I’ve got quite a bit of catching up to do so grab a beverage, kick back in your most cozy chair and get ready to read!
Friday, August 22nd
Friday was moving day…only 60 miles or so but moving day none the less. Stella had offered to make breakfast for us before we hit the road and we took her up on it.
We planned to be at their place about 10:00 am so we got our moving chores completed and when we went to start the truck so we could hitch up….it wouldn’t start. This was the third time in as many days that Jay had to come to our rescue and give us a jump.
We let the truck run while we enjoyed the wonderful breakfast that Stella had prepared – pancakes, sausage and kielbasa. Turns out she can cook under different conditions. I thought her recipes are only for Instapot. We sat outside at the picnic table. It was pretty warm and quite humid but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. We enjoyed the meal and the company and were disappointed when the time came for us to say our goodbyes. With lots of hugs we promised to keep in touch until we are able to be together again…next June in Goshen, Indiana.
We hit the road about 11:20 am and after an uneventful trip arrived at the Great Wolf Lodge in the Wisconsin Dells where we had reservations for the next 2 nights.
We dropped the coach in the RV parking lot of the lodge and then drove to Napa in Baraboo to have the truck batteries checked. One battery was fine but the other needed replacing.
Michael purchased the battery and inquired about having someone install it and was told no one was available. As he was loading the new battery in the back of the truck one of the employees came out and offered to install the new battery.
The batteries were switched out within minutes at we were on our way. We stopped at Jose’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant for a quick lunch and were pleasantly surprised that the food was quite good for northern Mexican food!
We also made a quick stop at Tanger Mall which sits right next to the Great Wolf Lodge as we had an exchange to make and a few items to pick up.
We met Dan and Amanda and the boys back at the lodge about 3:30 pm. Amanda’s mom, Mary Jo and stepdad, Gordy were there as well. We found our way to our condo and we all unloaded our bags into the room. Amanda’s sister Ashley and her girlfriend Angela made it to the room about 4:00 pm.
We decided to make a quick trip to the water park before going to dinner. It was extremely humid out and cold water sounded very inviting. We were down at the water park for a couple of hours – swimming, wading, going down slides etc. We immensely enjoyed the party entertainment inflatable products and services from Xtreme Jumpers and Slides – Tampa.
We decided to try Buffalo Phil’s for dinner. They crammed the 8 adults and 2 babies into one big booth….that’s what you call togetherness! We made the most of it and had a good time. Most of us went with the fish fry and a couple got sandwiches of some sort. I enjoyed the fish….Michael didn’t.
It was nearly 9:00 pm when we got back to the room and everyone made their way to their respective rooms and called it a night.
Saturday, August 23rd
Saturday morning all 10 of us went downstairs to the Camp Critter Buffet for breakfast. The buffet included made to order omelets, eggs, biscuits, gravy, potatoes, bacon, chicken tenders, fruit, pastries and a bunch more stuff. The food wasn’t bad but the $11.99 price tag was a bit steep in everyone’s opinion.
Today was Ben’s 1st birthday so after breakfast we gathered around and sang happy birthday, watched him open gifts and make a mess with his birthday cake.
We kinda just hung out most of the day…not doing much of anything….playing with the babies, chatting, going for a walk to one of the play areas so the boys could play…that kind of thing.
No big fancy meal to celebrate our youngest grandsons birthday….we had HIS favorite meal…hot dogs and macaroni and cheese!
After dinner Ashley and Angela had to head back home to Milwaukee but the rest of us headed back down to the water park to enjoy some more water fun.
Michael, Dan, Amanda and Mary Jo went down a few water slides….oh….and so did Alex! Ben took a nap for a while and when he woke up he was ready for some water fun too! He and I waded around in the water so he could do some splashing.
While Ben was napping Alex and Papaw did some swimming. Papaw got Alex to swim on his own (wearing a life jacket) and you should have seen the huge smile on his face. He was so proud to swim around on his own!
Once again we called it a night somewhere between 9:00 and 10:00 pm.
Sunday, August 24th
Sunday was, once again, moving day. But to start the day off we had breakfast at Cracker Barrel with Dan, Amanda, the boys and Amanda’s mom & stepdad.
Dan and Amanda were following us to Rhinelander, about 180 miles north for a few days. We left Cracker Barrel just about 11:00 am with Alex riding in the back seat of ‘Papaw’s BIG truck. We had an uneventful trip, making one stop about midway for diaper changes for the boys and potty breaks for the adults.
We made a quick change of vehicle occupants shortly before getting to Rhinelander. Amanda and I went on to Walmart to pick up a few items and Mike and Dan went on to the campground to get a start on setting up.
By the time Amanda and I arrived the guys had the coach backed into our site but were still in the process of leveling.
Once leveled Amanda and I went inside to start getting things ready for dinner. We had company over for dinner – 15 in all. My sister, Vicki and her husband, her oldest daughter, Tara, and her family and my oldest brother, John. Dan grilled burgers and hot dogs, Tara brought a couple of dishes and we had beans, pickle wrap dip, lil smokies and chips. We had a really nice time visiting with everyone. There certainly was no lack of laughter.
Everyone left about 8:30 or so and the rest of us headed inside to bed. Dan and Amanda slept on the pull out couch, Ben in his pack and play and Alex in Nana & Papaw’s bed. Alex and Papaw played a little ‘Angry Birds’ before turning off the light and calling it a night.
Monday, August 25th
My nephew, Robbie, (sister Vicki’s son) stopped by with his children Robert & Evelyn for an hour or so late morning. Alex loved having kids to play with even if they were a bit on the shy side at first!
We’d had a BIG storm the night before and it was pretty wet and humid out so we stayed inside all day and just chilled. The boys took naps and watched a few shows that Nana had recorded on the DVR in anticipation of the visit.
Late in the afternoon we headed into town to check out the train and ‘dinosaur’ at the Logging Museum but were disappointed to find that it was closed. Thankfully, there is a playground at the park too and we let Alex run loose for a while. He was a bit tentative at first but after get accustomed to the equipment he let go and had a good time.
We met my niece Nikki (Vicki’s middle child) and her husband Joel for dinner at Peking. Peking is one of the best Chinese restaurants we’ve ever been to and it didn’t disappoint. The food was as good as it has always been (we lived in Rhinelander from 1991 to 1999) and the time spent with Nikki and Joel as good as IT always is! Lots and lots of laughter involved when those two are around.
Tuesday. August 26th.
Dan and family had to leave today to head back to Milwaukee so that they could catch their flight home to New York. It was a brief visit here to the Northwoods for them but they were able to see an aunt, an uncle, 3 first cousins and 5 first cousins once removed! Not bad for not quite 48 hour stay.
Dan, Amanda and the boys left the campground just after noon and headed out for the 4 hour drive to Milwaukee. There flight is at 8:15 pm, arriving at La Guardia about 11:30 pm….will be a long day for them.
Michael and I didn’t do anything after they left other than take out the garbage and go up to the office to pay for our 2 week stay here. We’d tried 2 other times but the manager was either out or we didn’t have our Passport America card.
We are looking forward to a low of about 48 tonight…only a high of 70 today…all the windows are open and we are enjoying the fresh air.
We are at West Bay Campground just outside Rhinelander, Wisconsin. We camped here once several years ago when we had a pop-up. The campground is quite wooded (no satellite!) and actually quite pretty. It’s on the older side and could use a little revitalization as many of the sites are small and/or unlevel. Thankfully, our site is large enough to hold us but sits right along South Shore Drive. The road isn’t too busy so that’s a plus. We’ll be comfortable here though.
We are here until September 7th when we’ll slowly start our trek back south to Texas where we will make ourselves available for a gate in the oilfields again.