The road to vagabond living: “Euphoria!”

In an instant I realize that living and traveling in an RV is the life for me!

I know almost nothing about camping, and even less about RVing.  So what do I do? Google search, of course!  I type in “RVing” and, after that, “camping.”

(In those days relatively few blogs and forums existed.)

Voraciously I devour all the information I find.

I learn about the phenomenon known as “full-timing.”

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All of the photos in this post are scenes around our present camp off Vulture Mine Road south of Wickenburg, approximately 55 miles northwest of Phoenix.

I read Tioga George’s blog from the beginning. 

I enter forums and ask questions.  All weekend I’m at the computer, except for necessary meals, breaks and a little sleep.  I discover that George isn’t the only one living in a home on wheels.  Oh my gosh, the freedom to roam when and where I want . . .   What an incredible way to live!

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Two saguaros and the wash, as seen from our campsite

At one point I’m so excited that I jump up from the computer desk and pace around the room, fists above my head, possibilities swirling in my mind.

“I have GOT to do this! Good God Almighty, I have GOT to do this!”

Bridget, Spike, and Janie, ignored for hours, pick up my excitement.

The three of them chase each other around the house.  Spike’s excitement reaches fever pitch.  He runs into the bedroom,  jumps on the bed, crashes through the pillows, flies off the bed, races back to the living room, performs a bank turn, high on the back of the sofa, leaps six feet out to the floor, skids on the corner to the hallway and around the track again!

“GO, SPIKEY, GO!”

Bridget and Janie try to keep up, but after a while they drop out of the chase to catch their breath.  All four of us collapse on the bed.

I wrap my arms around the warm heap of happy, panting canines and laugh.

Oh, how I laugh!  I laugh until my eyes fill with tears.  I haven’t laughed like this in years. 

“We are going to do this, guys.”

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Reach to the sun!

Falling back on the bed, I gaze upward at the ceiling, eyes brimming.

I don’t know how, but, dammit, we are going to do this. Whatever it takes,  I’ll find a way. 

It’s time for me to live!

One day, some time later,  I’m reading — or perhaps re-reading —  one of George’s posts.

He has parked his Class C motor home on a small hill outside a village.  Not wanting to break camp, he removes his bike from the back of the RV in order to pedal his way to the grocery store.

By now I have the habit of putting myself into George’s blog.  I imagine myself in a Class C and I imagine myself doing what George is doing, riding a bike into town for groceries.

Wait a minute . . .

How am I going to pedal into town with three dogs?

(Note:  I hadn’t yet made the difficult decision that only two of my dogs could vagabond with me.)

I can’t have them running alongside my bike.  I can’t leave them behind in the RV.  What if it’s hot? 

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A long view of the same wash, looking to the northwest.

I begin to take into account how my situation, personality, and interests differ from George’s.  I become aware that what works for George may not work for me and my canine family.   I need to devise my own plan.

I move from the euphoria stage to the analysis stage.

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Our house on a hill

In upcoming posts, I’ll write about how my vision for full-time living on the road evolved, including the very important choice of a rig and how I managed to come up with the means to obtain it.

Saturday, March 22  through Monday, March 24

These three days consist of taking long walks with Bridget and Spike, snapping photographs, relaxing in the shade of the Best Little Trailer, reading my kindle, watching the many birds flitting around our front yard and flying across the wash that curves around the promontory on which we reside.

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Perfect weather. . . Cool mornings are for exploring

I set out a pan of water and stick orange halves on the palo verde tree in our front yard.

These are well received and enjoyed by several varieties of birds, some bees, and a sneaky, brown lizard (salamander?) about five inches long who darts out from the rocks and retreats in a flash.

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I find this nest built only 3 feet up from the ground.

Sunday I’m in the lounger reading when our most frequent visitor, a dusty tan, curved-bill thrasher, once again appears on the rocks of the fire ring to look us over.

I keep very still, looking down at the e-reader in my hands.  Sneaking a peek to the side I watch as the bird hops onto the ground closer to me and to the open door between us. 

Oh my gosh, he’s going inside!

Sure enough, he hops up on the step and into the BLT!

That nosy, little devil.  Inwardly I chuckle at his audacity.  Hey!  No drop-in visitors!  A moment later out he flies and I return to my reading.

The next morning . . .

Bridget and Spike are back in bed, dozing, their bellies full of breakfast.  I’m sitting at the table at the rear of the BLT, drinking coffee and responding to comments.  The front door is shut as it’s still chilly outside.

Quick movement at the window grabs my attention.

Pat -pat – pat – pat . . . Tiny footsteps on the roof!  Oh, this is too funny!

I know it’s our friendly and quite persistent pal, the curved-bill thrasher.  He walks across the roof and pecks on the ceiling vent, tapping out a clear invitation . . .

“Hey, you in there!  C’mon outside and join us!  It’s a beautiful day!”

rvsue

I APPRECIATE YOU SHOPPING AMAZON FROM MY BLOG!

Here is a sample of recent purchases:

RIO Adventure Compact Expandable Table
Tuff Plastic Frame 4-Pak Readers- by American Reading Glasses
Volcano 3 Collapsible Cook Stove
Skechers Women’s Sweetpea Fashion Sneaker
Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Coffeemaker
Vintage Travel Trailer Drop Earrings

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“This is fun, isn’t it, Spike . . . .”

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143 Responses to The road to vagabond living: “Euphoria!”

  1. Ladybug says:

    I’m here to smell the flowers!

  2. Diann in MT says:

    Nearly first! Gotta act quickly, I see. LOL

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Don’t forget to read the post. 😉

    • Diann in MT says:

      The joy of your discovery was infectious to the pups! What happened to Janie?
      Thanks for sharing, Sue.

      • Robin in Central Coast California says:

        I love hearing your ‘back story’! And I too started thinking of Janie. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with all of us.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        My friend and former colleague in Georgia adopted Janie.

        You can see Janie and read about her new home by clicking these links:

        “About face”

        “Blind dates can be tricky”

        • Diann in MT says:

          Thanks, Sue. Thanks for being so careful about placing Janie. The person with the allergies was certainly not a choice!!! You are such a good person to have persisted in finding the perfect home. Romeo is certainly a Romeo, and perhaps a Spike substitute. LOL
          I am a bleeding heart when it comes to animals without homes. Janie has been a lucky dog. Do you ever correspond with her adopted family?

  3. weather says:

    laughing more than you had in years,with the immediate reaction that”I’m going to do this!”Wow,do I love that being what came out of you.Such healthy,strong and life filled moves,despite the exhausting and mind numbing years and situations you’d endured.This pretty much rests my case for your story as example for”the overcoming hero in the great saga” now doesn’t it?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I don’t know how to answer that, weather. Everyone has their own “great saga” if they live long enough. If it’s heroism to fight for what one wants, well, okay. 🙂

      • weather says:

        to fight for what one wants, to some, may be demanding to be first in line,or any will affirming action that, while it might take courage,is performed within minutes,and for that one,may be stretching them to their capacity,and so would be achieving heroism worthy of encouragement.When,however,it becomes day after day,weeks turning into years, inevitable bouts with obstacles offering discouragement as you cut every tether holding you from freedom,as has been your journey,even those without the ability for profound empathy would recognize heroism,hence,your story’s rare quality as an example understandable and loved by so many

        • weather says:

          my sleeve hit a button ending reply.I truly believe your followers have the ability for profound empathy mentioned,I read everyone’s comments with a warming appreciation as I see so much genuine care being expressed.The reference to example is so I have something to share with people who just don’t “,get it”,-yet…

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            The readers of this blog are very empathetic people. Their response to the Rusty and Timber story amazed me.

  4. Cinandjules says:

    OMG you had me laughing about Spike tearing around the house like a wild banshee! When I got to the “high bank” I lost it. Jules looks up from her logic problem book and says,”what are Sue and the crew up to now?”

    You are such a tease….with the story. Can’t wait for the next chapter! Certainly you were on a mission!

    No visitors implies to all! Funny!

    Enjoy!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Spike used to go insane with excitement. One time he ran outside and circled the house a couple of times — at high speed, of course — to express his excitement. I’d love to see him do that again.

      Ah, Jules… Lounging around, reading a logic problem book. . . 🙂

      • Cinandjules says:

        I’m sure he feeds off of you….he still has it in him. Try it one day! OMG OMG YAY YAY clap hands…he’ll stand up on his hind legs….Go Spikey Go! Dust cloud in the desert! 🙂

        I know AO gets all excited after she poops cuz we do. She can’t keep her back feet on the floor!

        Pooooppie cookie! Whoooooeee!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Your puppy sounds adorable!

          No, Spike’s days of running like a maniac are over. I’ve tried cheering him on. He reserves his excitement for mealtime, hopping up and down, stamping his front paws, while I prepare his plate.

  5. Cinandjules says:

    Opps I forgot the “up”….in the what are Sue and the crew…..

    The ipad has an auto I’m trying to read your mind function…and if I’m not careful it types something totally off the wall!

  6. Lacy says:

    See? RVSue and Crew’s living arrangements sound so good online, even the wildlife wants in on it!

    😀

    Lacy

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Lacy,

      I am about to believe that thrasher wants to become a member of the crew! All day today he’s been running around our campsite (yes, thrashers like to run around), squawking and whistling, giving us the eye.

      At one point, I looked up at him and laughingly said, “Do you MIND? I’m trying to read here.”

      • Lacy says:

        Bossy little sucker, huh?

        I had to come back and read your post again because I get excited for you while reading it! But Spike has me beat – I don’t do so good when it comes time to jumping on the furniture 😉

  7. Alan Rabe says:

    I am always amazed at how friendly natures creatures can be. We are all meant to co-exist in this world. It is all part of the plan.
    Eureka moments in life are always exciting and once made you always realize it was so obvious why didn’t you think of it before. If you want to be able to move around you just take your home with you. What type of home is entirely up to you. Your options are as varied as the normal stick and brick houses, from basic to luxurious. Each to their own needs.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It was an obvious choice for me, once I saw RVs. At this point in my story, all I knew were uber-Class As, as realistic an option for me as a mansion on Mars.

  8. Susan Smith says:

    OK, I have gone back & am reading your “story” from the beginning…I am to June, 2011….and you are responsible (partially) for we two deciding we will do the same..house is already for sale…we are now thinking Van instead of Pickup–weighing pros & cons….pretty sure pull trailer. We have a little one now–17′, but it will go bye bye….only problem 8 cats….they have heard us talking & some of them have worried looks. Probably not tell them the whole story until later…Great pictures! Thanks for feeding the birds/lizard!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re only at June 2011? Boy, have you got some adventures ahead to read!

      Lots of decisions ahead. . . Good luck selling the house!

  9. PJ Carr says:

    Thank you for sharing all this information with us. We are 5 years from being able to retire “early”. We have so many decisions to make regarding this new lifestyle.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, PJ. Yes, you have a LOT of decisions to make. Fortunately you don’t have to make them all at once. Although everyone’s situation is unique, I hope my future posts about decisions I made will help you make yours.

  10. Lolalo says:

    I am thoroughly enjoying your saga. It is so interesting to see how similar your search has mirrored mine. But I still have a few months to go before getting out there. I, too, had never heard of ‘full-timing’ until I started searching the internet, and most people I mention it to now are dumbfounded and think I have lost my mind. They just don’t understand. It all begins to come together and you suddenly see the light – a perfect way to be able to travel and see what this country offers. Although so much has been destroyed, there is so much still there to see. It’s the little things.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Lolalo,

      I bet you’ve wondered at times… What if I never heard of “full-timing?” It was by pure chance (and then again, maybe not) that I stumbled across George’s blog.

      Yes, so much to see… from the vast expanses to the tiniest flower . . .

  11. Rita from Phoenix says:

    I can see Spike tearing around the room….like my Chowder use to do and yes he also banked high off a sofa back…sigh. Chowder caught parvo soon after we adopted him and was very sick and almost lost him. He spent time in hospital and daily treatments to recovery but he has never been the same. He tires easy. We were assured he had all his shots but apparently not…so sad. Love your tiny, nosey, and annoying visitor… isn’t he cute! My niece discovered hummingbird nest in her back yard tree….I thought they went north for summer. The other day my son wondered whatever happened to that annoying bird at Walmart. We’d hear this awful screech, car horn tooting, and other loud noises all made by a black bird sitting on the roof of Walmart. He/she lived at Walmart for almost a year and then disappeared.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Rita,

      That’s sad about your Chowder. On the bright side, he survived and he has you to love.

      As for the blackbird… Would you be able to live at WalMart for more than a year? Hah-ha!

  12. DesertGinger says:

    Love the story, and even more, the persistence and determination you demonstrate. As you know, I am in the middle of changing my life, and sometimes I’m a little discouraged. Just went to have more fluid drawn off my knee (ouch!) and doc says I am on it too much…that’s why it isn’t healing. But how can I stay off it when I am packing, cleaning, storing, etc. so I guess I have to figure out a new strategy. All my alternate strategies cost money, darn it. But I guess I am going to have to hire some help. Trying my best to be out of here by April 4. Don’t know if I will make it.

    Once I get moved, my next effort will be to save up for a TT and PTV. I hope to do that within 2 years, so I can hit the road in the summers. That’s my dream anyway. So I’ve been thinking on ways to earn money too.

    A few years ago, my pal Sheila and I were planning our first trip to Europe. A highlight for us was Paris; I wanted to see the art. The interesting thing was that when she told her friends and family we were going to Paris, they all said ‘why?’. We were dumbfounded. It never occurred to us that others might not be interested in traveling and seeing the world. Lots of people will never see the attractions of downsizing, living simply, traveling. That’s ok with me, otherwise they might all be there when I get there..,and that’s not what I want to see.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Ginger,

      I’ve found that whenever I’ve tried to “buck the tide” of circumstances, it’s been a poor strategy. It’s not always possible, but when it is, accept an alternative.

      At the end of your comment, beginning with “Lots of people will never see the attractions of . . . . ” You touch on something my blog has done for me (and maybe others). It’s shown in a very real way how life is better when lived simply and honestly.

  13. Pauline from Mississippi says:

    How much fun!! I can just see Spike in his excitement. I believe he and Sassy and Charlie are cousins….that is what they do when they are chasing each other. Really enjoyed this post….I enjoy all of them. Love you

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pauline,

      Always a treat to read your reaction to my stories. I bet you get a lot of laughs out of your two “nutcakes.” 🙂 Love you, too.

  14. rhodium says:

    Its so much more effective to demonstrate how to live a good life than talk about it. Did you ever wonder that if you had not had George’s example, the web pages and forums on full-timing would have still convinced you to try it? Anyone would have needed a lot more courage. Now you are nucleating a new group of readers to join you (in spirit, no drop ins) wasting away in Casitaville.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, rhodium,

      It’s difficult for me to answer your question because without George’s example I wouldn’t have known this full-timing option existed. It came at me “out of left field,” a total surprise. I might not have thought of it.

      • I’ve always liked that phrase “out of left field.” I guess that’s why I chose that as part of the title for my blog. That, plus the fact that I’ve been known to occasionally make a sudden shift in subject as if from out of left field. 🙂

        Tioga George’s blog is also the first full-timing blog I happened upon as well, although not my first exposure to the lifestyle. Some friends told us about a couple workcamping at Yellowstone who lived out of their RV. We then met a full-time couple who were camp hosting at Lake Cascade State Park in Idaho. they graciously spent several hours with us discussing the lifestyle. After that, I was hooked on the idea and have been ever since. Now to get out there!

  15. Susan in Dallas says:

    Sounds strange but the desert where you are now sort of looks “lush” at least in a desert kind of way. So many beautiful plants. Great photos. I can identify with your “conversations” with yourself. I had the same type of experience when I got laid off from my secretarial job on Christmas Eve many years ago. I then had to realize that I would need a better paying job to support myself and my son. Also knew I had not achieved my dream to become a teacher, so the day after the holiday, I put the house up for sale, started downsizing and applying to the college where I had started over 10 years before. I can still remember the joy, excitement, and fear that went through my head! It was GRAND!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good for you, Susan! You turned things around. Life has a way of shaking things up when we aren’t on our own, true path.

      You say that “joy, excitement, and fear . . . was GRAND!” It does take a bit of fear or apprehension to heighten the experience, like freshly ground pepper!

  16. GypsyPurl says:

    I’ll bet you were excited with the anticipation of your new “free” life. I can just see Bridget, Jane and Spike jump around, he is such a character. I laugh so hard when you write about their antics. I hope Jane is well and happy. I love when Spring returns, trees and flowers budding and the birds hurrying to build their nests. I have a nest that was leftover from last year in a corner on my front porch. I just left it there and the new residents moved right in. I’m going to try that with the orange slices in my back yard. I fill bird feeders almost daily and last year I hung a feeder for hummingbirds on the deck. At first everything was fine, the little birdie would get a sip, go back to the nest then return a few minutes later for another drink. While sitting very still and watching I noticed the bird went in another direction. There were multiple nests. So I put out another feeder and soon a Bird War started. They ignored the flowers and were laying their personal claims to the feeders, also our deck. From now on the feeders will go on hooks and placed out in the yard. Love the blog, Sue. You keep it so interesting and with the Crew there is never a dull moment. This is one trip I am truly enjoying. Stay safe.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, GypsyPurl,

      Those hummers can be very territorial. You can put out grapefruit halves as well as orange halves. I ate an avocado (straight from the skin, scooping with a spoon and leaving some) and put the avocado halves on the palo verde, too. I saw a sparrow eat it, but not as enthusiastically as with the orange.

      Enjoyed your comment… Glad you “love the blog.” 🙂

  17. Pam says:

    Enjoy the blog but most especially looking forward to hearing more about how you made your escape.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pam,

      Yeah, so far I’ve written about my state of mind… Now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty… How I made the dream happen!

      • Gayle says:

        I’m enjoying your retrospective look at your RV decisions. There is a quote that says: Life is happening FOR you, not TO you. I think your decisions and lifestyle prove that quote.

  18. Barbara says:

    Okay, I am on pins and needles for the next chapter.
    The blooms in yesterday’s post were awesome. Like I said before, I’m truly amazed at all the blooming/flowery plants in the desert.
    I am so ready to be roaming about the countryside.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Barbara,

      Aren’t the flowers wonderful? The saguaros have white tops now but no sign yet of buds. I’ll miss those blooms probably.

  19. DougB says:

    Welcome to Wickenburg! I noticed your BLT with antenna as I was driving to another campsite. It’s like a celeb is visiting the area! If the temps hold up like this for a few weeks more, I’ll be thrilled. Enjoy that fab view of the peak!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, DougB,

      Welcome to my blog! Are you the Class A across the wash? It is lovely here, isn’t it… Yes, the weather is great and no sign that it’s going to leave us. Enjoy your camp!

      • DougB says:

        No no, that Class A would be the “mansion on Mars” thing. I was checking in on a vanner friend along your trail and noticed your rig in the distance. I’m camped several miles back toward town on State Trust in a “vintage” TT. You can view the wreckage if you Google “Strolling Amok”. Your whole trailhead area has quite the inspiring views, and made me realize that convenient proximity to town isn’t everything…

  20. Darci says:

    Hi Sue,

    Question about your internet because I am hoping to install mobile internet on my unit. Do you use SKYPE? If so, when you are close to cities or towns how is your connection? I teach online. If anyone else knows the quality of SKYPE with this kind of mobile internet I would totally appreciate any insight. Thank you.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Darci,

      No, I don’t use SKYPE. My internet connection is very good near towns, usually 3-5 bars.

      READERS: Anyone have any experience with SKYPE while on the road?

      • Elizabeth says:

        We are not on the road yet as you are…but we take our MiFi along with us wherever we go…cause we need our Skype in order to do our language class every week!! I am pretty illerate…but we have used it in large cities as well as small…not so sure on a system like you have Sue…but hubby might know…he is sleeping right now…can ask him tomorrow and see…
        As always so enjoy the details of HOW you accomplished this lifestyle…and again, you are one courageous woman!!

      • Casitagirl says:

        Hi Sue,

        We use Skype and google chat on the road and both work just fine. My husband hooks to the internet using his verizon phone. My brother lives near Frankfurt, Germany and last summer we sat next to a beautiful lake in the northern Mi woods, chatting away on my iPad. We could walk around and show him the lake and our campground. It’s nice to stay a bit more connected than email, Facebook or phone allows.

      • Cinandjules says:

        I used Skype while “on the road” in CA. While it’s free at home with WiFi ….it uses a lot of GB when you’re connected thru your cell service.

        I went used 10GB in a very short amount of time. As long as you have a good signal…Skype works well.

        Apple has a similar feature called FaceTime…which can go from any “I” product. I’m not sure what the “cost” in GB amounts to.

        • Casitagirl says:

          We are fortunate to have unlimited data with Verizon. We signed up with a family plan several years ago, back when they were still allowing unlimited data and haven’t upgraded since then. I suppose some day we’ll need to upgrade our phones and then will get stuck with hefty fees for data….but until then……

    • EmilyO in NM says:

      Kim teaches online and while she is traveling. She has a link to info about her “Office On Wheels”. She is at home now.

  21. euphoria stage to the analysis stage Very astute and important detail for sure. Sue this looks like a very valuable post for some of the dreamers out there. Good of you to share the transition and process. Looking forward to more…

  22. TexasTom says:

    I miss George’s blog. He was the reason I looked for other blogs with that wandering lifestyle that has changed all my plans for the future. I am an avid reader of your blog because of him. Hope his world is better and he is happy.

    The crew, the crew,
    I love the crew,
    What would you do,
    without the crew?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Without the crew,
      what would I do?
      Boo-hoo, boo-hoo,
      That’s what I’d do . . .

      Hi, Tom . . . You know how I feel about George. Hated to see all those simple, honest, forthright posts come to an end. I join you in hoping he is in a good place and is happy.

  23. linda says:

    The other day you mentioned George in your blog And I was going to write then, anyhow, he was the first blog I read and got inspired about solo travel. I had caregiver duties that took priority so kept looking for and finding lots of interesting blogs then found yours. Of all the ones I read I feel more connected to yours. I have learned more about the day to day ups and downs…the real stuff, which has expanded my knowledge to prepare me for my own journeys.
    I can’t wait for more of your story.
    Did you have butterflies in your tummy the first time you pulled out on your first trip?

    Dreaming of walk-abouts!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Linda,

      Thank you for your loyalty to my blog. I’m happy that reading about my daily doings has given you an inside look into RVing the simple, modest way.

      Butterflies? My first time towing the Best Little Trailer happened on the day I picked it up at the factory in Rice, Texas. I had seen it for the first time only moments before. I didn’t have much time for my elation at seeing my new home for the first time to wear off. I guess I was feeling a mixture of happy excitement and trepidation about towing the BLT in an unfamiliar area.

      I remember I was only about a mile away from the factory when I realized, “Hey, this is easy!” When I arrived at Navarro Mills State Park, I had friends to guide me for the first back-in, set up, and breaking of camp. You can read about those days in the archives for August 2011 and forward. (I picked up the BLT on 8/16/11.)

      • Linda Bailey says:

        Thanks Sue, I will go back to the “beginning”.
        The reason you have more people comment than any other blogger on the planet is that you give a heartfelt reply to each one, which is the extension to your blog. Like Bonus Blog. I learn so much from this part as well….still a teacher at heart.

  24. scott says:

    Hey Sue! This is the first time I’ve ever commented on your site (or anyone elses) but I’ve been a constant reader for a while now and love it! I am about two years away from doing what you do and I’m really having a hard time “staying in the moment” so to speak with my current situation. Do you have any tips on how to do that? Im sure you went through the same thing.
    I find it very amusing how my interest have changed over the years from watching football and the like, to reading a blog about a retired woman living in an rv with her doggies 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Scott,

      Welcome to my blog and to this “comment community!” Thank you for being a “constant reader.”

      I don’t remember having a hard time staying in the moment. Maybe that’s because I was a middle school teacher and if you don’t stay in the moment in that job, you DIE.

      When I left work each day and for the weekends, I was happy NOT to be in the moment. I lived in my dream, constantly visualizing it. Being a loner and single, there weren’t people around me at home to criticize me for not paying attention. 🙂 Sorry.. not a helpful answer!

      There is life after football! Good for you!

  25. Lisa says:

    So glad you’re sharing how it all started. I’m really enjoying reading these posts. I remember your posting on fiberglass rv forums about your new full timing blog and that’s what made me start reading. Looking forward to the next post about how you decided on your rig and worked toward your goal!!! Thanks for sharing!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Lisa,

      You’re welcome. Wow, you’ve been with me and the crew for a long time!

      Yes, I need to write some ‘meat and potatoes’ information in the next of this series.

  26. rvsueandcrew says:

    Hi, Pat,

    No, I haven’t heard anything about George. I didn’t know he had a private blog. I figure the man has earned a private life after all the years he opened his daily life and innermost feelings to the world. I’m sure you agree. But we miss him, of course! He accomplished enough with his blog to be truly satisfied. It was a lot of work. I bet he’s enjoying retirement from blogging.

    You’re right, no “mega dollar” stuff going on in this blog! 🙂

  27. DeAnne in TN says:

    Two observations…That thrush has definitely learned how to beg! It has probably worked for him in the past.

    When I first saw the second picture, the cactus on the right looks like it has another cactus on its back. I can see a head, an arm around the other and a leg bent up. Can anyone else see it?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, DeAnne,

      I don’t know about the other readers, but I, like you, see a man standing behind a woman. Her left arm is bent at the elbow and resting across her waist. The man is kissing her neck with his arm around her. I can’t look at that cactus — in real life — without see that!

      When I posted the photo I wondered if anyone would see the same thing . . . and it turns out, you did!

      Yes, the thrush is a beggar. I’m convinced the previous campers in this spot put out birdseed in addition to citrus halves.

  28. Micky from Monterey says:

    So fun and motivating to read abut your ‘ah-ha!’ moment. Thanks Sue, for continuing to be my shining ‘north star’. I’m down to 127 days to retirement now! I took my little Casita, “Wandering Spirit”, out for the first time a couple of weeks ago, for a kind of shakedown experience. Learning, learning, learning! My crew is two Goldens, quite large, but where there’s a will there’s a way, and I know we will manage just fine.

    I’m in the major process right now of finding homes for all my ‘stuff’. Wow, what a job, and though I now live in only about 800 sq feet, I’m finding it amazing how much one can collect that is really so unnecessary. I’m actually looking forward to living in a minimalist way, not being connected to so many ‘things’. Letting Go is not as hard as I thought it might be….in most cases.

    I don’t comment much, but I look forward to each and every blog entry you make, and each and every comment from readers. What an excellent education I’m getting! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Micky,

      Yes, you will do fine with your “quite large” canine crew members. You love them, they love you, and together you’ll continue living and loving. Congratulations on your first experience with Wandering Spirit!

      Downsizing is a lesson in how materialistic we are in this society, even for spendthrifts like me.

      As I’ve written before, getting rid of the stuff is liberating, not only physically but mentally. The more you lose, the more you gain!

  29. Dedra says:

    Your story is so exciting! I would buy an e-book from you in a moments notice.
    Your story give me hope and the courage to continue looking forward to this type of life.
    Thank you Sue and of course the crew!

  30. TexasTom says:

    Navarro Mills State Park was my parents favorite place to camp and fish. It was my dads last camping spot after my mother past and I spent it there with him.

    You blog reaches to places far past where most would think. Keep it up.

    As for the lose of the crew some time down the road (I hope it to be a long way off). Remember it is that fact that makes the time with them so special and wonderful. We all have lots of endings in our lives and most are past our control. Luckily most of our beginnings involve choices.

    Boondock on Sue and the crew.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Tom,

      As Spike ages, with Bridget following behind, my tenderness for them both expands, knowing I won’t have them with me forever.

      I’m happy that mentioning Navarro Mills brought forward poignant memories for you.

  31. rhodium says:

    Its really interesting to read how you became interested in the nomadic life. It got me to thinking about how I got interested in doing the same thing (and I will get to the point in a minute) and I realized that as as kid in Detroit in the late 50s and 60s I would watch Stan Midgley’s travelogs on George Pierrot’s TV show. Midgley would travel the west by bike or in a jeep and show off America’s beauty, with a big doses of humor. Which brings me to the point: video. You always have such beautiful photos on your site, have you thought of doing videos of the areas around you camp ( or whatever you want to record) and starting up a YouTube channel? Of course, when Bridget and Spike get to be video stars, they will want their own trailers.

    • Micky from Monterey says:

      Oh my gosh, I remember George Pierott and Stan Midgley! My dad and I used to watch that all the time. We lived out in Harrison Township on Lake St Clair. Stan was a funny guy.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, rhodium,

      I apologize for not responding sooner to you and the commenters who follow. I tried to do so yesterday and the computer connection slowed down to a point where I gave up.

      I don’t do videos for two reasons. Some of the people who read my blog would not be able to open up YouTube on their device and I don’t want to shut anyone out of the action. 🙂

      Second reason: My blog is about “living on less and enjoying life more.” To me, trying to demonstrate the simple life while videoing it seems a bit contradictory.

      It would be fun to see the crew in motion — especially Spikey’s jaunty walk — but I want to keep things simple.

      Funny how childhood events or habits can influence our future. I wonder how much of my love of the West comes from the Lone Ranger and other TV shows.

      • Ed says:

        Thank You Sue!
        I would be ABLE to open a YouTube video but would not do it. There are those of us that must live within our means and for me that is 5G.
        Then there are the times that I would NOT be able to open it. Late yesterday I could not get your blog page to open so there would have been no opening a video that you had on it.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          You’re welcome, Ed.

          That’s what I meant when I said some people wouldn’t be able to open up videos… They use up those precious Gs!

          • Rhodium says:

            Yes, bandwidth is a problem I am going to be worrying about in a bit too. And don’t worry about speed of reply. It’s nice of you to be so diligent about replying but I would hate to have the blog turn into close to a full time job. Did you ever think you would be responding to hundreds of comments a week? It’s very respectful of you.

  32. mk stuck in NE GA for now says:

    I can’t wait for the next installment! I know what TT I want and I’m vacillating on which PU – I have an F150 that is now 16 years old so “big bertha” will be retired before I hit the road. I know I want to spend a lot of time in the PNW that will include lots of mountain passes so I’m thinking F250 next time and my dream TT is heavier than yours. I’ll have a cap on the back of my truck for storage too. I’m kinda a truck person vs van person.

    I also clicked on the links of the expandable table- love it and the volcano grill – love that too.

    Now that allergy season is starting to hit hard here I just wish someone would buy me out so I can hit the road and escape (fat chance though). As you know Sue it’s yard sale country around here and I hope to have several through out the “season” to get rid of stuff since I’m stuck here!

    Better watch out – your beggin’ bird might just hitch a ride with you!

    I loved the Spike and his “zoomies” story, I’ve tried to train mine to zoom outside vs inside…LOL.

    Love the photo’s as always!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, MK,

      Living in NE Georgia with allergies is rough. I think I heard it said once that Athens, Georgia, where my former house is, is the allergy capital of the world because of all the flowering shrubs and trees. I don’t have that type of allergies. I remember the suffering of those who do. Hope yours aren’t bad this season.

      Good luck yard-selling!

  33. Davy says:

    I have been reading since the beginning and it is good to read the prequel.

    Even though we have been living in an RV fulltime for over 11 years this time, I still feel the excitement when you describe it.

    I am looking forward to the next installment.

    Davy

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Davy,

      Good to hear from you! I appreciate the positive feedback and hearing that this series of posts is interesting to folks who have been full-timing as long as you have. I bet I’m bringing back great memories . . . 🙂

      Eleven years “this time” — wow!

  34. Becky says:

    I remember when Drew and I first got the idea for retiring in an RV. We were on a 2 week family vacation in our Class C. We were just outside Glacier National Park and met a couple who were retired and full-timing it. We looked at each other and smiled. A few days later we were in Yellowstone Park and began talking to all the workers in the campgrounds, stores and restaurants. That was when we realized we could work part time while traveling and enjoying our favorite parts of the country. We started brainstorming…Yellowstone in the summer, Florida or Arizona in the Winter and visiting family and friends in between.
    As you know, planning is a major step. We started purging when we moved from Denver to Houston 4 years ago. As a former pack-rat I had so much stuff!!!! We still have much to dispose of and I am enjoying weeding things out. Some things go to the kids some to goodwill. Whenever I start thinking of accumulating things again…I stop and think “will we need it on the road and will we have room?”
    I love reading your blog and seeing how much you enjoy your life of simplicity. I so look forward to that! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Becky,

      Sounds like you and Drew had a double epiphany! You’re fortunate that you share a vision of full-timing and are able to make it a reality.

      I remember that feeling from the years leading up to “lift-off.” . . . If something wore out or broke and I didn’t need it on the road, I didn’t repair or replace it. I can tell from your comment that a life of less will bring you more enjoyment.

      Best wishes trimming down to what you will take with you . . .

  35. Deb from NJ says:

    Oh how excited you were when you realized exactly what it was that you wanted to do! I had to laugh when you described it. I just love your excitement!
    I am so happy that you are out there living your dream and that you allow us to follow you through this blog. Whenever you are having those down days, as we all do, you should think back to that day and then to the day you picked up the BLT!

    Have a great day Sue and Crew!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Deb,

      When I’m having a “down day” (or week) as you mention, all I have to do is look around me to have plenty of reason to be happy and satisfied. However, I’ve found those grey days have nothing to do with how many blessings I have or the fact that I’m living the life of my dreams. Depressive episodes aren’t rational. Fortunately for me they are rare and they go away with time.

      I will take your advice though and remember the excitement of that day I picked up the BLT. It’s always fun to do that!

      You have a great day, too, Deb.

      • weather says:

        Hi Sue,
        It pleases me so to hear you say that you’ll choose- to remember your excitement-in order to keep grey(dark)days from stealing your joy.
        Life sucking waves trying to push me down were something I continually struggled against in times gone by.Along the way I found things that could offer temporary relief ,yet repetitively, like an oasis of refuge, each made my life” safe”for a time,but limited.
        One day, while driving,I felt the all too familiar darkness approaching again,about ready to quit, I said,”God,what one thing makes my life worth living?”A clear and immediate response came into my thoughts-“How much you love!”
        He, in four words, showed me pictures- of my phenomenally strong love- for mother,son,husband,humanity,animals,beauty…
        It was like a powerful movie of memories came up- and brought full blown sudden peace!The fight was over. Dark thoughts and feelings instantly became so diminished, in proportion to that truth, that they lost all power …Focusing on, what I’m passionate about became(and remains these many years later) my habitual and instant response when I notice the “red flag” of a negative view beginning to affect my outlook
        While my path,before and since then has given me times of astonishing happiness, I’ve also experienced sorrow,yet the inside difficulty I’d endured for so long never returned.
        The point of this very long disclosure?As soon as you sense an”episode”focus on what excites you.It’s a God given antidote,we win!

  36. DesertGinger says:

    Made my first amazon purchase through your site! I’m so excited to be contributing!

  37. I’d heard of full-timing, but boondocking was my “ah-ha” moment…a doable retirement that would otherwise be impossible. Such a recent discovery from a simple conversation about RVing, which led me to your website. Like you, I am giddy with the possibilities and perhaps retirement sooner, rather than never!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cindy,

      Full-time living in a modest house-on-wheels is a way out of working forever when one has limited funds.

      Learning to live with less and to enjoy one’s surroundings, not requiring costly activities for entertainment, not succumbing to unnecessary purchases, staying debt-free, counting one’s blessings, associating with like minded people and avoiding those who are toxic . . . . This lifestyle can be a rich and satisfying retirement. That’s my opinion! 🙂

  38. Furry gnome says:

    Hi Sue: I was checking out full-time RVer blogs the other day, and decided yours was one of the most interesting. So I started back at the beginning, and I’m slowly reading forward. Up to Sept. 2011, and I’m loving it. It’s an inspiring story! Hope you’re still doing well, and I’ll keep on reading til I catch up with you!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Furry gnome,

      Welcome to my blog! You will find the people who comment here are kind and helpful. We learn a lot from each other . . . and often have some fun in the process.

      Thank you for rating my blog as “most interesting.” Hope to hear from you again!

  39. John K - Mobile, AL says:

    Just a quick update. The motorcycle has been sold, the check is in the bank and the last little bit of debt has been erased. Never again will I finance anything!

    The house is emptying out. The stuff we were setting aside for the garage sale will be donated to charity instead. I can’t deal with streams of strangers coming to the house to pay 25 cents for some doo-dad.

    Still on track for listing the house on 6/1 and 9/1 for a hook up and leave for good date.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Love hearing your progress, John! I can relate to your reluctance regarding garage sales. It’s a lot of work with little pay. 🙂

      Congratulations on becoming debt-free! You have thrown off a very heavy yoke. Even if the debt is small, it’s still debt and that’s not a good thing, as you know.

      “Hook up and leave for good” . . . . That has a nice ring to it… 🙂

    • GypsyPurl says:

      Congratulations and Happy Trails!

  40. Ann says:

    Hi Sue,

    I love your blog! I am in the planning stages myself for fulltiming and reading your blog is inspirational and educational. I too have 3 small dogs and also 2 cats. However I can’t imagine parting with any of them much less choosing between them.

    I am more than curious to know how you made the choice to leave Janie behind and not one of the others. What were the deciding factors?

    Thank you for sharing!
    Ann

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Ann,

      It must seem like a heartless act to leave one of my dogs behind. Janie is a wonderful dog who went through a terrible time. Spike and Bridget were with me for a few years before I discovered Janie at an adoption day being held in a parking lot by a rescue organization.

      Janie was pathetic. Skin and bones and obviously confused and frightened. I didn’t want a third dog but I couldn’t bear leaving her. I took her home and within three days her ribs disappeared from sight.

      Her personality emerged as one of boundless cheer and love of people. I knew she would be happy and grateful in any loving home. Her adaptability and cheeriness was what convinced me she was the best choice to re-home.

      This proved true. Bridget and Spike aren’t called nutcakes for no reason. I envisioned food strikes, moping, running away, etc. as their possible reactions to a change in home.

      Janie fell in love with Romeo and her new people. My friend and her husband, as well as Romeo, love her very much.

      • Ann says:

        Thank you so much for responding Sue. That explains everything. You were Janie’s foster mom. I have fostered dogs myself. Basically save them and give them a good home until you can find the perfect family for them. I am so happy to hear that she is happy in her forever home. YAY! On another note I have been researching fiberglass eggs and love them all! Have you written a post (or will you) as to why you chose Casita over Scamp or Bigfoot or Escape or any others? Thanks again. You are such an inspiration!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      NOTE TO THOSE WHO SKIM AND SKIP COMMENTS:

      Links to the story of Janie and Romeo can be found in one of my replies near the top of this comment section.

      • Ann says:

        I did read those posts but didn’t see how you were able to make “Sophie’s Choice”. Thanks again for elaborating.

  41. DeAnne in TN says:

    Blogarina Quote for the Day:

    “Sometimes, our lives have to be completely shaken up, changed and rearranged to relocate us to the place we’re meant to be.”

  42. Bob G says:

    “I have GOT to do this! Good God Almighty, I have GOT to do this!”

    Lol. That’s an exact quote from a friend of mine recently when I told her how I spent last summer and fall. And when told her I’d lost 30 lb. doing it, just because I wasn’t bored.
    ———————————————————————
    “(In those days relatively few blogs and forums existed.)”

    I suppose it depends on what you mean by “few”. In 2002, when I started fulltiming, there were several dozen – maybe a hundred – travel and full-timing blogs. Another set when I started my planning around 1996. Tioga George wasn’t traveling then. They come and go, most in an apparent 3-5 year cycle.

    I suppose Mark Nemeth was my guru: http://www.marxrv.com/

    His tech and howto articles are still there, but his adventure page has gone away. That’s a shame. He was still fairly young when he started, and I think he just ran out of money and settled down to work for Escapees. In going over my ancient virtual rolodex to revisit my inspirations, I find they almost all lead to blanks and error messages. Even the invaluable Damouths, and the Poop Pages.

    Bits scattered down the ether. Sigh. The good news is that they have been replaced by youthful blogs like yours.

    This stuff has been going on for a long time, at least since the “Tin Can Tourists” of the 1930s and before that people like the “Gentleman Gypsy” in the 1880s and the immemorial Romani he stole the idea from:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:William_Gordon_Stables.jpg

    In those days people had to dream over books, or magazines like Popular Mechanics, instead of the web. This is much better.

    Keep up the good work. You are part of a fine tradition.

    Bob

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Bob,

      Thank you. I knew someone would point out that RVing blogs and writing on the subject in general have been around for a long time. That’s why I used the word “relatively.” I think you’d agree that the number of RVing blogs has mushroomed in only the past ten years. Several of them have extensive blog rolls, making it much easier to find more blogs.

      Besides Tioga George I read Sebastian’s, the guy who used to have a Casita and camped a lot in NM and UT, and after a while I came across yours which I enjoyed very much.

      I’m pleased that you still visit mine. Thanks for the history and links!

  43. Allen says:

    Hello Sue,
    I am enjoying your recollections of your Epiphany. In 2012 I thought I was going to be working for the rest of my life. I am 62 and will be retired in 36 days! I got the fever reading “Fulltime RV Blogs” from nice folks like you and the rest is history. Donna & I bought a used Winnebago Motorhome and it has been the focus of our attention since March of 2013 when we brought it home. It is 35 feet long and sits on our tiny front lawn in a small Massachusetts city while we prepare it & ourselves for life on the road. We will be travelling with our teenage son and two dogs Isabelle (who looks like Janie) and Pippy. I love our dream and sharing makes it seem more real. Thanks for the great stories and the venue for sharing ours.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Allen, and welcome also to my blog! I enjoyed reading the beginnings of your full-timing story. I can picture your Winnie sitting on the front lawn . . . your magic carpet awaits!

      Congratulations on your quickly approaching retirement! I wish you and your family, including your canine crew, the best as you move into your RV and the vagabonding life. Hope to hear from you again . . .

  44. Geri Moore says:

    Whew! Took me 2 days to read through all the comments! Great post, as usual! It’s fun reading about “the moment” life opened up and a future peeked through! Your joy at that moment hit a tender spot in all of us! We are so happy that you are happy with your new life! Hugs to the pups!

  45. rvsueandcrew says:

    Hugs back to you, Geri, Chuck, Radar, and Doogie!

  46. Diann in MT says:

    Hi, Sue,
    My husband and I are avid Forest Service Campground and back country campers. We live the summer in the mountains of Montana, every chance we can get. For a long time, we have been doing the “spit bath” thing to refresh ourselves while out on a long weekend. It finally dawned on us that we could use solar heated showers within a packable shelter. So, we are in the process of outfitting our little 12′ rig with the necessities and, of course, purchasing them through your Amazon link.
    I am wondering if some of your fulltimers have ever considered such a set-up, thus bypassing the black water shower setup in their self containeds. Just an idea that could save some propane money and black water tank space.
    BTW. We will be really, really discreet on how we dispose the little amount of water we generate from solar showers. Less than 5 gallons and use of biodegradable soap used for backpacking.

    • Geri Moore says:

      Hi Diann! When I first started solo camping back in the early1980’S, I used the Coleman solar shower. I would place it on the hood of my truck (I had a slide in camper) and it would be hot water in a matter of minutes. I hung a shower curtain around a hula hoop and hung the hula hoop from a co-operating tree branch with a large “S” hook and hung the shower bag from the bottom of the “S” hook and there ya go… Geri’s portable shower! 🙂 Worked for the whole 6 years I was on the road!

      • Diann in MT says:

        What a great idea. The biggest hurdle is hanging the solar water container and achieving adequate flow, privacy and most of all, portability. Hula Hoop is pretty primitive, but workable. Ya. Us back country people are sooo good at improvising! LOL

    • Ed says:

      I’m sure that there are some RV showers that drain into the black water holding tank but most of them drain into the gray water holding tank. Your idea is a good one assuming you simply made a error when typing black rather than gray.
      However, there is a down side to what you propose and that is the packable shelter. Where do you store it when not being used? Perhaps not an issue. Are you willing to spend the time putting it up and taking it down every 14 days or more often if you are a boondocker? This may be a bigger issue. How well does this packable shelter withstand winds when set up? A serious issue in most of the West.

  47. Shirlene says:

    In regards to the post from Diann in MT, I was also considering ways of cutting down the water to dump and speaking of dumping, I am looking at the prospects of a composting toilet that some of the full timers are using…no more blank tank dumping is what they are saying…Whew that would be a relief.

    • Ed says:

      Maybe a good idea and maybe not so good.

      This information is from the website for Sun-Mar Mobile Composting Toilets. There are two models that sell for $1,800-$1,900 Canadian.

      Evaporation and Electrical Configuration:
      Evaporation is aided by a 110 volt, 120 Watt heater and thermostat. This heater is located in the sealed base compartment.
      The thinking in designing a 110 volt heater into the unit was that a 12 volt supply is often available while the unit is in motion, while the 110 volt heater can frequently be used while the vehicle is in an RV park, or, in the case of a vessel, hooked up to shore supply. MY NOTE: One model does not offer this feature but would use 320 Amp Hours per day of 12v power.
      Overflow Drain Required:
      MY NOTE: This most certainly would be needed if the 110v heater were not used and there was not a large enough battery bank to supply the needed power from the 12v system. So there would continue to be dumping required; solids about once a month and the small holding tank probably more frequently.
      Evaporation capacity on Sun-Mar Mobile composting toilets is limited by the smaller size of the heater, the surface area of the evaporation chamber, and the volume of air movement. Consequently, arrangements should be made to connect the Sun-Mar Mobile drains to a container or small holding tank for disposal in an approved manner.

  48. Diann in MT says:

    Black water could become extinct!!! LOL JK, everyone!

  49. RachelDLS says:

    Hi Sue,

    It has been such a delight to have you and your crew as a neighbor. I have so enjoyed our visits and I cannot thank you enough for your help with my little Macha! I am looking forward to hearing what you have to say about that crazy and scary episode. Thank you for allowing me to include you when I tell that story in my blog. My Macha has been through some amazing things since we have been on the road. Thanks too for the peek at your trailer. I can so understand why you call it the BLT! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Rachel, and thank you for letting me introduce you and Macha on my blog. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you both.

Comments are closed.