Stranger talk

RVSue and her canine crew are traveling and camping in Colorado this summer.

Thursday, August 11

“Today’s a long travel day, crew, so get comfortable.”

Bridget, Reggie, and I journey southward to a new camp.

We follow Route 24 to Buena Vista where we pick up Route 285.  At a “Historical Interest” area, I park the Perfect Tow Vehicle and let the crew out for a walk-about.

It’s a beautiful, blue-sky day.

An information board points out the peaks in view — Mt. Shavano (elev. 14,229 ft.) and Mt. Tabeguache (elev. 14,155 ft.).

I take a few minutes to read about Zebulon Pike and his party.


I put the crew’s water dish on the pavement.  After they drink we continue south to Poncha Springs where I drive the PTV into the parking lot of the Visitor’s Center.


The Best Little Trailer needs to go poo-poo!

This is another automated-pay dump station.  The credit card/debit card machine says the dump fee is $7 and then it says $5 card fee.

Is the card fee part of the dump fee or is the total $12?  Well, it has to be done . . . . 

I set up the sewer hose at the BLT end and insert my credit card.  The machine gives me one minute to open the lid and insert the other end of the hose in the dump station hole.


The job progresses without a spill, I clean out the hose and put it away, wash and disinfect my hands, and we’re on our way!

Route 285 takes us past the turn for Ohaver Lake where we recently camped for one day.  Next comes Poncha Pass (9,010 ft.) followed by an easy, flat drive across San Luis Valley to Saguache.  We don’t stop.

Now we’re in the heart of San Luis Valley’s agricultural land.

Later my research tells me the crops of San Luis Valley are mainly barley, oats, hay, and potatoes.

 The road points straight to the horizon.  Bridget and Reggie doze.


After several miles of this straight-road driving, a copse of cottonwood trees appears up ahead.

I hope that’s a rest area or at least a shady place to stop for lunch. . . .  Hmm . . . a wildlife area . . . perfect!


We pull into a large, circular parking lot partially bordered by cottonwoods.


The crew and I get out and stretch our legs.

There’s a vault toilet house, some information boards about birds and wildlife, the beginning of a nature path going out into the marsh, a sign that says overnight camping is allowed, and a well with water flowing constantly.


As I return the crew to the PTV, a big, flatbed truck loaded high with huge, round bales of hay pulls in and parks behind us.

A man jumps out and lifts the hood. 

I tend to the crew.

“Okay, you guys wait here and I’ll get us some lunch.”

I shut the door and turn to walk to the BLT.  The man is leaning over the well taking a drink.  He stands up, wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, and, seeing me, smiles.

“Hello!” he calls out, walking over. 

I return his greeting and he asks, “Are you planning to camp here tonight?”

“Oh, no.  I just stopped to have some lunch.”

“Oh.  My truck quit on me.  I’ll give it a few minutes and see if that works.”

“Yeah, the electronics . . . .”

And so a conversation begins.

I estimate the man is in his fifties.  He’s fairly tall, tanned and lean.  Not lean in the way of a man who regularly rides a bicycle several miles or a man who works out daily on the machines at a gym.

No, this is a different kind of lean, what I think of as western-man lean.  Brought about through genetics, hard physical work outside, and long stretches between meals.

He’s curious about me and my trailer. 

I give him a brief summary of my life from selling the house in Georgia to roaming the western states for the past five years.  For an instant I’m discomfited by the direct gaze of his dark eyes, but the feeling passes quickly.  His interest is sincere.

This is a good and honest man.  I can trust this man.

He listens intently.

I sense from his gaze that windows and doors are flying open in his mind.  My world of RVing is on an entirely different orbit than his world.

He doesn’t move at all, except once during the telling of my story, when he tilts his head slightly and remarks with the non-question, “Is that so now.”  His face remains expressionless, yet  his eyes convey wonder at my words, as if I arrived at this wildlife area from another universe, where the women live in little trailers with their dogs, wandering about, happy as can be.

When I finish, he remarks softly, “Just you and your two dogs.”

“How about you?”  I glance at the truck.  “What about you . . . and the hay?”

For the first time he looks away, eyes toward the ground.

“Oh, I’m just a farmer.  Well, I guess you could say I’m a rancher.”

“Don’t say just.  You do important work.”

He looks up at me, and, after a pause,  “I have a place at Fairplay (about 100 miles to the northeast).  I lease land over here for my hay.”

He turns the conversation back onto me.

“Where are you going now?”

“Down to Del Norte, maybe over to South Fork,” I reply.

I don’t remember exactly how the conversation ends.  He goes to his truck.  I step inside the BLT.

When I come outside again, the truck’s engine is running.

“I got ‘er going!” he announces happily, slamming down the hood.

“Great!” I reply.

He climbs into the cab of his truck; I climb into the PTV.

After all, there’s hay to be hauled and a camp to be found. 

Driving past my window, he slows the truck and breaks out a big grin, the first of his I’ve ever seen.  He hollers across the front seats, “HAPPY TRAVELS!”

I shout back, “THANK YOU!”and pick up my camera, taking this photo out the side window as he drives away.


The crew and I share a baked chicken breast while sitting in the PTV.

How is it that we met here, along this stretch of straight road, me stopping at the same time his truck quits?  We could’ve talked for hours, easily.  Yeah, why not?  I could’ve set up the two camp chairs under these cottonwood trees for us to sit and talk. I would’ve asked him what he does when he’s not hauling hay, when he’s not ranching.  Is he happy with his life?

Funny.  People — strangers — don’t do things like stop what they’re doing to sit down together.  There’s a time limit on stranger-talk.  Rules of engagement. Always someplace else we have to go.  Someplace else we have to be. Oh, well.

Life keeps flowing like the water out of that pipe over there.

Hay needs haulin’ and camps need findin’.



Follow any of the links or ads you see on my blog and your Amazon purchases will send a commission to “RVSue and her canine crew.”

Here are a few of the items recently ordered by readers:

Travel-Trailer T-Shirt
Mini Loaf Pans, white porcelain
HurryCane – The All-Terrain Cane
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153 Responses to Stranger talk

  1. Marcia GB in MA says:

    Hi, this post just came up. I will now read it ?

  2. Marcia GB in MA says:

    Yes, life keeps moving on. And a good thing it does ?

  3. Judy in East Texas says:

    Hello rvsueandcrew, once again a beautiful blog that takes me to your exact spot and listening to your conversation with a stranger.
    Thank you for the smiles you give me.

    Stay safe out there and rock on, Judy

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Jody. Glad to have you listening in. 🙂

      Hey! You’re third today! Yay for you!

  4. Jan NH says:

    Love the impromptu visit….such interesting people you seem to meet that way!

    I know many have already commented but I wanted to say what a beautiful picture of Bridget at the end of the last post…so regal!

  5. Teri Live Oak Fl says:

    Back in my grandparents day they would have stopped and passed the time of day with the neighbors but now we feel so rushed. Not enough time in the day. But I’m trying to slow down.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Back in the day, the horses needed watering. That slower pace encouraged people to spend time talking with strangers, fellow travelers…

  6. Jolene/Iowa says:

    Love your story today Sue. It is always fun for me to have conversations with people I don’t know. Never know who may end up being your friend. Looking forward to see where the next camp is! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m glad you liked this story, Jolene. It felt like this man has always been my friend.

  7. Waianaegal aka Carlene on the Oregon north coast says:

    Wow… I’m understanding just what you said. This summer at Haystack Rock. Meeting people from ALL over the world. I’ve always asked “hey where you from?” Iraq, Israel, Spain, Germany, Australia, France, Japan, Canada +. … And 35+ United States… And wonderful conversations, talking birds, marine life, where the rock came from, how Cannon Beach got its name… So much fun meeting strangers…

    Thanks again for your wonderful blog and what you share with fellow bloggerineros. .Hugs to the crew and safe travels.


  8. I think one key to meeting people and having conversations is being open to it–as you’ve shown us many times, you don’t travel in fear, so you don’t automatically view everyone you meet as a threat.

    I attended a meeting once in Amsterdam, and spent time touring the city with others from our University who were also there for the meeting. One of the guys in our group has a genuine interest in everyone he meets, and we had the best conversations with locals and other tourists that I’ve ever had. He really taught me the value of engagement–I try to be more like him.

    100 days until we pick up our FD17!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re right, Steve. Somehow we communicate to others whether we are open to meeting. A lot of it has to do with “interest,” as you described the guy in your group.

      Wooo-weeee! Counting down from 100!

  9. Marilyn says:

    What an insightful post Sue. Strangers come and go throughout our lives. Some times adding a new dimension and insight to our own lives. It’s remarkable that you are enjoying life’s journey your own way. Carry on and Happy Trails.

  10. Hi Sue, first of all, what a nice interlude. I find that people often want to chat with a stranger who lives a completely different life, when in a pleasant spot like that. It’s one of the more enjoyable aspects of being able to take some time. 🙂

    I am pretty sure you are the person who blogged about finding a camping spot where there is a requirement for a minimum of a 10 gallon septic holding tank. I have spent hours on your site, searching for that post, but can’t find it. I am trying to figure out what type of toilet system to use, so this information is really important to me!

    I do hope you see this question, and I’ll look for new posts of yours to re-ask it if I don’t see an answer. ?

    Thanks for all the wonderful pictures and stories,

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Parker,

      Apparently you did not see weather’s response to your comment under a previous post. She was correct in saying I referred to the Long Term Visitor Area (at Midland LTVA, Blythe, CA) where one must be “self-contained” to camp there.

      I did an online search for “self-contained at LTVA” and the BLM site came up.

      “Camping in self-contained units only. 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.”

      To find my post about Midland LTVA, do an internet search for “RVSue + Midland.”

      • Velda says:

        I wonder if that tank requirement is black tank only or grey and black combined because my class B has 9 g black, 27 g grey??

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I don’t know. My guess — and that’s all it is — is your black tank needs to have a capacity of 10 gallons. I could be wrong.

          Maybe another reader knows more about this and will answer your question.

  11. Mary in CO says:

    We have stopped there many times on our trips through the San Luis Valley. But never had a conversation with anyone! The conversations we had while traveling in Alaska this summer were interesting, but I am a little hesitant to intrude on others privacy. They probably feel the same way.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Mary,

      There are ways to be certain you aren’t intruding on others privacy. For instance, the man hauling hay saw me looking at him. He smiles. I don’t turn away. He says Hi and I say Hi…. No intrusion….Connection established!

      Yes, sometimes people don’t want to make contact. I’m often one of those people and my body language makes it clear. Other times I “telegraph” an interest in conversation.

      You probably do the same and can read this in other people. 🙂

  12. Stranger talk how interesting! The ways we interact with other humans as we meet them coming and going in our travels is always interesting to hear about. I enjoy meeting people knowing they will be going on their way and I will be going on mine. Well going as soon as we finished medical issues here in Fremont. It’s been a long, long summer.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Lisa,

      There is something to be said for knowing there’s no commitment when talking with someone you meet on the road. 🙂

      So sorry your summer has been less than wonderful. 🙁

  13. Geri says:

    What an interesting story today, Sue! You introduced a whole new world to this nice man. He has probably never even considered traveling in a tiny trailer and seeing places he has only read about or seen pictures of. You have given him much food for thought! So nice to meet people and feel connected enough to feel safe even if it is a short conversation! Grin……I bet he is still rolling you and your tiny trailer and 2 dogs around in his thoughts!
    Belly rubs to the crew and good hugs to you!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Geri,

      You picked up what I tried to communicate in this post… Two different worlds and yet we found common ground. I thought the same as you — that he is probably thinking about me, the trailer, and the two dogs. Who knows what that will lead to in his world?

      One thing’s for certain… I ain’t becoming no hay farmer!

  14. Dawn in MI says:

    Love this post. Kind of like poetry.

  15. Rich says:

    I really enjoyed your ” stranger talk” thoughts.

  16. I loved your description of how he looked at you when you told your story. I laughed out loud. I love meeting new people because everyone has a story–he must have thought yours was one of the more interesting and unbelievable he had heard in some time, especially for a farmer out in Colorado.

    Speaking of talking, we are thinking of switching our phone carrier from AT&T to ? We’ve been thinking Verizon because they seem to offer the best coverage. However, son and GF have T-Mobile and offered us to go on a family plan, which would save considerably. We’re just not sure of coverage. Do you, or any reader, have experience with T-mobile, especially out west? Thanks

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Martha,

      I enjoyed reading your reaction to this post. Thank you.

      I invite readers to share their experiences and thoughts regarding T-Mobile. I had it for a very short while and found the coverage was not as good as Verizon.

      • Thanks for the feedback, Sue. That’s what I suspected.

      • Beth, currently in Ohio says:

        Yeah, Martha, TMobile’s coverage isn’t very good even though you may be in a big city and that’s where it’s the best. All carriers have some trouble out in the west due to big hills, mountains and valleys. When I was researching it Verizon was ranked up there with AT&T, I think it’s a little like a crap shoot. I went with Verizon. So far it’s been better than TMobile, but I don’t know if it’s better than AT&T. Good luck with your decision.

        If anyone is interested, my mom is not doing well at all. Tomorrow we talk to the Doctor about what she would want done, it all leads to what type of hospice care, so keep her in your prayers and pray God brings her home with Him quickly.


  17. Dave R says:

    So what was the total cost of the dump?
    Dave r

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Haha! I don’t know, Dave. I’ll have to see what shows up on my credit card statement.

      • Chey (WA coast) says:

        I was curious about the cost of the dump too! Also, do the dump stations have a hose to rinse the pooper hose for users? How does that work?
        I have decided that a wheelchair van and a trailer is the way I’m going to go, starting with just the van with a bed. Would I be able to get a porta potty and fit a hole in the van to empty into a dump station? Any thoughts?

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Hi, Chey,

          Yes, dump stations have a water hose for washing the sewer hose (with a few, irritating exceptions.) Usually there is a sign above the spigot: “Non-potable water.”

          I don’t have any experience to help me answer your question so I ask blogorinos for their input. You could also ask your question at Lots of van dwellers visit that site.

          Blogorinos: How does one set up a port-a-potty in a van in order to facilitate emptying it at a dump station?

          • Diane J says:

            You might want to consider a composting toilet….no dump station needed.

            • Chey (WA coast) says:

              Thanks Diane J,
              With your advice I looked at those. I wish I had a lot of loot, they’re nice.

          • A gal in Maple Valley, WA says:

            Or you could build you own ‘Luggable Loo’ with a 5 gallon bucket and seat/lid from Amazon. Line it with strong, black trash bags with ties. Then add a little peat moss, coconut shell shavings, saw dust or kitty litter. Cover each ‘layer’ with some more medium. There is NO odor. Ventilation helps to dry things out. Toss the bag in the dumpster when full. NO LIQUID should go in that container. You can use a ‘thunder jug’ with a cap (like a kitty litter jug with a handle). Empty it in a toilet or add lots of water to dilute and ‘feed the plants’ or …. Ladies can manage this with an apparatus found online or just a simple funnel and hose set up. Both of these containers easily store away and a separate ‘closet’ is not required. There are enclosures available for outside usage. You will need to supply your own Sears and Roebuck catalogue. 🙂


            • Chey (WA coast) says:

              Hey Gal!
              A “thunder jug”! Perfect! Why not? And the toilet sounds sane and practical Thanks, that’s what I’m gonna do, er…doo-doo.

  18. Hi Sue!
    I just drove into Colorado – planning on spending the rest of the month and part of September here. I’ve been mining your posts for suggestions to go/stay after my planned visits – so thanks again for sharing the places you find!!!

    I always enjoy your pictures of Bridget and I’m so glad you found Reggie – he certainly looks like a great little companion!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Anne,

      Great hearing from you again! I hope my posts help you enjoy Colorado. You’ve picked a good time of year to come here… Kiddos back in school and the weather, cool.

  19. Renee from Idaho says:

    Hi Sue! What an enjoyable read today. Well, that’s not entirely true because they’re all enjoyable.

    What I found interesting is this persons politeness and actual interest in your story. He actually was listening to you instead of talking “at” you and on his own agenda. It’s rare to find that. With so much violence in the world one has to be careful on the road, but you can tell, as you said, a person’s intent and character.

    Many of the most wonderful people we’ve met have been on the road. On one of our first cross country trips with our first travel trailer, our truck overheated in the middle of farm country. As DH was checking the radiator, we see someone in the distance driving towards us on an ATV. It was a local farmer. He said he saw us from his ranch and came out to help us. Turns out that where we just had service in preparation for our trip, they didn’t tighten the water drain. He and DH pinpointed the problem and fixed it; we filled up with water from our RV and away we went.

    Since then, when we’re out and about and see another RVer pulled over, we always stop and DH offers help. Your last picture summed it all up – last impressions of the life of a person whose path you crossed and were better off because of it. Take care.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Renee,

      I think what you and your husband experienced with the farmer is what you can expect from a lot of country folk. They know that helping others is returned with help when they need it. Good for you for “paying it forward!”

  20. edlfrey says:

    I may be too late with this information since 3 days have gone by. I came through Pagosa Springs this morning and there was a controlled burn northwest of there that was generating a lot of smoke.

    Wolf Creek Pass was a piece of cake going from west to east; does not look to be any harder going the other way. Two lanes on the upgrade so there was no blocking traffic. I was able to pull it at the posted speed limits while in 2nd gear with car passing me in a blur.

    I was then on some of that same US285 that you wrote about. We are crisscrossing each others tracks this spring and summer that is for sure!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Ed,

      Your comment has me curious as to where you are. Usually I check your blog every day around noon and somehow that didn’t happen today. I’ll take a look. I’ll take a guess that you’re in Buena Vista. 🙂

      You’re the first person to say Wolf Creek Pass was easy when going west to east. I’ve heard east to west is easier. It’s a good feeling to know your rig can handle the passes, isn’t it.

      Yes, our paths have been crossing like one of those drawings you do… 🙂

      LATER…. Taos, New Mexico? I wasn’t even close!

  21. Linda-NC says:

    Hi Sue and Crew-you never know who you will meet. I enjoyed your exchange with a stranger in the middle of nowhere. There so many strangers to meet along the way and who knows-maybe a chance exchange of information along the way influences someones view of the world. Interesting and thoughtful post. Rubs and more chicken for the crew and you of course!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Linda,

      Usually we never find out how a chance meeting or something we said affected another person’s life. Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed this post.

      There’s always more chicken for the crew. 🙂

  22. weather says:

    It’s nice that a wildlife area allows overnight camping beneath cottonwood trees and has well water, how refreshing! “… another universe, where women live in little trailers with their dogs, wandering…” Ha! Funny, and probably an accurate assessment of how surprising your life must be to many. If neither of you had been in a hurry do you think you would have set chairs up to keep talking that day? I think when we’re “supposed to” have a long term or more significant effect on each other something continually draws us together, busy or not.

    At least, in my life, that’s been true. We’d begin as strangers that didn’t feel as though we were, because of understanding each other, a kinship felt or finding things that matter in common. We rearranged our schedules to include the other in our routines until those began to coincide through deliberate choices made regularly. So, were you charged $7 or $12 for the BLT to go poo-poo 🙂 ?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, weather,

      I wasn’t in a hurry and I don’t think he was either. It’s just that things need to be done. I don’t know about pulling out the chairs, how he would’ve reacted to that. He probably would have thought I was weird or something because, as I wrote, strangers don’t do that sort of thing. Sometimes a connection is felt between two people because they both know the meeting is temporary and therefore it’s okay to be open and direct. 🙂

      He was stunned to learn how I live. Apparently he was unaware that people/women do live in travel trailers and wander around.

      Ha! The Dump Station Mystery: What was the actual charge? I don’t know. I’ll have to see what my credit card statement reveals.

      • weather says:

        Good morning, Sue, Just here to wish you and the crew a nice day that holds what you want it to 🙂

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Good morning, weather,

          Thank you. I wish you a splendid day, too.

          Wanted to post yesterday as planned; then I decided to move camp. By the time we were settled and quit playing, I didn’t have any writing mojo!

  23. Cari in Plano TX says:

    Serendipity is such a wonderful thing. I have usually traveled alone, albeit in a car, and I have had very interesting conversations with people I met. I often got the, wow you are traveling alone aren’t you scared reaction, but they were always concerned and kind.

    The hot weather has finally broken here in North Texas, at least for awhile. It is actually comfortable when I walk my client dogs. Thank goodness for air conditioning!

    I am enjoying reading about your travels in Colorado this summer. I have been through sone of the areas you mention but not as far off the beaten path as you. Beautiful photos accompanied by descriptive words paint a picture of God’s handiwork so appealing and peaceful. And your encounters with creatures large and small often bring a smile to my face. Thank you for taking the time to share your life with us. Scratches for Miss Bridget and Reggie!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Cari, and thank you for the nice comment. I’m glad you’re enjoying cooler weather!

  24. Larry in AR says:

    Although needing to get to my chosen camp before too late in the afternoon, I stopped at a tourist establishment that looked rather interesting. No one else was there at the time, so the man who owned the place invited me to sit on the porch and have a Coke on him. I was hesitant because of time constraints, but agreed because there was something in his demeanor caused an instant connection.

    Almost immediately I realized I could be talking to a long lost relative or friend. We talked of childhoods and old times and how things used to be and how travel had changed so much. We both shared memories of traveling with our parents and stopping on the side of the road and throwing blankets on the ground in the open for the night.

    It was over two hours later that I hesitantly said goodbye. I was late to the campground, but didn’t care. I have never had a more pleasant experience in my travels, and don’t expect to.

    Just saying I get it. It’s amazing that such brief encounters can be so intense, so lasting.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Priceless, Larry. That experience is priceless. There’s irony in the fact that this took place at a “tourist establishment.” The best tourist attraction was the man himself. People probably rushed by him all the time, on their way to somewhere else. Good for you for taking the time to sit, talk, and listen, as well as to receive a gift that will never tarnish or lose its value.

      Yes, you get it. 🙂

  25. Cat Lady, Central, La. says:

    Mary, Southerners seem to strike up conversations with strangers easier. When we’re in the checkout line at the store, it’s not unusual for us to ask, “Who’se ya mama?” It wouldn’t be strange to dreg up kinfolk/distant cousin, etc. Besides, we enjoy meeting people and it’s easier/more fun to make friends. We might even ask you to follow us home and have a good meal.

  26. Yes Sue our paths will cross, all have met for a short time and some stay and some just keep a going, Great post and pictures, stay safe and give them babies of yours a huge hug from us,,, Rusty n Piper

  27. retiredcajunlady 'n Louisiana says:

    Thank you so much for the blog today. I too loved the story of the stranger and your description of him. Sue, you have such a way with words that I swear I can often see, hear, smell or feel what you describe. What a delightful interlude you had that day! From his reaction at your lifestyle, it sounds as though you not just surprised him, but taught him that women can and do lead lives of solitude, journey, and exploration on their own. And your blog always gives the readers something to think about. You’re still teaching, teach!
    Whether it was $7 or $12 to empty the poop tank, that seems awfully expensive! I know I tend to be a tad conservative (translated: cheap!), but that seems a lot of money just empty that tank. For that amount, you sure should get more than one minute to begin the process. I sure hope the charge shows up as $7 only.
    As always, thank you for the update. Hugs and belly rubs for pups, and prayers for you all.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, retiredcajunlady,

      Enjoyed your reaction to today’s post!

      Yes, $7 or $12 does seem expensive for dumping tanks, although I have no idea what the costs are for maintaining/emptying their tanks.

      I look at costs for dumping or for water or for gas for the PTV as a small price to pay for what I get in return. I can think that way because I hardly pay anything for camping compared to others. And then I think of the expense of travel and staying in motels, hotels, or tourist cabins. My way of life is inexpensive overall. A few extra dollars going into the town coffers doesn’t bother me much for that reason.

      And, as always, thank you for the prayers. 🙂

      • Cinandjules (NY) says:

        I would guess that a “dump” station is a sealed septic holding type tank. With all the chemical additives I don’t think it could be leached back into the ground. With that our 1500 gallon septic cost $300 to pump the sludge sentiment out. A closed system would contain all of the liquid (as there is no leach field/drain). So my guess is…it has to be pumped frequently and trucked to a disposal site.

        How’s that for a city girl transplant country bumpkin?

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I think that’s pretty darn good for a “city girl transplant country bummpkin!” Thanks for the explanation. I will appreciate free dump stations even more, whenever I find them.

      • retiredcajunlady 'n Louisiana says:

        Mmmm…I am still in the mindset of having homeowner’s bills as well as RVing bills. This isn’t true for you, nor will it be for me if I ever see my way into Rving full time. Without a house note, lights/water/sewer/ bill, yard maintenance, outrageous cable (and only cell phone and internet), and a few other things having to do with home ownership…well, you are right, Sue! Those maintenance “payments” living in an RV would be a small price to pay for the returns one gets. And I am thinking going to a dump station is done every couple of weeks or so. LOL See, you really are teaching…at least me…with your blog. Thanks!

        On a side note, not sure if Beth has posted today, but her mother will be going into hospice. On her behalf, may I ask you and your readers to keep Beth and her family in your thoughts, heart, and prayers during this time. I was where she is just three years ago this month. Watching my beloved Mom go through the process of leaving this life was a mixed bag of emotions. It was the support of my siblings and friends that made it bearable. Thank you all.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Thanks for the update on Beth’s mother. Yes, prayers and group hug for Beth and family…. No doubt your experience with your Mother gives you deep compassion for Beth right now.

          When home ownership becomes a burden, it’s high time to look at alternatives. Some folks turn to renting a smaller place where the landlord sees to the maintenance. Others, like many of us here, downsize and go vagabonding.

          Some people suggested that I turn my house into a rental. No, no, no! I didn’t want any of that responsibility or hassle. Plus it meant being moored to Georgia. If I was going to do “this,” meaning live full-time in a travel trailer on the move, I didn’t want to go half-way. All or nothing! Yay!

          That’s not the right choice for everyone, of course, but, let me tell you, retiredcajunlady, life is a lot less stressful living on and with less.

          You mentioned the dump station fee– Even if the cost to dump was the higher price of $12, that works out to less than a dollar a day to use the toilet and sinks. 🙂

  28. Denise - Richmond VA says:

    Hi, Sue,

    Thank you for sharing your conversation with the hay farmer. Maybe you opened his eyes to other possibilities in his future and/or opened his mind regarding solo women travelers! Was Bridget swooning over this man? I am beginning to think that she was once owned by a man who loved her….and she adored him. She really seems to shine in the company of men! I bet Reggie was competing for attention! LOL!! 🙂

    I am almost finished reading “Outlander.” Though not exactly the same, the premise is similar to the movie “Brigadoon” with Gene Kelley and Cyd Charisse. I caught the last five minutes on TCM this afternoon. I love the closing line: “You shouldna be too surprised. I told ya, if you love someone deeply enough, anything is possible. Even – miracles?” 🙂

    Have a good evening, Sue. Sending you, Miss Bridget, and the Reginator hugs from me and Gracie pup! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Denise,

      For once I didn’t have to compete with the crew in order to carry on a conversation! They were in the PTV while I stood near the BLT talking with the man. Yes, Bridget would’ve been all over that guy and Reggie would’ve run circles around him, tying his legs with his tether.

      Brigadoon is a bit more uplifting than Outlander, I’d say. 🙂 You enjoy your books and movies very much, don’t you.

      You and Gracie pup have a good evening, too!

  29. Rover Ronda (WA) says:

    Hi Sue & Crew,
    We’re just back from our first weekend getaway in our “new to us” trailer. We still haven’t finished the upgrades. However my hubby had the chance to trade a shift for a 3 day weekend and we just couldn’t wait to get outside. We only went as far as Money Creek but we had a great time!

    • Rover Ronda (WA) says:

      Read the blog n comments now – great story! I appreciate that you encouraged him in his work. I hope he remembers that the next time someone asks what he does. Or better yet while he’s driving away thinking of you.

      I’m a funny mix of a shy person who likes to talk to people. I try to make eye contact without looking creepy ?, smile n say hi. Then I hope they start a conversation because I’m too shy to start one. It’s tough when they come back with “How’s it goin’?” Then I have to read body language to see if they really want to talk or is that just their way of saying hi.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Hi, Ronda,

        I’m wondering if you aren’t really shy. What you may need to do is simply brush up on your social skills.

        For example, when someone says “How’s it goin’?” you could reply, “Great! How ’bout you?” This gives the other person the opportunity to reveal how much they want to talk with you (or not) and also possibly to say something that you can comment on. And so it goes…

        That little exchange could pave the way for a smooth beginning of a conversation!

    • Rover Ronda (WA) says:

      Cutest thing I saw this weekend:
      Money Creek Campground is all trees. Some very large old fir and cedar. One of the large fir was right by the road passed our campsite. I saw a family walk by. Pretty soon they returned. The little girl had her back to the tree with her arms spread wide as her Dad took her picture. I hope they come back next summer and take the same picture.

  30. MelindaK (TX) says:

    I especially enjoyed your post today. I get it like Larry in AR. Your style of writing makes for an enjoyable read. Thank you for taking the time to share your day and thoughts with us. I am looking forward to seeing where you camped next.

    I am headed to the Dolores area, then Durango, and Pagosa for the next three weeks. Time to get out of the Texas heat.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yippee for you, MelindaK! Now I know what wonderful places those are. I hope you enjoy your visit there and return to Texas relaxed and refreshed!

      Thank you for your positive comment about this post.

  31. Pete W in NC says:

    Nice post Sue. Almost like poetry.

  32. Krystina ~ Sutton, Vermont says:

    LOVED this post RVSue! Reminded me of meeting you at Roosevelt Lake 🙂 I seem to be a people friendly kind of gal….LOL…I never shut up. I do love meeting people and hearing their stories. Being on the road I met many wonderful people…like Barb from Hoquim (sp?) one of your Bloggarinos who came over to my site and took care of me when I had shingles. WOW! Turns out that her husband grew up in Lyme, NH where my husband taught school!!! Small, small world. THANK you again Barb xxoo. Oh, I too loved the picture of HRH in the last post. 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I was thinking of you yesterday, Krystina, and here you are! Good morning! I love that you keep in touch with us… “Once a blogorino, always a blogorino!” 🙂

  33. Fuji-maru says:

    Good Morning! RVSue and Crew,

    Treasure every encounter as it may not come again!
    Above is a Japanese proverb “Ichi go ichi e” translated into English.

    Have a nice day!

  34. MB from VA says:

    Absolutely LOVED this post. The long, straight road….the shade of the cottonwoods…..a picnic………and a chance encounter with a stranger who could have easily become a friend if the circumstances were different. Thanks Sue

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      And I love your little summary of this post, MB. Thanks for sharing your reaction. Sometimes I write stuff that might be considered “a bit strange,” so it’s reassuring to me when I receive positive feedback.

  35. Diann in MT says:

    Hi, Sue,
    What an uplifting post. For us land-locked ones, we turn on the television and find out how nasty persons can be to one another. In our own country, no less. Then, I read your wonderful post about two apparently contented and happy strangers carrying on life and then moving on from one another. What a precious beam of hope. Thanks for sharing.
    By the way, the gentleman’s area, Fairplay, is a really nice agricultural area, framed by towering mountains, not too far from where you have been recently.
    Happy travels, Sue and Crew.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Diann,

      How can you bear to watch television any more, where up is down, good is bad, and kind is nasty, and, Lord, where has truth gone? I can’t stand to listen to it.

      I can understand why my innocent little story about strangers meeting under the cottonwood trees is a pleasant change!

      The crew and I drove up Route 24 as far as the turn to Weston Pass. That’s the area south of Fairplay. I wish now we went all the way to the place you describe.

      Have a happy day, Diann…

      • Diann in MT says:

        You are right, Sue! Why am I in the house watching TV, anyway?? I don’t watch it unless my husband is around.
        My son and daughter-in-law owned a little A-frame in the mountains out of Fairplay. They commuted to the Silverthorne area every day until they both had it with the snow drifts. They moved to the Virgin Islands!
        Hugs to the puppies!

  36. A delightful encounter, delightfully shared. Thank you for that. I’m sure he shared the encounter with his friends as well. We have close friends who listen to our story about changing our lifestyle and think we’re from that other planet 🙂

  37. Diane J says:

    Hey Sue!

    I can totally relate to your “from another universe” comment. They other day I went down to Newnan, GA from Atlanta to check out a 97 Rialta motorhome. The elderly couple who own it looked at me with that hint of shock and amazement. You see they had only stayed at RV parks in Georgia and the Carolinas. So when I explained that I would be travelling out west through the desert, boondocking with solar panels, as a solo female traveler they were quite perplexed. But by the end of our visit, I think they were just happy to see that their beloved RV would continue to travel the world!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Are you saying that you’re buying the Rialta? That’s fanastic!

      If you told me before and it slipped my memory, please forgive me. I bet you had fun explaining to the couple your future lifestyle as a wandering alien from another universe. 🙂

      • DianeJ says:

        Yes….forgot to say it was for sale….I found them on Facebook, while peeking around in a Rialta owners group.

        They were very sweet and in their 80’s! The RV was actually instrumental in them getting married. After having previous marriages, they met at a big family & friends gathering at a campground.

        I think being from their generation, my plans were definitely “alien.” As Mork would say, “NaNu- NaNu.” 🙂

        • Cinandjules (NY) says:

          The Rialta FD was the first RV that caught my eye back in the day. Wish they still made them. What model? How exciting!


          • DianeJ says:

            Thanks! I’m looking for a QD, so I can have a bed and large table/desk permanently set up.

            • Cinandjules (NY) says:

              Okay I’m confused….still looking or you have a new addition in your garage?

              Didn’t know the QD had a permanent bed.

              Cute story behind that Rialta.

            • DianeJ says:

              I visited the couple who is selling and I plan to buy one in the next few weeks. The QD has 2 passenger seats that fold down to create another bed. Sorry for the confusion 🙂

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              I think the confusion is between FD in your first comment and then switched to QD in subsequent comments. What do these letters mean?

            • Cinandjules (NY) says:

              Ok got it!

              The letters signify floor plans…like freedom deluxe, patriot, spirit and independence.

            • DianeJ says:

              Hey Sue, the Rialta has 4 different floor plans. The FD sleeps 2 and the QD sleeps 3-4.

  38. Kristi & Daisie (Nampa, ID) says:

    I guess, as new readers, we are all strangers that are pulling up a chair to talk. And then we aren’t strangers anymore. 🙂 Love the blog, Sue–it makes see that we are people sharing a planet and we should know each other a little better.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Interesting connection, Kristi, that I hadn’t thought of — that we all start out as strangers here on this blog and those who choose to pull up a chair to talk soon are no longer strangers. I like your comment!

  39. Diane, Blue Ridge Mts, VA says:

    Well written good story today Sue. I enjoyed it so much. Take Care Sue and Crew.

  40. Hi Sue
    Thanks for sharing your chance meeting with a stranger. I’ll bet you have met all kinds of characters along the way that you don’t even mention in your blogs. That’s the nice thing about being a traveler. I think I have met far more interesting characters while on the move than I ever would have if I had stayed home.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, NovaScotiaSue,

      Great to see you here again! Yes, I’ve met a lot of characters, but I won’t say I’ve met “all kinds” because I haven’t met the worst. 🙂

      Sometimes I meet a person and I want to share our conversation and that person’s character here, but I can’t because of privacy issues or whatever. In other words, I am blessed with more encounters than those I write about.

  41. AZ Jim says:

    What a nice post. I am glad you met the man and shared a little chat. I read something the other day about North Korea that came to mind with your mention of dumping at the station. North Korea is starving. They grow as much food as possible and up until the sanctions had been buying fertilizer from South Korea. Now, without that supply, poop is a major requirement. Because they use human and animal waste to make fertilizer, it is a vital necessity. The have out houses and due to theft (I’m serious) many have to lock up the out houses. The say that if a dog poops in the street it it instant gold. Makes a fella or gal appreciate even more the bounty that is America. Keep those wheels a turning girl……..Hi to the crew from Detta and me…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jim,

      Yes, we who live in America are very blessed. I can’t imagine my fellow citizens putting up with those conditions. Easy for me to say, eh? I’m not in North Korea. Thank God.

      Interesting comment…

  42. ApplegirlNY says:

    Such a wonderful post. We love meeting people everywhere. Yes, the scenery is beautiful and time in nature is precious, but the “folks” are what make it special to me.

  43. Carol says:

    Mmm, that type of lean is beautiful, isn’t it? Guess I was hoping for a kind of “Bridges of Madison County” encounter for you. Ah well….

  44. Carol says:

    …” The say that if a dog poops in the street it is instant gold. ” Really? Dog poop is NOT good for crops, I’ve been informed. Ah, Glad we don’t import any of their food. We are very fortunate here in the US in comparison to so many places around the world, aren’t we? Freedom to move about wherever we desire. Still.

  45. casitagirl says:

    Hi Sue.

    That’s interesting about ‘stranger talk’. I notice I talk much more to strangers now that we are traveling. You learn so much more about the world when you make the effort to be a part of it (as opposed to watching it go by on TV sitting in the comfort of your living room).

  46. Luvmyhorse - Ohio says:

    Hi Sue,

    I, too, enjoyed your telling of your encounter with the winsome stranger.

    I have a gooseneck horse trailer with living quarters which allows me to travel occasionally with my horses and dogs to horsemanship clinics, trail rides, etc. I have met some delightful people along the way. When I pull into a fuel station or a rest area, people will sometimes approach me when they see I’m hauling horses. I have learned to savor the moment of perhaps adding a little happiness to their day by answering a few questions about the horses. (Q: Do horses really sleep standing up? A. Yes, they do, but it’s really more dozing than sleeping. They still need to lay down several hours a day to really rest. Q: Wow, they poop a lot! A: Yes, they do. Each one produces about 8 tons per year.) It always surprises me when they thank me for my time and friendliness. I’m strongly intoverted, but I have no problem talking about my beloved animals.

    Anyway, I’m guessing that you added a little happiness to the rancher’s day by giving him a few moments of sincere attention. Bless you for that! And don’t we all need that? I used to be all about the schedule when I traveled, but now I personally believe that most if not all of my encounters are not by accident but by divine appointment.

    Sending wishes for safe travel and more relatively close encounters of the safe stranger kind!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Great comment, Luvmyhorse! I enjoyed it very much. Thanks!

      It’s too bad it’s located at the bottom of comments. I’m almost ready to publish a new post. Many readers check the end of comments under a previous post to catch the last ones.

      I bet you’ve had some wonderful times camping with horses. *sigh*

      • Martha says:

        I have loved following all the comments all the way through. A great community of people you have attracted, Sue.

        I am sitting outside under our trees in 90 degree weather feeling the breeze while watching the fire–the last of the willow tree we had to cut down a while ago–.and practicing for what is to come.

        Praying a second showing of the house tomorrow yields results, but trying not to surrender to what is.

        Can’t wait for your next post!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Great comment, Luvmyhorse! I enjoyed it very much. Thanks!

      It’s too bad it’s located at the bottom of comments. I’m almost ready to publish a new post. Many blogorinos check the end of comments under a previous post to catch the last ones.

      I bet you’ve had some wonderful times camping with horses. *sigh*

      • Luvmyhorse - Ohio says:

        Yes, Sue, I have.
        I love falling asleep to the relaxing sound of the horses slowly chewing their hay and the dogs softly snoring with the smoky smell of the almost-extinguished campfire drifting into the trailer…heaven on Earth.
        I may be anthropomorphizing, but the horses and dogs seem to enjoy these little adventures, too.

  47. Kerry says:

    Sue, that was probably you I saw driving by! Tho there are lots of Casita’s around here. I’ve been living in mine at the ranch where I’m training my mustang, just up from the junction of 285 and 50. Sure you passed by. Enjoy Colorado! Down toward Creede and Pagosa is some beautiful country. Just spent a week horse packing the Colorado Trail through La Garita Wilderness that way.

  48. Shelly says:

    Hi Sue (and crew),

    I’ve been reading your blog for a year or so – it’s actually one of the few that I consistently make the time to read, no matter how busy or short on data.

    Hubby and I have been full-timing for about a year and are likely getting ready to settle again as he misses the creature comforts of a home (I don’t 🙂 but life is compromise). We have 2 rescue dogs that remind me soooo much of Bridget and Reggie – in fact if our paths ever cross, I know my little Izzi would just fall in love with Reggie and they would be fast friends. My Lilah girl would be content keeping a wary on the goings-on.

    All of this to tell you that I’ve always enjoyed and have often been inspired by your posts but have never felt compelled to comment. Today’s post for some reason stirred a strong emotional reaction – maybe the description of “western-man lean” which perfectly described my dad, who I have missed for many years now. But I really think, for me, it felt like a generosity of sharing between two relatively solitary lives – if only for a few moments. You will both likely remember that brief encounter for years to come. So thank you for sharing your experiences – this one really touched my day.

    Be well,
    Shelly M

  49. Wendy Nichols says:

    “His face remains expressionless, yet his eyes convey wonder at my words, as if I arrived at this wildlife area from another universe, where the women live in little trailers with their dogs, wandering about, happy as can be.”
    This is the best sentence you have ever written. I believe there is an entire book here!

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