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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wisconsin State Park Volunteer Jamboree 2013

The State of Wisconsin hosted a Thank You party called a Volunteer Jamboree for all the camp hosts and other volunteers to attend last weekend.  We were treated to three days free camping at Point Beach State Forest, on the shores of Lake Michigan.

We went Sunday after the Crafty Apple Fest in Chilton was done (will do a blog post about that later)  and loaded up our rig to drive the quick 40 miles or so to the park.  Our campsite was already open and waiting for us....

Point Beach State Forest is along the dunes of Lake Michigan, but the campground is nestled in the heavily wooded cedars along the route to the lodge at the north end of the park.  We were within walking distance of the Lodge where most of the activities were held.

The first event on the schedule was to get to the Lodge in time for the Packer Game kickoff at 3:15.  We found good spots up near the TV with some of the other hosts from High Cliff, Rosie and Luke.
(although the Packers lost, it was a good game!) 

We had some interesting speakers throughout the weekend.  They talked about the parks and their plans and how to cope with shrinking budgets and took suggestions on how to make things better....   It was good for the actual camp hosts to give feedback, as we are the ones "in the trenches" so to speak.

We heard talks on the shipwrecks and light house, about ice cream sundaes being invented in Two Rivers, and other local information.   The three day jamboree was sprinkled with various prizes to be won.  We didn't happen to win one, but we did get two bright yellow Volunteer Jamboree t-shirts!

Various tours were offered at different things in the Manitowoc/Two Rivers area.  We got a special viewing at the Point Beach Light House....  What is interesting is that this lighthouse was first built as a Chicago River Lightstation at the Chicago Harbor, and was later transported by barge up to Point Beach.  It was in 1894 when it was installed as their warning beacon for the jutting out portion of land called Rawley Point, which was notorious for shipwrecks.   http://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=252

 Before the lighthouse was built, 26 ships foundered or stranded on the point. They included 20 schooners, a barge, two steamers, and three brigs. The most tragic sinking in the point's unpleasant history occurred in 1887, when the steamship Vernon went down in heavy seas. One of the largest, steamers on the lakes at the time, the Vernon took 36 crew members and passengers to their deaths. The sinking remains a mystery. 
Also famous was the "Christmas Tree Ship" called the Rouse Simmons that sank in 1912.

We crossed the sand dunes to get out to the lakeshore and beach area of Lake Michigan.  The day was kinda grey and cloudy, but it was warm and humid and muggy.  If not for the breeze, I think it would have been a real scorcher!

A little silliness on the beach with fellow camphosts Judy and Rosie.  Just after Steve snapped this pic, a big wave came up behind us and reached mid-thigh to get us wet!!!!

One of the scheduled tours we chose to do was over to London Dairy Alpaca Farm in Two Rivers.  I will do a blog post about that later because I have wayyyyyy too many pics to add here!   Plus it will be of interest to my fellow fiber blog readers and I can send them a link to come and read about our fiber tour.

Once we were done with our tours, Steveio took a nap and I did some knitting out in my lawn chair to pass the time.  This is when something AMAZING happened!

As I sat there knitting, I felt something hit my leg, a tiny "tap"... and I looked down to see my diamond from my engagement ring setting on my pants leg!!!!    It had fallen right out of the setting on my finger!

Now, I could have lost it at the lodge, or in the sand on the beach, or at the light house, or heaven forbid in the alpaca DOO-DOO at the farm we had toured an hour before!  But nooooooooo ----- lucky lucky lucky me had it fall out right where I saw it and felt it!   (it is now at the jeweler's getting reset back onto the ring with new stronger prongs!) 

Now  back to our regularly scheduled program:

The campsites were roomy and well spaced apart, but our site was close to the nearby county road and we could hear and see the traffic through the trees.  These sites were selected by the group organizing the Jamboree so beggars can't be choosers!  Next time I think we will select a site closer to the water where we used to camp a lot when my kids were little.

The Monday night event was a special treat... a FISH BOIL!     This is a "local thing" and MUST be experienced if you ever visit the western shores of Lake Michigan.

Here is what Wikipedia says about a Fish Boil:
A fish boil is a Great Lakes culinary tradition in areas of Wisconsin (USA) and along the coastal Upper Great Lakes, with large Scandinavian populations. Fish boils enjoy a particularly strong presence in Door County, Port Wing and Port Washington, Wisconsin. The meal most often consists of Lake Michigan or Lake Superior whitefish (though lake trout or locally caught salmon can be used), with other ingredients.
The fish is typically caught by local fishermen, cut into small chunks and cooked in boiling water with red potatoes. Some boilers add onions as well. Salt is the only seasoning used, and used only to raise the specific gravity of the water.
The cooking of the fish is an elaborate presentation. Restaurants typically ask that patrons arrive a half hour early to witness the boiling. The fish and potatoes are prepared in a cast-iron kettle. When the water comes to a boil, the potatoes, kept in a wire basket, are lowered in.
The fish are then placed in another wire basket and lowered in. After 9-10 minutes, when the fish are cooked, the oils rise to the top of the pot. The boiler then tosses a small amount of kerosene on the flames and the increase in flames causes a boilover. The fish oils spill over the side of the pot and the fish is done. The fish chunks remain whole and firm. Chefs usually drip melted butter over the fish before serving. The dish is known locally as "poor man's lobster."
The fish boil was started at the Viking Grill in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin by then grill owners Annette and Lawrence Wickman when they decided to duplicate the trout boils held by local churches and civic groups but instead use the local whitefish.

We ate our plates of fish so fast, I didn't have time to take a pic!   Our fish boil included small red potatoes, carrots, onions and sweet corn.  They ladled melted butter over the whole thing and it was just a wonderful taste and flavor of lobster.

The park staff finished off our meal with a dessert cake thanking the volunteers of the Wisconsin State Park System.

We were given a certificate of appreciation, 
and then treated with an evening of musical entertainment. 

Storms were blowing in, so we rushed back to the motorhome to roll up the awning and put away our lawn chairs.  Since we were mostly "stowed" away, we decided to drive home the 40 miles and not stay overnight at the park as planned.  It was dark and we usually don't like driving at night in the motorhome, but since there weren't any big events scheduled the next day other than a breakfast, we went home.  As we drove west away from the lakeshore, the winds increased and the temps rose steadily.  By the time we got home, it had increased from mid-70's up to 84, hot muggy and stormy....    We drove into the yard and unhooked the Tracker while the heat was almost unsufferable.  After two days of camping along the cooler lakeshore, it was amazing how much hotter it was inland.

We unloaded the main things from the motorhome and had the usual fight with Duke in the driveway about coming into the house.  We turned off the yard light and waited for the little chicken to come to the door and ask to come in!  LOL

Our house was closed up tight all weekend and was nicely cool inside when we got home.  We did turn on the AC the next day to combat the heat and humidity that we were plagued with afterwards.  Now on Thursday, we have woken up to cooler temps, lower humidity, and might not even reach 70 today!  I just checked the weather station, and we are only 64 here in Chilton, and it's after 10 a.m..

Now that it's cooler, I have all the windows open and fresh air blowing in.  Time to get some weaving done, as the temps are perfect for working in my loom room.

Speaking of windows and my Loom Room....  many years ago the previous owners of our house replaced the large window in my Loom Room with a newer one.  We are not sure if the old window broke or if they wanted just a modern crankout style for ventilation?   The leaded glass portion was not salvaged and never to be found in the garage attic.  Sigh.  But Steveio found one JUST like the other two windows in our dining and livingroom!   He was browsing Craigslist and came across one.  We called and it measured EXACTLY 44 inches wide which is what we needed!   For only $50 we snapped it up.  The seller had gotten over 15 calls after we called.  But he saved it for us mainly because he said we were going to use it on our own home and not buying it to resell to make a profit.  He saw some on Ebay in the $200-300 range.  He now wished he had priced it a lot higher, but sold to us as agreed for $50.  Thanks, Dave!
I will post more later about the install.  
Steve plans to put the panel up in a frame along the inside of the existing window
 to recreate it's look to match the other larger windows in our home! 


  1. I've found those volunteer get-together's to always be enjoyable. It's always nice to be appreciated.

  2. I think you stole that window! Congratulations on being the first to respond.

  3. I think you did qa great job explaining that jamboree! Not an easy task.

    Glad you enjoyed it so much!

  4. That is a great picture of you and Steve, with your cute dimple showing! And what a lovely appreciation program they had for the volunteers. That is way more than I've ever experienced, and I would love a fish boil I think.

    Could it be something to do with Ducky not being in the house that has Duke uncomfortable about coming in?

  5. Naw Gypsy, he always did this. He just wants to be IN the motorhome and camping!!! During the week at home he is fine going in and out of the house for potty etc. Just that he HATES to come back from camping trips. haha


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