Scenes from LTVA – Senator Wash and Squaw Lake, AZ

Sunday, December 1

Bridget, Spike, and I drive up the hill and pick up Dale at his camp.  We’re going to investigate the area north of Mittry Lake.

1-DSC01707We come to Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVA).  There are several of these areas near Squaw Lake.

1-DSC01683A permit is required to camp.  This is what the Bureau of Land Management website says:

“A Long Term Visitor Area Permit is required from September 15th through April 15th each season. The cost is $180.00 and is valid for up to 7 months. A Short Term Permit can be purchased for a 14-day stay. This permit is$40.00.”

1-DSC01682These photos are of Senator Wash LTVA.  Notice the four solar panels on the first rig above.

1-DSC01687If I remember correctly, these RVs are parked on Hurricane Ridge.  It is breezy up there, but they have a wonderful view of Squaw Lake.

1-DSC01685Squaw Lake is a very pretty lake.  It seems larger than Mittry and has a more accessible shoreline.  (But Mittry has more coots!)

1-DSC01689Dale and I wander around the day use area, long enough for me to take some of these photos, but not long enough to have to pay a day use fee of ten dollars!

1-DSC01684As we we drive out of the day use area which includes a boat ramp, a guy pedals his bike down from the RV camps.  He has a two-wheeled cart behind his bike on which his kayak sits.  I wish I’d taken a photo of that!  That’s a pretty nice life!


We continue toward Imperial Dam.

By now Dale knows that I have to stop whenever I see a good photo opportunity, like these egrets.

1-DSC01693Dale is a former truck driver.  I think my abrupt stopping in the road to take pictures initiates an automatic response from his safety-conscious driving days.

1-DSC01694“Uh, you could pull off the road,” he suggests, as I stop right in the lane.  I hardly hear him.  I bring the window down.  My focus is on snapping pics.

“Oh, wow!” I exclaim.  “Look at these birds!  I’ve got to get this!”

1-DSC01696Fortunately there aren’t any vehicles approaching from either direction, and the birds allow me these shots.

We cross Imperial Dam and drive into another camping and day use area on the other side.

1-DSC01697Although the rigs are pretty close together, this would be a good place to camp for those who like to go out on the water frequently.  The boat ramp is close by.

1-DSC01698A couple is unloading gear from their very long kayak.  Dale asks why they have so much gear.  The man explains that they were out for a few days, camping.

1-DSC01699The kayak has lots of storage room.

“That is one big kayak,” Dale remarks as we look it over.

“Oh, yeah, it’s big,” the man replies.  He adds with a chuckle, “We call it the barge.  You don’t make any sharp turns with the barge.”

The road dead-ends across the dam.

We turn around and go back the way we came.  We find another road to explore.  At a group of tiny, unoccupied houses, we find three burros strolling the street and nibbling at the various plants growing in front of the houses.

1-DSC01701On the way back to our camps, Dale says, “Could we stop for a minute?  I want to get some firewood.”

1-DSC01706I let Bridget and Spike out of the PTV so they can wander around while Dale collects and breaks up the wood.  He fills up a bin with small pieces which goes in the back of the PTV, along with some big branches.

Dale and I talked previously about going to the Winterhaven post office tomorrow (Monday).  We decide to wait until Tuesday to improve the chances that his prescription will be there.  Once he has that, he can continue his trek eastward across Arizona.

It’s about 3:30 when I drop Dale off at his camp and drive down the hill to home.




In June 2013 while the crew and I camped in Utah, I happened to discover a field of burros.

“Hundreds of wild burros!”


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75 Responses to Scenes from LTVA – Senator Wash and Squaw Lake, AZ

  1. Casitagirl says:

    Looks like fun Sue! Wish I was there.

    • Barbara says:

      Does Casitagirl have a blog?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Casitagirl,

      I’ve been curious about these LTVA areas. At this point in my vagabond life, it doesn’t appeal to me. Maybe someday it will. It was fun exploring the area.

      • Marsha in MI says:

        My first thought when I saw the LTVA area was, “Too many people packed in too closely together.” Definitely not my kind of camping.

      • Alan Rabe says:

        The LTVA’s allow the “camper” to be as alone as they want to be but still within range of some services, like showers and water. They are usually quite large, The one at Quartzsite is huge. Look at an LTVA in google earth mode and you will see camp circles and roads to them everywhere. You can camp anywhere in the LTVA and be as alone as the other campers will allow you. As we have seen humans tend to group together, sense of security or something like that. But to think you can stay 7 months, the whole winter, for $180. And plan what you will do the other 5. Part of the beauty and charm of RV’s, you can be alone and together at the same time, as much of each as you want.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Hi, Alan,

          Love the last line of your comment! So true . . . and wonderful.

          I’m still too new at this vagabond life to give up a changing “yard” to commit to an LTVA. That ol’ “hitch itch,” you know.

  2. Barbara says:

    LTVA looks very nice. The scenery is beautiful, but the area is waaaay too crowded for Sue and crew. Spike, however, would love to soak in Squaw Lake. Hope all goes well for Dale.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Barbara,

      You know me well. Yes, rigs are too close for comfort for me. One of the things I love about living in a home-on-wheels is NO NEIGHBORS! 🙂

      I’m going to give Dale my phone number before we go our separate ways. If he doesn’t have an opportunity to comment here, he can call me and I’ll give everyone an update. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.

  3. Jessica says:

    Hi Sue,

    I’ve been following your blog for months, and I’m long overdue to say thanks for all of the entertainment and daydream material you’ve provided. So, “thanks!”

    All the best to you and the crew.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      And I say thanks to you, Jessica, for following my blog!

      There was a time when I daydreamed about the life I have now. Often when I’m writing a blog post or deciding on photos, I try to imagine what I would’ve enjoyed daydreaming about.

      Best wishes to you, too. Great to hear from you!

  4. Val R. Lakefield On. says:

    I like the egret pics also the cute burro. Once I get to hit the road, I only want to camp that close together if there is water I can swim in. Although I do want to see Quartzsite during the RV show. I went through your blog to Amazon Ca..see if it shows….small purchase, book for my son titled “Debt Free Forever” 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Val,

      I’m glad you like the photos. Egrets are great posers. Taking their photos is fun. Great contrast with the surroundings. I never met an egret I didn’t want to photograph.

      If you purchased the book today, it won’t show up on my orders list until tomorrow (Tues, 12/3). When I see it, I’ll let you know here. Thanks so much for buying the book through my blog. I hope it helps your son become a cash-and-carry kind of guy!

  5. Ladybug says:

    Former truck driver, eh? I know I’ve been seeing more and more ads for drivers being needed. Assuming at some point he wants to/can, Dale might want to look into getting back into it. I’ve known plenty of guys who lived out of their truck. But I’ll be the first to admit, truckin’ ain’t for everyone.

    I was thinking that the LTVA areas were similar to the BLM land, sans the permit charge, of course! Meaning in the way you can camp just about anywhere? I think what you’re seeing is the normal ‘group think’ you see in a lot of RVers (i.e. camping in your front yard in the middle of the desert!). You can probably find more isolated areas, and you wouldn’t have to keep moving every 14 days.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Ladybug,

      There are more isolated areas out in the desert. These places are crowded because they are near lakes, and they are also reasonably convenient to stores and services in Yuma and Quartzsite.

      Before I retired and started living in the BLT, I thought stretching the length of time camping in one spot was important. After 2+ years I realize that 14 days is long enough in one spot because one needs to go somewhere for some reason or another . . . groceries, dump, water, propane, etc., so it’s no big deal to move at the same time.

      I could stay longer than 14 days at a time in the desert, but I don’t want to. I like to move. I couldn’t commit to months in an LTVA. This is how I feel now. I may think differently several years down the road.

  6. Karen says:

    I just love reading all your stories and the pictures are great.

  7. Edie says:

    Great pictures as usual! I was going to make this comment on a prior post but didn’t want to “join the party” on the subject at the time. I think the changing scenery of your blog (words and pictures) is giving us hope that life on the road is really as cool as we hope it is. But, we also enjoy knowing daily mundane things, like what you eat, to give us the perspective that we won’t be eating crummy pre-packaged food, or not being able to store enough food to stay camping for a while etc. When my husband and I camp for a week I swear half of what we carry is food! So, yes we know you eat, we are just wondering how WE will manage! Lol. Stuff like that is also priceless. 🙂

    • Edie says:

      Not complaining!! I love this blog. Just people were wondering why food was interesting…

      • Edie,

        Just a quick note on this from someone else that travels in a small trailer with, in our case, an equally small fridge and storage area – we tend to do repeats for breakfast and lunch, and rotate dinners among about 20 meals that work within our space limitations. We break up the routine by eating dinner out once or twice a week.

        I actually diagrammed my fridge our last time out so I know exactly how many items will fit, and where they go! 🙂

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Hi, Tamara,

          I can tell you are waaaaaay more organized than I am when it comes to meals! I make it up as I go along . . .

        • Edie says:

          Tamara, Thank you! Our refrigerator will be very small, and no freezer. I figured breakfast would be pretty much a repeat, but then I do that now. I will be trying to figure out how to store staples I’m sure. It is comforting to know people do this for long periods of time and do still enjoy variety!

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Hi, Edie,

        Thank you for giving me a reminder of the perspective of many of my readers. Your feedback helps me write. As time goes by, my memory of what it is like to wonder about full-timing will naturally become less clear. Keep me on track! 🙂

        You may have noticed that I don’t go long without a trip to the grocery store. That means my meals aren’t very different from what they were before I started living in the BLT.

        Of course, it takes more planning and ingenuity, I think, to come up with meals for two people. When you’re only providing for yourself, your standards can be lower. At least mine are! . . . having a bowl of cereal for supper, for instance.

        • Edie says:

          Thank you Sue! I will probably keep reminding you of that perspective until I retire… Sorry 🙂
          It is nice to know that you eat much the same now. That is one thing I worry about with the storage limitations. I tend to overbuy on groceries and not really “plan” meals well, but there is always something to eat. In an rv I’m afraid I will look and just have rice and BBQ sauce or something after a few days of not planning. I guess the lesson for me with all of this is to either plan better or always have cereal and milk on hand! Thanks!

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            Hi again, Edie,

            As for staples, I have two milk crates in the PTV that hold canned goods like soup, beans, diced tomatoes, tuna fish, spaghetti sauce, vegetables, fruit, etc. That way I can take advantage of sales and I have a “pantry” to provide more variety.

  8. Love the wild burros. I stayed at a wonderful RV park in Jalisco, Mexico last winter for a month. They had two burros, one of which (the male) was very friendly. The female was NOT. However, I loved to visit them fro a safe distance and gave them carrots and such from time to time.
    As always your photography is wonderful. There’re a lot of RVs out there.
    Happy Monday…. mp

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Mary-Pat,

      There is something charming about burros to my eyes. Maybe because they look like toys — stuffed animals, all furry with big ears and big eyes.

      Thank you for the compliment on my photos.

  9. Mindy R in NE GA says:

    Great photos, and love the long ears!

  10. Laura says:

    Hey Sue —

    This is totally unrelated, but I’m still ready to ship the XM whenever you’re ready to receive it. Just say the word & I’ll get it in the mail. I’m even going to organize the wires and stuff so you’ll know which ones go with the car and which ones go with the BLT so you can play it through small speakers. 🙂 Something like these would be perfect. They put out a great sound for their size and run on batteries.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Laura! You are a doll!

      You anticipate my needs… first with this tremendous gift of the portable XM, and then you find the speakers I’ll need to go with it (I didn’t have a clue), and on top of that you label the wires! I’m so excited about this. . .

      I’m pleased to see that the speakers are not expensive and that they run on batteries. This is going to be great!

      I’ll email you soon with the address. Do you want to send it UPS or through the post office?

      Gosh, I really appreciate all you are doing for me. Thanks a bunch!

      • DeAnne in TN says:

        Just my two cents worth. I bought the same speaker a while back. They had great sound and very compact. But mine just stopped working after about four weeks or so. It just quit. Maybe I just got a bad ‘un, but I never replaced it–got regular speakers after that.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Hi, DeAnne,

          I appreciate the warning. I checked the Amazon customer reviews. You may have had a dud.

          Over 1,300 reviews give it a rating of 4 1/2 stars.

          • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

            I read through many comments and there were quite a few that had the same problem… where it pooped out after just a month or two. But… they are cheap enough to be worth the gamble.

  11. Pleinguy says:

    I’ve heard a lot about those LTVAs you visited. They appear to be good locations, but are way too crowded for my taste. Think I’ll stick to more remote camps. Thanks for taking the time to explore and shore photos. Take care.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Pleinguy.

      Yes, it’s a matter of priorities. If being next to water is high on your list, then you camp at a place like Senator Wash. If privacy is important, then you head out further into the desert.

      At this time of year, Mittry Lake meets both those priorities. I don’t know if one can depend on it being quiet here in late Nov.-early Dec., or if I happen to be lucky and got both water and privacy.

      Nice to hear from you again….

  12. Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

    On that photo with the motorhome with the array of solar panels… I notice that you can see them on nearly every roof along that row.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Connie,

      Yeah, solar panels and/or generators are important at an LTVA as there aren’t any hook-ups.

      • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

        Definitely… makes one wonder how they managed before solar got down to an affordable efficient system that one can put on top of a motorhome. I can’t imagine trying to keep the batteries up with just a generator.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Lanterns, campfires, and “early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”

  13. Linda & Gerry Cicenas says:

    Hi Sue, glad you enjoyed Dogtripping. Also wanted to comment on your Thanksgiving post – it was great and very appropriate for the holiday. What a great time you are having – and touching so many other lives along the way. I hope Dale can stay in touch periodically to let you know – and us by extension – how he is faring. Peace and safe travels to both of you.

    Love the Rear View Mirrow links – a great way to catch up on blog posts that we missed.

    Linda & Gerry Cicenas

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Linda and Gerry,

      I’m sure I’ll be loaning out the Dogtripping book to other dog lovers as time goes by. What incredible people!

      I’m going to ask Dale to let me know how his quest goes and also if I may share it with my blog readers. I don’t want to leave everyone hanging! 🙂

      Warm wishes to you both . . .

  14. Sheri says:

    Hi Sue…this is totally off subject…were we on one??? LOL…anyway, I have been watching your sitemeter for a while now and I think you are getting close to one million visits to your site in the not-too-distant future. What do you think about all of us putting our heads together and coming up with some fun prize for the one-millionth visitor? (I even thought of a meet-and-greet for an afternoon with the real “Sue and crew” but I know you are shy so I won’t mention it…..shhh!!) I don’t know if anyone else has an idea…I always read your posts but confess that I don’t always have time for the comment section so I may have missed something…anyway, something for everyone to think about…hugs to you and the crew!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Sheri,

      It’s kind of difficult to be off-topic here! I enjoy having different topics and questions pop up. Makes it interesting for me and readers to plow through all the comments!

      I think your idea is great and would be a lot of fun. It would be very difficult though to determine who is the one-millionth visitor. And then there is a sticky wicket regarding prizes as far as Amazon goes and its rules for its Associates.

      I love your enthusiasm. I bet you’re a good party planner!

  15. Cinandjules (temp in CA) says:

    Too many rigs for me! Looks like a city.

    Cute burro…. Dale looks deep in thought!

    And where is the crew?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I was wondering when someone would mention the crew. Where did they go? 🙂 Bridget and Spike are at my side as usual. Lately, whenever I take their picture, they’re squinting at the sun or something. I do need to get them back in the game . . . Stay tuned!

      I see you’re still in California . . .

      • Cinandjules (temp in CA) says:

        Counting down the days!

      • Mindy R in NE GA says:

        So if they are squinting do yah think the crew needs some doggles?…LOL I can see Spike in the flame ones and Bridget in the Blue.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I talked it over with the crew, Mindy. Spike prefers aviator shades and Bridget would like those kind with rhinestones. . . . 🙂

  16. AZ Jim says:

    Hi Sue!
    Two comments. I used to fish all over where you are now, Squaw, Senator Wash, Imperial dam on the canal. I caught a 28# flat head catfish at the Imperial drop there. Fishing along the canal at night is eerie due to the loud sound of water at the dam. You spend a lot of time looking around to be sure you are alone because an army could walk up on you at 2 AM (Best catfishing time) and you would not hear them coming.

    Now, I read your explanation as to what Dale is doing in your picture but I have to tell you, it looks kinds like maybe he is doing something else. As a guy who spend many years in the boonies I have been in that same pose many times if you get my drift.

    BTW I am using the puffy cloud red sky pic from the Nov. 27th edition. Love it.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jim,

      Gosh, that catfishing sounds like fun! I wish I didn’t get all wussy about fishing. I really enjoyed it. Well, you brought up another reason to camp in these LTVA areas near water.

      As for what Dale is doing in the photo… It’s an action shot and he IS picking up firewood. I know because he always warns me when he’s going to do what you’re thinking!

      I’m using the egret close-up photo for my desktop today. It looks a little dispixelated (my own word), but it’s nice. You have me changing my desktop pic almost every day now.

  17. mockturtle says:

    The 14-day stay for $40 seems like a good deal. I might consider that some time–but not in a crowded area. Thanks for the great pictures and for sharing your adventures with us. 🙂

  18. chas anderson says:

    LONGTIME reader,first time responder.Could not live without XM on the road with our travel trailer.We will try Mittry in February.We live on the road from New Years to May 1 and then back to PA.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Chas!

      Welcome! So you’ve been with me and the crew a long time . . . I’m happy to see you here.

  19. Cari in North Texas says:

    Not too much new to add to what’s already been said, but I wanted to let you know I’m enjoying seeing the desert and the mountains through your eyes. And I’m glad you and Dale enjoyed your time together.

  20. kgdan says:

    We are on the way to Mittry Lake but weather report says it’s going to get COLD this week.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Kathy and Gil,

      Yes, it is. Even my weather widget agrees. Well, maybe the cold will help the fishing. ??

      Right now (Wed. a.m.) it’s very breezy. If you decide to camp on the shore you can fish from your campsite if it’s too windy for the boat.

  21. Bill & Ann says:

    Beautiful pictures Sue. I love the egrets. Wish we had a camera like yours. We are camped in the 14 day free area, just down from La Posa LTVA in Quartzsite. We can see a few trailers around us but they sure are not close. As another poster said, ‘just drive on the BLM until you are all alone’. It works. Even at the Imperial Dam area last year we saw some pretty remote areas. Maybe down the road we will try one. 180 days for $180! We head for Yuma today for training at the refuge headguarter. We will be staying in an RV Resort. A first for us.

    Food. At least once a week I make a batch of biscuits. I then throw all my leftovers into a pan with a can of soup. I have come up with some really delicious meals that way. I really should write the ingredients down as I can never remember what I put in the pan for repeats of the meal.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Bill and Ann,

      Welcome back to Arizona! Sorry it has turned cold and windy. I know you’re ready for some sunshine and warmth after the Oregon coast.

      I bet you’re getting excited about your Kofa wildlife training. I’ll want to know all about it!

      Your recipe sounds great. Maybe I should solicit recipes from readers . . .

      Keep in touch. When the time is right, we can get together. I don’t want to interfere with your training or volunteer work. Hope your canine crew is well . . .

  22. Laura says:

    Sue, I didn’t want this to get buried with the other comments, so I’m responding to your XM radio comment here … (whew! that was a long explanation!)

    I think I prefer using the Post Office. It’s closer and I like the postmistress. Rational? Maybe. 🙂 Will that be easier for you? If not, the distance thing isn’t that much. And I can always make a new friend at the UPS store. 😉

    Just let me know the particulars about how to send to whichever place you choose & I’ll get it done. You’ve got my email, right? And if you need to call me let me know how to send you my phone number & I’ll be happy to.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Laura,

      The post office works fine for me! I sent you an email with the Yuma general delivery address.

      Whenever it’s most convenient for you. Don’t feel you have to rush down to the P.O. I’ve waited this long already and I’m staying in the Yuma area for a couple weeks at least.

      Thanks! 🙂

  23. Bet I am about the LAST to respond today! 🙂 We have been on the road and are now in Bradenton to help daughter get moved! I love the burro photos! We passed a couple of mini burros and horses on our way here! Long Term areas don’t really interest me either… I like the boonies! When you get to Yuma, are you going back to Fortuna Pond? We loved that area!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Geri,

      I don’t think I’ll go to Fortuna Pond. Now that I’ve written that here, I’ll change my mind. It’s a pretty place and handy to Yuma, but it does tend to get filled up.

      Glad you made it to Bradenton safely, and you didn’t forget to check in with RVSue and her canine crew. 🙂

  24. Gray from NY says:

    Nothing to do with what is discussed here, but I am still reading your past entries (I made it to Feb. 2013!), where you mention that you can’t order from Amazon through your own link. Well, how about if you do your ordering through Casita Club? They have the same deal going on as you – a way to pay it forward for Casita-people!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Gray,

      I don’t know if I’ve ever replied to a comment of yours. (Never can tell, people use different names)… anyway . .. Welcome!

      Yes, I do use other sites for my Amazon ordering. Thank you for bringing Casita Club to mind.

  25. Debbie H says:

    Sue – a little off topic here, but I have a question about your cell. Straight Talk. What type of phone are you using and are you pleased with it and the service levels? We need to get my husband a cell for a long RV trip and are wondering how you feel about the one you have now.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Debbie,

      I use Straight Talk on the cheapest phone Wal-Mart sells. I can’t give you a review on it because I hardly ever use it. I make less than ten phone calls a year… no kidding! And most of those calls are when people call me. I’m not a chatty-phone person. The only reason I have it is for emergency 911.

      I feel fairly certain you and your husband would use the phone more than I do. Maybe some readers can help you make a decision. If no one offers a suggestion, ask again under a new post. This post has been read by most of my readers already.


  26. AZ Jim says:

    Well Sue….Have you pulled out your long johns yet? Kinda nippy nights this week. Covered our Citrus last night and I’ll leave ’em covered till Monday. No records but cooler than usual. You fooled around up North when our weather was perfect. Oh well, you’ll still be better off here than most of the country right now. Snuggle with the crew.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jim,

      I didn’t notice the cold last night. I shut the windows and door before we lost the day’s heat. It seems slightly warmer today than yesterday. Lots of sunshine!

      • AZ Jim says:

        These lows are supposed to stick around through the next ten days at least. The whole country is cold. Monday will be 29 here in Surprise. Below zero in my old stomping grounds in South Dakota. I lived there 10 years but I am originally a Southern California guy but I’ve lived all over. I LOVE Arizona best.

  27. logicalconie says:

    I delight in, cause I found exactly what I used to be looking for.
    You have ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless
    you man. Have a nice day. Bye

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