Fleeing the smoke across Montana continues!

Monday, August 7

The crew and I wait until fellow campers in the RV park are up and about before going for a brisk walk this morning.

We head down to Rock Creek again.

Then we make our way around the RV park.

While crossing the playground, Reggie is alarmed by a small horse!  Roger shows him it’s okay.

We pass the laundromat (or laundry mat, according to the park’s sign).

It would be nice to do some laundry before leaving.  No, we’d better leave in case finding our next camp isn’t easy.

We walk the forest road at Ekstrom’s Stage Station RV Park, the part that isn’t blocked by the forest service.

The fuzzy view of the mountain shows that smoke lingers in our area.

By nine o’clock, the crew and I are in the Perfect Tow Vehicle.

Driving past the RV park office, I have a plan for the next part of our journey to get away from smoke.

We board Interstate 90 east and are reunited with Clark Fork flowing alongside.

About fifty miles later, before the interstate turns south to Deer Lodge, we exit at Garrison Junction.  From there, Route 12 keeps us on an easterly track toward Helena, the capitol of Montana.

To reach Helena the PTV faces the challenge of climbing to MacDonald Pass in Helena National Forest.  Even though the elevation of the pass is only 6,325 feet, the grade is steep and relentless.

At the top I pull off Route 12 and park on a forest road.

I want to give the PTV a rest, to take the crew on a walk-around, and to share a lunch of sliced smoked turkey with them.

I’m not aware of any smoke up here; the air is cool and fresh.

If wildfires weren’t popping up all over and if there weren’t dry timber everywhere (the work of pine beetles?), I’d find us a camp on this forest road.

Instead we roll down the mountain to Helena where we’re caught in a traffic snarl due to road construction within the city limits.

Eventually we work our way through that, come out on the east side, and take Route 280 about fifteen miles to our destination . . .

Canyon Ferry Lake!

And darn that sign spoiling this photo!

I stop for another classic photo of the crew.

“It won’t be long now, guys.  There are a bunch of campgrounds around the lake.  But seeing all these people coming and going towing boats, I think we’ll find less activity on the river side of the dam.”

The first campground we look at suits us fine.

Riverside is a Bureau of Reclamation campground and, as the name proclaims, it is right on the river.  I choose a site on a promontory at the end so no other camper is in our view.

View is important to me!

From this site we have a clear view of the river right next to us.  A welcome breeze comes from the water.

We also have an unobstructed view of the dam.

And Verizon signal is strong enough so I can go online!  The campground fee is $15 regular and $7.50 with senior discount pass.

I’m delighted to have found this camp!  

More about our stay at Riverside in the next post!



I appreciate every order, large or small.  These links show you a few of the products that readers recently purchased from Amazon:

Frameless Wall Mirror
Top Entry Cat Litter Box
3-in-1 Air Cleaning System
6 Cup Nonstick Popover Pan
Montana Road Atlas (Benchmark)
BBQ Grill and Firepit Charcoal Cooker


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47 Responses to Fleeing the smoke across Montana continues!

  1. Cynthia from San Clemente says:

    First again? I’m faster than Sue fleeing a fire!

    • rvsueandcrew says:


      I have to back out of comments. Carry on, blogorinos! Love you!

  2. Kay Dattilio says:

    Hello Sue and Crew, I read every day but haven’t posted in a long time! I love your pictures of the dogs, they are adorable and you always, well, usually pick out the best sites! I’ve always wanted to go to Wyoming and Montana so I enjoy those pictues too! We’re getting ready for the big eclipse here where I live. They are expecting thousands of people so I’m just going to hang out with my 89 year old neighbor and watch it. He’s a hoot! He’s afraid the moon won’t move and it’ll be dark forever! Keep posting!

    Kay from KC!

  3. Susan says:

    That looks nice and with blue sky ! I am currently in Montana as well. Tent camping. Spent 9 days in Glacier National park which was not to smokey but sure enough crowded. Right now am at Flathead lake in a town called Polson. Got a room for 2 nights cause the smoke it bad and I am coughing. After here, I still have till August 29th (when I start a house sit in Vancouver , Washington. Where do you suggest Sue, to get away from the smoke? I am thinking maybe parts of Washington have cleared up now??? This camp you posted looks nice. I will have to look it up. I keep thinking I might run into you along the way. I started a blog awhile back but have not kept it up yet. Ooppsss. Well, for one thing, internet was not happening in Glacier.

    • Cynthia from San Clemente says:

      Susan:I took at your blog and it is very interesting – I hope you find the time and means to keep it up. If you are concerned about staying clear of the smoke, you might want to take a look at the “US Wildfire Activity Public Information Map” which is on the internet – just google it. It has quite a bit of detail about where the fires are.

    • Dawn in Asheville says:

      I agree with Cynthia – sounds like quite an interesting journey you are taking and I’d like to see more on your blog. Just some gorgeous pictures too – that pond you walked around, I can see why you’ll miss it! But you’ll find so many new gorgeous spots to keep you busy!

    • Dawn in MI says:

      Susan I enjoyed the beginning of your blog and hope you continue!

    • Ginger says:

      I looked at your blog, Susan, and really liked what you have so far.

  4. Jack Spratter says:

    Hi Sue:

    I hope that you can be in position of totality for the solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017. I have never seen a photograph or video that can properly image the sun’s corona during totality like what we are able to see with our eyes.

    Take care,


  5. Cynthia from San Clemente says:

    Looks like you found a really nice place. How long can you stay there? The usual 14 day limit? Love the photo with the boyz looking out the window at the water – they are such lucky guys to be with you 24/7 and have new places to explore and smell all the time. The tales those tails could tell to poor, housebound dogs!!

  6. Jolene/Iowa says:

    Wow Sue, this is wonderful! I would love this camp as well! I have been enjoying this summer in Montana!

  7. Vicki & Kitty campin' says:

    Top Ten!

    • Vicki & Kitty campin' says:

      Great post once again, beautiful pictures & Oh! The boys are just soo cute.
      Safe travels

  8. Robin B (Oregon & Arizona) says:

    A word of warning: If anyone is planning on heading to Oregon in order to view the total eclipse, everyone else has the same idea and the roads are going to be crazy leading to the swath of totality. Right now the road east of Prineville is closed with a 15-mile back-up of gridlock. Bend is reporting long gas lines with some stations running out–for now anyway. Good times. We plan on staying put in our house and watching from the backyard.

    In better news, even though there are wildfires in the Cascades, the Willamette Valley and coast are not smoky. That is good news for us.

  9. Ladybug in Mid-Tenn says:

    Help! I’m lost. Are we taking 280 to Canyon Lake? I only see a 284…..

    I’m outside of Nashville; thank goodness I thought to ask for Monday off MONTHS ago! We’re expecting 50-200,000 visitors Monday.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Look north of Route 284.

      Route 280 goes from the east side of Helena to Canyon Ferry Lake in a northeasterly direction.

    • Deena in Phoenix says:

      Hi Ladybug, I90 to Helena, MT, ST RT 289 is north on I15 then east at Custer Ave which is also 480 then 280 is left at York Rd. Hope this helps.

    • Dawn in Asheville says:

      I can imagine! You were smart. I thought about just heading over to Traveler’s Rest – about a 35 minute drive – which is in the zone, maybe have a nice lunch and catch it in the parking lot, but the interstate is already a mess on a normal day. Soooo we’re outside the zone a little but just going to do the backyard.

    • Barbara (Nashville) says:

      Ladybug I am just south of Nashville. Taking Monday off was smart. Have you seen all the expressway signs warning of high traffic congestion on Monday? Like traffic isn’t a zoo on any given day. Haha! I did get my approved glasses at the science center last week, so we will be watching from the yard.

      • Ladybug in Mid-Tenn says:

        I’m in Clarksville, so we’re supposed to be crazy too! I thought about going out to eat somewhere special that day (I rarely eat out) but I don’t think that’ll be happening either. My backyard is looking better and better!

        • Barbara (Nashville) says:

          Know what you mean there. My SilverSneakers instructor is going up to Percy Priest lake to their boat on Sunday night and will stay for the eclipse on Monday. The marina sent out an email to them advising to get gas and food early as they are expecting the biggest usage of the lake that day. I am excited about this lifetime experience, but gosh what a commotion and hassle! Enjoy!

  10. Suzicruzi from The 'Couve says:

    Heeeyyay- Happy Eclipse weekend everyone. We’re stocked up and staying in. Stay safe everyone!
    Suzicruzi 😎

  11. Marcia GB in MA says:

    What a beauty of a camp! I really like this one 😊 Glad you and the boys are out of the smoke.

  12. Pat in Rochester says:

    I love the little tree (blue spruce?) in your new camp. At least it looks little in the photos. Another beautiful site.

  13. Deena in Phoenix says:

    Hi Sue, wonderful day spent with a WAC Sister that also lives in Phoenix…been FB pals for several years yet neither knew we lived with miles of each other when I lived in Peoria, AZ now that I’m in Phx, added a few more miles. Nice to share photos from our enlistments, mine in ’68 and hers in ’72.
    Seems my training and water aerobic classes are paying off in less inches, less weight and less pain in the knees.
    Maybe a new ESA is in my future with more weight loss…working toward next spring!
    Love the view and amm glad you are in a smoke free zone.

  14. Diann in MT says:

    Of course! You found the best place around! Love your resilience, Sue!

  15. Rachel says:

    Hey Sue and Crew!

    I am glad you are escaping the smoke! The entire West Coast seems to be having trouble with fires all the way up into British Columbia. My son and I have found a great location to stay for the solar eclipse and we’re excited about being able to see that. We’re here in Tennessee right now. By the way, just so you know, I am back on the road again, as they say, and happy to be so. A long story I’ll tell you about sometime. I hope you’re having a wonderful day! Macha sends love and kisses.

    Take care 0, talk to you soon!

  16. Taunja Arzu says:

    Hi rvsue and crew:)
    I am just wondering if I click on your amazon link and order stuff do you get credit for my ordering stuff? Even if it’s not one of your products you have listed? I’m only asking because I order a lot off of amazon and if all I have to do is click your link to order so you can get credit, I would be more than happy to do that!

    • Dawn in Asheville says:

      And while we are asking, what about if we click on link and then go order products on our lists…or do we need to start fresh adding them to the cart?

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Dawn… I’m not completely sure but I don’t think I get credit for items placed on a wish list when the customer entered Amazon from some other portal than a link or ad on my blog.

        Think of it this way… I’m earning a commission for bringing customers to Amazon, not for finalizing sales.

        Another reader was putting items in a wish list and then going through my blog to put them in her cart and actually buying them. I didn’t get a commission on those items.

        Thanks for asking about this, Dawn.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Welcome, Taunja Arzu!

      “if I click on your amazon link and order stuff do you get credit…?” Yes, I do! Thanks!

  17. Cinandjules 🌵 says:

    Safe travels!
    Laundry chores are more eventful in town!

  18. Robin B (Oregon & Arizona) says:

    Gorgeous country and we really need to get up there sometime but it won’t be in our little trailer.

    Back in June I reported we had purchased a sweet little 1984 Fiber Stream 16′ trailer. We worked hard on getting her “road-ready” and had a wonderful camping trip in Lake Tahoe. Unfortunately, the final decision was that she was just a wee bit too petite for two of us and we really need something a smidge bigger. So now “Marilyn” (named for her pretty corner curves) is now living with a young guy and his girlfriend who have already taken her out in style. Last weekend she went to the beach and this weekend she’s going to a country music festival. They’ll take her places we never would so I’m sure Marilyn will be much happier in her new life. In the meantime, we are trailer-free and looking forward to heading south to Arizona in about 8 weeks.

    Safe travels everyone!

  19. Barbara (Nashville) says:

    Riverside is certainly a lovely campground. Hope you can stay awhile. Everything here is revolving around the eclipse on Monday. The local news folks & meteorologists are having a field day. I have have to say I am excited myself. We will keep Angel inside while it is going on. She will not be happy though. Love the double R’s looking out the window and Reggie’s excitement over the horse.

  20. Li says:

    Cute to see Reg watching you closely in that last doggie photo. Glad you have climbed out of the smoke zone and lucked upon a great site. Enjoy your travels.

  21. Lauri says:

    Since your posts aren’t current, I have no idea where you are….BUT I was wondering if you’re planning to AVOID the eclipse crowds? I can’t imagine you would have anything at all to do with the crazy masses, but it will be interesting to observe…. Any input on that?

    As always, enjoy all your days and give HUGE hugs & kisses to the boys!! (I now have two boys – to add to my four girls!!). You can never have enough fur!!!! 😉


  22. Joe Bruner says:

    Sorry you didn’t have time to visit the “laundry mat”, but it looks like you’ve moved on to a lovely spot for you and the crew! Stay safe out there!

  23. Eileen Dykeman says:

    Luv the pics of this camp. And, BTW, I think Reggie’s curled ears are so adorable! 🙂

  24. rvsueandcrew says:

    Hi, Blogorinos and Lurkers!

    The crew and I are moving camp today because we have reached the camping limit. We have to find a place where there is no smoke and no solar eclipse people. Ha!

    If you don’t hear from us for a few days, it may be because we don’t have internet signal where we’re hiding. 🙂

    Please answer questions that may arise. It’s also nice when someone welcomes a new blogorino… Love it when you do that! Thank you!

    Bye for now,

  25. ReneeG from Idaho says:

    Where did this new post come from? I must’ve been busy instead of checking! Well, it’s good as always. Glad that you have a nice clear place to camp and what a beautiful site too with no one in view! Enjoy your visit there.

  26. Barbara (Nashville) says:

    Went and looked at a Casita firsthand this morning and fell in love with it. It is soooo cozy. The lady has an Independence which I thought I might like, due to the wider twin beds, but due to my indoor activities, I think I will stick to the Liberty Deluxe and put my bed across the back. That way I can have my larger portable table for the aisle way when I do my craft stuff. I am getting excited. Hubby is still iffy, but I am still making plans with or without him on board.

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