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Friday, July 30, 2010

2nd post today- A change of plans and maybe change of plans again?

Well, we made it this afternoon out to the little campground at the airport in Rio Creek ... but there were only about 15-16 sites, most occupied.  We had called 2 weeks ago for reservations.  The owners had told us to park anywhere when we get there, but "anywhere" was all sloped and slanted or muddy and wet lowlands...   There was not a level spot to be gotten for any rig over 16' long.    The one possible spot would still have taken 6 boards per back tire (times four tires would be 24 planks!)   to get level enough to keep the fridge operating.  

Then to top it off, a neighboring farmer was spreading liquid manure (a hundred times worse than fresh manure)  on his fields and it was getting stronger and stronger by the minute.  That means all weekend having all the windows closed and having to run the generator 24/7 to keep it cool inside because of the closed windows!   No thank you.

So we switched gears and went over to Bayshore Campground about 16 miles away ...

Here is a post I did on it previously.  

and here is their website:

We were lucky to get a site, number 78,  as there were only 3 vacant sites when we got here.  It's first come first serve, no reservations allowed.   Lots of trees and well-shaded sites.  While we set up, 2 other campers came and snapped up the last two sites, all filled before 2pm on a friday.


Once we got all set up ...  then we got a phone call that we have been dreading.

Steve's mom was brought to the ER tonight.  She has just completed her last chemo treatment for cancer this last week and has not been doing so well.  She is now dehydrated, running a fever and supposedly not taking the proper meds.   Pete, Steve's brother, will call us with more details as they find out.  They are 90 miles away from here, but we will take off in the car and go see what we can do if we are needed.  I suppose time on the IV will tell the tale, so it's just wait and see on pins and needles.


RV travel DVD and camping weekend for us

Just read about these dvd's (6 in the series) from a fellow RVer's blog.  I just added all six to our Netflix play list to watch them. Probably make us even more anxious to hit the road of course.... 
America's Scenic RV Adventures(2008) NR
Travel across America through spectacular landscapes with this program for viewers planning an RV trip or just wanting to see some of the most scenic regions of the United States and Mexico from the comfort of their own homes. Destinations include Alaska, the Northeast Coast, the Southeast Coast, the Gulf Coast and Baja. Each installment offers tips and advice, along with a close-up look at the region's culture, history and local adventures.

Travel & Adventure Documentaries
We are gearing up for a weekend of camping here.  I am driving the motorhome down as far as Green Bay and picking up Steve at the University.  Then from there we are going to a tiny campground at an agricultural airport  by Rio Creek.   From there we are going to our grandson Jameson's 2nd birthday party nearby.   It's gonna be a great weekend, pics to follow in next blog post I am sure! 
Enjoy your weekends, everyone! 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

CAMPING - SUNDAY - at Paint River Forks in the Ottawa National Forest of the U.P. of Michigan


Ahhh woke up to sunshine!   It was a bit chilly at 54 degrees but we never turned the heater on either.  The coffee smelled so good perking, and I whipped up a batch of blueberry muffins with of course, freshly picked blueberries!  Yummmmmm  

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Once we sat and gabbed about things for a bit, caught up on our worlds, kids, grandkids and such stuff…. then Fuzz took out a new present for Steveio!..   A Coleman Waffle Iron!

paint river forks july 201064We never knew they even made these!  It's made to go over a fire or on a stove burner.  Fuzz said Steveio can keep it IF he makes us all waffles for breakfast!  LOL   Of course with blueberries on top.  They had brought along all the fixins for waffles, hashbrowns, bacon ... all cooked over the fire.   What a treat!  Steve has been staying away from bacon or greasy hashbrowns, so he splurged, for one day, because of the new waffle iron.

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The waffle iron sat on the grid right next to the big cast iron fry pan with the hashbrowns.  We cook over the campfire as much as possible when we are camping.

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The waffles came out golden and perfect each time, scattered with fresh blueberries, and teamed up with the hashbrowns and bacon.  A breakfast fit for a King!  (and another King and two Queens)

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The flies were getting pesky when we were making breakfast, so we tried something out that I had read about from other RVer’s   Take plastic zip lock bags, fill with water, add a few pennies and hang them from the awning around your food.  Let them slowly move around back and forth or rotate gently from the awning by hanging from one corner of the bag.

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It is said that the reflections and flashes of light off the pennies bother the eyes on flies, so they stay away.   It really seemed to work and we only had a few flies over on that end of the table.  There were a lot of flies out and about, but most of them stayed away from us.  Sure beats using chemical sprays, especially around food!


Steveio got in some lumberjacking… awww My Brawny Lumberjack Man!

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Just look at that form!  that swing!  that finesse!  that skill!

He had also added a huge “All Nighter” log the night before.. and it was still needing to burn through the next day!  The firepit was full up with ashes, so the log could lay across and burn over the fire. 

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After things were cleaned up a bit, we decided to go out for more berries!!!  Fuzz found us a great spot on a tiny side logging road.  Some of those berries were so thick in clumps and bigger than what we picked the day before.  Fuzz also gathered enough raspberries for a pie...

For Steve and I, our total take for two days of picking was  2 gallons of freshly picked blueberries to make into jam this week.  Yummmmm  Schmoo and Fuzz got over a gallon of blueberries plus enough raspberries for his pie.

The sun sure got hotter than the measly 74 degree high the weatherman promised.   I got slight sunburn on my back, despite sitting with an umbrella for a while.  We both wore our hats, so our noses are burn free!   Here is Linda, picking alongside the logging road.

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After berry picking, I needed a cool shower as it was hot and sticky being in the woods.  So nice to have our shower with us in the motorhome, instead of having to ride all the way back home to clean up.

Earlier in the day, I had taken a walk down by the river and over to the canoe landing and snapped some shots of wildflowers …  With all the rain we have had lately in the Great Lakes region, the wildflowers are in full bloom.  Everywhere you look is color color color!

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For supper Fuzz had another surprise for us... he had bought two Drunk Chicken racks....

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See, for Drunk Chicken, you put a can of beer up a whole chickens butt and then set it onto these racks to roast them over a fire or on a grill.  The racks hold the chicken and the can upright so they don’t tip over on the grill (or fire).   The liquid in the cans puts moisture into the meat as they cook, and they come out amazingly juicy and just fall apart tender and golden...  Linda whipped up a bowl of potato salad and we had four big cobs of sweet corn roasted over the fire too.  My oh my, we ate so much food!

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Linda thought they looked like two little Sumo Wrestlers….  LOL


And then it was 5pm...on a Sunday… that means it is time to hit the road.  Sigh.  

We loaded up and headed out, for a nice drive home.  The roads were clear, the sky was blue, and we cruised on down the road.... talking of the future when we can keep on going and not have to go home on Sunday nights... and not go to work on Monday mornings. 

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CAMPING – SATURDAY – at Paint River Forks in the Ottawa National Forest in the U.P. of Michigan


This post is about Saturday at the Paint River Forks-----

Well, it was supposed to be rainy and icky all day, according to the weatherman (which we know is usually wrong) ....  We woke up to a few drops of rain, but by 8 am it had stopped and we were up and at ‘em. 

Both of our neighboring campers packed up and left, so it was just us and my sis and broinlaw. We had the place to ourselves!   Amazing that people will leave on a Saturday morning just when it was getting nice out?

After coffee and cinnamon rolls from the Easy Bake Oven, paint river forks july 20105


we decided to to work.... 

it was time for making PICKLES!!!  Yes... PICKLES!

See, on Friday morning my brotherinlaw stopped at a Veggie Guy stand on the way out to The Forks, and managed to get a bushel of cucumbers!   My sister had called me quick before we left Oconto to tell us that and bring supplies!  We were gonna can pickles!

Here is a blog post of doing pickles while camping another year too.... http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com/2010/04/campground-review-runkle-lake-at.html

My sister and I like to preserve and can produce each year, but we live 120 miles apart and only see each other on weekends when camping.  So why not bring the canning things along and do them while camping? 

We geared up with two turkey fryer bases that run on propane tanks, our big kettle for canning 9 quart jars at a time, and a tall kettle for brine.   3 dozen jars and lids and rings, and we were ready set go!

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We cut some in spears, some in chucks and left some whole.    We stuffed our clean jars, ladled in our hot brine and sealed them in a hot water bath for ten minutes for quart jars.

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It didn’t take us long, because we have done this so many time together, it’s like choreographed music!   We did up 33 quarts of pickles.  

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As you can see, our jars came out lovely and all sealed ... PING PING PING -  Music to a Canner's Ears!   LOL   

Yes, we are crazy, but can you imagine the guy who stopped at our campsite to chat with us?  Turns out that he normally does canning with an arch-nemesis of mine whom I beat in the Iron County Fair with my Best In Show Pickles!!!   That other guy was sooo upset when I won, a mere woman, that he made me leave working at the beer booth and go all the way up to the exhibits to taste his pickles and tell him why mine were better!  LOL....  and mine WERE BETTER!    He wanted to know our secret.  He has pried all our family to learn about our secret.   They have all given him some bogus answers, right down to revealing that we buy store bought pickles and reseal them in canning jars to win the ribbons at the fair.   (we don’t)   And now this friend of his is going to go find him today and tell him the secret:  WE USE THE WATER FROM THE PAINT RIVER IN OUR PICKLES!    HARRDEEEEHARRRHARRRRRRR

Other times we have canned up stewed tomatoes, hot salsa,  spicy dilly beans and my sister does a lot of sauerkraut, but that is a bit hard to do when camping .

Once our pickle mess was done and cleaned up and stowed away, we relaxed for a bit. 
Linda hauled out a lawn chair to weave on --  she wanted to get this one done over the weekend.  I hauled out my knitting. We spent a pleasant afternoon doing our art.

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Note--- see my past post about the woven lawn chairs:



The guys were busy yapping with the friend from the cottage down the road, and all was relaxing and nice.   Suddenly, Linda could hear a faint splash splash sound coming from the river... we got to the bank as quietly as we could. Yes, a young deer had been coming right down the river.  I managed 2 shots before she dashed into the woods.  Only one turned out enough to see that it’s a deer.  Look to the opposite side of the bank….

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Then.... it was time for Blueberry Picking!!!   The wild Michigan blueberries are in full swing right now... but remember, a wild blueberry is much smaller than the commercial ones you see in the grocery stores.  So it takes a LOT of picking to fill an ice cream bucket!  

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Steve and I did about a gallon worth of blueberries, and also they got some raspberries.  At one point we saw two logs ripped apart obviously by a bear… looking for bugs.  My sister also found a pile of bear doo doo, so it's best to move on and find another wild patch.   I am going to make Blueberry Jam from my berries…. and Schmoo is going to bake Fuzz a raspberry pie!

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Suppertime was cooked on the fire ---  It was 4 "Biggen" baked potatoes  (Yes, that is the brand name on the bag)  2 slabs of salmon and some fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and salad.   Yummmmmm   They guys cooked with the tripod, and we women got the table ready.

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Dessert was, of course, S'mores!


I hauled out another bottler of wine, and we listened to the coyotes howling around at the moon and we looked at all the stars in the sky.  So remote, no lights, no noise and no other people in the whole campground.


At one point the coyotes were getting too close and too yippy, so we put our dogs in the rig for safety.  We carry a can of bear spray too, but we didn't think that they would venture too close to the campfire.  But you never know...



CAMPING - FRIDAY - at Paint River Forks in the Ottawa National Forest of the U.P. of Michigan


This weekend we are back to NO grandkids... LOL   Just Steve and I headed north to Michigan.  We were meeting up with my sister Schmoo and her husband Fuzz.   Just us two couples for a quiet weekend in the woods.

It was 87 hot humid muggy icky hazy and plain old awful when we left Oconto about 1pm (Steveio got off work early)   So I was loaded up in the driveway and ready to roll as soon as he got home.  

We drove 15 miles to the next town and stopped at Piggly Wiggly grocery store for a few things before heading north.  Just the few minutes that I was in the store, the motorhome was getting quite uncomfortable in the newly tarred black parking lot.  So Steveio fired up the generator and turned on the air conditioners while he and the doggies waited for me to get out of the store.   Loaded up with a few more necessities, we made our way north. 

The further north we got, the NICER it got... the sky clear up to puffy white clouds and the sunshine was out.   Here is a through-the-windshield shot:paint river forks july 20100 It was a very pleasant drive and the temps dropped as we trekked our 131 miles north.



By the time we reached the Paint River, it was now 74 degrees, all blue sky, not a cloud in sight and no humidity.   We pulled in after the last mile or so of rough gravel roads, and saw the welcoming sign to “The Forks”  

(about 15 years ago my little nephew accidently knocked over this sign with a four-wheeler and hid behind the outhouse rather than tell us what he did.  We fixed the sign)

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So we are at The Paint River Forks, which I wrote about a past visit in a blog about here:



paint river forks google earth shot

This campground has only 4 campsites that are no longer maintained or fees charged by the National Forest Service.  It's so out of the way for them to come to maintain or collect, and with budget cuts and turning the campgrounds in the area over to concessionaires to run, there is no longer anything done to these four sites.  The concessionaires won't bother with just 4 sites either, so nobody really runs this place or takes care of it.   They even took out the well pitcher pump, but at least the outhouse is still here!

Our brotherinlaw Fuzz had already hauled their trailer out during the day on Friday, but my sister had to work till 5pm.   When he had been at the campground, he put a lawn chair over in the site we were going to take.  Good thing he did, because when we pulled in, there were other people in the other two sites!   We didn't really recognize the lawn chair as being one of my sister's chairs... so I walked over to the other campers to ask if they were saving this site.  Nobody around.   So we moved the chair and pulled into the site anyhow, thinking if someone did come, we would pull out and move doubled up on my sister's site if we had to.

Someone did come outta the other camper about 20 minutes later, in his skivvies!    So we weren't going to approach him then!  Looks like he just rolled outta bed at 4pm in the afternoon!   LOL  

I started to make up a supper casserole, while Steveio got out the lawn chairs and let the doggers do their thing.   Suddenly a very friendly dog popped around the corner of our rig to say "hello" and the neighbors pulled on their clothes to come retrieve him.  LOL  We then asked if that was their chair, they said no, but they said they saw my brotherinlaw put it there before he left for town.  Good, now we knew the site was ours and we could set up and level off.

I made up a pan of a chicken casserole --

-slice up thin pieces of boneless skinless chicken breast
-lay the bottom of a pan sprayed with cooking spray
-preboil some tiny chunks of broccoli, cauliflower, onions and mushrooms till soft
-drain and dumped the veggies on top of the chicken
-then 2 cans of cream of celery soup slathered on top with a spatula,
-and then arranged a layer of tater tots on top. 
-Season and cover with tinfoil
-and put in the "Easy Bake Oven" on 350 to bake slowly till done. 

Schmoo and Fuzz arrived from town, got the campfire started and supper was done!

After setting up our camping spots, we hauled out the lawn chairs, a few adult beverages and relaxed.

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We sat out till late, around the campfire, doing what we do best.... the coyotes were howling at the almost-full moon and we were in the woods... what more could we ask for?


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(stay tuned for the next two posts – Saturday and Sunday…

they deal with pickles and blueberries!)