We were on a fall fourwheeling weekend with a group of folks up in the U.P. at Bob Lake near Ontonagon, MI. And the particular reason I remember that weekend (besides being unseasonably warm) is that the guys went up first on Friday and brought up the campers and fourwheelers to the campground, but I hung back in Iron River to teach a class at the library. I came up later on Saturday to join them. This was back when we were pulling a 33 ft Sierra travel trailer with our Jeep Grand Wagoneer. Now wouldn't you expect our guys to have PAID for the campsites when they first got there? But noooooooo ... they hopped on the ATV's and took off on the trails! On Saturday, along comes Mr. Ranger Sir and proceeds to write us all tickets because the guys never thought to pay! Their excuse? The WOMEN usually take care of that! LOL .. Didn't matter to Mr. Ranger Sir, no siree. He said he HAD to write us the tickets, and honestly because Steve and I were from Wisconsin, he could actually IMPOUND our vehicle and trailer if he really wanted to, until our court date. Can you imagine them having that much power? But they do, they really do! He was very nice though, and it was a part of his job. So we invited him to sit down and have a meal with us, as that is what were doing, cooking supper! And he did! Of course I went and filled out an envelope and put in the appropriate funds, but I think it was $175 fine too.
(despite the fines, that was a fun weekend!)
But back to 2011 and camping this weekend.
On Saturday afternoon, we piled into the Tracker and took a little journey around the area. We explored some of the WE Energies campsites along the dammed up river. They have two big hydro electric dams and various recreational sites along the shores of the waterways. But the fees for those places are $12 a night to camp with NO amenities, while Chalk Hills Campground is only $15 a night with electric and water available at the entrance! Chalk Hills is going to expand soon and add a dump station and possibly more sites in the future too. Oh, and the WE Energies campsites are all closed already for the season, with the exception of one along the western south shore... but that particular campground is for only campers withOUT holding tanks???? Yup, that is what the sign says. Now WHY they don't allow campers with holding tanks don't make a lot of sense to me. None of their four recreational areas have any type of dump stations or water, so there is no reason to limit one of the four areas from RVs with holding tanks? So I guess it means a popup camper or a tent can use the sites where they dump dishwater and whatever on the ground, but campers with holding tanks like us who take it back home are not allowed in? Forget it, we will spend $3 more and go to Chalk Hills Campground where we are welcomed.
After our ride, we headed back towards the campground and found a pretty "Two Track" road that looped through the woods and along the river and then back out to the road again. It was cute and we ambled on through with the Tracker, not needing to put it in four wheel drive. It sure was purty!
A nice afternoon nap called to us, and then we grilled up a scrumptious supper of chicken breasts, baked taters in tinfoil with onion, butter and a squirt of oil to keep them from burning, and some cobs of roasted sweet corn. Ahhh Steveio poured the wine and we feasted like royalty.
(Hey GoofyMary... if you are reading this.... notice the table cloth? LOL !! I coveted GoofyMary's like this, and found out she bought it in Mexico. I bought one too when we went shopping together down there. Plus, we use your pewter bottle cork that you gave us ALL the time as it allows the half used bottles to fit in our fridge with that topper on)
Steve fired up our little electric chainsaw and buzzed up some logs that were waiting at our site. This campground encourages you to burn up any deadfall wood you find laying around, so chainsaws are not prohibited as they are in most parks.
Now, before you big macho woodsman guys laugh at our little electric saw, you gotta understand WHY we bought it. Rather, I bought it for Steve for Xmas.
Because our motorhome runs on diesel, we don't have any need to ever haul along gasoline. Our basement storage on our diesel pusher is all one large open area, lined with nice carpeting and kept clean and neat. There are no small vented compartments. We don't want a stinky gassy chain saw leaking or a stinky gas can with fumes underneath our rig in storage.
An electric chainsaw only requires a small bottle of bar lube and a power cord. The saw is wiped clean and kept neat like any power tool, to be put into a tote and hauled around with ease. We always have our generator and a long cord, so he can cut wood at any time Steve feels like it. Our generator is built into our rig and runs on propane.
I used to have a cute little electric chainsaw for that very purpose myself, before I met Steve. I had a generator on my Winnebago motorhome and could cut up fire wood right in the campsite. Steve thought it was silly and gave it away to my folks. But then afterwards, he was thinking he should have one afterall. So Santa took care of it.
Yes, I used to drive my own motorhome and go camping with my little girls before I met Steveio. A big old beastie 1972 Winnebago Chieftain.
Gosh, how I loved that rig!!!
Into the evening, our campfire burned a welcoming blaze while I hauled out my spinning wheel and spun some wool into yarn for knitting socks. I can do the spinning in the dark, as it's mostly by feel than by sight. Relaxing with the faint whispering whrrrrrrrrr of the wheel and we sat late into the night, talking and enjoying the moonlight streaming through the trees. It was so warm that we didn't even need jackets or long sleeves. Silly--- the dogs wanted to go into bed early, but we stayed out and enjoyed the the night.
As of Sunday, we were warming up fast. We took a nice walk on the hiking trail around the outside perimeter of the campground, and came back to take a shower by 9 a.m.! We were soon up to 80 degrees and hot sun again, that was finding us seeking shade with the lawnchairs as the sun moved across the sky, brightly filtering into our campsite among the tall hardwoods.
It was getting pretty hot in my "Outdoor Office" as I was working on some socks during the morning hours.
As I sit in the woods and crank, I have music (usually celtic or classical, sometimes 70's rock) playing quietly on my MP3 player. The little speakers are powered by the MP3 player's AAA battery and work well, and don't waste power like using the big stereo and surround sound system inside the motorhome. The speakers are also quieter when setting alongside of me as I work. I don't like being subjected to other people's music, so I don't want to subject them to mine either. This works out rather well for me.
I sip coffee from the mug one of the kids gave me one year, for Mother's Day. I update the pics of the grandkids that circle the mug. The bottom unscrews to allow new photos to be slipped in. Because I can not get all three sides at once, I took three shots and added them all into one photo! A Granmuddah has to be fair, ya know!
The campground owner, Linda, and her daughter came to see us at our site, as they had something to drop off (an aerobic step device that could be used as an extra step from the motorhome if parked on uneven ground) ... we visited for a while and told them how much we enjoyed their great campground.
They had passed on our names to some other campers from Gillett, WI that were camping a couple sites away from us. They were looking for information on how to find campgrounds when they travel from the road.... they are hoping to soon retire and hit the road too in their lovely motorhome. (hello Chrissie and Richard?) They are going to tune in to our blog now too and see what we are up to.
Speaking of blogs, Karen of http://florida-georgiacamping.blogspot.com/ asked for more information about my Galaxy Tablet.
We used to have an aircard from AT&T but we were always considered to be "roaming" even when sitting at our own house, so AT&T asked that we change providers or start paying roaming fees when sitting at our own house or get cut off! So we decided to change over to Verizon with all of our phones and aircard internet service. When we stopped at the Verizon store in Green Bay to sign up, the wonderful clerk showed us this Samsung Galaxy Tablet instead of an aircard or the Passport or Hotspot. He said it works better, draws in the signal easier, and is also portable if you don't want to take along a laptop in the car or motorhome. By signing a contract, along with various discounts and rebates, it was about $80 to buy the tablet. It acts like an aircard and the charge is $59 a month for 5GB of data limit. One can purchase a higher data plan if desired. It creates a "wifi bubble" about 100 feet around that both of our laptops can use to access the internet. Actually five laptops can run off it at the same time, plus one person can be surfing the web on the actual tablet itself too. It even works as you are moving down the road, just like our aircard did.
It is also a GPS, a digital camera, a video camera, an MP3 player to play music, it can access the internet itself and uses a lot of interesting apps. It is the only way we access the internet now, even while at home. We keep ours in a leather flip-case and keep the screen protected with a plastic film layer that can be changed if it gets too dirty or scratched. Hope that answers your questions, Karen!
Sigh... after 4p.m. and it was time to pack up and head on home. It's a Sunday night Packer Game, so we didn't have to rush. Fueled up on our way home, the diesel has come down to $3.65 a gallon! Whew.. sure beats that $4.50 stuff a while back. Once home (as I type this) now Steve is using the mascerator and dumping our holding tanks into our household septic system.
Home again, home again, jiggedy jig....