Our Boomerang Trip – Part I

I can’t believe it’s September already.  It seems like just yesterday when I was in the planning stages for our Midwestern excursion.  And here we are, it’s the middle of September and I’m back in Colorado where we started six weeks ago.  It was pretty much an out and back trip….  Kind of like mimicking a boomerang one might say.

Let’s do a quick recap of the first part of our trip…..  We pulled out of Cherry Creek State Park (Denver) at the end of July and after a quick overnight in a Cabela’s parking lot in Omaha, Nebraska, (forgot to add this stop on the above map – oops) we arrived at Starved Rock State Park.  We took in a couple of days exploring this interesting Illinois State Park before driving up to the Paul Wolff Endangered CranesCampground.  I loved the location of this county park.  It was an easy 20 minute drive to my dad’s place which allowed us to visit with him often, and if we had wanted to take the train into Chicago, the train station was only 5 minutes away.

From our Elgin location, we moved over to Rockton, Illinois, where we stayed at Al’s sister’s place for a wonderful ten-day visit.  After Rockton, our next destination was Baraboo, Wisconsin.  I was thrilled with the hiking at Devil’s Lake State Park, but the highlight of this stop was my visit to the International Crane Foundation.

Green Bay PackersAfter communing with cranes it was time to commune with friends in Marshfield, Wisconsin, where I was challenged to wear a Packers Jersey.

After my momentary lapse, we moved over to Algoma, Wisconsin, along the shores of Lake Michigan.  This is where I discovered Door County and its magnetic personality.  Quite frankly, I fell in love with the area and could’ve stayed a month.  I can imagine the fall colors around here to be stunning and worth sticking around for.

Algoma, WI

Camped in Algoma, WI. The marina on one side and Lake Michigan on the other. Loved camping on this peninsula with water on 3 sides. Sunrise Cove Marina and Campground was basically a gravel lot with electric hook-up and thus merely ok, but the location was great; waterfront & walking distance to town.

As much as we considered hanging around Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for a little leaf peeping, we decided to turn the RV around and head back west to assist our daughter with a project.

Foggy morning

Early morning fog as we drive through Wisconsin

So with Plan B in mind…. It was time to say good-bye to the Midwest and mosey in a westerly direction.  The morning of August 27th started off foggy as we began our journey west.  We put in an eight-hour travel day (360 miles – 574 km) that first day, crossing the entire state of Wisconsin and part of Minnesota.

Wisconsin

We enjoyed driving some back country roads but sure hoped this bridge was high enough. No height was specified and an RV crew cut was NOT part of our plans. Fortunately, we did see a tall truck pass under first.

We stopped frequently and even enjoyed a road side picnic near Necedah, Wisconsin.Ship Rock Wisconsin

By dinner time that first day, we checked into a campsite at Myre-Big Island State Park, near Albert Lea, Minnesota.  This is a heavily wooded state park and even though they market the White Fox Campground loop as the prairie loop, it is in no way situated in a prairie.

Albert Lea Minnesota

Myre-Big Island State Park. We’re camped in site 55 White Fox CG loop.

Albert Lea Lake

After an eight-hour day in the truck, it felt good to stretch the legs and check out the trails

Albert Lea Lake

Albert Lea Lake – it was disappointing that there were no trails with access to the water’s edge.

We originally intended to relax and spend two nights at this state park, but it was raining when we set up.  It continued to rain all night and was expected to not let up for another day.  So we hit the road early the next morning, wearing rain gear as we broke camp, and drove through the rest of Minnesota in a consistent and steady stream of rain.Minnesota

A few miles into South Dakota, the rain stopped.  We encountered sunny skies with a hint of haze caused by the wildfires in the Pacific Northwest.  Just in time for a late lunch, we set up camp in the Cabela’s parking lot in Mitchell, South Dakota.

Cabela's

We’re parked in the distance at the Cabela’s in Mitchell, South Dakota

Cabela’s had a HUGE area for RV’s.  The semi-trucks seemed to be parked off in another lot and there was even a separate area for equestrians complete with horse corrals.  This turned out to be a great place to overnight, complete with pond.

Cabela's

The smoke from the wildfires gave the sky an interesting hue at sunrise.

Cabela's

Although overnighting at a Cabela’s is free – we always manage to find something to buy.

Next stop; South Dakota’s Badlands and Black HillsBadlands
The Next Exit 2015: The Most Complete Interstate Hwy Guide
I Don’t Need Google My Wife Knows Everything Funny T-Shirt By A2S – White – X-Large

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49 thoughts on “Our Boomerang Trip – Part I

  1. Just realized I missed this post — so happy I checked back to find out what’s going on. Sounds like a great reason for you to return so quickly to the West! How wonderful that your son and daughter will be in one place. And Arizona is certainly wonderful in the winter!

    • We’re all pretty excited about the new venture for our daughter. Next year, I may never leave the state of Arizona LOL. That doesn’t mean we’ll stay in Phx – with a mere 2 hours away there are cooler mountain elevations. BUT then again, so many places are calling to me…. CO, Utah, ID, OR, WA, WY…. oh dear, that list keeps growing 😉

  2. Ah yes. Plan B. I think I’m coming to like Plan B better than any other plan.

    You’ll just have to return some year for the parts you missed. 🙂

    • I think I must agree. Plan B turned out better than we imagined. And to think, we have our daughter to thank. Return trips are sometimes the best 🙂

  3. I’ve never actually gotten a boomerang to fly back anywhere close to my own direction, so I laughed at that title — my boomerang trip would just be a weird arc. 🙂 So glad you enjoyed Wisconsin, and have seen lots of beautiful sights on this journey. Your Badlands pic definitely reminds me that that’s an area we have yet to visit. We’re hoping to check off the last of the states we haven’t visited by early 2020, so we’ll see it by then at the latest!

    • A weird arc can be equally fun 😆 I highly recommend the Badlands and Black Hills and firmly believe the RV allows us to get closer and submerge ourselves into the overall experience. Thus, I don’t think you’ll regret obtaining a small travel trailer. It’s a fun way to explore!

    • I know we’ll return to the Black Hills and Badlands. We loved our time there. We just returned to Denver yesterday for a breather before the trek to the desert commences 🙂

  4. Reminds me…need to measure our height when hooked up! It’s like those parking garages, I’m always dunking my head like that’s going to help! Happy Autumn….hoping this Fall and Winter we see lots of sunshine!

    • I keep telling hubby we should do that. For now, I just go by the height listed on the RV brochure. Probably not the wisest 😆 I too hope the winter is filled with lots of sunshine. Hope you are on the mends!

  5. That’s a great title for what we did this summer. Originally we were going to stay east til the end of August at least. I guess the four of us just aren’t meant for the heat and humidity! Where in Arizona is Ashton moving? I guess you’ll be there a little more:)

    • Al and I feel so much better breathing the dry mountain air. It feels good to be back in Denver. Ashton is actually moving in with her brother, which shocked us. She has never liked Phx but feels she needs a change and I’m happy to have us all together for the holidays 🙂

  6. You’ve sure covered a lot of ground. We’re headed toward CO tomorrow and will be in Grand Junction 16-19, and Denver 19-23 – will you be nearby?

  7. Are you planning on staying in Colorado for the Winter, or are you going to head south? That was a nice trip, but to fast to really enjoy for the time and miles traveled. We use to do that when we were both working, but being retired we now take our time.
    Mel

    • The original plan was to include an extra 2 to 3 weeks, but we shortened the trip to help our daughter move at the end of the month. Then we’ll be heading to Arizona for the winter. No more snow for these guys 😉

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