A Trial Run Camping In Our SUV

This past weekend I threw out an impromptu camping trip to my husband where we would sleep in our SUV. Back when we purchased the vehicle the salesman laughed at me when I asked to see all the back seats lowered down and I then crawled in to make sure we fit in the back length wise. I simply looked at him and said, “I plan to sleep back here while camping.” My husband and the salesman then both looked at me with an expression of your kidding right? Ha, would I ever say something I did not mean…NEVER! So, a few months after having the vehicle my husband and I made a trip to the hardware store for a sheet of plywood and he got to work.

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And then life happened and we never had to opportunity to test it out due to his back injury and then my surgery. Which meant, this weekend seemed to be the perfect opportunity to finally do so. Campgrounds are not full yet since it’s too cold, which meant we could easily show up at any park and be guaranteed a site without a reservation. After throwing a few needs and some quick food into the vehicle we headed out. We picked a state park about 45 minutes from home.

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Upon arrival it was cold…and windy…..very windy. He gathered wood around our campsite for heat and I made up our sleeping area.

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Then we did some exploring nearby, did a little fishing, took a drive, and came upon a new park we had never seen before. I can see us returning here when it’s paddle season.

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By this time the wind was starting to calm down a bit so we returned to the campground and he made a big fire to keep us warm.

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We later took a short walk around the campground and it was so great to see the leaves finally emerging from their pods. Summer is coming:-)

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As evening progressed we started to get hungry. Our choice for dinner were freeze dried meals we had on hand from home that we quickly grabbed. Two, new to us, meals that we each chose were chicken and dumplings…super yum and chicken fried rice….again, a winner.

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After dinner we relaxed by the fire and later turned in for our first night of SUV camping.Ohhhh, what an adventure this was.

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We learned a few things during the night. #1SUV camping is quiet…we hardly heard anything from area campers unlike in our tent. #2 you cannot unlock the SUV from inside and open the door to exit if the SUV was locked with the key pad…the alarm goes off(this was so funny at midnight of all times) #3 our sleeping pads do not stay put in the SUV which meant we kept sliding down toward the door. Frustrating, but we figured it out and turned the opposite way to sleep which was much better. This little transition happened about 2a.m.. #4 down sleeping bags and comforters are priceless when temps are in the 30’s and winds are 35mph off the Bay of Green Bay….brrrr!!!! It was freezing outside but we were quite cozy inside.

All in all, we were surprised we were not cold. We have one adjustment to make with our sleep pad but this is already worked out, I just have to go buy the item we are going to use. And I know without a doubt this will be the way to camp in the spring and fall here in WI. I loved not having the damp, wet, clammy feeling of sleeping in a tent. Plus, there was nothing to take down, dry out or fold up. In the summer however, I will still take my tent. There is nothing quite like falling asleep in a tent staring at the stars above.

 

Did You Know….

Did you know….that in WI you can purchase your yearly state park entry sticker for full price ($28) and they offer a second sticker for a second vehicle for a reduced rate? We never did until a few years ago and for us this is a bonus since we need three for our household.

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Did you know…. that my dream someday is to section hike the Appalachian Trail? As of today I have 6 miles completed which is hardly a start but it’s still a start. I have read numerous books about it and just started one that was recommended to me called AWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David Miller. So far I am really enjoying it.

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Did you know….I cannot mix meatloaf or meatballs without wearing rubber gloves? My husband thinks this is hilarious. Although, he has learned not to laugh at me since he loves both meatloaf and meatballs and if he laughs at me then I don’t make them.

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Did you know….I love to grab takeout menus from various restaurants and recreate some of the dishes at home? I think this is such an easy way to come up with variety for home menus. Plus, typically there are many different things that sound so wonderful and who can order more than one entree while out for a meal. My friend recently chuckled at me when I grabbed menus at every restaurant we stopped at and I told her this is what I do with them. Doesn’t anyone else do this???

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Did you know….pancakes are one of our favorite camp breakfasts when we are headed out for a day of hiking? However, since surgery (January2016) I have a hard time eating pancakes….and I mean a real hard time. Well, as you all know, we have made our first camp reservations of the year and I am also convinced that I can find a pancake I can eat without losing the contents of my stomach within minutes, by this trip. I recently was told to try Kodiak brand so I picked up a box and we are going to give it a test run here at home. Let’s hope for the best since these are full of protein and would be perfect for a prehike breakfast.

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Did you know….that even though our son takes family, graduation, wedding, and professional pictures for everyone else, I have never had him take a professional picture of our family? Why you ask…..well honestly, a nicely dressed, matching outfits, sitting on a stone man made fence is not my idea of what my family is and/or looks like. So why would I want a picture that does not describe who we are as a family? I have some of the best pictures of all of us, us as a couple, and just myself on trails in some of the most beautiful places ever and I cherish these and the fact that he was there to capture the moment with his camera.

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Did you know….that I am so ready for winter to be over with already? We had a burst of spring like temperatures and now we are back to full blown winter. Add in the few snowfalls we have also had since these nice days and ugggg, I am ready to be done. We have some big plans for this upcoming weekend and hopefully it will be all good. I am in the market for some new hiking boots, a stop at Trader Joe’s, and a nice dinner somewhere other than in good ole Green Bay. Hopefully this brightens my mood and if it doesn’t I think we may plan a hike on a WI state trail that we have not visited in a while. Rarely, do we hike south of Green Bay but I recall it being a nice trail. If we make this happen I will be sure to keep you all updated on the trail conditions in this area.

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Weekend Recap- Thai Cuisine, Happy Birthday, and Camping Trip Plans

As usual the weather forecast changed from warm and beautiful Saturday to cold and blustery so geocaching was once again put off a bit further. However, that does not mean we did not have fun along with a bit of work.

Let’s recap everything from the last few days….I found out I LOVE Thai cuisine. We tried it for the first time with my brother and it was fabulous. We all got different meals and we all tried each others and I think I picked the winner of the night. I went with what they called volcano chicken and OMG was it good. I, of course, forgot to take a picture but I do have a pic of the appetizer we all tried.

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Our first camping plans of the year have been made. We are finally headed to a new WI state park that I have been wanting to visit for a few years now. It kept getting put off with all our health issues (herniate discs, abdominal surgery etc.) the past few years, but we finally are making the trip to Interstate State Park in a few weeks and hopefully all this darn snow is gone by then.

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I also celebrated my birthday this weekend with a new treat my husband found while grocery shopping. My favorite candy bar of all time is Mounds and he stumbled across Mounds pudding in the store and I had to give it a try. Plus, he said birthday calories don’t count. Let’s hope so because it was wonderful.

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I also bought myself a birthday gift while out and about this weekend. Two pair of workout leggings for those chilly but active days outside. I am not a big fan of full length leggins at the gym but outside in the spring and fall they are a welcome addition to the trail. Plus, they were an awesome price so I just had to get them.

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Saturday I finally made a return to the gym. It had been two weeks since I had been there and it felt so great. I am finally over whatever virus I had and I felt I could handle a good sweaty workout with no big breathing issues.

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That sums up my weekend. Nothing too exciting but it was a nice quiet weekend which is sometimes a welcomed thing.

 

Learning To Use Trekking Poles

My first trekking poles were given to me by my husband for our anniversary a few years ago. Now, some of you may cringe at this gift for an anniversary but I was thrilled to death. I am not the most graceful person you will find on any trail and my balance is by far balanced. Trekking poles have made life for me on the trail so much more enjoyable and have given me the confidence to explore deeper, hike farther, and go higher than I ever would have attempted without them. I am a complete fan of trekking poles which is why my husband recently bought his first pair.

His reasoning for purchasing trekking poles is a bit different than why I love mine. His is for help with his knee pain since his wife(ME) likes to hike mountains and this is what causes him pain. So recently we took a day trip to my favorite rocky bluff state park and he had his first experience with his trekking poles. IMG_5227

Our goal on this day was to hike up and down the bluffs which is a mixture of a few different trail terrains. Our first hike was up a gravel/rocky path on the East Bluff Trail.

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Uphill the entire way to the top with larger rocks thrown in there for some fun.

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After reaching the top we headed back down the Pothole Trail. This consisted of rocky steps all the way back down the bluff. This equals=painful on the knees.

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Next, we took a bit of a break, had a snack and headed back up. Although this time it was back up steps, not a rocky trail. And after that is was back down a mixture of terrain.

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He took many stops to adjust the length of his poles along the way until he finally got the hang of what he liked on which type of terrain.

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After a full day of hiking a park we have hiked numerous times in the past and knew exactly what we would feel like when we were done….the verdict was that his knees were not nearly as sore as they typically are after this particular hike.

I can only hope they offer as much relief to his sore knees during our trip to Arizona…especially since my goal is the very top of a very well know rock! Which ultimately means, if we reach the top we will also have to return back to the bottom.

Here are a few more things we saw during our hike and after when we took a quick tube float in the lake as a reward for a big day of hiking.

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Have you ever tried trekking poles?

What is your favorite brand?