Bumblebee Meadows on the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene

Sunday, August 11 (continued)

The Perfect Tow Vehicle chugs westward on Interstate 90, up and through Lookout Pass at 4,680 feet.

1-P1060535-001We zip past green highway signs for towns with names like students on a classroom attendance list . . .  Mullen, Wallace, Osburn, Kellogg, Bueller . . . Bueller?  Bueller?

Past Smelterville and Pinehurst we exit at the village of Kingston.

Route 9, also known as the Coeur d’Alene River Road, leads the PTV northward. The peaceful atmosphere changes. People and cars buzz around in a frantic pace, looking for fun, I guess, on this sunny Sunday afternoon.  We cross a bridge where excited floaters haul their inflatables down to the Coeur d’Alene River.


After a little over five miles the PTV turns west onto the Bumblebee Cutoff.

We’re on our way to Bumblebee Campground in the Coeur d’Alene National Forest.  The road traces the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River.  Shortly before the pavement ends and the road turns to gravel, the campground sign appears.  The campground road takes us into increasingly dense forest.


The campground is small and heavily shaded. 

Parking spurs are short.  The boughs of immense conifers block the sun and thick vegetation crowds the campsites.  Too dark and gloomy and we’re not on the river! 

As the PTV carries us out of the campground, I shake my head at the $16 a night fee ($8 with senior pass) and this is without hook-ups.  Most of the sites are filled, having been reserved.  We can do better than this!

I backtrack a mile or so to a National Forest spur road.

Aha!  This is Bumblebee Meadows!


I read online about this dispersed camping area.  People wrecked the meadow, rutting the roads with OHVs, littering the campsites with trash, garbage, five-gallon buckets of feces, beer bottles, used furniture.  Music played until dawn — It was a full-scale mess.  Read the story in the July 29, 2007 issue of The Sentinel-Review, “Free Camping’s Steep Cost.”

In 2007 National Forest personnel stepped in and cleaned it up.

Hundreds of pounds of trash, including those buckets of feces, were hauled away.  Port-o-potties were brought in.   Abuse of the meadows is no longer tolerated.

Now, six years later, Bumblebee Meadows is lovely.

Bees buzz over masses of yellow flowers.

1-P1060572The roads are in pretty good condition with only a few dips where water settles.


Campsites are green and clean.  Signs make it clear that this is not a place to act like an immature jerk.



Two campsites at one end of the meadow are occupied.

I drive to the other end of the meadow and look for a site.  Hmm . . . None of these have shade.   Well, this one’s nice . . .  wide open with easy access to the river.  Concrete posts show where to park.

I let out the crew.

2-P1060570Excitedly Bridget and Spike fan out like inspectors, weaving across the lush grass, sniffing as they go.  Forgetting that Spike doesn’t hear well, out of his view I say, “C’mon!  Let’s go see the river!”

6-P1060555Bridget and I get there first.  Spike hurries to catch up.


The water is cold, of course, and deliciously refreshing on this hot afternoon.


This little lady is worn out from the ride and the heat.  Look at her eyes.  She needs to take a nap after cooling off in the river.

5-P1060554Gee, I’d better go back and put out the awning so the sun isn’t beating down on the refrigerator side of the BLT.

Spike lingers.

He seems right at home here.  I love to see my boy so happy and content.


I put out the awning and my camp chair. 

As I’m fussing around setting up camp, a couple stop their car on the lane and call out to me.

“Are you leaving or are you setting up?”

“I’m setting up.  Why?”

“We’re leaving and that site back there is nice.  It’s shady and the river is right there.”

“Thanks!  Maybe I’ll move over there.”

1-P1060558Well, I haven’t done much.  I could move us over there without too much effort.

We make the move and I agree . . . It’s a very pretty, shady camp.

The next post I’ll show photos of the new camp and also I’ll tell you about another episode in which I get a bit feisty.  Yep, RVSue did it again!



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Portable External USB 3.0 Hard Drive Storage
Camp Stove by Kelly Kettle
Nalgene Tritan BPA-Free Water Bottle
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Kangaroom Recycle Bags, Set of 2

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34 Responses to Bumblebee Meadows on the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene

  1. Hotel California says:

    “Bueller . . . Bueller? Bueller?” One of our all time favorites. Love the principal at the end. “Bomp, bomp, oh yeah”.

  2. AZ Jim says:

    Sue? Feisty? Naw! Not our Sue…. Go get ’em missy….I like this area and I think the crew does too. Just had to replace my split system A/C heat pump. Spent last night in the house at…..ready for this?…..94 degrees!! Now I’m a few thousand lighter but MUCH cooler. Outside temp this minute….108, inside 78. Have fun there Sue.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good heavens, Jim! You must have baked! Glad you’re back to 78 degrees…

      • AZ Jim says:

        My dear neighbors invited us to spend the night with them last night in their spare BR but you know how that is, I thanked them and refused. They are wonderful neighbors and friends. Tonight I called them and asked if we could spend tonight at their place ’cause it’s so damn cold here. They got a laugh outta that. Take care Missy…

  3. Alan Rabe says:

    Another great site and all for free. I am looking at the area with google earth and it looks like there are several campsites along the river. Looks like a great area. Ya think I could get a 40 footer in there. 🙂 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Well, Alan, you may be looking at campsites between Kingston at the interstate and the boundary of the National Forest. I assume those sites are not free as they look like they’re on private property where owners charge for camping.

      You could get a 40 footer in Bumblebee Meadows. I think. It might be a bit tight making the turn from the road into the Meadows.

      • Alan Rabe says:

        No not at Kingston, but along Little North Fork Rd. right at the intersection of Bumblebee Road. There are three turn outs to the river with a loop and camp sites, not formal campgrounds, but right on the river.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Yes, I remember those. They’re good, free, NF campsites. They were occupied when we went by.

  4. gingerda says:

    I like the third picture of the narrow road between the trees. Also the lake picture.
    I am on the edge of my seat waiting to hear what the heck you did. lol.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      The forest is quite nice, but I have to put the PTV under sunshine!

      I hesitated about posting what I did. Now that I’ve mentioned it, I can’t back down. Ginger needs to know!

      • EmilyO of KS says:

        Me too. Whenever you are “feisty” we need to know!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          So weird that you commented right now. I was thinking about you, Emily!

          • EmilyO of KS says:

            Must be that clear Idaho air the thought waves are getting thru. Am still here, just getting my ducks in a row for the move in 6 weeks. No nibbles on the house. Not worried.

  5. Chip Cavender says:

    Alan beat me to my question. I have a 32ft class A so I should be able to fit. Right? Love your pictures. I have become addicted to your blog!!!!!! I get a kick out of Spike running to sit in the water. 🙂
    Long distance hugs!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Chip . . . So happy to hear about your addiction problem! It’s my pleasure to be your supplier . . . Thanks for the compliment on my photos.

      Yeah, Spike is something. Before long he’ll be considered a boondocking icon.

      You know, I really shouldn’t have told Alan he could get his 40-footer in Bumblebee Meadows. What the heck do I know about big rigs! The road is narrow as you can see from the photo. To enter it you have to make a 90 degree turn off another narrow road. Don’t know how that would work.

      Hey, thanks for the hugs!

      • Alan Rabe says:

        The issue isn’t so much as turning radius. Most of the extra length of a 40 footer is behind the rear wheels. It is got a big booty. The main issue is the “angle of descent”. I only have about 8 inches between the road and my hydraulic levelers. So the drop off between the pavement or main road and the camp ground road is what is critical. Too much and major damage.
        Anyway, I was following the main road along the river and There are all kinds of interesting places for cruising for snaps as I call it. There is also a place about a mile from you where, according to the “New And Improved” google maps in earth mode, there are edible wild mushrooms growing.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I didn’t know that was your concern. I certainly can understand you not wanting to damage your rig. I can’t advise you to go to Bumblebee Meadows.

          I read somewhere about mushroom-hunting being an activity for people camped at Bumblebee Campground. Google maps are amazing!

  6. Spencer says:

    We thought the same thing about Bumblebee campground… Tight, crowded, $16 and not even on the river. We missed the FS spur road (FS 323?) that leads to Bumblebee Meadows. Do you mind sharing where you read about the clean up online? Would love to hit that place next year… Thanks Sue..

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Spencer . . . I wanted to include a link to the article in this post as I was writing but the article wouldn’t open up for me. I’m glad you asked for it. I tried again today and voila! I put a link about the Bumblebee Meadows mess within the post.

      I don’t recall the road number. The closer you get to Bumblebee Campground the more you’ll see areas to the left where aqua-colored port-o-potties are scattered about and people camp along the river. These are the National Forest free camp areas. They aren’t difficult to find.

  7. Another beautiful campsite! With WiFi ??? WoW! Hope you plan to spend a few days there! The flowered meadow dancing with bees, the river, the space… wow! Just sounds too good to be true! Next week we move to a nearby RV park for a month, it has a salt water swimming pool! YaY! It will be like a mini vacation! I have gotten almost to the point that I can’t do much more here with Chuck and the pups interupting me every minute and Chuck needs to re-arrange the bays of the MotherShip! So a campground it is! Emily O, I promise it will be all ready for you when you get here! I sure wish we could head up to Idaho and meet you at that meadow, it just looks sooooo relaxing! Hugs to Spike and Bridget! from Radar and DoogieBowser!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Geri . . . Oh boy, you’re gonna’ have a great time! Just getting away from the scene of months of preparations will refresh you. I suspect you and Chuck have already given up your permanent home in your minds and hearts. That would make it difficult to stay, I should think. Be sure to blog about your salt water swimming pool. . .

      I wish we could be together here, too. You would love it!

      However, there isn’t any WiFi or MiFi or whatever . . . I create the illusion of there being internet here by posting on my blog. The posting was done at a rest stop along the interstate while sitting in the PTV. Am I dedicated or what?

      Hello Radar and DoogieBowser! Enjoy your vacation!

  8. John fossildreamer says:

    Hi Sue, You know those people who must go visit all the major league
    ball parks, and there are the others that must play golf on all the important course’s
    Well every time you post another pic. of Spike roughing it at the water’s edge
    I do believe his goal in life is to lay in as many river’s as possible…
    at times a creek will do.. It’s a great life Sue I know Spike Thanks you,,
    Safe travels

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi John . . . Interesting theory! 🙂

      Not only does Spike have rivers and creeks on his list, but also lakes, reservoirs, and ponds. He’s set his body down into water in some beautiful places … Elephant Butte Lake (NM), Eagle Lake (CA), Clark Canyon Reservoir (MT), Brooks Lake (WY), Cottonwood Springs Lake (SD), Navarro Mills Lake (TX), Upper Kents Lake (UT) and the pond at Willard Springs and Fortuna Pond (AZ).

      Next he needs to soak in a lake in Washington!

      Spike? Thank me? I’m lucky he lets me sleep in the same bed.

  9. cinandjules (NY) says:

    Somehow you always have that “6th sense”…….we’re not settling for this…onward we go crew!

    Poor Bridget does look tired…as for Spike…he’s daydreaming and not paying any attention to anyone!

    I’ve never been to Idaho…thanks for letting us join you!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, cinandjules!

      I don’t know if it’s a 6th sense. It may simply be my cheap nature… “No way I’m gonna’ spend $8 for this!”

  10. cinandjules (NY) says:

    Nothing wrong with being frugal!

  11. Sherry says:

    We are on the same wave length, “no way am I going to pay $8 for nothing”. Love Bumblebee meadows. I’ll bet we could get Winnona in there. Sounds fantastic! My list of great campsites you’ve been in is getting ridiculously long. You sure can pick em’!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      The crew and I have camped in great places. It’s true. I don’t know that it takes a special skill. Just don’t settle for less!

  12. BuckeyePatti says:

    What an absolutely gorgeous picture of where Spike is lingering in the water. You sure do have the knack in finding the most awesome sites. To expand on Johnfossildreamer’s thoughts: I can just picture a travel book by Spike called, “Spike’s Special Soaking Spots”. How fun!

  13. Well thank goodness they got that place cleaned up, it’s a shame that it was such a mess at one time. It’s beautiful now, and we get to see Spike and Bridget enjoying the water! Thanks for sharing your lovely pics, look forward to hearing the story where you get feisty!

  14. Tom W says:

    Seeing Spike soaking in the streams and lakes always makes me laugh. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dog who likes the water so much.

    Thanks for letting us follow along on your adventures!

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