It is inconceivable that we are already at the end of July 2019! Two years ago this time we were pushing hard to have our home ready for photos to be taken for the real estate listing. We had missed our deadline to take them early in July and we were pushing to get everything ready by early August for the sale. We are soon coming to a close on those two years and will be starting our third year on the road.
This summer we have been more mobile than we were last summer. Last summer we felt if we left River Falls with the 5th-wheel we would be in trouble if we came back and there were no open campsites. With the motorhome’s huge water tanks and the diesel generator onboard, we feel more comfortable that we can leave and if we come back to a full campground we can survive a day or two in overflow parking without power. The motorhome has given us much more flexibility in our travels because of the systems it contains. We have been back in River Falls in April for Easter but we have made two trips to Jason’s parents for holidays and spent over two weeks at the new granddaughters home. We even survived that wonderful white fluffy stuff that fell in April and May this year. Summer is almost over and we are looking toward September to be leaving River Falls. Since we are returning to Florida for three and a half months Jason has been working on reservations and putting together our plan for this coming winter.
New Grandma and Grandpa Time!
Our first granddaughter Cecilia (Cece) Marie was born June 7, 2019. She was born three weeks earlier than planned, but because of our mobile lifestyle, we were able to roll with the unscheduled surprise arrival. Jason had work-related travel in Calfornia for a week and we got to hold Cece for the first time just before he went to the airport. The timing worked out well because we got relocated to the “other” grandparents yard. They were so gracious to provide us some power and water so we could stay closer to the action. We look forward to some time in the future when Cece may travel on some adventures with her Oma and Opa.
There are mixed feelings though, at the same time we can experience the excitement of being in the midst of the action and at other times we will also be a thousand or more miles away from it. Fortunately, Allie and Barb have had a daily ritual of using Facebook messenger to video call. They have also shared the “crib cam” with Barb so she too can check in on her. As the milestones come along technology will help to bridge the miles, but there will likely be the yearn for more close contact at holidays and special events. Fortunately, Cece was born in June and not January, so we will be able to be around in the summer for the birthday celebrations! If you are interested in the topic of grandparenting while on the road, check out Escapee’s article on Grandparenting from Afar.
Hoffman Park, River Falls, Wisconsin
We often are asked about our arrangements at our “home” base of River Falls, Wisconsin. This is where the university that Jason works at is located. On the Northeast side of the city is Hoffman Park, which has a small campground, softball fields, and a baseball park. You can apply with the campground host to stay longer than the 14 days that is posted. We do try to pay our entire planned stay at a time and that may be as much as a month of campsite rent. The key is that you are in good standing with payments and you are a good camp citizen. We are very thankful for this opportunity for extended stays at the campground. If it were not for this, we would probably acquire a seasonal site at one of the insanely busy campgrounds in Somerset or other much further options.
There is only electrical service at the sites, with 30 amp at all and 50 amp at three sites. The host tries to reserve the 50 amp sites for those with 2 air conditioners which require 50 amp. There is a dump station on-site and there is a place you can fill up water on the side of the building by the big playground. There is the “Tri-Angels Playground” there which is dedicated to the three kids killed by their father, it is an amazing playground and is very busy. There are two concession stands that operate during the softball and baseball games. One of the most popular features is the disc golf course, which starts from the Northern parking lot just north of the campground. Finally, there are numerous trails in the bluff that overlooks the town.
Sites are first come first serve and even the weeknights have been busy this year. We suspect because of the closing of the commercial campground in Eastern MSP metro that is now a senior living apartment building. There is an overflow area of either the parking lot or the grass overflow parking area. The cost to stay in those areas is half that of the standard sites. Standard sites are $20/night, tenting sites are $10/night and the overflow is $10/night.
What is there to do around River Falls?
Sometimes it is difficult to see in your own backyard what is around you. Barb has spent most of her entire life in the area and Jason the last 30 years before we sold our house. When we are back in the area we use it as a time to connect with family and to save up on funds so that we can have our adventures elsewhere.
Here are some ideas you may want to check out when visiting the River Falls area:
- Dine in the downtown historic Hudson (WI) or Stillwater (MN) districts, especially at the Agave Kitchen or Winzer Stube
- Take a scenic boat tour on the St. Croix River with one of the numerous boat operators
- Ride the Osceola train, maybe on their brunch or pizza excursions (you can also visit the Transportation Museum in St. Paul that operates the train)
- Have pizza on a farm at the Stone Barn in Nelson WI
- Walkthrough whatever may be in season at the University of Minnesota Arboretum
- Have a malt and a burger served by a carhop at an old fashion drive-in in Taylors Falls MN
- Get queazy on some rides at the Mall of America
- Devour some squeaky cheese curds from Cady Cheese in Spring Valley WI (they are freshly produced on weekdays only)
- Visit the penguins at the free Como Park Zoo in St. Paul or at the “new zoo” at Apple Valley MN
- Get up close with the animals at Irvine Park, have some free beer samples at Leinie’s Lodge and snack on some creamy Olson’s ice cream in Chippewa Falls, WI
- Check out a rodeo at the Spooner Rodeo (July) or Falcon Frontier Days at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls (September)