So leaving De Pere was more difficult than I thought it would be. It felt more like actually leaving than it did when we first moved into the camper. The drive was hard as it was a rainy dreary day, quite rainy in fact, and I didn’t feel prepared to drive the rig in weather like that. Fortunately there was little traffic, so it was good practice. We made it just fine to the campsite and it turned out to be quite nice! I'd spent some time in Lac du Flambeau many years ago as my ex-wife grew up nearby. I didn't even know there was an RV park there until looking for a place to stop halfway between De Pere and Ashland. The campground is on a peninsula of a nice lake and most of the sites are on, or close to, the water. Ours was just across the road from the water and there were piers upon which we could walk and throw rocks and "pretend fish" with Crayton and just enjoy ourselves! It was nice to really relax for the first time in months.
The highlight of our time there was a visit from my very good friend Kipp, his girlfriend Gennifer and his daughters Megan and Emma. I've known Kipp for what seems like forever (25 years?) and his daughters since they were quite little to the point where they call me Uncle Ken. It's always a treat to get to see them. They were up North for the Native Ways Gathering on the Bad River Reservation and were on the way home when they stopped by to see us for a few hours. Crayton was in heaven getting to play with Megan and Emma. He loves those girls. Kipp and I hadn't had a chance to really talk about our upcoming adventure since we first came up with the idea, so it was nice to relax end talk about our plans. We didn't have a chance to visit them in Mount Horeb as often as we would have liked while we lived in Wisconsin and it's going to be harder as we travel on to stay in touch.
While they were there Kipp noticed water dripping from the underside of our RV. It had me concerned as I thought there might be a water leak somewhere. I called Grand Design the next morning before we left and ask for advice. They suggested we drive up to Ashland and try to find a mobile RV technician there.
Our two days in Lac du Flambeau ended and off we went to Ashland worried that our new home already had problems.
The drive to Ashland was uneventful if longer than planned. Just a month or so earlier there had been major rain storms that cause flooding and washed out Highway 13 heading up to Ashland. The whole area had been declared a disaster area and it would be many many months before the roads would be passable, so we had to go up to Hurley and across on Highway 2 to get to Ashland on the only roads that were open.
I debated quite a bit on where we should stay in Ashland. You see, I went to college here and at the time that I was in school we’d walk down to the Lake Superior shore quite a bit and would past by the RV park there and make fun of everyone saying “That's not camping”. The irony of being one of those “campers” was not lost on me. But the fact is, it was convenient to everyone we wanted to see and it was right on the Lake Superior shoreline. There's nowhere else I would have wanted to camp ... that lake is something special. And frankly, the decades have softened my opinion of "glamping". As it turns out, it was just as nice as I would have imagined. The view from my office was gorgeous. It was hard at times to stay focused working that week when all I had to do was glance up and see the big lake. This was my first full week working from the road and I quickly realized that I was going to be spending a lot of time on the phone and I would need something for a headset as the USB headset I already owned and used for Skype wouldn’t work with my phone. I'd been getting frustrated with my phone anyhow and quickly justified buying a new one as well, so I put that on the list of things to do in Duluth when we got there.
The week was full of reunions and time spent reconnecting with old friends. We finally managed to make it to The Snug in Washburn, the Irish Pub owned by my good friends Danny and Kristi. It was really nice to finally see what they had built, catch up with them and enjoy a pint. By a staggering coincidence my good friend Leah was visiting in town that same week as well, So we were spoiled with several opportunities to visit with her. It wasn't long before Crayton was calling her his "Best Friend". We dined at the Railyard pub and visited the Great Lakes Visitor Center with Leah. That weekend, we also took the ferry over to Madeline Island. It was nice to play tourist for the day, enjoy a nice day out on the lake and see Weasel behind the bar at the Beach Club. We also say Jess at the bakery, but missed connecting with her husband Dave and lots of other folks. There were lots of other people I'd hoped to see this week but schedules didn't always work out, people were out of town and such, but it was still a nice chance to see old friends and get ready to head West.
Toward the end of our stay we were pleasantly surprised to see another Reflection RV parked across the drive from us. While I was out finishing up the install of a new thermostat-controlled vent-fan, I managed to catch the owners and talk for a while. As it turns out Rachel and Wayne have been full timing for almost a year-and-a-half. It was nice to find another couple who had been full-timing like ourselves (we can say that now, right?). I connected with them on Facebook and we made “plans” to hook up sometime down the road.
We finally got the license plates for the truck as they were forwarded to us by Pam's parents after the DMV finally got around to issuing them. I didn't feel so bad leaving the state now with almost expired temporary tags. We weren't able to find a mobile RV Tech to look at our water leak issue but water did continue to drip out of the underbelly, though just a little, and it seemed it only occurred when the lines were pressurized. IN the meantime, we disconnected from city water, filled our on-board tank and only turne don the pump when we were using water to try to keep the lines depressurized. We were able to make an appointment with an RV dealer in Duluth to have it looked when we got there, so off we went, leaving Ashland on August 28th.