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”.