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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Homer Simpson buys a motorhome --- how our old Winnebago got the name of the Ultimate Behemoth!


I was reading RV Travel weekly online newsletter this morning,


and they reminded me of this Simpson’s episode:


Many many years ago, about 1989 or 1990, this episode aired on the popular Simpsons cartoon show.  We saw this very same episode and dubbed our newly purchased *used* 1972 Winnebago Chieftain motorhome:   “The Ultimate Behemoth” !!!



We went so far as to purchasing all Simpson’s related things for our motorhome.  Oh, I remember that we had the tablecloth, hotpads, dishtowels, cups, plates and the kids even had Simpson jogging suits to sleep in!   We had Simpson puzzles, color books, and write-on wipe –off boards for activities too.  

Then I even painted the name “The Ultimate Behemoth” on the back spare tire cover, complete with recreating the whole Simpson family (copyright be danged—it was free promotion!)


Here is the motorhome, before, during and after my entire painting job.  I don’t have a photo of the spare tire cover at this time, but I think I will go look on old videos and see if I can screen capture a shot of the tire cover!


winnebago chieftain



Imagine our surprise, one day, as we travelled down a four lane highway…. a school bus was passing us, with the kids all waving and cheering to us as they gained on us.  As they pulled alongside of us, the driver made a motion to look back at the studensts.  One very proud student in the bus was jutting out his chest up against the window, with all the surrounding students pointing wildly to him…  he wearing his own Simpson sweatshirt!   Awww now how cute was that!


All because of one silly cartoon…..

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Campground Review - Laura Lake in the Nicolet National Forest of Wisconsin


(this is one of series of posts of various campgrounds we have been to over the years... I am going through my files in alphabetical order and posting past camping trips in my blog.... something to do over this long long winter---- sigh)



Laura Lake 200928

This lovely little lake is a secret hideaway…. no motors allowed so it is VERY quiet! Here is the link to their website:   http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/cnnf/rec/camping/nic_15.html

We camped here in August of 2009.  

Well spaced out sites, all under a thick canopy of trees. I get an AT&T wireless aircard signal and cell phone signal from here. Rustic sites with fire-ring, picnic table and multiple outhouses (pit toilets) around the park. Well pump for water. No faucets or showers. Recycling cans at the entrance. Swimming area is on the neighboring lake just a short walk from this campground. There are walking paths around the lake, and a biking trail too (though we didn't go on it) Very quiet well-kept campground.

campground map

Many of the sites here overlook the lake, with wonderful views. We stayed in site number 7, right along the water.   We like these type of sites located close to the water, so we can carry our small aluminum fishing boat right to the shoreline.  Then we don’t have to struggle with trying to launch it by backing down the boat ramp with our huge motorhome.  Sometimes, if faced with a long distance to the water, we ask a neighboring camper to please back our boat in at the ramp for us, and offer a beer or some homebaked goodies in return.


Laura Lake 20097


After backing in the trailer, we unhooked the boat to carry down to the lake… but Steveio decided we needed a beer break first.  Tee hee.  See how nice I painted the trailer to match our motorhome?  And the seats on the boat, the oars, and even the anchor!   Give this gal a brush and a bucket of paint, and she is DANGEROUS!

Laura Lake 200940

We later pushed the trailer off to the side of the campsite so it was outta the way. 


The loons are out on the lake, calling to each other throughout the evening.

Laura Lake 20095

We put the boat out on the lake for an evening lap around with just the battery powered trolling motor pushing us across the water.  Quiet and peaceful.


Fishing is large and small mouth bass, and the loons kept coming near the boat to see what we are doing. 

Laura Lake 200914


The next day we hopped in the boat with our poles and took off to the other side of the lake.  It was very relaxing to get out and do some fishing.. though it was a cloudy day and rain was forecast.   We didn’t catch much, but it was fun nevertheless.

Laura Lake 20099Laura Lake 200911


At times the lake was smooth as glass….

Laura Lake 200920

But it did rain - finally... and boy oh boy did it come down!!!   Filled up the boat pretty well, so Steveio had to go out and bail bail bail!   Everything got drenched, including the deep cycle marine battery and the small electric trolling motor.  Good thing we brought up the tackle boxes, poles and lifejackets.  They were stowed in the motorhome and dry.

 Laura Lake 20092Laura Lake 20093


Though it was dark and dreary.. the woods and water have their own beauty too.

Laura Lake 200944


This is one of our favorite camping toys…. its a small lantern from Coleman, SOOO much better than hauling around those big camping lanterns, breaking their glass lens, or their fragile mantles.  This one kept the same mantle going all summer. 

Laura Lake 20098 


The afternoon was nicer, so first we picked some berries along the road.  We walked on over to the other lake, Gordon, where the swimming beach was.  After checking that out, it looked like the skies were really clearing up.   So we hopped on the Honda Helix and took a ride around the area.  It’s nice to explore and pick up anything we forgot to pack on the way back to the campground.   We love the backroads….

Laura Lake 200921


Laura Lake 200922


Laura Lake 200924

Don’t ya just love these winding country roads?  I can almost smell the fresh air, rich deep woods and pungent pines as I look at this photo!

Laura Lake 200927


Later on we decided to take a few sassy dogs out in the boat… they are used to going in our canoe too.  We stayed near the shoreline and cruised around the edges of the lake.


They ride good and behave themselves….      checking out what is down there!

Laura Lake 200936Laura Lake 200937


Laura Lake 200938Laura Lake 200939


It was another quiet evening on the lake..  but the clouds rolled in for another rainy night,  at least we got in some fishing, boating and scooter riding!  It’s never a wasted day when camping in the motorhome.  Whether we are inside or outside, we are happy!

  Laura Lake 200943



We sure don't want to leave, and will be back again.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My little Fiat

We were chatting about my little car… so I said I would post a pic or two


Here it is on our wedding day….



Fiat Spider

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fun at the Piggly Wiggly!~


I had an errand to run over to the neighboring town today.  Daughter Heather came up with my grandson Jameson for the afternoon, so we all went together.  Stopped at the local Piggly Wiggly grocery store JUST to use this special shopping cart. 


grocery store day16grocery store day14


All I really needed was a loaf of bread, but Jameson was having such a blast that we kept going up and down aisles, picking out more things to put in the cart. 

 grocery store day3 

Heather pushed while I snapped pics

grocery store day8  

This is stuff we dreamed of doing when we were kids… gosh they make such fun things for kids nowadays!   We only got to hang off the cart and hope we didnt catch our feet under the wheels when we were little---


He was the Banana Man!

grocery store day18


Forty five dollars later, it was time to hit the checkout!

grocery store day6



We noticed the other *truck cart* out in the parkinglot actually had a steering wheel inside of it… so next time we will be sure to grab THAT one!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Exercise for the motorhome day… and a new chair~!

We took the motorhome for it's exercise run.  The motorhome needs to be run at least once a month... we did it in November but missed December.   So we decided that it was a good day to do so.
exercise day 2010 January0

It was above freezing, though it was rainy and icky. 
exercise day 2010 January5

Steveio is the happiest when driving his rig.
exercise day 2010 January4

Yes, the dogs get to come along too, they have a conniption fit if we don't take them along
exercise day 2010 January7exercise day 2010 January6

We drove 28 miles up to Marinette and stopped at Shopko to buy a new Euro Chair and ottoman for our motorhome.    We had previously discussed getting this chair and ottoman. We currently had 2 couches and Steve thought we could use more room by taking one out.  So we decided we could remove the couch on the right and use that space with a Euro Chair, ottoman, and slide over the coffee table during transit.  Sometimes I have my table loom set up, so now that can ride behind my passenger chair.  The passenger chair also swivels around to face the livingroom too.
couch recovering after (1024x768)

The chair had been $240 bucks, but now on sale this week for $99 bucks!   We decided we could stop and pick it up right from the store.  We loaded it up into a shopping cart in pieces right out of the box, leaving the box in the store at the service desk. The box was too big to fit through the doorway anyhow.  One less thing for us to dispose of.   We assembled it in the motorhome while parked right there in the parking lot.  Pretty nice chair for the price, made from microfiber; It reclines, swivels and rocks as does the ottoman too.
exercise day 2010 January2

Goodwill was located right across the street, and was open and accepting donations on a Sunday.   2 guys came out and helped carry the extra couch right out the door of the motorhome and into the store. 
exercise day 2010 January1

exercise day 2010 January3

Then we drove on back home, and parked the rig again till next month.... 
wish we could keep going and going and going-----

Friday, January 22, 2010

Campground Review - Kleinke Park – Menominee County, Michigan

(this is one of series of posts of various campgrounds we have been to over the years... I am going through my files in alphabetical order and posting past camping trips in my blog.... something to do over this long long winter---- sigh)

This is a narrow skinny park along the Lake Michigan/Green Bay waters. It is just over the border in to the U.P. of Michigan along M-35 that runs along the water between Marinette, WI and Escanaba MI.   Just south of Cedar River.  There are five campgrounds in this area, and we normally just drive up and see who has an opening.   We camp here usually one or two times a year.  Especially when it’s very hot and humid,  the land along the lakeshore is cooler and usually a breeze.  Plus it is one of the few that have electrical hookups, in case we want to use the air-conditioning on such a scorcher weekend.

We enjoy this park because it is very dog-friendly, and also had a great beach area for the dogs to play on.  The beach for swimming is further over, but the area where dogs are allowed is right near the campsites.   Many times we see dogs off leash on the marshy beach, so we follow suit.  But once we reach the campsites, CLICK on go the leashes.
park map

This particular weekend, we had first pulled in and parked way down in site number 1.  It was a busy park and just about every site was full.    We backed in, set up and relaxed in our chairs.   For only a bit…..
In the site next to us was one tent.  But soon came a influx of cars, pickups, more tents, boomboxes, big party awning with a table filled with liquor bottles.  Soon the spread of lawn games, party flags, loose dogs and wailing kids was eeking over into our campsite.  I think they had 8 or 9 vehicles for one campsite.  One particular camper was a VERY loud female with a raspy voice that just grated on you.  She did NOT shut up!  The drunker she got, the louder she got.   Then up drove a car with her sister and her son, ALL with the same gravelly loud noisy voices!   LOL   But enough was enough.

So we talked to the nice host (who also had the unfortunate placement of being so close to these folks)   and he said sure, we can move to another site.  Just drop a note in the pay-fee tube that we moved to a different site with the host’s approval.  So we walked back down the way to scope things out.   One site along the lakefront just happened to open up!   I rushed over there with the dogs on leash, and stood there till Steveio packed up our rig and drove it over to the better spot. 

(later that night the sheriff was called in to quiet the other folks--- and in the morning they were all hungover and quiet down that way.  They later packed up and left by noon)

The site we moved to was FANTASTIC – so perhaps it was a blessing in disguise.
our campsite

Hard to see, but yes, that is the lake in the background.  It was a very hot and hazy day.
our campsite 2

our campsite 4

The water here is clean and clear… with the waves rolling in the sound drowns out any road noise from behind the campground.  It is such a peaceful place along the water.

This is a county park, and they have nice sites, but very strange firepits!
fire ring

It was so hot, that we decided to cook supper outside over the fire.  It sure was a challenge to get a fire going in that ring.   But finally it was time to put on chow.  We always bring along our cooking grate, and never depend on there being one at a campsite.  This is a perfect example of a firepit that doesn’t have a grate and unless you haul along a portable grill, you would be cooking indoors. 

We cook with Steveio’s grate over the fire….  (these are pics from other times using it, but I included them here so you can see how it works)  

The main stake is tilted on an angle when you pound it in the ground.  Then the grid piece holds onto the stake by the gravity with the weight of the handle and is adjustable up and down.  He made this and it works GREAT!    A Great Grate?
visit from barrie and claire (18) (1280x960)_1 lake emily oct 2008 (24)

We cooked out BBQ ribs… which the extra sauce need to be burned off before the grate is cooled and put back in a bag for storage.  We keep this in a compartment under the motorhome in a very heavy plastic Fleet Farm bag.  Lays flat and doesn’t take up a lot of room.
cleaning the cooking grate

This weekend was a very hot and humid one.  We were happy to have electrical hookups to run the air conditioners in the rig.  The trees are along the outside of the campground, but not along the shoreline beach sites.  Guess you can’t have everything!
duckyfrisbee dog

Before it got too hot, we took the dogs down the beach a ways to play with the frisbee…. Duke loves it, Ducky just chases him to roll him over, she has no interest in the frisbee!
frisbee dog 2

Duke would play frisbee till he would drop dead… so we had to call it quits before he got too overheated.   He hates to see us put it away and pouts about it.
frisbee dog 3

Our dogs sure enjoy camping with us, and they get lots of attention in the campgrounds.  Everyone asks us if the little dog (a Shetland Sheepdog) is the baby of the big dog (a Collie)    We say no… they are just COUSINS!   LOL  Sometimes little girls come and ask if they can brush them.  Have at it!  Other times, if not too busy of a campground, we let kids take our dogs for a walk.  We should charge them for the fun-- Rent-A-Dog!
ducky too

The air is filled with gulls, and the soft lapping waves are peaceful and relaxing.
J L Gull

They are really scavenger birds, as pesky as raccoons in a campsite.  The dogs had fun chasing them away each time they came too close to our picnic table.
 J L Gull 2

We hauled out the binoculars… watching the big ships coming into the port of Green Bay, or across the water to see the shoreline of Door County (the tall skinny finger of Wisconsin) on the lookout  

The waters of Lake Michigan have been receding over the years.  What once was a huge sand beach and dunes, is now overgrowing with marsh and cattails where it is not used continuously.   Someday if the waters come back up, the marshes will disappear.
our campsite 3

Each day we camped here, it was hotter and hotter.  Our awning was wonderful for sitting in the shade each afternoon.  After our walks on the beach or frisbee throwing for the dogs, a cool beverage was in order.   Our campsite was all grass, no gravel parking area. 

He has “relaxation” down to a science!

Because we are on the western shore of Lake Michigan, we don’t get the sunsets... just the sunrises.  Early mornings are delightful with the sun glinting off the water, streams of golden light flickering into the rig’s big windows.   I kept all the mini blinds up during the night, just to be able to be awakened by the morning light.  I got up in time to take some of these pictures.

The mornings were so quiet and peaceful.  The air was damp but cooler, with the sounds of the gulls in distance.  I took the dogs for a nice walk before it got hot again.  The sand was sticking to my feet from the early morning dew.  By the time I got back to the motorhome, Steveio had coffee going.   What can be more wonderful than sitting out under the awning, looking at THIS:
sunrise this morning