And the road goes on forever...

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Listening to Loons

We really enjoy the Northwoods. Especially when we end up lakeside on an undeveloped lake with natural shoreline. We watch as a bald eagle takes flight like he’s striding across the lake, makes a slight dip into the surface and flaps off with its dinner.


We’re mesmerized as clouds careen by, casting a pink reflection, moving like a saber across swaths of the darker water. 

Nesting loons provide a sing-song-along all week and an equally entertaining visual display of feeding a young one. Diving, popping up, handing off a small fish into a waiting bill. As we sit shoreline at our waterfront campsite watching, they work the same pattern nightly of feeding cross-lake. Always their calls please and plead: this is totally the stuff you are made to remember. Your mind’s circuits will recall their song as your measurement of the immense pleasure of this trip.

The lake even sports a man made loon nest.

Was it fancy or with hookups? Only in respect to our huge quarter-acre level site, with the most stunning old growth pines we’ve yet to see in Wisconsin. Had for half price on our National Park’s Pass, it costs a mere $52.50 for a week of total, nature-driven bliss. We develop a routine which involves sitting in lakeside conversations, nightly cocktail hour and lots of outdoor cooking, voracious reading, fishing and most fun, kayaking. It is so unbelievably quiet I can’t bear to think of leaving.


The good news is that we can return again soon and as the year moves on it should become ever more vacant, although it never totally fills. It has 45 sites, half of which are reservable. A lot of campers are tenters, young with kids and kayaks, and will shortly return to school (maybe).
In addition to the main lake, there are two others, one of which is about the same size with a sandy swimming beach. The day we decide to kayak it, we are the only ones on the entire lake excepting for the loons. In a state with very little public lands, it made us feel wild and free and slightly incredulous.

After crossing the main lake, we tie off the kayaks and hike to the other, small lake, which has a raised boardwalk as its only means of entry because the shoreline is entirely matted bog; spongy to step on, perilous to the extreme to try and traverse. The plants here are other-worldly, including some that are carnivorous.

It’s a bit of a trek to drive to this area on back roads through many small towns and villages, or we’d be going there much more I’m sure. We’re much more prepared for an easier ride next time—Marc just installed air bags to help the suspension on the Chevy.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

A Blessing in Disguise

At first, we were very nonplussed by Marc’s sudden lay-off, which greatly interrupted our plans on the road to retirement. As often in life however, further reflection has brought some wonderful conclusions about the situation. For one thing, Marc no longer has to be out amongst the public and can avoid THE stupid people  who refuse to wear masks. His exposure to Covid has likely dropped by 98%. Secondly, he now has time to really attack all those neglected little odd jobs, like cleaning up his shop, that were always shoved to the back burner when he worked. Third, and maybe most importantly, we are getting some free time to really spend together, doing what we want, like putting together the necessary equipment to get into the sport of kayak fishing.

As noted before, my kayak had arrived damaged, so on our first jaunt out in July we had to go with just one and take turns. We found a marvelous Forest Service campground in the UP, which blissfully remained lightly used (even over the weekend) where we had our choice of gorgeous lakeside spots which allowed us easy access to the kayak. We didn’t spring for non-resident fishing licenses due to the cost, but we really both enjoyed exploring the entire shoreline of the lake and testing the kayak’s abilities. With mosquitoes being bad, we set up our screen room and even the kitties were able to enjoy being outside and contained. It was one of the most relaxing times we’ve had in years.

Unfortunately, we moved back into northern WI to find most of the campgrounds in heavy use. The one spot we found in a state forest campground which didn’t take reservations did not thrill us and the water access wasn’t the best so we didn’t even unload the kayak. We drove around checking out many lakeside campgrounds in this area but most are on the reservation system and are fully booked through September. The others we determined we could not easily maneuver the tight turns required. It was very disappointing because the many lakes are like shining jewels and perfect for kayaking!

Meanwhile, back at home, Marc did come across a kayak at Cabela’s which he purchased and can make work for his purposes since it is motor driven. Getting everything set up plus figuring out how to load, unload and haul two large, heavy kayaks on the Chevy has been a feat in itself. It has occupied many hours, and many days. Thank God for mechanical advantage, as he devised a winch system which greatly helps.

Not to be deterred, we’re leaving again Monday to a yet undetermined lake, but you can bet it will be a campground which is first come only. We’ll stay in WI this time so we can fish and hopefully discover a spot nice enough to repeatedly return to. Oh yeah, that’s another advantage of his lay-off; we can now pretend we’re retired and leave during the week days to avoid the Friday rush. 


Saturday, August 1, 2020

Getting Rid of the Old Girl

(This post is for link purposes to ads we are running)

Great Value! Parting Out Travel Supreme: Perfect for DIY tiny home at affordable cost: $9950.

We are parting out a 1998, 40 foot Travel Supreme fifth wheel. If you are looking to keep costs down on a new-build tiny home this trailer has many serviceable parts including:
*Trail Air hitch (over $1000 new)
*two slide mechanisms
*solid wood maple cabinetry which can easily be refinished
*100 amp electrical service in the rig and another 100 amp box in basement  
*24” 6” deep one-hole stainless steel sink w/Moen fixture
*12 c.f. two-way refrigerator
*apartment size pro four burner stainless steel propane stove, oven and GE  Spacesaver microwave
*easy lift King platform bed
*mirrored closet doors
*large corner fiberglass tub/shower combination with glass door
* porcelain RV toilet
*three large holding tanks and some landing gear jacks.
*two Dometic 15000 BTU A/C units
*Misc items include: A&E canvas 20’ center pole support awning with aluminum cover; A&E window awnings;  240 V baseboard electric heat; Cadet 1500W 240V space heater; faux wood window blinds; built-in safe

Most important for a tiny build is the stoutness of the frame: Gooseneck trailers are said to make the best tiny homes because a large master is possible on the main floor and easier towing. A new gooseneck frame of this size will run about $8000. Travel Supreme’s were some of the best built trailers available and this 40 footer has a double 2”x8” box tube frame which is fully enclosed on the bottom. The three axles were upgraded and custom made by Dexter specifically for this trailer (at a cost of about $10,000) and have under 5000 miles on them. They are rated 10k/each axle with oil bath bearings and there are HD Hercules 17” tires and wheels, rated for 5600 lbs/each. You can see the comparison to the original axles and (especially brake size) in two of the photos.

We are located in central Wisconsin and will consider reasonable local delivery. Trailer is no longer licensed or insured but can be moved with a trip permit at Buyer’s expense. We can also store it for Buyer for a reasonable amount of time with full payment and a liability waiver. All sold “as is”; trailer has been stored for past seven years.