An early morning scare, solar power, and rvsue meets Jimbo!

What a way to start the day . . .

This morning around 7:30 the crew and I are on our way back from a walk to the lake.  We’re crossing a large, sandy area dotted with small clumps of grass when a dog starts barking off to our left.  I look to see who’s over there.  Wait a minute.  That’s no dog.  That’s a coyote!

He stops barking and stares right at us.

Bridget is off-leash ahead of Spike and me.  I hurry us forward and grab her leash.  Without looking over at the coyote again, I urge the crew to move into a brisk pace toward home.  Not a good idea to run . . . Don’t want to look like prey.  I have to stop to catch my breath, so I look back. 

The coyote has moved forward after us!

He’s looking at us!  Again I hurry us up the road toward the campground.  The coyote again follows us.  Then he stops and barks.  Oh no.  He’s calling for the pack to jump out of the bushes in front of us.  The crew and I keep moving at a fast walk.  Thank God, Spike isn’t making us stop every ten feet so he can sniff something, like he usually does. 

At last the paved road to the campground comes into view.  I glance back one more time and the coyote is sitting where I saw him the last time I looked.  He’s still watching us.  We keep a brisk pace all the way into the campground.  What a scare!  I hereby resolve the crew and I will do no more walking off the paved roads around here.  Gee, it’s like I’m walking two little snack cakes . . . .

The crew meets Jimbo!

Why do I always look my worst when someone comes to the door, someone who’s meeting me for the first time?  My hair is pulled back in a ponytail, no make-up, rumpled, old, dog-hair-covered tee-shirt and shorts, and who comes to my door?  Jim of

Jim recently had a hot air balloon land on his rv! You can see the photos on his blog.

If you keep up with the comments here, you know that Jim and I were going to meet somewhere in the mountains of northern New Mexico.  Although we camp at a lot of the same places, we keep missing each other by a day or two.  Then he invites me to the Balloon Fiesta which I take a raincheck on. 

I think it is so nice of him to drive into the Elephant Butte campground on his way south, just to meet me and the crew. 

We have a good chat.  We laugh at the fact that Jim feels like he already knows me, the crew, the PTV, my Casita, from the blog (which is kind of weird).  Jim travels a lot in New Mexico and is on his way south for a LazyDaze rally at Pancho Villa State Park near the border.   Since I’ll be moving south also, I’m sure we’ll meet again. 

I am so excited about tomorrow!

I call Chip at Baker RV about fixing me up with solar power.  He asks me a few questions and immediately gets online, finds a 125 watt solar kit for me, and gives me a rough idea of what the entire set-up will cost along with his labor.  He’s coming out to the campground tomorrow morning to see what it will take to equip the Casita. 

I’ve seen an installation explained on the Casita Club forum that does not require drilling holes into the Casita’s fiberglass shell.  I  want to show that to Chip.  I also want to discuss whether it would be better to put the panel or panels on the flat roof of the PTV. 

Oh, I would LOVE to have solar power!  To be able to camp in great locations without being dependent upon finding a campsite with electric hook-up . . .  Free camping . . . Wow!

You know?  It’s high time I reward the crew.

Of course, Bridget thinks Spike's bone is better than her bone, so she waits to grab his at the first opportunity.

Bridget and Spike are a great crew.  They always do their best to do what I want them to do (or not to do!).  Every day is enriched by their presence. 

So while at Walmart I pick up a pack of chew bones, a rare treat.  Once home, all I say is “I have a surprise for you” and they both jump up in anticipation. 

Gosh, how I love these two!



About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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37 Responses to An early morning scare, solar power, and rvsue meets Jimbo!

  1. Sheila says:

    So glad the coyote stayed behind. We had one living under our deck for awhile. The cat stayed glued to the inside of the house till he moved on. Loved the snack cake analogy. Will think of Bridget and Spike as little “snack cakes” from now on. The solar panel sounds very exciting. Just got back from a Casita gathering and got to see one that had been installed for awhile. Very nifty.

  2. Ohhh on the coyote~ we carry a can of Bear Spray when we walk with our dogs in rugged areas, also a can of wasp spray helps as it can shoot 20 feet. Just enough to spray and get away?

    As for solar, a 125 watt panel is a good start, but don’t expect a lot of power all day and night from just one panel. We have four 100 watts and four 6volt golf cart batteries. From that we can run 2 laptops, recharge cell phones, a couple hours of tv/dvd watching and various lights.. that will draw us down to about 60-70%. Never let your batteries get below 50% as it limits their lifetime considerably.

    Here are some links we found very informative and helpful:

    Handybob was VERY helpful with information and emails to us:

    This is The 12 Volt Side of Life, parts 1 and 2…. (they moved from their original site)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Karen and Steve,

      I appreciate all the information. Thank you! Yes, 125 watts is the minimum . . This was over the phone, something he told me to give me an idea of the cost. I would like more wattage if it’s within my budget.

      Of course, it’s only me . . . one computer, no microwave, no hairdryer, no blender or stuff like that. The roof of the Casita is not flat and is not very big which may be limiting. I’ll have to see what Chris can come up with!

      Thanks for the links.

      • Oh, you can’t run a hairdryer or microwave etc on a solar setup for more than a few minutes, if at all. Only low drain items like computers, recharging cell phones, small tvs’ etc. You will learn from Chris what items you can expect to use when drawing off a battery pack. Have fun! It really opens you up to many other camping choices and locations! We mostly boondock and rarely camp with electric hookups.

  3. Darrell says:

    You got that pepper spray just in the nic of time,,,,uh?

  4. Carmen D says:

    Be carefull of those coyotes. They remember what and where and they do know where you went. We live out in the middle of nowhere and they are smart animals. They will take a pet, don’t want to scare you but information is good. Wildlife is ruthless. In Big Bend coyotes steal dogs all the time. Sorry if I’m scaring you, but any information is better than none.
    Love your Blogs, please keep sharing.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hey, Carmen,

      No need to apologize for scaring me. I’m already alert to the danger and you confirmed it. Bridget and Spike are staying on leash and we are not going off by ourselves.

      There are so many rabbits around here, the coyotes should be fat and happy and not stalking me and my crew!

      Thanks for letting me know you “love” my blog. I love hearing that!

  5. Hotel California says:

    Off leash is the problem. The coyotes don’t care if it’s paved or not.

  6. Donna K says:

    Glad Bridget and Spike were not snack cakes today! I respect coyotes and don’t want to have an upclose and personal encounter with one. Your crew deserved a reward.

    We follow Jimbos Journeys – we are fellow Lazy Daze owners. Saw his blog about the balloon landing on his rig! Nice that you got to meet.

  7. Jean Burke says:

    Watch out for those coyotes. I live in the metroplex (DFW, TX) and they live in the wooded areas.
    Just couple days ago my old cat Bella (nearly20yrs old) has gone missing. I found hair tuffs in the yard. I suspect a coyote since we cant find her, she would not have traveled far if she was injured by another cat.
    When I told my neighbor Bella was missing he said he saw a coyote near our neighborhood 4 days earlier.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh, Jean, I am so sorry! How terrible and sad for you! What a heartache . . .

      I’m glad you had your Bella for so many years, although I know that makes the parting all the more difficult.

      Thanks for the warning.

  8. kayjulia says:

    I am going to be following your Solar experience very closely because that is what I want to do also 🙂
    Pets give us so much and I think they ask for so little in return my fur kids mean so much to me they keep me happy and sane in sometimes harsh and insane world….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You are so right about pets. The crew helps me start each day with a smile.

      Spike wakes us up, Bridget sticks her sleepy head out from under the quilt, half-asleep, sweet and adorable . . . and Spike is so happy to start a new day, wagging his tail and trying to get us up . . . I’m sure your dog has his ways of putting a smile on your face, too.

  9. Minnesota gal says:

    I have 2 135 watt solar panels and I love them. The price was right and they are such a big help.

    My motorhome is 27 feet and it is just my dog and me…. I have two fantastic roof fans and they take care of them just fine.

  10. geri says:

    We want to do solar also! We have lots of questions! Would it be possible for us to visit you while Chip is there as hear what he has to say??? We don’t want to impose, but we are curious, Or perhaps we could just get his contact information from you ??

    We are so glad that you and the crew made a safe retreat from the coyote! We still aren’t as wise or as cautious as we should be about coyotes! We are learning! Thank you for sharing your experiences! We love your blog!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Geri,

      Here’s the information for Chip at Baker’s RV Service, 701 Hwy 195, Elephant Butte.
      Phone: 575-740-3921

      Chip came by my campsite early this morning. I’ll write about it in a blog entry later today. You will find him very knowledgeable and easy to work with.

      Thanks for the compliment! How were the hot springs? You know, Riverbend Hot Springs’ website received over 100 clicks from being mentioned on rvsue and her canine crew!

      • geri says:

        The hot springs were great! Diane and I went about 3 pm and we had the place to ourselves for about 10 minutes! When we left there were 4 couples enjoying their soaks! Diane said that River Bend Hot Springs was the best she had ever soaked in! I am ready to go again if you ever change your mind and want to soak! WoW! That was a lot of clicks from just one mention… I’m sure if anyone from one of those 100 clicks gets the chance to visit River Bend Hot Springs, they will love it!

  11. Emjay says:

    Sorry to be such a downer but our neighbor’s son was jogging with his German shepherd last year along a well-used paved road and two coyotes dashed out …with the dog on leash right beside the fellow…and had a big tussle. A car came along and scared the coyotes off but the vet’s bill was hefty. We know that coyotes watch for patterns. They know when owners let their pets outside or inside if they regularly do it at a certain time. In fenced areas, they have little dug out places where they can scoot under the fence. This is the way our county trapper gets them and nothing else, by putting the trap right at the coyote dug out. Coyotes are out all the time, not just at night, and they are pack animals, so if one “calls out” a dog, it is for sure it’s leading the dog into a trap.

    Please continue to be watchful.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Emjay!

      I appreciate you sharing that story, not just for the sake of myself and the crew, but for anyone reading here. I have become very wary of the fact that the coyotes are all around this campground, right up to the campers. Our morning walk today was confined to the interior of the campground!

      Thank you for your concern, and if I haven’t already said so, welcome to my blog!

  12. Lynne says:

    Hey Sue:
    Take a look at this fellow Casita-owner’s solar solution– 2 panels that are NOT permanently mounted (so that they can be easily moved throughout the day to collect the most amount of energy). If you have room in the PTV (or on top of the bed in the Casita) to transport them, this might be a good start to trying out solar. You can always get the panels mounted later if you wish. Just a thought!

    • Lynne says:

      oops, guess you would like the link, huh? Here it is:

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Thanks, Lynne!

        I’m going to go with permanently installed panels because I know what I’d do if they weren’t . . . I’d think, well, I’m not going to stay long, so I’m not going to bother to set up the panels, and then I’d stay another day and another day . . . . I tend to get lazy about stuff like that.

        I appreciate you putting the link here for people who may want to have portable panels.

  13. Glad you got to meet Jim, he’s a great guy. We are fellow Lazy Daze owners and have met up with him several times in AZ and NM. OFM also came by our site at Rockhound SP in April. Funny how we “know” people from their blogs before we even meet them!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jim and Gayle.

      Before I hit the road I had no idea how easy it is to become part of a community of good people camping or fulltiming. I had read Jim’s blog and OFM’s blog long before getting my Casita, never thinking I’d meet them some day. It’s fun to see and talk to the REAL people behind the blogs . . .

  14. tinycamper says:

    Sue, are you a member of Casita Club? Roadcam has pictures of his solar install on his TV there. If I post a link here, the comment will end up in your spam filter, so I added the link to your Fiberglass RV post.

    If you are not a member of Casita Club, you won’t be able to see the pictures, and it sometimes takes a while to get approved for posting privileges there. In that case, use the Contact form on my blog to send me an email, and I will email you his photos. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.

  15. longdog2 says:

    Loved your comment about “snack cakes”. Loose coyotes, loose dogs following you or charging at you… all a problem when you walk “snack cakes”. I have “hot dogs” (dachshunds) so have the same problem. And if the “snack cakes” or “hot dogs” bark, usually because they are actually scared, it makes it worse.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I suspect that Spike was aware something wasn’t right, or at least he knew there was a reason why we were hurrying home. Like I said, Spike usually stops us often so he can sniff around.

      Maybe he sensed my fear or he knew that thing barking was bad news. He wasn’t about to bark, and he usually barks at a dog he hasn’t met yet.

  16. Judy Bell says:

    You wear makeup?? 🙂

  17. Jim Melvin says:

    It was sure fun finally being able to meet up with you and the crew. I also have been following your blog and your wonderful descriptions of all the places you have been. It is so much fun finally meeting you and sharing our wonderful fultiming experiences.

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