Camping with Suzi

Join me as we discover camping in our national forests.


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Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) Rally

What an amazing, interesting, informative, exhausting, and fun week we had. Here are some photos from the Rocky Mountain Region’s Family Motor Coach Association’s Rally in Farmington, NM.

The organizers were hoping for more than 325 rigs attending but horrible winds kept many away.

On US 491, the wind, not wildfire, blocks view of mountains

On US 491, the wind, not wildfire, blocks view of mountains

Looking north on US 491, dust not rain.

Looking north on US 491, dust not rain.

Looking to the east from US 491, all is clear

Looking to the east from US 491, all is clear

But to us it seemed like there was a huge crowd in attendance anyway. The non-Class A RV, like ours, got lost in the many motor coaches and Class A rigs.


We did two presentations (FMCA called them “seminars”) on National Forest Campgrounds around Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Here the photo of the first one. Our second seminar was scheduled for the same time as the Rally’s “BBQ by the River” event so attendance was a lot less. Doesn’t matter. Both groups were super and we appreciate them.

lecture-2 lecture-1


Another week on the road


Dani’s mode of travel. Note she does have on a harness so if, there are any sudden movement, she is safe.


Gas prices continue to increase.  $3.49 in Arizona and $3.89 in New Mexico.


One must be always be alert when traveling on a rural roads.


Our campsite at Mesa campground in the Gila National Forest. Located north of Silver City, NM and overlooks the little 72 acre Lake Roberts.


Here is a sign in Mesa campground’s bathroom.  Note the second line.  It is true!  The rocks you can collect around the lake will explode if heated in a campfire.  And the rock projectiles can do serious damage to anyone or thing in its way.


On the road – again


First stop for gasoline was in Tucson, AZ.  $3.26 per gallon.  Probably won’t see gas this cheap in a long while.  This is a newer Pilot Truck Stop (I think it was Exit 269) and is across from the TTT truck stop – one of the older truck stops in town.  For tips on how the stretch your gas dollar, click here.


 AZ Rt 79 – a long stretch of empty between Florence and Gold Canyon, AZ.  It is a fairly typical landscape for southern Arizona once you get off the I-10.   It is easy to lose focus so now is the time to find a radio station you can sing along with or start a conversation on solving problems in the Middle East such as crime in St. Louis or the drop-out rate in Chicago’s high schools <G>.  Whatever it take to stay alert.

Tent camper can browse hundreds of articles about enjoying the outdoors, find bunches of checklists, and get tip from outdoor experts at Learn at REI.

Campers using any size or type of recreational vehicles (RV) will find RVTravel’s YouTube channel loaded with great insight and useful information.

Fulll hookup sites at Salt Springs cg

Lost Dutchman State Park – alternative to Tortilla campground

During our stay at Lake Dutchman State Park, two features I enjoyed every day were the hiking trails and the number of birds.

The hiking trails ranged from super easy short connecter trails that linked various links to lung busting, thigh screaming trails and a few in between. The array of trails allowed me great variety in morning walks with Ralf and Dani and satisfying challenges in afternoon walks with Fred.

top of Treasure Loop trail

top of Treasure Loop trail

Although there wasn’t a reliable source of water to attract any feather friends, each time I was out and about, the sounds of birds in the surrounding shrubs and sudden darts of color confirmed this is a bird-friendly environment.  (Hope I’ve identified the birds in these photographs correctly.)

Cactus wren atop a Saguaro

Cactus wren atop a Saguaro


Another cactus wren on cholla

Another cactus wren on cholla

Phainopepla on a Jojoba bush

Phainopepla on a Jojoba bush

Maybe a warbler

Maybe a warbler


Bottomline is, until the Tonto National Forest re-opens Tortilla campground, Lost Dutchman State park will be our campground of choice.

Coloring Book to download

Yellow Perch – one of the main fish in Upper Klamath  Basin

There is a line in one of the Holiday songs that exclaims,  “Mom and Dad can’t wait for school to start again.”  Well, the children may be back in school but the weather isn’t the type to make my children would want to go outside and play.  Doing some craft project was always a hit a around my house on days when it was just too yucky to go outside.  However, my “go-to” alternative (especially on those really busy days) was a box of crayons and a coloring book.   Splash into Upper Klamath Basin, courtesy of the Klamath National Forest (CA), is a coloring book about the Basin’s fish.  Download a copy or two and pass out when you need some quiet time.  Hope it helps entertain your children for a while.  (Also good for when you need the children to stay put while setting up camp.)

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) adventure

Someone once said “Nature is cheaper than therapy.”  A day canoeing in the BWCAW validates that statement.

We experienced the soothing noisy silence of Mother Nature.  We heard loons conversing with each other as well as bees and mosquitoes going about their business.  A splash alerted us to a beaver’s appearance and buck swimming along a shoreline. And the paddle’s passage there crystal clear water was very soothing.  I can only imagine the delight in eating a fish you had just caught cooked a fire you’ve built under a roof of a million stars with fresh picked blueberries for dessert.  Someday I would like to return to the BWCAS and do just that.

Here are some photos from our BWCAW adventure.  Click here for more.


Enjoying the BSCAW’s peace and quiet


Packing our canoe


Wild rice or reeds growing on Kelso Lake does attract a variety of wildlife


Our lunch spot – has the best view in town

Guide to Crumb Crust

I like having a little something sweet after dinner  and a piece of pie is just the thing.  However, when camping, baking a whole two-crust pie just ain’t going to happen.   My solution: Crumb crust in individual serving dishes instead of a shortening based pie crust.  The following are four version I found useful.   I’ll make up a batch, divide between individual coffee cups, and fill with whatever I have.  (Vanilla pudding and sliced bananas is most popular with my family.)  While the portions given are for 6 servings, cut it in half for 3 regular servings or 2 hungry camper serving size.


Crumb Crust – a guide to
Combine ingredients, press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of serving dish or ungreased 9″ pie pan. Before filling, either chill the crust in ice chest for 30 minutes or bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes then cool completely.

Type of crust              Amount of Crumbs      Sugar      Butter or Marg, melted
Graham Cracker      1 ½ cups (24 squares)  1/4 cup     1/3 cup
Chocolate Wafer     1 1/4 cup (20 wafers)    1/4 cup     1/4 cup
Vanilla Wafer          1 ½ cups (30 wafers)      none          1/4 cup
Gingersnap               1 ½ cup (24 cookies)     none          1/4 cup











Melt butter and pour over cracker crumbs and sugar mixture.  Stir until it has the appearance of coarse sand.

Melt butter and pour over cracker crumbs and sugar mixture. Stir until it has the appearance of coarse sand.

Jackson Bear

Few towns I have been to are more populated with great art than Jackson, WY.  Everywhere you go, at every turn, where ever you look there are examples of amazing art.  This bear is one of my favorites.


Does he have a great face?!?!?!

Dixie at Grand Teton National Park

Dixie, our stuffed rabbit mascot, shares many of our adventures.  Here are some photographs of her time in the Grand Teton National Park.

View from the Jackson Lodge

View from the Jackson Lodge

Time at Jenny Lake

Time at Jenny Lake

Beautiful location

Beautiful location



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