I should really start writing these before we go home. I’m HOPELESS once we enter the land of the productive members of society. Flashback.. yada yada..
in the not too distant past we were here…
A short drive from IL Beach State Park, through Milwaukee, past some breweries, past a cheese castle, down a road and we were getting settled at this amazingly clean and fascinating park.
We had tried to secure reservations for a few parks along this stretch of Lake Michigan and they were booked full early on in the spring.. we took what we could get. And now we know why.
This part of the world is LOVELY.
Within the boundaries of the park you camp in the woods, hike trails through forests, swim from the beaches at the lake, fish in the pond, hike through meadows and over marshlands, and explore DUNES. I cannot express how much we enjoyed this corner of Wisconsin. We want to see all the parks now, not just Kohler-Andreas.
We enjoyed a chat with a local at the fishing pond who has been volunteering at the park since returning to his hometown post retirement. He shared that like many other WI state parks, there are only 4 people on staff, and all of the maintenance, development, upkeep, and tidying are done by committed volunteers. That morning they were putting up a garage. We want to emphasize that we think these people are AMAZING. Also, there is an accent in this part of WI. It’s not terribly dissimilar from some parts of North Dakota.. I felt right at home.
We pulled our bikes off of the rack and enjoyed cruising around to different areas of the park. It was amazing to be in the cool damp shade of the cedar trees in the deciduous forest and then racing out towards a haze so thick over lake Michigan you could only hear the seagulls mocking each other. Fog rolls in and out. We know this. We sat around just watching it.
One of the MOST amazing things at this park was their Cordwalk through the dunes. We thought they had a typo at first, but no.. that’s what it is. A series of planks strung together with spacers, and occasionally pinned down with a rebar U to accommodate foot traffic while protecting the ever shifting sands.
This mile long stroll was amazing and along a side path we watched red winged black birds annoy the snot out of a family of Sandhill cranes with their young one.
Leaving this area was bittersweet, but it was the first of July and time to head home for a reset.
This stretch of June travel really confirmed for us that we like to go a short distance and and then just hang out for at least 5 days. The days of moving every day are tiring and you feel like you’re never really experiencing a place.
For us, it seems that this is one of the areas where we are incredibly fortunate. Weekender travelers have our respect. They are out enjoying the parks with their families. Taking out all of their toys and packing them up for a short stay before packing everything again to head out. It’s hard work for preparation, set up, tear down, unpacking and cleanup. They do it for a few nights of enjoying the camping life. I’m pretty sure that it’s they who are the die-hards.
This little bit of time at home went quickly with holidays and visits with family crammed in. We pushed ourselves to leave home for the road a few days early to see friends in southern Minnesota, and had a great overnight stay at a campground right under my nose my whole life. Here is my shoutout to Riverside Campground in St. Peter, Minnesota literally on the banks of the Minnesota River…. well done. Amazing what you don’t see if you’re not looking.
We have spent a lot of time recently talking about the pros and cons of living this way. Enjoying perpetual travel, without ever really getting a vacation… Getting to visit friends and loved ones, but still having to leave others behind. Clearly, we feel the benefits outweigh the negatives; however, it’s not fair to say there are none.
Yet, as soon as we think that there might be something to complain about.. we see a view.. or a turtle in a river, or a bird we can’t recognize.. and then we are content again. This.. is a wild turkey and a sunset.
Our next leg of the trip will be the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. Looking forward to seeing you there.