Lazy days on BLM land at Congress, AZ

Around 3 a.m. I wake up feeling cold. 

Bridget is sleeping next to me, and Spike is curled up on the cushion I placed on the floor last night.  Flicking on the light, I make sure Spike’s still under the blanket.  I open the Fantastic Fan in the ceiling and the window in the bathroom, leaving the door propped open.  The catalytic heater starts easily and in a few minutes it’s comfortably warm.

Whenever the heater is on in the morning, the crew sleeps late. 

In fact, Spike won’t get out of bed until nature calls, no, insists!  This morning I make myself some coffee and watch a jackrabbit out the window.  I finish my cup of coffee and answer an email before Spike raises his head.  The plan for today is to drive south to Wickenburg so I can go to my bank and also do some serious shopping.  One thing I want to find is a dog bed.

Spike sleeps on the floor now and seems happy there.

I’m confident he’ll sleep in a dog bed on the floor if I get him one of quality.  I don’t like putting the seat cushion on the floor every night.  A dog bed will go nicely under the dinette table at the rear of the BLT.  I’ll keep it there all the time.  Often Spike falls asleep on my bed and then I lift him down to the cushion when I want to turn in.

The desert around our camp is becoming familiar.

The roads are soft and easy on paws.

We keep our walks on the two-track, wide lanes that meander in all directions.  

One reason we stay on the lane is to avoid the crew picking up thorns in their paws.  Also, of course, staying on the roads and the lanes gives us a wide berth from any possibility of approaching a snake.

These plants aren't as common at our last camp near Ajo.

As the land features change or have a specific characteristic, I find myself attaching a name.   

This morning we walk past “the bird garden,” alongside “the canyon” (which is probably more aptly a large arroyo), and over to “quartzsite” where large chunks of quartz, some pure white and some veined with rose-amber, lie all about. 

The lane is sandy and shows tracks well.  Most of the tracks are our own. 

I see the hoof marks of the horse that was ridden through here yesterday.  Far from our camp I come across some cloven-hoof tracks . . . javelina?  goat?  antelope?

One thing I don’t see is . . .  snakes.

I zoomed in for this photo. I'm staying away from rocks!

Yesterday a pick-up truck was parked near the huge boulders at the base of the mountain.  I could hear repeated gunshots . . . someone shooting rattlesnakes in the rocks? 

It must be like shooting fish in a barrel as the snakes are probably still groggy in their dens.   

The crew and I walked the road that doesn’t go near that area! 

We visited the old cemetery and the former gold mine.  If you’re into history, do a search for Congress, and read about its mining and railroad heydays.

Our walk this morning is peaceful and long.

Spike, as usual, doesn’t want to turn around to go home.  He plants his paws in the sand, leg joints locked.  After much pulling and cajoling, he gives in.  Funny thing is, by the time we get home, he’s exhausted!  I’m feeling so mellow I’ve lost all ambition to drive off to Wickenburg.  Oh well, that can wait until tomorrow.  I feed the crew and fix myself a bowl of cereal.  I’m so glad the wind is gone for now.

Most likely a large number of my readers also read The Bayfield Bunch.

So you already know Al, Kelly, and Pheebs were over here for a visit, along with Gaelyn, a commenter on my blog whom I met for the first time.

Pheebs makes herself at home between Gaelyn and Al.

I took this photo sitting in a camp chair in the aisle of my kitchen.

 Gaelyn had invited me to visit her, but being lazy I invited her here instead! 

Gaelyn is a long-time boondocker and is her blog.

She shared important information about how to avoid Highway 89 with its steep grade and hairpin turns, going to Yarnell from Congress.


The wind kept all of us, including canines, inside until it was time to say goodbye.  I was pleased to see we were able to visit comfortably inside my tiny home.

I was also pleased to see Bridget and Spike being amicable hosts!  No snarling at all! 

Spike missed Pheebs when she left us at Darby Well. This is a happy reunion!

Spike and Pheebs played in our front yard and Spike brushed up against the prickly pear cactus.  Kelly told me I’d better check him carefully. 

Sure enough.  As my guests were leaving, I noticed several hair-like thorns in Spike’s leg. 

I put him on the bed and extracted them with the needle-nose pliers I bought recently at Quartzsite.  I could tell Spike felt some pain with each pull of the pliers, but he’s a good boy and knew enough to let me fix him up.

The crew and I did a little exploring in and around Congress.

The grocery store, if you could call it that, is in the Family Dollar.  A few aisles and a cooler provide some groceries, saving people a trip up the mountain to Yarnell or down Highway 89 to Wickenburg.  I found a big, steel pot I can use to make batches of soup for the freezer.

I’m enjoying my television and the solar power that makes it possible.

I watched the Oscars and then last night, American Idol.  I have enough power to run the TV all afternoon and into the evening hours, if I want.   Isn’t it amazing and wonderful that a person can live like I do and still watch hours of television with no electric hook-up and no electric bill?  And stay up late with lights on?  It remains a marvel to me. 

Someone commented about my campsite, referring to all I have here to enjoy, that it’s like the Hilton.  You know, I wouldn’t be happier — in fact I wouldn’t be happy at all — if I actually were living at the Hilton!

Why do today what you can put off 'til tomorrow?



About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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59 Responses to Lazy days on BLM land at Congress, AZ

  1. CeCe says:

    Great post, almost like being there. Loved the photos of the inside of the Casita! Haven’t seen many of those. Have a wonderful day!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, CeCe!

      I’ll take some more photos of the inside. I forget that people like to see that. You have a wonderful day, too!

  2. butterbean carpenter says:

    Howdy sue & crew,
    I was surprised that all of y’all & the crews got in the trailer with so much room left over.. Why would anybody waste ammo on snakes; the snakes weren’t shooting at them.. Everybody knows Kelly & Al and THE PHEEBS and Motormouse!!! You are very wise to keep to the middle of the road this time of the year.. I have an encyclopedia on ‘snattlety-rakes’ and the edges of the roads black-top or sand are the first to warm up and the last to cool off… Some of the rattlesnakes in Arizona DON’T HAVE RATTLES, BUT ARE JUST AS POISONOUS AS THE ONES THAT RATTLE!!! Be aware and be careful!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Butterbean!

      Casita’s are surprisingly roomy for their size. And I took away a lot of seating when I replaced the cushions with storage drawers. I promise to be super-careful. I appreciate you caring . . .

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Oh, I forgot to add . . .

        Someone told Al and Kelly that they shoot the snakes in preparation for these “rattlesnake roundups” . . . whatever they are.

  3. Hazel says:

    Sue, lazy days are the best kind! I’m looking forward to having some in WREN soon but not this week; there’s too much to do! ;-P

    That new area looks as awesome as the last one, with more history maybe. You’ve chosen well. I’m so amazed that you can just set up camp and feel instantly at home. It’s nice to see that company fits comfortably in the BLT, dogs included!

    I appreciate your posts because I’m reading between the lines to learn about Casita living. Could you share your internet arrangement, or email me privately? We’ll be giving up our RV park modem and service soon, and need another way to get online…besides McDonald’s parking lots!

    Enjoy your desert beauty!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Hazel!

      I’ll answer your question here. Never know who else might be interested. I went to a Verizon office and told them how and where I’d be living. The rep suggested I get an “air card.” It’s a piece of rectangular plastic a bit thicker than a credit card. The card comes with a short cable that I plug into the side of my laptop. That’s all the equpment necessary! The card has a green indicator light that flashes when it is searching for a signal and is on without blinking once a signal is found.

      The Verizon rep set up (configured?) my laptop so all I have to do is click on an icon and do another click on a window that appears, and I’m online!

      I had to sign a 2-year contract. I get 3 gigabytes a month for $35, and if I use more, it’s $10 per additional gigabyte. I don’t think this plan is available anymore, but a similar one is.

      The only antenna I have is what came within the laptop. I can’t always get a signal . . . like when I’m in mountains . . . just like with a cellphone.

      I hope this is helpful for you!

      • Hazel says:

        Thanks so much for explaining, Sue. Your reply did help us and hopefully others too. We spent some time in the Verizon store and finally have it set up. Being Canadians we didn’t want a contract, so we bought the MiFi and pay $50/mo for 4G; we can cancel it when we go home and restart it next winter. It works for 5 devices so our 2 laptops and my Blackberry Playbook will all work. Except in the boonies like Big Bend National Park! 😉

  4. Billy Bob says:

    I got to agree with butterbean on shoot’n snakes. Just ’cause ya hear somebody shoot’n guns don’t mean they are killing rattlesnakes. When I shoot my guns, I’m shoot’n at targets, not one of Gods creatures. If’n ya ain’t gonna eat it, don’t kill it.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You may be right, Billy Bob. I don’t know for sure. Makes for a more interesting blog if I think it’s rattlesnakes and not targets they’re after! LOL

      I agree with you about not killing what you’re not going to eat. I don’t understand killing for fun. I do realize sometimes wildlife needs to be “culled,” although usually it’s some human behavior or human preference that causes the “need” for culling.

  5. Maribeth says:

    Sounds like you made yourself another great home. What a wonderful life, you are so blessed. Beautiful photos. As always, thank you so much for taking us all along with you. I know Spike will enjoy his new bed. www/

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Spike finally learned to like sleeping near the floor. It gets really cozy in that narrow aisle on the floor when the heater is on. Plus no more falling out of bed!

  6. Elizabeth in NC says:

    When you need to go into town and leave the Casita behind, do you pack up everything, like the doggie fencing, etc.? Or leave things set as it is? I am wondering if out in the boonies, it is as likely to have things stolen? Just wondering…remembering going camping as a kid and needing to put anything we cared about anyway, inside the trailer (but that was all in California too).

    Thanks for the detailed information on such things as the card from Verizon.
    Elizabeth in NC

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Well, Elizabeth, I may regret my practice of leaving the dog fencing outside. I guess I figure it’s unlikely someone’s going to mess around folding up the 16 panels of dog pen while I’m gone. Plus it’s almost invisible from the road.

      I have been putting my new chairs inside the Casita, and the patio mat is put in the PTV, mainly because I like these things so much and would hate for them to be gone. (I was more lax when camped next to Rick and the Bayfield Bunch.)

      I just went to the store and I left my stepladder out. I did fold it and place it on the ground next to the Casita wheel so it wouldn’t be seen from the main road. I leave my charcoal grill out .. . it’s only $14 to replace and it needs to be cleaned before stowed.

      Now that I’ve broadcast on the internet what I leave outside, come and get it, thieves! LOL

      I really don’t know what’s the best thing to do!

      • Elizabeth in NC says:

        Well, you would have no use for a fence like that unless you had dogs, etc. so I guess it would be fairly safe to leave out. And if it is not seen much from the road no doubt that helps too. Just wondering if you had a feel yet for the safety from theft out there! I surely hope no one bothers you or your things!! Hehe…yea, not too likely someone would bother a dirty charcoal grill!!

  7. bearwise2010 says:

    Another great post, almost feel like we are there with you. Poor Spike I hope he is ok once you pulled those thorns out, and put some disinfect on it. We have rattlers here in the French River, everyone time I take my son to a friends camp I always carry a stick with me when we are walking, those buggers like to hide.. be very careful. I to only believe in killing when you are hunger, protection. We have a lot of black bears in northern ontario and sometimes they just get a little to friendly and brave.. Thanks for the great post, and the pictures, beautiful area, as I sit here and dream of that being me and my crew one day.. you sure our living the dream Sue. Your nothern ontario reader…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, bearwise . ..

      Spike is doing fine. The thorns were sharp but they were not big in diameter. They were like hairs, until you touched them!

      I’ll be careful about snakes . . . you be careful about snakes and bears!

  8. Kevin says:

    Oh, I do miss that Arizona scenery this winter. If you get a chance, make sure you travel over to Stanton and check out the old “Ghost Town. You may get to see someone doing some gold prospecting at Antelope Creek.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Kevin,

      I searched online for Stanton and it says it’s a private RV park only for members of the mining association. That’s so weird, making an RV park right on a ghost town.

      • Kevin says:

        It is a members only park for the Lost Dutchmens Mining Association, (recreational miners), but when you drive in go to the office and check in, you can take a walk about and look over the “Town”. It was an old stage stop years ago. It is real interesting. Also lots of old relics and photo’s in the office.

  9. gumo says:

    My blood pressure drops significantly when I read your casual and relaxing blog like today. It is good medicine for my soul to read about people living and enjoying life simply and casually and fully. Thanks for the medicine.

  10. Chuck says:

    Another great blog, Sue.

  11. longdog2 says:

    I was glad to see a good picture of your dog fence Sue. I did a lot of research before I bought mine. Didn’t know you had the same brand and even the same height. I see that you got two sets to put together. I did too so it was nice to see how it actually looked set up as I haven’t used mine yet.

  12. Gaelyn says:

    Was really enjoyable to meet you, and Kelly & Al, Spike & Bridget, and Pheebs. You’re Casita is surprisingly roomy, and very homey.

    There is another grocery store in Congress to the right on the main drag, but still you’ll do better in Wickenburg at Safeway or Bashes. The ALCO near Safeway, that’s Vulture Mine Rd, might be a place to look for a dog bed.

    Stanton is interesting for it’s history and same desert country your parked in.

    Glad Spike’s cactus experience wasn’t too bad.

    Invite still open.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Gaelyn,

      I enjoyed meeting you, too! It was a cozy way to spend a windy morning. Once again the BLT didn’t disappoint me.

      The information you shared when you were here and in your comment makes life a lot easier. I’m especially glad you told us about that road from Congress to Prescott.

      If you want to explain more about the road for Sylvia K who commented below, that would be great! I don’t think there’s any other road from Congress to Yarnell than Hwy 89, right?

  13. Sue Johnson says:

    Like reading your blog Sue. I am so dreaming about hitting the road again soon. I Love travel and loved my 2 years in an RV. Have thought often about doing it again and what has pushed me forward is a small inheritance I will be getting soon. It will help me to set myself up for another RV or Casita. I am very interested in your Casita and yes, I also loved seeing some inside photos of it.
    I am thinking of renting an rv for a week and trying it out with the cats. That is a worry for me. I cant imagine parting with them and only hope they will do allright. I did travel with a cat before . He did fine. Well. Have a lovely evening out there in the desert !!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good morning, Sue! Thanks, I did have a lovely evening.

      I would go nuts if, after 2 years living like this, I had to go back to “normal” living! I’m happy for you, that you have the opportunity to shape your life how you want it.

      Cats are hard to figure. It probably would be a good idea to get them used to walking on a leash with harness, if you haven’t already done so. I’m guessing, from my past cat experience, that they will want to roam around your campsite area which would be dangerous in coyote country. So you’d need to keep them with you in that situation. Otherwise, I don’t think they’d go far from you. However, if you’re stopping for just overnight, you wouldn’t want to be waiting around for a cat to return. (I’m thinking as I go here.)

      I guess you’d have to start out very cautiously before giving them much freedom. I’m sure you’re contacting rv people who travel with cats for the best information. Good luck!

      • Sue Johnson says:

        Hi Sue, On my two year rv travel I did have 2 different cats. My first one tragically died of heart failure a year into the trip. It devastated me . He was a very special cat. I soon picked up a stray at a campground . The store owner said he had been feeding it for a couple years but it sure would like a real home. Both cats I would let out when I was camped for a few days in what I thought to be safe spots. They never went far at all from RV. Of course , yes, in certain areas one has to watch for coyotes, snakes. Now with 3 , well , I am not so sure but I will soon start trying out harness on them. What about carrying along a mosquito tent for them to hang out in ??? Have you seen anyone do that?? Yes, I did go nuts coming back to normal house living.LOL. I had to deal with having cancer. Have fought it twice now and been free of it for 6 years . I am not going to let them worry me as far as future travel. I am NED now (no evedince of disease). Hey Sue, I have been reading a lot of you past entries. Seems you have stuck to the desert a lot. Any plans on something new when summer comes along? The Ca. and Oregon coast are wonderful !!!! Colorado also. I spent a whole summer all over Colorado when I was in my RV. Talk to you later.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Hi again, Sue! I’m sorry I didn’t see your latest comment until now. I’m happy to hear you are NED and looking to enjoy life. I’m sorry you’ve had those struggles to deal with.

          As for the cats, maybe a screen room would be good both for you and the cats . . . although maybe they’d scratch it up, don’t know about that. I still stand my the harness idea, so it’s good you are working on that. They’ll need exercise.

          I’m concentrating on the Southwest these months because it’s so different from what I’m used to, coming from the East. I do plan to meander up into Utah, Colorado, I don’t know where else!

          • Sue Johnson says:

            Hi Sue,
            Yes, you may be right about the cats scratching up a screened room. Will start trying out harness way ahead …. Yes, the southwest is beautiful isnt it. You will also Love Utah and Colorado . Hey, I suppose you have plenty of time to decide .. California also has lots to offer. Desert, ocean and mountains. You could spend a couple years in this state. In my two years rv I went up ca. oregon, washington one summer. Arizona most of the winter. New mexico, Colorado next summer. Then I meandered over to Florida spending a lot of time in the panhandle area. Wintered down in the keys. So, there is still much more I want to see. It is amazing how in 2 years you only scratch the surface of the amazing country.
            Well, hope you dont get blown away by the wind you mentioned in your newer post !!!

  14. Sherry says:

    Gotta love those lazy days and that “there’s always tomorrow” attitude. I’m with you all the way.
    And am impressed with the room for company in the Casita.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Sherry,

      The Liberty Deluxe has a lot of seating. If I didn’t put in the storage drawers and left it in the configuration it was in when I picked it up (large table with horseshoe of seats around it), probably 6-9 people could fit in here. They might get claustrophobia, but their behinds would be on a cushion!

  15. Geri says:

    I love your new “home”! You are obviously feeling safe, happy and FREE! Keep on keepin’ on! You are making us all proud!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Geri,

      There’s very little activity out this way. About once a day I can see a jogger or person on horseback going across this area of desert and not too close to us. I don’t hear the people at the other motorhomes and the tenters are quiet, too.

  16. Sylvia K says:

    Hi Sue, I love your blog and enjoy seeing your pictures. I feel we are traveling with you. I was very curious about that road that leads from Congress to Yarnell. Last October we drove that area with our motorhome and did not like driving that highway at all. I would love to know a better way for our trip this coming April.
    Glad to hear Spike is doing fine.
    Jerry & Sylvia
    Murrieta, CA

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Silvia K,

      Gaelyn said the best way to go from Congress to Prescott is to take Hwy 89 to Kirkland Junction, turn left and drive NW a short distance to Kirkland. At Kirkland turn right and drive N to Skull Valley. Stay on that road to Iron Springs. It will curve gradually to the E and into Prescott.

      Thank you for the kind words about Spike and my blog.

      • Gaelyn says:

        The only practical way from Yarnell to Congress is SR89. The above route bypasses the “Spar Road” switchbacks from Yarnell north to Prescott. Upon entering Prescott another bypass keeps you out of town completely by turning left on Williamson Valley Road (there has been construction) and in a few miles right on Pioneer Parkway to SR89. North from there is Chino Valley.

        Hope that helps. Other wise SR93 is nice.

      • Sylvia K says:

        Thanks Sue and Gaelyn for the travel info. Looking forward to our trip.

  17. Virginia says:

    Hi Sue:

    It is really amazing that you can have so much technology out there in the boonies mostly provided by your solar panels (right?). Just curious, what size of solar system you have for your Casita. I am assuming you have very energy efficient appliances as well. Fun to see you hosting your first get together with RV celebs Al, Kelly, the Pheebs and Gaelyn. Spike and the the Pheebs seemed to hit it off, kindred spirits.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Virginia,

      Yes, my solar panel keeps my laptop and cellphone charged. It keeps my 12 volt system in the Casita powered up for the lights and television, too. I replaced most of the incandescent bulbs in the BLT with LEDs. They’re wonderful. I got the “warm” light kind.

      As for appliances, I don’t use them. No electric mixer, no hair dryer, no food processor, none of that kind of stuff. I don’t need them anyway. I can’t use air conditioning without electric hookup, but I invested in a top-of-the-line, 12 volt fan that I can place on my table or on top of the storage drawers. It’s made by the same company that makes the Fantastic Fan (in the ceiling)) which can be run off the solar power.

      I have two AGM batteries hooked up to my 200 watt panel. Also have the “house” battery. For more info, click on “Solar Power” in the heading at the top of the blog.

  18. Don in Okla. says:

    Hi Sue
    I have just subscribed for the email updates but now I can not rid your blog page of the grey “Follow” icon at the lower right hand corner. Can you or your followers advise how to do this? I don’t want to click on it again as I have twice already and it keeps coming back.
    Sorry for the bother.
    Thank you.
    Don in Okla.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It’s no bother at all, Don, mainly because I don’t know how to help you! Does the follow icon have to go away? Obviously I’m not sure what is going on.

      Readers, help us out here please with any insight you might have. Don and I would appreciate it!

      Thanks, Don, for subscribing to my blog.

      • Don in Okla. says:

        Hi Sue
        Thank you for the reply. Geri, I will take your advice and just ignore. I just wanted to be sure I didn’t mess something up when I subscribed.
        Thank you all.
        And Sue, I really enjoy your blogs. Please keep up the good work. We, who are home bound really enjoy your tales of travel.
        Don in Okla.

  19. Geri says:

    The “Follow” icon is always there for me too, I have just learned to ignore it knowing I will be notified by email of your updates.

  20. carol says:

    I’ve heard that snakee tastes like chicken

  21. says:

    Massachusetts Mark says :
    You had said bank America was your bank. Well here is a great alternative banking option.
    ( )
    With shared branching, credit unions from all over the country share facilities to give members thousands of convenient locations to perform transactions just as if they were in their home credit union. Whether you are home, or traveling, your credit union is always nearby.

    Hope this helps…mark

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I wish I had known about that, Mark, before I closed my account with the credit union in Georgia. Thanks for the info and the link.

  22. Elizabeth in NC says:

    Was just telling my husband what wonderful information is shared here…about so many different things! Thanks for allowing so many to write here in addition to yourself!! (There are bloggers out there that think their blog is their little controlled kingdom and place to rule! 😉 )
    Thanks again for sharing so much!!
    Elizabeth in NC

    • Sue Johnson says:

      Ditto !!!

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Sweet of you both! A lot of the credit goes to WordPress which makes all these longer comments possible. Sometimes I think it’s the blog platform and not the blogger that limits what a reader can write on someone’s blog.

        I love comments, not just directed toward me, but between readers, too!

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