I can’t believe I’ve been on the road going on 7 years without jumper cables.

Thursday, January 4

Every morning Reggie, Roger and I set out in the direction of the mountains.

We walk up our desert boulevard to Midland Road.

“Oh, look at that beautiful, blue sky!”

Then we follow the paved road to the entrance of the main part of the Long Term Visitor Area. A dirt road takes us in a loop back to Midland Road and we return to camp.

That’s our “power walk.”

Between four o’clock and sunset we hop into the Perfect Tow Vehicle and find a road of dirt and rocks.

When the road deteriorates, I park and we disembark.

Reg and Rog can hardly wait for me to latch their leashes and place them on the ground. As we go along I note the condition of the road.

The next time we come here, I can drive further and our walk will take us closer to the mountains.

No one is anywhere around, although there is evidence that people come out here to dump trash and to practice shooting.

We walk until the setting of the sun tells us it’s time to turn around.  By the time we return to camp it’s dark.

~ ~ ~

The crew and I stop at an auto shop in town.

Del recommended the place, saying “The guy is Mexican. He does good work and he’s quick about it.”

Immediately Juan notices my arrival, stops working, and comes out of one of the bays to greet me.  I like that.

I explain the situation, that my van is thirteen years old, does a lot of towing, and I’ve never had the transmission serviced.

“Are you having any problems?” Juan asks.

“No . . . I’m thinking preventative maintenance.”

We walk over to the PTV and Juan tells me to turn on the engine.

I do so and pop the hood. Juan pulls the dip stick, examines the transmission fluid, sniffs and tastes.

“You haven’t lost any oil (transmission oil) and it looks clean, no scorch smell.”

Juan asks me what size engine this is.

“5.3 liter,” I reply.

Quietly he remarks, “Nice engine.”

“Yeah, I think so.”  I pat the engine affectionately and Juan grins.

I’m thinking he’d want to drop the pan to inspect, but he seems satisfied that we’re good to go. I’m agreeable to that. He suggests I could take it to the dealer, if I’m still concerned, to see what they think.

I’m going with Juan’s assessment for now.

While on the subject, a related question . . .

I’m about to place an order with Amazon for the Blackstone griddle bag and cover. I also want to order a quality set of jumper cables. Let me know what you think of this choice:

TOPDC 100% Copper Battery Jumper Cables 4 Gauge 20 Feet

I chose this one because the cables are copper, not copper-plated. I wish the handles had rubber sleeves, but these still look like the best.

With your okay, I’ll go ahead and place the order.

Thanks, blogorinos!

And in griddle news . . . .

Avocados are 59 cents each these days. I like to layer a flour tortilla with a mashed avocado, a chopped tomato, strips of iceberg lettuce, a couple spoonfuls of salsa, and topped with a mix of cheddar and jack cheese that I grate myself.

(Blogorinos objected to me using shredded cheese out of a package. I’ll never do that again!)

Sometimes I add green chilis.

Or a hot sauce or I fry chopped onions and peppers . . . .

I rotate the avocado with no-salt-added, low fat, refried beans or turkey sausage called “habenero with green chilis.”  I bought a stack of small, corn tortillas ($2.99) to try. I don’t like the corn as well as the flour. I use the corn for small quesadillas when I’m not hungry for a full meal

The reason for purchasing the Blackstone griddle was for turkey burgers. I’m loving my tortilla creations so much that I haven’t cooked one burger so far!

How about a sunrise to wrap up this post?

This one from yesterday morning was a stunner.

Like I said in the previous post, I love desert surprises!


NOTE:  Some blogorinos suggest a battery pack is a better option.  What do you recommend — jumper cables or battery pack? — Sue


If you’d like to browse and shop Amazon and see a few of the products recently purchased by readers, follow these links:

NuWave Oven Pro
Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa
1.1 Cubic Feet Upright Freezer
Shalimar Eau De Toilette Spray
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Heated King Blanket w/20 Heat Settings

RVSue and her canine crew is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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209 Responses to I can’t believe I’ve been on the road going on 7 years without jumper cables.

  1. I cna’t believe that either! First?

  2. Robin B (Oregon & Arizona) says:


  3. Andrea Eagles says:

    I opted out of jumper cables. You can get a battery pack to start it and it takes up less space and is easier to do.

    I removed the link you posted to consumer reports because it redirects to Amazon. People can do a search, if interested. — Sue

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      That’s an option. The one time I saw the battery pack used, it didn’t start the PTV.

      See Reine’s comment below. She agrees with you…

  4. dave in missouri says:


    • dave in missouri says:

      Sue I would go with a better pair those are light duty, and if your battery is really discharged. a pair with #2 cable more expensive but carry current without heating up. when a cable heats up that is amperage going to heat not starting your van!

  5. Jean in Southaven, MS says:

    I am going to be close to first today.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jean!

      • Jean in Southaven, MS says:

        Hi RVSue, I would go with the charger. There are several out there that are good. You can charge your battery without having to have someone else around. With cables you have to hope there is someone else around and able to help. With the chargers also, you can charge other things, like your phone or computer. That is just my opinion. We bought one for one of our sons for Christmas and he really likes it.

  6. Deena in Phoenix says:

    Love the sunrise photo…having back & neck issues so I’ve missed the sunrises lately. Slow moving; having nerve tests tomorrow with MRI scheduled for next week…keep telling myself to just keep walking, sitting is bothersome. Just came from the park, nice outside, in the seventies.

    Praying for blogorinos who are dealing with the Arctic weather, Stay safe.

    Take Care RVSue & Crew

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good luck with the tests coming up, Deena. I’m sorry you’re going through this… Yes, weather is fantastic!

  7. Suzicruzi from The 'Couve says:

    Hi Sue, no comments on jumper cables, but I thought I’d tell you we both had the exact same sunrise!! O. M. Goodness!! I wish I could send you a photo. It’s like we were in deja vu land or something. Musta been the cuppa we had together the day before!

    Have a good one! 😉

  8. Pat Hall, Oregon Coast says:

    You made a guacamole tostada. I love them….

  9. Dawn in NC says:

    Hi Sue! I have no good knowledge about jumper cables, except that I have a pair buried in my trunk where I will never find them in time to use them! Your walks look lovely, except for the trash. It’s too bad that people do that to such beautiful land. I am envying your high temps for the day. Mine are 28oF with high winds. Way too cold for this Carolina girl! However, we are not getting snow or ice, so I am grateful for that fact. I have been especially enjoying your pictures of the sunrises and sunsets and moon.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh, dear, 28 degrees with wind. That’s cold, Dawn.

      About trash in the desert…. Del told me he used to camp along the Colorado River, not far from here. Camped there for years by himself and kept it clean. He had to bury a dog there. He went to visit the grave and he found human trash all over the place, and it was the most disgusting trash!

      Animals know better.

  10. Paula says:

    Well I think it’s about time to get a griddle also. For a single person also this is a wonderful alternative to cooking in my outdoor kitchen. Thank you for sharing and I do appreciate your sharing of the box with the dogs as I too have two small pups.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I must be dense today, Paula. What is”the box with the dogs” ???

      • Cynthia in San Clemente says:

        I think she may have been referring to the header photo at the top of the blog – it looks a bit like a box. And by the way, that photo cracks me up. Reggie looks like he’s sticking his tongue out at you and Roger is winking. They are such clowns!

  11. Reine in Plano (when not camping) says:

    My recommendation is a Antigravity Batteries AG-XP-1 MICRO START 400 Amp 12,000 mAh Car V8 Lithium Jump Starter, Power Bank and Flashlight with Carrying Case. It’s available on Amazon for $134.99. We have one and have been really pleased with it. We’ve used it to start two different vehicles and the beauty of it is that it doesn’t require another vehicle be present. You do need to plug it into power every 3 months or so to keep it fully charged but that shouldn’t be a problem since you seem to end up in a campground with power occasionally. It can also be used to power a laptop or charge a phone as needed.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Interesting, Reine. Andrea likes having a power bank, too. A bit more than I wanted to spend…. Sounds like you’re very happy with it and I do like that no other vehicle is required.

      Antigravity Batteries AG-XP-1 MICRO START 400 Amp 12,000 mAh Car V8 Lithium Jump Starter, Power Bank and Flashlight with Carrying ase

      Blogorinos: Jumper cables or power bank? What do you say?

      • suzago in PNW says:

        This is exactly what I got for myself and my two traveling daughters for Christmas. (Both are adventurers and both are powered with 80% optimism and a loose bag of tools.) The battery pack starts big engines – you can watch lots of YouTube videos to see it in action – but it also powers cell phones and laptops when they lose their charge. I feel safer having it in the car.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I’m getting several responses for the battery packs. Y’all got me re-thinking my plan! Thanks, suzi.

      • sue from michigan, now in arizona says:

        YES, Antigravity Batteries AG-XP-1 MICRO START 400 Amp 12,000 mAh Car V8 Lithium Jump Starter, Power Bank and Flashlight. I have one on these. I can jump my van battery, and charge my phone, laptop, and verizon jetpack. and if you don’t use it the thing stays charged for a LONG time. When i need to i recharge it at the nearest library (it fits in my purse). cost more than jumpers but you get more for your money.

  12. Tara in the Pacific NW says:

    Everything tastes better in a tortilla!

  13. Jerry says:

    I think the four gauge is just fine. If the battery is dead then let it charge a few minutes before cranking and it’ll be fine. What you should be concerned about is if they reach to the back of the van to the house batteries. Chances are no one is around when you need a jump but you have a back-up in the back of the van. So just make sure what ever you order will reach the house batteries. Seven years, Wow so happy for you and your life of retirement with the boys.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jerry,

      Good point about the length! I would want to connect to one of the storage batteries inside the PTV, rather than the house battery which is at the back of the BLT. I might be somewhere without the BLT.

      Thanks for the input…. and what a nice closing sentence to your comment. 🙂

  14. Sharon says:

    Beautiful sky

  15. mrdsee in Riverside says:

    Nice things about power banks are that you don’t need another vehicle present. Less chance of messing up electrical systems. Portable power for USB charging etc. All important pluses, especially when out in the sticks.

  16. Marvin in MO says:

    You might think about checking with an welding supply house on the cost of #2, 600 volt welding cable and clamps to custom make a set of jumpers. Bigger wire is always better if you need high current to start and you can get a set of much better clamps used for the ground on welders.
    If you opt for the jump box, buy the best one you can afford and keep it charged!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Marvin,

      I don’t have enough ambition to go to a welding supply house, etc. Placing an online order with Amazon is about the extent of my energy. Haha! Thank you…. Maybe a reader will like that option.

      I agree with “buy the best one you can afford.”

  17. Suzette (TN) says:

    GORGEOUS sunset photo! I love hearing about your grilling adventures. And I’m totally jealous of those 59 cent avocados. I haven’t seen them much less than $2 in quite a while! Everything you’ve grilled just makes my mouth water. As for the jumper cable thing…I didn’t even know that power banks for cars existed. I keep one charged for my phone and such, and it came in handy this summer during an extended power outage. But, didn’t know you could have something similar for your car battery. That sounds like the way to go, since you may or may not be around someone who can provide another battery. I’d have to give it a try!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks for the feedback on my griddling news. I don’t want to turn this blog into a food blog. As long as there’s interest, I’ll include some griddle talk, now and then.

      I’m all over those avocados. Cheap and haven’t hit a bad one yet.

  18. Pat McClain says:

    I would like the power bank. The downside is that you have to be careful to keep it ready. When you forget about it too long is just the time you will need it. Battery cables would be fine if you can connect to your own batteries to get your car battery going. Personaly, I hate having to ask a stranger for a jump. One time, an older gentleman agreed to give me a jump. Only problem, his car had a battery that was backwards. He didn’t realize this and we got quite a shower of sparks when he tried to put the last cable on! We both decided I’d better try someone else since his wife was in the car complaining loudly.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pat,

      Methinks the complaining wife could benefit from sitting alone in a car with a dead battery for a while, with no one around to help or to complain to. 🙁

      Thanks for another perspective on the cables vs. battery pack question.

  19. Calvin Rittenhouse says:

    Thank you for the nice sunrise!

    I think I’ll probably go with a power bank rather than jumper cables, even though I’m kind of stingy. Why? Well, as someone pointed out, jumper cables can go unused for years. They only have one purpose, and the power bank will be used for several purposes. I don’t like unused equipment. Plus, there’s not guarantee anyone will be nearby when you need a jump, and some of them are afraid to jump others’ vehicles. All around, I think I’ll get more use out of the power bank than I would from just jumper cables. Plus, that would make it easier to do someone else the favor of jumping their battery.

  20. Eddie says:

    These really work!! EARTHX JUMP PACK

    Eddie…. I remove links that do not carry my code. If readers are interested they can do a search using the product name. — Sue

  21. AZ Jim says:

    Hi Missy…

    The battle for Los Angeles during WW2

    I was recently asked (by Barb in Florida) about “The battle for Los Angeles” (something I had alluded to in an earlier story, so here are my memories of that night. First of all one must keep in mind that I was 6 years old on Feb. 25, 1942 when this took place. Old enough for vivid images in my mind, but too young to have felt the danger.

    My folks both worked only a few miles from our home in South Gate, city of Los Angeles. They, like many others were working in defense. Mom with North American Aviation (B-25, Mustang, etc.), Dad the shipyard where we were making battle ships. So we were constantly thought to be targets for enemy bombs!

    In our neighborhood we had fully manned anti-aircraft emplacements in public parks and vacant lots. It was exciting to us kids to see the soldiers out there standing watch. Many things then were done for the effort to protect us from the enemy. We had blackouts, blackout shades in our windows (they were actually black in color), Air raid wardens who checked to be sure each home was in compliance with regulations of blackout procedures.

    Most homes had cardboard charts showing what all enemy aircraft looked like from the ground and there were ways to report such sightings. We were afraid. School children like me who attended school in these target rich areas were issued “dog tags” which reflected name, address, blood type just “in case”.

    It’s hard to imagine today but at the time paranoia reigned along the west coast. We as civilians gave up much during the war (including our sense of safety), but we knew our cause was just.

    On the night of Feb.25 an air raid siren went off and we were immediately plunged into darkness. Every adult rushed to follow all air raid procedures. I remember hearing heavy artillery and saw searchlights all over the sky. Soon mom took me and my little brother and put us under a bed where we spent hours during “the raid”.
    That began the days of rumor, confusion and probably exaggeration by we why were witness to that nights drama.
    Here is an internet version of what happened: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Los_Angeles

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      That is quite a story, Jim! I never heard anything like that! Like you say, you were too young to fully understand enough to be frightened, although I bet you picked up the panic of those around you. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into WWII history. (How’s that for making you feel old? Your childhood is history.. Ha! So is mine!).

    • Jan NH says:

      Amazing story, Jim. Thank you for sharing. It seems the activities that took place in our own country (other than Pearl Harbor) were overshadowed by what was taking place in the rest of the world during that time so we don’t often hear stories of what took place in our own country. I know my dad was stationed in the Aleutian Islands during the war but he rarely talked about it.

    • Barb in Florida says:

      Thank you, Jim. Anybody can read the wikipedia & newspaper articles, but to hear it from someone who experienced it, even as a child, adds so much more to the story. Like, who would ever think children wore dog tags or the black, black-out shades and the air raid wardens checking each home to make sure they had them. I can only imagine. So as an adult, what’s your take on it, UFO, weather balloon, a reason to inter Japanese-Americans (which Roosevelt called for a week later) or something else?

      Sue, please feel free to send this directly to Jim with my email address if you’d like to keep this kind of discussion off your blog. I would love to ask a couple more questions, but don’t want to start an unwanted thread.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Feel free to ask Jim more questions here. I’ll retain the power of the veto, if needed. No problem. 🙂

      • AZ Jim says:

        I guess in retrospect I don’t have a theory, I think I like it more as an unsolved mystery, Barb.

        • Cynthia in San Clemente says:

          How interesting Jim. I grew up in the San Gabriel valley, not too far from South Gate, but I was never aware of the battle for Los Angeles. I’m a few years younger than you (born in 1953), but I remember my mom and grandmother about the Japanese that ended up being interred at Santa Anita Race Track in Arcadia. And I remember the Cold War air raid drills where we had to get away from the windows and under our school desks.

    • Rochelle in IN says:

      Wow! That is fascinating to hear a first-person account. Thank you so much for sharing, AZ Jim! Children with dog tags – hard to fathom. 🙁

      I just finished a fiction book about WW2 in France – “The Nightingale”, recommended by a blogorino some posts back. The author is Kristin Hannah and it is a remarkable book – highly recommend! I have never had to reach deep to find the extent of my courage – my hat’s off to those who have been tested and held true.

    • weather says:

      Thanks for the story, Jim! Wow, your writing and account really brought to life events I had no prior knowledge of ! I hope you and your wife are doing well and are happy. It’s always a treat to see you here.

    • ValGal (westernWA) says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your story, Jim! I am a student WWII history and really appreciate hearing your story. Those were times we really can’t imagine today. People dealt with fear and great sacrifices. Many Americans were incredibly courageous, both at home and overseas.

      Thanks again, Jim.

  22. Jan NH says:

    Hi Sue,
    Since you travel alone and are often off the beaten path have you considered something like this?
    Brightech – SCORPION Portable Car Battery Jump Starter with SmartJump Technology – Combination Handheld Jump Box and Battery Charger for Electronics and Mobile Devices.
    I took the description from Amazon so you can probably paste the above to jump right to them on Amazon. I think they were recommended by an RVer but can’t remember who. There are many models but this one was recommended…..just a thought They are on my list to purchase since I travel alone often and hate to wait for AAA or rely on someone. Used to always carry cables with me but haven’t for a while now.
    Just came in from snow-blowing a foot or more of snow. Will likely have to do it again in the morning. Wind is whipping and every now and then, ice crystals would hit my face….BRRRR. This winter is really making me want to retire to warmer climates in a travel trailer.
    One of my neighbor’s kids from across the street was coming home trying to get into their driveway and got stuck. Police car stopped and they were all trying to push this little VW bug over the drifts to get them out of the street when I yelled to them to back into the part of my driveway that I had already cleared. Then one of his other kids put his car in my driveway as the plow was trying to clear their driveway. I had him move his car closer to my house so his dad could move his truck to my driveway. He did so but then just remained in his car while I finished my snow-blowing and shoveling my the steps again because they had become covered again with the blowing snow. The dad came walking over and I told him to move his truck to my driveway. He said he was trying to but was stuck…he was coming to get his son to help him clear so he could get his truck out…too funny that the kid was just going to sit in his car and wait for everyone else to clear the driveway….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jan,

      Well, if I decide to get a battery pack, my next challenge is choosing the right one within my budget. Whew! Thanks for letting me know a good one to investigate.

      The kid sitting in the car— Looking out for Number One! Ha! All the details about pushing vehicles, moving vehicles, shoveling, drifts, snow plow… ugh. I’m glad you could see some humor in the situation. 🙂

      • Jan NH says:

        LOL…I do enjoy finding humor in random situations. I was just watching the news and as you have heard, the south was hit with this storm as well. As you well know, they don’t have the equipment to handle it. One very resourceful person tied an empty 50″ screen TV box on the front of a riding mower and was using it to ‘plow’ the snow from the driveway…pretty creative. It was pretty funny…well I got a kick out of it anyhow.

        I’m sure you will but if you get a battery pack, please share which you choose and your thoughts on it. I haven’t yet bought one yet so am interested to hear opinions on other models. I did check out the one that Reine mentioned and added it to my ‘wish list’ to do further comparisons when I decide to buy.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Hi, Jan,

          I bet that homemade snowplow was pretty funny. Ha!

          Oh, you can count on me blabbing about what I buy and whether I’m happy with my purchases or not. That’s blog material!

          • Jan NH says:

            Turns out the guy was from PA, not down south and the video was from last week’s storm on Christmas day. He’d received the TV as a Christmas present. Apparently his finance posted the video on Facebook and it has had about 9 million views at this point !

  23. Bob says:

    Hi sue, I know a transition mechanic an he says “ if the the vehicle has high mileage and hasn’t been serviced do not have it serviced. The new fluid and filter will dislodge clutch debris and your transmission will fail a short time later. “ I asked the ford mechanic if I needed to service my pickup and he told me It’s non serviceable they don’t repair them anymore just replace them. Hope that helps to put you at ease, when you check the fluid level wipe the dip stick with a white cloth. The fluid should smell burnt and should be pink as far tasting it that’s up Juan I’ve never tried that test. I think you can trust Juan.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you very much, Bob, for weighing in on this situation. I left with a tiny bit of doubt which you swept away! Thanks for the details… interesting and what the mechanic said about high mileage vehicles that haven’t been serviced makes sense.

  24. chas anderson says:

    I have a Halo battery pack and have never been more satisfied with a product.I was having a problem with the Honda that I tow behind the RV.After a full day of driving west the Honda battery was dead.Every day for a week.In each case I jumped it with the
    Halo.I had over 7 jumpstarts and the Halo remained at 2/3 power.A great product.We also use it to charge the phones etc.

    Jumper cables are a lot cheaper but if you are by yourself or parked in an awkward position you are out in seconds.

  25. D Reed says:

    I have a class B and have a starting battery and a house battery. You have a starting battery and as I understand it you have a couple of Optina batteries that are charged by the solar panels also on the PTV.

    On a trip I forgot to turn off the headlights and by morning the starting battery was dead. No problem, I connected “a” jumper cable from the positive post of the house battery to the positive post of the starting battery. Notice I said “a” jumper cable because both of the batteries are connected to ground anyway. Didn’t need both cables. Since I didn’t need both I didn’t need a super long cable. I just connected one cable to another wrapped a tower around the connection so it would touch chassis ground and started it.
    I didn’t need 2 cables to reach from the house battery, just one. Nice cause it takes up less room.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Very resourceful! This is one reason why I thought jumper cables would be the way to go, because I have my nifty AGMs in the back of the PTV, getting “juice” from the sun. 🙂

  26. Diann in MT says:

    Great walking goals, Sue and Crew. Do I see a myriad of roads to walk at the foot of those mountains??? HAHA Be sure to bring water! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
    I am certainly enjoying your life, from the comfort of this little chair, right here in snow bound Montana. I feel for the folks in the Northeast and the Eastern Coast. Jeeze! You are all experiencing a fierce winter blast quite typical of Montana winters. Be safe, East Coast Blogorinos.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Diann,

      I don’t know if those are roads or what… Distance (and size) is deceiving in the desert. Maybe we will get closer in future walks…

      Nice shout out to the East Coast Blogorinos. 🙂

  27. rvsueandcrew says:


    Right now one of the propane tanks is making a most annoying sound… It’s not a whine or a hum… Something in between those sounds and it’s pulsating.

    When I close the valve at the tank, it stops. However, I need to keep the valve open for the refrigerator.

    Any ideas what causes this version of Chinese torture? How to make it stop?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Okay, forget the noise. After I wrote that, the crew and I went over to Del’s for the daily canine playtime. When we returned, no noise!

      • Cinandjules 🌵 says:

        Is the tank now empty?

        Uhmmm what is up with auto correct? It let me spell avocado wrong….hey teach…..can you correct my avacado spelling pleeeeeeeze!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Fixed it. Auto correct has been having hot flashes.

          No, the tank isn’t empty. It’s more than half full. As mysteriously as the noise began, it stopped. Air in the line? I don’t know.

  28. I have no advice for you, but wanted to say THANK YOU for the beautiful photos that include sun and what looks like decent temps! It’s freezing here, though we had sun. I feel bad for the East Coast. I think we all need to move out there.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Dawn. Move to the East Coast? Nooooooooo…. You can go if you’d like. I’ll stay here. 🙂

  29. Barbara (Nashville) says:

    Love that sunrise photo at the end of the post. It is absolutely gorgeous. I am beside myself wanting to get to the desert.
    I haven’t commented in a couple of days, But loved that Angel get the Spike Memorial Nutcake Award. After 5 days with the same coat, she is still afraid of it. She runs to my DH for protection from the terrible thing, but at least she is still enough to get it on her, but then she takes off again. Not quite as bad this am. Thank goodness it is going to warm a little over the weekend, but then it is going to rain.
    Need to get to work. so will have to read the comments later.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Barbara,

      Spike would turn into a statue when I put a life jacket on him. I guess he thought he couldn’t walk with it on. He sat on my lap for an entire float down the Madison, frozen in place, while Bridget was looking around, enjoying the scenery. So funny! Gosh, I miss those two.

      • Barbara (Nashville) says:

        I miss them too, but the double R’s a good replacements.
        Unlike Spike though, Angel doesn’t much care for the water. She stays far away from the community lake.
        I forgot, I also recommend the battery start pack. I think any woman traveling alone should have one, then you don’t have to worry about being stranded, or asking a stranger for help, much safer.

  30. Rob, in Livingston Texas at the Escapees Rainbows End park. says:

    Battery packs are good when they work but they don’t always work. Jumper cables (basically) have no moving parts and if someone will help you they work.

    We have both.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Rob,

      Yeah, I witnessed one that wouldn’t work. I don’t want to invest in both. Gee, it was so much easier rolling along clueless, riding on a wing and a prayer. Haha!

  31. Hi Sue,
    It has been a while — we are currently in Chino, CA and headed back to The Slabs tomorrow 🙂 When we first started out our 33′ Maxxum (fifth wheel) only had one house battery in a little compartment with outside access. We still use that location but we now have five more batteries for more fun 🙂 Early on I would sit one of our three ‘spare’ batteries on the ground and hook up my beefy blue battery cables for more power.

    More recently (after 12 days of parking under tall trees with minimal solar gain), I gave our house a “jump” with the diesel truck — just letting it idle for 1-1/2 hours. That gave us bright white lights instantly and by the next morning we still had 12.0 volts in our bank — awesome! So good cables let you pull power from one of your house batteries — among other things. Those little portable power jumpers might work on your work but I’m afraid our 7.3 diesel engine would just laugh — she’s ornery like that 🙂 We started a new group on Facebook — 27,000 members in nine months! Thanks for all the help you gave us when we were first getting started. We’re now 26+ months of fulltiming offered and loving it more every day 🙂

    [In all this time, we have never used our genset or the grid to charge our house bank. Aside from that one jump, we have learned to live within what El Sol provides. Our one 420 watt panel continues to serve us extremely well.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jim and Annie,

      Thanks for the update. I enjoyed it very much. And congratulations on living the life on solar (with a little help from the truck)!

      Facebook is amazing. You are rightly proud of the success with your new group. I can’t bring myself to get involved with FB. I’ll stay content with my little corner of the internet. 🙂

      Again, thanks for the report. As you thank me for helping you, you help others by sharing your resourcefulness and successful 26+ months. I wish you many more!

  32. Cinandjules says:

    I vote for battery pack…..and the reasons are as follows:
    A) what good is 20 ft of copper jumper cables when you need another vehicle to jump you?
    B) in the desert…where you can’t remember your name cuz there ain’t 🎼🎼. Ok tangent…it might be a long time until someone drives by.

    With the battery pack…it’s small which means stows easy…whalllah! The pack we have I just make sure to top it off (charge it) every 6 months. And it has so much more capabilities than just jump starting the car!

    Whadayamean no already shredded cheese in a package..What party foul did I miss? 😳

    The price of avocados are returning to normal…for a minute there they were almost $4 a piece. Do you like Haas (bumpy skin) or Fuerte (smooth skin)?

    Avocado and havarti cheese quesadilla……….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cinandjules,

      In response to A) and B)…. I don’t need another vehicle because I can run cables from the starter battery to one of the batteries in the back of the PTV, if the cables are long enough.

      I mentioned using shredded cheese in a package for my first creation on the griddle. Blogorinos rose up, shouting “Block cheese is better!” Ed proclaimed “Make America Grate Again!” Under pressure, I caved. 🙂

      I like Haas avocados which are 59 cents now.

      • Cinandjules🌵 says:

        Me thinks…..Jumper cables will be easier…

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Gee, that was easy. 🙂

          • Cinandjules 🌵 says:

            We have both…but prefer to use the pack.
            You already have your AGMs …with the pack you have to make sure it is charged…AND its a hundred plus dollars.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              The expense is a consideration. I guess there’s no way I could hurt my batteries if I charged the starter battery off a storage battery. I’m gonna hafta “go long” on the cables. (Moving batteries is not something I could do nor would want to do.)

            • Cinandjules 🌵 says:

              Charging the battery pack off of either battery will not do any damage.

  33. Teri Live Oak Fl says:

    I have the jump box. You do have to keep it charged but it’s been very convenient. I’ve used it once for myself and twice other’s have asked for a jump and I just walked over with my battery pack without having to move my vehicle.

  34. Don in Alaska says:

    Jumper cable don’t freeze, don’t need a recharge, don’t have to worry about a dead (internal) battery and on and on.

    A set of quality jumper cables offers more **options** that a small battery that may or may not work. As note by others, ensure your cables can reach the battery bank in back.

    I carry cables but no longer jump other cars – after paying nearly $400 for a new alternator, it’s one of those ‘never forget’ lessons…

    Good luck no mater your choice.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh boy, I’m going back and forth on this. Cables don’t need a recharge, but helping others with cables could hurt the alternator. Sheesh.

      I may be incapable of making a decision on this. I’m paralyzed by all the pros and cons. Arrrggghh! Maybe I’ll ride around with nuthin for another 7 years and rely on the kindness of strangers. 🙂

      Ha! Just kidding, Don. Thanks for sharing your experience.

      • Cinandjules 🌵 says:

        Remember a while back this subject was discussed.

        Jumping a vehicle can mess with the vehicle’s on board computer. In our patrol vehicles..we were not allowed to jump vehicle via cables.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          The PTV isn’t exactly high tech. The radio works. That’s about it. The warning lights don’t care any more.

  35. Rhodium in Va says:

    I would go with the battery pack: 21st century technology vs. 20th century. Of course, being in out of the way places most of the time, both makes the most sense.

  36. FloridaScott says:

    Hi Sue,

    My vote is for a good pair of jumper cables. Why? Well I have been following you for a long time and I know kinda, sorta know how you are. (Kinda Like Me) Will the battery pack have any charge when you need it? Did you remember to keep it charged and ready? Jumper cables are cheaper and need no maintenance. From following your blog it seems most rv’ers are a friendly, helpful lot so getting a jump should not be a big problem. Now, the battery packs are Great but you would have to keep it charged & ready.

    News Alert!!! We did it! We bought a trailer today. It is a 2018 Cruiser RV MPG 2000RD. It is a bit larger than I wanted to go but with the two of us I think it will work well. We are very excited and ready to hit the road in a few more months. Thank you so much Sue for your Blog, All the things I’ve learned, Your knowledge and encouragement to help make this day possible!


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      HOORAY!!!! YOU HAVE YOUR MAGIC CARPET! I’m very happy for both of you! I looked it up and WOW!

      Here’s a link: 2018 RV MPG 2000RD

      Sweet. You’re gonna’ have so much fun. 🙂

    • Steve in Vegas says:

      What FloridaScott said about cables vs. jumper box.
      I read through about 1/2 the comments and noticed no one had mentioned the weight of the packs. I doubt you want to add yet more weight to your setup rather than jumping from the batteries in the PTV with light compact cables. Also keeping a pack charged is a pain when off the grid.
      On the transmission, go with Juan’s advice. Anyone that would taste the fluid to check if it has got too hot knows what he’s talking about. Dropping the pan will show you small metal fillings which is normal in differentials, engine, and transmissions, which is not to be worried about.
      My best and that may the best sunrise/set photo you have posted.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Hi, Steve,

        I looked up the weight of these jump packs and they range from 1.1 lbs to 18 lbs. (maybe more than that). If a charge lasts a couple months, I wouldn’t have a problem keeping it charged. I wonder how it would draw off the solar storage batteries….

        I’m leaning toward Juan’s advice. Thank you regarding the sunrise photo. Best wishes to you, too!

  37. Joe in TN says:

    Wow! Congratulations! Seven years on the road and still searching for the perfect sunrise. That one is awesome but keep looking, there’s gotta be some more out there to share with the rest of us. Thanks muchly.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Joe. Actually I’ve collected several, perfect sunrises. I can’t get enough of ’em. More to come! 🙂

  38. David Crivaro says:

    Dear Sue, I own and recommend the NOCO Genius boost plus. Fits in your hand, will jump all gas engines and diesels up to 3 litres. Charges via USB. Will jump multiple vehicles on one charge. Even has built in light with sos flashing. Available on Amazon. We’ve been full time for 3 years now and love your site.
    David and Susan

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, David. I’m pleased that you and Susan enjoy my blog.

      I’m confused about the phrase “up to 3 litres.” Are you talking about engine size? The PTV is 5.3 litres. Oh, wait a minute. I think I read that wrong. You mean it charges “all gas engines” and the 3 litres was regarding diesels. Got it.

      Fits in your hand? Interesting. I’ll look up the NOCO to learn more.

      • Calvin Rittenhouse says:

        I believe David means diesel engines up to 3 litres and all gasoline engines. David, please correct me if I’m wrong.

        This thread could not have come at a better time for me. After a lengthy diversion, I am again considering how to set up a vehicle for camping. The electricity issue has been the only real “build” question, and I think it has been answered. I will be able to charge a “jump box” often enough to use it as my “house” power. (My electrical needs are small.) There are open questions about how I will use my rig, but this is the way that makes sense for me to have power.

  39. Ed says:

    My first thought was, after 7 years why are jumper cables needed now? You have managed without them for this long – why now?

    Assuming that question has been resolved in you mind and you do need them I am more inclined to say get a power pack. I think you will get far more use from it than you would jumper cables.

    I used one as my power source when I was traveling with a Teardrop. It would be plugged into the dash 12v power outlet during the day when I was driving and then at night I would plug the trailer wiring into the power pack.

    I can not remember ever using jumper cables in my life.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You make a good point, Ed. I guess I figure I need cables because everybody has some way to get their vehicle started when a battery goes dead. Peer pressure. 🙂

      I’m going nuts. I change my mind between cables and power pack with every comment that appears here. Thanks for your input, Ed. I value your point of view.

    • Barbara from Camano Island says:

      I have never heard of a power pack, let alone using one like you did with your teardrop. Does this mean if I am camping in a Prius, I could have one of these powerepacks to charge my iPad each night and to power fairly lights. And, could charge it while driving using the lighter socket? Thanks.

  40. Texas Sue says:

    Sue there’s a battery you can get at wal-mart that has jumper cables
    ( you can jump yourself no other vehicle needed), also has air compressor to air up tires, plugin to charge phones or laptop, 12v converter to 110 plug, plus inverter

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Sue. I have an air compressor and inverter and a fairly new battery from Wal-Mart.

  41. Gumo says:

    A battery pack is the only way to go. It is much safer for you and your electronics, plus is provided extra power for electronic ddvices, plus you won’t need to find someone to jump start your van. Amazon is where I got mine and you can’t go wrong. Just make sure you keep it charged.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Gumo. I’m going to look up some of the power packs that blogorinos have suggested and study them before making a decision, cables vs. battery pack.

  42. phil says:

    If you can’t get both, I vote for the battery pack.It’s the size of a pocket book, and I charge mine about once a year. It is easy to check, push the button and see how many lights light up. If 2 out of 5, it will still start a car. To me, the satisfaction comes when someone asks for a jump start, and you answer “no, but I will bring my jumper box over and we’ll get you started. Easier than finding the cables, and pulling them, then untangling. I made my decision 3 years ago when I called AAA as my battrery wads dead in 116 degree heat. He had this little box about the size of a kid’s lunch box, and hooked it up. After a minute he said, give it a try, and my car started right up. By the way, I only paid $40 for mine.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I appreciate you posting your preference, Phil. The details are helpful!

      All these comments are shaping my thinking and I think that will lead to me making the decision that’s best for me. I also think comments such as yours are helping others decide. Thanks!

  43. Dan says:

    This is my first time leaving a comment for you. The jumper cables look to be okay, the heavier the wire gauge the better. If you could get both, the cables and the jump pack, that would be a great way to go. A very good jump pack is, NOCO Genius Boost GB40 GB 40 12V 1000 UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter Boat Car RV. I have found them on Ebay. This jumper is rated well for V8 engines to about 6Lt. Both would be nice, but when you need them the one you have is the you count on.
    I enjoy reading your blog every day, my best to you and the crew.

  44. Mike in KC says:

    Another first time comment here. It is too bad you don’t have a handy tinkering type around. The batteries in the back of the van are already a huge power pack. A little creative wiring, a solenoid and a switch and you could have a boost switch like many larger RVs. If it doesn’t want to start you just flip the boost switch and the batteries in the back are connected to the engine battery. A couple minutes to equalize the voltages and then it would crank right up. Just a thought anyway.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Welcome, blogorino Mike! Glad to have you join us!

      Ya’ know? You point out something that clears the cobwebs out of my brain. The storage batteries ARE connected to the starter battery!

  45. Cynthia in San Clemente says:

    As between the jumper cables and the battery pack, I’d go for a AAA card. Just kidding, I know you’re too self-reliant for that, but this is honestly one of those rare subjects on which I have no opinion. I do love the gorgeous desert sunrise photo. I think I told you once that I don’t care for the desert, but I’ve decided it’s just the heat I don’t like. Winter and spring in the desert really is beautiful in its own way.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cynthia! I hope you are having a wonderful day!

      What you say about your opinion of the desert can be applied to most every region. If my opinion of the northeast were based on what it is like there right now, well ….. 🙂

  46. I always carried jumper cables and always found that, when my battery wouldn’t start, there were always friendly folks around to provide a jump. This happened several times until I figured out that there was a problem with the electrical cord connecting my motor home to the car. Then this fall when I was at home, my car wouldn’t start in the garage. Triple A was going to take at least 45 minutes and I had an appointment to get to. None of my neighbors was home. Luckily after about 10 minutes of standing in the street, I flagged down a woman who didn’t know how to open her hood, but was willing to help. She was so glad to learn how to jump a car (and find out how to pop her hood.) Thinking about all the back roads I’m on out in the wilderness, I decided then and there to get a lithium ion battery jumper. After quite a bit of research, I bought the DBPOWER 600A Peak 18000mAh Portable Car Jump Starter on Amazon. I don’t know if it is powerful enough to start your bigger vehicle, but right before I bought a new car battery I discharged the car battery enough to test the jumper and it worked great. Now I don’t need to worry that I will get in trouble in Timbuktu–so long as I remember to keep the jumper battery charged. I put a note in my calendar to check it every month.

    Hope this helps!

    • Calvin Rittenhouse says:

      The Amazon listing says the DB Power unit you named will jump a gas engine up to 6.5 L and a diesel up to 5.2 L. I put that one on my wish list.

  47. Eileen says:

    Oh my, yes, that is a “stunner” of a sunrise! I, too, can’t believe you’ve been on the road 7 years without jumper cables. But then, I’m “afraid of my own shadow” and I probably over-insure myself with everything I do…lol.. While I keep jumper cables in my trunk, I know nothing about them (except that they’ve been useful a few times in my 57-years of driving history), so, can’t advise about the type of purchase you make. I’m happy to hear you plan to order them.

  48. Eileen says:

    P.S. Have you ever considered a medical alert button? I bought into the “Great Call” system a couple of years ago when I joined the “70’s Club” because there is a strong history of female strokes in my family and I live alone. I have the GPS button that sits in my pocket wherever I go and it costs me less than $30/mo. It may not work in very remote areas, so you’d need to check out the extent of their coverage. It works well in a condo situation (not all technical gadgets do – I had to return a Consumer Cellular phone a few years ago because their service did not have a signal strong enough for me to use their phone).

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Eileen,

      I’m assuming your P.S. is directed to me (I can’t see the sequence of comments when on the admin page.) While I understand the importance of a medical alert button for people such as yourself, I don’t know of any chronic condition or family medical history that would warrant one for me. I apologize if you meant this message for someone else.

  49. ReneeG from Idaho says:

    Wow Sue, that last sunset photo is absolutely gorgeous! I would love to paint it!
    Here’s another suggestion to use up those corn tortillas you are not fond of – make chilaquilas or migas with them. For Chilaquilas – cut them in wedges like you’re going to make corn chips, then lightly fry them on your griddle till they are slightly crispy. Pour in a little enchilada sauce and keep cooking till the sauce dries up, top them with an over easy egg, chopped onion and shredded cheddar cheese. Yum. The flavor is like Enchiladas Rancheras.

    For migas, you start out by cooking the tortillas in the same manner, but instead of pouring in the sauce, scramble in a couple of eggs, adding whatever you like after they are finished cooking, as a topping – avocado, diced onion, whatever. Yumm! Hmmm. I happen to have a stack of corn tortillas in my fridge now, I think I’ll make the migas for breakfast tomorrow (that is if my husband can go without his smoked salmon on bagels!) Ta ta for now.

    • Denise - Richmond VA says:

      Those recipes sound good, Renee! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Renee, for the recipes! I have a question. Keep in mind that I tend to get caught up in minutia, which can be a good thing, but not always.

      You used the phrase “pour in” and that stalled me. If I have wedges “like corn chips” on the griddle, what am I supposed to pour the sauce into? Do you mean pour the sauce on top of the wedges while they are on the griddle, spilling the sauce over onto the griddle?

      • ReneeG from Idaho says:

        Good question, Sue. Yes, you are right. In your case, on the griddle, either pour the sauce slowly on top all the while, flipping, stirring, turning the tortilla chips to allow the griddle to “cook down” the sauce. Pour in more as needed. Chilaquilas are usually the color of red enchiladas. I hope this helps.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Thanks, Renee. Yes, that does help. 🙂 I suppose I could shove the chips to one side of the griddle while cooking down the sauce over the hot area of the griddle.

        • ReneeG from Idaho says:

          Oh, one more thing. If you find that you have left over red enchilada sauce – Las Palmas is the best, but any will do – you can add it to chicken broth, add cooked chicken (from those roast chickens you buy), add some hominy and you’ve got a pseudo menudo without the menudo, or a chicken posolle. Top it with chopped avocado, crushed tortilla chips, chopped cilantro, dried oregano, thin sliced radishes, finely chopped cabbage, or any Tex Mex topping.

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            Wow! You think I’m ready for that? Hahaha!

            Seriously… I appreciate all these ideas. Only one that I’m tossing out is the “chopped cilantro.” Can’t eat that. Tastes like soap.

            • ReneeG from Idaho says:

              Of course! Or just save the sauce for the next batch of Chilaquilas if you end up liking them. Get mild sauce, btw. Same with my husband on the cilantro! He doesn’t like it.

  50. Denise - Richmond VA says:

    Hi, Sue,

    Have you made a decision regarding the jumper cables or battery pack? Everyone who has offered advice has valid reasons worth considering….decisions, decisions! A few months ago, I mentioned that I have the Halo Bolt. It is about the size of a small hardcover book. You can jump start your car, recharge your laptop, phone, or tablet, and it has a super bright LED light, too. The newer models even have a 120 volt AC outlet…. Heaven forbid that you should have power issues again, the Halo could be used to charge your laptop . Anyhooo….whatever you decide will be perfect for for you! 🙂

    I chuckle every time I look at the header photo of Roger giving you stink eye and Reggie giving you a raspberry! Funny boys! Thank you for sharing that beautiful sunrise!

    Have a good day, Sue! I hope you find the source of the annoying gas tank sound. Sending you and the Crew love and hugs from me and Gracie pup! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, Denise, for sending love and hugs this way. I’m sending more on a return flight to you and Gracie pup! 🙂

      No, I haven’t made a decision re: cables or battery pack. I appreciate the info you give about the Halo Bolt.

      The header photo was taken when the crew and I were having the new fridge installed. Even though they were given a walk-around, Reg and Rog were mad at me for making them wait in the PTV while the work was being done.

      I hope the weather allows you to get out and enjoy this day….

  51. weather says:

    Hi, Sue, I hope you slept well without dreaming about car tech issues, even though there are so many choices and decisions to consider. Good morning 🙂

    My gut reaction about cables vs. a battery pack is that I’d get the latter were I in your place. My reasoning is that I wouldn’t use your AGM’s to charge your starter battery. You have an ordinarily well-functioning electrical system for your solar, home and PTV, I just wouldn’t do anything that has a chance of messing with that, and cables have a potential to cause complicated problems.

    The Amazon ASIN for the DB power starter Rhonda mentioned is B01D42TYFC , it only costs $30 more than the cables you put a link to, and might be the better alternative. The DB product seems like a good choice, enough power, versatile, etc. Juan’s advice was essentially to leave well enough alone re older functional transmissions. I see that as sound thinking, and in line with my reluctance to involve your AGMs with jumper cables…An “if it ain’t broke leave it alone” kinda thing.

    Thanks for the beautiful sunrise photo! It will be nice for you and the boys to walk closer to the mountains for a change of scenery. It’s a mite cold for long walks here in central NY state at the moment(wind chill around 28 below zero). I’m counting my blessings for having a warm well supplied home to enjoy.

    The news showed folks along the Atlantic coast north of here with streets waist high in frozen water from the storm surge. Also thousands are without power along the whole eastern coast. Transportation, by automobile, rail or airlines is just not available for many wanting to travel now or this coming weekend. Thank God they are predicting normal temperatures to return for a few days starting next Monday.

    Your griddle meals sound delicious, enjoy them and this wonderful gift of today!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Dear, dear weather . . .

      You have a way of presenting a situation with a clarity that is extremely helpful. In short, you make a lot of sense! Thank you for the thought and research you put into your comment.

      I also appreciate the details on this recent storm and cold in your part of the world. Since I don’t watch television, listen to radio news, or read newspapers, I’m often unaware of weather situations other than our own. (I only read news based on primary sources available online.)

      The frozen water situation is beyond imagination! I hope you aren’t experiencing any power outage or related problems. Yes, it’s good there are only a few more days of this….

      Thanks again for writing. Soon the boys and I will do as you say– enjoying this “wonderful gift” by walking across the desert together.

      Warm wishes to you and your feline crew. 🙂

      • weather says:

        The warmth in your wishes and reply was felt and appreciated. I haven’t had any power outage or problems caused by cold, wind, snow or ice. I’m amazed (again)by how helpful folks have been recently to ensure that I have an easy life.

        One day I went to put more air in my Jeep Liberty’s tires ( the cold tends to deflate them a bit). The nozzle on the air hose was frozen, and the guy that repairs the machine happened to be there to fix it. He asked me to wait a couple of minutes while he replaced the nozzle. Then he started the machine for free, waited to help and be sure all 4 of my tires were inflated before he left.

        Then yesterday I had a propane delivery scheduled. (If we do lose power the kerosene furnace won’t run, but I could turn on my propane cook stove’s burners and oven for a while to keep the place livable.) Anyway, the gentleman that delivered the 50 gallons of propane while it was 4 degrees out went far beyond what one might expect. Rather than just fill the tank and tuck the bill in my doorway, he took the time to run a leak check to be sure the system remains safe. Also, moved the stove to check the on /off valve behind it, made sure I understood how to use that and the one on the tank outside. Then he moved the stove back where it belongs, lit the pilot lights and made sure all four burners and the oven/broiler would work before he left.

        The temperatures in my part of the world do seem cold, the people, my feline crew, fellow blogorinos and you make it delightfully warm.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I took a quick look at the product you mentioned. The ASIN number makes it easy for me. 🙂

      I like it! Highly rated by a large number of customers and also a price that’s not painful.

      DBPOWER 600A 18000mAh Portable Car Jump Starter (up to 6.5L Gas, 5.2L Diesel Engine) Battery Booster and Phone Charger with Smart Charging Port (Black/Red)

      • weather says:

        There’s a coupon I hadn’t noticed before when I looked at it. I’m glad you found the DBPower item and posted the link. One click to place a check in the coupon box takes $5 off , so now it’s only $64.99, nice!

  52. Linda a says:

    Beautiful, gorgeous sunrise… Love it !
    If I was shopping for Jumper Cables I’d probably ask that nice
    Mexican repair guy or a Tow Service man. They see people’s needs
    every day. Just a thought. I’ll be happy to hear your final
    choice for my self.
    Keep having great days all through the New Year !

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, Linda. I wish you many great days, too. If I have an opportunity, I’ll ask others for their opinion, although I already have a bunch from blogorinos to consider!

      Another beautiful sunrise this morning… I don’t know where you are, but I bet there is beauty to be enjoyed there also. 🙂

  53. Fred says:

    I recently bought the exact jumper cables you are looking at, and I found them to be a very well built set of cables, including very good clamps. The storage bag that came with mine tore the first time I used it, but I’m not really concerned about that, and would buy the cables again.

    As to whether you get jumper cables, or a booster battery, ask yourself how often you have camped where there is no one you could ask for a jump.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Fred,

      Well, there have been several camps where no one was around. Only a couple where it may be several days before another person came along. I get your point which is good.

      Thanks for the feedback on the cables, not only for my benefit but also for anyone considering what to purchase. Very helpful!

  54. Nivrapa in AZ says:

    My vote is for a good set of jumper cables. I’ve used both methods to restart a dead battery. I’ve had a power pack fail on two occasions when I had my Jeep.

    The darn thing was so heavy that it took a crane to lift it to a location where the cables would reach. Just kidding, but it was really heavy to move. The lighter more portable power packs may work for a smaller sedan/truck but when you’re jumping a larger, commercial vehicle you need something more substantial which translates to more weight to move around.

    Also, a power pack does not have infinite recharges and eventually will not hold a charge so it becomes useless and needs to be replaced. I’ve had the same set of heavy duty jumper cables for 35++ years and they still work as well as the day I bought them. When my power pack died I decided not to replace it since quality packs are pricey and have a limited lifespan.

    Cables are much more reliable and affordable, IMO. Are you disciplined enough to keep a power pack charged? Can you recharge it via solar or do you need shore power? How many laptop charges can the power pack supply? How sensitive is it to heat and cold? Cables are maintenance free.

    Given that you drive around with your Optima batteries available at all times, I wouldn’t worry about needing to find someone to give you a jump start. If you go for the power pack, just make sure it has the capacity to use on your van and that you can lift and move it to where you need to locate it.

    And one more thing, neither method is effective if you don’t know how to use the equipment. Let’s hear it for Team Jumper Cables!!

    The current header with the crew makes me laugh. To me it looks like Rog is having a serious problem with gas and Reg is thinking “What is that stink? Bleh!” A great photo to capture forever. Just hilarious.—Audrey

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Audrey,

      You ask good questions! Thank you!

      About my Optima batteries in the back of the PTV… They are connected to the starter battery. When my starter battery wouldn’t start the PTV, I discovered that the Optima batteries were low on charge also. I believe what happened — okay, I admit I’m an amateur — is this: As the starter battery went into decline and I continued to start the PTV on whatever charge was available, the charge on the Optima batteries also declined.

      At the time we were at a shaded camp and I speculate that the solar panel could not compensate for the draw I was putting on all three batteries. I didn’t think of this earlier in the conversation as it developed here.

      I could charge up a power pack periodically when I stop at a campground or park with hook-ups. I’ve done that for access to water, dump and laundry facilities.

      I hadn’t considered lifespan. Thank you for giving us a more complete picture for making a decision.

      Those “stinkers” are fed up with waiting in the PTV. They think I’m on this earth to keep them happy every second and that photo was taken when they were expressing their disappointment in my performance of my duties.

  55. Tawnya Cohoon says:

    Hi Aunt Susan !! I’m glad you have the griddle. We love ours. Brian cooks on it all the time ! We have the large one. Sits on our deck. I love it cause it makes Brian cook more 😀. I love you to the moon and back ! Continue to take care of you for me. Never forget I’m always just a phone call away ❤️

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Tawnya! What a wonderful surprise! Buying the griddle was worth having your comment appear here. 🙂

      You know I love you to the moon and back, too. I’m not a phone user but I can feel you close through your words.

      Love and hugs to you and Brian. Be well and happy…. and have a fantastic new year!

  56. Rick & Brock the dog, WA says:

    Hi Sue,
    I would recommend getting the transmission serviced, the pan dropped and filters replaced. Even though the tranny fluid “looks & smells” good it won’t last forever. I’d suggest the same for your brake fluid and coolant along with new coolant hoses. Fluids are the life blood of your auto. Old brake fluid can rust calipers, old coolant will wear out your water pump and old tranny fluid makes it more difficult for your transmission to stay cool and shift correctly. I mention these because they’re probably in your service manual and while it does cost you to do these, it’s easier than the hassle of a breakdown on a hot/cold/rainy day. Just my humble opinion. By the way, I follow my own advice here. I’m more worried about my dog and a roadside breakdown than I am about myself or the vehicle. Happy travels and love your blog!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, Rick, for giving me another point of view. There isn’t another shop here that I want to take it to. I haven’t made a decision yet anyway.

      • Rick & Brock the dog, WA says:

        Yes, makes perfect sense to take your rig to someone you trust for major services. And I’d at least get the jumper cables if anything to have them to help someone else. As for the battery pack, eh. Just don’t leave any lights on and have your alternator checked for charge output so you know it’s working ok.

  57. kerry says:

    Sue, Rick and Brock gave you some great advice, that is very similar to a post I wrote to you, on this subject, a while back. The vast majority of us totally fail to maintain our vehicles in the manner that the manufacturer recommends, or what has been show to be “best practice”. Bottom line is that regularly maintained vehicles last a LOT longer, are more reliable, and less costly to operate in the long run. IIRC, I mentioned knowing of GM van operators who regularly get 400-500K miles of service out of their vans. GM makes a very durable product, but operating yours until you decide that you are tired of doing so (hopefully many, many years from now!) and avoiding major expenses, like failed transmissions, radiators, etc…is all about doing maintenance, and replacing all fluids on a regular basis. When it comes to battery issues, take the van to any major chain auto parts store (Autozone, Advanced Auto, etc……) they will do a complete load test on the battery, for free, and tell you exactly how your battery is performing. Being single and frequently out in the middle of nowhere, I would get in the habit of replacing the battery, with a top notch unit, every five years. They are cheaper to replace before they fail, especially if it avoided a towing bill.
    IF you haven’t done so, IMHO I would plan on having the transmission fully serviced with new fluid, filter and pan gasket. Replacing the lubricant in the rear differential with a good synthetic. Flushing the brake fluid. replacing the engine bay coolant hoses, and belts, and flushing and replacing the coolant. Replacing any filters including the engine air filter, and the fuel filter located on the frame rail, near the gas tank (if equipped with one) The trans. and radiator should then be done on a 24 month or 30K miles schedule. You also need to be aware that GM fuel pumps in these vans do not last forever. I just had mine quit in a 2002 Silverado. They randomly decide to fail to deliver enough fuel pressure to the engine. Mine just quit while heading down the road. If you are in a remote location and this happens, you can occasionally get it limping along by crawling under ,and smacking the bottom of the gas tank. This sometimes “jogs” the pump rotor and gets it past a dead spot inside the electric pump motor, and might get you going again. I’m a huge GM truck fan, who has put countless hundreds of thousands of miles on them, with little drama. Most of that success can be attributed to obsessive maintenance. I always laugh at the in person and online comments like, ” I have yet to get over 100K miles on a Chevy truck without it needing a new transmission” or similar nonsense. In decades of putting tons of miles on GM trucks I had an alternator and two fuel pumps fail. Never had a major, high dollar repair, or major issue. Good luck.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, kerry. Wow! That’s overwhelming and will take me a while to absorb. All you’ve suggested makes perfect sense. One thing lingers in my mind and causes me to hesitate…

      The PTV has not been maintained these many years in the manner you outline. It has been said that taking a high mileage vehicle for a transmission flush, new filter, etc. will cause more problems than it prevents.

      The water pump on the PTV was replaced last summer. I’d like to have the fuel pump tested, at least, or replaced. I think the brake fluid was changed when I had brake work done last winter. I’ll have to check on that.

      • Calvin R says:

        Were it my vehicle (and it has been), I would “bite the bullet” and do the oil change and transmission service twice, a few hundred miles apart. I think both Juan and Kerry are right. If you do the two fluid changes once, old filings and “junk” in your engine and transmission will wash out. That’s why I would do the second change. If you still have the original coolant hoses, I’d replace those, too. It usually doesn’t cost much and it could save your engine or at least prevent a breakdown.

      • kerry says:

        Sue, people have transmissions fail after a “flush” for two reasons. First, they have neglected to do any proper maintenance on the thing, and it’s bring flushed in hope that it will be a magic “cure” for an issue, like slipping. The trans. is/was in the process of failing and it wouldn’t matter if it had been professionally flushed, of if a witch doctor did a dance around it, it was dying anyway. The second issue is when it’s been neglected to the point that it has a lot of caked on gunk, burnt fluid, etc… in the system, and flushing softens this crud up, and allows it to do damage as it circulates inside the transmission.

        Personally, I would have a shop drain the thing, pull the pan, change the filter, and replace the pan gasket, then refill with top quality fluid. I would then drive it for six months and have it drained and refilled again. The second service should be a bit cheaper than the first, since there is no time or material involved in removing the pan or replacing the filter.

        One big reason to do it twice in a short period is that you can’t really replace all the fluid, since most transmissions and torque converters cannot be fully drained without tanking them apart. For example, our little Honda CVR only drains three of eleven quarts during a “drain and fill service”. By doing it twice, you get more fresh fluid exchanged and a better outcome.

        As for the fuel pump, you can have a shop test the pump pressure as it’s pushing fuel into the engine, but the pumps tend to just fail from being worn out, and it could have full pressure as it being tested, and quit the next day. This is such a common issue, that most independent shops are well versed in swapping them out, and the whole job isn’t too expensive. I’m not a big fan of doing it as preventative maintenance. I would just keep $500 or so, tucked away in your account, for when/if it happens, and get the PTV towed in for a new one.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Kerry… I do very much appreciate you telling me this and for taking the time and effort to explain it all in detail. I will take your advice about the fuel pump. I try to keep aware of the sound and “feel” of the PTV’s engine. I may be given a bit of warning when the fuel pump starts to go… You know, that slight hesitation. One time I had a fuel pump start to go and I managed to keep the car running by pressing on the brake and the gas pedals at the same time. When I got to the shop, the mechanic was incredulous… He said he didn’t know how I got there without blowing up. Blogorinos: Do Not Do This At Home (or anywhere!). Haha!

          Your explanation for the double flush on the transmission makes sense. Obviously you know what you’re talking about. I need to find myself in a place where I can have that done. We may leave Blythe soon and I got the feeling Juan didn’t want to mess with it anyway.

          Thanks again for giving me an education I sorely needed!

  58. Name and location of Juan’s shop? I need some work done.

    As far as cables go, I have some that came in a zippered case. It’s exactly the right size to sit atop the battery in my Express van. You can’t get much handier than that. And they’re long enough to reach to my house batteries.

  59. Pauline in Mississippi says:

    Your pictures have been beautiful!!! The ones of the moon were spectacular as is the sunrise in this post. You mentioned when walking you remembered to stand up straight. You got that from Dad. He always told us to stand up straight…something I preach often in my water aerobics class. I remember Dad telling me..Pauline, you are short…stand up straight…you will look taller. LOL!!!
    Glad you like your griddle. You have taken to that like I have my Instant Pot and my new NuWave Air Fryer. Sure does help me like cooking better when I have good equipment.
    Doing fine here in Mississippi even though it has been colder than usual. At least we do not have any snow!!!
    Love to you and the crew!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Love to you, too, Pauline!

      So you’re the one who ordered an Instant Pot and a NuWave Air Fryer…. 🙂 Anything to make cooking fun, right? Wow, Tawnya and Brian have the big griddle. I bet some tasty meals come off that thing…

      Warmer temps are on the way to Mississippi… and yes, Dad, I’m standing up straight!

  60. ApplegirlNY says:

    Catching up for the New Year. Hope everyone had, and is continuing to have a happy one. Sue, absolutely loved the rising moon post from a few days ago. I can’t believe you’be been on the road for 7 years with or without jumper cables. That’s a wonderful thing. I think I’m in my 4th year of following you. Where does the time go? Once again, I’m so glad you’ve taken us all on your journey.

    30 below with the wind chill here today in Upstate NY. Yup, New York. Come for the weather, stay for the taxes. LOL!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Applegirl,

      Gosh, that’s COLD! But you knew that. 🙂

      I’m pleased you liked the post with the rising moon. It’s wonderful that I have special moments stored on this blog along with the reactions of my readers. Thank you.

      Stay safe and warm…

  61. Lisa in San Diego says:

    great discussion and comments here about battery packs and jumper cables

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yes, it is, Lisa… All it takes is for people to participate. Everyone has something to offer.

  62. Edie from Denvet says:

    Battery pack for sure, there may not always be someone around to give you a jump. We bought one in October while in Albuquerque. Didn’t use it until last week but we jumped two cars within the same hour. Just remember to recharge it monthly or if you use it. The one we got is a Schumacher 750 peak amps also has a 150 psi air compressor an emergency light and 2 USB ports.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Edie,

      I’ll look up the Schumacher. Two cars in one hour… They must’ve seen you as the Power Angel. 🙂

  63. Desert Ginger back in the desert! says:

    What’s the problem with bags of grated cheese? Am I harming myself?

    As for corn tortillas, some are MUCH better than others. Mission are usually hard and cardboardy. I like Guerrero much better. Try aaround till you find a really soft Foldable one.

    Started seeing a chiropractor on top of everything else and think (knock on wood!) I’m improving.

    Are you enjoying this fabulous weather? I read about my friends in NY living in sub-zero temps and I’m so glad I’m here!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Ginger,

      About the bags of grated or shredded cheese…. Folks are food purists and the bags of cheese contain cellulose to keep the cheese from clumping. Also freshly grated cheese is “better,” a matter of opinion. Oh well…

      Being new to the world of corn tortillas, I chose Fiesta brand. The smallest pack and there are 80 tortillas in it! I think the cardboardy ones are stale because I ate one off the top of the stack and it wasn’t very good. Now I pull one out from the middle and they’re okay. I still like flour tortillas better. I use the corn for small quesadillas.

      Yes, this weather is perfect! I know you miss NY sometimes (I’ve lived there, too) but there’s a lot to be said for living in AZ!

      • Desert Ginger back in the desert! says:

        Well, even when they aren’t stale, there is a difference, IMO. In the Tucson area you can find Guerrero, which are vastly superior to my taste.

        As for eating cellulose…meh. It just goes straight through.

        • Barb in Florida says:

          Oh the grated cheese. I just wanted to agree with Ed. Maybe I shouldn’t have said why. Sorry to be a food purist, it came with the Celiac disease. Which comes from centuries of wheat manipulation. Long biology, has to do with how many chains needs to be broken down for digestion. But hey, lets add some complex chains of cellulose to our food. Wikipedia says that it is not digestable for humans, but MAY add in bulk to ease in defecation. So if that cellulose goes right through you it pushes ALL the food through, even the good nutrients, which can’t be absorbed because it’s not there long enough.

          Our not eating of shredded cheese goes back further – to the 70’s. I got tired of buying a pack of shredded and TWO DAYS later any leftover was starting to green. Can’t trim shreds. Also, got tired of looking through packs in store searching for the one with the least stuff on it. How much adulteration to our food is just for convenience or so stuff lasts longer. Is it really a money issue? Maybe the food science has gotten better since then. I wouldn’t know. Sometimes I long for the days we all lived on farms. You stated, Sue “Also freshly grated cheese is “better,” a matter of opinion.” It’s just that – fresher. Yes, it’s a matter of opinion and so are food tastes. What some hate – others LOVE.

          While still on the cheese thing (am I asking for it or what) “process cheese food” in the individual cellophane wrappers. Ewwww! Just by it’s name sounds gross. Like they have to tell you it’s food. It’s mostly oil. Also stopped eating in the 70’s when we went to a party and husband unwrapped, laid on paper plate to get bread, etc ready and when he went to lift the cheese food to the sandwich, it was adheared to the plate like glue! Real American cheese doesn’t do that. Which recently found out is a mix of mozzerella and colby, so I just buy that.

          Sorry everybody, I’m really not a food snob. Husband was the picky one that started all this cheese snobery. Just had to agree with (husband &) Ed that grated fresh was better. Now all go to amazon a buy a grater!!! Just kidding;)

          Glad you’re feeling better, DG. Have a really wonderful day everyone! That cold looks like it’s trying to push it’s way out of the US. Hope you all get some sun today.

          • rvsueandcrew says:


            When I wrote “food purist,” I was using that phrase as a shorthand for all that you’ve written about cheese sold in blocks. And when writing about grating one’s cheese being better and said “a matter of opinion,” I wasn’t disagreeing. I didn’t mean it in any way as derogatory. Sometimes I write things to prevent bickering on my blog.

            It would be great for all of us to be food purists for good health.

            As a side note….Unfortunately for some people and concerning some foods, price can be a restricting factor. I remember eating mac n’ cheese out of a box — the kind where the cheese is a powder, made by Kraft — and I knew it wasn’t the best food to eat but it was all I could afford at the time. And before someone says I could’ve made from scratch.. I was working long hours and also cheese in a block cost more than a couple boxes from Kraft. And I ate those cheese slices made out of rubber. A grilled cheese sandwich (cheap white bread, cheap cheese, cheap margarine– yuck) and a can of soup makes a cheap, filling supper.

            If a person can afford good quality food, I say Yes, do it. Of course, if you have a medical condition, you have a compelling reason to be careful what you eat. But it’s a good practice for everyone.

            It’s a shame we can’t always trust the food in our stores. No apology needed, Barb. You aren’t a food snob!

            • Barb in Florida says:

              Sorry too if I sounded … didn’t mean to sound like a know-it-all. It’s hard to write comments that won’t affend others. We just want to share, as humans, what we’ve learned so that others may consider, possibly for themselves. Sometimes it no come out good;) I said snob, you didn’t. It wasn’t a crack at the purist. We’re good.

              I so agree on income & food prices. Call it G-free, add a dollar or two. Food prices keep going up, but not incomes. Oh wait, FL raising min wage to $8.25. Big deal. Try living on that. It becomes do you want to eat well or have gas to get to work, heat, elec. & water.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              I understand why you wrote what you did and I appreciate your comments, Barb. We think alike. 🙂

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Blythe’s Smart and Final has Guerrero. I’ll try that brand next.

          • Ed says:

            I’ll cast a vote for Guerrero also but I buy the white corn tortillas vs flour. Kroger brand white corn is also pretty good if Guerrero is not available; I’ll try anything to avoid Mission. I warm them and eat like you would bread or toast with the meal.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Hi, Ed,

              You can tell a difference between yellow corn and white corn tortillas? Your palate is more highly refined than mine. 🙂

              I’m finding tortillas to be a good substitute for bread, too. Something about bread, I don’t know what it is, but I seem to want more and overeat. The tortillas are more satisfying… or something.

            • Desert Ginger back in the desert! says:

              Oh yes I love the white corn tortillas. My FAVE thing is to put some refried beans, Frank’s hot sauce and grated cheddar in a hot white corn tortilla, fold it over and eat. Yum! Sometime I throw in a bit of avocado or sour cream, but I don’t really need it. I could practically live on just that. And by the way, Rosarita are the best refried beans.

            • Desert Ginger back in the desert! says:

              Except you roll them up, I’m sure!

  64. Thought of you three on our drive into Blythe the other day! Can’t believe how warm this January has been – I’d actually like a bit more winter feeling. Love the header pic of the boys, so cute!!!

    Nice to never have needed cables – us either (but we have them).

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jodee,

      I like this weather the way it is. Cool in the morning, sunny and warm in the afternoon. I think you’ll get your wish…. a cooling trend is coming soon, later this week.

  65. It’s been a while since I posted any remarks here. Lots of stuff happening and none of it involves RVs. Plus it’s cold.

    Sue and I have lived all over N. and S. America but our time in Mexico converted us to the small sized corn tortillas for making tacos. Actually, two of them; one piled upon the other. Slightly grilled but still soft. That delicate corn masa flavor adds to the flavor of the filling. This is the way they make tacos in most of Mexico and it is – by far – better than the bland flour tortillas most gringos seem to choose.

    Best bought from a tortilleria that has a tortilla machine and carried home by the kilo while still warm. Most tortilla machines in Mexico make a lot of noise and the first time I saw one in the USA (in Othello, WA) it was silent… and ghostlike. Gave me the creeps.

    Try a taco at a “roach coach” (taco truck) and they will be the half-size, doubled. I prefer the “al pastor” filling but carne asada is ok, too. Make sure you acquire a taste for cilantro.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi desert rat!

      Glad to see you…. We talk about a lot more than RVs here. I can relate to your love of corn tortillas. I’m enjoying them, too, mostly as quesadillas, even though the ones you describe are probably way better tasting.

      “Make sure you acquire a taste for cilantro.” That’s not likely to happen due to a genetic variant (studies indicate 17% of Caucasians have it):

      “The strongest variant lies within a cluster of olfactory-receptor genes—part of the genome which influences our sense of smell. Buried within that cluster is a gene called OR6A2, which encodes a receptor that makes people sensitive to the aldehyde chemicals contributing to cilantro’s characteristic flavor.”

    • Desert Ginger back in the desert! says:

      Oh my god ‘Street tacos’ are the best! Did you ever do the street corn? Love that too. It’s an ear of corn spread with mayo, sprinkled with Catina or Parmesan or some white cheeese and then sprinkled with hot sauce. Man is that good!

  66. Sue Divjak says:

    Love the picture of the Crew on the header.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good morning, Sue!

      You’re new here, I think. (We have a bunch of Sues that comment.) Welcome! You’re now a blogorino! 🙂

      Thank you regarding the crew’s photo. They think they’re the boss of me.

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