The cost to full-time and a ranger visit

Monday, June 2

1-DSC04640Since I first spotted the deer behind our camp four days ago on the day of our arrival on Badger Mountain, she has reappeared twice each day, in the morning and at dusk.  Today another deer is with her but he/she slips into the woods as soon as I go outside to take a photo.


January and February money reports are up!

I’m online all morning until almost two in the afternoon.  If you’re new to this blog, the reports summarize our travels for the month and show income and outgo, plus amount of savings and also Amazon earnings.  All this can be accessed through the topic “Money 2014” in the header at the top.  Please feel free to ask any questions you may have about those reports.


At some point during the morning, I take a break. 

I’m sitting in my camp chair soaking up some rays when a truck pulls up.  Uh-oh, it’s the ranger paying me a little visit.

The young man is courteous and friendly and professional, but you know how it is . . . There’s always an underlying tension in these meetings.  He asks the usual questions, including “So, you live in South Dakota?”  That question is designed to figure out if the person camping is living full-time in their camper.

My answer?

“Well, I’m not there very much.  You see, all my life I never had much chance to travel or to camp, so now that I’m retired, I’m making up for lost time, seeing the West.”  Am I evasive?  Yes.  Did I lie?  No.

Fortunately this ranger doesn’t pursue the subject. 

He does ask if I’m camping alone and offers his assistance if I need anything.  I thank him and volunteer that I know about the 14-day limit and I will follow it.

He leaves and I go back online for another couple hours.

The crew’s patience with me runs out.

“Okay, okay.  You’re right.  We haven’t taken our long walk yet.”

1-DSC04646Not in the mood to drive anywhere for a place to walk, I lead the crew up the slope behind our camp.

1-DSC04650There are a series of meadows separated by stands of aspens and firs as well as streams of melted snow and ice coming down from the top of the mountain.

The climbing walk is good exercise and we enjoy it.

1-DSC04644Of course, it isn’t long before we stop while Spike cools his heels.  Notice the closed eyes.

1-DSC04647Why go around a patch of mud when it’s shorter to walk right through it?  Makes sense.


Okay, let’s talk fat.

You know how you’re feeling good about yourself and then somebody takes your picture when you’re not wearing black, when you’re not holding your gut in, or when you’re not standing behind the high-back chair, and then they show you the photo?  You look at yourself and go, “Holy crap, I look like hell.”

Well, that’s kinda’ what happened to the Bridge today.  I refer to the photo below.

1-DSC04657I look at that photo and go, “Holy crap, she looks like hell.”

I’ve been aware for a long time that Bridget is overweight.  

She was a young dog at a normal weight when I brought her home.  I was teaching then, leaving at six in the morning on my commute.  I would come home around eleven or twelve hours later, exhausted.  Bridget probably napped all day long, stuck in the house with Spike, five days a week.

Our house was situated beside a long, straight stretch of road that people liked to speed on and it didn’t have much of a shoulder, so walking along it was not an option.  The surrounding properties were fenced.  That meant no daily walks.  Not good for a dog with a rate of metabolism on par with a lamp.

I’ve reduced her portions as much as I can without making her miserable.

As it is, the plate of food I give Bridget holds about half what I give Spike.  They eat twice a day.  I buy lean meat.  Spike chews the fat off any bones I hand out before Bridget has her turn at them.

1-DSC04654Well, increase her exercise, you say.

Not that easy.  It’s not like I can put her on a treadmill or make her run laps or drop her off for her pilates class.  We go for two walks a day, a long and a short.  When she doesn’t want to walk anymore, she sits down.  Actually, she sits down a lot.  Sometimes she refuses to take a walk at all.

I know being overweight will probably shorten her life.

I wish I could do something to help her, but I’ve exhausted all acceptable options.  She’s a chubby dumpling of a dog and it looks like she always will be.  God bless her.  She keeps us warm at night.

Meanwhile . . .

By the time the crew and I return from our walk on the slopes behind our camp, Bridget and Spike both have muddy paws and my Keen sandals are caked with mud, too.  Not to worry.  We Keeners know that mud won’t hurt them.   I left them on the blue mat for the mud to dry and fall off (photo below).  I may have to wash them.

You can also see in the photo that the mat is smaller.

Sometimes I fold the mat into a 4.5 foot by 12 foot size because there are rocks or a bush or something in the way.  It’s wide enough for a chair and still extends the length of the Best Little Trailer.

1-DSC04661Can you find the dumpling in the photo?

You also can see in the photo that everything is dirty… the shoes, the mat, the chair, the BLT.   I’ll deal with that . . . one of these days.



I appreciate every Amazon purchase made through my blog.  I really mean that.  Even the 99-cent ebooks.  I may only make a few pennies on each one, but together they help increase my rate of commission which is determined by number of items sold.  Whether you spend a little or a lot . . . I sincerely thank you!

"Is she done talking about me?"

“Is she done talking about me?”

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170 Responses to The cost to full-time and a ranger visit

  1. John K - Mobile, AL says:

    As long as you are within the 14day limit, it shouldn’t matter that you live in your camper.

  2. Denise - Richmond VA says:

    Hi, Sue….Have a good evening! 😀

  3. Sharron says:

    Oh Miss Bridget is precious! I have 2 Dachshunds and they eat the exact same food and one is fat and one is not…..just the way they are. However you might try giving her and Spike some simple canned green beans. Sounds strange, but my dogs love them and it is good roughage. Loving your cooler camp sites with trees and streams. Thanks for sharing!. Living vicariously through you right now, but will be out there soon for EXTENDED trips in my Casita with my 2 Dachshunds.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Sharron,

      Yes, Bridget is precious. I know what you mean about some dogs tending toward fat and others not. I tried green beans. She’ll only eat them if they’re fresh (not canned) and then only a little bit.

      Glad to have you with us!

      • Chuck says:

        Have you tried carrots? Both our guys love them. And fresh or al dente broccoli.

        • Kellee says:

          My crew love frozen green beans – I get the big bag at Costco (the skinny organic ones) and they LOVE them! I can just say “green beans” and they get very excited and head to the refrigerator.

          Try a small bag of frozen ones.

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            I’ll try the frozen green beans. I’m not very optimistic it will work. Both Spike and Bridget were appalled that I’d expect them to eat frozen liver snacks. Maybe it was the liver . . . Thanks for the suggestion, Kellee.

  4. G says:

    Sue, when the ranger asked if you were from South Dakota to determine if you are a full timer, I don’t get why you or anyone would have to be elusive. Maybe I missed something.
    What would have happened if you just straight up said, my registration and paperwork is all based in South Dakota so I can travel all over the country? It is legal, what could he have possibly done?
    Thanks, G

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, G,

      Mainly I avoid the topic if I can because there are forest service districts where the rangers (probably under pressure from higher ups or local property owners… I don’t know) like to discourage full-timers from camping in their district. This is done by frequent visits, for example.

      Your response is a good suggestion. I have been asked pointedly by a ranger, “Do you have a residence there?”

      My experience so far with the rangers in Utah districts in which I’ve camped has been excellent. I hadn’t talked with this particular ranger before and so I avoided the topic. If he had pursued it, I would, of course, have been forthcoming.

      • Elizabeth in WA says:

        I wanted to tell you how wise I think you are in these things, Sue!! We do not live in lovely 1950 America anymore. Times and things have changed. Really we all should be more careful how much information we volunteer. Recent news events should warn us of that. And no you certainly did not lie. And if a ranger asked if you had a residence in SD…seems it would certainly have been ok to have stated, “NO, NOT YET…” Who knows?? Seems you are not certain just where you will settle down once you decide to travel around no more (or your body decides for you!!)… And people even in official capacities will often ask more questions than they have a legal right to ask too. It is best however to keep peace with all men…so much as you can!! A soft answer turning away wrath and all…

      • Chuck says:

        G, Another reason is that it is NONE of his business. Period.

  5. Susan in Dallas says:

    “a rate of metabolism on par with a lamp” – bet that’s what I have! I’m with you Bridget! Were not fat, just too short!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Susan,

      I’m trying to imagine a long-legged Bridget. 😉

    • Denise - Richmond VA says:

      And we short folks cannot carry extra weight like tall(er) folks. A timely topic, as one of my sisters and I were considering joining weight watchers just a couple hours ago. Nothing gives you the “push” like going shopping for clothes and coming home empty handed…too plump for one size, not quite big enough for the next size up. Arrrgggg!

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        I know the aggravation of being between sizes. Add the ridiculous cut of some “fashions,” and it’s a lose-lose situation (pun intended). 🙂

      • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

        Actually I have spent my whole life “between sizes” because there are NO standard sizes for women. Whether we are too skinny or too heavy or just right, chances are we will have to try on 3 different sizes of an item (shoes and slacks being the worst) and none of them will fit. sigh…

    • Elizabeth in WA says:

      You are not alone dear lady!!! I wish…heh…but you got company in that dept. I was going to say that dogs like humans need varying amounts of food. My hubby told his kin who were making fun of us fat folks once that WE ARE READY FOR A FAMINE…WE WILL OUTLAST YOU!!! Hehe…end of that conversation. Of course, time is the great equalizer…oh my is it…some of them is wider now than me…unbelievably!!

      So Sue…Bridget is ready for a famine, that’s all!!

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        So to those who laughed at you . . . . “Who’s laughing now, eh?” 🙂

        • Elizabeth says:

          Yea…they no longer make fat jokes…imagine THAT…it must gall the skinniest one…I never thought her butt would surpass mine either…shocking actually. But I do not wish my shape on anyone either, for that matter…

    • Me too. There seem to be pills for everything. Where is the ‘raise the metabolism” one?? Being only 5’ tall was ok when I was 12.

  6. Ladybug in Mid-Tenn says:

    Poor Bridge! The pic just before you started talking about the exercise has that ‘she’s taking that pic so she can talk about my weight, I just know it’ expression!

    As for the ranger….I’ve been hearing some murmurings among the full-time crowd that some places are enforcing the 14 days as ’14 days EXCEPT for people who live in RVs full-time’! If that’s the case, then I’m liking our government (and current administration) even less.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Ladybug,

      I hate to think that is happening. I’m not saying the murmurings are correct or incorrect. I haven’t ever been told or urged to leave before reaching the time limit.

      I had a Utah ranger tell me that the 14-day rule (in his district at least) is more to keep locals from parking an RV in the forest and leaving it there for whenever they feel like going to the forest, like a summer home. This was last year when the ranger let me stay longer than 14-days to avoid making a move during 4th of July weekend.

    • Not legal discrimination. It will never happen.

  7. Rita from Phoenix says:

    I didn’t mean to laugh Brig but your pic was so adorable…chubby wubby! We also have an over weight dachshund (Pikami). We rescued her from the rez. Her mother had been run over by a car and she was the only surviving puppy. She had to fend for herself much of her young puppy life and under fed. She gobbles her food without chewing it seems. We limit her food but let her have dog chews, carrots, green beans in between meals. They get fed twice a day. Our puppies get long daily walks, when they were younger they more like ran & played, but it didn’t help Pikami. Our other dogs are okay.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Haha! “chubby-wubby”… Love that!

      Thanks for telling me about your chubby-wubby Pikami. I’m trying to let go of guilt and that helps!

  8. Cinandjules (NY) says:

    Spike’s expression is classic!

    Poor Bridget! It’s okay precious!

    On Bridget’s behalf..Female dogs who are fixed tend to gain weight. Add age /slower metabolism and the “issue” is greater. She gets plenty of exercise. I agree that cutting down her food won’t work. She did have an injury that forced her to be sedentary for a period of time.

    Like people…some look at food and gain weight (Jules) others eat like a cow and don’t gain an ounce (moi). SA gained weight in huge amounts in winter and swam everyday in the summer to lose it.

    She’s healthy, happy and enjoying life…..most important.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cinandjules,

      Your explanation makes a lot of sense. I hate it though, to see Bridget carrying around all that weight on her spindly legs. I’m being very careful with her intake because I don’t want her to get any fatter.

      A lot of it is her metabolism. She always sits rather than stands. Spike always stands rather than sits. He moves. She stays. He bounds out of bed in the morning, rarin’ to go. She sleeps late and moseys out the door to do her business. Then comes back and crawls under the covers while Spike is patrolling the perimeter.

      You must have many wonderful memories of SA swimming in your lake. Now you will build more with AO.

      • Cinandjules (NY) says:

        The only problem that may arise is her back. Jumping up and down off the bed or the stairs to the BLT..entering or exiting the PTV. Meh…I would help she doesn’t.

        She doesn’t like to swim does she? That takes so much stress off of her bones.

        Your second paragraph describes Jules and I to the t. She kind of favors that gnome pear shape…just like her mom.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          You’re right… her back and her legs are at risk. I do lift her onto the bed and off the bed. I probably should start doing the same for in and out of the PTV. That’s harder to do because she gets so jumpy and excited when we stop somewhere. And also for the BLT. I’m already lifting Spike a lot.

          Gee, what about MY back! I’m the one doing all this darn lifting! Haha!

          No, she’s not a swimmer.

  9. BadgerRickInWis says:

    Hey Sue, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least pop in and say how much I appreciate the name of this weeks camp. I have never been much for “bucket lists” but I think Badger mountain should be on my must see list.

    Also I wanted to thank you for your response to my comment earlier this week about my retirement decisions. Lot’s to think about and maybe I will share more with you and the community at a later date. But I thought you would appreciate that you inspired me to log into the Social Security site and check on my projected payments. Guess what I got. “Your username and password do not match our records” 🙂 Oh, well, I guess I’ll figure it out later in the week.

    And don’t worry Bridge. BE PROUD, you are perfect just they way you are!!!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Badger Rick on Badger Mountain. That HAS to happen!

      You’re welcome re: SS and when to retire. I didn’t want to sound bossy. It’s a personal decision based on your finances and what you require in order to live your way.

      I’m just so darn glad that I retired at 62 instead of waiting to age 66. I’d have to collect the extra SS money until age 100 to begin to pay for the value I place on the past, incredible, 3 years.

      “Your username and password do not match . . . . . ” Of all places! Social Security! Good luck with that.

      • Elizabeth in WA says:

        Hubby had to retire early…and we have not regretted it yet…because of that, we got to experience our 6th grandchild like no others before…we had TIME!! SO WORTH IT!!! And if we traveled like Sue…how can you put a $$ amount on that!!

        Speaking of SS…in NC where he got on it, they were D I F F I C U L T!!! Of course, I have my own ideas as to why that might be. But fortunately, you can go to a SS anyplace…so we went for mine when we got out here to WA state. MY OH MY OH MY what a difference…so nice, so helpful, so polite, so encouraging…and it appears that all is in order from just ONE visit!! I will know for sure when payments begin in AUG…but so far so good! I had no idea a different office in a different location could make a big difference.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Hi, Elizabeth,

          You’re right. Being free to enjoy each day (retired) is priceless. Some folks, however, might not be in a position financially to stop working before eligible for full SS benefits.

          I’m glad you were able to spend time with your grandchild and to travel at an earlier retirement age.

          Your comment about different SS offices is a good reminder that every day our actions, whether in the workplace or not, can affect the lives of others, making them more difficult or more pleasant.

          • John K - Mobile, AL says:

            Apply on line, it is so much easier. Took 15 minutes.

            • Elizabeth says:

              We DID apply online…both of us, John…but still needed to go in. It depends on the type of setup you need…such as if you were in the military or setting up spousal social security, etc. Depends on the situation.

  10. Tawanda says:

    That is actually a good deal of exercise for Bridget and Spike, she’s beautiful just as she is, Spike is handsome as well, seems you are doing all that could be done to keep them happy and healthy Sue, just enjoy…

    That is an awesome place you are calling home again this yr. and you get to see spring emerge all over again with the flowers blooming, trees leafing etc 😉
    Enjoy the cooler temps, up north here in SLC it’s 90 today 🙁

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Such an upbeat comment, Tawanda. Thank you.

      It’s amazing the difference that elevation and forest breezes make. You aren’t that far away from us and yet you have temps reaching 90 degrees. I hope it cools for you and stays warm enough for us on the mountain!

  11. 4 DogsRV says:

    What a lovely area Sue, another one I look forward to visiting. I have a question about stuff. When you leave your camp in the PTV to go out and about for any significant length of time, do you leave all of your outside stuff outside? -Leah

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Leah (like your name),

      To answer your questions: First off, I’m not the sort that drags a lot of stuff out. You know how some campers’ sites look like a yard sale? I keep in mind that everything I put out has to be put back.

      Usually all I have out is a camp chair, a lounger, maybe the little table, the blue mat, a broom, a rake, maybe a shovel. When leaving I put the camp chair (I’m talking about the nice one with a side table attached) inside the BLT and lock the door. The other cheapo camp chair and the lounger I usually leave outside, although I might fold up the lounger so it isn’t sitting there broadcasting, “Come and get me. Free for the taking!”

      Why the special care for the camp chair? Of all those items it’s the hardest to replace. I haven’t seen another one like it on Amazon. I bought it at Quartzsite a couple years ago. If the other things were stolen, I wouldn’t be upset, just ANNOYED.

      • 4DogsRV says:

        We are the same way, just a chair each, a small table and the mat. I know what you mean about the chair, when you find one you like it can often be hard, and expensive, to replace.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I guess the folks who like to drag out a lot of stuff have a stronger nesting instinct than we do.

  12. DesertGinger says:

    The only point I would mention in reference to the elegant and ladylike dumpling is that overweight dogs can develop diabetes, as my JRT Daisy did, who incidentally looked a LOT like Bridge. I had the same troubles you did…you can goto diet food, you can cut portions to a point but it’s really hard to help these sweeties lose weight. Too bad they don’t have weight loss surgery for dogs. Daisy did eventually succumb to her disease,although by then she was quite thin. I felt guilty but don’t know what else I could have done.
    I’m lucky…my current pup, Chloe, self-monitors her eating and never gets fat.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I should be mindful of the symptoms of diabetes in dogs. Darn, I hate to think of her developing that. I’m sure it wasn’t a wonderful experience for you to see your Daisy with diabetes.

      It seems impossible not to feel guilty. Our pups are totally reliant on us. I wish I had prevented the weight gain. It seems like it happened overnight and I was so wrapped up in teaching and, well, you know how it goes . ..

      Yay for Chloe! I wish I could be like her. 🙂

  13. Pam N. says:

    Poor Bridget! Xander, my chunky 38 pound Cocker Spaniel, is on a perpetual diet, eats the same measured amount of high end, low fat kibble as his 11 pound Dachshund brother and their 26 pound Beagle sister. Metabolism-so unfair!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re absolutely right, Pam. It is unfair. I’m at the point of accepting her weight and not fussing about trying to help her lose it. She is the sweetest ball of fat and, thank heavens, SHE doesn’t care if she’s fat.

      You have an interesting canine trio!

  14. Marcia GB in MA says:

    Bridget’s cute the way she is. You are doing the right things for her. Who knows, maybe getting hefty runs in her family 😉 Besides, rail-thin is no longer in! Anyway, she has a pretty stress-free lifestyle and good healthy food to eat, so that’s got to count for something.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      That’s true, Marcia. She doesn’t have much stress to help her burn off the weight. Yeah, no more rail-thin!

      • Marcia GB in MA says:

        Also, I want to thank you for continuing to post your monthly expenses. I really appreciate the work you put into these reports and your candidness in listing your expenses. I think it really helps when someone is weighing whether the fulltiming lifestyle is right for them.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          What you’re telling me I need to know. Thanks, Marcia. Your last statement is exactly why I go to the trouble. Sure, I benefit personally in maintaining a clear picture of income and outgo. Mostly though, I post these financial details to help anyone “weighing whether the fulltiming lifestyle is right for them.”

          • Terri says:

            I find your reports extremely helpful. Just yesterday, I was asking a friend of mine who has RV’d a lot (but not as long term as you) as to how much I should expect to budget. And then your post came through on my feedreader! I definitely want to full-time, so please keep posting this info!

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              I will, Terri, especially since I know it’s appreciated. I’m working on March 2014’s report today.

  15. Gloria Brooks says:

    Gosh, I don’t mean to sound like a simpleton….so THAT’S why they ask the SD Dakota question! I honestly didn’t know and just thought it was a random question some of them seem to ask. Lately, it seems more rangers (and one police officer was called by a Carson City local) wanting to look at my license too. Geesh. Makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong! I sure hope we can help turn the tide about how us full timers are viewed! Good night!

    I laughed again until the tears rolled down my face about your sweet dumpling. My Rochelle (since I got her fixed last May) has a few little fat rolls developing. I guess her metabolism is slowing down too. But, at this stage she just looks real good and healthy. Not the scrawny, too skinny of a dog she had been for years. I had a hard time keeping her fed. She used to be a terribly picky eater. I’m not sure how getting her fixed would change that, but, it seems to have.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Gloria,

      What you are going through with ranger visits and a local calling the police is what I was referring to in my response to G. above. You are perfectly legal and within your rights.

      However, camp near people with expensive properties and you are no longer someone camping in YOUR national forest. You become a transient, a vagrant, in their view.

      I don’t understand why it is so often true that the more money people have the less tolerant they are of others. Your experience is why I stay away from snooty places.

      I’m sorry you were subjected to that. The nerve of that “local!” That knee-jerk reaction comes down to FEAR. If the local simply walked over to you and introduced himself/herself, got to know you a little bit . . . . Instead, hop on the phone and call the cops! It makes me sick.

      Well, it’s good you got a laugh out of my post about the dumpling. Rochelle sounds like she’s doing very well. How fortunate she is to be a “full-timing” dog!

  16. BadgerRickInWis says:

    WOW! I just noticed the Amazon income from December. WooHoo. Is this the first time that Amazon has been more than 50% of total income?

    It’s so cool to think that a little bit of my Christmas giving is continuing to give.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It’s amazing, Rick. In December 2013 Amazon income exceeded my SS and teacher pension income combined. Now you know why I say thank you to RVSue shoppers at the end of every post. You are making my future more secure and I’ll be forever grateful.

  17. SusanS says:

    Bridget and I could be twins except my natural skin color is a lot darker! My little Italian grandmother was Bridget too. All 4’6″ of her in sensible shoes. I wish I had my dog Juneau’s cute figure, long legs, bosomy, tiny waist, tight butt. She naps all day and keeps her figure! How does that work? Maybe I should go on the Great Dane diet.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      That’s funny, Susan. Tomorrow you go on the Great Dane Diet. Nothing but kibble for you from now on!

      • SusanS says:

        Grain free kibble, 1/3 can doggie chicken stew with veggies, and plus veggie of the day. Juneau’s favorite is zukies. I do go for walks but obviously not enough.

  18. Jolene--Iowa says:

    Hi Sue, I just found your blog yesterday and I love it! I am spending the time I have free going all the way back to the beginning. I am going to live vicariously through you! I love to camp and do but probably will never be able to afford to do what you are doing. I love that you are sharing your adventures with us! Safe travels and I will be looking forward to your next blog posts!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jolene,

      Welcome to my blog! I’m glad you are going to ride along with me and the crew. Thank you for being interested enough to go back to the beginning.

      You say you may never be able to afford what I’m doing. I don’t know your circumstances, of course, but I do know that you can receive some incredible surprises in this life. “Never say never!’

      Thanks for stopping by and for your enthusiastic words about my blog.

  19. Deborah says:

    When I started Picasso on his raw food diet, the person at the pet store told me that I needed to add some things to the meat to keep his nutrition balanced. He recommended using raw, cultured goat’s milk for the probiotics. In addition he sold me a rather large box of dried veggies. I put the milk in his dish first, add the dried veggies and then add the meat and mix well. Using the vegetables allows me to decrease his meat intake and therefore the caloric intake. The nice thing about this is how the vegetables almost disappear entirely once mixed. Do you think that would work for Bridget? The nice thing about the dehydrated veggies is that they are light and take up a lot less room than canned or frozen veggies and require no special handling, all the attributes making it perfect for the RV life.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Deborah,

      Right now I’m trying different natural foods to supplement the crew’s diet. When I settle on what seems the best, I’ll let y’all know. I’m glad your Picasso is doing well with the dried vegetables. You make some good points about it.

      • Deborah says:

        It really helps me to keep his intake in check. Not sure he’d ever stop eating voluntarily! Good luck! Doggie weight loss is tough work!

  20. Susan Smith says:

    I, too wondered about the opinion of rangers & locals about fulltimers…sure hope we can enjoy the lifestyle b4 some more & new legislation/regulation puts hurdles in front of those who are enjoying the ultimate freedom. Perhaps Bridget comes from a family of “big-boned” people..isn’t that the heavy dog’s reasoning? Some things are just genetic..Thanks for the financials..really like to look at the figures..often people think it is an expensive lifestyle, but don’t realize that boondocking is a real money saver…plus all the myriad ways a person can be frugal.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Susan, re: the financial reports. I’m surprised there aren’t more comments about them. Usually I receive a lot of questions. Anyway… I appreciate your positive feedback.

      One doesn’t have to live expensively in order to travel and live comfortably and well. I boondock not only to save a lot of money, but also because, in my view, it’s a richer, more enjoyable way to live and travel.

  21. Maura says:

    Poor Bridget, Ha Ha! Reminds me of me and my dog Fraser as neither of us are photogenic. He either looks pissed off or is sporting a belly like Bridge! I laugh in good spirit because my dog (a Russell/rat terrier mix) puts on weight really easy except for when he had continuous access to a fenced acre of moles to dig after!


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Maura,

      I’ve heard it said that over time dogs become like their owners. Nervous people have nervous dogs, angry people have angry dogs, and so on.

      I tend to pace myself, move slowly, observe and reflect a lot, etc. Both Bridget and Spike (especially Bridget) are the same way. They would never chase after a ball or stick, for instance. Spike might dig one hole after a mole, but then he’d give it up. They’d both rather lie in the sun.

      Taking that theory a step further… I don’t like anyone intruding on my space. Neither does the Bridge as evidenced by her hiding under the BLT when I intrusively point the camera at her.

      Frasier looks pissed off? You’re right, he is similar to Bridget!

  22. JuneCO says:

    Hi. Many years ago I had two small dogs and, like Bridget & Spike, one was slim and trim and the other was quite overweight. I asked the vet about it one day and he suggested we do a thyroid test on Babe. Sure enough her thyroid was out of whack and he put her on a thyroid pill and she lost all that weight eating the same diet she ate before and never had the problem again. She had to take that pill the rest of her life but it was sure worth it. I don’t know if you have already done that but it’s food for thought.
    I really love reading your blog and look forward to it everyday. Thanks for sharing.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, June,

      Thank you for sharing your story about Babe. I’m glad you found what worked for her. I am looking into the thyroid situation.

  23. Kay says:

    She’s got a look that pretty much tells you, LEAVE ME ALONE, NOW!

    By the way… the turkey on the rotisserie the other night. I took orange peel and cranberries sauce and made a glaze. It sure was good with the carrots, asparagus and baby reds. Tossed those wrapped in foil, neatly resting on an upside glass dish in a sauce pan with water to cook with the steam. HA! Boy was it so flavorful. Then, I added my farmer’s daughter seasonings…. BUTTER, Salt and Pepper and glass of cold milk and went to town chowing down. YUMMY!

    I’m thinking the next invention might be chicken with some peas, carrots, green beans, and an onion wrapped in foil over my home made steamer of a bowl with a a bit of water in the pan…. of course I’ll add the farmer’s daughters seasoning just before eating….

    I better go to bed before I start cooking now….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Kay,

      Your cooking sounds outstanding! I can tell from your comment that you really enjoy experimenting with tasty recipes. I never developed much interest in that, although I certainly do enjoy eating.

      Orange and cranberry glaze… oh my, yer’ killin’ me, Kay!

  24. Elizabeth in WA says:

    I love to buy used books…and yep sometimes they are mostly the cost of shipping…I am glad it might still net you some funds however!! Thanks for letting me know that.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Like I say, Elizabeth, every purchase, no matter the size, is helpful. Thank you for the book orders!

  25. mugs says:

    Always enjoy reading your blog.
    FYI – Re: Bridget (cute dog) I had a golden retriever who had a weight problem also. Even though I watched her food in-take and took long daily walks, her weight was becoming more and more of a problem with age. Her vet recommended to check her thyroid and the test came back high. He put her on a small daily dose of thyroid med and the weight began to drop. Within 3 months she was in good shape.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, mugs. . . Nice to hear from you. Welcome!

      Thanks for sharing your experience with your retriever. I am considering your suggestion.

  26. Gayle says:

    To Bridget – You remind me of a very old song titled
    “Bigger at the Little, Bottom at the Top.” Doesn’t that
    describe you to a T?

  27. Terri says:

    I love the “can you spot the dumpling in the picture?” question because right before I read that line, I was like “there she is, hiding under the BLT!” 🙂 Bridget is loved, there is no doubt about it. I have a cat that I have to watch like a hawk – he eats everyone else’s food because he feels like he doesn’t know where his next meal is going to come from, even though I’ve had him for two years now….what can you do?

    Glad to know the answers to questions I might get asked when I have my motorhome. 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Terri,

      When I fostered dogs taken from kill shelters, I sometimes would foster a dog that had lived on the street. Same behavior as your cat… eat like they assume there’s no more meals after the one they have now. Sad.

      • Terri says:

        Yep, it is sad. His owners were evicted, so they just put him out on the street. I would never do that to him, and I would sooner feed him and all of my animals than feed myself. Fostering is so hard, I want to keep all of them! (Which is why I have 5 cats, and a tiny chihuahua who is blind and was a senior when I adopted her.)

  28. weather says:

    Good Morning Sue,
    Looking at the circumstance,of myself or others,at the time a mistake was made,brings a forgiving peace.
    When you were gone for twelve hours a day,Bridget was protected from becoming a
    traffic victim,an overpopulated shelter’s responsibility to humanely “put down”,or abused while trying to fend for herself as a stray.Exhausted and living through all the heart aches you could bear,you still managed to give her a wonderful loving home and life,from those days until now.You have zero reason to feel guilt about “letting “her gain weight,and every reason to be proud of and grateful to yourself for making every effort to give her a wonderful life.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good morning, weather . . .

      You’re right, of course. It’s my love for the crew that brings on feelings of guilt.

      It’s atrocious what goes on in this country. I’m talking about our treatment of animals. I wish every person would walk into the nearest animal kill shelter and spend an hour or so walking and petting the doomed dogs and cuddling the cats on death row. I did that the day before “kill day” which was Wednesday at my local “shelter,” during the summers when I wasn’t teaching.

      When people say they don’t want a pet because it’s so hard when the pet passes on, I understand that desire to protect one’s emotions. However, one should realize it’s also hard for the dogs and cats who face death, helpless, alone and unloved.

      I witnessed something at a kill shelter that convinced me without any doubt that these doomed animals KNOW what is in store for them. This was communicated through the panic of the animals. I was and continue to be horrified by that realization. The American Humane Association estimated 3-4 MILLION animals were killed in shelters in 2009.

      Sorry to talk about such a depressing subject this morning, but I feel compelled to point out this shameful situation.

      If anyone reading this is able to take on the responsibility of a pet or of another pet, please consider saving a life. And spay and neuter your pets! Think of it this way… Every time the family dog has a litter, let’s say, of 8 puppies, there are 8 dogs down at the shelter who have to die to make room for them.

      • weather says:

        Great answer,Sue!Simply great.
        Again,it’s your compassion for and understanding of these wonderful creatures that I hope you focus on through all the heart felt concerns you’re reading about Bridget’s weight!
        If someone asked me if my dog had anything that made him commendable,would I say”I don’t consider him that way,I focus on the time he lifted his leg aiming at my outdoor furniture!”.
        No,of course not,I’d say he’s been my friend through everything life’s held from the moment we met!
        Now,if I see him that way,why on earth should I be any less positive about myself?The world is practiced at teaching us to be hard on ourselves so our behavior and finances can be controlled to suit someone else.My reaction to all offers to feel guilty is a well practiced gesture that involves raising my middle finger to any idea that opposes the One that says we are wonderfully made.
        Have we failed to dot an i or cross a t as we run through the adventures in life,been wild and strange and rough when it was called for or just felt good,yes!Could our contributions to this world been accomplished without those parts of us that come with being passionate and driven,no!
        We should use the same abandon with which we leap into dreams with no safety net to celebrate being what we are!
        Now I’m going to untangle my hair that looks like a roll of barbed wire from my rescue kitty’s having used it to sleep on before I go out to play,hope your day is fun 🙂

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Excellent message, weather. So very wise!

          The crew and I came home a few minutes ago from playing. They are worn out! I love it when they go into a deep sleep from having a lot of fun.

  29. Linda says:

    My rat terrier, Maddie, was quite overweight when we adopted her at age 9. I think her previous owners had just fed her people food since she seemed puzzled by dog food. We exercised her more and gave her healthy, high end dog food and she lost some weight, became more energetic, even ran and caught the Frisbee in her teeth. She always liked to run and explore. She would just about take your hand off, too, if you tried feeding her a treat. … food obsessed. She had developed heart problems, though. And she never looked “thin” … she always looked like she had a tiny head on a large dog body. But she had a good happy life and, I think, no regrets. I’m sure The Bridge is happy with your adventures. Except those that involve photos.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Great story, Linda. It sounds like you turned little Maddie’s life around. How fortunate she was to be adopted into a good home at age 9. Rat terriers are great. Of course, I’d say that!

  30. Texas, you can subscribe and Sue will e-mail you her latest post. Scroll above To Subscribe right above the Amazon info, complete it, and she’ll see that you stay current with her posts. I’m glad I bookmarked her site as well because recently Yahoo had some kind of snafu and I was unable to receive her e-mails. There must have been a lot of complaints because about 2 weeks later I started getting her e-mails again along with other blogger updates.

    Sue’s a great story-teller. You might want to go back to the beginning of her original blog and read how she and the crew got started. I’m almost to the end of 2011…yeah, slow reader, lol. But it’s interesting and I’m enjoying it.

    Cat Lady

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi,, Cat Lady,

      I don’t know where the comment from Texas is but I appreciate you explaining the subscription information. Perhaps he/she commented through Yahoo.

      MESSAGE TO READERS: I never open up Yahoo to read comments there. So if anyone is wondering why I haven’t replied to their comment, that may be why. It’s better if everyone joins in HERE.

      Thanks for helping, Cat Lady, and for the compliment on my stories.

      • I posted a Reply and during that time the gremlin’s apparently ate his comment. I just finished reading (12/11) where you and your buddies installed/tweeked your solar. You just did more solar work. I was startin’ to get confused on what date blog entry I was reading, lol.

        I’m so proud of you, Sue. You and the Crew make me smile; make my day; make me happy. Thanks for letting us all tag along with ya’ll.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          You say the nicest things, Cat Lady. What would I do if you didn’t tag along? 🙂

  31. Diane, Blue Ridge Mts., VA says:

    I remember well how I felt when someone told me my dog was “just too fat”. She was a big long haired dog. I always blamed it on her double coat. They were right.
    She was my companion and we took care of each other. This thing of saying ” it’s okay” is perhaps not Okay, because of the health of the pet. “Mud is Okay” My experience, the vet told me to “Not give her treats of any kind” and feed her half as much but feed her a can of green beans. Well it worked for her, took a long time, but she did loose weight finally and lived for 15 years. That’s a long time for a big dog. I still miss her dearly.
    I know no one needs to tell other people how to take care of their pets, as it is not our right to tell anyone what they should do. I think you are so smart and I know you love your little companions, you will do what is right for them. Please forgive me if I have overstepped my bounds…
    I feel like you are a friend even though we have never met. I wish only the best of life for you & crew, you have given so freely to all of us and the ones you have met along the way of your journey.
    Take Care Sue and Crew.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Diane,

      I’m not sure what you are trying to tell me. I should feed Bridget green beans? How do I do that? Force-feed her? Feed Spike and not her in this little trailer until she gives in?

      I wish I knew the answer. I don’t give her treats unless treats are a few bites of lean chicken breast. I know her weight is not “okay.” I know it will lead to health problems. I agonize over that.

      I’m glad that you were able to help your dog lose weight. I know you mean well in your comment. No offense taken. I’m frustrated that nothing I’ve tried has made any difference for Bridget.

      Thank you for your caring and kind wish for me and the crew.

      • Diane, Blue Ridge Mts., VA says:

        Sorry Sue, I know you may be frustrated, don’t mean to further that. I am saying, I was surprised to find out that in my dog’s case she did eat green beans. I never knew dogs liked stuff like that before. Bridget and Spike may not like them I don’t know. Sometimes I do not know how to properly say things or a way to suggest something to folks. Either way, whatever you do, try, or don’t do, you are the best master those little dogs could ever have.

        • Elizabeth says:

          Dogs seem to be like humans to a degree…our last one absolutely loved green beans (as well as most everything else we gave her) but she never got fat. Was quite energetic when young, and we left dry food down all the time…she never overate…but she did want us to have something in her bowl at all times…somehow made her feel happier.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          You say things fine, Diane. I always enjoy hearing from you as your comments are very sincere and caring.

  32. dan says:

    Hi Sue,
    I’m enjoying reading about your trip as a solo RV’er, something I’m also contemplating doing soon. I have a couple of questions about your fixed expenses regarding your internet connection and internet experience.

    a) What Aircard are you using?

    b) Why MiFi, or even WiFi, if you do all your writing inside BLT? Do you usually park near places that have wifi signals, since mifi – from my understanding – is for picking up signals at a distance of several miles, why did you choose mifi?

    c) What kind of McAfee security package do you use, as I thought you bought the program for around $30/yr, not $7.95/mo?

    d) I saw where you started Hostgator at the Hatchling level, and are know at the Business level. May I inquire as to what you discovered in needing the larger plan. I’m currently with, and so am wondering if I’m missing something.

    Could you do a blog post on your experience with the internet in the various places you’ve stayed, like connection problems, how you chose the aircard and hosting service you did, etc.

    Thanks for you blog, great reading.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, dan,

      Welcome to my blog! I will try to answer your questions.

      a) I have Verizon jetback 4G LTE

      b) This question confuses me: “Why MiFi or even WiFi, if you do all your writing inside the BLT?” That’s why I need Mifi. I park the BLT “at a distance of several miles” from signals. Have you read any of my previous posts? I don’t park in RV parks in towns or places that have WiFi signals. I park where I want to. I often boondock in isolated, somewhat remote areas. I have a Wilson antenna on a pole in order to boost those distant signals.

      c) There are different McAfee subscription packages. Go to the McAfee site and look at the different choices and decide what is best for you.

      d) My Hostgator account is at the Hatchling level which costs approx. $5 a month. I don’t know why you think I have the Business plan.

      I’m not going to do a blog post about my experiences with “the internet in the various places I’ve stayed….. how I chose the aircard and hosting services…etc.” I share this information in daily posts as I go along. If I stop to put together all the information you’re asking for in one tidy treatise, I’d have to neglect my blog-writing, comment-replying, Amazon-monitoring, financial reporting, and living my life away from the internet.

      I hope you understand. There’s a point at which my advice isn’t any better than what you would do on your own, based on your own research and judgement.

      • Kay says:


      • Dan says:

        I haev not read all of your past posts, but did realize that you almost always boondock. So my b) question related to why you have mifi, which is taht you park where you can pick up the distant wifi signals. I had not thought of that – Thanks for a good idea,

        I had looked at your fixed costs for 2004 and saw that you were spending $12.52/mo for your blog, but then, after your reply I relooked at your expenses and realized you had other services, like Akismet, which would raise your Hostgator account beyond the $5/mo. to the $12.52. When I saw the $12.52 I had initially thought you had the business plan of $10/mo, with some add-ons.

        Thanks for your blog.

  33. Pauline from Mississippi says:

    Aspens remind me of the white birch back in UPSTATE New York.

    I got out of breath just looking at the area you walked. Good grief, I have trouble on flat land!!!

    I can identify with Bridget….short and “stocky” Bless her heart, she is such a cutie and such a loveable lady. I know you want what is best for her and I know you have tried so hard to keep both Bridget and Spike healthy and happy. I don’t know what else you could do….they exercise, eat healthy and are well loved.

    Take care Dear Sister….give the crew a hug from me. And of course, sending a big hug to you.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pauline,

      I hope your health is improving every day. I am very much aware and grateful for how fortunate I am to be able to walk and climb and do what I do without pain or disability or illness or medical appointments. Life is so unfair!

      Thanks for reassuring me about Bridget and Spike. Hugs to you, your people crew and your canine crew! Love y’all!

      • Pauline from Mississippi says:

        Gotta sneak this in….. I am now walking a mile in the morning and a mile at night….NO pain. Started back to water aerobic last Friday…going slow but doing great!! -30 !!!!!!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          That’s fantastic, Pauline!

        • weather says:

          It’s wonderful that you are doing so much cooperate with the healing you’re receiving,we will walk and not grow weary,or in this case,and have no pain!My prayer is that soon you will experience robust health and blessing in every way.

  34. Wheeling it says:

    We’ve got one pudgy cat and one skinny cat who are sisters. Poor Rand is just an “ample” girl. We do what we can, but she’s always been rotunde. We love her just the way she is.

    By the way if the pack isn’t eating organs and bone as part of their raw diet, I would really recommend some supplements e.g. Missing Link or something like that. There are so many vitamins and micro-nutrients in organs/bone which are important to health and vitality. The supplements are not ideal, but they’re not bad either. Think of it like taking a vitamin pill.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Nina,

      I figured out why Bridget wouldn’t eat liver. She’s fussy about texture. Now I brown the liver on both sides, cut it into pieces, and serve some to her and Spike every day. I give them bones and sardines with bones but not consistently (for many reasons) and that does bother me.

      I’m also adding Norwegian kelp to their breakfast, which they really enjoy. It is supposed to aid digestion, improve coat, combat dry skin, balance thyroid, add nutrients, etc.

      Your comment is timely because I’m researching supplements. I’ll check this Missing Link product.

      I’ve been meaning to comment on your blog. I do read your entries. Your posts on Nevada camp spots were particularly interesting to me because we haven’t traveled in that state much.

      Hello to Paul, Polly, and the feline sisters! Thanks for stopping by with helpful advice.

      • wheelingit says:

        Sounds like you are “on the ball” which I knew you were 🙂 Searing the liver is a great idea. Polly won’t eat it unless it’s frozen (go figure) and then she considers it a treat.

        And don’t worry about not commenting. I haven’t been commenting much either, but I read every one of your posts and always enjoy them. Kisses to the “pack”!


  35. AnnieB says:

    Hi Sue,
    Enjoying your blog, as always! I think you’re right to be concerned about Bridget’s health. When my Golden became overweight, after a sluggish winter, I began feeling him Iams Weight Control dry formula plus some raw veges and the canned green beans. Took the extra five pounds right off him! If Bridget is eating canned dog food that could be the problem. There’s no telling what’s in that, could be a lot of grains. Some dogs cannot digest grains and gain weight. Good luck! Hope she can get back her girlish figure so you all can enjoy hiking this summer!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, AnnieB,

      I’m happy for your Golden losing weight. Bridget is on a raw meat and bones diet. She rarely eats canned dog food. I keep some on hand in case I run out of raw meat in these out-of-the-way places we camp.

      • AnnieB says:

        I can see why you are baffled by her weight gain! Best wishes for a solution to the dilemma.

  36. CheryLyn(Oregon) says:

    Enjoying the pictures. Love mtn. aspens. Thanks you for the time and effort on posting your budget it remains helpful. I also appreciate your efforts and concerns for the crew. Posting your days activities with them helps me as I try to factor in traveling with my two, tho the situation is somewhat reversed they need more activity than I do! Now I can just open the door and they have an acre to run, goats to visit, neighbors dogs to chat with guess I will be getting more exercise.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, CheryLyn,

      Yes, you will have to walk your dogs since you won’t have a fenced back yard any more. However, you will find that walking your dogs is not a chore if you RV in natural surroundings, as opposed to RV parks. The walks are as much a pleasure for the person as they are for the dogs.

      I stayed in an RV park for two days this past year. By the second day I was antsy to get away, not just because of the people, but also because walking the crew around a bunch of RVs and up and down a sidewalk alongside traffic was not fun. (Not all RV parks are located in situations I describe.)

      • Ed says:

        I have a different point of view. I started fulltiming without a dog and stayed in RV Parks that were located where I could walk to various restaurants for breakfast in the morning. This was my way of getting exercise and it worked fairly well. City/town walking on sidewalks for the most part with enough variety that I did not get overly bored during a month stay.
        After doing that for a couple of years I decided that I needed a walking partner and adopted a dog. What this did was it cut out the restaurant stops in the morning for the most part and I have been eating a healthier breakfast that I cook at home. The dog in turn caused me to choose RV Parks a little differently and I am now usually on the edge of town rather that in town. This has allowed me to find some open fields for off leash running and many lightly traveled streets/roads that are fine places to walk my dog on leash.
        Walking my dog is a chore however. If I do not feel like walking, Patches my dog and walking companion, will nag me and raise all kinds of hell until I get up off my lazy ass and take her for a walk. She knows exactly what time it is and will let me know that it is time for her walk. This is GOOD thing and why I got her in the first place.
        Boondocking or RV Parks are simply two different ways of living. It is not a lot different than those people that live in stick-n-brick stand alone houses and those that live in apartments; both have dogs and both the people and dogs adapt to that way of life.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Sounds like Patches has done a pretty good job at seeing that you eat healthy and walk regularly.

          I didn’t intend my comment to mean that RVing in RV parks is wrong. From reading your blog I can tell you choose parks in interesting areas where you aren’t restricted to a sidewalk-along-traffic walk (like the one I stayed at in Quartzsite), but rather to more interesting routes away from the center of town.

          I like the way you’ve fashioned a lifestyle that includes change and stability (not the right word). You move to different towns and stay for a month or so in each. Who knows… I may do that someday when this boondocking becomes too much for me.

  37. Patsy from Ontario Canada - North says:

    I remember in one of the blogs that the conversation about over night camping and new legislation. Here is a link that speaks to it. I know I have been researching and hope that by the time I retire that they will see that this is a way of living today and tomorrow. I would rather live full time in an rv then be homeless.. lets hope and pray that they see it this way to. Retiring on “Cat Food” 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Patsy,

      Many commercial/privately owned RV parks would like travelers in campers to be forced to stay in RV parks. The parking lots of Wal-Mart, Cracker Barrel, etc. are seen as competition.

      This is a concern but it doesn’t concern me as much as the hassling of campers on public land. I don’t care much about camping in parking lots. However, the parking lots are handy in an emergency or when no public land is available.

      It’s all about controlling the market. The RV park owners would rather pass the restrictive ordinance than make their RV park a more comfortable and inviting place that people want to stay in.

      As for me, I’ll keep driving rather than stay at an RV park, if I can manage it.

      • Kay says:

        Yep, you’re so RIGHT!

        FHU sites are darn near as much as cheap hotel room too. It’s getting ridicules. We’re so big making it difficult to slip onto a side street and sleep for the night, so we look for off the beaten paths.

        Sooner or later one would think the government would get a clue, many of us are TIRED of them digging into our pockets and taking whatever they want, leaving us to not having some of the finer things WE WANT in our lives.

      • Patsy from Ontario Canada - North says:

        well that is good to know, yes I can see them wanting to force people to stay at camp grounds. But like you not my cup of tea. thanks for the info. lets hope that it continues to be a country of the free 🙂 ..

  38. DesertGinger says:

    I was just re-reading your blog comments about Bridget’s exercise, or lack thereof. I was struck by how similar it is to humans…it’s like a downward spiral. We start to put on weight, probably from not enough exercise, and then we lose energy and feel more tired, so we exercise even less…and so it goes, till we are fat and sedentary and don’t feel like moving much at all. At a certain point you must force yourself to exercise, if you want to correct the situation at all. You have cut her food. Perhaps the time has come that you need to put Her on a leash and force her to take the long walk…for her own good. Start out gradually so she can build muscle strength and go a little further each day.

    Or not! You know best what you condo with your girl…just a suggestion.

    That chair in the pic with the mat is not the good chair, is it?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      No, that’s not the good chair. That’s one of those $6.99 chairs bought at a supermarket that I use for sitting in creeks.

      I don’t know how I can force Bridget to walk. If I pull on her leash, she keeps her butt to the ground and lets herself be dragged. I usually can urge her to take two walks a day. Trying to increase the distance is again foiled by her sit-down strikes. Add to that the fact the Spike is not ABLE to walk far and our walks are often cut short, either by Bridget’s refusal or Spike’s aching bones.

      So there’s no starting out gradually and increasing a little bit each day. I walk with them as far as I can get them to go, driving so we’ll have new places to walk in an effort to spark their interest. We did take a very long walk today, longest in several weeks.

      • DesertGinger says:

        Wow, that is tough. Doesn’t sound like you have a lot of choices.

      • DesertGinger says:

        One other thing…I hope I didn’t sound critical because I didn’t intend that at all. I always impressed by how devoted you are to the nut cakes.

  39. Cinandjules (NY) says:

    Having pets is probably like being a parent…you always want the best for your kids.

    There isn’t a manual and we all learn as we go. Some things work for some and others not. There is no rhyme or reason just like humans as to when medical issues arise. If it happens…we do everything within our means to conquer it. The end result isn’t up to us!

    IMHO-pets live for today. As much as we want to believe …they don’t understand tomorrow. We as humans have dream, goals and bucket lists. They do not. They are content with today and are guided by us knowing that we will always do our best to provide. In return they give us their unconditional love, companionship and joy!

    None of us would intentionally do something to our beloved “kids”. Who knows if something done today will be bad later down the road? An example is spaying your dog…studies now show that fixing them before 1 yr gives them a higher chance of cancer. 80% of goldens die of cancer…and their lifespan is 10-12 yrs instead of 16+. Why is that? Is it the food? Shots? Environment? Genetic? Or a combination of all?

    We are all “experimenting” with finding the right “recipe” to extend their lives. Wouldn’t it be great if pets lived as long as humans? Realistically and sadly they don’t.

    So live for today! Rock on Desert Woman!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You summed up the situation perfectly. We do the best we can with the resources and knowledge we have.

      • R. (Western Colorado) says:

        Sue, I’m not going to add any comments about Bridget’s weight but I want you to know how much I appreciate you making your budget and expenses available for your readers to see, analyze and contemplate. It looks like you didn’t have to pay any income tax or maybe that is going come up in April? My federal and Colorado taxes are a big part of my expenses.

        It used to be a painful chore to figure out how much is going out and how to limit certain expenses and not because I had no idea about money but because I had to do it all by myself.

        I enter, review and record every single items,(checks, charges, cash, auto payments). I do this at least once a week and for me it is much easier this way. I keep a simple notebook. I learned from my husband that knowing how much and what we spent for, it made easier to know what we could or couldn’t afford. Together we reviewed our expenses in the end of each month. My husband tried every possible program and never enjoyed Quicken so he returned to a simple spreadsheet. After he died it was not very hard transition but I made it simpler by giving up on a spreadsheet and writing by hand everything in my notebook. It works for me. Knowing your budget and expenses does not need to be a painful task. Actually, it is kind of satisfying to see I live below my means and able to gradually save for RV. I have no debts and my plan is to pay cash for my RV. It might take me some time but I won’t be applying for loans. If I didn’t know how much I have coming in and how much are my monthly expenses I wouldn’t know how to plan and when my plan can become reality.

        Thank you again to let me take a peek into your financial situation. It so important to know what to expect. Of course, I recognize we all have different needs, priorities, expenses and budgets but you gave me many ideas.

        • R. (Western Colorado) says:

          I almost forgot to say goodnight Sue. Goodnight Bridget. Goodnight Spike.

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            Good morning, R. I turned off the laptop early last night. Got in bed with the crew and read from my Paperwhite. I love that thing. I can read with the lights off. Everybody’s happy!

            I’m like you. I don’t care for Quicken or spreadsheets. I agree about the benefits of keeping track of how much you spend each month. It gives you more control over your future, especially if you’re trying to save for an RV. Seeing my savings grow motivated me to continue to live very frugally in order to buy my BLT and equip her for the road. You are wise to stay away from debt!

            I enjoy our conversations. Wishing you a wonderful day . . . .

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            Forgot to tell you I did have to pay income tax for 2013 due to increased income. Since that was due to Amazon income which I record separately from my budget, I decided to keep the income tax payment separate from the budget. It will show up in the April report as a footnote.

  40. Deb from NJ says:

    Well….I am not first….but I believe I may be the last! lol….we’ll see.

    I am glad that you posted you 2014 budgeted related items. I watch yours to see how much it will cost me. I can see that each year your recurring expenses have increased each year. A big part of that is the health insurance. It will be interesting how much Medicare will cost in 5 years. As a nurse I am well aware of all the changes in the medical insurance that has been taking place. Sometimes I am in awe what insurance companies are allowed to say what they will pay for and what they won’t even if your doctor says you are in need of it. I won’t get on my soap box!

    Good to hear how you handled that Ranger. I know he is only doing his job. I know they see budget cuts and have to cover lots of territory and handle all different kinds of people. In my second life…..I want to be a forest ranger/wild life photographer! I just love the wilderness.

    Not sure what to say about pets and weight…..its bad enough we humans have a difficult time with it. So I won’t say anything except Bridgett and Spike are cute and lovable. You take very good care of them and would do anything for them. Enough said.

    Hope you had a great evening!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Deb,

      Thank you. I did have a great evening. I enjoyed sitting down at my laptop table with a cup of coffee to read your comment this morning.

      I’m fortunate that my health insurance costs are not very painful. I suppose that’s an item that will increase every year. I hope not by much.

      The ranger’s inquiry into my life was balanced by his offer to help me if I needed it. You’re right… He’s doing his job and like anyone he does his job according to the guidelines and policies handed down to him.

      When I was in high school the guidance counselor gave me a personality/career questionnaire. The results indicated I was best suited to be a forest ranger. Living in the east and having almost no experience in camping or in visiting national forests or seeing rangers on the job, I laughed it off as crazy. Me? A forest ranger? Oh how I wish I had taken that path . . .

      Thank you for your words about the crew. Make this day as wonderful as you can . . . for you!

      • Ed says:

        In high school one of my teachers encouraged me to take a test and fill out the application for a meteorologist scholarship. I took the test but did not get the scholarship. I wonder how different my life would have been had I received it?

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Hmm. . . . I notice you comment on the weather forecasters accuracy or lack of it in your daily postings on your blog. Can’t help but wonder if you’d do a better job of it, right?

          I would’ve been a fantastic forest ranger. Ha!

          • Funny, I think I took an online aptitude test once, and the three professions that came out on top: writer, stand-up comedian, and priest. What a combo that would have been. 🙂

            I also had a counselor give me a series of tests, after which she advised to avoid getting a job where I had to work with my hands. No work as a mime or chain saw juggler for me!

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Sooooo. . . . What line a work did you do, if you don’t mind me asking. Aren’t you the guy with the horses?

  41. Julia says:

    Hi Sue,
    Just want to say , your blog is great! And I just bought a small appliance thru your blogs amazon connector.
    One thing I have noticed about older fat female dogs: the best way to get them to lose weight and be active/ healthy is to get a younger dog for them to play with! You would be amazed how quick the fat-bump-on-top-of-arse comes off! Don’t wait too long…
    good luck, and stay cool this summer!
    We have and old camper and a F-250 to take to the beach this year. We plan to “remodel it” with paint new upholstery etc.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Julia,

      Thank you for complimenting me about my blog and for buying the appliance from Amazon through my blog.

      I’m not sure if a younger dog with work with Bridget. Whenever she has an opportunity to play with a dog urging her to do so, she snarls a “I don’t want to. Get away from me!” I try to have her run and scamper around by clapping my hands and chasing her and being silly. That works for about one minute. Oh well . . .

      Remodeling a camper can be quite a big project, but your use of the pronoun “we” tells me you won’t be tackling it alone. Have fun turning it into the perfect get-away home for you both. You mention taking it to the beach… Don’t know where you are. I’m guessing Oregon?

      Nice to hear from you!

      • Julia says:

        Hi Sue and Crew
        Thanks for your reply.
        We live in Ventura county near Los Angeles. We took a nice drive over Angeles Crest the other day, part of it is still trying to recover from the horrible Station Fire burn. We plan to take our camper out to the forest, parks, blm and the beach to find out how comfortable it is, before the remodel.

        Just fyi we bought the 1988 Ford f-250 for 2,000.00 it had 82k miles on it, and the camper was 575.00… found locally on craigslist… so no, you don’t need a ton of money for a rig, just gas money!

        We have a large shorthaired female brown baby, her name is Bella, we are so happy to have the priviledge to live with this gazelle in dogs clothing. And she is very affectionate and smart.

        The dogs I have known, their owners adopted a young un’ when the old dogs were in there mid forties to mid sixties, human years. At first the old dogs would not get into it, but because of the live in situation they succumbed to playful crazy activity with their new sibling, and thus enjoyed a longer life and youthfulness again.
        Not now, because we need to build a fence, but maybe by the time Bella slows down, we would like to get a companion for her.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          How interesting to read about your rig, your plans, and your Bella! Yes, do consider adopting a sister or brother for her. It’s fun watching two dogs interact (obviously, as I write about it often enough!) and, after the adjustment period, it’s fun for the dogs, too.

          You make an excellent point about not needing a lot of money to obtain a rig. I admire how you are making things work for you, purchasing your camper, trying it out, fixing it up, making plans…. Wonderful! I wish you many, many great camping experiences!

          Help us in the future when you comment again (as I certainly hope you do!) by tacking on your location… Julia in CA or something like that.

  42. Jenny Waters says:

    Sue, I have been following your blog on and off for a while. I found you from Nina and Paul’s Wheeling It blog. My husband and I are thinking about full-time RVing and are trying to learn a bit before we head out. Thank you for posting your costs, it’s great to know a little about what we might be able to expect. I am surprised to hear that rangers sometimes hassle full-timers. Does that happen very often? I don’t see why it matters if someone is a full-timer, as long as they don’t abuse the camping limits. Oh, and Bridget is a cutie. You are giving her a wonderful life of travel and adventure. She is a very lucky girl. 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jenny… A belated welcome!

      You’re welcome re: cost of full-timing. There are many ways to full-time it. Now you know how much it costs to full-time the way I do.

      Do rangers hassle full-timers often? I have no data to measure that. I’d say, no, not often. I think it depends upon three factors: your rig, where you camp, and how you camp.

      If you’re in an expensive, fairly new Class A and you park on public land for 14 days, it’s not likely a ranger will question you. If you camp in a car or a van or an older rig, yes, you’ll be asked questions by rangers.

      The frequency (again, supposition) of ranger visits depends upon where you camp in that car, van, or older rig. If you camp near “in” places — think moneyed people making complaints — you’re more likely to have a ranger coming around asking questions.

      The third way to attract negative attention is to camp like you’re setting up a homestead. By that I mean, an excessive amount of stuff — chairs, tables, a band saw, hobby equipment, a screen house, etc. — things that look like you intend to live there a long time. This also includes laundry on a line, a large stack of fire wood, large containers of water and so forth.

      The hassle comes from what I and many others consider a misinterpretation of the national forest restriction against building a permanent structure on forest land.

      On behalf of the Bridge, thank you for that “cutie” compliment!

      • Jenny Waters says:

        Thanks Sue, you make some good points. I can see some questions arising if you are doing some of those things, though it can still seem overbearing at times.
        I love all the pics of your travel finds & the dogs, and of course your fun stories. We hope to be able to take our two chihuahuas on adventures like these.

      • Jenny says:

        I’ve spent my life on the other side of the ranger thing. I got my first job working in outdoor recreation 36 years ago. When I started working for my agency we did not have length of stay limits. We just started getting too much abuse of it.

        People would arrive and stay for months. There would be stuff everywhere, filling their site and starting to spill over onto the next sites. They would be either filling up our garbage cans (why should everyone else’s taxes go to hauling it?) or worse, the garbage would be all over the ground. We also got complaints from other campers. “We were traveling through and wanted to camp and everything was full, how come you are letting people live there?” We finally put some length of stay limits on, no more than two weeks in a campground. Then these folks just started doing the circuit of all our campgrounds. Outside the campgrounds it was worse, without the outhouses and garbage cans the mess was worse and frequently less sanitary. You’d be amazed how much staff time and dump fees we have spent on cleaning up people’s messes. We’ve had folks set up camp, mostly outside designated campgrounds, who turned out to be looking for a quiet place to make meth. Nothing like driving by after they left, looking at the garbage and realizing it is a haz-mat site. Even that’s better than the time I had to deal with the contents of somebody’s black tank all over the ground where they had been camped. Another thing we are aware of is that a Forest Service ranger up in Washington State was shot and killed a few years ago while checking vehicles in a campground and there have been plenty of others assaulted. I’ve had some scary encounters myself. It’s not like a city where the cops know which houses they have trouble at. We don’t know you and we are trained to stay alert.

        We now have a bunch of length of stay requirements. We spent a long time discussing it and most of us hated doing it but things had gotten out of hand. We welcome fulltimers, we don’t care what you camp in, (most of our guests have smaller and older vehicles), just don’t show up planning on staying forever and making a mess.

        Do we try to keep track of who is out there? You bet we do. We’ve learned the hard way that we have to. 99.9% of campers are great people, it’s the other 0.1% that has messed it up for the rest.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Thank you Jenny for that excellent description of what national forest rangers have to deal with. At one point you write “You’d be amazed . . . ” Believe me, nothing would amaze me. Even with the newer restrictions and forest ranger patrols, some people are total slobs to a disgusting degree. They have no respect for the environment or other people.

          I’m all for the 14-day limit. I don’t want people homesteading and hogging campsites and making the forest look like shanty town.

          When I remarked about different treatment for campers in different rigs (modest or old rigs compared with expensive rigs), I wasn’t referring to the practices of all rangers. There are a few pocket areas where the patrolling is a bit intrusive. Most rangers I’ve met are doing the best they can to protect the forest and to allow people to recreate as well.

          I don’t want anything I’ve written or that has been written on my blog by others to give the impression that most rangers are going around hassling people. That’s definitely not happening. I understand why they have to investigate people camping and to be alert for criminal and destructive behavior. I appreciated having a ranger to call when I witnessed vandalism at a national forest campground, and it’s good to know they are available if I need help.

          Thanks very much for educating us by presenting the perspective of a ranger.

          • Jenny says:

            You are welcome. Sorry but I had to get that off my chest after reading some of the comments.

            One year, two small rural counties, seventy-six tons of garbage by roadsides in the woods. All of it picked up by hand, bagged, put into pickup trucks and hauled to the dump. I’m glad you’re hard to amaze because I found it amazing when I saw the final numbers. We are not even close to a big city where its worse.

            I’m looking for a fiberglass trailer right now and hope to take some long trips after I retire. See ya on the road sometime.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Now I AM amazed… by that amount of garbage. I usually haul out 2-3 Wal-mart shopping bags of cans (Bud-Lite drinkers are the worst!) and plastic bottles. My favorite (!) are the plastic Gatorade bottles(wide mouth) that men pee in, put the cap back on, and then throw out the window! Gross!

              Good luck finding the perfect fiberglass trailer for you, Jenny! I’ve enjoyed our little conversation there. 🙂

  43. Lolalo says:

    Add me to the list of people that appreciate your financial info. I find it very helpful to see the expenses and try to relate it to our own future fulltiming life. One question – how DO you keep all your figures so accurate? Do you keep receipts or a log? I don’t know how you could go back several months and update. I can’t remember last week – ha!
    You can also add me to the list of people that read your blog daily. I don’t comment too often, but I so look forward to each and every posting. You provide the most entertaining and informative blog related to fulltime boondocking. And you do it without sounding repetitive, although I’m sure a lot of your days seem the same. Love your style.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Lolalo,

      Good to know you’re still a loyal follower! What nice compliments . . . Thank you!

      My record-keeping tool is my purse. Haha! I pay everything that I can with my Amazon Visa credit card (love those points) and I always obtain a receipt. If I can’t get a receipt, I take a scrap of paper, jot down the purchase, amount, and date. Those receipts go into a section of my purse which I tally at the end of the month and then clean out the purse. 🙂

      I was able to go back several months to put those reports together because I had tallied the receipts at the end of each month, writing in a spiral notebook before throwing the receipts away. After letting months go by, it was necessary for me to review bank statements, credit card statements (to pick up online purchases), and re-read blog entries for the month (the latter to check for things like camp fees).

      The Recurring Expenses for 2014 took the most time and effort because I had to enter each account online to verify what I am paying (some things are automatically renewed).

      Your positive feedback on the financial info is appreciated. I’m pleased to learn it’s helpful. Thanks for writing, Lolalo. Enjoy your day!

  44. mockturtle says:

    You might consider getting Bridget’s thyroid level checked. I had a pug who was overweight and the vet kept insisting she was overfed but she wasn’t. I asked the vet to check her thyroid and he found it was almost nonexistent. A couple of weeks on thyroid medication and she was a brand new dog. 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, mockturtle,

      I admit I’ve been reluctant to take the crew to the vet. I should look into this thyroid issue. Thanks for suggesting it. (I deleted your second comment. No need to apologize. There are too many comments to check what’s already been said.)

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  49. Jolene/Iowa says:

    I am curious if you have went back and compared pictures of Bridget before the raw meat diet and after. Is it possible that this diet isn’t the best for her even if it is for Spike? I thought looking at pictures as I have been reading the past post that she was gradually getting bigger on this new diet. I may not be correct but it is a thought.

    I also don’t think it is the rangers’ business whether or not you are a fulltimer. As long as you follow the rules it shouldn’t make a bit of difference.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jolene,

      The raw meat diet hasn’t affected Bridget’s weight. All her life her weight has fluctuated from week to week, sometimes in only a few days. Also photos sometimes make her look slimmer than she really is or fatter than she really is.

      • Jolene/Iowa says:

        That makes sense Sue. Just like us humans, different pictures taken the same day can look different.

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