Wisconsin 2005 / Home Page / Trip Index

Wisconsin 2005

The primary purpose of this Westy trip to Wisconsin was to enjoy the 4th of July celebration at the West Farm. But on the way, I revisited Mammoth Cave, visited friends and relatives, and experienced a few unexpected surprises.

June 11, 2005, Saturday. (245.8 miles today, 3738 steps). Left Ocala at 9:15 am, 76.8 with rain almost all the way to Coast to Coast Southern Trails Resort, Unadilla, Georgia.

June 12, Sunday. (166.2 miles, 6496 steps) Left at 7:30 am. Arrived Red Top Mountain State Park, Cartersville, Georgia, $17.40 camp fee for blue tag. Had to find a campsite with a blue marker. Finally found one after going through the whole campground and winding through the tent-only sites. It was actually a tent site, but the van just fit in the area with a steep dropoff just below.

When I tried to turn the electric on, a hornet stung my left hand and I dropped the heavy metal box cover which made a sizeable cut on my right arm. Found the first aid kit and got the bleeding stopped, but the hornet sting had to wait until the tiny ammonia bottle was found. The water lift-up valve was rusted solid, so I got a bucket of water from the site next door. The cable TV worked very well.

Hiked down the hill to Allatoona Lake and took pictures of some of the wild flowers. Then hiked down the road and found a trail through the woods to the visitor center. Had to use the zapper frequently because of gnats. After dinner it started pouring rain again while the sun was still shining.



June 13, Mon. (293.8 miles, 5115 steps) Up at 7 am and left at 8:30 am. One hour tie-up in Nashville because I missed the bypass route to I-65. Temperature was 98. Partly cloudy all day. Arrived at Diamond Caverns, Park City, KY, at 3:30 pm and was assigned a shared site that had two outlets - 30 amp and 50 amp.

A large Class A RV was plugged into the 30 amp and they did not have a converter. Nobody had an extra converter to use, so they re-assigned me to a lovely shaded site that had only 30 and 15 amp. If I didn't have trip points I would have had to pay $14 per night. Did a bit of bike riding and swimming. Didn't use the Jacuzzi this time since it was rather crowded. Changed all the clocks to Central time.

June 14, Tues. Crows woke me up at 6 am (CDT). At 7 am the temp was 71. (14.2 miles, 12,449 steps, 192 pictures - reduced to 125) Walked the Sloan's Crossing Pond boardwalk around the entire perimeter of a marshy uncommon pond, and had to use the zapper.

pond sign


Found a shaded spot in the RV parking area at Mammoth Cave National Park. Tried to get tickets for two cave tours - Travertine and Frozen Niagara. Most tours were already sold out, but got a 9 am ticket for the 2-hour Frozen Niagara tour for $5.50 with Golden Age Pass (sells out at 118 visitors). Walk distance was 3/4 mile with 500 stairs (nearly 300 descended inside at entrance) and elevation change of 250 feet with steep hill climbs.

Emphasis was on deep pits, high domes, dry cave passages, dripstone area at exit, dynamic cave being carved by water, animal life. Landmarks were New Entrance, Roosevelt's Dome, Silo Pit, Grand Central Station, Big Break, Fairy Ceiling, Flat Ceiling, 75 foot Frozen Niagara flowstone formation. Also included was the Travertine Tour with Frozen Niagara Entrance, Rainbow Dome, Crystal Lake, Frozen Niagara flowstone formation, Drapery Room, with an additional 98 stairs. Three loaded busloads went to the New Entrance. I was one of the first people in the cave and almost the last one out.

cave tour

cave tour

humpback crickets





Did the Heritage Trail with the historic "Old Guide's Cemetery" and had lunch in the shaded Westy in the parking lot. Saw a couple of wild turkeys crossing the highway in the rain. Checked out Diamond Caverns but didn't go. Tour was $14 and would have a lot of steps. Walked through their Antique Mall. Back to the campground for a swim before the next thunderstorm.





June 15, Wednes. (304.2 miles, 6180 steps) Crows at 5 am. Leave at 8:15 am, 69.1. Drove through part of Mammoth Cave National Park past Houchins Ferry. Last year this road was completely barricaded and I took the detour and got lost. The road went past quaint little towns called Windyville and Roundhill. This year I found one toll road but missed the other toll road - the Audubon Parkway. Took US 70 and finally got to US 41 in Evansville, Indiana. Kickapoo State Park, Danville, Illinois, at 3 pm. Campsite in Brian Plawer campground was $30 for two nights - non-resident. Went for a short bike ride and saw deer, raccoons, and rabbits.

June 16, Thurs. (11 bike miles, 11,889 steps, 242 pics reduced to 136) Biked from 8 am to 3:30 pm with a lunch stop at Clear Lake. Was not able to the electric bike due to Illinois laws prohibiting operating non-licensed motorized vehicles, which included scooters and mini-bikes. Explored the exhibits on coal mining operations and land reclamation.


Mine No. 6

Mine No. 6




wall sign

wall steps



June 17, Fri. (137.1 miles, 6690 steps) Before leaving, took pictures of 5 raccoons huddling in the garbage dumpster. Leave at 8:30 am, 62.8. Took Route 49 through Cissna Park, the route we always took on our canoe trips. Stopped at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery and took pictures of John's marker in the Columbarium. Stopped at Jewel for food and gas and then to Leisure Lake RV resort at 12:45 pm.

Since this is no longer my home park, I had to camp in the visitor's section on the side of the lake by the busy interstate highways. Called the relatives and arranged the visiting schedule for Saturday. Got two ears of sweet corn and had one for lunch and one for dinner, with crab meat, Swedish flop cake, and fresh strawberries. Bike ride around the lake.


John's marker

June 18, Sat. 55 at 6 am. (32.1 miles, 5477 steps). Visited my sister Peg, brother Rich and his wife Carol, and John's sister Helen from 9 am to 4:30 pm. Had a big piece of Helen's Rhubarb Cake and took home the recipe. Also left with several delicious home-made muffins. Another bike ride - total bike miles 21.2. Temp at 4:45 pm was 89.8.

June 19, Sun. (John's 79th birthday; Fathers' Day, our 51st wedding anniversary, 424.1 miles, 12,446 steps) Leave at 6 am, 56.5. John's memorial was published in Joliet Herald News, had to drive into Joliet to find a store that had the newspaper for sale that early in the morning.

Stopped in Madison, Wisconsin to visit with Marie at her new apartment on the 10th floor overlooking the city. She left Ocala about a month before and was celebrating her 95 birthday, and loves her new place in the north. Also visited Betty and Earl at their summer park in Grand Marais, Minnesota, 232.3 miles, 9515 steps. They have a beautiful site on Lake Superior. Did a lot of hiking at Artists Point and to the lighthouse, and bicycling around town, 19,013 steps, 299 pictures. Took many pictures of the gorgeous scenery and many plants, including masses of sundew on the cliffs.

Madison, Wisconsin

Grand Marais, Minnesota

Lake Superior

Tom and Amie

It was great to be able to visit the grandchildren at the West Farm in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin. While Tom and Vicky worked during the day and the children were at daycare and school, I was able to do little jobs around the farm like weeding, spreading sand in the new big sandbox/playground, and doing laundry.

Delicious dinners prepared by Vicky included venison, beef from "Big Red", pork, chicken, turkey, and fish caught a few weeks previously by the West family in the Boundary Waters, including a big fish caught and landed by Isabella on her little fishing pole.

T, Isabella, Amie, and Vicky

Lucas and Vicky

Lucas at dog show in Barren, WI

Lucas at T-ball

the kids

Vicky and Tom

The Big Storm on Monday, June 27, at the West Farm was caused by a wall cloud with high winds that downed several large trees and branches all around the farm. Tom saved the Westy by dashing out in the pouring rain and pulling the top down. There was a beautiful colorful sunset after the storm. Both driveways and a garage were blocked by fallen trees and Tom had to use a chainsaw the following morning to clear one drive so he could get out to his clinic.

Several neighbors and friends helped with the clean-up afterwards using chainsaws and tractors. While we were unloading some of the logs and branches by the barn, Vicky and I saw their resident black bear walking in the swamp by the lake.

Then another storm followed two days later (another trip down into the basement with the kids for refuge and more branches to pick up) with a power outage for 2 days. Tom had a generator to maintain the freezers and refrigerators.

Tom with Isabella and Lucas

storm damage

While we were without electric power, I spent a few hours helping Vicky at the turkey research farm where she was working with 200 newly hatched turkeys and enjoyed the tour of the facility afterwards. She was able to plug in the crockpot there to cook dinner.

turkey farm


Vicky and Isabella

Vicky and Amie

The 4th of July party at the West Farm overlooking the lake was enjoyed by about 100 friends of Vicky and Tom with loads of food and fireworks from 5 pm to midnight. The following day we picked up all the debris left from the fireworks. This area overlooks Upper Turtle Lake. Steps per day on the farm were 14,132 to 24,009.

4th of July party



cleanup 1

July 6, Wednes. 55 at 7 am. (209.4 miles, 3665 steps) Left Turtle Lake at 8:30 am. Could not camp at Christmas Mountain RV Resort because of July 4th holiday. Found a campsite without electricity at Mirror Lake State Park, Baraboo, Wisconsin. Used the LP gas stove to heat water for soup and set up the 6x6x6 pop-up screen house. Discovered the roof was disintegrating and patched it with duct tape, but replaced the whole top with ripstop nylon when I got home.

July 7, Thurs. 60 at 6:30 am, and sunny. (393.4 miles, 5591 steps) Tried to find South Shore State Park by Lake Carlyle in Illinois, but it was closed due to lack of funding. Stayed at Corps of Engineers Recreation Area for $6 with Golden Age Passport - $12 camp fee. At 4:30 pm it was 99 and I was happy to be able to use the air conditioner.

Mirror Lake

Lake Carlyle

July 8, Friday. 72 at 6 am. (295.5 miles, 2135 steps) Arrived at Big Buck RV Resort at 1:45 pm, 100.9. Went swimming in pool to cook off after 8 mile E-bike ride. Then got news on TV about Hurricane Dennis heading for the panhandle area of Florida, changing my travel plans to visit St. Joseph peninsula on the gulf for a few days.

Using deLorme GPS program, figured out how to get back home. It would have been too far for one day, so decided to go back to my home park in Georgia as an escape route.

July 9, Sat. 69.4 at 6 am. (469.8 miles, 3976 steps) The southern part of Highway I-65 was closed to southbound traffic to enable evacuees full use of the highway northbound. I had to drive to Atlanta to get to Umadilla.

July 10, Sun, 75.6 at 7 am. (245.7 miles, 6912 steps) Left at 7:30 and arrived home at noon, a week earlier than scheduled. Drove the Westy van for a total of 3,684 miles, the electric bike 21 miles, and the 3-speed bike 28.

Now back to the usual schedule of exercise in the pool, doing a lot of yard work, cutting palm leaves and grass and trimming bushes; thinking about doing some quilting and cooking. After returning, I have pretty much recovered from all the other bruises, cuts, scratches, and sore muscles from camping and working on the West Farm in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin, but I enjoyed almost every minute of the trip.

Wisconsin 2005 / Home Page / Trip Index