The Perfect Tow Vehicle struggles to take us to a new camp!

Geese fly overhead as I hitch up to leave Natural Bridge Campground.

Paul and Reine gave me this at my first camp.

Now isn’t that a nice goodbye . . .  I take one last look at the Rogue River and pull out.  Some camps give me a lump in the throat when I leave, and this is one of those.  Just the same, I like going while I still want to stay. 

Right as I’m about to leave the campground loop, a picture of the hitch cone pops into my mind’s eye.  “The cone!  I left the cone!” I drive the loop again and retrieve it, while taking another last look at one of the best campsites we’ve camped in so far.

We go north on Highway 62, soon turning east.

Something doesn’t seem right with the Perfect Tow Vehicle.  It lacks power.  Well, we are going up a long grade.  It’s imperceptible, but it is a long grade.  Maybe that’s why it feels like the PTV has no pep.  It’s probably time for a tune-up, too.  I try to put it out of my mind.  Soon we will be going downhill.  Then it’ll feel right again. 

We go downhill and it doesn’t feel right again. 

I wonder if it’s the trailer brakes.  Once before, several hundred miles ago, the PTV didn’t seem right and it was because the brake controller was stuck with the trailer brakes on.  I squeeze the controller lever.  No change.  Oh darn, this is not good.

By now we’re crossing a flat, green valley. 

Cattle and horses graze in fields around farmhouses.  Smoke drapes the surrounding mountains and apparently the valley, too, because my eyes are watering.  I hope it isn’t smoky over near Bill and Ann’s.  I look behind me.  The crew sleeps.

Bill and Ann are workamping at Collier Memorial State Park.

Here’s Ann being kissed by Julie.

We first met this fun pair of Casita owners and their canine crew last January when we camped with a group at Dome Rock (Quartzsite, AZ).  We camped with them again at Fortuna Pond (Yuma, AZ), and at Darby Well (Ajo, AZ).

I invited them over for a visit at Natural Bridge.  It was good to see them again.

Samantha, the beagle half of their canine crew.

I promised that we would visit them at their workamp site, only the crew and I are going to stay at the national forest campground (cheaper!).  It’s only a mile away from the state park campground. 

By the time we reach Williamson Campground ($10 a night, $5 with senior pass), we’re in “high desert.”  The air is clear.

I find a perfectly level pull-through with lots of sunshine.

It’s a handy campsite with water right across the campground lane, as well as a vault toilet.  I can take the Best Little Trailer over to the neighboring state park to dump and to put water in the tank.  I can do laundry (coin machines) and take a shower ($2). 

This campground has a more subtle beauty, compared with Natural Bridge.  

The ponderosa and lodgepole pines are widely spaced.  The warmth of the sun and the dry air feels good after weeks of shade and fog.  And it’s so peaceful!  We have the campground to ourselves except for one motorhome way over on the other side, out of sight and hearing. 

Once we’re settled in, I push Bridget in her stroller.

“C’mon, boy!”

First we drop off our camp fee at the self-pay station.  Then we follow a path down to Williamson River. 

Spike tags along.  He has trouble keeping up with us because it’s his job to smell every bush along the way. 

The last leg of the trail I carry Bridget where the stroller can’t go.

The Williamson River draws people who like to fish.

 This section of the river is quiet and slow.

Back at the campsite I look under the hood of the Perfect Tow Vehicle.

Hmm . . . Something’s not right here!

What?  Why is the air cleaner out of place? 

Could this be the cause of the PTV’s lack of pep? 

Or is this the result of a more serious problem?


 Canine Corner: “I’m a Dog of Many Names” by Spike

Usually my name is Spike.  Sometimes I can get rvsue to call me Spikey.  That’s the name she uses when I have her right where I want her — under my spell.  Heh-heh.  I’ve got lots of other names, too. 

When I sneak off and rvsue can’t find me, she says, “Now where did that Renegade Spike run off to!”  I love that one! 

Another favorite is “You are such a Devil Dog!”   Oh yeah, and when she doesn’t do what I want, forcing me to turn on the nonstop bark, I get this classic:  “You are the Biggest Pain In The A#%!”    

My most recent name came as a result of an incident with spilled coffee.  In the minute that rvsue stepped outside I hopped on the bed and began investigating the tempting items on the sink cover.  I thought I had more time for this activity, but rvsue suddenly appeared which gave me cause to jerk my head.  Coffee flew all over the floor and onto the bed! 

“For heaven’s sake, Spike, do you think we could have one day without you acting like a criminal?” 

Spike the Criminal . . . I like it!


About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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34 Responses to The Perfect Tow Vehicle struggles to take us to a new camp!

  1. Pat Scrabeck says:

    Again, lovely pictures of the changing scenery. I love Oregon in the fall with the crisp air and the vibrant colors of the trees. I hope nothing too serious is wrong with the PTV–that’s what worries me the most about RVing. Always afraid something will break and leave me stranded. Spikey, you are such a scamp–just like my Mimi the ferocious chihuahua. Everything is her business and barking is her pastime. Never a dull moment.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Pat… With cell phones and people everywhere you go, there’s no more need to worry about being stranded than on your way to the store or work when living in a regular house. Unless, of course, you go to a very, very isolated place.

      I guess the little dogs have to make up for their size with a lot of barking.

  2. earthdancerimages says:

    Hi Sue, Chuck here on Geris ‘puter. When was the last time you changed the air cleaner(the mesh lookin’ thing inside the black piece that has is apart) ? The two black piece will fit together and may be held together by numerous methods. If the air cleaner is dirty(and you have been thru some dusty, smokey areas) it would cause higher gas use and lower power. Chuck

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      If my memory serves me (a rare occurrence), the air cleaner was changed when we camped near Zion. (Um, “the mesh lookin’ thing inside the black piece?” Oh, thanks for clarifying that for me… LOL) Oh Chuck, just teasing . ..

      • earthdancerimages says:

        If you take the meshy thingie out of the black pieces and you put the 2 black pieces back together and the PTV runs better, thats the problem but it also could be a tuneup thingie is needed….when was the last one performed????? Is that record in your brain???? Chuck

  3. cathieok says:

    Hope your PTV is not going to have to go to the car hospital!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      The PTV sounds better now that the air cleaner is where it’s supposed to be. I haven’t driven it uphill or tried to tow with it yet. That will be the real test.

  4. mockturtle says:

    “the mesh lookin’ thing inside the black piece that has is apart”

  5. Cheryl says:

    I just found your blog this morning and had to read for several posts. I had a Rat Terrier that passed in January, can’t tell you how much I miss him. He looked just like Spike and from your posts, acted the same. Coincidently, my boss sent me a Subway gift card in the mail yesterday. I have sent it on to Rusty and Timber. Keep up the great blog!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Cheryl! Welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re with us.

      I’m sorry about the loss of your rattie. I don’t look forward to the grief that certainly lies ahead. I hope Spike’s antics bring back many happy memories for you.

      On behalf of Rusty, thank you for the gift card. I’m sure he will appreciate it.

  6. Kathleen says:

    I love reading your blog and your adventures. Spike the devil….love it.

  7. cinandjules says:

    How did the clips come off the filter housing? And how long has it been like that? Couldn’t be that long or else you would have noticed.

    Heh heh…the black meshy thing….only needs to be replaced when it gets dirty. Hold it up to the sun/light…if you can’t see thru it…either blow it out with an airhose or vacuum it. Changing it (more often) depends if you drive on dusty roads, if it is dirty or whatever your manual recommends. I change mine once a year if that. Don’t let the oil change place talk you into everytime you change your oil.

    Securing the clips should make a difference….if it doesn’t change by your next know the drill.

    The hitch cone is for you to remember what? We have a sign on the fridge..the dog/cat has been/has not been fed…because they try to scam us ALL the time.

    Spikey the criminal………love it!

    • Reine says:

      I don’t think the hitch cone is to remember anything – except to pack it. It’s primary purpose is to keep the bottom of the tongue jack clean and stable and eliminate 8″ of cranking up and down. We had to quit using it when we changed tow vehicles because a dip in our driveway/alley means we have to hitch up with the tongue about 4 inches from the ground so it wouldn’t fit so we passed it on to Sue. Besides, we camp about 65 days a year, not 365 like Sue does.

      • cinandjules says:

        Thanks Reine.

        We had an “antenna” sign that hung on the rearview mirror….to remind us to lower the antenna before we drove away. That’s obsolete now.

        How nice of you to pass it on to someone who can use it.

  8. Joy A. says:

    Beautiful spot where you are at. A couple of years ago I went up highway 97 and stopped for the night at Collier SP. That evening I realized there was a FS campground next door so I took a drive through it and marked it on my map for future trips to that area. The Williamson river is just beautiful. I might try fishing it the next time I’m up that way.

  9. Anne H says:

    “The mesh-looking thing” – I can so relate!! I’ve been doing a lot of trailer projects which require hardware or tools that I’m pretty sure exist but have absolutely no idea of the proper terminology. I feel like I’m playing charades with various sales people who try to guess what I’m looking for. I’ve finally resorted to drawing pictures – finally, that fine arts degree is paying off!!

  10. Barb Brown says:

    Isn’t it sweet when men try to explain car things to us poor women. Thanks Chuckie.

  11. Alison says:

    Hi sue, I’ve been enjoying your blog for awhile now. I’m a weekend hiker/camper/ boondocker in the PNW. I kept thinking i should recommend Rogue Natural Bridge CG to you, but didn’t get around to it. Then you went there and loved it! So now that you’re in the Winema and loving the Williamson River I’ll suggest the Head of the Williamson CG. It’s far out there, deep into the Winema NF. About 50 miles east of Chiloquin . I havent been in awhile, but it used to be a decent road, mostly paved till the last part. Very very quiet, great birds and wildlife, and amazing springs at the headwater, like the Metolius.
    Regardless where you go next, I hope it continues to be wonderful!

  12. Chuck says:

    Hi Spikey! I am SURE you are happy Bridget is getting better…right, RIGHT???? I thought it was coincidental that as soon as the ‘S’ word (surgery) was mentioned, that she is getting better. But no matter what brought it around, we 3 are very happy she’s getting better, the Hound Herd

  13. Elizabeth says:

    Hope your vehicle problem is soon figured out ok…that would be one thing I would find so daunting…well, actually you are one brave lady in my estimation!! Thanks as always for sharing your journey. We are not sure yet if we are going to be RVers or not…but by this time next year I think we will have a better idea. For now, we have other things to do this year. But I hope to keep following along on your journey reports!! Next best thing to being there!! Blessings on your travels!! So glad to hear little Bridget is doing ok.

  14. carol says:

    spike th counter surfer,I like it.
    Samantha look as though she may be in for some leg problems down te road.

    those old Chevies can work miracles, but pulling a trailer with the brakes locked and no air filtr is asking too too much!

  15. Mick says:

    The ECU (engine control unit [computer]) relies on pressure sensors in the air filter chamber, and other sensors, to calculate how long to open the fuel injector valve. If the intake hose is disconnected the pressure signal will be incorrect resulting in the wrong fuel to air ratio and thereby reducing the engine output. {Engsplaining} LOL

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Mick . . . I think you’ve figured out my engine problem all the way from Tennessee! I hope that’s the situation. I need clarification . .. DQA, DQA! (Dumb Question Alert).. Do I need to do more than simply put the filter back in place? By doing that, is the intake hose connected again?

      • Mick says:

        Yes, that will probably fix the problem. Make sure the wire clips are fully latched. It may take strong fingers. The clips probably weren’t fully closed when the air filter was last changed, or they are broken.

  16. Julia Gillespie says:

    “For heaven’s sake,Spike,do you think we could have one day without you acting like a CRIMINAL?”…..I can’t stop laughing!!! I have this same dog, her name is Piyet, and there are so many similarities. I call her Charlie Brown’s bad sister Sally..LOL Your blog has become the book that I can’t put down and I can hardly wait for each new update and adventure! Thank You for this gift.

  17. Loved Spikes monolog. You’ll have to watch it, he’s getting almost as good as you at weaving word pictures into compelling tapestries.

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