Moving camp and facing a boondocking challenge

Monday, July 21

“Ready to find our next home?”

I slide behind the wheel of the Perfect Tow Vehicle. 

Spike lies on the bench seat.  He knows we’re moving camp and is set for a nap.  Bridget sits in her bed next to my seat, looking at me expectantly, .

“Let’s see what’s up the road.  Okay, sweetie?”

Gosh, this has been an outstanding camp.  I’d love to stay longer.  Oh well, the field of flowers has faded, the grass has dried to gold.  It’s time for us to go.

1-DSC05722Sunset the night before leaving “Field of Flowers Camp”

Our route today takes us around the southwest portion of Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

We motor northward on Highway 191 and follow Highway 44 west.  My thoughts are on possible destinations and I forget all about dumping the black and grey tanks.  By the time I remember, we’re past the dump stations.  I do look for a dump station at Canyon Rim Campground to no avail.  Not a wasted detour because I see Bighorn Sheep again.



“Well, Bridgie baby, it looks like I’m hauling my sh*t down the mountains,” I remark sardonically.


1-DSC05819(If you’re a good blogorino and you have your Benchmark atlas open before you, follow Highway 44 around until you get to the part that looks like spaghetti.  That’s where the road becomes a serious of switchbacks on a 8% downward grade for five miles.)

1-DSC05818I laugh at switchbacks!  Ha!  Bring it on!

We float downward in second gear, curving to the left and to the right several times.  The roads below us look like ant trails.

1-DSC05816 I gasp as spectacular scenery comes into view.  When no one is behind me, I hastily snap a few pics.

1-DSC05817The photos cannot contain the enormity and grandeur of the red cliffs rising dramatically from the blue reservoir.

1-DSC05815Further along we pass two rustic campgrounds.

Mann’s Campground is nearly full with tenters and small RVs.  Willows Campground, a short distance away, is empty.  Neither appeal to me because I have my heart set on a waterside camp.

Highway 44 turns, northward and crosses South Valley and Lucerne Valley.


At the little town of Manila, I stop at a National Forest Service office and am greeted by a friendly female ranger behind the counter.  Between fielding incessant phone calls, taking messages to call back, she spreads out a Motor Vehicle Usage Map and shows me where to look for dispersed camping.

She suggests Anvil Draw.

She warns that I may encounter lots of campers all up and down the east side of Flaming Gorge Reservoir.  Pioneer Day, otherwise known as Utah Day, is this weekend and traditionally the campgrounds and dispersed sites fill up during the preceding week.

I thank her and leave, carrying the free map . . . all the while kicking myself for choosing Pioneer Day Week to move camp!

After a picnic with the crew in the shady, grassy park next to the forest service office (turkey breast sandwich for me with half the turkey pulled out for you-know-whom), I gas up the PTV and take Highway 43 in search of our new home.

I drive out the peninsula to Lucerne Valley Campground.

I have to take care of the tanks before setting up a new camp.

Oh, for twenty-six dollars a day ($13 Senior Pass) one can camp shoulder-to-shoulder baking between other RVers with their boats and jet skis and generators and children running around and follow all the campground rules.  No thank you.

For ten dollars paid via credit card fed into a machine at the “sanitation station,” I dump tanks and take on water.

It’s hot!

We left camp later than usual, around noon.  This puts us in mid-afternoon and temperatures in the 90s.  (I don’t run the air conditioning when climbing and descending mountains.  I keep the windows down instead.  Neither do I turn on the a/c in the valley because the a/c is not cooling well.)

At the Utah-Wyoming line, I pull over, let the crew out, and post a not-to-worry message on this blog.   Between the heat and the holiday, I’m concerned about finding a good, quiet camp within range of internet signal.

To be continued .  . .


NOTE:  I’m sorry to stop the story here.  It has become too warm to sit at my laptop in the Best Little Trailer.  I can hear the waves lapping at the shore, calling me and the crew for a swim!  I probably will resume writing later this evening, when the air is cool.


1-DSC05825A preview of Spike enjoying the beach bum lifestyle

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45 Responses to Moving camp and facing a boondocking challenge

  1. Lee J in Northern California says:

    Can’t wait for the next installment! Spike looks like he finally found a soaking pool that is nice and clean, sweet doggie!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Lee J,

      Spike has soaked several times since we arrived at this camp. Ever so often he gets up and walks down to the water, lies down in it for a few minutes, and then comes back to the shade of the awning or underneath the BLT. Bridget prances around a little bit at the edge. And I’ve been swimming!

  2. Lee J in Northern California says:

    Oh my, number one, a first for me

  3. Reine says:

    Wow you found a site near water. And hopefully AWAY from the crowds

  4. Jean in Southaven, MS says:

    Beautiful pictures. Glad you found a place to take care of your tanks. They are a pain but a necessary one. I can’t wait to see where you camped. It must be by the water since Spike is a beach bum in your picture at the bottom. Take care of yourself and watch out. The first rule of swimming is to never swim alone. That is my lifeguard training come thru, so you will have to forgive me.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jean,

      If I’m going to swim, I have to swim alone because this is a secluded camp. Not to worry. I don’t swim where I can’t touch the bottom. I appreciate you caring enough to mention it. Thanks for the compliment on the photos.

  5. Barb George says:

    Oh I hope you can get your AC working well… you will need it!

    Silly old Spike! Dependable old boy!
    Hugs from Hoquiam!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Barb,

      When I come across a repair place that looks reliable, I’ll have the a/c checked. Until then I plan to travel in short jaunts in the cool of morning and hope to make camps next to water.

      I have a photo of Spike’s first soak here that I can hardly wait to post. It makes me laugh every time I look at it.

      Hugs to you, too!

  6. Thor 'n Drew says:

    “I’m sorry to stop the story here.”

    No need to apologize, Sue. Short ‘n sweet is always good. Besides, it sounds like you’ll be posting again in the next day or two and we’re all anticipating photos of your swimming beach.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Thor ‘n Drew. I will post soon. This beach is so nice and we have it all to ourselves. I feel like we’re on our own island.

  7. AZ Jim says:

    *Jumping up and down* YEAAAAAA! I am 6th. Nice pics Sue. I have been there a couple of times years ago. Beautiful body of water. Thanks for the memories (Bob Hope around?).

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Jim,

      I’m happy you had the opportunity to see and enjoy this wonderful reservoir. The crew and I are having a great time!

  8. weather says:

    Red cliffs through the windows and grey shale bottomed soaking beds,in lieu of grey outlooks and red mud in the bed.Things are sure looking up in your world!The sun setting over Fields of Flowers camp in your back window,perfect symbolism of your moving on post-superbly done,Sue!

    Y’ know what grabs me a lot when I think about you and the crew?With no awareness of your talents in blogging,writing, photography,decision making,people or RVing skills-they just live with you,know you- as their family,friend and home-as that Sue,the one they’re closer to than most people have been-…and you,valuing that above so much else,plan and live life with them uppermost -in every priority selected,-that Sue- is in ways,best understood.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, weather,

      Thank you for acknowledging my sunset photo as the perfect “moving on” symbol. I developed an affection for that camp, as I do with most of the outstanding campsites, and, as usual, spent a few moments “saying” goodbye by reflecting on all the great things the crew and I experienced while camped in the field of flowers… even the bear being a special and memorable experience (in hindsight since nothing bad happened!).

      With the crew I have love, loyalty, friendship, and purpose every day. In order for me to be happy, Bridget and Spike have to be happy. I know you have the same thoughts toward your crew.

      You say the nicest things about me.

      • weather says:

        It took restraint for me to end my comment where I did. 😉 You must know where my head went when you presented the pictures—you in all your glory behind the wheel,laughing”Ha!Bring it on!”,—then the female ranger relegated to the phones and counter as though she’d applied to work at Burger King…

  9. Marcia GB in MA says:

    I hope you get that well-deserved swim. It looks like Spike is getting his! I’m looking forward to hearing more about your new spot.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Marcia,

      Yes, I’ve had several swims! Shade, an occasional breeze, and cool water — nature’s air conditioning for me and my crew. Hope you’re keeping cool in Massachusetts.

  10. Marcia GB in MA says:

    Oh, and those pics of the cliffs and water are breathtaking!

  11. Teri in SoCal says:

    That photo of Spike is so endearing, makes my heart happy.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Teri,

      That sweet little boy closed his eyes and kept them closed while he luxuriated in the cool water after riding patiently in the PTV on a hot day. Gotta’ love him!

  12. Cari in North Texas says:

    What beautiful photos in this post! The reds and blues of the gorge area are almost too bright to be real, but based on previous posts I know they are. Waiting with bated breath for the next installment. You have a great way of giving us just enough lead-in to tweak our curiosity. Summer is definitely back in Dallas – temps in the 100+ range the rest of the week – so photos of water are definitely appreciated!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cari,

      It’s funny that you say “the reds and blues of the gorge area are almost too bright to be real.” In reality the colors are richer and brighter! Really. The haze of a hot summer day muted the colors. I did gasp at the first sight of it.

      Oh my, Dallas in summer… I don’t know how you cope with the extended periods of 100+ temperatures.

      Water photos coming up! 🙂

  13. Applegirl NY says:

    Great photos again, can’t wait to see where you end up. Your blog is my little vacation each day. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Diann in MT says:

    OK, Sue, you are incredible!
    You are “officially” ready for the Beartooth Highway out of Red Lodge, MT. If you should come this way. I recommend coming uphill as opposed to the descent from Cooke City. Enjoy an ice cream sandwich at the Top of The World Store, located just about a half mile after the crest of the ascent! (a ritual our hiking group enjoy after tramping around the top of the mountains.) Again, if you use that route to Yellowstone Park. If…
    Because of you, I am planning a trip to Iowa fall of 2015. In the meantime, I am practicing hitching and unhitching, and driving the rig down the road without a male in the passenger seat! LOL

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Diann..

      You’re tempting me with the Beartooth Highway description.

      BTW, as you’ve probably discovered, it’s a lot easier without a male in the passenger seat!

  15. Cinandjules (NY) says:

    Bad blogorino here… benchmark atlas…missed out on the speghetti. 😉

    Beautiful scenery. You are now entering windy Wyoming!

    Do you sing while you drive or just have a conversation with the crew? Or are they fast asleep and wake up as soon as the PTV stops?

    Your a/c might just need to be charged…any mechanic….can do it…takes about 10 minutes. Just had mine done for $40. I don’t normally use a/c but it makes it more comfy for AO. Who STILL gets carsick.

    Pioneer Day eh? Never heard of it…learn something everyday here!


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Pioneer Day …. when the first contingent of Mormons arrived in the Salt Lake City area. It’s a big deal in Utah. State holiday.

      I hope that’s all the a/c needs. Maybe I’ll have it looked at when we reach Green River, WY, the next town of any size in our future.

      Poor AO…. I remember car sickness when I was a kid. Not fun. Good of you to make sure she is kept cool.

  16. Diane, Blue Ridge Mts., VA says:

    Great Pics Sue, I feel as if I am right there with you guys. Just love exploring the west! So beautiful and different. Hoping you find somewhere to hold up until all the rush is over with the Pioneer Days… It won’t last.
    HA! you make us all laugh hauling Sh– down the Mountains and so calmly taking those switchbacks while hauling and sloshing along. HA! Love it. Take Care Sue

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Diane,

      It was with great trepidation that I opened the bathroom door when we arrived at camp. Whew! No slosh-over to clean up!

      Glad you liked the pics . . .

      • Bob says:

        Thanks for the memories, we were at a campsite, similar to the ones u look for a few yrs ago near the Green river. It was breath taking. Up on a bluff with the sagebrush. It was rather warm that night and there were other campers around, not to close. Wife wanted the a/c on, but I could not turn on the gen, and spoil the serenity. She still remembers that night as the hottest night ever. She survived. We fulltimed out west for almost 4 yrs, after we retired, the best years of my life. Keep the pics coming, they bring back some great memories.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          You’re welcome, Bob,

          Bless your heart, not wanting to spoil the serenity! “Up on a bluff with the sagebrush”… That would make a great title for a book about boondocking.

          We’re not exactly on a bluff, but our present camp is elevated above the lake and we’re definitely with the sagebrush. I believe you when you say those four years were the best years of your life. The past three years have been mine.

          I looked through the many Bobs who comment on this blog and it looks like this is your first comment. Welcome to my blog! It’s nice seeing you here and I hope you’ll drop in again. (Tack something onto your name, like your state or something, so I can distinguish you from the other Bobs. Thanks.)

          If the wife is still putting up with you and your serenity notions, give her my regards. 🙂

          • Bob From Louisiana says:

            WE still do an occasional camping trip. But with 14 grandkids, 4 playing baseball and the last 3 gk’s were tripletts. We stay kinda busy. Bob From La.

  17. Kay says:

    Oh boy, I think the Allen’s are going to be having a gathering this weekend.

    Turkey, speaking of turkey… RVSue, my latest meal involved Turkey and Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice, the original. Tossed in some garden fresh peas, tomatoes, green beans, and of course, the Farmer’s Daughter seasoning mix and …. ….. it’s all gone. It was very tasty…. Turkey mix right in… one skillet dish.

    Have fun this Clinger Weekend….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Kay,

      That dish sounds good. I like wild rice and all the other things you put in it.

      No Clingers!!!

  18. Well, at least we know you got wet! Well, at least Spike did:)

  19. JonesGirl says:

    Dear Sue, I was thinking about getting a vintage teardrop so went to a TearJerkers gathering RV Fort Chiswell, VA this weekend and met a bunch of really nice teardrop owners, 2 Casita owners, and 1 Shasta owners. Most of the campers were new. I got lots of advice about traveling as a woman alone to see the USA. As an airline brat, I have lived abroad and seen more of outside of my own America than I am pleased to say. Therefore, when I retire, I am thinking about traveling. One of the women told me about you and, Sue, you do not disappoint. I am not hooked on following you. Great pictures, stories and photos. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your adventure. I have 3 rescues ( 2 Dobermans and a Chihuahua). I would like to take one of the Dobies. I could use some advice on traveling with a dog(s). I will read old posts to catch up. BTW I am LDS and know how much of a holiday Pioneer Day is where you have just been. Happy trails. J

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, JonesGirl,

      Welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here and “hooked” on my blog. I think you will learn a lot by reading the old posts and by keeping up with the recent posts. You will find the comments section is where much can be learned on a variety of topics related to RVing and some not related to RVing. You’ll pick up advice about traveling with dogs as you read my blog.

      I hope you will drop in often!

      I don’t think of myself as a woman traveling alone. I think of myself as a person traveling with two dogs. When do you ever hear the phrase “man traveling alone” or “solo man RVer.” By thinking of oneself as a “solo woman RVer,” too much emphasis, in my opinion is placed on being alone and being a woman. Those two concepts carry a lot of negative baggage that I refuse to take on. 🙂

      BTW, teardrops are cute, but what do you do when it rains for a day or two?

      • Jonesgirl says:

        Great perspective. I will change my paradigm of thinking. And you are correct. We never refer to men travelers differently.

        I will be visiting often.
        Sincerely J

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