We left Chicago on June 28th and headed North into Wisconsin arriving at the Madison Campground in Deforest. Once we were all set up we found the local Farmer’s Market to grab some fresh veggies. Azlan saw Macarons and insisted he wanted to try one, however they were only selling them by the dozen and I wasn’t about to cough up $20 for something he might or might not like knowing that Ted and I both don’t like them. He has been watching a TV show called Miraculous set in Paris and some of the characters ate Macarons (a sweet meringue-based confection made with egg white, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond meal, and food colouring. The macaron is traditionally held to have been introduced in France by the Italian chef of queen Catherine de Medici during the Renaissance). I promised to find him some that he could try…little did I know I would be searching for a needle in a hay stack or shall I say a needle across some states! June 29th, Wednesday, I did an upper body lifting sesh before heading to the dentist at Deforest Dental. One of my teeth had been bothering me for a few days so I decided to get it checked out. Turns out I was either grinding or had some sinus issues that may have aggravated it. The dentist and staff were great, I even got a recommendation for hiking in Devil’s Lake State Park. Ted had a virtual meeting with his therapist to check in about the anxiety and after that I grabbed Azlan and we went on a hunt for Macarons. I called every bakery within a 30 min radius and then we went to the few I couldn’t get a hold of and still no luck! We spent some time in the pool, I got a bite guard, and had a chill evening. Thursday morning I took Apollo on the Indian Lake Perimeter Loop for a 3 mile romp ending in a big dog park while Ted made us breakfast. In case I have not mentioned this yet, Ted makes some pretty good Bacon! We chilled at the campground most of the day and relaxed. One of Ted’s friends and his wife came over for dinner, but I popped out to do a STRONG Nation class in person. It’s the first one I had done outside of the studio and my certification training. When I got back to the Glamper I was introduced to Old Fashions – and the rest of the night was a blur! Pretty tasty drinks and we definitely drank Wisconsinably! Happy July! We started off the month with a pretty nasty toilet clog in the Glamper. Our nutrition has not been the best and in this case, the toilet took the blame. Ted scooped, and pumped, and scooped and eventually got it working again - #poundwinning. Once this was sorted out (thank you Ted!), we were on our way to Devil’s Lake State Park. We hiked up a steep rocky trail to Balanced Rock and the Devil’s Door. Azlan was in heaven – he loves to climb rocks. The Devil’s door required some shimmying and crawling through a small hole to get into the space considered the door. The hike was fantastic with beautiful views and worth the huffing and puffing on the way up and the painful knees on the way down. In the afternoon we drove into the Dells…driving by a large group of cabins with crooked windows and doors – we flipped out! Looking at the windows installed at an angle on purpose had Ted and I feeling like we were listening to nails on a chalk board. For someone who likes things in order/organized/aligned, this was a nightmare! We made it past the cabins safely and joined the Dells Boat Tour company to visit Witches Gultch and Stand Rock in the Upper Dells – some neat rock formations. The Dells is full of shops, restaurants, arcades and more, a very touristic area and very much in contrast with the state park we had just been in. Overall it was a great day, filled with adventure. Normally we would have our local party on Saturday but this time we moved it to Sunday. After Ted walked Apollo, we drove into downtown Madison and visited the famous Dane County Farmer’s Market that happens all the way around the Capitol building. It was certainly the largest market I had ever been to in the continental US and the interesting thing was that everyone walked in the same direction. Like there was a silent understanding between all people that this was a one way only trip around the market and if you missed something you had to go all the way around again - no turning around and backtracking. Trust me, the place was packed and going against the one-way human current would not be something you would want to try! A few empanadas, doughnuts and some homemade soap purchases we headed back to the Glamper so I could walk Apollo and then do my nails. For some reason, giving myself a manicure and pedicure is therapeutic to me - like a 2 hour self-revitalization break. I have this amazing spray that helps the nail polish dry fast too...so when I was done we walked over to the common area in the RV Park for Beer Bingo to finish off the night.
On Sunday, July 3rd, Ted walked Apollo while I practiced STRONG30 in the pavilion at the RV Park. We had two couples come out to hang out with us for our local get-together in the afternoon. They came baring wine and cheeses and wonderful smiles and hugs! I know it wasn’t easy for them to get to us and we really appreciate them coming out and spending time with us. One couple had a hotel just down the road so the next day we got to spend the 4th of July with them. I took Apollo for a walk while Ted cooked us all up some delicious Bacon (and eggs and stuff) and then we proceeded to play the longest game of UNO ever! In the evening the rain let up enough so that we could see some fireworks, play with sparklers and enjoy a fire. I ended up excusing myself around midnight but Ted and our friends they stayed out chilling until 2am. Funny to think I used to party in the clubs and stay up until 2, 3 even 4 or 5am back in college and now I’ll struggling to stay awake at 10pm. Needless to say we all woke up later than usual and got a slow start to our moving day. Originally, we had planned to boonedock (no water, sewer, power connections and we just run off the generator and our tanks) in the parking lot of the Kewadin Casino in Christmas, MI. This casino is next to the Pictured Rock RV Park & Campground where we were scheduled to stay from July 6th to July 8th. When Ted was booking all our campsites back in January, he was having trouble finding places that were open (since winter in Michigan is much different than winter in Florida) or places that had availability, hence the one night of boonedocking in the plans. However, knowing we would be staying up late before a 5.5 hour drive (which is on the long side for an RV…our cut off limit is usually 6 hours), Ted booked us a one-night site an hour closer. When we got there though, they didn’t have our reservation and the lady at the front desk told us that we would have to drop our Jeep and trailer to be able to stay there – which is not what Ted had arranged when he booked the site. We decided not to stop and spend the night, instead we got on the road and called the Pictured Rock RV Park & Campground to see if they happened to have a site available. We knew they didn’t back in January but knowing how much can change in RV parks we figured it was worth a shot and sure enough, we got lucky. We would have to change sites in the morning but at least we would only have to drop the Jeep and Trailer once.
Wednesday morning we moved the Glamper and while we set up again, Azlan made friends with the two kids in the camper next to us. It’s so nice when he has other kids to play with when we are on the road. I know he feels lonely and bored sometimes with just Ted and myself. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that he loves spending time with us, I also believe he wants to play in ways Ted and I don’t anymore. I see his smile get brighter when he’s running around with his peers. We let him play until mid-morning and then took off to explore Miners Falls, Miners Castle, and Miners Beach. At the beach we felt the water and….BURRRRR! Certainly NOT our ocean bath water in South Florida! Our intention had been to hike longer with Apollo but that got thwarted when we found out we couldn’t take him on any of the trails in this part of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. By now we are pretty hungry so we tried some Pasties – a local pastry bread stuffed with meats and vegetables, pronounced PAH-STYS. I had been pronouncing it like PAY-STYS…those stickers that women put on their nipples at the exotic clubs, you know what I’m talking about! The pasties were interesting, but the Wisconsin ice cream we had following that got first place for taste! We walked over to the Interpretive Center to learn some more about the geology of rocks we had gone to see earlier – layers of rocks compressed together over millions of years and then carved by the elements. We walked around a park for a bit before heading back to the Glamper and doing dinner. That night, Azlan played with the kids next door and after he was in bed, Ted and I sat outside watching the sun set and the night give way to a beautiful starry sky.
July 7 is one of our anniversaries. We originally went to the courthouse on Valentine’s Day 2006 to sign our certificate of marriage but then we also had a big ceremony for family and friends on 07-07-07 – 15 years ago. We remembered what day it was when we were on our way to our morning hike – so we said happy anniversary and he gave me a very sweet card later in the day. Our hike that day was at Bruno’s Run in the Hiawatha National Forest. We did 4 miles of the 10.9 on the trail, and Azlan did great. There were many hilly portions for which Azlan and Ted invented the Rollercoaster Game, when you get to the top of a hill and then start to descend you start running. The steeper the hill, the faster you go until it levels out. We had a lot of fun walking and running this trail! Next we went to the Glamper to grab our…BOAT SNACK…(in my best Maui voice), towels, blankets etc… in preparation for our boat ride on Lake Superior. Superior Pontoon Rentals provided us with a lovely 24’ Pontoon from 1-5pm. The waters were crystal clear and the sun was out most of the time (thank goodness) as we skirted around the Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore, from South Bay all the way to Spray Falls. Then we decided to float a bit away from the shore for a snack as we worked up the courage to jump in the 50-60 degree lake. Yes, that’s right, we were going to jump in really cold water on purpose…naked! We have had some pretty bold adventures on our anniversaries, like on our 5th 07-07-07 anniversary we went running with the bulls in Pamplona for example. Well, I sucked it up and went in first - I jumped out almost as fast as I jumped in, Ted may have been a little faster getting out of the water though. Certainly a great way to charge up your body, get the blood pumping and turn on laser focus….oh and also a great way to get rid of a hangover haha. We enjoyed the ride home, Ted went to one of Michigan’s special stores (hard to believe I got arrested for smoking pot when I was in high school and now it’s legal in so many places) and brought home some pizza too! All in all a damn fine 15 year anniversary #poundwinning! Friday morning, July 8th, we packed up and moved a few hours to Lakeshore RV & Campground after Ted had walked Apollo on the Bay Furnace hike. Interestingly enough, he saw the same kind of iron furnace we had seen last summer in Canaan, CT, the Beckley Furnace. When we arrive, we have to drop the trailer again and we didn’t think we had a sewer connection either. I’m a little irritated about dropping the trailer again and I make my irritation known. From my perspective, it isn’t worth dropping the trailer just to park in a spot where you can see a sliver of the water (be it ocean, lake or river), however Ted’s home is on the water or near the water. By ‘home’ I mean his happy place. His demeanor changes anytime we are near the water – it lifts his spirits – so I understand why he did it. But last summer and during the first 15 months of our trip he would get so upset when we couldn’t get a pull through site and had to drop the trailer, going as far as arguing with the RV Park staff and managers about it. So, we drop the trailer and park in our spot. Now, as a side note, the RV and Jeep have not been washed since we started the trip and our Glamper windshield is a giant bug graveyard. I have been scouting places for a wash but had not found anything convenient and all the RV Parks we have stayed at prohibit washing your RV on site. When we finally get the Glamper set up and sit in the front seats to look at the water I say “It would be nice if the windshield was clean” in a snarky kind of way…and that did it. He said “Ugh, nothing is ever good enough for you” and the fight started. Ted got upset and stormed off, his new anxiety issues triggered, while I fumed in the RV sweeping and slamming cabinet doors. Upon his return we sat down and had a calm conversation about what had happened. Thank goodness we did all that therapy over the years and learned how to calmly communicate with each other. He recanted his statement about ‘nothing is ever enough’ as we both knew that wasn’t fair and I acknowledged that my timing of comments about dropping the trailer and the windshield were poorly timed. Considering it used to take us weeks to get over an argument and this one was settled within a few hours – we are doing pretty darn good! We take off to catch the Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry to Mackinac Island. While we waited for the Ferry to depart, Ted greeted the Captain and the Captain promptly asked if Ted had attended Champan School of Seamanship. Ted answered with surprise “I most certainly did!”. The Captain invited Ted into the Bridge (where they steer the vessel) in a gesture of ‘Privilege of the Bridge’. No one is supposed to be in that room except the Captain and his crew however fellow visiting Captains are given the privilege to enter the space. Azlan and I also got to check it out. A very neat experience followed by another when we arrived on the island! There are no motor vehicles, only bicycles and horse drawn trailers, like carriages, trolleys and garbage haulers...yes, that’s right, no cars on this island! Upon arrival we were pleasantly surprised! Mackinac Island is gorgeous! Aside from the horse dung on the streets (which was cleaned up regularly), the island was very clean, flowers thriving in window planters, houses well cared for, lawns groomed – the whole place was a breath of fresh air. We rented bikes and took off to ride around the 8.2 mile island perimeter stopping at a few points along the way to climb some stairs, hike a little, take pictures along the shore, skip rocks and eat some ice cream. While at the ice cream store, we go to use the bathrooms and see a payphone. When I come out, Ted looks like he is on the phone, and he has this look of astonishment on his face. The pay phone works! In all our travels we only found one other pay phone that worked, one in the Redwood Forest in California. This time, since Azlan was with us, he was showing Azlan how the pay phone worked and proceeded to call his dad collect. Fortunately, his dad accepted and the first thing out of Ted’s mouth was “I’m ok Dad, everything is fine! We found a working payphone and wanted to show Azlan how it worked!”. Many years ago, when Ted would call home collect, he was in trouble…imagine that…haha. With our excitement level on high, we wrapped up the call (hopefully it wasn’t too expensive) and continued on our journey, happy to have shown our son a piece of history that many kids his age won’t get to experience. We had dinner at the Kingston Kitchen at the Village Inn, a spectacular Jamaican restaurant - amazing flavorful food! I grabbed some postcards at a shop and we headed back on the Ferry back to the Glamper and Apollo.
Saturday morning we dropped off a load of my postcards in a very remote mail drop box with a little prayer that they would reach their recipients and headed off to hike the Tahquamenon Lower Falls. As we were running down one of the rollercoasters I went down with a bang! Pain shot up from my left ankle and tears welled up in my eyes. My left ankle is an unstable source to begin with having been sprained repeatedly over the years after an initial ligament tear when I was 15. I wasn’t surprised but my emotions were through the roof – what if I can’t workout, what if I can’t walk, what if I have to stay in bed…blah blah blah. On all my previous injuries, my first reaction was to stop any baby the afflicted area. Not this time though, we still had 2 miles to go and I was determined to suck it up so I walked on it. Tears were streaming down my cheeks but I never yelled or complained. I tightened the laces on my sneaker and kept going, albeit slower than usual and no more rollercoasters for me. I took an Ibuprophen (aka Army Candy) and we pushed on with our day visiting the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Whitefish Point and doing yet another hike to the Tahquamenon Upper Falls. The Shipwreck Museum was interesting, but I think Ted was expecting a bit more that what we saw. Either way, the fudge and the time we got together was great. Interestingly, we learned that there are over 6,000 shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, 300 alone are on Whitefish Point. Can’t be messing around in these giant lakes in a storm! My ankle felt better, go figure! It left me wishing I had pushed through every time I got hurt in the past…but oh well, at least now I know I can suck it up! Our day ended with Tacos and wine as we prepped for another moving day on Sunday.
When we woke up on the 10th, Ted took Apollo for his daily walk, I did the dishes, Ted made Bacon, I did more dishes, I practiced Strong30 and we walked on the beach collecting rocks perfect for painting - all before we rolled out to Elk Rapids, Michigan. This time we stopped for fuel and I promptly started to clean the windshield while Ted pumped the slow filling diesel. After a few tries though, we were able to lock the diesel pump handle so we didn’t have to hold it in the slow liquid filling position the whole time! This is only the third time that had been possible since we bought the rig in 2018. We arrived at the Honcho Rest Campground, got set up and I took some time to write more postcards before we headed to our friend’s parent’s house for a fabulous dinner! They said it was low key but we felt pretty special with all the food and drinks they prepared for us.
July 11th our friend took us to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore after we got some to-go sandwiches from the Grand Traverse Pie Company to take with us for a picnic lunch. We hiked a good 3 miles on the Empire Bluff Trail in the sand, stopping for pictures, to make sand angels, and playtime for Apollo before having our delicious sandwiches in a small park near the Sleeping Bear Dunes Overlook. After that we went to see The Dune Climb, a 3.5 mile out and back to the water that is extremely steep and can take 3-4 hours to complete. Rescue teams have to go fetch people that can’t make it back up and charge thousands of dollars to do so. The only way back up is climbing the sandy dune or getting picked up by rescuers. We didn’t tackle that one…but who knows, maybe one day I will be back to claim that challenge! We drove home via the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive and this time I was the one staying awake while Ted passed out in the car. We had an epic day with our friend!
The next morning, I went over to her parent’s house and did a demo Strong30 & Zumba class for her stepmom who is also a fitness instructor and we had a blast! I then took Apollo for a hike in the Maplehurst Natural Area, a beautiful forest where he stayed off leash most of the time. We did a little jogging and I even stopped to meditate for a few minutes enjoying the sounds of nature and the serene feeling of being at peace. When I got back, our friend and us all went cherry picking at Rennie Orchards and we discovered that there are many types of cherries out there! I had no idea that they had yellow cherries, cherries with blended colors, sweet cherries, bitter cherries etc…9 pounds of cherries later, we moved onto getting hair cuts for me and Azlan, then walked around downtown stopping at the Cherry Republic store to try and purchase cherry salsa, cherry jelly, cherry mustard, and chocolate covered cherries – YUM! We also had a fantastic pretzel (or should I say pretzels) at the Petoskey Pretzel Company before going to the local Meijer (like a Walmart but nicer) to stock up on groceries. That night our friend and her parents joined us at the Glamper for dinner so we could say our see-you-laters. It was great to spend time with our friend and her family, we really appreciate everything they did for and with us during our stay in this beautiful part of the country!
Wednesday, July 13th, Ted went to explore the Maplehurst Natural Area with Apollo while I did a virtual Strong30 with the ZT’s Fit Fam in the pavilion at the campground. The internet has been really inconsistent throughout our travels with unreliable service most of the time – both with AT&T and T-Mobile making it really hard for me to stream virtual live classes. I made it through the class after losing connection a few times though. By 11:15am we were on the road to the Lansing Cottonwood Campground in Lansing, MI. I was adamant to find a place that would wash the Glamper so I called every car wash place I could find online between Elk Rapids and Lansing and finally found Fast Eddie’s Car Wash & Oil Change. We pulled into their lot and they worked their magic getting the Glamper and Jeep in shiny shape! All fresh and clean, we got set up at our new site, conveniently a pull through so no need to drop the trailer. That afternoon we walked around the RV park and made it a quiet night.
Thursday morning, I practiced some Zumba and then joined the ZT’s Fit Fam with a little more stable connection and did a Build & Define class while Ted and Azlan took Apollo for a walk. Ted had an appointment with his therapist to follow up on the anxiety and I had my follow up about the cyst in my groin. Fortunately, I haven’t been in pain for a while so I will just get checked out in person when I get home. I then did a lot of cleaning and that afternoon, Ted and Azlan went to do laundry, I used the bathroom in the Glamper and when I turned the pump on so I could flush, it stayed on. Normally the pump would run for a few seconds, a light would turn green when it stopped indicating it was ok to flush. This time though the pump just kept working. I decided not to use the bathroom anymore and see what Ted thought of it when he got back, no biggie I thought. While the boys were out, I had the pleasure of meeting an online friend that I had known for several years in accountability groups. After having cheered each other on and lifted each other up for so long, it was spectacular to meet and hang out with her in person! Ted came back and checked the toilet, announcing that it worked fine so that was the end of that and my friend left for an appointment but came back to hang for a little bit before her 30 min drive home. Later in the evening I started to notice a nasty smell, like an animal had died and started to rot. I also started seeing some little flies which I assumed were fruit flies but it didn’t make sense because all the fruit was in really good shape.
July 15th I got up early and went to Crunch Fitness for a spin class. We are on the back end of the trip and I am going to teach Zumba classes in NC on August 3rd at the Fayetteville RV Resort & Cottages (where I taught last summer) and am scheduled to teach at ZT’s Fitness August 8th, 9th and 10th – I need to up my cardio game and get back into teaching shape! When I got back from spin, I did some more cleaning, but the nasty smell would just not go away. It kept coming back no matter how much fabreeze I sprayed or oils I diffused in the Glamper. The flies stuck around too. I kept telling Ted that something must have had died under the motorhome, probably where the wiring and pipes run. No time to investigate though as we were about to leave for groceries and to pick up my parents from the airport. They were visiting with us for 5 days but staying in a hotel as the Glamper gets pretty tight with Apollo, 4 adults and an active 8 year old. When Ted opened the bin beneath the Glamper to pull the dog cage out he found the problem. He calmly asked me to go outside with him to look at the source…
OMG! Gross, Disgusting, Putrid, Horrifying!!! Gag, Gag, Gag!!! My worst Glamper nightmare all over again! Our poop had leaked out of the pump, into the bin and all over our items stored under there. The dog cage, our foldable tables, all my workout weights, my yoga mat, our outdoor rug….UGH! SO. FU$%ING. NASTY!
Stay tuned for more of the shi%$y situation and moving onwards!
Love and Best Wishes,
Daisa, Ted, Azlan and Apollo