I meet a lady in Grass Valley and find a boondock south of Bend, Oregon

Friday, October 4

The crew and I wake early to a chilly morning along the Deschutes River.  We’ve camped at the state park for three nights.

1-DSC00609The weekend anglers are here and it has become very crowded.  The fish aren’t biting yet but that hasn’t dampened their enthusiasm to get into their waders or to fire up their boat engines.  This is Testosterone Village!

I neglected to show the photo of Spike in the Deschutes River.

1-DSC00629Yesterday he made a valiant attempt to soak, lowering his butt down first, only to raise it right back up again!  Too cold!

Back to our cold morning . . . .

Soon we’re toasty!  Bridget and Spike love the PTV’s heater!

As we pull away from the park, I’m pleased to see we don’t have to get back on the interstate.  Route 30 takes us east to Rufus, Oregon.  We stop at Pilot/Flying J for a fill-up at $3.55 a gallon.  Then it’s southward on Route 97 which takes us up a long, curving grade out of the Columbia Gorge and into grass country.

I don’t know if it’s my imagination or not, but it seems the PTV handles steep, long grades better with her new, all-terrain tires.

I like two-lane roads that slice through vast, open land.

The terrain seems empty except for an occasional dwelling, sometimes occupied, sometimes empty for a long time.

1-DSC00646Turn to page 51 in your Oregon Benchmark Atlas . . .

You can follow along as we go! 

We ride through the small towns of Wasco and Moro.  Next we arrive at the aptly named town of Grass Valley.  I haven’t had breakfast, so I park on the main street (which is Route 97) and run into a little cafe.

1-DSC00638The interior of the cafe looks like a diner.  It’s one counter with red naugahyde-covered stools.  A guy at a grill can be seen through the opening in the wall behind the counter.  I ask the young counter woman for a coffee to-go.

I pick up a menu.

“Oh, gee, I forgot to bring in my glasses,” I mumble to myself.

The only other customer in the cafe is a woman of 70, maybe 80 years or more.  She swivels on her stool and takes off her glasses.  “Here,” she says.  “Use mine.”


Everything on the menu looks like it requires a plate, so I put the menu back and ask the counter woman for two plain biscuits.

I hand back the pair of glasses.

As I wait for the biscuits the lady sitting on a stool near me begins a conversation.  It seems like she picks up where we left off, even though there was no “leaving off,” since I just walked in.

Soon she’s telling me about growing up on a ranch where they had about 300 head of cattle and about 3,000 head of sheep.

Her husband, now deceased, was from Boston.

“He came out here years ago with the C.C.C.,” she explains.  “When he got back from the War he didn’t want any part of Boston.  He came back to Grass Valley and I married him.  His brother came out here, too.”

I can’t help but wonder how a man born and raised in Boston becomes a wheat farmer.  How does one do that?

“So you’ve been here all your life?” I say, asking the obvious.

“Oh, yes.  I graduated from the high school, left for school, and came back.”

“What exactly is the grass in Grass Valley?”

“Oh, wheat mostly . . . and barley,” she responds, waving her hand as if to take in the countryside.  “Some alfalfa and all that.”

I introduce myself and she tells me her name is Margaret.  She asks me where I’m from and we chat a bit longer.

“It’s been nice talking with you, Margaret,” I remark as I gather up the biscuits and coffee.

“Oh, let me get that!” she exclaims, jumping down from the stool and hurrying over to the door.  “Don’t want you spilling that all over yourself.”

She holds the door open for me. 

We exchange smiles, I thank her, and return to the crew waiting in the PTV.

1-DSC00652-001Next we pass through the town of Kent in the blink of an eye.  What looks like a very old cemetery lies on a knoll outside of town.  I would enjoy roaming around this area, learning the history, meeting people like Margaret, hearing their stories.

After Kent we pass through Shaniko.

Shaniko is a “living ghost town.”  I hate that I can’t stop to look it over.  (See photos and read about it at the link.)  I’ll explain in a moment why I feel I have to keep going.

Beyond Shaniko is what the sign says is “the mountain identifier.”

It’s shortly past the place where the PTV hopped over the 45th parallel, which is the mid-point between the equator and the north pole, but you knew that already, didn’t you?

At the mountain identifier you stand on a metal disc in the ground.  In front of you is an arc of cement on the ground with plaques embedded in it.  Each plaque gives the name of a mountain, its elevation, and an arrow pointing to it at the horizon.

So when I stood on the disc, here’s what I saw!

Left to right (or south to north) . . . Broken Top (elev. 8,152 ft.), Three Sisters (elev. 10,004 ft.), Mt. Washington (elev. 7,802 ft.), Three Finger Jack (elev. 7,841 ft.), Mt. Jefferson (elev. 10,485 ft), Mt. Hood (elev. 11,248 ft.), Mt. St. Helens (elev. 8,500 ft.), Mt. Adams (elev. 12,307 ft.) and, last but certainly not least, Mt. Ranier (elev. 14,470 ft.)

What a spectacular view!

I captured this mountain with my camera and now I can’t remember which one it is!  Do you recognize this mountain?

1-DSC00631Here’s the same mountain from afar.  Mt. Jefferson maybe?

1-DSC00649Wow!  This is a long post!

Time to get to the reason why I feel I need to keep moving today.

Here’s what I learn this morning from the forest service:

Due to the lapse in agency funding, the sale of all types of permits (i.e., recreation, firewood, forest products, mineral materials for example) are suspended, recreation.gov reservations are suspended, and all federally owned recreation sites are closed. All offices are closed. These services will be available once funding is restored.

I take that to mean campgrounds are closed.

I drive through Madras, Redmond, and Bend.  I’m a bit concerned about where we will park for the night.  It’s Friday and the state park at La Pine is surely filled.  The national forest campgrounds and BLM campgrounds are closed. I can’t even stop at a ranger office for help. I have to find a boondock and I have to find it completely on my own.

I find it south of Bend in the Deschutes National Forest!

1-DSC00655If you’re looking at the Benchmark atlas, see page 74.

I turn onto forest road 9724 which is south of the road to Sunriver and east of Route 97.  I park the PTV and the crew and I investigate spur roads on foot.

Hmm . . . No footprints.  It’s quiet.  No one else around.  Oh, that pine smells good!

The forest road goes to Sugar Pine Butte.  That gives me the idea what to name this camp.


Camp Sugar Pine!

1-DSC00658By this time it’s late afternoon.  We’re camping in the piney woods again!

1-DSC00659“Come here, you little boondockers!  You don’t need to wear those suits. We aren’t in a campground anymore.”



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83 Responses to I meet a lady in Grass Valley and find a boondock south of Bend, Oregon

  1. Tawanda says:

    Ah drier climate with pines and a view, that is soo awesome to see.
    Can’t swear to it but believe that is Mt Adams…
    Longer the post the better, always hate to see them end… 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Now that you mention it, I think it is Mt. Adams because I think it was the one next to Mt. Ranier.

  2. Phyllis says:

    Ms. RVSue:

    I didn’t bring my Oregon Benchmark Atlas to class today.

    You did a great job of bringing Margaret to life, I can even picture her. But really, how did the biscuits taste?

    Damn politicians!
    Phyllis in Oklahoma

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Your first line has me laughing! I did write that like a schoolteacher… “Now class, open your books to page . . . ”

      I’m glad you can see Margaret of Grass Valley. The biscuits were good. I’ve never met a biscuit I didn’t like, even the ones that are hard as concrete can be brought back to yumminess with a dunk in some good coffee.

      • Gayle says:

        Biscuits — reminds me of my aunt & uncle. When they first got married, she made biscuits, which he tried to bite into, but then, it was said, promptly nailed onto the garage wall! (Married 55 years) Our family name is Cooper, and there are Cooper hockey pucks — but that’s another (biscuit) story.

    • ThatCase says:


      Your last line has me laughing!

  3. wheelingit says:

    Very nice find on that campsite with no aids other than your trusty Benchmark Atlas!! You have become a boondocking expert! By the way I’m sure those nifty new tires are making a difference to your ride. I’m glad you went to Les Schwab. That’s where we got our tires and they are a great outfit…Oregon company too.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Nina!

      Thank you. I’m proud that I found this site on my first venture down a dirt road. And yes, my readers have confirmed for me that Les Schwab is the way to go!

  4. Duke of Paducah says:

    That’s Mt.Hood, my dear.

  5. Ernest Smith says:

    Sorry if these are really dumb questions and no I don’t a Oregon Benchmark Atlas to look it up ( my dog ate it… really Ms Sue ), but what type of “Campground” is “Camp Sugar Pine”? Oregon State Forest Campsite or ? And without the Benchmark Atlas would you know where it is safe to boondock? Has the Federal Government locked up all BLM and Forest roads? Do you know if Quartzsite (sp) is Federal land and have the hundreds of RVers there been forced to move out?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Ernest,

      Those are not dumb questions. They are questions several readers have, no doubt.

      Camp Sugar Pine is not a campground. I like to name my camps. It is a place along a national forest service road. I know the road is national forest because it is identified by the brown post with road number as shown in the photo.

      We are camped in what is considered by the forest service to be an “established campsite” because there is evidence of it being used as a campsite previously (small clearing, fire ring). The rule is that one should not make a new campsite, always use an established one.

      I could know where it is ‘safe’ to boondock without the Benchmark Atlas. It would be more difficult when looking for a site in an unfamiliar area which is usually what I face. The forests are marked by big signs on the main roads that enter or cross them. In other words, you’ll see “Entering Deschutes National Forest” along Route 97. Further along you’ll see “Leaving Deschutes National Forest.”

      If you don’t have a map of the forest roads, yet you see a dirt or gravel road within those signs that leaves the main road, chances are good it is a forest road. Drive down the road and look for the brown post with a number on it. Then you know it is NF and you can camp along that road in any established campsite you come across.

      The BLM and Forest Roads are not “locked up” as that would be impossible with the limited personnel and the extensive system of forest roads. To get an idea of how many roads they’d have to police, click on the map in sidebar, drag the map to the left so that you can follow Forest Road 9724 deeper into the Deschutes NF . You will see many forest roads going every which way.

      NF and BLM campgrounds are closed. These may only have vault toilets but you can find them on maps, they have names, they are in great locations usually, sites are easy to find around a campground ‘loop” and there is an entrance and definite boundaries. NF personnel visit campgrounds to empty fees from the self-pay box and to check that everyone is behaving themselves. I camp in these campgrounds frequently because they are rustic, inexpensive, and often convenient while away from the rat race.

      Re: Quartzsite: Not very familiar with that area. (See reader comments below.) I think if hundreds of RVers are forced away from Quartzsite it would hit the national news and the proverbial ‘fan.’

      Hope this clears things up. Ask more questions whenever you want. And, readers, please correct anything I’ve stated in error.

      • SueMagoo says:

        The following is a condensed version of what was posted on RVTravel.com

        Federal shutdown reaches Quartzsite
        On Tuesday, no flags were flying at any of the LTVAs. Instead, orange-colored notices on the doors of the entrance stations spelled out the effects of the federal shutdown.

        Among other points listed, these are of greatest interest to would-be visitors:

        “This Site will be closed for the duration of the shutdown. “No amenities will be available to the public during the shutdown. “Persons unlawfully entering the site during the shutdown may be subject to criminal fines and or penalties. “Visitors should vacate this site 48 hours after this posting.”

        While the entrance stations are unmanned. From a word with an on-site host, they told us that under the direction of the managing ranger, those visitors who had already bought permits and moved on site were told to, “sit tight and wait.” New arrivals are being told they could not buy a permit, and were being told to perhaps stay on one of the area two-week visitor sites to, “wait and see what happens.”

        A few RVs were in evidence on the four LTVAs, and a handful of rigs were parked in the two-week short term areas. It’s still a bit early in the season, but if by some chance the government shutdown does continue, the impact on Quartzsite’s visitors will be far more reaching.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          What a mess! Thanks, SueMagoo, for posting the information on my blog.

        • Wheeling it says:

          This matches the info I’d heard. The LTVA area at Q is closed, but the 14-day areas are open. So, I imagine most of the regulars will hang out in the 14-day spots until the shut-down mess is over. Thankfully it’s still early in the season for Q, but a lot of RVers rely on that spot for their winter stays.

  6. Cinandjules (temp in CA) says:

    Ummm excuse me Ms Teacher…..where in your course study does it mention that a certain textbook was required for this blog?

    When you refer to your benchmark atlas I look around as if to say….does anyone want to “share” their book with me?

    How sweet of Margaret to not only share her glasses but to share her story with you! Depending on where you are ….interaction with strangers is unheard of! Most are too busy being part of the rat race!

    I was going to guess mt Rainer…. But then again….I’m the one without my benchmark atlas!

    Love your woodsy site. Have a great weekend!

  7. Sherry says:

    You all are being too hard in Miss Sue. I’m going to get myself a benchmark Atlas right after I find some way to get full solar for Winnona. Then I can really follow along.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Sherry!

      You probably know that solar costs a little more than an atlas, right? 🙂 All kidding aside, I hope you can get set up with solar AND get a Benchmark atlas.

  8. Barrie says:

    Hi Sue,
    Congratulations on your new tires! When you buy tires you not only get round rubber things… you get piece of mind. Buying the best you can get is definitely the way to go. After 35 years in the trucking business I learned to look after my equipment. I worry about you less knowing you have new tires.
    All the best,

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Barrie!

      Thank you for your concern for our safety. I want to keep good tires under the PTV and BLT, and I’m glad I went for quality.

  9. I’ve been thinking about all my boondocking blog friends with this government shut down. Really putting a crink in your plans. Glad you found a very nice location. You better get Spike to some warmer climates so he can soak!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, John and Pam!

      As I drove looking for a site to camp for the night, I wondered at each RV I met on Highway 97 if they were desperate to find an RV park after finding a federal campground closed or a state park full from the overflow.

  10. Alan Rabe says:

    So you are in the Deschutes National Forest, nice drive. No the NFS doesn’t generally close roads, not enough employees, but they will close any established campgrounds and such.
    You went past the the Lava River Caves. They are usually fascinating. The ones by Flagstaff Az. have permanent ice formations in them.
    Looks like a great campsite, the pups look happy to be free. And yes the PTV should be very happy to have new balanced shoes.
    An aside, since you have full size tires on the Casita and an axle for them you will have full size bearings. They will run cooler and last longer, possibly last as long as you have the trailer. Just keep them greased!

    As always ENJOY.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Alan!

      Thanks again for good advice.

      Yes, this is a good campsite so far. I’m curious what Saturday may bring to the forest. . . probably some hunters, maybe some ATVs/OHVs… Of course I hope everybody stays out of the forest while I’m here. Haha!

      I’ve been to Sunset Crater but I didn’t go in the caves. Boy, the crew behaved badly that day, barking their fool heads off when I parked us at the visitor center. Embarassing!

  11. Nita says:

    I believe the mountain is Mt. Hood as a couple of others have stated. Mt. Ranier is a bit more rounded. I am really enjoying all the places with you. It’s been awhile since I’ve been there.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Nita!

      I would like to think it’s Mt. Hood because I’ve seen Mt. Adams “up close.” I’m glad you are enjoying the ride with me and my crew. This is interesting country around here.

  12. Kellee says:

    I love the feeling of new tires – just makes you feel safe! Great deal you got there!

  13. Micky says:

    Here I am, Teachers Pet! I do have the Oregon Benchmark Atlas (bought it through your Amazon link), and I love following along, getting ideas for the future. (299 days till I can retire). But I wonder Sue, what made you decide to choose 9724, instead of say, 9721 or 9725, etc? Just curious.

    Micky from Monterey

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Micky!

      You are officially a member of the Teachers Pet Club. Thanks for using my link!

      I chose 9724 because I wanted to camp between Bend and La Pine as that was my limit for driving in one day. Also 9724 was the first, easily identified NF road while driving Hwy 97 south of Bend. I liked that it’s wide, hard-packed, no rocks, no ruts, and leads into forest with somewhat clear understory (not too dense) and enough pine trees (not too open and exposed). Also no subdivisions or other signs of “civilization” close by. I could go on and on… and I did!

  14. Nivrapa in AZ says:

    Hi Ms. Sue!

    Ah-h-h-h, boondocking in the forest once again. I think I enjoy these sites the most. You have found yourself a nice one, here.

    Checking the sidebar for the weather, I see that nights get a tad, um-m-m, shall we call it “brisk”? Would that be accurate? Are you staying warm at night? This desert rat shivers at the thought of getting so close to freezing!

    Your explanation of how to find a boondocking site was clearly stated and I took notes. I shall review them and be prepared for your pop quiz on the subject tomorrow.

    Glad to see you’re on the move again and heading toward sunny, warmer weather. Safe travels to you and the crew!


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Audrey,

      Yes, it is a bit “nippy” here in the morning. I had to turn on the propane heater when I crawled out from under the covers. It’s supposed to be warmer tomorrow.

      The crew and I will stay through the weekend before moving further south. I don’t want to attempt searching for another boondock on the weekend. If I can’t find one and turn to the nearest state park, it’s more likely to have a vacant site on a weekday. I don’t like to travel on weekends.

      Thanks for the feedback on the boondocking guide.

  15. Bill & Ann says:

    Hwy. 97 between Bend and La Pine, our backyard. Just a few miles from our homesite. Too bad we are not there to visit with you. We are enjoying our balmy weather in Port Orford. Beautiful park, beautiful beach on state lands. A nice spot to be hosting. I agree with others. You can always camp on the forest or BLM land. I doubt that all the two week areas could be part of an enforced shut down. Looking forward to our trip down south and hopefully the end of the shut down beforehand.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Bill and Ann!

      You should be here! Darn it. And you have to rub it in that you have “balmy” weather over there. Sheesh.

  16. Mindy Reed says:

    LOL it’s Mt. Hood, I grew up looking at it in Portland, skied on it, camped all around it’s Hood. I went to college in Bend back when dinosaurs walked the earth and it was a small cow town then and fell in love with the “dry side” of Oregon. I’m so sorry you can’t stick around central and eastern OR for a while there is so much to explore and do! Glad you found a nice place in LaPine – part of my old stompin’ grounds. I love your photos as usual but boy do they make me mega homesick for my beloved Oregon….sniff

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Mindy!

      You do sound like an authority on Mt. Hood. I believe you!

      If I’m making you homesick for Oregon, well, I’m doing something right!

  17. Virginia says:

    Boy this shut down thing of the NPS, BLM and all other federally funded lands is a huge disappointment. I finally get a trip planned out to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon and the multitude of other national monuments along the way and then this happens. I will try to make the best of it in hotels and try to make it a nice road trip, skirting the parks that I so wanted to see again. Nice to see that you still are managing to get quality camping and are having a good time in spite of it all.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Virginia… What a disappointment for you and a lot of other people. It makes me sick at heart. I’m embarrassed for our country.

      I think I’ll start a business selling tee-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, pins, coffee mugs, bumper stickers, lawn signs, etc. . . . and they all will say, THROW THE BUMS OUT.

      🙂 That felt good.

      I hope, as you “make the best of it,” you discover wonders, maybe not as spectacular as the NPs, but soul-stirring nevertheless.

      • Mick in TN says:

        Good thought to remember until election time:

        “OUT with the IN(cumbent)”

        • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

          Only some incumbents have voted to shut things down… it is that 29 or so that should be removed. But we RVers don’t have much control over politics… blah…

        • Timber n' Rusty says:

          Hey DC People, If ya can’t take care of the heat, get out of the kitchen. :~{o

      • Virginia says:

        I have not even had a chance to use my “America The Beautiful card” yet and I have had it a year. What is up with that?

  18. Barb George says:

    Sue on a totally nutty note… I was looking at the pups photo at the camp. Look at all that PINE STRAW! When we were in GA I had such a hard time understanding the pine straw thing for gardens… but gosh it was nice to be able to haul that great big ‘brick’ of straw around. Here you are and it is natural. 🙂 We have cedar bark here in WA now…

    On a scary note, a friend is camping down in Tokeland (WA). He restores vintage trailers for a living. Was parked across from one of those big motorhomes when it burst into flames… so frightening! And of course the camps are crowded as heck–he said the ‘neighbors’ took off so fast with their awnings and doors flying, just to get away from the situation. Turned out to be a 3 year old motorhome. Sent some photos… WOW what a mess. STAY SAFE!!! Love that you are not parked on top of one another!!! I hate that, I don’t want to know when the person next door goes–well, anything!

    Hugs from Hoquiam!
    Barb (and yes it is still cold but sunny!)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Barb,

      I remember coveting pine straw when I lived in Georgia. Stuff makes great mulch and is pleasant to look at, too.

      I wonder what causes a big motorhome to burst into flames. I can understand everyone moving far away from that heat. I worked for a claims adjustment office in the far past. We had a claim from a guy who burned trash next to his house and the siding melted. Not the brightest star in the sky. . .

      I like that I can picture your town when you send me hugs. 🙂

  19. Barbara says:

    Route 97 looks like it has some very nice scenery. Too bad you couldn’t stop along the way. If our idiot government would stop acting like two year old’s throwing temper tantrums and talk to each other, we wouldn’t be in this predicament.

    Hope you don’t have too much trouble continuing in your boondocking lifestyle.
    Take care & safe travels.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Barbara,

      I could have wandered around those little towns on Route 97 and really enjoyed myself all the while. You understand how I couldn’t linger when I didn’t know what obstacles I would face down the road, what with campgrounds closed.

      It’s getting so I can’t bear to listen to any of these Congress people. I want to go into the woods and never hear another one of them blather.

  20. rvsueandcrew says:

    TO READERS: The financial report and summary of July 2013 travels is finally completed and posted! You can see it by going to the header and lightly clicking on Money. If a drop-down menu doesn’t work with your device, make a hard click on Money and you will see links for each month.

    Look at the photo here of what happened to a woman’s fiberglass trailer!

  21. Cari in North Texas says:

    Too bad the lake was too cold for cute little Spike, he may have that problem more often now. I can just smell the pines from your campground and feel the cool breezes. I’m glad you were able to find a spot to stay for a bit, I remember the feeling of driving in the late late afternoon, thinking, can I find a hotel room?

    We’ve had a cold front come through (remnants of your weather last week?), temps dropped from 70 to 59 in about 2 hours this morning. Now it’s raining, and the forecast is for dry but cooler weather all next week. I’m welcoming this fall weather, since I start back to work (outdoors) in a few weeks.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cari!

      The cold may be good for you while you work outside, but I’d like it a little warmer for the crew and me. It’s not fun to work in heat, so I’m glad a cold front is visiting Texas.

      Yesterday morning we woke to frost! Usually, when in the desert, cold mornings warm up quickly. Here there are so many tall trees that it takes a while.

      Since it didn’t get uncomfortably cold in the BLT until the early morning hours, I didn’t have the heater on. It couldn’t warm the place fast enough when we got out of bed, so I fired up the trusty PTV with the heater on high.

      It was funny… Spike was in the passenger seat (hogging the heater vents, of course). He was lying down. I’m in the driver’s seat holding the Bridge. After a few minutes, Spike sits up and looks out the window with a confused look. Hey, why aren’t we moving? LOL!

  22. Jan Johnson says:

    Hi Sue…We live in Klamath Falls. Looks like you will come through here. We don’t have room for you but our WalMart has a nice grassy area if all else fails. You could also stock up on groceries there before leaving Oregon. Just a suggestion..
    Wow, that Scamp in that last article made my heart skip a beat. My Scamp is just like that…
    It is Mt. Hood for sure..
    Love your blog..find myself looking for it every time I turn on my computer..
    Thanks for sharing you travels/life with all of us…Jan

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jan!

      You’re welcome.

      You know, I was thinking of the storm the crew and I went through at Kalaloch when I opened that page and saw the poor Scamp in a pile of downed trees. How terrible for that person!

      I’m happy that “RVSue and her canine crew” is your go-to blog. Thanks for the suggestion of WalMart for an overnight stay. The crew and I are on the road today looking for another boondock. It’s good to know “there’s always WalMart” to try.

  23. Virgotex says:

    Hello Sue, first time posting from long time lurker. Several weeks ago was on vacation in Seattle (my first time to Washington ever) staying with my long-time best friend who moved out there from Texas earlier this year. Spending time catching up, I talked to her lot about how I’d begun envisioning retirement, downsizing and becoming a nomad. More than once, I mentioned your blog and what an education and inspiration it had been. Anyhoo, we took off from Seattle on a 3 day trip up to the Olympic Peninsula and on the way, pulled off in a park (I no longer remember which one) just to eat lunch and lo and behold, as we drove through the park looking for an empty site, we passed an instantly-recognizable (to me) rig: your Casita and van! I pulled up your site on my cell phone to “prove” to my BFF that we were, in fact, picnicking a few spots down from the famous RV Sue. We both were a bit stunned by the small-world-isn’t-it coincidence.
    It was a lovely rainy middle of the day, and all was very quiet your way, so taking your No Drop-Ins Please policy to heart, we didn’t disturb your solitude, but I did want to post and let you know what an inspiration your site and your philosophy have been. Perhaps I’ll bump into you later on, somewhere down the road.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Virgotex!

      Welcome to my blog and to the comments section! I’m glad you and your BFF are with us.

      I so enjoyed your account of picnicking nearby and recognizing the “distinctive” PTV and BLT. There’s no mistaking us!

      I wonder where we were at the time. Sometimes — whether in a campground, crossing a parking lot coming out of a store, driving in town, or some other time and place — I get the feeling that someone recognizes me. It’s weird for a lifelong nobody like me!

      Thank you for all the kind words (education, inspiration, philosophy). I read your comment over morning coffee and it started my day with a smile (both the coffee and you!).

      I’m impressed and grateful for your sensitivity to my privacy. Although we probably would’ve had a great ol’ chat, it is disconcerting for me to be the object of attention out of nowhere. You seem to understand this. I thank you for that, too.

      Best wishes to you as you plan your retirement!

  24. Trip and Lisa says:

    Stood right where you stood many,many years ago looking at all the different mountain names.I was in awe.
    Haven’t been on in awhile but thought of you a few days ago,,,when in the market,,,,there they were,,,,chickens,on a spit,,,,whole ones that I can still smell,ummmm,good,lol.
    Watch out for Big Foots while in the forest Sue.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Trip and Lisa,

      It makes me laugh the things that bring up me and my blog into a person’s consciousness. Rotisserie chicken = RVSue!

      I wanted to pick up some chicken at the Safeway in Redmond? Big Bend? wherever… I can’t remember. So many people were crowded around the deli that I didn’t, being on a mission to find a place to camp. I wanted to yell, “Hey, get outta the way! Spike wants his rotisserie chicken!”

      • Barb George says:

        LOL!!! ROTF!!!

        Did Spike get his chicken? Did RVSUE find an appropriate boondock? Where is Bridget? Did the tires ride nice and smooth?

        Can’t wait for the next installment of:

        Hugs from Hoquiam again,

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Hi, Barb!

          You’re in fine form today! Yes, Spike got chicken but it was dried up pieces that I pulled out of a Safeway cooler. I had to peel off the breading and then there was hardly any chicken underneath.

          Yes, we found our boondock! Bridget at this very moment is stuffing her face with kibble! The tires ride nice and smooth!

  25. AZ Jim says:

    Dear Teacher Sue R, Please excuse Jimmy from your classes for the last several days. It seems his wife had a bit of an accident and he needed to rent a wheelchair and and since she was unable to walk he was chief cook and bottle washer. Her having mostly recovered he is now able to take his place in the classroom. PS He is thankful her situation improved when it did as he had exhausted his culinary talents at the bbq. He did read up on your adventures and is back up to speed and ready for midterms.

  26. John and Kona says:

    Sue and Crew:

    I have to depart Memoloose Oregon SP (Hood River, OR) on May 23, 2014 and I’m faced with where to stay during the Labor Day weekend. I want to head up Hwy 97 towards Shaniko. Any places to stay during that crowded weekend – I like peace and quiet ~ as you know I love boonedocking). I will then be heading south towards Bend and eventually back into N. Calif. where we live.

    Thanks for any thoughts/help!!!!

    Nice choice relative to your Toyo’s!!!

    John and Kona

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi John and Kona,

      I assume you’re asking for boondocks along Route 97 between the Columbia River Gorge and Shaniko. I hate to say it, but it ain’t boondocking country. It’s ranches and wide open grassland. There’s an RV Park in Grass Valley but it’s a depressing little park (if my memory is correct) of the type often seen in small towns. (Grass Valley isn’t much more than a couple of buildings huddled along Route 97).

      If you want to get over to the Deschutes River Valley to the west, there are lots of NF campgrounds and White River State Park. I’d research that area carefully first before going over there as the terrain looks pretty severe.

      From Shaniko south to Bend the road cuts through private land. That’s why I made the stretch between Bend and La Pine my destination. Route 97 cuts through the Deschutes National Forest. I took the forest road across from Vandevert Road (There’s a sign.)

    • PNW alison says:

      John and Kona – go a little further south, and from Madras head east. Got to Ochoco NF. Lots of boondocking in the Ochocos.

  27. harold says:

    Hi rv sue
    This is Harold and my wife candy and our ugly dogs…. It sounds like you had a nice time in Washington. It was nice to meet you, and your wonderful dogs. If you ever visit Washington again give us a shout !!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello!!! What a nice surprise to hear from you again. The forest pass came in handy.

      At first I couldn’t place you and then I remembered the “ugly dogs.” Who could forget that face! I hope you saw the post where I wrote about meeting you, Candy and the dogs.

      Here’s the link… Scroll down to see your dogs.

      “Willows Campground and a surprise welcome to the state of Washington!”

      • harold says:

        Yes we enjoyed laughing about your stories and the way you described our dogs . We have been following your stories ever since we met you. Drive safe and have a wonderful time wherever you boondock next…

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          That’s great! I’m very happy you and Candy are riding along with me and the crew. Stay well, be happy.

  28. Jean wheatleyIn Molalla says:

    mt Hood, IEEE it frommybackyard.Sumpter StPshouldbe warm, each time I’ve been there, I’ve roasted, my space bar doesn’t workWelive only a mile or tw fromLes Schwab,but we don’t go there since my kids got charged for valve stems, etc.We go to a local guy everything is included,and gguaranteed, when we had the fiver, he eve packed the bearing,standard,no charge.He takes care of air pressure, if we drop in.if tougo to Sumpter , there is a train to ride,steam choo-choo, and a large dredge to examine

  29. Jean Fox says:

    Sue, you can take the teacher out of the school but you can’t take the school out of the teacher. As always, your words paint a picture in my mind. Love and look forward to your blog every day. A day without Sue is a day without sunshine. Safe travels to you and the crew.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh, Jean… I’m truly laughing out loud at “A day without Sue is a day without sunshine.” Haha! Thanks for writing!

  30. Definintely Mt. Hood. We looked at it for over 30 years from all different angles and skied on it as well. We are familiar with most of the northern California and Northwest mountains.

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