Sometimes the best camp is not the best camp

Sunday, June 25

The crew and I are on the road again, heading north through western Montana!

Interstate 15 toward Dillon and Butte, as seen from overpass at Clark Canyon Reservoir

After studying my Montana Benchmark Atlas many times over the past few days, I finally have a plan.

We follow I-15 to Butte.

Rest stop where the crew has a walk-about and I go online to check this blog

“Okay, Rog.  We’re taking off.  The window’s going up.  It’s snooze time!  Right, Reggie?”

At Butte we pick up Interstate 90 going west/northwest.

Instead of continuing on the interstate to Deer Lodge, we take the third exit which is Route 1 and travel due west to Anaconda.  Beyond Anaconda is Georgetown Lake surrounded by several campgrounds.

In town I gas up the Perfect Tow Vehicle and stop at a grocery store.

Anaconda is very busy.  People and cars go this way and that in the frenetic manner of people intent upon having fun.  This is the week prior to Fourth of July.

While my groceries are bagged, I ask about camping at the lake.  The bag boy says he was there last weekend and “everything’s reserved.”

Uh-oh… Coming this way may have been a mistake.  Oh, well, we need to find the least popular campground for tonight. I’ll figure out what to do from there . . .

Before reaching the lake, I turn us into Spring Hill Campground.

Hmm . . . only $6.50 a night for us!

(See important note about the Senior Pass at end of post.)  

Slowly we make our way around the campground loop.

Spring Hill looks like it’s been here for a while.  The sites are a bit close together in places but the trees and other vegetation make it pleasant enough.  I’m sure there are prettier campgrounds on the lake.  However, those places surely are filled up with people.

I back the Best Little Trailer into a site next to the camp host’s site.

(A camp host for a neighbor gives insurance against any party people who can’t wait for the Fourth.)

Of course, Reggie and Roger are very excited.  Immediately, even before letting them out of the PTV, I put down their quilt pallet and set up a tether.

“There you go.  You play while I make sure we’re level.”

I’ve discovered that Roger, once he feels secure, is a happy-go-lucky kind of guy.  He doesn’t hesitate to chew on his elk antler, oblivious to what I’m doing.

Reggie, on the other hand, always needs to know where I am and what I’m doing.  That’s why he’s not in the photo below.  He’s standing by my feet, looking up at me.  Once he’s satisfied that this is home, he joins Roger on the quilt.

Shortly after moving into the campsite, I grab my Verizon air card to check for internet signal.  Nothing.  The campground is surrounded by steep hills.

This means we will stay only one night at Spring Hill.

The crew and I walk the campground loop.

I drop a check for $6.50 into the iron ranger, and we return to our site.  We’re in a forest of Lodgepole Pines.

After lunch it’s play time.  

My “play time” is relaxation in the lounger.

The woodsy smell of pines, freshly chopped wood, and decomposing pine needles and vegetation is aromatherapy for me!

It’s also relaxing and entertaining to watch the crew.

 Roger decides to take security measures for his precious elk antler.  Reggie observes.

~ ~ ~

Is Reggie smirking because he knows the hiding place?

~ ~ ~

Is Roger suspicious that Reggie might not be trusted with this information?

~ ~  ~

Roger changes his mind and removes the elk antler. “Oops, you dropped it, sweetie!”

~ ~ ~

“You gonna’  guard your prized possession all the time, Rog?”  (Antler next to paw)

~ ~ ~

Roger carries the antler over to the quilt. He’s hilarious with the antler sticking out of his mouth like a cigar.

A few moments later Roger lets Reggie chew on the antler.

Roger’s interest has turned to torturing Reggie’s Blue Monkey, followed by picking up a stick, flinging it, picking it up, flinging it, and so on.

Are you keeping up?

In the next post . . .

We find a pretty camp among Ponderosa Pines and it has strong internet signal!  Plus more aromatherapy!

The crew and I will enjoy the peace of this place through Fourth of July weekend.


IMPORTANT NOTE:  If you will be 62 by October 1st and you haven’t purchased a senior discount pass, go ahead and do so as soon as you’re eligible. On October 1st the once-in-your-lifetime, ten-dollar fee goes up to $80.  More info here (scroll down the page):  National Park Service


Every purchase is appreciated.  These links take you to some of the items that readers recently ordered from Amazon:

Wine Rack
Vehicle and Desk Fan
Kelsyus Original Canopy Chair
Bissell PowerFresh Pet Steam Mop
Montana Road & Recreation Atlas (Benchmark)
Porcelain Enamel Nonstick Cookware Set



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81 Responses to Sometimes the best camp is not the best camp

  1. Karen Spurlin says:

    Just trying for first 🙂

  2. Jan NH says:

    bummer…I won’t be 62 until December…oh well $80 for the lifetime still isn’t bad.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re right, Jan. It still will be a great deal.


  3. Carol in MT says:

    Spring Hill has the best water ever! Hope you tried it at the piped spring.

    Glad you found a good retreat for the 4th. And with internet!!

  4. Dawn in MI says:

    I’ll be 62 but not till April. Darn. Love the shot of your home in the tall pines.

    • rvsueandcrew says:


      Like Jan wrote above, the pass will still be a good deal. On the plus side, you’re that much younger than those who get the pass at $10. Haha!

  5. Marilu in Northern California says:

    What a wonderful life the three of you are living. I love how Roger has fit in with you and Reggie.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Marilu,

      Yes, Roger has taken to this lifestyle, jumping in with all four paws! We have some problems to work out… too much barking, for one thing. He’s making progress on that front. He used to bark his fool head off at anything and wouldn’t stop, no matter what. Now he barks, then looks at me as if to say, “I know I’m not supposed to do that, but I can’t help it!” He will learn. Having Reggie being quiet at these times is helpful.

      • Jan NH says:

        I do just love how your little family is discovering and learning together. I think Roger will settle in fin in time. My little Max barked like crazy in the beginning. It was hard but for the most part I ignored it so that he wouldn’t mistake the attention as praise and he eventually learned to only bark at the appropriate times. Took him a little while but he was older when I adopted him so it usually takes a little more patience.

        Your boys are so cute with their unique personalities. I love that you show us this and bring us along for the ride as the growing and learning unfolds….thank you for that.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          You’re welcome.

          Your report on Max is encouraging for me! Some days I see improvement with Roger, other days it seems hopeless. You know how it goes two steps forward, one step back.

          He also lunges at cars as they pass us while we’re walking a road. 🙁

          • Cinandjules 🌵 says:

            I have an idea….about Rog lunging at passing cars.
            Take the antler with you…you will see the car Roger and show him the antler…the car will pass and he will be focused on the antler. Once the car passes..give him the antler

          • Susan says:

            Hi Sue – if you buy a couple of cans of Pet Corrector – Amazon carries it – you will see a huge improvement in very short order for both the barking and charging at cars.
            I have a couple of barkers and it made a huge difference right away. The key word is Consistency! Although my hubby is a college grad, he doesn’t understand that word when it comes to his “boys”.

          • Jan NH says:

            Cinandjules idea is great for the car lunging…if you don’t want to carry the antler you could carry a baggie or pocket of high value bits of food (course you would have to share that with Reggie too :)) to distract away from the cars.

  6. Pat from Mich. says:

    Top ten?

  7. Val R. Lakefield Ontario says:

    Reg & Roger look so cute together. I had a Border Collie mix and when about to bury a bone in the yard, she would look up & if I was watching her from the window, she wouldn’t’ bury it.
    We just celebrated Canada Day July 1st. Special this year 150 yrs. There was many things going on. Lots of fireworks around here so my dog wore her thundershirt & stayed downstairs with her dad & didn’t hear them.
    Sure like the campground price even befor the discount.
    Happy Fourth of July, hope it is a peaceful one

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, Val R. Best wishes to you and all Canadians on the 150th anniversary this year!

      I gather from your report on your dog during the fireworks that the thundershirt is helpful for her.

      Funny about the Border Collie making sure you weren’t watching. They are so smart!

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        For anyone wondering about the thundershirt, here it is at Amazon:

        ThunderShirt Dog Anxiety Jacket

        • Susan says:

          We have an Aussie that is terrified of thunder storms after lightning struck a little too close. The Thundershirt has been a life saver. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work rthe first, or even second time you use it. It took about three times for Pepper and now if a storm is coming in, or she hears fireworks, she is right there wanting her shirt on!

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            Thanks for sharing the tip on the thundershirt taking a few times to “work.”

  8. Reine in Plano (when not camping) says:

    The Best Camp is only the BEST camp if it has internet OR if you need to run away and it’s totally isolated. Looking forward to the next post to see what wonderful place you found with internet.

    The Senior Pass is definitely worth the price even when it goes up to $80 per person. For our upcoming 34 day trip (yippee) we’re saving $208 on campground fees and $20 each on the boat tour at Voyagers NP with our Senior Passes. Our Boat Tour at Voyagers only gave the discount to pass holders so we each needed a pass.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Wow! Reine and Paul are going to Minnesota! I’m sure our Minnesotan blogorinos agree that you’ve chosen your destination well. I’m also sure it will be a fun change of scenery from Texas…

      Interesting details about the savings one receives when the holder of a Senior Pass. Thank you for that. You show how easily the pass pays for itself, whether at $10 or $80.

      I don’t know when you’re leaving for your trip… When you go, have a wonderful time!

  9. Pauline in Mississippi says:

    Reggie and Roger are so cute!!! Love those pine trees. Glad you decided to move though…we want to hear from you
    Have a Happy Independence Day everyone!
    Love to you and the crew.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Love to you, too, Pauline. I hope you, Jerold, Tawnya, Scott and everyone, including the grandkids (two not kids any more!) have a wonderful Fourth of July!

  10. Barbara says:

    Thanks for mentioning the senior pass which I just purchased, even though the site mentioned prices wouldn’t change in the next “few” months. I enjoy following your travels, person-crew experiences and the great pics. I’m so hoping to get a small trailer to pull so I can at lease taste the open air ever so often. Mid-seventies requires practical, efficient, easy management of all things rv, but your lifestyle encourages the effort. Thanks!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Barbara,

      Best wishes for finding and obtaining the Best Little Trailer for you! She’s “out there” waiting!

      BTW, the next time you comment (I certainly hope you do!) please tack something onto your name, like your state, so that I can remember you and keep from mixing you up with other Barbaras.

  11. LeeJ in Northern California says:

    I bought the nicest ‘seatbelt’ from amazon, last year..used your link too! I found that when I am traveling with my dogs I keep them in the back seat. I have front airbags and it would break my heart if one deployed and hit a dog. Plus, sudden launches toward my lap when I am driving convinced me to tether them in the back seat. Just my ideas about traveling with my two Silky Terriers. I just thought about this, we went out for lunch after meeting,this morning and we had to do an emergency stop, moron driver ahead!
    Mine are like these. It is really easy to use, dogs in their harness, one end goes onto the seatbelt, one end to the harness.

    2 Piece Dog Seat Belt

    I changed the link to an Amazon Affiliate link. — Sue

  12. Elaine & Miss Lovey says:

    I have one thing to add …. if you are disabled at any age, your National Access Pass is FREE!

  13. Dawn in Asheville says:

    The expressions you catch on the boy’s faces are always priceless! Always find myself taking much deeper breaths after reading one of your posts 🙂

    Juno is finally back! I picked her up Thursday from the mechanic – and it was my first time to drive her on the road. Crazy? I got her in October and this is the very first time behind the wheel on a real road, not just backing her around the yard. My mechanic was wonderful and picked her up for me since I was worried about stalling her out trying to get her to his shop (busy roads, yada yada).

    She has a new carburetor, full oil and transmission service (dropped the pan and had to clean up a bunch of silicone some fool thought was a good idea), a manifold leak taken care of, timing adjusted, a spare set of hoses and belts in her toolbox (since we discovered the joy of trying to find the right belts when the BF brought her over from Denver) and front end, brakes, and bearings all got a thumbs up. I cannot even tell you – she is like a new truck. Starts right up, runs smooth and quiet (for her age – she’s not going to sneak up on anybody like my Prius is apt to!) and, to make it perfect, I didn’t hit a single thing on the way home.

    She’ll go back before the summer is over – have an oil leak we are chasing and the shifter display needs replacing but the recommendation was to run her around on a few small trips to see what else might shake out. She got great marks though – my mechanic says he was pleased to see what good shape she’s in.

    In the meantime the new dinette cushions and curtains are going in and wow, what a difference they make. In fact it looks so nice I realized that I don’t have to paint the walls after all – it was kind of a greyish white that I wasn’t partial to, but with the colors replacing all the brown it’s perking up.

    I also replaced the toilet valve and city water inlet – still more plumbing to do, but no more leaks and while no hot water (have to hook that in and test the heater) I now have running water-either city or tank. Such a small thing that means so much!

    Happy 4th Sue, crew and all 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Super report, Dawn! I am very impressed with what you have accomplished. You are such a capable person and now you know your rig well, inside and out. She is truly YOURS. What a blessing to have a good mechanic to help.

      Funny what new curtains and seat covers can do for a place. I imagine you were thrilled to see the results of your work. I remember how you mentioned you didn’t care for sewing! 🙂

    • Barbara from Camano Is. says:

      I have enjoyed hearing about all your updates on Juno. Thanks for writing.

      • Dawn in Asheville says:

        I have to say – I didn’t expect to enjoy the renovation so much. I’m not sure what it is? The challenge of learning something new? Or just tackling things and the feeling of accomplishment? It’s so weird, but to now “get” the sewing machine, and no longer being some phantom nemesis…

        Everything I’ve read is that women that go into this journey – that it creates a personal transformation. I just didn’t expect it to start before I ever really left the driveway.

        Today I tackled the ‘one’ 12v accessory outlet that didn’t work. One, meaning seriously, I have only one – lol! After disassembling things, and still not having a hot wire and thinking maybe it was the one connection on the converter that wasn’t working, it occurred to me that maybe it was because the house battery wasn’t hooked up. Technically a converter takes the 110/120 shore power and converts to 12v so lights and fan worked, but apparently (interesting to me) it appears that one circuit (the one the 12v plugin was attached to) may only work when the battery is in (mine is in the basement on a trickle charger). And, some folks on my classic RV forum have nodded in that direction.

        I learned how to test a fuse with a multimeter (ohms) and as these things fall into place it’s like lightbulbs going off. All I want to say really is if you don’t know ANYTHING – so what???!!! There is youtube, forums and folks like RVSue that offer an alternative if your soul is just crumpling.

        There is nothing you can’t accomplish! Well, okay, I’m never going to be a 20-year old supermodel or get accepted into the space program, but it’s like sky diving – that’s never anything I wanted to do in the first place – grin!

  14. Kitt NW WA says:

    I’m glad to hear you have the perfect place to spend the holiday! Oh, the places you and your crew go, just beautiful. Montana is a magnificent state. Looking at your pictures I can just smell that fresh mountain air. Every picture of Reggie and Roger is a delight!
    We just got back from a couple of weeks over the mountains in the Methow Valley and beyond. We were in a PUD campground on the Columbia for a few nights last week and watched the holiday crowd arrive. We have been there before when it was full but by Friday it was overflowing with people. Each site must have had 8 or more in it. Craziness! Everything was over-run. We headed out Friday for home, only about 3 hours away and going the opposite way from the hordes headed east. Good to be home for the holiday and not on the road.
    Enjoy your peace and quiet.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Kitt,

      I’m glad you’ve found a place for the long holiday weekend — home!

      What is a PUD campground? Anyone?

  15. What fun.

    I spent the good – OK, really hot – part of a summer at Georgetown Lake working for a GEOEX crew looking for copper in the area.

    I lived in a tent tho. Having a rig like yours would have been a real treat.

    What a wonderful area. Moderate temps, not too much rain. Phillipsburg is just up the road and quite a treat to visit. Butte and shopping is a short way back down the road. For a college kid from SoAz, this place was heaven.

    I understand that it gets crowded now, but it wasn’t always so.

    Thanks for the photos – brought some very nice memories of a partial summer spent in the area, next to the Pintler Wilderness Area. While the work was hard, it involved walking for miles every day through the forest – you gotta love that kind of hard work : )

    Best of luck as you move on.

    • Carol in MT says:

      I still walk in the Pintler Wilderness and love it.

      Georgetown Lake isn’t too crowded when it’s not a holiday weekend. The pine beetle hit the campgrounds pretty hard though. Philipsburg Bay is probably the best of them now when it’s hot and you want shade.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m pleased you enjoyed the photos, Don, and that they brought back memories of your summer here. Thanks for the good luck wish.

  16. Karen in Pacific NW says:

    Try Roger with a loud pssst noise for correction. A lot of dogs and cats respond to that sound as a correction for bad behavior. Throughout the years all of the animals I have been around will stop what they are doing when they hear it. I guess it is one of nature’s instinctive responses, the natural warning sounds for stopping an animal in its tracks that is used by snakes, cats and other creatures.

  17. Cinandjules 🌵 says:

    Nice spot.
    The crew is looking awfully cute!

    Hope the fireworks are minimal and don’t scare Reg man. Rog seems to be settling in just fine.

  18. If you haven’t moved on already, Sue, you probably shouldn’t hang around Anaconda very long. It’s an EPA Superfund site because of the former smelter there. A rather toxic place.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Al! We only stopped in Anaconda for gas and groceries and then moved on to Spring Valley Campground. After one night we moved out of the area. Thanks for the link.

  19. ValGal (westernWA) says:

    I’m enjoying following your Montana travels as I am fond of western Montana. I’m interested to see what turns up next.

    Reg and Rog sure give lots of entertainment! I’m glad Rog is settling into the routine.

    I hope this holiday time is quiet where you are. Hope the boys don’t get too upset with any loud noises. I’ll be keeping my dog calm on the 4th as there will be a local display and people setting off their own fireworks.

    Happy holiday, blogorinos!

  20. Dawn in NC says:

    Hi Sue! I hope that you weathered the Fourth of July weekend. Now you just have to get through Tuesday. Fire works started going off at midnight on Saturday around me. To my surprise, my cats didn’t seem to care!

  21. Jami in Las Vegas says:

    The pups look so happy together!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jami! Are you new here or is my memory failing me? In any case, good to hear from you!

  22. AZ Jim says:

    Hi Missy! I’ve had a little reversal of health situation but I’m mending again. Still watching you guys enjoy your adventures. Riding along…

    • Geri in the FL panhandle! says:

      Take it easy!!! 🎇🎇🎇 Enjoy your 4th! Keep us updated! We care!

    • Lisa, Tommie and Buddy in NJ says:

      Oooh Jim, feel better

      • weather says:

        You’ve been through a lot recently , Jim! I hope you and Detta are staying comfortable and cool while you’re mending. I love knowing that you are riding along , thanks for checking in, hugs…

    • AZ Jim says:

      Thanks folks! Happy 4th to you. Jim

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh, darn it, Jim! I’m sorry you had a setback. Two steps forward, one step back…. Just keep moving forward with us! Thanks for letting us know how you are. Hi, Detta!

  23. Joyce sutton says:

    I stayed in the campground up on the mountain. Beautiful among the pines last month and the first time I had ever seen gophers in the mountains. On the pararie yes but up in the pines and by the lakeside. Weird. Not many people then oh so cold

  24. Geri in the FL panhandle! says:

    Camping next to the camp host is a very good idea! Happy 4th! 🎉🎇🎆

  25. Lisa, Tommie and Buddy in NJ says:

    Hi all,
    Sue you do such a good job finding sites for the holiday rush. I look forward to seeing where you hid out for the fourth. I also enjoy the pictures of the boys with your captions. You know them well. Roger really knows how to enjoy life, hiding his antler, smelling the flowers. You have given him a good home.

    Home for me continues to be in one place, and will be for any foreseeable future. My Mom and Dad are both in their eighties and need me here. Although there are hard things to deal with, being my parents caregiver, there are many blessings too. My Mom’s world has become very small and anything I can do to make it more pleasant is worth the effort. I love to see her happy, which she is not much of the time lately. She enjoys the antics of Tommie and Buddy (usually). My Dad practically dotes on Buddy, which I call “his cat” now. They routinely meet in the kitchen each morning for treats of ham, or bacon, or anything else Buddy wants, lol. My animals add a lot of life and joy to the house, and I am grateful for every bit.

    Thanks for sharing your new vistas with me Sue. Wishing you a safe and quiet Fourth.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Lisa,

      You are a good person and a caring daughter. Your parents are blessed to have you with them. Isn’t it wonderful how animals can bring enjoyment and happy routines into our lives? I enjoyed what you shared about Tommie and Buddy with your mom and dad. Happy Independence Day to all of you!

  26. Desert Ginger in Clifton Park, N.Y says:

    Well, just pulled in to Walmart parking lot. There are no campgrounds within 30 miles of my office but we are quite comfy. Getting to know the area. Found the nearby laundromat and did all my laundry. Have been working every day since I got here. My girlfriend has a bunch of visitors but when they leave on the 12th I can go camp in her driveway. But we are fine with Walmart. It’s pretty quiet.

    I’m working tomorrow but I hope all of you stay safe and have fun.

    Hugs, DeGin

  27. Desert Ginger in Clifton Park, N.Y says:

    Happy 4th! Be careful out there. Hugs to all!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Ginger… Wishing you a happy holiday, too. We are so blessed to live in the USA!

  28. weather says:

    You used a great strategy to find that camp. Asking a local for information, choosing a less popular campground, and taking the site next to the camp host are really good ideas. I appreciate your giving up that place because it had no internet signal. If you’d stayed there through the holiday we might have had 10 days without RVSue and crew! I hope your current camp is nice enough to make you feel alright about having made that decision and sacrifice.

    The antler story and photos are adorable, and hilarious. I love getting to know more about Roger and Reggie, as individuals and as a bonded pair. Your “playtime” sounds wonderful. So does your aromatherapy, I’ll be interested to learn more about that in your next post.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, weather! Yes, this camp was a good choice. Everything suits us just fine, except a heat wave has moved in and afternoons are difficult. We will get through it! The mornings are delightfully cool.

      Thanks for the nice note. I hope you are having a wonderful day!

  29. Darling pics of the darling crew. We’re in the opposite of your lovely tranquil spot for the holiday, thankful it’s only a couple days! Happy 4th of July to you and the crew.

  30. Love Roger smelling flowers….so adorable.

  31. Sue Phelps says:

    Hi Sue, I love you blog! I’m up to 2012 trying to catch up. Wondering are you using a laptop or smartphone, and what internet service you use or phone service. Thanks, happy travels! and Happy 4th!! also Sue

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Welcome to my blog, Sue! It’s a pleasure to see you here and to learn that you’re enjoying the old posts. You are a blogorino now!

      I use a full-size laptop (ACER) with Verizon service. From my experience and talking with other full-time vagabonds who roam the West, Verizon has the best coverage.

      Thanks for the good wishes for our holiday and travels. Sending the same to you!

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