Monday, July 16, 2012

July 16 - On Wisconsin

We're back at our "home base" near Beaver Dam WI and the rough plan for the next few months is to be in the Midwest long enough to enjoy Fall... our favorite season of the year. We both grew up in the Beaver Dam area and have great memories of Falls past... harvest time, cool days and cooler nights, the explosion of reds and oranges and yellows and shades of brown, the crunch of dried leaves underfoot, the preparations for Winter. Good memories that we'll try to re-live come October.

My last post, a full week ago, had us arriving in the Twin Cities to see our good friends Jim and Sue. It's time to bring the record up-to-date... so here goes.

We arrived at Lebanon Hills Campground in the TC suburb of Apple Valley on Sunday the 8th. This is one of our regular stops when coming/going between Wisconsin and Washington and we always enjoy our time with these friends. The visit usually involves a boat excursion... this year we launched at Fort Snelling (the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers) and explored mostly the Mississippi... upriver as far as the Ford Dam and downriver through downtown St. Paul and another few miles beyond. We stopped at a marina diner for lunch and a beer... a nice break from exploring on a hot day. The rivers were full of water and the current was running faster than normal for this time of year. While it's been abnormally dry in much of the Midwest, a series of storms dumped tons of water across the northern Midwest... keeping the rivers high, muddy, and flowing. Thanks Jim & Sue for all your hospitality and making us feel so at home.

On Wednesday (let's see... I think that'd be the 11th) we made a short 60 mile move to Lake City on the shores of famous Lake Pepin. Lake Pepin is a natural long wide lake along the course of the Mississippi River... caused by a large natural sandbar/dam where the Chippewa River dumps it's load of sand and silt as it flows into the big river.

Our stop here was to see good friends Doug and Kay. I've written about them before, but let me just say they're experienced explorers and alternate living style experts, having made their home for extended periods of time on everything from a sailboat, to a motorhome, to a pop-up tent camper, and just about everything in between. They've just gotten back into another motorhome and are busy getting it into shape for a Winter in the Southwest. A lot of our conversation revolves around the compromises and comparisons of nomadic lifestyle choices and the rigs that go along with them. Despite the warmer than normal temps, we did have a campfire one night, and enjoyed a twilight cruise on Lake Pepin aboard their son's sailboat... the Screamin' O. Thanks Doug and Kay for a great visit.

If you're looking for excitement and like battling superstition... there's a lot to be said for traveling with a big old haunted motorhome on Friday the 13th. And that's exactly what we did when we moved from Lake City MN to Beaver Dam WI. We had no notable problems other than a jam-packed I-90/94 from Tomah to Portage. Fridays have always been busy summer travel days in Wisconsin as folks from the big cities in the south (Milwaukee, Madison, Chicago area) drive to their family cabins in the north woods for the weekend. By the time their done mowing the lawn, fixin' this, painting that... it's Sunday and time to head home again.

During our stay in the Midwest I'm going back to my now normal, about once per week blog posting pattern. Tune in when you can.