Friday, June 20, 2014

Let’s go RVing!

Hey there all! I have to apologize for the later than usual posts this week – we’ve been traveling and with the time change I was posting later. And we were on vacation, so there’s that. ;)

Every summer for the past few years we rent an RV and take a trip up to Wisconsin for hubby’s work with drum corps. Most of our vacations/trips are tied into his work – sometimes it’s because it’s the only way we’ll see him that week and sometimes it’s because it’s a fun spot that we like to visit.

We took a four day trip on the RV up north this week and loved it yet again. I grew up camping every weekend and I still love the thought of it – but not sure I could do it now. One word: bugs. More specifically: mosquitoes. Seriously.

I guess you could call RVing “glamping” cause you have all the comforts of home and yet you still get to sit by a roaring fire in the evenings and roast marshmallows. It is the perfect combo for me! We LOVE it. It makes travel easy too – lots of room to move around, you can grab what you want to eat out of the fridge whenever you want, HELLO – no potty breaks cause you can just GO, and our favorite part – it’s easy to take this guy along:

Peanut butter

The cats are jealous.

This year my husband had to work during the day every day, so the kiddo and I took off on various adventures. I find great joy in exploring and finding little local treasures wherever we are. Even the smallest towns have an old little movie theater or a great diner – it’s those kind of places that I love to check out. And the local HomeGoods too, that never hurts. ;)

We were based in La Crosse, WI again this year and I wanted to make sure to check out the top of Grandad Bluff this time. The views did not disappoint!:

Grandad Bluff WisconsinGrandad Bluff Wisconsin

It was an easy drive up (it’s actually a mesa) and there’s a small park up there where you can check out the view.

I’ve always wondered why this area of Wisconsin wasn’t flat and it turns out it’s a very small chunk of the state that did not have any glaciers go through. I find that stuff fascinating. The city is down in a valley and there are these beautiful hills everywhere around it:

Grandad Bluff

The next day we made our way to the Mall of America. I actually wanted to go here:

Young and the Restless fans, hello! But the Bub wasn’t into that (what?) so we headed on:

Mall of America amusement park

The mall is a good two and half hours from where we were but it was worth it – we spent about five hours at the indoor amusement park and then did a little shopping and eating.

The park was actually really fun – he could ride everything and it wasn’t busy at all so we had our run of the place:mall of america

The weather was CRAZY up there (and at home too) – but worse there. Two nights of storms and downpours:

Our RV was moving a little too much in the wind for our liking and the rain on the metal roof is SO dang loud – so we didn’t get great sleep on the trip. Our bed felt amazing this morning. :)

The flooding was unreal – this was our view of the Mississippi from the back of the RV at the campsite:

RV campgrounds Wisconsin

It’s not supposed to be that close. :)

Both my husband and I would check out the back window all night both nights because we were so afraid the water would get too high:

Mississippi River

I heard from a reader that there’s terrible flooding in Iowa too – hope everyone is safe and doing OK. Looks like you’re finally getting a break from the rain today!

Here’s a look at our ride for the week:

RVing

I can drive one this big but prefer not to so we rented a small car for me to use instead. It was SO worth it.

The last day we were planning on visiting a water park at the Dells but it was pouring, so instead the kiddo and I took a trip to a cave in Minnesota:

cave tours

This is something I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do so I was so excited I could barely stand it. It’s called Niagara Cave in Harmony, MN and it was literally in the middle of farmland. I kept expecting rolling hills or something, but no – it started from a sinkhole in the ground on a farm:

Niagara Cave, Minnesota

The farmer was losing pigs and found them (alive) down there. ;) He discovered the cave in the 1800’s.

It was totally awesome: 

cave tours

It was an easy one mile walk and I loved it. It did get pretty tight in a few spaces, but it wasn’t so bad because it was so tall above:

Niagara Cave

I’ve been planning a trip down to the caves in Indiana and Kentucky so it was a cool surprise to visit one up there. I can’t wait to do it again!

We had a lovely few days exploring and relaxing – and we got to be with my husband which was the best part. :) It’s SO good to be home though – my goodness I love coming home to our house.

Have you ever been RVing? Do you enjoy it? My dream is to take a trip out west to Wyoming soon. I did it as a kid on a girl scout trip and it was the best trip I’ve ever been on.

Have a great weekend all!

50 comments:

  1. We were camping in the same area this week! Those storms were crazy! We were in a tent, and could hear trees snapping all around us. The campground was covered in tree limbs in the morning, but thankfully we were safe and dry. If you're ever back in the area, Mystery Cave in Forestville state park is really cool too. F

    ReplyDelete
  2. I miss Wisconsin! We lived in Dodgeville for 5 years and loved every minute of it! I don't miss the tornado warnings, though. Luckily all our friends in the Platteville area made it through safely.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I grew up just north of the Dells. Glad you had fun!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Does your hubby work with Blue Stars? Long ago I was a band geek/ corps freak. :). Love a good Drum Corps show.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love the Blue Stars. My youngest some did his first year of drum corps in Blue Stars in 1999. Took a year off and then was in Cavies for three. Tell your hubs thanks for his work! It is hard work but so meaningful to those kids. We are still big fans and found a love for Wisconsin too. From a downstate , IL music geek who put a million miles on her vehicle but sooo worth it!

      Delete
  5. I grew up in Michigan but have lived in Madison, WI for a while now. I thought Wisconsin was flat before I moved here, but it really isn't! The whole southwest part of the state is fairly hilly, I love it!

    I'm glad the weather wasn't TOO severe where you were. We actually had a couple tornados right outside of Madison on Monday night, one of which grazed my work (luckily there wasn't too much damage).

    ReplyDelete
  6. I loved reading about your trip, but you lost me when you said you went to a cave!!! I'm so claustrophobic that I could never do that. But the rest of your trip looked amazing. I've never traveled in an RV but that's the only camping I would be interested in.

    Bertie DeWane

    ReplyDelete
  7. So cool to read your post, we go to La Crosse often as my in-laws live near there. And my husband and daughter are at the Mall of America right now enjoying the amusement park. Good to hear you had fun in our neck of the woods :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. How fun to see your post on summer Drum Corp----love this! Especially since we are from WI, right in the driftless area that you talked about, all those hills meant hard work for little legs on bikes in the summers!!! And the storms, yikes. We live in Platteville, where two tornadoes went through. One by our home and one near my work (my husband does work where the bigger one went through). There is another interesting cave to explore in Blue Mounds. Always a hit on a hot day since it's 50 degrees down there year round =)

    ReplyDelete
  9. So glad you got to enjoy the beautiful state of WI! I live in the SE corner of the state and we have lots of hills, kettles, moraines from the glaciers. Very picturesque.

    ReplyDelete
  10. So fun to hear about your adventures in WI and MN. I grew up in WI, lived in Fishers, IN for 4 years and now live in Minneapolis. I miss a lot about Indy and live vicariously through you.

    Send some Mellow Mushroom up my way!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yes, the weather hasn't been the nicest up here...and FYI we are still getting rain every day. Sorry the weather didn't cooperate for you! Lacrosse is gorgeous and there are so many things to do there. I think I may have take a picture from that exact spot on Granddad's bluff!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I just took my 8 year old Daughter to Squire Boone Caverns (in Maukport IN) this week and she loved it! We are planning on doing the Indiana Tour of Caves (you go to Squire Boone, Indiana Caverns (in Corydon, IN), Marengo Caves (in Marengo IN) and Bluegrass Caverns (in Bedford, IN). She cannot wait. It is amazing the beauty that is found underground! I have been to Marengo Caves when I was much younger and I do recommend that you put that one on your list of Caves to visit. Squire Boone was really nice too.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Which drum corps is he helping out? I haven't been to WI in 10 years (thanks to doing drum corps for a summer), and it was so beautiful!! (But kinda stinky too since we were next to cow fields haha!) Looks like you had a great time!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alisa he works for the Blue Stars. He worked with the Cavaliers for years and has judged many seasons too. :)

      Delete
  14. Loved seeing these pictures. I grew up in the driftless region (Decorah, IA). We went to Niagara Cave for field trips and always to La Crosse for shopping. So beautiful and green there!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Which Drum Crops does your hubby work for? My dad is a Cavalier Alum and we are going to a show on July 6th in Illinois. Can't remember the location but its in the suburbs of Chicago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Erin he works with Blue Stars right now but worked with the Cavaliers for a long time!

      Delete
  16. Should try making a trip even FURTHER up north (but probably later in the summer for more favorable weather) to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan! Lots of outside stuff to do here - beaches, waterfalls, hiking, kayaking. The scenery is beautiful! Check out Pictured Rocks in Munising or Brockway Mountain in Copper Harbor.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for the tip about those caves! Definitely going on the list of day trips for the summer. I was at Mall of America with my kiddos this last week too (we live about 20 mins away from it). Always fun. You made me nervous with that shot of the river. There has been so much flooding up here so I am glad you got out of there when you did.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Awesome!! Well, everything but the crazy weather/near-flooding river bit, but what fun otherwise! =)

    ReplyDelete
  19. One of the best memories that I have as a kid was taking a trip in an RV to Yellowstone park. It was soooo fun. I'm hoping to have a chance to do it with my girls someday.

    ReplyDelete
  20. If you're in LaCrosse again sometime, head 30 minutes North and check out Winona, Minnesota. It's where my husband and I went to college. College town with small town charm...and the bluffs are beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed! It's also the home of...me! :) Love my small town!

      Delete
  21. I have a dream of taking a long road trip out West in an RV - seeing the Grand Canyon, national parks, etc... I think a small trip first would be a good idea. ;-). But then I also have nightmares of a Grizzwold Family Vacation. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh, how I would love to travel in an RV, but I would need a driver!! I have been in a number of caves and it is interesting. There is one here in Southern Oregon (Oregon Caves) and it is way cool! It is always about 43 degrees inside. My husband and I had taken the tour and were the only people dressed in short sleeve t-shirts and were perfectly comfortable. In eastern Oregon they have the Lava tubes to explore. Just be sure to have a flashlight with new batteries inside or rent the lanterns they offer (I have quite a story!). The Lake Shasta caves are really great and the ride to them on the bus is like a Disney roller coaster!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Last year, we flew into Anchorage Alaska and toured Alaska for 2 weeks in a rented RV. This was our first RV rental and we loved it. Best vacation ever!

    ReplyDelete
  24. If you're coming out west, don't skip South Dakota with the badlands, custer state park and the needles highway! We live in Utah and went out there for a week. So much to do there in such a small area! Then come visit all of our beautiful national parks! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We went through there on the trip as a kid -- I want my son to see the badlands, Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore! :)

      Delete
  25. SO jealous!!! I would love to rent an RV, and agree that the rental car to go exploring would be great too. Unfortunately, I think its all outside my budget between the rental fee, additional mileage rates, gas, and campground fees. :-( We live in GA and love visiting caves too. there are a few cool places to hit in TN if you ever head south on vacation... Ruby Falls has an underground waterfall and the Lost Sea has an underground lake. Very cool!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Glad you had a safe, cool trip. Yep, like Dorothy said, "there's no place like home". I have been telling my husband we should do this so we can take our furbabies. Your little guy was so cute with his paw resting on the sofa. We plan to do it sometime this summer.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Small world, I live in La Crosse. Just blocks away from University of La Crosse, Wisconsin and Grandad's Bluff .If you ever get this way again, you must visit The Pearl Ice Cream Shop and The People's Food Coop, best deli and bakery if you didn't already. Glad you enjoyed your trip

    ReplyDelete
  28. I've always wanted to try an RV vacation and now you've inspired me! Thanks for sharing your trip!!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Would love to know where you rented your rv, we live north of indy and would love to try one out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've rented from one in Noblesville off 38 I think? And one in Whiteland, IN.

      Delete
  30. I loved camping when I was little ...and we had a pop-up when the children were young and we'd have the best time EVER camping! My husband and I were just talking about maybe buying an RV - no definite plans yet but I'd love it!
    Thanks for the great post - too bad that you didn't get to stop at Genoa City (I'm a fan of Y&R)!
    Shelia
    www.houseofhighlands.com

    ReplyDelete
  31. Love to know more about the RV - what sizes have you rented, which size is most comfotable for the 3 of you, etc? We're thinking of renting an RV also but not sure of the cost of rental, gas etc vs driving/hotel stays in a trip across the West (Dakotas, Wyoming etc) Thanks! And, that darned river would've freaked me out! So much rain here in St Louis & flash flooding - crazy "summer" so far.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I've really wanted to rent an RV too and take our family to the southwest or northwest. I live in South Dakota - so if you ever headed this way I could give you a few pointers of great places to visit!!!

    ReplyDelete
  33. We have been thinking about renting an RV so that we could travel with out dogs. What did you do with your pup while you were out?
    Traci

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Traci we leave him in the RV and leave the generator running so he has air conditioning. :) My husband was nearby so would check on him often.

      Delete
  34. I've never been Rving, I wish some day I could, it sounds like lots of fun! I would love to visit that cave, how incredible mother nature is, wow!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hey, we're going to vacation in MN and WI this summer too! We are going to spend several days on Madeline Island. Have you been to the Apostle Islands? We are from KS and have not been to this part of the country yet so seeing several new states will also be fun. Love your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  36. OMG! I am from Decorah, Ia right down the road from Harmony. MN! I love the Amish all around the area. They also have Amish tours in town that take you out to a couple of Amish farms and you get to see how they live. Your son would love that! Maybe next year. I live in Eden Prairie, MN right down the road from the Mall of America! So funny that you were in both places on your trip! I love your blog and check in weekly! You are awesome and so happy that you made it up to my neck of the woods!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I loved your post about the cave in Harmony!! Its pretty much in my back yard and have never been....Think I am going to go now!!

    ReplyDelete
  38. I love seeing all of the drum corps junkies come out of the woodwork! My husband and I are BOTH band directors and have both marched/been involved with various corps for many years. It must be nice to take a trip for corps and get to do things other than work! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  39. If you're ever in WI in the end of summer or in the fall - you'll have to go to Cain's Orchard in Hixton (about 1/2 hour NE of La Crosse) . They have great fruit & amazing prices. I'm partial to the blueberries (amazing flavor just picked) & apples, but they have raspberries, plums and grapes if I remember correctly. If I didn't live 2 states away now my fridge and freezer would be full of berries!

    ReplyDelete

I LOVE your comments, thank you! (I read every single one.)

If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here! Be sure to check out the FAQs tab at the top of the site and my Projects page for paint colors and DIY projects as well.

THANKS so much for reading!