A goodly amount of fun was had during my 16 days in Wisconsin. After a two night pit stop in Madison for sledding and other shenanigans, it was on to my parents house in Rapids to spend Christmas with the family.
The granite outcroppings pictured here are located in Powers Bluff County Park, located near Arpin, WI. It was a day trip made with the family. During the winter, there is a ski slope and tube run open to the public, I don’t remember the exact cost but it’s reasonable. I’ve had at least two birthday parties here when I was a kid, with a birthday in February if you want outdoor activities for children tubing or ice skating is about it for options.
After the big snow fall the area got just two days before I left Kansas, there was little in the way of precipitation. The day after Christmas it snowed about 4 or so inches, just enough to require me to dig Bertha out before I could drive into town.
New Years day was a quiet affair, the family drove out to La Crosse where my brother lives. We had a nice meal and I got to see the city for the first time. The weather was so cold that day though that we didn’t spend much time outside, the low had been -13 the night before and the high didn’t get above 10.
Then there was a week in Madison, where I went to college and lived for two years after graduation. I got to meet up with a lot of old friends that I haven’t had a chance to see in years. With only a maximum of two weeks of vacation at any full-time job I’ve held, that doesn’t leave a lot of time to see everyone you want to see. Just another one of the perks of full-time RVing, I worked hard for the previous 3 months to be able to stay for an extended period of time up there.
Lizz, one of my friends who I went to vet tech school with has parents who run a horse boarding stable called Imagine Farms. That would be her on the left, and Jenny, a former roommate of mine from college on the right. The horse Lizz has her hand on in the background is Cheyenne, and the bay paint in front is Chief, they both belong to her. I can’t remember what the other two’s names are, they’re boarders.
In the name of learning new things, Lizz was teaching Jenny and I how to muck stalls and drive a bobcat that day. It may not have been glamorous, but hey, it’s one more thing I could potentially make money from someday. When you make your living from working temp jobs, the more skills you have the more jobs you’re qualified for.
In too short of a time, the week in Madison was up. I’d been applying to jobs sporadically since I showed up in Wisconsin, but the bulk of my time was devoted to catching up with people, and I hadn’t heard anything back from my applications by the time the 8th rolled around. Still, it was time to move south to warmer weather. It’d be easier to get a job when I was actually going to be in the area for interviews and such, so it was back up to Rapids to pick up Cas, and then early on the 9th the adventure south began.
The goal was simple that first day: Head as straight South as possible, and try to make it far enough that the temperature overnight would stay above freezing. This to keep all of my cleaners and bathroom stuff etc. from freezing, I’d hauled it all inside my parent’s house during the duration of my stay to protect it, and I really wanted to avoid having to get a hotel to stick it all in during the trip. For me this would be the number one reason to avoid traveling north during the winter. Winterizing the RV to keep the plumbing safe was no problem, but not having electricity or a propane heat source to keep other things warm was a real issue.
Going straight south from Rapids means dropping out of the bottom of the state and then traversing the length of Illinois. At a rest stop I caught a good picture of the wind mills in the central part of IL, and because it was a windy day they were moving pretty fast. In the evening I got a call from Julie with a generous offer. One of her coworkers who lived near her was willing to let me park Cas for a while on their property, and I was welcome to stay with Julie during that time to work more on job finding.
Have I mentioned before that I have the best friends ever? This would give me access to fast and reliable internet for job searching, no distractions during the days to actually get the searching done, save some money, and give me time time to poke at various RV parks in the Savannah area to see which one would work for me best.
I spent the night at a WalMart in Mt. Vernon, IL, where the low was predicted to be…35, phew.
The next day, it rained. This was the first time I’ve gone through the Smokies in the winter. Miles of dark tree limbs reached up into a sky gray and moody with fog and low moving clouds. Little streams swollen from rain runoff cascaded over rock outcrops devoid of any comforting green. It was stark, but it was just as beautiful as going through in the summer, just in a different way. And just like when I was heading the other direction, the 6% gradients gave Bertha no pause. Someday, hopefully even this year, I’ll be presented with the opportunity to actually camp with Cas in the Smoky Mountains, it’s on The List for sure.
Eventually the mountains gave way to hills again, and soon I was upon Atlanta. There were still three more friends to visit, and it ended up taking two nights to see them all. It was the second evening that it happened, I made a bad turn and ended up at the entrance to a parking garage that I couldn’t fit into, oops. Those who follow me on Facebook have already heard this story. Getting stuck at a dead end is something I’ve feared since I picked the RV up last March. Luckily said friends that I was meeting were already on their way, and after a half-hour of being stuck they came to the rescue to stop traffic coming from the other two directions (it was at a T-intersection) so that I could back up and turn around. I felt sheepish for sure, but now having been through it once I know I’ll fear it much less next time. And let me say this, it happens to everyone sooner or later. The trick is to remain calm and don’t try to rush to get out. That’s when accidents happen.
The next morning saw me driving the last five and a half hours to Bluffton along the same road I headed out on four months ago. It feels a little like I’ve completed a sort of full-timing trial run. I crossed over the tall Savannah Bridge, and took a picture of South Carolina coming down the other side. When I went over this bridge on the start of my trip, I was inching along at 35 miles per hour and scared that Bertha wouldn’t have the power to get up and over it, haha, how wrong I was.
Since then, I’ve devoted the majority of three of the past four days to job searching. I told Julie when she made the offer that I was giving myself a hard deadline of two weeks to be out of her apartment and back living in Cas again, and I will not break my word. This means that though the weather has been unseasonably wonderful (highs in the 70’s, lows in the mid to upper 50’s since I arrived), that finding work must come above all else right now. I’m hoping to find temp work in Savannah, and after I’ve achieved that, there will be more time for sight-seeing again.
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I took some videos like usual during the traveling stuff, and Julie (with little help from me) has put together a road map on Google of all the different places I spent the night in 2012. I’d like to get the map and at least a few more videos up on the site by the end of the month, work permitting. In the meantime, take care all and have a good week!
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