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!

AA Royal Motel & Campground North Tonowanda, NY (Niagara Falls)

This is a very small campground, almost more a parking lot. However, it is blacktop with grass and the sites are level. There is a bath house (not very clean) but no other amenities. The location is very good – lots of restaurants and stores close by and only about 10 miles (20 minutes) to Niagra Falls State Park. The owner is nice and anxious to be helpful. If we were in the area again, we would stay here as the main attraction are the Falls, not amenities in a campground.

AMENITIESCLEANLINESSHELPFUL & FRIENDLYSITE FEATURESPRIVACY WIFI, TV, PHONE
014315
TOTAL SCORE = 2.3FULL HOOK UP COST PER NIGHT = $64

NIAGARA FALLS, New York

Wow!! What a magnificent wonderment!!! I’ll just start by saying that you need to put Niagara Falls on your bucket list if you haven’t been there. Niagara is actually a STATE park, not National, and was established in 1885, making it the oldest state park in the nation.

Our weather was sunny and in the 70’s – a bit windy but a glorious day. It was our first day here and we couldn’t decide if we wanted to ride the Maid of the Mist, a boat that goes close to the base of the falls. Since we all had done this in the past, we decided to head for Niagara Falls State Park and see what we could see – if we couldn’t get close, we’d sign up the next day for the boat tour. We were pleasantly surprised – we were able to park in the lot next to the visitor’s center where we had a short walk to the American Falls. After walking along the walkway beside the falls, we bought tickets to go out onto the Observatory. Online, the price was about $15/person – there we were happy to find the cost to be $1.50/person! Quite the savings. (Maid of the Mist on line was $120/person – there the cost was $25.50!) I guess the advantage on line is that you are assured of your reservation instead of standing in line and hoping you get on board.

After the observation deck, we bought tickets to ride the trolley which would take us to Goat Island to get a better view of the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls as well as the Canadian Falls, Horseshoe Falls. The trolley was pleasant and comfortable and a fantastic way to get around and see the falls. It made several stops and you could get off and on at no additional cost – it was only $3.00/person.

Here are some interesting facts about Niagara Falls…..

  • Water that flows over Niagara Falls comes from the Great Lakes EXCEPT Lake Ontario, then travels down the Niagara River to Lake Ontario, to the St. Lawrence River and finally to the Atlantic
  • Half of the 5.5 billion gallons per hour of water over the falls is diverted for power by the US and Canada
  • The average depth of the water below the Falls is 170 feet.
  • Niagara Falls is comprised of three waterfalls, Horseshoe Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and the American Falls, overlapping the US and Canadian borders.
  • Fish actually travel over the Falls and about 90% of them live. Experts believe the white foam from the rushing waters cushions their fall.
  • In the 1800’s, the Falls were nearly frozen solid with only a small trickle of water traveling over the cliffs.
  • About 600,000 gallons of water travel down Niagara Falls every SECOND!
  • About 20% of the drinking water in the USA goes over Niagara Falls.

Before heading back to the campsite, we decided to watch the IMax movie in the Visitor’s Center. It was $9.00/person (senior discount) and lasted for 30 minutes. It was informative, telling of the origin, history, and many interesting facts.

The date of our visit to Niagara Falls State Park happened to be September 11th. It’s hard to imagine that it’s been 20 years since the unimagined terrorist attack on our country. Since visiting the Memorial in New York a few weeks ago, the event seems even more real and tragic.

On our way back to our campground, we went past another park and were struck speechless at the site we passed. The town had erected 2,977 full size flags, one for each life lost on September, 11, 2001. My camera could not capture the entire display as it went on and on. The flags cast an eerie shadow on the lawn in front of them. Let us NEVER forget this horrific day in our nation’s history. I’ll simply end with the photo…..

Lake Placid/Whiteface Mountain KOA Wilmington, New York

This campground is really a pretty place to stay as it is nestled among many tall pines – it reminds me a bit of Colorado. They offer a good amount of amenities, including a swimming pool, game room, basketball court, playground, laundry, camp store, snack shop and breakfast (at a cost) on the weekends. There is a dog trail and park as well as rental cabins.

I’m not sure how we were lucky enough to get a site with a large cement patio, a table with four adirondack chairs, an adirondack glider and a gas grill. We took advantage and grilled steak one night for dinner. Our site is level, but without the patio it would be sandy and full of pine needles. We have full hook up. It is about 10 minutes to Lake Placid and 5 minutes to Wilmington. There are a few restaurants in the area as well as a small market in Wilmington. If we were ever in this area again, we would definitely stay here again – but DO get a site with a patio!

AMENITIESCLEANLINESSHELPFUL & FRIENDLYSITE FEATURESPRIVACY WIFI, TV, PHONE
434531
TOTAL SCORE = 3.3FULL HOOK UP COST PER NIGHT = $46

HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU!!

Lake Placid, New York – The Adirondack Mountains

We find ourselves in yet another beautiful area of our country. If you like hiking, biking and scenic views, this is another place to add on to your bucket list!

Lake Placid is a small, quaint, touristy town. It is as you can imagine, quite scenic being the site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. It was fun to see Olympic Village, Whiteface Mountain where the downhill events were held, the ski jumps and the ice arena. It was here that Brian Boitano won the gold for men’s figure skating. The ski jumps with the pool are how the trick jumpers train – interesting!

We enjoyed driving around Lake Placid as there were many beautiful homes and gardens.

One overcast day, Marj and I went out exploring the local shops and antique stores. Those are our kind of museums and we’re always on the hunt for new old treasures! Of course, that can be hard work so we have to take a rest now and then.

We decided to drive to the summit of Whiteface Mountain which was a beautiful drive. We all enjoyed the views from the top and explored the “castle” built for the veterans. Howie and I decided to climb the additional 1/4 mile to the observation point but stopped about a quarter of the way up when the stairs stopped and we started having to climb over boulders (pictured). We only had sandals on and felt it was a bit too dangerous for two old folks! The horseshoe lake behind us is actually Lake Placid.

We saw a vivid rainbow later in the day and even stopped at the North Pole, (New York that is!) Then we just drove through the countryside taking in the beauty around us!

In the evenings, the weather has been perfect for camp fires! Crisp cool air with minimal humidity and NO BUGS! Bring on the S’mores!

Here we are as we hit the road again, making our way westward. Along the way, we were blessed by another beautiful rainbow and many beautiful scenes. Next stop, Niagara Falls!

As always, thanks for traveling along with us. See you all at the Falls…..until then, HAPPY TRAILS!