Lesson learned the hard way

Friday, December 14

After the jaunt down to the ARCO station to dump tanks, and to take on gas, water, and propane, the crew and I return to the same location of our camp near Clark Dry Lake, not far from Borrego Springs, California.

The relentless wind gives me the ambition to get set up in a hurry.

I put leveling blocks under one of the BLT’s wheels and drive the BLT up onto them.  I place the chocks and kick them securely to the tires.  I remove the stabilizer jack.  I unhook the chains and the breakaway cable from the PTV.  I unplug the trailer brake cord and the solar power cord.

I remove the lock from the hitch and crank the coupler up.  I move the PTV forward a few inches.  I place the pink cone under the coupler and crank it down to level.  I put the lock back and turn the key.  I plug the solar power cord back into the PTV.  I walk around to the back of the BLT and bring down the jacks.

I get the stepladder, climb up it, and tilt the solar panel.

Next I go inside the BLT and remove the Wilson antenna.

Wilson antennaThe ten-foot pole just fits inside with the antenna resting on the bed.  Once I get the antenna out, I insert it into the bumper mount.

I go inside and feed the wire through the window, attaching it to the air card’s adapter cord.

Okay.  All set.  Here goes.  I’m ready to adjust the antenna for optimum internet connection!

I turn on the air card.

Nothing.  That’s right.  Nothing.  RSSI is 0%.  I stare at the air card while the realization of my mistake trickles across my brain.  How.  Can.  I.  Be.  So.  Stupid?

For those of you not familiar with the Wilson antenna, I shall explain.

It’s a wonderful device that can make a one-bar signal go to two-bars or a two-bar signal go to three-bars.  What it cannot do is increase the strength of a signal that doesn’t exist!  Now you know why I explained the setting-up process in such detail.

Because it was all for nought! 

I’m so disgusted with myself for not checking for a signal BEFORE setting up.  Now I need to undo the above steps and find a new location.  Darn!  I was all fired up to write a blog post about Jose. 

Saturday, December 15

The crew and I walk up to the low ridge nearby.  Susie and Gary are out and about.  I met them a few days ago. I tell them I’m in search of an internet signal and they inform me that Alex and Ellen next to them are leaving today and they get a strong signal.

One view from our new campsite

So now we have a new campsite!

I go online and post the story of Jose at the propane tank.  We’re still camped in the dispersed camping area which is free with no 14-day limit.

Our neighbors

Our neighbors

Sometimes I have to learn my lessons the hard way.  Never again will I set up camp without looking at my internet air card first!

"Whew!  I've got three bars!"

“Whew! I’ve got three bars!”


Canine Corner:  “I Can’t Take It Any More!” by Spike



“Rain, wind, cold, rain, wind, cold . . . I’M SICK OF IT!  This is the DESERT!  It’s supposed to be HOT AND DRY!

I’m tired of being cooped up in this poor excuse for a home looking at RVSue’s face glued to the computer and listening to the Bridge go on and on about whatever it is she goes on about.  Seventeen feet.  Are you kidding me?  Who lives in seventeen feet, including the hitch?  I wanted a forty-foot Class A with three slides.  Does anybody ever listen to ME?  Noooooo.

All I can do is sleep.  I mean, how many naps can a dog take?  I’ll admit I can take quite a few, but a guy has his limit.  We go outside and I freeze my butt off.  All I want is to walk around in some warm sunshine.  Maybe take a little sun bath.  IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?  LET ME OUTTA HERE!  I CAN’T TAKE IT ANY MORE!”


About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
This entry was posted in Simple living and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

80 Responses to Lesson learned the hard way

  1. Karin from Prescott says:

    Poor Spike! The snow finally quit here in Prescott and the sun came out and Daisy-dawg went on 4 walks today. She too was suffering from cabin fever. I’m sure it’ll be sunny and warm tomorrow! Just hold out for one more day.

  2. Old Fat Man says:

    Sorry Spike it is warm to hot here in south Texas. 81 today. Tee shirts and shorts with sandals type of weather.

  3. Barbara says:

    Snow on the hills around Yucaipa, Ca. this morning…….yuk

  4. Al says:

    Ha! Ha! Ha! Great story Sue, give my sympathies to Spike, I’m sure our Pippy would agree.

  5. Glenda Cornwill says:

    Oh DEAR poor Spike…………..it can’t be that bad, don’t hear Bridget complaining! Anyway while Mum Sue is having a good time you are there to stay!!
    Sue loved your post about Jose…….does the heart good to hear about someone who loves what they do and wants to serve in such a cheerful and friendly manner. Go the Jose’s of this world….we love you and apprectiate you.

  6. BAYFIELD AL. says:

    We have made the same mistake…..more than once:((

  7. Ilse Werdermann says:

    Dear Spike,
    Thanks so much for your post. My name is Max (really Maxwell Smarty-pants, but that wasn’t my choice…crazy human, you know…), and I’m a biiig Golden Retriever. My human keeps going on about us going on the road together, but can’t make up her mind between a Casita like the one you live in and a Navion or View, which she says is a small Class C that has a slide to give me enough room to turn around. The thought of living in a little trailer seems to make her happy, but to tell the truth, it makes me want to run away from home. That’s why I’m glad you posted today. This gives me ammunition in my fight against this hair-brained idea to put a 180 pounder (the huiman) and a 100 pounder (me) into a tiny space (not to mention the 6 pound cat, who I try to ignore). Thanks for listening, and don’t let that bitch Bridge annoy you. Who is wearing the pants around your place, anyway. Get my drift?

  8. cathieok says:

    Oh, Sue, I feel your pain. We learn something (by experience) every time we set up. Now, if we just could remember what we learn!
    Cathie in OKlahoma

  9. Rita says:

    I’m w/Spike…can’t stand to be cooped up & stuck in small spaces. Give me a log cabin with windows and wood stove and I;m content. I love stories of RVers but I couldn’t do that full time. I own a bungalow w/two bedrooms…not too small and not too big…just right for me. I did travel quite a bit of travel for work and pleasure in the N. America. Wish I had expanded my travels to foreign countries while I was young. In Phoenix it’s colder than usual….had lots of rain yesterday. My dogs loved the rain…got soaking wet and I’m sure they enjoyed the warm house after our return. More rain predicted middle of the week so you may get more cold, windy, rainy weather.

  10. gingerda says:

    I am interested in each step that you are doing and not thinking a thing of it. Then you got to the punch line of not having an internet signal. Ouch…frustrating for sure.
    Loved Spikes comment.

  11. TexCyn says:

    Poor Spike! enuff is enuff says he ….the net thing sounds like something I would do..but all in all, at least you found a good relocation spot.

  12. Lisa says:

    I have so done what you described! And, even though I said all that stuff to you weeks ago about signal boosting vs signal creation, I have sat in my trailer, trying to will my antenna to make there be a signal there, gosh darn it!!

    It is hard to fathom sometimes how there can be a signal in the morning and then, later in the day, it is simply gone – poof!

    Sending Spike wishes for warm sunshine –


  13. Mick says:

    Your antenna has a ratio of forward signal to rear signal (180 degrees apart). It is called the front to back ratio and it is about 20 db for that antenna. Your forward gain is 10 db so your rear gain must be -10db (minus 10). This means if your pointing the antenna opposite from the cell tower you will see less than what the air card reads NOT connected to the antenna. So always check a location before connecting the antenna. YLTA

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Mick. I understood your last sentence. 🙂

      • Dawn says:

        LOL….me too!

        • Bill says:

          And Sue- To further enhance your understanding of the world of antennae, any antenna which radiates in all directions equally is call an ‘isotopic point source radiator’. The way an unamplified antenna can obtain ‘gain’ is to use reflectors and directors to squeeze high sensitivity in one direction and attenuate it in others! Microphones are similar. Have to ever heard of a cardigram microphone…the sensitivity pattern is the same. Cheers BR

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Now I get it! The visual aid helps a lot, Mick. BTW, it’s neat that I can put the antenna with pole into the BLT for travel.

  14. Pam Wright says:

    Thanks, Spike for the wonderful laugh! I read your post out loud to my husband and that made it even funnier. I love a dog with a sense of humor. Hope the sun shines soon for all of us!!!!!

  15. Jean &Skip says:

    I’m with Spike don’t like this weather much at all, we are one of the views from your campsite.

  16. Judie says:

    Poor Spikey! Hopefully there will be sunshine tomorrow boy. It’s hard for a fella who likes adventures to be cooped up with two females who are content to play on the computer and sleep huh boy. Try to get some naps and have good dreams about tomorrow.

  17. Reine says:

    If you’re gonna “learn the hard way”, this is the lesson to learn. Nothing broken, bent, lost or damaged – just some aggravation and time lost. And I’m sure Spike’s comments are a little bit like yours when the weather isn’t cooperating. That’s one of the few times when we wish for something bigger than our Casita. But the advantages that Spike doesn’t know about far outweigh the disadvantage that he’s griping about.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Reine . . . As long as I have internet and something to read, I do okay cooped up for a few days. It’s the crew that drives me crazy, wanting to go out, then wanting to come back in, all day, in and out.

  18. PatrickA says:

    Just get them both a small piece of fleece material and use it as a blanket.
    Oh yes don’t forget one for yourself. But being as you are well prepared I think you probably have one

  19. Mary says:

    You’ll have to forgive Spike. A dog (like people) gets crotchity with age.

  20. Jack says:

    Stuff happens! Better than dealing with big city rush hour traffic eh!

  21. Mike Davis says:

    This was the funniest post I have ever read, even if a dog wrote it. LOL.. Great thoughts from “Woman’s best friend”.
    My wife heard me laughing and asked that I read it to her and had her laughing like crazy too. Of course I had to slip into my cute dog accent.

    Once in a while those 40 footers suck. Mainly when they are crying that they need more gas at $700 a pop. Not much money left over for dog treats Spike, so be careful what you wish for,

  22. geogypsy2u says:

    Bigger isn’t always better Spike. I’m looking at 2″ of snow.

  23. mockturtle says:

    Do you ever feel that we have become slaves to digital technology? :-\

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I feel obligated to blog sometimes. When I have a blog entry ready inside my head and can’t get online to write and post it, that makes me a little nuts.

      • mockturtle says:

        I was speaking in a general sense about all of us, collectively. Your blogs are great and I’d miss them if you didn’t make the effort. But I do wonder if we are all becoming too dependent on the internet, cell phones, etc. [Especially me! ;-)]

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Of course, I always think “it’s all about me!”

          Yeah, we’re dependent on a lot of things. . . going way back in the history of humankind. If I were given a field of wheat or rye and had to start at that point to come up with a loaf of bread, well, I’d end up chewing on seeds.. LOL

  24. cinandjules (NY) says:

    Your lesson learned is also a “note to self” for many of your followers.

    Setting up and breaking down your campsite…in the beginning there is no specific method…after trial and errors..there is a method to the madness.

    Spike’s got cabin (casita) fever! When the weather doesn’t cooperate…..and outside is unavailable it makes any size rig seem like a closet. Better weather is ahead Spike…hang in there! Sleeping makes the time go faster.

  25. Timber n' me says:

    Hey, Sprike, your lucky, my human makes me stay under his bed n’ sometimes i ask him if i can jump up with him on his bed, it’s real soft with all his blankets, and theirs only 6 feet of dancein’ space from my bed to the door. any how, i like it out side anyway., so tuff it up, with a name like “Spike”, i’d not wimper, what are the ladies gona think,,,,,,,,,,Ahhhooooollll Ruff Ruff OOoooool

  26. Timber n' me says:

    Yo Did ya feel th’ ground shake,,,,,,,,,it was a 2.7 – bout 14 clicks NNW of B. Springs AT 5:48, pm Sunday, my human didn’t feel a thing, Spike, wake up

  27. Karen says:

    Scooter and Buddy write this to Spike: You know Spike, things could be much worse. If you lived in Minnesota like we do, you could be up to your belly in snow and slippin’ and slidin’ on the path to the outdoor biffy. We can’t just pull up stakes and move if it gets too bad. We’re stuck in this place til Spring when we can get our home on wheels out of storage. Can’t wait til Pops retires and we can spend some time on the road seeking warm temps and sunshine. Grin and bear it. It won’t be long til you’re basking in the warmth of the sun.

  28. mockturtle says:

    You think you’ve got it bad, Spike! We’ve had weeks of nonstop rain up her in western WA. No sunshine. Only rain. And wind. Maybe a little snow tomorrow. At least I can play in the snow! –Bucky

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I don’t know how you Pacific Northwesterners do it! I love a little rain (emphasis on “little”). Prolonged rain and wind really knocks us down. Hope you get some sunshine soon!

  29. Joe says:

    Nice Blog Sue. Wish I was down there with you. I’d love to visit the Fountain of Youth Spa over by Bombay Beach.

  30. LuAnn says:

    I’m still laughing at Canine Corner. 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Spike explored the interior of Nina and Paul’s rig (Wheeling It blog) and l could see him settling into their Class A very easily.

      • LuAnn says:

        That’s exactly how I feel every time I am in it! 🙂

      • libertatemamo says:

        I have to admit those little doggies made themselves RIGHT at home in the rig, no hesitation. Bridget jumped in like a 2-year old puppy and Spike was busy so sniffing all the corners he didn’t even notice the cats…LOL

  31. Debbie says:

    Hang in there Spike! Things will get better, you just got up on the wrong side of the bed today – happens to us all.

    Sue, your a lucky woman – doggie love!

  32. mockturtle says:

    Sorry about the typo! My paws are so big and those keys are so small! 😉 –Bucky

  33. libertatemamo says:

    Oh we’ve done that set-up mess-up before, more than once. So don’t feel so bad. Once we set-up in a forest service spot that was reservation only. Had all the slides out, jacks down…everything out of the cupboards…only to have the camphost come out and point out the very obvious “reserved” sign on the site….doh!!!!!
    Glad you’ve now got good internet. The ridge up there is the best in that area. Either that ridge or right near the entrance to Rockhouse Road is where the signal is strongest. The tower is over there by Peg Leg.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It’s nice to know I’m not the only one being a knucklehead. I almost did the same thing with a reserved campsite. In my case the camp host removed the reservation because the people were supposed to show up the day before. Whew! A close one . . .

      • libertatemamo says:

        By the way Alex & Ellen are now parked RIGHT behind us here at Mission Bay. Small world 🙂

  34. billy pritchett says:

    your neighbors are marie and dewane (with their dog daisey) they are my grandparents :))

Comments are closed.