Our Wonderful Followers who come back again and again to read about us...

Monday, April 15, 2024

CAMPGROUND REVIEW- Lake Emily , Florence County Park, WI and Using Our New Starlink

This is a two-part blog, the first part will be a review of the campground and the second part will be while we were actually camping there for the last 2 days! 


Lake Emily is a county campground, located in Florence County and the Northern edge of Wisconsin. It borders on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It is situated on the Eastern shore of this small Lake Emily. Paved roads lead to the campground, and just gravel from the entrance in to the campsites and boat landing.

We really like this park because it's open year round. It's April and a very rare warm weekend in Wisconsin, so we are here. The sun is shining and we think it's time to camp. Not many campgrounds are open in Wisconsin during the month of April. We are the only people in the campground right now. 


From their website: 

This facility has 18 sites on a quiet lake. Sites are $25.00 per night. There is a boat launch, pit toilets, water, sandy beach, and fishing. Each site has a picnic table, a fire grate, water and electric hook-ups. This park also has a pavillion which can be rented for $25.00. The Lake Emily Park Campground is located in the Town of Commonwealth. 

Camping is allowed year-round at Lake Emily Campground; however, water will typically be shut off from mid-October through Early May depending on weather forecasts. Florence County does not plow snow at parks, campgrounds, or boat landings during the winter months. There is also no other maintenance or cleaning in the parks from November – April.

Check-In Time: 3:00 pm
Check-Out Time: 1:00 pm

4305 Emily Park Ln
Florence, WI 54121
View Camping Map

Location Area
From US 2 in Florence turn South on County Hwy. N, go about three miles to County Hwy D, turn right (West) on County Hwy C, continue two miles to the campground and park.

You can now reserve online through the Florence County website, or use the envelopes and write a check or cash to deposit at the kiosk. No host. No flush toilets or showers, no dump station. Dump station available in nearby town of Florence at the Visitor Center and Forestry building. Boat landing and ramp and extra parking available. Also an extra pier near the campgrounds to keep your boat tied up during your stay. Sandy bottom, nice for wading or swimming. 

Quiet and relaxing. 18 sites here. There are also 29 sites over at the other Florence County Park called West Bass Lake, about 15 mi to the west. Most of the sites are level and many will accommodate a big rig. Camping here in a 25-ft motorhome. 

The town of Florence is only about 5 mi away for necessities. Cell service is not too bad, we are using Starlink which is great. Mostly wooded but some sites have a clear view to the north. Best satellite sites are 9, 10 and 16. Antenna TV stations are remote and fade out during the day. Waking up to the loons on the lake this morning, priceless!


Okay, end of the review and here is now our camping weekend. As I said, Saturday morning turned out to be a lot nicer than what they had originally forecast. It didn't take us long at all to throw some groceries and clothes into the motorhome. The dogs and the dog food are of course necessities. And away we went. 

We took site number 10 because we were looking for a clear view to the northern sky. We had just got a Starlink satellite dish this week, and we wanted to try things out. Site 9 next to us is a little closer to the water, but site 10 was a little more level and easy to drive the motorhome right onto with the cargo trailer still attached.

We are new to this Starlink thing, but we read a lot of things online and did our research before we invested into it. First thing we did was get the satellite set up at home for a trial run, and made sure everything was activated. Then we unhooked it all and packed it up to take with us. We're going to get a nice little flat rubbermaid type tote to put it in for transporting. 

We set it up on the picnic table with a clear view of the northern sky. We ran the obstructions test from the Starlink app and everything looked really good.

We ran our speed test and we're really surprised. Absolutely wonderful speeds, and more than we would ever use. We don't do any gaming or teleconferencing. We do a zoom type call with the grandkids once in awhile. This will be plenty of speed for doing those things. Mainly we stream our favorite HGTV shows in the evening.

So when I posted it to our RVing with Starlink group on Facebook, they said there's another speed test you can do further down in the app. It's called an advanced speed test. It tells I guess a little bit more of how good your connection is. After I posted the second screenshot, they said we had a very very good connection!

We are on the roaming plan, which is perfect for RVing. Although it's a little expensive at $150 a month, our home Spectrum plan is going up to $120. Time to cancel that! We can use this in both places and move it around anytime we want. And added feature with the Roam plan is that you can pause service for any length of time and restart again. Perfect for RVers who may only go part of the year.

One caveat: they do require auto pay from an account for a credit card for a debit card. We do not like auto pay. So in advance we set up just a little separate account for this and only this. That way if we ever want to stop service, all we have to do is close the account. Lot easier than trying to stop the auto pay function as we have found out from friends and relatives can be very difficult to do. I'm not talking about Starlink autopay per se, but any auto pay function where you give them automatic access to your accounts. No thank you. 

So, now that we are set up, we could stream or browse the internet and receive emails and messages without the difficulties of our old cellular plans. When you get way up into the woods like we do, cellular plans just do not work. Even with the wee boost antenna booster that we have, it doesn't work if there's no signal at all. So this is going to be a game changer for us. 

We have two regular Jensen 12 volt TVs in our motorhome, but each one has a Roku stick stuck in their HDMI port. This makes them smart TVs. Smart enough for us anyhow.

Saturday night we curled up with our favorite TV shows in our comfy cozy motorhome. It started to rain outside and as the thunderstorms went over, we had a perfectly clear connection. 

The next morning we woke up to beautiful sunshine and blue skies! I baked up some blueberry muffins in the convection oven. Steve perked the coffee on the stove. 

And some little doggies were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed first thing in the morning and wanted to get outside and go go go!!!

We took a beautiful walk through the heavily wooded forest. The birds were singing from every direction and the sunlight was filtering down through the trees. We were the only ones in the campground and it was absolutely delightful.

We always adhere to leash rules, and the dogs are on long flexi leashes when there's nobody else around. Otherwise they are up short on a 6 ft leash.

On the flexi leashes, they can sniff till their hearts content. There is so much to smell that their heads are down the entire way. I swear Nicholas's nose is going to get ground down from the gravel for how much sniffing he was doing!

Binney chose to read the doggy email, known as "pee-mail", located on the trash cans, scattered throughout the park. These dogs don't sure ask for a lot. All they like to do is get out and sniff.

We heard noisy clamoring and honking overhead is the geese were heading north..... up to Canada! I guess this really means that Spring is here?

We walked down near the boating pier, that is set up specifically for the campers within the park. We found a little treasure that someone had painted as a greeting to the fisherman walking up onto the pier. We left it there, with a smile, knowing somebody wanted to leave a greeting.

As we walked around the campground, we found another rock at their campsite, probably from the fall camping season before the snow fell. Evidently the person who painted it is either an A or a C?

The sunshine that was filtering down through the bare limbed trees was very pleasant and relaxing.  We made sure to make the best of it! My snoozing Steveio knows how to take a nap. 

After nap time was done, we decided to take out the e-bikes and take a little jaunt around the lake. Years ago, on a fishing trip, Steve camped here with his brother one weekend. They walked around the entire lake just to see where the road went.

This is the interior of the cute little cargo trailer we bring along. It now has 320 watts of solar on the roof and a Bluetti Power Station inside. We are all set up now to go camping, and the Bluetti can power up the Starlink without adding any extra drain on our house batteries within the motorhome.

It was almost 4 miles around the lake. There were a couple hills here and there. With the e-bike's pedal assist I could get up them with ease. I know I said this before, but I marvel at my old self. I never thought at 63 that I would be back on a bicycle again!!

We got back just in time for a delivery to our campsite. Yes, for some strange reason the West Iron Country District Library has delivery service of books. Especially by a librarian who rides on the back of a Harley??? 

Heh heh heh ---:actually it was my sister and her husband out for a beautiful ride on a sunny day. She brought me some books from the book sale, and delivered them as we were only about 35 miles from their home in Michigan. Wasn't that sweet?

They hung around chatting for a couple hours, but needed to get home before dark. The winds were starting to kick up and it was not going to be a pleasant evening to sit around a campfire anyhow. Plus the conditions are really dry and they had fire danger warnings out on all of the media and news programs. We decided to go inside and turn on our favorite HGTV and You Tube shows. 

Just as we were ready to go in, I noticed the sun was going down. We were treated to the most spectacular sunset! I guess I say that about every sunset. But each and every single one is a gift.

Pictures don't do it justice.

And then it was gone.

Steve popped up some popcorn, and we snuggled in to watch our favorite TV show. Sunday night is Home Town with Erin and Ben Napier.

Monday morning, the winds kicked up again. It really wasn't even that pleasant to sit outside. The temperatures were in the low 50s. We really didn't see any reason to stay longer if it was that windy out. I don't think we would have even enjoyed another bike ride. So we buckled up and packed things away. It doesn't take too long. 

But before we headed home, we swung up to the small town of Florence, Wisconsin. There's a factory there that makes pasties called The Pasty Oven. Their website said they were open from 10:00 till 2:00 for retail customers. Sometimes you can get the misshapen and factory seconds for only $3 each. We called ahead but nobody was there. We even drove by and although the sign said they were open, there was nobody there. We left a message on their voicemail and texted their number. Oh well, we headed over to the little grocery store in town. We know they also carry them, but at a higher price of $4.99. 

That was okay, the little grocery store also had our favorite Klements brand bratwurst on sale. So we stocked up on both and loaded the freezer and the fridge of the motorhome to bring home.

We stopped over at the Forestry Department with the Visitor Center before leaving the town. They have a dump station there as well as a little fenced in dog park. This is a really nice new visitor center with a lot of good information on the area.

Pretty handy to let Fido out to run around while you take care of dumping tanks. The freshwater was not yet turned on for filling tanks, but at least it was a place to dump. Great to keep in mind if you are traveling on US 2 heading either east or west across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This is about in the middle of the state. Good thing to mark down for future travel plans.

As I dictate this blog, we are driving home on a beautiful sunny Monday. The wind is gusting here and there, which is not fun for traveling in an RV. 

We are due for about a half inch of rain tomorrow. I guess it is a good time to head home.



Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Days 42-43 - Visiting With Relatives In Enid Oklahoma

 These posts are from the last two weeks of our vacation. We are now home, but I am continuing our day by day vacation posts to catch up --- after I dropped the ball. Sorry!


This post is from Thursday, March 14th.


We made a past all of those storms by the skin of our teeth. We felt really bad for the people left behind. Those storms slammed all the way through the central part of the United States from as far south as the Gulf all the way up even to Ohio. The RV park near my friend's home was completely obliterated! 

We drove our way further north and west through Oklahoma. 

We fueled up in Henrietta, Oklahoma for the cheapest price so far the entire trip. We only paid $3.25 a gallon for diesel and we were pulling in an average of 14.25 MPG.  They also had DEF at the pumps, for only $3.50 a gallon. So we topped off our DEF tank with an extra 1 and 1/2 gallons.

As I've said before, the interstates really aren't our thing but we did it anyhow. We got some miles underneath our wheels and found some beautiful blue sky. No more smoke. No more storms. No more hail.

There was some wind .... and the windmills were turning. Some faster and some slower. Many miles and miles of the windmills dotted the landscape. Our nephew works for a windmill company and travels all over working with installing, servicing, and other technical stuff I guess. Very fascinating.

We finally got off the interstates, as they had turned into tollways. We prefer to not pay tolls, so we wound our way on State highways up around Perry and worked our way towards Enid, Oklahoma. Now we are getting into the grain belt country. There were a lot of these huge mills and grain elevators. As we came in on the north side of Enid, we saw quite a few of them throughout the industrial parks.  A tad bit bigger than the corn silos we see here in Wisconsin.

So why were we going to Enid? Well, our daughter Erin is married to an Oklahoma guy named Waylen. But she convinced him to live up in Wisconsin by us. 

His parents Gaylen and Linda still live in Enid Oklahoma. We keep trying to convince them to move up to Wisconsin too. 

Since we were in the area, we put them down as a "have to" for a visit. We really enjoy them when they come up to Wisconsin, and we have so much in common. (Besides a pile of grandkids).

They were eagerly awaiting our arrival, and have been tracking us through the storms since the middle of the night. They were relieved to know we had leapfrogged our way through and we're unaffected by any of the horrible things they were seeing on the local TV stations. 

They were literally waiting in their lawn chairs at the edge of their driveway by the garage for us to pull up!!

We got lots of hugs and tears and laughter and joy. 

They are very welcoming and had invited us to "moochdock" in their driveway.  Moochdocking is when you hang out in someone's driveway or yard, instead of going to a campground. Sometimes it includes hookups, sometimes it's just a safe spot to park.  Their driveway had a little bit of slope to it so we used our leveler blocks on the back tires.  And yes, they are Boomer Sooner fans ... 

The only little snafu was there wasn't any room to leave our cargo trailer attached behind the motorhome while parked in their driveway. So we did have to unhook it and leave it on the street. Of course there is a hitch lock and a latch pin lock on it. We also have a security alarm on the back of the trailer that has flashing lights and an alarm if somebody messes with it. But you still worry about things getting rolled away and being stolen. 

Never fear, Gaylen and Linda's neighbor took extra special care to park his squad car all night right across from our cargo trailer!!!

Not too many thieves 
are going to try to mess with that, 
 are they?

We enjoyed their hospitality and beautiful fenced in backyard. We could unhook the dogs and let them roam around a little bit. We had so much to catch up on and it was a lot of fun to sit and visit for the afternoon. Especially after our crazy stressful ride from the wee hours of the morning.

Gaylen and Steve are like two peas in a pod. When they were up visiting one time, Gaylen even helped with doing some of the work on my She Shed. Especially helping with the big heavy beam that needed to get lifted up and pounded hard with big hammers go in.lto place.  I did not have the strength for doing that.  We appreciated Gaylen's help.  

We sat on their patio and shared a lot of laughs, and a few beers too. The weather was great and there were no more storms in sight. 

They insisted on taking us out to dinner, and one of their favorite places is Texas Roadhouse. So off we went...  Of course we had to have the obligatory photos before we went in the door to keep the memory.

Linda snapped this next one of us. I think it really came out nice. 

That happens to be one of my most favorite shirts I am wearing, as well as my most comfy jean capris. After looking at this picture I decided I would see if I could find another shirt like that maybe in another color. Amazingly, I found a silvery gray one on eBay from a seller that it's still new with tags. I had bought this one a long time ago and I know it's no longer available in stores. It's so comfy and soft and comfortable for summer wear but the sleeves are long enough to come down to cover my arms, where I like them. My new gray one arrives in the mail today!

Back to our trip:

We had a really nice evening back at their home, but then turned in early because of our long long driving day. It was nice to be in the care of such good friends, and we could sleep in peace... Free of the storms.

Sadly, the next morning Gaylen had to go to work. He had retired a few years back, but a friend of his has recently hired him as a manager of a large amount of storage units and a very big car wash with both automated and manual bays. It keeps him hopping 5 days a week, but Linda says it also keeps him out of trouble!  We had to drive by and check his facility out.

So this is what retired old farts do in Oklahoma when they don't have anything better to waste their time on. They put on their work overalls and hang out at the carwash?? Lol! 

In the meantime, Linda took us out in the morning to drive us around town and show us the sights of Enid. We also managed to find a couple rummage sales signs! When they were up visiting in our town, they hit the rummage sales by us too! 

Linda found this very interesting old wishing well, that needed a tad bit of work. She offered $5 and Steve helped load it into the car. 

So it became a project for Galen to work on... Perfect for those old retired farts to make their wives happy!!! 

This pic is from afterwards, when Gaylen had done his magic and fixed it all up for her to add to their beautifully landscaped yard.

Quite the bargain, eh?

We drove by the car wash and snatched Gaylen away for a long lunch break. We went out to a Oriental restaurant and ate from their buffet. Linda had shown us these wonderful cinnamon almond caramel coffee cakes that were cut into little slices and put out on the dessert table. She said every time she is there she gets a slice, and it's her favorite.  We teased her about wrapping some up in a napkin and tucking them into her purse. 

So Steve asked the waiter if it was possible to buy them whole and take them home with us? Of course he said we could.... and after a little figuring out he brought them back to us at our table in a big box to bring home. They were only $7 each.

 They are very rich so you only need a small slice at a time. We easily got ten slices out of a single coffee cake. We put one in the freezer of the motorhome, kept one for ourselves, and left the third one with Linda and Gaylen to enjoy after we left.

We dropped Gaylen back off at work, and headed back to their house to get road worthy. Linda sure made us feel welcome, and the dogs as well. Here we were doing our last little bit of visiting out in the driveway before we were ready to hit the road. Notice the unworked on wishing well behind her. We never even told Gaylen that she bought it, Steve just told him he would have a roofing job to do when he got off of work that afternoon. Lol! 

We said our goodbyes and hit the road, and I will write about that in the next blog.



1,726 MI SO FAR

Monday, April 8, 2024

Days 41-42 Short Mountain Cove COE Oklahoma and WILDFIRES AND TORNADOES!!!

These posts are from the last two weeks of our vacation. We are now home, but I am continuing our day by day vacation posts to catch up --- after I dropped the ball. Sorry!


Wednesday March 13th 

Sadly we left Carter Cove COE Park near Plainfield, Arkansas 2 days early. Due to the controlled burns in the National Forest throughout that whole section of the state, we had to drive quite a ways to get beyond the smoke.

I was not breathing well, and had to have on the air conditioning with closed dash air circulation was about the only way to circumvent the situation. 

We headed in a northwesterly direction, and soon we were crossing the border into Oklahoma by 11:00 a.m.

The song from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Oklahoma" kept playing through my head. A couple of times I burst out into the full chorus for a musical tribute. Steve was not amused. I love their welcome sign, it looks like a quilt block!

We zoomed on through the Ozarks and really didn't get to stop to see a lot. We will have to come back again another year and explore the Ozarks. We kept fighting the haze of campfire smoke just off to the south of us. We decided to just keep on going and get as far as we could go beyond where the controlled burns were taking place. We did find a map from the National Forest Service that showed all of their locations.

Wowzers! Did the scenery ever change! We had originally been in the swamplands of Southeast Arkansas and then worked our way up into the Ozarks as we headed north and west. Now we were hitting some of the rolling farmland of Oklahoma. It was absolutely beautiful! Everything is so green, and the blue sky just makes the greens even richer.

These photos are just snapped as we are rolling on by down the highway. Normally we don't even drive on interstates, but we decided this time we would so we could get to where we needed to go. 

We had chosen another Corps of Engineers Park that really wasn't too far off are beaten path. This one is called Short Mountain Cove. The campground basically has two big loops. We took the first one to the left and really didn't see any sites that we wanted to be on. It was getting cold and windy. So we looped on back and took the other road way around to get to the other loop of sites. This was much, much better!

We ended up on site 17,  which is $22, but only $11 with the Federal America the Beautiful Senior Access Pass. Breezy cannot describe the winds that were coming across the lake. But we didn't mind because it was a beautiful site. We planned to go for a little bike ride around the park and see what we could see.

This site was right up against the edge of the water which was really a great location. We walked along the shoreline a little bit with the dogs. It really is a wide part of the river that has been damned up. It feels like a lake though, and even had little tiny seashells along the edges, wedged in the sand.  

We rode around the park to check things out. Definitely the second loop is the much nicer area compared to the first loop. We didn't go into the bathrooms or the shower house side, but it looks the same as the other Corps of Engineer parks that we have been to. They are usually very nice and well maintained. 

After our bike ride, we hauled out our lawn chairs and sat on the leeward side of the motorhome to stay out of the wind. The sunshine felt good but the temps were dropping. While we sat there, we had the dogs on leashes hooked to our chairs with little carbineer clips. This has worked very well for us and we don't have to be holding a leash all the while. 

Nick, who if you know from my previous posts, has a neurotic aversion to ever being tied up with any nylon webbed leash. If you recall, he had been trapped in the woods while he was on the run for probably five or six days with a leash caught up in trees or rocks. He was starving to death and after five or six days he finally chewed himself free. I say he's channeling his inner Scarlett O'Hara when he says to us "As God as my witness, I will never be held back by a nylon woven web leash again!"

So we keep him on a chain leash. Easy. 

But ... we had Binney on a woven web leash--- She is never a problem and she has barely any teeth left to chew anything, much less a leash. 

In the matter of just a few minutes, while we sat there admiring the lake shore, I happened to look down and noticed something:

Yup!!!! That little stinker Nicholas had chewed right through Binney's leash and set her free.  Of course, she didn't go anywhere. But he did it. Just look at that face? How can you be mad at a face like that? 

Speaking of dogs, especially our spoiled rotten ones, a few blogs back I posted about some cute little paw print fleece blankets that we found at Walmart. They were only $3 each. We have these perfect sized baby mattresses from baby diaper changing tables as beds for the dogs. They fit on each side of our bed snugly and each one has their own bed and their own blanket.

They can be removed for washing, and now the dogs do not have to lay on the plastic covered surface of the memory foam mattress pads.

I did get kind of tired of untangling and refolding the blankets each morning while picking them up. Sometimes the dogs would drag the blankets around the camper. They were a tripping hazard for us.  I decided to take the blankets and do a little sewing project...

I cut the correct size around the mattress and made a casing sleeve to run a band of elastic through. Basically they are now a fitted sheet with boxed-end corners to fit the mattresses.

Now they are nice and neat, comfy and padded, and we won't trip over the wadded up blankets as we try to get around the bed the middle of the night!

It meets their approval.

As the evening wore on, the weather started getting rougher.  We tuned into the local TV stations and checked their weather forecasts. We enabled the warning signals on our phones because there were tornadoes and hail and sleet and horrible high winds headed in our direction! We only had a few big trees around us, but it is still scary to be in a camper near any trees at all. We seriously contemplated moving to a wide open site somewhere.  The winds seem to die down around 10:00 p.m. so we stayed put. 

About 4:00 a.m. I woke up to the increased wind sounds again outside. I turned on the TV and I checked also the weather apps on our phone. There is a huge band of thunderstorms moving across Oklahoma heading in our direction!! 

We were located right between that band of orange storms and Fort Smith. Our goal was to get up where the blue dot was of Enid, Oklahoma later that day. If we waited at the campground till 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. to take off, we would be going right through the middle of this horrendous storm!!!!

At 4:15 a.m. I could no longer sleep. The winds were increasing and the camper was rocking. I woke Steve up and showed him the warnings. We decided to pull in the slides and perk a pot of coffee. The storms were increasing and if we continued going directly west, we would be in the thick of things. 

Sooooooo at 4:30 a.m. We took off in the dark and headed north and west and did a leapfrog motion to get past the worst of the first band of storms. (We HATE driving in the dark). 

The first red arrow to the right was the first horrendous band that went through. We were able to get right around it before it reached the area where we had just had been in the night before!

Watching the local weather reports, they showed the hail that fell was 5 and 1/2 inches across! Yes, bigger than a baseball, the size of a softball! If we had stayed put, that would have been on top of us!! 

The winds were so damaging that there were power outages everywhere and trees down blocking roads. We were very, very fortunate to make that first leapfrog and land just west of Tulsa.

Now a second band was coming and it looked to be even worse than the first! This is where we literally got on the interstates and drove faster than we normally ever do... We usually stay in the 60 to 65 mph range and take our time. But not this time. It was time to make some tracks!!! 

We got up around the top end of Oklahoma City and worked our way over to Enid, Oklahoma. As we drove along there was the whole edge of the front that we could see on our left side as we drove north and west. 

It was so strange, we could also see the jet trail marks from all of the airlines, also avoiding the storms and running on an angle to the north. 

They were doing the same thing we were doing! 

I am pleased to say that we made it by the skin of our teeth just past the edge of the second storm. We had two different weather apps going as well as a local radio station to track what the storms were doing, and we were very fortunate to avoid any damage. Some white knuckles on the steering wheel, but otherwise, we were safe and sound and beyond the scope of either of those two storms. 


112 miles travel today 

1,466 miles so far