Return to the Madison River, Montana

Sunday, July 21

After a pleasant chat with the camp host lady, the crew and I leave Beaverhead Campground and the blue water of Clark Canyon Reservoir.  We motor up Interstate 15 to Dillon, stop for groceries at the Safeway, and continue northeastward on Route 41.  

We’re on the western side of the Ruby Mountains.

We cross the Beaverhead River on our way to the town of Twin Bridges.

At Twin Bridges we turn onto Route 287 and go southeastward along the Ruby River.  Now we’re on the eastern side of the Ruby Mountains.  If I were in a sightseeing mood, I would stop at the historic mining towns along the way . . . Sheridan, Alder,  and Nevada City. Whenever I want to take a photo either a truck or a motorhome is bearing down on the BLT’s bumper, probably because I’m driving the speed limit.  I’m not in a sightseeing mood anyway.  Next is Virginia City.

It’s Disneyland West.

People in shorts and bright shirts spill out of cars and RVs, milling about, stepping into the street like zombies, squinting up at sun-drenched signs, drifting into historic-looking buildings, licking ice cream cones.  Ugh.  Get me out of here.  To stop would surely spoil my mental picture of Virginia City, probably a truer picture than this, in spite of it coming from movies, television, and books.

After Virginia City we climb a long grade.

By this time Bridget and Spike need to get out and walk around.   On the downhill side, I pull over at a viewpoint.  This is my first look at the Madison River valley since last summer.  The Madison Range serves as backdrop.


I think that odd-looking mountain in the photo below is The Helmet (9,467 ft.), according to my Montana atlas.


We pass Ennis Lake as we head north to Norris.

Route 84 goes east and joins up with the wide and wonderful Madison River.   A grand flotilla of colorful rafts bear happy floaters downstream. 

We cross the bridge and turn into Red Mountain Campground.

I pull the BLT into the same campsite we had last year.

“C’mon, Spike!  You, too, Bridget.  Let’s go for a swim!”



You can still join the house-warming!

Click to learn how you can send your gift:  HOUSE-WARMING FOR RUSTY AND TIMBER

Click to watch the video of the reunion:  CHANNEL 12 NEWS – RUSTY BRINGS TIMBER HOME

NOTE:  Internet signal is weak or non-existent in the area in and around the campground.  I cannot respond to comments and house-warming gifts as I’d like.  I also will be slow answering emails.

Please know your gifts and purchases through my Amazon links are greatly appreciated.


Full moon seen from our campground


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47 Responses to Return to the Madison River, Montana

  1. Mary Ann (Pontotoc, MS) says:

    The full moon is gorgeous! I meant to go out last night to see it but fell asleep early (because of the trees I have to wait until about 10 p.m. to see the moon clearly). Bridget and Spike have the right idea about “cooling it.”

    I can absolutely understand getting past the tourist crowd, but after seeing someone with an ice cream cone, I would have had to stop at the outskirts of town for a pint-to-go. Enjoy your new/old site–it’s beautiful!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I was settled in my bed with the crew when I spied that moon through the window. I’m happy you enjoyed the pic.

  2. Ruth (TN) says:

    What a beautiful moon. Our view of the moon was shrouded in fog the last two nights. I will just enjoy yours. I see Spike found his spot immediately.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Spike has an internal honing device that leads him to the nearest body of water. He’s having a great time here, as is Bridget. Me, too!

  3. Chuck Hajek says:

    Our moon was actually shrouded by RAIN CLOUDS!!! Looking forward to more PIX!!!
    Woof, bark from the furbabies!

    • Timber n' Rusty says:

      Hey Chuck, We got It And Timber loves the dental treats, he went thru one stick ,like it was candy.,,,I cooked dinner this evening in the nice pans. Thanks

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Chuck! Glad you’re getting some rain . . .

  4. Tawanda says:

    Nice to hear from you Sue and your latest travels, wonderful pictures and country, I would side street the weekend mob/zombies as well…

    Congratulations Rusty and Timber hope you are settling in enjoying your enlarged living space, have been away and missed the goings on such a wonderful surprise, and all the wonderful people lending support..
    Thank you Sue for your kindness to Rusty and Timber and for sharing their story to give us an opportunity to be a part of their journey in some way…
    God bless one and all…

    Have a great Monday…

  5. gingerda says:

    Wow what a beautiful view of the full moon. We’ve been having storms here in the desert and the clouds covered my view.
    The temp gauge on your page says 88*…that’s pretty nice.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Glad you like the moon pic. It is warm here in late afternoon which is when we do the most soaking…

  6. cinandjules (NY) says:

    Virginia City………..Montana…at first I was thinking Virginia City Nevada. Guess I watched too much Bonanza growing up. We have been in a hermit mode lately…know exactly how you feel regarding crowds.

    It’s …..come on Spike AND Bridget…let’s soak! She is getting more and more adventurous . Love the full moon.

    Oh…it’s a royal baby boy! We were hoping it was going to be a girl!

    Relax, enjoy and have a peaceful evening.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      And I was thinking there is only one Virginia City. Isn’t the Montana VC the one near the Bonanza ranch? Sure looked like it, underneath all the additions…

      • cinandjules (NY) says:

        Remember the map burning in the beginning of the show?
        Virginia City, NV is near Lake Tahoe which is on the border of Caleeefornia and Nevada.

        But I’m sure any old west town have similarities.

  7. Kim says:

    Great moon shot! I hear ya about not being able to take photos because somebody’s always running up your rear. Glad to know I’m not the only one who travels the speed limit.

  8. Renee (from Datil) says:

    Jealous jealous JEALOUS!!!!! are we!! Dave’s dad passed away, so we had to re-route from our bearing towards Montana — turned around in Nebraska & are now back in Oklahoma. Hot & humid & I’m extremely testy because of it. Hope to be back to heading Montana-wards by the end of next weekend (at the latest). Will take us a couple weeks; I think we have 1800 miles beween where we are & where we WANT to be. Has the campground recovered any since we saw you there last year?

    I’m WAY behind on my blog reading; need to go back & travel with you from Utah…

    Wish WE were there!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Condolences to Dave. Have a safe trip west.

      There are signs of life on the hillsides… touches of green. Everything is parched this time of year so there’s not much regrowth. The river level seems a bit lower than last August. I can’t believe the crew and I floated down that thing. I don’t think I have the nerve to try it again!

  9. Brian says:

    Wow! That’s the same full moon we had here in TX! ; )

    Looks like another good soaking spot.

  10. Pauline says:

    Just spent some time catching up. I am in Cambridge for the Reunion weekend and have not stopped since I got here. I love that Rusty and Timber have found a home !! I am next going to check out how I can get in on the housewarming gifts and then I will make a donation to the cause. I think this is just wonderful!!!!! Aunt Eleanor sends her love!!!!!! Me too

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Love to Aunt Eleanor and Cousin Lana and the rest of the family! I know you are having a wonderful time. I think of you often, Pauline. You are the life of any party. . . 🙂

  11. Glad to see the crew in the water…Spike doing the manly thing, while the dainty one tiptoes around:)

  12. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    The Moon is a strange thing. It hangs up there and circles us only showing us one side of it. Native Americans say it is hollow. It balances the Earth and controls the tides too. When we went to the Moon in the late 60’s our astronauts said the Moon rang like a bell when the Moon Lander dropped something heavy on it. It always stays perfectly in orbit and when we have an eclipse the Moon covers the Sun exactly. Amature astronomers see some very strange things on the Moon, like bridges that span crators, vehicles that move on the surface making strange tracks. Why haven’t we been back to the Moon since the 1960’s? Strange…very strange?

    • Timber n' Rusty says:

      U.S. Dollar ,,Not enough

      • Rattlesnake Joe says:

        Hi Rusty, I heard the same thing but I think it is just a cover story. The real Space Program is in Russia and kept secret by the Global Elite.

    • Mary Ann (Pontotoc, MS) says:

      Joe, do you by any chance listen to Coast to Coast? I do–probably too much 🙂

      • Rattlesnake Joe says:

        Hi Mary Ann, I use to listen before George took over. Art was so great but since his wife Romona died the program just isn’t the same. I think evil forces have taken over the programing, so I don’t listen anymore. But some of the guests I still like, David Icke is one of my favorites and David Hatcher Childress. It is hard getting the truth now days. Most info is filtered information fed to us by the media or government. These two guys are right on the money I think. Keep listening especially for Red Elk.

  13. Timber n' Rusty says:

    Nice Moon photo Sue. It’s been raining here so much that Saturday there was a lake all around the house, I felt like I was on an Island, where’s my boat, It’s gone now

  14. Gayle says:

    Your moonlight over the campground photo is one of most memorable ever! I’m starting to plan a camping trip and want to buy a trash bag holder that fastens to the campsite picnic table. Would you do me a big favor? Would you measure the depth of the picnic table at your site and let me know? Ted said that the products on the market will not clip onto a picnic table because he remembers them as quite thick. Help! Thanks in advance if you can do this. (If you don’t have a measuring tape, a dollar bill is exactly six inches wide. I’ve used that lifesaver trick quite a few times!)

    • Donna in CT says:

      Gayle, I would think that all picnic tables would have a different thickness depending on the side of the wood/materials used to make the table. It would seem that something made to clip on a table would take that into account. Just a thought.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Gayle… Donna makes a good point. Some tables are made with wood planks and others are metal.

      I can’t tell you the thickness of our campsite’s table right now because I read your comment and I’m typing this alongside a country road far from the campground. (I have to drive to a small town that has internet signal in order to answer comments or to post.)

      I do recall seeing a lady put tablecloth clips on their table near us. (They’ve since left.)

      • Reine in Plano says:

        Generally I wouldn’t recommend putting a trash bag on a picnic table since that’s too close to the ground and allows local critters to rummage in it. We have the table cloth clips but we’ve been many places that have concrete picnic tables that are too think for the clips. Some things such as the trash bag holders that clip to the picnic table sound like they’re a great idea but aren’t as useful as you expect them to be. Personally, I would save my money for other things.

        • Donna in CT says:

          Another thought is that people should never leave food trash outside when camping. There are a lot of small (mice and rats), medium (raccoons, skunks, and fox), and large critters (bears) out there that will rummage through camping areas.

    • Rattlesnake Joe says:

      Hi Gayle, Look on Amazon for a fold up type of squeeze container. They are green with a top that zips all the way around. Most people use them to house sporting goods equipment like basket balls etc.. I think they would make a dandy trash can during the day. At night I would lock them away in the car, truck or van so the animals won’t make a big mess of your camp site. I think the price is only about 10 bucks or so.

  15. Timber n' Rusty says:

    Well Sue, The home is looking better as Gifts from all the kind folks arrive and Timber and I thank You all. ,,,,,,,,,,Instead of roaming the west as you do now, the house chores get done in the mornings and I get to travel with you reading and seeing the sights. We still go for rides to town and meet the town folk, but I like traveling with you on your blog. I tell all about you and your blog and all the neat things that has happened to us because of our crossing of paths way back in April of 2012. I thank you Sue for being my friend and Timber’s Too !

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Rusty!

      I put the photo of your gifts sitting on your new kitchen table on the house-warming page. Your kitchen looks so nice! It’s beginning to look like a home.

      Thank you for sharing my blog and our story. I bet Timber is loving all the space and his own house-warming treats!

      • Timber n' Rusty says:

        Sue, Every time a delivery truck comes, Timber gets all excited and when we go to the Post Office, He gets just as I do. Timber Wags his tail and yelps in his high yelps like a child dose on Christmas morning and after we are home by our selves, I do the same, by thanking God and All, the only thing I don’t do is wag my Tail, but I dance all a round. Timber Is real Happy and “Dixie” the girl dog next door likes him too, they do fine, she’s only 1 year old and she talks to timber every day, she’s learning to be a lady and bark once in a while.

  16. Lew Johns says:

    Virginia City/Nevada City, Mt present a very large collection of historical artifacts from the Gold mining era. Among other things an entire Chinese grocery store, complete with it’s inventory of everything from dried fish to hats, has been moved there intact by Charlie Bovey, heir to the General Mills fortune. We enjoyed studying the one-room Schoolhouse there which has everything intact down to the portraits of Lincoln and Washington, the Flag on a stand in the corner beside the blackboard and the various textbooks of the period. We learned more about the real history of the West at Virginia City/Nevada City than at any other single venue I can recollect. Nothing “Disney” about the place (well, except perhaps the horse drawn stagecoach which plies the street of Virginia City). Oh, and I suppose the ice cream joint but even there the ice cream is made on the spot using an ancient ice cream freezer turned by an even more ancient (as in about 1900) gasoline put-put engine of the “make-n-break” type as used to power stuff like mining equipment and oil well pumps. Other than get-togethers of old engine buffs this is the only place I know of where you can see such a bit of living history in action. The old newspaper building is intact including a complete turn-of-the-century printing press. Yes, the place is crowded because there is a lot of stuff to look at in a relatively small area.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I guess you have to be there on the right day and in the right frame of mind. It was hot and crowded when we went through.

      • Lew Johns says:

        Agreed. Morning is the time for us to do that kind of thing. It seems a lot of people get going late when vacationing and that suits us fine. We spend part of nearly every summer in Yellowstone watching geysers and we have learned to do it early and leave when the teeming tourists hit.

        Oh, and most tourist folks seem to disappear from the scene about dinner time.

  17. I can so relate to the Virginia City sentiments with regard to the mass of people. After hiking miles and miles of gorgeous, serene trails along the California and Oregon coastlines these last couple of weeks as we make our way north, we made the mistake of stopping at the Tillamook Cheese Factory in N. Oregon today on our way to Astoria. Yuck, yuck and yuck. People, noise, messy food. We couldn’t get out fast enough.

    OMG, I love hiking. And the people that like to hike. And am so thankful that the noisy masses do not!

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