Saturday, October 11, 2014

Just Connecting Words: Just Connecting Words: ON THE ROAD AGAIN - LAC DU ...

Just Connecting Words: Just Connecting Words: ON THE ROAD AGAIN - LAC DU ...: Just Connecting Words: ON THE ROAD AGAIN - LAC DU FLAMBEAU 2ND VISIT : It was 1972 or 1973 when we extended our camping season into Septembe...

ON THE ROAD AGAIN - DOOR CCOUNTY PENINSULA, WI



We are on the road again and this will be our last trip this calendar year. It was a wonderful spring, summer and fall with our new trailer, but like all good things it must end, at least for now. It was starting to mist as we pulled out of the drive for Hy-Land Court campground located between Ellison Bay and Sister Bay on the Door Peninsula. It continued to mist on and off for almost the entire drive.  We took highway 151 out of Madison and it would take us all the way to Green Bay where we would connect with highway 57/42 until we get to the campground. It took us about an hour and a half to get to Fond du Lac where we would normally travel up the west side of Lake Winnebago to Green Bay, but decided for a change of pace and because we have no real schedule to drive up on the east side. We stayed on highway 151 and went through towns I hadn’t been to in probably 30 years or more. When we got to Green Bay we ran into a detour which, because of a wrong turn, put us in the parking lot of Serrogi’s Candy Store where we always stop when we visit Green Bay. Got back on the detour route and ended up on highway 172 that passes within blocks of Bellevue where we lived for 6 years. Decided not to drive past the house on this trip.

We could see the water of the Bay of Green Bay on our left about 10 minutes north of Green Bay. I knew we were headed in the right direction.  At 4 pm we arrived at one of the nicest campgrounds that we have been at this year. Very large sites with many mature trees, lots of room between sites, so level we didn't have to use any leveling blocks and full hook ups that were all within five feet of our trailer. Even cable TV for free, but probably hidden (included) in the nightly cost. Can only pick up two PBS stations up here with our Wynguard antenna and didn’t want to miss the Packers on Thursday so I do appreciate the cable TV. Finally saw about 30 minutes of sun at 5 pm so we are hoping it gets nicer as the week goes on.

Woke up to cool temperatures and fog on Wednesday so we took time for a nice leisurely breakfast and first got on the road to Cassville about 10 am. It’s the furthest town south of where we are camped that we planned to visit. We visited a winery, did the free wine tasting and found three that we had to have. Don’t think all six bottles will make it home. We also did the tourist shopping thing and Lor found some Christmas gifts that I can’t tell anyone about. We had a wonderful late lunch/early dinner at a restaurant called “The Shipwreck”. Great food, cheery pulled pork, great service and their own brew pub beer that I probably wouldn’t order again.

Rained all night but it should clear up later so we will journey to “Sweetie Pies” bakery, just south of Fish Creek, that specializes in what else but homemade pies. It was 11 am and we had to try a piece of Door County cheery/peach pie, another healthy lunch, told my doctor I would eat more fruit. Definitely made the old fashioned way with hand rolled crusts and just fruit without any type of filling. Over 30 different pie selections and more that can be special ordered. It was good as good as advertised so we took a small apple and small cherry “Cutie Pie” back with us to have as desert at half time. Nice having cable TV and being able to watch the Packers and Vikings. Lor also visited a jewelry shop next door and found some very unique earrings that were calling her name. Our next stop was Fish Creek, the largest shopping village on the peninsula. Walked around all of the stores until we were shopped out at about 2:30pm. I dropped Lor off at our trailer and drove to the northern most point on the peninsula, Gills Rock, only about seven miles from our campground, to see if there was some place to fish from shore. The trout and salmon are coming into shore now and hopefully I can get a couple and have them smoked. The fish store in Gills Rock will smoke them in 24 hours so you can take the fish with you. Found a pier to fish from, but I wanted to get back to the trailer to watch the Packers pre-game show.

Rained all night again and Lor decided this would be a good day to stay in and work on some of her projects, check emails, read and play games. I’m not a very good sitter and always have to be going and doing so I drove to Gills Rock to fish for some trout but the winds were 20 mph with gusts to 30 and the waves were 3 to 4 feet breaking over the pier I had planned to fish from. If the Green Bay side is windy the Lake Michigan side is usually calmer. I drove to Newport State Park about 7 miles east. It’s a rustic camp ground for tents only, nice beach, water was quite calm, but there was no place to fish from. My next stop would be Rowley Bay on Lake Michigan just south of the park, but I had to drive back to Ellison Bay to get there. It was one of those, “you can’t get there from here” and of course the DNR warden meant directly from here to there. She then sent me to an inland lake only two miles from the park, but they were already taking out the fishing pier there for the winter. Nowhere is very far from anyplace else up here and it only took me about 15 minutes to back track and arrive at Rowley’s Bay. Talked to a couple of fishermen in a 20 foot boat who tried to fish the Green Bay side yesterday and got chased off by the wind and waves and were about to venture out on a much calmer Lake Michigan today. The water is very shallow here and piers don’t go out far enough into the lake to make fishing worthwhile.

No fishing today, just cold and damp that seems to go right thru the old bones at times. Nothing that a nice hot shower didn’t take care of. One of the advantages of having a full hook up for the camper.  It’s almost hard to call what we do camping with all these luxuries. Went up to Gills Rock for a delicious dinner of pan fried Lake Michigan perch at the Shoreline restaurant right on the shore overlooking whitecaps. They start serving at 5 and we got there at 5:15 and had over an hour wait, time to sit at the bar drink an old fashion and enjoy the view even if it was cloudy with fog rolling in. The wait was more than worth it and I would recommend this restaurant to anyone who makes it to this area. We had so much to eat that we couldn’t even look at desert and brought enough food home for dinner tonight. They do close for the season the end of October along with many of the business establishments up on the Door County Peninsula. Listened to the weather report at 10 pm and they predicted more of the same, wet, cold and rainy for the next couple of days.

Saturday morning and we woke up to more of the same. Same weather at home so we really aren’t missing anything by being here. It started raining about 6 am. I really don’t mind the sound of the rain on the roof waking me up, but it usually means we probably won’t get to do much today. Lucky for us we get ESPN 2 on the TV and will be able to watch the Badger game at 2:30 pm. Plenty of time to read, write and maybe even play a game or two. Lazy days are OK too. Can’t believe the Badgers lost to Northwestern and can’t believe how bad both our quarter backs played. I  remember when Northwestern went for years without even winning one game. I believe they have the honor of the longest losing streak for a FBS college at 34 games between 79 and 82. I hope one of our quarter backs gets it together before the season is over.

We woke to a very gray and windy Sunday morning but no rain so we decided to do a little exploring north of the campground in Ellison Bay and Gills Rock. Stopped just outside of Gills Rock at Uncle Tom’s candy store and got some different types of brittle, even one with bacon in it which is sweet and salty at the same time. Also stopped at Seaquest Orchards Farm Market for apple cider, chocolate covered cherries and fudge with cherries in it. I would recommend stops at both places if you are up this way. The theme up here food wise is cherries and apples if you haven’t guessed by now. The picture below is a brief period of clear skies and the scenery is why we come up here.
 

So windy I didn’t even stop to throw anything that might attract those salmon that are supposed to be here. We decided to treat ourselves to dinner at Al Johnson’s Swedish restaurant with the grass and goats on the roof. It’s been in Sister Bay since 1949 and they are known for their Swedish pancakes, Swedish meatballs and strawberry schaum torte. We had some of the best steaks that we have had this summer and ate too much to have desert. Can’t visit Door County without a stop for something to eat at Al Johnson’s.

Monday morning we woke to this strange bright light coming through our windows. I remember now. It’s sunshine. Decided to visit Sister Bay the city just south of the campground and see what the shops had to offer. Nothing that we had to have and it was still early in the day so we decided to drive the 14 miles east to Bailey’s Harbor on the Lake Michigan side of the peninsula. Very pretty scenery, colors are finally getting nicer and should be perfect right after we go home tomorrow and through this weekend. Forecast is also for sun for the remainder of this week right through the weekend. Sometimes you pick the right week to see the fall colors and sometimes you don’t, but it’s still fun being here. Stopped back at Al Johnson's at 1 pm for a piece of that strawberry schaum torte that looked so good last night but we didn't have room for. Fun to be at the age where we can have just a special desert for lunch and not feel guilty about it.
 

Tuesday morning greeted us with bright sunshine again and a little sadness that our camping adventure is over for this year. We are already thinking about where we will be off to next spring, summer and fall.  My blog, “Just Connecting Words” will continue as the spirit moves me to write about “this, that and the other thing”. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Just Connecting Words: ON THE ROAD AGAIN - LAC DU FLAMBEAU 2ND VISIT

Just Connecting Words: ON THE ROAD AGAIN - LAC DU FLAMBEAU 2ND VISIT: It was 1972 or 1973 when we extended our camping season into September. We didn’t have children in school yet, the weather was usually v...

ON THE ROAD AGAIN - LAC DU FLAMBEAU 2ND VISIT


It was 1972 or 1973 when we extended our camping season into September. We didn’t have children in school yet, the weather was usually very nice and the campgrounds were very peaceful.  Summer vacationers with children had to leave to get their kids back for school. I remember one September, at Clear Lake State, just outside of Woodruff, WI., when we were one of three campers in a 75 campsite campground. So quiet and peaceful we could hear the waves lapping at the shore and the wind rustling through those beautiful brightly colored leaves. Nothing like fall in “Up North” Wisconsin.

Now that we are camping again and can go whenever the spirit moves us we decided to return to fall camping with a trip to Lac Du Flambeau where we spent a week earlier this summer. If you have been following my blog, “just connecting words”, you know how much we enjoyed that week. We made a reservation and got the same campsite that we had then. We left home about 11 am on Wednesday, September 17th and arrived about 4pm with two short stops. We spied a few trees turning colors already just north of Wausau. It was so windy when we arrived that we decided not to roll out the awning and knew we wouldn’t need the screen tent because no bug that I knew of could fly in 20 mile per hour winds. Listened to the weather report, “freeze warning for this evening”, and decided to turn on the furnace for the first time this year. Only had it set for about 70 and it kept kicking in all throughout the night and I was glad it did. They actually set a record here for the lowest temperature this early in the year. Lor’s sister was up in this area last week and reminded us to bring warm clothes and I’m glad we took her advice. As I said earlier most Septembers up here can just be a continuation of summer. I had the feeling this would not be one of those Septembers.

We woke up on Thursday to windows covered with enough condensation that we knew it was quite a bit cooler outside than inside our very comfortably warm trailer. Turned on the TV to listen to the news and weather and they predicted that it would only reach 50 and we might see an hour of sun about 5pm.  Unfortunately that was the good news. It was supposed to warm up but rain was predicted for Saturday and Sunday when we had planned to attend a couple of Fall Festivals in the area. We headed into Minocqua to Triggs grocery store to pick up food and drink for the week and to pick up a Lakeland Times, the “Up North” newspaper. Had to have essentials like oranges and cherries for my Old Fashions. Hope my Doctor reads this one so he knows I’m following his advice to eat more fruit. Please revisit my blog, On The Road Again – Chippewa Falls, to see why I explained to him that drinking more beer was good for my health. Hint. Beer is 80% water and he told me to drink more water.

 

Being the optimist that I think I am I really expected the weather to improve. Not happy to look out the window and see white caps on the lake.  Just in case the weather prediction was correct we bought things we could make for dinner inside the trailer.  In hindsight that turned out to be a good idea. Thursday evening as I was about to get the grill out it started to rain, but they said it should be over by Friday morning so we might have one nice day to do something. We didn’t come up here to sit in the trailer for a week so we put on some warm clothes and went into Minocqua to play tourist at a group of shops called the “Boardwalk” mainly to get some fudge at Bosacki’s which has moved from their original lake side soda shop and restaurant to just a small soda shop and candy store. For those that are familiar with Bosacki’s they still make their famous fudge, hot fudge for sundaes and wonderful malts. It’s just not the same when you can’t sit at one of those old tables looking out over the lake. Way too cool to have ice cream today. Settled for six ¼ pound pieces of fudge. Some might even make it home for the rest of the family. There was a slight break in the rain on Friday evening so I did get to grill some nice steaks outside. The good news was that the ice cubes in my drink didn’t melt while I was outside cooking.

It rained very hard all Friday night and tapered off as we woke to a very cloudy windy Saturday, but it looked like it might clear up so we had a leisurely breakfast and headed for St Jermain and their fall festival. It was a nice ride, but we were done looking at everything in an hour. It was only 11 am and the sun was out so we decided to drive to Lake Tomahawk to check out their fall festival and car show. It’s always fun to see if they have any 1955 Chevy Belair hardtops like I had in high school. I’m sure my wife is tired of my comment that I bought mine used for $250 in 1964 and that today they are worth up to $65,000. One of many cars I wish I would have kept.   It only took us about an hour to see everything there so we headed back to the campground to just hang out and relax. Our main objective for this week was just to enjoy the peace and quiet of “Up North”, read, write and play board games. Turns out there is plenty of time to do all of those things, inside the trailer! Winds are still constant at 20 mph with gusts to 30. Awning has not been deployed, no flag up, no fires made, very little sitting outside, but we are enjoying the view of the lake with its white caps from our trailer windows when they are not fogged up from having the heater on. 

It rained from 2am Sunday morning until about 7 am but the wind has not diminished and the lake still has white caps. Temperature was up to 40 degrees when I went into Flambeau about 9:30 to get a Wisconsin State Journal. High today is supposed to get to 50 but that will probably be a stretch with so many clouds and this constant wind. Finally some sunshine at noon, but the wind just won’t let up. Only 6 TV stations up here in the woods and not one with the Packers on. Had to listen to Green Bay lose on the radio. I hate when I miss which direction they are running when they start and I have to guess. Doesn’t appear that I missed much by not watching the game. Maybe they’ll do better next week.

Monday morning and still windy but I decided to fish for a while anyway. Hard to fish from their piers when the white caps are blowing into you. Came back to find Lor sitting outside with hooded sweatshirt on, in the sunshine and out of the wind next to the trailer. We decided to pay a visit to the Lake of the Torches Casino and donate to the cause and then go into Minocqua for dinner. Tried a new Mexican restaurant called the El Mez and the food, service and drinks were great. I would definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone who visits the area. About 10:15 as we were watching the news to find out what kind of weather we would have driving home the next day the heater kicked in. It’s been cold this week and that is always a reassuring sound. I commented to Lor that I felt cold air coming out of the furnace. Not a good thing that late at night when the forecast is for low 40”s overnight. I had checked out the gauge on the 20 pound tank when I got up in the morning and it was still green so I figured we would have plenty of propane for our last night of camping. Went outside with my flashlight and sure enough the tank gauge was completely red telling me that we would be snuggling in bed with sweat suits on and covers pulled up. Our last trailer had two tanks so we could always switch tanks when this happened. This new trailer only came with one. I will have an additional tank when we go next time. We survived the chilly night, but I sure enjoyed holding that first cup of coffee of hot coffee in my hands the next morning. Looking back on the week we really did accomplish our goal of having a very relaxing week “Up North” enjoying the peace and quiet.

Speaking of next time, we will be home for five days and then leaving for a week in Door County, WI. at Hy-Land Park between Ellison Bay and Sister Bay. The colors should reach their peak when we are up there. The Door County activity calendar tells us that we we’ll be there for Door County’s “Delicious Season”.  The restaurants and bakeries all try to utilize the Door County cherries and apples that they are so well known for.  Now all we have to do is wish for some beautiful fall weather. I’m thinking positive, Indian Summer!

Thanks again to all of you who are following along with us while we spend time “On The Road Again”.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

On The Road Again - Hudson WI


On The Road Again – Hudson, WI

Willow River State Park
 


Thursday August 7th 10:30 am and we’re on our way to Hudson, WI., about 250 miles and five hours away. Hope it’s worth the ride. If you haven’t been following our travels we are visiting places in WI that we always wanted to see and maybe even finding a new spot that we may want to revisit. Stopped at a wayside and then an hour or so later for gas and lunch and arrived at 3:30 pm. We are in the newest of three campgrounds and it is quite open, but there is plenty of room between campsites and we could put the screen tent up where we get shade all afternoon from the one big tree on our site. 82 degrees, but a very nice breeze blowing through to keep it comfortable. A Leinies, nice dinner on the gas grill and then a walk around part of the camp ground before calling it a night. Both too tired to light up a camp fire tonight and we want to get an early start to visit Still Water, MN.

Woke up to a very nice bright sunny day on Friday with just a slight breeze. Decided to have a cup of coffee outside in the screen tent and enjoyed it so much I had cereal and toast out there too. Enjoyed the sounds of the birds chirping and the breeze blowing through the aspen leaves. Doesn’t get much more peaceful than that.  We left for Still Water about 9:30 am and we were there about 10 am.

Disappointed that most of the stores don’t open until 11 am. It reminded us a lot of Galena, IL. for shopping, but the stores were not as nice and it seemed like every other one was a restaurant. We only stayed for about an hour and headed back to Hudson where we stopped at a park along the river to look at all the material we got at the visitor’s bureau before heading to Still Water. We decided on lunch at Dicks Bar and Grill, recommended to us by the young ladies at the Hudson Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau. Walking into the bar it looked like a small town dark bar, but we went into a very nice dining room with linen table clothes and then out to their screened in deck with a wonder breeze blowing through. One of those places where you take your time and linger over a very pleasant lunch for two. Food and service was great.

 Getting hotter so we decided to go back to our campground and check out the beach and boat landing in hopes finding a place to fish from shore, but didn’t find a good spot to wet a line.  Spent the rest of the afternoon writing up my VFW minutes from last Wednesdays meeting. I’m getting old and if don’t do it right away I seem to miss things that should be recorded or maybe I just take poor notes. Enjoyed another wonderful meal on the grill and burned through a bundle of firewood. Camping just wouldn’t be the same without that campfire. Amazing what your imagination can conjure up while being hypnotized by the red and blue flames of a popping sizzling fire. Thinking about road tripping to Interstate State Park which is located both in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Can’t wait to see Taylor Falls that our daughter in law has been telling us about which is very close to the park.

 A beautiful Saturday came peeking through our shades so we decided on the road trip to Interstate State Park.  We went up the MN. side and we were only on the road about 15 minutes when we got delayed in traffic for a run from Still Water to Hudson. We idled in a long line of traffic for almost 30 to 45 minutes watching exhausted runners, mostly walkers, none of which were smiling, most looking like they were not going to make it to Hudson. The rescue squad went screaming down the road the other direction and we hoped it wasn’t for some overheated runner. The temperature was 85 and humidity was very high. I actually had to turn off the air and open the windows because the temperature gauge started going up. Finally we were the next car to go and there was a break in the runners. Note to self to check prestone level.

The Interstate campground was a right turn before we even got to the town of Still Water. We waited in line to get into the office even though the campground posted a sign that said campground full. When I got in the office I was told there was no viewing area of the river in the park, but that we should take a right at the first stop and go light when we got into town. It would take us to the Pot Hole area of the park with scenic overlooks and hiking trails along the river. I handed over $5. for a daily MN park sticker and we were on our way. One of the craziest intersections I have ever gone through. Five roads and a campground entrance with lights on four corners and a stop sign on another. Right before we went into the park there was a parking lot for River Cruises so we decided to check that out first. It was about 11 am and the next cruise was leaving at 11:30 so we decided to go on a 45 minute paddle wheel cruise. It was well narrated, full of beautiful rock formations, had to use a very vivid imagination to see what the captain said was there. Thankfully we didn’t collide with any of the 100 or so kayaks and canoes on the river. Some just stay around the beach area and some journey from that beach either 3 hours or 5 hours down river where a van picks them up and brings them back. A little too adventurous for us.
 


We were in downtown Taylor Falls by 12:15 and decided to look for lunch and decided on a small town bakery with delicious everything. Once again sounding like our typical, no good for you, lunch on the road. The town is only a couple of blocks long and we were sorry we didn’t drive down to the end because they had a 1950’s drive in with car hops that we would have had lunch at if we had not stopped at the bakery. It was very crowded with hardly a place to park so it must have been good. Maybe next time. Although I really was not impressed enough with anything at the parks or in Taylor Falls to bring me back.

It was only 1:30 so we started our journey back to the campground on the WI side of the St Croix River. We made a planned stop at Bass Lake Cheese Factory and restaurant. It was about 2:30 and a doughnut was not enough to get me through to a late dinner so we bought cheese, crackers and hard salami, all made right there and enjoyed it out on their deck. They even bought out a knife so we could get our cheese open. Everything tasted especially good because we were outside enjoying a wonderful breeze and a wonderful view of a field of corn blowing in the wind. Sometimes these little stores out in the middle of nowhere are real treasures.  

Typical of the our last camping adventure it started to rain about 6 pm just as I was putting baked potatoes on the grill. Sure didn’t want to cook two rib eye steaks in a frying pan on the stove. It was only a brief shower and we managed to have a very scrumptious steak dinner for two, candle light and all, at 7 pm. Enjoyed an after dinner drink while Lauralyn burned up two bundles of fire wood creating one of the best camp fires so far this year. Tomorrow, Sunday is supposed to be cloudy with rain predicted for late afternoon and continuing through the night and Monday morning. Only thing planned is to go to a Falcon presentation in the campsite at 11 am. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday we woke up to cloudy skies and high humidity. Supposed to reach 85. There were about 50 0f us at the beach and finally a park ranger showed up and told everyone there had been a miscommunication and the falconer would not be there until 2 pm. Many were disappointed because they had planned on attending this demonstration and then leaving for home. Poor folks probably have to work tomorrow. Did I mention retirement is great! We did drive a little further into the park and found the falls and some fishing piers, so I might wet a line tomorrow depending upon what we decide to do.

We went back at 2 pm and about 25 people showed up to listen to a man, about 35, discuss hunting with falcons which he has done for the last 15 years. I didn’t realize that they have the birds for a year and teach them to hunt for themselves before releasing them to the wild. They do this because 80% don’t make it to adulthood. He had three birds with him. The first falcon was a cross between a peregrine and grieves, the 2nd was a falcon from the southwest which was a little bigger than the first and then brought out a very big red tailed hawk that we see frequently circling above looking for a meal. No flight demonstration. Really wanted to see that falcon flying at 230 MPH. He usually only trains them during the fall and winter.  

Got up to 85 already and very humid so I think the rain is coming as predicted. Just enjoying the rest of the day in our campsite. Lauralyn always has knitting along, books to read and puzzle books to work on. I’ve been writing reading a book of poems, “Poems That Touch The Heart” by A.L. Alexander which I had given to my Mom years ago and found on my bookshelf. Bet you didn’t take me for a sensitive guy. Can’t judge a book by its cover. You all know I can’t write without using a couple of clich├ęs. Still trying to finish those VFW minutes too. Maybe I’ll do those next unless I get distracted which happens very easily when I’m out here.     

Monday morning wakeup call came about 4:30 am with rain on the roof.  Amazing how loud it can be on the roof and awning. Just rain so drifted back to sleep. Still misting when we finally got up for the day and we were having a leisurely breakfast when another storm went through  with enough wind and rain to make the trailer rock and the awning flap more than it usually does. We were deciding if I should go out in the rain to try to lower the awning when half of the screen tent collapsed on itself. Just as I’m fearing the worst for our brand new screen tent a gust of wind came through and popped it right back up. Went out later and there was no damage at all to the tent. I would definitely recommend the Gander Mountain Vista Dome Screen tent.

Drove into Hudson after lunch to check out the local stores but once again we were not impressed. Guess we are just spoiled with those in Minocqua and Galena, IL. They set a pretty high bar. Continued to mist and even showered once again which also put a damper on our playing tourist. We walked out on Old Toll Road which goes out across the St. Croix River almost to the MN. Side. They have an opening that is just large enough to let boats through. Some really big boats moored here and they actually have smaller boats locked up on shore to get out to their larger boats. Would have made some really nice pictures if the weather would have cooperated. All in all I don’t think Hudson would be one of the places we would return to. Nice campground, just not enough to do without going into the cities which we didn’t want to do.

We are contemplating going up to Door County for a few days from August 22nd  to the 28th , but there is no definite plan at the moment. Our next reservation is a return to Lac Du Flambeau and the Tribal Campground that we really liked. We will be there from September 17th to the 23rd.  Still looking for somewhere go in October since we canceled our trip for my ship’s reunion in Rhode Island. Just don’t want to even think about putting the trailer to sleep for the winter, but we are already looking forward to our trip to Florida the end of April/beginning of May. We plan on going to St. Augustine for a couple of days and then drive down to Key West. Friends, that introduced us to Key West a couple of years ago, will fly down and meet us so we can enjoy a couple of days together. A few drinks, great shrimp called “Reds” and of course Key Lime Pie. The plan is to drive back by way of Baton Rouge, LA. To visit an old Navy buddy that Lauralyn and I knew from Japan.  Jesse, I’m giving you fair warning.    

Enjoy what’s left of this summer. For us it’s going way to fast, but it’s been one of the best in a long time.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

On The Road Again - Chippewa Falls


Lake Wissota State Park

Chippewa Falls

 

 

Learned another lesson today. I know you can’t believe everything you read on the internet, but I also learned that my Garmen GPS is not always right. It told me it was 204 miles and would take three hours. We only stopped for gas and a rest stop and it took closer to 4 ½. Yes I did the speed limit almost the whole way. Only got stuck behind one old person, older than me, in a Buick with Iowa plates that either wanted to only do 40 in a 55 or could only do 40 in a 55. No schedule when on the road so we never hurry. 

Nice large sites with enough trees and bushes that we can’t even see the camper next to us. With just electricity and no sewer or water we have to be more conservative of how much we use. Lucky for us one of the two bathrooms is within a quarter block of our site, but it is a pit toilet, can you say outhouse?  The nice regular bathroom with shower is on the other side of the campground and there is no privacy for taking a shower. They only have these two facilities for 116 sites which doesn’t seem like enough.

Tuesday, our first full day here, we decided to visit the Leinie Lodge, the home of Leinenkuge’ls Brewery established in 1867. We took a one hour guided tour that explained both the history of the brewery and took us through the process of making it. I now have a greater appreciation of the Leinie’s Honey Weiss that is my favorite beer. At the end of the tour we sampled four 4oz glasses of our choice of their beers. I started out with creamy dark and now have another one of their beers that I would have no problem drinking. They also mix their beers together to create exciting flavors like the “Bumble Bee”, 50% Creamy Dark and 50% Honey Weiss, two of my favorites. The other one that I like was 50% Honey Weiss and 50% Berry Weiss.

After shopping in the gift store, that was as big as your local Walgreens drug store, we each had a couple of shirts, a cap for me and two pint glasses that were on sale two for one. I even got a free tote bag for being a lodge member on line. If that wasn’t enough they had coupons for about a dozen places that would give us a free Leinies if we bought something to eat. It was now 12:30 pm and time for lunch anyway so we decided on “The View Restaurant” that overlooks the bridge that separates Lake Wissota from the Chippewa River. Enjoyed a perfect four topping medium pizza for only $13. and got two free pint glasses of Honey Weis.  The view from their outside deck could have been on a post card. Just enough breeze to keep the bugs away too. A perfect end to our tour and our day. Make sure you get to The Leinie Lodge if you ever get to this area.
Woke up this morning, Wednesday, to very cloudy skies and temps in the low 50’s. Believe it or not the weather prediction is for a high of 80 with a chance of showers in the late afternoon. We’ll see how that works out. It was a good excuse to cook and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. One of my VFW brothers, Maynard, suggested that we could not visit Chippewa Falls without going to Irvine Park, so that was our plan for today. What a treat, a 318 acre park in the city of Chippewa Falls including a zoo, hiking trails, many picnic areas, many with shelters for groups and even individual tables with canopies over them. They also had a baseball diamond, tennis courts, sand volley ball courts, horseshoe courts and a splash pad. We got there at 10:30 am, walked around for two hours, enjoying the zoo and a very beautiful view of one of the falls on the river. We found a picnic table in a quiet spot where we enjoyed the lunch we had packed along. It reminded me of a song by Peter and Lou Berryman. If you haven’t heard their music bring them up on line and listen to the words very carefully, especially one song “Pack Up A Picnic”. This is a picture of Chippewa Falls.
 
 

After lunch we drove a short distance to the cities rose garden which was a disappointment, but it was right next to their community vegetable gardens where I checked out the square foot garden plots. Thinking now that square foot gardening may be the way to go next year at home. Tired of walking around so we made a stop at a local restaurant and had cones with homemade ice cream. It was as good as advertised. All of a sudden it was 3pm already so we decided to call it a day for sightseeing. I dropped Lor off at the trailer and then fished from one of their fishing piers for an hour and a half, but the only thing biting were the flies and they were biting me.  Just as I was about to start the grill to cook some hamburgers I heard thunder. Turned on the TV and there was rain headed our way so the weather person was right, nice weather all day, got up to 78 and now the rain was upon us. At least the 50 mile per hour winds stayed north of us so we only had rain. Actually had to make our hamburgers inside. Well at least we have an inside to make them in. Lor’s disappointed because she will not get a camp fire in tonight. Tomorrow’s supposed to be a really nice day so we will decide while having breakfast where the road will lead us next.  

Thursday already and it looks like it will be another beautiful day followed by rain again around 5 pm. We decided to visit three nearby towns, Stanley, Boyd and Cadott.

We went to Stanley first because it was the farthest away and we would work our way back to the campground. It turned out to be just another small town but they did have a nice veteran’s memorial so we stopped and took pictures. They also have the Stanley Correctional Facility with 1500 inmates that employs over 40 people.  We have stopped during our travels at Veteran’s Memorials to take pictures with the thought of making a scrap book or perhaps an online post of some sort. No interesting or unique stores in Stanley to shop at.

 

Fifteen minutes later we arrived in Boyd which was even smaller than Stanley with a population of 600.  It’s listed as “The Friendly Town”. I was amazed at what 600 people could donate to put up a very respectful and impressive memorial for their service men and women. Once again no stores that enticed us to shop. Good news, we’re saving money. Flagpoles are at least $200. a piece.
 
 

Another 15 minutes down the highway and we were in Cadott which was the largest of the three towns. It is noted for being half way between the equator and the North Pole. The Veterans memorial in Cadott was amazing. I’m always impressed by the way these small towns honor those that died, those that served and those that continue to serve. We spotted one of those small town bakeries and stopped to get lunch. At 67 we can get away with desert for lunch and not feel guilty. Enjoyed our coffee and bakery at a small park at the end of town overlooking another pretty waterfalls.  It was still early in the day so we decided to visit Chippewa Falls one more time and get a couple of more small glasses even though it meant sampling some more Linies. The things we do to supply our new trailer with juice glasses. We had planned on grilling out, but once again Mother Nature had different plans for us. The weather pattern this week has been beautiful days followed by rain beginning about 5 pm. We did manage to get steaks grilled on our gas grill but settled for microwave baked potatoes.  Weather person says more of the same tomorrow.
 
 

We had heavy rain at about 12:30 pm that woke us up and I asked Lor if she closed the overhead vents. She couldn’t remember so I got up to check. Got to the first one, looked up and told her through the water dripping on my face that they were not closed. Got a towel and dried the floor and went back to sleep until we were awakened again by heavy rain at 4:30 am. Some nights are like that.

Slept in after all the rain last night and decided over breakfast to go to Jim Falls just because of the name. Got on the road about 10:30 am, but made a wrong turn and ended up in Cornell where they have the only remaining pulp wood stacker. I’ll include a picture because you really can’t appreciate how big it is until you see it. Small Native American museum, but not worth the stop. We decided to head to Bloomer, about a half hour away, because they were having their local fair. Only enough to keep us there for a half hour, but the Knights of Columbus stand had strawberry cream cheese cake that we couldn’t pass up. I know. I know. I have to start eating healthier at lunch. Hey, it had fruit and cheese in it. How bad can that be?
 
 

Finally we were on our way to Jim Falls our original destination. Only 2:30 pm and rain clouds were already rolling in. We were planning on going on the dam tour, no it’s really a tour of the dam there, not a dam tour, or maybe it is. We decided with the weather closing in on us we would go back to our campsite, only 15 minutes away to get our screen tent packed away before it got wet again. Rain drops started hitting the windshield just as we pulled into our camping spot. Sun is out and it is pouring rain. Only rained for 15 minutes so we hoped that it would hold off until the tent dried out and we could pack it away. Just as we were questioning if it was dry enough to pack up, you know what happened. It rained again. It finally dried out enough to pack it up about 7:30 pm, but we will have to put it up again when we get home. There are those that question our sanity, but everything that seems like more work out here really isn’t. The joy of seeing new places and meeting new people makes up for any extra work.
 
 
Last night we talked to our neighbor who was from Canada. This young 70 year old has a trailer similar to ours and has traveled 16,000 miles already this year. He’s been on the road since April and plans to keep up this life style until he can’t. We have to be out of here by noon tomorrow so we plan to leave even earlier and travel by way of Niellsville, and stop at “The High Ground Veteran’s Memorial” on the way home.

Saturday was another beautiful day, but once again they were predicting rain storms by late in the afternoon. We were packed up and on the road by 10:30 am planning to be in Niellsville by noon. Just a warning if you go there with a travel trailer or motor home the closest parking is about a half mile walk. We made it without any problems at all. Nice straight flat country road. We first heard about this memorial when we attended LZ Lambeau, the welcome home for Vietnam Vets held in Green Bay in 2001. It was everything they said it would be and more. We’re walking around taking pictures and reading about the individual war memorials when a Wisconsin National Guard Unit Convoy drives past on Highway 10 all blowing their truck horns. How fitting is that? Once again thought about my dad and uncles, all Navy during WWII, my father-in-law, Army Air Corps WW II and a friend, a Marine, killed in Nam. If you are in that area make sure you stop.
 

Spending four days at home, but it will go quickly. Wash clothes, pay bills, one of us getting her hair done, Church on Sunday, Mallards baseball game on Monday night, last one of the year for us, weed garden on Tuesday, if I can find it in all the weeds , National Night Out in town with the and VFW Meeting on Wednesday night. Then it’s “On The Road Again” to Hudson Wisconsin.  Main road trip will be to Still Water, MN. I was hoping to visit with a Navy Lt. that I served with in Taiwan, but unfortunately he is out of the country.

Hope everyone that is following us on my blog is enjoying my rambling about our camping adventures. Also hope that all of you are having as much fun this summer as we are.

 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

On The Road Again - Lac Du Flambeau



Destination “Up North” Lac Du Flambeau

For us summer has always meant at least one week of vacation “Up North” in northern Wisconsin, often referred to as God’s country.  We think of “Up North” as any town north of Wausau, Wisconsin. This week we are camping for six days in Vilas County on the Lac Du Flambeau reservation at their campground on Flambeau Lake. It’s about 1,200 acres with musky, northern, bass, walleyes and panfish.  Our drive up here did bring back memories of over 40 years of making this journey “Up North” for vacations with more great memories than I could ever put into words. So glad we have pictures to help us remember those wonderful experiences. We are camping about 10 miles from my wife’s parent’s cottage that was sold about five years ago. We haven’t been “Up North” since. I didn’t realize how much I much I missed being up here until we drove through Wausau. I have also heard that any place north of Wausau is thought of as being “North of the Tension Zone”.

No set plans for this week. We will probably visit many of the towns that are within 15 to 20 miles of our campground just to see how they have changed. It may be hard to decide which ones to visit in the next couple of days. We are right on the border of Vilas and Oneida counties and may visit Eagle River, Minocqua, Manitowish Waters, Boulder Junction or St. Jermain. It’s summer “Up North” and there is something going on almost every day. We could attend art shows, quilt shows, gem shows, food fests, museums and an endless number of tourist attractions. I might even fish from shore in a couple of different places. Oh yes. I forgot to mention that that “Lake Of The Torches” casino is less than a mile from our campground. Hope we win enough to pay for our next adventure. We do whatever the “Spirit” moves us to do in the morning when we get up. Some days we just enjoy relaxing in the campground reading a good book or playing a board game.  I might even get inspired to write.

Setting up camp next to our new neighbors went perfect, including setting up the new screen tent that we got the day before we left on this journey. It’s a Gander Mountain 12’ X 12’ Vista Dome Screen tent that went up in 10 minutes and is so much nicer than the heavy canvas one we had 35 years ago. We did put it up in the backyard the day we got it so we wouldn’t look like it was our first day camping when we got to the camp ground. We met our nearest neighbors as we were setting up and they have a Jayco trailer also so we had something in common to start the conversation. They are both Native Americans from Green Bay, WI. where we once lived.

Friday morning and we woke up early to very bright sunshine reflecting off the lake and right through our shades. I’m sitting at our dinette table, having my first cup of coffee, with a perfect view of Flambeau Lake as I write this. Life is good!

We played tourist in Minocqua this morning and Lauralyn ended up with new moccasins and a book and I got washers for a leaky water connection. Had lunch, an ice cream cone, isn’t it nice being our age, at one of the drive-ins that we had gone to during our many years of coming up here.  We got back to the campground about 3 pm and just enjoyed the peace and quiet and that wonderful sound of loons on the lake. Can’t explain it, but it’s just so relaxing up here looking at the lake, reading the Lakeland Times and looking forward to another great day tomorrow. They made a study and for some reason people are more relaxed when looking at a lake, stream or ocean. I would have to agree with that one.

Saturday we woke up to gray and cloudy with the promise by weather people that it would not rain and they were right. We drove about 40 miles to Eagle River to attend an art show. It only took about an hour to see everything and Lauralyn did find a perfect opal ring. We ate lunch at Soda Pops, a malt shop type restaurant that Lauralyn remembers eating at for the first time when she was probably 10 years old. They have about 75 different kinds of soda and old fashioned phosphate sodas with almost any flavor that you could think of. I had a meatball sandwich that was made with cranberries, sour kraut and brown sugar and was great but really different. I chose a Dog & Suds rood beer because I worked at a Dog & Suds during high school and my first year of college.  Tasted just as good as it did in 1964. We played tourist in Eagle River also enjoying all that the shops had to offer. A sandwich sign in front of a jewelry store said “Thank You Vets” so of course we had to go in. A man, about our age, was selling Navajo jewelry and Lauralyn picked out a bracelet with two kinds of turquoise, lapis lazuli and oyster shell set in a very pretty silver setting. I found a small fold up Coleman table that we can use to put our small gas grill on or our two burner propane stove when we choose to cook outside.

We took time today to check out a different campground in Eagle River as long as we were there, but the sites were too open (no trees), too close to each other or near storage buildings. Then we stopped at Arbor Vita, the town right next to Woodruff to check out another campground and this one turned out to be even worse than the one we had just been to. Way too crowded for us and they just didn’t seem very friendly. Checked these two off our list of possible campgrounds and once again realized you can’t believe everything the campground listing says it is and of course the brochures picture only their best sites. This is why we try to check places out before we make reservations.  We will check out three more campgrounds next week and hope we have better luck, although we do like the one that we are in right now. Red sky at night, sailors delight. Well we saw beautiful red sunset tonight so we should see a very nice day tomorrow. We plan on going into Lac Du Flambeau tomorrow. It’s about three blocks long, but has some shops and a Native American museum. We will then make a donation to the Lake Of The Torches casino and hope we win enough to pay for this week’s adventure or maybe even two or three more. I’ll let you know tomorrow how we did.

Had a leisurely Sunday morning which began with Sausage, bacon and blueberry pancakes and a great view of the lake from our dinette window. Had my third and fourth cups of coffee in the screen tent. What a view of this lake. We looked at our calendars and decided to come back for a week in September. We were hoping to visit Waswagoning Indian Village today, but found out they are only open Tuesday through Saturday so we will have to do that the next time we are up here.

We did go into down town Lac Du Flambeau, about three blocks long, and were very surprised at the improvements that have been made in the last five years. They now have sidewalks and curbs that allow you safely walk to the casino about a mile away. Downtown now has a small six store mall that was closed on Sunday. We stopped in their grocery store to get a WI State Journal and a couple of things we forgot for dinner and then I spent the rest of the morning reading the paper and Lauralyn continued to work on a knitting project. Can’t get much more relaxed than that. After lunch I went out on the pier that was built for the handicapped but anyone can fish on it. It’s only a half mile from our campsite and extends about a third of the way out into the channel between the lake we are on and Lake Pokegamma where the casino is located. You could actually take your boat from our campground to the casino if you wanted to. Only caught one small bluegill but the wind was blowing right into where I was fishing. I’ll probably try again on another day. After another great meal on the gas grill we went to the casino and made a donation.

Woke up to a cloudy hot muggy Monday and decided to road trip, in the air conditioned SUV to check out two more campgrounds but only one would due in a pinch. We are really spoiled with the one we are in which has larger sites. One that we looked at the trailers were so close the pull outs from one were only a foot from their neighbor. Very few children here because they don’t have all the extras that children need today to keep them busy. Very quiet and very peaceful. Riding in the car was so nice and cool that after lunch we decided to visit Mercer, “The Loon Capitol of the World”. They had a quilt shop with a big sale sign so we had to stop.   Lor ordered a pattern for a small quilted sign for the trailer just before we left on this trip and found the perfect material to make it with on sale. Another store down the street had a tuned wind chimes that we thought would be perfect in the screen tent and it is.

We kept hearing weather reports of heavy winds, one inch hale and thunder storms so we decided to take down our screen tent and put the awning up before we had dinner. After dinner we once again donated to the Native Americans in Lac Du Flambeau. Yes, I do know that people very seldom win at casinos, but it comes out of our “entertainment fund”.

Can’t believe it’s Tuesday already and we have to go home tomorrow. The rain was predicted to be here after midnight, but didn’t arrive until 5:15 am and only lasted an hour or so. We did have very strong winds today though so I’m glad everything was put away early. We road tripped to Bolder Junction because we used to camp at Big Lake there many years ago and they were having street sales and a strawberry ice cream social. They also had a flea market and I found connectors that clamp onto the screen tent material on the sides and corners that you can put a stake through to hold down the bottom flaps on the inside. You almost have to have a screen tent to know what I’m talking about. They were having a raffle of a restored 1947 wood canoe which was just beautiful. Then we realized it was as old as us, two 1947 babies. I asked them if they could restore me, but only back to 20 or so.

Lor also realized she has been coming up here for over 60 years. Checked one more campground near Bolder Junction, Camp Holiday on Rudolf Lake, which will be our 2nd choice when we want to come this direction for R&R. If you don’t know what R&R is ask a Vet.

I was emptying the tanks one more time this afternoon when I got stung again by a ground hornet. They came back and sprayed one more time and felt very bad about it. This is just part of camping and Mother Nature. I did get everything packed so we can be out of here by noon check out time. We treated ourselves to a very nice dinner at the Polecat and Lace restaurant in Minocqua. Best steaks and dinner out that I’ve had in a long time. Gets four stars from me.

I usually hate the thought of leaving, but not this time. We will be home for four days and then we are off to Chippewa Falls, WI. for a week. We will play tourist, check out more campgrounds, I’ll get a chance to fish and we will tour the Leinenkugel’s Brewery. Leinies Honey Weiss. One of my favorites. We’ll also be returning to this campground for a week starting on September 17th.

Until next time when you find us on the road again.
Added note: We often stop at Veteran's monuments. The monument is in Mercer the Loon capitol of the world. Biggest loon in the world too. Hope you enjoy the pictures. 






 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Just Connecting Words: ON THE ROAD AGAIN CLIFFSIDE PARK

Just Connecting Words: ON THE ROAD AGAIN CLIFFSIDE PARK: On The Road Again We are on the road again, but only for a three day trip, with Lauralyn’s friends from the quilting group from St...

ON THE ROAD AGAIN CLIFFSIDE PARK



On The Road Again

We are on the road again, but only for a three day trip, with Lauralyn’s friends from the quilting group from St John’s Lutheran Church in Oregon Wi.  It was a bright sunny 80 degree day when we left home and  60 degrees and fog when we got within about 2 miles of the campground. Growing up 2 miles from Lake Michigan I know “it’s always cooler by the lake”. There are two travel trailers the same size as ours and the other three are fifth wheelers. We are parked three next to each other with the others back to back with those three. Two screen tents are set up in the middle of the trailers in case we have to avoid rain drops while eating. Yes rain predicted for the next three days. Of course they predict clearing when we leave on Wednesday.

 By dinner time we were all in jeans and sweatshirts. The sites are all hard packed white rotten gravel, very level and have water and electric hook ups. A lot different from when we had to go to an old fashioned hand pump and bring water back to the camp site. Dinner tonight was a fish fry, cooked in a very large propane fired deep fryer, by one of the guys that had caught bluegills through the ice this past winter.  Food always seems to taste better when you’re out camping and it doesn’t have to be beans and wieners. They even have table cloths and center pieces on the two tables. No camp fire tonight, just  conversation until the damp got to us.

Monday morning greeted us with more fog that would last until 3:30 pm, but at least there wasn’t any rain. After breakfast 10 of us decided to road trip to Kenosha, WI., about 20 miles from where we are camping. We are in search of Tenuta’s Italian Store/Deli that one of the couples is familiar with because they lived in that area for a while. Everyone found something they couldn’t pass up. Of course after looking at all that food we had to have lunch there. The cannoli’s were especially good. The owner even brought out a medium sized container of olives for us to have with our lunch. Well worth a stop if you’re in the area.

On the way back to the campground we took a route along Lake Michigan. The couple that knew the area called us on their cell phone from their car and we put our phone on speaker in the other car  trying to listen to their travel guide narration. Didn’t work real well but it was entertaining. We did make a stop at the O&H Danish Bakery in Racine that has been making and selling “The Famous Racine Danish Kringle” since 1949. Finally something younger than I am. O&H Danish was the first bakery in the United States to specialize in the making of this Danish treat. Too hard to explain a kringle if you don’t know what it is just go to   www.ohdanishbackery.com . Did I mention that the Kringel is now recognized as the WI state pastry.  Another one of those trivial facts that I know. Just don’t ask me what I had for breakfast. We also ended up buying an apple fruit stick, a Danish apple coffee cake, to serve with breakfast tomorrow. After another wonderful dinner we sat around a camp fire until about 10 pm before we finally gave in to the damp creeping into the old bones. If you’re over 65 you’ll know what I’m talking about.

  The nice thing about having six couples is that each couple only has to cook one breakfast or dinner while we are here. We have breakfast tomorrow and we will be serving cinnamon raisin French toast, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, juice, coffee and the apple stick we got at the Danish Bakery.

Tuesday got here at about 5 am for me. Hard down pour last night and early this morning, but no strong winds. I was awake early listening to rain drops, thinking about how I would have to pull the picnic table under our awning just to cook this morning. By the time I got outside the rain had stopped and I knew we could have breakfast for 12 done by 8:30 am as planned. Well how about by 9 am. I blamed being a half hour late on the fact that it’s been a long time since I cooked for 12, especially when I have to do it outside while Lor was cooking the French toast inside the warm dry camper. I have a 30  year old Coleman two burner propane stove that I did bacon, sausage and scrambled eggs on and found out it really splatters hot grease when those rain drops fall from the trees.  We must have done OK as  breakfast cooks because they ate everything including the Danish coffee cake.

It turned out to be a fairly nice, mostly sunny day.  The ladies chatted and the guys played a camp ground version of bocce ball. They used a softball for the pallino or jack and there was no place that we couldn’t throw it. Made for an interesting game with the mud and water. Dinner was barbecued ribs, potato salad and water melon for desert. There theme for dinner was a 4th of July picnic. Hey it’s the end of June and it’s supposed to be warm even in Wisconsin. I thought I could even see my breath. The only bad news was that we found out the dump station was full and would not be open until 9 am tomorrow. Breakfast was once again on the agenda for 8:30 am so no one really was concerned.

Wednesday morning I turned on the TV to catch the morning news and weather and found out visibility was only ¼ mile so there was no hurry to finish breakfast and get hooked up. Time for that 2nd and maybe even third cup of coffee. We were all packed up and ready to leave at 11 am and already I can’t wait until we go somewhere with the group next year. I did know some of the guys from habitat and some from VFW so it was like being with old friends and now have some new ones too.

Our next trip, July 17th through the 22nd   is to Lac Du Flambeau, WI where we will be camping by ourselves at the reservation campground less than a mile from the casino. You’ll have to read the next blog to see if we won enough to pay for our trip. Sure hope so. That’s it for now and we hope that you are having as much fun this summer as we are. Campground rating is five stars. The group, priceless. Thanks to the quilters for inviting us along.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Just Connecting Words: ON THE ROAD AGAIN

Just Connecting Words: ON THE ROAD AGAIN: As promised I will start blogging again now that we are finally on our maiden voyage with our new Jayco RB Jay Flight travel traile...

ON THE ROAD AGAIN




As promised I will start blogging again now that we are finally on our maiden voyage with our new Jayco RB Jay Flight travel trailer. Lauralyn started camping as a child with her parents and our first vacation, after coming home from Japan, June or July 1971, was camping with her parents and sisters. I loved it immediately. The next summer we had our own tent and we would camp as a family for the next 18 years. We progressed from the tent to a tent camper and then to a 27 foot Mallard travel trailer for the last 10 years that we camped.

In October 1989 Lauralyn’s parents bought a cottage near Minocqua, WI. where we spent the next 20 years. Her Dad sold the cottage in 2009 so we had to decide what we wanted to do next to enjoy being out in the woods and traveling. We spent about two years looking at motor homes and then truck campers before looking at travel trailers. We discovered that they were now making some that were light weight and with everything we wanted in them. After only one day and one night in it we already know this is the perfect trailer for us.

The trailer is only 19.5 feet long, 8 feet high and 7 ½ feet wide, not much wider than a car and lower than most trailers which sure helps with gas mileage. It’s basically made for just two people and maybe one grandchild at a time for a weekend. We’ll see. It has a queen size bed, kitchen with a table for two, a stove, refrigerator and microwave, full bath with a small tub and shower, digital radio, TV, air conditioner and awning. What more could you ask for? Lauralyn just wanted to be able to stand up in it and have a bathroom. We accomplished the goal.
So where did we begin this new journey? Two hours from home at Nelson Dewy State Park in Cassville, WI. on  the Mississippi.  It was a beautiful ride through many hills and valleys and proved that our tow vehicle can handle anything with this trailer. Pulling this trailer, just under 3,500 pounds, with our SUV looked good on paper but you never know until you give it the test and we passed that getting to this area of the state.

We arrived on Thursday May 29 at about 3:30pm and discovered, sight unseen, no pun intended, that we had picked a big, level perfect site for our trailer. Backed in on the first try because Lauralyn has not lost her touch for guiding as I back the trailer in. We also found, when we got out of the car, that the gnats were probably going to be a problem. By the time we got set up, and swatted a million gnats, the worst were behind the glasses, we decided to make dinner and call it an early night. We surprised that very few sites had campers in and thought it would fill up on Friday. Sure hope that gnats are gone tomorrow.

Woke up Friday to a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the 80’s and decided to drive about 25 miles north along the River Road to Wyalussing State Park. It was a very pretty ride through more hills and valleys with great views of the Mississippi. When we camp we like to check out campgrounds to see what they are like and jot down the best sites for our trailer on maps they have of the campground sites. The views of the river from the camp sites were unbelievable, but the majority of the sites were too small and too hilly for our trailer. There were some loops without views of the river that would be nice for our trailer, but we decided we would rather come back to Nelson Dewy where we are now camping. We did pick up fire wood at a small store at the entrance to Wyalussing State Park so Lauralyn to build fires in the evenings. One of the things she has always enjoyed. She hasn’t lost the title of fire bug either. She got the fire started with just one match. Don’t know what we’ll do tomorrow, but will decide when we get up depending on the weather.

On Saturday May 31st we woke up to another nice day and decided to road trip 55 miles to Galena, IL and walk up and down the main street and go through all the stores. We had been there a couple of years ago with a group and really didn’t get to see as much as we wanted to see. Found a camping cook book that has recipes and directions for one aluminum foil package which sure makes for easy clean up. Might even use these at home. As they say half the fun is in the journey and we took back roads to get there and really enjoyed the scenery and waves from all the people along the way. Stopped in a little Galena bakery for tomorrow’s breakfast. We did find a fragrance shop that mixed us a magic potion of mainly vanilla to stop those annoying gnats. Got back to the camp site and the stuff really worked. Best $5. I’ve spent in a long time.

Sunday June 1st and it’s another perfect day. We decided to road trip about 40 miles to Dubuque[JK1] , IA. to visit the National Mississippi River Museum and aquarium. The museum was great and we were there from 10 am until about 4 pm. I’d recommend the Museum to anyone that gets to the part of Iowa. The aquarium was not really worth seeing and we only spent about half hour there. Stopped in one of the supper clubs in Cassville, two miles from the Nelson Dewy State Park, but it wasn’t as good as the write up in the town tourist brochure.

We knew it had rained a lot last night but were surprised when we heard on the radio that the rain fall measured 1.25 inches. Driving through Potosi the last couple of days we kept going right past the Potosi Brewing Co. and National Brewery Museum. This was our road trip for today, Monday, June 2nd.  The charge was $3. and it was more than worth it because we each received a free beer at the end of the tour. We spent about four  hours there and enjoyed every minute of it. Never knew how many breweries were in Wisconsin starting in the 1800’s. This is another recommendation for anyone traveling in this area. Had lunch in their restaurant and that also was very good.  I recommend the beer cheese soup. How could you possibly go wrong with a combination of two of Wisconsin’s best products.  Can’t believe I’ve lived my entire life in Wisconsin and never had a Potosi Beer. I would recommend the “Good Old Potosi Beer”.

Woke up and it was Tuesday already and we had to leave for home because I had a VFW meeting the next day and a Mallard Baseball game the day after. We drove up to the picnic area where there was a beautiful overlook of the Mississippi River for one more look before we hooked up the trailer for the ride home. We both hated to leave and I’m sure we’ll be back.

Our shake down trip with our new trailer reassured us that we had made the right decision to go with a travel trailer and we only have to add a few things to make it home sweet home away from home.We’ll be on the road again June 21st with five couples from church. Our destination this time will be Cliffside Park Campground in Racine County, WI, right on Lake Michigan for four days.

 [JK1]is