Friday, June 28, 2013

#RVthereyet Adventure: Days 3 & 4

Day 3 of our RV weekend adventure was a lot of fun. We woke up at Lake Chippewa campground, just outside of Hayward, Wisconsin and decided to spend the day exploring what this cute little town had to offer.

Tory woke up early around 5:30am and in such close quarters, there really wasn't much room to let her fuss and/or jump on the toddler grenade while the other parent slept. I got up with Tory and brought her back to bed with Andi and I. Surprisingly, she did fall back asleep for about 20 minutes or so as we laid there together. This mama, however, never did not. A very early morning wake-up and no coffee on hand = a rough start to the morning. Oy.

I finally summoned Andi out of bed around 6:15am. Together, we took down the pack-n-play and replaced the small space with our RV's kitchen table so we could eat breakfast. Our morning feast consisted of cinnamon donut holes, yogurt and bagels. Typical roughing it, camping-type food. It was really convenient having a small refrigerator in the RV to keep dairy products, snacks and beverages during our trip. Definitely key when traveling on the road with a toddler.

After breakfast, we took Tory and Chloe for a walk around the campground. It was quiet and peaceful with only a few people out walking their dogs and a couple college-aged girls doing the walk of shame back to their camp site. We walked over to the park's playground area and let Tory play for a while. She was happy tossing rock pebbles down the slides for 15 minutes or so while Andi and I talked about anything and everything. I'm in love with the calmness of mornings these days when the air is crisp and the world is quiet. (Definitely turning into an adult over here).

The Chippewa Flowage, near our campground

A bit later, we walked back to our RV spot and packed up the camp site. Our plan for the morning was to visit the Wilderness Walk zoo/nature area in Hayward. We arrived just as they opened so we had most of the park to ourselves. I'm not exactly sure how to describe this place. It was a cross between a zoo, park with hiking trails and a cheesy, touristy-trap old Western town. We saw baby deer, a reindeer, geese, farm animals, a zeedonk (a cross between a zebra and a donkey), peacocks, big tigers and bears and a camel. Tory was in absolute heaven around all the animals, so I guess that's all that matters.

Petting the baby goats

Chasing geese
(by far Tory's very favorite part of the park)

Crazy loud peacocks walking around all over

Stuck in the old-time jail

No caption needed.
(What we won't do for our kids, am I right?)

Toward the end of the Wilderness Walk park, there was a fake town with a cafe and various places for photo ops. Little kids could "pan for gold" in the river and then redeem their gold for a free sucker at the nearby cafe. Tory was a big fan of playing in the water and fortunately we were the only people there so she got to play and splash all she liked.

After the Wilderness Walk, we drove over to downtown Hayward's Musky Festival to grab lunch and watch the Grand Parade. The area was already packed with people waiting for the parade, so we were lucky to snag a table at Angler's Bar and Grill. Typical fried-everything bar food at this place, nothing fancy. Andi had wings, I had chicken strips and Tory dined on mac and cheese bites with a side of cheese curds for the table to share, of course. I felt a bit guilty serving my child an entire meal of fried foods and Ranch dressing, but there was literally nothing else on the menu. The area Shriner's bagpippers stopped to serenade the restaurant patio during our lunch, so that was kind of neat.

The Musky Festival Grand Parade started shortly afterwards. We watched from a nearby curb and made friendly with the locals around us. I'm nothing if not a gigantic fan of parades, so I was pretty much in heaven. You just can't beat a good parade; you can't. The community pride as everyone cheers on the hometown band, local sports teams and businesses. I love it all.

Tory was not a big fan of the firetrucks at the start. Girlfriend is very sensitive to loud noises (she cries when I vacuum!) so I had to cover her ears and constantly reassure her as they blared by us. Then, once she realized parades = treats and someone handed her a popsicle (her very first one ever!), we were back on the fun train. 

Watching the parade in Mommy's sunglasses

Musky Festival royalty
(They looked like mermaids)

The parade lasted for at least 60 minutes. I would definitely come back to Hayward to see it again. The community togetherness and variety of floats and entertainment was top notch as small townie festivals go. 

Then, we said good-bye to Hayward and drove south toward our lake cabin. Andi had a work photo shoot near the cabin this week, so he needed to do some location scouting beforehand. Tory and I planned to hang out at the cabin for the evening while Andi worked and then we'd all stay the night before driving back to the Twin Cities Monday morning. It truly was a difficult decision if we should sleep at the lake cabin Sunday night or spend another night in the RV. Obviously, the comforts of the cabin called our names (hello space to move and our real beds!) but I felt like we were cheating on our RV adventure by crashing there. In the end, we were all so happy to get out of that dang RV that the cabin won us over. I was never so happy to see this sight. One of my favorite places in the world, hands down.

I slept better Sunday night at the cabin than I have in MONTHS. I was so worn out from being "on the road" all weekend and sleeping on a make-shift sofa turned RV bed. I can't remember having one crazy pregnancy dream and that's sayin' something.

Monday morning, Andi woke up early and headed off for more location scouting in the area. Tory and I laid around the cabin and ate breakfast while we waited for him to come back to pick us up. Upon Andi's return, we took the pontoon out for a quick trip around the lake before heading back to the Cities. I did not want to leave in the least bit. The weather was finally warm and there wasn't a sole on the lake but us.

Alas, we had to return the RV to the rental place by 2:00pm, so we had to get going. Ahead of us was a morning of cleaning out the RV and unpacking everything at home. Andi and I were both dreading the tasks. We stopped at a campground about 10 miles from the cabin and paid $5 to dump our RV's sewer tank at their site. This, by far, was the least glamorous part about RVing. Andi gagged as he was hooking up the pipe to drain the system. I laughed, snapped a picture and ran back in the RV. 

Back at home, we spent two hours cleaning the RV inside and out. The rental company required the RV to "be returned in the condition it was provided" which, judging by their tone, meant we had to clean it well or we'd be charged accordingly. I mopped the floor, vacuumed and wiped down the counter tops, cupboards and refrigerator while Andi washed the exterior. After all that, Andi said the rental company tried to charge him a $75 cleaning fee because there were "water spots" on the outside of the RV when he returned it. Pfft. You better believe my husband argued his way out of that one!

Overall, our RV trip was one for the memory books. I loved spending so much quality time with Andi, especially given his busy, away-from-us travel schedule during the months of May and June. Tory was an absolute trooper on the trip and never fussed once. She has a truly adventurous spirit, just like her dad. I loved all the random places we saw during the weekend, trying new restaurants and hootin' it up with the locals at the Musky Festival. I can't say we'll ever rent another RV, however. It was an experience I'm glad we tried and now we know we never have any interest in doing that ever again. The entire experience really made Andi and I appreciate our lake cabin and what a slice of paradise it is in our lives. 


  1. My mom and her husband are going to buy an RV and they want us to go in it with them. I was pretty sure I wouldn't like it but now I know for sure. I will encourage them to just bring Anna and give me a break!

  2. How fun!! I loved reading all about your experiences on your RV trip : )

  3. Maybe when you're older folks like us you will enjoy it more... I truly can't wait to go camping when the weekend roles around.. so relaxing cause I don't have do a thing. Guessing having little ones could/would make things alot harder with the camping experience.