A schoolhouse breakfast on the way to a new camp in the Big Sky State!

Sunday, July 14

Today we move to a new camp!  On the way out of Stoddard Creek Campground, I stop to say goodbye to Lyn who is the camp host along with his wife, Velma.  These two are exceptionally fine hosts — friendly, helpful, and hardworking.

I tell Lyn we’re moving northward.

“Have you had your breakfast yet?” Lyn asks.  “If you haven’t or you want a piece of pie, stop at this place in the town of Dell.  You’ll go through Lima. Dell is beyond that.  There’s a restaurant called Yesterday’s Calf-A.”  (Lyn spells Calf-A for me and adds, as an aside, “That’s Montana humor.”)

He continues . . .

“The restaurant used to be a schoolhouse from 1903 to 1963.  They took out the desks, but the rest is still there.  You know, Washington and Lincoln on the walls.  It’s a great place. You may end up sharing a table with a rancher . . . .”

Before leaving the campground I fill up the one-gallon jugs with water and throw trash in the bin.

And off we go to Montana! 

In only a few minutes, as I-15 takes us through Monida Pass at 6,907 ft. elevation, the Montana welcome sign appears.


The landscape spreads far and wide in characteristic Montana fashion.


The mighty Beaverhead Mountains are swathed in green-gray velvet in the morning light.  Cumulus clouds cast soft shadows across the slopes and valley.

1-P1060107I look up through the windshield at a glorious blue sky.  A wave of happiness brings a smile to my face.  We’re in big sky country again!

We zip by the small town of Lima and take the exit to Dell.


I find the restaurant easily.  The schoolhouse tower with bell is the tallest structure.


I step inside and take a seat at the counter. 

A smiling lady with a long, dark ponytail brings me a cup of coffee which I drink as I survey the cozy room.  There’s Washington . . . and Lincoln . . . and the old classroom blackboard.


And it looks like the ranchers are here this Sunday morning.  I overhear snippets of friendly conversation.  Politics is the subject.  “The economy would be a helluva a lot better if we had Romney.”  “. . . because Obama’s a likeable guy.”  Something about McCain that I can’t quite pick up . . .   I notice choices of pie written on the blackboard:  four berry, pumpkin, peanut butter and chocolate, oatmeal, and others.

I consume one of the free donut holes on the counter before me.

I order one egg over easy, hash browns, and rye toast.

I like this place already because it serves rye toast!  The waitress (a blur in the photo above) has that relaxed, friendly, small town manner that makes you feel you’re hanging out in her living room.  In between waitress tasks she hugs customers who are obviously longtime friends and asks about the welfare of their family members.  She has something cheery to say to everyone.

My turn comes as I swallow the last bite of breakfast.

She takes a seat next to me at the counter, turning toward me to give her full attention. I find out her name is Jackie.  During the week she’s a heavy equipment operator “over at the mine” and on weekends she works in the restaurant, the latter something she’s done for over 25 years.  Soon she has me sharing about my life on the road and this blog.

“That’s what I want to do when I retire!” she exclaims. 

Outside I take another photo.


I board the PTV to a happy welcome from Spike and Bridget. 

We get back on the interstate.

“It won’t be long now and we’ll be at our new home,” I reassure the crew.  (Bridget knows the word “home.”  Spike?  Well, I don’t know.  He rarely listens to me, so the extent of his vocabulary is a moot issue.)


I love going to new places, but it’s also fun to return to a good memory.

Ah, there’s the blue of Clark Canyon Reservoir!


I look it over like an old friend I haven’t seen in a while.  Hmm . . . Water level is still down.  Pretty as ever though.

My anticipation grows as we approach the exit to the campground.

I hope there’s a good spot open.  One that’s away from the boat ramp and next to the water.

Got it!


This is great!  We’re on the far end by ourselves.  Immediately I walk Bridget and Spike around the loop.  Then I set up their pen and toss them in while I go about positioning and leveling the BLT, as well as other set-up tasks.  Yay!  Four bars for internet! 


My plan was to stay here for a day or two and move on, since we’ve camped here before.  Now that we’re here . . . with the soft breeze, sparkling diamonds on calm, blue water, the wheeling gulls, the occasional drone of a motorboat . . . .  Oh, I want to stay!

Did I mention it’s free?


THANK YOU, RVSUE SHOPPERS!  Every time I prepare these links of purchases, I’m reminded what great readers I have.  I appreciate every order, large and small.  Here’s a sample of what readers are buying:

Black Diamond Trail Trekking Pole
Automotive Wiring and Electrical Systems (Workbench Series)
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor Mountain Running Shoe
Water Storage Containers – 8 Pack Blue
Camco RV 15′ Sidewinder Plastic Sewer Hose Support
Carlson Labs Super Omega-3 Gems, Fish Oil Concentrate, 1000mg, 250 Softgels

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

70 Responses to A schoolhouse breakfast on the way to a new camp in the Big Sky State!

  1. cinandjules (NY) says:

    What a neat little diner! You eat like a bird! One egg? I was thinking a trucker’s breakfast! With a population of 35, I’m sure everyone knows everyone.

    Nice camp site…….Spike is probably eyeing the water! Free is good.

    I find myself looking at the Amazon orders….those brick water storage containers..what a great idea. Stackable and therefore doesn’t take a lot of room. Small enough to carry around…a spigot for dispensing. Do boondockers use these…or preppers?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi cinandjules . . . I have to take it easy on eggs due to cholesterol. I could’ve eaten a pie if no one was looking.

      Yes! I think those storage containers are super for all the reasons you gave. My guess is they are used both by boondockers and preppers. (I put them on one of the Shopping Links pages.)

      Later today we’re going to walk over to the day use area so Spike can soak. This is so great!

  2. Nancy says:

    RV Sue, Spike and Bridget……..I discovered your blog about three months ago and I have gone back to the very beginning and read every post. There are not enough words to express how much joy you, the crew, your travels and your blog brings me. I find you to be a good, kind soul, RV Sue, and I’m so happy for you that you’re living the life you have always dreamed of. And even though I am not usually one to leave comments, I am doing so in this case because I just made a purchase on Amazon via your web site. What’s one tiny little click of the mouse to support you and the crew in your adventures? Well worth it and I figure it’s a fair trade based on all the time and effort you’ve put in to provide such enjoyment for us all. So I encourage anyone who follows Sue and the crew……if you shop Amazon, please support Sue and start your shopping via RV Sue’s site.
    P.S. NO, I was not asked to post this comment! I don’t know RV Sue at all (though I wish I did). I’m sincere in wanting to give her something in return for all the enjoyment she’s provided for me and anyone else who follows this blog.
    P.S. P.S. Sue, there is NO SUCH THING as too many photos of Spike soaking or Bridget’s expressive eyes. Please give them a hug for me.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Nancy!

      How nice of you to promote my Amazon endeavor! Thanks so much.

      And welcome to my blog! I’m so proud that you went back to the beginning to read every post. That’s one of the finest compliments I receive. Thanks for that and for clicking my links to shop.

      I hope you will drop in with a comment again . . .

  3. Jeannie says:

    Love seeing Montana once again..we probably won’t be able to return for a long time as we just bought a house in Bradenton FL and are coming off the road, but we miss the RVing lifestyle already. We are on a little trip to IN at the moment. Hope to some day get something smaller and head out once again…Thanks for sharing your wonderful posts with all of us.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Jeannie . . .

      I have the sweetest memory of a day spent on Bradenton Beach with my younger sister some time in the late 70s. We stuffed our faces with delicious seafood.

      I’ve never been to Indiana, although distant relatives lived there. I don’t know how people adjust to living in one spot after living on the road. I guess you do what you have to do.

      Enjoy your trip and good luck planning for the next chapter! 🙂

  4. Jeannie says:

    PS. LOVED the schoolhouse restaurant as I used to be a special ed teacher for 34 years.

  5. Rob says:

    The waitress at the restaurant was something, I admire those people with the drive to work two jobs, seven days a week. I’m not one of them 🙂
    Thanks for getting that into your blog!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Rob . . . You’re welcome. I’m not one of those 7-days-a-week people either (although teaching was close to that). I think Jackie enjoys being around the people she knows and cares about at the restaurant.

  6. Ladybug says:

    I know they’re the ‘wrong’ mountains (I think the inspiration was Colorado, not Montana) but when I saw those pictures of the mountains, my first thought was ‘purple mountain majesties’. Ok yeah, they’re more lavender than purple, but still…..!

    Oh, and I noticed the ‘Where We Are Now’ sidebar has you sitting in the middle of the reservior. I think Spike got ahold of the GPS settings! LOL

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Ha! That’s the campsite Spike would choose! I wish I could move that arrow to the exact location. So far it’s never been right, only nearby.

      I agree… The Beaverheads are majestic in their own way. It was such a pretty drive today. Always a pleasure to hear from you, Ladybug.

  7. Kim says:

    You had me at ‘breakfast’. And again at ‘peanut butter pie’.

    Lovely landscapes!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Kim… I never heard of oatmeal pie. Jackie told me it’s sweet like a pecan pie but instead of pecans on top it has coconut. Yum. Of course, is there such a thing as bad pie? I think not.

      • cinandjules (NY) says:

        ummmm……I do recall a pickle and pinto bean pie a little ways back.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Ha! I later found out from a reader that those are two different pies… pickle pie and pinto bean pie, which doesn’t help much. Still sounds meh to me. So maybe there is such a thing as a “bad pie.”

  8. Rita from Phoenix says:

    Ah, loved the area you’re in…wide open spaces w/blue, blue skies. Soon you’ll see advertisements for huckleberry jams and such…I brought home two bottles of huckleberry pancake syrup..one for me and other a gift for sista who couldn’t go on this trip. I didn’t stop there..huckleberry candy, jams, licorice. We don’t have huckleberry in AZ. I also had huckleberry pie…yummo!! When sista Sue and I returned home, the truck was loaded with goodies from different states. We also ate trout, catfish, steaks and potato in Idaho. What beautiful country we have…enjoy your trip! Love you camp. I’d be antsy too after two or three days to move on.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Rita . . . Gee, you’re making me hungry. I don’t care for much fruit, but I love berries. Yes, it certainly is pretty here. I don’t know how long we’ll stay.

  9. Rita from Phoenix says:

    BTW, I didn’t think Glacier NP was very dog friendly. We read the rules before we left and found we couldn’t leave our dogs at camp alone (although our dogs are season travelers and used to being left at camp when necessary). So, no dogs on that trip. We took the shuttle up to Going to The Sun Road…very twisty narrow road. The shuttle doesn’t stop to let you take pictures…very annoying but I guess they do that for safety reasons.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks for the info, Rita!

      I’m not sure we’re going to Glacier. I’ve got some other destinations in mind but since I’ve never been much further north than here in the West, I’m “playing by ear.”

  10. rvsueandcrew says:

    Hi Jean . . . I’m thinking this might be a good time to go Amazon shopping myself and use up some of my points. That will keep me here for a while.

  11. Brian says:

    I’m hoping for some Spike soaking photos since you’re so close to water…

  12. AZ Jim says:

    Looks like a great campsite. That is nice country up there. The schoolhouse cafe is a cool idea too. I like everything but the politics. I don’t talk it ’cause I get “into” it….Have a great stay Sue…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m sure you’ve noticed I don’t talk politics on this blog either, nor do I in person. It’s a sure way to aggravate yourself.

  13. mary strasser says:

    Oh, that schoolhouse brought back memories. I spent grades 1-8 in one like that in South Dakota. Sadly, it’s now demolished, but it would have made a great restaurant, clever idea.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Mary . . . I think kids were better off before centralization. Too much anonymity in the big schools. You can’t get away with much when you’re in one room all day.

      • Chuck Hajek says:

        Sue, do I ever agree with you about the centralizing of schools! Beautiful pix, AGAIN!!!!! How’s the fans, A/C, etc??

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Thanks, Chuck. I haven’t turned on any fans yet. And I’m not going to turn on A/C without electric hookups. You know, I’ve been sleeping in long pajamas . . . in mid-July! I think I can pack them away now.

  14. mary strasser says:

    and speaking of Montana, have you read the Montana series of books by Ivan Doag? “English Creek” and “Dancing at the Rascal Fair” describe scenes that look just like the mountains in your pictures.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      No, I haven’t. I’ll put them on my list.

      • Donna D. (stickhouse in CT) says:

        I love Ivan Doig’s books! I read all the ones he wrote about the Montana area. He invents some pretty interesting characters. I could not get into his first book but enjoyed the rest of them. I see there They are good to read in order because he carries some of the family names through them. A list of his books are here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Doig

        I see there are a couple I missed and a new one. Oh boy! More to read!

        • Connie & Mugsy says:

          I just read “Prairie Nocturne” this past winter and loved it. Very unusual tale… You are correct that his characters are wonderful.

          • Connie & Mugsy says:

            Now I’m replying to myself… sheesh… I just went through a list of his books and also enjoyed “The Whistling Season.” I read so many books that I pick up in RV parks that I forget author names.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Gee, now I’m very interested in this author!

              Talk to yourself all you want, Connie. As long as you don’t mind the rest of us listening in on what you say . . . 🙂

            • Eileen P. says:

              I also love Ivan Doig’s books…they would be especially fun to read, I think, when you are right there where they are set.
              Eileen in Phoenix

  15. Dawn says:

    Love the school restaurant! Would definitely stop if I was there….wonder what oatmeal pie is? And what a great campsite…and it’s FREE??? No way! Enjoy and stay awhile..

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Jackie says it’s made like pecan pie… very sweet… no pecans… coconut instead. I bet it’s great with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk.

      • Connie & Mugsy says:

        I’m confused. If it is “oatmeal pie” doesn’t it contain oatmeal? If it contains coconut, isn’t it “coconut pie”? But then what do I know… I’ve never made a pie in my life…

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I guess I wasn’t clear… sorry. The main part of the pie, I assume, is made with oatmeal and brown sugar and whatever else makes a pecan pie (I haven’t made one in years.). In other words, where you’d put in crumbled pecans, you put in oatmeal instead. Then top it with shredded coconut instead of a layer of pecans.

          • Connie & Mugsy says:

            A little late, but my ignorance may be due to the fact that I have never eaten a pecan pie. Thus I had no idea that it would include oatmeal. I wouldn’t like it… because I am one of those odd people who loves nuts, but won’t eat anything with nuts in it. Mom always had to make two sets of things… one with nuts and one without.

  16. Montana has become one of my favorite states, and I’m looking forward to seeing some great photos!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It’s one my favorites, too, but then I have a lot of favorite states and most of them are west of the Mississippi. I’m looking forward to taking photos here.

  17. tinycamper says:

    I read this post twice, just because it spoke to me. I’ll probably read it once again before I leave the page. And I pored over the photos several times.

    What beautiful country. And people, based on the waitress at the schoolhouse. 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I never know how a blog post will be received. If one person has the reaction you had, the effort is worth it! Thank you. I take your comment as a great compliment!

      Yes… beautiful country with some fine people living in it.

  18. gingerda says:

    What neat place to stop for breakfast. You didn’t have any of their pies? I would of been all over the berry pie. lol. They gave you free donut holes? Sounds yummy.
    Beautiful campsite.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yeah… There was a platter of donut holes calling me throughout breakfast. You know, if I keep thinking about that place I just might motor on down there for supper and pie some day soon!

  19. Diane says:

    Oh, how sweet, the restaurant, and Big Sky Country. I can feel it Sue. A wonderful state. and FREE Camping in a beautiful place! Gotta love it. I have a brother there.
    He is retired Forestry Service Fire Boss, Prima Donna. Flathead Nat Forest.
    Gosh I would love to be there. Enjoy your adventures!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Diane…

      You must be very proud of your brother. I thank him for his service for our forest.

      I’m glad you feel like you’re with us!

  20. klbexplores says:

    I was wondering how the fur kids are now in the ptv when you are out at the store, or eating in a local establishment. They used to howl and bark so it was not an enjoyable time for you….. Have they gotten past this and wait more patiently for you. Hoping this is the case…My kitties are unhappy in the truck but when I move them into the trailer with a fan on and a radio…. they just proceed for an afternoon nap…. Good little kitties!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Bridget and Spike do much better when I leave them in the PTV. Spike barks rarely; Bridget barks (high-pitch, death-scream), but she stops as soon as I’m gone. I know this because I walked back when I forgot something and all is quiet.

      Now I’m restricted by the weather. I can’t leave them in the PTV after noon.

  21. Janna says:

    And you didn’t have any pie???

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It was morning and I hadn’t had breakfast. I watched Jackie cut a chocolate pie with whipped cream on top that was two inches thick, but I didn’t succumb!

  22. What a magnificent location! Yes, it doesn’t have the wooded privacy but sitting along the water with a little pavilion looks great! I assume Spike has already had several soaks!? Enjoy your new water spot!!

  23. That School House Calf-A sounds like a place where Chuck and I would love to eat! And the pie! Oh-my! What fun! Love love love your “velvet mountains” of Montana! Looks like you have a good place to hang around for a few days! So glad you went back to Montana to explore some more!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Geri…

      I should’ve looked behind the heads of those ranchers to see what was written on the board for the day’s special. My guess is the suppers are country fare . . . meat loaf, pot roast, that sort of thing.

  24. Sue, I grew up in Missoula, Montana. I felt so at home when we were driving through on our way to Washington last month. I’m ready to go back now! Thanks for sharing!

  25. Mary Ann (Pontotoc, MS) says:

    Your photographs and the scenery in them are so beautiful! The colors are amazing. Thanks for introducing Jackie and the diner. You have to excuse me because I’m VERY slow to catch on to jokes–is Calf-A a local take on Cafe?

  26. Tawanda says:

    Great scenery pix, love Montana spent a few yrs in Billings.
    -lol- ‘Calf-A’ a play on words to the ranchers in the area no doubt 😉

    Can’t do better than free that is for sure and for certain, wonderful upfront view you have of that beautiful blue sparkly water…
    2 of my many favorite drives in Montana are the Gallatin Gateway and more north west Three Forks area…

    Such wonderful people you cross paths with Sue… Wonder if Micheal the geologist will be there this yr. ?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Tawanda . . You remember Michael! I doubt I’ll see him. He told me he usually stays here in early August. I would like to camp along the Gallatin River.

  27. ronaldesears says:

    One good thing about your new home……..you shouldn’t get lost on your walks!!!LOL be safe..

  28. Rita from Phoenix says:

    I go back every so often to look at the pictures you took…ever consider submitting them to a travel magazine, card shop, or calendar making shop? I’d love to have a few as cards to send to friends or calendar to give as xmas gifts…it will be unique cuz it has a story behind it 🙂

  29. Cari in North Texas says:

    Interesting – on my way home this afternoon from work I heard the song “Meet Me In Montana” by Dan Seals and Marie Osmond. And tonight I receive your blog posting that you are in Montana! Kismet? Serendipity? Hmmm…

    Montana has always been on my bucket list, and your photos just reinforce the fact that I need to get there! And the hometown Calf-A sounds utterly delightful. I’ve always enjoyed finding the places where the locals eat when I travel.

    I was curious about the oatmeal pie so I looked up the recipe – sounds yummy! Eggs, sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, light corn syrup, butter, vanilla, and quick-cooking oatmeal. http://www.food.com/recipe/old-fashion-oatmeal-pie-11757?layout=desktop

    • Cari in North Texas says:

      Oh, and you pour all that into a prepared shell. Duh…I guess you could just cook it in a casserole dish and eat it that way LOL

Comments are closed.