This was our shakedown cruise with our new 5th wheel camping trailer. We had no experience with trailers, but we purchased the trailer and a used Ford F-250 tow truck this spring. Our goal this summer was to live in the trailer and learn how to care for it. We hope to use it in future years to spend seasons staying and volunteering at national parks.

We left home on June 13 and travelled through the hills and mountains of central Pennsylvania. Our first overnight stop was in New Stanton, PA.

At this campground we were surprised to find RVs, usually travel trailers, that were in a site on a long-term, or even a permanent, basis. They had decks, landscaping and sheds. This was true in most of the campgrounds we visited. It appears that people are using an RV as a summer cabin. The campgrounds provide entertainment for adults and children - playgrounds, miniature golf, lakes, bingo, karaoke nights, etc. One woman told me that her family had been returning to the same campground for 41 years.

Al and Gail standing in front of their F-250 tow
               truck and Copper Canyon 5th wheel trailer, on a flat
               field at the Fox Den Campgound in New Stanton, PA.

Our first destination was southern Wisconsin, where we set up the trailer in the Happy Acres Campground in Bristol as a base for visiting friends and family. We visited with 95-year-old cousin Bernice, 92-year-old cousin-in-law Millie, cousin Jim, Don & Gail, and Debbie & George.

With Jim we took a tour of the Sprecher brewery in Glendale near Milwaukee. They have a number of specialty beers, sold in 16-oz bottles, which are very tasty, although most of their business comes from selling high-end sodas throughout Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula.

"This Way To The Galaxy" The pipes are lined with
paintings of planets, nebulae and galaxies.
Moving House can be seen behind the pipe with the heart decoration.
Millie insisted on taking a ride in our truck
We are standing in bright sunshine. The blue
                  lake and blue sky can be seen behind us. 92-year-old Millie sits in the
                   passenger seat while Gail stands
                   alongside the open door

From Bristol, we moved a short distance to the KOA near Madison. This was in a flat field in De Forest and there were few, if any, long-term residents. We visited the Vilas Park zoo and the Wallersheim winery with Maija and got together with Edith for lunch.

Gail and Maija in front of the zoo's new lion cub and his parents Al compares his "wingspan" with an eagle's, a condor's
and a vulture's. His wingspan only matches the vulture's.
Maija and Gail stand in front of the
               lion's exhibit. In the back, the half-grown
               cub and the male lion look at the camera
               while the female sleeps Al stretches his arms in front of a
               representation of the different wingspans.
               His arm reach matches the wingspan of a 

Al and Edith Wollersheim's wine cellar
Maija and Gail stand in front of the
               lion's exhibit. In the back, the half-grown
               cub and the male lion look at the camera
               while the female sleeps Some of the winery's kegs of aging wine
                 are seen in two rows in a vault under the
                 old part of the winery building.

Next on our journey was a stop in Guy's driveway in Stillwater. This involved 300 feet of backing, which was completed with aid from Guy's skillful coaching. It was great to visit and to have a dog to pet.

Gail and Julie with an actress from
The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
The picture is taken in the waiting room on
               the second level of the showboat. Gail and Julie
               flank the actress who is wearing a straw hat,
               white blouse, black skirt, peppermint-striped
               belt, and a black bow tie. From Guy's driveway, we moved to a KOA northwest of the Twin Cities. Bill and Julie introduced us to Cabela's and took us to a performance of the Melodrama of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, performed by students from the University of Minnesota. The theater where the Demon Barber was performed is a showboat on the Mississippi River, but a boat without a motor.

Moorhead's Hjemkomst Ship Prow
After the Twin Cities, we headed to Moorhead for our most westerly destination of the trip. North Dakota and Minnesota had suffered a lot of rain during the spring, resulting in flooding and a general sogginess. We followed directions to the campground provided by Google and found ourselves, trailer in tow, on a road that was closed. We didn't dare back up onto a busy highway, even assuming we had the skill to accurately direct where we were backing, so for a while it looked as though we were stuck with no way out. But Gail found a level field next to the road that was dry enough to drive on, so we were able to take the trailer off the road, make a U-turn, and get headed back to the Interstate.

The only open road to the campground at Moorhead was very muddy and rutted. When we got to the campground, many of the camp sites were surrounded by water. The campground itself looked as if it were going out of business. All the vending machines were broken. The pool was closed. The shelves in the camp store were nearly empty.

Nonetheless, we had enjoyable visits with Eleanor and Jim, although we decided not to invite them to the Moving House for dinner because of the swamp-like nature of the campground. One of the attractions we saw with them was the Hjemkomst Ship. This is a replica Viking ship built hundreds of miles from any navigable waters by a man of Norwegian descent. In 1984 it was trucked to Lake Superior, sailed to Norway, and then returned to Moorhead. I'm using a photo of the prow of this ship to represent our visit to Moorhead because of the wet conditions and the feeling that someday this ship may float again.

Seen from below, the prow of the replic
                 Viking ship rises high to the animal figure head.
                 The overlapping of the boards forming the
                 body of the boat is accentuated.

Next it was back to Wisconsin again. It was a 400-mile trip to La Crosse. We were happy to have made the trip before the Minnesota government shut down and closed all the roadside rest areas.

Our campground in La Crosse was on an island in the Mississippi River. The river was high so some areas of the campground were flooded, but the rest was dry, clean and well kept. This campground was a resort. It had a bar in the office where the regulars would gather in the morning to start their day. The campground even had an electrically-operated gate to prevent unwanted visitors from getting in.

We visited with Wayne, Terri and Katie. Wayne got past the gate operator without a pass just by looking as if he belonged.

Wayne, Terri, Katie and Gail Some scenes from Riverfest at La Crosse
We are standing in bright sunshine. The blue
                  lake and blue sky can be seen behind us. Superimposed on a photo of an airplane performing
               aerial tricks is a photo of two men giving a demonstration
               of burling and another photo of a jazz band with keyboard,
               sax, trumpet, trombone, drums and bass

We had never visited the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore so we did it this trip. It was a great escape from the high temperatures in La Crosse. The Independence Day parade on Madeline Island featured some floats that featured strong opinions as well as some that did not, but all were fun. Both La Pointe and Bayfield had amazing fireworks shows for the size of their populations.

Having had very little exercise for three weeks, we wanted to hike the trails in the lakeshore. We didn't succeed in this because the mainland trail was ankle deep in mud following a heavy storm and because we missed the day on which a boat would take us to Stockton Island, where there also were trails. We did take the grand tour boat ride around the islands. We saw several of the islands' lighthouses and, on Devils Island, spectacular sea caves.

Thimbleberry flower, but too early for berries 4th of July float at La Pointe
Seeking another planet because we've ruined this one
A white flower surrounded by green leaves A rocket ready to blast off and surrounded
               by aliens.

Slow food float in the 4th of July parade Real estate sign seen in Bayfield
Only men named Bob White need inquire
A red-colored cardboard snail on a wagon pulled
               by some walkers has signs for Eat Local and Slow Food The sign reads For Sale Quailified Buyers

Gail on Lake Superior's shore near Meyers Beach Some of the sea caves eroded into the cliffs of Devils Island
We are standing in bright sunshine. The blue
                  lake and blue sky can be seen behind us. Superimposed on a photo of an airplane performing
               aerial tricks is a photo of two men giving a demonstration
               of burling and another photo of a jazz band with keyboard,
               sax, trumpet, trombone, drums and bass

From Bayfield, we headed to Michigan's Bewabic State Park on Fortune Lake, where we stayed for 15 days. It was great not to have to hitch up truck and trailer every two to three days. At Bewabic Park, we lacked the WiFi internet connection we usually could get at other campgrounds, but we were able to use WiFi at the local libraries and even at the laundromat in Crystal Falls.

Gail and Al on Bewabic Park's trail
Here we were able to go on hikes. We hiked the park's nature trail - the trail of the daring deer, the Lake Mary Plains trail - the trail of the thirsty ticks, and the Ge-Che trail - the trail of the tiny toads. The trails of the daring deer and the tiny toads were beautiful - along ridges and down valleys through mixed forest of birch, maple, basswood, hemlock and pine. The trail of the thirsty ticks was less enjoyable. In addition to having to stop every 50 yards to scrape wood ticks off, we found the trail mostly wound through a a pine tree farm, part of which had been harvested recently.

We found and ate some ripe raspberries along the trail of tiny toads.

One day we tried to find Chicaugon Falls, which was close to Bewabic Park. The tourist bureau's directions told us to leave the main road at a stump painted yellow. There was no yellow-painted stump, and we wandered fruitlessly down a logging trail. The next day we mentioned this to a park employee and he gave us good directions: leave the main road where there was a sign for Camp Stoor Stankewicz. With this information, we successfully found the little cascade. It was quite peaceful. Not surprisingly, no one else was there.

We stand among large trees and a green forest
Fortune Lake from the shore trail Chicaugon Falls
We are standing in bright sunshine. The blue
                  lake and blue sky can be seen behind us. Al stands alongside the sign that
               says we welcome you to Bay Cliff, established 1934

Thanks to pre-planning by Al's classmate Margee, we got to attend events of Iron River's Rum Rebellion celebration. The Rum Rebellion occurred in 1920 during the first months of prohibition. Federal agents in Marquette learned that two Italian grocers were making and selling wine. When the federal agent arrived in town, the local authorities acted to protect the wine makers. Later the federal agents returned with overwhelming force and located the wine kegs hidden in the basement of the rectory of the Catholic church. They broke open the kegs and poured the wine into the snow. It is said that some locals scooped up and ate the wine-saturared snow, thus originating the slushee or snow cone. The celebration in 2011 included a concert by "Da Yoopers", a wine and cheese event at the Museum, a Revue that simulated a radio broadcast in 1920, a street sale, a parade, and a dance at the Museum.

Al gave a presentation on variable stars in Iron River on July 18 and a presentation on Hubble in Marquette on July 22.

Carl, Al and Ruth Ann waiting for the tall ships
Al's presentation in Marquette was early in the day, 4 p.m., to avoid conflict with a music festival and with the arrival of some tall ships, both of which were occurring at 6 p.m. After the presentation was over, we went with Carl and Ruth Ann to the harbor to see the tall ships come in. Once there we found that the ships were The Pride of Baltimore II and the Lynx America's Privateer, also from Baltimore. It was a long way to go to see our home town ships.

One day we drove up the Lake Superior shore northwest of Marquette. Our first stop was Sugarloaf Mountain. The views were great and we enjoyed some ripe blueberries growing on the summit. Then we continued up to Big Bay. There we first visited the Big Bay Point Lighthouse. It is no longer working and has been converted into a Bed and Breakfast. It is for sale so, if living in a lighthouse appeals to you, here's your chance. Finally, we visited Bay Cliff Camp where Al had been a camper when he was eight and then a counselor after he graduated from high school.

Carl, Al and Ruth Ann stand in the shade of a 
               tree. A grassy field is behind them.
Gail and Al at the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain Al at Bay Cliff Camp
We are standing in bright sunshine. The blue
                  lake and blue sky can be seen behind us. Al stands alongside the sign that
               says we welcome you to Bay Cliff, established 1934

On our way home from Big Bay, it rained very hard. We had left the windows and ceiling vents on the Moving House open. When we got home we found rain had come in the vents, wetting our bedding and the floors in the toilet and the living room. Another learning experience!

Now we returned to Wisconsin for a third time. We made the Pine Grove Campground west of Shawano our base for visiting with Bob and Lolly, and with Linda, and for visiting Bruce and Rae, and the EEA AirVentures. The campground was nice. We were under trees and our dining room window looked over a frog pond. But we were charged an extra fee for internet access, and the connection was reliable only when we were sitting on a patio in front of the campground office. This did not work very well when it was raining.

We had never been to EEA AirVenture in Oshkosh before. Gail had gone when it was in Rockford but that was decades earlier. The number of planes, both those on display and those owned by people who had flown in for the show, was amazing. We walked around the exhibits on a hot, sunny day. The fields were filled with privately-owned fighter jets, World War 2 bombers, many World War 2 fighters, home-built planes, vintage aircraft, DC3s, and so on. There were rows upon rows of nearly identical planes. Boeing's new 787 was on display the day we attended. Eventually heat and fatigue hit us and we retreated to the shade of the NewView hangers where we watched the afternoon airshow. NewView is near the end of one of the runways so when the 787 departed after the end of the airshow, it went right over our heads.

Al in front of the Boeing 787 engine Rae, Gail and Al at NewView
Al is dwarfed by the large air intake behind him. We are seated in the shade of the hanger and smiling.
A few airshow scenes
The images include a B-29 flying overhead,
               a twin-engine plane flying in a loop and leaving
               twin trails of smoke behind, a flight of nine
               WW2 fighter planes trailing smoke, and a biplane
               seen from the side as it approaches the ground.
Replica 1911 Bleriot airmail plane The Boeing 787 leaving Oshkosh
The yellow monoplane is sitting on grass. The plane is seen from below as it passes overhead.
               The nose is at the top of the image. The body of the 
               plane is painted white, dark blue and light blue.

Gail and Al with Patty the Cub
Froot Loops are the secret of a good relationship
Gail is on the left and Al on the right.
               Our hands hide the muzzle of the black bear cub 
               sitting on a chair between us. Next we returned to Michigan, to a campground near Newberry. Here we visited a refuge for black bears, Oswalds bear farm. On a cool, breezy day we went to Whitefish Point where we walked along the beach and looked for birds. We saw cedar waxwings and gulls, sailboats, a freighter heading west and many interestingly colored or shaped pebbles. We skipped the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point because we had seen it when we stayed in Paradise in 2005.

One day we visited Tahquamenon Falls State Park. First, we rowed a boat to the island between the different branches of the lower falls. Then we hiked to Clark Lake. The trail to the lake was relatively easy, but our progress was almost halted by the urge to harvest wild blue berries along the trail. We ate a late lunch at the Tahquamenon Brewery and Pub at the Upper Falls, and then saw the falls themselves. The water level was much lower than when we had seen them in May of 2005, but they were still impressive. They are the second largest falls east of the Mississippi.

We saw no moose.

The panorama below is of one side of the Lower Falls.

Two currents of one side of the falls flow over
               a six-foot drop. An island separates them.
               Some people view the falls from a platform on
               the right side of the picture.
Gail and Al on the overlook at the Upper Falls The Upper Tahquamenon Falls, 50 feet high and 200 wide
We are on the right side of the image. 
               Part of the falls can be seen to the left.
               It looks white because the layer of water is
               thin. The falls is viewed 
             from the gorge below. The root-beer colored water
             plunges into the river below, although little water
             flows on the right side of the falls. 
             The photo is framed by trees.

After Tahquamenon, we crossed the Mackinac Bridge and stopped in Empire, Michigan, to see our second National Lakeshore of the trip, Sleeping Bear Dunes. Once there, we climbed the Dune Climb until we could see Lake Michigan and Glen Lake from the same location. We hiked some trails and played in the Lake Michigan surf. We toured a small boat museum and a lighthouse museum.

Gail on the Dune Climb
It is far easier to go down than up
Gail on the highest ridge
Glen Lake is visible in the back
Lake Michigan could be seen in opposite direction
Gail is standing with one foot up the 
               slope  of fine sand. Behind her a young girl
               is running down the hill. Gail faces the camera. In the distance behind
               her is Glen Lake. There is sand at the top, but 
               surrounded by dune vegetation. A wide bench of sand
               is behind and below her.

450 feet above Lake Michigan
Sleeping Bear Dune is visible in the background
Al and a large maple tree on the Bay View Trail
Gail reads a plaque on a viewing
                platform. A steep sand and
                rock slope stretching from the top of the
                dunes down to the lake shore can be seen
                behind the plaque Al stands in the distance next to a 
               maple tree that whose base is at least four
               feet in diameter. The camera is focused on
               leaves of saplings much colser to the trail.

After Sleeping Bear Dunes, we started home. We took it easy, staying at Michigan's Mitchell State Park - which has a very nice nature trail - and a KOA campground southeast of Toledo.

Our last stop on the road was the first place we stopped, New Stanton, Pennsylvania. From there we visited two attractions: Fallingwater and Fort Necessity National Battlefield. Fallingwater is the most famous house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Fort Necessity and the nearby Jumonville Glen is where the first battles that led to the French and Indian War (in Europe, called the Seven Year War) were fought. A 22-year-old George Washington, later to become famous in the American Revolution, was the British commander in these engagements.

Gail at Fallingwater Fallingwater and the Bear Run falls below it
Gail stands on the walkway to 
               the entrance to the house. The tan-colored
               cantilevered terraces are behind her. Cantilevered terraces jut out over
               the two small falls below. Tree branches
               frame the image.

Jumonville Glen
British forces under George Washington defeated French here
Reproduction of Washington's Fort Necessity
The French defeated the British here
A cliff overlooks the area where
               the French forces camped. A large boulder
               is on the left side of the photo. There 
               are trees on top of the cliff and in
               the campsite. A small palisade of logs standing 
               on end is in the middle of a meadow.

Some Lighthouse Photos for Evan North

Lighthouse on Devils Island, Apostle Islands, Wisconsin Lighthouse on Raspberry Island, Apostle Islands, Wisconsin
The photo was taken from a boat on Lake
                  Superior. The lighthouse is a simple, white
                  cylinder above a cliff. The photo was taken from a boat on Lake
                  Superior. The square tower for the light
                  is build into the residence for the 
                  keeper and his assistant. The walls
                  are white and the roof of the house is

Big Bay Point Lighthouse, Michigan
Now a Bed & Breakfast
Lighthouse at Whitefish Point, Michigan
The photo was taken from the side of the
               lighthouse. The square tower is attached
               to the front of the residence. Both are
               painted red. The light sits atop a white column,
               with four legs bracing it. There are
               circular walkways around the light and
               one level down. In the photo, a white
               two-story building with a red roof is
               to th left of the light.

Grand Traverse Lighthouse
Leelanau State Park, Michigan
Lighthouse on South Manitou Island
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan
Seen from the mainland, 10 miles away
The light house is a short tower
               on top of the two-story living quarters.
               The building is white with a red roof. The white tower is visible in the middle of the
               photo. Haze makes the island look blue.


We survived sixty-one days on the road, camping at seventeen locations. We pulled the trailer about 3,660 miles and we drove the pickup another 2,540 miles in local travel and side trips. We did not break any major items on the Moving Home or the pickup. We learned a lot, including to pay attention to the check list when doing something.

We did not visit a truck wash - though our rig needed one after Moorhead. We have yet to use the oven in our range. The internet connections were not as reliable, fast or convenient as we wanted. We were able to hear Morning Edition and All Things Considered at nearly every place we stayed.

We are glad to have had the opportunity to visit with Bernice and Ron, with Gail and Don, with Jim, Nancy, Wes and Julie, with Millie, with George and Debbie, with Maija, with Edith, with Guy, Sherry, Niki and Troy, with Bill, Julie and Kathy, with Jim and Eleanor, with Wayne, Terri, and Katie, with Val, Sherry, Wayne and the others at James Lake, with Margee and Jim, with Harold and Marcia (he's still going strong at 91), with Carl and Ruth Ann, with Bob and Lolly, with Linda, with Rae and Bruce, their children and Darlene, and with Charlie. We also enjoyed talking with a lot of other campers on the way.

In our journey, there were locations we failed to stop at, attractions we did not see, people we did not visit. Opportunities for the future.