Troubles come in threes

1-P1030303Trouble Number One:  Broken Power Cord Bracket!

The ever-valiant Perfect Tow Vehicle carries us over treacherous rocks and through deep ruts, up hill and down dale, to transport me, the crew, and the Best Little Trailer to Juniper Hill Camp.  Not once do I hear a complaint in spite of injury to her back end.

1-P1030300She can manage rocks and ruts, but when there are several of these obstacles in close proximity, it’s bound to take a toll on her.  I never would’ve put our precious PTV through such an arduous journey as the one that brought us here, except it was a situation where there was no room to turn around, so one must go forward.

Fortunately, the power cord itself is not damaged.  With a bit of wire, I can keep the cord in place until the bracket is replaced.

Trouble Number Two:  A Big Red Ant Bites Spike!

Spike innocently patrols the campsite, unaware of the danger about to befall him.  Suddenly he hits the dirt and frantically bites his back paw.  I run to see what’s the matter and find the biggest red ant I’ve ever seen.  I rip the thing off his paw (Actually, above his paw where the flesh is not protected by pad).

Immediately I pour cold water into a basin and place Spike in it.


My plan is to treat the area with a spray I have for stings, a kind of Solarcaine for pets.  I don’t have a chance to use it on him.  After soaking for a minute or two, Spike hurries over to a shady spot under a juniper.  He lies down, sticking his sore paw into the cool, loose earth, effectively making a mud pack.

1-P1030288 His natural remedy works!  He’s back to normal, patrolling our campsite, an important job, what with this bull making frequent visits!


Trouble Number Three:  The Toilet Breaks!

The first two troubles occurred yesterday and the day before.  First thing I do upon waking this morning is light the burner under a pot of coffee.  Second thing I do is visit the bathroom.  I place my foot on the flush pedal and nothing happens!

I get down on hands and knees to inspect.  The cable is disengaged from the pedal.  Oh, this should be an easy fix.  I’ll just pull the cable down and slide it where it goes in this here slot and . . .  The cable doesn’t reach!  Somehow it’s jammed up in the little hole in the toilet above the flush pedal.  Oh darn, what a pain in the . . .

At that moment an alarm shrieks.

I jump to my feet.  Carbon monoxide!  I forgot I closed the ceiling vent last night!  I turn off the burner and swing open the outside door.  I open a window.  The alarm stops.  Two canine faces look out from under covers with expressions of confusion (Spike) and panic (Bridget).

“Everything’s okay.  Don’t worry, little pumpkins.  Time to get up and go outside.”

After coffee, the crew and I walk while I evaluate the situation. 


I am NOT going to take the toilet apart.  That will turn a small problem into a big problem.


Upon our return I research online. 

Not far from here (about 20-25 miles) in Prescott Valley is an RV sales and repair place.  The website says they have a free dump station.  Wow, that’s a bonus.  I call and make an appointment for tomorrow morning.  Hmm . . . I need groceries.  A quick online search and I learn there’s a Sam’s Club on the same road and not far from the RV place.  Great!

Well, I just have to make it until tomorrow morning.  This calls for a can-do attitude.  Or rather a can-doo-doo attitude!




About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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76 Responses to Troubles come in threes

  1. Karen says:

    Lug a loo is always a good backup for times like this.

  2. Poor Spikey and his red ant bite. I can sympathize with him–I was bit in New Orleans while sitting under a big tree. It was one of the worst pains ever and it itched and was red for days. Sounds like you have had your run of bad luck– but love your new campsite.

  3. derocknut says:

    Goodness, hope you have a better day tomorrow. Hope Spike doesn’t find another ant.

  4. rlogan1155 says:

    Hi Sue;
    Been reading your posts for a while now and am interested in your love of the desert. A few years back we spent time in southern New Mexico and the wind blew, all the time. There were daily sand storms, that sand got into everything, and we both got severe sinus infections. We couldn’t get out of there soon enough. What did we do wrong? Have you had issues like that?
    Ruth from At Home on the Road

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m not an expert on New Mexico. My guess is you were there in the spring when the wind does blow a lot. I haven’t had much trouble with wind other than wind blowing dust when we camped on Ogilby Road outside Yuma. That was during the cold of winter so we would’ve been inside anyway.

      If wind is forecasted, I don’t drive, unless it can’t be avoided.

    • Emjay says:

      If you were in So. NM, it blows almost all the time, depending if you were on the desert near Roswell. Quite a place.

  5. Sandy says:

    You’ve got your three, now it’s easy sailing or should I say camping….keep smiling! We returned yesterday from a mini camping trip to Blythe Island Ga. and were amazed to meet so many fulltime campers. We are convinced that it is going to be the new wave of the future for retired folks. Several people told us to keep the house and continue camping was too expensive and they found fulltiming much more economical and enjoyable. Are you seeing and hearing the same things in your travels. Enjoy and thanks again for sharing!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Since I tend to camp off by myself, I haven’t come into much contact with other full-timing folks to get a consensus on the topic. My personal viewpoint is this…. The joy of full-time vagabonding has to do with freedom and that includes freedom from possessions that tie you down. Keeping a home is a responsibility I didn’t want. It turned out to be the right decision for me.

  6. mockturtle says:

    I hope you carry wag bags as a back up for toilet needs. Although primarily for backpacking, they come in handy for emergencies.

    Hey, at least you know your CO detector works! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I can make do. Good suggestion though. I’ve removed your link so it doesn’t conflict with Amazon. Later I’ll add a link to the product if Amazon sells it. Thanks for the idea.

  7. cinandjules (NY) says:

    When it rains….it pours!

    Poor Spike………….what a good boy…..just standing in a dishpan full of water with his tail between his legs.

    What would make the cable longer……try sliding the poop hatch open (ya gotta do that anyway before you duct tape it for the trip to the dump station).

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I don’t know what you mean by “the poop hatch.” The cable runs up into the front of the toilet where access is obtained by taking the toilet apart.

      • cinandjules (NY) says:

        The flap that slides open to let the poop down the chute. Inside the toilet…bottom of the bowl…looks like a disk.
        The cable attaches to that “flap” when you step on the pedal…it opens the flap. If the flap is open…the cable will be longer.

  8. Kate says:

    Toilet problems are sort of the worst, aren’t they? I hope yours winds up needing only a simple fix. In the meantime I hope you have a can!

  9. earthdancerimages says:

    WoooooooooWeeeeeeeee! Girl, when you get ’em, you get ’em good! I tend to agree with Sandy, now that you have had your 3 troubles, you should be clear camping trails for the rest of the summer. Good luck on gettin’ everything fixed. Love the pictures! Geri

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Well, I think I’ve been overdue for troubles. We’ve gone a lot of miles and a lot of months without any problems. I’m thankful the problems are small and easily dealt with

  10. Cheryl Ann says:

    Sue, I won’t know if you have been to Prescott Valley before, but it has LOTS and LOTS of cameras there for traffic. Whatever you do, don’t run a red light or speed! It’s a real tourist trap! And, poor Spike! Glad he is okay now…yes, I think your run of bad luck is OVER! 🙂

  11. Beverly K says:

    I admire how you tackle everything. I’m the same way, so I relate to your way of thinking. Good luck in town with the repairs.

  12. Jan Johnson says:

    Praying your troubles are an easy fix! Love the that your camp above it? Looking at Bob’s solar suitcase this am…interesting…may need to buy it for the Scamp I just bought…Look forward to your posts..Jan from Oregon

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      No, that shot of the windmill was taken as we walked away from our camp quite a distance. I wouldn’t want to camp nearer because cattle hang around there for the water. Also, it’s against National Forest rules to camp near a water source for animals.

      • Jan Johnson says:

        Thanks for that tip, Sue. I love windmills and would probably camp right next to one not thinking…I know better now..Where does one obtain the rules for National Forest? Duh..that would be the Forest Service I’m sure! lol

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I think the no-camping-near-water-source is a BLM rule also. Sometimes there are signs stating such. You can learn a lot by exploring the NF website. This link goes directly to the online maps (essential for any serious boondocker).

  13. cozybegone says:

    Spike looks so young and tiny in the dishpan…A mud pack! I bet that could be used for more things than one…”Crap” on the toilet!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Spike has been acting younger lately. Our first walk at this camp he was so full of pep and excitement, like he used to be as a youngster. It made me happy to see him that way.

  14. One more reason to be glad you aren’t camped close to someone else!

  15. Trouble in triplets….one year we quit counting at 27….every time we’d hit a triplet we’d think we were done….and then another something wrong would occur! Definitely takes a humerous outlook to keep it together! Hugs from us. Sue and Jerry Little (friends of Rusty and Timber) currently in Tucson where Jerry had cataract operation at VA and now awaiting arrival of new glasses. Then will be going up the coast of CA…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yikes! Over 27 troubles! That takes a pretty big sense of humor! It must be nice to be rid of cataracts. Now you can see that beautiful coast of CA.

  16. Do you think the power connector broke because of insufficient slack on the power cable or did the trailer fram make contact with it during one of your tight U turns? Regarding the toilet, do you think physically opening the flap (with a glove) would let the cable reach? I wonder how it came off in the first place. Maybe the repair person can make a stronger connection that will last longer.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I know how the bracket broke. It slammed into a rock as I was going through a series of deep and rocky ruts. I remember hearing it hit. I was on a horrible little forest road at the time.

      I attempted to open the flap and met resistance, even gently prying with a screwdriver. I don’t want to chance breaking the flap. This is why I’m very frugal… so I can pay someone else to fix it.

  17. libertatemamo says:

    Oh nooooo….3 issues at once! That’s one of those days it’s best to put everything aside, relax and deal with it the next day. When I’m having a day like that I just have to put it aside.
    Oh, and I second those warnings on traffic lights. I just got a violation here in Mesa, AZ….can’t believe it because I’m usually such a careful driver, but the photos show I did it so I’ve got to take an online class now. Had no idea there were so many cameras out there.

  18. Ms. Minimal says:

    Ow wow!! Having my toilet break is one of my biggest fears. So sorry to hear about spike’s injury & the wiring issue. We have days that it feels like we are the bug, and typically on those days….. I, too, set off the smoke detector or CO2 sensor, adding to the chaos.

    Hope you find that tomorrow is a new, trouble free day. 🙂

  19. Dennis says:

    I love your attitude and your love of your dogs

  20. wsmith0060 says:

    Sue I had a problem with my toilet valve sticking open,I had to keep kicking the foot petal to try to turn the water off or manually turn off the water pump switch to stop the water. Thetford did not have a replacement part for that particular problem. I ended up putting a dometic china toilet in and happy with the quality. Even if you don’t upgrade have the salesman show you the back side of the toilets where you can see everything operate. You might also want the rv tech put in a manual shut off valve to the water supply line behind the toilet to shut off water in the event of a future problem.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I have the opposite problem than what you had. Either way, it’s annoying.

      I can shut off the water at the pump switch in the kitchen, which in my little house is practically in the bathroom! If I have to flip that switch in order to flush, it’s not a big deal, especially since I’m alone.

  21. Tammy says:

    Oh poor Spike, oh poor you. When it rains it pours. I know. Our new life style has been bringing us a few problems too. But we like you are over coming them. And what a smart little boy you have in Spike. Oh I almost forgot. Our dog fencing is working great. Sure appreciate you introducing it to us.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Tammy. You can’t go wrong with that fence.

      Life in a regular house or life on wheels… Stuff is still gonna’ happen!

  22. Kat from New Orleans says:

    Leaving on our journey into the great world of fulltiming on Friday..first stop from N.O. is Fred’s Lounge in Mamou at 9:30 am Saturday for cajun music. I know your day has been tough but on the scheme of things we all know they are fixable. Live, love and laugh. That is what I am looking forward to. Thanks for jump starting my old brain to go out there. It is happening! the Kat

  23. Timber n' me says:

    Have a safe and Blessed day tomarrow, Sue

  24. Rita from Phoenix says:

    Yikes! Those rutted roads will take a toll on your vehicle (see my comment earlier about tranny coming loose on Crown King Rd). Glad Spike is okay…yes grandma use to use mud packs on us too for insect bites. Be careful driving out of your camp site to get safely to repair shop. Crazy drivers in Prescott Valley too like everywhere in AZ (prob why so many cameras). Line a bucket with trash bags to use as temp toilet & then bury the bag so nothing is exposed (it’s biodegradable). I had to laugh cuz you still had your sense of humor even with all the problems!

  25. Laurie says:

    Hi RVSue and Crew! I’ve been a reader and a fan since the story of your helping to reunite a man and his dog hit the press a while back. I live in Prescott, and am thrilled that you are in the neighborhood, so to speak. There are many beautiful areas in the Prescott National Forest, and the city of Prescott is a really cool place to hang out. Very dog friendly, too! I totally respect your love of solitude, but it sure would be awesome to see you and the crew strolling around on the Prescott courthouse square. At any rate, keep writing. Your stories (and photos) are treasures.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Laurie… That “man and his dog” is Rusty who commented above as Timber n’ Me.

      What little I’ve seen of Prescott I like and the Prescott National Forest is a treasure for full-timers and boondockers.

  26. wsmith0060 says:

    Sue when your water inlet valve to your toilet leaks external or stuck open, a manual water shut off valve will allow you to still run water to your sinks but isolate your problem It’s a cheap piece of mind that will save you a run to town in the future. Larry Gamble on the Casita website sells the part for good reason. The rv place should have the part.

  27. Mike Davis says:

    When you get in those situations where you think your going to drag, try taking the deep rut at an angle. This is the same maneuver to use on a steep driveway. Take it straight on and you drag, take it on an angle an it doesn’t drag.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re right, Mike. An angle is the best way to navigate a rut. In this case there were several ruts coming together at different angles, all of them miserable gulches with rocks, and there wasn’t any way I could cross all of them at an angle. In other words, a bad situation!

  28. PatrickA says:


    We got inundated with ants. Formula 409 gets rid of them right now.

  29. Gaelyn says:

    Dang girl, I sure hope that three times is it. Do use caution in Prescott Valley. Toilet problems are such a drag. The seal on mine needs replacing and I’m going to wait until I park in Flagstaff the end of the month to get it fixed.

  30. Kay says:

    Love the pictures and Spike, I feel for you. I had over 50 ant bites in Texas once. Both feet swelled, I felt like a duck!

    Our toilet would stick with the water running… FLOODED the motor home, water running out of the basement doors… it was a mess. Thank goodness it was clean water, but sad it drained our tank too. We need to put on a new kit.

    Did you see the article about Valley Fever? It’s on the rise in area. Can affect pets and spread to people. The fungus is in the dirt of the SW and lives in dust. Apparently becoming harder to treat the last few years.

    Hope all goes well with the repairs. You sure do have the cutest crew RVSue. They walk so nice in their suits side by side. Maybe they could teach Rowdy some of their experiences!


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It still tickles me to see Bridget and Spike trotting along, side by side, in their little black suits. Bridget will sneak a kiss on Spike’s cheek — so cute! They both get excited when I get out the harnesses.

  31. Ron says:

    I live in fire ant and red ant country, Here is a remedy that is cheap and works great. Bleach ,just a dab on a bite and in a few minutes the sting is gone ,it will also stop the puscule forming after the bite.
    It has something to do with changing the ph factore of the venom.
    PS it works we keep a bottle of 50 percent bleach and 50 percent water in a spray bottle ,just spray it and forget it.

  32. Nan says:

    Surely this is an April Fool joke!

  33. Ron says:

    No mam , no joke.

  34. Val. Lakefield Ontario says:

    Hope you get your everything in working order soon. Want you to know that this weekend I was feeling so depressed after some issues with elder care and my days. Started thinking negatively, figuring I might as well forget my new trailer purchase and plans, & blah blah blah. So here is what I did for myself. I started at the very beginning of your new life. Read every post, you made me laugh (I love your sense of humour, Canadian spelling LOL). Cried watching the news clip of Timber and the happy reunion. Not much was done today, except I am up to date and back to my
    “Yes I can” feeling. Thank you Sue. Sure hope to see you on the road one day.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh dear, you give me goose bumps. What a gift to me, to learn my blog helped you get your “yes I can” back!

      I’m so glad you went back to read from the beginning. It’s been quite a journey so far and it all began with a dream and no money. Best wishes to you, Val.

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