Ivie Creek Camp: Meeting a man on a mission

Ever wonder if there’s a reason two lives briefly intersect?

This happened a few nights ago, shortly before sunset, at our Ivie Creek Camp, northwest of Salina, Utah.  (An unrelated note:  Yes, the antenna is still at the top of the pole.)


“Hello?  Hello?”

It’s a man’s voice from the other side of the PTV. Bridget and Spike fly into a barking fit. I walk around to see a fifty-ish man with bleary eyes peering out from a ruddy face, a kerchief wrapped around his head.  Is this guy drunk?  Am I going to have a problem?


With a quick glance I see his motorcycle parked out by the main road.

“Is it free to camp here?” he asks.

1-P1050124“Yes, this is national forest.  It’s public land,” I reply.

“Oh, it’s not like up there?”  He gestures toward Maple Grove Campground.  “I saw a post with a number on it . . . “

“That’s the marker for the national forest road.  When you see a marker like that, it means you can camp and it’s free.”


Relief pours over his face. 

“I’ve been seein’ those signs and I didn’t know.  Do you mind if I camp here for one night?  I’ve been drivin’ all day and I’m awful tired.”

It’s evident by now that the bleary eyes and ruddy face are not from drunken stupor, but rather from exhaustion.


“Sure.  I don’t mind at all.  I just hope my dogs don’t bother you.”

“Aw, they won’t.  I’m too tired.  I just need a flat place to put down my bedroll . . . ”  He trails off as he walks toward his motorcycle.

He drives his motorcycle into the clearing of our campsite and turns off the engine.

I show him two good spots, flat and private, under the oak trees.

“I’m Sue, by the way.”  He tells me his name is Al.

“I’ll leave you alone, Al, so you can get some rest.”  The crew and I go inside the BLT for the evening.

The next morning I let out the crew and I’m pleased they don’t make a sound.

1-P1050085I should offer Al a cup of coffee.  I set up the percolator and turn on the burner.  At that moment I hear Al’s motorcycle.  I turn off the burner, step outside, and walk up to him.  “Good morning, Al.  Did you get some rest?”

“Oh, hi, Sue.  Yeah . . . Thanks for letting me . . . “

I cut him off.  “You don’t need to thank me.  It’s your land as much as it’s mine.  Where you headed?”

“Texas. I’m on my way to see my father.  He’s eighty-nine so I thought I’d . . . ”  He trails off.

I’m struck by the tender tone of his voice.  His expression indicates that there’s a lot more,  a whole lot more, but it’s way too much to tell.


After a pause he begins again with an explanation. 

1-P1050051“If I live to be 89, I hope my two sons and daughter will come visit me.”

“You have quite a bit of road ahead of you.”

“Yeah . . . Yesterday I drove all the way from Gardnerville, Nevada.  It’s about 50 miles south of Reno.  This trip is gonna’ be fifteen hundred miles.”

I could ask him more questions, but I’m aware of the engine running. 

Al is a man on a mission, so I don’t want to keep him.

There’s really nothing more that needs to be said anyway.

“Be careful, Al.  God bless you and keep you safe.”

He smiles, says goodbye, puts on his helmet, and drives away.  I hope he has a warm and happy reunion with his father.


And that’s the end of that little story . . . at least from where I stand.

This morning I complete the financial page for the month of May!

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look up at the header.  Click on “Money” and you’ll see a page where you can click on any month as far back as January 2012.  Or you can hover on “Money” for a drop-down menu.


I hope seeing my expenses will help those of you who are considering or are already planning to live full-time “on the road.”


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73 Responses to Ivie Creek Camp: Meeting a man on a mission

  1. You were great, Sue! It is so easy to be judgmental at times like that, but you sure read the situation right. I’m so pleased to know that there are kind and compassionate people in the world.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      My one regret is I didn’t get my butt out of bed early enough to give the guy a cup of hot coffee. Oh well, there’s a diner in Salina about 15 miles down the road the way he was going.

  2. cinandjules (NY) says:

    Oh my….your pictures are so vivid! Love the green, flowers and of course the brook.

    Best wishes to Al on his journey. Your hospitality is so thoughtful. I must admit when you mentioned his “bedroll” my eyebrows raised with a bit of concern. Who camps in the middle of nowhere w/o a tent/trailer/rv?

    Your thoughtfulness toward strangers is such a nice gesture.

    Restaurant in the middle of the desert? Roadkill Café? heh heh j/k Any idea about many miles you travel in a year?

    WOW!! You go girl…. in response to the Amazon part.

    Enjoy your evening.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      The restaurant meals were in Bluff, remember? I have no idea how many miles I travel. I think I wrote down the odometer reading on January 1st. . . if I can find where I put that piece of paper . . .

      Who camps in the middle of nowhere without a tent or a trailer? A guy who never camps and now he needs to get to his father in a hurry?

      • cinandjules (NY) says:

        With your sincere best wishes/blessing and his smile….I’m sure you’ve eased his road ahead.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          It’s one of those situations where I wish I knew how it all came out at the end.

  3. dawn says:

    Hi Sue
    I am not getting your blog notices in my email anymore…I was still getting them after you changed sites, but not now. I went to Wheeling it to find you because when I googled, it brought me to your blogs have been suspended…..Yikes…

    Have you heard whether or not Rusty moved into his apt and how he is doing?
    I hope your blogs start coming to my email again….missed ya and thought you weren’t posting…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Dawn,

      The email notification feature did not transfer over to my self-hosted site. I don’t have fast enough internet right now to try and install another plug-in. I tried a few and they didn’t work. You can bookmark my blog, put a shortcut on your desktop, or type rvsueandcrew.net in the address line. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

      Rusty comments here after almost every post. He and Timber are doing great! I’ll write an update very soon, I promise!

  4. Allison says:

    You have a gorgeous camp site. Just lovely.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yes, it is. The crew and I were out looking for wildflowers and found several.

  5. Reine in Plano says:

    My guess is that the motorcycle guy felt better sleeping with someone else around. You probably contributed to a good night’s sleep and helped prevent an accident down the road. Your spot is beautiful.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I thought the same thing, Reine. He didn’t seem to know much about camping. I don’t know how easy it is to steal a motorcycle but that might have been a concern of his. He was concerned about making a mistake and camping in an area that he shouldn’t.

  6. Brian says:

    I like all the greenery and water at your current site!
    How are the daytime temps?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Perfect! I’d guess it’s in the mid-80s in the meadow by the creek (full sun). It’s probably high 70s up here under the trees at our campsite. A strong breeze comes through every day since we arrived at about two in the afternoon. I guess it’s cool air being pushed down from the cliffs. Very nice.

    • Rev. Mary says:

      You don’t mention the cost of food, clothing,or other normal monthly expenses.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Hi Rev. Mary,

        If you click on “May 2013” you’ll see the cost of food, clothing, gas, camp fees, etc. You must have seen only the page for “Recurring Expenses.”

  7. Kim says:

    What a coincidence. I, too, met a windblown, tired, motorcycle camper on the way to visit his dad the other day. My encounter though was at a Burger King in Colorado. We discussed the relative merits of the value menu items.

    Wonder if it was the same guy?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I don’t think so, Kim, unless he’s taking the scenic route. LOL This guy came from western Nevada and I’m camped in Utah.

  8. Dave says:

    Hey Sue, good post. Always is. You know, I’m just not the old hard nosed construction supt any more. I find this adventure has softened me up quite a bit and it doesn’t take much to bring a tear down my cheek. Your interaction with Al was another of those times. God bless you Sue.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      God bless you, too, Dave. I, too, was touched by the story of this man driving 1,500 miles to see his father.

  9. Cherie from OH says:

    What you did reminds me of the Bible verse, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Makes you wonder sometimes.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I felt very at ease with Al, like he wasn’t a stranger at all. That’s why I posed that question at the start of the post. Thank you for sharing that Bible verse, Cherie.

  10. Dawn K says:

    This site is just beautiful. You must be enjoying it. I think you were in the right place at the right time for the motorcycle guy. Hope he makes it to his Dad’s with no problems.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I hope he makes it, too. He’s apparently in a hurry, driving long hours. I think it’s about 550 miles from Gardnerville, NV to here.

  11. Timber and Rusty says:

    Hi Sue, Did Al get some coffee? and I’m praying he gets to his father safely. Your photo’s Are great, they look like post cards from tourist shops or like those Travel magazines, like Trailer life.,,,,,,

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      No, Al didn’t get any coffee from me. He had his motorcycle engine fired up and he was ready to get on the road, so I didn’t mention it.

      Thanks for the compliment on the photos. The greenery is beautiful here, more yellow-green like the first leaves of Spring and here it is June.

  12. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    It is 558 miles from Garnerville NV to Salina UT. Maybe the angel was you and not the mysterious motorcycle rider? Thanks Sue for all you do.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      That many miles in one day makes for a long day. He was practically falling-down tired when he arrived. I bet driving up to Maple Grove Campground after all those miles and seeing the sign that reads Fee Area: $15 was like “hitting the wall.”

  13. Kathy says:

    your story of Al brings to mind the verse – Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
    He must have thought you were the hospitable angel, on his journey. Beautiful spot there.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I love the poetic language — as well as the meaning — in that Bible verse, no matter which translation.

  14. Tina says:

    Hi Sue,

    Thanks for the recap of your monthly expenses and also listing all the places you have camped. This is a great help to all us dreamers out there. Enjoy the rest of your week!


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Tina! It was an interesting month for me and the crew with lots of new places and fun with friends, so I’m pleased to see it happened without a great increase in expenditures.

  15. BuckeyePatti says:

    What a sweet story about Al & the motorcycle, brought a tear to my eye. And you do have the best luck in finding such awesome campsites. Maybe you ARE an angel 🙂 Please turn around, we want to see if you have wings! LOL
    I was wondering when you disconnect the Best Little Trailer from the Perfect Tow Vehicle, is there a way to secure it? Been looking at trailers/casitas, but concerned if I went off to sightsee & came back…what if someone tried to heist it?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      The hitch lock goes through the lever where the hitch ball and the BLT’s coupler connect. It locks the lever in the down position so one cannot hitch up. Someone could, I suppose, smash or cut the lock but how likely is it that someone would come along with the right tools and do that?

      I hope you don’t let that concern be a reason for not considering a travel trailer. I love the freedom of leaving my home behind and driving around without looking like an RVer all the time. 🙂

      • We have a comp and collision policy that runs us just over $100 per year on a $25,000 stated value trailer. It buys us peace of mind, in addition to repair or replacement protection.

        We also use a hitch lock, as RVSue does.

        I should note insuring a trailer for physical damage is completely optional. Your towing vehicle policy provides the liability coverage for the trailer automatically.

  16. Geri says:

    Another wonderful day in the life of Sue and crew! Al was a wonderful addition to the day and so happy he found you and a safe haven for the night! Your photographs like Rusty described, worthy of travel magazine covers and certainly a post card or two! Sometimes it feels real good knowing that you are in the right spot at the right time!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Geri! I appreciate the compliments on my photos. It helps when one has a great little camera and picturesque subjects.

      I guess Al found out that it’s not easy finding a place to camp in an area of wide-open cattle ranches and very exposed sagebrush plain, especially when you don’t understand how national forest and BLM camping is accomplished. At least now he knows what the signposts represent.

  17. Reine in Plano says:

    “driving around without looking like an RVer all the time. ” Not sure you can really accomplish this with the solar panel on the roof. But maybe folks just think you are a super techie! Sue the super techie – NOT!

    Glad you’re continuing to enjoy your lifestyle and staying within your expected budget. Hard to believe it’s been almost two years since you picked up the BLT:)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I think some people think the PTV is a surveillance vehicle. One guy in a parking lot asked, “Whatcha got inside there?” 🙂

  18. AZ Jim says:

    In these times with all the things going on it’s easy to be wary of strangers (especially a woman). I am glad it turned out as it did. I think you are pretty savvy about properly judging people. Well, let’s hope Al’s trip is a good and safe one. Sure is a restful and nice spot you found there Sue. You be careful and pet the furry ones for me.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Well, Jim, if I’m going to live this vagabond life fully, I have to try to “travel in goodness,” rather than carry around the baggage of suspicion and fear. I do attempt to be careful but not to the point that it makes me unhappy and useless to others.

      I once was a very pretty, young woman and the harassment from males was a constant fear and a very real threat. I enjoy being an old lady who is seen as a person, rather than prey.

      • AZ Jim says:

        hahahahahaha I too am way past the point of being “prey”. I was once a charming Prince (lacking only a kingdom to “prince” in) but alas I am now but a old frog. Good wisdom Sue, no wonder you have so many fans.

  19. Susan in Dallas says:

    Wonderful site, so private and serene with running water! Loved your Amazon total and I will be adding to it soon. Want to get all new handles for the doors in my house. Priced them at Home Depot and Lowes BUT they are cheaper on Amazon and have free shipping!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you so much, Susan! The recent debacle with my blog being offline, along with the elimination of the email notices when I post, along with me trying to catch us up on our adventures rather than promoting Amazon products has caused sales to drop this month. It’s encouraging to read you intend to shop through my links! It says a lot about you that you “love” me making some money on my blog. 🙂

  20. Rita says:

    Your story about Al reminded me of how I once entertained a whole family who wanted to meet the new bride. Thinking they were my husband’s family I invited them in and entertained them all afternoon. When my husband returned from work, he thought they were my family. I had entertained complete strangers. My husband’s name is exactly the same as the family’s relative LOL! That was back in the early seventies and we were listed in the phone book. That must have been Al’s first night camp. In the back of my mind is always ‘stranger danger’ like they use to tell us in grade school. Yes, I see some thoughts did run through your mind before you realized Al was just a tired fellow who needed a place to sleep.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Funny story, Rita! I enjoyed it very much.

      People give off clues whether they are harmless and kind or selfish and cruel. I realize it probably isn’t foolproof to evaluate a person’s intent this way, but Al’s voice was the first clue he gave that he’s a decent person with a loving heart.

      • Susan in Dallas says:

        I agree. I know as a retired person I might be “more vulnerable” to strangers and I am careful. But, as much as I want to be safe I can’t spend my whole life being afraid of everything and avoiding all interactions. For me, that’s just not a life worth living.

  21. Bill and Ann says:

    Beautiful pictures! Wish we were there. Nice story. Short meetings with unknown people. Sort of like hosting without the hassle. Hmmmm.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      “Hosting without the hassle.” You got a laugh out of me with that one… Sounds like Ann talking…

  22. piperlin says:

    Since your change I have not been getting your blog on my email. I dont know why but I found out I have missed so much. I kept thinking there was still a problem with your site and finally I figured out I need to check this out. Took me long enough. Lol. But you have been posting and I am not getting them. I am not sure how to fix it butI dont want to miss them. I look forward to your blog. Love it!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      The email notification feature was lost when I went to self-hosting. It was part of the WordPress platform that does not transfer. I hope you will bookmark my blog or make a desktop shortcut or type rvsueandcrew.net in the address bar. I’m sorry for the inconvenience and I’m happy you found us!

  23. Lana in Phoenix says:

    Hi, RVSue! I so enjoy your blog – love your water pictures today. I went back to your May 1st 2013 post and found that the slideshow was working. Did you get that fixed on your new site?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Lana . . . No, the slideshows aren’t working on my new site. You must have picked up that May 2013 post through rvsueandcrew.com, not rvsueandcrew.net.

      I’ve decided to keep signing up with WordPress to allow us to view slideshows on the “old” blog. That is why I added the message and link you see below the Archives widget in the sidebar of this blog.

      • Lana in Phoenix says:

        I was looking at your May finances and clicked on the “See May 2013 adventures” button, so assumed I was still in the .net site. The address shows that it is actually the .com site. Shucks! I thought you had been able to fix that! How frustrating this whole thing must be for you. I’m so glad you are keeping your “old” blog – I’m working my way forward, and am in December 2011.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Oh wow, Lana… If you’re at December 2011, you’ve got quite a ride ahead of you! I hope you enjoy it!

          • Lana in Phoenix says:

            This is why I’m going slow. My envy meter can only handle so much at once!!

  24. Virginia says:

    Hi Sue:

    You are brave about strangers but meeting new people is part of the reason people travel so you just have to be a good judge is all. I am getting some info on Casitas from Texas in the mail. Those women are very nice there. I can see why you liked doing business with them. When you consider the weight of a Casita and the price, it is a very good deal for a very nice fiberglass RV trailer. Decisions, decisions…… I know I want to do this but I fear I am lagging a bit ….. Have any ideas to get an old gal jump started into RV lifestyle mode? After seeing your latest finances, I think I could swing it but would probably have to be a bit more frugal than even you but it is doable. You might want to reiterate your story about how you finally decided this is what you wanted and how you kept yourself motivated for this change. Most people love to travel in their retirement years and you are doing it on a dime and staying in some of America’s most beautiful places. That being said, Rving is a natural transition in retirement. Maybe I answered my own question. Have you been to any of the hot mineral springs out there yet? There are some in practically every state out there. That would be something I would head to in a heartbeat, probably never get me out. LOL! Thank you for being there for all of us wannabes.

    • Geri says:

      Virgina, we started our first workamping job at a hot springs here in Truth or Consequences NM! We loved it and the folks were nice to work for and we got all the free soaks we could handle! http://www.riverbendhotsprings.com Riverbend is our favorite because it is outdoors, overlooking the Rio Grande River! Maybe you would enjoy becoming a workamper???

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Hi Geri . . . .I appreciate you replying to Virginia’s comment about hot springs, as you know more than I do about that topic. I’m not a hot springs kind of person. Nor do I know anything about workkamping.

      • Virginia says:

        Hi Geri:

        Thanks for that bit of information on the River Bend Hot Springs. In fact I did contact those people awhile back about workamping and I think they were looking for a couple at the time. A free soak would be pay enough for me. Who knows though in the future. It looks like a wonderful place to be. Love NM!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Virginia . . . My story about how I knew this vagabond life is what I wanted is a very short one. I saw Tioga George’s blog and knew instantly it was the life for me! No strategy, no method, no reasoning . . . I just knew.

      My “motivational speech” is also very short. How did I keep myself motivated to move from a conventional retirement to a retirement on the road? Simple. I hated my life. I hated everything about it. Where I was located. The upkeep on the house. The sameness of living in one spot. The predictability. I wanted change, challenge and adventure!

      I can offer this to help “jumpstart” you. What if you only have 5 years left? Only 3? Or less?

      • Virginia says:

        Hi Sue:

        Don’t go killing me off in a few years LOL! Just kidding but it’s true none of us know how long we have and living in a situation that contributes to one’s unhappiness is definitely not contributing to one’s longevity and it would make sense to cut your losses and get on with something totally different. Living in a bad situation is like living as a kid or woman in an abusive home. The abuse becomes familar and getting out is sometimes scarier than staying. Probably a bad analogy but change is hard no matter what the circumstances but probably easier with lots of support from family and friends which not everyone has. So many say, their families were horrified to think they would sell the family home and leave them all behind to be vagabonds. Don’t have much family, so no problem there. Thanks for the jumper cables!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I did end my reply on a down note. Sorry about that.

          Yes, getting stuck in a rut is bad… Every boondocker will tell you that!

  25. Pauline says:

    The angels unaware Bible verse is so appropriate!!… A very nice story Susan!. I wish we did know how it turned out. The pictures are again…SPECTACULAR. What a beautiful camp site.
    I really miss those email notifications but understand the problems of self hosting. I am running into a big problem with Comcast blocking my alumni newsletter. Real pain!

    Hope you have had a wonderful weekend. Love you
    Pauline in Rienzi Mississippi

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m burned out on technology right now. After making so many unsuccessful attempts to fix the email notification plug-in, I quit in order to salvage what was left of my self-esteem. Ha! Besides, it’s toooo hot! I’ll get back to it, but not today.

      Hope you, Jerold, and the entire Rienzi clan have a great week! Love you, too.

  26. AZ Jim says:

    Too hot? Girl! Come on back down my way….I’ll show you hot! It’s 109 at the moment.

  27. Cherylyn says:

    Just finished the yard sale, what a relief to sit down and read your blog. A beautiful camp you have found. I love your response to Virginia, helps me to keep my reason list handy. (And read RvSue!) I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a fall start date. Sooo much yet to do.

    Question: When you picked up the BLT did it have a battery? If so does it work in conjunction with your solar? I like the idea of the solar on the tow vehicle so the rv can be in the shade if need be but not clear whether a battery needs to be left with the rv for some things to run.
    Wishing you a great week.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Cherylyn,

      Yes, the BLT has a battery that came with it and which is necessary. The two batteries in the PTV store the energy from the solar panel which in turn is sent to the house battery that powers the BLT’s 12-volt system.

      Hope you have a great week, too. . . Fall will be here before you know it!

  28. Hi Sue,
    I don’t think you are getting any of my comments for some strange reason, as I do not see any of them posted here.
    I no longer receive any notices in my in box that you have posted a new blog? Am I no longer welcome for some reason, or is there some other problem which is preventing me from receiving such updates. This is the last time that I will ask about this. If there is no response, I will assume that for some reason, you do not wish for me to read your blog any longer. While that would make me very sad, since I look very forward to hearing and seeing what you are up to each day, I will, of course, respect your boundaries and will no longer follow you. Please let me know.

  29. George Ridler says:

    With you in spirit. Thanks for the stories, short as they may be.

Comments are closed.