Solar Mike and a dose of Niland

On our way to the laundromat in Niland, I stop at Ken’s.

“Is there anything you need in town?  I’m going to the laundromat,” I ask as he approaches the PTV.

“No, thanks.  I’m all set.”  We talk for a while.

“Well, I’d better get going.  Talk to you later, Ken.”

“Okay,” he says with a wry smile. “Have a good time down at the laundromat.”  He rolls his eyes.  “It’s always an interesting experience.”

Next I pull into Solar Mike’s.

He happens to be outside tidying up his yard.  Of course, I’m in the PTV without the BLT.  I show him the connection at the back bumper that needs a new other half, due to it not holding in transit and dragging on the pavement.  I also mention that the cord is not as long as I’d like it to be.  One of the benefits of putting the solar panel on the roof of the PTV is supposed to be flexibility in how I angle the PTV for optimum energy from the sun.  The present cord is not quite long enough to always be able to do that.

The PTV smiles proudly when she can show off her solar panel!

It’s immediately apparent that Solar Mike knows his stuff.

He walks into the trailer and returns with an “Anderson” connector that clicks together.  The one I have doesn’t click; it mushes together and doesn’t hold.  After a brief discussion, it’s decided that I’ll stop by with both the PTV and BLT on my way out of the Slabs, as he’s on the main road out.

Not surprisingly, the Niland laundromat is as depressing as the town.

Now I know why Ken categorizes people as normal or not normal.  Someone will walk by my campsite and Ken will say something like, “That’s so-and-so.  He’s a nice guy.  He’s normal.”  Or “I don’t go over that way.  The people over there are definitely not normal.” He’s not being cold-hearted.  It’s verbal shorthand.

While waiting for the washers to finish, I hear a lot of “not normal.”

One guy is bending the ear of another about his  recent windfall of commodities, as well as his days (as recently as 2005) as a Seal, Special Forces.  Okay.  You’re seventy years old or so and recently were a Special Forces guy and now you’re hanging out in Niland, California, standing in line for commodities and washing your duds at the laundromat.  I try not to listen.

Another guy asks me to watch his clothes. 

The alien crash site

He wants to go somewhere and he’s afraid someone will steal them while he’s gone.  He asks this favor while standing next to a poster for the rape crisis center.

“I’m sorry, sir.  I don’t think it would be a good idea for me to confront someone who is bent on taking your clothes, know what I mean?”

Usually I give the crew a walk around while the clothes are in the washers.  I don’t see anywhere up and down the street that isn’t ugly with graffiti, boarded up windows, or litter.  We skip the walk.

In addition to the “not normal” are the painfully poor.

An elderly Hispanic gentleman washes a pair of pants and a shirt in the sink without soap.  It’s not hard to conclude from his appearance that he can’t afford laundry detergent, never mind the washing machines and dryers.

A cloud of depression begins to settle over me, and I hurry out as soon as the clothes are done.

Across the street on the sidewalk by the grocery/liquor store, three guys lounge as if it’s their own personal patio.  Oh geez.  Enough of this.  I’m going back to camp. 

On the way back I pass a permanent encampment comprised of a gutted bus and two ancient mobile homes.  The “yard” of dirt is littered with junk, scrap metal, and rags.   A flash of pink catches my eye.  Oh dear God.  It’s a girl of five or six running among the trash.

I drive on to the “nice” section. 

I park the PTV so the solar panel will tilt toward the sun.  Bridget and Spike are happy to jump out.  I get out the ladder from the back of the PTV and tilt the panel at a 35 degree angle.  I take some photos.

Then I sit in a camp chair with a cold glass of water before putting the laundry away.  The crew sits on the patio mat at my feet.

Well, it’s fun talking with Ken and the weather is perfect, but I don’t think we’ll stay here much longer.



About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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114 Responses to Solar Mike and a dose of Niland

  1. Nan says:

    I so admire the old man “washing” his clothes in the sink. At least he is making an attempt at cleanliness.

  2. Pat says:

    We have to experience all types of situations on this journey. Some great, some sad, but it is all part of life. Hope you take good memories with you when you move on. Safe travels and enjoy.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m going to try to reply to your comment for the fourth time. The connection is so poor here!

      I try to keep a positive tone on my blog. At the same time I don’t want to gloss over the less-than-positive experiences. You’re right. It is all part of life, and this blog is about my life with my crew.

      When we leave here, I’ll take good memories with me of laughter with Ken.

  3. Karen and Steve says:

    Solar Mike is a great guy… and he goes out of his way to help others. We really enjoyed an evening around the campfire with him and his wife. Even though we are already “solared up” on our rig, he gave Steve lots of free advice and help on understanding our Blue Sky controller and the settings.

  4. Dave says:

    when you first said you were going to the slabs I wondered how long you could take it. When I was there I spent 2 days as planned. But all the time I was there I had the urge to clean up all the trash.

  5. Gabrielle Becker says:

    Hi, Sue: you need an old fashioned clothes dryer! A clothes line. Less time at the laudromat and cheaper. Years ago I put one up in my backyard even though it was “against city bylaws” and I have never regretted the move. I asked my neighbours if they objected, and no one had any problem with it. Now, it is all the rage in the city. Stupid bylaw, if you ask me. Like a line full of clean clothes is “unsightly” in any way. Just a thought. Gabrielle

    • massachusettsmark says:

      Good for you …I have been drying clothes on line also…

      • Pat says:

        I lived in AZ and used a clothes line for years, my friends thought I was crazy. I had the last laugh, smaller electric bills year round. Plus the clothes last longer and smell so good.

        • Emjay says:

          Yep. Even here in damp(er) California,I use a clothesline when I can. Sheets smell so great that way..and I agree: they last longer. However, it’ s gotta be harder with your PTV, Sue. No place to stretch a line. Hm. Maybe a mesquite tree to a rusty post, eh?

          • The Good Luck Duck says:

            We got a stretchy twisted cord from That Big Camping Company that clips wherever you want it. Pretty versatile, and no clothespins.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I have a clothesline and pins I use on occasion. There are no trees or posts here and I’m not equipped to string a line long enough for the two large laundry baskets of clothes, plus two quilts and shams, that I needed to dry. And I don’t want to hang my undies out for all to see!

      I’ve hung clothes on a line off and on for 30 years. It was difficult in GA because it was so humid the clothes would be wetter than when I hung them up, after 3 days. So I frequently used a dryer, had to have something to wear to work! Yes, sheets dried in the sunshine and breeze are a delight, one of life’s simple pleasures.

  6. Sherry says:

    I would sure like to have solar Mike’s help but I’m not sure I could manage Slabs. I’m afraid it would be too depressing. I guess I need to learn not to be so affected by my surroundings. But then being in beautiful places is a major reasaon I’m on the road. Your descriptions of the area give a very vivid picture. I hope I would do as well as you in adapting. Not sure.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      “. . . being in beautiful places is a major reason I’m on the road.” I feel that way, too, Sherry. I’m not taking many photos here. First off, the sunrise and sunset are behind the silhouettes of motorhomes. I can’t get an unobstructed view of either or of the Chocolate Mountains. The vegetation is palo verde and creosote. There’s only so much you can do photographically with a creosote bush! LOL Secondly, the desert is disturbed by ATV tracks everywhere. Not exactly scenic. In short, it doesn’t inspire me.

  7. jean says:

    do not know how you write this blog everyday. I have trouble trying to write a comment that makes sense. be safe and tell us a little abou the crew. do you have a problem with fleas in all the places you go? Be safe

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Jean,

      Sorry it took me so long to address your question. I almost missed your comment, jumping on and off the internet so much with a weak connection. One of the reasons I love the West, at least what I’ve seen so far, is NO FLEAS! It’s been wonderful, especially for Bridget. She used to get an awful rash every summer back in GA. I don’t know if it was the ongoing flea battle or the humidity, but she suffered. All that’s gone now.

      • jean says:

        I find that amazing. You would think with it as hot and sandy there would be lots. Glad for Bridget. She seems such a sweetheart. Niland sounds like it suffers from the same problem many small towns suffer from. The jobs that used to keep them alive have gone overseas, leaving poverty behind. But as you said “it is what it is”. Be safe

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I guess the shortage of water is the determining factor. Bridget is a sweetheart. The older she gets, the more endearing.

        • Elizabeth says:

          Having lived in most of the climates of the USA, we found that fleas were never an issue in drier climates. Ones that get fairly hot in the summer, but dry. Fleas seem to flourish where it is humid!!

  8. suburbanlife says:

    As you, Sue, and others similarly engaged in peregrinations around your country experience life in its pleasant and unpleasant forms, you certainly end up having a strong pulse of your larger culture. Someone like me, who lives in a suburban and urban area, can often evade, by limiting movements to only areas which are compatible with personal world views, direct knowledge of facts of exixtence endured and enjoyed by many people. So at best, knowledge of conditions prevailing in less commendable ways is mainly of a second-hand, indirect nature. It helps to challenge and open one’s comfort zone. Your reactions are realist, but not maudlin.
    Your solar panel on the PTV is a brilliant solution. G

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Your comment is so true! We have many ways to insulate ourselves from the suffering of others. And I’m so proud to hear your compliment on my solar set up!

  9. BAYFIELD AL. says:

    If your heading south from Niland there is a laundramat on the southeast corner at the intersection in Calipatria. A decent grocery store on the northwest corner. Also, there is an acceptable dump station on the left side of the road between Niland & Calipatria. Nice southwest style Walmart in the south end of Brawley as well. Glad you were open minded enough to experience the Slabs. You will always remember it……..

  10. cathieok says:

    I think you have experienced all you want at the Slabs.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Since I’m not inclined to get involved with the clubs here, there isn’t much more than Ken’s company to keep me here. Once I have the solar work done, I’ll leave.

  11. cinandjules says:

    Niland…………..certainly an adventure!

    Sounds like Solar Mike will hook you up! 🙂

  12. Rod says:

    Perhaps Solar Mike may have to ideas on how to improve your solar set up, so it will last a bit longer…. He is probably one of the best folks to make suggestions….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Sounds like you expect my solar set up to die soon.

    • Chuck says:

      Rod, RVSues solar setup is REALLY well put together. A tweak may help and a suggestion from Solar Mike is welcome from anyone but her system is well designed, easy to use and will last a long time. We are considering down sizing from our 5th wheel and would love to be able to copy Sues setup. We have seen parts of it being installed and it is done 1st Class and have seen it complete and it is a very sensible system..

  13. Rita says:

    My first thought was homeless people but I guess the gutted bus is home to them. I grew up sleeping on hard dirt floor in a hogan on Navajo Reservation with no electricity or water. We washed our hair every other week if water was available….needless to say not a very sanitary environment. However, nine months of the year we were in boarding school where I learned much. Later college & then graduate school. I guess what I am trying to say is, some of those children living at the slabs may very well wind up in college and living a ‘better life’ according to society’s definition. It seems sad now but I think of how I grew up and yet managed to overcome the environment I grew up in. Hope someone i.e. teacher, parent, friend, etc. sparks a light under these children to stay in school and live a rich life outside of the poor conditions they were raised.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Sometimes all it takes to set someone on the path to a successful, fulfilling life is the right mentor.

    • massachusettsmark says:

      One thing I`v learned about “poor people“ most are meek and loving folk who would help any person in need. My Dad told me “ treat others as you would like to be treated“ I have tried to live up to this in the way I treat others…
      Any poor person should be “respected“ until proven unworthy of that respect.
      Pocket change or a bar of soap is nothing to most of us . But .IMO a gift of same can be a God send .
      “there but for the grace of God, go I”
      We are all God`s children..Its the difference in people that make life fun and interesting………“ fear“ can be a block to enjoying life’s twists and turns…

  14. Chris H says:

    Well, Sue, after a little more than a year on the road it appears you have just experienced your first real taste of “culture shock”. Chris H

  15. Sra. Julia says:

    There are actually nice spots at the slabs the SKP’s camp is very nice and clean too! They are an organized bunch with daily meetings and a schedule for everything; shopping trips, dinners out and in, card games, various work parties and charity work. Drop by and ask for a tour. Solar Mike did my solar and it works great!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Julia! There is a lot going on here that I admit I’m not exploring, only because it’s not the kind of thing I enjoy. I’m happy for them. I hear the music and see the campfires and people getting together for happy hour and meals.

  16. Casitagirl says:

    I wondered how long it would take for you to be fed up, Sue. When I saw that you went to the Slabs, I did some internet research and saw what it was all about. Looks like people with many different perspectives on life live there–most very creative, positive, and constructive…Just living an alternative lifestyle. But there are always some that are very destructive–both on a personal and societal level. I lived in a co-op when I went to college and people who were drawn to live there wanted to live more purposefully, like many you probably saw at the Slabs. Occasionally, we would get a destructive person. Fortunately, there were rules there that let us push that person out. There aren’t the same rules at the Slabs, which is why I bet you got fed up!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m not fed up. One reason I want to move on is I like being around people (when I’m not off by myself) who are also moving around. The people here — many are Canadians — come to stay for several months in snowbird fashion, which is fine. Someday I may settle down to one spot for several months. Right now though I enjoy the change of scenery and the change of people that roaming brings.

  17. Susie says:

    I wouldn’t want to experience The Slabs without someone like Ken.

  18. Jack says:

    The slabs can be very depressing but if It can believed, it was much worst just a few yrs ago. The slogan “happiness is Slabsville in a rear view mirrow” applies. Yuma or Peg leg in Borrego Springs are now the choices. You still need a stained glass for your door window. Its a rite of passage!

  19. Llanos says:

    In this day and age, I am surprised that the county government allows the “slabs” to exist in it’s present state. Does it bother me? No. Just another example of it takes all kinds. Gives the phrase “trailer park trash” a whole new meaning. You be careful out there Sue!

  20. I was camping at Slab City 2 years ago. Slab City is actually not “owned” by anyone. The US government pulled the base, and the county didn’t have the money or desire to “upfit” that land, much less purchase it from the US government. It is therefore probably the only place in the US that has no government oversight. It’s a refuge for many people who are on the fringe, who have no other options, who are tired of trying. Those of us in our new or mostly new rigs, well kept up and stocked with our amenities would do well to put ourselves in that situation, because being bereft of everything is very close to all of us nowadays.

    Niland is a town that grew up supporting the Marine base that the Slabs are on. When the government is responsible for supporting an entire community and then pulls out and pulls the plug, Niland is what happens. Those people don’t deserve your scorn, you’re lucky enough to be able to travel through and pick and choose. You can also choose compassionate detachment without the disgust and snobbery showing through in your commentary. I’m a little disappointed, I’ve enjoyed your travels and your commentary and this is the first time I’ve detected east coast scorn. Having grown up in the desert, Niland didn’t strike me as anything but a town that is progressing towards “ghost” status. If the Slab City is ever shut down, Niland will die for sure, because the slabs have a huge economic effect on Niland.

    Calipatria is a better place, the super Walmart is fabulous, the water tastes funny at the free station, but free is free and it’s potable.

    I have a friend named Lee Patterson, he camps with the LOWS over there. He has a really nice truck with shell and a travel trailer. He carves wood. If you get over that way, tell him Kittie says hi. Lee can tell you lots of wonderful things about the area you’re camping.

    Watch out for Spike and Bridget, the coyotes are hungry in those parts.

    • In this season of thankfulness, I wonder what a random act of kindness towards the gentleman washing his stuff in a sink without water would have looked like. You’ve been the recipient of so many random acts of kindness….

      • Tamara says:

        Be careful there with your comments Kittie – Remember that when we point a finger at someone else, that still leaves four fingers pointing back at ourselves.

        Oftentimes our compulsion to criticize others comes from a place of deep unhappiness in our own selves. We only see what others are doing “wrong,” with no understanding that we are actually the ones in need of a tune up.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Kittie, I was right. You don’t read well. Where did I say the sink didn’t have water?

        I stick my neck out by blogging the truth. I could play it safe and paint.

    • Jack says:

      I think you are very harsh my friend. Sermons are really not needed. Sue is not being a snob but simply observing and reporting what she has seen so lighten up ok

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Kittie . . . Your comment is hurtful. Scorn? Where is the scorn? You must be a poor reader or you read too fast. If I were a snob, would the poverty make me sad and depressed? Seeing people desperately poor cuts me to the core. If all you see in Niland is “a town that is progressing toward ghost status,” then you are blind to the suffering of others. The very fact that I can’t party and have fun here has to do with my sensitivity to the plight of others.

      I considered offering the man some detergent. I didn’t because the man still had the dignity to want to be clean. I didn’t want to take away from that dignity by a knee-jerk reaction of sharing detergent. I once was down on my luck and I found money on the seat of my car, a random act of kindness. It hurt when I picked up that money and felt more of my dignity slip away.

      A snob is someone who has an unjustified sense of superiority over others. I’ll leave it at that.

      • Pat says:

        YEAH, Sue. I think Kittie has issues she needs to work on.

      • Barb Brady says:

        Kittie, you don’t appreciate good writing. Sue wasn’t being any of the things you accuse her of. She was describing what she saw in a way that pulled us in to feel the things she was feeling, namely, sadness and depression over the plight of some individuals. Well done, Sue. Please keep writing as you have been. I’ve enjoyed every word you’ve written on your blog. A fan.

  21. The Slabs were certainly a memorable place (both good and bad, as you seem to be seeing as well). Loved the free-spirit artistic displays, but saddened to see other folks who clearly could afford no other option and had to live there year-round. Still, I’m so glad a place like the Slabs continues to exist and be available for all who want or need it. Wish there were more communities like it around the U.S.

    That said, I didn’t feel comfortable enough staying there– I was traveling solo at the time and didn’t know anyone else staying there, so I only spent the day. Glad you were able to experience it with a friend.

    I really loved the Borrego Springs area and boondocking at Clark Dry Lake a few miles east of town. The town is still small, but not nearly as dreary as Nyland. If you plan to stay in California a bit longer before heading back to AZ, you might give it a look!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Lynne,

      I agree with your comments on the Slabs, and I can understand you not feeling comfortable staying here alone. Ken’s help and his company are the reason I’m here.

      I’ve heard so much about Borrego Springs, I am very tempted to go that way!

  22. gingerda says:

    I agree with Jack’s comment. I don’t think you are being a snob in any way, just blogging about what you see and what you feel.
    I love reading your blog and seeing all your pictures.

  23. LuAnn says:

    We didn’t stay at Slab City when we were in the area, only visited. I’m not sure I could deal with all the sadness that seems to permeate that area.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I look around and the only people I see who are happily enjoying life are the haves…. The have-nots? Well, not so much, but at least they aren’t being hassled.

  24. geogypsy2u says:

    That laundrymat has to be the most disgusting place I’ve ever been. I doubted my clothes were cleaner after washing. And oh so true about the “normal” and not at the slabs.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks for the validation, Gaelyn. I’m still stinging from the unkind comment above.

      • Connie & Mugsy says:

        It is one of the realities of posting on the web. There will always be a few who don’t agree or misunderstand or misread or are often just trolls who want to make trouble. (I think the above was more of a mis-reading of your comments) You have actually been quite lucky not to draw too many attackers. I am a regular on a professional teacher board for many years and I have drawn many trolls… up to and including stalkers. Always amazes me how people can get so upset with people that they’ve never met except as a post on the internet. Takes all kinds…

  25. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    Life is a learning experience perhaps the Slabs are there for us to learn and to grow.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      There certainly is a lot to learn here for the person who has the eyes and ears to perceive it.

      I think the slabs are here for people who have no where else to go or want to drop out of “society.” Then there are the people who come here for the free parking and clubs.

  26. Llanos says:

    Ought Oh! I believe Sue is taking the heat for a comment I made about “trailer park trash”. Kittie I do apologize for that unsensitive remark. You would not know it of course but my mother grew up on a reservation. You can’t imagine what I have seen visiting my kinfolk. I suppose it has hardened me to the plight of others.

    • rvsueandcrew says:


      I don’t think you need to apologize. When exposed to the difficult realities of life, a person develops what I think of as a scab over a wound. It doesn’t mean you are “hardened to the plight of others.” It’s just a way to protect your heart from sadness.

  27. mary ann says:

    I never see snobbery here ~ one more reason I love sue’s blog! that was respect not to assume the ma

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, Mary Ann! I can figure what you were going to say before your comment was cut short. I appreciate the fact that you understand the reasoning behind my inaction.

      Sometimes people “help” so they can feel good about themselves. Maybe the man is feeling self-sufficient and capable of dealing with his own needs and problems. What a put-down it would be for Miss White Lady With The Nice Van and Clothes” giving him some detergent!

  28. cinandjules says:

    I spent the most part of this morning….learning about Niland and Slab City. From what I’ve read and watched….the residents either want to live “free spirited” or are forced to live there because of unforseen changes in their personal/financial situation.

    All in all…most appeared to be happy…and that’s all that matters. It is easy for outsiders (not you) to “judge” when you’re outside the box looking in. Some folks see the shanty like structures when they arrive, and they do a quick u-turn. It looks like they have “neighborhoods” just like any other city. There is always a “good” and “bad” part of town.

    As a destination for snowbirds, it appears that everyone can coexist without any real problems. At first I thought, how would the hospitality be…toward someone who drives up in their $150K rig.

    The place kind of reminded me of Berkeley, CA… of the tiedyed shirts, free spritied people, individuals who have mental health issues, Birkenstocks, dreads, marijuana, organic/free range, no nukes and people who don’t judge others.

    Most folks nowadays live paycheck to paycheck….and with the economy the way it is….no job security…nothing guarenteed….who knows what tomorrow brings!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      There is a prevailing atmosphere of “live and let live” here in the Slabs that other neighborhoods, small towns, and cities could learn from. There’s no “what will the neighbors think?” That’s refreshing.

  29. Sue says:

    Wow I have lived in CA for 57 years and I had no clue where the Salton sea, slab city or Niland were. I have heard of all but had never been to any of them. For some reason I thought Niland was north CA, and the Salton sea and Slab city were middle east CA. Interesting, this arm chair travel.

  30. Jen says:

    Please, can’t we have a venue where we can learn from each other without making judgments as to what is in other’s hearts. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to share your feelings and opinions without making or receiving personal attacks.

    I really enjoy experiencing Sue’s travels through her eyes and words. If I didn’t appreciate her honest and open reactions to what she sees, I wouldn’t visit her blog.

    Many of us are in the process of learning what is “enough” especially during these rough economic times. Each of us will come to a different answer to the question of what is enough. In my opinion, having too much can make us “poor” in even more tragic ways than having too little.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      There’s a lot of wisdom in your comment, Jen. I’m beginning to feel bad for allowing myself to hurt and for responding to the criticism. I’m too thin-skinned about what I write!

      • Jen says:

        There’s a very fine line between being too thin-skinned and being too thick-skinned. It’s a balance that each of us must constantly work towards. I think you do very well. It would not be good for any of us to be beyond being hurt by criticism. Our hearts would be locked up tight at that point.

        Just put it in perspective and please keep on writing. Thank you for all the valuable information that you share on your site.

      • DiaryQueen says:

        Remember, Sue, what Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel bad without your permission.” You are a person of dignity and have an opinion to share – carry on! Most of us, particularly fellow teachers & profs “get” what you are saying. Be gentle with yourself and your spirit!

  31. Ron says:

    Because of some health issues I have been spending a lot of time at the VA,and just like the slabs there are some really sad life styles that are present. Breaks my heart to see some of these guys and gals ,the shape they are in mentally and physically ,and you wonder what got them where they are ,but the ones that are still fighting have a big sense of pride ,and with some that is all they have and all they will ever have. , I take my hat off to you in being aware of that with the gentleman washing cloth..
    I have a lot of friends that are Nam vets and the one thing all the combat vets I know share in common , they talk very little about there experiences . I am always leary of someone that is bragging and tell war stories. I think you called the special forces wannabe right.
    If I ever run for public office would you be my campaign manager ,
    73 supporting you and one skeptic ,girl your awesome.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Ron, I know what you’re talking about. I’ve spent many hours sitting in a VA hospital waiting area with a family member who held on to his pride in his service to his country and rightfully so. I also saw some painful situations that made me want to stand up and shout, “No! It shouldn’t be like this! These are our veterans!”

      I hope my account of the man who believes he was once a Special Forces soldier doesn’t ridicule him. That wasn’t my intent. His conversation and delusion was one reason I found the laundromat so depressing. He simply is a human being who wants to feel special, like we all want.

      I don’t know about awesome. I write what I see and hear and how it affects me. Thanks for your comment, Ron.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I meant to include a wish that your health issues are resolved soon.

  32. Susie says:

    Sue. We’re feeling a little protective of you. Kittie just pisses me off.

  33. Rita says:

    We’ve all been recipients of ‘random acts of kindness’ as Kitty says. People don’t be afraid to exercise ‘random acts of kindness’…’s a good exercise 🙂 I’ve been reading’s blog and he is a recipient of ‘random kindness’ of all sorts from different folks across the country….it’s not a sin to give and receive. Same w/RVSue & Crew, they have been recipients of ‘random kindness’ with a fellow RVer who fixed her battery, new camera and in turn she has exercised ‘random kindness’ by reuniting lost dog and owner, trying to find a stray dog a home, a friend to share an unusual camp experience, etc. Go ahead, don’t be afraid of offer help should it be detergent, camera, repairs, offer of travel money, food, etc. Different strokes for different folks so don’t let your personal hang-ups get in the way of offering help and receiving help. Been there and done that. Bless us all we are able to care for one another….even encouragement is an act of kindness.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I don’t think my decision not to offer detergent to the man was because of my “personal hang-ups.” I remember what it was like to try to hold on to personal dignity when it was the only thing of value left in my life. Have you ever had someone come to your door with a bag of dented and expired canned goods?

      Someone offering “help” (I mean, really, is a little detergent going to change the man’s life?) can be terribly demeaning. It’s wasn’t worth the risk of making the man feel like a lesser person over a few squirts of laundry detergent. Going around throwing “help” at people can be condescending, even though it’s not meant to be. I guess you have to be on the receiving end of “good works” to understand this.

      • Rita says:

        Sorry, ‘personal hang-ups’ was not directed at you….I know you’re still stinging from some comments. It’s just some people are reluctant to help for what ever reason. Yes and no, I was offered dented can goods but not expired. I don’t know, it might, if he was trying to get ready for something important like a job interview…we will never know. Offering help to me is never ‘throwing’ help around or condescending. I get the point when people don’t want help. You’re right some people don’t want help for what ever reason. I have refused help plenty of times for various reasons but I also have received help plenty of times which I accepted and been very grateful. I appreciate the thought provoking comments.

  34. Ron says:

    I love your blog but I also love the comment section,
    Susie I read your post and spit coffee all over my keyboard , You remind me of my daughters and grand daughters , I am still laughing.
    I am so much better off than a lot of folks health wise , I just appreciate every day.

  35. Judie says:

    Sue, thank u for writing about what u see-it allows the rest of us to view what we can’t do right now. I’m sorry that some people feel it necessary to pass judgment on a situation they were not present at. U did what u felt was right at the time, that’s all any of us can do. It’s easy to “monday morning quarterback” any situation but some folks make it an art form. If anyne doesn’t “approve” or “like” what they’re reading, they r free to move on. Why must we eneavor to hurt someone’s feelings when they’ve done absolutely nothing to us? I hope u can remove the barbs from that statement and continue to share with those of us who want to read ur posts. U have to know that no matter what u do or say, u can’t please all of the people all of the time-with some folks there’s just no pleasing at all. Thank u for ur posts and observations-I have to say I’ve enjoyed every one of them. What u did for Buddy and re-uniting the other dog with his owner (I’m sorry I can’t remember the name right this moment) earned u a place in Heaven as far as I’m concerned. Looking forward to more posts! We love u and the crew, throw this off and keep going.

  36. rvsueandcrew says:

    I appreciate what you wrote, Judie. I’m fine, just kind of grumpy today. I try to keep my moods out of this blog, but today I let it come through. Nice of you to care! I’m feeling better already, just needed some time to pass. Lord knows I have no reason to be cranky!

  37. Geri says:

    Sue, I don’t think Kittie Deemer has ever posted in your comments before. We have been reading your blog for well over a year and I am familiar with the all regulars! If she has been lurking around here for awhile she seemed ready to pounce like she had been waiting for what she considered a “mis-step” on your part. Screw her! We all know the kind heart that you have and the generosity you have shared with others along the way! Your help and the help of your readers , reuniting Timber and Rusty is a fine example of how your heart works! Time to stop worrying about what she said! She ain’t worth the time or the worry! Geri

  38. mockturtle says:

    I, for one, am not being ‘judgmental’ if I state I do not choose to camp somewhere like Niland. As a home health nurse, I have met many wonderful people living in the most primitive and even squalid environments. When I am camping I prefer to be alone in my surroundings [not always possible, of course] and in a scenic setting. As the French say, chacun à son goût.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m the same way. I prefer a scenic setting also and I wouldn’t still be here if it weren’t for wanting Solar Mike to work on my solar cord connectors.

  39. cinandjules says:

    Good morning Sue and crew! Where are we headed?

  40. gingerda says:

    Sue, had to come back this morn and read the comments. I am like Ron, love to read what everyone has to say. I don’t want to sound like a crazy person when I say this but I almost feel like I am getting to know everyone who makes regular comments, like online friends, I guess.
    So after saying this, I hope everyone (you too Sue) has a great Sunday!!

  41. Angie2B says:

    Sue, I wanted to tell you that my brother and I was raised by my grandma on $180 dollars a month. That was to pay for everything including food, utilities, school stuff and evetything. Even during the seventies, $180 wasn’t much to survive on especially for 3 people. We didn’t have a hand pump for water but drinking water we had to carry in, we used an outhouse. We gardened, kept clean, handwashed our clothes, kept our yard tidy. We played outside a lot, baseball, hide and go seek. During the winter we sledded, played board games and cards. It was some of the best times of my life. The funny thing is my Grandma could have gotten food stamps and welfare for us, but she didn’t because “That’s for poor people.” Lol. I went to college, paid my way though school and am now decidedly upper middle class. Although, I still don’t need what normal middle class need to be happy. Anyhoo, what I wanted to tell you was that even though I grew up dirt poor, we didn’t know we were poor. I feel like I can judge if anything you posted was insensitive, because I came from poverty. NOTHING YOU POSTED WAS INSENSITIVE. That chick who was mean to you above, ticks me off. I love what you share with us. There I feel better. 🙂

  42. Tamara says:

    Sue, as a short time follower . . . (about five days I think – but since we were away on vacation when I found your blog, I had the time to luxuriously read through the entire thing. Your blog is as entertaining as any Bill Bryson book I’ve ever read, too, I might add!) . . . I’ve already been inspired and touched by your blog to the degree that I’ve spent several days rethinking the way I interact with those around me that might be in need. I’ve also made about five new sets of camping reservations in the last week, simply because your blog reinforced how much we absolutely enjoy being out in our trailer in the middle of nature.

    I’m just one follower, and a short time one at that. I can only imagine the cumulative impact of the pleasant ripples your blog has released into the universe over the last year or so. Sometimes we need a little wrinkle in the road (i.e., one negative comment) to remind us how powerful being positive is.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Tamara!

      Have I welcomed you to my blog? If not, welcome! I’m already very glad you are with us. Your words cheer me. I hold your phrase in my mind: “the cumulative impact of the pleasant ripples your blog has released into the universe.” What a wonderful thought! Thank you for that and for the compliment on my writing. You read the entire thing… You deserve a medal for sticking with it! LOL

      • Chuck says:

        Sue, another fan that thinks you’re blog is as interesting as a book…….Hhmmmm and you are on amazon already….is it too soon to say ‘authoress’????

  43. I understood your comments about the Slabs, Sue. When I was there, was the first time I met any of the “vandwelling” community… and there were about seven vehicles there. That is where, with their help, I installed my Fantastic vent fan in the roof of my Chevy Express Cargo Van. We had a good time. Then spent some time five miles south of the Slabs along the canal with a couple of the other vandwellers who also wanted to get away a bit, I needed to get away from the dust and smoke that lingers in the Slabs area. It was great a few miles away. Another vandweller ended up being hospitalized due to the air quality in that valley and doctors told him to NEVER return to that area. Lots of agricultural junk in the air.
    But I enjoyed experiencing the Slabs, and enjoyed seeing the Tanks, the Library, and the Pet Cemetery. Lots of living has taken place there. I also enjoyed climbing around in inside of Salvation Mountain and meeting the creator of the Mtn. When others ask me about Slab City… my response is “It is something everyone should experience ONCE in their lives. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Good writing, Sue.

  44. Wayne Scott says:

    Thank you again for a great review of where you are and what you see. I plan to head west soon and the slabs was/is on my list however, I like you, will likely not be able to stay long. Just can’t take the saddness. If that is judgemental, sorry.
    Do not ever let the negative comments from a sorry few deter you. It is great that you are on your joourney and willing to share and help us know what is ahead. Not to mention the positive results you have on those you meet.
    On to the next shining camp and new adventure. Be safe and keep up the great blog.


  45. Cheryloftwomanyadventures says:

    Told my hubby about Slab City. Doesn’t sound like a place for us. I admire your adventurous spirit.

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