Thursday, August 26, 2010

Travels in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Back to Bridge)

Phil overlooking Lake Winnebago
August 15, 2010 Early departure (6:45 AM) so we would arrive in Sun Prairie, WI for a Mass being said for Ellie's Dad at Sacred Hearts Church.  After Mass we went to brunch at Market Street Diner in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, with Ellie's sister, Claudia and husband, Bob. The brunch had too many choices, could not try everything, left feeling stuffed!

On the road again headed NE to High Cliffs State Park, to meet up with friends, Mike & Sue, that we knew when we all lived near Marquette, MI. in 1972-1974.  Mike & Sue are Camp Hosts at High Cliffs State Park for two months, found this out on Facebook, small world. We had a spot next to them, it was like Mutt & Jeff, our 22' RV and their 36' RV.  Mike and Sue are "Full Time" RV'ers, so that explains the 36' Class A motorhome. We stayed at High Cliff two days and played a lot of Bridge (afternoon and evening). We have not played bridge for about 26 years, thus we forgot, err I should say I forgot how to play, not that I knew that much 26 years ago.  But we got back in the groove and had a good time playing till the late hours of the night.

Mike, Sue, Phil & Ellie
Once again we had lessons to learn!!!!  No. 1:  the coffee pot AGAIN!  Ted gave us a new coffee maker with a metal carafe.  Really great, don't have to worry about breaking a glass pot and it keeps the coffee hot for 6 hours.  Only, we forgot to put the cover on the pot so again, coffee spilling onto the counter.  We are getting good at wiping up spilled coffee.  Monday Mike & Sue gave us a tour of the park.   "From 1895 to 1956, a limestone quarry and kilns to extract the lime from the stone were operated here."

We got back to our campsites eager to play Bridge, but couldn't find our RV's keys.  We knew Ellie's keys were in the RV.  We looked all over the car we all traveled in for our tour around the park.  We retraced our steps, drove around the park again.  Ellie climbed all the way up the observation tower.     We were about to call a locksmith when we found the keys.  They had fallen in the pocket of the seatbelt in the back seat.  Thank you, God!  So grateful to find the keys.  So LESSON NO. 2:  both of us should carry our keys.  Whew, so could play Bridge again!  That evening we went to The Big Shanghai Buffet in Menasha, Wisconsin and, of course ate and ate.  Total bill for the 4 of us was $37.56 (pre tip).

On Sunday a couple stopped by our site and asked to see our Roadtrek.  We are happy to be ambassadors for Roadtrek.

On Tuesday, August 17th, we headed to Marquette, Michigan (206 miles) arriving about 4:30 (eastern time zone).  We spent 2 days with Rick and Mary Kaye, our former neighbors.  They look young, must be that northern weather.  Yes, our old house is still there, but it is not pink any more.  A big change is the train tracks that ran behind our home are gone.  I had to take pictures to show our kids.  When we lived there one day a train engineer appeared at our door with 4 mischievous kids, Gene, Corrina and the two neighbor kids.  They had put a pop can on the tracks.  The train man stopped the train and came to inform me what they did, impressing on the kids that the can could derail the train.  I told our kids to sit on the footstool till their Dad came on.  We don't remember what Phil told them when he got home but it is a reminiscing topic whenever Gene & Corrina are together.  Now the area is being prepped for an "off road trail." The two evenings with Rick and Mary Kaye we played bridge till the late hours of the night and were soundly crushed by them.  My ego was at a low tide, as were my eyes as it was late.  Ellie and I need to play more.  Rick and Mary Kaye took us for a ride around Marquette to see the changes since we lived there, had lunch, ice cream at Jilbert's Dairy.  Before we departed Thursday we bought some Pasties at Lawrys Pasty Shop.  This is a must stop if you ever get to Marquette, Michigan.

On the way out of town, alongside Lake Superior, we saw another Roadtrek.  We pulled over and had a nice visit with a couple from Ottawa, Canada.  We are eager to learn from others' experiences.  They had been on the road for 4 weeks.  They traveled from Vancouver to Newfoundland, Canada.  Oh yea, they also had a Newfoundland dog.  They have traveled with their RT for 8 years.

We stayed at Koehler-Andrea State Park on Thursday night.  The moon was full.  We enjoyed walking on the beautiful sandy beach.  On our way home on Friday we stopped at Ellie's sister, Bev and her husband, Tom's home near Milwaukee.  We had a great visit.  Glad to hear about their trip to Europe and family.  We got home about 4:45 pm,  in time to get the mail from the Post Office.  Another successful trip, a bit shorter than the first one, only 843 miles.

Thus far we have been averaging 20.941 MPG and have put on a total of 2309 miles.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Aug. 6: Happy birthday, Phil and Happy 44th Anniversary for both of us.

Trip no. 2 was a short one.  We took Corrina, (our daughter and her husband and kids), Tait, Teagan and Cooper to Madison, WI for wine tasting at Barrique's near the square in Madison, WI.  Corrina, Tait and kids who live in the Seattle area were visiting us 8-1 to 8-10.  Ted, our son who lives in Spokane attended his yearly biology Symposium in Milwaukee so he was also spending some time with us.

At a rest stop 2 ladies came up to us.  They were excited to see other Roadtrek owners.  They were on their way from New York to MN.  It was the first time either of us had talked to Roadtrek owners on the road.   Fun to share our excitement for our vehicles.

At Barrique's it was like a family reunion.  Phil's two sisters and husbands:  Gigi & Bruce and Kerry & Rick also were there.  Randi, our niece, is a manager at Barrique's.  Ted, our son, also met us there.  After our wine tasting everyone but Ted went to Randi and Paul's to stay overnight.  We didn't get up early enough to make it to the Farmer's Market on the Square in Madison.  But lots of family visiting again.  Ellie visited her sister, Claudia, on the way home.   

The State Capitol of WI is so impressive.   We walked around the Capitol.  We lived in Madison 38 years ago.  It was neat to visit once again.  

Lunch at Culver's.  We all love their "Flavor of the Day."  Home about 3 pm.  

We used the RV to take our grandson, Jason, home.  He came over to spend time with his cousins.  Then we were all going to Gene and Yvonne's for dinner.  We had to use the RV because we needed to have seat buckles for 7 of us.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

First Trip

On 07/20/10 we started on our first RV adventure.  The first stop on our initial trip was at Governor Dodge State Park, near Spring Green, Wisconsin.  Of course we had to make a detour on the way.  Stopped in New Glarus, Wisconsin to tour the New Glarus Brewing Company.  Phil liked their Spotted Cow beer.  The tour of the brewery was "self directed", which means you walk around the brewery and look.  While this gives some freedom, I would have preferred some more information about the brewing process.  

New Glarus Brewing Company
Being from Illinois, we had to purchase an out of state Park Sticker ($35).  The campsite was $22/night, however we had reserved a spot so that was an additional $10/night reservation fee, don't think we will do this anymore.  But it was our first time camping in over 28 years and wanted the assurance that we would have an electric site.  Spent 2 nights at Governor Dodge.

We averted our first disaster.  Made coffee in the morning.  As both of us watched, the coffee started running on the counter.  DAH!, we forgot to put the coffee pot underneath.  Grabbed a towel..major mess averted.  Whew!  (Mind went on vacation too???)

The Infinity Room
Went to Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wrights's summer home in Spring Green, Wisconsin.  The House tour was $42 each (Sr Rate) and was very good, our tour guide was excellent.  Highly recommend it.  Interesting how the name Taliesin means brow.  Wright built the home to be around the hillside.   From there we went to the House on the Rock.  Being built on a chimney rock the rooms were built around the rock.  The Infinity Room is "an unsupported length of 216 feet soaring over 156 fee of the valley floor."   The House on the Rock is amazing.  But the collections were overwhelming.   Not enough time to really look at everything, that being said I don't think we would go back a second time.  Cost - $53 for the two of us.

After our active day we were totally exhausted.  Went back to the RV, ate and could not get the TV working, so we watched a movie, "Nobody's Fool" with Paul Newman and went to sleep (with the air conditioning on as it was hot).

We got on the road in a slight rain, onto Merrill to visit Phil's sisters.  Celebrate "Christmas dinner" as Gigi & Bruce served the traditional meal of prime rib. Yum.  Gigi took us to Merrill High School so we could see the students artwork.  For four years they have been replicating famous art onto the hallway cinder blocks.  Their work is so impressive.  Friday night --  another WI tradition.  FISH FRY!!! at Ed & Sharons bar out in the country.  3 Old Fashions, glass of wine and a Sprite were $14.25.  We'd pay that for 2 drinks in Chicagoland!  Sat. trip to Medford for Andi's basketball games.  Sat. evening a cookout and visiting at Kerry & Rick's cabin.  Great visiting with family.

Anton & Tom
Sunday to River Falls WI.  Ellie's brother, Tom, and nephew, Anton were in Bye, Bye Birdie.  It was thrilling to see Anton as Birdie and my brother in numerous parts.    After the play we took Tom and Anton out to eat.  It was great to visit with them.  Stayed at Crystal Lake Campgrounds near Strum, WI for the night.  We  passed on taking the site where we could hook up the sewer.  Good thing as we would have been DWARFED with our little Roadtrek!!!  Big 35 footer RV's and 5th wheels were in that area.

Got home Monday about 1 pm.  A great First trip of 1035 miles.  WE DID IT!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Our RV Purchase!

We purchased our first RV (a 2007 Roadtrek RS Adventurous) on June 21,2010) now all we have to do is figure out how to use it so we can travel.  It has a 5 cylinder Mercedes-Benz Diesel so we should get good mileage.

This blog will be about our travels and, of course, some other items thrown in for good measure.