People loving where they live and glad to give a helping hand

Wednesday, June 28 (continued)

In the previous installment of RVSue and her canine crew, the serpentine belt on the Perfect Tow Vehicle broke.  The PTV lies disabled near the off-ramp of Interstate-90 south of Superior, Montana. The story continues with Reggie, Roger, and RVSue walking the country road in search of help.

~ ~ ~

“Well, guys, which way shall we go?”

Roger pulls straight ahead.  Reggie is noncommital.

“We have three choices:  forward, to the left, or to the right.”

We go right.

Not far down this road we come to a pretty, log house with gentle, informal landscaping. There’s a car under the two-car carport,

I hope they both didn’t leave in the other vehicle.

The crew and I make our way down the river rock driveway and up the stone path to the front porch.  A dog barks.  I see a person coming to the door.


A slender, gray-haired woman opens the door.

Immediately the barking dog torpedoes through the opening to join the barking crew. Raising my voice over their ruckus, I get right to the point.


“Just a minute,” she replies.  Quickly she plucks her dog out of the tangle of happy canines and tosses him inside.  Shutting the door, she turns to me.

“Do you need me to call someone?”

“Yes, please.  I’m not from this area.  I need a tow truck.  I hope there’s one in Superior.”

“There is!  I know them.  They worked on my car recently.”

I explain where the PTV can be found and that the serpentine belt is broken.  She places the call and returns.

“They won’t be long.  The shop is only eight miles away.”

I thank her and we introduce ourselves.  I tell her I live full-time in a travel trailer with my two dogs and we’re presently camped at Quartz Flat.

I remark on the peaceful atmosphere she has created around her home.

“While standing here looking at your flowers, watching the birds at the feeder, the hummingbirds, listening to the fountain . . . I feel calm again.  You have a lovely place.”

Hearing this, the woman warms to conversation.

“We did all this ourselves.  We did what you’re doing for a couple years. We had a home in Arizona and we traveled.  I was a desert girl but I missed gardening.”  She chuckles.  “We found this property and every summer we came up here, parked our motor home and worked, clearing brush, trimming trees, mowing, building . . . .  Took us seven years and then we moved up here permanently.”

“Well, you’ve done an incredible job.  What about the winters?  Quite a change from Arizona.”

“I LOVE the winter here.  It’s so beautiful!  The snow isn’t a problem. They clear the road right away and it’s only a short drive into town.  I have a freezer.  No need to go anywhere.”

She smiles, obviously happy and content with her life.

My gaze returns to the hummingbirds, the metal sculpture of two herons next to the water feature, the dappled light on pine needle mulch, the perfect lawn . . .

“Oh, you have a train, too!  I love trains!”

“You do?  So do I!  People usually see the tracks and say something like ‘Too bad you’re so close to the train.’  We like the train going by.  My husband and I sit outside and watch it.”

“I know what you mean. The train goes by my campsite, too.”

“If you ever think of buying property around here, look for something by the tracks.  Much cheaper.”

We chat a bit longer, thoroughly enjoying each other’s company, until I become aware of the passing of time.

“Oh, my, the tow truck!  I’d better get going!”

~ ~ ~

The crew and I return to the PTV.

The tow truck arrives about two minutes later.  Alec, the repair shop guy, assesses the situation.  Then a woman stops her car in the road.

Alec knows her and goes over to talk with her.  She drives away and Alec reports to me.

“She said a bear just crossed the road over there.”  He points to where Reggie, Roger, and I walked a few minutes ago.  “That’s why I love living here,” he adds.  “The wildlife.”

Gee, our timing is off.  A bear encounter.  Missed some great blog material there . . . .

Alec drives the PTV onto the bed of the tow truck.

The crew and I climb (and I do mean “climb!’) into the cab of the truck.  As we roll along on the interstate to Superior, Reggie sits in my lap and Roger stands on the floor by my feet.

I learn that Alec, although only in his forties, is retired from the military after being stationed in various places in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

“You’ve been to all those places and, in the end, you realized home is best and you came back to Montana.”

“That’s right!”  He glances at me and grins.  “I don’t want to live anywhere else.”

We have to stop for the resealing job being done on the highway.

Alec talks with the man who holds the stop sign.  Alec waves to a woman driving past us, going the other way.  Alec knows the woman I talked with who called for his tow truck. He knows the woman who saw the bear.

“You know everybody, don’t you,” I observe.

“Yeah, I do know everyone.  Either I went to high school with them or I worked on their truck . . . . ”

We swing by the NAPA store to pick up the serpentine belt.

“You’re lucky they had the right one,” he tells me as he starts up the engine.  “You could’ve had to wait two days for the belt to be shipped here.”

The Perfect Tow Vehicle being backed off the tow truck at GLM Automotive

Alec informs me he won’t be able to do the work until tomorrow.

“I’ll give you a ride to Quartz Flat and then pick you up around two tomorrow afternoon.  Would that be okay?”


To be continued  . . . 


NOTE:  I apologize for so few photos.  As you can imagine, taking pictures wasn’t on my mind during this experience.  — Sue



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49 Responses to People loving where they live and glad to give a helping hand

  1. Pam from Wisconsin says:

    Happy Sunday, Sue and Crew!

  2. Linda in Oregon says:

    So nice that you can get a ride to pick up your van.

  3. Pam from Wisconsin says:

    So great everything worked out as it did, getting PTV safely off interstate, finding a house in walking distance. Your guardian angel definitely working overtime.

  4. Carlene and corky from northern New Jersey says:

    Pam is 1st… Am I 2nd?

  5. Carlene and corky from northern New Jersey says:

    Ok Corky says 3rd is good… And is hoping the Crew and Sue are doing ok with this scary adventure.

  6. Gloria in Prescott, Az. says:

    What? No Replies. Yes, I have to have a garden too. You make me want a pup. My guy says no animals inside so that is a no go. Maybe someday. Always read your updates and thoroughly enjoy your blog.

  7. Pat in Rochester says:

    I’m glad to know that much worked out. Funny coincidence – years ago my car broke down as we headed from Phoenix to home in Flagstaff. Intestate but late and no traffic. We had to leave the car and walk back to an exit which fortunately wasn’t very far. I was worried that we’d run into a rattlesnake out enjoying the cooler temps. But when we finally arrived at a small diner the local troopers who were having their dinner there said the bigger concern would have been bears that frequented an orchard we’d passed.

  8. Dave Stewart (in missouri for now) says:

    Good Post ! Glad you got help so fast.

  9. Jeannie says:

    Thank God you and the boys are safe and sound. Sue, you mentioned in your response to me from the July 8 blog that it is 100 degrees in the PTV. I follow Caravan Carolyn on You Tube and she was just demonstrating the Mighty Kool Evaporative Cooler she purchased. It’s a 12 volt plug-in and it, of course, can be ordered on Amazon. She said she loves it. I thought you would like to know.

  10. Deena in phoenix says:

    There Sue goes again finding wonderful Folk to help her and the Crew take an incident with a breakdown and turn it into a friendly and informative story for the Blog…I love your writing it is the BEST!


  11. Jenny Johnson says:

    i am not first but i am close!!!!!
    now to read the blog

  12. LeeJ in Northern California says:

    What an adventure!
    I know about living in a place and knowing everyone..our little town probably has more cows than people….when my son was a kid, he used to gripe that he couldn’t pull any mischief. Someone alway knew us..and told us!
    At one time, when many parents in town were complaining about the bad influences at middle school, when our kids out here were middle school age, they were actually still in grammar school, K thru 8 school with about 20 kids per grade. No fast cars, they rode bikes or horses. One time I had eleven horses or ponies tied to my fence, iron pipe, very strong…while the kids had a potty/water break.
    Love your storytelling Miss Sue, I could smell the pine trees.
    I love the peaceful place you are describing. Like them we live near theRR tracks, my son grew up saying he was going to be either a train driver or a fireman…he did both…

  13. Jenny Johnson says:

    ………and you left us in suspense again ——–Will the serpentine belt fit?? Will Sue and the crew encounter the bear?? Will the tow truck return?? Will the BLT and the PTV be reunited soon?? Stay tuned folks for the next exciting chapter———-

  14. Dawn in MI says:

    Wow. How wonderful to find such helpful people. But then you usually do. So did I when my transmission went in TN this past spring. Nice people are everywhere they just don’t get the attention others do.

  15. Cinandjules 🌵 says:

    Don’t ya just love it? In today’s world…there are truly people that still care!

    Wow…towing and a courtesy shuttle! Might not be a bad idea to get an extra serpentine belt…

    Try to stay cool!

  16. I hope it’s not too uneasy-making, being without transportation and phone both. But it sounds like you’re in a place with good people. Which is what counts. Good luck!

  17. Geri in the FL panhandle! says:

    There is nothing better than being in small town America! People give you who they are with no pretenses, they all come at you from their hearts not their better than thou attitudes you see in other places!
    Glad you met the right lady who knew exactly the right person to call! So nice of him to give you a ride back to the BLT! You and your guardian angel keep meeting the most interesting folks to keep making problems enjoyable rather than doomsday serious!
    Hug the Double R duo from us and stay cool!

  18. Barb from Hoquiam! says:

    OH Gosh! A BEAR!??? AGH!
    Oh my goodness… Hoping all goes well with the fix! And the crew were little gentlemen? Good for them!

    Hugs from Hoquiam!

  19. Rover Ronda (WA) says:

    I’m so glad you found the help you needed and had the added bonus of finding a peaceful home to help calm you during that stressful ordeal.

  20. Ray says:

    Had the serpentine belt been replaced before?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Ray,

      Nice to see you here. One of the benefits of having mechanical problems is I get to write about them and more guys comment on my blog. 🙂

      The PTV was six years old when she came into my life in 2011. I never replaced the serpentine belt until now. I see where you’re going with this. I should’ve replaced it as a precautionary measure. Oh, well.

  21. Linda a says:

    Oh, Sue dear, please get your phone fixed.
    Makes me feel very anxious for you. 😘

    • Krystina says:

      Ditto!!!! P L E A S E…….get a working phone RVSue. I will now be worried about you all the time. 🙂 🙂

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Hi, Krystina! I love seeing you here!

        Don’t worry about us. Everything turned out fine. I lived most of my adult life driving around without a phone in my pocket. I’ll manage and someday I’ll get a working phone.

        Thank you to those who expressed concern…. 🙂

  22. Li says:

    Well now, this is nail biting, white knuckle, edge of the seat kind of happenings! So relieved it seems to be working out well and a resolution is falling into place. What a bonus to meet such kind and interesting people and not the bear. ps: Reggie’s alert ears are too cute. Fingers crossed all has gone well with the repair and you are reunited with your PTV.

  23. Annie/Oregon coast says:

    Thank goodness you missed that bear!!!!! Roger and Reggie wouldn’t hesitate to be your protectors!!!! You do have a guardian angel……everything fell into place so beautifully….
    Stay safe.

  24. Elizabeth in WA says:

    Well, Sue…if you had to break down, I think Montana is a great state to be in for that! So glad folks helped you!!

  25. ValGal (westernWA) says:

    Well, if you had to have a breakdown, at least some nice friendly people helped. Your description almost made me want to move there! Glad you got out of there without encountering the bear!

  26. Linda Sand (Minnesota) says:

    We broke down in Montana one time. Sunday afternoon, of course. Service station bay was open so we went there. Turned out it wasn’t really open; it was just the owner working on his own vehicle. But, he helped us anyway. We were pulling a tent trailer at that time so we set up the the abandoned campground next door and settled in to wait for repairs. Yup, Montana is not a bad place to break down.

  27. MB from VA says:

    I laughed out loud when you talked about climbing into the tow truck. My mom and I were making a turn in the Grand Canyon when a lady ran a yield sign and hit us. No one was hurt but neither of us could drive away. Lots of cool stories tied to this accident (one involving an escaped murderer!) ….too bad I wasn’t writing a blog. 😉 ANYway, the tow truck arrived from Flagstaff several hours later and a GIANT of a man got out. My dad was 6’4″ so I am used to “tall” but this guy was TALL! My 5’3″ mom and I climbed into the truck and off we went….doing 80 down the road back to Flagstaff! The dispatcher kept calling and asking where he was. Mom and I wanted to grab the radio and tell her to leave him alone…we were already doing 80! Mom kept looking out the back to make sure my sweet little Bronco II was still there! Makes me smile just to think about it. Thanks! And so glad you and the boys are OK.

    I’m going to look at a few trailers today. Have a great day out there! MB, Wyndy and Bella

    • MB from VA says:

      You know, I think I will tell the “murderer” part of the story because there is a lesson there. As I said, Mom and I were at the Grand Canyon. We had been several times before so the fact that we didn’t get to see it this time is not so sad.

      The car hit us right as we entered the park. (Nice people…just distracted. Not a harsh word said all during the hours we were together.) A ranger happened to be sitting at the intersection and saw the whole thing. He stayed with us while all the paperwork was filled out. Then the wreckers came and towed us to the shop where they work on the Canyon vehicles. So, lots of men with heavy tools. Then we sat on a wall and talked with a nice guy for about an hour. He gave me his card in case I wanted a job there the next summer. Told me to tell whoever answered that he said to hire me. After he left, I looked at the name and realized that it was plastered all over the place. THEN the giant came and picked mom and me up and took us to Flagstaff. So, from the moment we entered the park till we left it, we were with people. This is important because if I had not had the accident….mom’s and my routine since she couldn’t walk well….was to park at a pretty overlook where she would sit and enjoy and I would go hiking. I always left the keys with her so she could go to the gift shop for restrooms or cold drinks if she wanted. But that didn’t happen this time. Days later while visiting friends in WY, I found out that there had been an escaped murderer in the park the day Mom and I were there. He had kidnapped a woman and forced her to drive him in her car. But she was able to somehow get out and and run. She was OK. They caught him several days later. If we had done as we usually did, Mom would have been a sitting duck! And Mom couldn’t move fast like the other woman did. Makes you wonder, huh? I will always look back on that accident as a blessing in disguise!

      • Dawn in Asheville says:

        Wow! That is some story – and yes, blessing in disguise. I always try to tell myself when I get behind someone slow, or traffic is bad, to just relax. It’s just ensuring I am not the car that gets into an accident later on down the road – I’m being “moved” into being in the right spot at the right time rather than the wrong time – LOL!

      • Elizabeth in WA says:

        All delays are not a bad thing…glad yours turned out ok too!!

  28. Sally in MI says:

    Ah Sue, do I need to send you a cell phone? You are driving me crazy!

  29. Dawn in Asheville says:

    I thought you were towing – so glad you weren’t – made it easier! I’m so glad you ran into nice folks!

  30. Bob Wells says:

    Sue, another amazing blog! As a fellow blogger I could relate to your first reaction to missing the bear as a missed blog post, that’s mine too! Blogging is a lot of work but automatically seeing life’s challenging moments (like a breakdown or bear encounter) as a positive chance for a blog is also a huge blessing!

    Like you as I’ve traveled the country and been stunned by how wonderful nearly all the people are. For every one difficult person I’ve met, I’ve met hundreds or even thousands of great people! I’m sure your experience has been the same.

    I also lost a Serpentine belt on my Chevy Express but I was in the middle of nowhere Nevada. When I signaled for help the first person who came by stopped and gave me a ride into town. Lots of great people!

    Can’t wait for your next blog!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      What a wonderful surprise this morning — to see the famous blogger, Bob Wells, putting on his blogorino hat and joining our discussion! I know how much time blogging takes which tends to limit our visits to other blogs. Thank you for writing. I love your first line! Ha!

      I agree — Lots of good and kind people in the world.

  31. Renee from Idaho says:

    So happy that the kindness of strangers were bestowed upon you and all is working out.

  32. Cynthia from San Clemente says:

    Sue, I giggled when I read your response to Krystina that “I lived most of my adult life driving around without a phone in my pocket.” Yes, but that was before you had an audience of hundreds of blogorinos hanging on your every word and story!!! Now you must have a way to yell for help or we’ll have to take up a community donation and have you microchipped so we don’t lose you!

    I’m so glad you encountered two nice people – the lady with the lovely yard and Alec – to help you out, especially after that nasty nonsense from the troll. I do believe there are mostly good people in this world and I feel sorry for the not-nice people who must be very unhappy.

    On another note, my step-father passed away early this morning. I moved him from his home with part-time caregivers to a 24 hour board and care facility three weeks ago. He was in hospice care and I visited him almost every day. Yesterday he was sleeping when I arrived and I didn’t wake him. Now I feel a bit guilty about that, but I’m not sure he would have recognized me anyway. He was a good man, a good stepfather, a good Marine, and a hell of a curmudgeon. I will miss him.

    • ApplegirlNY says:

      Cynthia, So sorry about your dad. I hope you find peace at this difficult time.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Nothing to feel guilty about, Cynthia. You did well for your step-father. We all should be as fortunate to have someone as loving and attentive as you to see us through to our passage. My condolences, dear one.

  33. Sounds like that couple found the perfect spot to settle in MT. I agree that having a train nearby is a plus. Those small towns are wonderful, we’ve been very fortunate to always meet great people (who always know each other!). Sorry/glad you missed the bear crossing :-)))

  34. Chuck says:

    Hi fellow train lover!!! Trains are a big part of Americana, how can folks NOT luv ’em??? Sorry for the busted belt….funny sounds (chirps, ticks, baps etc.) need to be investigated!!! But aren’t small town folks great??? Our boys say “woof woof bark bark” and our best to you!

  35. Jackie Dolan says:

    I have always been abig fan of trains as well. I use to take my grandson when they were small to Spencer NC to ride the old steam engine train and to see the circle where trains use to change out and get worked on. Thomas the train would come the once a year as well.. Well Sue I got me a 18ft camper today. It is a used one. Paid for. It isn’t the one I wanted but it will do for now and maybe I can find me a vehicle that will work for me now. Ivan at least focus my attention to looking for a truck or SUV now instead of both. Ian having it revealed for possible leaks and the axle greased and bearings repacked and all the outside lights checked for proper working condition and the camper brakes checked. I am having the leveling jacks replaced in the back and two put on the front just to make it easier for metro leveling up and make it stable. Hopefully I can start full timing with in a year. I willow able to do trips at intervals just not full time.
    Iamsoglad you were able to get off the road and find that nice lady that helped you with your breakdown. My rear end locked up in my little Miata going 70 on the Interstate. I had to cross 2 busy lanes of traffic to get off the road. My car was losing speed. It would not move after I stopped. I forgot my phone at home and it was hot and humid. An elderly couple stopped tohelpme when they saw me and my Pepper walking up the road and stayed with me till the wrecker came. They were a very nice couple.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Congratulations, Jackie, on your camper! I wish you many wonderful camps, and best of luck finding a perfect tow vehicle to go with it!

      “I had to cross 2 busy lanes of traffic to get off the road.” — Every driver’s nightmare!

      Thank you for writing. I enjoyed reading your comment. 🙂

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