West Omaha/NE Lincoln KOA Holiday

While we tend to frequent KOA’s with some regularity and mostly enjoy our stay, we both agree that this KOA ranks lower on the scale than most.

The sharply curved entrance to the KOA was a dirt road filled with pot holes making it difficult for rigs of any size to maneuver. This road condition persisted throughout the entire campground and the dust was significant. The sites were exceptionally close to one another, without much grass and with minimal privacy. Gravel was throughout the campground and served as a base at the campsites. Some sites offered cement patios with patio furniture and there were fire pits at each site.

WiFi was very good (we could stream easily) as was the over the air TV. In the camp store, they had a pizza store which they delivered to your campsite. They have a small pool which was closed for the season. They also offered a dog park at the front of the campground.

We did not have opportunity to check out the bathrooms or laundry area.

The campground location was good – it took about 30 minutes to downtown Omaha and there were stores and restaurants in close proximity. There was an outlet mall about 5 minutes from the campground. There was considerable highway noise.

Sorry, but we did not take any pictures while we were there. Overall, we give this campground a 6 out of 10.

ON OUR WAY TO OMAHA, NEBRASKA….

Omaha, Nebraska is about an 8+ hour drive in the motorhome from the Chicago area but we decided to do it in just one day. Of course, that drive MUST include a stop in Iowa at the largest truck stop known as The Iowa 80. It’s quite a large and interesting place, similar to a Buc-EEs gas station. There are multiple restaurants, including a buffet and lots of gifts and items to buy. Its always fun to stop at a place like this.

While at Omaha, we visited the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge which connects Iowa and Nebraska. It’s actually part of the National Park system and it has it’s very own troll (s) that live under the bridge. From there, we had a favorite for lunch, a corndog, then went to “Mixins” and had rolled ice cream for dessert. We walked around Pioneer Courage Park where bronze statues depict life for the pioneers heading west – not always such “happy trails”!

We only stayed in Nebraska for two nights but we definitely enjoyed our time in Omaha. Tomorrow we’ll be heading south to Kansas. We’ll be staying just two nights again in the Wichita area……until we meet again, HAPPY TRAILS!!

SHIPSHEWANA CAMPGROUND SOUTH PARK – Shipshewana, IN

One may accuse me of being a bit biased since I worked in the office here for three months, but I can honestly say this is a really nice campground. The location is ideal as it’s about 3/4 mile from downtown, 1/2 mile to the famous flea market (held every Tuesday and Wednesday) and surrounded by interesting shops. While that sounds like it’s in the middle of lots of activity, it’s still a very quiet and peaceful campground.

The grounds are well maintained with cute accents throughout the park. The bathrooms are kept exceptionally clean and there are two pavilions (one enclosed) for large groups. There is a laundromat, playground and camp store. An RV wash is available for a small fee. There is no swimming pool.

WiFi is free and is more than adequate for checking emails, ordering on line and googling information. If you do a lot of streaming, an additional WiFi package is available for purchase. Packages are accepted in the camp office. TV is great over the air (no cable) and you can get all the networks.

Most sites are full hook up, pull through, 50 or 30 amp and run about $50/night. They also have a variety of back in sites. Overall, the sites are fairly level with a gravel base. There is shade at many camp sites. There is grass around each site and there are pastures along two of the campground boundaries where there are horses and colts frolicking.

We give this campground a 7 out of 10. HAPPY TRAILS!

HI, EVERYONE…..YES, WE’RE BACK ON THE ROAD!

Many of you have been asking if we are traveling again this summer and the answer is “yes”. But we decided to try something a bit different this year….instead of moving from one town to the next, we spent 3 months in Shipshewana, Indiana! I accepted a work camp position at Shipshewana Campground South Park, working 20 hours a week in the campground office making reservations and checking in campers. It’s been a lot of fun! We’ve always wondered if we would like a more permanent location instead of jumping around out west or traveling up the coastline. Now we have our answer!

The answer is……we like BOTH! There are definite pros and cons to each. Moving around causes more work of setting up and tearing down as well as increase cost of gas, wear and tear on your vehicles along with campground expenses. When you are in one spot for an extended period of time, you don’t get multiple experiences of being in many places – but you establish friends which makes it difficult to say “goodbye”. We stayed in our site at no cost in exchange for my hours spent at work. It was a pleasure to interact with the campers and we developed the feeling that we were part of the community. The campground owners and co-workers were all a pleasure to work with – it’s so nice to make new friends and create memories.

While we were in Shipshewana, Marj and Larry came in their 5th wheel after the wedding. We’re not traveling together this year so it was great to see them! They’re heading east and we’ll be heading west – will meet up again at the end of October, back home in Naples!

It goes without saying that the Amish food is AMAZING! Some of our favorite things were the homemade soft pretzels, the fried chicken, and the scratch browned butter noodles! My baker husband, decided to try his hand at making the pretzels and they were AWESOME!!

Some may wonder how or why we picked the midwest to stay for three months. For us, it was an easy decision. First of all, we love Shipshewana. The atmosphere is a bit more relaxed, the people are all so kind and there’s just something therapeutic and calming to hear the “clip clop” of the horses pulling buggies past the campground. Then my great niece, Sophie, married Jon over Labor Day weekend. The wedding was in Indianapolis which is about 3 hours south so we were able to attend the wedding – it was so beautiful and the bride and groom simply radiated!

But after our time in Indiana, we have now hit the “happy trails” again. Our first stop was in St. Anne, IL, where we celebrated Howie’s 75th birthday with his family. His daughter, Tracie and husband, Mark hosted and we had a great time!

From there, we went to my daughter, Amanda’s home in Yorkville, IL, where we continued celebrating for the birthday boy. They were lucky enough to experience “Gramp’s” pretzels!

We have just 7 states to stay in before we can boast that we’ve taken Junebug to every one of the 48 contiguous states. So, from Amanda’s, we headed west where we plan to stay in Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma before heading back to our home in Naples. That leaves only Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada all of which we hope to visit next summer!

Many of you have asked about the condition of our home in Naples following Hurricane Ian. We feel very blessed to report that our home sustained NO damage. Our electrical power miraculously stayed on throughout the storm! God is good – all the time!

Next post will be from Omaha, Nebraska! Thanks for joining us again on my blog and as always, I wish you all “Happy Trails”!

Bowald-fest Our annual family reunion!

This year Bowald-fest was held in Michigan City, Indiana which proves to be pretty centrally located for most family members. It’s just about equal distance for those living in Indiana, Chicago-land and Central Illinois. Marj and Larry and we parked in a campground and hosted Friday night’s weinie roast and campfire.

The rest of the family stayed in a hotel 4 minutes from the campground – we all met there for breakfast the next morning before heading in different directions. Some went to the beach (yes, my sister Lori and I looked for…..SEAGLASS – and even found some!!) Others went shopping, some stayed at the hotel for rest and socialization and others drove around the area to see the sights. The kids (and a few adults) had fun in the pool. That evening we all went out for pizza.

Sunday morning found us again meeting at a local restaurant for family style breakfast. We feasted on mounds of eggs, hashbrowns, sausages, bacon, toast, and biscuits and gravy before lots of departure hugs and traveling back to our homes.

Always thankful for another successful, safe, and heart warming family reunion with my four sisters and their families. We are so blessed to have one another as there is nothing like family! Thank you mom and dad!!!

HAPPY TRAILS!!!

Minocqua, Wisconsin The North Woods

Driving in the Wisconsin North Woods was like embracing an old friend. For those of you who do not know, we lived in Minocqua for about 16 years so visiting was like coming home! We parked our motorhome along side the driveway of our good friends, Kathy and Smokey and it was great renewing that long time friendship. We played several games of our favorite, Hand and Foot, and spent our time reminiscing of so many wonderful times together.

We were only in Minocqua for three and a half days and we kept busy seeing old friends and eating at favorite restaurants. It was two years ago that we last visited and there were some obvious changes, mostly in businesses and restaurants due to Covid.

The first day, Howie and I decided to take a drive to check out our old home. These pics were taken when we lived there.

The current owners were in the process of resurfacing the front and back decks so the house looked a little rough. (Below) It was bittersweet seeing the old homestead.

I enjoyed lunch another day with two nurses that I used to work with at Marshfield Clinic….all three of us are now retired. We spent about 4 hours laughing about old times and some of the fun times we had working in the Operating Room. Meet Kathy and Karen!

While living in Minocqua, some of my best friends were my fellow quilters. Four of us met for breakfast and again, more memories were shared along with a lot of laughter. Diane, Berta and Kathy were three that met for breakfast. We missed having our fifth quilter there, Linn, but she now lives in Green Bay.

And finally, our last evening, we enjoyed a campfire with some that used to be in our campfire group. Along with us were Kathy and Smokey and Bill and Hillary…..yes, you heard me correctly, Bill and Hillary – not of the Clinton fame however! Hillary LOVES poking at fires so she has always been our designated campfire tender.

If you’re ever in Minocqua, Wisconsin, you MUST eat at our two favorite restaurants. One is Minocqua Pizza for fantastic pizza but even better is their Billy Bread……a pizza crust, covered in olive oil, garlic and cheese. It is SO good.

Then you need to find a restaurant a bit west of town called Lake Placid Inn for the best breakfast you’ll ever experience. Denise is the owner and she knows how to make great food. The servings are large and the homemade bread is the best. I’ve been trying for years to mimic her scrambled eggs which are so light and fluffy that they almost melt in your mouth. She won’t share her secret but they are sublime!

Again, put Minocqua, Wisconsin on your travel bucket list. Summer is beautiful with minimal humidity and lakes everywhere you turn…..they are refreshing for a swim and fisherman are in paradise, catching Bass and Musky. In the Fall, the colors are phenomenal, as the hardwoods are mixed with the pines to make a striking palette of color. Winter brings the ski, snowshoe and snowmobile enthusiasts! One year an early October snowfall was a striking contrast sitting on top of the fall colors…..breath taking!

Lastly, you have to take in a traditional Friday Night Fish Fry!!!! Most restaurants offer this delectable entree, like non other. Sadly we had to leave Friday morning for Michigan City, Indiana so we missed out on this great cultural experience!

That’s it for now! Next stop is our annual family reunion with my sisters and families lovingly known to us all as Bowald-fest! Come join us and as always…..HAPPY TRAILS!

PHOTO CONTEST – Part II

Here is the next set of photos. As always, please vote for ONE picture under EACH category, Most Beautiful and Most Cute/Funny – that’s a total of two votes per person. Please indicate which photo you choose by submitting the photo name found at the bottom of each photo.

MOST BEAUTIFUL….

THE LADY
RAINBOW’S END
MORNNG MIST
NIAGARA
PEACEFUL

MOST FUNNY/CUTE….

LOBSTER DINNER
BOUYS
GINGERBREAD HOUSE
KAISER
MARJ HAS COOTIES
I WON!
NAP TIME
BIKER BOY
MALE MAN
NIAGARA PHOTO BOMBER
SCARY SANTA
SKI FENCE

To keep you all informed, the photos that won Part I are:

BEAUTIFUL…..

CUTE/FUNNY…..

Have fun picking a winner! HAPPY TRAILS!!

River Road RV and Campground Ontonagon, Michigan

Driving from Yorkville, IL to Ontonagon, MI is a very long day in Junebug. If you don’t believe me, ask our dogs!!! Add to the 430 mile trip, a good 45 minute delay/detour due to the interstate being closed down for a traffic accident and another 60 minutes for a lunch/dinner break and that put this day at about 10 1/2 hours…..a different sort of birthday! But we’re happy….we’re safe and we got to the campground and set up before the sun set which always make life a LOT easier!

This campground is just fine but it really is bare bones. The staff, Renee and Paul are both very nice and helpful. We are in a full hook up, 50 amp site – there really is no WiFi, cable or over the air TV channels. The sites are somewhat level but there is no foundation other than grass. There are only a few trees throughout the campground, so minimal shade or privacy. (In the first picture below, the blue chair is NOT ours, but our neighbors – the sites are situated so you share your front yard with whoever is next to you!) But I have to tell you, the smell here is phenomenal! Between the campfires and the pines, we’re in North Woods Heaven! There is a laundry, small playground and a bath house but no other amenities. The location is about a 5 minute drive to Lake Superior and the campground is on a brown (Ontonagon River) river that dumps into the lake. It’s only 20 minutes to the Porcupine Mountains and to Lake of the Clouds, both beautiful places especially for hikers and naturalists.

While here, we found another campground, the Ontonagon County Park and Campground. We believe, the fee is $35/night for electric and water – they have a dumping station. We drove through and it looks like a very nice little campground located right on the shore of Lake Superior. They have a nice bath house, playground and they have a building you can reserve for large groups or gatherings. The sites look fairly spacious and level but we think it’s only on a first come first serve basis. But you may want to check it out…..we would stay there if ever in the area again.

AMENITIESCLEANLINESSHELPFUL & FRIENDLYSITE FEATURESPRIVACY WIFI, TV, PHONE
034101
TOTAL SCORE = 1.5FULL HOOK UP COST PER NIGHT = $40

Not the fanciest place but certainly adequate for a two night stay. HAPPY TRAILS!

Ontonagon, Michigan The U.P. (Upper Penninsula)

We had crossed the border from Wisconsin into Michigan for about 5 minutes when we were treated to seeing a black bear! It ran across the road about 80 yards in front of us but by the time we got even with it, it had already disappeared into the woods….sorry, no picture. Along the way, we also saw many deer and Canadian geese. I think the moose here must be shy because the only one we saw was a cut out!!!

This is an extremely quiet part of our country. We drove for miles and miles without seeing any other cars….it was a bit eerie. But we did start seeing some beautiful fall colors even though it’s only the middle of September.

You’ll never guess what we did during our only full day here…..yep, we were looking for SEA GLASS! I read that the Great Lakes are a great place to find sea glass due to the many ship wrecks that have occurred historically. Supposedly, it actually takes less time for sea glass to mature in the lakes than it does in the oceans – only 25-30 years compared to 50-100 years! So, yes, I had very good luck, finding 14 pieces in about an hours time….the best find to date. Who knew glass could be found on the Great Lakes. Fact: Sea glass – glass found along the ocean vs. Beach glass – glass found along a lake front. I have to say that, in my opinion, the Sea glass is a higher quality than the Beach glass as it has a frostier look due to the salt in the water. Regardless, I’m so happy for our find!

Later in the afternoon, we decided to drive to the Porcupine Mountains where we did a little hiking to see Lake in the Clouds. Beautiful and the weather was perfect. Warm, sunny and windy.

You can NOT be in the Upper Peninsula without enjoying a PASTY. This is a crescent shaped pie filled with meat, potatoes, rutabaga and carrots. This delicious entree’ was originally created for the miners to easily take a nutritious and filling meal in their lunch boxes without the need for utensils.

And finally, we made it to the END of the road. Route 45 starts in Ontonagon and ends in Mobile, Alabama, traveling the entire north/south length of the USA. That makes it a HAPPY TRAIL!!!!

Yorkville, IL – a slight change in plans because family comes first!

We were originally scheduled to spend a week in Michigan, traveling north through Mackinaw Island, then over into northern Wisconsin. However, my 9 year old grandson, Garrett was exposed to Covid on the bus and is too young to stay home alone. My daughter, Amanda, a single mom, just started a new teaching position and cannot call in for the duration of Garrett’s quarantine period.

We left Niagara a day earlier than planned and traveled straight west my daughter’s home in Yorkville, IL. We were glad that we were close enough to Illinois that we could easily lend a helping hand. Our hope is that we can travel to the Wisconsin North Woods at the end of the week to visit with our long time friends. We used to live in Minocqua and still cherish the friendships we made!

Anyway, here’s a few pictures of Garrett – we’re praying his immune system is strong enough to keep him healthy!! He has his own YouTube channel so go check him out!

Gramps and Garrett did quite a few projects together during our visit. They not only washed the car and bikes, they also washed the motorhome!! They mowed the grass and Garrett did some bush trimming as well. Together, they assembled and decorated a wooden jeep which turned out really well.

Grammy got to work with Garrett on homework everyday. I think I actually learned more than Garrett…..school is certainly different than it was when I was a kid. After homework, we painted rocks. Their neighbor, Linda, brought supplies for Garrett to paint rocks while in quarantine. She hides them throughout the neighborhood for others to find and will put one on occasion in someone’s mailbox as a nice surprise. The last picture is her rock garden. Painting rocks was a lot of fun and also therapeutic! Check out our results!

Kailey, our 15 year old grand daughter is on the Junior Varsity volleyball team for the Yorkville Foxes. I got to see one of her games – so fun to watch her and her team. This game went into all three matches with the last game being a nail biter. The foxes prevailed and went home victorious! Nice job, number 10!

And every day here ended with a little competition…..a friendly game of bean bag toss. All I’m going to say is “girls rule”!

We are thankful that all of Garrett’s Covid tests came back “negative”, so change of plans once again. Saturday, (my birthday!), we set off early for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Ontonagon where we will camp for two nights before heading back south to Minocqua, Wisconsin.

HAPPY (and healthy!) TRAILS, everyone!