It is what it is

Saturday, September 16 (continued)

For me the drive from Sinks Canyon near Lander, Wyoming, to the boondock I like in Ashley National Forest at Flaming Gorge is too long for one day’s journey.

Reggie, Roger, and I are sitting in the parking lot of the ice cream place in Farson, Wyoming, when I examine my Wyoming Benchmark, looking for a night camp.

Hmm . . . This has possibilities! I wouldn’t have to drive to Rock Springs and neither would I have to twist through Flaming Gorge when tired.

(What you see at left is a tiny portion of the map.)

The crew and I finish our milkshake and take Route 191 south.  We cross over the White Mountains and soon arrive at the place I found on the map.

I’m thrilled with what I see!  

This is great!

Truck pull-out looking south toward Reliance and Rock Springs

“Huh?” you respond incredulously.  “RVSue!  You’re thrilled over a truck pull-out?”

Yes, I am and I’ll tell you why.

Truck pull-out looking back at Route 191 toward Farson

In the past I chopped off some of those miles on this route from Sinks Canyon to Ashley National Forest (south of Rock Springs and Flaming Gorge, and north of Vernal, UT) by camping in a boondock along Slate Creek off of Louis Lake Road.

You can read about and see photos of this boondock and the road to it from Lander at my post of September 13, 2014. . .

 “The trek south begins and how I find Slate Creek Camp.”

Slate Creek for tonight is out of the question because the overnight lows are too cold at that elevation this September.

Instead of cutting off miles near the start from Lander, we  could cut off miles before reaching Rock Springs.   

One very long drive for one day becomes two easy drives across two days.

Much better!  That’s how I like to travel!

One of the first things I notice is the snow fence and the natural bench beyond which serve as a windbreak for the truck parking pull-out.  That’s an important feature in this area, much more important than having a spectacular view.

Actually there are two pull-outs here, on either side of Route 191.  Both are paved and very long, providing room for several tractor trailers.

From early afternoon until dark, only three vehicles stop here.

Two cars and a semi pull in and park, but do not stay.

Sure, we can hear vehicles on the road.  They aren’t shifting or braking so they become white noise.

I walk the crew a few times, go online, eat supper, and sit in bed and read while Reg and Rog nap beside me.

I’m tickled to have found this camp.

You may wonder why I’m making such a big deal out it, with maps and such.  It’s because this route, north and south . . . Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona/Nevada . . . . is the chosen route for many travelers, including me, when making the snowbird flight through these states.

This camp is so darn handy!

Just pull off the road, park in a level spot on the pavement, and you’re set for the night. Next morning you’re back on the road in no time at all.

Some camps are noted for charm and beauty; others are for expediency.

Okay, RVSue, so how did you sleep?

The boys and I go to bed early.  I read for a while.  When I turn off my Paperwhite there is one tractor trailer parked behind us.  We fall asleep, no problem, and we sleep well.

Around four in the morning I get up for a bathroom break.  Peeking out the window I count six tractor-trailers in the pull-out on the other side of the highway.  Ha!

The truck that was behind us has left and another sits in its place.

I’ve camped in Wal-Mart parking lots and in “travel centers” like Pilot and Love’s.  This is better than those.

Looking out the window, I can’t help but giggle.  

All this going on during the night and we sleep right through it.

This post is getting long, but before I go I want to mention something more.

This comes to me during that early morning hour.

I reflect on our experiences at the RV park in Thermopolis (cold shower!), in Popo Agie Campground at Sinks Canyon (cold fog and rain!) and here in the truck pull-out.

There’s a lesson in these three camp experiences.

I resolve to judge a camp by what it IS, not by what it ISN’T.

That RV park provided us with electricity and heat on a damp, cold afternoon, night, and morning.  We were comfy-cozy in our home.  I was able do internet stuff, including this blog, in comfort and without concern for electronics running out of charge.  It was a convenient place to rest.

Sinks Canyon was cold, yes, but it provided a secure place in a lovely setting where we could stage the next part of our journey to avoid bad driving conditions.

As for the truck pull-out . . .

It ISN’T pretty, cute, charming, spectacular, awe-inspiring, and so forth.  What it IS is an easy, well-located camp, right when and where we need it.

And when you’re ready to get off the road, that makes for a beautiful camp.

Oh yeah . . . and it’s free!



Coming up:  Ashley National Forest boondock, between Flaming Gorge and Vernal, Utah

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62 Responses to It is what it is

  1. Dawn in NC says:


  2. Kathryn Nagy says:


  3. Judy in East Texas says:

    sue and the boys, I have “camped” a many a night in a truck pull out or roadside park. Sometimes you just have to get off the road and from behind the wheel. I thought this was a lovely camp spot for the view it was nice.

    Stay safe out there my friend, judy

  4. Sherri D says:

    I had to laugh at your blog title today. I JUST bought a teeshirt last week, that says “It is what it is” on it! lol
    Continued safe travels Sue and Crew! 🙂

  5. Joy Loner says:

    “It’s free” is always nice.

    • ReneeG from Idaho says:

      Three ties for 2nd Place! That means I’m third! Yay! In some circles, that’s a Bronze. I’ll take it!

  6. ReneeG from Idaho says:

    Oh boy! Top Ten! Be back soon after reading!

    • ReneeG from Idaho says:

      Sue, you are so so right about what is IS! I love it! We’ve done the same, stopped on the side of the road in a spot like that, and loved the convenience of it, all hooked up with an easy “on our way” in the morning. One of the sweet blessings of being on the roada.

  7. Robin B (Oregon & Arizona) says:

    And as we know, Free is a Very Good Price!

    We are preparing to close up our house and head towards our Arizona condo for the winter. Last year we kept hearing how beautiful November was so decided to extend our summer and arrive in late October. Will stop on the way to help my spouse’s mom celebrate her 94th birthday, then hope to continue to Green Valley via southern Utah. We do have a recently acquired 19′ 1994 Road Ranger trailer which we named “Ain’t Bad” (long story) but didn’t get it updated in time for this trip. We’ll look forward to using it in Oregon next spring.

    Bookpushing time: Since it’s new, there’s probably no discounts off the full-price, but have you had a chance to read Jessica Bruder’s NOMADLAND: Surviving America in the 21st Century? I thought it was one of the best nonfiction books I’ve read this year and absolutely fascinating and eye-opening. If your blogorinos aren’t aware of it, I’m sure many will love it. [Feel free to delete this or add an Amazon link.]


    • Barb from Ilinois says:

      I’m about halfway thru reading NOMADLAND right now. It’s very interesting. My budget for buying books is very small so I’m reading it thru the library.

      • Robin B (Oregon & Arizona) says:

        I found the workamping details fascinating. And, we are getting a new Amazon distribution center in our city so I’m wondering if they will do seasonal hires. We don’t have the nicer weather but we do have lots of retirees around.

        Did you read about RV Sue yet?

        • Robin B (Oregon & Arizona) says:

          And by all means, do get this from your library if you can. Most should have it in both e-book and print.

  8. Dawn in MI says:

    Free is always good. And if you’re safe and warm it’s even better!

  9. Kat and Cookie Dog in NYState says:

    You made an excellent point about what a camp is-not what it isn’t. Thanks for pointing that out to all of us. Pet Reg and Rog for us. Hugs Kat and Cookie Dog

  10. Dawn in NC says:

    Hi Sue. I love the header pic of the boys racing! I like your attitude looking at the good things that came out of the previous camps. I need to practice doing more of that as well.

  11. Jolene/Iowa says:

    I like that Sue! Seeing the positive in everything! Great way to do life!

    • Barbara (Nashville) says:

      Hi Jolene,
      How are you and your significant other doing? Any updates on the dental issue? I apologize if I missed a comment, but this has been a busy and haven’t gotten to read everything yet. Is the work situation getting any better? I know you had found something part-time.

  12. Diann in MT says:

    What a find, Sue! I’ve seen those pullouts in the past, but thought the highway patrol would come rapping on the door and tell me to move on. Guess you used that convenient wide spot in the road perfectly.
    I am so inspired by your sense of adventure coupled with your practicality. Hi to your crew, Sue. God Bless.

  13. chas anderson says:

    I am a big believer in truck pullouts when en route to somewhere and you want to reduce daily mileage.My favorites are the truck/bus lots in casinos.One night stops should be all about convenience.

  14. Ruthie in Fontana says:

    Great find, safe and sound and free! “It is what it is” reminds me of an old song my Mother sang to me. Que Sera Sera, What will be will be. Doris Day. Keep on keeping on, can’t way for more pictures of beautiful landscapes.

    • Geri in the FL panhandle! says:

      That song is from the old movie “The King and I”

      • Ruthie in Fontana says:

        Hi Geri, the soundtrack for the King and I doesn’t have Que Sera Sera on it. But google says Doris Day sang the song. And google says the song came from the movie Barefoot Contessa. All I know is the song was sung to me by my mother because I was always asking too many questions.!

  15. Jean in Southaven, MS says:

    Hi Sue, just letting you know that I’m out here traveling along with you. I like the post. It is great to know there are places like that still. We will be looking for free a lot when we hit the road in June, 2018. We won’t be full-time but we will be most-of-the-time I guess I can call it. Give the boys a scratch for me.

  16. Joe Bruner says:

    Way to go, Sue. Always better to see the glass half-full. Great pictures.

  17. Hi Sue and crew, great to see your camping on the road and wondering if the Weather is like in the Utah mountains along 191 is like,, I ordered a large room heater through your site this morn, should arrive by the 17th, just in time before our cold fall weather hits,, the truck is ready and has a good and hot heater and a horn, now all I need to do is hook up a back up light,, the camper is now a tool and work shop with a potty room, lol,,, have a great weekend and stay safe and give them babies of yours a huge hug from us, okay,,,,,,, 👣👣🐾

  18. Terry says:

    Sue you inspire and give me something to look forward to. Terry

  19. LeeJ in Northern California says:

    Who sang. Ak sent u ate the positive..e lim e Nate the negative? That’s what you’d do..and are a good example to all!

  20. weather says:

    When you go inside the BLT you’re home, not “on the road”. You got that without even going out of your way,how nice! Easy, convenient, and bonus, it was free.
    That’s a good message in the lesson you drew from the three camp experiences, one that could be applied to camps and many other topics.
    You’re so thoughtful, showing us the route and camps on the benchmark page AND reminding us where to get a milkshake! 🙂

  21. Donald Goodyke says:

    A year ago we were returning to Arizona and spent the night in Glendo, WY.
    Your trip reminded me of the fall like weather we experienced.
    Enjoy your travels South. It’s warmer here in AZ.
    Love seeing the pups in their sweaters.

  22. Cinandjules 🌵 says:

    I love your way of thinking…what it is as opposed to isn’t!

    Have a great day and weekend!

  23. mostlylost says:

    Love this post. Our first free boondock was at a visitor center. Two walking trails, a store filled with interesting, locally made stuff, a parking lot designed to allow easy access for big tour buses, and right off I-75. But – we were the only ones parked for the night!

  24. Barbara (Nashville) says:

    One of the things I love about this blog is the lessons about seeing the good in everything. I try hard to live that way everyday, but sometimes I get aggravated & then my a** overloads my head. This roadside pullover would have been a welcome break if tired & facing a windy drive to the gorge. I actually think this view is pretty serene.

  25. Helen says:

    I have stayed in a few of the side of the road camps including rests stops in Oregon. They are no so bad and if you can relax after a hard day of driving they are the best. Be Safe RVSue. Waiting for your next adventure.

  26. Nivrapa in AZ says:

    Woman, you are just a wealth of information! I’ve seen those roadside, simple truck stops but have never considered them as an overnight respite. I’ve used some stops along the major highways and interstates–mostly in Texas. It’s legal to park for twenty-four hours in most Texas rest areas and some are real beauties complete with picnic table shelters and public WIFI in the common areas with your own semi private slot for RV parking. A real find if you just need to get off the road overnight.

    Your decision to focus on the good of a situation rather than the not-so-good can be applied to more than just camps. Dismissing such negativity can certainly improve the outlook of our day and lead to a satisfying experience. Great approach to strive for in our lives and a good lesson for all of us.

    In going back and reading your earlier posts from your visit to Flaming
    Gorge, I learned that camping is not limited to use of designated campgrounds. Boondocks are perfectly legal within the boundary of the NRA. I think I learn as much from you (and sometimes more) than I do from studying maps and reading the resource material available.

    Great post today and keep ’em coming. You’re such an inspiration to us!—Audrey

  27. Rob, in Drayton ND for the sugar beet harvest says:

    I’m a sucker for free rent 7 rest area like places fit that bill, it looks like you’ve found a nice one!
    I do have a favorite rest area, it’s the Dismal Nitch rest area in Washington state. On hwy 401 along the Colombia River just east of the bridge that goes into Astoria (Hwy 101).
    Clark (of Lewis & Clark) named it & I enjoy waking up to the views & the water in the morning.

  28. Chaunte in West TN says:

    Well, Sue, It IS what it is! Both a free and convenient camp! I love your outlook on what is as opposed to what isn’t! Be safe!

  29. Kevin in CO says:

    This sure beats staying in the Walmart parking lot in Gallup. While there were quite a few campers that night last March, the location was awful. Noise from every direction. Fortunately, Walmart security kept the panhandlers away. Next March, I will plan a better stop.

  30. Marysia says:

    Now I know what you meant about not travelling far. You did not even get to Rock Springs! Ha! Ha! I agree with you regarding these kinds of free pull -outs while travelling. We have done it before. Very convenient. Glad you found it! I guess it means we actually passed you on that day!


    P. S. We actually travelled even further than Cheyenne on that day. We went all the way to Ft. Collins!

  31. rvsueandcrew says:

    Hi, folks!

    What a pleasure it is to read your comments. 🙂 Thank you.

    Instead of replying, I’m working on a post for tomorrow. I need to pick up the pace of my postings!

    Feel free to carry on without me. You entertain and inform each other better than I can anyway. I hope you will share your side-of-the-road camps, books you are reading, personal updates, whatever.

    Bye for now,

  32. Rover Ronda (WA) says:

    A convenient place to rest sounds great 👍

  33. Desert Ginger back in the desert! says:

    I love Travel centers like Pilot. I have stayed in many and taken several $12 showers. At least it’s safe and they are convenient.

  34. AZ Jim says:

    I have spent many nights in pullouts and sometimes just for a short break to rest my eyes. When you are tired the sound of trucks doesn’t bother much. Looking good Missy. Weather down here is getting very close to our best weather of the year. You’ll enjoy it when you arrive. Hi Reg and Rog!!

  35. Anna from NC says:

    Love your positive attitude. Glass half full is so much better than looking at the negatives of life….

  36. MB from VA says:

    “It is what it is”……I’ve been thinking that very same thing. I did pack up and leave on Tues. I had a great talk with my uncle and that changed my attitude by a mile as far as he and his care are concerned. If you have ever been a long term caregiver for family members, you will understand why him saying that he understood why I needed to get away did so much for me. Anyway…..I left with my tent….way too much stuff…..and my dogs. But, it didn’t take long for me to realize that I was “forcing” it. It just didn’t feel right. I realized that I couldn’t feel that freedom that travel had given me before when I had unfinished business here at home. So, we turned around and came back. It’s OK. I have resolved to do what I need to do here….BUT…..avail myself of all the natural beauty VA has to offer. We have an ocean for crying out loud! And people come from all over the world to drive The Blue Ridge Parkway…..that I can get to in an hour. This will get way too long if I don’t stop…..but I was thinking as all my stuff was once more piled in the middle of my one room home……sometimes you just have to make a mess before you can see how to straighten things out. So, I made a mess! And now I am straightening it out. I have not given up on the nomad lifestyle. I will go. I know it. But for now….it is what it is……and what it is, is great……if I will only choose to see it that way. Have fun out there Sue! Safe travels………….Love, “Still MB from VA….for now”.

    • Ruthie in Fontana says:

      MB from VA, You could not have expressed yourself any better. As a longtime caregiver (12 years) for my Father and now for my Husband and Father. I can say my mantra has been “it is what it is”. Unless you are a full time caregiver it is hard to understand. I used to say I have “no LIfe”, but now I say but now I know I have a life well lived. I am grateful I don’t have to sit in a wheelchair or poke my self with needles everyday. I take time for myself by reading this blog and visualizing all of the places I could go and by golly sometimes I’m there.

  37. Terri in Tx says:

    You’re a glass half full kinda gal! Glad you slept peacefully!

  38. Denise - Richmond VA says:

    Hi, Sue,

    I love your “delightful” camp! It served your purpose, was free, and you were able to have a peaceful rest, despite semis parked nearby. 🙂

    Hope you and the boys have a good day and safe travels! Sending you, Reggie, and Roger love and hugs from me and Gracie pup! 🙂

    • Denise - Richmond VA says:

      I forgot to mention….loved the map you included which illustrated your journey. The “Milkshake!” notation made me laugh! We do need to keep those landmarks straight, whether by a visual cue or a fond memory! 🙂

      The visual landmarks are only good as long as the area surrounding them remains the same!

  39. Becky in NJ says:

    There’s an ATLANTIC CITY ou there??!

  40. Rochelle in IN says:

    Totally unrelated to this post- a shout out to Barb from Hoquiam. We drove through your lovely community 2 days ago on our way from my Dad’s in Lacey to my sister’s beach house in Newport, OR. As we drove through Hoquiam, I called out, “Hi, Barb!”

  41. Mark Greene says:

    Empty flat parking can look very inviting when tired. Just staying long enough to rest up does not take anything more.
    We have stopped at rest areas truck stops, stores business areas. We use WalMarts often for the easy in and out and being able to restock. This summer we pulled into a WalMart in Gulfport MS. We were hot and tired. As soon as we got park we had people asking for money. We went inside to shop and came out to more people wanting money. Had a knock on the door and guess what, more people. When you start giving handouts they must have a network to communicate with because they come out from everywhere. I believe most of them did need the help but it is those times that you just want someplace alone just to rest. I heard some noise about midnight and opened the door to take a look, now there were six semi’s around us and a truck changing a tire on one of them with spot lights and air tools running. Just all in a night as WalMart.

  42. Free, convenient and safe put a place high on the list for us every time!

    The boys look like cute little Christmas ornaments 🙂 Vernal was one of our favorite stops in all of Utah.

  43. weather says:

    This is for Elizabeth in WA- Happy Anniversary!( This is your and hubby’s 45th, I think.) In any case, I hope something made your day an especially nice one 🙂

  44. Sherry Bitler says:

    Hi, was just introduced to your blog. Loving it.

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