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Sunday, May 21, 2023

CAMPGROUND REVIEW- Ada Lake in the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest near Wabeno WI

Midweek camping in the National Forest is a wonderful way to get away from it all. We love the peace and quiet of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Many of their campgrounds in our area are about 60 to 80 miles away from our home. The National Forest accepts the Federal Senior Access Pass, which allows for half price camping. The rustic camping at this campground is $15 a night, after our pass that brings it down to $7.50.

We headed to Ada Lake which is a National Forest Campground about 6 miles west of Wabeno WI. 

There are 19 sites that are available and the host site which has electrical hookups. The rest of them are all rustic with no hookups. Sometimes that's the way to go--- to get away from any noise and music and singing out loud neighbors! See my previous post for more on that!!! Lol

We tossed in our gear and headed out on Wednesday morning. It was a beautiful ride up and we stopped first in the little town of Suring for a breakfast at Laverne & Gail's Diner.

We pulled into the campground about 1:00 p.m. there were only three other campsites that were occupied out of the 19 sites. They are spread far apart with a lot of natural undergrowth and tall trees separating the sites. There is also a very nice swimming area marked off with a sandy beach for visitors. 

Here is the website:


Everything is just starting to green up at this time in May in this area of Wisconsin. 

Here is a campground map, about six of the sites are waterfront and very beautiful. We were lucky to nab number 8. Number 10 on the other side of us was still open all the while we were there.

There is usually potable water available at a faucet spigot right at the entrance of the campground near the pay post. For some reason it said not available yet, even though the campground opened up on May 5th. They may be doing well water testing yet or perhaps there's a problem with the pump. The campground host site does have electricity and has access to the water at the spigot from the pump house. The rest of the sites are rustic with no hookups. There is a well-type pitcher pump located part way through the park and two sets of clean out houses. There is no dump station.

Cellular service is very thin. We had one bar that would fade in and out. But using our Weeboost antenna booster in our rig we were able to pull in two and three bars if needed. Television stations were available from Rhinelander during the day and then at night from multiple areas including Green Bay. Those other stations faded out during the day.

The nearest town is Wabeno which does have a small convenience type gas station store and a few little bars and an ice cream stand.  There's also a casino nearby and a few other restaurants and supper clubs within 20 miles. We don't go for those type of touristy amenities, we just go to get out in the woods. 

This National Forest campground is first come first serve. Once you occupy a site and put your money in the post it's yours until you are ready to leave. You can stay up to 14 days. You can pay day by day if you wish or pay for the full two weeks if you wish. We paid for 2 days and got ourselves set up. 

This is the lakeshore right at our campsite. Absolutely beautiful and serene and quiet. There are cabins on the other side of the lake. The lake is an "electric motor only" lake, no gas motors. One person did have a canoe that went out one day, but that's about all we saw during our stay. 

The shoreline is rugged and full of tree roots. It's kind of fun to walk along and look at all of the different shapes as the erosion has removed a lot of the dirt around these roots. Very interesting... 

While we were walking around, we came across this huge mushroom. At first I thought it was a coiled up snake on the log! I've never seen a mushroom like this. Steve put his hand out next to it just to show the size of it. No, he did not touch it. And of course, we did not pick it nor did we eat it! We later found out it's called a pheasant back mushroom?

We could hear loons calling across the lake over near the boat landing somewhere. We think they are nesting somewhere cuz at one point they were squawking furiously. That usually happens if somebody comes near their nest. It's best to stay away and leave them in peace.

Walking over from the campground towards the boat landing there is a marshy area and a cute little stream rippling down through the woods. Steve could hear the water running before we even got to it. It was kind of like a little mini waterfall. A nice footbridge is built across it so we could complete our walk to the boat landing. 

Over at the boat landing there were a few turtles that had been up on this log. As we approached, they quickly slipped into the water. We observed a few fish jumping, but because we haven't renewed our licenses yet for this year, we did not drop a line in. 

The mosquitoes were getting a little pesty as well as the sand gnats. We set out a couple ThermaCELL  units and it did a great job. If you don't know what ThermaCELL s are, here is a link to their company:

Wednesday night, we went to bed after spending a couple hours over at the next door neighbors. All three other campers were together as a group and they shared one campfire. They invited us to come over and spend some time with them. They were delightful people and we had a lot of fun visiting with them. We knew some people in common and they don't live too far away from us. I'm sure we will see them again somewhere down the line

It got a tad bit chilly on Wednesday night. When we woke up on Thursday the temperature was at 34°. We were toasty warm inside with our Mr Buddy heater. We didn't really want to run the big propane furnace because it does wear down the batteries quickly. Currently, our motorhome only has two 12 volt Interstate batteries and they do not have a large capacity nor a high number of amp hours. Just watching TV and LED lights on and things like the water pump took them down to about 60% overnight.

This is the perfect reason to have solar panels. On our last RV we had 500 watts of solar panels mounted right up on the roof. There are quite a few drawbacks to having them on the roof, so this time we opted to just get some portable sets. I wrote about them in my last blog along with our reasons pros and cons. We decided to take along 100 watts worth of the panels. We have an additional set of 100 Watts sitting at home in the garage. Steve set them up and got them hooked up to charge the batteries. 

Once the sun moved around, they were in the shade. These are amorphous panels and will still charge in daylight or cloudy weather but not as fast. So then he moved them again to another sunny spot further back in the gravel drive. We like the option of being able to park in the shade in the hot summer months and just have the panels out in the sunny areas for charging. 

While he was playing around with that, I set up my sewing machine. I love bringing along this little antique Singer Featherweight. It travels in a small case tucked away in the closet. It's so handy and I love to sit outside and do my quilting. But this time I wasn't doing quilts. Instead I was doing something for our new solar panels!

I had taken some old flannel sheets and pillow cases along. I was making soft flannel fabric sleeves to put around each solar panel. That way when they are put away in storage, they will not get scratched if they rub up against each other. 

Here is the first one, made to size. They are 15 in wide and 39 in long. The neighbors came by and first thought it was silly that I was sewing. But then when I explained what I was doing they thought it was a good idea. I have a small inverter that can run my sewing machine rather than using the large inverter for the whole motorhome. Either way I can sew.... or I can kick on the generator to produce electricity as well. 

I also made 4 small drawstring bags that the attached cords could be bundled up and stuffed inside to prevent scratching on the solar panel. With the little drawstrings at top they would not be dangling around or getting stuffed in the sleeve with the rest of the solar panel. 

Now here is a red buffalo checked one finished. I just draped them across the panel to show what I was making. They can be folded up and stowed away while the panels are set up gathering the sun's rays and generating electricity. Then when it's time to stow them in our compartment, each panel back kickstand folds flat and slides into the flannel sleeve. 

Here is a photo when it came time to put them away. There are four separate sleeves, two red and two blue. And then four little drawstring bags all red. I don't care that the fabric doesn't match. I just want the panels to be protected and not getting beaten up during travel. 

Thursday afternoon the sky has clouded over. Some of it was a result from the heavy wildfires up in Canada. 

Around supper time, we were grilling out a slab of salmon to go with our salads and mashed potatoes. We flipped on the TV and got a weather warning. Due straight west of the campground was a line of storms moving rapidly across Wisconsin. They were predicting thunder and lightning, and gusty winds as well as HAIL!

We were thinking this really doesn't sound too good. This area of the state always seems to get hit with tornadoes. Seems like they just recover from one and another comes through in a year or two and demolishes stuff again. The whole area through from Antigo to Lakewood to Mountain to Townsend etc always seems to get hit. 

It takes us less than 15 minutes to get packed up. We decided for the 1 hour to get home we could be 2 hours ahead of the storm front as we traveled East. So we did just that. As we tossed our trash into the bins near the entrance of the park, we made one more loop around to tell the neighboring folks about the upcoming storms. They were just getting ready to start their supper and said they will hunker down for a while and see how it looks on their cell phones. Only one of them was getting a signal and even then it was pretty faint. So we gave them the most updated weather report and left them to make their own choice.

We were the Blue Dot

We headed on home and had enough time to get in the driveway and get our gear unloaded. We unloaded the refrigerator and turned things off. The storms rolled through our area about 2 hours later. Yes, there were gusty winds and tons of thunder and lightning. As the storm front rolled through fortunately we didn't get any hail here. But north of us they did. So I'm glad we made the decision to come home. Being in an area of heavy tree branches of fully mature old trees could cause problems. Best to avoid it and give up one night $7.50 worth of camping fee. It was going to rain all day Friday anyhow so it didn't matter if we came home Thursday night or Friday morning. Better safe than sorry. 


  1. You definitely made the most of your time there. Good call to get out before the storm hit!! You just never know.

  2. It's always fun doing the final customizations and tweaks for the new rig or boat or campervan or ?? Making the solar panel sleeves falls in that realm. Glad you got out and about and missed the worst of the storm. Hail would most certainly be unwelcome. There's a hail-damaged trailer up where we stay during the summer and I always think "ouch" when I walk by it.


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