7/1/12

Greetings from a hot and humid West Des Moines, IA!

The temps got into the upper 90′s today with 45% humidity….  Worst part is that there is not much of a breeze.  Step outside and become a sticky mess in a few minutes…..

We spent last week on vacation in Bayfield, WI by the Apostle Islands with our friends Bernie and Mike.

The trip up went fine, except for a problem with the power transfer switch in the RV. We were going along fine then all of a sudden the house air conditioner stopped working and the refrigerator made the “I have no power” beeping noise.  John pulled over at a truck stop outside of Albert Lea, MN to have a look.  He found the power transfer switch was wet and had shorted out.  The fresh water tank in the RV had popped the top filling plug out and water spilled out while going around a corner with a big bump (or something).  We did find there was a small RV repair shop a few miles in town that happened to have a replacement transfer switch that was made by a different vendor, but would work.  They could have someone install it for us if we waited until 3:00pm.  We opted to purchase it and then install it ourselves that evening when we stopped in Eau Claire, WI for the evening.

Friday evening was spent at our friends Marcus and Lois’s place.  John was able to get the new transfer switch in place and working.  He said it was difficult because of the heavy gauge wire in the RV.  The next morning we headed out for our final destination.

About 30 miles from the campground we were passed by a truck that caused a rock to hit the passenger side windshield. We now have the first chip out of the new windshields installed this spring.  John called our insurance company and they had a glass repair company come and do the epoxy fix so the chip does not spread into a hairline crack.

We arrived on Saturday and setup in the rain.  Not much fun because our site was not level and John had to mess around getting the proper combination of wood blocks under the jacks.  Did not help much because the ground was soft and the wood blocks just sunk.  Once the rain cleared out on Saturday we did not have any more rain the remainder of our vacation.  Was clear blue skies and in the 70′s most of the time.  John had to wear a hoodie some mornings when the temps got into the lower 50′s.

We stayed at the Buffalo Bay Campground that is part of the Legendary Waters Casino.  The campground was a bit more rustic with gravel roads, gravel/grass parking spots then we expected.  We had 30 amp power with water but no sewer hookups.  At $35 a night (with the 7th night free) it was not exactly cheap.  We dealt with not having a full hookup by packing up and moving the RV to the parks dump site twice.  Took around an hour to unhook, drive to the dump site, dump, drive back and get re-setup. The campground was right along the lake with a beautiful view.  The first day I spent at the campground I hated it – was muddy, we were not level and I could not take a long shower in the RV.  The longer we stayed there the more I liked it…  Was nice to be able to walk down to the beach, or to the Casino for some small-time fun at the slot machines.  Here’s some pictures I took of our week:

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Our site at the campground

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View of the lake from our site

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Jeep on the ferry boat heading to Madeline Island

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View of the lake and Madeline Island..

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The Casino

On Tuesday we took the ferry over the Madeline Island.  The island is around 6 miles long and has one town, La Pointe, on it.  We had lunch at a little place named “Grandpa’s Tony’s”.  John had their garlic cheese burger and it looked really good – especially with the homemade bun.  We then drove around the island, stopped at a few scenic beaches and overlooks.  Then checked out the Big Bay State Park to see if they had sites that could accommodate larger RV’s.  They had quite a few sites with water and electric with lots of room.  If we come back next year we would probably stay at the State Park.  The downside is that we would need to take the RV over on the ferry.  We checked at the the ferry lines office and it would cost around $150 round trip, plus the normal charge per passenger.  Expensive, but would be pretty cool to do.

On Tuesday we booked a sailboat with Catchun-Sun Charter Company for an evening cruise.  Ran us $70.00 a person for 2.5 hours.  Did not think it was too unreasonable.  The sailboat was not huge, but all four of us, plus Captain Tony fit on it just fine.  The Captain let John do a majority of the navigation around the lakes.  The worst part is that the wind stopped blowing after 30 minutes – so the reminder of the cruise was done via the diesel engine with the sails down.  Still it was nice being out in the water checking out the beautiful scenery and sunset…

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Bernie and Mike on the cruise

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Captain John

The remainder of the week was spent sleeping in late, relaxing, eating too much, browsing the little tourist trap shops in Bayfield and enjoying the cool weather.

The worst part of the week for me was having to deal with a sore right foot.  Went ice skating with new skates the previous week and the heel on my right foot started to really hurt.  So while on vacation I was stuck limping around trying not to put much weight on the sore heel.  I managed by taking tylenol and enjoying a few adult beverages – mostly mixed drinks…

I ended up really liking the Bayfield/Apostle Island area.  It was touristy enough to make things interesting, but not overly so.  Was still relaxing and not crowded.  Think we picked the perfect week to go there (week before 4th of July).  Seemed like the crowds were starting to come in the final day we left.  John could see us eventually living up there in the summer with a boat too tool around the islands with.  We are thinking it would be neat to visit again in the winter.  They have an ice road in place over the lake to the Islands.  John wants to say he has driven over an ice road :)

The trip back home was long but uneventful.  Average mileage for the trip was 7.8 mpg.  About normal for the MoHo.  We stopped for fuel outside of town and put in 150 gallons of diesel.  Good thing is that with our RV Plus discount card it was like $3.48 a gallon.  Cheapest fuel we have purchased for quite some time.  Made it home by 6:30pm.  Gave us plenty of time to unload and clean the interior of the RV.  We completely emptied and turned off the refrigerator since we will probably not be camping for a few weeks.  It was really nice to be able to plug into the 50 amp service at home to run the air conditioner while unloading and cleaning since it was still in the mid-90′s out. We would have baked in the RV without it.

The “Camping Curse” continues were something goes wrong at the apartment building each time we leave.  This time a hot water heater went out along with a refrigerator being on its last legs.

John spent most of the day today (Sunday) dealing with the water heater. He ended up removing the old one and installing the new one himself.  I provided assistance when he asked for it.  It ended up being an all day job….  poor John….  Tomorrow I need to call waste management and see if they will pick up the old heater.  Then John will go to the used appliance store and find a replacement refrigerator.  So much fun.

John made it through his finals and got his grades back.  He received A’s in both of classes.  So he is still a straight-A student. Yeah!  He has this week off and starts back with new classes on July 9th.  Only four more months of college go to, then back to the real world and getting a job…

I’m back to work on Monday.  Not sure what I will find when I log in and check my email in the morning.  Hoping there were not too many problems while I was away…

Not much else going on…. going to relax, watch TV and read a bit before falling asleep….

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2 Responses to 7/1/12

  1. Char! says:

    Nice to hear from you! I’ve missed hearing what you’ve been up to! Congrats to John on the As! (Those darn adult students always mess up the curve for the young ones… )
    ;-)

  2. Sorry to hear about the “Camping Curse”. I’m sending you good vibes to help break the curse!

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