So, Andi and I rented a RV and took a whirlwind trip this past weekend. We've both learned one thing from this adventure: we don't love RVing. Good to know! That said, we did have a really fun weekend together as our little family of three. Those fun times just so happen to take place during the sightseeing portion of our trip and less during the actual living in a RV thing.
Our RV adventure really began Thursday evening. We were pre-scheduled to host one of Andi's childhood friends for dinner that night, so I spent most of Thursday running around like a chicken with its head chopped off, prepping dinner, catching up on laundry and packing for the weekend. After our dinner guests left, Andi and I cleaned up the house and finished packing for our trip. In a stroke of genius, Andi decided last minute to pick up the RV on Thursday afternoon vs. picking it up on our way out of town Friday morning. Good thing because we had absolutely no idea what to bring for a weekend on the road. I can't even imagine what Friday morning would have been like if we would have had to load up my car, then transfer it all into the RV at the rental site. Plus, we brought Chloe along with us and pets *technically* weren't allowed per the rental agreement, so that could've been awkward. So, more chicken-with-its-head-cut-off moments Thursday night as Andi and I literally unloaded half of our refrigerator and cupboards and transferred it to the RV. To top it off, a fuse blew somewhere between the RV rental place and our house, causing the water and sewer pumps to stop working. Andi called the RV company and they had to send an employee out to our house to fix it. We felt bad for the guy (he still had BBQ sauce on his shirt from dinner), but we couldn't very well begin our RV adventure with a broken motor home. It only took the guy a few minutes to fix the problem and we were back in business.
Early Friday morning, Andi and I were awoken around 3:00am by a huge thunderstorm blowing through the Twin Cities. Our power went out and we both bolted out of bed (okay, only one of us bolted out of bed while the other [pregnant] one waited for news) to check on the RV. It'd be just our luck a giant tree would land on the (very expensive) RV parked in our drive-way. Luckily, our house and yard were spared of any damage but many of our neighbors weren't so fortunate. The power was still out Friday morning as we packed up our last remaining toiletries, etc. for the weekend trip. We heard later the Cities were hit with another powerful thunderstorm Friday and a few phone calls from our neighbors told us the power was out again in our neighborhood. Andi and I were both thankful to be out of town for the weekend and not dealing with all that mess.
In a truly adventurous spirit, Andi pulled the RV of our drive-way Friday morning and literally stopped on our street because we never really decided where we were going for the weekend. After a quick discussion, we decided to drive North to Duluth, Minnesota for the morning, then cross over into Wisconsin with a goal of ending up on Madeline Island for the evening. As we were driving out of town, we witnessed just how devastating Thursday night's storm was throughout the city. There were trees and branches laying all over people's yards and sides of the road. We've very fortunate to have been spared.
|Only the open road ahead ...|
We arrived in Duluth around 10:30am Friday morning. With no real plan for our visit, we decided to walk around Canal Park for a bit, grab a bite to eat for lunch and take Tory to the aquarium. The weather took a drastic nose-dive in temperature and it was much cooler in Duluth than it had been in the Twin Cities. Lucky for us, we were traveling in an RV so Tory and I quickly changed into warmer clothes before setting off.
While in Duluth, I realized we've never really taken Tory on a vacation within Minnesota, so we decided to snap a few photos near the infamous Lake Superior lift bridge for her Places I've Been Book. Problem was, it was foggier than all get out and we could barely make out the bridge as it stood right in front of us. Also, Tory was literally trying to leap out of Andi's arms and into the quickly-flowing, icy current below. SCARY, kid.
|Duluth's Lake Superior Lift Bridge|
So, we decided to move over to this cute little statue instead. Welcome to Duluth, Tory! This is one of Daddy's very favorite places (Duluth, not the statue).
Tory chased the seagulls throughout the park while I hovered underneath a nearby building awning. (Have I mentioned how much I HATE BIRDS?) She was having the time of her life. Next, we grabbed a bite to eat at Lake Avenue Cafe a short walk away. This restaurant was FABULOUS. Andi ordered the Grass-Fed Beef Eye of Round and I had the Chicken Fettuccine (made with homemade noodles!). Tory devoured a grilled cheese and fruit. Definitely recommend. Our service was great, too.
|Oh, that's just our child "cheers-ing" with a knife. No biggie.|
Andi and I contemplated taking a walk along the shore, but the weather = crappy, so we opted for the Duluth Great Lakes Aquarium instead. Kinda disappointed with this stop. I thought Tory would go bananas over the big fish (sharks! eels! turtles!) but this aquarium was only comprised of fresh-water fish. B-O-RING. The coolest fish we saw was a sturgeon. Also, this place was heavy on education and a bit light on the "let's see some cool stuff" exhibits. I'm sure it's exciting if Great Lakes fish are your thing, but we were less than impressed.
Anyway, on with our adventure! By this time, it was 1:30pm and time for Tory's nap. She was asleep within minutes of leaving Duluth and slept the entire drive to Bayfield, Wisconsin. Andi and I enjoyed our drive west. It was unchartered territory for the both of us, so we took in the rural sights and talked the entire way there. (Our RV radio was broken the entire trip. Buzz kill.)
The closer we came to Bayfield, the foggier it became.
By the time we arrived, the temperature had dropped dramatically to a cool, rainy 45 degrees. Brrr. Andi and I were originally planning to spend a few days in Bayfield / Madeline Island around our anniversary next month because we'd heard so many wonderful things about the area. There's pick-your-own berry fields all over in the summertime and a quaint little downtown to browse shops and grab ice cream. Madeline Island boosts amazing views of Lake Superior and hiking trails galore. Last minute, we decided to venture here during our RV weekend instead of coming up next month for our anniversary because we thought Tory would enjoy all those places, too. Unfortunately for us, the town of Bayfield's main drag was under construction and a complete mess while we visited. Bad timing on our part, I suppose. We stopped by The Fish House to grab some smoked Lake Superior trout for dinner and decided to take the ferry out to Madeline Island shortly after we arrived as there wasn't much to do in town.
|Madeline Island Ferry ride|
On a sunny day, I think the Madeline Island Ferry would provide a pretty amazing view of Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands, but with the fog we couldn't see anything. The ferry ride itself was pretty uneventful. Nothing compared to the big production we experienced during our Vancouver, Canada trip a few years ago. We let Tory out of her car seat to "drive" us to our destination. See her there in the driver's seat?
Andi secured us a camping reservation at Big Bay State Park so we decided to head over there and get settled for the night. Our camping spot had power and water hook-ups so we were able to plug the RV in and reserve some of our motor home's limited resources. As soon as we settled in, we decided to take a walk around the park to check out our surroundings.
|Our camping spot for the night|
|Big Bay State Park beach area - Lake Superior|
|An evening stroll through Big Bay State Park|
Andi grilled fresh fish, brussel sprouts and potatoes for dinner while I whipped together some cheese, crackers and yogurt for Tory.
Next was the fun job of taking down the RV's kitchen table and setting up Tory's pack-n-play in its place. There were two beds in the RV (one in the back of the vehicle and a second that could be made up where the kitchen table was) but we felt Tory would be more comfortable (and safer) in her pack-n-play. As soon as it was up, however, it took up half our living space and left little room for Andi and I to move around the RV. Because it was so cold outside and we were exhausted anyway, we decided to hit the sack when Tory did around 8:00pm. There was a flat screen mounted above the back bed, but we couldn't get it to work so Andi and I laid in bed and read books for a bit before falling asleep.
A fun, exhausting day on the open road. Day 1 was in the books with a distance traveled of 249 miles. (Give or take a few.)