14-21 Jul 2015; Back in Wisconsin!

What a great week!  We left the Sioux Falls area early on the 14th, planning to make a stop in MN before we made it to WI.  We thought this last 360 or so miles would take quite a bit longer than usual because we had been warned several times to avoid I-90 in MN due to road construction and really bad stretches of interstate.  So, we took I-90 for a bit to just inside the state of MN where we caught MN60, and took it as far as Mankato, MN where we picked up US14.  We stayed on 14 until we got to Rochester, Mn where we jumped back on I-90.  With the exception of small bits of road construction, the highways we took were mostly four lane and in great shape, so we made real good time.  We called the Fort McCoy, WI FamCamp to see if we could get in a day earlier than we had planned, and they said sure!  We had reservations for the 15th-19th initially.

When we arrived, we were amazed at how nice the park is…this place rivals any high-end RV park we have ever stayed at.  We got checked in, and headed to site 52…but wait, there is an RV in site 52??  Back to the office we went.  Apparently wires got crossed somewhere when we decided to arrive a day early and no one put in the computer that they put someone in our site for one night.  Oh well, we got the site 54, which is right next to the one we would have been in, and I think it was a better site anyway.  We spent the evening riding around and exploring the place.  If you can think of it, they have it here. At least 150 spots, cabins, yurts, tent sites, 47 campers all set up that you can rent, hiking, biking, fishing, swimming, kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, pontoon boats, paint ball, firing range, full hook ups and large sites…very nice, and open to the public as well.

On Wednesday we checked the park out a bit more, did some grocery shopping, and hit the farmers market in Tomah where we loaded up on a ton of fresh produce.

Great trails on Ft McCoy.

Great trails on Ft McCoy.

Everything is very well maintained.

Everything is very well maintained.

Sites are very large and wooded.

Sites are very large and wooded.

The old (and current) headquarters building at McCoy.

The old (and current) headquarters building at McCoy.

This place is so nice that we called Ashley and Garreck (our daughter and son-in-law) to see if they could make it up from Kenosha for the weekend.  They made things work out, and would be able to make it up Friday night along with Toby, so we got a site for them really close to us.  We were real lucky, as the camp ground filled up for the weekend.

Thursday was awesome!  We headed out to Sparta to bike the Sparta/Elroy trail.  This is part of the Rails to Trails program, offering over 100 miles of old RR bed that has been converted to hiking and biking trails.  The weather was cool and rainy…perfect for a long bike ride.  We only did about 18 miles, but it was well worth it.  Most of our trip was up a 3% grade for about 8 miles to get to the longest tunnel in the area.

Crushed limestone is used for most of the trail.

Crushed limestone is used for most of the trail.

Entrance to the tunnel that is almost 3/4 of a mile long.  This tunnel was dug by hand!

Entrance to the tunnel that is almost 3/4 of a mile long. This tunnel was dug by hand!

Terri just entering the tunnel.  It is so long that they recommend you walk your bike, and you for sure have to have flashlights, as the other end of the tunnel is just a small speck when you enter.

Terri just entering the tunnel. It is so long that they recommend you walk your bike, and you for sure have to have flashlights, as the other end of the tunnel is just a small speck when you enter.

About halfway through.  The work the folks did that built this is unreal.

About halfway through. The work the folks did that built this is unreal.

A shot of the ceiling of the tunnel.

A shot of the ceiling of the tunnel.

Made to the other end!

Made it to the other end!

If you enlarge this photo, you will see a small speck near my left shoulder...that is the tunnel entrance on the other end.

If you enlarge this photo, you will see a small speck near my left shoulder…that is the tunnel entrance on the other end.

After that great trip, we headed into Kendall for lunch, and then headed out to a cheese factory to get some fresh cheese curds.  It’s been a while since we had the fresh squeaky ones!

Friday and Saturday were a blur…Ashley and family arrived early Friday evening, and we had a great time catching up.  On Saturday, we were joined by a great friend that we all knew in Montana, Kevin Warzinski.  Kevin retired not too long ago, and lives about 80 miles from where we were camped, so it was awesome he made the drive down to catch up!  We were all so busy having fun and catching up, that I completely forgot to take any pictures of the rest of the weekend.  Oh, apparently it stormed really bad early Saturday morning…so much so, that Ashley and Garreck left their pop-up for the safety of the open parking lot, away from any trees that may fall.  I say apparently, because Terri, Toby and I slept through it all in the Coach.  We didn’t hear a thing!  I checked the weather before we went to bed, and it was supposed to be clear all night, so I left all the awnings out, and a bunch of other stuff.  I think we were real lucky that nothing got torn up in the wind.  We did get a lot of rain too, as my grill cover was full of water in the morning.  Averted that one I guess!

On Sunday we were up and ready to go about 0900, when Garreck had an issue with the electronic roof on his pop up…it wouldn’t come down, so he resorted to the manual mode of 80 revolutions per inch to get the sucker down and stowed.  We still don’t know the root cause…it will go up electronically, but not down.  The mechanism has a lifetime warranty, so that is good.

We finally hit the road about 1030.  Ashley went on ahead in my truck since she had an appointment, and I stopped just north of Racine at a Blue Beacon truck wash to get the Coach cleaned.  I have always heard good things about these places, and was glad to finally check one out.  They did a really good job, as the Coach had not been cleaned real well in several months.  Terri went ahead with Garreck and Toby to get the truck, and I headed off to Cliffside County Park in Racine to get set up.  We found this park last Oct when we were up here.  It is beautiful, spacious, and has all kinds of trails and playgrounds, which is good, because Toby is with us.

Back in site #10 at Cliffside on Lake Michigan.

Back in site #10 at Cliffside on Lake Michigan.

About $24 per night for 50AMP and water, no sewer.  They have a dump station though.  Not a bad price for this area.

About $24 per night for 50AMP and water, no sewer. They have a dump station though. Not a bad price for this area.

On Monday, Terri and I picked Toby up from school, and headed over to Ashley and Garrecks house for a while, then headed back to the park.  We were up early today to explore a bit.

Wild raspberries and black berries along the trails.

Wild raspberries and black berries along the trails.

Toby loved the berries!

Toby loved the berries!

Right next to Cliffside is the Racine Eco-Justice Center, which is an environmental education center founded on an old farm in 2004 by the Racine Dominicans.  What a great little find!  Alpacas, goats, dogs, cats, chickens, geese, ducks, gardens, you name it…all for free and they have booklets that you can borrow for self guided tours.

Staring down the goats.

Staring down the goats.

They finally came over to eat some of the grass and berries Toby gathered for them.

They finally came over to eat some of the grass and berries Toby gathered for them.

Well, that’s about it for now.  Toby and Grams are taking a nap, then who knows what.  Ashley and Garreck will be joining us this weekend with their camper, and have the site next to ours.  Terri, Toby and I will be headed to the FMCA Ralley in Madison next Tuesday, so we are looking forward to that, as it will be the first Ralley we’ve attended.  Then we will likely come back here for a bit before we head further North, where the rest of the family will be joining us for our nieces wedding on the 8th.

As always, we hope this finds you Happy, Healthy and Living Your Dreams!!

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