A Fed Bear is a Dead Bear (nfs campgrounds)

We’ve stayed at quite a few National Forest Service campgrounds as we’ve wandered the country. There are several things that make them appealing.

Of course, the biggest one, they tend to be in forests! We’ve taken advantage of them in Montana, New Mexico, Wyoming, South Dakota and now Arizona.

They’re rarely crowded. The campgrounds are usually remote enough that they aren’t often full, although, the closer you get to National Parks, the less that is true. They are well maintained and typically, are very clean.

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Our history isn’t what I thought it was:(

I’ve been meaning to blog more often this year. It’s my year three goal, but I have to go back a bit first.

We are back in the Black Hills of South Dakota as we begin our migration away from cold weather. It’s actually still pretty warm here, although, the furnace has been on at night. My perspective of the western US is changing as I learn more about it.

I have become aware of my ignorance of our history as a nation. I haven’t told the story here, but I had a rude awakening that has changed me. I’m not usually emotional, until this event, and it seems to have affected me when it comes to thinking about treatment of all people.

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We Moved and Our Philosophy On Campgrounds.

Well, we left what became one of our favorite static spots. We were boondocking (dry camping) on a friend’s farm outside of Waunakee, WI. For nomads, we haven’t been very nomadic lately, since we spent most of May and June here. We are spending the summer in the Madison area of Wisconsin. Usually we spend about two months here in the summer visiting family and catching up on maintenance, etc., but this summer, we had so much going on we are ending up spending almost the entire time here.

Looking back across the pasture to where we spent two months. This was a great spot for us!

Our friend, Tessa, sold her farm and so we packed up and headed off to a new location. It was so beautiful and quiet on the farm that it will take a little getting used to being somewhere else.

View across the road from Tessa’s

One of the things we don’t talk a lot about is what a pain it can be if you want to stay in one area for an extended period of time and you don’t have options like a friend’s farm. For example, in Dane County, Madison’s county, if you haven’t reserved a spot online in one of the four campgrounds that can accommodate RVs, you can plan on moving every few days. Even if you make reservations, assuming you can get a block of dates that long, you are limited to 14 days in any one campground, then you have to move for at least a week.

So, it gets to be a hassle, and we prefer smaller, off the beaten path places. Places like city parks, fairgrounds and smaller country parks have provided us with some of our best stays, and are often free or very inexpensive. I’m sure we aren’t alone when we prefer and search for the campgrounds with fewer amenities, instead of more!

Anyway, the problem I have with bigger, more formal campgrounds like the Dane County parks is that they aren’t anything super special, they are nice, but you end up spending about $30 a night, and still have to move, and some days, you simply aren’t going to have a spot, like over holidays and many weekends. So, we look for the hidden gems and other opportunities. It looks like I found one in Blanchardville, WI. It’s a little city campground, less than $15 a night, and right on a branch of the Pecatonica river. Downtown, well actually, anywhere in town, is within easy walking distance. Plus, we can stay here through August if we like. It’s about 45 minutes from Madison, but that isn’t too restrictive given the cost, the beauty and the fact that we have hookups. (Water and 30 Amp Electric). There is a dump station here too.

I’ll add some pictures and shoot some video, but it looks like a winner!

RV Living and Health Care

We are back in Wisconsin for most of the Summer this year. As you know, we live in our RV full time. One thing that is problematic for many of us who live this lifestyle is health care. I’ll give you a couple of examples.

One of the biggest bugaboos is insurance. Many states do not offer any kind of national plans. Wisconsin, for example, doesn’t have Blue Cross Blue Shield unless you get through your employer and your employer has to be based in a state that offers it!

So, we end up with health insurance through the marketplace, and thank goodness for that, or I wouldn’t be eligible for insurance. The problem is that the network, and in network doctors, are all in Wisconsin. That means, and so far, knock on wood, we haven’t used it outside of Wisconsin, that many things require pre-approval and there is extra expense involved for “out of network” doctors.
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Magnolia Beach, TX

We’re hiding from the cold on the Gulf Coast. It was surprisingly chilly as we headed for San Antonio to meet up with my son and his family. We had a great time.

Now we are parked at Magnolia Beach, Texas, on the beach no less along Lavaca Bay.

Looking to the north out the windshield while camping on Magnolia Beach

Tonight, I am sitting in the front seat staring to the north out of our windshield. It’s expected to storm tonight as a cold front moves through. I can see lightning off to the north east.

Same general direction at night. Big refineries and plenty of industry located all over the gulf shores. It is easy to see why hurricanes can impact so much of commerce and life here.

The thing that strikes me is how much the Gulf of Mexico impacts the weather up north. The plains states rely almost entirely on the warm humid air of the gulf to provide the rains to sustain agriculture all the way to North Dakota and beyond.

As a land lubber, completely ignorant of the ways of the sea, and open water. I can’t help but wonder if the sea level will change much as the storms move through? It isn’t like a hurricane or anything, but if the wind blew pretty hard, I can’t help but wonder if it would push the water level up to the RV?

I hooked the car up just in case we need to make a fast getaway, LOL.

 

Laurie, John and Ruby

George’s sister Laurie and her husband, John live on a lake near Wilmot, South Dakota. It is really out in nature with not a lot of people. On our travels from Wisconsin we were able to stop and see them. This was the first time visiting them at their beautiful home they had built and they have lived there six years! This is one of the excellent reasons to have a motor home, it takes us to family we love and that fills us with happiness.

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Vacationing with the Family in Wisconsin

To end our summer in Madison, we all decided to go to northern Wisconsin and rent a cabin on a lake.  George and I were going to take off after our vacation with the family and head out on the road again. So we drove our RV towing our car and the best part was our grandkids rode along with us. Plus their dog Hotdog.

The first night of traveling we stayed at Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest on Black Lake. Andy, our son-in-law’s favorite lake in Wisconsin. There are no houses on the lake so it makes it very special and the loons were calling in the morning and the evening. I love me a loon!

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Hosting

Just by chance we were asked if we were interested in hosting at Lake Mendota Park in Madison. We decided to give it a shot and we started hosting on July 14th, 2017. Our last day of hosting is August 9th, 2017. Today’s date is the 28th of July, so we have been hosting for 2 weeks. I thought I would give it a couple of weeks before I posted anything about hosting.

The first day of hosting was a Friday. My husband George had plans to out that evening, so I was left to take over. The evening amounted to selling firewood and answering a couple of questions. Didn’t particularly like that I had to answer the door of my RV  in the evening so much. I like my evenings to myself. So when my husband was home the next night, It worked perfectly.He hangs out in the living room in the evening, so he could answer the door all night while I could hang out in the bedroom. He is a night owl and I am not.

We basically wear name tags that read, volunteer camp host. We get our camp site for free for hosting which saves us $27.00 a day with a 50 amp hook-up. Every morning after ten o’clock we take our clip board and pen and walk around recording available camp sites and pick up garbage. Then we call in, with a phone lent to us, the number of available spaces at our campground. In the evening we walk around looking for litter and we also walk Gizzy too. We have a bag that we put the money in for the firewood we sell for the park. The firewood is located at our campsite. There is a little sign on the post at our campsite, where we show open or closed. When you are closed you also set the paper clock to the time you will return. The rangers want you to be around during the weekends to help out especially. All in all so far it has worked for us. We do love it when Monday morning comes around and the park becomes quiet. That is when we get our blow-up kayak out and paddle around Lake Mendota. So cool!

 

 

Family Life in Madison

What grandparent wouldn’t like spending the summer in your daughter’s backyard swimming pool with your grandchildren, especially over the fourth of July. And your son and his family flying up for the holiday.  Wonderful 4th of July, and it is my favorite holiday! Since we have been living in our RV, we have missed Halloween, Thanksgiving, X-mas, Valentine’s Day, Easter and Mother’s Day with our family. This is the hardest thing, besides the stupid desert. It makes me want to leave the nomadic lifestyle but my husband loves it so much and he tries to make me happy in other ways. But, while  we have been in Madison, we have been filling our days with lots of fun family things, appreciating family more than ever, which is a good thing.

I would also like to add that I do  like living in our RV full time as a housewife, other than being away so long from family.   And these are the reasons why:

Not much floor to mop.

Not much time spent on cleaning a small space.

No neighbors that I need to hang out with.

Never have to mow the grass.

Never have to pack up our clothes and bathroom items when we take a trip.

Always have our home when we go to weddings etc.

Can be close to or by lakes and rivers.

And for the first time starting this month,July, we are going to start hosting at a county park here in Dane county. It’s at Mendota County Park and it is on lake Mendota. The best part is we get to stay for free! I’ll let you know how that goes next time I blog.

Chronicling Full Time RV Life