Beach exercise

Beach exercise

Monday, September 19, 2016

Camping resort style

A week or so ago, we attended a rally of our FMCA BATS club in Foley, Al.  It was held at the Anchors Aweigh RV Park.  Following on our previous posts about different types of places to stay, we would call this campground a more comfortable way to camp.  All spots were paved, level and spacious.  The grounds were very well kept and perhaps had the best grass in a campground we have seen in a long time. Sites include free (working) Wi-Fi and cable TV.





Since we were there with a good size group we had complete access to the clubhouse for our events.  Again a very nice building that was clean and well maintained.






We normally do not use campground pools but this one looked so inviting, we used it several times.  The spa was also very nice.  It was quiet during the period we were there, but there are playgrounds, volleyball, and other attractions for the active set.  I am sure it will be different in the winter with lots of snow birds.











There are lots of things to do in the Foley area. For those who enjoy shopping, the outlets and other stores are nearby. We actually went to two movies while there at a newer movie theatre between Foley and Gulf Shores, AL. We plan on returning here in the future.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Superman

Before our planned family visits farther south, we stopped at the Fort Massac State Park in Metropolis, IL  We were hoping that they would have a site for us.  There was no office and check-in was with the camp host, if you had no reservation.  As it turned out, there was only one other RV in the campground and it was just like us, so we had our choice of sites.  The campground was well laid out and lots of trees for shade.  In talking with the camp host, he indicated that he had not seen it this quiet in some time. 




Fort Massac is a short walk from the campground and sits on the bank of the Ohio River.  First built in 1757 by the French, it played a role in American history for over 100 years.  The fort is currently closed to the public for renovations but you can walk around the site and visit the nearby visitor center which has displays and information about the history of the fort and the local area.








What we did not know until we drove around town was the connection to Superman.  In 1972, DC Comics declared Metropolis the home town of Superman.  There is a  Museum near courthouse square and a very large statue of Superman in front of the courthouse.  Around town you will find other characters from the comic series.  Every June there is a Superman celebration which draws large crowds from around the world.










Finally, if you enjoy casinos, there is a Harrah's casino/hotel complex along the river.

Friday, September 02, 2016

A different way of camping

After visiting Bayfield, it was time to head south towards home.  Since we had a deadline, we were now taking a direct route.  Our first stop on that route was Wausau, WI.  We found a county park with camping within the city limits.  Besides the campground, there is walking trails, an outdoor stage, and  several other buildings including a large horse barn and arena.

The campground had only a handful campers.  We found out that the campground would be closed the next day for a fair that was going to take place over the weekend.  So our timing was just lucky.  It is close to the interstate and makes a good overnight stop for $20 with water and electric.



Our second stop was more interesting.  We located the Hickory Hill campground in Secor, IL.  It was just a few miles off our route in farm country. When we arrived, they were very friendly and said they could get us in but that they were very busy.   They had an overflow spot available.   It was clearly very full and many seasonal campers, with most of them obviously there a long time.



We followed the golf cart into the campground and down a short road.  She came up to me and said  the road was ours, park however you want.  We had water and electric available.  It is the first time ever that we have been assigned a road as our camping spot.






 When we checked in, the office let us know that the reason they were so full was that they had a large deaf group rally going on in the park.  Our closest neighbors were with the rally and we saw but did not understand the many conversations going on around us.

When we walked the park, it was larger than it first appeared and  full of seasonal campers.  Some of the rigs must have been on the same spot for thirty years.  Many campgrounds have rules about what you can and cannot do with your spot including the type and design of structures.  This one apparently does not.  We enjoyed walking around seeing how permanent campers altered their spots over the years.

















This campground has a lot of activities.  The sites are not paved and some not very level, but there are some good transient sites that can accommodate large rigs.  The staff was friendly and very helpful.  If you are looking for a different overnight spot, this could be it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

After finishing our route 61 tour of Minnesota, it was time for us to start heading home.  We wanted to find a route home that would allow us to visit an area we had not been to before.  Looking at our scenic road trip book, it seemed that a drive along the north shore of Wisconsin east of Duluth was such a drive.  I must say that most of that drive was not scenic unless you consider mile after mile of empty roads and some woods scenic. When we rounded the hook of Wisconsin and headed south, we finally found scenic.  This was the start of the Apostle Island area.  The center of this area is the small town of  Bayfield, WI.  

Once again, we arrived without a reservation This area was also full of tourists. Just north of Bayfield , we were able  to get a spot in the campground owned by the native American Red Cliff Band group of Ojibwa.  Long story short, this group had occupied the islands until in 1816 the government claimed them and allowed lumbering and other commercial enterprises to operate on the islands. Finally, when the Ojibwa people were pushed into ever smaller areas and to avoid additional conflict, the government granted them and other groups  the mainland shoreline nearest the islands.  So we were camped along the shore on land owned by some of the earliest settlers of the offshore islands.  In studying the history here, I also found it amazing that there is some evidence that some humans were here as early as 100BC.  It is also thought that a group known as the Anishinaabe people lived here by 950 AD.







In 1970 ,The Apostle Island National Lakeshore was established and includes 21 of the 22 islands and 12 miles of the shoreline. The largest island, Madeline, is not part of the national park and is mostly devoted to tourism including a state park. 

The plan for the lakeshore was to return them to, as close as possible, to their natural state. In order to do this, those who lived and worked here since 1816 would have to leave. Unlike the native Americans, they were given at least some better treatment.  The land would be  purchased by the federal government.  There were some who resisted this process and under a compromise, would be allowed to live on the islands until they passed away and the land then would revert to the federal government.

Today, the Apostle Islands has a diverse plant and animal environment for visitors to enjoy.  Over 800 types of plants, animals, the greatest concentration of black bears in North America and many bird groups.  You can access the islands by national park approved vendors and private vessels.  Kayaking is very popular and visiting the famous sea caves. There is also camping and hiking on the islands.

We decided on the grand tour which passes all of the islands and  provides a narration of the important features of each.









 

















Bayfield is also worth a visit. We picked up some great smoked fish. One local thought it compares to Annapolis, MD for sailing.