vacation recap…

**disclaimer… yes, I realize that this is a long post…. yes, I realize you may be quite tired of reading my blog… and, yes, I also realize that you may be quite tired of hearing about my vacation.  If so, please feel free to stop reading.  However, if you are one of the people who said “tell me all about your vacation”… read on!

(…this is why this is a long post.  Mt. Washmore has taken over my laundry room. I just started load #9 and there are many more loads yet to go.  I’m enjoying a quiet Saturday morning doing laundry and blogging…)


I have already alluded to our vacation in pictures and numbers.  I didn’t intentionally leave out details… they just didn’t seem to fit in the posts I was writing.  So, here are a few details of our vacation….


On Monday, October 11, 2010, we drove northwest to the state of Wisconsin.  My parents joined us with their fifth-wheel camper.  I’m sure we were quite the sight… 2 big trucks and 2 big trailers tooling down the road (especially on the many times we ventured off the beaten path…).



We camped along Lake Michigan for a few days.  I love the Great Lakes!  Though our campsite wasn’t on the water, we could hear the surf as it pounded the shore.  What a wonderful sound!



Field trip #1~ we explored the harbor of Port Washington, WI, including climbing 90 steps to the Port Washington lighthouse.  Chad and I had discovered this beautiful harbor town last spring and it was fun to show it off to the kids.

Washington Island Harbor

Field trip #2~ Before we left the Port Washington, WI, area, we spent some time exploring and discovering on the Lake Michigan beach.  

we found gull prints in the sand…
lots and lots and lots of empty zebra mussels
and even a washed up monarch butterfly

On Wednesday, we left Lake Michigan’s shoreline and ventured north to Door County (Door County is on the peninsula of Wisconsin that juts into Lake Michigan and creates Green Bay).  


Field trip #3~ on the way to Door County, we discovered the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, WI.  

we played in the museum
and toured the fully-functioning WWII
submarine… Cobia

Field trip #4~ While in Door County, we ferried over to Washington Island and toured the island.  



We toured the Double K-W Ostrich farm (and sampled a taste of ostrich), the Washington Island Farm Museum and Schoolhouse Beach.  Those were fun stops on the tour but the most amazing stop was our last stop… Stavkirke

Walking up the path to Stavkirke
the gorgeous interior and altar at
Stavkirke

Unfortunately, my pictures don’t even come close to portraying the beauty of the Stavkirke.  When we left, Ellen took my hand along the path and said, “Mom, I wish we could come back to worship here on Sunday!”



Our tour was much too short and we’ve all agreed that we’d like to go back to Washington Island some day with our campers and camp for a week!


Before we left the area… we did try a Fish Boil…. have to say, we liked it!  The entire process was fascinating and the fresh Lake Michigan whitefish was amazing!




On Friday, the 15th, we traveled south and inland to meet up with all of my siblings for a weekend of camping!  My sister has lived in Wisconsin for 18 years or so and found a state park for all of us near her home.  


We carved pumpkins together, played together and had Cousin’s Church together on Sunday.  

cousin #11
cousin’s pumpkins
cousin’s church with G-ma

Our cousin time was extended by the hospitality of my sister and brother in law.  We pulled our 2 trailers into their driveway for one more night of cousin time… laundry… and a shower.  By the time the cousins left for school Monday morning, we were clean, restocked with clean clothes and ready to hit the road again.


Field trip #5~ where the Wisconsin River meets up with the Mighty Mississippi… aka Wyalusing State Park.  



We camped at the top of a gorgeous ridge overlooking both rivers and the Wisconsin town of Prairie du Chien.  This is now my favorite state park… breathtaking views!


Field trip #6~ Mississippi River Lock & Dam #9.  We ventured up the Mississippi river from Wyalusing and found this river lock and dam.  We pulled in as a tug was pushing through 12 barges of grain.  A few years ago, my parents owned a boat and did the “Loop” from Florida up the East Coast through the inland waterways to the Great Lakes and down through the rivers to the Gulf of Mexico.  It was so fun learning about locks from their perspective!

Dad doing some explaining…
coming into the lock

We spent the remainder of the day driving up the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi… crossing over to Minnesota and then returning down through Minnesota and Iowa.  We were able to say we visited 5 states while on our vacation.


Field trip #7~ after leaving Wyalusing, we stopped in Lancaster, Wisconsin to stop and stretch.  While there, we did a quick visit to their beautiful 100+ year old courthouse.  We saw the architecture, learned some history of the region and quickly found out that “Lancaster” is pronounced differently in Wisconsin than it is in Pennsylvania.

Grant County, Wisconsin courthouse
an inside view of the dome
Field trip #8~ Starved Rock State Park and Lock and Dam… our last stop on our fabulous trip.  We hiked up to Starved Rock and read the sad story of how this ridge on the Illinois River was named.  According to Indian lore, the Ottawa and Potawatomi starved out the Illini Indians on top of Starved Rock.

Papa took us on a paddlewheel cruise up and down the Illinois River and we were blessed to see a pair of bald eagles perching high above us.

While on their cruise years ago, Mama and Papa locked through at Starved Rock, so we visited the lock and the visitor center with them.  Just as we were there, a tug came through and we watched it rise 18 feet!
the view of the Illinois River
from Starved Rock
waiting for the tug to enter the lock
and go up 18 feet
exploring how to captain a tug
…and on Friday, October 22, 2o1o, we left Starved Rock State Park and the company of Mama and Papa and drove home… bringing with us a mountain of laundry and a million and one memories of a great 3 generation vacation!

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