Elixirs and a lock with a mind of its own

Coming home from Ajo yesterday, I encounter a strange situation.


The Best Little Trailer’s door is unlocked!  Hmm . . . This is odd.  I distinctly remember locking it before we left to go into town.  I look around and neither do I see nor sense the presence of anyone.

1-P1020310I study the lock.  The little slot is in the locked position but the lock is not engaged in the door frame.

How could I have locked the door without it completely shut?  Surely I would’ve noticed that.

 I’m baffled.

This morning the crew and I stumble out for their potty break.

It’s another beautiful morning with a slight chill in the air and the promise of warmth from the glow on the horizon.


Bridget trots a respectable distance from our home and discreetly takes care of her business.  Spike, on the other hand, heads off with no indication he plans to return.

As usual, I traipse along behind him.

1-P1020187I can’t let him go off by himself due to the threat of coyotes.  I can’t call him because he doesn’t hear me anymore.  Instead we have this new routine of him patrolling the desert, sometimes in a sprint, while I chase in my bedclothes a few yards behind him.

(Okay . . . time out:  Before anyone jumps all over me for Spike running down the road off-leash, this is an old photo.  I keep a lot closer to him than the photo indicates.  Plus look at the bright sunshine.  We’re still in early morning, remember?)

Now back to the story . . .

At long last he lifts his leg and gets ‘er done!  Bridget waits patiently at the BLT’s doorstep.

“C’mon, Spikey,” I urge him in spite of his deaf ears.

At the same time I make the come-along-now hand gesture that he’s learning.  It’s something new for him to ignore.

“Time to go in for breakfast.” 

I pull the door but it doesn’t open.  What?  Locked?  I didn’t lock the door!  What is going on here!  Yep, the key slot is in the locked position.  Great.  I’ve got a self-locking door.  Which can also self-unlock whenever it feels like it.

I go to the Perfect Tow Vehicle and retrieve the spare key.  Boy, I’m glad I’ve got this spare!  From now on I’d better make sure I have access to a spare key whenever I shut the BLT’s door.

In a few minutes I’m outside in my camp chair, facing the morning sun.

I drink my coffee.  Bridget waits for her chance to jump into my lap.  Spike lies down.  My limbs soak up the sunshine, an elixir of life.  Well, I’m feeling better this morning.

Yesterday the crew and I begin a walking tour of Ajo.

1-P1020240 Sidewalk-walking, on-leash, is one of their favorite activities.  People stop and give them attention, and, of course, there are all those signs to sniff, the ones left by previous tourist pups.

We don’t get very far.

Fatigue covers me like a wet blanket.  Oh, here we go again.  Once or twice a year I’m struck with a debilitating tiredness for no discernible reason.  This has happened throughout my life since childhood.  No big deal.  I sleep for a day or two.  It comes, it goes.

“Sorry, guys.  I can’t do this today.”1-P1020241 We walk back to the PTV.  I drive to the water vending machine, fill up seven jugs, and take us home.  That’s when I encounter the recalcitrant door lock.

I settle in my lounge chair and try to read.

Instead I fall asleep.  Later, still dragging around, I remember the thoughtful gift sent to me by a pair of generous readers.  I fix a glass of Emergen-C “health and energy booster.”  A few hours later I feel a little better.  Well, it could be the booster or it could be the placebo effect.  Around eight o’clock I drink another glass of the energy elixir, which, by the way, tastes pretty good for a bunch of vitamins and minerals.

I begin a blog post.

Nope.  Not gonna’ happen.  I close up the laptop, crawl into bed, look up at the stars, and, as the saying goes, that’s all she wrote.

After coffee and a bowl of cereal this morning, I down another glass of Emergen-C.

I’m not running any marathons.  However, instead of sleeping, here I am typing a blog post!


Note to cat people:

I’d appreciate your help with the “Shopping Links” pages (See header.)  I’m unable to recommend products specifically for a feline crew.  If you know of a product that helps you enjoy your time on the road with your cat(s), tell us about it (no links please).  If it’s available from Amazon, I’ll add it to the “For your crew” page.  Thanks!


About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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79 Responses to Elixirs and a lock with a mind of its own

  1. Pat says:

    Hope you feel better soon. I think we all need a down day of two sometimes.

    I didn’t see the sunrise this morning, but I did see the cresent moon come up. It was beautiful and looked huge.

    Enjoy the beauty!!!!

    Pat, DWR

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pat!

      I’m fine, just a little pooky.

      About the moon… I don’t understand how the moon looks so much bigger when it’s close to the horizon out here in the desert. One evening the moon was almost full, it was orange, and it was at the horizon. It looked like a sunset only in the east! That’ll grab your attention!

  2. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    Trying not to scare you but did you check the inside of your trailer for anything missing? Especially your shootin iron. Put new ammo in it and put the ammo that was in it aside and mark them. If I was you I would move right now. Better safe than sorry. Criminals like to case a place and can pick a lock easy. Also a good idea to always lock yourself in even if you are awake too.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Not to worry, Joe. Everything is here, undisturbed. No one was here. My intuition would tell me if someone had been snooping around. I know, it sounds crazy, but I can tell.

  3. Timber n' me says:

    YEY, out the door first, agin,,,,,Well maybe your rig is unleavel, if my rig is unleavel the door lock is hard to do it’s job, or wear a key like a dog tag on a string, + while walking the gingels of the key’s will let animals know your in their area, when I’m out walking or shoping I have a set of the keys on a leather cord around my neck for just in case, you oght to try it till you get your lock fixed,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Nice Spanish structures in Aljo and look at that sunrise, Wow, sue

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good idea about a key necklace. One of these days I might find the doors of the PTV and BLT both locked and then I’d be in a bad situation.

      I have a zillion photos of sunrises and sunsets, taken while here at Ajo.

  4. Lacy says:

    Hi Sue,

    Keep it in Neutral and get well soon……not that it sounds like you’re ‘sick’ – but you’re a smart woman to listen to your body! Hang in there, let the crew take care of you and enjoy your down time 🙂


  5. Hi Sue, like you, I have tried to monetize my blog and websites. Can I make a suggestion though. I think you should write a Kindle book. If you write it, I will buy a copy and I’m sure give you a great review. Writing for the Kindle is very easy and you are obviously a very talented writer. At first I heard horror stories of how hard it is to get it all formatted right, but that is no longer true, it is very simple. If you are interested I would be glad to give you any insights I have from writing and publishing my book. Of course you already have a built in audience. Plus I (and probably many other bloggers) would be glad to set up links from my sites and blog and promote the book and I think you will be pleased at the money it will make you. A whole lot more than you are going to get from selling Amazon stuff!

    It’s a big time commitment but to me it was well worth it not just for the money but for the satisfaction it brings me knowing I have helped others. If there is anything I can do to help, feel free to ask!
    Bob Wells

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, Bob. I’ll give it some serious thought. I don’t want to charge people for something unless I can deliver the value. I appreciate your offer for help. I wouldn’t know where to start.

      None of us know what the future may bring and whether the money we’ve saved will be enough.

      • Judie says:

        Hi Sue, I know it would be a big committment but u have done something many people want to do but are scared. I believe that u could help a lot of folks and make a few coins at the same time-u have valuable knowledge. U’ve learned things the hard way, by doing and have so much to offer. I realize it may not be the right time for u but hope u give it consideration because I’ve been thinking for some time that u could publish a how-to manual or a bio that would be very enjoyable and learning experience for many of ur readers and others who might be thinking about giving the lifestyle a chance. I’m glad Bob brought it up. Whatever u do, we continue to enjoy ur posts and hope that u feel better real soon. Hope u can get that lock fixed so it doesn’t cause u anymore problems.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Hi Judie,

          You’ve given me something to think about. I guess I don’t realize how much I’ve learned, probably because there’s a lot I haven’t learned yet. I do appreciate your vote of confidence in the value of a book I might write.

          • Chuck says:

            I have already stated my thoughts on this subject…..doesn’t have to be a ‘coffee table’ book, but you have written such a GREAT description of your adventures!!!!!! The pictures to go along with this tale would be priceless! JMHO

  6. Rita from Phoenix says:

    My sister is notorious for locking herself out of house/car….not a pretty sight with me hanging half way out the window trying to get in (my behind is not small by any means). So, I suggested a key necklace also which she wears on a pretty chain & the keys are colorful too. Bob Wells suggestion sounds wonderful. I for one would love to have a copy of your book. I’m sure if someone was near your Casita Spike or Briget would have let you know…they would smell it. You remind me of Meryl Streep when she fought off that lion with just a whip in middle of night in the movie ‘Out of Africa.’

  7. gingerda says:

    So glad to hear you had a spare key that you had access to. Also glad that no one was around, just a faulty lock. I have this thing with keys…I am so afraid of locking myself out of my car when I go somewhere that I check and recheck to make sure I have my keys in my purse and not my ignition. However, twice in the last few months I have gone to bed with my keys hanging in my outside door. lol.
    Feel better!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I feel better already, thank you.

      I’ve done the same thing, Ginger, when I lived in a regular house. I look and look for my keys and find them in the door. I used to leave the car keys in stores. Now my key “chain” is actually a cloth bracelet which I wear when making a quick dash into the post office or store.

      • Lana in Phoenix says:

        Years ago when my son was a baby we lived in an apartment. Since we lived on the second floor, I would carry as much as I could at one time up those stairs (baby, groceries, laundry, etc.). Every once in a while I would wake up in the morning and find my keys on the floor in the middle of the living room. The mystery was finally solved when my next door neighbor, who worked the night shift, stopped me and told me that he would come home in the middle of the night to find my keys hanging from my door. He would quietly unlock the door, and toss the keys into the living room! Thank goodness he was a Good Guy!!

  8. tinycamper says:

    Sue, hope you are feeling better. As usual, I love your photos and your account of your day.

    My Casita is older (2005) and the lock is funny. If I just close the door and lock it, I can’t get it unlocked sometimes. Really scary. I’ve learned that when I close my door to give it a push until I hear a solid click. Then the lock works perfectly.

    I’ve read stories of people having to climb in their emergency window to unlock the door when their locks jam — and cautions to always leave your emergency window unlocked. I don’t. I just make sure I hear that click before I lock it.

    I don’t know if that has anything to do with your problem, but thought I would mention it in case it helps.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good advice. I should check and double-check the lock as I leave to make sure it catches. I’m also going to use the bottom lock instead of the top one. When the bottom one starts going crazy, I’ll need another plan.

  9. Alison Pacific Northwest says:

    You might try “worlds best cat litter” (actual brand name). It is by far the best at blocking odor. Also, there are these small containers meant for holding kitchen food scraps/compost. they snap shut tightly and have a charcoal filter. They’re good for collecting litter box “contents”, contains the odor until you can get to a place to throw it out.
    Really enjoying your blog lately. I’ve not been to the Sonoran desert, so it’s especially interesting.
    Thanks for your great posts and pics!

  10. cinandjules (NY) says:

    Hmmm interesting………but if it locked when you were chasing after Mr Spike…then something is malfunctioning…which is better than someone creeping.

    Sorry to hear you’re not feeling yourself. Be careful with that Energy C….. I wouldn’t do more than two a day. 1000 mg of vitamin c in each packet…too much vit C and you’ll get the poops! Hope I’m not too late. 🙂

    Looking forward to the trip thru Ajo.

  11. rod says:

    RV locks are notorious or wearing out all too soon…. And they do just what you are describing.. But they can also decide to lock you in, while nothing you do with the knobs and handle will let you out…

    The only solution is to get them fixed and make sure you have a window you can get out of…. since you don’t have someone to come let you out… Hope this doesn’t happen to you but just a heads up to the possibility… Rod

  12. Teri in California says:

    This cracked me up….
    “At the same time I make the come-along-now hand gesture that he’s learning. It’s something new for him to ignore.”

    I think we all go through that at times with our pets. 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Spike has many covert ways to let me know he’s the dominant one around here.

      • Lana in Phoenix says:

        My little guy (I lost him last year at age 19 – sweetest dog in the world) had what I called selective hearing. I would shout something to him, and I could swear he wasn’t able to hear me. He was soooo good! However, to check his hearing once in a while, I would whisper “Treats!” Do you think he heard that??!! You bet he did!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I’ll try that with Spike. With him the word is cheese. I’m pretty sure he’s lost a lot of hearing. He startles when approached out of his sight, and he doesn’t react to a dog barking.

          It must’ve been hard to let go of your guy after so many years.

          • Chuck says:

            Our old boy,Scotty, learned the hand signal very well but he was slower than Spike and didn’t stray too far. Being a herd dog, he was always looking back to check on his ‘herd’ so he could pick up the hand signals pretty quick. We miss him.

  13. Mick says:

    The lock problem may very well be due to sand grit jamming up things, Try WD40 with the tube to squirt into the key hole and the bolt / latch. Have paper towels handy to wipe up the mess.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Now why didn’t I think of that? Sheesh.

      • Casitagirl says:

        Good thinking, Mick! Sure wish you were my friend too. We just sold our Casita and got a 1977 GMC motorhome (long story). I loved our Casita and hated giving it up but this will give us a bit more space. Seems like the owners of these classics learn everything there is to know about how to maintain them. I feel like such a newbie right now.

        • jean/Southaven, ms says:

          is your GMC motor home front wheel drive? they did not make just a whole lot of them. I would love to find one in good shape.

  14. Laura Roorda says:

    Greetings from Iowa. I just wanted to let you and your readers know about the discovery I made on your Amazon site. I typed in Ikea, and everything that Ikea sells came up on Amazon. So, am I right in assuming that we can also order from Ikea through your sight? If so, I hope this means more power to ya Sue. As always I still enjoy traveling with you and the crew, thanks for taking us along.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Sure you can, if Amazon sells those products. Your purchase shows up as a third party sale. As long as you enter Amazon via one of my links, I get credit.

    • Connie & Mugsy says:

      I checked the IKEA prices on Amazon and they are double the prices on the IKEA website!! One bookcase that I looked at was $209 on Amazon and $120 on the IKEA website. Remember when Amazon used to always be the cheapest choice? I’ve noticed that it is no longer true… now that they have us in the habit of using them.

  15. karen says:

    I have been reading your blog since the beginning! Love it! Am planning on retiring at the end of this year and my husband and I plan on traveling a little. We have a 5th Wheel And we love it. I have cats, no dogs, so I will be looking for your cat suggestions from your readers. How I envy you! Thanks for the reading!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Karen. So far I haven’t received any suggestions for cat products that Amazon sells.

      • Alison - Pacific Northwest says:

        Here’s another cat product to try. I checked – Amazon does have it: Feliway. It is a synthetic version of a cat’s pheromone which is very calming and re-assuring to cats. Its very effective, though pricey. We spray some in the crate before going to the vet, for example. We also used it around the litter box when the two cats had some territorial issues and were “missing” the box. I would think it could be useful at times for cats in RVs. Be sure to mention the spray bottle, not the electric plug in version.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Thank you, Alison! If you don’t mind, I quoted you!

          • Alison - Pacific Northwest says:


          • Alison - Pacific Northwest says:

            FYI, I’ll also mention that I don’t recommend using the pen for cats (someone might be tempted). We tried something similar and they quickly climbed/jumped/knocked it down and escaped! As we all know cats are… well some of us might say, intelligent. heee heee.

  16. Ron Sears says:

    One time I was coming back from the dirt track races in Batesville, Ar. and I stoped for gas. Well you guessed it, I locked myself out of my Class A. It’s 37′ and was taking up all of the pumps on oneside so I had to come up with something quick. A fella came out of the store and I asked him if he would mind backing up to the rear side of my coach by the bedroom window..He looked at me kind of funny but was happy to do it. I always leave my window unlocked so I was pretty sure Icould get in that way instead of waiting on a lock smith in the middle of no where..Anyway he backed up and I got up on the side of the bed and got the window open. Well by that time I had started to draw a crowd but I slid the window open and in I went..Well that sounds boring enough, but did I mention that I weight 345 pounds…It must have been one hell of a sight seeing my big butt going through that window…At least you are smart enough to have a spare outside of your rig…hope you feel better tomorrow…ron

  17. Alison - Pacific Northwest says:

    OK I’m on a roll. Here are a few more suggestions for your Amazon links:

    Seattle Sports Solar Camp Shower – For those like me who don’t have a sophisticated rig with power hook ups. This heats up HOT after a few hours in the sun and if you’re boondocking away from people its a decent shower! Or, save fuel for dishwashing.

    Coghlan’s Toaster – to use on a colman stove or any flame burner. Works pretty well and saves space even if you do have electricity.

    “Handy Gourmet Pop Up Mesh Food Covers” – keeps your food insect free when its out on the picnic table. There are several of this type of product, but these are the best.

  18. Ky G says:

    ahhh keys…mine are lmited to a very few. I keep a set on my dogs collar since he is with me 24/7 or i hook them to my pants loops. As far as selective hearing my moms aged Rottie (sweetest gal in the world _RIP) would yell “i have cookies” and that was her recall. Nothing else ever worked. I used to give Bingo raw meat on each recall ,even in the house. Now each time i recall he salivates automatically_even though it has been some time since he was rewarded for recall. I do reinforce it from time to time 🙂 Perfect recall 99.8 percent of the time. good luck on finding the perfect place for keys_and heed that fellows advice before you get locked IN! PS: forget about the energy powder_sleep when you feel it ~ there will be another sunrise ❤

  19. Mark Watson says:

    I seem to remember reading in one of the Casita forums about some lock problems. Their particular problem, which I can’t remember right now, was fixed by taking a screw driver and tightening all the screws visible on the door lock/latch/handle . Seems like road vibration, and opening/closing/locking/unlocking caused the screws to work loose.
    That may fix the lock.
    To fix Sue, be sure your intaking your daily limit of water, even if your not thirsty.

  20. Ms. Minimal says:

    If anyone recommends tranquilizer darts for cats, I would be interested. haha!! I’ve been threatening to sleep in my car since we got this 9 mo old kitten. No sleep for the weary and my patience is running thin. 😦

  21. Offhand, I’m going to speculate that your door lock problem has nothing to do with the keys or dirt. Regardless, I would not recommend spraying it with WD-40 since it’s actually a dirt magnet and could make the problem worse. Use a product specifically intended for locks, like graphite liquid or powder.

    I have a 2007 17′ SD Casita. The person Mark Watson refers to who recommended checking the tightness of the screws on the back side of the door lock was me. I was locked out at Zion NP because mine had come loose. In fact, one screw was missing altogether. Even with the screws tightened, I’ve been locked out twice again. Multiple attempts with the key and brute force finally got me in. I know others who’ve been locked out as well on both 16’s and 17’s. The lock on their 17′ had failed or the dead bolt on their 16′ engaged. They had to use the egress window as an entry. I now encourage everyone to leave the egress window unlocked. Keep some sort of a step stool in your PTV that will give you enough height to get into the window, if necessary. Webmaster Gene (Casita Forum) suggested only using the deadbolt lock, so that’s what I do now as well.

    If the problem persists, consider replacing the entire assembly from fastecindustrial or rvlocksandmore.

    Or, since you camp in remote areas, you might consider having a ‘real’ deadbolt installed as some other owners have done. Then you wouldn’t have to mess with the door locks at all.

    As ‘aside story’ regarding the door keys:
    At our Casita SingleSolos Rally in Ruidoso NM last Sept, one of the Solos lost her keys while out for the evening. We put out a call for everyone to bring their (Fastec) door key to her trailer to see if one of them would get her in, knowing there are only 50 coded keys in circulation. Sure enough, one of them worked.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Interesting and helpful comment, Eileen. I think I’ll be able to crawl out the back window okay if I need to. I may have to slide down the antenna pole (okay, I know what you’re thinking, guys. Stop it right now.)

      Thanks for all the valuable information.

  22. Sue says:

    Hi Sue
    I’m not a registered follower of your blog, but I do read it often because I like your style of writing. I keep telling my husband that this time next year our garden will also be a natural cactus and stone garden out in the boondocks.
    With regards your question about purchases for a cat on Amazon, I thought I would let you know that we recently purchased a LOC8TOR – (the 8 is not an error). They have a variety of GPS ‘gizmos’ to help you find lost items, but it was pointed out to us that because cats tend to go ‘under cover’ when they are out of your view, a GPS might not always work. So, we decided to purchase the radio frequency model Loc8tor Pet – Ultimate Wireless Pet Locator

    The loc8tor comes with 4 tags, so you can attach it to anything you fear you might lose (your car in the parking lot, your keys, your phone, etc. etc.)
    We have not started out travels yet, so cannot vouch for the item working at all times for us, but so far, we have been able to establish that when our cat leaves the house, she either heads for the wood shed or behind the truck in the driveway. We are hoping this will at least help us keep a visual on her when she decides to make a getaway from us while on our travels (which she has done in the past)..
    All the best for now.
    Another Sue

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Very interesting device! Amazing. I hadn’t heard of it before now. I can imagine someone putting a tag on a child who tends to disappear in an instant while at the mall. Great idea for pets — simply put a tag on their collar (if your pet isn’t a collar-slipper like Bridget and Spike, that is). You obviously care very much for your cat and are responsible pet owners. BTW, I changed the link to one of “mine.” (Forever chasing the golden ring!) Thanks for writing, Sue.

      • luv2wander says:

        Hi again
        Thanks for your comments. Yes, we do love our cat, Bartlett, despite the fact that she adopted us . When she decided to move into our lives, she did not realize that we love to travel and she would have to come on our jaunts with us. So, we have a lot of amusing/frustrating stories about her numerous escapes when we did our last road trip in 2010. I am sure there are some RVers out there who will remember us burrowing under their RVs calling frantically for her to come out from under their homes.
        I want to say that we purchased the Loca8tor PLUS because it is radio controlled. It costs more, but from the reviews on Amazon, you will notice that most cat owners recommend this one.
        My one question to experienced RV cat owners is what is the best harness for a cat that does a magnificent impression of a Tasmanian Devil when she is on any kind of leash/harness and always manages to get out of our grip when we try to take her for a walk?
        There must be some solution out there that could be for sale on Amazon, that we do not know about yet.

        • Laurie from Southern Oregon says:

          After searching some blogs and sites I found this style. I know that Wheeling it blog use them and like em a lot. I believe i will get one too.I don’t think amazon sells them so you will have to google it. I would like to find a cat tested outside screen room for the kitties.

          • luv2wander says:

            Thanks for the comment Laurie. I tried Amazon, but, as expected, no luck. However, I came up with all kinds of other items of interest for my kitty. Sue might like to look at one item I found quite interesting, it’s called Gear Happy Habitat for Indoor Cats. One way to keep any pet close to home.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              I’ll do that. Thanks!

              • Laurie from Southern Oregon says:

                Just made an order for the Gear Happy habitat. I will have to try it out and see how the kitties do. One is a little 7 month old kitty and full of mischief and might get the better of it. Grey,Grey is a typical boy rough and tough. This will give them safe outdoor time when I’m boondockin in the desert. Thanks Luv2wander and Sue

        • jean/Southaven, ms says:

          We have one of the Loc8tor things for our cats. it has four locators, ons for each of our cats. We have had it a couple of years. Be sure to put teething that goes on the collar where it does not hang down and get in their water dish. It will not work after that, also they use up batteries pretty quick if you use the locator part much. We have a solid black escape artist that was gone for a week once. that is when we bought the Loc8tor. Works great.

  23. cozygirl says:

    We got the charger/air compressor….DH thinks its the berries :O) Thanks for the idea! Wait until he sees all the rest that keeps arriving…its like Christmas all over LOL! Nice to know about the bolt lock from Eileen…I might put that on the honey-do list. We’re working fast and furious. Guess you saw that nut case Dorner on the news…up at Big Bear Lake supposedly….not that your close, and didn’t realize how close to Joshua Tree and made me think of your travels through there. Pretty disturbing how skilled he is…be safe!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I hope the air compressor serves you well. My old RoadPro… and I do mean OLD … I inherited it from my uncle who died in ’99! . . . is still going strong. I like to make sure the tires are inflated correctly and evenly before setting out for a new camp the following morning.

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