Our big trip! travel blog



This campground thing I thought would be an adventure and indeed that's been the case. The last three nights have been case in points. Tonight we're at Apple Creek Campground in De Pere, Wisconsin. It was rated pretty well in our Trailer Life Directory and on first appearance looked like a cute, "small town" kind of place. The lady who checked us in was friendly and told me the sight was one of the few that had a "dump station" right at the campsite. For those of you who don't know (and I didn't until I bought one of these RV things), that's where you dump the not-so-pleasant stuff collected as you go down the road. Most of the time it is a concrete pad with 3 inch pipe sticking up so you can hook up your tubing. We got to our campsite, unhooked the van, and put the jacks down. As we were working I noticed a faint pungent odor. As I looked closer the dump station appeared to be an open pit with a piece of plywood over it and the tube sticking up through the plywood. Watch your step - the plywood doesn't appear to be the sturdiest in the world. The smell seemed to build into the night. I can tell you we didn't open the windows to let in the "fresh evening air" tonight.

Last night was our first experience "boondocking", a term used to describe when an RV parks any old place, turns on the generator for power and sets up camp there. Now one might have pictured some beautiful remote location where campgrounds are not available but it turns out that the most common place for RVers to boondock is, drum roll please, Wal Mart! The first time I heard of it I thought that I would never do that. Well, we went to the water park that Andrea wrote about and it was about 8:30 PM before we dragged our tired wet bodies back into the RV and down the road. We drove in the dark (a new experience in driving the RV for me - wasn't too bad) for about 1 1/2 hours and it was time to stop. The Wal Mart in Fond du Lac was close so we pulled in and I asked the lady at customer service if it was ok for us to stay (not all Wal Marts allow it). She assured us it was fine as long as we parked at the edge of the lot. I was a little uneasy as I saw a suspicious looking group of young people gathered in the parking lot as I walked back out to the RV but we cranked up the generator, turned up the air cond. (for the white noise as much as cooling) and went to bed. We had a great night sleep and walked in for muffins and fresh fruit in the morning - pretty cool. Price was right, too!

Two nights ago we stayed at another state park, Mirror Lake at Wisconsin Dells. We had such a good experience at the SP at Albert Lea, we wanted to try it a again. Could be chance, but there seemed to be a bunch of rather obnoxious people staying around us - people yelling at one another, bratty kids, scary looking teenagers - we were going to stay two nights but high tailed it out of there after one.

So over the last three nights, the nicest place we've stayed has been the Wal Mart parking lot - go figure.

We arrived at today's campsite pretty early so drove up to Sturgeon Bay which is on the Door County Peninsula just past Green Bay. We tried to see Lambeau Field on the way but too many trees around the interstate. The Door County area is known for it's cherries so we found a farm that let's you pick your own and the kids loved that. We ended up with four huge freezer bags full of cherries - think we'll need to give some away. On the way back we did a short bike ride at Potawatami State Park - was the younger kids first intro to trail riding and they loved that, too.

Keeping things tidy in the RV sure is a challenge as one can imagine with six of us in this small space. I'm trying to balance between chaos and nagging my kids so much that they'll need therapy after the trip is over.

I am getting more comfortable driving this thing. Still a little scary when the semis zoom by.

We're about a week into this adventure and so far, so good. We're not driving each other completely insane yet (although maybe we are and just don't know it!). I am loving the time with the kids. Tomorrow we hope to drive all the way to Mackinac Island, some 300 miles from here (a long way in this thing). We'll see if we make it.

BTW, my gas mileage has been rather depressing - worse than I expected. Got 5 mpg the first tank and 6.5 the second. Yikes. Glad pump prices have come down a little.

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