Babes in the woods of Targhee National Forest, Idaho

Talk about dumb . . .

This morning after coffee I put Bridget and Spike in their suits and we take a little walk.

1-P1060055 It’s one of those mornings when one says out loud without thinking, “What a beautiful morning!”


The three of us wander from one flower to the next, babes in the woods, happy as can be, frolicking like Winnie the Pooh and friends.

Until we realize we’re lost. 

Oh, sh*t.  This is not good.  This is bad.  Very bad.  The more we try to find home, the more lost we become.

And, of course, I’m wearing the wrong shoes for this kind of crisis. No compass.  No water.  Just me, a camera, and two rat terriers on leashes.

1-P1060102 I realize that the terrain we are stumbling around on is becoming more and more difficult and unfamiliar.  Tall Ponderosa pines and ridges block any chance of seeing very far.  Figuring out the compass points from the sun’s position is no help because I don’t know what direction is right!  Time to start using my head.


“Okay, guys.  This is what we’re gonna’ do.  See that ridge with no trees on top?  We’re gonna’ climb that ridge and see where the heck we are.”  Bridget looks unsure.  Spike looks weary.  “C’mon, let’s do it!”

We trudge up and up and up.

My heart pounds.  Spike refuses to go another step.  I sit on a log in the shade and we rest.  We climb, rest, climb, rest, climb . . .  until finally we’re at the top!

No sign of the campground but there’s the interstate down there!


And also the frontage road alongside it.  The interstate goes over a bridge which I don’t recognize.  Well, it’s a long way off, but in this situation, the known is better than the unknown.  We could walk in circles all day until dark. 

We climb down the ridge in the direction of the interstate.

I’m careful to keep the shadows of the trees extending away to our left.  Eventually we come to an old two-track, barely visible.  We follow it, and all the while I’m keeping oriented to the direction toward the interstate.  A pole fence appears.  I consider it.


This could be a good thing or we could follow that fence in a big rectangle and end up right back here.

We press on.  I notice pieces of blue plastic in the shape of diamonds nailed to trees about every 50 feet.  Hmm . . . maybe a trail?  We’ll follow it.

Bridget and Spike pant with tongues hanging out, but they keep up with me.

Darn!  I haven’t had anything to eat since last night.  Please, blood sugar, stay normal.  We startle a deer.  Away it goes in high, graceful bounds.


I see something white. 

YES!  It’s the roof of a fifth wheel!  Civilization!  We get to LIVE! 

I don’t recognize the dirt road.  Nobody’s home, but there’s a dog dish of water outside.  Spike and Bridget lap it up.  Just as I’m about to break into one of their water containers, the owners drive up.

Tom gets me a bottle of water and drives me and the crew back to the campground.  Boy, is it good to see home!


Later I figure out that we walked all the way into the next canyon to the south.  I always thought people who let themselves get lost in the woods are dumb.  Now I’m convinced they are.

Okay, about the air conditioner in the PTV . . .

I know, I know.  That’s a pretty jarring transition.  Look, if you’re gonna’ read “RVSue and her canine crew,” you’ve got to hang on for the ride.  Anyway . . . 

I find the PTV’s manual and look up air conditioner and fuses.  The floor console fuse block is located under the driver’s seat.  The diagram in the manual shows fuse #9 is for “Climate Control 1.”  Fuse #10 is for “Climate Control.”  Oh, that’s clear.  Thanks for the descriptive terms.   Fuse #1 is for “Spare.”  Okay!  I can do this!

There’s also the engine compartment fuse block with #54 fuse being the relay for the air conditioning.

I’m going with the floor fuse block first.  I get the block open and discover the spare fuse isn’t there.  Of course.  It doesn’t matter anyway because I can’t get the tiny fuses to come out.  To heck with this.  I’m going to take the PTV to a regular auto repair shop and ask in my sweetest granny voice if they’ll replace the bad fuse for me.


THANK YOU, RVSUE SHOPPERS!  You can hitch up, find your way around the North American city of your choice while your dog sleeps in his bumper bed, do some drive-by shooting with your air gun, and at the end of the day, cook comfort food on your Weber grill, using drip pans to minimize the mess. Sound like fun?

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Hitchin Rod
New Garmin City Navigator North America Map Card
Crosman Recruit Multi-Pump .177 caliber Pellet & BB Rifle air rifle with scope
Pet Dreams Eco Friendly 2-Piece Bumper Bed
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Weber Aluminum Drip Pans, Set of 10

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135 Responses to Babes in the woods of Targhee National Forest, Idaho

  1. Donna D. (stickhouse in CT) says:

    I’ve always been amazed how you haven’t gotten lost before. That’s a scary feeling. I’ve been lost in a car before but not on foot in the woods. Yikes. I had always heard that you go down hill and if you find a stream, you follow that down. I don’t know if that’s true or not. It would work in the hills/mountains of CT, around where I live but might not in less populated areas out west. I’m interested to hear what others suggest to do if lost in the woods.

    I’m so glad you are okay!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Donna . . . Not many streams around here. I had to ask the camp host where Stoddard Creek is and he said it’s just a tiny stream.

  2. AZ Jim says:

    Oh Sue! I feel for you guys. Getting lost in the woods is horrible. I hope you remember next time you decide to “take a little walk”, you take a compass. Anyone can get lost, it’s not a sign of diminished capacity or anything but…..COMPASS!! Thankfully, you found your way home so you guys could look back and say “Hey! It was great exercise.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Jim . . . Yes, there were some scary moments. The forest is large and there’s absolutely nothing for miles and miles if you go the wrong way.

  3. Diane says:

    Sue you are not dumb, just a little unprepared today. You’ll know better next time. But what an adventure! Get a little fuse puller to put in the PTV taped next to the fuse box with extra fuses, I feel sure if it’s a fuse you can fix it. Love the humor and pictures as always. Be safe, and thank you.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Diane . . . Oh, a fuse puller. I didn’t know there was such a thing. See, that’s why I have trouble with mechanical things. I never have the right tool!

      • Chuck Hajek says:

        Hi Sue, some of the fuse assortments have a fuse puller/inserter included. It’s fuse puller on one end and the other has ainserter(holds fuse while you push it in)!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Okay. Gee, the things I learn on this blog. I’m kind of psyched to have my own fuse puller-pusher thingy.

  4. Marilu says:

    Holy Cow! What an experience! We’ll, you used your head and didn’t go stumbling around in circles until you were completely exhausted. Your adventure had me hanging onto my seat as I read. I’m so glad you all made it back safely. It looks like more beautiful country to explore. Are you planning to get a compass because I know you won’t stop investigating those paths into the woods. When I’m not traveling, reading your blog almost makes me feel as if I am. Stay safe.
    Willits, Ca.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Marilu . . . At one point I knew I’d better be careful in my decisions where to go or I’d end up having to carry Spike. I’ve never been so happy to see a fifth wheel . . . LOL

  5. It’s ironic that I have been looking for my compass for the past few days, and today I remember giving it to my granddaughter last summer before she left to drive back to PA. When I read your post I realized I have to go buy another compass soon. But I think you need to orient yourself each time you set up a new camp so you know how to figure out the compass. Great thinking on your part today, and glad you found help getting back to the campground.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Martha . . . I have a cheap compass on my key chain. Which makes absolutely no sense at all, now that I think about it. What? I’m going to use a compass on the ROAD? “Oh, let’s see. I need to correct my direction. I’ll just drive over this little mailbox and through that fence . …”

  6. cinandjules (NY) says:

    Bridget always knows her way home! Did you think to ask her? Spike pees on every tree…markings. Just gnawing on ya!

    Glad you made it home safely. You did well…never knew about the tree’s shadow. Wow what an adventure. If you weren’t concerned….I surely was! Cripe…we were all lost WITH you!

    Water……you can survive without food…..not water.

    Fuse box…there should be something that looks like a pair of tweezers. But if the spare fuse is gone…the previous owner already used it and didn’t put it back.

    We kept our spare fuses in the RV electrical panel. The cute little plastic box fits nicely.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi cinandjules . . . Gotta’ get me some fuses in a cute little plastic box! You never knew about using tree shadows? And you live in the Adirondacks?

      Do you know the moss on a tree trick? Look at the very green photo above. See the moss/fungi? That’s the north side of the tree.

      Lot of good it did me. LOL

      • cinandjules (NY) says:

        I’m a Caleefornia transplant remember! I know about the moss on the north side.

        Didn’t you buy a fanny pack way back when…that has a pouch for a water bottle? I went to Wally world today and thought about you AS I wiped my cart and while in the camping section. Hmmm…Sue can use a compass…and a mylar foil emergency blanket. The blanket weighs less than a pack of Kleenex and will fit nicely in that fanny pack.

        If you’re into General Delivery anytime soon….I can zip you both.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Now, cinandjules, don’t you even think about sending me more stuff!

          Yeah, I have the fanny pack (I prefer waist pack, as if I have one). I have a compass, too. What I don’t have is someone to grab me by the arm as I head out with the crew to say “Hey, you! Where do you think you’re going? Where’s your waist pack? Where’s your compass?”

          • Connie & Mugsy says:

            I never use the term “fanny pack” because I worked for many years with Brits… and oddly enough, “fanny” is a VERY bad word in modern British English referring to a nearby spot (for which we have the infamous c-word). Jaws would drop. Fortunately for me I have always called them waist packs as that is where they are…

            PS: the bumper beds are for Mugsy. I love that these beds are stuffed with re-cycled plastic bottles that don’t hold the smell of my stinky little half Pug.

  7. Trip and Lisa says:

    An old Indian taught me years ago to always spend as much time looking behind me ( where I just came from ) as I do looking ahead,and I’d never get lost.
    It has worked so far.
    Let us know what it takes to get the A/C fan going in the PTV.I guess I want to know if I owe you a rotiserie chicken.

    Glad you made it home ok Sue.Love the blog as usual.Thanks so very,very much for sharing.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      If I had enough sense to look behind, I’d have the sense not to wander around. In other words, zigzagging through a forest where every direction looks the same is not wise. Good advice though. Thanks. Glad you love my blog. 🙂

  8. Laura says:

    Sue, you might think about investing in a GPS. Frankly, compasses are a pain to deal with and a GPS makes things much easier. You can probably pick one up for around $100. It will allow you to set your campsite as a waypoint and you will always be able to find your way home.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Laura . .. I’ll give it some thought. Now that Spike is getting older, the crew and I never take long hikes any more.

      I could solve the problem by simply not wandering off.

  9. shelley says:

    Stupid question but since you got lost today I figure I can ask…just kidding. If I want to order on amazon and you get credit how do I go about it?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Shelley … Click on any link or the Amazon search box on this blog, and then buy anything and everything you want. I’ll get credit as long as you start shopping from here. I appreciate you wanting to support my blog!

      • shelley says:

        Thanks well I am hooked and since I have to order things anyway I would like to help out!

  10. Mick says:

    This would help! Not cheap but…

  11. Grace says:

    OK, Sue… I’m with Laura on this one. Get thyself a GPS and don’t leave home without it! You were smart and did the right thing today but what if you were not able to climb that hill and see the highway? Tioga George got lost one time in Mexico and asked someone to go to his blog and see his map location that he had marked on his last post. They took him right to Ms. Tioga. It’s soooo easy to get lost… I won’t tell you how I know! Grace (in Tucson)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Grace . . . I’ll have to think about it. My hesitation comes from the fact I tend to do things without much planning. In other words, like the experience in this post, I don’t intend to go on a hike. I look at a flower, then I see something else and go over there, and before I know it, I’m off somewhere. Would I think to take the GPS with me?

      I know, I need to grow up and plan!

      • Connie & Mugsy says:

        I would take the GPS, but the battery would be dead because I forgot to charge it… sorta like that phone that takes up space in my purse.

  12. Allison says:

    The GPS is not sounding like a bad idea. We were lost once in Oregon on mountain bikes. The compass gave us a heading, but we still didn’t know where we were. We were able to backtrack to our last known for certain position, but it was a very long day. As far as the fuses go, YES! be a granny. It works.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Allison . . . I have to warm up to the idea of a handheld GPS. The money I put into the GPS for the PTV has not given me value because I rarely use it, so that may be why I balk at buying another one. I’ll think about it. Yes, I bet that day on your bikes was very long. Glad you didn’t have to be rescued!

  13. Reine in Plano says:

    I think I agree with Mick. That GPS with topo maps would be a great investment in your safety and provide some fun in the bargain. As much as you roam around, geocaching might be a fun activity.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Reine . . . Hmm . . . Geocaching . . . Does that mean you walk around in the woods with your face in the GPS like a teenager texting? I don’t know if that would be fun for me or not. I’ll look into the GPS. Seems like I could solve the problem by using a little self-control and common sense.

  14. Allen says:

    Hello Sue,
    I am glad you and your dogs are safe now. Please consider a GPS for your on foot adventures. Many have “walking mode” . Older ones have smaller screens and will fit easily in a pocket.
    Regarding the fuses, you can purchase spare fuse kits that include a variety of amperages and a handy fuse puller, look for it an auto parts store.
    The AC system will have fuses for protecting the electric clutch on the compressor, the solenoid valve for the freon, and the blower motor for the AC & heat. If you replace a fuse and it blows as soon as you energize the circuit there is probably a dead short and repair is needed, don’t try more fuses. If you replace a fuse and it blows after a period of use but it did run for a while then the device is drawing too many amps. It is working too hard. This could be a blocked cabin air filter, dry bearings, high heat, binding or some other excess load. Many times a hands on inspection of the system components will reveal the the problem. Look for worn belts, wobbly pulleys or shafts, blockages etc.
    A $20 repair manual for the PTV will make some great bedtime reading : )

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Allen . . . Gee, I hope it isn’t that complicated. You really know your stuff! I can’t think of anything more painful than reading a repair manual. How does one learn all this “mechanicking?” Whenever I try to learn, it keeps getting more and more complicated that I throw up my hands and go make a sandwich.
      Thanks for the info.

  15. Ladybug says:

    I bet Amazon sells that GPS. 😉

    Actually might take a look at it myself; I’ve been thinking about taking up geocaching.

    • Ladybug says:

      And of course, if I had taken the time to look at the link FIRST, I would have seen it goes to Amazon through Sue’s account! sheesh


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yes, Amazon sells it! (“Never pass up an opportunity to mention Amazon” — That’s my new motto.)

  16. Glenda from Glendale says:

    Wow Sue what an adventure! Sounds like Tom came along in the nick of time. Don’t beat yourself up over it, everything turned out fine. Glad you and the crew made in home safe and sound.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Glenda . . . When we made it to the fifth wheel, I was willing to wait hours until the owners came home. As it was, they drove up in less than five minutes.

      I’ve been in and out of woods a gazillion times. I should know better by now. 🙂

  17. CT says:

    I have to agree with the votes for getting a GPS. Your lives are certainly worth the cost of a GPS. But whether or not you get a GPS, please consider taking some basic necessities along when you walk. You could have a small fanny pack with a water bottle holder, a couple of granola bars, small baggie of kibble for the crew & a collapsible water dish. Just these few items would have made all of you more comfortable on your adventure. Of course, in a slightly larger pack you could take additional items that would help survive & be found if you got lost.
    Here in Colorado, we regularly hear of people who go into the mountains totally unprepared & don’t make it back out. Taking just a small amount of gear with you dramatically improves your opportunity for survival.
    My husband jokes that I could survive for a week on what I have in my purse & my car. And he’s right! My work frequently takes me out into the boonies alone in all kinds of weather. I want to give myself the best opportunity to come home at night!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, CT . . . You know, I have a waist pack that I bought recently. Did I wear it? Nooooo.
      Thanks for the wise suggestions. I’m glad you have a stocked purse and car.

  18. mockturtle says:

    One thing I remember from my brief experience of being lost in the woods was that the features of the forest which had been lovely and soothing became ominous and menacing. Especially when night began to fall. Glad you found your way back. 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Ha! I know what you mean! Even the birds sound like they’re mocking!

      Ooh, you were lost at dusk? That is scary.

  19. Cheryl Ann says:

    Oh, Sue…you sure scared me! HA~ I probably would have panicked. Good thing you have a cool head! Fortunately here in the desert I follow my footprints, but not up in the mountains, where the ground is much harder! I agree with those who recommend a GPS. If you put one on Amazon, I’ll buy one! 🙂

  20. Eddie says:

    You got lost because you were not paying any attention to where you were or how you got there. Now that you have been lost, I will bet you look behind you more often next time.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Okay, Eddie, I will! However, in my defense (a weak one, I’ll admit), this forest looks the same no matter where you look.

  21. Martin D says:

    You may not like or accept my input. I have been following your blog since you started and own a Casita as you do. Someone needs to scare the bejesus out of you. In my opinion you came very close to losing your life and your canine companions. Many times I have cringed when reading your blog in regard to the unnecessary risks you take.

    I’m not one of your readers who sits at home and praises your adventures and stating how much I would like to follow your examples. I can well appreciate your desire to get off the beaten path so to speak but not at the expense of your life.

    Many times you post you have proceeded down rough and deserted roads not knowing if you could turn around or knowing the road condition ahead. The Casita, factory configured, is not designed for this. The Goodyear tires are marginal at best for the highway. You have joked about your mechanical abilities – I hope you have the skills and equipment to change a damaged or flat tire in a remote area without assistance. Based on your past excursions I would have replaced at least your tires with something much more robust.

    You wander out with you crew into remote areas not equipped to survive if a emergency develops such as with your last post. At a minimum you should never go out of site of your rv without a light weight back-pak or similar. It should contain adequate drinking water, some minimal medical supplies to stop bleeding, some high energy food or bars for yourself and the crew, a knife, a lighter for starting a fire, a GPS and compass and a several clean cloths. Well designed hiking boots or shoes and a walking stick to support you in case of broken limb. A whistle or horn and flashlight. The entire assembly should not have to exceed five to eight pounds. Also consider also many places you are frequenting that you are not the ultimate predator but that is another discussion

    Without these essentials above you are a disaster waiting to occur. I don’t care if you like my input but hopefully you will consider it worth evaluating – as I desire to continue reading your blog in the future. Martin

    • John K says:

      There are some good points there Martin. I sure would hate to hear that something happened to Sue and/or crew that could have been prevented with some forethought.

      On a happier note, one of my purchases made the top 6! Garmin maps card.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Martin. You do know I have the heavy duty tires, right?

  22. Tom V says:

    Sue, I use a free smartphone app called “Find My Car” It uses your phones GPS to mark and later locate your car or in your case the BLT and PTV. Stay safe.

  23. Cherie from OH says:

    Breadcrumbs, Sue, breadcrumbs! It might work IF you can keep Spike and Bridget from eating them. Glad you made it back okay. We’d be the ones lost without you!

    Personally, I love my GyPSy. It doesn’t always pick the best route somewhere, but it will take you home! I use it to find restaurants, hotels, libraries, etc. as we travel. And I love seeing the road I want come up on the map before I can see it with my own eyes. It keeps me from passing it and having to turn around. The GPS we have can be used in the vehicle or as a handheld device but it’s a little awkward to use for the latter. I’m thinking of getting a good handheld GPS as the hubby and I are interested in looking for some geocaches that the local parks stash from time to time.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Cherie!

      If you buy a handheld GPS and you like it, I’m sure there are readers and me who’d like to know about it.

      • Cherie from OH says:

        I will! My hubby just recommended a Bushnell GPS BackTrack Personal Locator for you. They cost $50 or so. The one he has can be worn around your neck. This way you can always find your way back home! Yes, you can buy it on Amazon.

        Bushnell GPS BackTrack Personal Locator

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I LIKE IT! Thank hubby for me!

          It’s small, inexpensive, and simple. My speed.

          BTW… I replaced your link with one of mine in case any readers decide to buy it. I put it on the Shopping Links page, too. This is great!

          • Mick says:

            That unit has 18% “1” rating on Amazon. chinese junk?

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              It’s hard to say. Amazon reviews aren’t horrible for an inexpensive gadget. I guess one has to ask “How much abuse will I give it and how much can it take?”

            • Mick says:

              And luck that you get one of the “good” ones!

            • Mick says:

              I also believe that many people refrain from writing negative reports and Amazons rating system favors good ratings for the sellers. A “1” equals a 20% good rating; they need a “0” score.

            • Connie & Mugsy says:

              There are 4 or 5 similar products and none of them do any better in the reviews. Too bad… it is a great idea.

  24. Tawanda says:

    🙂 you certainly stirred the pot of opinions about ‘your life’ this time Sue…
    I was excited to see a new post and as I read knew all was well because, well, you were posting about it…
    Thank you so much for sharing, what an adventure your lil’ after morning coffee stroll became, the kids were lil’ troopers it sounds like and WTG Tom for helping you back to camp!!!

    Always enjoy your wonderful pictures, I still want to be just like you when I grow up and can travel with abandon living on so much less in so many ways, for now will enjoy living vicariously thru your adventures, please keep the “drivel” coming 😉

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Tawanda!

      You’re welcome . . . It’s my pleasure to share our escapades, good and not so good.

      “Travel with abandon” — great description! I’m so glad I’m living life to the fullest at long last. I hope the same for you, too!

  25. Donna in W. Texas says:

    I’ve used that granny voice myself. It helps if you have grey hair and a vague expression.

  26. mockturtle says:

    Life is all about risks. Even getting onto the freeway involves some level of risk. If I die while solo hiking, solo kayaking or in any other outdoor pursuit, critics can–and will–call me stupid–perhaps rightly so. I do take at least a minimum of survival gear with me in a day pack or in my kayak but I choose to do things alone because that’s the way I best enjoy them.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re right. Life is all about risk. Everyone has their own comfort level. As for me — and I suspect for you, too — too much comfort is confining.

      As a woman I’ve been restricted in ways a man can’t fathom. Can’t walk on a beach alone. Can’t walk on a street after dark. Can’t go here, can’t go there, make sure you walk in pairs, get your car keys out before you leave the mall door, can’t do this because that might happen, blah, blah, blah. I’m done with living like a hostage.

      • Tawanda says:

        Ahman sista’

      • cinandjules (NY) says:

        All I have to say is…… that dash. Life is full of’s how you conquer them when they show up. You figured it out…..that’s all that matters.

        If we all lived in a bubble what fun would that be? Your way may not be someone else’s……oh well…they aren’t living your life.

        Everyone dies while doing something……..we just don’t know what that something is. Only the man upstairs knows…..

        With that be safe………..and enjoy your journey.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          That’s the truth… Everyone needs to find out how to live their own life. It took me a long time, but now I know. It might not be a “tidy and safe” life, but it’s all mine!

          Always good to hear from you . . .

          • Connie & Mugsy says:

            I say… better to go doing something you love… rather than many of the other options.

  27. gingerda says:

    wow, that was scary. So glad everything turned out ok. I can see how it would happen, if you are thinking you are just going to walk a little ways, and end up going further than planned.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, Ginger. I get the impression some of my readers think I’d go on a long hike without water, a compass, energy food, etc. We weren’t going on a hike. I wandered before having breakfast. I need to keep my wits about me.

      • gingerda says:

        I hear ya about keeping your wits about you. I am so bad about that, it’s amazing that I’ve never gotten into serious trouble. Shoot, sometimes I am in Target so long I come out and can’t remember where I parked!!

  28. SueMagoo says:

    ‘Bread crumbs’; you were taking photos, could they have been used as your ‘bread crumbs’ back? Just glad you and crew are safe.

  29. CT says:

    Here’s another thought: have you considered taking an Orienteering class? I know you favor boondocking locations, but I’d bet on your travels you might be near a place that offers Orienteering. Just as an example, REI stores offer several orienteering classes. They range from basic map & compass skills to more advanced GPS skills, & usually last a few hours. I haven’t checked into this yet, but I wonder if the USGS, Forest Service or other similar organizations might also offer such classes. Anyway, just another option for you.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi CT . . .

      I don’t mean to sound smug because there is a lot I don’t know. But I used to teach map and compass skills, and the way I live doesn’t include classes. My problem was going into the forest without a plan and without equipment. Thanks for the thought.

  30. John fossildreamer says:

    Sue Like It’s been said, I think It’s time that you pack a couple of energy bar,s
    and some water for you & the guys, oh and while you are packing that, do not
    forget to throw in a large bag of M&M’s, you may even be able to buy them
    from Amazon. So glad it was just a long walk and that you are alright, I do really
    believe that there will be some change,s made on your walks…
    again glad all’s OK.. Safe travels

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi John… All is well that ends well. And fortunately I was able to correct my mistake. It certainly made for an interesting day!

    • Connie & Mugsy says:

      When I first read “take M&Ms,” I thought that you were going to suggest that she use them like breadcrumbs. 🙂

  31. Ruth (TN) says:

    Despite your temporary scare, you must feel wonderful with all the sincere concern from your readers. GPS definitely has its place. The first one I purchased years ago was $1,000 and cumbersome to use (motorcycle travel). The last one I purchased was $159, they have come a long way. My smartphone has an app that is more user friendly than my Garmin. I am a new convert to a smartphone I will admit. So glad the ordeal is over and the crew is none the worse for wear. Stay safe.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Ruth… Do smartphones run off satellite? Would a smartphone work where there is no cell signal?

      Yes, it is amazing that people have concern for me.

      • mockturtle says:

        My sister and BIL have a satellite phone–pretty pricey but well worth it if you do a lot of wilderness camping. A little heavy for backpacking. They take theirs to their cabin, which is in the proverbial ‘middle of nowhere’ and where there is no cell signal.

      • Eddie says:

        The GPS function will work without a cellular signal as long as it can see the satellites and has a map loaded.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I obviously don’t know anything about this topic. Thanks for answering my questions.

      • Ruth (TN) says:

        No I don’t think so. So many great answers. So many of us living vicariously through you! Pat the pooches for Max and me.

  32. Donna D. (stickhouse in CT) says:

    Interesting to note that most of the advice included technology. That’s all well and good but the technology doesn’t help if we don’t have it with us, or don’t own it in the first place. And of course, being prepared ahead of time is best but sometimes, such as this, sh*t happens. We cannot prepare for every eventuality. If we did, we’d never leave our homes and even that could be dangerous!

    What the heck did the pioneers or natives do traveling the country and getting lost? Knowing that moss grows on the north side of trees doesn’t help if you don’t know in which direction your camp or a road lies. Guess I’ll be doing some research.

    On another note: I hope you don’t mind but I have questions about your blog. Before you switched to self hosting, did you buy the custom design option with wordpress? I see that the custom design is $30 a year. But without it, you really can’t do much individualization.

    Do you have any other hints about using WordPress when just starting?

    One of my sons, who does websites, said he’d help me out when I’m ready to self-host and have ads. I’m not even close to being there yet though.

    Thanks for your help!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Donna,

      I started blogging with the free WordPress. Then I kicked it up a notch to the WordPress that costs $26 a year. There is a Premium WordPress, but I never tried that.

      I don’t have any hints. Choosing your theme determines a lot. My theme is 3 years old and there are lots of new ones… flashier, more modern, and such . . . but I like the plain simplicity of the twenty-ten theme. It’s all a matter of taste, your blog’s content, and the atmosphere you wish to create. I’m not sure what the “custom designed” themes are.

      Basically I learned WP by watching the WP tutorials and once in a great while I looked up a question I had on the WP forum. Good luck! I hope I answered your question.

  33. Angie2B says:

    Sue, I bet you would really like geocashing. We have a GPS and try to go a couple times a year. It’s a lot of fun. Something you might consider, its kinda pricey, but one of those distress beacons might be really handy for you. I am sure someone here can explain what I am talking about. Hikers use them in remote areas. Now on to the real reason I posted….

    It still amazes me how quick people are these days to jump in with such a negative opinion. Mr Grumpypants from above needs to calm down. There is a way to voice a concern that shows an elegance of behavior, then there is the way Mr Grumpypants reacted. Kinda of tired of the way online courtesy is nearly non-existent these days. Sue, everyone has a moment in their live’s that they wish they could have been better prepared for, it happens. (Well apparently not to some people, but I am trying not to continue to be snarky) It’s the difference between living life and just existing. Even with you getting lost, you have shared amazing things with this group and taken me to places I know I will never get to on my own. I know that if I had not been one of the one’s “sitting at home praising your example” i would have never, NEVER, had the courage to pull our camper after my husband’s stroke. I kept thinking, if RVSue can do this so can I.
    There are a few people in my life that I can point to and say, that person made a difference in my life… are one of them. Peace out. 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:


      “. . . if RVSue can do this so can I.” That’s one of the nicest things I’ve ever heard relating to my life. I’m in tears. Thank you.

  34. Angie2B says:

    This is what I was talking about. Might be good not only forvyour hikes, but in your camper too if you got in trouble out of range of help.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Interesting system… I can’t see me doing that though.

      It may seem like I go to remote places but I don’t really. There are so many people on this planet… at least in the “pretty” places… that somebody always comes along, or I can summon help. The crew and I went on this long “hike” because of my absentmindedness and carelessness. I’ll pay attention and be more careful in the future.

  35. ronaldesears says:

    how’s the saying go….I’ve been confused of where I was, but I’ve never been lost…anyway glad you made it out…would hate to see you on the evening news!! It happens! Be safe..

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I would hate to be on the evening news, too, Ron. That thought occurred to me as we were climbing the ridge. I imagined getting up to the top, looking 360 degrees, and seeing nothing but Ponderosa pine. One thing I never want to do is ride up a rope to get into a helicopter. LOL

  36. Rita from Phoenix says:

    Maybe it’s the Native in me but I have never gotten lost in the woods even in dense forest (my grandma has tho LOL). However, deep in the tunnels of NY, I kept getting lost no natural sunlight or point of interest to direct me. It was my younger sister who kept it together getting from one location to the next on the subway system. West bound felt like East bound, etc. I also live in AZ which means we Zonies have to be prepared even just walking to store….always carry water. I have a back pack that is hiking prepared and all I do is put it on and know everything I need is in it i.e. headflash light, a magnifying glass, whistle, warming blanket, water, meds, small first aid kit, water purifier, a little fire starter (looks like a little cup with two prongs), gaze and two rolls of nylon (I cut the legs off my panty hose), a gadget that has knife, spoon, scissors, screw driver, etc all in one, and my sling shot to name a few. I also keep my hiking poles, and homemade rattle in the coat closet to grab as I go out the door. I’d say the only heavy item is water. If I plan on a long trip, I do like you do and carry jugs of water, sleeping bag, sweat outfit, hiking boots, emergency car tools (I made a bag also like my back pack), cargo blanket in case I have to get down on ground. I have change my truck tires using cargo rope w/pully to help left the tire up…darn truck tires are heavy! Being single most of my life, I’ve learn to repair, washer, dryer, stove, some truck repairs (biggest obstacle is not having the strength to turn a screw or nut), hot water heater. I think you are very gutsy person to embark on an adventure all alone and boon dock to boot! I recently told another blogger who is starting out to read your blog…’RVSue had made many mistakes and has learned from them all.’ She thought that was very cool and so do I.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Wow, Rita! You have taken “be prepared” to a whole, new level. I always enjoy your comments from your interesting life.

      Yes, I make mistakes. I like to think of them, rather, as lessons! And sometimes they’re simply reminders . . . Thank you for sharing my blog with a beginner blogger and for your kind words.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hey, Steve! Thanks a lot for the link! Lake Hill is a good place to study bugs.

      You’re “chomping at the bit” to get up that canyon. 🙂

  37. Bethers says:


    I’m not trying to be mean but it puzzles me when you say something phenomenally empowering like this:

    “As a woman I’ve been restricted in ways a man can’t fathom. Can’t walk on a beach alone. Can’t walk on a street after dark. Can’t go here, can’t go there, make sure you walk in pairs, get your car keys out before you leave the mall door, can’t do this because that might happen, blah, blah, blah. I’m done with living like a hostage.”

    and then go bat your eyelashes at the nearest mechanic when it comes to simple things regarding the van especially while living the life of a boondocker.

    It’s really not hard to learn and do some of the simple stuff like wipers, lights, air filters, fuses, even oil changes, etc and you will be proud of yourself. If you can get a hold of the owner’s manual, and a Chilton’s or a Haynes manual (a little easier) for your make/model that’s a good start. Yes, your eyes might glaze over a bit, but lots of things are challenging when we first give them a try. No one’s expecting you to drop an engine, but you can if you want! 😉

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Bethers!

      I remember reading your blog back when full-timing was a vague dream!

      Yes, my behavior and words are contradictory. What it comes down to is this… My time is precious. I would love to learn to be a mechanic and have the right tools and be able to solve every mechanical problem that comes up. But I’m not going to invest much time in the pursuit of mechanical skills at this point in my life. My heart and mind and spirit are on another path, and so too are my energies.

      I’m 65 years old and who knows how much time I have. I do things for myself when I get some enjoyment or satisfaction out of it. But if I can pay someone else to do some things for me, I’m going to do it rather than spend any part of my day scraping knuckles and cursing….

      I am flattered that you think I could employ feminine wiles on an auto repair guy who will probably turn out to be half my age. Sometimes I write stuff just because I think it’s cute or funny or it wraps up a blog entry with a bow. Don’t take me too seriously. 🙂

      I may replace the fuse myself or I may ask someone to do it for me. Depends upon how I feel and which is easiest.

      So to sum it up… Yes, “you can if you want” is the key. I don’t know that I want. There’s so much else I’d rather do.

    • Connie & Mugsy says:

      IMHO her comment about living life as a female in a dangerous world has zero relationship to … fluttering one’s eyelashes or using one’s age in hopes that this car guy isn’t going to try to “screw you” financially. Both are examples of knowing one’s limits and how to survive in our world as it is… not how we’d like it to be.

  38. tinycamper says:

    Hi, Sue,

    I was on the edge of my seat reading about your adventure. SO GLAD you and the crew made it to the 5er and the water bowl!

    I’ve gotten lost in the woods before and wandered around until almost dark. I did have a fanny pack with a water bottle, ultralight tarp, firestarter, a few supplies and a snack. So I could have made it fine overnight. Fortunately I took one more look and found a landmark I recognized and made it back to my camp.

    Stay footloose and fancy free. That is what living is all about. But a fanny pack couldn’t hurt! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Isn’t it a great feeling when you realize you can make it home? Maybe my being lost was a good thing. My appreciation for what I have, for what I call home, has been elevated to new heights! LOL

      I have a waist pack (it’s on one of my Shopping Links pages). Now I have to remember to use it.

      I agree… Really living for me is staying “footloose and fancy free.”

  39. Jean wheatley says:

    my youngest and her girls got lost before on horseback, WITH a gps, they just wandered til they heard hiway noise came out in a so-park. So much for horses knowing the way home no where near camp!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      So glad your family made it back to camp okay. You reminded me of something…

      As the crew and I were wandering around the forest, I strained to hear any noise indicating people. I said out loud, “Where the heck is an ATV when you need one?” Ha! The dang things only make noise when I don’t need to hear them.

  40. Val R. Lakefield On. says:

    Oh my, what a day you & the crew have had. Glad you are all safe and sound
    I cut this out of the paper a few years back and have yet to try it.
    Watch how to get your bearings.
    “If you are lost somewhere or disoriented, an ordinary watch can be used as a compass.
    Just point the hour hand of the watch towards the sun and SOUTH will always be halfway between that very same hand and “12” on the face..
    I probably would never remember it if lost.
    Stay safe & stop skipping breakfast 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Val . . . I never heard that one before. Very clever!

      Believe me, I never intended to skip breakfast. 🙂

  41. Mark Watson says:

    If you get a GPS, test it out in broad daylight. Many have dim displays that are really hard to see clearly in broad sunlight.
    I always have a back pack for possible emergency measures. In it I have the really necessary stuff, like water, snacks, and just in case I have to spend the night lost, a can of off mosquito repellent. But the most important item of all in the back pack is….

    toilet paper. 😉

    Mark Watson

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Mark . . . Oh, so you’re the guy to whom everyone runs for the things they forgot to pack!

      Yes, that’s one item you don’t want to be without. Last time I was in a Wal-Mart I bought the 12-roll pack of 1-ply, for that same reason. That’s my interpretation of “Be Prepared.”

  42. Donna in W. Texas says:

    As I used to tell my nieces and nephews…”Aunt Donna doesn’t get lost, she just has adventures”.

  43. Phyllis says:

    I read this the night you posted it and what I can’t get out of my mind is that you didn’t really talk too much about Tom. You usually bring your characters to life. Did you scare Tom? Did he think you were doing this instead of, come on RVSue give it up. Tell us about Tom.

    Yeah, I’m glad you and your crew are ok. I chuckled a little when I read that you taught map and compass skills, sorry. I wouldn’t know what to do with a compass. Just learn how to yell like Tarzan. I can hardly wait for your new post, it’s becoming very suspenseful.

    Phyllis in Oklahoma

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Phylllis .. .

      Interesting question . . . I do like to include people I meet as characters in the stories I tell about what happens in my life and the lives of Bridget and Spike.

      I decided not to include my interaction with Tom because it wouldn’t have added much to the story. I was only with him a few minutes in the short ride back to the campground and our conversation was the usual, superficial stuff like “Where are you from?”

      Remember high school English class? “exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and revelation.” Bloggers don’t usually follow that. Some of my blog entries, however, are written in story form so I follow (somewhat) rising action, climax, falling action. Adding Tom would have made the story fizzle out at the end.

      I wanted a “Whew! They made it home.” ending, not an ending about Tom once living in New York State. 🙂

  44. Alan Rabe says:

    Hi Sue, I am new to your blog and have been reading it for a few weeks now in utter amazement. Sorry you got yourself lost. I have two suggestions. First, you are carrying the best tool for not getting lost, your camera. Just turn around when you change directions and shoot the way you came, then you just follow your pictures back. Second, Chalk. I use it in the canyons out west and in unknown forests when I go off trail, I just scratch along the way marking my way as I go. There are always plenty of rocks and trees to mark. Pretend your Spike. Then follow your way back. The side walk chalk kids use is great for this.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Alan, and welcome to my blog! I love that you decided to join the conversation here.

      I really like that chalk idea. One could draw arrows on trees and fence posts and stumps which would wash off with the first rain. I’m glad you shared it here for all my readers.

  45. Pauline says:

    Sorry you got lost. It must have been a frightening experience. Thank the Lord you got home safely and perhaps have learned a valuable lesson. I won’t preach… 🙂 Love you.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Pauline . . . No need to preach. I’ve been told good by some of my readers. 🙂

      If I don’t get an email out to you before you leave, have a great time in New York! Love you!

  46. Timber n' Rusty says:

    Hi Sue, our power was not working, but she’s charging now even in cloud cover. Wow We have missed a lot. and you and your pups getting lost. Please be careful while out and about, Mr., GrisslyBear roams all over up there,,,, Glad you and your crew made it back to your camp safely ,,,,,,Rusty n’ Timber

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Rusty!

      I was about to email you to make sure you and Timber are okay. It’s awful to be without power. Glad you’re back. I missed you!

  47. Dave says:

    Hi Sue….Just want to say thank you for all the good info that comes from your experiences. You have no idea how much I learned from you while building my own site. I have found that though most readers get it, there are a few that don’t seem to understand that everything in life is not serious. As a wannabe writer, while sticking to facts, I like to be creative to make things interesting and fun as do you. I presume you did not get this far by being foolish. I find your way of telling stories a lot of fun and the cliff hangers are great. Keep them coming. You have a great following and a lot of people out here who genuinely care for your well being.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Very well said, Dave! And what wonderful compliments! Thank you.

      You will find, if you haven’t already, that there will be times when composing a blog entry that you’ll ask yourself, “Do I really want to write this and have the 1% – 2% jump all over me because they make assumptions, don’t read carefully, have issues on this topic, etc.?”

      Usually I go ahead anyway! Ha! It’s a mine field, but overall it’s fun.

      Let loose with your creativity, Dave . . . Let it fly across cyberspace! You have a good heart which will come through your writing over time to the benefit of your readers.

      • Donna D. (stickhouse in CT) says:

        Plus, there is also the delete button! (I tend to use that a lot on my Facebook page. lol

  48. Elizabeth says:

    Glad you are ok!! Idaho can have more wild critters than some other locations you know….you at least need to take along a good strong walking stick and maybe some other precautions, as well as food and water…or one of those nice drinking things that has a good filter in case you have to drink from a stream (highly not recommended unless life or death….shirt tale relative died several years, painful years at that, after drinking from a stream and catching “beaver fever”).

    Enjoy the gorgeous beauty of Idaho…truly a unique place.
    Elizabeth working for free for daughter in WA state

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Elizabeth . . . Thanks for the word of caution. How terrible for your relative!

  49. Deb from NJ says:

    Oh Dear! Glad to hear that the outcome was a good one and everyone was safe.

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