Midland LTVA, Blythe, CA

Tuesday, November 17 (continued)

P1080519Desert scene along Midland Road, northwest of Blythe, California

About ten miles northwest of Blythe, the crew and I come upon a BLM sign, “Midland LTVA.”

I turn in and drive to a structure displaying maps, a selection of worn paperbacks and magazines, and a poster beseeching RVers to be careful not to run over the threatened desert tortoise.

(I urge you to read a very informative article about the desert tortoise at the website, endangeredspeciesinternational.org.  Everyone who visits the desert needs to know what threatens the existence of this reptile, a creature which has been around for thousands of years.)

P1080467The crew and I have never camped in a Long Term Visitor Area.

I survey the area.  This is pretty nice.  Lots of space between campers.  We’ll stay for the night and figure out what to do in the morning. 

A sign with an arrow directs us to the camp host’s campsite.  No one is home and there aren’t the usual pay envelopes I’m accustomed to using at campgrounds in order to deposit a fee in the iron ranger.

“Hang on, guys.  We’ll find our home soon.”

(Bridget knows the word “home” and I’m teaching Reggie to recognize it, too.)

P1080507I drive around to choose a site.

I notice several have been altered by previous long-term visitors.  The white you see in the next photo are small chunks of white quartz,  a mineral rock plentiful in this area of the Southwest.

P1080463It’s curious that people come to the desert and make what appear to be sidewalks. 

I suppose this custom is a way to lay claim, either consciously or sub-consciously, to a favored campsite.  Or maybe simply an urge to personalize one’s environment.  I avoid these sites and look for one without “improvements.”

I quickly choose an open site that is level. 

I’m tired from the drive, the shopping in Parker, the wind, and traveling on an unfamiliar road, not knowing where we will end up.   I position the BLT for afternoon shade.

After the crew and I celebrate with a feast of rotisserie chicken and I’ve placed our mat and items by the door, I unhitch.

I position the Perfect Tow Vehicle to block our view of an occupied campsite as well as the wind coming from the north.

P1080462Usually I wait a day before unhitching to make sure we like the campsite enough to stay in it.  I don’t wait to unhitch this time because we need to drive over to the camp host’s site in the morning to pay our camping fee.

Later, as I lie in bed with Bridget and Reggie asleep next to me, I sigh with relief and contentment. 

This campsite doesn’t have much charm.  However, it’s safe, warm, away from neighbors, and quiet.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll find something better.

Wednesday, November 18

The crew and I are outside the Best Little Trailer when a red pick-up stops at our camp.

P1080517“Hello!  Welcome to the neighborhood!”

The man wears sunglasses and a ball cap.  I walk over to him and he continues, “I’m your neighbor over there.”

I learn his name is Henry and he’s been coming to Midland LTVA every year since ’95.

“We have a good group here.  You won’t find a bad person among ’em.  Everyone looks out for each other.  We get together once in a while, have a pot luck.  You’re welcome to come to the one for Thanksgiving.”

I thank Henry and graciously decline.  At least I hope I was gracious.

“That’s up to you,” he replies.  “It’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  There’s a woman way over on the other side right now in a small trailer.  You can’t see her because she’s waaaay back, has a cargo trailer she’s fixed up.  She likes to be by herself, too.  Go over there and meet her.  You probably would get along.”

I smile inwardly at Henry’s suggestion for two loners to get together.

“Well, if she’s way over there,” I respond, “she probably wants to be left alone.  I would like to go over to that section and see if I can find a more private campsite.”

Bridget and Reggie come up to the pick-up and Henry asks about them.  Reggie jumps around and barks, wanting to meet Henry face-to-face.  I lift him up to the window and that makes him happy.

Whenever I come upon someone who is familiar with an area that’s new to me, I ask questions.

Lots of questions!

Henry tells me, “We have a dump station here.”

“Oh, there’s a dump station!” I exclaim like a kid at Christmas.

P1080464Also trash bins, a big deal to a boondocker!  No water though.  Henry tells me there are drinking water spigots at the park in Blythe.  He gives me directions.  The post office accepts general delivery shipments.  A ranger regularly comes by Midland to check on things.

“It doesn’t get too crowded,” he says, “maybe thirty, at the most.”

Five years ago I couldn’t imagine I’d be standing next to some guy’s pick-up in the desert and jawing like ol’ pals about where to dump and where to find water and such. 

Before Henry drives off he adds, “Take that road and check it out.  Some good spots over there and you’ll be by yourself.”

~ ~ ~

P1080466Bridget, Reggie, and I ride the PTV to the camp host’s site.

On the way I stop at the kiosk to read the bulletin board.  The BLM ranger pulls up in his official, white pick-up.  We chat.  He’s served this area for many years.  I suspect he knows the name of everyone who returns from year to year.

I introduce myself, point out my rig, and explain that I’m on my way to buy a permit. 

This eliminates the need for him to ask why I don’t have a permit sticker on my windshield.  He answers a few questions for me and is very pleasant and professional.

From the camp host’s site,  I can see the part of the desert where I want to camp.  I buy a permit for $40 which allows us to stay for two weeks.  That works out to a smidgen less than $2.87 a day.  Not bad!

P1080487Netta, the very friendly camp host, hands me two large stickers.

“Put one on your windshield and one on the door of your trailer,” she instructs.

Later I notice that the sticker is for the longest two-week period I’ve ever known!

We take this road to find a better camp.

P1080468It doesn’t take us long to find it.  We go back to the BLT, I hitch up, and we move camp.

The first sunset we experience in our new home . . . .

P1080495What a difference from the previous campsite.  This one has personality!

P1080501“Good girl, Bridgie.  Oh no.  Reggie!  Stay in the picture!”



P1080509My kind of neighborhood


This entry was posted in California and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

278 Responses to Midland LTVA, Blythe, CA

  1. Greetings from sunny Oregon!

  2. eliza says:

    I guess that’s short term to a tortoise!

  3. Pam and Maya says:

    I love your new campsite, a tree in the desert makes the difference! I had an opportunity to actually see and photograph a desert tortoise last year. It was quite a thrill! As it gets colder in New York I find myself longing for the desert again. I have to live vicariously through your blog for a while though. Keep up the good work. Hugs to Reg and Bridget.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pam and Maya,

      A tree does make a big difference. Lucky you, to see a desert tortoise. I trust you didn’t go too close.

      If I had to leave the desert for any length of time, like you, I’d long for it, I’m sure.

      • Actually he was in the road! I slammed on my brakes, jumped out and helped him across.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          For the benefit of anyone reading this, these are excerpts from azgfd.gov regarding handling the desert tortoise…

          “The only situation in which a wild tortoise should be handled is if it is crossing the road and is in immediate danger. In this case you can gently lift it (not too high) off the road, being mindful of traffic, and carefully put it on the other side, facing the same direction it was going.”

          “Disturbing the tortoise in any way, such as picking it up, can cause it to release the contents of its bladder which could lead to dehydration and death.”

          You did the right thing!

    • Tara from Pac NW says:

      I agree, its these winter months that I really tune in to Sue’s blog. Sue, do you notice your viewership tends to go up in the winter months? Where we are all stuck at home in our rainy or snowy locations and live vicariously through you? Love this new location. I’m very curious about the other loner that fixed up a cargo trailer, but I understand where she wants her privacy.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Hi, Tara,

        The other woman camping by herself in a cargo trailer (and tent with windbreak) is intriguing. I post photos of other people’s rigs on my blog, but I only do so when the potential for recognition is very slight, i.e. they’re camping in a fifth wheel of which thousands are in use, or I’ve been given permission. I know you understand that a photo of her distinctive rig would identify her too easily, and you respect her privacy.

        You ask if I notice that this blog’s viewership tends to go up in the winter months. Since viewership is always increasing, no, I haven’t. What may increase is the time spent here by readers each time they visit during the winter,which is something I could check in statistics. Not something I look at regularly…

        Thank you for “tuning in!”

        • pookieboy says:

          Speaking of time spent reading your blog….I have spent most of the last 4 or 5 days reading your blog because of our bad weather plus there has been a lot to read during this time….I almost feel guilty spending so much time here…..

  4. Jeff Agueda says:

    Looks like you have found a great spot, enjoy!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Jeff! I’m perfectly happy with this camp.

      • Jeff Agueda says:

        I am sticking it out here in St George until the end of next week when it is due to have a cool down. Also waiting on some new mounting brackets for my camper jacks so I can get those replaced. Then south I will be going, not sure where yet.
        Cheers to sunny and warm days 🙂

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          That’s the joy of this kind of life. Move or stay according to what works best at the time, to meet a need, to follow a whim, to stay warm or cool, to be in the right place at the right time. Every day there’s that choice and I find that quite delightful. Cheers to you, too, Jeff!

  5. Reine in Plano says:

    I got a chuckle from the idea that two loners want to “get together”. Have a blessed Thanksgiving living the life you want to live. Hugs to the crew.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Reine,

      The first time I saw the name of the group Loners on Wheels, I chuckled, too. (I realize they use the term “loners” to mean solo RVers, not loners as a personality type.)

      Good wishes for Thanksgiving for you, Paul, and family.

  6. Patricia says:

    Hi Sue
    Good Morning!
    I have a question. Where does ur electrical cord exit ur van? Do u leave the van door open when u r plugged into the BLT or do u have a hole in the door or floor for the cord?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Patricia,

      The electrical cord goes through the floor of the Perfect Tow Vehicle which means I don’t have to leave a door open. The outlet (plug in, whatever it’s called) is mounted below the rear bumper.

      • Sidewinder Pen says:

        Can I ask what sort of plug or connector you have there beneath the PTV? Right now I have the wire that comes out from my rig “hard wired,” so the only detachment is at the solar panels; but I’m finding that sometimes I’d like to be able to detach the cord from the rig as well. I’ve considered various things, from MC4 connectors to Anderson Power Poles, to trolling motor receptacles to an AC plug but only using two wires. None have sounded just right so I haven’t decided. Whatever you use has evidently stood the test of time (or if it hasn’t, that’s good info too!).

        I looked above under “Solar Power” but didn’t see anything about the plug/receptacle. Sorry if I missed it.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          The two ends look like this.

          Breakaway DC Power Connector

          If I forget to unplug and take off in the PTV, no harm is done.

          • Sidewinder Pen says:

            Thanks so much! This gives me another option.

            I would love to figure out a “not stupidly risky” way to use the shore power cord and inlet — because it seems crazy to carry TWO long thick copper cords around (especially when I very rarely plug in to shorepower) — but so far I haven’t come up with anything that seems foolproof enough considering the consequences of a mixup (not that I’m a fool, but you know what I mean).

            Thanks again – looking at them on Amazon now.

  7. Shawna (CA) says:

    Dang — missed being first. I hope just because you are staying for two weeks, you are still going to post the blog … Just sayin’. 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Shawna,

      I can tell you haven’t read my earlier posts. 🙂 I continue to post when we aren’t moving about, remaining in one camp for two weeks. There’s always something to write about. My “problem” is what to leave out, rather than finding material for a post.

      I appreciate you wanting more!

  8. Dave says:

    Been reading about the old town of Midland that’s northwest of you. It’s a ghost town now.

  9. Wow! Love that 2 week period! Sounds like you could be there for a while 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:


      If I want us to stay longer than 2 weeks, I can purchase another permit.

      Here’s some info taken from the BLM website:

      Winter visitors who wish to stay in an LTVA must purchase a long-term permit for $180 or a short-visit permit for $40. The long-term permit is valid for the entire season or any part of the season, which runs from September 15 to April 15. The short-visit permit is valid for 14 consecutive days, with the option to purchase an unlimited quantity of additional permits at the same price. Both permits are valid in any of the designated LTVAs.

      I’ll probably elaborate on the LTVA system in a future post.

      • Pookie in SE Texas says:

        I love to read your comments about LTVA and BLM…
        Im learning about it as I go and who knows I may
        be out there one of these years taking advantage
        of these places….

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I hope you are, chuck. Like you said to me somewhere, we don’t know what is in our future… 🙂

  10. Dawn from Camano Island says:

    What a lovely spot, Sue. The crew look very happy & very sweet bathed in the light of the sunset. The camp host must be new on the job–she’ll have that expiration-date-thing all figured out by January. The sidewalks you saw reminded me of a post from Nina at Wheeling It last winter about the Blythe Intaglios–mysterious…http://wheelingit.us/2015/02/07/ancient-desert-figures-the-blythe-intaglios-ca/

    Reg seems to be watching when most of the time when you take a photo so I got a kick out of the second photo where he’s close to the camera but almost seems to be ignoring it. He is a firecracker, that boy. And Miss Bridget, always HRH.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Dawn,

      Actually the camp host is very experienced. She and her husband have been here a while and are very good at their job. We were talking as she filled out the stickers and she’s probably become accustomed to writing 2016 for the long-term stickers that many people purchase. They expire in April 2016.

      I explain the above because she’s likely to read this! 🙂

  11. JBurgess says:

    Hi all,
    I was wondering… BLM are suppose to be free, with no fees. Bob Wells (cheaprvliving) post a lot about the merits of BLM the biggest being free. Now I read where you had to pay. His circuit covers much of the same area as you camp: CA, NV, UT…

    Anyone with insight about BLM fees?
    Thank You, and happy trails to you!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, JBurgess,

      Welcome to my blog!

      Yes, BLM camping is free with the exception of two types of places that I’m aware of: 1) BLM campgrounds and 2) Long Term Visitor Areas. The fees pay for services and facilities provided.

      Bureau of Land Management campgrounds are traditionally inexpensive and the crew and I have camped in a lot of them over the past four years. We’ve also camped for free on BLM land.

      • Pamela K. says:

        Since the LTVA has both trash bins and a dump station, is the use of those included in the fees or do you have added fees to dump and use the trash bins? I assume those are provided for free (included in the pass fees) right?
        I ask becasue I have read that some BLM lands have *honey-trucks* that come around every so often and charge upwards of $25.00 to pump you out when no dump station is provided.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Great question, Pamela. I should’ve addressed that in the post. Dump station here is free for those with a permit. Same goes for trash bins.

          Some people have their own poop wagons on wheels (I forget what they’re called). They set up camp in September and plan to stay until mid-April. Rather than move their rig to dump, they use a waste container that can be transported over to the dump station with their toad.

          Unfortunately there isn’t a water hose at the dump station for washing one’s hose and whatever after a dump. In a situation like that, I pour water from one of my gallon jugs. Some people use their grey water.

          The two big necessities one needs to drive somewhere to obtain are groceries and water and those are available ten miles away in Blythe.

          • Piper n' Rusty / Az. says:

            Those tanks on tiny wheels are for Black and Grey waste water and they are called “BLUE BOY”,,,,,,,,, rusty

          • Sidewinder Pen says:

            And just as a follow on to this good info, some people would probably still like a “Honey Wagon” to come around, because if you are parked in a Big Class A, maybe you don’t want to undo everything to drive to the dump station (many of them put out a very extensive “camp”), and if you are the type who likes to live “just like at home,” then that would be a LOT of runs with a Blue Boy. Some of those rigs have GIGANTIC tanks, so the Honey Wagon could be an appealing way to go.

          • Pamela K. says:

            Yes,we have one of the largest *Blue Boys* you can buy. We used it for years at our Marina Campground that was COE property. We moved every 60 days (rotated sites) and some sites did not have full hook-ups so having the Blue Boy was a godsend. A godsend if they are fitted out right…we had the battery operated pump for ours so having to lift and dump was never an issue and handling it was never a problem saved by the pump. Also had a cheep $10.00 thingie ( a gauge) on it that showed us how full it was getting BEFORE it topped off. That was really nice, no overflows when letting out your black tanks into it! With the larger ones you can go a full week before dumping if you conserve wisely. Seriously there were times when I would forget that the current site we were on didn’t have sewer, so that tells you how nice having the larger Blue Boy is. They are pricey though…we paid upwards of $450.00 for ours, fitted out the way we had them fit it. As for hauling it to the dump station. Not any problems except you do have to go slow, they are not built like a car’s tires so beware not to have the wheels get loose over time. Too many people try to hot-rod them and it never turns out well for them…yuk. Often times there is a young man (kid) who will haul and dump for people too, for a small fee, a way for him to earn some summer money. We often did that and he used his money for his dating ( to be young…I remember those days, lol.) Anyway, YES, Blue Boys can be worth their weight in gold. 🙂 But IMHO don’t go cheap, spend the big bucks and buy a good/large one and be done with it if you can.

            • Pamela K. says:

              Oh, and here’s a big tip about the Blue Boys: ALWAYS put a safety chain or something attached the handle and your toad. One guy, not us thank goodness, didn’t do that and it got away after hitting one of those speed bumps…again going too fast. Well, let’s say it wasn’t pretty. The guy, along with the campground hosts, cleaned it up as best they could and then put down lyme. A number of people were very upset because lyme is not a friend to nature or animals! The guy, he didn’t stay long after that, lol. So, safety chains for your Blue Boys are a good thing 🙂

  12. Dave Stewart (in missouri for now) says:

    Inquiring Minds want to Know
    Trying to understand LTVA fees.

    Since that is a LTVA site. Why would you want to only buy a 2 week pass, and not the 7 month pass, is it that you only want to stay for two weeks, and plan to never come back to that area again, or?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Dave,

      To answer your question: This is my first camp in an LTVA. I don’t know that I want to stay for more than two weeks. That’s why I didn’t plunk down $180.

      I may wish to return to a favorite camp in southern AZ or try camping in an area new to us… outside the LTVA. I can still buy the long term pass. I’d only be “out” forty bucks. Or we can camp on four short-term passes ($160) for a total of 8 weeks, probably enough time in an LTVA for us.

      BTW, see the excerpt from BLM in my reply to Jill (above). Also, this link has more info and a map of the LTVAs covered by the permit.

  13. Cinandjules (NY) says:

    Nice of Henry to offer an invite for Thanksgiving and the information regarding “hook ups” in the area.

    Loner Lady in a cargo trailer waaaayy over there…..Racheldls and Macha immediately popped into my mind.

    Nice digs! Love the tree.

    Don’t know why folks have to make the desert look like the city. Isn’t that the reason of escaping? Folks up here are clear cutting the trees…pouring yards of cement, building homes that don’t fit in and erecting fences. Our philosophy is…why don’t you just STAY in the city!

    Have a great day.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cinandjules,

      I can understand your frustration with the actions of people around your Adirondack home. Two distinctly different ways of viewing the environment one chooses to inhabit.

      I noticed in Florida — a state known for too much development at the expense of natural beauty — that condominium complexes often were named for what they destroyed, disturbed, or seriously diminished.

      • Sidewinder Pen says:

        Isn’t that just ironic? La Bella Mar (when they have blocked the sea view by putting it up), Rustling Palms (after they cut them down for the driveway), or Marsh Hollow (after they fill it in and level for lots). I guess we don’t need to go look at any places at “Singing Birds,” do we…

        • gayle - SO CAL Beach Boomer says:

          And in my town, the developers take photos of the site before they demolish it, and then put up these photos poster-size in the new onsite Community Room so that everyone will have a wonderful sense of community in the community they just destroyed. Seriously.

  14. Applegirl NY says:

    Nice campsite, and it does have personality. Glad you have friendly neighbors, too. It’s nice when people offer friendship, and respect privacy as well.

    When Bridget hears the word “home” is she expecting that rotisserie chicken? I know I would!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Applegirl,

      You describe the perfect social interaction, in my book anyway…. “offer friendship and respect privacy….” 🙂

      I don’t know what home means for Bridget. When we’re out walking and I say “home,” she turns around and trots back to camp, tail swinging side to side, whereas on the walk away from camp she acts like it requires supreme effort. Go figure. Ha!

      • Sidewinder Pen says:

        Kind of like how my pace picks up when someone says “Ice Cream” 😉

        • Pamela K. says:

          LOL, can’t you hear this now? “You pick out the ice cream you like best. I get us two spoons. The toppings are in the next grocery isle over…”

          Best Christmas Gift I ever gave my mom was a full year of Flavor-Of-The-Month delievered to her from her local Baskins Robbins! She still talks about that, some forthy years later. She always has a half bowl of ice cream every night. She even plans for it during the day so her calories will not add up…that’s *ice cream devotion* if ever I knew it.

      • gayle - SO CAL Beach Boomer says:

        Reminds me of the horse I rented who could hardly walk on the way out of the stable, but trotted briskly on the way back to the stable.

  15. weather says:

    My favorite part in this post’s story began at “I’m tired from the drive…” and ended at “…in bed with Bridget and Reggie asleep beside me…I sigh with relief and contentment…safe,warm,quiet…” .It’s that keeping it real quality with your blog that I find so attractive.What it’s like for a family to actually have to find wonderful places to live in.Yours is beautiful!And what a good deal ,good for you and thanks for sharing it.

    It’s always nice to hear about or experience nice folks like Henry being kind and friendly.His thinking that you and someone else that prefers to be apart from the group should get together is pretty funny 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, weather,

      You remind me of something that happened several years ago. I may have mentioned this little story a while back.

      I used to take Spike and Bridget to the dog park in Athens, Georgia, near my home. Teaching was very stressful. I’d go to the dog park to unwind, grade papers, and let what later on would become my crew enjoy socializing with other dogs.

      Over time I met another woman, also a loner like me. It was funny how we’d set up things to do together — like sharing Thanksgiving dinner — and invariably one of us would cancel. We’d laugh about it later.

      It got to the point where we wouldn’t pretend anymore. We’d be sitting at a picnic table at the dog park and she’d invite me to go to some event with her. I’d say no, I can’t make it, she’d say, neither can I, we’d laugh and see each other the next time we happened to be at the dog park at the same time.

      I appreciate the helpful feedback on this post. I’ll try to keep it real!

      • weather says:

        “I’d say no,I can’t make it,she’d say ,neither can I”-that’s hilarious.

        It’s nice not to have to pretend.And not to have to explain that! A pal in San Diego and I used to run into each other on purpose and just hang out.By non-spoken agreement we hardly ever talked much on those visits,didn’t need or want to.It was enough and felt good just to be understood .

        Ha! This conversation would tempt an extrovert to say “You four should plan to have a Holiday Party!!!” … BTW-I can’t make it 😉

    • weather says:

      Hi,Sue, I hope this will be a carefree day for you and crew .Most of what I need to do can be done without driving.I’m glad about that because it’s chilly out and we had a light dusting of snow overnight.It’s bright and sunny out so by this afternoon I’m sure the roads will be dry.How is teaching Reggie to recognize the word “home” going? Or did you want him to understand that only when you’re arriving at a new campsite?

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Good morning, weather . . . Those days when you have things to do and can stay home to do them… ah, nice! And even more so when it’s a wintry day. I’m imagining the warm sunlight coming through a window making a cozy place to sit and take a break from chores. 🙂

        Bridget knows “home” means where the BLT stays, where the blue mat, doggie beds, and water dish will stay put, where she sleeps at night, is given her meals, and can feel protected. That’s what I want “home” to mean for Reggie.

  16. Pookie in SE Texas says:

    Sue, havent you gotten tired of rotisserie chicken yet?
    I like chicken but get tired of eating it when I do too
    many days of it…..
    Im a hamburger meat man myself since I can fix it
    so many different ways…..meatloaf is my favorite but
    I also do what they call skillet potatoes with onions and
    sausage baked in a cast iron skillet in the oven about 45
    you are in an interesting area right now….I look forwar to
    checking it out on my maps as I follow your travels…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, chuck,

      You sound like a great campfire cook! When I used to eat hamburger meat, I’d make a heckuva meatloaf. Every cook seems to have their own way of putting one together….

      Now chicken is the only meat I eat. It seems like I eat rotisserie chicken a lot. That’s because I mention it in posts. After the first ‘”feast” with the crew when the chicken is warm (eating the dark meat portions), I use the white meat various ways… chunks in a green salad or pasta salad, or I make a chicken salad with chopped celery, or put a few slabs of white meat between bread with cranberry sauce for a sandwich. Nothing complicated.

      I get a kick out of readers following our travels on maps. 🙂

      • pookieboy says:

        Well I must say rotessiere chicken is a cheap way to eat…you can’t buy raw chicken for what you pay for rotissorie and healthier too!

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      This isn’t specifically “pointed” at you, but just an observation I’ve made over the years. There are certain foods I really like. Pizza is one of them. I could (and have!) eaten pizza every night for a month without getting the least bit tired of it. Yet I have had many many comments of “how don’t you get sick of it?!”

      What strikes me funny is this: Many, many people have coffee EVERY morning at breakfast time. Or maybe coffee and toast. Or orange juice and cereal. They’ll have it every morning for months or years in a row. Nobody says a word. It’s accepted as normal. Yet, have the same thing for dinner 30 nights in a row and people are incredulous.

      Just one of those “funny” things I notice! 😀

      • pookieboy says:

        Ha…..me too on the pizza….and I have had morning coffee all my working life and even now after being retired for 9 years….

        • Piper n' Rusty / Az. says:

          Ha, Weather, People look at me and tell me that I look healthy and ask what do I eat, when I tell them, they look at me ,like I’m Strange,,,,, ( the DOORS ), ” People are Strange”,,,,,,,, ARRREE Yoouu Strannnggee,,,,,, Any how I eat basically the same thing every night now,, Veggies n’ Rice for dinner, unless We eat out,, In the mornings Oats n’ Peaches and Coffee,, Lunch and snacks Bagels with Creamy Peanut butter, unless we’re in town, then I eat what I Crave,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, rusty

          • Sidewinder Pen says:

            Aha, another person in the “find what you like to eat and settle into a routine” club. I just pick my favorites and then have them every time! 😀

            Yours sound good to me!

          • weather says:

            Your meals sound tasty(and healthy) to me 🙂 Keep it simple,easy and say Thank You-good way to live and a good man doing it.

        • Pamela K. says:

          Me too, I’ve had a Prime membership to the Pizza lovers club since childhood. Remember that old joke question, “If you were on a remote island and could only have one food delivered each day what would it be?”
          Hands down…PPPPIIIIIZZZZZZAAAAA. 🙂

      • gayle - SO CAL Beach Boomer says:

        Anderson Cooper, on his TV show, talked about how he has eaten the same thing for dinner every night since he was a child — I believe it is turkey, mashed potatoes and green beans. It calmed his anxiety as a child. And what was his anxiety all about? That his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, would lose all their money and he’d be poor.

        • Pamela K. says:

          My how times have changed for Mr. Cooper. He had the choice of having some of his mother’s estate money/planned gifts and chose to NOT take any because he had his own money. He is quite wealthy in his own right and takes personal pleasure in living within those *smaller* means…many millions.

  17. Piper n' Rusty / Az. says:

    Wow Sue , your top post photo is real big and beautiful , I love it ,,,, Did someone make a mistake on your 14 day permit, it’s a whole year and 2 weeks,, or it must be a newbie gift from the host, heh?,,,,,,, Looks like a great camp spot for the Thanksgiving stay,,, And in case I or you don’t post till then,, HAVE A GREAT THANKS GIVING To You and The Crew,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, rusty

    • Pookie in SE Texas says:

      happy thanksgiving to you Rusty and Sue..
      we have about 25 folks coming to the house
      for our thanksgiving turkey day…I love them
      all but am happy when they go home….HA!

      • Piper n' Rusty / Az. says:

        Thanks Chuck,,,,,, I remember them days when the whole family would come to visit during Thanks Giving,, my parents were glad when everyone went home,, But I didn’t want the visits to end,, They’d all be back for Christmas, and New Years, then I wouldn’t see them for awhile,,,,,,,,,, Hey you ol’ Dog,, Have a Happy Thanks Giving to you and yours,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Piper and me

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Piper and Rusty,

      I bet the host ran out of 2015 stickers and that’s why she printed the wrong year. I expect I’ll “talk” to you again before Thanksgiving. Great weather we’re having, isn’t it….

      • Piper n' Rusty / Az. says:

        It sure is Sue, I guess the Folks at NOAA figured wrong ’bout the wind, cause it’s been super nice, that I finished the roof “Glassing” and waiting for it to dry so I can finish installing the # 2 100 watt Solar P… I talked to “Renogy” on the phone to get a free replacement Charge Controller, The one I have on Warranty wont handle 200 watts right and it’s a 30 ampere,,,,,,, The new solar Panel is hooked up and just setting on the dry and painted part of the roof next to # 1 solar panel ,, by Wednesday I’ll be done everything on the roof,,, then all I need to finish the “Glassing” above the drivers side camper window and I’ll be done,, ,,, Yes again it’s great weather to be doing outside stuff,,,,,,,,,,,, rusty

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Good to know Renogy treated you right. I’ve suggested that company here on this blog in the past. Yeah, take advantage of this fine weather and get the fiberglassing done. I know you’ll be glad to complete it.

          • Jordan says:

            Hi Sue,

            I need to take the next step towards getting some solar love! I have done research on what i will probably need but don’t know who/where to go to find out specifics. Renology is a good company? Anyone else you or other bloggerinos recommend? Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

            I moved today & found that i am lousy at finding good boondocks. I see yours & other people’s & wonder how you do it! Of course it could also be the area i’m in too. Have a few things to do here in “civilization” yet, then i’ll head out more into the wilderness & hopefully i’ll have better luck. ?

            Love your new place! Wish i could try it out sometime, but they don’t like my kind – tiny & tankless. ?

  18. Lisa, Tommie and Buddy in SoFlo (for now) says:

    Hi Sue,
    Well I’m getting there, close to the top 25! What fun, you found a long term area, and what a bargain you got!!, lol. I just ordered my percolator, an eight cupper and stainless steel. It had mixed reviews so I hope it works out. A step closer to the goal of FT simpler living.
    My next step was garage sales, but I decided to sell on the internet and give some away too. Gifting is always more fun than selling, as long as I have funds to fix up my camper.
    I am meeting with a friend tomorrow to look at propane and electric work. After that, solar by Mick, some window seals, paint and we’ll be ready to go. I am doing little steps to keep myself energized. My tags are due in the spring, should I switch them to SD then? I haven’t figured it out yet. Oh well, step by step.
    Happy camping !

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      My oh my, Lisa, you are moving things along very well! Part of the fun of downsizing is the feeling of freedom from possessions. How easy and fun it becomes to give stuff away, things that once were important to own.

      You don’t need to switch your tags to your full-time domicile until you leave your present residency. I’m not sure that answers your question. Of course, that is done online and with mail, for those unfamiliar with the process.

    • AlanOutandAbout - Pahrump, Pahrunp, Pahrump says:

      There is not much of a gain in switching from FL to SD. Everything is the same. No taxes, no inspection. Other than mail service there is no real need to switch. If you want to stay with FL. Good Sam and Escapees offer Florida residency mail services.

      • Lisa, Tommie and Buddy in SoFlo (for now) says:

        Thanks Alan and Sue, I am looking for a residency with the lowest insurance rates too.

        • Sidewinder Pen says:

          That puts a big factor in things if one is not at Medicare age. I know it’s a big headache for me now as Texas has discontinued their PPO plans for 2016, and an HMO doesn’t do me a whole lot of good when traveling. Ugh!

          • Piper n' Rusty / Az. says:

            Hey Pen,, If you were married to a Veteran, you’d get all your medical needs for FREE,, Anywhere ,,,,, I’m not proposing,,,,, rusty

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              Oh sure, dangle those VA benefits out there like a carrot on a stick and then, right at the end…. yank them away!

              😀 😀 😀

            • AlanOutandAbout - Pahrump, Pahrunp, Pahrump says:

              Careful, not all veterans get free medical service. If you didn’t serve for 20+ years and did not serve in a war zone then you don’t qualify. There are a few other situations that will qualify you but I don’t remember them and they are very limited. Check with the VA to be sure.

            • AlanOutandAbout - Pahrump, Pahrunp, Pahrump says:

              And they aren’t free. They figure your co-pays on your income. You make more you pay more.

            • Piper n' Rusty / Az. says:

              Alan,, If a Veteran is on a Pension ,,He and his spouse gets Free Medical, and the works,, I know this because I’ve been getting it since 2006…., rusty

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              That’s a disability pension.

            • Piper n' Rusty / Az. says:

              OH,,, and If the Veteran Dies,, His survieing Spouce keeps some of his Benefits,, One needs to read the book on rules and regulation’s,,,,,,rusty,,,,,,,,,,, And I would never pull the rug out from under my Spouse,,

            • Piper n' Rusty / Az. says:

              That’s right Sue,, A Improved Disability Pension, And I have it for the rest of my Life,,,,,,,, rusty

            • Piper n' Rusty / Az. says:

              I just rolled over to 66 and I’ve got another 37 to go, ,, If the world is still around by then,,,,,,,,,, rusty

            • Sidewinder Pen says:


              I know you would never pull the rug out from under your spouse. I can tell you are a good, loyal person, and that your word is as good as an ironclad contract.

              I was just joking because you said to me “If you married a vet it would all be free.” but then “I’m not proposing.” So I was just making what I thought was an amusing reply. But I KNOW you are a loyal person and would treat a spouse well.

            • Piper n' Rusty / Az. says:

              Thank you Pen,,

            • AlanOutandAbout - Pahrump, Pahrunp, Pahrump says:

              Yes if you have a disability pension you get free medical. But that is so a special case. Ifyou are 100% and if you make just 1 dollar in income and the VA finds out about it I suspect you will lose everything. The VA is very picky about such things.

            • Piper n' Rusty / Az. says:

              Alan,, That is called a earned Dollar, income,,, I have a Improved Disability Pension,, in other words, I’m not getting better, ,,,,, Alan,, Are you a Veteran?,,,,,,,,rusty

            • AlanOutandAbout - Pahrump, Pahrunp, Pahrump says:

              Yes, I am a Vietnam Veteran And am getting VA. Medical because of it. If not for that I would not qualify. And I do pay copays and meds. I have a Medicare supplemental ins which picks up the copays and a few other things.

            • Piper n' Rusty / Az. says:

              Alan ,,, Thank you for your Service,,,, I was at 70% Disability, then was one of the many who got cut by Jimmy Carter,, and didn’t get any thing till 2006, I was awarded the I.D.P., after fighting with the VA to get something,, and for what I get, I make do,,, And the man in the sky helps to,,, God Bless you Sir,,,,,,,,,,, rusty

            • cc and canine (Eastern Missouri) says:

              Rusty and Alan…Thank you both for your service…My husband is a vietnam vet at 40% disability…just wanted the 2 of you to know that the state of Oregon offers 10 FREE nights of camping per MONTH in their state parks to disabled vets…you do not need to be Oregon residents. Info on their website; you fill out a form, and send in with your VA disability letter and they send you a card with a hangtag…

              I hope you can take advantage of this for your summer camping…

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Wow! Great info, cc and canine! Thanks!

            • Piper n' Rusty / Az. says:

              To All About You get every thing Free With a Veteran,,, I made a Mistake in my wording,, If I a fended Any one, I ask your Forgiveness,, on the matter,,,,,,, rusty

            • pookieboy says:

              I believe all veterans should get every thing free since they gave up years of their life to keep us free…..especially those disabled…just my humble opinion…..free campgrounds takes no money out of anyone’s pocket…

  19. Biz Crate (40m from Chicago) says:

    Sue – as always, love your posts! You have a charming writing style that draws me right in. I look forward to reading them and often page back to refresh my memory about one adventure or another.

    Side note on “two week” dates: My back went out on me last Sunday morning so I managed to get myself to a clinic. Eventually ended up with a back doctor about midweek. All this time I was collecting notes that said I would not be to work so I could forward them to my boss. Doc says, “I’ll need to order an MRI and you’ll need to take these pills so I’m giving you 2 weeks off ’til we get this sorted out.” (I have short term disability ins. and the meds are working fine so don’t worry too much about me)
    I look at the note as I’m leaving the office: projected release date Dec 14.

    • Biz Crate (40m from Chicago) says:

      I said to myself: Cool.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Oh, that is cool, Biz Crate! Sometimes life drops diamonds into your lap. 🙂 I do hope you have a positive outcome from your upcoming test and medical care. Thank heaven for meds, eh?

        Thank you for the compliment on my writing style.

  20. Ladybug in Mid-Tenn says:

    I think that looks like a wonderful place to spend Thanksgiving!!

    I’ve been reading that the holidays have become a busy time for campgrounds; rather than gathering at one person’s house, families have started meeting in campgrounds with their tents/rvs/whatever for the holidays. Some of our state parks have started hosting after-Thanksgiving meal nature hikes.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I believe it! With families scattered far and wide, I imagine some come to a central point in their RVs, settle into a campground, and celebrate there.

  21. Brenda says:

    Hi Sue, Bridget & Reggie,
    Just popping in to wish y’all a Happy Thanksgiving. I love your Blog more n more every day Sue, you always write something to smile about, I can feel your excitement through your words. Wow you are a lucky woman to have so many great ‘homes’. Hugs from Texas…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Brenda, and thank you. I am very blessed to be living the way I do in a variety of wonderful places and with two very sweet pals. I’m touched by your phrasing . . . “more and more every day.” How nice that is for me to read.

  22. Barbara (Nashville) says:

    This is a really pretty desert campsite. The second site seems a little more peaceful and less commercial, so to speak. The 2016 expiration is really funny. Do you thing the ranger would catch it if you stayed longer?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m certain the ranger would catch on, Barbara. Probably within a week. I saw his truck again today. He sees the records from the camp hosts — who has paid what, the type of permit they hold, etc. — and there are the big orange stickers to help him keep track. Not that I would want to fool him. At these prices, that would be silly anyway.

  23. Sidewinder Pen says:

    I got a laugh out of the friendly guy suggesting that you go visit another loner; since you both don’t want any guests, you should have a great visit. Whut? LOL!

    I may try an LTVA this winter – especially if I can find one with low population density like you have. I could never use them before with my camper van, because you have to have a “real” holding tank of at least 10 gallons capacity (now I do). (There are a couple of LTVA’s where you can camp with a Porta Potti, but you have to be within X feet of the pump out, which would make it very crowded.)

    I would do the same as you: Try for $40 and then if I wanted to stay longer, either buy a few more two-week passes, or just buy the $180 one then.

    For those who aren’t familiar with them, I think you can move around amongst at least the SW LTVA’s – so for example with the $180 pass you could “make the rounds” of a few. Not sure if that applies to the $40 one, but then most people wouldn’t want to move around to a bunch of LTVA’s within four weeks anyway.

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      PS: Those last three photos… oh so nice! I just love how you captured the light and the look of that site

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      The link I posted above in a reply goes to the BLM page about LTVAs. At that page you can open a PDF and see the area covered by the long-term and short-visit permits.

      Population density is a deciding factor for me, too, as I’m sure you’ve surmised. Even though Henry said it doesn’t get crowded and he estimates about 30 campers at the most, every year there are more RVs looking for campsites and situations change.

      One good thing in our favor, Pen . . . . Lots of folks like to cluster. I guess it gives them a feeling of security. That means an LTVA might have a lot of RVs, yet still have an area that’s hardly occupied at all, like this one we’re in now — only me and the other loner woman.

      Another deal breaker is ATV activity. So far, none around here! I don’t know how long that will last. Another reason I chose the two-week permit.

      • Sidewinder Pen says:

        Yes, the clustering desire can work in our favor – just needs to be a place to get away from the clusters! (Which you have found nicely.)

        Yeah, and the ATV’s. That can sure get loud and dusty if they go fast.

  24. Linda Sand (Minnesota) says:

    That LTVA sticker is good at all the LTVAs in the area including Imperial Dam near Yuma and those around Quartzite so if you get the urge to move you can check out those without paying any more. I bought an annual which is good for 7 months for $180. That let me come and go using their facilities for less than $1 a day. La Posa south has multiple water bibs and well as two dumps and several dumpsters.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re right, Linda. Thank you for posting the information. I had planned the next post to be all the details, ins and outs of camping LTVA style. I may skip that as we are informing each other here in comments.

      I’ve looked at some of the other LTVAs in a previous year and several of them don’t appeal to me (although they obviously appeal to loads of other folks!). That’s why I didn’t go for the $180 permit. Who knows? Maybe in another year I will.

      Thanks again for clarifying.

  25. cc and canine (Eastern Missouri) says:

    Another question from us folks who’ve never been to a LTVA….The website says
    $40/$180 (in US funds) for the permits to stay there…Did the nice host take a check or did you have to have cash???

    Thanks in advance for your answer…

    Great post, as usual. I like the photo of the info kiosk, the dump station and the permit..
    Makes me feel like giving this a try on our next trip!! Thanks for the “icebreaker”!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, cc and canine,

      I paid in cash and I neglected to ask if a check would be okay. I’m almost certain a check would be fine. It’d be asking a lot to insist people pay in cash for a permit costing $180.

      I’ve said this before, again and again, in replies to other blogorinos. I’ll say it again to you because I really mean it… I appreciate the feedback on the photos!

      While my blog is a record of our travels for my own enjoyment in the future, it also — more than anything — is an effort to expand the awareness of people from those searching for a new way of life to those wanting to try different places to camp.

  26. Pamela K. says:


    This is a fun and very informative post. Love the photos too!
    Sidewalks in the BLM, who knew?! Just think, years from now they will be looked upon as Desert Crop Circles, lol.
    The tree, YOUR tree, how sweet is that?! No doubt that is a real prize on sunny days 🙂
    I think you found a swell camp. I would love camping that site all Winter, my kind of camp, so pretty!

    Your 2 week pass…
    Well, it IS a government issued permit, so I must be *offical*…Like Santa in Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus! 🙂
    Now I can let Klemper know that his 2 week vacation will run until Dec 1st, 2016. HA! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pamela,

      Thanks for the nice note. It’s a pleasure to bring this information to readers, as well as the info that readers provide. I know you and Klemper are interested in LTVA camping.

      A tree is a special feature at a desert camp. This one does enhance our enjoyment. It throws dappled shade across the blue mat and gives a feeling of being enclosed, rather than camping on flat desert pavement like in a parking lot. That’s the feeling I got from the previous camp we left after one night. Never “settle” for less when picking a campsite… Ha! That’s my motto!

      Hi, to Klemper!

  27. Elizabeth in WA says:

    Hope you enjoy your spot awhile, Sue…sounds like folks are ok with leaving others alone maybe…

    Was so much frost on things this morning that at first I thought it was snow…and 30 degrees too…and online weather says to expect a warmer than usual winter?? HUH?? Something wrong with this picture…

    Heavy into final prep for our trip…we fly out Monday EARLY!! Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving to all here, and may it be a very special one too!!

  28. wildflower in prescott says:

    That sticker will get you a place to camp for approx 11 cents a night for 366 nights, dump and trash included. Too bad water is not close by. Too bad it gets really hot there in July.

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      I was in this area in June (follow up appointment) and it was a bit too warm for camping for me (108º). Yikes. Oh man, was I glad to head north after that.

      • Sidewinder Pen says:

        (“This area” being not too far from Midland LTVA.)

        (Oh man, it was SOOO hot.)

        (Lots of privacy though! The desert camping spots were EMPTY.)

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Not to confuse anyone… The LTVA is open from Sept. 15 to April 15.

        • Sidewinder Pen says:

          I see where what I said could have been confusing. Anyway, the typical 14-day spots were EMPTY. And I think some of them are no longer 14-day in summer (for people who enjoy living in ovens 🙂 ), but of course check on individual sites before planning your June trip to the desert 😀 😀 Geez, I’m hot just thinking about that trip in retrospect.

          (It was one of those “best laid plans” things. I had gone to a shop when the weather was cooler, but then it turned out I had to go back, and by then the first appointment was in JUNE. Guh.)

          • Pamela K. says:

            Awwwh, the many roadie lessons we learn…
            Somewhere there is a newbie filing that info away for their own benefit when taking to the road 🙂 No re-do appointments in the desert in JUNE, thank you 🙂

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              Well, I would still do it again because it was the second half of my transmission work, and I then got to head north for the summer with everything better than new and no worries. Also, I hung out at high altitude for the few weeks between the two appointments. But yes, going back down was HOT. I spent one night at Road Runner BLM near Quartzsite (guess what, I had the whole place to myself), and it was just a tad warm for sleeping! OTOH, the saguaros were blooming and I had never seen that before. Still, I don’t recommend it. But… sometimes these things happen. (Maybe only to me, LOL.)

            • Pamela K. says:

              I wasn’t kidding, I wrote that down to remember how hot it is during that time of year. Yes, can see why you did the re-do appointment under those conditions. Otherwise, those temps would not be my first, or even my second choice 🙂 Klemper and I went to AZ one year during summer…my nose stuck together (no kidding) because it was dry. Can’t you just see that as happening?! It’s funny now but not then. We cut our visit with his best friend short from two weeks to one week because of the dry Summer temps. Anything over 103 and I melt 🙂

  29. Denise - Richmond VA says:

    Hi, Sue,

    I just love the new header photo on this post! In my mind, sweet Miss Bridge sighs gently, then says, “This IS the life….I have Sue, Reggie, rotisserie chicken, my own chariot, and the scenery in our backyard, oh, the scenery!” ***contented little grin***

    You have really taken some outstanding sunset shots! In this one, the tree and grasses just glow in the pink tinged light! Absolutely beautiful! This site is perfect for an extended stay…close enough to make a supply run to town if needed. It really is a prime spot with your own tree! Enjoy!

    Now that Reggie has some boondocking experience under his collar, do you think he prefers that type of camping over established campgrounds? Campgrounds have had other dogs and people walking the trails before you, and the boondocking areas would have other foreign scents not necessarily found in an established (paved, manicured) area. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could read our pets minds? 🙂

    Gracie and I are doing our Saturday night thing….watching British comedies! I am trying to keep her up “late” so we both can sleep in tomorrow. It is the weekend, after all. Little Miss usually demands to be taken out for a potty run and then tucked into bed around 8PM.

    I hope you and the Crew have a good night! I need to order a couple more gifts from Amazon, and then will be finished shopping. I am making my sisters a necklace, bracelet, and earring set for Christmas. I have had the Czech glass beads for months and just received an order of supplies needed to complete my projects. Just need to get them made so I can relax and enjoy the season. Sending hugs to you and the Crew from me and Gracie pup! 🙂

    • Denise - Richmond VA says:

      Thank you for the link about the tortoise – a very facinating creature!

    • Mick'nTN says:

      Hi Denise, I almost missed your question about the Fuji X-M1. As you know there are a lot of great cameras on the market. I bought the Fuji for price, array size, pixel count, size / weight and a positive review on DP Reviews. There are several models of the Fuji X series with a wide price range. They all use the same sensor and electronics but vary in features, mostly manual control functions. The X-M1 has a plastic frame where the more expensive models have metal alloy frames. I haven’t used the camera much yet but the large pixel size says good low light performance. There are some great Fujinon lens but bring your wallet. A very high rated Fujinon XF 23mm, f1.4, (35mm equivalent), retails for $800.
      I now have three used SLR lens from Ebay, a 50mm, f1.4 Canon, a 200mm, f2.8 Canon and a 35mm, f2.0 Nikon. My all-around lens is a Fujinon XF 18-135mm (25-190mm 35mm film equivalent), f3.5-5.6. This is the only lens that has auto functions; focus, exposure and anti-vibrations. I have about $400 in the three used lens and $530 in the one Fuji. You should read DP reviews for a professional opinion.

      • Pamela K. says:

        Really good advice you gave there. I would add something… go with a metal body is possible. Sand and non-metal can really have a shorter lifespan. If investing in the higher range/ better glass then for the investment metal would be the way to go first time out.
        That Nifty-Fifty, you like it? Use it alot? I always keep my 50 Prime with me…my go-to lens. I use it for my toy photography projects every time. And I have been known to make it work hard even taking landscape shots! Love that lens!!!

        • Denise - Richmond VA says:

          Agreed re: metal housing. My Minolta Film SLR is the last year they made the metal body.

          Love the zoom on the nifty 50…..your two feet! 🙂

      • Denise - Richmond VA says:

        Thanks, Mick.

        Yes…I am verify familiar with DPReviews…my go to place for research! Thank you for the additional info! 🙂

      • Denise - Richmond VA says:

        Thanks, Mick! 🙂

  30. Terri From Texas says:

    Love your post AND your new header!
    Have a great Thanksgiving all!

  31. Renee says:

    29th! A new record for me! Awwkk! I’ve been out all day. Jeesh.

    • Renee says:

      Two loners socializing? Hmmm, me thinks that’s somewhat of an oxymoron.

      • rvsueandcrew says:


        • Renee says:

          Sue, I just read yesterday in the RVTravel newsletter that there is a rash of thefts in Quartzite. Just wanted to let you know just in case to be aware or wherever you may stay. I think if I was a full timer, or snowbird, I would not stay in Quartzite, not because of the recent rash of thefts, but because it sounds crowded and that’s why we don’t like RV parks or most campgrounds.

  32. Linda Hughes North Carolina says:

    Hi Miss Sue….love the pics, you take very good photos! I read your blog and then looked up information on the tortoise after reading your info on the blog and learned something new and interesting, thank you for sharing that. The camping regulation helped allot also. When I came in today and checked my email, there was another blog and if there is an RV Sue blog post……that is always the first one I read. At a craft festival we were in today a couple stopped by our booth and in conversation they mentioned they were living in their camper full time and working jobs along the way. They had some very interesting information for us about full timing. I gave them you blog information and told them that your blog was helping and preparing us to full time very soon. They plan to start reading your blog this week! Anyway loved the new post and excited about the next one already. God bless you and your travels!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, Linda, for sharing my blog with others and for all the nice things you wrote in your comment. I appreciate you taking the time to read about desert tortoises.

      God bless you too!

  33. Jolene/Iowa says:

    Hi Sue, I really like this desert camp. I am sure the crew is happy anywhere as long as you are there. Enjoy your time and I look forward to hearing more about it!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jolene… Yes, the crew is happy as long as they’re with me, the one who serves up the rotisserie chicken. 🙂

  34. Patrick says:

    I like that plug that you got for BLT/PTV . Also you should think about getting a LTVA they can be used at any and all BLM Sites, anywhere in AZ or CA. BLM sites. I have been told that but one person says one thing and another person says another thing.
    I know for sure that if you purchase a LTVA say at the BLM Office in Bishop,CA. It’s good at all of the BLM Campgrounds in that area. I am told the same goes for the area you are in. check it out.
    Hope you have a great Thanksgiving Holiday.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Patrick. I wish you a great Thanksgiving,too.

      You’re correct to advise seeking info that one can trust, rather than the general talk. The district BLM offices are very helpful. I like to confirm information by checking the BLM website at the district level.

      BTW, to clarify for anyone… The permit is “good at all of the BLM Campgrounds in that area” meaning within the boundaries of LTVA. There are two such campgrounds — Wiley’s Well and Coon Hollow.

      You may not have read all the replies, understandable now that there are so many — I explained above why I didn’t buy the long-term permit. The short visit (2 week) permit suits us best at this time. I could stay a total of 8 weeks using 2-week permits at a cost of $160. It’s when one stays longer than 8 weeks that the $180 permit is the better buy.

  35. Pamela K. says:

    Loved the little ditti about the two loners. Reading that reminded me of the *friend* you had in GA (the one that gave you your GA stuff and the cast iron skillet as your going-way gift at work. She was your close-at-a-distance co-worker/friend.
    Henry might just be wiser than we give him credit for…maybe. 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Henry is wise. I give him the credit for not pressuring me in any way to join the potluck gathering or to meet the woman parked by herself. If he had pressured me, I probably would have packed up and left.

      • Pamela K. says:

        Yes, you did make it clear that you thought Henry was a very nice guy. I meant about meeting the solo/loner lady. I know, for me, adding a one-step-removed type of friend to my friends-list is often a good thing 🙂 I remember one gal who would take her morning coffee when I did. She stayed at her place, I stayed at mine…we would wave hello and that was it. I rather enjoyed her non-company, lol. Later, when a huge storm came up she was the first on the spot to help with getting my large awning down quickly. Had it not been for her help I would have lost it in a flash… Later we exchanged emails before heading out to other places. I only hear from her once a year at Christmas as an update on her travels. Nothing more than that but always nice just the same. 🙂

  36. Had no idea the Midland stretch was now an LTVA! Good to know 🙂 I tensed up when Henry arrived, glad he was such a good ambassador for the little “community”. Sounds like a sweet spot to stay warm for a little bit

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jodee . . . I’m under the impression that Midland has been an LTVA for many years based on Henry saying he’s been coming here since 1995. It is a sweet spot right now, temperatures how I like them. Cool at night for sleeping with a window open, warm enough for shorts, a tee shirt, and sandals during the day.

  37. eliza says:

    Hi Sue – I started reading the beginning of your blog again, and just want to say how happy I am for you. I don’t think I will ever be a full-timer, but I’m glad you are. I know I won’t be a blogger, but I’m glad you are….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      How sweet you are, eliza…. Be sure to check the URL when reading posts before June of 2013 that you are at rvsueandcrew.com (not at .net). The photos in slideshows won’t show up if you read at rvsueandcrew.net.

      One of the best compliments for a blogger is learning that a reader is going through the archives. Thank you.

      • eliza says:

        I’m reading it for the second time! I’m at the right URL, and reading about the solar installation. What I want to do…

  38. edlfrey says:


    I want to preface this Comment with the disclaimer that I do not know squat about WordPress so what I am recommending may not be possible.

    Your new header picture is a very nice picture, as are all your header pictures, but the positioning grates against my sense of symmetry with more border on the right than on the left. Can you put <center> and </center> around the picture code in WordPress?

    If this Comment is too “off the wall” then I will not feel offended if you delete it.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Ed,

      It “grates against my sense of symmetry,” too! I almost didn’t post the photo with “squarer” dimensions for that reason.

      I’m using a theme provided by WordPress. As a general rule I don’t mess around with the theme’s code, fearing I’ll inadvertently remove a brick and the whole house will come tumbling down.
      I may work up the courage to try your suggestion. Thank you.

      LATER…. I opened the blog in “text” to see the code. It starts with the first line of what I type. In other words, it doesn’t reveal the code for the header photo, probably because this is a WP copyrighted theme (format) which one is not allowed to alter. Hence, my efforts stalled. I don’t know how to break through to where the smart guys go, even if it is allowed. 🙂

      • edlfrey says:

        I looked at the source code for your page and what I suggested is NOT going to work. The positioning of your header picture is controlled by through the .css file which has the image floating left.

        IF you want to change that you need to go into your .css file and change the float in this area:
        /* This is the custom header image */
        #branding img {
        border-top: 4px solid #000;
        border-bottom: 1px solid #000;
        display: block;
        float: left;

        I will leave you now – My Work Here Is Done (HA)

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          This is way above my knowledge and skill. I don’t even know how to go into the .css file. I’ve thought of changing to a theme that is set up for a center photo. I’ll play around in the kiddie pool, rather than jumping into the deep end. Thanks again, Ed.

          • Pookie in SE Texas says:

            Sue I think its fine just the way it is…..
            as my mama used to say….IF IT AINT BROKE
            DONT FIX IT….

      • edlfrey says:

        I don’t know if this information is ‘current’ but it may give you a start.
        “Login to WordPress, not sure which version you’re running, but you should have a section called Themes or Design. From there choose Theme Editor. There will be a list of all the files you can edit, the CSS stylesheet should be named style.css. You will have to have write access in order to edit it from within WP admin.”

        Lots of links found using “how to modify wordpress .css” Search. Happy hunting!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          When I go to the section called Themes, I see a choice of Themes. There is no place to click “Theme Editor,” subsequently no “style.css.”

          I can go to Customize Theme. Again, no place having to do with .css or to change code. It’s like this is set up to keep the blogger within a playpen with no way to explore outside of it.

          I’ll try your search suggestion. Thanks.

          • weather says:

            Hi, Sue, did you know with the new shape of photos you’re using for headers what (at least on my laptop) is seen is just the photo when the page for your blog is opened?I have to scroll down to see the post’s title,first few lines and “click here to continue reading” or “to see comments”. Before,the header took less room so all of that showed.I wonder if on smaller screens like phones and ipads that’s a problem for readers ,and just wanted you to know in case of that.

            • weather says:

              P.S.Unless I do scroll down to see what I mentioned,I also do not see click here to shop Amazon on the right hand side.Having that visible as soon as anyone opens the blog is a consideration as well.Black Friday is 5 days from now.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Regarding Black Friday… just so no reader is confused… Amazon’s Black Friday sales are going on NOW. “Black Friday Deals Week” began Nov. 20th.

            • Pookie in SE Texas says:

              when I open the page to Sue’s blog I see the header photo
              the title and the Amazon link to the right on the same page.
              Im using Chrome which could mean the difference….

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Hi, weather . . . Your comment confuses me. What kind of laptop are you using? On my lenovo laptop everything is present and in the right place. The title “rvsue and her canine crew” is at the very top. The “Amazon has it link” is in the sidebar. The header categories and title of the post are below the photo.

              I will charge up my smartphone and see what it looks like there.

              I don’t understand why you aren’t seeing everything on your laptop screen. It sounds like you have my blog set as “Entries RSS.” This option is listed at the bottom of the page.

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              Hi Sue,

              I come to your site “just plain” by putting in the URL http://www.rvsueandcrew.net

              (I do also get an RSS notice, but that’s not how I’ve been coming lately.)

              I have a 13″ Mac laptop.

              With the the new square photo, I only see down to just below Bridget’s neck and nothing else below.

              Now, I *can* set it so I see more, but that makes the whole thing very tiny, with lots of red border around the edges and I wouldn’t view web pages like that. Just adding this info so you know, not complaining! And I’ll scroll down no matter what anyway. This was in Safari. Now I’ll check Firefox…

              Same thing, photo to just below Bridget’s neck. Like in Safari, I can make everything smaller and then see more. I don’t do that because I have senior eyes 😀 Maybe others do have it set smaller though so they can see more. I do always get the whole width though.

              I also just checked my phone. It’s an Iphone 5S. On that I see the whole picture and then “Midland LTVA, Blythe, CA” Nothing below that with the phone vertical. If I turn it sideways then just the very top edge of the photo, but most people probably don’t read it that way.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              I’m giving up on the larger header for now. I have other things demanding my attention and energies. Thanks for the input. I can see it isn’t as simple as resizing the header.

            • weather says:

              The new shaped header photos has the effects I mentioned on my Lenovo and Dell laptops.When I opened your blog a few minutes ago the header photo up then was the older type with the reddish mountains in it.At that point everything was present and in the right place.Meaning without scrolling down it was on the screen and visible.Now having refreshed the page I see the newer shaped header photo is on again.And that with the blank border on the right takes my whole screen so I must scroll down a bit to see the rest.Your blog is set as “Entries RSS”,and always has been .The only change has been what’s seen from my end.I haven’t changed any settings .

              Choose your preference for style of header without my viewing in mind.I do not mind in the least scrolling down to see what I was used to.I only mentioned it for the reason I noted in my first comment.I ‘m sorry to have left a comment that confused you.I know you are tired of playing with it.It looks great,Bridget happy to be in her car,beautiful desert and mountains 🙂

              Enjoy your day!

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              I still don’t understand. If the header photo takes up your entire screen, have you tried holding down the CTRL key while tapping the minus (-) key? Perhaps the changes enlarged your font size. Unless you are saying the big photo is just too big. In that case, it’s not a technical issue for me to correct. It’s simply the photo is too big.

            • weather says:

              Yes-the photos on the larger header were too big vertically,that’s all that was affecting what else could appear.

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              Just as a note: With the return to the rectangular header photo, all displays nicely again for me. I can see the title, photo, and the Amazon link 🙂

              To me, even though the bigger square photo was nice in and of itself, I like the overall proportions better with the “horizontal” rectangular photo.

              I’ll read your blog no matter what’s at the top though – just giving you feedback in case it helps.

          • edlfrey says:

            WordPress contains two built-in editors that allow you to edit Theme files directly from within your browser. They are called the Theme Editor and Plugin Editor.

            Access the Theme Editor from the Administration > Appearance > Editor menu.

            The Plugin Editor is located at Administration > Plugins > Editor.

            Try these!

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              I did try them before we began this conversation. There are places to edit the Theme, Header, Background, etc. but it is limited what you can do.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Okay, I found the css file and all the editors. I changed what looked like the header mumbo-jumbo (of course the word, header, is nowhere — only primary, secondary, etc.) to center and saved it, refreshed, made no difference. I’m tired of fooling with this right now. Thanks for all the help, Ed.

            • edlfrey says:

              I completely understand your frustration – been there, done that!

              Save this for tomorrow or the next day and take a look at this when you have the time.

              “You can use the Customizer to preview and modify many of your site’s appearance settings, from your Custom Header Image to widgets and more.
              You can access the Customizer from any page or post on your site: just go to the action bar in the bottom-right corner of the screen, click on the three dots, and select Customize. To access the Customizer from the dashboard, you can go to My Sites → Themes → Customize.

              Here is the KICKER:
              Some options in the Customizer require the WordPress.com Premium or WordPress.com Business plans.

              What I have been suggesting probably requires you to buy the more expensive plan(s).

              There is another way but it is above my pay grade without me having WordPress and the time to work on it.

              The Header does not look all that bad and life is full of compromises! Or, with enough time and money there is nothing we can not accomplish!

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Gosh, Ed, you put a lot of time into educating me. I’m a poor student in this department. Yes, I think you hit on what the problem is (other than me). I have the cheap version of WP. Wow! What a surprise, right?

              For now I’ll stick with the skinny header. Like you say, compromise. Thanks again, and good luck to you and Desperado in Mexico!

    • Pookie in SE Texas says:

      I have Paint Shop Pro and I can cut, copy and paste with it
      so its quite easy to work a picture to just about any size
      you want it if the picture is big enough……

  39. kgdan from Wapato, WA says:

    Good morning, Sue and All!
    Oh, those photos feel warm! I sure am missing the southwest right now. I’m looking out my living room window at frosty grass—- so cold! Anxious to finish up here & get on that flight south. Gotta put a stop to all the non- stop texts from Gil. Who taught that boy to text????!!!! Think he chatters more from afar than face to face ?

    Working through so many issues here. Anyone ever heard of Asperger’s Syndrome? Our son (37) has it tho never officially diagnosed. We are excited that next Tues. we meet with someone who knows how to do this. Son very excited— hopefully we will get productive life skill strategies.

    Got to meet new renter face to face for first time. She moves in next week.

    Upon arrival found son’s car ailing— should be fixed on Monday.

    And lastly, working with young married couple who are house-sitting for us— some improvement needed and good to be here to address issues.

    This winter has been our most challenging because of all these issues. That’s the cost of trying to do long-term rving with a fixed home. When it works, it’s great. Otherwise not so much. Fortunately we live in an era where communication is good & it is easy to go home to address things. Somehow I don’t think the folks here want me to be making trips home all winter.

    Thankful for all the blessings we do have— especially for RV Sue & Crew!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Kathy,

      Always good to hear from you. I do appreciate you sharing updates with us. You may not realize how helpful you are for readers trying to decide whether to sell the home or not, whether to rent it, being available for family, how to fashion a good life with the joys and comforts of a stationary home (gardening comes to my mind!) while having the option of taking off in the RV for months at a time.

      You’ll handle these issues very well, I’m sure… You being such a capable person. All those “issues” are important. I can see why you hopped on a plane to go home. Best wishes and God bless!

      And thank you for sharing here, Kathy.

    • Cheryl O. (WA state) says:

      Hi kgdan,

      I live in Everett, WA. I will be either renting or selling my house when the time comes to full time rv. Are you renting your house through an agency? I’ve never rented and would like some tips, please.

      I, too, have family in the area which I’ll be able to stay at their place from time to time. The logistics definitely will be interesting with the different lifestyle.

      Thank you,

      • kgdan from Wapato, WA says:

        Actually we do not rent our own home. We have always (before this year) have a family member live in it. I would be uncomfortable renting it.

        We have another house on our property which we do rent. Prior to this past summer we had the same renter there for ten years. Renting is very tricky. One must be very clear about expectations & must have those documented with signatures. Very important to be very picky in selecting your renter. Better not to rent than to select someone who is iffy. You can have an agency do the work for you but it will cost.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I rented out a home for a short period. Here’s what you can experience… Put in new carpeting and the renter burns a whole in it with his cigarette. Security deposit doesn’t come close to covering that. A renter doesn’t pay the rent, it can be several MONTHS before you can get them out. Renter gets mad? Trashes the place and disappears. There’s an entire subculture of people who move from rental to rental, not paying rent beyond the value of first month payment and security deposit. I used to teach the children of people who do this as a lifestyle.

          kgdan’s advice is excellent — “be very picky” !!

          • Joyce Sutton says:

            That has been my experience with renting also. Never thought to call it a subculture but it sure is cheaper than owning and paying taxes and insurance. Somehow it didn’t work that way when I rented though. Owner mentality?

        • Cheryl O. (WA state) says:

          Thanks for the tip. I’m hoping my son and his family will be able to rent my house. Time will tell.

          • Pamela K. says:

            I hope your son and his family can rent your home too. The above was excellent advice. These days homeowners how rent out their homes have to also consider their mortgage clauses too not to be in default as a non-owner occupied property for a certain periods of time, sometimes within two years of the mortgage or refi. And then there is the whole drugs issues…RICO laws can take your house if your renters are having drug activities there, even without your knowing of their acts. Good credit, nice looks and money hides a lot of ills when renting to a renter you do not know. Like Sue said, there is a whole sub-culture out there of renters…and they are very *crafty* at it.

            • Shirlene (Huntington Beach, Ca) says:

              Been there done that!… Lost lots of money to renters…skips, drugs..awful. Only time it paid off was when renting to family…you can guilt them into taking good care and paying. If not family…have FBI check into them? Ha!

  40. Val R. Lakefield On says:

    This post has me so excited. I always learn something new here. I had looked into LTVA sites near Quartzsite a few years ago and bookmarked the site for future. Learning from this post that the permit allows you to use it in other BLM areas is a huge bonus.
    With our Canadian dollar on the low side these days, the thought of $180 for even a couple of months travelling around is very appealing.
    Nice looking spot you’re in, love Bridget in her stroller, she looks so cute.

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      Just as a note (which likely was covered above as well). As I understand it, the LTVA permit allows you to travel amongst the LTVA areas. Not sure if it is all LTVAs in the US or if there are regions.

      But at any rate, it doesn’t “let” you use other (non-LTVA) areas any differently than anyone else could. So the other areas (or just BLM land) are open for free 14-day camping to an LTVA pass holder or a non-LTVA pass holder. The difference is that an LTVA pass holder can camp in an LTVA area and use its amenities, and that allows a longer stay as well (presuming you have the permit length needed).

      OTOH, one could camp for free on BLM lands all winter, but they would just be any of the “non-LTVA” BLM lands, and one would have to move around every 14 days (and also find places to dump/fill/trash).

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        This page shows where the LTVA permit being sold here may be used.

        BLM Midland LTVA

      • Val R. Lakefield On says:

        I was just thinking of staying in the CA/Arizona areas as it showed on the sticker Sue got. With a small 9 gal black tank, even sites with vault toilets would work well for me. Hope it all happens next winter when my daughter moves into my moms place next door and will feed my cats. ?

        • Sidewinder Pen says:

          I don’t know how picky they are about the rules, but they require a 10 gallon “official built in” black tank, I believe. Reason I looked into this is that I did not have that on my last rig (hence I did not stay in LTVAs).

          There are some where you can stay without the required 10-gallon black tank, but you have to be within X distance of the dump/bath station (would likely be crowded so I never tried).

          Of course you might be in a different rig or etc. – just thought I would mention it so you don’t get surprised.

          • Sidewinder Pen says:

            For example, here is a quote from the supplemental rules linked to on the page Sue linked to above.

            “17. Self-Contained Vehicles

            a. In the Midland LTVA, you may camp only in self-contained camping units. The Mule Mountain LTVAs are restricted to self-contained camping units, except within 500 feet of a vault or rest room.

            b. Self-contained camping units must have a permanent, affixed waste water holding tank of 10-gallon minimum capacity. BLM does not consider port-a-potty systems, systems that utilize portable holding tanks, or permanent holding tanks of less than 10-gallon capacity, to be self-contained.”

            I don’t mean to be a downer, but I had considered going to an LTVA my first winter, but read the rules and discovered about the 10-gallon permanent holding tank requirement.

            OTOH, I have found wonderful camping (free, mostly) all over the SW in winter without going to an LTVA, just so you know. Or you could adjust rig to suit if the LTVA’s are your goal.

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              (And for me, camping within 500 feet of the vault/rest room at an LTVA would be torture!)

              (I don’t necessarily agree with the rules, as when I did not have a 10-gallon permanent holding tank I was still perfectly capable of not polluting the landscape, but that’s what they have.)

            • Val R. Lakefield On says:

              Thanks for the info…We won’t be changing from our small Taylor Coach, small blank tank and all. It is self contained though. I just want to see the southwest no matter where we end up staying.
              I have the “Allstays” app on this IPad and probably spend far too much time checking out area & looking up campsites down
              there. It will be helpful during the trip down also.

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              Well there are many, MANY wonderful places to camp, and I have never been to one that had that rule, except the LTVAs. So to my mind, not a huge loss — especially when you have the whole SW to choose from!

              (Although I have a large enough tank to go to the LTVAs now, that’s not why I changed, and in the 1.75 years since the change still haven’t even been to one.)

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              Val, see my note below. You should be fine as 9 Imperial gallons (which I believe are what you use in Canada) is 10.8 US gallons. In like Flynn!

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            For what this is worth… The ranger did ask me if I had a self-contained unit. I’m guessing they aren’t slack on the the black tank rules.

            • Val R. Lakefield On says:

              We are self contained, just 9 not 10 gal
              but hey, they are Canadian gallons ?

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              Well you are fine then! I presume you are using Imperial gallons, and 9 Imperial gallons is 10.8 US gallons. So you have the required capacity and nearly a gallon more.

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              (Gosh, I hope Val sees this.)

            • Val R. Lakefield On says:

              Yes thanks, I did see your last comment..sounds good to me. I could confuse things even more with the fact that Canada went to the metric system some years ago, LOL but older folks like me still think in gallons, inches, miles & pounds, etc?

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              Glad you saw it, Val.

              Now come on down with your 10.8 gallons whenever you feel like it 😀

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Val R. . . . I’m glad this post has revealed the options available to you. I love it when people learn from my blog!

      Reading your last line (“nice looking spot you’re in”), I’m wondering if people will think the header photo is where we are now. (That was taken at Cedar Pocket Campground a few weeks ago.)

  41. Sue, thank you for the informative link about the desert tortoise. I hope the best for them. Thanks also for this interesting post about the LTVA, sounds like a pretty good deal. I hope your new camp remains a peaceful place for you and the crew to enjoy!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Linda… I’m hoping the same thing! It would be very disappointing if the peace were disrupted. I’m tickled that you, also, clicked on the desert tortoise link. Important info there, as well as interesting.

  42. Pamela K. says:

    Hello to everyone,
    I wanted to thank everyone who helped me and Klemper with the Class C advise on the prior post page. I had some things to do for Klemper and didn’t get back to reading those replies until later. Klemper says he found those comments very helpful. During the Christmas holidays he will have some time off and hopes to start seeing what all is out there and at what prices. No doubt it will all come together in good time. Thanks again for all the wisdom. 🙂

  43. DesertGinger says:

    The desert tortoise info very interesting. Thanks. I’m having a day off and of course made myself sick bu eating too much. One bite will do it…have to be very careful. Off to a nap now to recover from sickness.

  44. BadgerRickInWis says:


  45. Pamela K. in GA says:

    WOW! Just came back to read the latest posts and see that the LTVA requires self contained tanks! Real bummer for me as my conversion van does not have those features being a passenger van instead of an RV van. When looking at some online photos I did see some conversion style vans but they must have been van-style b-vans instead. So… now the question is this… Could I take my conversion van and my Blue Boy and still camp on BLM land but not camp in the LTVAs? Maybe camp near the LTVAs in open BLM lands for free? Or would I have to camp in BLM campgrounds which charge a small fee? The whole self contained black tanks issue has thrown me for a real loop 🙁 I had hoped to head out to AZ as soon as Thanksgiving was over with.
    So here I am again, up all night stressed out about it and can’t rest. I’m about to panic here, my health just simply cannot take another cold wet winter here in GA closed up in a shoe-box for months just to *try* to stay well. I thought I had read the BLM details but guess not all of them, somehow I missed that important point! 🙁 I thought if I had my van, solar, a Porta-Pottie and my Blue Boy to dump then I would be fine until April. This is a huge step for me to take on having not ever been there camping before (just vacationing in hotels before). I am pretty much considering doing this on pure blind faith and the wisdom of those of you who have done this sort of thing before. Running two completely separate households and the expenses to do that will be a managed stretch but I can handle that. Even moving every 14 days or so is fine, I would like that part. Paying 15-20 dollars a night is not in the cards though, so now that the LTVA is not an option, I am a lot scared I’ll get to AZ and not be able to find the kind of camping options I will need to just van camp the winter.
    HELP! My only other option is to go to Florida and stay at my mother’s house! I love her very much BUT a month of living with her would be enough for the both of us, seriously.

    Note to self: Stay calm, breath deep, bio-feed back heart rate…slow down panic mode…

    • Pamela K. in GA says:

      I do have money for: Van Gas, Food, Drinking Water, Propane for my stove, Ice for my cooler, Dump Stations, Laundry, Showers, Van repairs (if need be), a few Personal Extras, Personal Maintenance, but the costs of nightly for-fee campgrounds will take all this away and make it unworkable for me.
      I never considered that a Grey/Black Tank would be an issue since I do not have running water in my van.
      Please, has anyone else ran in to this kind of problem before? How did you overcome it? I’m too old to tent camp for months at a time. I guess I could but god it would be hard! I’m so downhearted I can’t think right now… 🙁

      • Sidewinder Pen says:


        While there are folks who winter in LTVAs every year, they are really only a small percentage of the places to camp in Arizona and the SW in general. I’ve never stayed in one and I’ve camped in the SW for three winters now. The options are many. The first 1.5 winters I spend in the SW I had a camper van with a porta potty so I knew I couldn’t camp in the LTVA. The last 1.5 winters I have had the requisite 10+ gallon holding tank and it hasn’t really occurred to me to camp in an LTVA, although I could if I wanted to.

        There are many other possibilities. BLM land is the main one, but there are quite a few other places too (National Grassland, etc. etc.) That’s not to mention campgrounds (public and private). Basically, as far as I know, anything but the LTVAs are open to you. There is a LOT of other camping in the SW, free and otherwise.

        Even if you want to be in the Quartzsite like “hub” of activity, there are STILL lots of 14-day BLM places (free) that you can camp. You just can’t park in one for the whole winter (but then in my experience, folks in a camper van don’t typically want to sit in one place all winter anyway. Most of the other places I’m talking about require a move every 14 days, but presumably you’d have to do that anyway to dump tanks, buy food, get water, etc. (I know I do).

        There are also a few other places, like Ogilby Road that Mick mentions, that happen to have landowners who don’t enforce a 14-day stay. I imagine you’d still need to move for the aforementioned reasons of dumping and filling, but you could go back to the same spot if you wanted to.

        Look at it this way: Think of all the camping RV Sue has done ALL these years, and this is the FIRST time she’s even stayed in an LTVA. If you get out here and realize, by next spring, that you want to keep coming to the SW in winter. but your heart is set on an LTVA, then I’d say change rigs for next winter. But it’s only a fraction of the possibilities of where to camp (free or paid) in the SW.

        • Sidewinder Pen says:

          PS: I full timed in a non-extended length camper van for almost two years. I only had a porta potti, no built in shower, and a 10 gallon fresh water tank and around the same size grey water tank. Is it for everyone? No. Did I spend a night in a tent? No. No LTVA either. But I found plenty of spots.

          The main limitation for me as far as stay length was power. I had an electric refrigerator and no real power system to speak of. If I wasn’t plugged in or driving, I had to live kind of LIKE I was in a tent, electricity-wise. That said, the current owner of the camper van has solar now, so can run the refrigerator and everything else pretty much indefinitely. I also have solar power on my new rig. So that can be changed if one wants to (add solar).

          I moved around a bit more when I had the van, and I couldn’t stay in LTVAs. I had to really watch power usage. But other than that it was just like I do now. I had a fine time those two winters.

          • Sidewinder Pen says:

            PPS: You mention not wanting to use for-pay campgrounds. I’m thinking about the past three winters (first one of which was in the camper van).

            The winter in the camper van I did pay for a number of nights at hook up sites ($4 per night), but that’s because I spent the first half of the winter in New Mexico. Why does that change things? Well it’s basically all at 3,000′ or higher, so it’s colder than SW Arizona. Like 32º or below at night (50’s day). Also NM has a great annual State Park pass that once you buy it ($225) you can stay in any State Park for free (dry camping) or for $4 per night (water and electric hookups, plus typically your own little Ramada too, also dump station on premises). So I stayed in those and paid the $4 and ran my little electric heater (and all my other goodies). Moved every 14 days, as is required. Was cozy and happy.

            That was for a January and February of one year. Except for that time, my winters have been in SW Arizona. I have paid for camping… I think twice, for two days each. That was because I camped with a friend who wanted the full hookups (AZ State Park). The rest of the time I have camped for free in winter. Mostly because I prefer my privacy, and campgrounds are like little noisy apartment buildings, to my mind (although the NM state parks in winter are pretty private).

            So, I don’t think it has to be a problem at all. I actually thought I had mentioned this to you once before (about LTVA and holding tanks), but maybe it got lost in the many comments. Actually, in reading your plans over the past little while, the only thing that sounded like it might be a tiny issue was electricity use. If you want to use power and don’t have solar, then you’ll likely want to either move every couple of days (alternator charging) or plug in someplace. But there are LOTS of places, so moving can be a fun exploration if you want it to be.

            And the weather is usually good, so it’s not like you’ll be huddled in your van in the rain.

            I hope this helps!

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              BTW, some camper vans have “real” built in systems with black tanks and some do not. Mine didn’t. It was an intentionally built camper van but had just a porta potti (but a sink and greywater tank). So it varies.

              Also, there ARE some LTVA you can camp in without the permanent built in 10 gallon black holding tank. The only caveat is that you have to be within 500 feet of the vault toilet/thingie (that is part of the LTVA. That would rule it out for me just based on crowdedness, but if you are a people person you may enjoy it. Not all LTVA’s have this “special feature” but some do. They state it in the rules so you could read to see which ones.

              That said, there are camper vans all over the SW with Porta Pottis, camping away, and managing their waste responsibly. So you can too if you’d like to 🙂

            • Pamela K. in GA says:

              You move me to tears! You are such a kind cyber friend! I do feel better now, more reassured. This year would be the only problem for me. Next year, after March or May, Klemper and I would be have either the Airstream or a new-to-us Class C.
              It’s the time between now and then that I would be van camping. I have the electric taken care of. Some 12 volt, some 110 off the 2800 Power Station, some USB and LED lights, and the Goal Zero 400 Solar Generator with solar panel kit. That’s why I thought I was pretty good-to-go with just the porta-potty and the blue boy tote-a-long. The LTVA sounded so perfect as i do like to stay put more than some do. Put out a nice camp and settle in for a short while. Was thinking 30 days before finding a different camp would be nice. I can live with 14 days or less with no problem though, as long as there is trash and water to be had somewhere within a reasonable driving distance since I am so new to all this. So different than the Airstream kind of camping Klemper and I have done for so many years, those were campgrounds with hook-ups or short stays dry camping for a weekend. With two incomes the costs were never a real issue. For my Van Camping I want to be able to do it on my own soc sec check and still budget for any emergencies/van repairs. That way Klemper doesn’t have the costs of two households to maintain while I do this this winter. Pen, I think you may have mentioned some of this to me at a time when I had a Fibro-Fog. During those times it is a little harder than my norm to grasp it all. You, Sue and everyone has been so wonderfully helpful…I hope you know how much this all means to me. Your kindness, your help, your wisdom are without measure. Truly, thank you for all you do. If EVER you are in need, shout out to me. I am loyal to a fault, lol. I owe you 🙂

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              Hi Pamela,

              Glad you feel a bit better about things now.

              Everyone does it their own way, but for myself, I’ll just mention that I can’t imagine having a Blue Boy in a camper van. For one thing, I had no place to put one, and for another, I just can’t imagine having it inside with me. I think a lot of places you would boondock it would be a longer drive to a dump station than you’d want to make with a Blue Boy rolling behind you (probably not even legal on the highway). So then you’d have to have it inside (ugh).

              So if it were me I’d just use the Porta Potti and dump that when necessary.

              OTOH, it sounds like you like to stay in one place longer than I do, and/or maybe you can look for places that have a nearby dump station. I don’t mean to tell you how to do it. Just… I can’t imagine how I’d have carried a Blue Boy in my camper van when moving around. (OTOH, I never really needed one, so I had no motivation to try to figure out how I’d handle one.)

              When you come out here you will see that there are “all kinds” — of both people and rigs! There are a lot of niches, so you’ll have quite a few to choose from (or make your own).

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              If I might add… Before I acquired the BLT I thought I’d want to camp in one spot for more than 14 days. Turned out I was itching to go somewhere else before reaching the 14-day limit. The freedom to move whenever I wanted sunk into my consciousness… 🙂

            • Pamela K. in GA says:

              I am reading this again this morning and had to laugh so hard about the Blue Boy! Tote, as in toting it. Not as a Toad, as in pulling it behind my van going 70 mph on the freeway, LOL. Too funny! But I can see how someone who does use one might envision that. Nope, I assure you. It’s only called a Blue Boy *Tote*

      • pookieboy says:

        Pam, your just gonna have to go out there and get your feet wet and don’t worry about staying in LTVA area…..you got a bunch of folks rooting for ya

        • Pamela K. in GA says:

          I think you are right-on! I need to just buck-up and head out there. See for myself all the vast wonders that area holds and behold those sunsets. The thought of it all *fills me up*, I need that. I hate Winter weather.

    • Mick'nTN says:

      Look up Ogilby Road, north of Yuma, but in California. RvSue&Crew stayed there last year. I think the area is totally free. Search the blog. Everything will be fine.

        • Sidewinder Pen says:

          Ha ha, funny blast from the past! I was almost in tears (of laughter) reading about the “bad” site on American Girl Road. Bad singers. gangs of ATV’s in the site, and….

          “…an industrious camper gets out his sledge and anvil, or at least something to that effect, and commences to pound metal against metal. What in the world? “Gee, Honey, I think I’ll go out by the RV and make myself an iron wheel. Call me when supper’s ready.” ”

          I’m sure I have camped by this SAME guy a few times! Only I never described it in such a funny way 😀 😀 😀

          • Sidewinder Pen says:

            (And what ARE they doing with all these iron wheels?)

            • Pamela K. in GA says:

              LOL, it sounds like he is part of the Civil War (War Between the States) reenactments for the cannon wagons or something. That or he is busy making his iron-wheel fence for his boon-dock to be purrrr-dy…takes all kinds I guess!
              Wonder if he is for-hire? After he finishes his own iron wheels, of course 🙂 HA! 🙂

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Wall hangings for the RV, perhaps?

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              In which case they automatically have to make two: one for each side so as to sink the ship evenly. I can “hear” it now.

            • Pamela K. in GA says:

              Good one! LOL!
              or maybe pot racks for the kitchen ceiling…

        • Pamela K. in GA says:

          I remember reading about that area. I know several people do go there. I have a personal reason for not going near Yuma. A dear friend of mine lost her son (U.S. Marine) in the 2000 Osprey crash near there. Kelly’s loss was a real blow to all of us. I tend to think of that area as his sacred ground and honor that for him. I know, it’s personal but another location would be better. I know me, I would think of him so much if I were near Yuma. If you like, you can read about Cpl. Kelly Keith on the Marine Moms Online site. He is so missed by so many. I made the In Memory And Honor photobuttons for the families of the 19 lost that day. Later for all twenty-nine for the three other crashes of Ospreys. So all who were lost are very special to me. Thanks for your though about the area though, it was a good thought if not for the Osprey crashes. Like Pookie said, I just need to hunker down and get on with getting there and see it first hand I guess. In my younger days, my warrior days, I would not have blinked an eye at doing this stuff. I have gotten *old*, I’m not sure I like being *old* lol, I need to *think young* with temo 🙂

          • Pamela K. in GA says:

            temo = tempered wisdom. 🙂

            • Pamela K. in GA says:

              Sorry, that YUMA reply was for you. My reply somehow went to a different spot instead of directly under your suggestion of north of Yuma in Cali.

            • Pamela K. in GA says:

              The Blue Boy I already had for dry camping years ago in the Airstream. On the van I have a square hitch that holds a carry. The Blue Boy fits in there when in transport. When not in transport it goes outside under the carry. It has it’s won PVC pipes and connections for dumping the porta-potty into it. Kind of nice to have in pinch instead of an overflow. It is never inside the van. The carry has a ramp with it, like ones for motorcycles. Just wheel it up and transport it to the next dump station. Oh-0oooo, that would be heaps ugly to have anywhere inside of the van! I would never, major nasty for sure! YUK.

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              Okay, I see. That could definitely work.

              I will say that in my van I would have had no use for it, because I was out of fresh food, water, had trash and needed to drive to charge a few things up long before a Porta Potti would have filled up.

              Now if I had had that nifty rack, I most certainly can think of things I might have used it for! A bicycle, an extra cooler, solar panels (to be set out later), tubs with a variety of things in them. Or no, wait: a CAMPING MAT and LOUNGE CHAIR. Yes!!!!!

              So yeah, I could think of dozens of things I’d have carried before a Blue Boy.

              One other consideration: If you are going to try to park anywhere and fly beneath the radar (nothing illegal), the Blue Boy is going to give you away, and maybe raise a few eyebrows. Unless you have it in some sort of covered box – knowing you it’s all cleverly done!

              Okay, I guess you can tell the Blue Boy would not be anything I’d use (subtle, aren’t I?).

              Anyway, come on out! The sunsets will be the same no matter your RV or your camp style 😀

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            Just a consideration, Pamela….. Not everyone deals with emotional “triggers” in the same way. I’m talking about the Yuma area and what it means to you at this point. I’ve found that making a new association will diminish or eliminate the “trigger.”

            Yuma can be the warmest place for camping during the winter (in the SW). To cut that out of your picture seems a shame, from my point of view and experience. Of course, that’s for you to decide.

            However, the American Mine/Sidewinder Road free camping is ideal in many ways… Everything you might need is in Yuma nearby, yet you are not in a city environment… And the necessities are attainable without going to Yuma (although groceries are limited).

            You can select an area to be your “own” away from others and yet there are plenty of fellow campers around should you need help or company. Trash bins, propane, gas, convenience store, and dump station are at the next interstate exit (Pilot Knob) going east. Drinking water spigot and trash bins are a few miles up the interstate going west.

            This Sidewinder/American Mine/Ogilby Road area west of Yuma is well-suited for becoming accustomed to full-time camping outside of a campground or LTVA. Just don’t make the common mistake of taking the Sidewinder Road exit. You take the Ogilby Road exit (the next one going westward).

            Anyway… I suggest you not cross Yuma off your list out of hand. Think “new association” and give it a try. You aren’t in Yuma when camping in the Ogilby-Sidewinder-American Mine area. Heck, you aren’t even in the same state! 🙂

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              One other thing I always notice when I read about campers in the Yuma area is the glorious farmers market(s). I didn’t realize it when I was camped in the area (I was only there a couple of days), but apparently much of the nation’s winter produce is grown nearby, and so there is a lot to choose from. I guess that sounds extra good to me when I’m picking through a rather wan selection of produce in winter elsewhere. I know you like to cook Pamela 🙂

            • Pamela K. in GA says:

              That Farmer’s market sounds divine! Yes, you are right to think I would love that. I almost never used canned goods if fresh is an option. Cooking, heavens yes, I think I must have been a chuck wagon cook in a prior life, lol. I do lay down a fine Blue Plate Special 🙂

            • Pamela K. in GA says:

              Oh yes, have the lounger and the mat, lol. I think the Blue Boy would be a good idea to ditch after thinking on it more today, and reading your replies. It would be such a bother and a space-hog! Thinking on it more, my bike would look pretty fine using that space 🙂 HA!

            • Pamela K. in GA says:

              I will give serious thought to your wisdom about the general YUMA area. On reflection, it might be nice to be able to attend times when honoring the Osprey Marines are happening within a day’s drive or so. I would like to see the monument they built for them and lay a wreath there. I think Kelly would be proud of that. It may even be a small twist of fate of sorts. You see, I did not personally know Kelly. My own son was U.S. Army always on loan to the Marines in hot-spots. Because of this the Marine Mom’s took me in, so to speak, and Kelly was my *special adopted Marine son offered with pure kindness from his mother, my friend. Of course, me being me, Kelly was now a permanent part of our family’s make-up. I never needed to know him before hand, he was a Hero, that was always enough and we insured that his memory lived on along with all the other Marine Moms. I simply helped to keep the traditions…
              Things are clearer for me today, putting more balance in my life again. Yes, you and Mick may, indeed, be right about Yuma and the Yuma area. It does sound like a good fit there.

            • Sidewinder Pen says:


              Don’t know if you will see this, nor what your beliefs are – I hope you don’t take it as me horning in, as I know it’s very personal. But, as I read your note just above, I found myself thinking that your “special adopted marine son” would probably enjoy you stopping in Yuma and seeking out the Osprey monument (I have no way of knowing if the departed know about such things, but ?). So maybe it could be a good thing (?)

  46. Pamela K. in GA says:

    I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hijack your blog’s comments section. I was just so stressed out at the thought of being a shut-in here during the cold of Winter. As the days get colder the thought of staying here another Winter overwhelms me. I handle most things really well but deep Winter is not one of them, body or soul.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I think everyone has experienced middle-of-the-night doubts when considering what can seem like a daunting challenge. I’m glad my blog was here for you when you needed to express those doubts.

      I’m also glad — as, no doubt, you are, too — that fellow night people were awake, online, and eager to help you through the night while this day person slept soundly offline. 🙂

      • Sidewinder Pen says:

        Night Owls at your service! 😀

      • Pamela K. in GA says:

        So sweet of you and very touching for me to read. You have every right to very, very proud of these fine blogger friends. I am humbled and ever grateful for finding this wonderful place you created. It is as warm to me as the BLT is to you and the crew…that says so much from my heart…thank you so much.
        Sleep well, Morning Person, lol. You have all times covered 🙂

  47. AZ Jim says:

    Leave the header alone, skinny looks good. Years ago my Dad had business stationary featuring a skinny header like that. That was BC (before computers). Enjoy your stay at your new site. Hi to the little ones.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jim… The skinny header is okay. Sometimes, though, I look at one of my photos and think, “Gosh, what a great header that would make,” and then it won’t fit. Darn.

      Hi to Detta… Wishing both of you a happy day…

Comments are closed.