Keeping it real along the Rio Grande

Wednesday evening, October 26th

The crew won’t be going out for another walk, so I can get in my jammies!  Tonight will be our first really cold night because it’s supposed to get down into the low forties.  I pull out the laundry basket from underneath the bed.  The basket serves as my day-to-day dresser, and I remember last week I put my pajamas in there, having taken them out of a storage bin in the Perfect Tow Vehicle.  Smart move, rvsue!

I also pull out the little Sunbeam electric heater from underneath the bed.

I’m not going to use the Casita’s heatstrip because the two filters in it need to be washed, and even though it only takes a few minutes, I don’t want to do that right now.  (I find the filters need to have the dust rinsed out about once a week. )  I  plug the Sunbeam heater into the outlet by the door and place the heater on the floor in front of the bathroom door and kitchen.  It heats up my little house in only a few minutes.  It’s quiet, too, and the red light reminds me to move it aside before opening the bathroom door in the dark.

As long as I’m talking about heaters, let me tell you what I heard about the Casita furnace!

Remember the people camped next door in the Casita?  By the way, they left yesterday.  I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye.  They gave me one of those door bumper thingies to keep my door from getting a hole in it from the wind slamming it up against the belly band.  Very nice people.  Anyway.  Joe told me they tried their Casita furnace (which I don’t have) and they had to turn it off because it makes so much noise.  Vindicated, at last!  Now I don’t feel bad for not ordering it.

Okay.  So it’s Wednesday night and the crew and I are curled up, toasty warm.

I wake up in the middle of the night.  A cow is mooing.  Boy, is the wind howling!  I take a peek outside and see my new, blue, patio mat — with rocks I’d placed on it — all balled up and flapping around on the ground.  I consider going out to weight it down better, but not for long.  It’s so cozy inside.  Why disturb Bridget and Spike?   How far can it blow away?  It’s not like I’ll have trouble finding it.  I’m going back to bed.

Thursday morning, October 27th

I can still hear the wind.  A glance through the blinds shows tree branches being batted around.  Looks like the patio mat didn’t go far.  Better dress warmly.  The crew and I rush around the campground.  Good little campers that they are, Bridget and Spike relieve themselves without delay and we run back home!  Enough of this!  I’m ready for some hot tea and scrambled eggs.

Well, this means a change in plans.

Yesterday I thought we’d leave Caballo Lake State Park today.  Although my rig — a Chevy Express van with a long wheel base towing a 17-foot Casita, along with a stabilizer bar on the hitch –makes us fairly wind-resistant going down the highway, it’s best to avoid driving in gusty wind.  The PTV qualifies as a “high profile vehicle.”  Today is the kind of day to stay off the roads.  Now I have an excuse to laze around with the crew inside our little cocoon of a home!  We can do that, right, crew?

Thursday afternoon, October 27th

The sun is shining and the wind has abated.  The crew is up and getting restless.  Out the door, we notice we have new neighbors!  A tall guy with a long-haired chihuahua is looking our way.

“Hey, look at that!  That’s nice!”

“What?” I ask, looking around.

“Your rig.  Your tiny trailer.  I like that!”  As he walks over he proceeds to tell me he’s ready to downsize from his fifth wheel.  “It’s just too much,” he explains.  “I like what you’ve got.”

Well, that’s all I need to hear.  Smiling, I tell him all about my Casita.  We exchange life details while the crew and Chico, the chihuahua, exchange sniffs.  His name is Tom and he’s from Ohio.  He opens his phone and shows me photos of his fifth wheel and his daughter.  He’s camping with a friend in his friend’s Class A.

I can tell he’d love to see the Casita’s interior.  “I’d invite you in for a tour, but I haven’t made the bed or washed the dishes.  Maybe later, okay?”

“Yeah, that’d be great.  We’re going fishing now.”

He turns to help his friend load up the boat while the crew and I head out for a long walk along the Rio Grande.  The afternoon autumn sunlight shimmers on the water.  We walk far from the campground.

The change in Spike’s gait signals it’s time for a rest. 

We find a place to sit in the shade of a gnarly, old, salt cedar tree.  A massive branch curved low to the ground provides me a seat.  The river is inviting, but I don’t dare for us to go down the bank to the water’s edge.  It’s too cool and breezy for Spike to go into the water, and I know that’s what he’d do, given the chance!

It all seems unreal.

Am I really here?  Sitting alongside the Rio Grande under a salt cedar tree?  Bridget paws at my leg.  She wants to sit in my lap.  “Okay, sweetie.  Jump up.”  I hold out my arms to catch her.


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About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
This entry was posted in Bridget The Widget, Casita, Simple living, Spike The CoPilot and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Keeping it real along the Rio Grande

  1. kayjulia says:

    Yes, the weather can be interesting in New Mexico with storms rushing through and beautiful sunny days then a cold snap and the next thing you know SNOW FLAKES ! HeHe, makes life interesting. So many places to visit and then there are the events; like the balloon festival, art fests, and chili cook offs on and on, It will keep you going for a long time.
    It’s going to be cold tonight so keep those jammies handy 🙂

  2. rvsueandcrew says:

    I’m in my jammies right now and I’ve got the electric heater on! You stay warm, too!

  3. JoJo says:

    You have the best of it in this camp ground. Looks so good near the water. Nice and crisp too.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, JoJo,

      I’m seeing that every campground has something special about it. I was told not to go to Caballo because the animals are all over the place and there are cow pies on the ground, etc. Look what I would have missed!

  4. Donna K says:

    Great photos …you even got the rainbow! Ahhh, warm jammies and a reliable heat source. Life has GOT to be good.

  5. lonewolfgal says:

    Sue, I don’t mean to pry — but I will. I’m curious about your average monthly expenses. Since you have a New Mexico state park annual pass, I would guess they’re comparatively modest. I realize it’s early in your adventure, but what do you anticipate will be your largest recurring expense? Fuel? Food? Insurance? Chew toys? Inquiring minds crave to know.

    • rvsueandcrew says:


      I can give you some monthly expenses to give you an idea of my costs.

      Campsites/annual pass………………………$143
      PTV/Casita insurance…………………………36
      Health insurance………………………………..85
      Verizon internet………………………………….35
      Straight Talk phone…………………………….32

      That is, of course, no where near my monthly expenses! The rest is tough to estimate right now or is specific to me, such as groceries, gas (I don’t know how many miles I’ll drive this year), maintenance and repairs, mail forwarding service (don’t know how often I’ll use it), etc.

      I’m not spending anything on clothes and shoes (I have what I need.). I hardly spend anything at all on entertainment (skipping restaurants, events and attractions until I know my budget better). I am spending a lot of money on things I consider “investments in my quality of life,” such as camera, elec. heater, propane heater, 12v fan, crockpot . . . and solar!!??!!Some things like the patio mat ($65!) are paid for with the points I earn on my Amazon Visa card.

  6. Old Texan says:

    My Aunt and Uncle used to do the Trailer Lifestyle and they and their buddies had a rule about where to be at what time of the year. If they needed the heater they were too far north. If they needed the AC they were too far south. 🙂

    Well , it worked for them anyway. Personally I love hot weather but absolutely hate, and will not tolerate Cold so my choices would be to always find a much warmer area.
    Having lived in NM I know from experience I’d never do another winter there.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Old Texan,

      I don’t like hot and humid. New Mexico’s hot and dry suits me fine, as long as I stay hydrated.

      I don’t mind cold if I have a warm living space and it doesn’t last too long. Cold weather wears me down if it goes on for months, like at my childhood home in northern NY.

      What a wonderful thing to be able to move if I don’t like where I’m at!

  7. Sue,
    I have the furnace in my Casita but use an electric heater, like yours, at night. I prop the bathroom door open and place it in the floor. it not only keeps the bathroom warm for late night trips,I feel it is safer especially with pets. Also, I were told that the heat strip should be used only for knocking the chill off, not for running for long periods…maybe if someone else knows more about this they will let us know.
    Reading your postings have become a regular part for my day since I found your website just before you sold your home and hit the road. Thanks for all the information on the places you have camped and the condition of the roads you have driven. I have started a file to assist me once I become a full time. The tip on getting rid of skunk odor was great info. just hope I never need it.
    Hope our paths cross one day, until then, safe travels.

    • rvsueandcrew says:


      I might try that . . .putting the heater in the bathroom. Then I won’t feel like I’m going to the outhouse at night. I didn’t know that about the heatstrip. Thanks for sharing that.

      I’m glad you are enjoying my blog and are getting something out of it to help you when you fulltime. I try to tell things as they are. I hope my excitement and happiness at finally doing what I want to do isn’t making my accounts too rosy.

      I hope our paths do cross. Good luck moving toward your dream!

    • Bill Kelleher says:

      The heat strips were designed to be used just like a electric furnace.
      If they were not heavy enough to be used to heat with the company would be replacing them under warranty all the time because people use them to heat with. ( including me )

      Bill Kelleher

  8. Ernie says:

    Love this post!!! Thank you for “Keeping it Real”. 🙂 Your header is kinda interesting; rvsue maybe you but “Living …Life…” is what you do. Your descriptive writing is surpassed only by the reality photos. Your delightful tales of “Mut & Jeff” (a truely mirror image of your “Crew”) highlighting their opposite personalities, are the frosting on the cake. Your followers anxiously await your next post as you bring them the latest news. Many people RV…. You LL Live Life. RVSUE ROCKS!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Ernie, I laughed out loud reading your comment! A happy laugh . . .

      So you loved this post? Isn’t it funny . . . when I’m done writing an entry I look at it and think . . . gee, this is not so good, but I’m not about to do it over. Then someone writes that they love it! Amazing! And all I do is write about little stuff in my day. Thanks, once again, for giving me a chuckle and making me feel proud.

  9. Chuck says:

    Another great entry. Emily on her way home via son in Socorro. She parked next to our mobile as you know you are welcome to do. Did Groovy Gritz again.Saw your neighbors Liberty in T or C at the drivein. The Casita heaters are way noisy, took mine out and used space as storage.
    Happy travels!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hey, Chuck!

      It was great that I got to meet Emily . . . I have you and Geri to thank for that. I’ll probably see you guys again soon . . once I get on Chip’s schedule to get the heater installed.

  10. Teri says:

    Thank you for sharing your days with us. You are the first blog I read every morning, and I enjoy every single post. Have a fantastic weekend!

  11. butterbean carpenter says:

    Howdy Sue,
    NORTHERN NEW YORK STATE??? Then in Mew Nexico you can wear shorts ALL winter!!!
    Poor Spikey!! Mean old Sue won’t let him get in the river just because itz freezing cold…
    Bridget doesn’t look like she cares for a swim… Thatz where everybody needs to keep their jammies; under the bed!! We use those little ceramic heaters to knock the chill off our 120 Y.O.
    house; they do a pretty good job, down to about 20* then we put on more clothes!!!
    You are SMART not to go on a blowing windy day.. Thatz why Rvrs use Jello for a planning sheet!!! NOW STAY AWAY FROM THE SKUNKS!!! We had one last night eating dog food,
    but when I flipped on the porch light he just sprayed and left.. If I could only teach them not to spray!!! It blows away in a day or so… Hoping you have Smooth roads, clear blue skies & balmy breezes!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. rvsueandcrew says:

    Hi, Butterbean!

    Yeah, it’s pretty cold where I grew up. I remember waiting for the school bus next to a snow bank in freezing cold. In those days girls weren’t allowed to wear slacks to school. We had to wear a dress or skirt. So we pulled our knee socks up as high as they’d go, trying to keep warm . . . . Crazy!

    A skunk eating the dog food! . . . the nerve!

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