Living life the way I want

Tuesday, July 30

While walking along the shore, the crew and I meet John from Laurel, Montana (west of Billings).  He’s camping here at Delmoe Lake Campground with his wife who, at present, is “running up the mountain.”

“What?  Your wife is running up the mountain?”

“Yep.  She’s a marathon runner.”

John and Nicki's canoe

John’s canoe

John and I talk while Bridget and Spike play around on the sand.

The lake level is dropping quickly to supply water to ranches.

The lake level is dropping quickly to supply water for cattle. John tells me Delmoe Lake and the surrounding land are leased by the Montana Cattlemen’s Association.  You need a permit to drive to the other side of the lake.

John explains the best way to drive out of the mountains to go to Whitehall.

Later I meet John’s wife, Niki, when they stop at our campsite on their way out.  She’s run in several marathons, including the Boston Marathon.  Niki, as one might guess, is perky and trim, not an ounce of extra fat on her.

“You must have to eat an awful lot of food,” I comment.

“Yeah,” she responds, smiling.  “That’s one of the perks.”

John and Niki want to full-time someday.

They show some interest in my set-up so I blab about the BLT, the PTV, the solar panel, my tires, blah, blah, blah.  A light rain begins to fall.  We say goodbye and they board their Class C motorhome.  John and Niki have to rejoin the rat race.

As John explains wistfully, “We have seven years to go.”  Probably seems like a marathon to him.

Wednesday, July 31

Following John’s directions, the crew and I bumpety-bump our way out of the mountains.


A last glimpse of the lake as we leave

We get on the interstate at Pipestone, go about seven miles, and exit at Whitehall.  First order of business is propane.  At the same place — Whitetail RV Park — I fill up several one-gallon jugs with drinking water.

I have a couple hours to kill before our appointment at the auto repair shop.

I go to Whitehall’s IGA store and buy the non-perishables on my list.  Then I park in the large parking area next to a long strip of grass and picnic tables running parallel to the street and the railroad tracks.  I walk the crew.  I go online.  I eat.  I drive around.  Time drags.  I go back to the parking area.

I leave the crew in the PTV, cross the street, and enter a little shop.

The shop (I forget the name!) sells new and used clothing.  I’m greeted by a cheerful hello from the interior.  A quick browse scores me a pair of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans in excellent condition ($9, on sale for $6).

Donna is the proprietor, a pretty, vivacious lady in her early fifties. 

I’m the only shopper.  Immediately Donna and I find ourselves deep in conversation about our lives and what we see for our futures.  Before I leave, Donna gives me directions to dispersed camping along the South Boulder River, further up into the Tobacco Root Mountains from the location of her home.  “You can camp along the river,” she says.  I give her directions to Delmoe Lake which she’s never seen.

RVSue Tip of the Day . . .

Never pass up an opportunity to ask a local where to go for good dispersed camping.

It’s almost time for the auto repair shop.

I know I’m not going to feel like grocery shopping after hanging around the repair shop.  I drive us back to the IGA store.  Bridget and Spike have another walk-around before I run into the store, pick up the perishables we need such as milk (in two containers — one for the fridge and one for the freezer), along with a bag of chipped ice.  I put the food in my Coleman cooler and poor the ice in also.

I pull into Cliff’s Auto Repair.

After a brief check of the blog while sitting in the PTV, the crew and I sit in the much cooler waiting room.  It’s about 90 degrees outside.  Spike falls asleep on the cool, concrete floor, right where employees have to step over him to get behind the counter.  No one seems to mind.  Bridget is a good girl, of course, and stays under my chair.

Eventually the mechanic gives me the news.

The resistor for the blower motor needs to be replaced.  The mechanic tested it by hooking straight to the battery and the air conditioner worked fine.  (I also had him replace the bulb for the front turn signal.  I didn’t do it myself because it’s a bear to pry the orange plastic piece off and I was afraid I’d break it.)

The bill?  One hour’s labor: $70.  Turn signal bulb: $1.95

The mechanic says they can have a part for me in the morning. 

I explain that I’m camping up in the mountains and I’ll have the resistor put in somewhere further in my travels.  No way I’m making this trip to Whitehall again tomorrow!

It’s cool in the mountains.


Trying to keep all my ducks in a row

We aren’t suffering without working A/C.  I usually plan to drive in the first half of the day before it gets hot. I’m at a point in my life where . . . If I don’t feel like doing something, I’m not going to do it!

And before readers razz me for spending $71.95 and coming away with only a new turn-signal bulb, let me say this:  I’m happy I have the diagnosis.  I can walk into a repair shop, tell them to replace the resistor, which should be about fifty bucks plus some more labor, and I’m done.

The north end of Delmoe Lake

The northwest end of Delmoe Lake

Sure, I’ll end up paying more than if I had the diagnostics and the work done in one place.  I’m willing to pay more in order to live my life the way I want.



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Trail Shield Gaiter
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Kindle Fire 7″, LCD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers
Camco RV Swivel Stik Holding Tank Rinser with Shutoff Valve
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Camco Zero Gravity Recliner

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85 Responses to Living life the way I want

  1. I agree with you 100% about living life the way you want to.

  2. cinandjules (NY) says:

    It’s your dash………………..!

    At least it’s not going to be a huge huge long drawn out expensive repair. Did anyone guess it right? I think the majority thought it was the fuse. I think we should always suggest it’s a fuse…so you can get out your tweezer pulley contraption and make us laugh!

    I didn’t know you can freeze milk. Love the scenery……….as always!

    Enjoy living your dash!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’ve never frozen milk before. I’m trying it now so that I’ll have some milk for coffee when the jug of milk in the fridge runs out.

      • Donna D. (stickhouse in CT) says:

        I’ve known many people who freeze milk and it seems to be fine. I remember as a child when we actually had glass quarts of milk delivered by the milkman. In the winter, the milk would sometimes sit outside and freeze before we got up in the morning. We’d just let them melt and they were fine. That was the cream would separate from the milk and we’d have to shake up the bottle to blend them. (God, I’m old! LOL)

    • Ladybug says:

      I did, I did!!! But only because mine is out and I drive a Chevy SUV of around the same vintage. I haven’t shopped around getting it replaced; only the place that diagnosed it gave me a quote ($450 installed). Apparently it’s up in the dash somehow where it’s a PITA to get to. I’m not in any hurry to get it fixed either. Will probably have to by winter…..defrost is more important than the A/C.

      Sooooo……what do I win?!?!?! A free rock from Montana? A pic just for me of Spike’s next soak? Oh, I know….a camp named for me!

  3. Mick says:

    Mick… I replaced your link with one of mine. RVSue
    Dorman 973-007 Blower Motor Resistor for Chevrolet/GMC

  4. cinandjules (NY) says:

    I wonder if that tweezer pulley thingy ma giggy will work! 🙂

    Or better yet the needlenose pliers.

  5. cinandjules (NY) says:

    Looks like one plug with a clip….and the other piece will fit in the slot.

    I think the hardest part will be removing the screw/bolts to access the area. At least you won’t have to deal with the steering wheel being in the way.

    It can’t be too hard………….eh Mick?

    Do you like that coffeemate flavor cream? It lasts forever…unless you also use the milk for your cereal. Don’t forget to take some of the milk out before you freeze it..just in case it wants to expand. We don’t want Spike and Bridget to learn certain prepositions.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I have coffeemate but I don’t like it very much. Good idea re: space for expansion . . . I haven’t put it in the freezer yet. I have to eat what’s in there to make room. It’s a very small freezer.

      • Mick says:

        Coffeemate is loaded with hydrogenated oils; artery cloggers, a quick way to the grave.

        • Mick says:

          I buy sweetened condensed milk and mix it 50/50 with half & half; not good but better than that hydrogenated junk.
          Boy am I talky tonight!

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            I love it when you’re talky. 🙂

            • Connie & Mugsy (ND/MN/AZ) says:

              I used to freeze milk all the time and it never burst the container. If one is taste tolerant – as it has a different taste – there is the UHT treated milk that can sit on your shelf for about 6 months and you needn’t refrigerate it until you open it. Wal-mart carries one brand called Parmalat. It tastes extra creamy… great in coffee or tea, but for cereal the skim is probably the best.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Interesting, Connie. I’ve seen that Parmalat. I’m intrigued.

  6. AZ Jim says:

    I think you should do only that which you feel comfortable doing, otherwise let the pro’s do it for ya…they have to eat too. You need to spend your time thinking about what’s next in this adventure. I’m just glad it’s nothing more serious. Get it fixed, forget it and move on Missy…..

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Funny you should mention “thinking about what’s next in this adventure.” That’s what I did today. We had another thunderstorm and rain, off and on. I’ve been inside with the crew, reading my book, and looking up places to camp. It’s fun making decisions where to go next. Yours truly, Missy

  7. WoW! I was surprised they charged you for changing a turn signal bulb! When we were in Hurricane UT, NAPA sold me the bulb AND installed it for free! I was so flabbergasted, I went down to the local pizzaria and ordered a large pepporoni for the crew at NAPA actually refused my offer of a tip!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I don’t know if they charged anything for changing the bulb. They charged me $70 for labor which could’ve been entirely for diagnostics.

  8. Some of my words disappeared! After NAPA, I said the guys there actually refused my offer of a tip! So I had the pizza delivered, something they could NOT refuse!

  9. Val R. Lakefield On. says:

    Love the. “Ducks in a row ” made me laugh. I agree, live the way you want to.
    My uncle married a lovely widow…Once during a conversation with her, she said to me,
    ” dear, I promised myself that once I turned fifty, I would never do anything that I didn’t want to do.” Maybe I can say that at 70 LOL. Not now for sure.
    Sue, I would buy the needed resistor and carry it with you. Sooner or later, you’ll meet a mechanic or mechanically inclined camper at one of the sites and they will do it for you. 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      That’s a thought re: resistor.

      Yes, at a certain point one must live the way one wants… after years of doing stuff for the job, for other people…

  10. Alan Rabe says:

    RVSue, absolutely, everyone should do what they want. The alternative is to do what everyone else wants you to do, where is the fun in that. Milk freezes just fine, My mother was raised on a farm and did it all the time, bread too. But don’t pour some out first. There is plenty of room in the carton or jug. Love Spike taking over the auto shop, reminds me of Foxxy, an abby cat I had for 17 years, the world was hers and everyone else just had to get in line.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Alan!

      Sounds like Spike and Foxxy share(d) the same attitude. Spike is getting on in years. He’s at the same point I am… He’s going to live life the way he wants!

  11. Niki says:

    Hi Sue!
    Thank you for describing me as “trim and perky” and not skinny and nutso!! I don’t know why I always think the view will be better on the other side of the mountain! Hope you have a great rest of your stay at Lake Delmo. Was cool to meet you<

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It was cool meeting you, too, Niki! I’m sure John noticed how I didn’t include the part of my response where I said, “What? Is she crazy?”

      I apologize for spelling your name as Nicki… I’ll go back and change it.

      Best wishes to you both. I hope to see you on the road someday… as full-timers!

  12. marcia in pa says:

    You are woman and I hear your roar. You go girl!

  13. maureen says:

    I agree. . . Live your life the way you want!

  14. Mike says:

    Hi Sue,
    I looked up how to replace the resistor and it does appear do be somewhat difficult. However you may be able to pull the glove box and get to it sitting in the seat and not on your head.

    I think you should ask your mechanic to show you where it is located. You said he jumped it so that must mean that it was fairly easy to locate and test. He may have even taken it out to test it or jump it. This is what consumed an hour(my guess).

    If you ask how much to change it, and he says $70 labor, there you have it. Some of these places may even include the replacement labor it in the initial price.

    It does not hurt to ask or call them to clarify.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Mike!

      The mechanic did show me where the resistor is located. It’s on the passenger side of the engine on the other side of the glove box, that is, if the PTV had a glove box which it doesn’t.

      I will take your advice and ask about the job before I engage anyone to take care of it. Thanks.

  15. John fossildreamer says:

    Love the pic of the ducks Sue,,, I don’t read your blog until about 8 am
    but tonight I need all the happiness I can get,,, This morning I had to let
    my best friend Max of 14 year’s go to the rainbow bridge,,,
    We traveled for 9 years full time, and have been off the road for 2 years
    I cannot believe how hard this day has been,, thanks for just being there Sue…
    Safe travels

    • Connie & Mugsy (ND/MN/AZ) says:

      {{{{John}}}} Sorry…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh, John, my heart breaks for you. I have tears in my eyes as I write this. Nine years on the road together. . . . I don’t know what it is… I guess the closeness of living in a rig, the shared adventures maybe… Full-timing with a dog makes the bond so very strong and the love run very deep.

      I am so sorry for your loss and for the pain you are suffering now and for some time to come. If my blog can give you a moment’s relief, I’m truly glad for that. I wish it could do more.

      Thank you for writing, John. And thanks to Max for the happiness he gave you as your best friend and companion on the road and off. He must have loved his life with you.

    • Teri in SoCal says:

      John, I am so very sorry for your loss. I can only imagine what a wonderful life Max had.

      • John fossildreamer says:

        Thank you Teri

        • BuckeyePatti says:

          John, my heart breaks for you, too. If you can say you gave this animal the best life possible, you should cherish the memories. Losing a beloved pet is hard, REALLY HARD. I am so sorry.

    • Cari in North Texas says:

      Oh, John, my heart just broke when I read your post about your darling Max. I had to take my first dog Bandit to the Rainbow Bridge about 6 years ago, and it still hurts. I know you shared many good memories together, and it sounds like you two were a wonderful team.

    • gingerda says:

      It is so sad when we lose a furry friend. Recently I went with my daughter to have her 14 yr old Boston Terrier put down, then 6 days later with my son while he put down his old Labrador. Bawled my eyes out. I feel your pain. Hang in there!!

  16. Madeline says:

    We have a cabin 2 hours from Phoenix where we hibernate. Since giving up dairy products a while back the milk issue is easy. We buy almond milk and rice milk in the shelf stable boxes and I always have “milk” for my coffee, cereal, etc. up there.

    Before almond milk was available,I found that cooking with rice milk did not always yield the results I wanted but ALMOND MILK acts exactly the same in recipes as reg. milk. I am thinking “cornbread” here..

    Even if you use milk, it’s nice to have a carton of the alternative at the ready for those times you can’t run to a store.

    Love reading about your adventures, Sue. I want to try a Casita one of these days and do some travel around the Southwest.. my husband is JUST starting to come around to the idea..

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Madeline… It’s a pleasure to see you appear here!

      So almond milk doesn’t require refrigeration? Even after opened? Sorry, I’m clueless. But also interested. I’m guessing almond milk is very healthful.

      If your husband needs more convincing, have him read this blog’s archives. I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to see the places and have the adventures the crew and I have experienced during the past two years on the road in our BLT. Best wishes to both of you!

      • Jean/Southaven, MS says:

        almond mile does require refreigeration after opening. But it last a lot longer than regular milk in the frig.

  17. Nivrapa in AZ says:

    Hi Sue!

    I’m really liking this new camp. I think I need to have a forest around me in addition to some sort of water feature. Lakes are good but a running stream is better and like you, the more isolated, the better. I’d be very content for 16 days at your current camp unless it was invaded by too much humanity.

    I got a good chuckle out of your ducks in a row. Great caption.

    WalMart stocks almond milk in shelf stable cartons at a good price. Usually, it is found near the canned and powdered milk at my store. Once you open it, it does need to be kept cold. You can buy it in 32oz cartons and also a pack of 3 8oz cartons. You can also buy some brands by the half gallon from the refrigerated foods section, but what is the point there? It needs a fridge and has a short term expiration date. I like the unsweetened vanilla flavor for coffee and cereal and it subs well for most applications. Creamy and smooth with a hint of vanilla. You can now consider yourself better informed about almond milk. LOL

    Hey, you go girl! It’s your life, so live it the way you want. I’m also a subscriber to that concept.

    Keep up the great work on your blog–it’s become a daily habit of mine and we all need more good habits. Right??


    P.S. Amazon also carries almond milk–of course!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Audrey… enjoyed your comment!

      Thanks for the Almond Milk tutorial. It sounds like something I’d like to keep handy.

      Speaking of “invaded by too much humanity…” I’m bracing myself for the weekend onslaught. Some have already arrived and driven others away by their behavior.

      I’m happy to hear I’m a daily habit. That’s my goal! 🙂

  18. Cari in North Texas says:

    A daily habit – what a nice thing to say! I try and read every day but with my work schedule right now, by the time I get the email it’s late at night and I’m pooped. So I catch up on several posts in the afternoon while I’m ‘hibernating’ from the heat. But I too enjoy reading about your adventures and seeing the sights with you! Your lake looks like a lot of the ones here in Texas, down because of the drought. And we’re on water rationing, which just means we can’t water our yards more than once a week.

    I’m starting to plan my next RV trip – probably in October – to try out a different make/model and hopefully be gone for about a week or 2 this time. 3 days of actual camping on my last trip was just long enough to get relaxed and then I had to get back on the road. There’s an RV show here in Dallas in September and I’ll definitely be shopping!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Cari,

      It does take a few days to unwind. I’m glad you’ll have at least a week on your next trip.

      Because of the drought and the draining of lakes and reservoir for agriculture, I can’t be sure the lakes I see on the map are actually there any more. The same goes for creeks. Here at Delmoe Lake we’ve had a few thunderstorms and some heavy showers.

  19. Denise says:

    Being a curious, okay…nosey, woman do you have a game plan for when you may not be able to handle the rv life anymore?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Denise…. Nothing set in stone. My sister says I can camp on their land in Mississippi if I need to come off the road.

      I trust I’ll find the way and it’ll work out when the time comes.

  20. cinandjules (NY) says:

    You can always come here! Spike can soak!

    Is it peaceful where you are?

    Some city yahoo….decided he was going to chase a flock of Canadian geese with his jet ski. Some of the geese are very very young and don’t know how to fly yet.

    Needless to say…I about lost my mind…..told him to respect the wildlife in the area or stay the hell home.

    We need to go deeper into the woods! Enjoy your evening.

    PS. Haven’t heard from Rusty yet.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I get so upset with the disregard for wildlife I can hardly stand it. Good for you for confronting him on it!

  21. BuckeyePatti says:

    How kewel that you swapped camping locations with Donna, the local shop owner. I still have to be reminded that people are inherentley good & kind. Thanks for your Tip of the Day, of course we already learn so much from your blog.

    Good job, Missy! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yes, Patti, there are a lot of good people in the world. I enjoyed my conversation with Donna.

  22. Donna in W. Texas says:

    Just a question, for quite some time (almost from when I began reading your blog) I have wondered about your refrigerated food storage. How big of a freezer do your have? I love ice and would have trouble if I didn’t have some available. I am also curious about the size of your refrigerator.

  23. wheelingit says:

    I think one of the big draws of your blog is exactly that…you are living the way you want! It’s not an easy thing to do for most folks and often fear is the #1 thing that prevents it from happening (fear of the unknown, fear of the future etc.). You’re a regular gal and yet you’ve overcome that fear, plunged in and are living the life you love. That’s a beautiful thing.

  24. Gayle says:

    Hi, just started reading your blog. Interesting. Good insight. I just wondered one thing concerning your dogs that I didn’t read anywhere. When you are in remote areas or even in town, how or where do you dispose of the dog poop?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I assume you mean when there isn’t any trash pick-up. I scoop up the poop in a dog poop bag (I bought a huge box of them before full-timing. I have a supply that will last for years.) I tie up the poop bag and put it in the trash bin I tote around in the back of the PTV. It has a lid on it to keep the smell from escaping. I also have a shovel to bury poop. I’m more likely to use the latter method in the desert.

  25. Suzie and Jim says:

    Hi rvsueandcrew, we are new to the full time RV scene, have mostly been staying in campgrounds, going state to state (currently in New England). We plan on heading to the southwest later this year and staying at BLM areas. Do you ever get nervous being by yourself in the boonies? What can one do to feel safe?
    Thanks! And happy trails to you and your doggies.

    • Ed says:

      In my opinion this is what you need to do in answer to your question: ” What can one do to feel safe?”

      Change the way you think about the world!

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Good advice, Ed. It’s hard for a lot of women to shed the prey mentality that many of us are conditioned to assume.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      To answer your first question… No, I have never been nervous being by myself in the boonies. I’ve been nervous in cities though and, I believe, with good reason. Ed answered your second question . . .

  26. supraシューズ says:


  27. Helen Halsne says:

    Merry Christmas from theDelmoe Lake campers-John,old Winnie motorhome is still going -Niki,still running up mtns-Helen & Al,camped in your fave site there too. You already know what the weather is like here -hope to see you at Delmoe again.Oh yes, the Brittanies Ruby & Cooper -we fear it’s close to Rainbow Bridge time for Ruby and dreading it -prayers are appreciated. Happy trails to you.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Helen! So glad I caught your message. Sorry to hear about Ruby. It’s so difficult letting our loved ones go. Prayers for Ruby . . .

      Merry Christmas to you, Al, Niki, and John and canine pals! Nice to hear from you . . .

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