Westward we go!

I know this is silly . . . 

Right before I drive us out of Delmoe Lake Campground this morning, I take one last look at our campsite and the lake beyond.

1-P1060469What a wonderful camp.  So cool and peaceful.  The family of ducks.  The morning mist after the rainy night.  The crew sure did have fun roaming free . . .  I have a lump in my throat as I turn the key.  How silly . . . becoming attached to a campsite!

I much prefer going downhill than up.

1-P1060473The sight of distant mountains stirs my vagabond soul!

1-P1060472Our goal today is to make tracks all the way through Butte and Missoula.

For days now I wrestled with the decision whether to go to Seeley Lake, Flathead Lake and Glacier National Park.  Something held me back.  I finally figured out why I hesitated to go to these places, other than my obvious need to avoid lots of people.

Once again, like last summer, I’m pulled westward!

1-P1060477-001Oh, the time I’ve spent studying my atlases — Montana, Idaho, Washington — flipping from one page to another . . . dreaming, looking for creeks, rivers, lakes . . .

We could run up I-90 to Coeur d’Alene and the Kootenai.  Maybe keep going to the Columbia River . . . and there’s Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Ranier.  It must be beautiful around there.   Gee, we could go all the way to Olympic National Park!  

The crew knows when we’re on the road for a long drive.

1-P1060476-001By the time the road descends to Butte, Bridget and Spike are asleep.  We travel through ranch land of dry grass and pass hills of sparse evergreens.  The further we go, more trees appear.

1-P1060478On the other side of Missoula, I have my first look at Clark Fork River.  What a grand river!   She’s wide and slow-moving along this stretch, her banks gentle and green.  I try to keep my eyes on the road rather than on her lazy curves clinging to the highway for several miles.

Then I see something I’ll always remember as quintessential Montana.

Against a forested mountain backdrop, a doe fords Clark Fork River.  Two fawns follow.  They are mid-stream, water almost up to the fawns’ bellies.  Calmly their mother leads; obediently they follow, one behind the other.  How I would love to take a picture of that!

But, as is the nature of interstate driving, the scene appears and disappears in a flash and there’s no safe way to stop.

My plan is to stop at Quartz Flat.

It’s a National Forest campground situated next to Interstate 90 about eleven miles before the town of Superior.  I don’t expect much.  I figure it’s a place to overnight.

As much as I’d love to camp along Clark Fork River, the land is private all along this route.  From my point of view, that’s a crying shame because the boondocks would be absolutely incredible.  Anyway . . .

We pull into Quartz Flat.

It’s located behind a rest stop.  I know, weird.  Like I say, I don’t expect much, so I appreciate the fee being $10 regular/$5 with senior pass.  This is a great bargain because the campground has a dump station as well as nice, new spigots of fresh drinking water for my empty, one-gallon jugs and a fresh water hose for the tank.

I drive through the two campground loops.

Hey, this isn’t bad!  Not bad at all.  Tall pine trees provide shade with understory to separate the paved campsites.  Sure, there’s some road noise from the highway, but I can live with that.

I find a shady, perfectly level site and back in.

Immediately I set up the crew’s pen next to the BLT.  Bridget and Spike seem to prefer lying on shaded blacktop when it’s hot.  Go figure.  So that’s where I sit, too.

1-P1060479 And yes, it’s hot. 

How spoiled we were with the cool, mountain air of Delmoe Lake!

Take a look at the crew in the photo below.  Here’s Spike — happy to be alive.  And here’s Bridget — pissed off because she can’t run around free like at our last camp.

1-P1060482 Quartz Flat has a camp host and is well-maintained. 

Tables and toilet buildings are in excellent condition.  The campground is barely one-fourth full at 7 p.m. this August day.

1-P1060480There’s even a trail that takes you to the river. 

It may be a longer hike than we can manage. Spike had some car sickness today (vomited up his breakfast).  He’s sluggish in this heat.  Well, we all are!

Tomorrow we’ll push further west.

1-P1060481rvsue

I LOVE RVSUE SHOPPERS!  Here’s a sample of recent Amazon orders placed from my blog:

Mini Countertop Portable Clothes Dryer
Don’t Spill the Beans
Coiled Paddle Leash
Checkerboard Loaf Pan Set
High Performance Replacement Filter
Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 II DC OS HSM Lens for Nikon SLR Camera

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57 Responses to Westward we go!

  1. Mindy Reed says:

    Dear Sue, if you’re heading west, I’d also like to suggest NE Oregon in the Wallowa Valley, it’s a stunning area. Of course since I’m from Oregon I love the place…LOL.

  2. Val R. Lakefield On. says:

    Hi Sue…Delmoe lake was so pretty, I lose track, had you stayed the 14 days? Always like when you show the road pics. I have never travelled mountain roads so I might be cowardly on them…I just bought the Allstays app for the I Pad & it shows grades as well as everything else. Works for Canada & US. Having fun looking at areas I hope to visit.
    Safe travels.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Val!

      No, we only stayed 11 days out of the 16 days allowed at Delmoe Lake. The weekenders turn the campground into CrazyLand. One weekend of that was enough. I would’ve stayed 16 if it weren’t for the inconsiderate fools.

      I am wanting an iPad so badly! (I’ll get over it.) The apps are amazing. I bet you’ll love it even more as time goes by.

      If I can drive mountain roads, anyone can! I’ve been a flatlander most of my driving years. One adjusts. The rewards make the challenges worth overcoming.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      BTW . . . Thanks for joining the housewarming!

  3. Barb Brady from Spokane WA says:

    I’m delighted to hear you may be heading this way. The offer still stands for a free RV site. May I tempt you with a 3/10 mile walk through our woods with several bridges over the creek and ending at the 8′ waterfall? It’s about 10° cooler down there, a wonderful place to take your Kindle and Spike can play in the creek to his heart’s content. We’re about 10 miles north of I-90 at Spokane Valley.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Your invitation is very tempting, Barb! And that’s saying a lot, coming from me, Miss “I Want To Be Alone.” I’m not going to make any promises. Once I do that, I usually break them! (I won’t visit without advance warning.)

      • Barb Brady from Spokane WA says:

        Of course, I want to have a nice chat with you, but I will leave you with plenty of time to yourself. I’m the same way, I can take others if the visits are short, but, Sue, you’re so darn interesting, I’d just love to meet you.

  4. Carolyn says:

    I was in Montana and Idaho last summer … if you want and I know you have a bazillion readers and lots of blogs to read … but I will tell you that I absolutely loved that area. My trip through there starts in May through June 2012 …. on my knees!

    Can’t wait to follow where you go and bring back those wonderful memories of a gorgeous part of this planet. The Cascade Loop is spectacular. Washington State is spectacular … the Olympic Peninsula? get out of town. Port Townsend and Sequim and on and on and on .. ohhhhh Seal Beach … $5 on the beach.

    oh sigh 😉

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Carolyn! You have me psyched!! Now I’m truly happy with my decision to explore the Pacific Northwest.

      • RVSue, we’ve been RV’ing our way through the Pacific NW for the last four weeks and it is spectacular and beautiful beyond words. Right now we are at Fidalgo Bay, where we awaken to the sight of snow covered Mt. Baker looming high above the entire area. Every where you look you see beauty. You will love it!

  5. RoseM says:

    Hi Sue and Crew,
    I’m wondering if Spike and Bridgette argue over who gets to ride shotgun on these longer journeys? Seriously, I enjoy reading your blog and have been following for quite sometime. I don’t always get a chance to read it daily but love the photographs, the philosophy and your prose. Keep up the engaging posts!
    Best,
    Rose

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Rose!

      Fortunately Bridget doesn’t like riding in the passenger seat. I have a long seat cushion I don’t need that came with the BLT. I placed it between the front seats so it runs from the engine console back under the bench seat. On top of that I place Bridget’s bed. That way she can be in her bed right next to me or hop up on the bench seat.

      On this trip Spike took over her bed and Bridget had a whining fit until we came to a rest stop. After a walk-around Spike forgot about the bed and order was restored.

      Thank you for being a loyal reader, even if sporadically. It’s nice to hear from you!

  6. Rita from Phoenix says:

    I love Olympic National Park, camped and hiked the rain forest…all beautiful. I was told not climb log pile ups, they are unstable and can come crashing down. Columbia River is absolutely beautiful. I went to boarding school in Salem, OR so I’m partial to OR :-). Spike prob got sick to up and downs on mt. road and the heat. Our dog Chowder use to foam at the mouth cuz (I guess) he didn’t like car travel but he gradually got use to traveling in car. He’d get car sick so I put towels and sheets beneath him for easy clean up. Now Chowder loves to go for rides. Not to worry, September weather will start cooling down.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Rita!

      Chowder… now that’s an original name!

      Spike is doing fine. This evening, after it cooled, we walked around both loops of the campground, the sort of thing Spike loves. He was perky and he ate his usual supper.

      I’m crazy for rivers! I look forward to seeing the Columbia.

  7. Mark Watson says:

    Ain’t it great to just point the windshield down the road and follow behind it?
    Sat, Sun, and Mon nights, you might want to try and stay up late and view the Persied meteor shower. It is know for having some bright fireballs. Radiant rises in the Northeast park of sky. Best time to look is between midnight and 5 AM
    Around 11PM you might see some earth grazers, that go almost from the NE horizon to the SW horizon. Good show.

    .Mark Watson

    • Krystina McMorrow says:

      OOOO It all sounds so fantastic!! I want to be there. I actually would like to be anywhere other then here in Vermont waiting for my house to sell 🙁 It is now almost empty as I have had yard sales almost every weekend since May…and that is REALLY getting old!!! I pray every night that it will sell so I can be on the road. Your photos are fantastic…as usual. When you show photos of your site I picture myself there…gotta keep my dream alive…and your blog really helps keep me going. Thank you RvSue!!!

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        You’re welcome! May your house sell quickly so you can hit the road.

        Thank you, Krystina for the compliment on the photos. It’s my pleasure to help keep your dream alive . . .

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Mark! Whenever I try to catch some amazing wonder in the sky after midnight, I always miss it. Right now I’m under a lot of tall pine trees. To be honest, I’ll be in DreamLand. You enjoy it for me!

  8. Donna Parker says:

    Sue, it’s nice to see you heading westward! I love the mountains and especially enjoy your posts (and great pix) of all the mountain vistas and valleys you encounter. Your adventures are ALL exciting to read about, but when you’re in the mountains it really strikes a chord with me. I can’t believe it’s been two years!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      The two years have flown by! And I’m tickled when I learn someone has been with me and the crew through those two years.

      I love the mountains, too. It’s nice though to return to the desert each winter. Well, gee, I love it all!

  9. cinandjules (NY) says:

    The crew knows by now…when you pack up ..it’s going to be a moving day. Settle right in…sleep and when they wake up…you’re usually almost there!

    OMG…I must say Bridget seems to be “mad dogging” you from inside the pen! A picture is worth a thousand (unsaid) words. Glad Spike feels better.

    Love your new site.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Bridget can burn a hole in my back at 20 yards. She can turn me into a mass of nervous jelly with her whining. She can melt a bad mood with her cuddles. And when I’m feeling down, she gives me the sweetest lick-kisses. Gotta’ take the bad with the good… same with Spike.

  10. JOAN ROBERTS says:

    Or, you could head about 90 minutes north of Coeur de Laine up toward Sandpoint, Idaho. Just came back from spending the entire month of June and it was lovely.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Well, Joan, Sandpoint was one of the places I considered before I got this idea to go to the Olympic Peninsula. There are some outstanding NF camps north of Sandpoint. So many places I want to go! I’m glad you had a wonderful time on your June trip.

  11. Phyllis says:

    You’re almost in Canada!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I know… We’re a long way from Ajo, Arizona! (40 miles from Mexican border where we wintered)

  12. On the road again, nothing like being on the road again.. to paraphrase Willie Nelson.
    I am happy you are on the road again. The NorthWest is one place I really wanted to visit…. maybe next year.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      The PNW has held an allure for me for many years. This time I’d better be able to see the Pacific, dadburnit! Remember the fog we encountered last summer… (actually early Sept.)?

  13. I know exactly what you mean about feeling sad to leave a special location. I have this happen quite often. But I am surprised at how quickly I forget that feeling and am all about the new location. Strange life we lead.

    Bridget does a great pissed off look!!

  14. Micky says:

    So exciting to be on your way to beautiful, new, destinations….and yet living each day ‘for today’. I’m just about salivating as I read. 🙂 Also, I’m trying to remember to live each day in this, the last year before my retirement ‘for today’…..trying to find the joy and inhale it….before I take off for the unknown in my yet-to-be-acquired Casita.
    Now that it’s just under a year until I undertake this lifestyle change, it actually seems close. I’ve gone back and started reading your blog from the beginning….again. I’m only up to July 2011, and I’ve been taking notes like crazy!

    Just a few questions….hope you don’t mind!
    Did you ever purchase a GPS (not that far yet), and if so, are you glad you did or would you be fine without it?
    You brought a lot of extra cloths, feeling that you would use them eventually. Has that worked out well? Have you kept them and/or used them?
    Are you still happy with the manual jack? If you had it to do over, would you have purchased the electric jack?
    Maybe you posted this somewhere along the way, but I can’t remember….whatever happened about the jury duty summons from SD? Obviously you didn’t have to go, but how did SD handle that?

    I hope you don’t mind all the questions….or future questions! 🙂

    Micky from Monterey, CA

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Micky!

      You’re reading this blog a second time? Wow, I’m flattered.

      Okay. Questions:

      I’m happy with the manual jack. Of course, I don’t know what I’m missing. Often when I’m cranking the jack up or down I’ll think about the muscles I’m using that generally aren’t used, so that’s a good thing. It’s not hard to crank. Would I order the electric if I had it all to do over? No. If I become too decrepit to crank, the electric cranks are easily added.

      Yes, I bought the GPS. I rarely use it. I don’t keep it up-to-date. It put me on the worst road I’ve ever been on in my entire life (NM). It rescued me from a traffic snarl in Grants Pass (OR). I could live without it. Would I order the GPS if I had it all to do over? No. However, realize that I’ve heard quite a few folks say they love theirs and use it almost every day.

      Re: Jury summons. Americas Mailbox, my mail forwarder, told me to write a phrase on the form — something about RV, I can’t remember exactly — and send it back. I was excused. SD is very understanding of the full-time RV lifestyle.

      Re: Keeping lots of clothes. Am I glad I did? Yes and no. No, for the “nicer” clothes. I soon realized I’d never dress like that again and dropped those items into a thrift store box. The other stuff has come in very handy. . . even my winter coat. If you look at my monthly “Money” reports, I’ve rarely spent more than a few dollars on clothing going on two years. That’s because I’m still wearing what I packed when I left my house in Georgia.

    • wheelingit says:

      For Jury Duty most of the SD counties will allow you to wrote “full-timer RVer” on the form and send it back. That usually takes care of it & you are excused. They take you off the list after that.
      Nina

      • Micky says:

        Thanks Nina. I’m thinking about using the America’s Mailbox service, so that would be so convenient. Here in CA you can reschedule once, but then you have to comply with the second date. Then, more often than not, you end up not being called at the last minute!

  15. wheelingit says:

    The draw west…I certainly understand that one!! If you make it through the Columbia River Gorge there are several free COE spots right on the river (John Day Dam is nice). Up the WA coast (on the Olympic Hwy) there are several low-cost options e.g. South Beach ($10/night). Plus I’m sure plenty of boondocking around the forests. It’s nice and cool on the coast right now. It’ll be fun to follow your trip!

    Nina

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Free COE spots? Yes! Thanks so much, Nina, for this helpful info.

      • wheelingit says:

        Yup, all along the Columbia River Gorge, esp. towards the east & on the WA side. Freecampsites.net has quite a few of them listed. John Day Dam also had tons of space (both OR & WA side, although WA side seemed more quiet).

  16. You sure are in some beautiful country! Your windshield is all spic and span too, you got some nice pics while driving down the interstate. Is the dryer sheet trick good on glass, or is that just for the metal parts?

    What a treat for you to see the doe and her babies 🙂 and I got a chuckle out of the photo of happy Spike and pissed off Bridget. lol

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Linda!

      I’ve used Bounce sheets on the painted hood of the PTV but never needed anything but Windex on the windshield.

  17. Alan Rabe says:

    Oregon sounds divine, It’s one part of the country I have always wanted to see put never got the chance. Did spend a few weeks in Vancouver B.C. and loved it. Getting out of jury duty is a perk for domiciling in SD I wasn’t aware of. But still, no income tax, property tax or vehicle inspections is more than enough to get my vote. Looks like you have a nice trip in front of you with lots of nice diversions and surprises along the way to make the trip fun.

    Enjoy.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oregon is a magical place. Lush, green, mossy, lots of flowing water . .. My only complaint is sometimes the trees block the sun from my solar panel. 🙂

  18. Dawn says:

    You stay in so many beautiful places…I’ve always thought it must be hard to leave many of them. I guess you can always go back for a visit! Can’t wait to see your next favorite place!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I think I become attached because I’m very grateful for having lived a while in a beautiful place.

  19. Hi RVSue:
    Well, finally I’m on the final countdown. The house is rented. The new (for me) RV is tuned and stoked and ready. The Smart Car has a tow bracket. I’ve had my towing a Smart Car lesson and practice hooking up and unhooking. It’s almost for sure that Lacy, my Standard Poodle, Lincoln and Eleanor, my rescue kitties and I will be heading north from the Sacramento area, first to Cottonwood, CA to visit my son and his family for a few days; and, then to Ashland, Oregon and other points north ….. Crater Lake, Olympic National Forest, Bellingham, San Juan Islands, maybe Coeur d’Alene, and who knows where. I’ll be at least a year – and I’m beginning to think maybe forever – on the road – North America, here we come!

  20. Donna D. (stickhouse in CT) says:

    It’s not silly to become attached to a place. There is a certain small beach on the bay side of Cape Cod that feels like home to me. I discovered it when I rented a small place there 15 years ago. It’s not in a public area but those who currently live and rent there don’t seem to mind sharing. I only get there for a weekend every few years but I always feel so at peace on that beach, as if I belong there and it is always difficult for me to leave. So, I fully understand how you feel.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Donna . . . I’ve been on the bay side of Cape Cod in the area of which you write. I can understand why you love it.

  21. Mark Watson says:

    “Feels like home”…. yeah.. Chaco Canyon NM does it for me.
    I wonder if I can be buried there when I die?… Or at least have my ashes scattered there perhaps? Is that the greener thing to do?
    Mark Watson

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Mark! It’d be greener if you were put out in the desert in a condition to make a meal for the coyotes, but, hey, there’s a limit to this “green” idea. 🙂

  22. Darrell says:

    Sue,

    I became aware of your blog through a post I saw on RV.net which I read daily. Once I read a few of your posts I was hooked and went all the way back to the beginning. I have spent every spare moment of the last week catching up to today. I too dream of a full time RV lifestyle. Last summer my wife and I were camp hosts at a reservoir west of Wichita, Ks. I thoroughly enjoyed it but it was difficult with both of working full time and having to drive into the city every day. We are both at least 10 years from retirement. After the summer at the lake last year my wife has determined that she likely couldn’t live in an RV full time. I would in a heartbeat if I could. While I likely won’t get to full time it, someday I at least hope to spend several months at a time running around the US much like you do. We have a 34 foot Jayco 5th wheel. We spend about 50 – 125 nights in it a year depending on budget and available free time. Last May we took a two week trip out to the Grand Canyon, to Las Vegas then to the San Elijo State Park at Encinitas, CA. My wife thoroughly loved the Pacific ocean and the beach. I am now an ardent follower of RVSue and the Canine Crew. I look forward to your travels.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Darrell!

      Your devotion to my blog is heartwarming! “Every spare moment. . . ” You sound like a man who loves the road! Thank you for reading my blog from the beginning and for becoming a follower.

      Maybe your wife was associating the camp host work with RVing. To tell the truth, if I had to be a camp host, I wouldn’t like RVing. But that’s me.

      Who knows how you’ll both feel in ten years? I hope you continue to enjoy your free time in your 5th wheel. Thanks for writing . . .

  23. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    Horace Greely said, ” Go west young man, go west “. The west is shrinking, but there are still lots of areas to get that feeling Mr. Greely was talking about. RV Sue gives us that in her writings and pictures. I love the silence and the space that the wild west still offers. RVing allows us the freedom to experience all this that Dad [God] has provided for us. But one is still shackled to the PTV and BLT. Better still is to shoulder a backpack and set off making your own trail. ” To boldly go, where no one has gone before ” hummn that seems familair.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hmm . . . I don’t feel “shackled.”

      Please realize I have to consider Spike. He can’t hike like he used to.

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