From Flagstaff to Payson

Saturday, October 25 – Monday, October 27

Ponderosa Camp is a boondock in Coconino National Forest.  It’s across Route 89 from Sunset Crater National Monument which is about nine miles north of Flagstaff, Arizona.

1-P1010251This is the third time in as many years that I’ve found this a convenient place to camp, either when moving north in the spring or south in the fall.

The other two times I chose a site further up the forest road.

Those sites are on a bluff where you can sit and look to the Painted Desert of northeast Arizona.

1-Sunsetcraterview(Wrong date on photo.  This was taken in 2013.)

The sites on the bluff are very nice.  Why don’t I go up there this time?  Well, I expect the air temperature to drop possibly as low as the high 30s, if the online weather wizards are to be believed.  It’s very likely in late October at an elevation over 7,000 feet.

Here’s one of the sites on the bluff:


I park the Perfect Tow Vehicle in the first campsite that is reasonably level, picturesque, and not too close to the dusty road.

1-P1010276No need to search for the perfect site or to go any higher.   We don’t need a big view. We’re only going to spend one night since it’s going to be cold.

As it turns out, the weather is great!

The day is delightfully brisk in the shade and warm in the sun.  That night Bridget and I sleep comfortably.  No wind.  Clear sky.  Peace and quiet.  I like this site!

The next morning I discover that the dirt roads are packed hard enough for Bridget’s stroller to roll along without becoming stuck.  Bridget enjoys the ride.  She looks up at me with her dreamy face that I translate as “I love you.”  (For all I know she’s saying “Keep pushing, fool.”)

1-P1010257“Aww . . . I love you, too, sweetheart.”

 A few tents are scattered here and there, none close.  We relax under the pines.  Bridget stretches out in her favorite bed next to my lounger.  I read.

My reading is interrupted by a squirrel making quite a commotion, clicking and chattering as he/she skitters on a Ponderosa pine.

What is all the fuss about over there?

I train my camera’s zoom lens on the creature. 

1-P1010286“Oh, that’s what has you excited.  You’ve got yourself a prize!”

The white tail has me wondering if this is a kaibab squirrel. 

Later, at the national park website,, I read, “The kaibab squirrel is one of the rarest mammals in the national park system. It is found on the Kaibab plateau, on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and is native to no other part of the world.”

I also read that the kaibab squirrel is quieter than the gray squirrel.  Hmm . . .  Maybe this one is a kaibab that didn’t get the memo . . . .

Bridget and I end up staying three relaxing days at Ponderosa Camp.

Tuesday, October 28

First thing this morning I’m frustrated with the slow internet connection.   I give up trying to make a blog post.

“We might as well hit the road.”

Bridget goes nuts, per usual, jumping and hopping and squealing.

“Gosh, Bridget.  You act like that squirrel.  You’re going to hurt your leg again!”

I pick her up and put her in the Perfect Tow Vehicle to wait while I break camp.  Soon we’re on the road to Flagstaff.  I take Route 3 southeast.

We pass Lower Lake Mary.

It’s “lower” all right.  It’s so low that there’s no lake.  It’s not even a marsh.  It’s best described as a field of dark tan grass.  I don’t bother with a photo.

We pass Lake Mary.

I remember visiting this lake a couple of years ago.  Bridget and I sat on a rock at the edge of the lake while Spike soaked.  The water was low then . . . and blue.  Now the lake isn’t much more than a big mud puddle.  The sign for the day use fee is taped over.  Only one car in the lot, probably belonging to this guy in the boat.

1-P1010287Two-lane Route 3 takes us past Mormon Lake (dried up to nothing) through the pines of Coconino Forest and along the Mogollon (pronounced “muggy-own”) Rim.

The road  rolls up and down through Happy Jack and to the town of Strawberry (5,800 feet).  There’s hardly any traffic at all.  I meet less than ten vehicles the whole way.

We continue to Payson (4,920 feet) where there’s plenty of traffic.

I stop for gas ($3.29 a gallon) and pull into Wal-Mart.

1-P1010290I notice six or seven RVs parked at the end of the lot.

1-P1010291As is our custom, Bridget and I go for a walk-about before I join the masses in Wal-Mart.

As Bridget looks for the perfect spot in which to do her business, I consider spending the night here with Wally’s other “guests.”

I’m almost at my limit of driving for one day.  Do I want us to sleep here tonight?  Noooo  . . . .

I put Bridget on the bench seat in the Perfect Tow Vehicle.  I make sure her water dish is full.

“I’ll be right back, Bridge.  Then we’ll keep going until we find our next camp.”



I appreciate your purchases.


1-sue-crewsunsetcrater2Camping across from Sunset Crater National Monument, May 2012

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147 Responses to From Flagstaff to Payson

  1. Jolene/Iowa says:

    Hi Sue, Looking forward to seeing your next camp. Love the pictures. The squirrel was so cute. Bridget was so cute looking up at you!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jolene,

      I intended to conclude this post with arrival at our new camp. As usual I go off on a tangent (kaibab squirrel and Wal-Mart). 🙂 Thanks for the positive feedback on the photos.

  2. Lee J, still in Northern California says:

    what a lovely post..
    That photo of the princess is priceless, is it possible that she is coming to terms with the camera thing?

    I can totally relate to the lakes being dry, we share the ongoing drought, I need to plan a major rain dance, anyone want to join in? It might not make the rain come, but it would lighten things up a bit.

    Thanks for sharing your adventures Sue, kiss that sweet Bridget for me and my two, Arlo and Zoe!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Lee J.

      Bridget “coming to terms with the camera thing?” I don’t think so. She looked up at me once, I got the camera ready and waited for the next look. She didn’t have time to switch over to her prune face.

      I’ve seen many lakes, streams, and reservoirs dried up over the past three years of travel around the West. I wonder about the impact on animals, fish, insects and birds.

      Kisses for Arlo and Zoe… 🙂

  3. Cindy says:

    That sign is at Walmart because AZ doesn’t let overnighters anywhere but on BLM lands. But you probably knew that already!
    I’m mostly posting this for the benefit of others 🙂

    BTW Sue, I live in Mesa. If you are coming anywhere near here I would love to take you to lunch!

    You probably wouldn’t want to, but Mesa has a 48 hr. ordinance for on the street RV parking. So you could stay in front of my house for 2 nights. Nobody has to know you’re inside it 🙂
    I have an RV plug-in outlet.

    But…I know you prefer the “wilds.”

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cindy,

      You are sweet to welcome me to your home and to invite me to lunch. I’m sure it would be fun to share time with you. As you anticipated, I have to decline.

      My blog is a day-to-day account of my life. Writing about an arranged meeting with a reader would encourage others to extend invitations.

      If I accept one invitation, I would feel pressured to accept all invitations from blogorinos. I’d end up living a life not suited for me and become very unhappy. Thanks anyway, Cindy. 🙂

    • edlfrey says:

      “That sign is at Walmart because AZ doesn’t let overnighters anywhere but on BLM lands. ”

      The sign has nothing to do with AZ. There are many City parking ordinances in the various cities and towns in AZ but it is NOT an Arizona state ordinance. As Cindy goes on to say the City of Mesa has a 48 hour street parking ordinance which has nothing to do with the state of Arizona.

      Arizona has approximately 9.2 million acres of State Trust lands that may be used for camping. An ‘Individual Permit’ is required to camp and is restricted to no more than 14 days per year. Not as good a deal as BLM land but the 14 day restriction is rarely enforced. The Benchmark maps that Sue speaks of shows where the State Trust Land is located.

  4. EmilyO in NM says:

    Best pic of Bridget.

  5. Sidewinder Pen says:

    I can practically hear the wind in the pines and smell the needles carpeting the forest floor. Ahhhh…..

    Also, handy to know about the spot north of Flagstaff – a couple of times I have driven on into the night — when I really would have preferred to stop — but didn’t know of an easy on/off (but nice/woodsy) sort of place. Next thing you know I’m on Navajo land and end up going all the way to Page/environs (groan).

    Walmart: Interesting parking sign. So one could park overnight for one night, but not two? Is that what it means? Seems they could just have said “parking for one overnight only” if that were the case, so maybe I’m misunderstanding it, or I’m the only one it sounds awkward to…

    • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

      I found it awkward too. I also interpreted it as allowing one 24 hour stay. Payson is still at $3.29? We’re down well below $3.00 at some stations in the Mesa area…

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Hi, Connie,

        Gas was $3.39 in Page, so Payson’s price looked good. Yes, that sign allowed for one 24-hour stay.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pen,

      I can see where you’d end up driving way too far in a day due to the expanse of Navajo land. When I wrote that the boondock across from Sunset Crater is convenient, I meant it! Sure, there’s a campground at SC, but it’s not always open.

      The sign’s wording is awkward. Perhaps the wording “parking for one overnight only” is too encouraging, as if inviting people to camp for one night. They opted for a wording with a specific time limit (re towing) and with a negative slant.

      • BadgerRickInWis says:

        This is Walmart we are talking about. I will guarantee you that the wording of that sign has been approved by some VERY expensive lawyers to take into account a variety of situations.

      • Sidewinder Pen says:

        That makes a lot of sense. It would sound almost like they were encouraging folks with the other wording, and maybe that’s a bit more than they want to do.

        • Sidewinder Pen says:

          Although as I saw the photo of the sign again today I realized what was bugging me. It’s the overnight. I mean, why not just say “No parking after 24 hours”? Or “24-hour parking limit” or something? The overnight seems redundant to me since you cannot have a 24-hour time period without one.

          And there is no sign needed to tell us we can park there for a part of many days in a row – I mean, that’s basically normal behavior in a parking lot.

          Trivial, I know 😀

  6. AZ Jim says:

    Your timing is, as usual, great….weather here is beautiful. You’ll love it. I think Bridget was saying “I love you mom” in that stroller pic.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jim,

      Often my timing is based on serendipity or entirely clueless actions on my part, yet everything turns out beautiful! Love when that happens. I really dislike moving camp two days in a row. I don’t want to live my life like a road trip.

  7. Elizabeth in S.E. NM says:

    There you and Bridget are in N.AZ….. in familiar places from my first 10 years of life..
    Many many years ago….. born in Phoenix…. loved growing up there with my brother
    and our parents who took us to Flagstaff to play in the snow one winter. A great family trip that is still vividly in my memory! That was almost 80 years ago! In the
    summer time, Dad took us up to the Sedona area where Mom and bro and I camped in a tent and Dad would come up to spend the weekends with us. It was
    a magical childhood! Dad took movies of many of our outings. My brother had all of
    our Dad’s movies. My brother gave the movies to my son who recently made DVD’s of the movies Dad took.
    Having also spent many years east of the MS river and in the Washington DC area, down in Florida, and up in the Niagara Falls area, I am happy to be in the west again.
    When finally I was free from work and other things that held me in places I really did not want to be…. I headed west toward AZ. When I crossed the NM/AZ border…. I had to pull off the road to allow my tears to cease…..there is no place like home…. ARIZONA will always be home to me!
    I am getting closer again….. I do want to bow out of life in AZ…..

    Thank you Sue for your lovely sharing with all of us….”Blogerino’s” Keep on Keepin On and enjoying! Hugs from Elizabeth and Clyde kitty….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      What a touching story, Elizabeth. You told it well. I felt the emotion that brought you to tears at the NM/AZ border.

      I’m glad you made it back to the wonderful West and that you have those precious memories of Arizona, memories made with your mother, father, and brother.

      Hugs to you and Clyde. .. .

    • Illinois Jane says:

      What a pleasure that was to read, Elizabeth. My first thought was that living in a place for your first 10 years was not very long to acquire such an attachment. Then I started thinking about my first 10 years and now understand completely. What we experience and learn during that time has a tremendous impact on our lives. Everything is new, interesting and exciting during that time. We carry all that along throughout our lives.

      By the time I was ten, I knew almost every inch of my home town having ridden my bike all over many times. I was street savvy and loved the independence and comfort I felt in that town. I owned it.
      Now, it’s a joy every time I return.

      Of course, for me, the cherished landscape is of green yards and trees. This blog and your story are helping me gain more appreciation of the arid southwest. Though Illinois will always be my home, I hope to develop a reverent love for your Az. I’m sure looking forward to it! Thanks you.

      • Elizabeth in S.E. NM says:

        RV SUE & Illinois JANE
        Thank you both for your lovely comments! Another thing about those first 10 years was that my parents met early in life as next door neighbors…. Dad was an only child
        Mom with an older brother and a much younger brother…. All four of my Grandparents knew each other both in AZ and later in So. CA where we all eventually moved. My parents were married in Mom’s back yard…. under a flowery bower both
        my Grandfather’s built. They went to High School with Barry Goldwater…. who was
        “sweet” on my Mom…..but she preferred that blue-eyed blonde boy who was of Swedish decent, who lived next door!
        When my brother and I were growing up, our oldest Uncle and family lived in a house behind ours that my Dad ( a Frank Lloyd Wright trained Architect) built. Our two cousins were among our playmates. We went to the same schools.
        Many members of our families for several generations rest in peace in a Phoenix cemetery. Both my parents were cremated, their cremains are next to each
        other in a wall at that cemetery…..
        Yes, those first 10 years of life are very much a large part of the process of learning.
        Having many family members in the same area was definitely a part of those memories….
        One memory that stands out was when my Dad’s Dad took me to visit with my Mom’s
        Uncle Ed who lived alone in an apartment. He had been a practicing attorney. He had books everywhere and a piano! The two old men sat and talked about all their ailments while I sat at the piano and plunked on the keys and turned pages in a few
        books till it was time to go…. Uncle Ed and my Granddad are both in that cemetery
        I knew my Mom’s Grandmother who lived with her only daughter, (she also had eight (8) sons!) She was a real Phoenix pioneer! Great Granma Ingels told wonderful stories of her youth to all the great grandchildren,while sitting in her rocking chair with all of us on the floor to listen….. I watched her mouth to see the one tooth as she talked….. Her prayers/Grace before a meal were way too long! She lived to age 99…. Her funeral was the first I ever attended…. when I was 14….. G.G. Ingels only daughter was “Laura Ingels”. Mom’s Dad was “Charles Ingels”…. They were not the “Little House on the Prairie” Ingels family, although I really cannot honestly verify
        that they were not!
        Most likely you have read enough about my growing up years in Phoenix with many
        family members….. Thank you for your interest!
        Many Hugs….. from Elizabeth and Clyde kitty….

        • Elizabeth in WA says:

          My mom’s people were much as you describe yours…lovely to read of such a family. Thanks for sharing.

        • Krystina in Cottonwood, AZ says:

          Oh Elizabeth…your life story was wonderful to read. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

        • Illinois Jane says:

          What great stories you have, Elizabeth! I’d love to hear more. Your dad must have been a great architect/ builder. Wonderful history. What full and wholesome childhood you had!

          Your stories remind me of times in mine that I’d like to share but, currently, my time must be spent getting ready to go fulltime rving. My house sale closes on 11/13 and there is so much to do. I really don’t like being this busy and look forward to simplifying and taking it easy.

          I’m going to note this date so I can come back and reread your stories. I want to hear more, too.

          Enjoy the company of your little feline, Clyde. I can just imagine, having enjoyed my Mackie for 20 years.


        • BadgerRickInWis says:

          Beautiful, thank you.

    • Applegirl NY says:

      Great stories. Warms the heart.

  8. DebsJourney says:

    Hi Sue, what a sweet photo of Bridget looking up adoringly. She is getting spoiled being the only pup
    I’ve been looking at trailers and actually have got enough to buy one soon since I finally got a settlement from a slip and fall that happened almost two years ago. I found a really nice 21′ with a slide out Shasta Revere LE a 2011 that would work very well for me but it is a little more than I want to spend. Now I’m going to try to figure out what I need and hope to find it. I really don’t like driving long distances and never at night. Guess I’ll get used to it. Hope you keep warm and all your travels safe.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Deb,

      When you wrote “I really don’t like driving long distances and never at night,” I don’t know if you meant travel to find a rig or travel in your rig once you purchase it.

      As you can see from my blog, I don’t drive at night and I rarely drive a distance longer than I want to. If I had a larger rig, I think I might be forced to drive longer distances in order to find a camp.

      I’ll take this opportunity to write a message to all people searching for the perfect rig for them .. . .

      My opinion is this (and you certainly don’t have to go by it!) … Get a rig that is big enough for you to be comfortable in it, but only JUST big enough. Every bit of added length, width, etc. takes campsites away and could very well increase your expenditures in camp fees.

      There’s a reason the rigs seen overnighting at Wal-Mart and Cracker Barrel parking lots are very often the big rigs.

      Some people don’t care about the little, out-of-the-way, inexpensive or free campsites, so what I’m saying doesn’t apply.

      It’s easy to be lured into buying a rig with the super-duper kitchen or deluxe living room with slide…. just know what all the “costs” are. You give up more than dollars.

      Back to you, Deb… Yes, Bridget has always been spoiled and now, more than ever!

      • DebsJourney says:

        So much to think about. Slide out’s make more livable room. The Casita’s look very neat but having a small fridge would be difficult to deal with and I do cook a lot but I know you don’t need that much room to do it. Just going to take my time with this decision since this will be my full time home on wheels. I wish I could see the inside of a Casita since they are not cheap. It would be the most economical choice. I just started this Journey. 🙂

        • MJ says:

          Just to say…I love to cook and have just found my own home on wheels, but have been living small for many, many years, the last 13 with a dorm sized fridge and an apt. sized oven. I actually had a bread baking business for a couple of years and it all worked. Yes, sometimes the bed was where I stacked the loaves, but anything that can be done in a big kitchen with house sized appliances can be done small with some creativity and a proper mindset. Good luck on your research and eventual purchase!

          • MJ says:

            Oops, meant to add (can’t edit these!) in a one room casita and a very small one room at that! I figure my Toyota Escaper will just be another way of learning to go even smaller.

          • Pamela K. says:

            I’ll second that, yes! I, too, love to cook and the small kitchen is a non-issue when you put some planning to it. I tend to use smaller pots so there is less room for left-overs to be stored later. I love the pots that have the strainer lids too. Easy for straining with less stuff to go into the grey tanks during clean up. And I even bought one of those counter-top dishwashers. 4-place-settings and the silverware fits perfect in it. And it has its own Cal-rod heat converter built in, so no need to use the hot water from the tank. Love that thing and it frees up a lot of time for more enjoyable things…I love to cook but hated doing the dishes after dinner.

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              This is an enjoyable discussion. As Sue (and others) say, it’s all a personal decision and everyone is different. But when various people explain what works for them (and maybe a bit about why) it’s so interesting, isn’t it?

              An oft repeated nugget from the world of boating (where every foot of added length makes it exponentially more expensive, heavier, etc. – more so than an RV even): “Don’t buy the largest boat you can afford; but instead buy the smallest boat that will do the job.”

              Another thing I have learned from boating (where galleys are tiny and counter space is hard to find): Be open to thinking outside the box about what is kitchen space. For example, one could put a board on a couch or bed and cut vegetables on it (location/setup dependent of course). I mean, especially if you are solo, you aren’t likely to need to sleep and cook at the same time. And of course the table can be used as a counter/work space. Maybe a board can fold down over the couch to become a work bench, etc.

              Many folks don’t like to have to “convert” spaces, and I do get that; but on the other hand if you have things down to a system, it can take less than a minute. A person might spend a lot more time than that washing/waxing/maintaining an extra 9 feet of rig (for a bedroom, say).

              If you’re solo, remember that the whole rig is typically a private space. In my previous wee trailer, the porta potti just slid out onto the main room floor from under a bench. Sounds awful, right? But in reality it was a huge, roomy private “room” — in some ways better than a cramped “phone booth” bathroom. On the other hand, I can see where if you are travelling with other people, a private bedroom and bathroom might take on more importance.

              Anyway, it’s all interesting food for thought, isn’t it 🙂

            • Cari in Plano Texas says:

              You bring up some good points. After all, we’ll only be doing one thing at a time, right? Well, you know what I mean. And for those traveling solo, you’re the only one who has to see/do/use things. I for one don’t want to have to maintain any more space/things than I absolutely have to, I’m minimalist to the core when it comes to travel.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              I’ll add more kitchen to the possibilities you mentioned, Pen… THE OUTDOORS!

              Camp in good weather. Chop vegetables, prepare dishes, and cook outside. Much more fun and your house doesn’t absorb food odors.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              You strain your veggie water into the grey tanks? I walk outside and strain it to the ground. It’s organic matter. Won’t hurt anything.

            • Pamela K. says:

              Yes, I strain the veggie water into the gray tanks if the weather outside is very cold. Would rather do that than have a few good gusts of cold air come in from the door being opened and closed. It only takes a few cold wind gusts to drop the temps of a small space. Once I get the temps comfy I don’t tend to open the door unless I have to. What with hubby coming and going, the dog needing out, me needing something from the storage trailer…all that cold adds up quickly. During nice weather I do pour it out onto the glass but even then the Corp Of Engineers will fine you $300.00 in Georgia if they catch you doing it or if someone reports you for doing it. So unless it is really nice weather I just don’t risk it.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              I understand about not letting the heat out. I didn’t think of that because we’re usually in weather where the door stays open.

              Huh? As for Georgia and the COE… Is that fine for dumping kitchen water in general or within certain footage of a lake? Usually a distance is specified. Of course, COE campgrounds are very nice and tidy. Maybe the concern is for smell. I’m thinking like a boondocker with no close neighbors.

              I never dump water near a lake or other water source, no matter where I am.

        • Illinois Jane says:

          I’m glad I found your post again.

          You can check at the Casita forum for someone in your area who has one. Usually, people love the opportunity to show off their rv. Just ask. Good luck!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Have you asked the Casita people in Rice, Texas, to direct you to a Casita owner in your area who has agreed to give tours of their trailer?

    • BadgerRickInWis says:

      Hi Deb,
      Like you I have been researching the “perfect for me” RV and at this point I think I’m going to stay away from anything with a slide. I know how nice they can make the interior space seem and they are very popular but I’m going more towards the keep it simple school.
      If I had any doubts they went away when I read of fellow blogorino Michael from Zenonwheels misadventures with his camper.

      His slides malfunctioned and he was lucky to be in civilization when it happened. I hate to think what he would have done if they had gone out miles and miles from a paved road with no cell phone reception. This of course is just one persons opinion and based on nothing but couch camping. Good luck in what ever you decide works for you.

      • DebsJourney says:

        Hi Rick,
        I read the entire zen on wheels tale about the nightmare regarding the slides not working. that would be mind blowingly freaky! So I’m aware of that now thank you lol
        I’m not rushing into this I need to look around carefully. But there are always lessons to be learned! thanks for teaching me.

        • Hi Deb et al,
          I’m a cook too and just started living full time in a 16′ Casita.
          I’ve taken up Dutch Oven cooking since there is no oven in the Casita. I’m still learning and have had a few failures. Last week I did have a success with making a lasagna in a Dutch. To top that, it was in the rain under the awning. Think about exploring new cooking adventures, as well using an indoor kitchen.
          Then there is the failure to night with making a pizza. I didn’t use enough charcoal. Go figure. And I grew up in Chicago!

          • Pamela K. says:

            Cast Iron, just bought a Lodge dutch oven, the smallest one they make. It is a 1.5 qt. I think. Perfect for a solo Meatloaf or for baking quick breads and cornbread. I haven’t used it much yet but I like what I have made in it so far. With cast iron there is so much to learn, a whole new way of cooking for me. I mostly use a Trangia Storm Cooker cook set for outdoor cooking, great in high winds and works great in the rain too. A great back up to propane indoor cooking. They run of all kinds of denatured alcohol. I use 90% rubbing alcohol and can get it at almost anywhere, anytime day or night. They are very popular in Europe and here in the states many trekkers are now seeing its value instead of the canister style cook stoves. I cook nearly anything and everything on it during the warmer days. The whole Leave No Footprint movement likes them. It’s a Green Thing 😉 Anyone interested in knowing more can find them as a cook set on Amazon too.

          • Illinois Jane says:

            Deb, what company did you choose for insurance?

      • Pamela K. says:

        Hi Rick,
        Glad you are staying away from slides. We own 2 RVs and neither of them have slides. We had heard of the stories others have had regarding them. Malfunctions are more common than most people think. And they seem to happen most often after the warranties have ended. It’s not cheap to get slides repaired. Then there is the whole issues of leaks, never good and again costly. Dirt build-up is another issue along with scuffed interior floors. Many say it is always better to go longer rather than smaller with slides. I tend to agree, especially with use over time. I have never had slides so I can’t speak from personal experiences but have witnessed some of the above things that others have experienced. I also feel that I have not missed out on anything by not having slides. Over time you without simply learn to live within your space by making it cozy without making it cramped. RV living is an art-form rather than an exact science 😉 You sound very wise to have read-up and researched much. And there are only a few makes/models of RVs that have a manual way to retract an electrical slide if it malfunctions, most do not.

  9. Deborah says:

    You are now in areas that I know! The drought, as you already know, is horrible in that part of the country. I just read that many of the wells around the outskirts of Tucson are running dry and wondered if the well at my previous house is still running or if it is dry. Perhaps it is good that I don’t live there anymore. I would have hated to haul water all the time!

    As far as what Bridget is saying, I’m thinking the two statements are not mutually exclusive! My Picasso would be saying something like, “I love you BECAUSE you keep pushing me!” Of course, lucky for us, they would love us even if we didn’t push!

    Welcome to Arizona! Enjoy the weather!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks for the welcome, Deborah. Yes, I do plan on enjoying the weather. I already am. It looks like we’re going to have a sunny, warm day with clear sky. 🙂

      I suspect the drought situation is another case of being “asleep at the wheel.” I remember the Hudson River in New York had to turn into a vile sluice of chemicals, trash and filth before people woke up to the fact the river was very sick and things had to change to save it.

      Same with dwindling water supply… It’s a tough problem.

      You’re right about our pets. Bridget loves me even though I point the evil camera at her. 🙂

  10. Elizabeth in WA says:

    Lovely photos…and such a sweet look on Bridget’s face…when my dogs looked at me like this, I always felt they were telling me they loved me too!! Cute photo of the squirrel too, Sue and glad you got to see one that was rare. Looked to be a good size too…sometimes I miss our “back deck buddies” in NC…lots of squirrels….birds etc. During some sad days, they were my best “cheerer-uppers”.
    This drought is getting so bad in many places. Things still look ok here, but I am not sure how much rain will have to fall to get it back to the normal. We saw a deer in town the other day…grazing on a nice green patch of grass beside the road. Maybe it is not all that unusual…but the traffic is horrific most of the time and we have not seen any deer before in our times driving on that very road…so one wonders…
    Happy travels…hope you find a good spot for a few days.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Elizabeth,

      It’s wonderful how the sights and sounds of animals can cheer us up, relieve stress, and help us put our problems in perspective. Many times my back yard plants and creatures, the breeze and sunshine, drifting clouds above, patter of rain or wind in my face, saved my sanity after a grueling day in the classroom.

      About the in-town deer . . . It stands to reason that animals’ habits would change to adapt to the scarcity of water.

      Thanks for the wish for a good camp. Have a great day, Elizabeth!

      • Elizabeth in WA says:

        Saw in the little local weekly paper today that the deer we saw was “directed” back to the forest (there was a fairly high chain link fence she was surrounded by, except for the road of course). So apparently others were worried too…glad someone called…I would not have known who to call.

  11. stan watkins says:

    So I think we stayed in that exact spot. Right down by the forest entrance. Quite a bit of road noise there but level and shady. I remarked to my wife that the squirrels had ears like our Chihuahua Lolly who is all ears. I picked up a little trash left behind by someone. Not a lot. Just a couple of little things that no doubt were accidentally dropped. The site was amazingly clean. Bob Wells of cheaprvliving blog is at his spot west of Flagstaff off exit 190. I was thinking of trying his spot but it would have been dark by the time we got there. Thanks again for your knowledge.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Stan.

      I haven’t read any blogs lately but I can guess where Bob is. Rusty and Timber used to camp in that area.

      No, you didn’t stay in the same spot. The reason I know is there wasn’t any road noise. We had at least a quarter-mile of pine trees between us and Route 89. To get to our site, you drive up the forest road and then turn right to go toward Lockett Meadow. Next time you stop there, push on a little further and you won’t have the road noise. The road doesn’t deteriorate badly.

  12. Deena in Peoria, AZ says:

    Welcome back to Northern AZ, Sue and Bridget. Love your photos and glad you had a relaxing time in the “Pines”. Hopefully there will be lots of snow this winter to help raise the lakes and streams. It was in the lower 90s today, currently is 68* and the stars are brightly shining. May the warm AZ sun be beneficial to the Best Little Princess’s recovering leg injury. Southwestern AZ is preparing itself for the arrival of RVSue and her Canine Crew.

    We here in Peoria are enjoying traveling along with the Best Blogerinos; enjoying the tales, job completions, Blogerinos putting faces to other Blogerinos, newly approaching purchases and adventures, sage words, Hugs, searching for “screws”, remembering all of the “Rainbow Kids”, visits from Thailand, Australia and Japan, Canada, looking forward to our daily reading of the other Blogerinos that “keep the adventures going” and mostly getting chilly bumps when we see that there is a new posting from our favorite RVSue.

    Deena and Miss Mollie

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Deena,

      Thanks for the welcome back to Arizona and your sweet wish for the sun to heal Bridget’s leg. I like your synopsis of this blog and its readers… We do cover a lot of topics!

      And a notification of a new post gives you “chilly bumps?” That is too cute! Haha!

      Enjoy your day!

      • Don in Okla. says:

        Chilly Bumps!! I remember them as being called “Goose Bumps”. How funny!!!
        Best wishes for safe travels and I always enjoy your blog.
        Don in Okla.

  13. Teresa from NC says:

    I love that you turned an “overnighter” into 3 days. It must’ve been pretty relaxing for you to stay. You two have have great day. Bridget’s face does look awfully sweet 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Teresa,

      It wasn’t the first time I intended to stay one night and then, the next morning, “Hey, this is pretty nice! Why leave?” 🙂

      You have a great day, too, Teresa.

  14. Applegirl NY says:

    That is definitely an “I love you, mom” look from Bridget. We’ve seen the “hurry up and put the camera down” look and they are very different – of course you know that. I think that’s the best portrait pic you’ve taken of her. Adorable. It’s so nice when they look at us adoringly as opposed to the eye-roll look.

    As I was reading, I knew you wouldn’t choose to stay at the Walmart, even though you were tired. It’s just not a Sue thing to do. LOL.

    Enjoy safe travels to your next destination.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re right. I’ve stayed overnight at a Wal-Mart and at a Love’s Travel Center and Pilot, but that’s something I generally avoid. Sometimes those are the most convenient places.

  15. Hello Sue and hello to all the blogerino’s out there! Glad to see you back in Arizona! I agree, this is the sweetest face of Miz Bridget ever! She does look like she adores you….or she might just have gas. With Bridge you never know! 🙂
    Weather here in FL is cooling off too! Loving the 60’s at night and low 80’s days! Since our flood, no more rain and low humidity is wonderful! The animals are slowly returning to the campground. Two of the twelve turkeys are back, a few deer nearby but not yet traipsing around the campground.
    Kaibab squirrels are definitely unique looking! When I was working a South Rim I saw a lot of them out in the woods where I camped! Until I learned their real name, I used to call them Mule Squirrel because of the long ears!
    Sad to read the demise of Morman Lake and Lake Mary! Those were two of my favorite places to camp back in the day! If you were to turn east in Payson on highway 260 go about 30 miles then turn south or right on forest road 288. This is all dirt road all the way down to Globe with tons of boondocking along the way! This will take you to one of my favorite AZ towns… Young AZ. Got a grocery, The Antler Cafe, a gas station, a post office and some of the nicest people you could ever meet. I used to camp at Haigler Creek and go to town once a week or so. Just before you get into Young, you will see a sign to Haigler Creek. They put in a small but nice campground there, but you can’t see the beautiful creek full of rainbow trout unless you walk down to it! The dirt road is great quality, graded etc, very good condition. After you leave Young heading south, it will be downhill most of the way… Some steep areas as well but I have gone up and down many times and once with Chuck! The views are eye popping! Especially when you get close to Roosevelt Lake area! That is when the first saguaro cacti start appearing on the landscape! If you get a chance to travel this area, you will understand why it is one of my favorite areas!
    OK, I have taken up enough of your time… Ya’ll have fun and we will see you in your next camp!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Geri,

      It’s always a pleasure to bring back fond memories for people.

      Young, Arizona? Whoa! That’s in what is commonly referred to as “the middle of nowhere.” Ha! I beet it is beautiful, deep in Tonto forest. We’re not terribly far from there, lower altitude than Young’s 5,000+ feet.

      Don’t want to give away the next post!

  16. chas anderson says:

    Anyone know of any boondocks along road to east entrance to Grand Canyon? Have stayed on forest roads on west side but want to be on other side this time.

    Ready to leave Pennsy soon.Getting colder.

    Need to be big enough for 2 rigs.Travelling wityh the neighbors who are first time snowbirds.

    • In the town of Tusayan just south of the canyon is a ranger station! They will have updated maps of all the boondocking areas. They are really nice folks!

      • chas anderson says:

        Thanks for the reply and advice, but I am trying to avoid Tusayan and the west side entrance.I have camped over there on the forest roads many times near the ranger station.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Charles,

      I don’t know what/where “Pennsy” is…. I’ll assume Pennsylvania.

      One thing you can do, if you have time, is go online to the Kaibab National Forest site and download a PDF of the “Motor Vehicle Usage Map.” MVU maps will show where dispersed camping is allowed. It’s not foolproof though because where camping is allowed isn’t always where camping is desirable.

      By the east side I’m assuming you mean Route 64? (Desert View Entrance Station) Route 64 cuts across the Kaibab NF just before the park entrance.

      I see on my Benchmark that there are two gravel/dirt roads within the national forest, one to the right and the other to the left as you approach the park entrance. FR #6140 and another spur FR connecting Rte. 64 with FR #307. Those are two roads I would look at when searching for a boondock. I’ve never been there, mind you. They may not be good at all.

      Good luck!

  17. Diann in MT says:

    Hi, Sue!
    First of all, thanks so much for the Family Portrait! It was really great seeing Spike again, although he would rather have been sniffing than posing! Also, Bridget’s love shot. What a beauty, she is. If she only knew… LOL
    Central Montana is prepping for the first cold snap of the fall this weekend. The mountains around here are sporting some deep looking snow cover. Might as well get on with it–this winter, anyways. I am going to hibernate, read books, listen to music, maybe learn some Yoga moves, follow the Sue and Crew Blog, and hang out until May WHEN I CAN ESCAPE AGAIN IN MY LOVELY LITTLE TRAILER!
    (apologies for shouting)
    Smooth travels Brig and Sue!

  18. weather says:

    Good morning,Sue,
    What a long day you put in yesterday-the driving,store,finding a camp and posting.Bedtime must have really been welcome!Hope your current home was the same to wake up to.

    Usually,like today,I study your photos,then read the text.This one looked like a demonstration.Of using elevation and environments for temperature control,of choosing nature vs.pavement,parking lots and crowds as home,of a simple small house on wheels benefits over huge ones and of loving other creatures making life whole…

    Reading what your words say makes it obvious you were actually describing your recent travels and days,yet as usual you actually say so much more…That there is beauty,freedom,comfort and love in the world-all it takes to find it is to reach for-a few more miles on the journey,a fur friends water bowl,stroller,head…My God,Sue what a great teacher,example and person you are.Thank you for your blog and for this post.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, love!

      Well, I’m a day late with a good morning to you, weather. I got involved “nesting” at our new camp and enjoying this lovely place. It was good to stay away from the laptop for a stretch.

      Yes! The vagabond life (well, all of life) is a series of choices. Those choices give us a comfortable, pleasing environment in which to live… or not. Part of the adventure is finding peaceful places to make one’s home, places that also have comfortable temperatures… and, of course, natural beauty is important to me, too.

      You made me feel good with your comment about all these daily decisions teaching others by example.

      • weather says:

        Wrapped in flannel as thin and faded as the leaves of some nearby trees,away from the laptop I’d thought earlier of times I’ve worn leather or sleeping bags to ward off the cold to see ice crystals in moonlit woods,crystalline snow blow around my face as a winter storms beauty and power changed everything…

        Beauty is important to me,too…so much ,that chasing it drives me- and brought me here to you.Enjoy putting your new post together and your day,love,weather

  19. JodeeinSoCal says:

    Stretching one day into three because you can – true bliss. Bridget has mastered what we call “the cute” – capable of manipulating the toughest person into doing just about anything (usually impossible to look away as well). Getting back to the desert, it feels like you’re getting “close to home” somehow…..

  20. Diane, Blue Ridge Mts, VA says:

    Sue, I loved the Oct 25th sunset shot in the previous Blog and the parting shot of you 2012. Wonderful shot of Bridge lovingly looking at her master, what a face.
    I wonder how many different species of squirrels there are…I have two different types here in my yard. One we call a fox squirrel.
    Can’t wait to see your next camp…You always find great ones.
    It’s getting colder here and I always wonder about your camps if it should snow. I remember past beautiful shots of your camp in the snow. I know you have a catalytic heater as well. I also have one and shut it off before I go to sleep. Have been camping here in the mountains and it has been in the 30’s at night. I sometimes think I may fall asleep with the heater on. Even though the catalytic heater was chosen, sometimes I have second thoughts about it. I camp in the winter as long as I can, then put the camper under cover for a little rest.
    Well, take care Sue and Crewet wishing you guys all the best of adventures.

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      I’ve been thinking about this as I have a Wave 3 also. I am content to only run it when I’m awake*, but there are times I’d like to run it in the evening and yet not worry about accidentally dozing off with it on.

      I carry a digital timer along with me that I use for many things (alarm clock, cooking timer, etc.) and I think what I’m going to do is simply set it for something like one hour in any situation where there is dozing off potential. If I’m still awake when it goes off, no biggie, just reach over and hit the button to stop it beeping; if I were to fall asleep, it would wake me up so I’d be sure to shut down the heater before going to sleep for the night.

      (*I never ran the stock furnace overnight either, just because there is no way I could sleep with it cycling. Plus I like it cool for sleeping, not warm, and I have plenty of blankets/sleeping bags.)

      • Timber n' me says:

        Well, Sidewinder Pen, in all my situations when it came to cooking/heating, the camp fire was out when I went to bed, with the woodstove in the old camper, it had 2 dampers to control the flow and heat, I would load it up tight on red hot coals, didn’t vent nothing, with all the drafts of loose framing , I’d go to bed and not worry. And now in this camper, well she is drying out and I feel drafts, so will see, but with a unvented LPG heater, it is going to be shut off when I get ready to go to bed. I’m not taking any chance’s , I’ve read about the stories of the folks who didn’t shut their heaters off before going to bed. My Grand Father always said,” if you go to bed with cold feet, you’ll not sleep warm or well”, so warm your feet up and turn the heater off and we all will see you in the morning ,,,,,,,,,,,Timber n’ me

        • Sidewinder Pen says:

          I hear you. With my old woodstove (land cabin), I’d get it good and hot, bank ‘er down, and the fire/coals would hold through until morning. Ahhhh.

          With the Wave 3, I want it off overnight, always. The timer idea is just an extra step to make sure I don’t doze off and leave it on. Or to put it another way, it would make it so I wouldn’t have to forego the stove on an evening where I felt a tiny bit sleepy (because the timer would wake me up so I could shut things down and go to bed).

          ‘course in the RV I don’t tend to hang out in places that get down to twenty below, like it did when I had the wood stove. Still, there’s nothing like wood heat, is there? It’s wonderful.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Diane,

      You say you have “second thoughts” about the catalytic heater. If one relies on solar power, there isn’t another choice that I know of. If you run a generator, well, that’s another way to camp… maybe necessary when temps drop into the 30s.

      • Sidewinder Pen says:

        There are diesel and/or kerosene heaters – they have been used on boats for awhile and seem to be gaining popularity in RV’s (especially diesel vans, since they already have the fuel along). These are made mostly by European/Scandinavian companies (Wallas, Espar, Webasto, etc.). They are easily obtainable here too though. The Wallases in particular have a very low power draw (although they do draw some).

        Propane is more of a default, since many RV’s already carry propane, but if one is uncomfortable with it…

        I’m comfortable with the Wave and the precautions they recommend, but it’s no fun it you are worried about it.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Interesting…. Kerosene heaters scare me. Probably from childhood memories of houses heated by kerosene burning to the ground.

          A carbon monoxide alarm with good batteries is a must! The guy who installed my Wave 3 wouldn’t install it until I gave him the alarm to put up at the same time.

          • Sidewinder Pen says:

            Understood about the kerosene heaters. These are a bit different though. You could really call them kerosene furnaces. They are squarish units that you mount under a counter or etc. and then they have ducts (just round, flexible hoses that are easily routed). The combustion takes place inside a burner, there is outside exhaust, and then the heat is ducted to where you want. Now this sounds huge but they are very compact (the small ones are like two shoeboxes stacked).

            So in a way they are like the standard propane furnace, except they are quieter and use much less electricity (plus run on a different fuel).

            Could be a good option for folks who have an aversion to propane, or who already carry diesel. One advantage is that you can “stockpile” (carry more) diesel when necessary (jugs, etc.) whereas it’s not that easy to suddenly start carrying more propane (say for a long/cold trip away from supplies). Also combustion moisture is vented overboard (outside).

            That said, I’m happy with the Wave 3 for my purposes. I don’t heat often, plus I already have propane aboard, and it doesn’t worry me unduly (presuming a correct install and proper precautions). Also no smell (although with the units above there is very little and it is mostly outdoors by the exhaust).

  21. Krystina in Cottonwood, AZ says:

    Thank you so much for the fabulous picture of “the family”. It was great seeing the Spikester again…and, of course, you and Bridget. The photo of Bridget in the stroller smiling up at you is absolutely the BEST! Adorable… she IS telling you “I love you Mommy…keep pushing”. Your boondock site is wonderful. Love the nicely placed pine trees. No wonder you stayed 3 nights. There are lots of Kaibab squirrels in Mather campground in the Grand Canyon. Loved watching them play…absolutely adorable. Great photo of the Kaibab by the way. I am a bit south of you…in Cottonwood, AZ. I need to make a bunch of decisions. My daughter (in Vermont) is having my first grandchild at the end of January…yeah oh yeah! No taking my Buggy up there this time of year. I “think” I want to slowly go the southern route to NC to visit my sister for Thanksgiving, put the Buggy in storage (whaaaa) and then fly to Vermont for Christmas with both my kids…Stephen & Erika. Then await “my baby”!!! So I guess I want to leave now so I can see the sites on the way back. Still thinking.

  22. Denise - Richmond VA says:

    Good morning, Sue,

    Oh, yes, Bridget was definitely giving you a look of love. So, so sweet!! I’m sure she is happy that she is able to explore with you despite her leg issue.

    I know you love that new camera! Love the pictures and the zoom range. That squirrel shot is awesome!

    Glad that you and Bridge did not overnight at Wallyworld. I know you were tired, but hopefully you found a better place to stop over for the night. You probably ended up getting more rest wherever you landed.

    Love the family picture flashback. Thank you for sharing that with us!

    Have a great day! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good morning, Denise…

      I use my camera as a binocular. I don’t always see exactly what is in the frame until after I’ve clicked the photo. I find it’s a great way to see the wildlife around camp.

      You have a great day, too!

  23. Morning Sue,
    Looks like you’re tracking me! If your at the Rim Lakes enjoy that path right on the rim. It’s paved and Bridget can take in the views from the stroller. Might dip into the 30s. I’ve been wrapping a towel around the pipes with no troubles when the temps dip.
    More on Friday as to where I am now. But I’ll tease and say, I’m sleeping with the windows open.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      By now (a day later) you ought to be where you don’t have to wrap the dang pipes! I’m going to write a post today about a very pleasant and WARM place, a beautiful camp. I drove past roads going up to the Rim… I’ll take those roads some summertime. 🙂

  24. kgdan says:

    Greetings, Sue!
    We are almost on intersecting paths again. We are at River Island State Park south of Lake Havasu. Expect we will miss this time tho as we are heading to Laughlin now for the winter. Safe travels to you.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Lots of luck in Laughlin! I know you’ll have a great time at the casinos . . .

      Our paths will cross when they cross and that will be the fun of it. 🙂

  25. Jane Onken says:

    Ah, dearest Spike and adorable Bridget. Spike looks so happy–like he’s having a great time hanging with his chums. Both shots tug a the heartstrings.

    Walmart lot : your quiet, lovely site. No doubt, that choice was worth the extra time and miles.

    Great shot of the Kaibab. It looks so cute.

    Say, how about this new, little shot in the arm for Todd’s business! All because of you!
    I’m glad for it, of course. BTW, you might not recognize him. For health reasons, he lost 30 lbs in 30 days. He showed me a vacation photo and I didn’t know it was him. He was covered in mud which didn’t help but, the guy is slim now. Good lookin’, too!

    Hey, after checking your vehicle insurance costs which seemed very reasonable, I called Geico. For the ’98 Casita and 2004 van, they quoted me over $350/6 mos. That’s with a $500 deductible and full coverage on the van. I told her what you pay ($239/6 mos.)and she couldn’t come up with reasons for the difference…said it wouldn’t be the van full coverage or the SD domicile. There was a snag with each of three other companies I checked so I might just take this for 6 mos. until I change domicile, eliminate those snags then shop for a different one. It looks to me like you have a very good deal, Sue! Any ideas on the discrepancy?

    Enjoy your day!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      No, I don’t have any idea why there’s a discrepancy. I need to look at my insurance policies. I really hate the topic of insurance. I hate reading insurance policies and calling agents and making those kinds of decisions. Never go by what RVSue does regarding insurance. Ha! Good luck with it!

  26. rvsueandcrew says:

    Hi, Everybody!

    I have to take care of some business. Can’t reply to all the comments until later. So long for now!


  27. DesertGinger says:

    Well, you didn’t go by my route. Kinda expected that. Payson is another town for me to visit. And Young, based on earlier comments.

    Had my sleep study. Tough night, felt like I didn’t sleep much at all. Uncomfortable bed. Electrodes all over…yuck. Glad that’s over. Now hopefully I get new prescription for CPAP and get back to using it.

    Just going back to chiropractor in a minute. Pinched nerve in neck still bothering me. Then the nurse comes, then physical therapist, then I have bunches of homework. School tomorrow.
    You guys have probably figured out that I am a person who likes to be busy. To a point. Not crazy busy. Not rush around with no time for breakfast busy. But I like to do stuff!
    Did an hour phoning for move on last night and will do another hour or two tonight.

    I’m thinking about the holidays. I don’t really have money to fly somewhere but I’m thinking about starting my in-state travels. I wonder if I can use my car as a camper? I bet I can. Hmmm….

    I may do a little Amazon shopping for a little camping gear.

    • Kay says:

      DesertGinger, Payson is an awesome town. Has grown a lot but still is awesome. You will love that place in August! It being a summer home for many Valley residents.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks for thinking Amazon Ginger!

      Hope the pinched nerve is unpinched.

  28. edlfrey says:

    Sue was WONDERING if the squirrel she got a picture of was a Kaibab and all the commenters have leaped to the conclusion that it is.

    Alas, the Kaibab squirrel’s habitat is confined entirely to the ponderosa pine forests of the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park and the northern section of Kaibab National Forest around the town of Jacob Lake, Arizona. This squirrel is NOT found anywhere else in the world. The Kaibab squirrels usually have a black belly (which is sometimes gray), white tail, tufted ears and chestnut brown head.

    What Sue got a picture of, a good picture I might add, is an Arizona Gray Squirrel. The Arizona gray squirrel has gray fur and a white to cream belly. It has a long ears with no tufts and a fluffy tail edged in white.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Ed,

      I wasn’t very clear expressing my doubt about the squirrel’s identity. I imagine the folks who assumed it was a kaibab did so because they didn’t know that we weren’t camped on the Kaibab plateau.

      Thanks for setting us straight. I’ll put a note in the post.

  29. Timber n' me says:

    Good Morning, Sue n’ Bridget, Bridget looks sooo sweet looking up at you. I love the woods above the Muggy On Rim, they remind me of my time back a few years when I was roaming with my Donkeys in the back country of Big Bear, and all the mountains we walked thru. ,,,,me

  30. Pauline from Mississippi says:

    Awwwwwwwwwwwww….that look is definitely a “I love you” and “Thanks for taking care of me” look. That was so sweet!!!
    I love that camp in the pines.
    Basketball starts Sat morning with a jamboree and we are so excited. It is Taylor Beth’s senior year and Elly’s Freshman. Both 5’10” girls have improved over the summer with a new coach and we are expecting a great season. Jake is sticking with travel baseball.
    Travel safely, Dear Sister….I love you

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pauline,

      Those girls do know their way around a basketball court. Here’s wishing them both another spectacular, winning year!

      I love you, too.

  31. Monica says:

    That sure is a pretty spot nestled under the pine. I can almost smell the pine just looking at your photo. I really never took notice of the different species of squirrels until I moved out West. There are these black squirrels that live on the Stanford University campus. I have only seen them there. I live on the east side of SF Bay, and I have never seen a black squirrel. I call those Stanford squirrels the Satan squirrels; I’m sure they are known by another name. 🙂 Bridget looks like she is in heaven!

  32. Pamela K. says:

    I just loved this posting and the photos. What a neet spot to find. I can see why you like passing through there. Calm, I’m a huge fan of calm. Even when the forest critters scurry about there is a calm and organized effort to it. Like your gray-white friend with his/her latest treasure! And that adorable capture of Bridgie…aww…lovin’ on Mom with those eyes. Priceless! Yep, I guess I liked this posting because it was about the day-to-day stuff of travels and stays while on the road. How there is such pleasure in the findings and yet the often needed luxuries of what Wally-World offers up to travelers. We have learned that Wally-World really is a friend to travelers. A 50-30 power converter plug adapter here, replacement sewer hose there, fresh new drinking water hose, groceries for the masses and so on. While I am not so much a fan of the chain, I do seem to somehow count on them more often than not.

    About that sign. Often 24 hours is used as a base time-line for many reasons and serves to help law enforcement issues too. Each local, city, etc., places a time frame on such stays. Helps to reduce the likelihood of a 2 or 3 day B&B hookup where one person drops their car at Wally’s. Helps local law enforcement to know the many makes-n-plates of the locals that come to park for the 24 hours from those of the ~real~ travelers passing through. Read between the lines as they say, the run-a-ways, dumped cars and the likes. It’s not just Wally, of course, any large parking lot offers up all kinds of oddities. And there is the 14 day-stay campgrounds nearby… No problem, 14 days and then to Wally for 3 days and back again to the campground for a fresh new sign-in. Wally and others wised up to that real quickly! All are judgement calls about the times we all live in today.

    Well, Miss Sue and Crew, I have dinner to make for my beloved hubby. You know, the one that Likes The Van I Picked Out 😉 I should fix him something he really likes, magic in the works. Something about the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, lol. I am such a tease, but he loves it!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pamela,

      Regardless of what one thinks of Wal-Mart as an employer or any other complaints one has, it does do good. Wal-Mart brings an incredible array of products and services to people in remote areas. People who could not afford many of the products in mom-and-pop stores in small towns now have access to inexpensive food, clothing, electronics, pharmaceuticals,etc. I daresay Wal-Mart has improved the quality of life for many families across the country.

      And, of course, it’s a handy, one-stop-shopping place for people on the road…

      • Pamela K. says:

        You are very correct about Walmart bringing smaller America the many choices they never had before. My husband was one of a handful of contracted Senior Retail Site Location Analysts for their new store development team. He did the Gravity Model research for the Su-Flow Trade areas using the Dime Files outside of the major MSAs so the rural populations could benefit from Walmart’s offerings. Later he was asked to do their research again for the large super store Walmarts. Dallas-Ft. Worth, Huston, St. Louis to name a few of the big stores. Sam was a personal Hero of his. Later we took that same concept and it was my husband’s applied math algorithms that brought banks into the Walmart stores. Later that same research was included in hubby’s white papers for Stonier School of Banking and Harvard University School of Business Library. So, yes, they do do great works. I just am not a fan of large stores or the large crowds that go there so I tend to limit my visits. I refuse to use one of those in-store scooter thingies and walking over distance is not something my body can always do. Some days, yes, others not so much. I guess I should have explained that better so it would not sound like I disliked them. As for the groceries, Walmart will be the first to admit that they are not grocery merchants as their main focus. Sadly, depending on the store and it’s location that can become apparent as with all chain stores. Anyway, hope that cleared it up some. I truly wasn’t dishing on Wally World.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          It’s okay to dish Wally World. Haha! It will survive. (I realize you weren’t.) Interesting comment… Sam Walton was a personal hero of your husband… The man did have a vision!

          I forgot about banks in Wal-Marts. They are very handy places… manicures/pedicures/hair styling/optical care… all sorts of add-on services.

          • Pamela K. says:

            Yes he had a vision and was one-sharp-cookie! In the early days of Walmart Sam knew he needed to expand, grow more stores locations. During those days he was small and the towns and their bankers were not knocking down his doors to provide financing options. Knowing this Sam did not seek out any. He planned for his expansions well in advance. When the time was right he called for a meeting of the local powers that be. The bankers had the usual reservations and though nothing would come of this face-to-face meeting with Sam. Sam arrives with a shoe box. Everyone assumed it was full of papers to provide them for a loan review. One banker asked about how Sam was going to pay for this new store? What collateral was he offering to use for any such loan?…
            Sam reaches under the table and picks up his shoe box. Beaming with pride inside and with his best Poker-face he softly says, “I BRUNG It”. No joke, he had all the cash in that shoe box!
            As they say, the rest is history! My husband loves to tell that story! It is just the way that Sam did business across the board. They later leased our mathematical Gravity Model to define Best-Site for new store development expansions. Klemper has often said, “It was a wild ride Mrs. Toad!” Klemper was right and it was an honor every time.
            I thought I would share that with you since you were a math teacher. The power of math is a wonderful thing. When applied it is AWESOME in its powers.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Thanks for sharing your Sam Walton stories! You’re so right about the beauty of mathematics applied. It’s too bad math is the subject that is much aligned by parents and students… “Oh, I hate math!” I think a lot of that dislike comes from (1) you have to DO something to do math (not just pretend to be reading like in Language Arts class) and (2) the applications aren’t always clear to young people.

              Thinking about “big box” stores… Mr. Walton was one who thought “outside the box” and had the innovative mind and determination to bring what he imagined to reality.

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              So many times as an adult needing math for a practical purpose, I wonder if somehow it wouldn’t have been less “unliked” if only the examples and problems had been more realistic and relevant. I mean, with four oranges and five people… someone is bound to not feel like having an orange anyway, so you just know that wouldn’t end up being a real problem 🙂

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Well, the newer curriculum that I used had more “relevant” problems… maybe better described as more creative problems. Students were challenged to design something and in so doing, math was required. Or another example… Taking a recipe containing fractions that will feed 8 people and revise the recipe to feed 24 people… stuff like that (to practice multiplying fractions).

              Of course, when I was a kid (Oh boy, here we go….), the teachers weren’t expected to entertain or be relevant. They gave you work, you did it, asked questions if you couldn’t do it, and that was that!

              Not everyone was considered college material because not everyone IS college material. Some people excel in other ways. That’s why the testing mania is nuts.

  33. Pat in Rochester says:

    This post brings back fond memories of my few years living in AZ. The first couple were in Flagstaff. It smelled so good there. And it was all so different from the landscape in northern PA and western NY. I loved it and was homesick all at the same time.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pat,

      Yes, Flagstaff is a lot different than PA and NY. I can understand you having mixed emotions. 🙂

  34. Sondra-SC says:

    I love the pines in the Payson area…don’t blame you for wanting to stay longer in that area…it is an area I would like to explore more in the future…Monday morning coming we get our first freeze of this winter…I don’t mind the kinda cold but not looking forward to any single digits like we had last winter!!

  35. Ron Sears says:

    That has to be the best shot of Bridget yet…love the pic. of all three of you..happy safe.

  36. Lynn Brooks says:

    Love it!

  37. BadgerRickInWis says:

    Without question that look on Bridget’s face is saying “I love you Mama with every fiber of my being and you are the center of my universe. You are the Alpha to my Omega, the light of my life and the most wonderful person in the world. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be able to share my life with you and I know that I am the luckiest dog in the world and it’s all because of you.”………………………………..”Now keep pushin’”. 🙂

    BTW, absolutely LOVE the flashback picture. Not sure which is cuter, smilin’ Spikey or that leather hat?

    • Susan in Dallas says:

      I agree, that’s exactly what Bridget was saying! And she sure looked cute doing it.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      That’s one of my favorite photos, too. The one who is smiling is Bridget. You didn’t recognize her because she has her ears down flat. Spike is busy doing his own thing. That was his way. 🙂

  38. Cari in Plano Texas says:

    That’s the beauty of your lifestyle, Sue, being able to change plans on a whim. Not having to be anywhere at any particular time – that’s what I am looking forward to!

    Well, it’s official. I will be hanging up my ATM cleaning cloths and fully retiring in December! I talked with my program manager yesterday and told him my decision, and he was sad to hear the news. It’s scary, in a way, I’ve been working or involuntarily laid off for short periods of time since I graduated from college. This will be my first ‘voluntary’ unemployment time LOL But I’m excited and looking forward to this new chapter in my life. I want to get out and see this great country of ours while I still have my good health and ability to travel. I have a whole list of projects I want to work on, both on the road and at home.

    • BadgerRickInWis says:

      Congrats Cari, I’m willing to bet that it’s a decision you won’t regret.

      • Cari in Plano Texas says:

        Thanks, Rick! It’s like, I’ve been socking away money for years in IRAs “for retirement” and I stayed in the Navy Reserves until I qualified for retirement and a pension and health insurance. What am I waiting for? LOL

        • Pamela K. says:

          Thank you for your years of military service. We sleep safe because of those who serve!
          Well, Sounds like you planned very wisely. I say Go for it!
          By all means and have a ball while doing it. Best wishes to you in your travels.

    • Krystina in Cottonwood, AZ says:

      Oh happy day Cari! Congratulations on your retirement!

    • Denise - Richmond VA says:

      Congratulations, Cari! You have earned your retirement….time to enjoy it! Whoo-Hoo!! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Congratulations, Cari! You’ll be FREE to enjoy 2015. I’m happy for you.

  39. Denise - Richmond VA says:

    Good morning, Sue and fellow blogorinos!

    Wishing everyone a wonderful day! 🙂

  40. John - fossildreamer says:

    Hi Sue,, I know I’m not one of the full time Blogerino’s
    but I pop on your blog every day, hoping you have posted
    something new, You keep bloging and I will always be riding
    with you and Bridget.. Today I loved that pic of her I believe
    It’s — I love you,,, Safe Travels Sue,,,

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, John,

      There are no full-time or part-time blogorinos. Once you’ve earned the title by making a comment, you are a blogorino… We make no distinctions! There is no hierarchy! LOL!

      Bridget’s photo — I think it’s “I love you” with a little bit of “I’m sleepy” too.

      Always nice to know you’re still following our travels, John.

  41. Cinandjules (NY) says:

    BadgerRick said it perfectly!

    Bridget aka Badger is such a love sponge! Those eyes……..

    With you powering her chariot she’s looking awfully spoiled!

    It’s absolutely freezing here! Guess we acclimated to the 88 degrees in Vegas to easily!

    Have a great day!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      That must be a shock to the system… from Vegas heat to NY cold. You have a great day, too!

  42. AZ Jim says:

    I love Arizona. BUT………it is loaded with speed traps. This usually means a quick change in speed with a radar cam at the lower speed point. I know, I received one in Payson not too long ago. Costly and while many say “ignore it unless it is served hand to hand”, etc… That is foolish because the motor vehicle department is notified and you won’t be renewing a license or registration while that citation is ignored. There is an organization that keeps tabs on the locations where these “traps” exist. I post it here so you can be forewarned.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks for the link, Jim.

      Since starting this life on the road, I keep my speed below the limits. I’m sure I irritate everyone behind me! Going through towns with an out-of-state tag makes me extra careful. Plus I’m not in a hurry when I drive, not like the old, working days.

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