Last day at Kinney Flats boondock, San Juan National Forest

Monday, September 5 — Labor Day

P1130920Our last full day at Kinney Flats . . . .

Labor Day Weekend is peaceful.  A man from Colorado Parks and Wildlife comes by Saturday.

“Are you hunting or are you just camping?” he asks as we meet outside the door of the Best Little Trailer. 

I guess he’s out checking hunting licenses. 

This morning, Labor Day, the crew and I walk the lane as we have done many times.

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I fix the familiar scenes in my memory, wondering if we will ever come this way again.

This been a great camp.  I’m glad we came here.  It was too cold and damp for us at Park Creek Campground (near South Fork, Colorado).  I’ve enjoyed soaking up the sunshineAnd what a blessing to have peace and quiet through Labor Day Weekend!

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Around noon men in a pick-up truck drive past our campsite. 

Shortly thereafter the shooting starts.  Reggie runs inside in a panic.

“Let’s go for a little ride.  We don’t need to listen to gunshots.  It’s a beautiful day for a drive.”

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We head south and after a few miles turn onto Buckles Lake Road which takes us back into San Juan National Forest.  The gravel and dirt road climbs steadily in a series of sharp turns, in some places only one lane.  A glimpse through the tree tops reveals the valley below and gives me an idea how high we are.

By the time we come to a boondock, we’re a lot higher than our camp at Kinney Flats! 

It’s pretty forest up here.  I don’t know if I’d pull the Best Little Trailer up this road or not.  Not this year anyway. 

Our boondocking will be curtailed for a while due to hunting season.

Vehicles are in the first campsite so we continue onward and upward to the next campsite where I park and let out the crew.

“Wow!  What a big, beautiful campsite!  It’s nice here, isn’t it, guys.”

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As we wander around I notice there are several trails that would give choices for walks.  It’s very quiet, the air is pine-forest fresh, and the entire campsite is unusually clean.  Not one beer can!

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A flyer in a plastic bag posted to a tree says “No Camping.”

It states the reason being a mowing operation beginning in 2016 to cut down vegetation in order to prevent the rapid spread of wildfire.

Hmm . . . . No end date.  Does that mean camping is still prohibited? 

P1130942I check the fire ring.  Apparently a fire was made in it sometime this summer.  Of course, that doesn’t mean anything regarding camping.  Before setting up camp here, I’d call the forest service office first for clarification.

The longer Bridget, Reggie, and I wander about the site, the more I like it.

It would be worth it to bring the BLT up here.  Okay, so my knuckles are white for a few minutes.  I can do this.  Maybe this will be one of our camps the next time we come to Colorado.

We return to Kinney Flats.  A few more gunshots and then no more.  Reggie and Bridget take a nap.  We have an early supper.  I sit outside watching the nighthawks find their supper in the sky.  Wind whispers through the pines.

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Bridget relaxes in her bed next to my lounger.

She did a lot of walking today.  I bet she’ll sleep well tonight.

Reggie brings Armadillo over for a game of fetch.  When I tire of the game, he finds his collection of old bones in the grass and plays with them for a few minutes.

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Reggie found those bones when we camped here in July, and, when we returned weeks later, he was delighted to find them still here.

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A deep, thunderous moo heralds the approach of a . . . a bull! 

I look him over from my camp chair.

Holy cow . . . I mean, holy bull!  That’s a bull, all right.  A big, red bull.  I wouldn’t want to make that guy mad.

He bellows a few more times before turning toward whence he came.  The steers respond to his command and trot after him.  He leads the entire herd to the watering hole.  Reggie watches.

“You don’t want to tangle with that big boy, Reg.  His balls are bigger than your head!”

Later, right before dusk, I prepare for the move tomorrow.

I fold up the table and the blue mat, wrapping a bungee cord around the latter, and stowing both in the back of the Perfect Tow Vehicle. The lounger and its side table go in the side door area behind the driver’s seat. I place the doggie beds in the PTV, Bridget’s in front of the bench seat and Reggie’s between the front seats.  Armadillo is placed next to Reggie’s bed.

I walk around the campsite with the shovel and toss doggie doo-doo into the deep grass, away from where campers would walk.  The shovel and the broom go into the PTV, too.

I don’t usually hitch up the night before a move.

It’s not that big of a job.  Today I’m feeling ambitious and the ground is level, so I go ahead and hitch up.

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The above photo shows how dirty everything is! 

I haven’t had easy access to, nor a plentiful supply of, water in a long time (which is my excuse!).

You can see the anti-sway bar is in place in the foreground.  The hitch lock (gold) is on the coupler lever, and the break-away cable (red) is secured.  The power plug on the bumper will be plugged in before we leave in the morning.

Here’s looking at the other side.

P1130948Notice how dirty it is around the hitch ball?

That’s because I always squirt some 3-in-1 oil on the hitch ball before lowering the coupler onto it.  Then dirt sticks to it.

The cord in the foreground delivers the power from the two storage batteries in the PTV to the house battery in the BLT.   Of course, that cord is plugged in whenever we are at camp, as well as when the BLT is being towed.  If I should drive off in the PTV leaving the BLT behind at camp and forgetting to unplug that cord (I’ve only done that once!), it unplugs easily without damage.

The emergency chains are crossed and secured also.  I toss the pink cone and yellow chocks in the back of the PTV.

There!  We’ll have an easy start in the morning.  All that’s left to do is put the antenna in the PTV and secure the inside of the BLT.  Now to go write a post for the blog!

And that, dear reader, is what I’m wrapping up now. 

I hope your Labor Day Weekend was good.  Remember that tomorrow, Tuesday, the crew and I will be at a new camp.  I don’t know if there is internet there, nor at the camp after that.  No need for concern.

We will be back!

rvsue

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62 Responses to Last day at Kinney Flats boondock, San Juan National Forest

    • Thor ’n Drew says:

      haha…congrats! The math problem at the bottom had me stumped for a second.

    • Jolene/Iowa says:

      I have so enjoyed these camps this summer. Looking forward to see where you take us next.

      I was also going to tell you from a previous post that I also use Taste of the Wild dog food. After trying different ones I found one Harley likes and it is a well rated food.

  1. Thor ’n Drew says:

    First? 😉

  2. Donna in KC,MO now says:

    In the top 5?

  3. Alice (So. Fla) says:

    2nd maybe??

  4. Thor ’n Drew says:

    Sue, you’ve probably said this at some point and I missed it, but do you wear bright colors when you walk around during hunting season?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Thor ‘n Drew,

      I thought I’d get away without making any comments. 🙂

      No, I didn’t wear bright colors today. We stayed pretty close to the road and the PTV. During hunting season we camp in campgrounds and that’s where we walk, so bright colored clothing isn’t necessary.

  5. Kim in TX says:

    Hi Sue!
    Thank you for the pictures! Happy Labor Day!

  6. Ken says:

    Always love your blogs

  7. Leroy says:

    Sue looking at picture of left side hitch looks like the ball may be loose at the hitch please check to be sure with trailer off ,thanks

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      How can you tell that from the photo, Leroy? In the second photo?

      I think I see what you’re referring to … that slight gap. Last I checked it was okay, but I’ll be sure to check it again. Thanks.

  8. Judy in East Texas says:

    Hi Sue and crew…..love the campsite and hate you have to leave it behind. Good luck finding the next beautiful site.

    Be safe out there and rock on Judy

  9. Cari in Plano TX says:

    It is always a joy to see your name in my email inbox. Your last camp locations have been lovely and so peaceful. Well, except for the hunters on the last day ?

    It was a quiet weekend at my house. I had one dog stay with me last week and another client over the weekend. I have a house sitting assignment tomorrow for two days, then another house sitting visit for 10 days after that. They are close enough I can come home occasionally. It is like a mini vacation since I don’t have responsibilities except for the dog.

    Looking forward to seeing your next location!

  10. Velda says:

    Can’t resist. Sue you do know a steer is a castrated male, right? I laughed when you said the bull led his steers!
    Hope all had a wonderful day. I am finally beginning to improve from an attack by a viscious respiratory virus.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Not “his” steers! Yes, all the cattle here are steers (castrated males). That’s why I was surprised when this big, intact bull shows up. I didn’t realize how high pitched the moos of the steers were until the red bull mooed. 🙂

      Get all better soon!

  11. Sharon in MO says:

    What a great relaxing weekend you have had, RV Sue! We are enjoying our visit to Utah, so much beauty to see! Temperature extremes today, with 43 degrees this morning in Bryce Canyon and 90 this afternoon in Moab. The mountain coolness is sure great, as you have experienced. Hope your next campsite is wonderful as well.
    Sharon

  12. Reine in Plano (when we're not camping) says:

    I got a chuckle out of this line “I toss the pink cone and yellow chocks in the back of the PTV.” I can remember when that pink cone was RED. Amazing what the sun can do to colors in 5+ years. Glad you had a relaxing and quiet Labor Day. This is definitely the day to rejoice that your “Labors” are OVER and you’re enjoying the results.

  13. Ken says:

    Sue…..
    Please make sure that the hitch ball is locked in the hitch receiver.
    Be safe
    Ken

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Ken…. It isn’t possible to lock the hitch lock when the coupler looks in position, but isn’t.

      Thanks for the concern.

  14. Pookie in Todd Mission, tx says:

    wow…quite a long post and so late at nite….
    now to go back and read….
    chuck

  15. Lori S says:

    Hi Sue. I’ve been following you for quite some time and hoping to get going on a similar adventure/lifestyle in another 10-15 months. I enjoy the sense of serenity that comes from your posts. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Lori S. Thank you for reading my blog. Best wishes as you plan and prepare for the next chapter of your life!

  16. Cynthia from San Clemente says:

    I’m glad you had a relaxing Labor Day without too much noise. We enjoyed a long walk with our dogs, had friends over for tacos and margaritas and watched the bats fly around in the night sky. I could feel cooler air when I took them out for their last walk (the dogs, not the bats – LOL) … fall must be on its way!! Saying a little prayer that you have safe travels tomorrow and find a lovely place to camp.

  17. Elizabeth in WA says:

    Glad your weekend was quiet, Sue…ours too surprisingly enough!! There was even an outdoor wedding service yesterday and even with windows open, we heard nary a sound!! We are indeed grateful for this spell of quietness!! Tomorrow we babysit and work! So today we rested!! Hope your next stopping place will be quiet too!!

  18. I am totally and completely impressed that you don’t have an electric tongue jack. We started out without one, and quickly headed to Camping World with our 30 foot travel trailer. Your travels in Colorado have been fun to follow, and I’m wishing you a great fall itinerary. Happy trails to you!

  19. Cat Lady, Central, La. says:

    09/06/2016: Happy Birthday, Pauline, and many more.

    Cat Lady

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You beat me to it, Cat Lady!

      HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PAULINE! YOU’RE THE BEST “BIG SISTER” IN THE WORLD!

      I LOVE YOU!

      Susan

  20. Geri says:

    Off she goes…… Happy Trails to you…….. we will meet you up around the next bend in the road!

  21. Another great post Sue and Happy Birthday Pauline and all ?,,, have a pleasant trip to your next camp site and we’ll catch the next post when it comes,,, Rusty n Piper ??

  22. Lisa, Tommie and Buddy in NJ says:

    What a nice place picture of Bridgette’s smile to end this post. And once again you find a beautiful camp while out taking a walk, incredible! I think there’s some inevitable law of attraction between you and gorgeous places. On a totally different topic, I am asking all of you to remember my family as my Dad has surgery tomorrow. Thanks, love to you all.

  23. casitagirl says:

    Hi Sue, That site you found in the forest looks great. We’re at Zion NP now, but found a great free campsite at Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge in the Mojave. It was amazing until a very LOUD family moved in next door….I’m sure you know this well.

    We are just as dirty as you are, having camped in dusty sites with little water for months now. You kind of get used to the grit, don’t you?

    At any rate, we are leaving Zion and heading to Gypsum Colorado tomorrow. My husband’s staying with my brother in law while my sister in law and I go on a Greek Island sail for a week (she works for United and gets a HUGE discount which she has generously shared with me).

    Glad to know your Labor Day weekend was quiet….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Pahranagat is a wonderful, free campground as long as everyone behaves. I’m sorry you had loud neighbors.

      Wow! Greek island sail! Fantastic!

  24. Suzette (TN) says:

    Who knew the day-to-day life of a retired boondocker could be so packed full of activity? You certainly get the most out of life, and I’m glad you don’t mind sharing part of it with us. Hope your transition into fall goes smoothly.

  25. Pat (Ky) says:

    Greetings Sue,
    Just wanted to say I really enjoyed the photos from your geocache post. The closeup ones of the forest/meadow floor are special. I love the detail and color.

    Thanks for the hitch photos. Now if I can just get the ball under the coupler, I’ll be all set on what to do next. The previous owner did not use the anti sway bar. The original owner must have, because a ball w/plate has been welded to the frame. I’m shopping for one now. Even though the previous owner said he didn’t need it, I would feel better having one. Once I have it and the new tires, I’ll feel safe to venture out.

    I was seriously confused by your first hitch photo. I saw a wire (turned out to be your solar power wire), going into the coupler lock; and I thought what am I missing. Then I examined the other photo and saw it plugged into the PTV…joke’s on me.

    I need to resume my research on solar power. If one has limited funds, would it be better to spend it on more batteries or bigger panels?

    Safe travels and thanks again to you and your followers for being a bright spot in my day. Pat

    • Lisa, Tommie and Buddy in NJ says:

      Pat, I would put your money into quality batteries. Panels are coming down in price. You can even get good ones used from your town or municipal corporation… They have to replace them every few years whether it’s needed or not. Good luck

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It’s hard for me to answer your question… “more batteries” than what? “bigger panels” than what?

      I have two 12-volt, deep cycle batteries paired with a 200 watt panel. This works of me, although I should add that I’m not an energy hog.

      Maybe another blogorino will reply with more helpful advice….

      • A gal in Maple Valley, WA says:

        Sue,

        Don’t you have three 12v batteries that are charged by the solar panels and the vehicle’s alternator when the engine is on? Two in the PTV and one in the BLT?

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Two storage batteries in the PTV, along with the PTV’s starter battery. Plus the house battery. Four in all.

    • Pat (Ky) says:

      What I am thinking about doing to start out is one of the 100 watt kits available and another 12v battery in addition to the house battery. I guess what I’m asking is, can a 100 watt panel keep both batteries charged. I’m hoping on a sunny day it can charge both batteries and then on cloudy days I would have enough power stored to meet my needs. I don’t expect to use a lot of power, keep the electronics charged and some lights.

  26. Lee J in northern California says:

    Good morning blogorinos and naturally Miss Sue!
    Did you all have a wonderful weekend?
    I decided to start a weaving project today. I have.some wonderful alpaca yarn a nephew sent from Bolivia that is a glorious purple, it has new scarf written all over it. Any other fiber folks out there?
    I can’t wait to see and hear about your new.camp Sue. I am glad you aren’t in Arizona right now, there is a hurricane headed for Baja that is supposed to go right across the Sea of Cortez into Arizona…wow…. can you.say water?

  27. Dawn in NC says:

    Thanks so much for the post Sue. I know that you will find another great camp site right around the corner. You do your research and seem to have good boondock mojo! I had a great weekend of rest with lots of cuddles with my kitties. They are quite the rascals and start crying at daybreak for me to get up and give them some treats. Forget about the fact that they have dry food available 24/7. Oh well, I love them to pieces and even forgive them for waking me up every morning. Missing the ones that went before them makes me appreciate the kitties that are here even more.

  28. Ken says:

    Hi sue….
    I’m referring to….
    The ball portion of the hitch slides into the receiver part of the hitch and you put
    a pin through the the ball portion and the receiver portion of the hitch so the
    ball portion can not slide out. Please make sure you have a …….LOCK …..on that pin
    so that it can not be removed unless…..YOU…..want to remove it.
    Thanks

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I appreciate you elaborating on this, Ken. I’m pretty sure I understand what you describe.

      My hitch set up is different. The hitch ball is really a big bolt with the hitch ball at its top. That bolt goes through the hole on the hitch extension and is fastened with a large nut. There’s no place for a pin in this area.

      At the base of the hitch extension, under the bumper where it can’t be seen in the photos here, is a pin. The word pin doesn’t really fit because this thing is a good 1/4 inch or more in diameter. It secures the hitch extension to the main bar. It isn’t something one removes easily and there’s no way or need to put a lock on it.

      I’m going by memory here because it’s hot outside and I don’t want to wake the crew to go look at it, so my description might not be perfect.

      Another reason I don’t think there is a pin to be locked — No mention was made of it during the thorough orientation I received at the Casita factory where the hitch extension and hitch ball were installed.

  29. AZ Jim says:

    Well, it’s been a couple of days since I commented so I am here to check in. I have been kinda funky now for a month or so. I fractures my ankle and I am in a “soft cast” to my knee. I’m not positive how I did it but I suspect a fall I took could have been it. I still hurt and it’s a little painful to get around but otherwise, all is ok… Missy, I love your pics and your love of our western US. As a guy who was born and raised here I appreciate folks who find us and enjoy our mountains, valleys, beaches and treat it like it deserves to be treated. Looking forward to your return to your winter home here in AZ. Tell the little ones hi for me and Detta and you be careful and have fun…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jim and Detta!

      I did miss you here. I didn’t worry because I remembered you telling me you might not appear for a few days at a time.

      So sorry you hurt your ankle and have to deal with a cast. It’s easy for that to get your spirits down. I’m thankful you aren’t facing something much worse. Like you say, “but otherwise, all is ok…” Good to hear!

      Yes, I do love the West! I look forward to returning to AZ for the winter (and maybe some southern California, too)…

      Hugs to you and Detta… Have a good evening.

  30. mayble says:

    Sue, I’m curious how many miles you’ve put on the PTV so far, or how many miles you’re averaging per year.
    It seems most full timers don’t drive as much as most of us would expect, an issue that always comes up whenever fuel economy is discussed. I keep flip-flopping between wanting a small efficient vehicle and a larger, more comfortable one.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Mayble,

      I haven’t kept track of how many miles I’ve put on the PTV, annually or since we first hit the road. Fuel economy isn’t something I give much thought. My other expenses are so low that I don’t let the cost of fuel influence where I go, how far I drive.

      The PTV is a 5.2 liter with V8. I haven’t done a careful test but I think she gives about 12-15 miles per gallon in mixed driving — towing, uphill, downhill, interstate, stop and go, etc.

      You write “between wanting a small efficient vehicle and a larger, more comfortable one.” I don’t recall if you will be towing. If so, I advise getting a tow vehicle that has plenty of power, more than enough, for what you want to tow, even at the sacrifice of fuel economy. The power is worth it!

      I don’t know much about RV engines. Seems to me that if I were to buy a Class C, for instance, I’d want one that had an engine powerful enough to drive effortlessly.

      As for “a small efficient vehicle” for a full-timer, that translates, in my opinion, to low power and not enough storage. If you’re gonna’ buy a vehicle, buy a VEHICLE. 🙂

      • mayble says:

        I thought you had said how many miles were on it when you bought it, and then again not too long ago. I just can’t recall how far back I saw it, or I’d go back and do the math myself 🙂 I recently read from the beginning so “not too long ago” may have been last year.
        You seem to be like me – more likely to go for a drive to explore and see the sights rather than climb the nearest mountain or hike to the bottom of a canyon. That’s why I figured you’d be the perfect one to ask.
        I’ll poke around and see if I can find the info. Thanks anyway.

  31. weather says:

    It’s nice to see(literally) that Bridget did a lot of walking with Reggie and you. A nice ride and exploring -such a pleasant way to keep your holiday enjoyable 🙂 By now you are hopefully settled in somewhere that you three can appreciate. Have a wonderful time there and at your next one, too, if you’re not back on line until then.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, weather,

      Yes, we’re settled in our new camp and we have internet! I look forward to writing a post about it in the morning. Bridget and Reggie were so excited to land in a new place, they wore themselves down to a frazzle. They’re in bed early tonight, totally zonked out, happy little babes. So cute!

      Thank you for the nice message. Your wishes for us often come true. 🙂

      You have a good evening!

  32. Pamelab in Houston says:

    Hi, Sue – I like it when you show all the details of your rig and hitch, etc. Looks like mine, except I don’t have the extra thick cable from the batteries and solar panels. Maybe, one day.
    I am in Grand Rapids, MI now, visiting old and dear friends. I am staying at a CG and have electric. I’ll be here for another week or two. There sure was some partying going on here. I would be out with friends and when I came back at night, there was a DJ and lots of music and hoopin’ and a hollerin’. Things quieted down around 11:00 to 12:00. I knew there was no going to sleep, even with my ear plugs in, so I read.
    It appears that most of the CG is composed of permanent trailers, with porches and decks and storage sheds.
    Thank you for all the nice photos and descriptions of your sites. I always learn something and enjoy your writing. I have only been out for one month, but you reminded me I could start to use my grease spray on the hitch ball. Thanks.
    Pamelab in Grand Rapids, MI for now

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pamelab,

      Thank you for the update! Good to hear from you… although I’m sorry you had to endure a noisy evening.

  33. Rhodium in RI says:

    Kinney Flats was such a great camp, it will be hard to top it. I wish you had the power to make a few places your own personal Brigadoon, so the camps only appeared when you showed up. You are so respectful of your boondocks.

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