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