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Friday, February 3, 2023

Time to Escape! We've Had It With Wisconsin Winter

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Trip delay

Due to a family medical situation, we have postponed our winter escape. 

Family comes first. 

(Sorry I haven't been blogging, been having a lot of difficulties with Blogger uploads. I totally deleted and reinstalled everything and also did an upgrade on my laptop. Now it works!)

Well folks, I think we've been suffering through this cold long enough. Here in Wisconsin we are in the deep dregs of winter with cold weather sub-zero wind chills. We just finished our yearly physicals and med checks with the doc, finished our taxes and handled a few other family details.  Time to hit the road!  We think it's time to seek a little warmth. Although we don't have a lot of snow this year, we DO have the wind and the cold. This is what we drove through to get up to the Walmart in Marinette to get our prescriptions last week.  ugh.....

And if a picture isn't enough
here is a video clip! 

Our temps, like the rest of the country
 are COLD!!!  
Even with the sun out, 
it's pretty much a big BRRRRRRRR!!!

We are considering heading south and getting down through Arkansas and maybe Northern Texas. From there maybe we'll head over near the Gulf and explore some on a couple day trips. Not sure how or where or what. We know it's frozen down there too right now, but by the time we get there, the temps will be back up in the 70's again. 

We checked on a couple Corps of Engineer and National Forest and State Parks that have plenty of openings.  Reservations are not ever part of our plans. We like to go on the fly and we usually find interesting places to park.  We don't go to resorts or long term rv parks.  Just wander and find interesting things and move along when we get restless.

We are also good boondockers and can do that quite easily. We really don't need RV parks and hookups. We are considering going for a couple months and not to come back to Wisconsin until the snow is melted! 


On Wednesday, it was about 20° so that was considered a heatwave for us. Steve decided to fire up the motorhome and let it come up to running temperature.  It took a while to warm up. Then he slowly pulled it forward out of it's winter parking berth alongside of the garage.

He brought it forward into the main part of the driveway so it can sit in the sunshine. Here is a video clip I shot while I was standing near the corner of the garage to watch the overhang. That roof overhang is hard for Steve to see from his side view mirrors.  I am the "watch guard" and slap my hand on the rig if he gets to close.

(just listen to that Cat Diesel PURRRRRR)

Those seats look so inviting, 
wanting us to hop in and go go go. 

We turned on the furnace to help warm it up and started loading up anything that would not freeze. All of our clothing, dry goods, odds and end supplies and anything on the list that can't freeze. I have been loading up a basket and each time Steve goes out the door, he carries it to the rig and sets it on the table for me.  Then I go out and stow things away.  I find other things in the cabinets and cupboards that we haven't used for a long time, and toss them in the basket to haul back inside, or donate to Goodwill.

Everything else we have pre-packed in bins in the house, all ready to be carried out on our launch day. These are all of the things that could freeze, and of course we will unload the house fridge and freezer to take the groceries along.  Yes, got my Two Buck Chuck Wine! 

 And we can NOT forget my sewing and knitting supplies.  My precious antique Singer Featherweight sewing machine will be one of the last things to load, and even things like the iron can crack because there is distilled water in the chamber. 

We are hoping to take off on Sunday and get through the busy Chicago area with lighter Sunday traffic and head south.  Tentatively...   

We don't like to travel far each day, but sometimes for the first day it's good to push it and get as far south as we can. The rig is fully winterized and we don't want to deal with filling the water or have freezing lines. We bring along a 5 gallon jug of bottled water with a little battery pump on top. We let that set right in the shower stall to ride for the first day or two. We can use the toilet but we keep a jug of pink RV antifreeze nearby to use for flushing. It's good enough for the first day and into the second day. After that we should be far enough South to not need that. Then we will look for somewhere that we can de-winterize and fill up with fresh water.

In the meantime, I am making lists and checking them twice. We have everything set up at home with our security cameras and house alarms, as well as all of our neighbors notified. Including the chief of police right around the corner! The sheriff's office is just down the street too so there's a constant stream of police presence in front of our home at any given time. Our neighbors are set up for helping with the snow removal, and our grandchildren are on plant watering detail and mail retrieval. 

We put all of the house plants down in the basement by my precious coleus that I winter over each year in the south facing windows.  The reason for putting the house plants down there is two fold.  First, it keeps the plants all in one spot for easy watering.  And it helps the grandkids not spill water on my hardwood floors inside the house if they get too over-zealous. 

We set up two large rain barrels full of water for them to dip watering cans into. We will be turning off and draining the water lines to the house. That way in the event of a power failure, absence of heat will not cause devastating burst pipes.

We even set up one of our security cameras in the basement so we can watch the kids and talk to them while they are watering our plants. And the added benefit is we can be sure that they shut and lock the door as they go back outside again.  Steve even put a big thermometer in the view of the screen, so we can monitor the temps in the basement.  Our security system also notifies us of power outage or furnace malfunction.  It makes it a lot easier to leave than in the old days when we first started going south in the winter. Peace of mind.


Now today.... speaking of Peace of Mind:  Steve decided we should have two new driving batteries on the motorhome. He is so meticulous when it comes to the maintenance and upkeep of our rig. I love him for that! 

We looked it up in our motorhome maintenance records and the existing ones are now 10 years old! So better to be safe than sorry.  Steve takes very good care of the two 12 volt driving chassis batteries, so we get a lot of years out of them, and also from our four deep cycle 6-volt coach batteries too.

They're on sale right now at Batteries Plus and an extra 10% off if you order online and then pick up at the store in Marinette. Got them on sale from $159.99 down to $129.99 each, plus an extra $12.99 off each one.  Technical information: Duracell 12V 31S Ultra 18 1131PMF 116.99 each on sale. Warrantied for 18 months.

Now he's out there installing the batteries. I tried to help, but there is not much that I can do this time.  He was very careful to take photos and drawings of each connection before removing the old batteries.  He took the old ones along to Marinette, so he could get back the core charge right away and not make a second trip back to return them later. 

It's quite a reach back in there, 
the pull out tray is too cold to move. 
But he's getting it done.

Too bad that side of the rig 
isn't parked in the sun.


We usually go away for large spans of time in the winter and have done so far many years--- we kind of know the drill. We know what we need to get out of town, and what to take along for a few months on the road. Plus I have lists to my lists and more of my lists. 

It's just that with Covid in 2020 and leading into more Covid health problems in 2021 ... plus not having enough facilities or campgrounds open during those years. We haven't gotten out as much as we used to. And we bought a house in 2019 that we were busy updating. It has actually been 6 years since we have gone South in the winter. We usually alternate between going to Florida, or the Gulf around Mississippi Alabama and Louisiana or we have enjoyed going out to the desert of Arizona and New Mexico, or down into Texas. We've already explored Western Texas around Big Bend and also Northern Texas. So this year we thought maybe we would check a little more to the Eastern side of Texas and check out more along the Gulf???

But our plans are made in sand, easy to change and drift in another direction if we feel like it. We do know about the horrible ice storms down in Texas this week. But we won't even be down in that area until later next week. We usually only travel 200 to 300 miles a day, and take a break. 

I think our first stop will be to central Illinois by the exit for a small town of Wenona. That is 315 miles for the first day. 

There's a wonderful little Shell gas station with a Burger King next to it that has five or six RV slots in their lot with electric hookups. They keep them plowed and are open year round. It's a nice spot to get off the road and hole up for the night. It was $15 last time we were there. (On edit- I just checked with them via phone, they are now $20 a night).

(this is a pic of us in one of their 
pull-thru slots from another year)

We can plug in and run a couple supplemental space heaters as well as our much appreciated electric mattress pad heater at night! LOL. After that, who knows? We will see and you will have to stay tuned as well to see where we end up.

In the meantime, now that I have everything planned and packed... I am playing with a NEW TOY!  It's a bugger to have to leave now that I just upgraded to a long arm sewing machine on a longer frame than I had before.  I actually ended with two of the same machines and same frames, so I sold one set last week to someone else.  Now I am playing around with this one. I used to have a similar frame and a mid-arm machine on it with speed control.  Now this one is much longer and can do a wider swath, plus also has stitch regulation.  For those of you who do not know, it's like going from riding a tricycle to riding a HARLEY!  LOL   

I will have lots of time while camping to work on more pieced quilt tops to bring home and load up on this machine and frame.  So much fun, I hate to leave it behind.  But the road is beckoning and the temps are going to warm up just enough on this weekend to ESCAPE WISCONSIN! 

Stay tuned


  1. Hey, great to see how well you two are prepped and ready for the road. Experience really counts. I would bet all those newbie RVrs wish they knew what you two know about winter traveling. On a side note, we have found in the last few years that traveling without reservations is getting harder and harder. Lots more people on the road than there were six years ago. I wish you luck with this. Even some of the Forest Service, State Parks, and COE parks will not let us park without a reservation. Such a pain in the patootie. Don't even get me started on the National Parks. You even need a reservation to simply drive into the park in many of them. Hopefully where you are headed will be nice and warm. Our winter trip south was cold cold cold this year, so we are hoping next year will be a bit warmer. Travel Safe.

  2. Sorry Karen but we are not frozen down here in south Texas. I am at Falcon State Park right now and it is beautiful weather as usual.

  3. So glad you figured out this blogger problem, I figured I would have to do the same, up grade the laptop and delete the blog and start over again.
    So happy you Steve are getting on the road for a few months to warmer places. Safe travels.

  4. Time to go have some fun. Will be interested in your adventures. We are planning on heading out again in March, as we did last year. Stay safe and warm.

  5. Sure glad you all are back. If you all make it down to Texas just want to let you know that HEB the grocery chain has those Maple Leaf cookies you mentioned a while back that you like. They are not the brand you mentioned. I searched for the ones you you like at HEB but they don't carry them. HEB has Central Market Maple Leaf cookies which I had never tried and they are delicious. I also tried the pumkin spice which is also delicious. You all take care and stay safe.

    1. I love HEB heavy duty aluminum foil. It is so much thicker/heavier than the Reynolds heavy duty. I bought 3 boxes last winter, and hope to get to an HEB this winter to restock.

  6. Good to see you and Stevio heading out on an adventure again...I'm jealous...it's -19 here in Maine this morning !

  7. Safe travels. Thank you for the information about the RV parking at Wenona. We'll add that to our list of possible overnight stops. We're headed out late next week. Our usual first stop is at Boomland, Charleston MO just off I 57. I think they are now $25/night for full hookups. No amenities really, but great for overnight. We've also found the WalMart at Lincoln, IL to be a good stop. It's a bit off the freeway, but quiet and safe. We're headed for Louisiana and may spend some time at COE near Texarkana or state parks in LA. Fontainbleu on Lake Ponchartrain outside Baton Rouge was nice when we stayed there 4 years ago. Heads up that some COE required online reservations last year--I think it varies from campground to campground. We wanted to extend a day and had to do it online. Quick and easy to do.

  8. Good to see your blog up and running again - I was missing you! Glad you're headed into warmer climes and have all your bits & bobs for your projects packed. Will be looking forward to your next post, and as always, stay safe out there.

  9. You need to go to Mexico where the really good weather is. Once you find out how easy it is, you may never go home again! www.travelwithkevinandruth.com


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