Serendipity and camping cats in the pine forest

This morning I have a nine o’clock appointment to have the PTV’s oil changed.

Beck and Ricochet Rocket, the cat that likes dogs

On the way out of the Coconino National Forest dispersed camping area northeast of Flagstaff, I stop at Beck and Diane’s campsite.  They invited me to visit them for a brief hello before they hit the road again with their two cats, Ricochet Rocket and Feathers.

I met Beck and Diane a month or so ago at Burro Creek Recreation Area.  We knew we’d be friends right away when we noticed we have a solar panel on our vehicles, rather than on our homes.

A few minutes after arriving, a lady on a bicycle pedals up to their campsite.

She has a Pomeranian on a leash running alongside her.  “Where am I?” she asks, looking befuddled.  We soon learn she arrived here last night and went up the campground road looking for a site.  When she tried to turn her Born Free (Class C) motorhome around in the road, one of its wheels went into a ditch.

This morning she dug and moved rocks around the wheel in an effort to drive her rig out of the ditch, but to no avail.  Beck lends her a cellphone so she can call AAA road service, and then gives her info about her location to relay to the AAA dispatcher.  I hook up my GPS in the PTV and write down the coordinates for her also.

I have to make a quick exit to get to the auto shop on time.

Although I feel bad for the lady in distress, I drive away happy for me.  Beck and Diane decided to stay another day and they invited me for drinks and dinner tonight!

The auto shop, which has been doing business in Flagstaff for about 35 years, is extremely busy.  I expect a long wait, but a young man sets to work right away changing the oil and filter.  Spike, Bridget and I sit in the tiny waiting area.  The charge is $45.31 for labor and five quarts of oil.  Pulling away from the shop, I do believe I detect a happier PTV!

Next stop is the Safeway store on the same highway.

This is an important shopping trip.  Tomorrow I am beginning the Dukan diet.  This is a diet developed in France about ten years ago.  The first week of the diet is high protein, designed to rev up your metabolism and break the addiction to sweets and carbs.  (You can read about it at   My shopping list is oat bran, Greek non-fat plain yogurt (23 grams of protein – the good, expensive stuff),  sliced turkey, skinless chicken breasts, tuna fish, Stevia sweetener for my coffee, non-fat milk . . . You get the idea.

Bridget will be dieting with me.

I’ll be on the Dukan diet while Bridget will be on the Green Bean and Kibble diet.  We girls have to watch our waistlines!

I fill up the PTV with gas at $3.69 a gallon.

I notice a thrift store and run in for a fly-by shopping trip.  I find a lightweight, summer blouse for $5.99, pay for it, and hurry back to the PTV.

I get there too late. 

“Oh, no!”  Spike is chewing a big chunk out of a fresh, skinless chicken breast he’s torn out of the styrofoam and cellophane package.  He drops it on the floor of the PTV when I enter, and guiltily climbs back up on the bench seat.  “Oh Spike.  I should have known you’d do that.”

On the way back to our campsite I meet the lady in the Born Free. 

She’s coming the opposite way.  “The forest guys helped me get going.  I’m looking for a campsite.”  I give her a suggestion and off she goes.  I’m surprised that the forest workers helped her, as they aren’t allowed to do so.  Later I learn they didn’t pull her out, just helped her position the rocks so she could drive out of the ditch.

Gail comes over in the afternoon.

We sit in camp chairs on my blue patio mat and talk about our travels, our way of life, and my impending diet.  Gail is trying to figure out how to make yogurt using powdered milk.  I’m no help, although I have made yogurt with regular milk.  All of a sudden I remember I’m supposed to be at Beck and Diane’s at 4:30.  I explain this to Gail and she goes back to her campsite.

The beautiful green of the Ponderosa pine forest

I tidy myself up, put the crew in their suits, grab the bottle of wine, unplug the BLT power plug from the PTV, and away we go! 

Beck and Diane are used to Bridget and Spike.  The crew attended the last dinner they prepared for me.  We sit outside their fifth wheel for drinks and conversation.  Beck, who was once a veterinary technician, looks at Spike’s wound.  She feels it is healing too quickly and a small lump may be a sign of infection.  She applies hydrogen peroxide and clears the wound of the scab, so the healing will be from the inside out.  Spike is a good patient and lets her tend to him.

It’s getting cool and dinner’s ready, so we go inside. 

Two dogs, two cats, and three adults eating dinner inside together is a bit tricky, but it all works out somehow.  I thoroughly enjoy their company and the meal is excellent.

“You know, this is my last supper,” I announce dramatically before revealing the diet regimen that starts tomorrow.

After dinner we all walk around their campsite.

Ricochet walks on a leash better than a lot of dogs!

I’ve got Bridget and Spike on-leash, and Beck has Ricochet on a leash also.

Feathers the cat stays inside because she doesn’t like dogs.  Imagine that!

I hug these two good people goodbye and wish them safe travel.  Tomorrow morning they head toward Mesa Verde and will drive through Monument Valley.

I drive away through the Ponderosa pines with the crew in the back of the PTV. 

It’s almost dark as I find our way home.  I think about Beck and Diane and their warm hospitality.  How fortunate our paths crossed again.  I love the serendipity of this way of life! 

You have to agree . . . Bridget is cute in this photo!



About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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50 Responses to Serendipity and camping cats in the pine forest

  1. Chuck says:

    Sue , Great pic of you and the crew…pretty site….good job maintaing the PTV….was air filter checked? you are in dusty area…
    Geri has found a Cranberry, Prickly Pear Juice Margarita….in the same place with the chicken wings……

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Chuck! I saw a photo of the Prickly Pear Margarita on Geri’s blog. I’m thirsty thinking about it! NO, I forgot to ask for a new air filter. I should have. Maybe I’ll put one in all by myself. A scary thought.

  2. Emjay says:

    For your Greek yogurt: To make it dessert, mix in almond flavoring (1/2 tsp per cup minimum) and two packets of Splenda. You adjust flavorings and sweetner for taste. Boy is it ever decadent!! Yum.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Emjay, You said the magic word . . . decadent. That does sound good.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Hi Sue,

        Being diabetic, just recently learned that ALL sweeteners spike the insulin….a better choice is a little natural sweetener like honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar. I think stevia is still ok however, being a natural thing. Actually I would be afraid to use splenda…do check out what the internet says on that one!!

        You should love the greek yogurt…just recently switched hubby to that and he says it is so good plus his gut likes it better too!!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          As soon as I finish this cup of coffee this morning, I’m trying the Greek yogurt for the first time. Wish me luck! I’m goin’ in!

          • hobopals says:

            I’ve been afraid to try yogurt. Silly, I know, but I had a taste years ago and UGH! I have often wondered whether it was spoiled. Let me know how you like it, then I might get my courage up. “Let Mikey (Sue) try it…” LOL

            Spikey sure is a little devil. Just be careful how you handle him because I think dogs are less likely to get Salmonella than you are. There’s been a big stink about people getting it from dog foods and chew bones, recently.

            Glad you’ve got a professional looking at Spike’s wound. It’s surprising–sounded like he was just about healed.


            • rvsueandcrew says:

              That was the trouble with Spike. He’s been healing too quickly. I’m supposed to soak it and pour hydrogen peroxide on it to keep a scab from forming too soon.

              I love Bridget in that photo that Beck took.

              • dogzlady says:

                I would be sparing with the hydrogen peroxide, it can damage new tissue. Warm moist compresses should do the trick. Yes, if the top heals too fast it can trap bacterial in the wound and lead to an abcess. I learned this when I had several cats that liked to quarrel.

              • Sharpei Mom says:

                Dogslady, I was told the same about peroxide damaging the new tissue by our vet when Mugs had his hip torn open. He recommended phisoderm, betadine or chlorhexadine and warm compresses.

        • Use Stevia. All artificial sweeteners like splenda, etc are all chemicals that can harm you. good luck on your diet. I need to do one also.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Oh and apple juice concentrate is a nice natural one…but I have to get from the health food store, in order to find one that is not coming from apples from overseas someplace. Apples are the best fruit I know of, actually, for keeping the blood sugar more even. I have used brown rice syrup and agave too, as excellent tasting alternatives, but recently have read online that they are not a good choice either (at least for us). Finding things on the low glycemic index is helpful. The primary word here is using a SMALL amount however…regardless of what you use!!

  3. geogypsy2u says:

    Bridget is just plain cute.
    You can meet a lot of good people on the road. It’s a frame of mind.

    • Llanos says:

      I agree whole heartedly with this statement. It is amazing the good people you meet on the road. I am not a RV’er. I do love to take long trips on motorcycles and tent camp along the way. I am always amazed at the interesting people I come across.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re a perfect example, Gaelyn, of the “good people on the road.”

  4. cathieok says:

    Sounds like a very nice evening with friends. Spike is definitely a rascal. Maybe he was tring to tell you he prefers rare chicken instead of well done! Might need to put a cooler in the ptv for groceries. 🙂

  5. Llanos says:

    Sue, you have opened my eyes to a whole new way of living. Darn you! I did not know that there was a community of people out there that had no “physical address”. It amazes and intrigues me. In my mind, you have turned from “who the heck is this crazy woman” to “you know, she may be on to something.” I love the people/friends you interact with. For a hermit, you do okay.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh, Llanos! Your comment has given me my first laugh of the day, and it’s a good one! I’m still laughing as I type this. I love your statement of my transition in your mind from crazy woman to someone who’s on to something. Maybe my blog will give hermits a good name . . .

  6. Teri says:

    Great photo of the three of you. I feel very bad, but as I was reading this entry I just burst out laughing when Spike was eating the chicken. I should never condone bad behavior by laughing, but since he can’t hear me I guess it’s allowed? 😉

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      About Spike . . . I look at him this way. He’s got some devil in him that he can’t control, so bad stuff is going to happen . . . a lot. He’s simply an instrument of destruction. I find it helps to stay rested and say the Serenity Prayer.

  7. earthdancerimages says:

    Hey Spikey is just being Spike, he ain’t mean, just a bit ornery and Bridget is a gorgeous as always… and you … You old hermit you! You are looking great! This lifestyle definitely agrees with you!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you for the lovely compliment from this “old hermit,” Ha! I agree, Bridget is blossoming into quite a gal. It must be the rigors of living with Spike from a very young age.

  8. I;ve been reading your blogs even though I haven’t responded lately. Just a busy time for me. Is that alot of money for your oil change? I just had my car done, oil change, tire rotated, fluids checked all for $21.00. Pictures look great. Well I didn’t sell my car so I am driving to New England in my car for about a month. I’m going to make believe its my new rv. lol. Guess my timing is just not right yet. See what happens when I get back. You look great and so does the crew. Good luck on your diet.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Sharon,

      I’m no expert on car maintenance costs. When I told Diane, she thought it was a good price as she’s paid more for her truck’s oil change. You mentioned your car. This is a van with an engine that is probably bigger than your car’s. It took 5 quarts of oil plus the oil filter. I notice on the bill it says “lube chassis.”

  9. Sue says:

    Wow I have always wondered how lonely a life it might be to live the way you do, but from your blog and a few others I have learned that outside of the snowbird migrations there is a community and it is friendly and caring. What a blessed life.

  10. Kathryn says:

    Hi my friend, you and the dogs are so cute in your picture. I am so happy that you are all so happy. Use caution in regards to putting baby on a diet. Dogs are meat eaters and need protein so by eliminating grain from the diet and using more wet a lot of this weight should come off naturally without even reducing the amount of food.There are food varieties now that have no grain for dogs and cats. If out in the wild they would not eat the wheat or the green beans from someone’s garden but would eat the rabbit. Natures Variety, EVO, Wellness are a few that have a dry food that is 100% grain free. Sometimes it isn’t how much but what we eat that needs to be considered. Few pets products to none are healthy for pets that are sold in grocery stores regarding the marketing that for example Iam’s uses. A good check up including thyroid testing might be considered too.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I know you are right, Kathryn. The only problem is finding those brands when traveling, often in small towns and out-of-the-way places. Sometimes there’s only one store and the brands are freaky with names like Dog Food.

      Maybe you’ll feel better knowing that Bridget and Spike get high-quality, lean meat every day in addition to their kibble. I’ll keep giving them that.

      • ct says:

        And Spike even serves himself the high quality lean meat! 🙂

      • hobopals says:

        Sue, just a suggestion if it’s any help, I did some research when I was going to be traveling indefinitely (before my back injury). Jack eats premium prescription food (Royal Canin). Vets carry it. You can go to their site and find vets along the way that carry it–you get it in 30-40 lb bags so you can plan ahead: I used to buy three or four bags of his premium food until I could find a place that sold it–Nutro. Now, though, he HAS to have the food he’s on for his health so I had to find a way to get it for him. They call him the “miracle dog). He would never have survived if he wasn’t already in good shape.

        The only treat Jack gets is sliced sweet potatoes that I dehydrate and keep enough in the fridge for a week (maybe three slices twice per day). I even bought a generator so that I could make them for him (not a spoiled pup, huh?) Except for the quirky thing that almost took his life, he’s in incredible shape for a large dog at 11 years old. I took a picture the other day (going to make it my blog picture) and he looks like a puppy. I just love showing him off! The site for Royal Canin is:

        I’ll bet some of the other premium foods are carried by vets, as well. My vet also carries Science Diet. Yeah, they do. I just looked.

    • Sue says:

      Hi Kathryn, can you tell me if fish is a natural food for dogs in the wild? I have a Carin Terrier/mix (?).

  11. The Good Luck Duck says:

    Was it Savers you found in Flag?

  12. Pat says:

    Great pic, you all look happy and content.

  13. Marsha says:

    I make my own yogurt and to make Greek yogurt I just line a colander with a coffee filter and let it drain overnight in the fridge. Never tried it with commercial yogurt but it might be worth a shot. It would be more economical.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I don’t know. I don’t see myself being able to accomplish that. This diet says you should have Greek yogurt that’s got 23 grams of protein. I’m playing it by the book and if I tried to make the yogurt I wouldn’t know what I had. Plus I’d probably knock it over in the fridge . . . you see where i’m going with this. Thanks anyway, Marsha.

      • hobopals says:

        My daughter is a health nut and she eats Greek Yogurt–she’s in great shape. Changed Jack’s picture to the one I took, yesterday, Sue. Oh, I could just squeeze his cheeks. When he sleeps he sleeps–closes his eyes tight.

    • Ed says:

      Yes, you can do the same thing with commercial yogurt. I have also used cheese cloth rather than a coffee filter.

      • cathieok says:

        If you drain it enough, it makes a great cheese spread. You can mix in herbs, etc and it is delicious.

  14. Christine says:

    Hi Sue, I have found that the Stevia in the Raw brand tastes better than the others.

  15. francy says:

    I had a cat years ago that I walked on the leash. Cory loved it. Too many dog s were allowed to run off leash and after we were attacked severally I decided to stop his outings for out continued health……
    The cats that rule my life now refuse to walk or even move when I put them on a lead! No outside juants for them.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I guess cats need to be trained from an early age to walk on a leash. Too bad you encountered unleashed dogs and couldn’t walk together any more.

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