Practice makes perfect?

Russ and I thought we would take a quick trip to get in more practice with our hitching & set up “skills”.  This was only our second outing in our Little Guy Max travel trailer so it is still relatively new to us. Which was quickly apparent ….

If you need a place to rest for a bit and you are traveling through the El Paso, TX area, this will fit the bill. Basically, it’s a gravel parking lot with full 30/50 hookups as well as a few tent sites where you will find plenty of space, lots of pull-thru spots and the mountains in the distance make up a bit for the noise from the freeway.

All set up! View from spot I-4



There is a trailer on site which houses two private restroom/showers as well as 4 washing machines and 4 dryers. Fees to wash are $1.50 per load and to dry are $0.25 per load.

Look for the giant dog bone to head over to the dog park and children’s play area. Each section is provided with a picnic table and an awning cover. The dog park was well stocked with doggie bags and a trash can to dispose of any waste.

Quick facts:

ADDRESS:  901 S Leisure Fun Road, Anthony, TX

AVAILABILITY: Open year-round

COST: Fee was $40/night for a pull-thru site with full hook-ups

This is a KOA property and as Russ mentioned in the video, there was thankfully a Camping World adjacent to the campground, so if you forget anything (like we did!) they have got you covered.

Even though Russ tried to pass the blame for his forgetfulness and I made a mess in the kitchen (make sure to watch the video above!), it was still fun to get away for a night. Maybe next time we will remember everything!

Abbey & Billie keeping an eye on things





Camper Cooking with Kerry: California Rolls

Last week, I showed you how to make SPAM musubis and since I had a bit of nori left over, I decided to make our daughter’s favorite – California Rolls!

Russ and I met while we were in the Air Force many, many years ago. So we were incredibly proud when our daughter, Kiana, decided to join the Air Force as well. She represents the fourth generation of our family to serve in the USAF and recently got married to a wonderful young man who is also in the Air Force. 19399661_1159832684121428_6766478793540998871_n

Kiana would always ask me to make this recipe and now, whenever I make this, it is hard to not think of her as I do so. Now that we have our Little Guy Max, we definitely plan on getting out to visit her more often!


Before I get into the recipe, I want to share a little hack for giving me more workspace in the kitchen. Pull the dinette table over towards the sink and it provides a nice L-shaped counter area to really spread out while cooking.


  • 1  1/2 C of Calrose (or any sushi rice)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 lb crab meat (imitation crab meat is fine)
  • 1  1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 C rice vinegar
  • 3/4 C mayonnaise
  • salt & pepper to taste

YIELD:  15-18 pieces (you can actually make more if you double the rice



  1. PREPARE CRABMEAT FILLING: Chop up the crabmeat, add in the mayo and garlic powder (you can also add in salt and pepper to taste). Mix well and put in the refrigerator to chill. IMG_6110
  2. PREPARE RICE: Put uncooked rice into a container and rinse/strain several times until water runs clear enough for you to see the rice through the water. Place cleaned rice into pot and add 2 cups of water and let sit for 15 minutes.
  3. COOK RICE: Bring rice to a low boil, put the cover on the pot and reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes. When rice is done cooking, remove from stovetop and mix in the rice vinegar.Rice when finished
    1. Peel the cucumber, scoop out the seeds and cut into long, thin strips.IMG_6095
    2. Peel the carrot and cut into long thin strips. img_6097.jpg3. Cut avocado in half, score lines and scoop out. Continue to cut pieces into strips. IMG_6099
    1. Place a sheet of nori onto the bamboo mat
    2. Using a rubber spatula, spread rice evenly over the entire surfaceIMG_6119
    3. Spread some mayo over the top of the rice, which will help smooth and even out the rice layer further. IMG_6122
    4. Scoop out some of the crab meat mixture and place in a horizontal line on the lower half of rice.IMG_6124
    5. Place a strip of cucumber just above the crab mixture and a strip of carrot below (sandwiching the crab mixture between them). Place avocado pieces on top of the crab mixture.IMG_6114
    6. Roll from the bottom to the top, exerting equal pressure. Set aside, seam side down. If needed, dip a finger in water and run along the seam. IMG_6115
    7. The ends are typically messy and uneven so I will cut off the outer ends (I usually have someone lingering close by to gobble them up!).  Continue to slice into pieces to your desired thickness. california rolls finished


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Camper Cooking with Kerry: SPAM Musubis

After we posted our Bottomless Lakes trip video, someone commented they would like to see more “lifestyle” content focusing on how we use the inside of our Little Guy Max. Great idea!

In addition to the recipe below, Russ and I made this video as a “how to” make SPAM musubis from in the kitchen of the Little Guy Max. That’s right, I said SPAM

Russ grew up in Hawaii and I believe our marriage has lasted over 26 years at least in part, because I learned how to make musubis! Definitely something out of my comfort zone, this girl from Connecticut almost lost him the first time he saw me put butter and salt on rice instead of soy sauce.

family hawaiiThis recipe is one I have put together from my memories watching Russ’s Auntie make them when we lived on Oahu. I don’t know if I got it exactly like hers, but I did get the seal of approval from her when she came to our house for a visit years ago – whew!!

Thank you Auntie Margaret! (3rd from left, back row). This photo was taken on our family trip back to Hawaii-December 2016. 

brett hawaiiDuring our time living in Wisconsin, musubis also became a favorite for our son, Brett and his friends as they were growing up. They would all have the same initial hesitant reaction when we would first offer it to them, but after they had one, they were hooked.

Brett recently graduated from Beloit College (proud Mom moment!!) and has moved to Seattle. Brett, this video/post is for you!

The only real variation I make when making these in our RV versus a traditional kitchen is not using a rice cooker (which can be bulky and take up a lot of space) and instead, cooking the rice on the stovetop instead.


  • 1 can SPAM (12 oz)
  • 1 1/2 C  Calrose rice (uncooked)
  • 1/2 C light brown sugar
  • 1/2 C soy sauce (preferably Aloha Shoyu or Kikkoman)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 sheets of Nori

YIELD: 6 musubis (enough for 2-3 people)

EQUIPMENT: (list & links to actual products used)


  1. WASH YOUR RICE: pour 1 1/2 C of rice into pot and fill with water until rice is covered. Stir rice. Drain water. Do several times until water is relatively clear.
  2. SOAK RICE: Take your pot that contains the washed/drained rice and add 2 cups of water. Set aside to soak for 15 minutes.
  3. PREPARE “SAUCE”: In frying pan, whisk together  1/2 C light brown sugar, 1/2 tsp of garlic powder, 1 tsp of ground ginger, 1/2 C soy sauce and 1 C of water. Heat and set to low simmer.Sauce
  4. ADD SPAM: Cut SPAM lengthwise into approximately 6 thick slices. Place SPAM into frying pan with other ingredients. SPAM is ready when the sauce is reduced to a light syrup consistency.
  5. COOK RICE: Set the pot that has the water and rice in it on the stove, bring to a simmer and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until all water is absorbed. If during cooking, water starts to boil over, just reduce the temperature a bit. When rice is finished, set aside (keep a cover on until ready to use).Rice when finished
    1. Place a sheet of nori on top of the bamboo rolling mat.
    2. Put the outer part of the musubi press on top of the nori, placing it in the lower half of the sheet, leaving at least a half an inch extending out from the bottom.Nori on mat
    3. Place two slices of the SPAM side by side inside the musubi press.Spam in mold
    4. Add rice on top of the SPAM until the rice is just at the top of the musubi press.
    5. Take the handle part of the musubi press, place it on top of the rice and firmly press down.Press down rice
    6. While holding down the handle of the musubi press, slide up the outer shell.
    7. Take a knife and slide it between the musubi handle and rice. Set handle and knife aside.
    8. From bottom to top, slowly wrap the nori around the SPAM/rice brick, using the bamboo mat.
    9. You can either wet your fingers with some water and wet the ends to “seal” the nori wrapper OR simply rest musubi on the seam for a few minutes.
    10. Repeat steps 1-9 until all SPAM and rice have been used.
    11. Cut each musubi “brick” in half, serve and enjoy!cut musubis

One of the great benefits of having an RV is the ability to take your “home” wherever you go and especially for us, the ability to make our favorite comfort foods whenever we want. Cooking in an RV is not much different than in a traditional kitchen. I have found the real secret is to clean up as you go and you’ll find that even in the smallest spaces, you will have more than enough room to do everything you need to do.


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Tour of our Little Guy Max

In the short time we have owned our Little Guy Max, we have already had our fair share of questions and curious looks from strangers. We have put together this video tour to show you what the camper looks like inside and out along with pointing out some of the highlights.

When you step inside, the first thing you will notice is the windows. The windows make the interior feel so much bigger than other RVs of this size. The light maple hardwood cabinetry is really a nice touch and for something that we plan to have for a long time, I feel these will stand the test of time. The cabinets are deep. For people debating between the Little Guy Max and the T@B 400, I would say you definitely get more storage space in the Little Guy Max.

One thing we didn’t go into on the video is the King Jack Directional Over-the Air Antenna. We are very surprised with the amount of channels we are able to pick up. We were in the middle of nowhere and it picked up 15 channels. This makes for a nice option when you are in a location without cable hookups. As it rained heavily on the first morning of our trip, it was nice to sit at the table, sip our coffees and get our dose of Good Morning America.

We briefly mentioned that our RV has a 100 Watt power output solar panel. We have found that this is enough to run the lights, water pump, and radio. It is our understanding the 2019 models offer a 200 Watt solar panel option.

One of the upgrade options is the Rough Rider package (which is what you see in our video). The Rough Rider upgrade consists of :

  • 15″ Off-Road Tires & Wheels
  • 3.5″ Axle Riser for Added Clearance

The added height just makes us feel a little better when attacking some of the bumpy roads and terrain.

If you are considering a Little Guy Max or have any questions, leave a comment below.

GVWR  3,800 lbs.
Dry Weight 3,140 lbs.
Tongue Weight  330 lbs.
Overall Length  21′
Overall Width  7′
Exterior Height  9′ 1″
Interior Height  6′ 7″
Fresh Water 20 gal.
Grey Water 14 gal.
Black Water 9 gal.

Bottomless Lakes State Park, NM – Campground review & first RV trip notes

The day finally came. It is hard for me to describe how excited we were to embark on our very first trip with our RV. Russ and I have both heard from other RVers the importance of a “shakedown” trip – a quick trip to test out our RV and deal with any issues before undertaking a big road trip.  Another factor I wanted to make sure we considered, was the space and traffic at the campsite. We have not yet perfected backing in our RV and the last thing I wanted on this trip was to stress about trying to fit into a tight location. With this in mind, a state park location relatively close to home fit the bill. I even went so far as to look at the aerial shots on Google Maps to select the spot that had the easiest access.

So, with reservations at Bottomless Lakes State Park confirmed, we loaded up the “family truckster” and were on our way!


We arrived just after Labor Day and had the campground pretty much to ourselves. The weather was overcast and rainy every day, but it was still extremely enjoyable. The camp hosts, Rita and Kevin D’Elia (click for their blog) were wonderful and really made us feel welcome. In addition to great conversation, Kevin saved the day by having an air compressor handy when we noticed we had run over a nail and had a flat! So within the first 24 hours, we made sure to invest in yet another piece of equipment to have with us and used the surprisingly good, free wifi the campground offered to go onto Amazon and buy a compressor.


For those that aren’t familiar with Bottomless Lakes Park, it is about 12 miles from Roswell, NM. So it isn’t surprising when I heard odd noises outside of our RV in the early hours of the morning that my first thoughts were of aliens. Well, if aliens are little furry grey and black troublemakers that resemble Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy they are highly entertaining (and messy).

The spaces between campsites are ample. We camped at space #23, which not only had easy access to park, but an unimpeded view to the water. The pull-through sites had plenty of privacy with large trees/bushes in between sites as well.41282588_427016241155894_8788947850189864960_n

The restrooms for the campground area were clean and the showers had decent shower pressure and hot water.

Russ took advantage of having the beach to himself and jumped in for a quick swim. We were able to capture our dog, Abbey, on video experiencing her first time getting in the water too (in video above). Russ said the water was surprisingly warm but the legend of the giant turtles that lurk in the depths kept him from truly relaxing (note: just a myth – there are no giant turtles that will come up and grab you, Russ!).

We went for walks with the dogs every each day and look forward to coming back in the future to explore some of the trails and take in some birdwatching. We were told there is usually a dock and they have paddle boards available for rent. The dock had recently been damaged and removed but there are plans to have it back in place soon.

Things to be aware of: 

  • Goathead burrs – do NOT walk barefoot anywhere
  • Fire ants
  • Centipedes
  • Mosquitos
  • Flies

Price: $14/night (incl. water/elec)  [$4/night if you have the Annual Camping Pass]

Location: Easy to find, close enough to a town/city for necessities but far enough away to escape noise/light pollution

We had a great time and plan on returning to spend more than 2 days. If anyone has suggestions and/or recommendations on things to do and see, let us know!


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Cloudcroft, NM – Best. BBQ. Ever.

While our RV is back at the dealer for some minor repairs, we took a day to escape the El Paso heat to explore Cloudcroft, NM. On our way there, we made a recommended pitstop at the New Mexico Museum of Space History

Cloudcroft is a small town nestled in the mountains of Lincoln National Forest. We have been to the area a few times over the last few years, each time finding something different to see and do. This time we were headed to Burro St. where there is a collection of quaint shops that we had been wanting to visit for a while. There you will find beautiful crafts and artisanal shops. My favorite shop is the Noisy Water Winery  You can pretty much taste everything there before you buy it – cheese, wine, salsa, flavored olive oils…. Walking away with just a bottle of the aged balsamic vinegar was the toughest thing to do.

If you are ever traveling through the area along Route 82, don’t be surprised if you see a line of people out the door at Mad Jack’s Mountaintop BBQ. Do yourself a favor and park your car and get in line. This is some of the most amazing BBQ Russ and I have ever had and it was worth every minute we spent in line. We had the opportunity to speak with Mad Jack himself (he works the line) and his story is as interesting as his food is mouthwatering.

James “Mad Jack” Jackson’s story starts in Lockheart, TX where he worked on his family’s car lot for more than 29 years. In 2009, Chrysler terminated contracts with more than 800 dealerships – his being one of them. Also during this time, Jackson was encouraged by his father to pursue his longtime interest in being a pitmaster. His father told him “James, to be good at something, ignore what the average guys are doing. Watch people who are the best and copy whatever they’re doing.” Jackson did exactly that. Over the next few years, he told us he watched a lot of YouTube videos and reached out through social media to other well-known pitmasters.  He went on to say his BBQ skills were developed by learning a “little bit” (info) from “a lot” (people).

Jackson learned enough to put his skills to the test and opened up a food truck in the heart of foodie-central, Austin, Texas. He did extremely well and as his popularity grew, Jackson was also becoming dismayed with the local bureaucracy. It was about this time that Jackson’s father, Kirk, moved in with him after suffering a hip injury. Kirk’s health continued to decline and shortly before his passing, he mentioned to Jackson and his brother a statement that didn’t make sense at the time, but was to be incredibly important to Jackson’s future. As the brothers were discussing what to do with some of the old cars on their property, Kirk said, “That ’71 Mercury – don’t get rid of it”.

That ’71 Mercury was a decrepit, rusted out vehicle covered in brush and tires flat down to the rims. Inside, Jackson and his brother found metal boxes and mason jars filled to the brim with money. The money had been in there so long that some of it had started to rot away, but there was still plenty left. Enough for Jackson to fully fund “Mad Jacks” in 2015 and move to Cloudcroft to do things the way he had always envisioned.

If you stop by Mad Jacks (open Thursdays – Sundays), ask him to point out some of the actual mason jars and one of the metal boxes that were from that infamous Mercury.

Wrapping up our day – and our waistlines – we stopped in at the Old Apple Barn on our way home. No trip to the Old Apple Barn is complete without trying some of their fudge. There is always room for fudge in my opinion. Always. If fudge isn’t your thing, you can always try some of their eclectic snack options……crickets anyone?


Back to the Dealer

It has been about a month since we brought our Little Guy Max home and for a number of reasons, we have not been able to take it out for a shakedown trip yet. Last week, we started talking about where we would like to go. Before conversations got too far, we noticed a problem. Russ and I went into the trailer to get a feel for items that we would need to bring with us and as we opened the shower door, I noticed the shower liner had separated from the wall and the panel was bowing out from the floor pan all the way to the ceiling. This prompted us to do a detailed head to toe inspection of the entire unit. We also noted some of the tubing along the front end of the trailer coming loose.

A quick search through the Little Guy Facebook Group conversations (if you own a Little Guy or are considering buying one, this is a great resource) informed me that we weren’t alone with the issue with the tubing on the exterior. This appears to be a common problem. In one instance, the tubing came off and wrapped itself around the tires while the people were driving. Luckily they were able to safely pull over to the side of the road. I did not see any complaints or suggestions on how to fix the shower wall.

I looked through our paperwork and since we are still within 90 days from our purchase, I called the dealer. The earliest appointment was a week away. No camping for us this weekend!

So the first time out of our driveway with the trailer and we are heading back to the dealer. I will admit, I am a bit nervous about hooking it up to the truck again! I am sure someday in the future it will become second nature, but right now it is completely new to us. The dealer had hooked up our vehicle when we bought the trailer and gave us a quick overview by pointing at parts. My suggestion for anyone towing the first time – have the dealer unhook everything and try to hook it up yourself before you leave the dealership.

Surprisingly, with the help of a checklist in the manual, we hooked up the trailer (thank you Liberty Outdoors !). It took us about 45 minutes. I hear on a lot of YouTube videos posted by RVers the importance of communication. I now see why. Russ and I have been married for 26 years so we have a little bit of an advantage in that department, but there are still things we can improve upon.

Being the newbies that we are, we had no idea what to expect bringing in our RV for service. One thing not to expect is that you’ll be able to go home with your RV that day. Or the next. We were told that it would take at least a week or two.

So it looks like it will be a bit longer before we hit the open road. Back to living vicariously through other RVers on YouTube!


6 weeks later, we finally got our RV back. The repairs were minor and took only a day to fix. We fell through the cracks and the dealer didn’t put in the order for the parts until after we had contacted them after 3 weeks of not hearing anything. Frustrating experience but just glad to have our RV back home and looking forward to taking it out soon on our first trip.



Accessories you need for your RV?

I am not sure if I am alone in this, but I have had feelings of awkwardness and ignorance – the likes I have not felt since a freshman in high school – from the moment we brought home our Little Guy Max trailer.

As I mentioned in my previous post, this is our first time as RV owners. Russ and I attempted tent camping a few times and I can’t say we were exceptionally successful. During one memorable attempt, we arrived at a campground as it was starting to rain. After about an hour, frozen fingers and a few colorful words, we gave up and walked into the campground office to ask if any cabins were available. What possessed us into thinking we were qualified to do this?

Well…it’s too late now. The RV is sitting in our driveway and we have a mile-long list of all the places we want to visit. Before I can even begin to be stressed about how daunting it will be to try to back into our first campsite, apparently there is still quite a bit of shopping to do. Hitch coupler locks, chocks, sewer hoses, something called a “dogbone”?

Here is a list of what we wound up buying for our Little Guy Max. You can click on any item to see more details:

  1.  Weight distribution hitch & sway bar
  2.  Brake controller
  3. Trailer lock
  4. Levelers/chocks
  5. Leveling blocks
  6. 30 amp RV extension cord
  7. Sewer hose kit
  8. Sewer hose seal
  9. Sewer hose support
  10. Drinking water hose
  11. Water regulator
  12. Water filter
  13. RV surge protector
  14. Hasp lock
  15. Dogbone electrical adapter
  16. Torque wrench & socket
  17. Tire pressure gauge
  18. Air compressor
  19. Insect screens for: Furnace  Refrigerator vents  Water heater
  20. Dehumidifier
  21. Patio mat
  22. Outdoor folding chairs
  23. Fridge/freezer thermometer
  24. White lithium grease
  25. Holding tank deodorizer and waste digester
  26.  RV toilet paper (quick dissolving & septic safe)

Hopefully, this helps to give you an idea of some things to think about for your own RV. If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to let us know in the comments below!

By the way….a “dogbone” is an adapter for 50/30 amp conversions!