Muddling in the desert of southern Arizona

Friday, February 1

1-P1020230First thing this morning I dive into my Amazon Associates account.  I have a lot to accomplish!  I need to learn more, so I peruse the discussion board.  Then I jump over to this blog and reply to a comment.  Back to the discussion board. Reply to a comment.  Back to the discussion board.  And so it goes.  Fun!

I move the Amazon link to the top of the sidebar so it can be found more easily.  I add a few more links for pets under the “Shopping List and Links” page, like Bag Balm because many readers recommend it for pets and people.  I also found an interesting product for tender-pawed dogs who can’t wear boots or wouldn’t to be caught dead in them.

Invisible dog boots — an all-natural wax cream called Musher’s Secret.  Anyone used it?  On your dog, silly, not your own feet.  Although I suppose you could if you were planning on walking around on salt, sharp gravel, or hot pavement and couldn’t find your shoes.  Anyway . . .


My face is in my laptop.

The sunshine streams through the window blinds, warm and inviting.  Bridget and Spike remind me they need to get outside for some exercise, and it’s up to me to make sure that happens.

I decide we will stay off the road.


We walk the desert instead, stopping often so I can take photos.  It’s a delightful morning.  You know, the kind of soft sunshine that warms gently and brushes the landscape with magical light. The recent rains have spruced up the vegetation.  Odd phrase to use about the desert — “spruced up.” Maybe I should say “saguaroed up.”   I let the crew choose our path.

Spike stops short and raises his hackles.

1-P1020231What the heck are hackles?  How many does a dog have?  Oh well, not important right now.  His nose is pointed across the wide wash.  He growls and barks.

Spike’s a “mature” dog.  I can’t always trust his alarms, what with his bad eyesight.  Maybe that dead cactus looks like a monster to him.  Or maybe we’re about to be attacked my a hungry mountain lion (not likely).

I do, however, trust Spike’s nose.

I see javelina tracks in the sand and hear a rustling on the other side of the wash.  Hmm . . .  Bill and Ann saw one not far from here.

The eyesight of a javelina is probably worse than Spike’s.

javelinaMaybe a javelina is looking at us at this very moment thinking we’re dead cacti.  Or dead meat.

Oh my gosh!  There he is!  RIGHT ON THIS PAGE!

(heh, heh . . . Hi there, big fella. . . See ya!)

We change our direction and continue wandering between the saguaro, palo verde, ironwood trees, creosote and brittle-bushes.

My walking stick helps my balance going up and down slopes and in and out of washes.  It’s easy to have your feet go out from under you on these loose stones.  Especially with enthusiastic, canine hikers pulling you.

At first palo verde may seem like dull, ordinary, overgrown bushes. 

I’ve come to appreciate the way their prickly branches feather the sky in wispy illusion.


The day rolls by.

I lie in my lounge chair reading and soaking up the sunshine.  I think of things I want to do online which pulls me inside.  I write emails, answer comments, work on January financial figures, fool around doing Amazon stuff.  The sunshine pulls me outside.  I read, sip my drink, say “This is the life, huh, guys?”  The laptop pulls me inside.  Back and forth I go.  The crew is confused, but they go with it.

Update on jury duty . . .

Remember I received a summons for jury duty in South Dakota, a thousand miles away from where the crew and I are boondocked in southern Arizona?  I email America’s Mailbox, my mail forwarding/legal address company, and tell them about it.

Within minutes I receive a reply.

This is what it says:  When you receive the confidential qualification form, check the box marked “No longer living in the county” and write next to it “Full-time RVer.”  I put the form in the prepaid envelope and send it back. 

I hear from readers who wonder if they could live like I do.

One big fear is whether they’ll be able to solve the problems they encounter while living “on the road.”  It can be intimidating thinking of all the potential catastrophes, difficulties, and headaches one might experience.  Well, I do what I’ve always done and what you probably do, too, no matter where your live.

I muddle through. 

Somehow everything works outs.  If you’re going to muddle, you might as well muddle at the base of a majestic mountain, alongside a rushing river, under a canopy of scented pine boughs, overlooking a green meadow with flowers waving, above ocean waves crashing on rocks, next to a still alpine lake, from a red-rock promontory where eagles fly, or in the desert with the winter sun warming both body and soul.1-P1020226



About rvsueandcrew

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

82 Responses to Muddling in the desert of southern Arizona

  1. Linda Zaworski (who will never understand why people let their dogs off-leash in the desert wilderness) says:

    We lived in Arizona for 3 years. There is a stark beauty to the place but one thing we learned: everything that lives in the desert – from the smallest scorpion to the biggest mountain lion – wants to hurt you. Javelinas, snakes, coyotes, mountain lions, dangerous spiders (and in my mind there is no such thing as a non-dangerous spider, but that’s just me!) and even plants like the chollo cactus. No siree, Bob – desert living is not for the faint-hearted. Trust Spike. He is looking out for your own good!

  2. DiaryQueen says:

    So true, Sue – life is what you make of it, wherever you make it! 🙂 Lovely thoughts – keep enjoying life because we never know when it’s going to take a detour and be done…not to sound morbid, just the thought that our time here is limited so we might just as well enjoy it until we’re done! More of an uplifting ending? 😉 Take care of yourself and those doggies!

  3. DiaryQueen says:

    By the way, that looks like a hairy, choleric critter! Ye gads! Be safe!! 🙂

  4. Pauline says:

    Hi Susan, I want you to know that I read every one of your posts and all the comments. Sometimes, by the time I am finished, I realize I have nothing to add other than what has already been said. So here I am looking like the 4th comment… Nothing better than “spruce up” …I wish I could find a spruce scented cleaner. I love them…especially Blue Spruce. I have a potted dwarf Australian on the porch. I always love looking at the pictures and hearing how well you and the crew are doing. Jerold and I will be heading for 5 days at Myrtle Beach on Feb to stay in a FREE time share, right across the street from cousins Raz and Pam

    Love you, praying for you
    Stay Happy
    Rienzi Mississippi

  5. Gayle says:

    Javelinas have bad eyesight, eh? That’s Darwin at work. If they could see how ugly they are, the species would immediately cease to exist.

  6. Pat says:

    So true, problems are much easier to handle with a good view and they don’t seem as bad either.

    Enjoy the sun and the view.

    Pat in Ajo

  7. Rita from Phoenix says:

    Whether boon docking or snuggled in a nice home in town or country, we are bound to encounter problems. With that in mind, I completed my home improvement before I retired i.e., new roof, new A/C, new kitchen appliances, new washer/dryer & hot water heater, and new block fence. Still, things break or wear out or need maintenance. My truck is paid in full but problems arise and they need to be fixed…sometimes these problems happen at home and other times while on the road somewhere. While reading Tioga George’s blog, he had his share of problems on the road but he always managed to solve each. So, I guess we will encounter problems anywhere. The thing is to enjoy your way of life….as long as you have your health anything can be solved. I personally have some insecurities so more inclined to have a home base (a permanent home) and travel when I get the itch to do so. Hats off to folks who can travel full time and boon-dock to boot!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Rita . .. Life is not going to be problem-free, no matter how we live it. Tioga George helped me visualize myself on the road, enjoying the good and dealing with the not-so-good.

  8. Nan says:

    Such lovely photos of the green desert! I full-timed for over year, taking a respite from my regular work. I spend a lot of time in New Mexico, Colorado and Southern California. I love the desert there and am now living vicariously through your blog. I look forward to being a fulltimer again and I appreciate your blog–it helps me focus on the future while I sit at a desk! –Nan

  9. Mick says:

    NOTICE: You can “Bookmark” the RvSue Amazon link so you will go there every time.
    First click the general Amazon link above on the right hand border.
    Then when your browser opens the Amazon page click “Benchmark this page” or whatever.
    Note that the link looks like this:

  10. Donna (stickhouse in CT) says:

    I LOVE your last paragraph. So beautiful and absolutely true. I just “muddled through” trying to put enough money together for a delivery of heating fuel. As Roseanne Roseannadanna said, “It’s always somethin’.”

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Here’s a perfect example why I appreciate readers letting us know where they’re commenting from. Heating fuel and Connecticut… says it all.

      Thanks for the compliment on my writing.

  11. katydid says:

    Hi Sue,
    I read that the laptop pulls you inside but that the outdoors is calling you too. So why don’t you take the laptop outdoors? Why not write e-mails when you are out sitting in your comfy chair on the beautiful outdoor mat? I’m sure you have a reason. It’s just me not seeing it! ( I’m not trying to be nosy but I’m still not wrapping my mind around your lifestyle.) I’m eager to learn.

    katydid, south of Chicago

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, katydid…

      I’d love to do that. But I have a hard time seeing the screen when outside. There’s always a reflection or glare or something. That’s one of my petty gripes: “Why can’t THEY make a laptop that you can see outside?”

      Don’t worry about being nosy. You’re talking to a person who has told the entire planet her income, how much she spends on groceries, how she takes a bath, how often she dumps her . .. well, you get the drift.

      As a former teacher I love your comment “I’m eager to learn.”

      • Donna D. (stickhouse in CT) says:

        LOL, For one, I am appreciative of all that you share with us, even the “dump” part. Being an ever hopeful, someday, full-timer, your blog is not only entertaining and funny, it’s educational for me.

  12. gingerda says:

    Love this post and the pictures. Your sense of humor is amazing!! I know, I’ve said that before, but it bears repeating. lol.
    I clicked on the amazon link and ordered a book. How do I know if you got credit for anything from the purchase? Will it say somewhere?
    Ginger Las Vegas

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It doesn’t tell you, the customer, but I see it on a report. You can trust that I get credit for anything bought via the Amazon links on my blog.

      Thanks for the order, Ginger, and also for caring whether I benefit from it. Gee, my readers are great…

  13. gingerda says:

    oops…that should probably be “bears” repeating. Why does both spellings look wrong? lol

  14. rvsueandcrew says:

    I get that sensation, too, sometimes. I’ll look at a word or phrase and it looks so wrong. Like ” I used to” … One time I couldn’t wrap my head around that…. It didn’t look right at all!

    I’ll change your bares to bears . . .

    • Donna D. (stickhouse in CT) says:

      I have trouble with the word weird/wierd. (Whichever it is!) They both look right to me and it doesn’t follow the “i before e” poem.

      • cinandjules (NY) says:

        Isn’t it weird (sorry) how we remember things that we were taught years ago? Being able to tell which months have 31 days by using your knuckles??

        Make a fist….start with your index knuckle (Jan)…count the indent (Feb), middle finger knuckle (Mar), indent (Apr), ring knuckle (May) continue on when you get to the pinky knuckle count that twice (July Aug), continue back indent (Sept) ring knuckle (Oct) until you get to Dec.

        Is it ie or ei?? Using the poem works.

        • DiaryQueen says:

          Isn’t it interesting how the expression holds for those of us in education – “Once a teacher, always a teacher?” It’s just part of the very fiber of our being and your lessons on the months and the grammar just reinforce that we just can’t help ourselves…and it’s pretty cool because our students will come up to us decades later with a hug and a memory (just had that happen to me again recently at a Starbucks nowhere near where I taught this grown man years before!). Isn’t it just surreal when a bearded man comes up with a warm smile and remembers (and we have to explain that they couldn’t even grow facial hair the last time we saw them!). 🙂

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I was taught “30 days hath Sept., Apr., Jun, and Nov. All the rest have 31, except Feb. who stands alone with 28. . . .”

          • DiaryQueen says:

            How about the one we had growing up in northern Jersey and then Atlanta (when my parents were transferred south – THAT was culture shock in the early 70s!): “All the rest have 31, except for February, which adds one…” The rhyming pattern was an issue for future English majors…! 🙂

        • I hadn’t heard the “fist” method. Wow, I think I’ll adopt that!

  15. placestheygo says:

    You hit the nail on the head, Sue! If you’re gonna muddle (and we all are), why not do it with beauty around you. Ah, to live this great life…fantastic!

  16. Judie says:

    Hi Sue, Love ur comments on muddling thru! U r so right, problems will occur wherever we are and we will handle them—but u have much better scenery to handle them in. Looking at ur mountain and desert backdrops is much better than staring at 10 or more houses from my back porch and the sad thing is, very few of those in those 10 or more houses ever come out long enough to chat or just enjoy the scenery. I do enjoy the changing plant views in my yard and neighborhood but can’t wait to hop into the front seat of Alle G and head out. As for the computer screen, I have the same problem, even on my back porch but it’s good because it continues to give us scenery changes……indoors and out. lol Hugs to Spikey and Bridge. Prayers and thanks to u for continuing to allow us to enjoy life thru ur eyes.

  17. Bill and Ann says:

    Perfect post, er blog for today. So peaceful. Such beautiful pictures.

  18. cinandjules (NY) says:

    Oh dear……..javelina’s are quite ugly. My sis (in PHX) talks about them. Spike’s job is to alert you to anything that may smell or look suspicious (to him). If it’s a giant saguaro that looks like a monster with arms….don’t laugh. Good job Spike. SaraAnn our golden gets a real deep big girl bark when she isn’t sure of something.

    No longer living in county….full time RVer!! That sounds great. Hope it works.

    Your description of where you are muddling sounds awesome.

  19. Bee says:

    Sue, the dog paw wax works great in snow and ice, but not well at all on other surfaces. Just an FYI.

  20. Danielle says:

    Thanks for the update on the jury duty, I was wondering!

    Danielle in Quartzsite (for one more day)

  21. Jeff says:

    Hi Sue,
    Just curious, does Amazon have a policy against clicking your own link and ordering something?

  22. DiaryQueen says:

    Am I the only one who hears the tune, “Me & you & and RVSue, travelin’ and livin’ off the land…” in my head every time I read about your adventures with your K-9s? Such a treat – and the comments are equally fun! Lobo would be proud! 🙂 Enjoy!

  23. Laurie from Southern Oregon says:

    Hi Sue,
    I got my benchmark atlas maps today and I just love them. They have so much info and cover just about anything you would want. I’m so glad I took your advice on the benchmark series Atlas maps as they are fantastic. Now I wish I had one for every state. I’m sitting here in a Rv park in southern Oregon practicing.

    I have to learn how everything operates and make sure I have all I need which brings me to a question for Mick. The solar panel that Sue has is no longer being made because the company filed for bankruptcy. I am looking for one that is comparable and don’t seem to be having much luck. They are either 100 watts or 200+ and very expensive. During your research Mick did you find any that were comparable? If anyone knows where I can get one similar I would appreciate the info. Thanks Sue for doing this blog and allowing us all to share,It’s Great!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m so happy to hear you love your new Benchmark atlas. I was the same way. The first one was given to me by friend Rusty. Once I looked it over, I wanted them all. I’m almost there. The only ones I don’t have yet are WA, NM, and WY. When I was in Wyoming last summer, I was kicking myself for not ordering one for that state.

      I’ll email Mick and alert him to your question.

    • Mick says:

      Hello Laurie, I have not looked into the solar business for over a year but did just spend a few minutes looking around. There is a company in Mt. Shasta, CA, Wholesale Solar (1-800-472-1142 ) that has a nice looking (tech wise) 245 and 250 watt, 30 volt panels on sale. It is made in Taiwan by Astronergy which is way, way better than anything from mainland china ( no, I didn’t forget the cap.) and they will sell you one panel. The warranty may be void for RV use. Shipping solar panels is expensive, Sue paid about $1 per mile to get her panel from Phoenix to T or C, NM. so this place in Mt Shasta might be good for you and they look like good folk?? Good place to start anyway. I will try to answer any questions but you must realize this is not my specialty. Here is a Oregon RV solar specialist. You can get my email from Sue.

    • Joy A. & Lily, N. Cal. Sierras says:

      Laurie, You should go up to Springfield, OR there is a solar place out on Marcola Rd… AmSolar. They are supposed to be very good. I think I dealt with them at one point in time years ago. I’ve known of others that got great solar sets up from them. I think they have a website.

  24. Laurie from Southern Oregon says:

    One more question please. What size TV do you have Sue? I looked on the Casita site and your blog but no luck.

  25. mary ann (pontotoc, ms) says:

    now that makes sense~it amazes me how some people’s brains go straight to the logical solution!

  26. Lisa says:

    I wanna muddle through like you one day!! If I click one of your links then search for a kindle book, purchase it, and download it, will you get credit for that as well? Someone ought to get some kind of benefit for my ebook obsession!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yes, I get credit for ebooks. I’ve seen them show up on my orders report. Even if you enter Amazon through another product link, say, the LED light link, and you end up buying ebooks (because you’re obsessed), I get credit for whatever you buy. Obsess on, Lisa!
      And thank you.

  27. Mel in NV says:

    Good Morning…if you are checking amazon transactions, I placed a $2.99 kindle book order yesterday using your link..from my end, looked exactly like it would from my own bookmark. Totally normal buying process…neat! FYI to anyone who has bought cd’s from amazon..I heard they are going after iTunes mkt share, Well today I received an email … 22 CDs (518 songs) I purchased over last 6yrs were avail for free on their amazon cloud, I downloaded to my account cloud and am now listening on my iPad mini (works on my laptop too)..CDs you purch (using RVSue link of course) fwd going may also be avail on your amazon cloud for free….a good deal for everyone….
    .and.happy Super Bowl Sunday !

  28. Leander Linda says:

    Please be careful with the dogs out there. Javelina are quite aggressive and hate dogs. I spend a lot of time in West Texas and have heard many stories of Javelina killing dogs. Even when dogs are tied up at campsites. Love your blog. I read it everyday. Like a little vacation.

  29. Elizabeth says:

    Shouldn’t you get a cattle prod or something, in case you need to “even the odds” out there with all those critters??

  30. Laurie from Southern Oregon says:

    I just couldn’t help myself I ordered 5 more Benchmarks. I will have the whole west covered. I wish there was one for Texas as I will be there in March/April because my niece is having a baby. I just love these maps.

  31. Bruce (Columbia River Gorge) says:

    Sue, when you’re headed for a new area how do you do your research on where to find a great place to camp? Do you rely on the Benchmark Atlas, or is there a specific website that you check out that you can share an link to?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Bruce! I rely on my Benchmark atlas and I google the area… like “boondocking Williams AZ” or “dispersed camping near Yuma” and then click on several of the results. Or I use the BLM site, and free campgrounds site. Asking at the local National Forest office is good, too.

      • Bruce (Columbia River Gorge) says:

        Wow, great suggestions, thank you! Just finished painting the last room in our house, found a lesee, and the solar panels are in my garage. The rest of my components are in the mail and should be here soon. Two more weeks or less and we’re outta here! Great picts today, thanks!

Comments are closed.