If you are planning to go to Salt Lake City be prepared to pay a premium for your stay. Normally we try to find a good compromise between the low cost camp sites and the really pricey nice camp sites. In Salt Lake City there was very little choice and none of them were inexpensive to a family with a travel trailer. If we were tent camping again, we would have had several options for staying low cost. In our trailer though it was high dollar or hours away. Originally we were thinking of staying right on the great salt lake, but then we figured out that the peninsula had a toll and we would have to pay it each way! So we looked at all the resorts in town and decided on one north of the capital that was slightly less expensive. After driving all day we were informed it was $65 a night to stay at the place we had chosen. I was on the verge of going somewhere else, but we had already looked into the situation and knew that there was no where else decent to go. While we debated taking one of the last spots, people and lined up behind us with their motorhomes and travel trailers! We decided to bite the bullet and just pay for the space, but only for two nights instead of three. The shift changed and Sarah was able to get us in for only $45 a night with the new worker. I guess we got lucky too because by the time we pulled into the camp, there was five people behind us trying to find a site.
When I first started towing our trailer, I was petrified. Here was our home and I am responsible for making sure it isn’t destroyed in transit. I also have to make sure that everyone in the family is safe while we travel across the country. I don’t regret getting a large trailer though, since we are living out of it. I have had the chance to park in a pull through, do a blind back up, backed up into a space only a foot larger than our trailer, taken it on a mountain path on the edge of a cliff, and of course had to navigate tons of road construction sites. There are somethings I learned along the way that I thought I should pass on to anyone else who wants to tow a travel trailer. Continue reading
Life in the travel trailer has been an adjustment for all of us. One of the biggest adjustments for me has been food related. The grocery shopping, as well as the cooking, and preparing meals is still something I am getting used to. It definitely takes a little longer to do the shopping when you are always in a new store. We never know where anything is and the prices vary so much from place to place, but things are always less expensive when they are sourced locally. It’s not a bad thing it is just different.
As for the cooking……. well, it’s just a smaller space. I love to cook delicious, healthy meals for my family, and I didn’t want that to change when we decided to take our lives on the road. For the most part I am still preparing most of our meals in house, and I am grateful to have all that I need here in my little kitchen. It is not as challenging as I thought it would be to have a significantly smaller space to prepare our meals. It takes a little more planning on our part, as the refrigerator doesn’t hold an abundance of food (we have to finish all the milk before we buy more). We do our grocery shopping about once a week and plan ahead for meals. I prefer fresh ingredients and typically went shopping once a week anyway, so this was not a big change for me. Planning meals is a good habit in my opinion, it takes all the guess work out of meal times, and it makes the shopping easier because I know exactly what I need for the week ahead. I have even been able to do a little baking which is something I
love to do. I look forward to sharing some of my favorite recipes with you and would love to try some of yours so feel free to share.
Here is Sarah cooking in her little kitchen for your viewing pleasure
After our in town camping experience in Madison, we decided to camp a little way outside of Des Moines. We had good experiences just winging it and getting camp sites, but our luck ran out in Des Moines. The place that we picked was filled up or reserved by the time we arrived. It looked great and we wished we could have stayed, but instead we had to drive further on to a Conservation Corp park. It was amazing and I am glad we ended up there, so lady luck was with us all along. The sites were spaced out and we were able to pick the one we wanted at the back of the camp ground. It was an extremely difficult back in (I have heard it called a blind back in), but we worked as a team and made it in without a problem. Continue reading
There was good and bad with our Madison trip. The choices for camping are not abundant and mainly in county parks. We chose one close to the capital building knowing this was to be one of our destinations. Unfortunately, it was on a very busy, noisy road with only a chain-link fence between us and the road. Other than the noise (which basically lasted all night) it was fine, although the showers were not clean and to be avoided. Fortunately, it was close to town and a laundry mat, which we were desperately in need of. The roads in Wisconsin are pretty rough, I guess due to the cold weather, so it was a pretty bumpy ride especially with the trailer hitched up. I would also warn people to beware of the parking situation in this city, because (at least so far) it was probably the worst city parking ever. There was no free public parking near the capital building, which has not been the case in any of the other capital’s we have visited thus far. Also the parking garages require you to pay up front, meaning you have to guess how long you will be there and hope whatever you are doing doesn’t take longer than you expected. It was just so unlike any other parking garage I have ever parked in. I am sure this will not be the strangest thing that occurs in our travels. Continue reading
across the state in Peshtigo, Wisconsin. Badger park is a quiet city park with an amazing playground. We were able to stay only the one day
planned because so many people already had reservations. It was great for the single night though and the camp host was extremely nice.
He told us about the museum in town dedicated to the fire that had destroyed the entire town around the time of the great Chicago fire.
spent the entire day looking around. Unfortunately we had to get on the road, so we only got to look around for a few hours. The town of
Peshtigo had a huge fire that was larger than the one that Chicago had and the museum had tons of artifacts that were either damaged
or that had miraculously survived. The museum also had a large selection of turn of the century items, including an old washing machine,
old switch boards, adding machines, old wood stoves and way too much more to list. The kids learned some history and the adults enjoyed
looking at all the interesting displays. Even though we wanted to stay longer, it was time to hit the road and see the capital!
On the excellent advice of our uncle, we headed north towards the upper peninsula and Mackinac Island. Michigan is a beautiful state and we were excited to see the great lakes for the first time. We decided to stay at a resort camp ground because they had a laundry facility on site. The people working these were nice and helped get us parked, but we were not really impressed with resort camping. When we were pulling into the campsite we passed the waste treatment plant and we later found out that the resort was built on top of the old landfill! All the sites were right next to each other in a row and the Wi-Fi was always weak if it even worked. The pool was a small little thing, but the kids enjoyed it immensely. Everyone enjoyed the bean bag toss, ladder ball, playground and tetherball while we stayed at the resort. We took a walk down the hiking trail and I was attacked by mosquitoes. We decided to keep going but at a jogging pace which helped with the bugs and allowed us to get some exercise after a day in the car traveling. (As a side note I learned that bug spray will help, but not totally make the mosquitoes stay away)
When we took the ferry to Mackinac Island, we opted for the slowest possible ferry. Most people were in a rush to get there, but we have learned that the getting there is half the fun. Well we picked the right ferry and everyone had a blast on the ship. On the island we decided to walk because I want to rent a surrey bike at some point on our adventure and they didn’t have them on the island. The horse carriage rides were extremely pricey and I am glad we passed on them. The guides were young guys who just worked there and the parts of the tours we over heard did not impress us. At the arch the people on the carriages were forced to get off and take pictures, use the rest rooms nd look around in under five minutes! Since we walked we were able to take our time and pick our own routes around the island. We visited the less touristy fort on the highest point on the island and were some of the only people there. On the paths through the forests we were also on our own with few tourists around. In fact it wasn’t until we made our way back to the shops that we came upon the crowds. The difficult hike had drained us though, so we stopped for ice cream which was delicious. The island was beautiful and we liked it, though it was all set up to maximize profits from the tourists (probably due to the short season the island operates).
In the town of Mackinac we found a cool old park built where the school used to be called the Old School Park. We also were able to go to the beach to skip stones. We ate some fresh white fish, fries and hush puppies before strolling around the shops. There was some amazing shops including a fantasy shop with weapons and a geek game shop, both our kind of store. The kids found another play ground to play at while I had a phone meeting with our insurance agent. Then we went off the tourist path to the fishery to buy some fresh fish. The kids were surprised because the fishery was a no frills commercial/industrial fishing operation that supplies restaurants and grocery stores all over the world. It was a great choice though because we got a pound and a half of fresh caught trout for only $5!
The bridge is a definite must if you are in the area. There is a toll to pay, but the Mackinac bridge was the longest suspension bridge when it was built. We visited the bridge museum before we went across it, so the kids knew the history and construction techniques. They were truly impressed when we drove across it and so were the adults!