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Week 43: Ending 9/7/2003
 
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Ron
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2003 6:38 pm    Post subject: Week 43: Ending 9/7/2003 Reply with quote

Week 43: Ending 09/07/03

Monday:
Our first full day with Winston is a rough one. Winston was kept in a cement-floored laundry room 24/7 for about the past four years, with an occasional release into the garage. He ate, slept and went to the bathroom all in the same small room. Going up and down stairs is a scary proposition for him (stairs are the entrance into our motorhome). He has no concept of what to do on a leash, despite round-the-clock walks. This leads to a surprising mess throughout the motorhome as his bladder finally gives out around noontime. Oh, the joys of potty-training!

We call Li and Andy and it is decided it is easiest for us to travel to their house than vice-versa. This way, too, Winston will get to socialize with their adopted dogs, Farley & Juneau. Li wisely suggests introducing the dogs on neutral territory at a schoolyard just down their street. The intro goes well, as does the rest of the day. Li and Andy cook up a scrumptious barbecue of steak, salad and corn on the cob, while we explore around the house and yard with the children and dogs. Even Winston starts to get the idea of what to do on a leash and is lavishly praised. He seems eager to please, which is a good sign. Warm farewells are exchanges all around as we head back to the KOA.

Tuesday-Thursday:
We signup for additional nights at the KOA day by day as Winston acclimates to his new home and we rest and regroup. Winston progresses nicely, learning how to walk on leash, do what a dog needs to do on a leash and become acquainted with the great outdoors. He possesses a great enthusiasm for meeting other dogs and new people, while he is also very skittish around people. Overall, he is a real sweetheart of a dog, all the more amazing, given what he has been through.

Friday:
We bid adieu to KOA St. Paul. Our intrepid GPS system routes us through downtown St. Croix. Looks like a neat place to visit with all sorts of little shops and cafes. In just a few short miles, we are in Wisconsin. Winston is becoming a world traveler! (At least now, he can say he has crossed his homestate boundaries.)

We are bound for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan via state highways, mostly on WI Highway 8, a more scenic route than the interstate. However, it does limit our camping options. We are both still dragging our feet, so we donít want to drive more than 200 miles today. Joan picks the town of Tomahawk and a campground called The Outpost for our nightly destination.

We arrive at The Outpost around 5:30 pm. It is one of the naturally prettiest campgrounds we have found. It is nestled along Lake Nokomis in a mature forest preserve. They offer boating, fishing, swimming, a small sandy beach, a bar (a first among all the campgrounds we have visited) plus the usual facilities. The bathrooms are old but clean. The only true negative is that it is a cash only operation. No credit cards.

Winston proves to be quite the ladiesí man, enchanting young and old alike. He is especially quite the hit with a trio gathered round a campfire. We later learn their names are Deb, Kim and Nancy, up from Green Bay for a weekend of fishing. Winston receives quite a few rubs from these gals throughout the weekend.

Saturday:
Winston has developed quite a fan club and we did not get much sleep, so we book a second nightís stay. The Outpost has over 200 sites and we explore a good number of them along our walks. This is definitely a hidden gem of a campground.

Sunday:
We say goodbye to Winstonís campfire girlfriends (also known as the Cappy Hampers) and head eastward on US 8. The Northwoods of Wisconsin have very nice rest areas which they call waysides. Many of them are located alongside National Forest lands and all seem to offer picnic tables and toilet facilities. Very passenger friendly.

US 8 turns into US 2 East. Not far from the town of Thompson on US 2, Winston gets his first taste of the beach on Lake Michigan. Winston is not a natural beach bum, being very skittish about the waves. He finally joins us in the Lake about ankle-deep. Winston definitely prefers the dry sand to the wet water, at least right now.

Michihistorigan Campground is our home for the night. It is right along US 2, has inexpensive sites available and a restaurant on premises. Except for its location literally yards from the highway, Mishihistoigan proves to be another hidden gem. It is nicely landscaped with pine trees and apple trees, there is a pretty walking bridge, miniature golf and the office building includes a bar cafť, with a gameroom downstairs. After Winston investigates the outside premises, he watches over the motorhome, while we grab a quick bite at the restaurant in front of the campground. It looks like a brand new hunting lodge. Service is quick and friendly. Our meals are filling and inexpensive. Definitely worth stopping for. We pack up our leftovers and hurry back to Winston. A quick walk among the stars this time and everyone is ready for bed.
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