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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

CAMPING - Richardson Lake in the Nicolet National Forest with Paula and Mel

I apologize to my blog readers for such a delay in posting.  Time and tasks got ahead of me... and then before I knew it, I was asking fellow Safari-ite Paula "whatcha doing for Labor Day?"  Lo and behold, we were forming menus and making plans to go camping!   Once Steveio found out we were going camping with Mel and Snap Snap Snap Paula, he managed to eek out a day and a half of vacation to make it into a FIVE day weekend!

(that Snap Snap Snap Paula is because sometimes Steveio finds it hard to remember names... so that is what he does... snaps his fingers three times till he remembers her name!  That's okay with them though, because Mel keeps saying Dave for Steve too.... LOL)

On Thursday afternoon, we drove about 70 miles to Lakewood, and we met up with Paula and Mel and their lovely Safari (the grey and plum colored one with the horses on back)    The third color option for our year was the green... so we need Ken or Doug with their green rigs to join us next time!

When we drove down the road together, we are a little Safari Convoy!  

Here is a shot of the campground we planned on going to.  Seems the Nicolet National Forest will put these great campgrounds maps published into a book to give out for free that must be expensive to print up, but they won't put them on their website?

(We always try to highlight the sites we have previously determined that we fit on the best
with a 38 ft rig that are level and able to back into without much trouble)

Using the CB radios to communicate with each other, we first drove through Boot Lake to check for sites, but that was pretty much filled up already.  Then we drove on to Richardson Lake as choice number two.  The third lake was Ada, but we settled on  Richardson once we found two lakeside sites next to each other.  Suitable for our length of rigs, level, and in a quiet loop of only 6 sites.  We got sites 24 and 26 in the quiet woods.  The park quickly filled up by the weekend, with only two crooked tenting sites left open. 

We got all set up on our sites and the guys proceeded to do what they do best.... solve all the Safari engineering problems, the Cat engine problems, the tire manufacturer problems, the fuel industry problems... you get the jist of it?   Paula also bought a Coleman oven like mine (affectionately known as Karen's Easy Bake Oven) and fiddled with that working on the dial and settings to get her used to baking with it.  It's kinda touchy, but we did it.

Our Safari rigs only come with a convection/microwave oven, no regular propane oven like in most RV's.  Short of cutting through the expensive Corian countertop and sacrificing three drawers to put one in, we found out that these Coleman ones work great and can even set outside on the picnic table to bake things like dinner rolls, roasts, desserts or even make toast for breakfast.

The campground we are at is rustic, with no electric or water hookups.  So cooking with propane or over the fire is the best method for us.  We could start up the generator to make the convection/microwave oven operate, but who wants that?

Our generators are built in and quiet on our Safari rigs, but even so, we don't often like to use them.   Actually I wanted to pre-cook some sweet corn and heat up some calico beans to go with dinner so I fired our generator up on Thursday afternoon to use the microwave for just a bit.  Suddenly Paula says "I smell something burning like rubber?"   OH NO... they looked back at our generator and oil was pouring out of it and dripping down!!!  We shut it off quickly and left it cool down.

It was bugging Steve so much as to what happened... Me, being a mere woman, looking at it, I suggested a loose oil filter?  It seemed to be leaking out around the edges... he was contemplating the worst case scenario like a crank case crack or a blown engine....  Why listen to me, eh?   We ate supper and then it was too dark to look at it.   So the next morning at 6 am, he could not contain himself any longer and had to get out there and look at it.

Yup, sure enough, a loose oil filter was all it was...... ahem?    What do I know, eh?  LOL   Runs fine now.

Of course, when we camp, the meals are important... here was a steak dinner, baked biscuits, both regular and sweet potatoes, salads etc. and of course a bottle of wine!

The weather was kinda rainy and icky, so we hung out under the awning and I taught Paula how to use my circle knitting hoops for making hats.  She made a tiny infant size hat and let Steveio model it for all to see.

On Friday, we buzzed into town to look around... and found a thrift shop.  Steve and Mel nosed around and found a very nice leaded beveled glass light fixture.    The existing one in our rig has very sharp corners and if Steve leans over the table for something, his 6'4" height allows him to crack his head on it!   Sooooo  he whipped out his tools and did a swap-out for the better one.

What a nice improvement! 

On Saturday, we were joined by our younger daughter Heather, soninlaw Jesse and our little grandson, Jameson.  Wheeeeeee  here he comes!  What joy it is to share our camping with the little ones... Being in the woods, throwing rocks in the lake, walking the dogs around the campground.  This is the stuff that memories are made of.

Heather brought along all the makings for Pudgy Pies!   We still have all the pie iron cookers from their childhood days, and she was soooo happy that the rain let up enough to have a campfire.    She brought along pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni slices for Pudgy Pie Pizzas , and also a can of apple pie filling for dessert pudgy pies.  A spritz of cooking spray, then buttered bread on the outside surfaces, clamped into the cooker with the filling of choice.  Turn often and check for burning, as once the cast iron heats up, they cook REALLY fast!

Heather also brought along the graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows for Some-Mores...  what more could a kid ask for?

They had a tent to sleep in, but the weather was pretty damp and icky, so  instead we put up the air mattress in the rig for them and Jameson was settled in on the couch for sleeping.  Of course, Jameson is an early morning riser, he was able to bounce on into our bed with us for some morning snuggles and cuddles. We watched some cartoons while we let his parents sleep in.   This kid has been cuddling in our motorhome bed since he was just a few months old.  A Happy Camper, for sure!

On Sunday, we were added another family to our bunch!  Our older daughter Erin, soninlaw Mark and granddaughter Chelsea came for the day too!  Here they come.......

Little stinker Chelsea kept very busy...  At one point I got up out of my chair and set down my knitting.  I walked off to the camper, and she clambered up into my seat.  She grabbed my knitting needles and started to *knit like Granmuddah does* ....  she was also carefully writing on a rock with a stick.  What she was writing, I don't know. ---- who needs expensive toys when you are camping?

The winds kicked up pretty bad off the lake, and the temps dropped.  Amazing how it was sweltering hot in the 80s and humid on Thursday and we were running the AC on the way up to the lake.  By Sunday we were dressed in flannels, wool socks and sweatshirts?   The guys put up a wind break to make it more comfortable to sit around the campfire.

See my repaired lawn chair in the picture?  I am sooo glad to have it operational again.

Little cousins Chelsea and Jameson were having a blast!  They were running, playing, throwing rocks, and having a good old camping time.  The rains came and went, so sometimes were inside the rig.---  colorbooks, flashcards, toys and games kept them occupied in the small spaces.  Jameson had along his collection of Thomas the Train stuff and was not going to share.  So Chelsea took his Magna Doodle and they were both happy.

Up and Down and Up and Down, practicing on the little hill, sometimes going down backwards, sometimes taking a tumble.  Get up and go again... and again... and again....

We took little Chelsea out blackberry picking while Jameson napped.  She took to it like a hungry little bear cub, gobbling up the berries as fast as she could pick them!   If we hadn't had her along, I am sure we would have gotten enough to bake a pie or 5-6 jars of jam.  But with the Berry Gobbler, it was quite hard to even get a single berry before she snatched them off the bushes!

I remember back when her Mommy, Erin, was a little girl.  I took her berry picking and it suddenly occurred to her the concept of what we were doing.  I can still see her face light up as she exclaimed to me:  "MOMMY-- THIS IS FREE FOOD!"      Ahhhh memories.

Kids need to learn that not all food comes from the grocery store.  LOL

We huddled around the campfire for warmth, and Heather hauled out all the pudgy pie makings again for a snack after supper.  It was so much fun sitting around the fire, telling stories, and laughing and enjoying the family.  Dan and Heather and little Allegra had other plans, so weren't able to attend this time.  We missed having them too, but it's hard to get everyone together at the last minute like we had done.

It is so good to be able to make NEW memories with the little ones... and hope they sometime will take their kids, and their kids' kids camping too....    Chelsea had to show me how much she could knit on a hat now, carefully clicking the needles together and placing the yarn just so between them and click again.  Ahhhh a little fiberholic in the making!   Jameson too, he loves to bang on the looms too at the house.

What could be more fun?  Even if it was cold, we used blankets and huddled closer to the fire.  It was down to the mid 30's overnight.  Brrrrrrrrr

And this is what makes it all worth it! 

Why is it that air mattress companies ship them in this nice zippered pouch only made to the exact size of the professionally rolled up air mattress?  They don't leave any extra room for us amateurs rolling efforts to get it to ever possibly fit back into the pouch! ARGGGHHHHHH

The dogs were exhausted from all their playing and camping and ramming around with the grankids...  sometimes I feel the same way!

All too soon, it was time to pull out on Monday afternoon and head on home.  
Another Labor Day over, and soon Winter will be here! 


  1. Wow what a fun filled weekend for you guys with family & friends... Not to mention the great food. YUMMO!
    Have fun

  2. WOW! What a post. Thanks for sharing. Really enjoyed it.

  3. What a great time, since it stays warmer a month longer here, were hoping for at least one camping weekend at the lake with the kids and then Donna and i are going to try to visit the Tempesta'a in Florida for a week maybe in October.Then be home in time for winter and snow. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna...

  4. Karen and Stevio,
    What a great blog and get together with Paula and Mel too... Really enjoyed your post and we were going to stay home for a little while, but after getting our appetites wetted for "On the Road Again", will head for the Pacific coast, especially now that school is back in session... Will start the load out, do the maintenance checks and head out in next week or two.... really enjoy the Wisconsin Posts as I was born in Kenosha and raised in Madison and drafted in '64 and toured the world courtesy Uncle Sam for the next 30+ years.... There is a chill in the air and considering snow birding in Arizona this January until????? thanks again for sharing your posts and adventures and being such a great resource on the Safarigroups... Wild Duck and the Piper and Bonney too! Safari Serengeti with toy hauler... Bremerton Washington.

  5. Wow I'm beat and ready for bed just reading your blog..you had one super duper weekend...and it looks like it was a busy one..great friends, family and food...all is well in the world...:)

  6. A great post Karen! I miss my days as a camper.......hopefully when I become a "troll" again, moving to Traverse City, MI (BELOW the bridge), we'll manage to get back to it again. ;)

  7. Thanks so much for sharing. I love our travels and we always try to meet friends to share adventures and meals with. I enjoy your blog so much.

    We didnt go camping on labor day, but took a much needed break this past weekend. I love going spur of the moment.


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