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10 Things I Hate About Camping

Followers of Midwestern Plants are probably scratching their beans wondering why I would write a post like this… Well, there is a dark side to camping and I need to share my experience so YOU won’t be duped.

During my childhood, ‘camping’ to my family, was staying at a Super 8 ๐Ÿ˜‰ I started my camping adventures tent camping at 18. Finally, after many years of sleeping on the ground, my husband and I bought a travel trailer (TT). The ‘normal’ progression of a tenter is usually to buy a pop-up. We thought pop-ups were just as annoying as tents. They take as long to set-up and pack-up as a tent, along with the fact you still don’t have your own bathroom.

Our first TT was 27′ long and was perfect for our family of two. We now have a 37′ Toy Hauler (it has a garage for our motorcycle). We love this new trailer. It has everything we need and more.

Without further adieu, here is my list of things I hate about camping, in no particular order:

#10 – Weather

Bad weather camping is pretty bad in a tent, however it’s not so bad in a TT. At least we have DVD’s, books and other things to keep us occupied. Sadly, it still means no campfires, kayaking or dog walks. Bad weather is also inherently attracted to trailer homes. We’ve rode out a few bad tornado warnings, knowing we could hit the well built shit houses. We don’t go there early, as they usually don’t want dogs in there and I’m not leaving my dogs in an unsafe location.

I can’t wait until we can control the weather and only have it rain on weekdays ๐Ÿ˜‰ I was hesitant to toss this one in as no one has control over it… yet.

#9 – Campground Reviews

I wish folks could put aside their feeling when writing reviews and just stick to the facts. Many times I can read past what folks whine about and glean the pertinent information that works for me, for example:

“The kids were bored as there were no activities…” = Super, no screaming children!

“The site was very uneven…” = You don’t know how to level your trailer.

“The campers next to us were loud…” – If they weren’t permanent, who cares, we won’t see them.

When reviewing a campground or anything else for that matter, state the facts only please.

#8 – Unleashed Dogs

I can’t begin to tell you how many times we encounter unleashed dogs of all sizes. After Breck was attacked in our own yard, we are quick to take notice of any situation that might harm our boys. Dog’s are funny when one is on-leash and the other isn’t. Unless your dog is 100% trained to stay at your side, leash them!!

#7 – Loosing Your Site to a Seasonal

If you’ve booked at a private campground, most likely you’ve seen the verbiage ‘you will be moved if a seasonal wants your site.’ Sadly, this has happened us a few times. Although we tell the campground the size of our TT, they inevitably move us to a site too small for us…. and it’s the last site available. There’s no real protection from this happening, unless you book at a state campground, which only allow a maximum stay of 2 weeks.

#6 – Full Hook-Up is Not Really Full Hook-Up

Full Hook-Up means: there is electricity, water and sewer AT THE SITE. Welp. Some campgrounds will tell you they are full hook-up, but what they really mean is that there is electricity and water AT THE SITE and they have a dump station or pumping services for sewer service. Clearly, it’s very inconvenient to pack-up and bring your camper to the dump in the middle of our stay, thus you then must pay for your tanks to be pumped.

 

#5 – Meeting Scary People

For the most part, campers are good folk. I’ll actually say there are 100% good folk, as the one scary person we came across in the campground was not really a camper. All I’m saying is to be aware, especially if you’re remote camping.

There was a trail that went through the county campground we were staying at. A man walked by with a beer, telling us our dogs were cute and if he could say hello to them.ย  Hmm, it was daylight, other campers around, so no alarms went off. We started chatting about border collies and camping… Husband offered him another beer and a chair as the sun went down. When the topic of his site and type of trailer came up, he then informed us he was just ‘passing through’ the area on foot. OK, I’ve met many homeless folks that were really nice. However, all of a sudden, things got weird. He started discussing female genitalia and things he liked about it. I gave my hubby the ‘I’m-uncomfortable-look’ and excused myself, saying I needed the loo. Hubby gave me our code word for get the protection at the ready, our loaded 45. When my husband knew I was safely inside and packing heat, I listened out the window to my husband tell this man that his topics were not welcome and he had better take his leave. He left without incident, thank goodness.

#4 – Campground Up Charges

Owning a campground isn’t exactly a get rich lifestyle. Many times camp owners are left to deal with rotten situations their guests put them in. Whether it be acts of bad driving (running over signs, pipes or trees), flushing large, unknown items down the toilet or even just littering, camp owners get creative about adding on fees to your daily, rental fee. Here are just a few we’ve seen:

$10 fee per dog – The campground felt the need to charge this to cover the doo-doo removal service.

Charging $10 per day, per camper for campground amenities and not allowing an opt out.

We have WIFI! (for $2 a day… and its only available near the office… with 2G download speeds…)

$5 a day charge for air conditioners.

 

#3 – Site Trespassing

It’s rare that we find a campground that has large sites. However, the larger the site, the more likely you’ll have folks walk right through the middle of it. We put our boys on 20′ feet leads when we’re at our site. Of course, we size them shorter if our site is smaller. One long weekend of camping had us on a site what was about 40′ feet by 40′ feet. That is huuuuge compared to most campgrounds, we were able to add on to the boys leashes to give them 30′ to play. One day, while we sat near our campfire, a family of 6 rode their bikes right into our campsite and was freaked out when our boys ran after them! The one kid was so terrified he dropped his bike and ran. We asked his parents why they thought it was OK to trespass right through our site. They played the ‘no speaka da English’ game. I then translated my distaste for their actions in an international language way…. We didn’t see them the rest of the trip.

#2 – Not Using Fog Lights at Night

One of my husband’s biggest pet-peeves is drivers in campgrounds using their headlights at night. At best, the speed limit in a campground is 5 mph. At these speeds, the chances of having an accident are slim. Since many campers don’t have their own toilets, driving to the loo becomes an hourly occurrence, especially when there is liquor involved. Camping is about reconnecting with nature, and seeing stars is a part of it. Constantly being flashed in the eyes with headlights is no fun.

#1 No Outside Firewood

As an arborist, I understand the dangers of transporting firewood. All kinds of pest issues are caused by folks moving around contaminated wood. By law, you cannot move firewood outside of 50 miles or over state lines. If you’re within those parameters, no problem. Clearly, campgrounds again, in the never ending search to make money, try to have you buy a 4 piece bundle of wood for $10.ย  We buy one bundle from the campground and then find someone selling it nearby for 1/64 of the price.

Yes, I have also watched folks drive to a campsite where someone had just left to see if they left any firewood behind.

 

 

 

 

ยฉ Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Happy Trails

Last time camping under the old, oak tree… I wish you the best, my friend.

I was thinking that my last post, the one that has been static on my site was a scary selfie of me in a welding helmet… That just can’t continue for any longer! ๐Ÿ˜‰ This post will serve as a better landing spot for my blog and describe its status.

We recently went to our favorite campground, Hickory Hollow in Utica, Illinois. It is right near the Starved Rock area. Every September, you can count on us to be attending the wine festival! This year’s fest was a bit less chaotic, as last year’s fest was a madhouse. Because of this and the ticket prices doubling, we were able to get around much easier this year.

We were very melancholy, as the sand mine (just past the berm behind the camper) has bought the campground to destroy it for the sand it stands on. How sad is that?!? I can’t describe the pain I feel for my favorite burr oak tree (next to camper). It’s like knowing a friend with a deadly disease… knowing that in a short time, their life will end sooner than it should. I need a subject change… my blubbering is upsetting my dogs.

Updates….

I have been researching my future ventures en mass! I have a plan for my future schooling in Horticulture Therapy, which starts this January, finishing in the Fall of 2018. Not too long! I have also decided to try to open my own business revolving around Nature Therapy. This will include Forest Bathing (shinrin-yoku (ๆฃฎๆž—ๆตด) in Japanese), and other programs for nursing homes. I’ll try focusing in those arenas first, and see if I need to branch out or not. I will post updates…

Hubby is doing super at quitting smoking! It’s been 4 months now!

For our Annual Christmas Camping Vacation….. GALVESTON, TEXAS is the winning location for 2017!!! We’re already booked and have started researching things to see and do. If you have any insider info, please pass it on ๐Ÿ™‚ We will also be needing a Texas themed audio book for the 18 hour ride down there. Last year we listened to, “Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil” for our ride to Savannah.

Here’s a funny coincidence, well, maybe not so funny… We decided on Galveston one week before Hurricane Harvey hit them. Last year, we decided to go to Savanna, Georgia one week before Hurricane Matthew hit them. Hmmm, are we dooming the cities we choose to visit to hurricanes? Maybe next year, we shouldn’t pick a coastal city ๐Ÿ˜‰

I hope everyone in my blog-o-spere is doing well. I’ve visited the WP Reader a few times. It’s really hard to be in there too long. I could have an hour blow by in what feels like a second. I love reading everyone’s posts, however I MUST STUDY!!! When my life has settled down, I will return to the reader and posting myself. Until then, I hope the best for all of you! I do miss our fun in the comment’s section!

Take care!!! Ilex

Black Flag

I’ve had a pretty bad month. I’m hopefully going to be bouncing back soon. I’m struggling a bit on content for the blog, so I though I’d share the other side of my brain in this post. I’ve already shared my “Pep Me up! Wooo Yeah! You go girl” song (You’ve Got Another Thing Coming – By Judas Priest) Can you say MANIC?!?

Here’s the bi-polar side of things. Kings X wrote Black Flag back in 1992. I typed out the lyrics, if it’s too much metal for ya ๐Ÿ˜‰ The video looks like it was made on a budget of $500 (really hoaky), but the song is great.

A year in the hole had taken its toll

When I took a good look at me

And what a surprise the scope of my eyes could only see black

And I remember someone who was taking them two by two

and lately I’d become the one who’d have laughed at you too!

There was a Black Flag on my morning

There was a Black Flag on my day

There was a Black Flag on everything around and I was walking backwards again I walked in the day, my usual way, looking through a 2 X 4

It colored my view, I couldn’t see you

Or maybe I just wouldn’t

And I remember the time when the sunlight fell on my head

And lately I’d become a member of the walking dead

There was a Black Flag on my morning

There was a Black Flag on my day

There was a Black Flag on everything around and I was walking backwards again and I know that I was wrong.

It was up to me if I wanted to see

And I remember the day when I saw the mask on my face And I knew that it was time to put the thing in its place I’d put the

Black Flag on my morning

I’d put the Black Flag on my day

I’d put the Black Flag on everything around And I was walking backwards again And I know that I was wrongย 

ยฉ Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

I’m Hiding! Peek-a-boo With Your Dog

Breck doesn’t beg while I eat, however when he wants a snack, he’ll start the ‘Staring Game’. Clearly, it starts with a stare. He then moans.. and again. Then cries a bit. He might move right into a full bark or a Grrr. At this point, I usually try to move, put a foot in the way or blanket over my head. He’s smarter than a 3 year old. Here is just another stupid attempt at the hoo-man to fool the dog. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Riiiiight.

Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Kayaking Door County, Wisconsin

Last 4th of July, we went camping in Door County, Wisconsin for the second time. I can’t explain the magnetic pull this area has on me, just like Jens Jensen. I totally get why he chose to be here. It’s very strange, as I can’t see myself as a full-time resident here. Winters can keep you pretty isolated, along with down-right frigid temperatures… Not my idea of fun.

Although Wisconsin has a lower housing market than my Chicago suburbs area, Door County has it’s “Cape Cod of the Midwest” reputation and adds a higher percentage to that market percentage. Add on waterfront to the description and tack on 100% to the price.

I’m not in the high enough tax-bracket to achieve a two property household, so I’ll just dare to dream for now…

This post got lost in the drafts folder, as I was looking to add some video from my sport camera… Trying to load it onto YouTube as I write… Got that spinning wheel of death right now. My upload speed is probably at -2% right now. .. I’ll keep you hanging right now as to if this succeeds or not, by posting it at the end… If I can ๐Ÿ˜‰

There are a total of three locations we kayaked in this post.

FIRST: Kangaroo Lake

It is a 1,156 acres (467.8166 hectares) lake that’s only 12 feet (3.7M) in the deep end. Kangaroo Lake received its name from its shape which resembles a Kangaroo with its head (North end), pouch or hands (mid-east side), and feet (south end). The best part about the lake is the fact it is shallow and big boats can’t be on it. The Lake Association has banned them to preserve the easily disturbed, silt bottom. This makes for a kayaker / canoers dream paddle location.

My hubby used to come here and fish when he was a wee lad. You can catch Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye. The water is very clear and it’s pretty easy to see the fish below. It ain’t so easy to catch one, though. ๐Ÿ˜‰

There is even a small island in the center that I’m pretty sure is privately owned. There is a beautiful house with wonderful landscaping with boat houses, et all. We did see a young gentleman arrive at the dock from the mainland and waved to him. He tipped his hat back. Clearly, there is activity happening here, I just didn’t put a lot of time researching it. Anyone know???

Mama duck escorted her kiddos across the lake. I hope boaters pay attention to wildlife =-)

Early in the morning, the water is pretty calm.

Next we visited Mud Lake:

While driving around the area, we saw a pull-off area and felt the need to investigate. Turns out there was a launch into Reinboldt Creek, which takes you to Mud Lake. This is from the DNR website:

Mud Lake Wildlife Area is a 2,290-acre property located in northeastern Door County near Moonlight Bay. The property consists of a 155-acre shallow (maximum depth 5 feet) drainage lake surrounded by an extensive shrub and timber swamp. Immediately surrounding the open water is a narrow zone of shrubby northern sedge meadow dominated by sedges, willows, dogwoods and sweet gale. The wetlands and lake provide habitat for the federally-endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana) among many other wildlife and plant species. The open zone grades into second-growth wet-mesic forest of white cedar, white spruce, balsam fir and black ash. This is an example of boreal forest habitat which a rare community type to be found in Wisconsin. As a result records of boreal forest species such as Common Goldeneye have been documented to nest on the property which is rare in Wisconsin.

I wish I could tell you that the two below videos were from my sports camera. Nope. Still working out the kinks. The hard part is that the screen will ‘time-out’ and there’s no light or anything that lets you know it’s recording. I think ti’s not recording, hit the button again and then turn it off. Gaaaa! I’m getting better and I do have some longer ones that I’ve uploaded to YouTube. I’ll connect to those when I’ve edited out all the swear words ๐Ÿ˜‰

I wonder why the rocks are so red. Very cool, tho!!

Now we’re at Gills Rock.

This boat launch had plenty of parking and an easy in/out for small boats. There’s a Fleetwing shipwreck to go check out. The water is clear enough to see the cargo, 25 feet below.

The area was originally full of alder (Alnus), willow (Salix) and cedar (Juniperus) which has given way to forests dominated by spruce (Picea) and, then later, pine (Pinus). Mixed forests of eastern hemlock (Tsuga) and hardwoods such as beech (Fagus) and elm (Ulmus) became standard by about 7,500 years ago and have persisted. I saw many birch (Betula) and Eastern red cedar (Juniperus), like the ones in this photo.

There are many animals that rely on the cliffs for shelter and food. The gulls in the photos below soared just above the water looking for fish.

We are starting to get a bit more elaborate with our rock stacks. We’ve been adding levers to the mix. Clearly, mine is the one with the flowers ๐Ÿ˜‰

A recent rock slide.

It couldn’t have been a more beautiful day.

The seagulls were swooping up to see if we were offering treats.

Hieroglyphs of people canoeing.

ยฉ Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Flat Rabbit

I believe everything cycles. Things go up, things go down. The perfect song that comes to mind is called Turn Turn Turn, by the Byrds. Did you know that the song is word for word the first eight verses of the third chapter of the biblical Book of Ecclesiastes? These tid-bits are what keep my Trivial Pursuit gold metal on the wall ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anywho.

The reason I launched into cycles was to describe the rabbit population around here. I’ve lived in this house for 13 years now. When we first moved in, there were enough rabbits around here to make stew for the whole block! They munched through all my veggies, perennials and had me swerving out of the way of them on my street. Don’t know why I didn’t just mow them down. Turkey vultures need to eat too.

The next year the rabbits started strong, however shortly after June, I barely saw any. I didn’t really notice any correlations, just that there were no rabbits.

Fast forward to living here for 7 years. Six of those years were spent enjoying my life without rabbits! I could grow my spinach, beets and carrots without having to build a fortress around them. The seventh year was the return. My Rudbeckia was decimated. I thought I was having seed failure in my beets. My dogs started digging under the fence. The rabbits came back with a vengeance. Again, they were everywhere.

Later that year, I started to notice how many birds of prey were circling overhead. Many times I would hear the loud chirping from birds during a combined effort of mobbing. The clincher was having fur and rabbit pieces strewn across my lawn on a weekly basis.

Fast forward another 7 years…

As my boys are sight orientated, they seldom notice things that are still. I will normally notice something in the yard before they can get to it. Sadly, my hubby isn’t as observant. After getting home from a long day, he opened the back door for the boys to go out. He propped the door open, and sat down to have a smoke. It wasn’t more that 10 minutes, when Breck brought the last half of a rabbit to him. He just put it down at my husband’s feet and looked up at him.ย  How nice of him! Hubby took a shot for me (He knew I’d blog this!!! Thanks Sweetie!), scooped it up and put it out front. He then went out back to see what had gone down back there. There was clearly a scene of carnage out there. Only fur and bloody pieces remained. He assumed the bird was able to take off with at least one half. He gathered all the pieces and promptly buried what was left in the front yard, away from the boys.

I titled this post Flat Rabbit, because one of the boys favorite toys is a stuffingless rabbit, called Flat Rabbit. This was a whole nother type of flat rabbit!!

ยฉ Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Doggy Dilemmas ~ Squirrel Edition

I was a stupid human…. I admit it. I didn’t think over the new location for the suet feeder enough. I wanted to use the shepherd’s hook that was previously holding the suet and thistle to hold my new hummingbird feeder. Now I still wanted to see my Woodpecker and Blue Jay friends, so I though hanging the suet/thistle on a long hook between the windows would work.

Nope. Mom squirrel was formulating solutions to the new placement within a few hours. This did not make my Oreo very happy! She flung herself at the screen and scrambled up to her prize!

What are you doing, climbing on my house?!? Oreo yelled in Dog.

She didn’t seem phased. Now I had to get up and knock in the window. She reeeeeally didn’t want to give up on the fresh, peanut filled suet, however she ran down the screen. I have since moved the suet to the clematis trellis. Not any better of a location to be safe from squirrels, however no screens would be climbed to get to it.

I was really shocked her claws didn’t cause any damage to the screens. I would have soooo been in the doghouse. These screens are less than 6 months old.

Previous Dilemmaโ€™s in a Dogโ€™s Life 1 โ€“ 2 โ€“ 3 โ€“ 4 โ€“ 5 โ€“ 6 โ€“ 8

ยฉ Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl