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Sunday, September 20, 2020

CAMPGROUND REVIEW - The Dells of The Eau Claire Campground, Marathon County, Wisconsin

It was our last day at Chute Pond County Park on Thursday. (See my last post for the review of that place.) 

We sat there looking at each other and wondering if we should head on home, or try looking for another campground for another day or two. Being retired is pretty nice. "Plans Made in Jello", ya know? We thought we should find a little campground that maybe wouldn't be too busy for Thursday and Friday perhaps?

Steve remembered an interesting little place over about 15 or 20 miles east of Wausau, Wisconsin in the middle of the state. It was only one more hour drive from where we were right now. It was called The Dells of The Eau Claire. It was on the Eau Claire River. He heard about a little county park in the Marathon County Park system.

We looked it up online, and their reservation system only allows you to reserve two nights at a time, not just one night. Plus, it wouldn't let you reserve for that current day, so we really couldn't see if there were any openings that night or not. We decided to take our chances and see if we could get a campsite for even one night, if possible.  The website said the future reservations are posted on each site when we get there. If a site is not taken for that night, you can occupy it as a "first come" basis and fill out a tag at the self registration station.  But if it's reserved the next day, you have to vacate by 3 p.m.

We loaded up and got roadworthy in just a few minutes time. We hooked up the Saturn on the back and headed on out. It was a beautiful day for a drive, with low wind, beautiful sunshine, and the smoke from the big fires out west was finally starting to clear due to a cold air front coming down from the north. 

We pulled into the small campground that was meticulous and neat. Each site post had a tag saying what dates that the campsite was reserved. We were fortunate to find one that was available available for both Thursday and Friday nights! It was reserved for Saturday for someone, but we could stay for two nights on that one. We popped our money in the self pay post after filling out the envelope and hanging the tag on our site. We were on site 22. Every single site in this campground is nice, level, and big rig accessible. Most of them are electric, there are a few that are not. The recently updated campground electrical posts have 50 amp, 30 amp, and 20 amp all on the same post.  The road is paved, and each site has crushed gravel to help avoid muddy spots.  Most of the sites are wooded, a few are more open near the firewood kiosk. 

We got all set up on our campsite and enjoyed some afternoon golden sunshine filtering in through the trees. I LOVE FALL!  The temps were pleasant, but cold weather was due according to the forecast. 

The rate at this park is $20 a night. That includes electric. We did notice one water spigot near the wood kiosk, but it was unthreaded.  To fill your tank, you would need a "Water Bandit" device to be able to temporarily clamp-on to get water to fill an rv freshwater tank. Your best bet is to fill up somewhere else before you arrive at the campsite. There is no dump station, nor are there any flush toilets or shower buildings. There is a firewood selling kiosk, but it's only manned for a few hours a day at various times. Cell phone signals are sporadic and even with a booster, they would fade out. TV channels were numerous, and no problem getting channels scanned in with the rooftop antenna.  It's about 15-20 miles from any town, so stock up on things before you go. The rest of the information can be found from this link below:

Our impression of the campground, as well as the entire park, with all of its hiking trails, shelter buildings, parking spaces, and facilities were meticulously maintained. Everything was in beautiful shape and we could tell it was a well-loved park by the people who work there.

We walked down by the water, which is a river called the Eau Claire. The water levels are very high right now, so the swimming beach is just about non-existent.

Here is a map of the entire park area,
 which is on both sides of the road:

Here's a little map of the actual campground sites. We were on site 22. Every single site was just as nice as the next and I really didn't think there were any bad campsites at all. 

Watching the waters rush by in the beautiful afternoon sunlight was absolutely peaceful and relaxing. The flickering of golden sunlight through the trees, was creating dappled images down below.

We walked on some of the trails that followed alongside the river to get down to the Dells area near the bridge. All of the paths were coated with an extra layer of crushed rock that made it easy to walk on and comfortable for the dogs too.  Strollers and wheelchairs would make it as well. 

We saw this beautiful multi layered rock alongside one of the hiking trails. I am sure it's been formed by many many years of rushing water flowing over it. Absolutely beautiful----

We made it down to the Dells area, which was just a short walk from the campgrounds. It is easily accessible. The waterfalls were beautiful as the water rushed from level to level, crashing it's way downstream.

I know still pictures of waterfalls 
are kind of boring, 
but try to just imagine the sounds
 of the rushing waters.

The sun started to go down and the beautiful colors were dancing across the tops of the trees and the rocks.

There seems to be a lot of shale rock in this area, which creates nice flat ledges of stone. The water worked it's way down from platform to platform, as it crashed to the rocks below.

Here is one of the large log buildings that are available to rent for picnics or parties. Everything was so well kept in in Tip-Top shape.  Some are enclosed and some are open pavilions.

This cute little well pump is right near the picnic area. I remember pumping on these as a kid,when we would stop at waysides to get fresh water.

This is one of the picnic areas with some beautiful new playground equipment. There are four or five different parking areas and everything is arranged nicely. There is also a handicap accessible trail and path to a viewing platform.

This is an interesting old stone bridge that County Highway Y crosses over through the middle of the park. It's a piece of art all of its own. Further down the river there's also another little walking bridge made of stone, called The High Bridge,  but we didn't get that far.

We made it back to our campsite to start dinner and relax for the evening. The trees in this part of the state are starting to turn autumn colors with brighter yellows and some golds. We even saw some vivid reds. 

This next photo is from sitting right in the lawn chairs next to the motorhome at our campsite:

We met another couple who were full-timers in their class C motorhome. (Hello Barb and Ron!)  They have two little Shelties who travel with them full-time, and they frequent campgrounds here in Wisconsin summers, and then winter near Pensacola, Florida. They do stints of camphosting as well.  Finney and Binney enjoyed meeting a new doggie friend. They were all wriggling and sniffing so fast I couldn't get a good pic.  We socially distanced, but the doggers didn't! 

We enjoyed chatting with them on and off throughout our stay. We also showed them Steve's Flame Genie pellet fire pit. They are thinking of getting one themselves. So of course Steve had to bring it over and fire it up for them so they could see how it works. We hope to maybe run into them again, perhaps sometime when we're down near the Pensacola area we can meet up on our way through to visit our folks down by Ocala.

The weather turned much cooler. We were down in the low thirties at night. The days were only up in the 50s. But we were cozy warm inside of the motorhome.  When we have 50 amp service, we run a little electric heater as well as the propane one, to supplement the temp inside and make things nice.  Also an electric mattress pad heater at night is appreciated when we have power hookups! 

But----- both of us started feeling punky.  Not sure if it was allergies from the fall weather, or if we caught some kind of cold?  We are always apprehensive that it could be covid, but we are so very careful. The only one we have been around who was sick was little granddaughter Claire who had allegeries and stuffed up coughing, perhaps a bit of a cold last week.  We are hoping that is all it is. Time will tell. Not enough to make us "in bed sick" just kinda groggy and head stuffy and sore throat-ish. That is why we are thinking allergies. We took some meds and felt okay, but avoided anyone else just in case. 

I had brought along some apple cider and this wonderful mix from Mud Creek Coffee Shop in Stockbridge, Wisconsin. It's a blend of cinnamon, brown sugar, cloves, and other spices. It is made for mulled wine or mulled apple cider. I just put one scoop in each of our cups with apple cider and heated it up in the microwave. Boy, was it delicious. The smell was heavenly and the taste was wonderful on a cool crisp fall day.  It felt good on our sore throats. 

In one of my previous blogs I had mentioned about adding all of the new under cabinet LED lighting. Here you can see it all glowing nicely while we settled in for an evening of Yahtzee, while we sipped our apple cider.

We are quite pleased with how the lighting turned out, and we don't regret a bit spending about $100 to do it all on every light fixture throughout the coach.  It will be great when we are  boondocking without power hookups. Less drain on the batteries when relaxing overnight. Then they recharge the next day with the solar panels on the roof. Free power! 

Sometimes when we are camping, we like to just sit and relax, or take walks with the dogs, or sit around the campfire. 

Other times my fingers get itchy and I want to work on something. 

Sometimes I bring along knitting. 
Sometimes I bring along a spinning wheel. 
Sometimes I bring along a table weaving loom. 
And sometimes I bring along my quilting. 

I hauled out my basket of fabric and set up my sewing machine. I keep a sewing machine in the motorhome at all times, as well as a duplicate set of all of my quilting tools that are used most often.  Much easier than trying to pack up gear each time we go.  At least that is my excuse for having extra sewing machines!  LOL  

(in the background you can see our little Lasko electric heater on the stool).

I extended the table with one more leaf, it has another one to make it even longer.  I put out all of my gear and was working on a quilt called The Farmer's Wife.  I will explain more about that once I get more blocks done, in a future blog.

One of my readers asked me, what does Steve do when you're busy doing your own fiber projects when you are camping? Well, he's usually either puttering around fixing things on the motorhome, maybe he's fishing, maybe he's found someone to play a game of horseshoes with him, maybe he is cooking dinner, or other times he just kicks back and relaxes. Like this:

Of course, since we're both feeling a little punky, we didn't want to go out or about or do much of anything the last day or so at the campground. Not sure what is getting us down, but we decided that we would pack up earlier on Saturday and head home. It was earlier than we had planned. Some family drama was erupting and we needed a better cell phone signal to keep in touch. But we managed to gear up the energy to get ourselves roadworthy, hook on the Saturn, and head on down the road back home.

It was a beautiful blue sky day 
and the trees in the middle part of the state
 seem to be turning more colors 
then over on the Eastern section.

I just love the sumac along the roadsides. To me that's one of the first signs of fall is when the bright red sumac leaves emerge. They are just striking, and it's hard to capture the beauty even with a cell phone camera as we fly on down the road.

We made it home with no problems, but both of us are still feeling a little groggy. We swung by the dump station here in Oconto. For a mere $2 fee we can dump our tanks when we get home... so campgrounds without dump stations are not a problem for us.  We know we can always dump a mile or so away from our home. 

We unloaded the few things that needed to come out of the motor home, and plop the dirty laundry in the washing machine. Then it was time for a nice long afternoon nap!

It's now Sunday morning, and we are feeling a bit brighter. Steve is out cutting the lawn and I am working on this blog and doing a few little tasks around the house. I am thinking it might be an apple pie baking day?  

At noon is the football game, will be strange to see Lambeau Field without any spectators, such is the world we live in, eh?


  1. The shot of the trees in your campsite is stunning. Hope you're both feeling better soon. Take care and stay well!

  2. Thank you for sharing your photos and your views. Love the fact that you're quilting while camping.

    Stay safe and enjoy your camping life.

  3. Good to see you guys camping. I have the 99 Serengeti and been getting it ready for this winter in the southwest. Just figured how to get the Hurricane heating system going so I'm ready with heat. Next summer Dolly and I will have to head up your way for a camping trip. Studying to get my CDL so I will be legal. Stay safe.


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