ID/MT – Snowshoe Falls, Scenic Highway 12 Adventures

After visiting the Charcoal Kilns along Highway 28, I continued north through Salmon and onto Highway 93. Soon I found signs for the CDT (Continental Divide Trail). 

I attempted access via both roads unsuccessfully, so I continued north and as things are meant to be I explored another forest service road and found my happy place.

After a restful 27 degree night, I continued north on 93 finding myself at the Continental Divide and the Montana border. Why am I going north? Do I really think I’ll find green spring in Montana? Soon enough I was heading west on the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway aka Highway 12: A Long and Winding Road. Back in Idaho, I stopped at the Lolo Pass Visitor Center to gather maps, literature and information about the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. They were a great resource.  Highway 12 parallels the Lochsa River where the boaters were hard at play. 

Access to Snowshoe Falls had me reversing course back into Montana. Although just a short jaunt, I needed time out of the car and with rain in the forecast I was motivated to be outside.

Trillium sightings made me feel like I’d found spring. 

A double cascade! 

Lily love. 

Synthyris (Kittentails)

Date(s) Hiked: April 22, 2017

Spring 2017 Road Trip: Day 55 (out of 78)


ID – Birch Creek Charcoal Kilns, Caribou-Targhee National Forest

I’ve been wanting to explore and learn more about Charcoal Kilns for a couple years and finally took advantage of this opportunity just off Idaho Highway 28 between Rexburg and Salmon. 

Hard to imagine burning 800 cords of wood purely for charcoal. Hard to imagine harvesting that many trees; it’s no wonder this area could only sustain such activity for two years. 

It’s even harder to imagine that there is now a movement to keep the conifers out of the area. Per USFS, “West Birch Creek Conifer Encroachment Project: Purpose of this project is to remove conifers that are encroaching upon Greater Sage-Grouse habitat. The proposed action is to cut the encroaching conifers with chain saws and/or masticate, chip, pile and burn or make available to the public.” I’ll take trees over grouse any day!

Grouse central aka the zone to be free of trees. 

View from the back door (the cables are to strengthen the structures).

The ceilings were a work of art. Can you imagine setting those bricks?

Yes that’s my car in the distance. I got a few bonus steps walking the road due to snow and mud. Notice the rain on the left side of the photo. This area has a really nice interpretive trail. 

Date(s) Hiked: April 21, 2017

Spring 2017 Road Trip Day 54 (out of 78)



Chasing Spring 2017

You may recall my February post, “HELP Readers, I’m in search of early Spring.” I received many great ideas and spent time marking maps with possible destinations. However, it became quickly apparent that my wishes were unrealistic. I was not going to find my idea of spring in March this year and I was much too impatient to wait until April to begin my spring jaunt.

Detailed posts will be forthcoming, but until then, here’s a summary of my spring jaunt.

Length of Trip:  78 days (February 27 to May 16)

States Visited: 8 (California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming)

National Parks, Monuments, Recreation Areas Visited: 10 (yes, I’ve been making good use of my annual pass)

Lassen Volcanic, California

Great Basin, Nevada

Arches, Utah

Canyonlands, Utah

Natural Bridges, Utah

Capitol Reef, Utah

Chimney Rock, Colorado

Rocky Mountain, Colorado

Fossil Butte, Wyoming

Hells Canyon, Idaho

Miles Driven: 6,851 (averaged 87 miles per day, 25.2 miles per gallon, cost was around $700 at $2.15-$2.50 per gallon)

Activity Days: 49 (averaged 4.5 days per week)

Night Spots:

Slept in Car (39 nights, with only 5 in campgrounds)

Friends/family (22 nights, special thanks to all who hosted me)

Tent (9 nights while backpacking – not nearly enough)

Cabin (4 nights on a backcountry ski adventure)

Motel (4 nights, two nights shared)

Photos Taken: 36 gigs (I’d call that a successful trip)

With summer just a few days away, I think it’s high time to share some of those photos and stories.

Me and My CRV – Picking and Packing

After my introductory article on CRV Living, several readers asked for more details about packing.

Step 1 – Customize

  1. What are the necessities of your travel lifestyle?
    • How long will you be gone?
    • What types of activities are planned?
    • What are expected weather conditions?
  2. How will you make your car a home?
    • Do you need to level your sleeping area?
    • Will you want window coverings?
    • What size containers will fit your vehicle?
    • Are you open to rearranging your vehicle each night?

For this trip, I expected the full range of weather, temperatures and activities. I prepared to backpack, hike, snowshoe, play tourist and traveler while moving between cold and snowy to uncomfortably warm environments.

These are the choices I made.

Front row of photo: 

  • Large bin on left is used to level my sleeping area. I store things in it I don’t need frequently.
  • The cardboard box lives on my cargo area shelf and is used for daily items I want easy access to such as plates and my lantern.
  • The bear canister is just as much of a pain storing in the car as it is in my backpack. It’s filled with immediate use snacks. As soon as I have room in one of the larger bins, it’ll move into one of those.
  • The dishpan holds 3 gallons of water and my pee jar. It lives on the backseat floor.
  • The open bin contains all my in-the-car, immediate-use meal prep items such as my stove, fuel, mugs, tea, coffee, utensils, etc. It lives on the floor behind the driver seat giving me convenient access from my sleeping platform.
  • The 3 same-size containers fit perfectly in my cargo compartment. One contains food, another backpacking gear, and the final is stocked with additional supplies such as laundry soap, repair and maintenance items, resupply items like vitamins, ziplocks, etc.

Left rear of photo:

  • Bedding and comfort items which mostly go on what I call the sleeping platform.

Middle rear of photo:

  • Backpack which gets stored either behind driver seat or under pillows if I want it hidden.
  • Orange travel bag contains maps, etc and gets stored on floor of passenger seat.
  • Ice chest is stored on rear passenger seat

Right rear of photo:

  • Shoes, I’ll bring 2 pairs and wear one. Storage location varies.
  • Two duffel bags, one for hiking clothes, the other for traveling clothes. They are stored under the cargo area shelf/table while traveling and moved to the back passenger seat with the ice chest when sleeping.
  • Snowshoes, initially they’ll live on floor of front passenger seat. A bit like the bear canister, challenging to store.
  • Umbrella, hiking poles and chair are stored on edge of sleeping pad.

Step 3 – Pack

This is how I pack.

The area under the cargo floor:

In addition to the tire, jack and tools which come standard, I added chains, a shovel, fix a flat canister and jumper cables. If I need any of these items, I’ll have to unpack my car and that won’t be fun.

Making the bed:

I remove the large backseat to allow for a sleeping platform as my seats don’t fold flat. 

I add a plastic bin on the floor behind the passenger seat to provide a flat platform.

I made my sleeping platform and mattress out of stuff I already owned. After placing the plastic tub on the floor, I add chair cushions to help level, then a yoga mat, an air mattress and a quilt. I top it off with my 10-degree backpacking sleeping bag and a few pillows. 

Filling the holes: 

You can see how the 3 bins fit perfectly in the back next to my sleep area. The black & orange item in middle back is my new Moon Lence chair and to the right is that dang bear canister. I have my boots stuffed into the niche to the left of the bins. My extra pair of shoes fits between my mattress and the lip of the cargo area. The box I use to mail my snowshoes home is folded flat and is between the cargo carpet and the lid to the spare tire compartment.

The security table/shelf makes my CRV car camping infinitely more comfortable. You can see how the bins fit perfectly under the table, which folds up making for easy access of the items underneath. I can sleep under the table and use it for my cooking surface. I added a little velcro to the bottom of the box to keep it from sliding around. 

The backseat area includes my ice chest, my backpack and a bin with items I want to reach from bed such as coffee. You can’t see, but also on the floor is the dishpan with 3 gallons of water and my pee jar. I also include three beach towels. One for the passenger front seat, one for the back seat and the other for anything else such as when using the pee jar. 

I store my travel bag on the floor of the front seat, and on this trip also my snowshoes. 

Step 4 – Create Privacy

I added small 3M Command Mini hooks to attach insulated curtains, which I just cut slits in the hem for hanging. I used a tension rod to hang the curtain in back of the front seats.

When not in use, the tension rod curtain is hung off the table/shelf which also helps to hide storage items. 

When traveling, the sleeping bag gets pushed to the back of the cargo area so the duffel bags can be stored in front. These bags get moved to the passenger back seat when I’m using the sleeping platform. In fact those are the only items I need to move to sleep, although I typically move my backpack to the front passenger seat so I can more easily access my kitchen items.

The other two curtains are stored on the table/shelf while traveling. 

Step 5 – Trial and Error

This is my third year living out of my car while traveling between hiking destinations. It’s taken time to find what works for me and within the constraints of my vehicle. Don’t worry if you’re uncertain initially. You’ll learn from experience and make changes along the way. Shipping to/from home is always an option so don’t get hung up on perfection. And, since you have your vehicle you can also buy things along the way or order online.

What else would you like to know about my vagabonding lifestyle?

More posts about Me and My CRV

HELP Readers, I’m in search of early Spring

After spending the early season in the desert the past couple of years, I’m craving my version of spring complete with green grasses, wildflowers, waterfalls, and butterflies. 

Where o’ where shall I jaunt?


March through June


Western United States


Day hikes, multi-day overnighters, 50-100 mile loops would be rad.


Cherry Picker Delights!

Please comment below or email



Me and My CRV – Eek, there’s a Mouse in my House


Run for your life, dang mouse.

You are NOT welcome in my house!

After my recent Ah Sh*t” post, I received some fun comments that I thought my readers might enjoy.

Dave had these humorous thoughts:

Situation: Mouse in car.


(1) You see mouse looking out at you from behind dashboard. (More likely with older cars having mechanical HVAC controls.)

(2) You see reverse dimples in headliner caused by mousie feets as it runs around over your head.

(3) You hear a faint buzzing sound as mouse blows you a raspberry. Followed by tiny gales of wild laughter.

(4) You hear slight, intermittent scratching noises all night.

(5) Upholstery begins disintegrating in nest-sized patches.


Mouse not only rips up upholstery to make nest, but additionally poops randomly into, onto, beside, on top of, and/or under everything. Mouse demonstrates superior agility and intelligence, eats stuff, makes you feel helpless.

Possible Solutions:

(1) Simplest: Take everything valuable out of car. Set car on fire. Buy another car. Guaranteed. (Also fast.)

(2) Slower but cheaper: Take everything valuable out of car. Take everything else out of car. Remove seats. Set traps. Wait.

(3) Most appealing: When you see evidence of mouse running around above you inside headliner, slap at it. Slap at it hard. Smash it. Worry about cleanup later, or sell car within 24 hours and leave town. Do not return.

(4) Prevention: Close vents as soon as car stops moving. This keeps mousies from crawling in through the vents. If leaving car unattended, or planning on parking off-road and going to sleep, then also close windows either completely or so far that you can barely stick the tip of your little finger into the gap. If that. (Mousies are small.) Smartest option. Effective unless mouse has a master key.

Meanwhile a friend started this facebook thread:

Flippin mouse ((mice??)) keeps getting in my car. It springs traps and gets away. I fed it decon poison via the trap, it ate 1/4 of a bait and is still arriving for more car exploration. There are repellent packets all over the car and there is NO food in my car. I have scrubbed the inside with lysol until it is pristine. I do not know what it wants…there are no crumbs even. Do you think they just love being in a clean car??? The Hyundai mechanic showed me where to stuff crevices with those cloying scented dryer towels, he says they hate them. Did that work, noooooo. I just caught the little turd with a glue trap. My son is my hero! Threw that little sucker down the hill! Off he went, stuck, wiggling, and squirming, flying like a frisbee. There better not be more…because I have more glue traps!

Suggested Additional Solutions:

  • Save a Heart Trap. Put food, peanut butter on a piece of bread, in it. Capture the dude and drive him away, about 5 miles and let him go so a snake or bird or coyote can have a meal . .  if they can catch them . . . afterall second chances are fair, right? NO! 
  • Peppermint. They sell bagged peppermint mouse repellent. You can also use essential oil. The rodents don’t like anything minty. Bait air filter and vents (air and defrost).
  • Mothballs. Place them on the ground around car.
  • Get a Kitty. Visualize the cat, smashed up against a window, meowing, “Forget the mouse! Let me out!”

I personally love the kitty idea, not only would my car be mouse free, but I’d also have a travel and adventure buddy.

Hopefully I’ve had my one and only rodent visitor. Do you have other suggestions?

All food will live in plastic bins in the future.

More posts about Me and My CRV 


Run bastard run . . . and don’t even think about coming back!



Me and My CRV – the Ah Sh*t Moments

If you don’t laugh, you might cry . . .

There was a mouse in my house!

Expensive cup of coffee

That was an expensive cup of coffee

I got screwed

After a near miss . . . on a remote beach . . .

Dinner with an unexpected guest

More posts about Me and My CRV