Self-portraits and making the Perfect Tow Vehicle even better!

I want to take some self-portraits with my new camera. 

A good morning to take photos of the crew and me

I want some photos of me with my crew. Hmm . . . . The boulders of the Alabama Hills will make a great backdrop.  I put Bridget in place and turn to get Spike.  As I walk back with Spike in my arms, Bridget acts like I’m going to hit her, lowers her head, and slinks off. 

“C’mon, Bridge!  Come back here!”  I set Spike down and chase after Bridget. I catch her right before she ducks into her condo.  “Okay, back you go.  And stop being such a jerk.”

As I’m setting Bridget back in place in front of the rocks, Spike takes off.

“Spike!”  He makes a dash for the PTV and scoots under.  I crawl under and pull him out.  He knows I’m not happy with him.  Finally I get my uncooperative crew positioned where I want them in front of the rocks.  “Okay, good.  Now stay there.  STAY.”

The camera is on the hood of the PTV, aimed perfectly.

The timer is set for a ten-second delay.  I push the shutter button and race back to join the crew.  Off they go!   Spike darts to the right and Bridget to the left.  Oh, for heaven’s sake.  I look at the camera lens and try to put on a face that doesn’t reveal what I’m thinking . . . Would it kill those two to have their picture taken with me!

rvsue without her canine crew


Ya’ don’t mess with the Desert Woman.

“Gotcha, you little renegade!”

Sorry to brag, but the Perfect Tow Vehicle is perfect!

As you know, one reason I like a van for a tow vehicle is storage space.  Today I made the PTV even better.  I need a place to hang up clothes.  The little closet in the BLT isn’t wide enough, and I have one of those hanging shoe compartment thingies in there anyway.  I’m tired of going around wrinkled all the time!  My clothes, I’m talking about my clothes . . . .

What would Casita people do without drapery hooks?

The other day while down at the Lone Pine hardware store, I buy a tension clothes rod.  My plan is to run it across the back of the PTV.  This is going to be great

I put it up, hang my shirts, and watch it fall down.  Then I come up with the bright idea of using drapery hooks in the PTV’s upholstery and a wire to hang the rod. I’ll have to see if it bangs around too much when the PTV is in motion.  Why didn’t I do this sooner?

Bonus: The clothes will help keep the cool air up front in summer and the warm air up front in winter.

Nina comes by again! 

Polly gets some attention from Nina while Spike waits his turn.

She gives me some print-outs of boondock suggestions.  Very thoughtful and very much appreciated by me! 

The canines have a good ol’-time together.  I love to see Spike playing with another dog.  He doesn’t run around like a nutcase the way he used to when he was younger.  I miss seeing that.  He starts to do a little scampering with Polly. 

I wish Bridget were more playful.  She takes life too seriously. 

The Alabama Hills Camp has been a good one.

I was going to leave today (Sunday).  I think I’ll wait until tomorrow morning.  With a little luck the ranger won’t show up before then.



About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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82 Responses to Self-portraits and making the Perfect Tow Vehicle even better!

  1. Sherry says:

    That close up picture of the desert woman is fantastic! You look like one happy gal and I know you are. What campsite that is. Makes me want to go back through your blogs and pull out the pictures of the BLT & PTV in all of their fabulous spots just to see them all together. I can never figure out how you can stand to leave such a perfect spot and then you pull into another one.

    Great Tale of the reluctant crew by the way. I could just picture them saying……..nope we’re outta here. :-))

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Sherry! Well, in this case I HAVE to leave because my time is up on BLM land here. I wanted to make a retrospective slideshow of all our camps but it was just too difficult with WordPress.

  2. DeAnne says:

    Marvelous pictures that show ALL of your personalities! Where are we heading off to next? Hugs to you and the crew.

  3. Pat Scrabeck says:

    Loved seeing the pictures of you–especially the “desert woman” was great. Now I can put a face to all your great blogs. What a cool solution with the clothes rod. I sure like the idea of the PTV–I’ve been looking for one like yours–I think I would like all the extra storage. My friends are poo-pooing the idea of a Casita for me. They say “get yourself a motorhome,” but they are so darn big and scary-looking to drive, plus the gas would be so spendy. Won’t be making my decision until next spring so I’ve got lots of looking to do. Love and hugs to you and the crew.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I met a lady who fulltimes, solo, in a motorhome. She was thinking about getting rid of it because the cost of repairs was too much. She said, “It seem like every time I take the thing to the shop the bill is a thousand dollars.”

      You have to find what suits you and to heck with the opinion of others.

    • Jim says:

      I agree with your appraisal of the “desert woman” pic. Sue looks great and happy. Pat,I have had both travel trailers and motorhomes. The drawbacks to the motorhome are many, fuel costs, repairs, but the big one for me was once I found where I wanted to be if I wanted to go to a store or anything, it means taking the “camp” with you whereas in the trailer mode, you leave the trailer and it happily waits as you drive off in your tow vehicle. I guess it’s a matter of taste but that’s my 2 cents worth.

      Happy trails Sue…

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Thanks, Jim. I agree with you 100 percent, of course, about the advantages of a trailer. It looks so pathetic to see a camp chair sitting all by its lonesome in a campsite, “holding down the fort” until the people come back driving their home.

      • Crystal says:

        Been the motorhome route. I totally agree. A bumper pull is the rig for me. 🙂

  4. Pat says:

    Great pics!!!!!! I am headed back to the desert next week……your pics are making me miss the open spaces there. Travel safe and tell the babies to take good care of you.

  5. Cathie Laurent says:

    You are looking like one sexy desert woman! Again, you made me smile and giggle with your words! Thanks.

  6. Ky Greene says:

    Thanks for your inspiration. Makes this island gal wonder if maybe the desert might be doable 🙂

  7. Ed says:

    I posted this on your prior page. It is too bad that you did not leave on Sunday. Leave early and maybe you can get to another camp before the winds get bad.

    Sue you are going to be getting WINDS :

    * Winds: west winds gusting between 60 and 70 mph are possible in
    parts of the western Owens Valley and Sierra foothills.

    * Timing: conditions for high downslope winds appear favorable
    beginning Monday morning and persisting through Monday night
    into Tuesday morning. The best potential for high winds is
    expected late Monday afternoon and Monday evening.

    * Locations: Aspendell… Whitney Portal… Bishop…
    Independence… Lone Pine… Olancha

  8. I love the Desert Woman picture!!!!!! I saved it to my computer. Looks like Mick sent you a super duper camera. He sure is one of a kind…a very special person. He lives about 3 hours from me and one day I am going to surprise him. LOL …And FYI….it is LESS painful taking them off then starting the process of putting them back.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pauline! Good to see you here again. Of course, you love the Desert Woman picture. You love all photos of me! Thanks for the info in your last sentence. I was wondering about that.

  9. Chris Horst says:

    Five will get you ten that the drapery hook will rip out as soon as you hit a hefty bump. May I suggest you get a regular closet pole and screw the pole sockets into the vinyl pillar just to the front of the drapery hanger or into the vinyl strip above the hook. You can get a drop-in socket (one side open) for one end of the pole so it’s easily removed or even use an expandable closet pole.

    Nice photos of the Alabama Hills.


    • Jim says:

      I totally agree.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Darn. And I was so happy with my little project. I thought the cushy insulation behind the upholstery would buffer the effects of it being bumped around. You’re right. I should do a better job of it.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m afraid to drill into the vinyl pillar because there might be wires behind it. You’re probably right about my jerry-rigged mounting not holding long. Another reader suggests the kind of sockets that have adhesive. I might go with those. This is an expandable pole.

    • Crystal says:

      I was thinking the same thing…that’s gonna rip.

  10. gingerda says:

    Great photos. I could just see me setting up the camera and have 10 seconds to get into the picture. I’d probably trip and fall on my face, lol. I was thinking the same thing that Chris said, I wondered if the hooks would pull out with the weight of the clothes and traveling.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’ll leave the hooks like they are for now, keep an eye on them for rips. Glad you liked the photos. The close-up of me was taken before my brain had a chance to remember to smile.

  11. LuAnn says:

    What a great post Sue. We love the Alabama Hills as well. We left today because of some high wind gusts we were hearing about. Since we are the novice boondockers, we decided to play it safe. 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi LuAnn… You have a great blog. The photos are wonderful, much better than mine. I wasn’t in the mood to pack up and move today so I’ll probably wait out the wind. You left early enough to get ahead of it. (LuAnn and husband boondocked at Alabama Hills, parked next to Nina and Paul of Wheeling It blog.)

      • LuAnn says:

        Nina has taught me a few things about taking photos so I am slowing learning but still my photos leave a lot to be desired. I understand you are a desert rat as are we so hopefully we can meet up some time. Are you planning to go to Quartsite at all this winter?

  12. Kathleen says:

    i am so thrilled when I get to read about your daily adventure! I have been sharing your adventures and your pictures with my husband, whom i am trying to convince we need to live life on the edge upon retirement like you! Love the Spike and Bridget stories and about your adventures! Be safe and keep up your travels and great writing!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Kathleen… Always happy to have my blog used as propaganda for the good life! Just imagine if I had decided not to sell my house, but rather stay put and not travel around the West. Think of all I would have missed! The places, the people, the fun! Thanks for the compliments, Kathleen, and good for you for wanting to “live life on the edge.”

  13. earthdancerimages says:

    Loved the post and the Desert Woman portrait! Only once, in 2+ years have we EVER gotten the HoundHerd together for a family portrait! Next to impossible. I can sympathize!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It’s a credit to this camera that the Desert Woman photo came out as clear as it did. That was part of a much larger scene with me in the middle. I cropped and zoomed it up, after the fact, without much loss of clarity.

  14. Nan says:

    We are looking forward to the Alabama Hills this winter. I wonder if we will meet the Mountain Woman. We should be so lucky…. Happy travels!

  15. harrietann12 says:

    You didn’t mention what type of camera you have so I don’t know if your camera will support this or not.
    Have you checked out using a remote control? This might be a possibility for you to capture those self-portraits and not stress out doing it. There are two types of digital camera remote controls: cable or wireless systems. Google you camera’s Brand/Model to see if it supports a remote control feature.
    I take photo of pets and it is a challenge to get them where you want them and to make them stick until you get the shot.
    Photoshop would place YOU in a good picture with THEM 😮 LOL
    Hope this did not post twice–having WordPress login problems!

  16. Glenda Cornwill says:

    Catching up with you and the crew after a weekend at Lake Albert in our caravan. We have a new site right on the lakefront which is heaven. Took some great shots of the local birdlife which abounds.
    So loved your shot of Lone Peak in your last entry……………see what I mean… that soft early morning light is amazing. A thruly awesome shot!!!
    Your crew not obliging with the photo shoot……………oh my how frustrating it is 🙂 My two now know that “Mother” wants a photo and a stern ‘stay” usually has them sitting beautifully for the family album………..good girls they are!! Love your photos Sue……… truly is an amazing place the Alabama hills!!!

  17. mockturtle says:

    I agree with the others: Desert Woman is a great picture and I’m also saving it. If I run into you somewhere, I’ll know what you look like. 🙂

  18. Myra says:

    Loved these pix, Sue! … How nice being able to put a face to your personality!
    This probably isn’t the first time you’ve heard this, but facing a new week, I’m more than a little envious of your chosen lifestyle … really therapeutic to see your posts after a long day!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Myra! As I was wandering around the desert late this afternoon with the crew, I thought, “Gee, I could be back in Georgia experiencing what I always called Sunday Night Dread.” Instead I’m playing in the rocks and watching the sun dip behind the Sierra Nevada. It’s therapy for me, too!

  19. Julia G says:

    Sue..Im glad that you have started taking pics of yourself with the crew, and you will be too. I’ve spent years driving a truck with my mini jack,Piyet and my chocolate lab,Whitney, who passed away last year. I was looking thru my pics of her the other day and realized that there are very few of us together. She was always in my arms and I’m sad that I don’t have a single picture with her there. Of course, I’m not a wiz with a camera like you are!! So…desert paparazzi…we will be expecting to see alot more of you with your crew..LOL and p.s…Chris is right about the hook ripping…mine didn’t last long either :0( Be safe!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Julie! I’m sorry about your Whitney. . . and you don’t have photos of the two of you together. I do have a few of me with the crew that I’ve asked other people (usually strangers) to take of us at tourist spots like the Grand Canyon.

  20. Sue Malone says:

    Great photo of you, Sue, I loved the story that went with it. You are in my favorite boondocking site ever. So glad you got good weather and sunshine and good company as well.

  21. Rita says:

    Shower curtain rods work wonderfully too for hang clothes….the kind you twist to tighten into place. You don’t need screws or anything…just hold the rod where you want it and twist to widen and tighten into place. I have a truck so I use the rod & curtain to block out the back window & sleep in the back seat….it’s use is versatile…hang hand wash items, to dry towels or clothes or hang other things in bags. I’ve use the rods also outdoors to hang stuff.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      The rod you see in the photo is one of those type of rods. It’s a tension-mount rod. Only the tension isn’t enough to hold it, what with the door slamming and the jarring of travel. It falls right down…

  22. geogypsy2u says:

    Darn those little tricksters. Your Desert Woman shot is wonderful. Looking good, like the road is treating you well. I recently bought a digital remote control for $10 and it works like a charm. Maybe now I’ll try to get more photos of myself. Have to agree with Chris and others about the hooks. I’m sure no Ranger would boot you out during a wind storm.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’l look into the remote control. Not getting the crew in a photo is not really a big deal (just frustrating this morning). As you know, I occasionally collar some poor passerby to take a photo of the crew and me together… like when we were at the dock at Florence, OR.

      • geogypsy2u says:

        I’m ask others to take my photo also. I basically bought the remote to use on the tripod for slow shutter speeds.

  23. cinandjules says:

    Nice portrait……………..even if Spike and Bridget did the exit stage left manuever.

    I would have to agree with others that the swinging motion of the rod will cause the hook to rip the upholstery. How about the tension bar inside a rubber wall door stop? Home depot has them in a package of 2 for around 2-3 dollars. They look like this:

  24. Kathy says:

    Hi Sue- Haven’t said Hi in a long time. Spent most of the summer and up til a week ago in ABQ assisting my mom. She’s recovering nicely from the broken hip but the pollution and smoke there drove me out. Bill is in the Durango area monitoring the fire situation. He will spend the rest of this month there and at Navajo Lake salmon fishing. Be back in time ot VOTE! Love your blogs and enjoy checking others! Love the ‘hat’ lady!!! Kathy with a K

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Kathy… It’s great to hear from you again! That’s great news about your mother. I’m glad she’s healing well. I’ll be curious to learn if Bill catches any salmon. I remember when we camped at Eagle Nest, NM, people were fishing for salmon. Forget the type, weird looking things, reddish.

      You know that you and Bill turned me into a hat lady! Gee, it’s getting to be minestrone soup time of year again . . .

  25. Grace says:

    You are so funny! I got a good laugh at you trying to take a photo of the crew and the one you ended up with! You make a calm and cool looking desert woman! Excited to see the snowbirds starting to head toward the SW. Come on down! Grace (in Tucson)

  26. Donna K says:

    All you need in the Desert Woman portrait is a lasso. Might help you round up those wayward “doggies!” Great picture.

  27. Barb says:

    Ohhhh! I love the self adhesive+pole idea! I was worried about your fabric up there–those liners are expensive!
    Our ‘new to us’ vintage trailer is coming together… the smaller one goes on sale today (unless a friend ends up buying it-she is vacillating) We call her “Moosee” as there is an ancient moose sticker that won’t come off LOL
    LOVE your photo!
    Looking forward to winter camping as soon as Moosee is ready.
    Take Care!

  28. EmilyO says:

    Ye gads, bet Sue isn’t going to be around Trick or Treaters again this year. At least she won’t have left over Halloween candy to consume!

  29. azpatriciao says:

    Great photos! You look really pretty and so happy.
    I am wondering… what costumes are Spike and Bridget going to wear for Halloween this year?

  30. Julia G says:

    Sue, you can still use your drapery hooks if you can hook them in the edge between the hard plastic and fabric. With drapery hooks, double sided sticky squares ,bungi cords and stick on velcro..there isnt anything that you cant fix…Oh yeah, and the 600 of us telling you what to do..LOL..ahhh feel the love!!! ;D

    • Julia G says:

      AND…Ive read this entire blog and you look younger now than when you started..go look!!! hmmm…the fountain of youth must be in the desert…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Julia! I moved the drapery hooks so they’re in a hard seam area (next to some screws) in the ceiling, so there’s no “give.” I’m hoping that’ll do it.

      Me and a few of my closest 600 friends, right?

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