High above the pines with a desert view

The crew and I eat breakfast in the desert and lunch high above the pine trees.

That’s one of the things I love about living on the road . . . climate change in an hour!


San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, Arizona

Friday, April 26

On the way out of Camp Drake, we stop at Rusty and Timber’s camp to say goodbye.  I ask Rusty to check my lights for me.  We hug and promise to keep in touch.

The Perfect Tow Vehicle carries us northward on Highway 89 to Ash Fork, and climbs aboard Interstate 40 east to Williams, then Flagstaff.  Our only stop is Exit 198 to take advantage of the free dump and trash receptacle at the Conoco station.

Bridget and Spike wake up for a potty walk and we’re soon back on the interstate.  About three miles further, the PTV turns northward, picking up another leg of Highway 89.

We’re on our way to Sunset Crater Camp!

I took this pic through the windshield because a car passed us and kicked up dust.

I took this pic through the windshield because a car passed us and kicked up dust. That’s why it looks out of focus.

I don’t have to look for a camp in the area because I already know where the best one is.  I remember how excited I was when I first explored Arizona. Everything was new.  Now in my second year as a vagabond, I experience a different emotion as I travel a familiar road on the way to a former camp.  The excitement is still there, only now another element is added.  I’m looking forward to returning to a special place!

I open the door to the scent of pines. 

Ahhh!  This is heaven.  I let out the crew and we walk the few paces to the edge of “our” hill.  I look out over the pine tops and view the desert in the distance.

Afternoon haze on the desert . . . Tomorrow I'll get a better shot.

The view from Sunset Crater Camp

The only sounds are the wind rushing through the pines in the valley below our camp and the squawk of a mysterious, unseen bird.

I immediately set out my camp chair.

The nose of the PTV is probably more than 30 feet from the road.  I'll unhitch and move it.

In order to stay within 30 feet, the solar panel will be in shade in the morning.  That’s a problem for tomorrow.

“Hey, guys!  Let’s have a picnic lunch!”

I know Bridget and Spike are hungry because they didn’t eat much breakfast.  I heat up some of the leftover concoction of peppers, onions, sausage, tomato sauce, and pasta shells.  That’s for me.  The crew gets the roast turkey slices they love.

We take a short walk up the road and meet our neighbor.

Chris is a young man from Tucson who’s car-camping while waiting for a friend to meet up with him.  They’re both cyclists who plan to bike to Vegas and the coast.

I hate to bring up this subject, having just met the guy, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t share what I’ve learned.

“When I was here last year, the ranger came by and told me I was in violation of the 30-foot rule.  She only gave me a warning because it was during the grace period when the new rules first went into effect. I was about 40 feet from the road.  The rangers may not be as forgiving now that a year has passed.” (On this particular Coconino National Forest road, campers are restricted to 30 feet, not 300 feet as in other places.)  Chris is leaving tomorrow, so he’s not too concerned.  We chat a bit more, I wish him well, and the crew and I move on.

All this cool, crisp air makes us sleepy.

Further into the forest we go . . .

The road that takes us home

The three of us snuggle up inside the BLT and take a nap.  My first thought upon waking is . . . Gee, I’d better take some more photos for the blog before the light is gone.  Spike is always game for a little exploring.  Bridget doesn’t want to get out of bed, so we leave her behind.


Spike squints at the afternoon sun. He’s such a good buddy.

By camping at Sunset Crater Camp we’re poised for the drive across the Navajo Nation Reservation and the desert on our way to Monument Valley.  We’ll enjoy living in the pines through the weekend, maybe longer.



About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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42 Responses to High above the pines with a desert view

  1. Janet says:

    Wow……..what a VIEW!!!! You find the best spots. Hope you enjoy it very much until the next leg of your never ending journey!

  2. cinandjules (NY) says:

    Beautiful scenery………………heaven indeed.
    I’m sure Chris was appreciative of the 30 foot rule.
    Enjoy your evening.

  3. Kay says:

    My favorite is the one you took through the windshield. It seems to remind of something from long ago. Maybe a scene from an old western.

    Bridget must have been tired or just need some quiet time.

    Enjoy the new camp. We’re warming up here in Colorado. Finally!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Bridget wakes up very slowly. And she’s really not very interested in scouting around, not the way Spike is. Glad you’re getting some warmth.

  4. Joan Connor says:

    My olfactory senses are working overtime with the smell of pine!

  5. Oh I love the smell of pine too! What a beautiful place you have there Sue! Wow!

    I think coming to your blog gives the same peaceful feeling you get driving through Chino Valley. Aaaaah 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Carrie. . .

      I woke up this morning so happy I was practically giggling out loud. The three of us ran outside to greet the morning. The morning bird sounds are a delight. I like the idea of my blog bringing peaceful feelings to people. The world can use some more peace.

  6. Tammy says:

    It looks so odd to see so “much green” in your pictures. 🙂 I love the views….And Spike looks white. At least you don’t have to worry about the rattlesnakes as much here do you??? I can smell the pines with you my favorite scent…well that and newly mowed grass.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Tammy . . .

      I made a joke about the crew being self-cleaning. Actually it’s true. Their fur sheds dirt easily.

      Rattlesnakes are in the desert and they’re in the mountains, too. I don’t worry about them. I’m cautious and alert when we walk about and I stay away from rocky places. You may have noticed I’m not an adventurous hiker. And now that Spike and Bridget are slowing down, our walks usually follow the roads.

  7. TexCyn says:

    Very nice – thanks for sharing your site with us! It’s beautiful.

  8. Hey. Sue, What a great spot and nice views too!!! Timber’s missing Spike And Bridget. Well have a great night and check out that full moon too, and thanks, see ya

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh, poor Timber. I knew he’d be sad about us leaving. I saw him watching me hitch up. Maybe someday he’ll be so well-trained you can take him to the dog park and let him loose so he can run and play with other dogs. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

  9. jeff says:

    boy that does look close to the road, hopefully not to much traffic going up and down

  10. Susan in Dallas says:

    Now that is SOME view!

  11. Val. Lakefield Ontario says:

    I was hoping you’d post today so we could see your new camp. Pics are great. Know what you mean about the feeling on returning. I live year round at what used to be our summer cottage and I kind of miss that feeling of the first visit in the spring. I’m having fun tracking your camps on google maps….now I will find this one. Can’t wait until we can visit there ourselves. Enjoy your stay there.

  12. gingerda says:

    I really like the pine tree campsites. It probably comes from living in the desert and seeing too much “brown”. I love the first picture of the snow on the mountains too.
    Ginger Las Vegas

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      The snow on the mountain does make a refreshing contrast after months in the desert. By the time winter comes again, I’ll be ready to go back to the desert. It’s a great life, such variety, and my home moves with the weather. I still can’t believe how fortunate I am! Having people along with me on this blog is part of my good fortune. Enjoy the day, Ginger.

  13. geogypsy2u says:

    The essence of the pines welcomed me to the North Kaibab. You have a wonderful view of the painted desert. Nights been a little chilly.
    As much as I anticipate visiting the new there’s comfort to returning to a special place.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh, Gaelyn… The pines in the Kaibab Forest near the Canyon are divine. I loved it there, all except the porcupines!

      I expected a very cold night here since we are quite high up compared to Camp Drake. Nice surprise though…I didn’t fire up the heater and we slept very comfortably.

  14. Rita from Phoenix says:

    I think you took I-40 across not I-70 which is in Utah LOL! I know exactly where you are…lot of nice hiking trails in the area and Indian ruins just north of you. There are camp grounds up higher in the mountains also but might be a paid camp now….when we camp there years ago it was free. It’s awful that you have to be so close to the road. Enjoy your stay in the cool country.

    • Brian says:

      I too like your “fuzzy” photo taken through your windshield. We”re planning our 2 week vacation and because of you are now considering Northern AZ. I don’t post much to your blog Sue, but look forward to reading it everyday. Continued success to you and your crew Sue.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Hello, Brian . ..

        I do appreciate you dropping in with a comment now and then. Lets me know you’re still around. Thanks for the kind words and I hope you have a great vacation this year.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Rita …

      Oops! I did mean I-40. Thanks for telling me. I went ahead and fixed the post.

      Fortunately this road is remote enough that there’s little traffic. I’ve seen two cars go by and it’s the weekend. Probably no one will come up this way during the week. The road is more like a driveway for us.

  15. PamP in SW Florida says:

    The dust in the air gave the photo a impressionistic feeling. I like it.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      This blog never fails to deliver a surprise to me… I almost didn’t post that pic because of the poor quality, yet that’s the one people say they like. One of my favorite scenes to photograph is the road leading to a new camp. It reminds me of the anticipation I enjoy, excited to see what’s up the road and around the bend, wondering where our next home will be.

  16. Georgie says:

    Hi Sue, because we recently obtained a Casita, my internet searches brought me to your delightful blog a few months ago. When I get home from a stressful shift at the hospital I love following your journeys. I grab my cup of coffee and enjoy the latest trip installment. Waking up to the Flagstaff pics this morning made me happy. Thanks. I too can smell the pines. If you get a chance to venture to Sedona, the views are stunning at sunset. Blessings to you, Georgie

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Georgie, and welcome to my blog. Congratulations on obtaining a Casita! Have fun with it!

      As a former teacher I can relate somewhat to working in a stressful environment. I used to do the same thing… I’d read blogs to unwind and “get away from it all.” I’m happy my blog serves that purpose for you.

      I plan to visit Sedona on one of our spring migrations through Arizona. God bless you, too, and thanks for introducing yourself.

  17. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    The word GOVERNMENT means CONTROL and this 30 foot rule is just the pits. Are “they” trying to make us so mad that we revolt? It seems so to me!

  18. MKReed says:

    Another great post! Loved the photos especially of ole Spike…just lookin’ for some mischief…LOL. I’ve applied for my SS and if I can finally sell this farm I’ll become a roadie.

  19. Dawn says:

    Really nice. What a difference a day makes! Love the mountains, the roads…the ‘impressionistic’ photo…and especially the one with the dessert off in the distance. I’m a roadie vicariously through you! LOL..

  20. Ms. Minimal says:

    If only you had smell-o-vision on your blog. Beautiful views!! Wow! That’s right priced real estate you’ve got there. 🙂

  21. derocknut says:

    I can smell the pines from here…lol. I wish there was smell-o-vision on the internet. I’m still helping out in AZ so haven’t yet made it back to Montana but hopefully it will be soon. The pines up in Flagstaff area are wonderful and quite a contrast to the surrounding desert. Enjoy your new campsite.
    My puppy isn’t self-cleaning so she gets a bath but isn’t fond of it as yet. I can definitely tell when she needs one though. You are lucky Spike and Bridget are self-cleaning, although I suspect Bridget would like a little foo foo doctor pampering.

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