“I hate to say it”

Several times in the night, I wake up, lift myself off the bed on one elbow, and peer out the window into the moonlit forest. 

I'm glad I have a shovel for burying fires.

I can barely make out the shapes of the trees, but I know if anything moves, I’ll see it.

Nothing.  How frustrating!

Almost every day I see fresh evidence of deer – their droppings and hoof tracks – all around our campsite.  They’re probably on their way to the nearby pond.  Some of the tracks are big.  Dare I imagine elk are sneaking around the BLT at night?  No, that’s crazy.  Still, I’d like to see what’s making those tracks . . . .

The crew has become jaded by all this natural beauty surrounding us.

“Let’s go for a walk, guys!”

It’s now eleven in the morning.  We haven’t walked because it was so chilly earlier this morning.  Bridget and Spike have been napping for hours.  It’s time to get moving around.

I start us off on a new trail that passes the small pond. 

Tiny white flowers are everywhere.

I’m still within viewing distance of the BLT when I turn around and see that the crew has no intention of going for a walk.

Spike is nosing around Gail’s motorhome and Bridget is staging a sit-in in the middle of the grassy meadow.  She sits there like a mutant blossom surrounded by all the little white flowers.

“C’mon, Bridget!  Don’t you want to walk with me?” I scream across the bucolic scene.

I know better than call Spike.  Once he’s involved in snooping around someone else’s home, there’s no pulling him away.  Bridget sits staring at me.  I can almost hear her saying, “If you want me, come and get me.”

I give up on them and take a short walk by myself.

A new discovery

After a few photos, I turn back toward camp.  I see Spike has investigated Gail’s camp to his satisfaction and is headed back to the BLT.  

Ha!  He thinks we’re home.  Good.  He’ll get what he deserves when he finds out we’re not there.

I cross paths with Bridget who is nonchalantly sniffing grass.

Bridget is on the other side of the pond. Can you see her in the shade?

We head back to camp.  I can hear Spike barking.  He’s infuriated because he thinks I’m inside and I won’t open the door for him!  I hurry across the meadow to shut him up.  He sees Bridget and me come around the back end of the BLT.

I have the last laugh.  “SURPRISE!  You little noodle-head!”

This tickles Spikey so he starts hopping and spinning around in circles.  “Okay, nutcake,” I say as I open the door to the BLT.  “Settle down and get your drink.”

I haven’t seen much of Gail or Ken the past two days.

The last time we spoke Gail was getting over her cold and Ken was doing most of the talking.  Ken’s the kind of guy who says, “I hate to say it” a lot.  For instance, he’ll say, “I hate to say it, but . . .” and then he goes ahead and says it.  This cracks me up so much that my face must turn red listening to him, all the while trying to keep the laugh inside.  It’s particularly inappropriate for me to get the giggles because the stuff he hates to say and says anyway is usually not stuff to laugh at.

“I’ve got New Hampshire plates on my RV and the cops are like,’Hey, what are you doing here?'” Ken bulges his eyes in mock disbelief.  “Um, I’m RVing in my RV, that’s what.  I hate to say it but . . . I’m profiled because of those plates.”

Ken relates an incident that has colored his view of fulltiming in a negative way.

“I hate to say it, but I’m staying out of states like Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas . . . . “  He trails off and shakes his head, remembering a particular day.  It happened outside a small town in Tennessee . “The cops stopped me.  They say, ‘You were weaving’.  I don’t know what they’re talking about because I was just driving down the road.”

Soon they’re giving Ken a choice.  “Either sign this paper giving us permission to search your RV or we can go through all the court stuff, which will probably take days, and then we’ll search your RV anyway.”

“This is the choice they give me!” Ken exclaims.

“So I sign the paper.  As soon as I sign the paper, like eight squad cars pull up and all these guys jump out.  They go through the drawers, tearing stuff apart, making a mess. They don’t care.  They’re getting angry because they can’t find anything.  They even dump out a container of creamer.   Looking for drugs, I guess.”

As he’s telling the story, I see Spike is doing his own unwarranted search around the base of Ken’s Class C motorhome.

“Then they go outside and look at the compartments and ask me ‘What’s in there?’  I tell them RV stuff is in there.  They tell me to open them up.  They pull everything out.  All my stuff is alongside the road!”

I’m distracted by Ken’s 200-pound-plus retriever which is scooting his butt across the grass, making a swath a yard wide.

"I hate to say it . . .

“Finally they say, ‘Okay, you can go.’  By this time it’s dark outside.  I’ve got two little puppies with me.  My stuff is on the ground.  Cars are whizzing by going 70 miles an hour.  And they say, ‘Okay, you can go.”

It suddenly strikes me that Ken’s dog, which is still scooting at top speed across the grass, is named Scooter!  How can that be?  The irony of the situation gets the best of me, despite Ken’s terrible story.

Spike is acting like a drug enforcement officer over there, poking around in Ken’s stuff, and Ken’s dog by the name of Scooter, if you can believe it, is scooting his butt all around us.  I can’t help it!  Suddenly everything strikes me as funny.

Gail sees my predicament and smiles.

I realize she’s heard Ken’s story before.  Thankfully, Ken is so much in the memory of that awful incident, that he’s oblivious to my inappropriate – no, I hate to say it, my rude — reaction.

“Not all cops are bad, don’t get me wrong,” Ken concludes.  “I hate to say it, but  . . . some of them are just looking for a way to wreck your day.”


P.S.  to law enforcement officers:  This blog tells the story of my life as a fulltime vagabond and includes the people I meet.  I did not write this entry to criticize law enforcement personnel.   I respect the difficult job you dare to face each day and thank you for the work you do. 


About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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61 Responses to “I hate to say it”

  1. Chuck says:

    It’s too bad these stories are true in some areas of the areas he’s talking about…….usually are local/county officers only.

  2. Pat says:

    I hope I meet as many interesting people as you have. I can’t wait to start my adventure.

  3. Reine says:

    When I hear stories like this I always wonder what the law enforcement folks had dealt with the days or weeks before. They may have dealt with a major drug bust of someone in an RV with out of state plates. And then unfortunately there are some folks that just like to throw their weight around. We’ll never know the kind that Ken faced. We just hope we don’t run into them. As you said, bad days do happen to good folks.

  4. CeCe says:

    I hate to say it, but, it seems that Scooter is appropriately named. I’m just sayin’

  5. cathieok says:

    Interesting story, and as you said, bad things happen to good people. That was a scary incident and I would have been bawling by the side of the road!

  6. Francy says:

    we have herds of deer out were I work. Can’t drive 40 miles an hour (posted speed limit) as you have to keep an eye out for Mr Buck ….he has no fear of my little blue car….he has walked infront of me several times.

    Have to admit on the mornings when I see them walking out of the fog……takes my breath away it is so beautiful.

    look forward to a pic of an Elk!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Francy!

      I guess I need to stop looking for an elk. You know how it goes . . . as soon as you stop looking for something, you find it. Good luck dodging the deer in the road.

      • earthdancerimages says:

        lol, i woke up to an elk looking into my bedroom window! I had my slide-in truck camper at the time with the “upstairs” bed and my dog Atlas had long ago torn out all the screening…. Woke up one morning to a weird sounding mewling outside, rolled over for a look out my window as was about eyeball to eyeball with a huge bull elk who was curiously looking in!!

  7. Chris says:

    I hate to say it, but, that was the best post ever! I’m still laughing!


  8. Chuck says:

    We keep all plates,ins and licences matching….too many border checks to go thruough in the SW to raise flags….JMHO……

  9. Kathy says:

    Sue – I love that you are posting your expenses. I am wondering how much you are paying for cell and internet service. How does it work. Sorry if you have already posted this and I have missed it. I will be on the road next year and am trying to figure everything out.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Funny you should ask. I was looking at the figures a little while ago. I pay $30.05 a month for Verizon internet (air card). The air card is like a fat credit card that I plug into my laptop via a USB cable.

      I pay the Verizon bill through online banking. I have a 2-year contract with Verizon.

      The StraightTalk cellphone bill ($31.41 a month) is paid via my credit card when I renew the service in response to their monthly reminder that comes to me on my phone. In other words, I have no contract and can quit them at any time.

  10. Jim Melvin says:

    I hate to say it but that was a pretty crazy story.

  11. Hotel California says:

    Great post! I’m still smiling. Think I’ll drag my ass to bed now.

  12. geogypsy2u says:

    I hate to say it but, does Ken, or his RV, fit some kind of drug user profile maybe. In all my years on the road I’ve never had the RV searched. And I’ve had plenty of people call me a hippie chick.

    Could be elk and deer.

    Like Hotel CA, it’s time to drag my ass to bed.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I don’t know what it is about Ken. He has a normal appearance. He’s clean shaven. His rig is ordinary. I think he’s right . . . The plates from the Northeast do not help (residual dislike of Yankees). Plus he’s a man. I don’t think women get hassled anywhere near as often as men.

  13. Elizabeth says:

    THANKS for sharing that true story from Ken. We can always learn from others I think!! What a terrible experience. We have noticed a lot more stops here, ON BACK ROADS mostly. They usually just ask for your license…but it does worry a person because the fequency seems to grow. Does that mean there are more criminals loose? Or what…one wonders…but it at least shows a further breaking down of our society, whatever the reason behind it.

    We lived remote and had many deer and a couple times elk herds going through. It is a good thing however to have the frequent deer visitors because when they stopped coming is when a mountain lion (cougar) faced my hubby off just outside the open garage door one nite at dusk. All he had was rocks in the driveway and he threw lots of them, yelling and jumping up and down (you are supposed to make yourself LOOK BIGGER with them)…but it moved only a short distance away. It was our cat who alerted him. So if you have deer….that is very good!! Maybe no cougars or bears around. Neighbors told me about the elk…first time they are so incredibly quiet you cannot hear them. Next time they phoned me to watch…big herd of maybe 50 or more moving past as quiet as a mouse…incredible something so large can do that.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You saw 50 and I can’t seem to spot just one! Ha! I do think elk walk through here. The hoof prints are large. I’ve seen a lot of bovine prints in my life and these are not the same. Spike knows they’re around. Every morning he goes out to check the premises and the fur on his back stands straight up and he gets really p#%sed off that they got past him in the night.

      I don’t think Ken’s misadventure is recent. I think it left a deep mark on his psyche though, so it’s still fresh in his mind. The clue is he mentioned two puppies. Up until recently he had two dogs (including Scooter), both old, and Scooter is 14 yrs. old.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Hmmmmm, well something like that would definitely stay in one’s memory. We have heard not to go through one certain state, at least not in a big fancy rig. Heard that years ago…you can end up with their keeping it. We do not live in a perfect world. I think how you live might also be of some protection…living simply might make your rig less appealing maybe…I have always thought that one should try to not be “flashy” in life…sometimes that gets other’s envy and they might try to take what you have. (heh, leftover thinking from growing up with red hair!!…nicer now that it is gone in that way at least…less noticed).

        Where we lived and saw the elk, was at the snowline in a mountain area and we were told that the elk only migrated through, not stopping to stay. It looked as if fences were no obstacle too (Some ranchers had cattle nearby…oh dear). We saw them walking through single file. Never even heard a twig snap!! The deer there however, came most days right up next to the house, to eat the grass and all flowers that came up…if the windows were open you could have touched one, well, they would be gone if you moved toward them…but we often had our deck doors open and they would hear us talking quietly and did not run off. And as the neighbors told us, if they were not around, then be careful…bears or cougars probably were. It was true!!

  14. The Great American Southwest says:

    As far as seeing your night time visitors, you should see about getting a game camera. Cabela’s is a good place to get one. Set it up in a tree three to four feet off the ground and in the morning you can see your critter visitors. I have two and they are kinda fun.

  15. Llanos says:

    Great writing as usual Sue. First off, I would never give permission to search my vehicle. I would say that 90% of the time it is a bluff. They do that just to scare you. They want to search without the trouble of getting a warrant. I’ve got all the time in the world. I’ll sit there all day. They don’t, they will send you on your way. Half my family is in Law Enforcement. You would not believe the stories they tell. They think it is funny to run roughshod over people. Yes I know the good cops will chime in, it’s a brotherhood.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Wow. Interesting comment, Llanos. And you know what you’re talking about. I imagine some people get into law enforcement because they like to push people around. I want to hold on to the belief that many go into it because they want to preserve safety and security. Maybe I’m naive. Hope not.

      Thanks for the compliment.

  16. Karen says:

    That story of Ken’s is downright scary. I would feel really intimidated and violated if we had to go through that. Kind of wonder about having a firearm on board now. I guess one would have to check the state laws to see if it would be legal to have it. Hubby has a permit for our state, but would it be okay anywhere? Something we should check into.
    The purchase of a game camera might be a good investment for you, Sue. You would always know what critters frequent your campsite at night. We have deer that visit daily in our back yard. (We live in the city) They walk so quietly it is impossible to hear their steps even in the dry leaves. I was trying to shoo them away from some tempting perennials the other day but they are so used to humans now that they just stop and stare at me from 15 feet away. They’re beautiful creatures but my gardens look like a buffet meal to them.
    Your post was so funny. I can picture Scooter doing scoots while you’re trying to listen to a (hate to say it) serious story. Makes me want to bust out laughing right now. HA!

    • Karen, if you have concealed carry permit, almost every state reciprocates. Exceptions that come to mind are NY, IL. Illinois actually denies it’s residents the right to carry a weapon! Here’s a link to a reciprocity map. It’s pretty easy to use: http://www.usacarry.com/concealed_carry_permit_reciprocity_maps.html

    • rvsueandcrew says:


      I don’t see the connection between being stopped by law enforcement officers and getting a gun. A gun would only complicate matters in this situation, raising more questions. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a gun. That’s personal.

      I’d enjoy a game camera so much! I want to stay on track with my finances… be conservative with my spending. I think a lot of my readers want to see how inexpensively one can live on the road, and if I start buying stuff, I’m afraid I’ll lose my grip and my simple way of life. Maybe next year . . . .

      The scooting Scooter . . . Who could make this stuff up?

      • Karen says:

        Oh, I was only questioning what would happen during a total vehicle search like what Ken and Gail endured if they found a gun. Lots of RVers carry them for protection (depending where they are traveling). Wondering if conceal and carry permits are reciprocal from state to state. One would hate to get into deep trouble in another state by assuming that the permit was good anywhere in the US.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I haven’t been clear about Ken and Gail. Ken drives a Class C. Gail drives a Class A. They are friends from camping over at the Slabs (not romantically). Ken is younger than Gail and me.

          I think the fact that he was a man driving alone made him more subject to suspicion.

          • Elizabeth says:

            Yea, that does make sense…maybe having a woman along, or a woman alone would be less noticed!!

  17. shadowmoss says:

    I’m with the folks who say don’t give permission. I have nothing to hide, but I also believe in due process. I’ll sit tight and shut up and follow their orders so as not to give them any supposed reason to circumvent the due process.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      My guess is that Ken figured the court system in that area might be pals with the police. He’s an outsider and they’re a tight bunch of insiders. Kinda risky to confront that even in a “free” country.

  18. A while back there was stuff in the news about the drug cartels using “mules” to carry drugs. Lots of the mules are older rv’ers. That being said, I go through lots of checkpoints when I’m in the Southwest, and for some reason don’t get stopped. I’m in a Class B Roadtrek.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      A woman in a Roadtrek .. . . Hmmm. … What is she up to? I think we project an air of innocence and honesty. It’s easier to be suspicious of a man’s behavior, I think.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Hopefully you are more innocent looking…bad people hide in many professions, unfortunately. I have heard that the less you say, however, the better off you are. One friend, who used to be a police officer told us that if you are being followed, given enough time, he could find SOMETHING to charge you with. So we taught our children, that if you are close enough to a store, gas station, etc. to pull in there and see if the police go on down the road. And to wait until they did, even getting out and going inside the store if need be. Because it actually can save time in the end and you will reach your intended destination quicker if you do that, than if they stop and question you. Due process of law seems something quickly fading from the landscape in our country. The internet and youtube, etc have plenty of examples of that. The best thing is to appear not noticed and uninteresting. (WITHOUT using camo paint too I might add….nowadays that could make you look “interesting”).

  19. Sue says:

    I loved the story and it made me laugh out loud. Poor guy getting searched that way. Not sure what I would do in that situation. Scooter now, it sounds like maybe he needs to be de-wormed. I have never see a dog do that who didn’t need de-worming.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You loved the story! That makes me happy, Sue. Yeah, it’s time for Scooter to be de-wormed. The only other reason I know is Scooter ate some hot chilies or something.

    • Carol says:

      my first thot was that Scooter had problem anal glands,time for a visit to a vet

  20. Pam says:

    Well – I hate to say it —– but that is a pretty funny story. It could happen to any of us though. Being a 70+ granny with a small Coachman and a flashy pick-up truck, I could easily be a target for suspicious activity! What a drastic change to grass, trees and plenty of water kind of climate from your winter desert time.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      If you’re ever stopped, pull out the photos of the grandkids and go into a nonstop bragging routine, telling every little detail about how cute and smart they are. Soon the police will be giving you an escort out of town!

      • Chuck says:

        Now Sue, that is a great idea!!!!! Grandkids, dogs, etc, yeah, you’re probably right!!!!!

  21. joe says:

    Sue, I Really think Ken is like many of my friends, For sure the ones that fish, Their stories and the size of the fish seem to grow every time they repeat the story,,,””” I hate to say it””” but after maybe 14 years ?? Just saying maybe…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You may be right, Joe. I tell the stories people tell me as accurately as I can. It’s up to readers to read between the lines or figure out the backstory. I believe he was hassled enough to become somewhat paranoid.

  22. The Good Luck Duck says:

    I hate to say it. Great. Now I am going to be sayin’ it an hatin’ it at the same time.

    Needless to say… That’s the one I notice. Needless to say, I’m going to say it anyway.

    The Good Luck Duck

  23. rvwayoflife by Lindadeeza says:

    I live in PA and we actually had a mild winter. My hubby and I have a camper. Sue, I named my little camper CLC. It stands for Cozy Little Camper. I can’t do the full time thing yet, but I love my CLC. Tonight, I started to get it ready for summer. It is so small that in 2 hours, I scrubbed the walls, cupboards, sinks, bathroom area, kitchen area and floors and ran the sweeper. I can’t wait to go camping. But thanks to you, I now have a name for my camper.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I LOVE your camper’s name! Isn’t it wonderful to be able to have your house super clean in only 2 hours? Less is more, so much more. I’m happy for you. Enjoy your CLC!

  24. Nita Laughlin says:

    I live in TN and will have to say, sometimes even the locals get hassled. I think we have in a few places some “good ole boy rednecks” who love to act bigger than they really are. Several months ago they were into profiling hispanics. Also, your friend might want to get his dog checked for worms. They do that scooting motion when that is a problem.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Ken was over here a little while ago. We sat and talked. When he mentioned he’d be taking Scooter to PetCo this week for a rabies shot, I mentioned the possibility Scooter might need to be wormed.

  25. Pat G. says:

    Maybe someone else has mentioned this, but Ken should check Scooter’s anal glands. Very easy procedure or have the vet do it. Scooter may be scooting in an effort to release them.
    Enjoying your travels!

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