Thursday, June 27, 2013

#RVthereyet Adventure: Day 2

Saturday was Day 2 of our RV adventure and it began at Big Bay State Park in Madeline Island, Wisconsin. The weather was so chilly and dreary that the campground was fairly quiet Friday evening. Andi, Tory and I were able to settle in for a decent night's sleep in our RV and thankfully we had a heater. I did not envy people around us sleeping in tents. A few people told us they'd planned this camping trip to Madeline Island all year long, so the weather was especially disappointing for those folks. We were bummed but we'd only decided to drive up here on Friday, so it was less of a downer for us. After looking at the upcoming forecast, Andi and I both knew we wouldn't stick around Bayfield / Madeline Island for long if the weather was going to be so crummy all weekend. We decided to make the best of our short time on the island. After a breakfast of toast and yogurt in the RV (that is, after we took down Tory's pack-n-play so we'd have somewhere to sit), we set out for a hike on one of the nearby park trails. The temperature was a cool 49 degrees outside and the fog was incredibly dense -- almost mystical.

After living in Minnesota for six years now, the vastness of Lake Superior continues to amaze me. Standing on this point during our hike reminded me of being at the ocean. The waves violently slapped against this rocks below and water was the only thing to be seen for miles and miles (well, if we could have seen for miles and miles due to the fog). I bet this view is truly breathtaking in better circumstances. 

What would an adventure be without a few family snapshots? Andi set up his camera gear and we posed for a few photos at the trail entrance. I razzed Andi later for not telling me my coat was tucked up in a weird way, making me look like I had a tire around my waist. Then I realized, oh that's a baby bump there. Guess my pregnant belly is growing bigger than I thought these days. I know Andi just loves me during those self-image conversations.

During our hike, Tory was obsessed with all the nature around her. She's very into picking up leaves and sticks (and banging them against trees saying "hit! hit!" -- not sure where she learned this lovely word) so she did lots of that during our walk. She also loved climbing around on the tree trunks. By this point in the morning, it started to rain but the tree canopy was so dense we weren't really getting wet. Best of all, we were all alone on the trails. The only sounds we heard were the waves beating against the shore and nature all around us. A pretty peaceful way to start our day.

After our hike, we hopped back in the RV and drove around Madeline Island a bit. There wasn't much to see (I think the island is mostly hiking trails and beaches), but we were amazed by all the wildlife in plain site from the road. There were lots of deer crossing the road and they didn't seem a bit skittish when we stopped and snapped a few photos of them eating grass in the pasture. It was seriously some National Geographic-type stuff. Very cool.

Since the weather was icky, we decided to head back to the mainland and drive south toward warmer weather. Some people might have been fine there, but Andi and I both hate cold temperatures and it was silly to be miserable when it was much warmer just a hour or two away. The weekend weather was such a bummer because Madeline Island offered so much potential. We were really looking forward to strawberry picking at a local orchard with Tory (but none of the farms were open for the season yet due to the unseasonably cool spring), hiking various trails and hanging out on the beach. Adding insult to injury, the boat worker said "you didn't stay on the island long!" as we boarded the ferry back to Bayfield. We know. Bummer indeed. Andi and I vowed we'd be back to Madeline Island for a visit again someday.

Many thanks to good ol' WeatherBug, we decided to drive inland where the temperatures looked to be about 30 degrees warmer. From Bayfield we drove to Ashland, Wisconsin for a bite to eat. Neither Andi or I had been to Ashland before, so I consulted the Internet quickly to choose a spot for lunch. I selected Second Street Bistro (which was the #2 ranked restaurant on Andi ordered the Mediterranean appetizer platter to share and a cup of the house soup (some sort of seafood chowder) which he said was very good. I ordered the house entree salad which turned out to be the exact same ingredients as the Mediterranean appetizer platter, minus the hummus. Disappointing to say the least. The restaurant was not kid-friendly in the least bit, but the waiter offered to make us a grilled cheese for Tory. It was basically two pieces of Texas toast with cheese in the middle. Tory didn't seem to care for it. Overall, not my favorite dining stop on the trip which was a let down given the "amazing" online reviews. Poor ordering on my part I guess, but I do think the waiter (who seemed like he might have been the owner) could've have warned me that my meal selection was exactly what we'd just eaten as an appetizer. Anyway, Baby #2 wasn't too satisfied after eating a meal of raw vegetables for lunch so I snacked on some Cheetos and a yogurt later in the RV to hold me over until dinner.

After lunch, Andi and I continued onward to Hayward, Wisconsin. We saw online it was the annual Musky Days Festival in Hayward that weekend, so we decided to check it out. I'm always down for a townie festival! As we drove, Tory fell slept in her car seat. All of our travel time to various cities during this trip seemed to coincide with Tory's nap time, so that worked out particularly well.

As we pulled into Hayward, we could feel the weather shift around us. The sun was shining outside and the RV's temperature gauge said 75 degrees. Perfect! We drove immediately to the town's Main Street and saw rows and rows of sidewalk vendors, live music and fun. We were so excited! After changing into lighter clothes, we hopped out of the RV and strolled the streets of the Musky Festival.

First stop was the face painting booth because, why not? That's what townie festivals are all about, right? Tory got her face painted with a cute little pink and yellow butterfly. She was so patient while the lady with crazy hair (!!) painted her cheek.

We strolled around, browsing the sidewalk vendor booths and enjoyed our afternoon in the sunshine. This place perked our moods right up and both Andi and I had gigantic smiles plastered on our faces. Fun events like this are what summer is all about! There was every single kind of cabin-themed decor for sale here. And, almost every person there was carrying a metal shovel with a design cut into it. This is the only thing I can find online that even compares to it for reference. Except these shovels also had a rain gauge attached to them. Random. Even crazier, the shovels were going for $35 at the vendor's table. $35! Andi and I were in awe. Something like that would easily fetched double that amount at an art fair in the Twin Cities. My business-minded husband was quickly doing the math to see how much profit the owner was making from these rain gauge / shovel / lawn decor thingies.

After a while, we let Tory roam the barricaded sidewalks and streets alongside us. She does the cutest thing lately and stops at every potted container of flowers to smell them. To see the world through the eyes of a toddler. Wow. I just love it.

We stopped for ice cream at West's Ice Cream shop. We split a bowl of Mini Donut ice cream and sat on a nearby bench to take in all the action. Someone came by and gave Tory a yellow balloon. You'd have thought she just won the lottery. Tory squealed with excitement as her balloon bounced along side her all afternoon.

We strolled around the festival a bit more. There were actually quite a few people there, although this photo doesn't really look like it. Tory loved the live music playing on stage. She danced and bobbed around for quite a while with her yellow balloon in hand. By accident, Andi also captured Baby #2 in this photo (hello baby bump!) which is also why I find this photo so hilarious. See, I am growing bigger!

A few hours later, we decided to go to our camp site for the night and get settled in. Andi reserved a spot at the Lake Chippewa campground, situated on the Chippewa Flowage. The campground was about 10 minutes outside of Hayward and in a beautifully secluded area. We found our spot, hooked up to power and water and set up the grill for dinner. We decided to take a walk around the campground to check out our surroundings. Tory was obsessed with holding Chloe's leash, which proved to be a bit stressful for mama, as we dodged traffic on the road. There weren't many scenic trails at Lake Chippewa like there were at Big Bay State Park on Madeline Island. Most of the campers were nestled right next to one another with little green space between them. Lake Chippewa did have a playground for kids, as well as a water balloon launcher and arcade. For bigger kids, this place would be pretty fun.

Overall, our Lake Chippewa camp site was not my favorite and I think I even quoted one of Tory's Backyardigans episodes to Andi (of which we listened to many, many times during our weekend trip) that camping "is not the life for me." (Backyardigans reference: "a life without socks ... is not the life for me." Very poetic, Backyardigans). It's strange because I really used to enjoy camping and I even went camping for my bachelorette party not too many years ago. Hard to believe that now. I think the big difference this time was camping with a toddler was not particularly enjoyable. And Tory was really good the entire trip! I spent the entire evening on Saturday chasing Tory around and keeping two eyes on her at every single moment. There were wires and electrical boxes in the vicinity, our camp fire, the nearby road which had decent traffic from cars and golf carts, other people's campsites with their pets, the picnic table which was too big for Tory to reach in a sitting position and the RV, of course. Add in keeping a third eye (which I don't have) on Chloe the Dog as she tried to chase after every chipmunk and dog around us ... and it was just too much. Not very relaxing.

Don't I look like I'm enjoying myself here?

Plus, our campsite set-up was kind of ghetto. We were only going to be there for a night and we had the RV to sleep in, so we didn't put much effort into setting up baller digs for our entertainment purposes. All of our camping chairs were at the cabin, so we used the provided picnic table to eat and sit. About seven seconds after I snapped this photo of Tory, she fell between the picnic table and bench and scraped up her back. Oy.

Our camp site was pretty bare-bones compared to the people next to us who strung up Christmas lights and brought a portable refrigerator and coffee maker. Or this person, who actually decorated their motor home with lawn ornaments. For serious? Wow.

Andi grilled us steak, asparagus and portobello mushrooms for dinner while I made Tory mac and cheese from the RV microwave. At least I didn't have to clean up her giant mess after dinner! By this point, I was basically over our camping adventure for the evening. Andi and I decided to relax in the RV and read our books after we set up Tory's pack-n-play sleeping arrangements. Thankfully, Tory slept really well every night in the RV. Only once did she pop up and say "hi!" to Andi as he sneaked past her sleeping quarters. Another early night to bed for us. For anyone who knows Andi and I, this isn't too far of a stretch from our regular at-home life, so no hard feelings on our part. Two very good things about the RV on this evening -- we had A/C to combat the humid temps outside and with the windows closed, we couldn't hear any of our camping neighbors next to us.

Day 2's RV adventure was in the books with a total distance traveled of 328 miles. I'm so thankful we decided to cut our time in Bayfield short and head toward warmer weather. It definitely made our daytime experiences much more enjoyable. Plus, we really had a blast at the Musky Festival in Hayward.

1 comment:

  1. The camping life is also not for me, but this looks like it would be really fun to try for a weekend!