Random Musings

After six weeks of being on the road, a few things keep coming to my mind.  Here they are, in no particular order.

  • Coolest town name ever:  Castle Danger, MN.  Nothing else even comes close.
  • Camping in cold rain is not as much fun as camping in warm sun.
  • Many nights by the campfire have been ruined by swirling smoke.  It’s annoying to have to move every couple of minutes.  The solution?  The Campfire Lazy Judy.  I envision this as a large collapsible ring of some type that has a center hole large enough to fit over a 4′ fire ring.  The edges will be wide enough to accommodate a camp chair.  When the smoke swirls your way, simply rotate the Lazy Judy (your foot against the edge of the fire pit) until your chair is no longer in the line of smoke.  No more disruptive getting up and running around!  I need some engineering work, and then a Kickstarter campaign.  Sounds good, right?
  • We have some friends in Arizona who are from Minnesota.  They’ve used the phrase “Minnesota Nice” in conversation.  Now, I know what they’re talking about.  Should be “Minnesota Super Nice”.  People here are amazing.
  • Ashland, Wisconsin has the worst laundromat I’ve ever been in.  Best is the Loads of Fun in Marquette, MI.  There’s one in Beaver Falls, MN called The Mother Load.  That makes me smile.
  • Hope I never get tired of riding my bike.  They are essential for us.  But, I am concerned that we’ve done so much casual riding that I may never be able to hop on my road bike and really roll.  What if my top speed now is 12mph?
  • On the other hand, I see able-bodied folks in campgrounds who DRIVE to the bathrooms.  Seriously?
  • For six weeks, we’ve seen Lake Superior every day.  It has so many faces and shorelines.  Here are a few.  I’m really going to miss this.
    Porcupine Mountain SP, MI

    Porcupine Mountain SP, MI

    Near Bay View Campground

    Near Bay View Campground, MI

    Gooseberry Falls SP, MN

    Gooseberry Falls SP, MN

    Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, MI

    Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, MI

  • Favorite town (so far):  Duluth, MN.  Hands down winner, for me.
  • Favorite campsite:  Bay View Campground in Hiawatha State Forest, MI
  • Worst campsite:  Lakehead Marina, Duluth.  But…location, location…..
  • When you’re traveling, seek out local food purveyors.  Sixth Street Market in Ashland has the best brats I’ve ever had.  Heard their ad on the radio….
  • Don’t think I would mind if I never had TV again.  But, I get really cranky when we’re in a location with no radio stations, and no cell service.
  • The bed in the Fireball is 70″ x 50″ (slightly smaller than a standard double bed).  John is shoehorned into one half.  Jezzy gets about 28% of my half.  My next dog will sleep on the floor!
  • This town has 181 residents, and one is a cop?  A bit of overkill, perhaps?wpid-20141008_130754-1.jpg
  • I get a kick out of sending postcards to John’s folks.
  • John is the Dutch Oven King.

As we sat around the campfire last night, John looked over at me and said, “This really is the life, isn’t it?”  Agreed.

22 thoughts on “Random Musings

  1. Great photos of Lake Superior!

    I see people driving to the restrooms all the time too, and I just shake my head because it seems so silly.

    I haven’t had a TV for several years now, and I don’t miss it at all. Most of the time, I turn off the radio when I’m up north, but needing weather reports forces me to turn it on for a while.

    Stay warm up there! We’re going to get frost the next few nights, so I’m sure that it’s going to be nippy where you are.


    • Its cold at night here, for sure. Weather reports are for a big warmup over the next few days. Hope that holds true wherever we go.

      I’m ready to cut the TV cord (I think). Not sure if I can convince John though. We don’t watch much – more of a bad habit than anything.

      Some days photos come out great. So many times though, I wish I had a polarizing filter. It’s tricky.


    • Wow. She’s a beauty. There are lots of times when it would be so nice to have a bit of extra room. Glad you were able to nail down exactly what you want.

      I’ll be checking in on your trip. Have fun.


  2. When you get the Campfire Lazy Judy ready to market, I want to be your first customer.

    This was such a fun post. I especially loved your photos of Lake Superior’s different moods.

    John’s remark about this being the life was the crowning touch. I would like to think Ron and I would do so well on the road for longer trips. :)


    • The more I think about it, the more I want a Lazy Judy. The engineering is going to be a bitch, though!

      It’s not all roses being in such tight quarters for a long time. I expect we do about as well as many, worse than some. It’s a learning curve. Seems like we would do well to have one more Indian, and one less Chief! Oh well.

      I’m really sad to be leaving our Lake Superior views. I’ve become quite accustomed to having such a beautiful lakeshore to roam.

      On Thu, Oct 9, 2014 at 10:45 PM, campshaws wrote:



      • I had to go back and read your musings again…I bookmarked it for fun reading on crappy days. I want more musings from you….super fun! As for the Kickstarter….my Mr. Jer is heavy industrial sheet metal draftsman and drew many a cool piece….I might have to get his ideas on this.

        Happy weekend…. We are still fighting Keystone…they don’t care if our slide falls over the side of the camper and we have a warranty. As a full timer, seems their unit warranties are null and void! WHATEVER….down right war here in Mobile, Alabama!!! Not sure if we’ll ever get out of this dealer lot while our cool rented spot in Gulf Shores sits there….it’s open if you want to visit the beach!


      • Someone else suggested to me that I basically need a portable merry go round. Not practical, but that’s what I want!

        Keep fighting the good fight on your warranty. It’s just wrong that you should have to accept something that seems so clearly substandard. But, Keystone isn’t the only one who did this. We have friends with a brand new Airstream. Their big bay window blew out. Airstream’s response? Don’t you know that you always have to keep a window or vent open to equalize the pressure inside? B***s***! Good luck with your battle.

        We are freezing. Its about 40 with 25mph wind. We’re outside trying to slow cook Dutch oven. We rake turns going outside to check because it’s so crappy outside!

        Thanks for reading – I like knowing you are out there..


  3. Do you ever reflect on the fact that you may be a reincarnated nomad. Traveling through the state of Washington, I had to laugh when I passed through a quaint little town called George.

    Picked up our new TT today and although a very full day, very rewarding also. Dealership personel couldn’t have been any more friendly, professional and helpful. Spent a total of 5 hours there going through everything, readjusting the WD hitch and transferring all our stuff from the old to the new. Absolutely everything works in the new rig and heavy rainstorm this evening shows not a drop of water where it shouldn’t be. It is so much bigger and comfortable. Still managed to get it turned around and parked in our front yard. Took some pictures tonight but don’t know if I’ll post them or not as lighting isn’t optimal.

    Hope to follow in your nomad footsteps Judy and John … just got to get used to riding the bikes more :-)


    • George, Washington? Cracks me up!

      It’s good to hear that you had a happy dealership experience. I’m always amazed on the T@B forum how many new owners get zero orientation to their new trailers.

      Happy Trails.

      On Thu, Oct 9, 2014 at 9:39 PM, campshaws wrote:



  4. There’s always something in your posts that makes me laugh out loud! You are too funny, I missed not having our “2nd Ever T@da Rally” this fall, but must confess, I don’t miss the 50′ x 70′ T@da bed. Here’s my advice, stop sleeping in that bed and pretty soon you’ll have an Airstream! Worked for me! Sandi


    • Sandi, I can hear your evil chuckle all the way in Two Harbor, MN. But, I will take your suggestion under advisement.

      I miss my NE T@DA buddies as well, although Ellalou is really the only one left. She will do a good job of carrying on for you and Cathie.

      It’s cold enough here at night that 50 x 70 is plenty!

      Take care.

      On Thu, Oct 9, 2014 at 5:18 PM, campshaws wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

  5. Where do I sign up to contribute to your “Lazy Judy” kickstarted fund? :) Remember those really dangerous pieces of playground equipment they had when we were kids, heavy metal frames with places you could sit on? Someone would push like a crazy you know what and the thing would go around and around until you either had a great time, someone barfed, or the kid who was pushing got sucked underneath and broke a limb. One of those would make an ideal Lazy Judy, although a little heavy for camping. Keep on keepin on! Love the posts!


    • Why couldn’t I have come up with the word Merry-Go-Round? Perfect! Now we just need to get some engineering expertise to make it light and packable. If that can’t be done, we’ll just make a couple of really big, heavy ones, and ship them to Sharon for the BRR. What better test site?

      Thanks for checking in, Jennifer.

      On Thu, Oct 9, 2014 at 4:02 PM, campshaws wrote:



  6. Great insights. Wonderful photos. I think you would be the best travelogue presenter ever. And I also am jealous, and at the same time, thrilled that you and John are having such a great retirement.


    • Heaven? Hardly!

      Sadly, we are turning south tomorrow. I’m going to miss Lake Superior, but am anxious to connect up with my pals. Have you made December travel plans yet?

      On Thu, Oct 9, 2014 at 10:10 AM, campshaws wrote:



    • If jealousy of us camping is the worst thing you’ve got going, you’re probably okay. I feel a touch of envy everytime someone posts photos of someplace I’d like to visit, too. Thanks, Ken.

      On Thu, Oct 9, 2014 at 9:36 AM, campshaws wrote:



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