Friday, September 21, 2012

Horicon, WI

On the way south, I stopped in Horicon, WI for a few days in late August.  

I went to Horicon Wildlife Refuge several times, biking and walking in the refuge. 

They have a great floating boardwalk on one of the trails.

I saw lots of ducks and herons.  I also spotted a Bittern, Falcon, Hawk and a Bald Eagle.  Below is a Yellowlegs, I’m not sure if it is a Lesser Yellowlegs or Greater Yellowlegs.

The 2 pictures above were taken while riding my bike on the Old Marsh Road thru the refuge.  The first is a close-up of a Peregrine Falcon, the second is the marsh, with the tree that the falcon is in.

I also stopped for a couple of hours at Dodge County Ledge Park.  I stopped to check out their campground, but found an interesting trail – Ledge Trail.

After walking for a little while, I wondered if I was still on the trail.  I wasn’t concerned because I knew I wasn’t that far from the road, but still I like to stay on the trail.   After turning a corner, I saw this

and felt a little better because I was still on the trail.   This is a neat little park. Most of the campsites were for smaller RVs and tents, but they had some that would work. I’ll definitely keep this in mind if I come back to this area.   

From Horicon, I stopped in Rockford, IL for a couple of days for an appointment and to run errands.  After that I stopped at Starved Rock State Park, IL.  I’ll write about that in my next blog. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Chippewa Falls, Wi – Lake Wissota State Park

As I mentioned a time or 2, the reason that I came back to this area was for the wedding of Chelsea, my niece (my sister’s oldest daughter).   Just like last year (for the wedding of Chelsea’s sister) I stayed at Lake Wissota State Park.  This is a nice campground, with hiking and dirt biking trails.  For a couple of days, I relaxed, walked and ran a few errands.  Then I had to pick my mother up at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport.  It was a couple of hours ride from the campground and I got there about 15 minutes early (and that’s after stopping at Trader Joe’s for a few items).  Luckily they have a cell phone lot, where I could watch the planes and wait on my mom to call.

I met my new niece, Avery, for the first time at dinner the day before the rehearsal dinner.  My sister and her family adopted her in April of this year.  She had fun playing under the tablecloth skirts at the rehearsal dinner.

I didn’t take any good pictures during the wedding because my view was of the back of the best man’s head! I did get the one above of my niece and nephew (Summer and Parker) as they walked back down the aisle.  I took some pictures after the wedding while the photographer was posing everyone for the official photos.

The Wedding Party -

The Bride and Groom, with my sister (Amy), her family and my mother-

One of my favorite pictures, Chelsea (the bride) and Morgan (her sister) -

Avery, letting everyone know she is tired of having her picture taken, and Gavin who looks like he may be thinking the same thing -

Avery looking at baby pictures with her dad, Tom.  It amazes me that at 18 months she knows to swipe the screen to see the next picture.  Amy tells me that when Avery walks down their hallway she tries to swipe the pictures/photographs hanging on the wall as though they will change also!

Taking wedding photos is a lot of work, everything has to be just right!

Parker pulling Avery around in the wagon-

Avery trying to get a drink out of the bathtub -

My mom playing ring toss.  Luckily you didn’t have to actually get the ring around a coke to get a prize! 

My sister, Amy, and Avery.  Her dress didn’t quite fit in the stroller!

The day after the wedding several of us went on a tour of the Leinenkugel Brewery.  Below is Morgan and her husband, Dirk, in the gift shop.

My sister taking a picture of me taking a picture of her.  The free tour included 4 small glasses of beer to allow you to taste their different flavors.  I don’t drink beer very often anymore, but I liked their Summer Shandy beer (slight lemon flavor). 

Avery and Gavin appear much happier in this photo than in the wedding photo above!

The following day, I took my mom back to the airport and then had a couple of days to myself.  I hiked and biked and relaxed.  I also started back to Weight Watchers.  Even though I know how to eat right, it seems that I am the type person who needs to go weekly and get weighed and stay for the meeting.  Hopefully I will stick to it this time!

One more picture of Avery, with her dad at the wedding -

And Chelsea in one of the few photos I have of her taken during the ceremony -

From here, I had about 2 weeks to make my way back down south.  I have reservations for the month of September in Townsend, TN (the quiet side of the Smokies).  My next stop was Horicon, WI.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Wakefield and Iron River, WI

The first week in August, I stayed at Eddy Park Campground.  Last year while in the Upper Peninsula, I saw this campground from the road and thought it looked interesting.  Many of the RV spots are directly on Sunday Lake, mine was not.  It was an ok campground, but not great! 

I did enjoy walking around the lake most mornings, I think it was almost 3 miles.  One of the main reasons that I stayed here is that Porcupine Mountains State Park was not too far from Wakefield and last year I enjoyed hiking in this park.  One of my favorite hikes in the area is along the Presque Isle River.  If you looked at my blog last year some of these pictures may seem familiar.  I didn’t take as many pictures this year as I can just go back and look at the August 5, 2011 blog if I need a reminder of what it looks like. 

I love the way the water has eroded the rocks in this area.

A couple of the waterfalls along the hike-

In case you forget where you are, many of the benches have a porcupine etched into them.

In one of the small towns close by, I got a laugh out of this sign. 


You know you are in a small town, when the local Chinese restaurant also has “Authentic Mexican Food” on the menu!

I also went to a small park along Lake Superior called Little Girls Point and enjoyed the rocks along the shore.

I found a small beach I liked just on the edge of the State Park.  It was a bit warm, but I found a spot that was shaded part of the time.  I also enjoyed sitting on one of the large rocks by the shore watching the water.

From Wakefield, I headed down to Iron River, MI and camped at Iron River RV Park for a few days.  This is another place I stayed last year.  Once again, I enjoyed walking and biking the trail next to the park.  I also went back to several waterfalls and trails that I did last year.  My favorite is Bond falls.

I love Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  It is not only beautiful, but also much cooler than most of the U.S. this time of year.  From here, I headed to Lake Wissota State Park in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Houghton, MI -


No Surprise, I am way behind in my blog!  I stayed at Houghton RV Park the month of July.  I stayed at this same park last year, but only for a few days.  Since I liked the area, I decided to stay a month this time.  One of my favorite activities was just relaxing by the river and watching all of the activity along the river (including a small cruise ship).

Below is a picture I took from inside my RV of sunset. 

For most of the month I was in one of the few spots with trees.  Unfortunately, some type of sap was falling and I quickly had sap spots on my RV.  I talked to the folks who manage the park for the city and ended up moving to another spot the last few days of the month where I washed my RV.  It wasn’t too bad as we had rain several days and most of the sap had washed off.  The picture below was taken from my second RV spot.

Below is the small cruise ship that docked for the night just a short distance from the RV park.

I drove up the Keweenaw Peninsula a couple of times and visited Fort Wilkins State Park (one of the places I stayed last year).  Below is the lighthouse in Lake Superior at Fort Wilkins.

One of many scenic spots along the lake.

While relaxing beside the river I noticed an activity that I had never seen.  After looking it up on the internet, I found out it’s called Wake Surfing.  It was interesting to watch.

This trip, I visited several small county/city parks along Lake Superior.  One of them was a bit different than the others.  It had darker and much coarser sand than the other sand beaches.  That made it nice because it didn’t stick to everything.

Just about every day, I walked and/or rode my bike on the 4-mile path through Houghton.  It began at the RV park and the paved part ended at Nara Nature Park.  Many days, I rode my bike to the Nature Park and walked a couple of miles, then rode back to the campground – A great way to start the day.  Below are pictures of Nara Boardwalk Trail and Nara Nature Trail.  The third picture is part of the bike trail. 

After 4 miles, the trail turned to a dirt path.  Several times I rode several more miles on the dirt trail.  It is a great trail – both paved and unpaved!!

Last year, I enjoyed Canyon Falls very much so I went back and had a great hike.

On one of my last days, we had another great sunset.  This is a picture of my neighbor fishing off his deck. 

From here I headed to Wakefield, MI.