Choosing the BLT, a pet peeve, and I have a camera again!

Why I bought a Casita . . .

The decision to buy a Casita evolved over time.  I got the idea to live in an RV by stumbling across Tioga George’s blog many years ago. Since he lives in a Class C, I thought that’s what I would get. However, over those years of scrimping and saving to buy my RV, I reconsidered the choice of a Class C. 

I didn’t like the idea of my home having to go to an auto repair shop (if I could find one that would work on my RV).  Where would the crew and I sleep? I also didn’t like always having to take my big ol’ lumbering home with me everywhere I went.

I started to look into travel trailers.

I thought I’d pick up a used one. On forums I noticed one of the first pieces of advice anyone gives about buying a used travel trailer or RV of any kind is… look for evidence of leaks.

That told me that a leakproof trailer is important.

When I saw the way a Casita is made from two fiberglass shells connected around the middle, thus reducing possibilities of leaks, I was very interested. The size, simple design, and functionality of the Casita appealed to me, and as time went by, the growth of my savings made me realize, if I continued to live frugally, I could buy a new Casita (and a tow vehicle to pull it with). 

The location of the factory (TX) was “doable,” as opposed to someplace in the Northwest or Canada, for instance. I could leave Georgia, drive to my sister’s house in Mississippi in one day, and drive to the Casita factory in Rice, Texas, in another single day.  In other words I could pick up my new Casita in two days of driving. I briefly looked at the Scamp, Escape, and others, but the Casita suited me best.

This next part is directed at female wannabes.

Women often ask me if hitching and unhitching a trailer is difficult.  No, it isn’t.  I’ve found that the chores normally done by men are not harder than the chores done by women.  Typically “male chores” only seem difficult to women because they sometimes require strength.  I don’t have much strength in my hands.  Rather than give up, I compensate by using leverage and tools.

When hitching or unhitching, I’ve found that the only thing that requires strength is putting the cotter pins through the holes in the stabilizer bar and then pulling them out when I want to remove the bar.  I use a rubber mallet to tap the pins in or out… voila!  Problem solved!

I don’t understand why women make such a big deal about hitching and unhitching.

You back the tow vehicle into the correct position and crank the coupler down.  So what if it takes you 30 tries the first time. It seems as silly to me to worry about hitching and unhitching as it would be to worry about setting up a collapsible baby stroller.  You can do that, right?

After a few successes  you can hitch and unhitch with confidence. The same goes for hooking up the chains, the break-away cord, etc.  So don’t let that be an issue. The important thing, once you get your trailer or any RV, for that matter, is to TAKE CHARGE of it. Don’t cave in if you aren’t successful at something the first or second  or third try and go running to a man for help. Women can do these things!

And while we’re on the subject . . .

I’ll bring up a pet peeve related not only to travel trailers, but any RV.  Don’t get mad at me.  I have a right to a few peeves and this is my blog, okay? 

Here goes, to those of you who are half of a couple . . . . 

I absolutely hate that it always seems to be the man doing the hitching and unhitching, or backing the RV into a site (while the woman stands there making dainty little hand signals), or checking the fluids, etc.  Does it take a certain type of genitals to do these jobs?  No, of course not!  Get yourself out there learning how to do these important things.  You’ll be much better equipped in the event you are left alone or your man becomes incapacitated.  It’s foolish in this day and age to let strict gender roles rule your behavior.  Okay, enough of that.  Well, one more thing . . . . Guys, let the woman takes the reins once in a while.

The camera arrived! 

I am so excited!  In fact, I was so excited I arrived at the post office 45 minutes before it opened!  Tomorrow I’ll tell you all about my new camera and post my first attempts with it.  I’m studying the manual tonight.  Mick, thank you so much! 



About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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133 Responses to Choosing the BLT, a pet peeve, and I have a camera again!

  1. Happy Birthday!!!! Been thinking about you all day. Is the camera coming from CCS Mick? He is really something. Love you bunches.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Pauline! I’ve been thinking about you, too. I’m glad your surgery is over and you’re back online. Of course, the camera is from the same wonderful Mick who gave me the “Mick Stick” walking stick. Love you loads.

  2. Pat says:

    I have the same pet peeves and have friends who refuse to do anything outside of there RV. I am a single traveler like you and do it all. I have been doing it all in my life for over 20 years and love it. We can do anything we want to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Karin says:

    I could do the whole hitch/unhitch process on our 5th wheel if I had to. But I have such a bad spine (5 spine surgeries thus far in my lumbar and cervical spine) so hubby does all of the hitch/unhitch though I direct him , raise/lower the 5th wheel for easy hitch/unhitch, etc. I’d have to do a class C if I was on my own. I can’t afford to bend over to pick up a napkin let alone unhitch any kind of RV (where as towing a car behind me I can easily unhitch a car)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Of course, Karin, your situation is different and I certainly wasn’t directing my comments toward anyone with physical limitations or pain. I’m sorry you’ve had to go through five surgeries. You’ve been through a lot.

  4. Reine says:

    The comment about “the female half of couples” is pretty much on the mark. EVERYONE should know how to do EVERYTHING that’s necessary to set up or break camp as well as tow the trailer. Either one of you can get sick or injured and I for one don’t want the FIRST time I do something to be in an emergency. As a couple we have things that each of us normally does but that’s the way it works best for us, not because we don’t know how to do the tasks that other one normally does.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Well put, Reine. Knowing how to do it all (if you are physically able) is great insurance!

      • Reine says:

        As Paul’s hip has gotten worse and worse, I’ve been doing more and more so we could continue camping until he decided it was bad enough for a hip replacement. Don’t get me started on MEN who put things off!!. Fortunately he’s FINALLY decided to have the left one replaced on Dec 10 and the right one on Jan 7 but I knowing how to do everything has meant the difference in staying home and camping this fall. He still does most of the driving and all the backing but if I need to I CAN.

  5. Timber n' me says:

    Right on, Ladies, gals do all kinds neet things, fixin flats n’ all kinds of stuff that men do, n’ sometimes better ,,you go gal,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,good job mick,,,,,,,,,,on th’ camra sendin.

  6. Barb Brown says:

    Sue, you are so right about women not trying to do things because “it’s a mans job”. Women like that make me nuts. They whine because he won’t do something they want done so just do it. You’ll be amazed at what you are capable of doing.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I like the spunky way you put it, Barb. I love the way so many of the young women today don’t think twice about doing what they want to do, rather than sit around waiting for a man to come along and help.

  7. Sra. Julia says:

    Well i am glad you got that off your chest 🙂 I have often mumbled the same things from time to time but when I am over heard the dirty looks I get wow! Sometimes the women are not so friendly when they find you travel alone have you seen that?
    Tonight give the Crew an extra hug for me I lost a member of my crew today and I am depressed and will be for a while she was 16 yrs old a big old lab full of love and I miss her. Needless to say I have gone through a lot of tissues today.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh, Kay Julia. I am so sorry for your loss. How very sad for you. I know you love your crew dearly and after 16 years, the pain must be terrible. I’m glad my blog gave you a few minutes of something to do. Thanks for writing and a big hug to you.

    • So sorry for your loss!!! 😦

    • Julia G says:

      Oh Julia, Im so sorry for your loss. I was just watching your video of Shelby rolling around in the sand on Sunday, Shelby was such a sweetie lab. I lost my chocolate, Whitney Lou last August and my heart just breaks for you. Someone told me long ago that when they pass, their spirit remains with us, so I always say ‘I love you’ everyday and I feel she is close to me.

    • AnnieB says:

      So so so sorry to hear of your loss… 😦 have lost two of mine – the missing never leaves, though the pain subsides thank goodness….

  8. says:

    The timing for this blog was perfect! I have just purchased an Airstream Sport (haven’t even picked it up yet) and have been kind of nervous about hitching/unhitching, backing, etc. Now I feel the confidence again. Thank you! I will have a 3 hour hands on ‘orientation’ with my trailer when I pick it up. Then I’m heading out on a 2 day trial run. Can’t wait to start this next phase of my life…. Have especially enjoyed your Oregon and Nevada blogs. Hope the crew is feeling better and enjoy your tomorrows!

    Sue Roughen

    Sent from my iPad

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Congratulations, Sue! I can tell from the energy in your comment that you will do just fine. Confidence will take you through a lot. I used to give my math students pep talks before the big test to the point where they were smiling and pumping their fists, “Yeah, I can do it!” and wouldn’t you know, the scores were always higher!

      You can do it, Sue! And the rewards are so great! Best wishes . . ..

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Sue, after rereading your comment I need to add this. Your first time or two out with your new Airstream, asking for help is not a bad thing. I was helped the first time I backed my trailer into a site (Paul and Reine, above). Just don’t get dependent, which I know you won’t.

  9. Karin says:

    Thanks for the lecture! I am very guilty of letting my husband do the “hard chores”. I guess I need to start practicing backing up. I am a horrible backer. I never back up the car – except when I go down a narrow forest service road, and have no choice…. I’ve been practicing my skills with small motors by fixing the gas weed wacker….. it’s a start 🙂 I need to set up a cone course and work on backing!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      That was a bit of a lecture, wasn’t it. You took it well! Okay, more lecture…. Never again say you’re “a horrible backer.” You just haven’t practiced enough. Look at it this way . . . You’re “a fantastic backer” ready to be revealed! Ha!

  10. Timber n' me says:

    oooooh soo sorry ta here ’bout your dog

  11. PamP says:

    Thanks for the run-down. I’ve been following your blog for over a year – still I hadn’t exactly seen how you came to the choice you did as far as the Casita. I am a single female too, older than you though. It’s true that it seems to amaze some women to find I travel and handle everything myself – as though. I once told a co-worker “Don’t women drive 40 foot school buses? A travel trailer or class C is the same length, just doesn’t have wiggly kiddies inside. Keep up the inspiration. Pam P

  12. Oh, you are very wise today, Sue! Very sage advice for all. Why do I always start to imagine that folks are watching me as a back up and try to get right under that hitch? First of all, I’m not really all that interesting. Secondly, what do I care if they’re rolling around laughing on the floors of their rigs? I’m glad to have provided the entertainment! 😉


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Truth be known, I doubt anyone is laughing. I purposely back up very cautiously, getting out of the PTV several times to see how I’m doing and to figure what to do next to line up. I don’t care what anybody might think. Anyone who would laugh about someone hitching up their trailer has got to be a fool anyway.

      • EmilyO says:

        Maybe their laughing at their inablility to hitch up a small trailer.

      • Reine says:

        Sue, what you’re doing is to us the GOAL principle…Get Out And Look. I talked to someone a a recent rally (a guy) who didn’t and created a nice sized repair bill when he backed his Casita into a BRANCH. Let em laugh but take your time. Doing it slow but right is cheaper than repair bills.

  13. Becky says:

    You are so right Sue!! My Dad taught me how to do that when I was just a teenager. There is always a way to compensate for the lack of strength if you know the basics of how to do it. And I hope you had a good birthday. 🙂


  14. Anne H says:

    I have the same ‘pet peeve’ (or maybe I’m just envious that I don’t have anyone else around to stick with all the smelly black tank dumps 🙂 ). I did get a lot of help when I first started towing and can’t thank all those helpful campers who taught me the ropes enough. Like you, I carry some tools to compensate for less hand strength (arthritis in both hands) – a mallet, vice grips, and those rubber jar openers work wonders.
    Glad you have a working camera again!! I’ve been missing your great photos.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Anne… Yes, help in the early days of RVing is a good thing. I hope I haven’t give the impression that a person shouldn’t ask for help when they need it. It’s knowing the difference between truly needing help or just playing the dependent woman role. It’s the latter that irks me!

      I love my mallet! It has gotten me out of several “jams.” Like when I couldn’t turn the sewer hose to take it off the drain… tapping a screwdriver with my mallet loosened it. It’s all about having the right tools, as you know!

  15. Julia G says:

    Good job on the pep talk Sue. Women can do anything a man can do because they were made and trained by women…I laugh because it’s true!! I’m a female truck driver, I curl my hair, put on my makeup and dress conservatively nice as if I’m going to an office job everyday, and there is absolutely nothing on my truck that I need assistance with, and that isn’t because I’m a man hater..LOL (Im married to a tour bus driver) it’s because knowledge and self reliance can sometimes be your only option for survival on the road. My best advice…keep mace on your keychain for creeps and wild animals. :0) I’m truely proud of you Sue and I know that you are proud of yourself, as you should be!! You’ve inspired many and entertained the rest!! Be safe!

  16. susan says:

    This is another view point……… When my husband found I could mow the lawn, it became my job, same with changing the oil. However he never could learn to do dishes or laundry.. So if you do master these chores dont let him know about it unless you want to do it forever more. Just say’n

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good point, Susan. Although I would choose a different solution to that problem other than keeping my skills a secret!

      • Julia G says:

        Susan, Thats nothing a good Scottish tantrum can’t get in order…my husband vacuums every morning that he is home..I think it’s the silence of the vacuum that he enjoys so much..LOL

  17. Kat Elder says:

    Love the blog, Read every one and fulltiming next year with my husband . I am the trailer backer and he is the cook. Our children have grown up with Mom is more hands on mechanical and Dad is the interesting scholar and cook. We all need to be independent but everyone needs to do what works for them.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Kat… Happy to have you with us! I think your last line is great . . . “We all need to be independent but everyone needs to do what works for them.” Perfect. I bet that philosphy has served your children well.

  18. Kate says:

    I have been towing and backing everything from a hay wagon, fifth wheel, boat trailer, and now my sweet Aliner Expedition. I helped my dad around the farm, then when it was time to go fishing, I backed the boat down the ramp into the water. Now, I belong to a great regional group of camping Gals, 500 of us in the club. No Men! If one of use doesn’t know how to fix a problem; someone at the camp-out will know. Usually only 50 to 70 of us show up at one time, but setting up and packing up is almost a group effort. Who ever gets done first, just goes down the line helping those arriving or packing up. First trip I attended, I arrived a day early (didn’t want to miss anything) I know I backed 3 trailers in and help set up 6 canopies. But it was a fantastic way to meet everyone and get to know them! As for backing my pickup to my trailer, I found a pair of magnetic base extension poles with Bright Yellow Tennis balls on the ends. One goes on the hitch, one on the ball of the pickup. Great visual aide to line up just right! I found mine at Walmart in the RV section.

    Kate, Proud Member #282 of the GetawayGals.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Interesting comment, Kate. Dads and GrandDads take note… Let the girls learn this stuff.

      It sounds like you Getaway Gals have a great time! Wonderful comraderie . . . .

  19. Joan Gagnon says:

    here ! here ! good blog ! agree 100%.

  20. Glenda Cornwill says:

    I so loved your pet peeve where the man does all the man things……………..I am afraid that it happens in our partnership especially when we are in the caravan. There is no way I would be allowed to back the 4WD and I can’t even get the hand signals correct as far as my man is concerned!! My, do I get in trouble!!!!! It gets so bad sometimes I go get another camper to direct my husband backing our 24 footer!!! Otherwise it is pretty easy going …..believe it or not!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      My second biggest pet peeve is a man telling me what I’m allowed and not allowed to do with something that belongs to me — like a vehicle or an RV. Of course, maybe that’s why I’m single! As far as I’m concerned, there isn’t a person on this earth who can do hand signals effectively. That’s why I NEVER look at any hand signals.

      In an old, old post of mine I told the story of a man (stranger) who yelled at me in a parking lot because he thought I was going to hit a car while he was doing the hand jive. I didn’t ask for his help and I ignored him, relying on my rear view and side mirrors instead. And I didn’t hit the car. Boy was he mad!

  21. Joy A. says:

    I grew up on a ranch and learned to do lots of things men do. I guess the independent stock of women in my ancestry is my excuse for being very independent and very able to do just about anything, with exception of course of things requiring great strength.

    In addition my Dad made me learn how to change a tire, change the oil, tune up a car, using a timing light, etc. I have friends who think I’m crazy when tell them next time I have a flat tire, while out and about, I’m going to change it myself. I do have AAA roadside assistance however when it takes them an hour or more to find me I get perturbed. I can change a tire in half that time and be on my way. Certainly if I’m out in the booneys and sweltering heat, I’ll do it to get back on the road quicker. I consider my roadside assistance more for maybe towing my rig somewhere as opposed to waiting to have a simple tire change.

    I just love the fellows that want to help me back into a campsite. I don’t offend them but rather let them stand back and do all the hand signals while I simply ignore them and continuing backing in. They can take the credit for the perfect back in, while I know it was really me.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Three cheers for good ol’ Dad! What a wonderful gift to his daughter!

      Your last paragraph reveals a lot about you. I bet you’re easy to get along with,

  22. Joy A. says:

    Happy Birthday…….Sue

    I guess you could consider your new camera a birthday present whether it was or not.

  23. Jim says:

    Great post Sue, I am going to show this to my wife tonight. I have been saying for years that there is nothing that I am doing that she can’t do. maybe if she reads this she may want to give it a try.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jim,

      I hope your wife will try. I bet it would put your mind at ease knowing you have “back-up” (ooh, a pun!) if you should become ill or have an emergency while on the road. Maybe she needs a different teacher? My father took me out in the Fairlane to teach me how to drive. Our relationship was very close and I was super-sensitive to what he might think of me. I was in tears at my first mistake. Dad drove us home and told my Mother to teach me.

  24. Lacy says:

    I love that you addressed women doing ALL the chores here……YES WE CAN! Being married, I find it frightening to thing what I would do if something happened to my husband along our route. THAT thought got me to learn everything needed to tow our trailer. As for backing up, I’ve always had that knack so when it came time to put our 30ft into it’s spot, he got out, I got in…..the rest is history. Tell me where you want it and that’s where it’ll be placed 😉
    I think it’s important for ‘reluctant’ women to read blogs like yours and see that they too can do all these things. Stop the gender-stereotyping and GET OUT THERE AN LIVE WOMEN!

    thanks Sue!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Lacy! I like the way you took your fear of being left without your husband to help when out on the road and turned it into a resolve to learn! That’s the take-charge attitude I was talking about.

      And your last line is what I’ve wanted to say to women who’ve told me, “Oh, I could never do that” (referring to solo fulltiming) because of their fears. Fear of strangers, fear of aloneness, fear of problems, fear of snakes, fear of coyotes, fear of bears, fear, fear, fear! “Get out there and LIVE!”

  25. G says:

    Sue, love your common sense approach to everything. You left out one thing about chores done by men compared to women. Women have the advantage that when there is a problem with the task being performed, they usually sit back and analyze it. Men just try to muscle it thus the old adage, if it doesn’t work, get a bigger hammer!
    Keep up the great posts!


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Interesting contrast between the sexes, G. You may be on to something but I don’t want to say anything to get my male readers riled at me! Thanks for writing.

  26. Boondock or Bust says:

    Exactly, Sue!! I will always make sure I know how to do everything needed. We just got our RV and we will be remodeling the interior. I will be the one doing most of it and not just because that’s the “woman’s” part. I want it done RIGHT and while my hubby is an awesome mechanic he tends to do other things half-ass (IMO). lol But I can also change the oil, check tire pressure, DRIVE, and do any other repairs needed. Give me access to the internet and I can look up how to fix anything! 🙂
    To all you other women out there the big thing is is to NOT BE AFRAID! You can do this!! Good job, Sue!! You’re an inspiration!

  27. Marcia GB says:

    I would love to be able to hitch/unhitch our Casita but rheumatoid arthritis in my hands prevents me from doing so. However, I can, and do, back up and position the trailer. If I’m ever faced with the eventuality of traveling solo and I’m still mobile enough, I will probably get a Roadtrek or similar vehicle.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Marcia,

      Good for you, girl! I imagine it would be tempting to use the arthritis as an excuse not to do the backing of the trailer, but here you are, doing what you can. That’s part of the formula of living life to the fullest. I also like your I-won’t-give-up solution should you become a solo. Isn’t it great that there are choices of RVs to suit different people and situations!

  28. Karen says:

    Happy Birthday, RV Sue! Glad the camera arrived and hope to see all of the Alabama Hills glory come alive thanks to Mick and his generosity.
    Boy, I’m one of those wives giving the dainty hand signals during the back up procedure. I was feeling pretty good about perfecting the signals to make them meaningful to my hubby. I’ve studied other wives’ hand gestures and tried to change them slightly to make them my own. (If you take the time to watch others, it is really entertaining and, sometimes, downright funny.) Then we bought a new-to-us RV with a back up camera complete with audio. I thought I went to heaven. Now I can stand behind and gesture and talk him through the whole process. He never hesitates to roll down the driver’s window to tell me that most of what I’m saying or doing doesn’t help him a dang bit. He just doesn’t appreciate how hard I’ve studied, I guess.
    Not certain if it’s been long enough since I jack-knifed his truck and boat trailer for him to let me give this a try or not. I appreciate the pep talk, Sue. I’m thinking that when the RV comes back out of storage in the Spring I really need to consider this challenge. My mantra : I will not be afraid, I will not be afraid, I will not be afraid. Hubby’s mantra: Please, God, help us, Please, God, help us.

  29. Susie says:

    My husband says he wants me to do things, but when I do them, i can tell it scares him that I no longer need him. So for us, he does the outside and I do the inside.
    HOWEVER, since I took the Casita camping while he was out of town, he now knows what I’m capable of. Independence is empowering. Thanks for the pep talk. Keep ’em coming!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Someone in a comment used the word self-reliance. Independence or self-reliance, whatever you want to call it, is empowering. It’s a good feeling to be in control of your life and the many tasks that are required. I would think that men would be tired of always having to do these things, just as women are often tired of kitchen/shopping/laundry tasks.

  30. Anne says:

    I had to teach my husband how to hitch and unhitch the camper, but I grew up camping and he grew up in The Bronx. 🙂 I’m also always the one who backs it in to park. He’s tried it, but I seem to have a better feel for it, and can get it positioned correctly in fewer tries.

    Our first time out with it, I was having a hard time getting it backed into our site because I had to go between two trees. The man in the site across from us came over and asked if I wanted him to do it. I said I appreciated the offer, but asked how I would ever learn to do it myself if I never actually did it.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Excellent point in your last line, Anne. I resolved to accept all the help available to me when setting up and breaking camp the first time. Then I went to a campground that was empty and was on my own from then on. I, too, have had offers from well-meaning fellows. You might remember reading my standard answer when someone asks, “Do you want me to do that for you?” I respond with “What would you do that I’m not doing?”

  31. libertatemamo says:

    I totally agree in doing EVERYTHING a man can do. I can dump, move, drive…everything in the RV same as Paul, and made sure it was that way from the start.
    By the way we’re coming to Alabama Hills tomorrow. We’ll probably try boondocking, but if we can’t find a good spot for both of us (we’re two “beasts”), we’ll head over to Tuttle Creek. We’ll be staying a week and would love to invite you and the doggies over for a happy hour, or come by to say “hi” to you. If you’re OK w/ that feel free to e-mail me 🙂

  32. Barb says:

    GOOD MORNING! I too, have hauled, camped, towed and stowed our trailers more than the hubs has… It is NOT always easy (and yes, I covet the all loving and non-hairpulling pull thru!) but it is possible.
    Your thought process on a Class C made me roar! LOL Traveling across country, our 88 class c broke down-opening day of hunting season. In Wyoming! Do you know how many mechanics are hunters? I think it is a prerequisite… So, there we sat, blessed by a spot in a parking lot, where they allowed us to have some water and power (we were a captive client after all!). Walking half a mile for a shower was so fun!!! And five bucks for that shower was RUDE but hey, water is water. On the way HOME, that same little ‘sound’ came from the engine… Oh My. Defective part??????? I packed up my little dog like Dorothy and hauled my butt across the highway as AAA was picking up the beast–headed to a hotel for three days while the fix was happening (thank God for warranty parts–didn’t pay the hotel fee, but at least we had a roof).

    I LOVE how you chose your home. I look at it like a little strong tupperware bowl. That is so cool! I have had leaks (and don’t want them again. They were not fun in a regular house, and a rolling one is no better).

    I love to camp alone. I like people, but to be on my own makes me smile. I think you are brave, and I love that you are HAPPY. Bless you for your blog.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      What an experience . . .I’m glad you’re laughing about it now! I’m also glad there was a hotel for you and your dog. Thanks for writing. It sounds like we have a lot in common. Be happy, too, Barb!

  33. Sharpei Mom says:

    Awww man ya gone an done it Sue…you have just given my Hubby the worst headache he’s ever had in 40 some years. I’m guilty of letting him do all the hitchin and driving…fear of the dually and 31′ trailer! But ya got my dander up now…so come this winter in the desert….I’m gonna do it! LOL…he may come lookin fer ya! (just kidding) But seriously…thanks for goading me into this. I can and do most everything else…just intimidated by the width of the dually and the height and length of the trailer. We used to carry an insurance…if we were more than 100 miles from home…it would take care of getting the rig and dogs home if something were to happen to us.
    Happy Birthday to ya Sue!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks for the birthday wish, Sharpei. Ha, maybe I need to disguise the PTV!

      Yeah, the big rigs are intimidating. Maybe I wouldn’t be so glib if that’s what I had to work with. Just kidding … You’ll do fine if you resolve to learn how.

      • earthdancerimages says:

        Sharpei Mom, you and I have the same problem! I was not sure about responding but now seeing someone with the same problem I have, I feel a bit better about it! I want to learn to drive the MotherShip! Chuck doesn’t want to teach me! As much as we are on the road, I think I should know how! I need to know how to back up, hitch up and go! I have been very vocal about wanting to learn how to do this and Chuck is just as vocal about him doing “HIS” job! It’s “MY” job to do the inside and his to do the outside! This has been the only real difference of opinions we have ever had and it is very frustrating!

        • Sharpei Mom says:

          Yep..same here Geri. Hubby always says “one of these days your gonna move this thing so you know I can’t put it where ya want!” I keep telling him teach me…but then he thinks about the cost to replace the (big hips) dually fenders…then says nah I’ll do it! But if something happens…what the heck am I suppose to do!? We always have friends around and yes they would be more than helpful…think the whole bunch, except one, are male chauvinist! Thats a mans job…ya right! Good luck to you Geri…I just let Hubby know he’s gonna help me or!!! LOL I got the evil eye but it’s gonna happen!

        • EmilyO says:

          Ya, Geri, I’ve heard one of those “explosions” from Chuck. Loosen up Chuck!

  34. gingerda says:

    Hi Sue…first off want to say hi to Rusty too…I noticed he commented on here. Hope everything is going good for him. I love this post. I really needed it. I am guilty of all of the things you said. My ex (just recently divorced) and I had a 35 ft. motorhome and he always drove, and always hooked up. It was a control thing for him. He didn’t want me knowing how to do it. Although when we launched our boat, he would “let” me pull the m.home and boat trailer out and back to camp. I am thinking of buying a Casita or small class C. I need to get the confidence to back it up and unhook. My problem is I get embarrassed when I know people are watching. lol

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Ginger,

      About people watching you do things when you haven’t gained confidence yet . . . I know what you mean. I was relieved when no one was around to watch me dump the first time. I’ve never had the situation of someone making me nervous while backing up. By the time I had an audience I was good at it. However, if I ever have anyone’s presence bothering me (stranger or not), I would not hesitate to walk over to them and politely ask them not to watch because it makes me self-conscious and I need to concentrate on what I’m doing. That’s reasonable. We live in a world of gawkers. To heck with ’em.

      Best wishes finding the right rig for you. BTW, don’t wait for the confidence to come back. Just do it — get the rig — and the confidence will come!

  35. gingerda says:

    Sorry, I forgot to say Happy Birthday to you Sue…

  36. Gary says:

    If you think you can’t do it, you’re right.

    If you think you can do it, you’re right.

    The only person that keeps you from doing something is yourself; for whatever reason you want to tell yourself.

    Until you can do “it”, you got no business telling others how to do it. That includes hubby, no matter what hand gesture you use. 🙂

    The best way to learn how to do something is to watch someone do it that is good at doing it.

  37. klbexplores says:

    One of the best ‘tools’ I ever used is a check list to make sure everything is completed before take off. I had it laminated and is in the seat along with other navigation tools such as maps. Whenever I have made a mistake and caused a problem it was because I didn’t use the checklist. It also brings me peace of mind that I have done everything.After all NASA uses checklists. I can too!

    As far as hooking up, my biggest issue had to do with cranking the trailer up and down since I broke my back 2 1/2 years ago. I was ready for an battery/electric hitch but discovered WD-40 fixed it right up. This gal doesn’t go anywhere without that and duct tape! Backing is 1/3 state of mind and 2/3 practice.

    Remember the Women’s World War Motto. WE CAN DO IT!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh boy. I winced big-time reading about you breaking your back. Not fun. I’m glad you are still going strong! I’m with you on the WD-40 and duct tape… lifesavers. In fact, when I drove into Natural Bridge campground I heard this awful squeaking, like the old-timey bedsprings. It was loud! Apparently it was at the coupler, because some WE-40 stopped the squeaking.

      Great comment with great advice. I tried the checklist. Trouble is I need a checklist to tell me to look at the checklist. 🙂

  38. Melissa R. says:

    Hello rvsue…I’m new to your blog and I love it! We are the proud owners of our first 5th Wheel even though we do not pick it up until end of November. It will be a learning experience for both of us. I’ve backed trailers before but this one is a tad bigger. We will be picking it up in Arkansas and driving back to California. We own some in the Ozarks so we’ve created our own private campground and will have room to practice our backing skills, etc before we actually settle into the travel park we will be living in until the hubby can retire. I’m nervous with the dually and 40′ of 5th wheel but practice, practice, practice!! I don’t want to be the one who doesn’t know. Thanks for this post. You’ve sparked a lot of comments!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You must think, “What does that rvsue know, she just has an itty-bitty trailer.” Yes, a big rig is intimidating. I’ve been told that the bigger trailers are easier to back because they don’t jack-knife as quickly. Even so, they are big! You can do it! No offense to the men, but I always tell myself, if a man can do it, so can I! Good luck. You’ve got a great attitude. And congratulations on the rig.

  39. Pat Scrabeck says:

    You read my mind. I am a faithful reader of your blog and had all the same questions rolling around in my head. You have made my search less scary. I can do it, yes, I can!!!

  40. EmilyO says:

    Nice to know there are a lot of Sisters out there. Now guys, it’s not a threat – it is an investment that your woman can keep going. It would be the same for you guys, would be an investment if you can handle the “woman” chores.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Emily . . . Great comment.

      I had a husband once. I would be sick to death in bed with the flu. As my appetite returned I had to drag myself into the kitchen to find something to eat…. no food in the fridge because he was eating out since his cook was not serving him. Good golly. If you’re a guy and you aren’t able to feed your wife when she’s sick . . . sheesh! He didn’t even have the sense to pick up something for me at the restaurant! What? I’ve got to go SHOP with the flu? Ha-ha… Glad that’s over.

  41. Julia G says:

    Happy Birthday Sue~~ I hope your day is filled with joy & love…

  42. Louise says:

    I think the ‘fences’ inside the mind are harder to deal with than any trailer ever built! I was raised in a very conservative family. I think my father’s thoughts on such things went something like “The girl should know how to change a tire, just in case — No, no! That’s a man’s job! — Well, she shouldn’t be driving alone anyway.” So he’d enforce ‘no driving alone’ as a way to deal with it. Eventually I figured out that just about everything he’d taught me was nonsense, but it took much, much longer to break down the mental barriers. But how incredibly liberating and empowering it was to do that! Every now and then I still run into one, and it’s frightening — but blasting through it is wonderful!

    So, yes — everybody should hitch up a trailer and back it up! Women who won’t, and men who won’t let them, need to get past those fences in their minds. It’s a great world without them!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good way to express what’s going on with people…. mental fences. “Blasting through is wonderful!” I agree with you. A phrase popular years ago comes to mind — “Expand your horizons.” Whatever you call it, it certainly IS liberating. I appreciate your thoughts on this, Louise.

  43. azpatriciao says:

    Way to go Sue! Only fear brought on us by others or ourselves can stop us to do what we want to.

    The man skills vs woman skills stigma is a small part of the bigger challenge that is everyday day life in a world where arrogance and self-righteousness are encountered more often than kindness and compassion.
    Too many people strive on being mean to others. If you let them tell you what you can or can’t do, you are giving them away your power and your freedom. Sometimes it’s tempting to give up, it’s easier. Standing up for oneself against people who belittle you is a taught fight, but a worthy fight OMHO.

    Glad you got your camera. I was missing the canine corner 😉 and Happy Birthday!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      What you write is true, unfortunately. And it is easier to let others do for you, instead of striving for the freedom to do for yourself. Learning new things is great for the self-estee, too.

      Thanks for the birthday wish!

      • Mi says:

        Hi RVSue,

        First time poster here (or anywhere for that matter). I have followed you from the start, and yes, I have to confess that I have been a professional lurker here and on other sites. I appreciate your perspective and rejoice in hearing about someone following their dream and loving it! This topic probably brought several of us out of the woodwork. In my fifties I traveled throughout Alaska, Western Canada, the West and Southwest and down into Baja by station wagon for several months. I tent camped nearly exclusively and traveled with my 17.5 foot sea kayak and a mountain bike on the top of my car. Not low profile. I was always cautious and aware of my surroundings; but never afraid, never lonely.

        Although I had been a single mom, homeowner and outdoor enthusiast who had taken care of most things on my own if I could — this extendedvsolo traveling experience was among the most fantastic and transformative.

        The irksome experiences: I had a system for loading and unloading my sea kayak all on my own very easily. I cannot tell you the times well-meaning fellows jumped in before I could stop them and without asking to “help” me lift that kayak, resulting in the whole thing going way too fast without control and inevitably resulting in big scratches on my car and some damage to the pin that held my rudder in place! It was a learning opportunity for most of them when I showed them the damage and explained my system–but oh girl–I always had to bite my tongue!! Moral of the story: Be always ready to help–but wait to be asked and be open to learning clever ways to do things from anyone. Just because you can do brute force, doesn’t mean you have to! There frequently is a more elegant way.

        Also, at first it was annoying to answer all those “…oh aren’t you afraid to do this all on your own?” and “…my family wouldn’t let me do that.” After awhile though, I would just smile and shake my head. I think they could just tell by the twinkle in my eye that I was having the time of my life!

        For the last six years I have lived by choice without a car–doing almost everything by bike. This has also been an extraordinary learning experience, although, misunderstood by many who are so ready to judge others.

        Now, after many years of helping others physically and financially I am considering some kind of minimalist RV lifestyle. There is no doubt that this lifestyle will be a good fit for me. It will take a lot of financial focus (which I’ll be the first to say is not my strong point) at this point to achieve it before they put me out to pasture (I am sixty-something). But heck, I have always been a late bloomer!

        The willingness of people like you and your readers to share your experiences is appreciated! All people and pets of kindred spirit, I salute you!

        Sorry Sue for hijacking your blog–something just came over me–I’ll go back to lurking now and leave the blogging to the enjoyable pros (you!).

        Wishing you all safe and happy travels,


  44. Ron says:

    Oh I am going to be in trouble here.
    Hand signals work great if you will have the discipline of using them correctly. Now before all the folks on here start beating and kicking me I will explain why I say what I do. Forty years in the steel business ,setting heavy equipment that cost millions over equipment that cost hundreds of millions ,you dont make mistakes with things that valuable. I think my worst one was a piece that weighed 132 thousand lbs lifted by three 85 ton cranes that we set through a roof that the crane operators couldnt see . every thing was done off hand signals as little as a 1/4 of an inch at a time. So they do work if folks will use them correctly.
    Second is go slow,you have plenty of time ,start over if you need too. Now a couple thing that should make you feel better, that idiot sitting there in his lawn chair drinking a drink pointing and laughing at your efforts had to back his or her first trailer just like you are doing . The second thing is that big ole 38 ft fifth wheel because of the length is much easier to back than your 17 ft trailer that is short and cuts quick ,so just grin and think hea buddy bet you cant do this.
    I started working in a job shop when I was 12 ,weighed 130 lbs soaking wet but I was expected to do the same job as a guy that was 40 weighed 200 lbs,makes you learn the easy way , humm now I am 6 ft and weigh 210 so a lot is easier now..
    One more little trick that might help. When hooking up open your door after you get close and lined up, if you need to back 8 inches to be under the hitch just pick a rock on the ground and then another 8 inches from that and use that for a guide to how far you need to move ,it works well for me.

    • Kate says:

      Actually Ron, I use the Rock trick when backing. between the backup ball things for my hitch and ball, and that little rock on the ground, I don’t have any problems “hitchin up”

    • Sharpei Mom says:

      Thanks for the rock tip Ron…it will come in handy this winter in the desert!!! It’s gonna happen. : )

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Aw, Ron… You’ll never be in trouble on this blog. Your experience as a youngster trying to keep up with a much bigger and older man translates well into the situation many women find themselves in. Using your smarts and some extra effort can go a long way. The advice to go slow is very important, even if it takes 30 tries or more to line up to hitch. Just be patient!

      I appreciate hearing a male perspective. Interesting comment with good information.

  45. Rita says:

    My illiterate father taught me to be self sufficient & independent…hooray for him his teachings worked. I’m 67 yrs old and do most all household repairs, installing heating elements in appliances, simple repairs to automobiles including changing tires, etc., The internet websites have tons of DYI info and I follow them to the letter for repairs & I sometimes find an easier method. My sisters asked ‘Why not let your son do the work?’ I say, ‘I can do the work!’ I’m planting trees now and digging the holes myself. In the AZ heat & hard caliche dirt, it’s no easy task…have to put your weight into the the pick ax to get the hole dug. I have two trees done and one to go. I drive a stick shift pickup truck for years and back it up into tight spaces…no probs! I’m not a soft cotton puff!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You make your dad proud, I’m sure. Your can-do attitude surely serves you well in all kinds of situations.

      I hope this “helpless woman syndrome” disappears with our generation. Sometimes I’m embarassed by the behavior of my gender . . . silly nonsense that makes us all look stupid. I’m “preaching to the choir” here as I suspect any woman reading my blog has a spirit of adventure and a desire to spread wings and fly!

      I enjoyed your comment, Rita. I admire a person who doesn’t shy away from work.

  46. Deb from Orlando says:

    Right on Sister! I am a year away from retirement and shopping for a Trailer! Thanks for the pep talk.

  47. Rita says:

    One other comment: While in Yellowstone park, I saw a woman in an RV demolish a parked car when she turned too sharp to park & then she tried backing the RV up and smashed the car again. By the time she disengaged from smashing up the car…the luggage were showing in the smashed up car. She wouldn’t let her husband drive the RV….don’t know if she was angry or what the deal was but she sure did a number on that tourist’s car.

  48. Chuck says:

    Happy Birthday, Sue. Best wishes though no bagpipes this year!!!!!! Chuck n Geri n the Hound Herd

  49. Chuck says:

    To Bridget n Spikey, Give Sue lots of licks n barks today from us, the Hound Herd

  50. earthdancerimages says:


  51. Becky says:

    I agree about the length of the trailers making a difference. I have no problem with backing up a big camper or boat but that silly little jet ski just about did me in! I still laugh thinking how hard it was to get thing in place. 🙂 Just breathe deep and tell yourself…you can do it and keep trying til it gets done!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Funny! Who would’ve thought the jet ski would give you trouble and not the big camper or boat.

      • Ed says:

        A jet ski trailer and a Teardrop have about the same length from the hitch to the axle. That is why I never could back my Teardrop into a camping space. I could back it straight back if I took long enough but to turn it was almost impossible for me. It was easier to unhitch and push it into place by hand.

  52. TriciaAndPhil says:

    First off let me just say, HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUE!

    We have been “unofficially” following along since the beginning of your adventure, but have never commented until now. I am sure there are many more out here doing the same thing. I hope you realize that your blog not only reaches the “600+ official followers” you have, but thousands more out here who await every new entry and beautiful photo you somehow manage to post nearly every single day. Your SiteMeter stats (322,000+ hits) are proof of that! Thank you very much for the enormous effort you put into this very entertaining blog.

    My wife and I are planing to join in on the full-time RV lifestyle by the summer of 2018. I know it sounds like a long way away but our preparations have already begun!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Tricia and Phil! You should comment more often… You really make me feel like an internet star! Wow! And thank you for the birthday wish.

      Even though you’ve been with us since the beginning of the blog, WELCOME. Actually 2018 isn’t a long way off when it comes to preparations. There’s a lot that can be done to make the transition run smoothly. What’s hard is that last year when you’re ready to hit the road and can hardly wait! Have fun planning . . . .

  53. I love your blog RV Sue!
    My husband and I have been full time for about 6 weeks now. I wanted to know how to do everything including tow the RV because my husband has several serious health conditions and I never know when he won’t be up to the task. We have a 38′ 5th wheel and it can be intimidating but I put on my big girl panties and suck it up. Today I drove through the outskirts of Chicago on our way to Elkhart, Indiana.
    Over the years as his conditions have gotten worse I have learned that I can do just about anything I set my mind to so why not this.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Juley . . . What a valuable lesson is in your comment! I couldn’t help but smile when I got to the part about you driving your big 5th wheel through the outskirts of Chicago. Your husband must be so pleased to have a helpmate such as you. Your world didn’t stop turning with the loss of his good health. Your last line could be on an inspirational plaque, “I can do just about anything I set my mind to, so why not this.” Priceless.

      God bless you both. I feel like cheering!

  54. First of all Happy Birthday, Sue, my birthday was on the 11th of this month us Libra’s have got to stick together. So glad you tell it like it is nothing worse than a wimp no matter what gender.
    For the most of my life I worked in male dominated jobs, not that they were physical type jobs more on the management side. About thirty, or so years ago I worked as a chief marine dispatcher on the Mississippi, this job was right up my alley, “I got to tell everyone where to go and what to do when they got there”!! I was one of the first women on the lower Miss to obtained, 1st Class Western Rivers License to operate a tug boat–to be exact a push boat. Nothing hard about steering barges in the river to the places they needed to go. I worked a Supervisor at a grain elevator, warehouse manager and purchasing agent. My career, as I call it, was varied and full and paid well.
    Being divorce with three children to raise on my own there wasn’t much time to be all, “Oh, My, what shall I do”, I just handled whatever problem came up. The good thing about this is all three of my girls are just like me; they don’t shy away from problems, like fixing flats, installing ceiling fans, repairing faucets whatever it takes they have always been up to the challenge. I am so grateful for the work life I had and for my Dad who taught me how to solve problems and fix things. I am still working on my plan to get me out on the road. In the meantime, you go girl!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      For heaven’s sake, Harriet, you should be a movie. What a life! I’m awestruck. All that, and mother to three children, too. Congratulations on your accomplishments!

      Gee, I have the neatest readers.

      And hooray for Dad! Look at the legacy through you, to your children, and beyond. Absolutely wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

  55. Robert says:

    Good lord Sue 117 comments! You have become a role model to many.
    Happy Birthday to you.
    Been at home with a new little “co-pilot” in the making. Geordie (Golden) is just 9 weeks. I hope we can meet up sometime this spring.
    Casita owners know what “little houses” are like, and can take them on the road!
    Robert (Raymond!)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Robert, or is it Raymond (Uh-oh, did I call you Raymond by mistake?)

      Oh well, so you’ve got yourself a little co-pilot. I bet he’s a sweetie and a handful, too. Take lots of pictures. He’ll be big in no time!

  56. AnnieB says:

    Since I’ve been pretty much doing everything on my own for the past 30 something years, hitching and unhitching or backing up doesn’t scare me (not based on gender – age is another story). I’m going between wanting a Class C and a trailer – the idea of being able to jump up and drive off if needed is appealing…but my house hasn’t sold so I’m still trying to decide.

    • Barb says:

      We had a class c, and the ONLY way I would ‘redo that’ would be if I had a scooter or a small car to run away with! Pulling out is not always as simple as it sounds!
      Happy belated Birthday!!!

  57. Marcia GB says:

    Oh golly, Sue, I don’t know how I missed the notice of your birthday. Happy Birthday to you and may you have many more years of great adventures with the crew!

  58. Tamara says:

    Sue, just discovered your blog, and have absolutely enjoyed catching up to speed with your travels. The solo RV’ing thing I could, and will, definitely do should I outlive my dear hubby, but the selling your home thing? Now that, in my book, is the ultimately in tackling life head on. Bravo to you and your dear crew!

    This blog made me smile. In our case, I’m the mechanical hands-on one, and my husband is the one who excels at the being non- mechanical. So, while he does back up our TV to our trailer, it’s only because I feel much more confident being the one who secures the trailer to our TV. I do it all otherwise – I level the trailer, handle the blocks and do all of the inside set up (we have a TrailManor, which is a hard sided folding trailer, and requires that a few things, like upper cupboards and our bathroom walls, be put into place after the trailer has been swung open). I can do all of the outside components, and do whenever there is a problem that needs solving.

    I doubt my sweet husband could handle RV’ing without me. I, on the other hand, have taken the trailer out several times on my own, for mother-daughter or girl trips. I do appreciate a second pair of hands though, and miss him sorely when he’s otherwise engaged.

    I also do all of our trip planning, down to the smallest detail. I love doing it, and he’s a trooper about going along for whatever I’ve planned.

    My aunt just downgraded from a Class A to a Class C motorhome, primarily because her husband now has advanced Alzheimers and can no longer assist with any of the driving or set up, and she will be doing everything on her own going forward. I’ll be forwarding your blog to her to read as well, and I know she will enjoy it.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Tamara! Welcome to my blog! And welcome to your aunt!

      You sound like you’re well-equpped for the RV life! You and your husband have worked out what works best for you both. That’s great! Thank you for reading my blog and sharing with your aunt. It’s nice to hear from you.

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