Sunday, August 30, 2015

Tony Comes Camping!!!!

Tony and I are going on the road!!!!! Yay Us!!!!!! We are going to squeeze in a few days of R&R – both of us need it big time. Five days gone – no worries, no cares.

I tried to make reservations last week for Devil's Lake State Park in Baraboo Wisconsin. It is only about four hours away and there is a lot to see and do there. Unfortunately, there was no room at the park – all those people trying to get the last few rays of summer under their belts. This week they had openings, I guess all those same folks are getting the wee ones ready for school since most schools start next week.
I am now storing the RV in Lake Elmo – which is closer to my house and easier to get to and from. We loaded up the RV (boy – did we bring a lot of food – interesting how much food two people think they need to survive). It took us a few minutes to hook up the car behind the RV – I haven't done that since I got back into town last April and with a memory like mine – well, there is a lot that is challenging in the world for me. All systems go – Miko tried to convince us that she would just meet us when we got to our destination – she really does not like riding in the RV or any vehicle for that matter.

The trip was pretty uneventful – although there was a personal first for me. Usually when I am traveling by myself, if it is a travel day, I get in the RV and don't stop driving until I get to my destination. If I get hungry, I just eat a protein bar as I drive along. I just want to get to where I'm going. This time though, Tony and I stopped at a rest stop, made sandwiches and then carried them out to the picnic tables and ate. It was a pleasant stop and I may have to reconsider how I travel in the future.

We got to the Devil's Lake State Park in Baraboo Wisconsin successfully. I really hate parks who, even though you have paid a camping fee, still want you to pay every time you enter the park. Luckily, I have a Wisconsin State Park sticker on the RV so that made the RV legal, but they wanted to charge me for the car. Again, we lucked out because inside of the park, there is the Ice Age National Trail. Since I have my senior National Park pass (one of the best purchases I have ever made - $10 gives me lifetime National Park benefits), I don't have to pay for my car. Again – Yay Us!!!!!!

We get to our site – a lovely site – huge, neighbors not too close, shady with big trees and a lot of underbrush between sites. I back the RV in and put down my automatic levelers. This site is so unlevel (both front to back, and also side to side) that the automatic levelers say “you are on your own – it is too big of a job for us”. I cannot get level – I move the RV forward – that doesn't work. I move it backwards – that doesn't work. I move it to the left, I move it to the right – nada. I finally get the RV sort of kiddy corner, askew, off center -  blocking off half of our site, with a clever use of boards and we are level. It only took about an hour to do what is normally a two minute job.


I was worried about the site I picked with it being in the trees because I was thinking that it would be prime mosquito territory. I have been pleasantly surprised that those critters seem to be off bothering others.
Low key night – lounging outside in the beautiful weather. This is what it is about.
Looking Up From My Lawn Chair

Saturday, August 29, 2015

First Time For Anika

Today was a day that I've been looking forward to like, forever. Today I get to go camping with my five year old granddaughter Anika. I think I've been looking forward to this ever since she was born. Just the two of us, off in the woods – exploring, discovering and just plain hanging out. Joy.

Of course, since she is five, Anika's social calendar is already full. So, first I went and attended her soccer match. It is fun to watch because for most of the kids at Anika's age, there is no strategy involved. It is everybody chase the ball, regardless of what position you have been assigned. Think of it as the ball is a mother duck and all the little ducklings follow the mom no matter where she goes. Very cute.

After soccer, we went to our campground (Lebanon Hills Regional Park - very close to St. Paul) where I had already set the RV up. We were going to make s'mores. Of course I had bought a whole bag of marshmallows and six Hershey bars for the two of us because it is better to have enough chocolate and sugar than to be left wanting. Besides that, I'm Grandma, sugar consumption is not a grandparent's worry.

As we are sitting around the little itsy bitsy fire, roasting marshmallows, I notice over by the visitor center that there are several police squad cars. One of the officers drove by our campsite and stopped, wanting to know if we had just started our campfire. Evidently somebody had reported that they smelled smoke and thought something was on fire. People, we are in a campground – a campground where people make campfires. Go figure. We offered the officer a s'more which he declined but I could see the want in his eyes.
After walking Miko for at least fifty miles, we settled into watching a couple of “princess” movies and bed.

The next morning, it was raining and my little princess, attired in her ladybug raincoat, shorts and cowboy boots, walked Miko for another fifty miles. I readied the RV for travel and then I think the best part of the whole camping experience for Anika happened. Her car seat was in the front passenger seat and she was beside herself with excitement. “Grandma, I've never ever ridden in the front seat before” So she got to do her very first front seat ride and it was done looking out the huge front window of the RV. Priceless.

We finished up the day by going horseback riding. We did a trail ride with me leading Anika on Spryna, me on Andri. Then when we got back to the barn, Anika took over riding Andri and for the first time, started steering by herself. Can we say how proud I am of Anika. Lots of firsts.

Can't wait for next time.