs or cacti thorns from my pooch’s paws. I do try to be careful, but he’s a lot like Reggie–full speed ahead, no fear, I’ve got to see what’s beyond the next bush. Sometimes it’s a chore because he’s sort of persnickity about his paws. Last summer in Ridgeway State Park in CO, he got a ball of thorns stuck in his paw, and when I tried to remove it, he growled and snapped at me. I finally let him sit and chew them out on his own, although it was painful to watch.

    Did I ever tell you that I enjoy your blog? I guess you know that, else I wouldn’t keep coming back to read it.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      And I’m happy you do keep coming back, Larry in AR. 🙂

      I’ll make a guess here — Your dog is bigger than Reggie, the kind that bounds around… Poor thing suffered for his enthusiasm.

      Reggie picked up something in his back paw and I was relieved to see him stop, lift up the hurting paw, and wait for me to help him. Spike used to do the same thing. As for Bridget, she has this uncanny ability to know where to place her paws so she’s not discomfited at all. I’m trying to remember if she ever had something stuck in her paw… I don’t think so.

      I guess what I’m saying is a lot depends upon the nature of the dog. 🙂

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      Okay, I want to know how you have been to Ridgeway, CO, but have never been west of the Ozarks….? 😀 😀

  31. Deena from Peoria AZ says:

    Sue, thanks for the butterflies, we watch them in our purple sage in the backyard, they are wonderful as are you and the Crew.

    Happy Birthday Dear Rusty, may it be filled with awe and funfilled moments with Lady Piper.

    Deena, family and Miss Mollie

    • Piper n' Rusty in Az.... says:

      Thank you Deena,,,,,, Last night after going to bed, Lady Piper jumped up and laid next to me for bit, but then she tried to get down by my feet and that wasn’t going to work, so she jumped down and sleep in her bed,,, She’s a big puppy,, She’s up in my bed now chewing on her Teddy,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Deena… Purple sage… All the sage I’ve seen is a dusty bluish-greenish-gray. Where does one find sage that’s purple? (Other than in your backyard, that is.. )

      • edlfrey says:

        Sue,

        Purple Sage is somewhat a catchall name for many sages and comes from Zane Grey’s novel Riders of the Purple Sage, set in Utah. You have seen a lot of Artemisia tridentata, the sage all over northern NV, southern UT and southeastern OR. That was Grey’s purple sage.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I read Riders of the Purple Sage and wondered why I hadn’t seen any sage that is purple. It makes for a poetic phrase (better than Riders of the Green Sage), not very accurate though!

  32. Pam and Maya says:

    Happy Birthday Rusty, hope you and Lady Piper have a great year!

    Hi Sue and Crew!

  33. Larry in AR says:

    Happy Birthday, Rusty. Do you ever do rendezvous any more? I love those things and try to go to at least one a year.

    • Piper n' Rusty in Az.... says:

      Thank Larry in Ark,,,, Next year maybe, there is no more this year for us….. thanks again,,,,,,,,,,, rusty

  34. Piper n' Rusty in Az.... says:

    Sue,, have you seen the large spiders (T), I got the name in my head,just it out,,, head for Mexico ,,, The Butterflies are Beautiful,,,,,,,,,,,

    • L. P. n' Rusty / Az. says:

      The Spider Tarantula,,, Migrates from middle AZ to Mexico,, sometime a while back , folks had to stop traffic between Tombstone and Sierra Vista for the Black mass of Spiders to cross the Hwy,,, I know, I saw them Moving real slow or their Speed,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, rusty

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Yikes! One spider, two spiders, that’s okay… not a MASS of spiders!

      • Sidewinder Pen says:

        Ooh, that’s what I found under my solar panel this early fall up near Flagstaff. Was after dark and I’d decided to head out the next morning, so was taking solar panels in. Lifted one up and “Surprise!!!” a Big, Hairy, Tarantula was under one. Yes, I shrieked! I had never seen one except in the horror movies of my youth. There’s something about those hairy legs….

        (Later I Googled them and found out that, yep, they ARE in that area at that time of year.)

        Not sure I would have recovered if it had been a conga line of them.

        • Sidewinder Pen says:

          PS: I realize there is nothing inherently bad about them, but…. gaaah.

          • Cinandjules (NY) says:

            Tarantulas and bats are a no go in my book!

            A place named Mt Diablo in CA…has zillions of them! Mating season was about a month ago…

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              I’ve been to Mt. Diablo! Mostly I remember how windy it was at the top. I now realize it’s probably a good thing I was there in February and not October…

              Thinking back, I guess I never really knew WHERE tarantulas lived, but had this vague notion it was someplace I was never likely to be. Ha, guess again!

  35. Wendy in Thailand says:

    Happy Birthday Rusty!

  36. Pamela K. says:

    Hi All,
    Well, it is 2:37AM so I am late to the party…
    {{{{{{{Rusty}}}}}}} Cupcakes with colored sprinkles on them, Balloons and Party Hats with twisty, shiny things on them…Milk Bones for your Lady and BIRTHDAY WISHES abound! May your year and travels be good to you and your Lady Piper.
    Pamela and Klemper, and our critters.

  37. Karla in Kentucky says:

    Hello Sue and Crew, Just want to send a greeting from Ky. Have been enjoying your blog so much. Thank you especially for the pictures of the butterflies. It really spoke to me regarding how we often face the strong winds of life and with God’s help, we plow through. How precious are the lessons of nature. Hope you had a wonderful birthday Rusty and many more to come. Blessings to you and RV Sue.

  38. Dawn in MI says:

    The neighbor dog in Canine Calamities reminds me of Reggie. Was nice to see Spike too while reading it. Enjoy your boondock!

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY RUSTY!!!

  39. MB from VA says:

    Good morning Sue! I love the butterflies…..pictures and thoughts. And Happy Birthday to Rusty! 🙂

  40. Barb from Hoquiam! says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY RUSTY!!!

    Hugs from Hoquiam,
    Barb

    • L. P. n' Rusty / Az. says:

      Thank you Barb,,,,,,,, OOOHH That Birth day hug just got here,,,,, Here comes one Back atcha,,,,, Whoooch,,,, and it’s gone, on it’s way

  41. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RUSTY!!!!!!!!! (sorry I’m one day late!)

    Hope you had a great day with your girl LP!! Hugs to you both!!

    Heya Sue!!!
    Work”s been keeping me real busy, I’m still reading, just delayed a bit, so too late to comment usually. As of today, I’m caught up! 🙂

    Loving your new camp! I can’t believe you got such good pics of the butterflies when you couldn’t even really see what you were snapping at! Beautiful!

    Hope you guys have a great rest of your day!

  42. Julie, Molly & gizmo (Idaho) says:

    Lovely post sue. Happy bday rusty! Have to tell my cholla story. Was camped at hole in the Rock cg mojave preserve. Mollie got into cholla but nurse Julie pulled one out of her tongue & 2 in muzzle. Quit a scary ordeal. Just rode from jackpot to Boise. Winds were very frightening. Take care.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Julie, Molly & gizmo,

      You drove by one of my favorite, “low rent” campgrounds (west of Rogerson). As for poor Molly’s ordeal with the cholla, I know how awful it is when the chollas is in the face and tongue (Macha in the Canine Calamities post).

      The wind was nonstop today and you were driving in it! I’m glad you are safe.

  43. Toni says:

    Happy birthday Rusty!! I hope you have a wonderful year ahead!!

  44. Dawn from Camano Island says:

    Happy Birthday, Rusty! I hope your day has been perfect! Thank you for orienting us for our winter parks–this boondocking takes fine-tuning. By the way, thank you also, Sue, for giving us your map directions–it’s fun to follow along & it gives me a sense of your decision-making as you travel. It’s very helpful.

    The butterflies are amazing–the natural world is incredible to consider. Your photos are stunning!

    Busy day–I volunteer a couple hours every Monday at our new library. I love it there–the librarians & the patrons are such fun. And the volunteer coordinator doesn’t mind that I leave for 3-4 months!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Dawn from Camano Island,

      It’s a delight to read your enjoyment of your volunteer job at the library. I’m happy for you that you found something you love to do, and also allows you to get away when you want.

      Thank you for complimenting my photos and for letting me know you appreciate the directions shared in my posts.

  45. Joyce Sutton says:

    Just read interesting book Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver about the monarchs migration . a novel but very interesting about what may happen if the mountain in Mexico isn’t available. conservation of resource type thing.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Joyce,

      Here’s a link for anyone interested: Flight Behavior: A Novel

      I read an excerpt from Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature … Great writing . . .

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      I’m glad you mentioned this book. As I read your comment I realized I had read partway through, but never finished it. I’ll have to go back and start reading again. I have enjoyed many of Kingsolver’s previous books (years ago).

  46. Gal n a cat in FL says:

    Happy B day Rusty!

    Sue just want you to know while I write infrequently, I read EVERY post and look forward to them. The fact that you write just as it comes to you is wonderful. So real. Also that you describe in detail what it looks like and also where you are. Just to help us find our way some day. Thanks so much for this blog just the way it is. I also enjoy weather, pen and the others who contribute. Just a really great bunch of folks.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Gal n a cat in FL!

      I’ve read your comment more than once as I want to remember what it is that you like about my blog. Thanks for the positive feedback. Yes, I agree — “a great bunch of folks”, your fellow blogorinos and you!

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      Now I’m picturing you as “Gal n a Cat in a Hat” 😀 😀

      I realize you said you’ve commented before, but since I don’t remember your name, I’m going to say Welcome! (back..). It is a fun gang here, isn’t it? Sue draws in a positive, friendly (and yet “real”) group.

  47. gayle - SO CAL Beach Boomer says:

    Those campers & backpackers who think that RVers don’t connect with nature as well as campers do should be reading RVSue! In this post alone, RVSue checks soil composition, identity of shrubbery, sun & shadow direction, wind speed & direction, butterfly aerodynamics(!), land survey, and management of two examples of wildlife! So there.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Ha! That’s pretty good, gayle… At least we boondockers have to be mindful of these things… Oh, and don’t forget we check to see if there are rodent holes. 🙂

  48. Pamela K. says:

    Morning!
    It’s 8:37 AM, Georgia time. Did you notice it’s before 10:00 AM, my normal time to be up and about! There’s a mighty fine reason for it. Two full nights of glorious sleeping on my new bed pillow. It has changed my life ( at least so far)! For years I have not rested well. And a friend said it might be caused by my bed pillow being too low. “You’re kidding, right? That’s plain silly, can’t be something that easy to fix. I’ve tried everything. Well…almost everything. I guess I haven’t tried that yet.”
    And so it goes. While at Walmart I cruised the bed pillow isle. Nothing felt different. Nothing felt quite right. Bummer! I had *hopes*, dreams of a good night’s rest -dashed. In short order I took my buggy to the check out lane. The family in front of me had two heaping carts of stuff, three kids and more coupons than I have ever seen in my 60 plus years of grocery shopping. I won’t share my thoughts, lol, let’s just say I knew I was going to be captive for awhile. And then it happened…fate stepped in. Half way off the lower shelf, in the check out lane, was this *Micro Bamboo* pillow. Having nothing better to keep my time, I proceeded to put it back in it’s proper place. Reaching to stuff it back onto the shelf was pure magic! It was love at first touch…thoughts of peaceful slumber overcame me. I had found my pillow!!! After two nights my new love affair (with this pillow) has taken a backseat to nothing. Not even Klemper. I think I should name it, having a new bedfellow and all.
    So, if you have restless nights, wake in a fog, and just plain feel like your night’s rest didn’t work for you…try one. It is the *As Seen On TV* *Micro Bamboo Pillow*. I would guess Amazon to carry them also…Sue, if you have a link on Amazon for them please list it here 🙂
    So, why do I tell you folks all this? Because sometimes RVing is all about a comfort and cozy bed! Without a good night’s rest, the day just seems to drag a little more than it should. Trust me, it’s hard to be *chipper* when all you really want to do is get some needed rest.
    Well, after years of spending obscene amounts of money on mattresses, this little pillow has proven to be the gold standard for me. I can’t and won’t promise it is the be-all-end-all for everyone but it just might be worth the time and money to try one.
    Sleep well and Happy Dreams 🙂
    The End.

    p.s. Thanks for humoring me. I am overjoyed!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good morning, Pamela!

      A good night’s rest is very important. I can understand your elation with finding a pillow that solved your not getting the best sleep. Your comment is amusing… Thanks for bringing us in on your discovery!

      We’re about to hit the road for a new camp and I want to publish a post I wrote last night first. Forgive me for the short response . . . The wind has stopped and we need to roll down the road before it picks up again.

      EVERYONE…. Have a wonderful day. I hope to connect with you later! 🙂

      • Pamela K. says:

        Sue,
        Super to know a new post is coming! Sue glad the wind has calmed enough for you and the crew to travel safely again. Enjoy the calm and enjoy finding that new camp 🙂
        Hugs to all 🙂

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      I do think you must name the pillow! 😀

      As a fellow “sleep trouble” person I can identify with how much “draggier” it can make life to be operating on a bad night’s sleep. Now if it were me who had found the “pillow of life,” I’d have to go buy three more of them because what if they stop making them? Or change something about it? Horrors!

      • Pamela K. says:

        Pen,
        Exactly! 🙂 Now I have to run out and do that since I was too sleep deprived to think of it beforehand, lol.
        Pamela says, “Klemper! Grab the car keys! We’re off to buy MORE Bamboo bed pillows at Wally-World. You know, that As-Seen-On-TV one”
        Klemper says, “What? How did you see it? We don’t even have a TV!”
        ~Well, we do have a TV, we just never watch it~

  49. Ilse says:

    Hi Sue,
    I haven’t read in a while, been busy staying alive. Sometimes I feel like I’m flying against the wind. I have a by now baseball sized tumor in my left breast. I had lymphoma in 2002 and this is Stage IV metastatic cancer, which with the standard of care (chemo, radiation, surgery) gives me a 2.1% chance of five-year survival. Of course, I’m not going that route. I promised my kids and grandkids at least 103 years:). So I’m doing all the alternatives I already know of and those I am still learning about every day. I took a screen print of your butterfly picture and your thoughts and will put it where I can see it every day.
    Cheers,
    Ilse
    P.S. Still have those socks!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Dear Ilse,

      I’m stunned by this. I don’t know what to say. Everything that comes to mind seems so trite and stupid, even insensitive, because there’s no way I have any idea what you are going through. I’m very, very sorry, Ilse. I think that butterfly was meant for you. Hang on to his wings, sweet one.

      Oh, the socks. I’ll be in touch via email.

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