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Monday, October 18, 2010

CAMPING – Boulder Lake in the Nicolet National Forest with Paula and Mel

It almost feels *sacrilegious* to post a happy camping post in light of the news the RVing blogging community was burdened with yesterday about Margie and Bruce.  I have had a heavy heart since hearing of their senseless deaths while walking along near their campground at Pismo Beach.  A young man, intent on suicide in front of his estranged girlfriend’s place of work, mowed then down in his efforts to do in himself.  Margie and Bruce both tragically died, and he only had minor injuries and is now charged with their deaths.

Then this morning, I thought of what better way to go on, blogging about Rving as Margie would want to be doing.  And I really don’t think she would want any of us to limit or avoid blogging now because of their passing.   So here it is….  my blog of the weekend:


Ahhhh Steveio arranged to get Friday off work, so we loaded up the rig and left on Thursday as soon as he got home.  Hit the road by 3:30pm as it gets dark so soon, we have to hightail it to a campground to get setup before dark.

Our friends, Mel and Snap Snap Snap Paula (that snapping is Steveio trying to remember her name)  were a couple hours ahead of us, and already had their site and our site staked out.  It was so nice to drive up and into a park, knowing full well that our site was waiting for us. 

Being that they also have a long Safari diesel motorhome, they can accurately judge a site as to it's conditions for us to fit in.   Being 40 feet and not being able to *bend* in the middle like a travel trailer or fifth wheel, it makes backing into a site more complicated.  We need *swing room* on the front end to clear, and if there is a tree or post too near the entrance of the site, you need even more.  

The other thing is level ---  if you are in a travel trailer or fifth wheel, your tires are grouped in the middle of your unit, so you can be on an uneven site and still achieve level easier because you kinda *pivot* on the central tire grouping.   But on a motorhome, your tires are spread out four square, and it's hard to get level on an uneven site, even with driving up on blocks and using our jacks.  Oh heck, here I will draw a picture:


Leveling is important if you don't want all your blood running to your head as you are sleeping, or sliding across the slippery shower stall floor, but mostly because of your refrigerator.  RV fridges are a delicate balance of chemicals in the tubes behind the wall, and if left out of level too long, they can pool up, crystallize and create *hot spots* in the metal tubing which can burn through and leak.  Then it's shot and time for an expensive rebuild or replacement.  OUCH....  so the more level you can operate your fridge, the better.  And you don’t risk damaging your expensive refrigerator unit.

Anyhow... back to camping.  We pulled in about 5pm and loved the site Mel and Paula picked out for us!   Here are our rigs….  right across from each other.

We have a 1996 Safari Serengeti and they have a 1996 Safari Sahara… cousins!

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There were only a couple other campers in our loop, and things were pretty quiet.  We got all backed in, set up and time to visit and enjoy our company.  Supper was some quickly heated leftovers and a pizza, and then it was time to get the campfire going!  What can be more fun than sitting around the campfire in the darkening woods, with crisp fall air, and laughter of friends?  We sat out till after 10pm, and then toddled off to bed.  Steve and I had been up since 4:30 am so it was a looongg day for us. 

We are camping WITH electrical hookups at this park ($20 a night for 50 amp) so it was a real treat to crawl into a cozy warm bed... because we have an electric mattress pad heater on our bed!  I cranked up each side to the highest setting about an hour before bedtime.  Wheeeee coming from the cold autumn air into the warm camper and crawling between fresh cotton sheets, prewarmed.  Life just don't get any better, does it?

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Saturday morning was sunshine and fall colors, though it's past it's PEAK for Leaf Peeping Tourists.  The colors are still nice, even if most of the leaves are already on the ground.  Steve took the doggers out for a walk as I perked coffee and we feasted on some more of our North Carolina Apple Cake... recipe from RVer Janet Goerne    We had shared some with Mel and Paula too the night before, so they could have it with their coffee in the morning. Here is a link to the recipe:   North Carolina Apple Cake    Yummmmmm


We sat around the morning, exchanging ideas and motorhome modifications.  Oh my my, when Steveio gets home we are gonna be buuuusssssyyyyyy!   Mel is a wealth of ideas and creative stuff for updating our matching Safari motorhomes.

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Just look at them, solving the world’s problems and figuring out new things to try.

Paula brought her piecing of quilt squares for a project is hand-working with embroidered centers and quilted edges, making holiday coasters.  I had out my spinning wheel, and then later brought out the sockknitting machine.  It was a great day with sunshine and nice weather.  Paula brought out snacks to tide us over till suppertime. 

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Mel and Paula had explored the area a little before we had gotten there.  So they said let’s hop in the car and check out some area campsites... so we did.  Someone has to tell Mel that his little white Saturn Ion car is NOT a four-wheel-drive rugged monster truck for all terrain and backroads.  

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He tootleybopped us up and down and around and back as we checked out some interesting rustic remote sites... possibly able to get our motorhomes into one of them, but not the others... No way--- No how.  But he would probably try????  They are called the Barrier Free Access sites for handicapped folks to fish at, plus back in further are camping sites for a small fee of $5.  They are located on the one and the same Oconto River that flows right by our house.  If you put in there and floated down about 85 miles, you would come to our house!  

After that, we drove around the Chute Pond county park... it's a twisty turney park sectioned off into 2 pieces.. one section seems to be more suited to tents and weekenders, and the other portion seems to be seasonal sites with trailers set up all over willy nilly and have decks, storage sheds and even big household refrigerators setting behind some of the trailers.  It's all located on the shores of the same river, just backed up by a dam to create a flowage area.   In the summers, it is high resort population and cottage folks with heavy boat and jetski traffic on the pond.  Not our kind of place, no thank you.


Back to the campground on Boulder Lake.   It was time to get the campfire going and get started on supper.  Tonight was our entree and Paula’s “go withs”  and then Saturday would be her entree and our “go withs”   Fun way to plan our meals, totally Paula’s idea!

Steveio was the chef and Mel was the Supervisor….

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Yummmm tenderloin steaks, taters, salads, veggies and dips… and a bottle of wine!

(aren’t those steaks done yet?)

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Sitting around the campfire, sharing stories, ideas, places to explore and just general BS.  We gabbed till the flames went down and it was time to crawl back into bed.  Amazing how tired someone gets when not doing much of nothing?


Saturday morning again we lucked out with sunshine and blue skies… what a treat!  So many days of wonderful weather in Wisconsin in October is almost unheard of.  We got up early and Steve and I took the doggers for a walk around the campground.  Quite a few rigs has pulled in Friday night and the campground was about 3/4 of the way full. 

Ironically, the forest service workers had closed the bathrooms, showers, water spigots and dump station on Thursday.  Now they had a very populated campground and no access to water.  Some folks in a travel trailer arrived with empty water tank, intending to fill once they arrived at the dump station before setting up.  They ended up leaving the park, going to another place to water up, and then come back to back into their site in the darkness. Felt bad for all the popup folks too with no access to bathrooms, and long walk to the outhouses.

We saw two interesting things as we walked around.. one was a huge tent, shaped similarly to an old Lumberjack or Hunting tent like in the old time photos of logging camps.  Complete with a shiny silver metal smokestack coming out of the roof!   The interesting part was it was a NEW tent, of nylon ripstop fabric and very large and roomy, I would say 25-30 feet long and not sure how wide.  (of course I forgot the camera to snap a pic)  I never knew they still make big tents like this anymore. 

The second thing we saw was a pickup truck with a camper on the back, running it’s engine with the hood up.  Our first thought was they ran their heater all night and now had to run the engine with battery cables attached to their camping battery to charge it up.  But no…. as we got closer, we could see, sitting on the radiator was an electric coffee maker!!!!  and it was plugged into a portable inverter that was clamped to the truck’s battery!  LOL LOL   Talk about inventive?  When someone wants their drip coffee, they want their drip coffee!   hahahahha

Saturday was a lazy day, while the guys discussed this and that, thinking up ideas and projects to do….  Paula worked on more of her quilt projects and I did some sockknitting and then hauled out my spinning wheel too.  Spinning in the woods in the sunshine is a real treat.  It’s very relaxing and comforting and keeps the hands busy.

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Saturday evening, Mel and Paula had some friends stop by, Peter and Jeannie.. with their grandson Alden.  We put the firebug antics to rest by making him also gather and carry wood, letting him saw some branches and had to really really work to have that fire!   LOL

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We enjoyed Paula’s meal of Italian sausages, with grilled peppers, onions, mushrooms and the spaghetti sauce and mozzarella cheese on top!   YUMMMMMMM  I had a pot of calico beans and a bowl of potato salad as my “go withs"

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Alden insisted on heating up his cheese curds in a pan on the fire???

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After supper, and some walking around the campground with the dogs and Alden (trying to wear him out)  we sat around the fire till late… stories, jokes and laughter were heard late into the night… and a cozy warm bed once we turned in.


Sunday morning was sunny AGAIN!  I bet you are bored reading that, but it is VERY unusual to have such a prolonged Indian Summer in our neck of the woods.  70 degree days, day after day, are pretty much unheard of around here.  So we planned to enjoy it!

Paula whipped up waffles and bacon for breakfast…  good thing that Safari puts these outside electrical outlets on their rigs, otherwise we are sure Mel and Steve would be installing them by the end of the weekend!

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Can you just see the sunshine on the fallen leaves?  Can you feel it on your face? Can you hear them rustling?  Can you smell the earthy richness of the woods?  We did!

But all good things must come to an end when you are still in the work-a-day world.  Sigh.

Paula dubbed this our “Last Lunch” 

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As we packed up our rigs and got road-worthy… I heard a shout from Steveio…. GET THE CAMEREA!   So I grabbed it and flew out the door, not sure what I was going to find. 

Here was Mel’s cord in his power pedestal.  He reached in to grab his handle to unplug, but felt something warm and mushy and soft!  EEEEKKK!!!

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Do you know what those are???


They are MUSHROOMS!!!  Some little forest critter decided to gather and pile them up under the lid of the power pedestal.  Wonder if he wanted them sautéed, grilled or just heated up?


  1. Thanks for a cheerful virtual weekend. Loved this time of year in Wisconsin!

  2. I'm glad you got to enjoy your your Indian Summer week-end. How funny about the mushrooms. Do you think it was a squirrel?

  3. Wow what a great weekend even weather wise it was the weekend I arrived, but a cold front came through last week with rain and the temps this weekend didn't make it to the 60's. Glad to see you had a good campout with friends. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  4. Sounds like just about a perfect weekend! What a place to hide your shrooms. :)

  5. I thought those things in the power pedestal were the waffles I saw in an earlier picture:))

  6. I'm never goint camping with you guys, if I did, with all those yummies you cook up, I'd have to be lifted into my MH with a crane!

    If you do meals like that while camping, what do you do at home!!!

    You always bring a smile to my face with your adventures. :c)

  7. Great post of a great camping trip. You folks sure eat well. If I ever get over your way I'm gonna follow you for a weekend camp-out!

  8. Thank you for taking time to explain the difference btw 5th wheel and MH in turning and leveling with illustration!

    Oh I feel sort of bad for the little fellow who thought he could have a mushroom dinner! :O

  9. You were so lucky to have such beautiful weather for the weekend. We had rain for quite a bit of the weekend.

    Glad you had such a great time, there won't be too many weekends left to go camping now!

    Kevin and Ruth

  10. Looks like you had a blast :) I hope the good weather continues for you for a while at least, that winter cold is hard to handle up that way(for me anyway). We just arrived in Florida though and are really wishing it was cooler about now!

    The mushroom stash is great, poor little guy is going to be bummed though :(

    97 Roadtrek 170P "Taj Ma Trek"


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