A scenic drive to a new camp near Butte, Montana

I’m always excited on “move day.”

Even though Dorothy and I say our goodbyes the night before, we can’t help but talk some more this morning as we make final preparations to leave.  We leave Red Mountain Campground with the same route in mind, Route 84 to Norris and then north on Route 287.

At Route 2 we turn westward.

I have to take photos along the way.  Soon Dorothy is far ahead of us and out of sight.

1-P1060250 I think Route 2 from Sappington to Cardwell should be designated a scenic highway.

1-P1060251 Fallen rocks litter the road in places.


The Jefferson River flows past the base of this rock outcrop.


A side road snakes between two rocky slopes striped by evergreens.


The dramatic shapes and contrasts heighten my anticipation.  Hmm . . . What will our next camp be like?


I look back where we just drove.  The morning light and shadows make a dramatic effect.


The river meanders past homes.  The landscape softens.


We come around a bend to a scene that looks like a painting.


Alas, the scenic drive ends as we arrive at Interstate 90.

I pull into a Centex station and fill up with gas.  I inquire about propane, but the guy who handles that is not available this Sunday morning.

An RV park behind the station boasts a dump station.  I refuse to pay $15 to dump.  I don’t want to encourage highway robbery.  Of course, I’ll probably regret this decision.

Less than ten miles west on the interstate, I take the exit to Whitehall.

The town is immediately familiar.  The crew and I were here last summer!  It’s an appealing little village with many murals.  Even the thrift and pawn store has one.


A dump station website says to go to Whitehall Creek RV Park. 

It’s easy to find.  Not so easy to find a person in the office though.  I guess everyone’s in church. Bridget and Spike are awake and restless, so I walk them around the park.

We come across a parade of hollyhocks.


While Spike waters the hollyhocks, I go in for close-up photos.

1-P1060266I dump the tanks and slide a check for five dollars under the office door.

Unfortunately I don’t see a faucet for potable water for the fresh water tank.

And I can’t buy any propane, because no one is around to pump it.

Oh well, I probably have three-fourths of a tank left.

1-P1060263Back on I-90, we drive about fifteen more miles westward, most of it a very long grade which takes us to the Continental Divide at Homestake Pass (6,393 feet).

I have a particular campground in mind.

The directions from the internet say I should take exit #233 at Homestake and drive into Beaverhead – Deerlodge National Forest on forest road #222.

A gravel road takes us to this sign . . .


The road is narrow but it’s in good condition with only occasional sections of washboard.

Up, up, up, we go.

I’m glad the crew is dozing because mountain driving requires close attention to the curves in the road.

As we gain in altitude I see several RVs tucked in the trees on spur roads.  Gee, this is a boondocker’s paradise.  Campsites everywhere!

Bridget and Spike wake up and soon are hopping mad to get out.

We’re about six miles along the ten-mile route to Delmoe Lake Campground.  I drive on a short spur to a campsite and let out the crew .


  I check for internet signal (yes!), and eat a snack.  We’re at Leggett Hill (6,871 feet).


 Bridget and Spike are happy again as they explore the immediate area.


This would make a great camp.  However, I want us to camp near water, so onward and upward we go, and then the final half-mile or so is a steep, downhill grade.

There’s the lake!


Oh, this is fantastic!  “Guys, you’re gonna’ love this!”

I pick this pull-through campsite at Delmoe Lake Campground . . .


We have a view of the lake, and the crew and I can walk to the water’s edge from our campsite.  Tomorrow I’ll post photos taken on our first walk to the lake!



Here’s a sample of products bought recently from Amazon through my blog.
Stainless Steel High Pressure Cooker with Windscreen
Harvest Sickle
If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska
Happy Campers Organic RV Holding Tank Treatment
Go Power! 5 Watt Solar Panel
Schumacher 50/10/2 Amp Manual Starter/Charger

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69 Responses to A scenic drive to a new camp near Butte, Montana

  1. John K says:

    Hi Sue,
    Looks like a nice spot and internet too! Got to love that.

  2. Mick says:

    Looks very nice on Google satellite view. Looks like you can drive around the lake. The internet signal is a little surprising but it is probably due to the altitude and not being in a gorge.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      And maybe also due to the big, honkin’ tower I passed on the way up here!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You can drive around the lake. Parts of the road are visible from this side. I’ll ask a local about it. Some mountain roads are more than I want to attempt. I haven’t seen any vehicles on it yet.

  3. AZ Jim says:

    Damn girl! Great site. Spike can get his belly soaks and you get a place to take off your shoes and wade plus a wonderful view. I envy you. I bet it’s cool up there at night so sleeping is good. Have a super time while there. Happy dance for Sue and crew.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I take it you like this site, Jim. 🙂 The nights are perfect sleeping weather. Not too cold . . . windows-open cool. How sweet that you “dance happy” for me and the crew!

  4. Tawanda says:

    Ah back to the mountains and trees a perfect setting…
    Wonderful pictures!!
    Enjoy the cooler temps…

  5. Rita from Phoenix says:

    Wow that’s the side of Montana we missed a couple of years ago. We turn west from I-15 to I-90 and camped in Missoula at Huckleberry Hound campground. I love hollyhocks but have never been able to find seeds. The other day on way to work I saw tips of it over a block wall…I debated whether I should go and introduce myself and ask for harvested seeds but chickened out. I can’t find them here in Phoenix. Any flower seed info on your Amazon shopping site? Any news on Rusty & Timber? I hope they know to be careful and secure their home. A policeman once told me burglars target new neighborhoods or new people moving into an area…they know the people will be buy stuff for their home and burglars have a field day. They know neighbors don’t know one another yet cuz they are so new to the neighborhood. I don’t know how burglars know but that’s just what I was told. Good thing Timber is with Rusty. Timber is prob a good watch dog.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Rita…

      Go ahead and ask for the seeds. It may be the beginning of a new friendship…. a hollyhock friendship. Nice.

      I haven’t found the seeds on Amazon . . . yet.

      Timber is a good watch dog. I’m sure Rusty knows to take the necessary precautions. As for news… Arizona Republic is going to publish a follow-up story, covering the house-warming. I’ll put a link here so all my readers can read the article, just as I did on the story about Timber being found.

    • Ladybug says:

      Sue, I went to Amazon through one of your links, so I’m assuming it will give you credit? Anyway, once there I chose ‘All Departments’ then searched ‘hollyhock seeds’.

      Hollyhock “Single Blend” (Alcea rosea) seeds

      (I replaced your link with one of mine… RVSue)

  6. Carla (C. J.) Hall says:

    HI, Sue,
    I so much enjoy all your posts, but I lived in Montana for 10 years (the 90s) and so I love your posts from Montana. Since I have only been following you for a few months, I don’t know if you ever rockhound. If so, you may already know you are in prime territory there. Have you been to Crystal Park on previous trips?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I did notice it said “rockhounding” on the website as one of the activities here. No, I haven’t been to Crystal Park.

      I’m glad you’re enjoying Montana with me and my crew!

  7. Kay says:

    LOVELY! We are almost headed west. Departure is August 10th. Headed towards Reno and up to the Portland area. Will come back through Lower Idaho at some point. I have been working from sun up until midnight everyday since June 27th. I am so looking forward to the RV and the Highway, most of all, that new granddaughter will be one in September. She and I have an ice cream date I have to keep.

    Hubby says “if AC is blowing air, they sell coolant in the cans at Wal-Mart.” You will need a tool for it, he said it’s fairly easy and a good idea to have that tool in your tool bag.

    Have fun in Montana. Flathead lake is BEAUTIFUL if you make it up there. I have family in the area there as well as Missoula.

    Spike and Bridget, you’re looking good. When do you two think you might start blogging again?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Tell Hubby the A/C is doing absolutely nothing… It must be tough to wait for the road and for your granddaughter. How happy you will be when you finally set yourself free!

      Always a treat to hear from you, Kay.

  8. Wow, Sue, your pictures are absolutely breathtaking! I’m looking forward to being on that side of the country, even more so now!

    I always love to read the comments here from Arizonians. People from around there seem to be so extra cool. New Mexico and Arizona is where I got that super peaceful feeling passing through before.

    By the way, in Oregon regular gas for your car (van, whatever ;-)) is a “hazardous material” so someone has to pump it for you. I’m not sure about all states but in North Carolina your propane pumper has to be certified. In other words, when all of us are looking to get propane we should keep that in mind it’s best to do on a week day between 9 and 3 to be on the safe side.

    (((RVSue))), you’re the best! Thank you again for keepin’ on keepin’ on!

    side note: Hi Rusty! (((hugs))), huggers to Timber too! I’m so happy for ya’ll! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, Carrie, for the compliment on my photos. I’m happy to see you commenting here. I love your (((enthusiasm))) and (((happy))) spirit!

      Yes, learn from my mistakes. Well, it wasn’t really a mistake because I didn’t want to stay at Red Mountain Campground another day… too many people moved in! And when I get the urge for a new camp, I gotta’ go there!

      I will have to be more careful about dumping, taking on water, and keeping a full tank of propane as we travel in less populated areas.

  9. Gayle says:

    My best Montana roadtrip memory: Billings, pull into pkg lot of “large motel” ready to stealth camp for the night. Out rushes a woman in a guard uniform and says: You’ve got to move on. This is a women’s prison.” I said: “I’m so tired. What do I have to do to get a room here?” She said: “Commit a felony!” Enjoy The Big Sky! And Spike, quit soakin’ and start bloggin’.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Ha! You can’t make this stuff up. That’s hilarious, Gayle. Funny interchange with the prison guard. It would make a great scene in a movie.

  10. cinandjules (NY) says:

    WOW that does look like a painting.

    Your first “spot” was gorgeous…..but somehow you just have this instinct that better is further ahead! Sure enough!

    Have a marvelous and peaceful day.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, cinandjules!

      I made that “painting” pic my desktop wallpaper. (I’m always changing my wallpaper… just like I was always rearranging furniture in my house… obviously I like change in my life!).

      Isn’t it wonderful that we can live in one environment that’s great in its own way and then in the space of a few hours live in a totally different environment. I love that! Ummm… let’s see… What do I want to live in today? Desert? Piney Forest? Lakeside or riverside? Fantastic!

      I haven’t forgotten the photo of the photos… I’ll be posting it soon.

      Enjoy your day!

      • Connie & Mugsy says:

        I am also a constant wallpaper changer… steal photos from here and there… including RVSue’s blog. 🙂 One of my favorites for photos is a website called pixdaus. I won’t put a link up, but you can google it if you are interested. Montana is on my list of places to explore on my way south this year in very early October.

  11. Mary Ann (Pontotoc, MS) says:

    You have captured the beautiful scenery so well! Also love the murals and especially the hollyhocks–they always remind me of magical childhood imaginings. Rita from Phoenix was asking about hollyhock seeds–I’ve bought them before, so they probably are available on Amazon. When I planted them, they came up the second year. If I remember right, you need to keep planting them because the plant only lasts about three years.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Mary Ann . . . I looked for hollyhock seeds on Amazon but didn’t find them which shocks me because Amazon has never let me down! I’ll keep looking.

      It was fun photographing the scenery on Route 2 on the way to this camp. I’m having fun now taking lake pics.

  12. Another beautiful campsite! What a gorgeous drive to get there too! I’m gonna enjoy your visit here, I can tell.
    I had a thought…… If anybody has $10 or so left over after Rusty’s welcome home party, maybe we could all chip in and get RVSue that iPad she was coveting from Dorothy! Do you really really really want one??? I think you might have enough folks out here who just might want to help you get one!! Just a thought, passing it on….
    Hugs to Pretty Bridget and Studly Spike and hugs to you too Sue!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      No, no, no . . . That’s very kind of you to make that suggestion, Geri, but no.

      My readers have already “chipped in” toward an iPad by shopping Amazon through my links. “My cup runneth over” with Amazon commissions. I’m grateful for the support I receive through RVSue shoppers.

      As long as folks keep remembering to use my blog to go shopping, I’m happy. Thanks for thinking of me. You’re a sweetie. 🙂

  13. I am so happy to hear you still get excited on move day, because that’s been one of my favorite days as well during this, our first multi-month RV trip, and I was hoping it wouldn’t become old!

    I’m shocked at how little reading I’m getting done, because I’m so constantly stimulated by our changing environments I can’t settle down enough to do so. I never thought I’d fall so in love with being on the road for so long, but I am. Home seems very far away, and very dull by comparison I am now starting to think. Hmm . . .

    Love your new location. Water is such a wonderful thing to be camped alongside.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’ve mentioned this somewhere before. I have to mention it again. Before I scaled down, sold my house, and hit the road, my plans were met with “but what will you do all day?” Isn’t that hilarious? I’m never bored and I bet you aren’t either.

      There’s so much I want to see and do, and I pray to God I have years left for many new camps and new adventures!

      Just this morning I looked out at the mist rising from the lake, listening to the birds and watching the crew happily sniffing around, and I thought… Oh, what if I were still back there in my house… I would be missing all this!

      So I agree with you, Tamara. It’s a great way to live.

      Your “first multi-month trip” — How wonderful for you!

      • Connie & Mugsy (ND/MN/AZ) says:

        As a friend of mine said, “since I retired I get up in the morning with nothing to do… but when I go to bed, I’m only half done.” (and I finally remembered to add my “places”)

  14. Oh and another thought, it was Chuck and I that bought that Happy Campers Organic RV Holding Tank Treatment from Amazon! Let me tell ya, that stuff is great! We give it a 5 star recommendation!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Appreciate the good feedback! We must have a cyber-connection… I seem to choose your purchases more than the statistical probability…

      Thanks for another order!

      • We gotta buy it from somewhere, might as well be your Amazon connection!

        • Connie & Mugsy (ND/MN/AZ) says:

          I’ve been using this stuff since 2004. It used to be called “5 star Happy Camper.” Definitely use it in your gray tank too. I had terrible problems with it smelling up the rig – probably from dish washing – and once I started using this stuff, I’ve never had a problem again.

  15. katydid says:

    What a great spot for you and the crew.

    In the “old days” when I was a kid (before electronic toys), my sister and I would spend hours playing next to our hollyhock garden. With just a package of toothpicks, hollyhock blossoms, and buds of different sizes we would make hollyhock dolls. I still love those flowers. It’s too bad they have fallen out of fashion. They really are lovely and your photos capture that beauty.

    • Cecilia says:

      We made little ballerina dolls from the hollyhocks. Fond memory.

      Cecilia (Bacliff, TX)

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Cecilia… Those hollyhock photos are for you, too. . . A “thinking of you” card from me and the crew.

      • Mary Ann (Pontotoc, MS) says:

        I made flower fairies with them and I also stuffed leftover bits down the throat of my Tiny Tears doll.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      What a precious memory! That’s delightful… Little girls making hollyhock dolls. I’m glad I included those photos for you, katydid.

  16. Pam Ridgely says:

    Sue, if you make it as far west as Missoula, at exit 101 Bretz RV sells propane for 99 cents per gallon.

  17. Spencer says:

    Wow…. Looks great Sue. I’m getting my Benchmark atlas out as I type to check it out….. We are flying into Spokane on Sept. 1st where we have our RV stored next to the airport for a 6 week adventure. Going to do Glacier National Park for a couple weeks and then no plans so that area might be great. Do you think mid To late Sept. will be too late for that elevation?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It’s hard for me to answer your question, Spencer. I don’t know a lot about mountain weather in September. My guess is that Sept. wouldn’t be too late here.

      I also don’t know what your temperature preferences are. The nights would be cool and the days crisp… probably quite nice. The elevation is moderate compared to our Bluebell camp outside Ephraim, Ut, which is close to 9,000 feet. We’re about 3,000 feet lower here ( although a bit further north).

      Have a wonderful “6-week adventure!”

      • Chuck Hajek says:

        Hi Spencer,
        To answer your question some….this could be a little late. Check your Benchmark as it is pretty good about telling winter road closures and this is a good indicator. A GOOD weather radio is a must…if in doubt, don’t forget that once the snow starts, you could be there ’til spring! Chuck

  18. It looks like a great spot. Oh, I have to comment on the hollyhocks – When I was a kid we lived on a little chicken / apricot ranch in Campbell, CA. My mom grew hollyhocks like the ones in your photos. So many hours of fun I had making ‘dancing ladies’ that floated on water in an old wash tub. I’d have one flower upside down for the ruffled skirt/dress and a hollyhock bud attached with a toothpick to represent the head of the dancer. I’d make several in different colors and sizes and we’d let them glide over the water in the tub. I’d be willing to bet I spent up to hundreds of hours – as long as the hollyhocks lasted throughout the hot months of Summer.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      How absolutely delightful and imaginative! Thanks, Mary-Pat, for telling us about your water-dancing hollyhock ladies . . . Love the mental picture I have of that!

      The simple activities we invented as children… I used to make little villages with pebbles, sticks, tips of plants for trees, and so on. It looked like I was playing in the dirt, but it was much more than that.

      I hope the kids of today have enough imagination for simple, creative play.

  19. Bobs RV says:

    Wow! Montana! Last time I stopped by here you were in Arizona Sue. I need to stop by more often.

  20. Glenda says:

    Loving Montana Sue………..such beautiful peaceful vistas! Sorry I have been absent but have been reading from day to day. Stress happening again in my life with my dear Father entering a nursing home for his last days……..very sad to see someone’s life reduced to so few possessions and nothing to face but four walls each day. My respite to read what you and crew are up to each day, to see the lovely photographs and to dream of actually seeing such places myself some day!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Glenda,

      I’m sorry you and your father are going through that. I experienced something similar with my father. It’s tough to see someone who’s always been in charge become a person who’s the charge of others.

      It’s good to see you here again.

  21. Ladybug says:

    LOL! Google maps has you located in the middle of the lake again. I still say they know Spike is a water dog (‘here comes Sue’s new camp; make sure she is in the middle of the lake!’).

    It takes so little to amuse me…..

  22. stan watkins says:

    How strange it is that WE (humans) gravitate toward water even with full water tanks.I was even thinking that you should continue on when you pulled into that first spot.Something in our DNA and definitely in Spike’s.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Stan! Don’t know if you’ll see this as I missed the last few comments under this post.

      Yeah, the place we stopped for lunch was . . . a good place to stop for lunch.

  23. Dorothy says:

    Great pictures Sue. I was thinking as I went through there how beautiful everything was. The drive to and through Idaho was breathtaking. I love that drive. Hard to take pictures when I am driving down the freeway though.

  24. gingerda says:

    Absolutely beautiful!!!! you take the best pictures.

  25. Renee (from Datil) says:

    We took Route 2 last year on the motorcycle — in the reverse direction — VERY nice ride! We finally got to head out of OK Saturday morning. Any other “Dad” business can be taken care of on the road. (Thanks for the condolences, BTW.) We’re a bit late getting to Montana this year; luckily the grandkiddies still have a month of summer vacation left. SO anxious to see them! Currently in Sidney, NE — a bit over 900 miles to Kalispell!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Renee!

      I was thinking as I drove Route 2 … gee, this would be a great ride on a bike…

      Have a safe trip to see the grandkids!

  26. Walt from Boise says:

    I spent a year living in the Kalispell area of Montana. Loved it there and might be there still if my job at the time had paid a better wage.

    My other vivid memory (or maybe lack of memory) is from a trip back through Montana to Seattle in 1984 for a ten-year high school reunion. I remember passing through Billings, and the next thing I knew, I was passing what, at the time, looked to me like giant disposable lighters on the outskirts of Butte. I had no recollection of driving the several hundred miles in between. 🙂

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