We just returned from a great weekend trip with friends Jim and Cheryl to Pardeeville, Wisc., a place we found completely by accident before we even bought the RV.
We made plans to camp with Jim and Cheryl more than three months ago. At the time we were talking about getting an RV but hadn’t pulled the trigger yet. But we wanted to set a date in stone since over the past few years we have talked of going camping more than we have actually gone camping. We start each summer with plans to go, life gets in the way and we either have to cancel or a date is never set. So when we talked to Jim and Cheryl in March about our plans to buy an RV we decided to schedule a date and we’d go camping either in a tent or in an RV.
We immediately got online and tried to book a site at Devil’s Lake State Park where we have been and have enjoyed in the past. I don’t know what was going on in that area this past weekend, but every site was booked up — in March! So we set out to find a new place and Jim came across the Indian Trails Campground.
It looked pretty good from what we saw online so we booked. We weren’t disappointed. From the time I called to make reservations from the time we checked out, every staff member that I dealt with was extremely nice and helpful. Even the one who took our reservation to return in August. Yes, we liked it that much! It was also one of the cleanest campgrounds I have ever visited. The bathhouses were all modern with individual ceramic tile showers and automatic faucets in the bathroom. There also seemed to be someone cleaning, no matter where we went. We were playing miniature golf and someone was sweeping leaves off the course!
We were booked in two side-by-side sites (123 and 124) that were isolated at the tip of a small lake which the campground was built around. The sites were surrounded by trees on three sides separating us from other sites. And the only thing separating the sites from the lake was a gravel road. Apparently that road is the difference between lakefront and non-lakefront sites, so we didn’t have to pay the $5 extra per night to be “on the water.”
We all decided if we were kids this would be the place we would beg our parents to take us back to every year. It appears many do come back year after year. More than half the sites are seasonal and were full. They really make an effort to keep kids from getting bored. They have an 18-hole miniature golf course, indoor swimming pool, paddleboats, kayaks, fishing boats, a volleyball court, an arcade, a BMX bike obstacle, a snack shop and several hiking trails. They even thought of us folks with furry quadriped kids and added a bark park with agility equipment for the dogs to run, jump and play and wear themselves out.
I wish we would have had longer than a weekend to spend there because there are also day-long and half-day excursions. Campers can make arrangements to be dropped off at the nearby Fox River, which flows through the outskirts of the campground, for full- or half-day canoe trips; or hikers can be dropped off at the Ice Age Trail in nearby Portage and be picked up at the end of a several-hour-long hike. We really only had one full day, Saturday, and the campground had so much to do, we didn’t schedule any outings. Maybe next time?
While the guys stuck close to the site and hung out listening to music, playing ladder ball and drinking bloody mary’s, Cheryl and I were out playing mini golf and hiking the trails. We even did a half hour on the paddleboats. Speaking of which, I forgot what a workout those paddleboats can be on the legs. With the paddleboating and hiking the trails, I thought of renting a kayak after our paddleboat adventure just to even things out and give my arms a workout. But I opted for returning to the site to sip mojitos instead. 🙂
Despite all the fishing activity going on in and around the lake in the mornings, it was still a quiet and serene place to wake up. On Sunday morning I got up early and took the dogs on a long stroll around the lake just as the sun was burning away the fog that was blanketing the water.
The only thing better than a brisk walk to get the blood pumping is a sweet, gooey breakfast that gets the blood sugar rising. Cheryl brought these amazing cinnamon rolls made from the popular recipe from The Pioneer Woman. They even looked like the picture on the recipe page! I’m going to attempt to make these myself sometime, but I think I’ll wait a few months for my sugar high to end from this batch.
We are getting better and better each trip in terms of figuring out how things in the RV work and how we work camping. But, of course, there are lessons learned each time. Here goes the lessons learned this time around:
1. Faucets that don’t have water pressure (another issue on the list of warranty repairs to talk to the dealer about) do eventually fill things up and flood when left unattended.
2. Cleaning up water in an outdoor kitchen is much easier than in an indoor kitchen.
3. Unless you don’t mind that your eyebrows and arm hair are singed off, Shishkebob skewers do not make good roasting sticks.
4. A built-in 18×12 nightstands can hold a 36-pound dog sleeping the entire night while it rains and thunders outside.
5. Sleeping in a camper during a thunder and lightening storm is much less frightening than being in a tent, unless you’re a dog afraid of storms. In which case, there is no good place.
6.Rawhide bones can become flat as pancakes when run over by a car.
7. Our dog Macy is getting better at burying her bones with her nose, a method she does as opposed to digging a hole.
8. Dragon breath is not the same thing as tiger blood.
Trip No. 3 can be considered a success! And it was definitely lots of fun. Looking forward to the next trip in three weeks. This one will be the longest yet at four or five days.