The desert begins to bloom!

Friday, February 21

The crew and I walk around our desert camp to see how many plants we can identify.

It isn’t long before Spike gets it in his head to ditch Bridget and me.  He trots up Palm Canyon Road.  He’s an independent little sucker.  I’m not chasing after him.  Oh well, at least he’s having a good day.  His joints seem to be working well.


Palm Canyon Road camp, Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona

Bridget, per usual, stays with me wherever I go.  I step down into a narrow wash to take a photo and she’s right behind me.


I like the way the soft colors flow together along this wash.

Okay.  Here are some plants for you to learn . . . .


Clockwise from lower left: ratanay, grass, jojoba (dark green at top), ratanay, grass, bursage . . . creosote bush in center

I need your help identifying some of these flowers.  I’ve numbered the photos so you can tell me what to label them.  Then we’ll have a handy study guide for next week’s quiz.

Just kidding!


(1)  The bush is about 5 feet across and 3 feet tall.

The smaller flowers appear in open areas. 

Click to enlarge photos . . .


(2)  This one grows singly, about an inch across. Often seen peeking through ratanay branches.


(3)  More small blooms no more than an inch in diameter. They appear in the most formidable, hard-packed ground.










(4)  This tiny nosegay stands only about 5 inches off the ground. Some are even shorter than that.


Far off I see a splash of color. I know what it is from a distance.  The color is unmistakeable.


(5)   Beavertail cactus







The cactus has two blooms and several buds.


Hummingbirds love these beavertail blooms.

It won’t be long before beavertail bloom all around our camp.

Over on the road Spike walks parallel to Bridget and me.

Ever so often he glances our way to keep tabs on us.  When we turn to head back to camp, Spike turns also.  Good boy!

Later we drive up to Quartzsite.

This may be a wasted trip.  Last time I shopped in Quartzsite, I couldn’t find anything for the crew.  I did ask the butcher that day if he had any chopped turkey.  Maybe he took the hint . . .

YES!  I scoop up six 16-ounce tubes of chopped turkey and  I pick out two big beef bones from the meat case.

There’s a water vending machine by the door.  I fill up eight one-gallon jugs before heading back to camp.


Spike and Bridget get eight ounces of turkey for supper. After supper I give them their own meaty beef bone. The bones are bigger than their heads and the nutcakes gnaw them with gusto.

Saturday, February 22

After a lazy morning — which is becoming a habit these days — I ponder what I can do besides read more of my book.  I need to do something productive. 

The Best Little Trailer is dull and grimy.

First I get my cotton rag mop and wipe off the dust on the shady side of the BLT where the outdoor rug is.  Then I pour some water in a basin and position my stepladder.  I wipe off the grime with a washcloth, section by section, conserving my precious water.

After drying each section, I remove any scratches with Meguiar’s Oxidation Remover.

The scratches aren’t deep.  They’re barely visible.  I try not to let brush and branches touch the BLT, but sometimes it happens.  I’m happy to see the remover works great removing the scratches with very little effort on my part.

Then I put on a thin layer of Meguiar’s Marine Wax. 


People say this is great for fiberglass.

It dries in a few minutes.  Next is the fun part.  I wipe off the wax to a beautiful shine, just as shiny as the day I first saw the BLT.  Now I have the front, back, and the back side (the side with no door) yet to do.

The back side is the side needing the most attention.

That’s the side that usually faces south or west and therefore receives the most direct rays of the harsh Arizona sun.

I can’t do anything with it the way the BLT is positioned.  I’ll have to move the BLT so the back side faces north.  That way the fiberglass will be in the shade and will stay cool enough to be waxed.

A job for another day!



Every purchase is important to me.  Here are a few examples of items ordered recently:

Fireside Burgundy Wine Indoor/Outdoor Reversible Patio/RV Mat
Reversible RV Patio Mat Blue/black/grey 9′ X 18′ Swirl Pattern
Pebble Smartwatch for iPhone and Android
Duofold Women’s Mid-Weight Two-Long Sleeve Crew Thermal
Maxxair MaxxFan Smoke Lid Remote Control
K-Cup Portion Variety Pack for Keurig Brewers, 50 Count


Thank you very much for buying your camera and accessories from Amazon through my blog.  Wow!  You bought some great cameras!  I appreciate the generous commissions I’ve received because of your thoughtfulness.



Spike cools off in the North Fork of the Virgin River near Zion National Park, May 2012

Okay. . . Can you identify the flowers in this post?

(1)  Chuparosa….. R. in Colorado

(2) Desert Chicory….  R. in Colorado

(3)  Desert Gold….. R. in Colorado

(4)  Phacelia….. R. in Colorado

(5)  Beavertail Cactus (small prickly pear)….. Connie & Mugsy

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137 Responses to The desert begins to bloom!

  1. Suzi from MD says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful desert flowers. Our snow is finally beginning to melt. I long for spring, but I’ll enjoy the sunshine and your beautiful photographs that you share through your blog-thank you:)

  2. Diane, Blue Ridge Mts. VA says:

    Sue I love the flowers! Learning about them is great, can’t wait to take the quiz. Glad you are putting the shine back on the trailer, I washed and put Zep floor polish on mine. So all I have to do is wash the dust off now. But your products may be better. Learn of the floor wax from the Fiberglass club I am a member of. it’s online.
    Now I’ll go off and try to identify the plants, fun.
    Will rest easy knowing your little buds have eaten so well and Spikes arthritis did not bother him today. Take Care

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Diane,

      I read about Meguiar’s on the Casita forum. Hope it holds the shine and protects the fiberglass well.

  3. CheryLyn(Oregon) says:

    Loving your desert pictures. I especially want to see the desert in bloom in person. Have been enjoying the many comments the last few days. It’s like a conversation among a big group of friendly acquaintances; funny, encouraging, informative, enjoyable. I always learn something. Thank You.
    I have a question. You mentioned that you park with your door facing east, is this a preference or is there another reason.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, CheryLyn,

      I park with the door facing either east or north. At this time of year I like it facing north because the sun is still somewhat low in the southern sky, throwing shade in the afternoon on the door side. East facing has a similar effect, only with more sunshine in the morning hours. I like facing east when the nights are cold. Personal preference. . . There are no rules.

      Yeah, the comment section has been wild lately!

    • Elizabeth aka E2/etwo S.E. NM says:

      These wonderful group conversations are so much better than those that are
      with actual people in a group….. Why you may ask? Cause there are no

      A new friend here in my park is a big man who talks loud and interrupts very
      frequently….. This blog is so much more fun!

      • Hey Elizabeth. I know what you mean. I never, ever understood interrupting people until I met my Todd. He does it often and in the early days I bit his head off for it. He says it’s the way his family talked with each other and it’s perfectly normal. I say no, it’s rude and ridiculous. Opposites attract I guess. The point I wanted to make here is that interrupting isn’t rude in all customs (just the decent ones ;-)).

        By the way, I think you’re fabulous. I try to read comments here with limited time and there are so many really neat people here but you’re one I think is off the charts cool.

        • Elizabeth aka E2/etwo says:

          WOW! What delightful comments! I feel greatly honored reading your words!
          The man I mentioned as being interruptive, explained
          that when he does that, he is honoring me with his
          interest in what I am saying, letting me know that he
          understands. Well, I told him that his interruptive
          behavior throws me off track in my story, that makes it a challenge to jump right back into, once I have answered his several questions! Also, when he quietly listens, there is no doubt in my mind that understanding is occurring!
          The result has been that now during our visits, when either of us wants to interrupt the flow, we raise a hand
          to let the speaker know we have a ? or comment! This
          works fine, until one of us forgets and just bursts out
          our thoughts!
          Yes, it is true that I too tend to ramble on and on and on in a rather assertive manner…. Two of us, whose
          manner is to talk…… well…. interruption happens! Dealing with it seems to be working! At this point,
          I am glad he is the only friend whose manner is so
          like mine! 😉

          Thank you Carrie for your VERY kind words!

          • You are so welcome Elizabeth.

            Sounds like you two have it worked out! Great idea. Todd has gotten a lot better about not interrupting too. I admit I tend to ramble some too, hehee.

            Hope you’re having a wonderful day! 🙂

  4. Alan Rabe says:

    How wonderful, I am first. Desert flowers are always a treat. I always loved going out a couple weeks after a big rain. Everything would be in full bloom, particularly the Palo Verdes and Mesquite trees with their millions of tiny yellow flowers. Washes would look like rivers of flame. I knew a bee keeper who would take his bees out to the desert to feed off the blooms. It made the most delightful spicy honey. I have never been able to find anything like it since. Yours pictures are lovely, I particularly like the little nosegay one. Did you use a special setting on the camera. I ask because the flowers are in perfect focus while the background is out of focus. This is not a trait of PandS cameras. Controlling depth of field is a true sign of a good photographer.
    The pups are very fortunate to have such a caring human. Love the photo of Spike in the Virgin river, a classic shot.
    Wishing you the best.

    • Alan Rabe says:

      Well I was first when I started.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Alan,

      You reminded me . . . I left out a close-up of a creosote’s yellow flowers. I’m trying to remember how I took the photo of the purple nosegay. I think I had it on automatic focus, believe it or not, and then made sure the flowers were in the center square. There are so many dang settings on this camera that most of the time I don’t know what I have going on. So much for the “sign of a good photographer.” Haha!

      It does make me feel good to read that you like my pics!

      Interesting about the bees visiting the desert blooms. There are places here where the hum of bees is quite pronounced.

      • Alan Rabe says:

        You once spoke of a setting where near objects were in focus while distant ones where out of focus. That is what I thought you were using. Give it a try next time you shoot flowers it should make the flowers the center of attention.
        Be careful of the bees in the desert. Most of the wild bees are of the African type and are very dangerous, they are the killer bees and are a real problem in AZ.

  5. Bruce and Sheila says:

    Kofa was my first real hike since my back surgery a couple years back. So worth it. I loved what I saw and wanted more. There is so much to see and do. I would do the Kofa again and again. Amazing how we restrict ourselves. I have for so many years. I love living the life.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Bruce and Sheila,

      At the rate the crew and I explore, we’d need to camp here for about five years before we’d get around to getting a good look at Kofa. Even if you pick one spot and don’t move, the changing light throughout the day will make interesting light and shadow on the mountains. . . and then there are the sunsets.

  6. Susan in Dallas says:

    Got to love those lazy mornings. The desert flowers are so beautiful and varied. We’ve been having some spring temperatures here in Dallas, but the trees are still bare and the grass is brown. I’m ready for the flowering bulbs and trees to begin their show. I’m also thinking it might be time for Canine Corner. Bet those two have lots to say about their change in diet.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Susan,

      I love flowering bulbs. Nothing says spring quite like crocus, daffodils, hyacinths, irises, and tulips.

      I was thinking the same thing about Canine Corner. Spike has something to say about his new diet!

  7. DeAnne in TN says:

    I must have racked up about 20 hits for you today waiting for a new post. The flowers are so pretty, and I can’t wait to see them “for real” myself. Every day without fail I submit another entry to a contest to win a free travel trailer. I know my odds are astronomical, but you never know! It keeps me dreaming. Better than thinking about the lesson plans and papers I am working on this weekend…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, DeAnne,

      Twenty hits? Sounds like me when I was dreaming. I’d check on Tioga George almost every hour on the weekends.

      Lesson plans and grading papers… YUCK! Good luck winning that travel trailer!

  8. Loved your flower photos. I have no idea what any of them are except the leaves & flowers on #4 remind me of primroses. Spikey is such an funny guy–‘I’ll walk my own path but never take my eyes off you.’ It snowed here on the island this morning & is supposed to repeat tomorrow. I guess we’re having our version of the polar vortex. Enjoy the sunshine & blooms, Sue!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Dawn,

      Is it unusual for you to get a lot of snow? “Polar vortex” . . . It sounds eery, like you could get caught up in it. Hang on! Enjoy what’s left of the weekend.

      • We typically have snow once or twice during the winter but accumulations are unusual. The tulips and daffodils are beginning to come up–it won’t be long for the month-long tulip festival in the Skagit Valley. Our polar vortex was very short–other parts of the country, not so much! Your photos are always stunning, Sue! This post prompted me to add plant identification books for the desert to my list–which will be ordered through your blog! Thank you–have a wonderful day!

  9. R. (Colorado) says:

    1 Chuparosa (Hummingbird Bush)
    2 Desert Chicory
    3. Desert Gold
    4. Desert Bluebells (Desert Canterbury Bells)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hmm. . . . I’ll look those up in my field guide. Thanks, R. Maybe others will confirm or rip your suggestions into bits. 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yes, that big, beautiful bush is Chuparosa!
      The second one is definitely Desert Chicory!
      Desert Gold is the third one!
      I’m not quite sure on the fourth one being Desert Cantebury Bells. I’ll go take another look.

      (I’m giving you credit at the end of the post.)

      • R. (Colorado) says:

        I looked one more time at the leaves of that plant and your description. It is Phacelia.

      • R. (Colorado) says:

        With those leaves should be notch-leaf phacelia or notch- leaved phacelia. A few other names for it are scorpion-weed, sometimes cleft-leaf or heliotrope phacelia. But it is Phacelia.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I looked up Phacelia. That’s it!

          If I’d given you the chance you would’ve identified all five!

          What are you… a horticulturist, botanist, or something?

          • R. (Colorado) says:

            I’m just an avid hiker and love wildflowers and this is why my hikes are sometimes so long. I stopped, take pictures and look at all details. You know, it is a good idea to have magnifying glass when taking your desert walks. Look closely. Sometimes those tiny desert wildflowers have astonishing details. I don’t feel I have a right to call myself an amateur botanist but I led a few wildflower hikes on Anza Borrego Desert SP

  10. Phyllis says:


    You can just go ahead and post a zero in your gradebook for me.

    Saturday’s will make you feel like you must be productive especially if the weather is nice. Thanks for the advice on the brake controller. It was installed today. I insisted the installer come with me out to the truck. While I was in the driver’s seat he put the controller in different places until we found just the right spot. I will never forget that post of you coming down that mountain and running that stop sign because your knee turned off the controller.

    OK another question since I have the rat and controller situation resolved. Looking back would you still buy the RV tow service. I remember something about a coupon you found. What is your take, suggestions, and other readers advice about a tow service. I have tow service through my insurance company for my vehicles. So many decisions, it is freaking exciting.

    I also bought a rubber mallet the other day, another RVSue must have.

    Phyllis in Oklahoma

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Ooh, a rubber mallet! Good for you! I love mine.

      Congratulations on the brake controller installation. Now you can check that off your list. Next?

      A coupon? Huh? I don’t remember any coupon. I don’t know anything about tow services. I have GEICO insurance which covers tows and also Good Sam Emergency Road Service which tows, among other things. I’ve never used either, so what do I know?

      Maybe someone else will share an opinion on tow services based on experience.

      • DeAnne in TN says:

        Let it me known that I live in a sticks and bricks and possess a rubber mallet! I find uses for it all the time!

        • Mary (MN) says:

          Ditto for me – sticks and bricks and rubber mallet, and often a sledge hammer too. 🙂

          All seriousness – hubby and I have contemplated the full time rv life but realized that full time life can mean enjoying life to the fullest so we will remain occasional travelers. 🙂

          • Phyllis says:

            But Mary in Minnesota and Deanne in Tennessee what if any tow membership do you have? Looks like Good Sam is vote one.

            Phyllis in Oklahoma

            • rvsueandcrew says:


              I posted your question again below, asking for input from readers. Hope it works!

            • DeAnne in TN says:

              Mine is included in my regular insurance through USAA.

            • Mary (MN) says:

              Phyllis, Per tow service – the truck is covered as part of the extended warrenty and we added on to the camper insurance to include a tow. However, we are vacationers, ont the road less then a month, and a few 2 or 3 day trips locally.

              If we ever go longer I would want more comprensive towing. On another blog I read about a problem they had with deciding where the camper/truck/motorhome was towed and the insurance only allowed the closest point, not the best and ended up costing them a lot more in repair bills. Something about small town versus bg town.

              Sorry, I wish I could be more help. 🙁

      • R. (Colorado) says:

        When does one use a rubber mallet?

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Pound things that are stuck or too hard to push with a small hand…

          Sometimes a mallet is preferred to a hammer to avoid damaging whatever you’re hitting or when it’s difficult to aim a hammer.

          I use mine in only a few situations but they are important…. like when the propane guy tightens the propane tanks too tightly. I use the mallet, striking the handle of a screwdriver wedged against the knob to get it to turn…. or when the cotter pins don’t want to go through the holes on the anti-sway bar. A mallet is good for unsticking whatever’s got stuck. Give ‘er a few whacks. . .

          When I had a house, the mallet was for pounding the lid down on a large paint can, among other things.

          • Phyllis says:

            You were holding back on us RVSUE. Thought you only used it for the pins. Propane tank issues, that is good to know. A colleague used his mallet during the recent ice storm. Ole Tex broke the ice off of his car with a rubber mallet.
            Phyllis in Oklahoma

          • John K - Mobile, AL says:

            Engineers golden rule.

            If it doesn’t move but should: WD-40.

            If it moves and shouldn’t: duct tape.

            Saw that the other day and got a chuckle.

  11. Grace says:

    Hi Sue,

    I think #3 is a baby Brittle Bush.

    We, here in Tucson, are very concerned about these early desert blooms. They are beautiful but I’m afraid the desert has been fooled into thinking it’s not going to get any more freezing temperatures. I sure hope it’s right. It’s not uncommon for us to still get a freeze before the end of March. That would be a very sad thing, for sure.

    But, we’ll just cross our fingers and hope for the continued warm, beautiful weather we’ve been having this winter. Such a pleasure!

    Grace (in Tucson)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Grace,

      The flower does look a lot like Brittlebush. I did some online checking, as well as looking in my field guides, and I have to agree with “R. in Colorado.” It’s Desert Gold.

      Brittlbush grows into a mound, as you know. This flower is small on a long stem that forks.

      I hear what your sayin’ about a freeze. Hope not!

  12. EmilyO of NM says:

    I may have missed it somewhere, but have you received your passport card yet? Did they tell you about how long it usually takes to receive the card? You got me on the flowers, guess had better go check out the book Geri left me ’cause they are gonna be in abundance here too before long. Enjoy.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Emily,

      No, I haven’t received my passport card. The address I gave is my SD mail forwarding address and I haven’t had my mail forwarded to me yet. I’ll never know how quickly or slowly it arrived.

      “R. in Colorado” has done a great job identifying the flowers. I’m posting the identifications at the bottom, below “Flashback” photo.

  13. SusanS says:

    I don’t know my wild flowers here let alone three state lines away!! (and I have forgotten to mention a few comments ago that I live in the south central scablands of Washington State, not west of the Cascades)

    How deep does Spike go in the water? Belly/chest deep? Or is he extra fearless and will go in and actually swim? Juneau will only go in chest deep. She does “snorkle” though. Sticks her head under water with her eyes open to check out what’s there.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, SusanS,

      Spike is like your Juneau. Chest deep is high enough. I’ve seen Spike swim quite well when he had to…. like when he jumped out of the inflatable into the bitterly cold Williamson River. It was way over his head. After the initial shock, he swam to shore with great haste. 🙂

  14. Robin in Central Coast California says:

    Sue (and Dawn),

    I too kept checking for a new post between grading essays. I finally give up and go out to dinner, and look what’s waiting for me after I get home and walk my boys! Lovely photos.

    Sue, take care with the meat portion of the crew’s raw diet being all/mostly turkey. I don’t know what supplements you’re giving, but turkey alone isn’t a complete protein. One of my two corgis is a rescue who suffered developmental damage as a pup (as did the entire litter) when his breeder fed the litter only turkey meat once they were weaned. Who would guess?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Robin,

      It’s good you posted that warning here. I’ll keep that in mind.

      The diet is evolving as I try new things which I’m doing gradually after the big change to raw and bones. This gives an idea . . . .

      ground turkey
      ground beef
      cubed pork chops
      cubed chicken
      liver and gizzards (Spike only)
      tuna fish
      cooked carrots
      salmon oil (Spike only)
      peanut butter (snack)
      cheese (snack)
      boiled egg (snack)
      raw egg (Spike only)
      Alpo (occasionally)
      pork neck bones/ribs
      beef knuckle bones/ribs

      My next Amazon order will include a nutritional supplement. Bridget is too finicky!

  15. Edie says:

    Really enjoyed this post with the pictures. The flowering cactus took me right back to my childhood where the pastures would be in full bloom with the pink and yellow on the beavertail.

    Glad Spike’s joints seem to be doing ok. It’s hell to get old, but better than the alternative… 🙂

    Have a happy day!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Edie,

      Those must be vivid memories of cactus blooms. My childhood was in upstate NY. My flower memories are violets, daisies, lily-of-the-valley, buttercups, jack-in-the-pulpit, goldenrod, wild roses, Queen Anne’s lace, and morning glories (the latter planted by my grandmother to cover the outhouse).

      I think Spike’s been on the Cetyl-M about two and a half weeks. I’m hopeful.

      Happy day to you, too, Edie.

  16. Krystina McMorrow says:

    WOW! This post covered things that I wanted to know yesterday! BECAUSE…I am now the proud owner of a 2011 Thor 25′ Four Winds!!!! Sooooo exciting. Yesterday I was wondering how to wash it while boondocking. Thank you for always explaining everything in detail. I have been paying close attention when you tell us the names of trees and plants and now you give us a quiz about them. Amazing. Your pictures are just amazing…flowers???? I am looking out the window here in Vermont and the snow banks are so high I cannot see my car behind them. Here is a question I have not been able to find the answer to: do I need to drive to South Dakota to get my license?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      CONGRATULATIONS, KRYSTINA! These are exciting days for you. I know you’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. I’m very happy for you.

      Tell us… Is this a Class A, Class C, fifth wheel, travel trailer? Not everyone, including myself, is familiar with Thor. I’ve heard the name and that’s about it. My online search only confused me more.

      About washing your rig while boondocked in the desert. At first I didn’t wash the BLT because I was in the desert. Finally my brain kicked into gear… “Gee, I don’t have to wash the whole thing at once.”

      So I’d wash a section using a basin of water and a rag, wiping dry as I went along. That way I could gauge my water usage and not empty out the water jugs if I weren’t planning to go to town soon. Section by section, eventually the job gets done.

      I remember those snowbanks to the roof of the car. (I lived near the NY/VT border.) It’s my pleasure to send some flowers your way.

      You only have to drive to South Dakota the first time you apply for a driver’s license. After that it can be handled by mail (at 5-year intervals).

      • Krystina McMorrow says:

        My forever home is a class C motorhome. I played in it for an hour and was totally comfortable…loved it. I am headed to my sister Michele’s house in NC first. Do I have until my Vermont license is expired to get the SD one?

        • rvsueandcrew says:


          I don’t know any rules about how long you can go without having your drivers license match your legal residence, titles, and registrations. I didn’t want to go longer than a year. I figure having all these items from the same state looks more legit when stopped by the law.

          I could hear the ranger or other law enforcement officer… “So, ma’am… You live in SD and have a GA drivers license. Explain that to me.”

          Plus I wanted to go to the Black Hills anyway!

        • Cinandjules (NY) says:

          When you “move” to another state….you turn in your current license…kind of an exchange!

          Sometimes they keep it…other times they punch a hole on the year of expiration.

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            I never turned mine in! Didn’t know that rule and I’ve moved several times in my life. Oh well . .. .

            • Cinandjules (NY) says:

              Ummm so you have valid DL’s from different states? Oy!

            • Cinandjules (NY) says:

              Press hard …..three copies!

              If you visit another state your DL is valid until the date of expiration.

              If you become a resident. Each state varies on the number of days you must exchange your DL. CA is 10 days.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              I shouldn’t have used the word “never.”

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              No, I turned them in, but not immediately. I carried the GA license for 10 mos. after I sold my house and left the state.

    • Pen says:

      Congrats on your new rig! Just a comment from one who has recently looked into domicile options (and who assumed SD would be “the one” but is now choosing something else): If you are going to be purchasing health insurance, take a close look at the “big three” and compare them (SD, FL, TX) (and/or any other you have in mind). I found SD to be a bit meager for health insurance options for me now (i.e. starting in 2014). Also, some of theirs aren’t open to folks who are not living there six months per year (this may no longer be true, but pre-2014 – at least the way I understood it – BCBS would not insure people who were domiciled in SD but not there at least 6 months per year).

      I hope it’s okay to mention a couple of other blogs here, because a couple of very good blog posts have been recently made for full-timers/health insurance by and

      Perhaps you are eligible for some health insurance connected to your past life or career, and if so (or for other reasons), this may not apply. But I just wanted to mention it in case it did. (Also note that I have nothing against SD, and had hoped to choose it, actually, being a northern/Midwest person.)

      • Krystina McMorrow says:

        Thanks for the info Pen. I am on Medicare and as far as I can see I am covered in the United States. Boy do I still have a lot to learn and I have been online reading about RVing for about 9 months.

        Thanks again 🙂


  17. Pauline from Mississippi says:

    How about swinging by here and polishing my car? 🙂 Love the pictures!
    Love to Bridget and Spike….and to you….Big hugs all around.

  18. Cinandjules (NY) says:

    Pretty flowers! Ummm my test got stuck in the scantron machine!

    Wow the crew eats off of Corelle? Miss pics of Spike’s soakings! Spike just wanted to check out the perimeter.

    Alan you made me laugh…!! Well I was first!

    The sun is out after 50mph winds last night! It’s an ice skating rink with all the snow melting. AO doesn’t like it!

    Have a wonderful day!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi,, Cinandjules,

      You know your Corelle patterns. Well, Bridget and Spike eat people food, guess they might as well eat off of people plates.

      50 mph winds. You gotta’ be kidding. What next! I’m with AO. I don’t like it either.

      Have fun!

  19. rvsueandcrew says:

    READERS, HELP PLEASE: Phyllis in Oklahoma is asking for recommendations for emergency service, specifically thinking of tow services. If you have had good experiences or heard of good experiences with a company, please respond below this message. Thank you!

    • Cinandjules (NY) says:


      For our RV we had Good Sam as we drove across the us. Prior to that we had AAA (don’t remember the plan) but they wouldn’t change the tire on a dually and there was a 100mile limit on towing. Which was no use to us…especially driving thru Nevada.

      Good Sam also gives you a discount if you want to stay at a place with showers. :). Heh heh

      Any plan you choose make sure you read the fine print! Of course there are horror stories involving all auto plan businesses.

      Good luck with your search! Hope this helps!

      • Phyllis says:

        Thank you
        I have had AAA for many years but didn’t think it was the way to go with an RV. Looks like 2 votes for Good Sam.
        Phyllis in Oklahoma

        • Barbara says:

          Was looking at the food variety and Robin’s warning on supplements. There is a site called that has many article on a supplements, food, nutrition, etc. for various life stages as well ailments.

        • Barbara says:

          AAA has an RV plan, that is different from you auto plan. However, I have heard many recommendations for Good Sam.

          • Phyllis says:

            Thank you B

            • Rose in AR says:

              As we arrived at our campground the brakes quit on our Class A. The day we left we called Good Sam. They recommended a shop about 30 miles from campground. We eased the coach up to the gatehouse to make it easier for tow vehicle to hook up. While talking to gate keeper he informed us that the repair shop Good Sam had recommended did not do coach repairs, just RV repairs. I called Good Sam back and told them what he had said and that I would prefer to take coach to place nearer home who had worked on coach before. They agreed although it was 20 miles further and did not charge us extra. Person on phone was VERY helpful. Thank you Good Sam!

            • Phyllis says:

              Great recommendation, thank you so much.

              Phyllis in Oklahoma

            • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

              For RVs, definitely go with a company that specializes in RVs… not cars. AAA can be a problem sometimes for RVers. So that rather leaves Good Sam and Coachnet. To be honest, they are about the same… you can find cheers and jeers about both of them on the Net. I used Good Sam with my previous RV, and my new one came with a free year of Coachnet, so I just renewed it. I’d flip a coin or see which is cheaper for you.

            • Phyllis says:

              Thanks, I hadn’t heard of Coachnet.

              Phyllis in Oklahoma

  20. I’ve never heard of (5) beavertail cactus, only prickly pear. Learn something new every day!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cindy,

      The cactus does look like a collection of beaver tails.

      • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

        Actually Sue was the first person I encountered who called it that. 🙂 It is an opuntia – or prickly pear cactus. I have also heard it called a “paddle cactus.” But beavertail also comes up on google, so Sue must not be the first ever.

        • Prickly pear–so is this the one that has little fruits you can make jam from?

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          The beaver tail cactus is a smaller subspecies of opuntia.. .

          The Beaver-tail Cactus is a smaller prickly pear cactus, and it will often start blooming when it has only two pads. . . . In the wild, its principal range is limited to the Mojave-Colorado desert. — from

          For those not familiar with this region, the crew and I are camped in the Colorado desert in Arizona. . .

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Thanks, Connie. I’ll add that to the identification list at the bottom of this post.

  21. Dawn in MI says:

    So…you went to town and the grocery store and bought food for the crew and water for you? Huh. That sounds like our house.

    • Mary (MN) says:

      Dawn, yup it is the same as our houses 🙂 Life is life whether we live it in a Casita in the desert or a sticks and bricks. Sue washes and polishes the exterior, we scrub floors, Sue does dishes and walks the dogs, same for me – only I refuse to walk the dogs in this cold and snow. They do get extra playtime in the house to compensate.

      Personally I think the lifestyle is more important then the type of house “Enjoying life more” 🙂 Go us sticks and bricks people, having fun and enjoying life. 🙂

      • Mary(MN) says:

        Dawn, As I sit in the sticks and bricks in the cold and the snow I have a hard time justifying to myself staying here, especially since the propane shortage mandates we keep the house cold. I posted some of my thinking on my website if you are interested. Mary

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          If I may creep into this conversation . . . I think our lifestyle choice for retirement boils down to this: our passion. Either one has a passion for full-timing or one doesn’t. For me it’s the only way I’d be happy.

          • Mary (MN) says:

            That is it Sue, you are self aware enough to know what you wanted AND you worked hard to save enough to make it happen for yourself. Yours is a precise definition of what I was thinking, no right or wrong – just right or wrong for each person. 🙂

            • Dawn from MI says:

              LOL…my point was only that she bought food for the crew and only water for herself…like we all sacrifice for our dogs. Wasn’t thinking about it as a comment on Sue’s full timing. Which, by the way I would love to do.

  22. Barbara says:

    Barbara says:

    February 23, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Was looking at the food variety and Robin’s warning on supplements. There is a website called that has many article on a supplements, food, nutrition, etc. for various life stages as well ailments.

  23. Chef AZ Jim says:

    I am assuming more and more tasks due to Detta’s failing vision. She is gradually losing her sight. I do all the driving of course and have assumed at least in part some of the household chores. I am slowly inching my way into the cooking business, though Detta still does the bulk of it. I have been making her and my lunch lately as a way to kind of learn my way around in the kitchen. But today that all changed, I became an expert at one sandwich. We have been buying “Steak-umms” at Safeway for quite a while as a handy and very quick way to make a nice sandwich but today I did it with a twist and next I’ll need to purchase a Chefs hat. I cooked two slices of the streak, it’s very thin, then I fried two eggs. I assembled the egg and steak on bread and added a slice of American cheese (NOT cheese food which I hate), then into the microwave on high for 10 seconds to soften the cheese slightly. What a wonderful concocshon. Pausing here for the thundering applause. Autographed photos will be available soon. Hi Sue and the little guys….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You know, Jim, you may be a natural cook. Once you learn the basics, there’s no telling how far you’ll go. You’re already having some fun with it.

      I’m sorry Detta’s vision is going. It’s good that she has such a loving husband who doesn’t hesitate “to step up to the plate,” or in this case, the stove. Warm wishes to you both.

  24. Kitt NW WA says:

    Fun to see the flower pictures and have names for them. I carry a flower guide when we hike in the mountains around here. So nice to see pictures from another world – a sunny, warm one!

    Winter has finally arrived in the far northwest. It is snowing and blowing here. We have freezing Fraser River Valley winds combining with coastal rain making for the perfect mini-blizzard. I know this does not compare to what the rest of the country is going though, but for us it is enough. It can quickly make for big drifts and nasty driving, especially out in the county.

    There is already talk of closing schools tomorrow. No doubt you can hear the kids (and teachers) whooping and hollering in AZ. When I was teaching, I too enjoyed the surprise days off. 1 1/2 years K-6 one room school, 11 years 5th grade, 11 years 7th grade and 1 year 8th, done!


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Kitt,

      Freezing rain turning into blizzard is not fun. You do need to be extra careful on the roads. I hope it doesn’t last long.

      Well, you paid your dues to the teaching profession. Time to relax and live life your way!

  25. Kathryn says:

    Hi Susan,
    I have been thinking about you and have enjoyed your recent postings. I am glad you are so happy and everything is well.
    Your Friend,

  26. Bill from NC says:

    Hey Sue so glad to hear Spike is bouncing around and being a bad boy!!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Bill,

      Spike doesn’t even sneak any more. He takes off right in plain view without so much as a “see ya!”

  27. Gayle says:

    Listening to an audiobook on the infamous CA 405 Freeway.

    “Traveling alone? People, places, things, ideas; if you call that alone.”

    Blue Highways
    A Journey Into America
    by William Least Heat Moon

  28. Don in Okla. says:

    Hi Sue
    For the life of me, I do not know how you keep up with all the comments!!! You have a very popular blog indeed! I know I sure enjoy it.
    Please, please watch out for snakes. I had a cold chill when I saw the path thru the grass. Snake territory for sure.
    Take care.
    Don in Okla.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Don,

      Consider me warned.. . It’s nice of you to care.

      I enjoy hearing from my readers!

      • Darci says:

        Hi, Sue,
        I am wondering if S and B have had the Rattle Snake vaccine? Or have you heard others talk about it down there? That is probably the biggest thing I worry about when it comes to thinking about boondocking down there with my two.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Hi, Darci,

          No, the crew has not been vaccinated. Al and Kelly of Travel with the Bayfield Bunch recently had their Pheebs vaccinated. They have a winter home in Congress, AZ, and have come across rattlesnakes in their hikes.

      • Alan Rabe says:

        The desert can be a very beautiful place and experience. But it is also very dangerous and if you visit it a lot there are things you need to be aware of. Not just cacti have thorns or spikes virtually every tree has spikes some 2 inches long. Many plants are poisonous, if it’s sap is white is is probably poisonous. Besides Killer bees, which I mentioned above and snakes as mentioned here, there are Scorpions, Gila Monsters, Tarantulas, and Black Widows. Scorpions, don’t sit in lose sand without kicking it about a bit, they like to hang out just under the surface. Most people get stung by sitting on them or leaning back and putting their hand on one. Gila Monsters like to hang out in cracks between layers of rocks, Don’t stick your hands in such places. Spiders aren’t that prominent but you do see them on occasion. Widows tend to hang out in old buildings. But the major killers of visitors to the desert is dehydration, take plenty of water. And flash floods, keep up on the weather forecast for at least 50 miles around. It can rain in the mountains 40 miles away and before you know it the wash you are hiking in is inundated with water.
        Take care and be safe.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Thanks, Alan, for that summary of dangers in the desert. These are things one needs to know before hiking, traveling, or camping in the desert.

          I do wish to add, for the sake of my readers who may be put off by that list . . . The crew and I have camped in the desert for three winters without any harm coming to us. It is possible to enjoy the desert without being stabbed, stung, poisoned, dehydrated, or killed. Like Alan says… “you need to be aware….”

          • Alan Rabe says:

            Very true, the statistics are very small. But every incident was preventable. Many times alcohol was involved and people did stupid things. Like the idiot shooting at a cactus. Just think about what you are doing and you will never have a problem.

          • Ed says:

            I’m glad that you posted this soft rebuttal to the ‘scare’ posting of Alan’s. He has a plethora of things that you need to worry about including the ever present threat from eating produce grown in Mexico.
            I just want to offer this about snake bites which others have been very concerned about.

            Rattlesnakes are one of the most feared reptiles slithering the planet, but people have a greater risk of dying from a lightning strike (which to this point you have not been warned of).
            About 8,000 people in the United States are bitten by snakes each year. Roughly 12 of those bites result in death, said Jennifer Houha, a reptile specialist for the American International Rattlesnake Museum in Albuquerque, N.M.
            Most bites are what experts call “dry bites,” in which no venom is released [about 25-50%], she said. A majority of those bitten are people who handle rattlesnakes as an occupation or have snakes as pets.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Or handling snakes is part of their religion, like the man who was bitten recently and died. I think he was in NC.

  29. Wheeling it says:

    Well I’m just loving the bloom pics! Looks like this warm AZ winter is giving us all an early desert bloom (much earlier than usual). We’re seeing the start over here in eastern AZ, but it’s not as advanced as what you’re getting.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Nina . . . The past few months of “endless summer” in southwestern Arizona have been wonderful. 🙂 I would guess you’re at a higher elevation, although not by much. That was a pretty boondock you were in, south of Tucson. I thought I’d be over that way by now. Can’t seem to leave this place!

    • Alan Rabe says:

      It takes a good rain, but when you get it the California poppies come up and cover the desert floor like a blanket. Along with the Palo Verdes and Mesquite, with their yellow flowers it can make for a truly amazing view.

  30. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    I’ve noticed that you rarely use your awning? Even if you are alone [are we ever alone) you can put up your awning and take it down all by yourself. Just wind it out a couple of feet, get on your step ladder and put the legs down about four inches from the ground and tighten the screw on each leg. Now wind the awning out until the legs are touching the ground. Raise the legs about two inches and start walking the legs out a foot or so at a time until the awning is out all the way. Reverse the process to put it back in. It will be so much easier to polish the BLT with the awning up as it will give you the shade you need. No need to move the BLT, just do one side one day and the other side the next day. The Care-Free manufacturing company makes a nice product and this is the one I use. You can see through this screen netting material so you don’t feel hemmed in. You should be able to find it on Amazon. It is only $109.00 or so and you need the awning and sun shade for protection from the Sun. I keep mine out all the time in the spring and summer, only putting it in when the wind gusts to over 30 mph. My wife freaks out thinking the awning will rip to shreads in a gust of 30 mph but the awning is pretty tuff and will hold up nicely. The awning that comes from the Casita factory has a little channel built into the front that allows the sun screen to slide into it nicely. When new it is a little hard to make it slide in so tilt the right end of the awning down at an angle of a couple of feet to push the netting into the channel. A bar of soap rubbed on the fabric might help you push it into place. It gets easier with time and you will love sitting in the shade enjoying the outdoors with you and the crew protected.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Joe,

      Thanks for the tutorial on how to set up a Casita awning and all the information about it. Maybe there is someone reading this who doesn’t know these things about a Casita.

      I’m not using my awning right now because I don’t need it. My sitting area is on the north side of the BLT and it is in shade all day long.

      Putting out the awning isn’t going to put shade on the other side of the BLT. The only way I can accomplish that is to reposition the BLT so the non-awning side faces north (which would put it in shade all day.)

  31. Diann in MT says:

    Thanks for the flower pics. Sure is nice to see one tiny piece of our country in bloom during the winter that won’t end. Endless snow piling up in central Montana probably on it’s way to the Midwest.
    Nice work all who ID’d the plants!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’ve learned some more plant names with this post. Glad you enjoyed the flower photos. I can see where you’d think this winter is endless. Maybe next winter will be a mild one . . .

  32. Edie says:

    Ok, I hate to mention this. But that pathway does look like a good place to watch for snakes. And when I was a kid, about the time the cactus bloomed, we started seeing the first rattlesnakes.

    Take your walking stick and make lots of noise.

    Do you have a snakebite kit for you and the crew?

    Not trying to scare anyone. Awareness and preparedness.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Edie,

      No, I don’t have a snakebite kit. Our walks are limited now to places close to camp where the vegetation is sparse.

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