Magpies at Red Mountain Campground, Montana

The magpies roust us from sleep this morning. 

A family of five of the long-tailed birds make this section of the Madison River their home.  From their raucous calls I gather they don’t approve of late sleepers.


Flying from the trees to the picnic table and to the logs that define the parking area of our campsite, they squawk their heads off.  “Get up!  Get up, you sleepyheads!”

Bridget and Spike stumble out to do their business.

I keep an eye on them so I can clean up any deposits they make. This is the view from our door. 


 A fire swept through here last summer.  Red Mountain, if it ever was red, is now tan and scarred with the blackened remains of trees and shrubs.  Traces of green promise a recovery, but not any time soon.


Once the coffee is in my cup, I join the crew outside.


Swallows soar and dip over the water in great flocks.  An occasional loner swoops through our campsite.   A bird of prey floats in circles above us, and two gulls follow the course of the river downstream.  Last summer I saw otters in the river, but I haven’t seen them this year.


Yesterday I was feeling “out of sorts,”which is a strange phrase for an unsettled feeling.  I finally pinned down my trouble.  Besides being cut off from the internet, I don’t have any idea where we are going this summer.  I thought we’d go to Glacier National Park.  Then I changed my mind and set my sights on the area of Coeur d’Alene.   The name alone has an allure.


However, I can’t seem to come up with a good plan to get from here to there.

On the way campgrounds are few and far between.  I’ve eliminated several because they are for tent or truck campers only, or they consist of only a few sites at the end of long, bad roads, or for other reasons.  I could devote a few days to grueling, interstate driving up long, wearisome grades, like I did the day we crossed Salt Lake City. Ugh.

What it comes right down to is this.

I’ve lost interested in driving that far.  That’s the cause of my funk.  Now that I realize this, I resolve to get back to living in the moment. 


Right now the crew and I are content where we are.

The mornings are perfect. 

When the afternoon becomes hot, we cool off in the river.  Pretty nice!


Even though it’s not the weekend, people on rafts and in boats frequently drift by with a wave or a funny comment for me as I watch from my half-submerged camp chair. 

By driving to the town of Norris, I can go online to post and read comments and emails, as well as to load another book on my kindle.


 It’s a pretty drive in spite of some of the hills having been burnt.  It curves with the river upstream, and then cuts across ranch land, passing the “Water of the Gods” hot springs. 


Have you looked at the page, “House-warming for Rusty and Timber,” lately? 

(You can access it from the header.)  Rusty sent me a photo of his new kitchen table covered in gifts.  I posted it on that page.  I love that photo!  His kitchen looks like home, thanks to the generosity and thoughtfulness of several readers of this blog. 

I’ve said it before and no doubt I’ll say it again . . . I love my readers!




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34 Responses to Magpies at Red Mountain Campground, Montana

  1. Barb Brady from Spokane WA says:

    If you decide to check out Coeur d’Alene, I’m just 30 miles west of there. We have a full hook-up RV site for you to stay in as long as you like. We live in the country surrounded by very large pine and fir trees. There are numerous area lakes in which to kayak, trails to hike, vistas to gaze from, etc.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks for the invitation, Barb! I haven’t decided what we will do . . . Sounds beautiful there.

  2. Rita from Phoenix says:

    How generous of Barb to offer an RV site for Sue to camp in. My son lived with his father in Coeur d’Alene during his senior year. He loved it and the surrounding area such as Sandpoint and Spokane. I’ve never been to that area. I might have told this story before…back when my kids were little, we were camped near Yosemite NP and in the camping area near us was a small travel trailer. We didn’t see anyone for a couple of days moving around the trailer. Then, one late afternoon my kids picked wild flowers and presented them to me as I was cooking dinner. I had to tell my children not to pick wild flowers although the ones they picked were lovely. I put them in a cup and set it in the middle of our camp table. Shortly after, a little old lady stepped out from the trailer and joined us for tea. She said ‘I knew you were good people when I saw flowers on the table.’ She was a full time RVer in early 1980s and traveled between Canada and Mexico…she was on her way back to Mexico to a family who kept a space on their property for her return each year. I think if I were a ‘full timer,’ I’d love to go to sort of a home camp each year.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      That’s a great story, Rita. It’s like when I first saw Rusty (as camo man). I knew he was a good guy by the broad, open wave he gave me.

      Yes, the lady carved out a good life for herself.

  3. Tawnya says:

    Aunt Susan, a few years ago I went to Washington, Oregon, Idaho , and Montana. While in Idaho I went to Coeur d’Alene. It was soooooooo nice. I hope you choose to go some time. Love you

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I love you, too, Tawnya, and I’m always happy to see your name pop up here. I haven’t decided what we will do. Too busy soaking in the river, I guess. 🙂 Hello to Brian!

  4. Paris says:

    Sue, I live in Missoula not too far from where you are and only about two hours from Coeur d’Alene. You are very welcome to stay in my driveway to break up the trip or I could find you a woodsy spot. The passes from here to Coeur d’Alene are not bad at all. I would really like the opportunity to meet you. Paris

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Paris! Thank you for the invitation! I don’t know yet what we will do.

      BTW I’m late answering comments because we don’t have an internet signal at the campground.

  5. Cecilia says:

    I love your blog. What are the large white birds in your photo? The town of Coeur d’Alene is very touristy, but the surrounding area and lake are absolutely fabulous.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Cecilia… I’m glad you love my blog. I haven’t been able to give it the attention I normally do because of no internet at the campground.

      The white birds are pelicans.

  6. cinandjules (NY) says:

    Good morning sunshine!

    Love your front yard! What’s good about retirement is your day isn’t planned! The 14 day stay…means you only have to move every 14 days! Move when you want to move…nothing is worse than driving when you don’t feel like it.

    A fellow coworker moved to Coeur d’Alene. They love it up there!

    We love you too! Rusty should be getting our package tomorrow!

    Enjoy your day.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi cinandjules!

      I’m having a little trouble opening the latest photo you sent. I can assume it’s the same as the previous one (3 photos)?

      • cinandjules (NY) says:

        I don’t believe I sent you another photo.

        Was it a forwarded email perhaps? Rusty got his package and absolutely loved the pictures.

        Disregard that email…I’ll send it again.

  7. Mary Ann (Pontotoc, MS) says:

    Thanks for sharing the great photos! Those magpies are beautiful–I don’t think I ever saw a photograph that showed one so clearly. Wonderful scenery there!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Mary Ann.. . . The photo would’ve been better if I could’ve chosen better lighting… I had to take what I could get!

  8. Susan in Dallas says:

    Great photos, especially the one of Bridget sitting sideways to soaking Spike. Isn’t it getting close to time for Canine Corner to appear? Those two scallywags always have something interesting to say.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks… Glad you liked the photos, Susan. Yes, I was thinking the same thing about the Canine Corner. I need to put these two soakers to work!

  9. Patricia Durkin says:

    Hi Sue
    Love your blog. Been reading it for the last few months. Have been trying to catch up by reading the older posts. You are an inspiration to me and I think to many others. You are doing what many others only dream about. I just rented my house, sold most of my belongings, and moved into my 22 ft Airstream trailer. Still working and will be for about 3 years. Family think I am crazy but are supportive. I am excited cause what you are doing is what my goal is. A few years and I will be on the road! Thanks for sharing your days with us!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m so excited to read your plans, Patricia . . . and you’ve accomplished so much toward your full-timing goal already! Good for you!

      The family will come around. My family never told me they thought I was crazy, but they’re certainly with me and the crew, 100 percent!

      Thanks for letting me know you love my blog.

  10. ronaldesears says:

    Another great looking site to spend some time at…. You need to take up trout fishing. You have been to some great places this safe.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      This is a trout fisherman’s paradise, Ron. Rivers and streams all over the place with frequent places marked “fishing access” with vault toilets even! 🙂

      Yesterday I saw two guys on a big float casting like crazy as they floated by our campsite.

      I used to fish and was obsessed with it for a while (salt water). You stay safe, too.

  11. Dawn says:

    Awww…we love you back! Will go look at Rusty’s list next. Lovely spot you’re in…I can see why you’re not wanting to drive a lot..could spend a long time right there!

  12. Loved seeing the magpies and pelicans! You are in another beeeeee-uuuu-teeee-ful campsite! Amazing! I am so happy for Rusty and Timber and so thankful to all who pitched in to help make his house a home! Like Micky said, it’s one big group hug with Rusty and Timber in the middle. You deserve it Rusty…. you really do! We all love being able to put a smile in your new home!

  13. Chuck Hajek says:

    Beautiful where you are now! The road north of 80 from Helena, MT to Cour d’ Lene, ID is absoutly gorgeous! A little hilly(mountainy) but worth the drive. Geri could handle it so you can too! We got RAIN!!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It’s the ride from here to Helena that I’m not looking forward to. I should just buckle down and git ‘er done!

      You New Mexico people sure to love that rain!

  14. dorothysie says:

    Hi Sue, I have been following your blog for a long time. I enjoy the way you write about day to day happenings. I am working towards camping as you do. My rig is a little bigger though so not sure how it will work out. I am currently near Bozeman in a campground and HATE it. I have a few extra days to spend in the area so thought I would try to find another place to stay. The campground you are in looks like something I could manage so I am going to check it out tomorrow. I will be in a Born Free class C motor home towing a Honda. I don’t want to impose on you but if you want to come over and visit if I find a place to stay, you and your doggies are certainly welcome.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Dorothy!

      Sure, come over to my campsite. I’m curious to talk with you about the campground you HATE so I can avoid it.

      A “Born Free towing a Honda” should serve your well!

  15. AZ Jim says:

    I’ve been out of town but I am now back home. I can kick back and relax again. I see Barb Brady’s generous offer to you above. I lived up there in Idaho for a couple of years. You saw my cabin pic at Bear Lake. I was in the south of Idaho but the north, where Barb is, is beautiful. You better jump on her offer then your “out of sorts” feeling will go away. It’s good to be back.

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