Friday, January 31, 2014

On The Road Again

Winter is here and I’m starting to write again. Good idea or “oh no, not again”, depending upon who my readers are. “On The Road Again” is not about the Willie Nelson song, although it is one of my favorites, but rather about my wife Lauralyn, Lor for short and I getting back into camping. Our goal is to visit all the states we have not seen, about 35 and all of the National Parks.

My blog, will continue to be about this, that and the other things on my mind and of course now a diary of our travels so friends and family can keep up with us. This will give you a chance to make plans to be out of town before we show up pulling our new 20 foot travel trailer.

I have been waiting to win the lottery for years to be able to do some of the things that Lauralyn and I had dreamed of doing. I woke up one morning, realized I was almost 67 and that it was time to start doing those things with the resources we had right now.

Lor grew up camping and I was introduced to it in 1971, the summer after we returned from Japan, having just gotten out of the Navy. My first experience was going “Up North” in WI for a week with her parents, in a Star Craft pop up camper. I was so hooked on camping “Up North“ that by that next summer we had a tent and a whole bunch of camping gear. By the next summer we were also taking along a high chair, playpen and crib. Still don’t know how we managed to get all that in the car.

It was about 1976 that we bought our own pop up camper and I was getting two weeks of vacation which was always spent “Up North“ camping with her parents. If I remember correctly they went to a mini motor home on a Toyota truck chassis. I also had a 12 foot boat that went up on the camper with rollers. Gee, I had it made.

In 1984 we moved to Green Bay, WI and this would be the year we moved up to a new Chevy Suburban and a 26 foot dual axial Mallard travel trailer. It would be our home away from home with all the amenities you could ask for. We thought we were in camping heaven. My in-laws, who we still camped with moved up to a ¾ ton truck with a very large truck camper and now pulled a 14 foot boat that we shared when camping.

By this time I had enough years with AT&T that I had three to four weeks of vacation and we spent almost every weekend at state parks within an hour drive of our home and weeks of vacation “Up North” with Lor’s parents. We camped on weekends either in Door County, Hartman creek or Two Rivers, WI. Our week long vacations would be “Up North”, in either Oneida or Villas counties, once again state parks with some electric spots, but mainly pit outhouses. We really appreciated our Travel Trailer with it’s bathroom, especially at night when it’s as dark outside as it was in the middle of the night out at sea.

Our last and trip out of state with our trailer was when our daughter was about 15 and our son 11 years old. We had an inkling that this might be one of our last family vacations because the kids were getting into so much that they no longer wanted to go along. We decided on a two week “Circle Trip” around Lake Superior and it was one of the best vacations we ever had. We also had many wonderful and memorable weekend camping trips with friends that our kids and theirs still talk about, but that will be another story for another day. It was also about this time that Lor’s parents bought a cottage on a lake up near Minocqua, WI. We sold our travel trailer and enjoyed vacations with them.

When we retired we thought we would be moving “Up North” where we planned to live out our retirement. I have finally realized that my plan is not always what is best for me and what actually happens is God’s plan for me. Lor and I have been talking for years about seeing all 50 states and all of the National Parks in the continental United States. So far we have seen about 15 states together and two National Parks, so we have a bunch yet to see and feel some urgency to see them before we get too old to enjoy traveling.

We had been looking at Motor Homes and almost bought one a year ago but it was just a bigger investment than we wanted to make at this point in our lives. We then looked at truck campers but it would mean buying a ¾ ton pickup to put it on and pickup prices have gone up a lot since we had our last one almost 20 years ago. We finally decided to look at small travel trailers for just two people that we might be able to pull with our current, paid for SUV. Lor’s only requirements were that she could stand up in it to change clothes and it had a bathroom. We researched about 25 different manufacturers and actually went to see about six that looked interesting. We ended up falling in love with one at a dealer located about 2 miles from our home. The dealer got a good recommendation from some one at our church that bought a trailer there and from someone else that has their’s serviced and winterized at the same place.

We purchased our new 2nd home away from home today and it will be delivered from the factory some time in March. We plan to revisit camping spots in Wisconsin that we enjoyed 30 to 40 years ago, visit old friends and attempt to get to all of the states and National Parks that we have not seen. We will not be on the road full time but I know that some of our travels will put us away from home for up to three weeks at a time.

For family and friends that have camped with us and are curious about what we’re getting you can look up the 2014 Jayco Jay Flight Swift SLX 195RB on line.

I’ve lived in Wisconsin my whole life, except for service time, so I know there is still a lot of winter to go before spring gets here and Lor is willing to go on our first trip. It’s well insulated and has a furnace, but I think she will hold me to waiting until May 1st when we will be “on the road again.” Feel free to follow our travels and experiences by visiting my Blog.