This Trip is Heating Up

After packing in so many activities yesterday, we felt it was best to have some down time. We spent the majority of the day at our campsite. The weather was absolutely perfect.

play dough

There seemed to be more animal life at this campground than some of the others we visited. In the daytime, it was chipmunks. At night, it was raccoons.

Whenever the chipmunks would show up the boys would run after them yelling, “Chip and Dale, come back”.

Chip or Dale

The boys took naps in the tent which allowed Shannon and I some much needed rest and relaxation. Those two words are easy to say but hard to come by these days.

Being the weather geek aficionado that I am, I was alerted to some severe weather making its way into the area. For the first time on the trip we covered our tent with the large tarp. If you’re going to haul something that big around for 3 weeks you might as well use it at least once.

After setting up the tarp and putting everything else either in the car or the tent we made the 40 minute drive to Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

During our dinner the forecasted storms moved into the area. We were thankful to be indoors. We were also hoping that maybe our campsite wasn’t getting this same kind of weather.

Of course we had to stop by an OshKosh B’Gosh store while we were in Oshkosh.

osh kosh

Getting back to our campsite it didn’t appear the rain had been quite as bad there. The severe storms were passed but the forecast was for more rain overnight.

One thing we learned quickly was that rain falling on a tarp is much louder than rain falling on a tent. Every time the wind would blow it sounded like golf balls were crashing onto our tent. Eventually some heavier rain did move in overnight and it was too much for Jackson. He ended up in bed with us for a while.

The following morning was pack-up day. With everything wet. Again!

The tarp may have been louder but it did save our tent from getting soaked. That sped up the packing process considerably. Leaving this campsite we said goodbye to the north and goodbye to the mild temperatures.

On the way to our hotel we stopped by a 1950’s themed ice cream shop named Scoop Deville in Hartford, Wisconsin.

We heard about this place while watching this year’s US Open golf tournament. Here’s a link to the advertisement done by Fox Sports during their coverage of the US Open. It’s narrated by someone named Brett Favre.

You might be able to guess where our next stop was.

Erin Hills Golf Course. The site of the 2017 US Open Championship. Stopping here only added 25 minutes to our route so we had to do it, right?

If you want to play 18 at Erin Hills, it will run you just under $300. I settled for a $10 yardage book and some pictures from the back deck of the clubhouse.

I am extremely thankful for a wife who has almost never said no when I start a sentence like “Hey, wouldn’t be cool if we…….”. I know Shannon could hardly sleep the night after we saw the course because she was still so amped up!!

The plan for the next day was to check out of our hotel early and seeing the sights of the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago before the heat set in. We didn’t quite accomplish that.

We left the hotel at a decent time but didn’t account for all the traffic in Chicago. It was just after 11:00 when we found a parking space. The zoo was great and it was hot, but we all enjoyed our time there. As a side note, there is no cost for getting into the zoo. You do have to pay to park, which for us was around $25. Still not bad compared to the cost of admission at other zoos.

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The zoo was larger than we expected, especially since it was in the middle of Chicago. We had lots of fun but were all tired and hot by the time we made it back to our car. I decided to ditch the GPS because I wanted to drive through downtown Chicago on the way to our next campsite. The skyscrapers seemed to go on forever.

We drove around the southern tip of Lake Michigan and made our way into Indiana. We arrived at Indiana Dunes State Park and immediately set up our campsite. It was quite balmy out and after the long day at the zoo, setting up our tent in the sweltering heat wasn’t exactly what the doctor had ordered.

The heavy rain from the night before had soaked through our luggage carrier and everything we were carrying in it was now wet. That included all of our air mattresses. Most of our towels were still damp from where we had dried things off at High Cliff State Park. We attempted to use damp towels as a barrier between us and the damp mattress. This was going to be a good night!

campsite glowsticks

We left the campground and drove into Michigan City, Indiana for some dinner out. Fun fact – Michigan City is about an hour drive from our first campsite on this trip at Van Buren State Park. We’ve pretty much driven all the way around Lake Michigan.

We got back to our campsite and settled in for the night. Shannon and I made it until about 10:30 before we decided this wasn’t going to work. The cool summer nights of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota had spoiled us. The temperature was in the low 80’s, which is manageable, but the humidity was the kicker. The only air stirring in the tent was from our fan and the “air conditioner”. I used the quotes because it was really more of a fan as well.

I ended up driving to the Walmart back in Michigan City and bought two more fans.

Now with three fans and one air condi…………….nope, not gonna say it. Now with four fans in the tent we were finally able to get somewhat comfortable. The boys were somehow able to sleep through the tropical rainforest conditions even before we created the wind tunnel through the tent.

One other quick note about our experience sleeping in the tent. Our air mattress is, how would you say it, not working at 100%. When one of us gets off the mattress in the morning the other is touching the ground. Combine that with the heat and humidity and Indiana Dunes left us with some not so fond memories.

We were thankful our last three nights of this trip would be spent in hotels!

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