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STOP #222

Our 119 mile travel day could have been a lot longer, but we chose to travel up and over the 400-500 foot tall hills here in the southwestern region of Wisconsin, instead of taking the easy way around the hills and down the Interstate Highway.

It would have added about 60 miles to our route and we would never have seen the rustic homesites we traveled past or the quaint little towns nestled in the hills. Believe it or not, timewise it was about the same.

We arrived safely at Devil's Lake State Park for our three nights of camping. It's $40 a night here, including the $5 surcharge for being non-residents of Wisconsin. You'll also have to add an $11-$16 a day park entrance fee if you come to visit, but we purchased a $38 annual pass which will effectively lower our daily rate to just $5.50 for the 7 nights we'll be spending in Wisconsin State Parks.

A front view of our VERY unlevel campsite.

A side view that shows the tilt even better.

We had to drive right past our campsite on the way over to the fresh water fill station when we first got here. While Tricia was monitoring the water going in to our tank, I was online trying to find out if there were any other campsites we could move to for our three night stay. There was one and I basically put it on hold while we finsihed up and drove past it to get a preview. Believe it or not, it was worst than the one we currently have reserved, no wonder nobody else wanted to camp on it.

After putting our heads together to figure out how we were going to raise the front end of the trailer up nearly two feet we finally were able to unhook and setup. The front end is still about 1"-1.5" too low, but our back bumper it already on the ground so it will just have to be close enough.

Later this month we had already planned to upgrade our wheels and tires from 15" to 16", so that will give us an additional inch of clearance for the bumper in situations just like this. They also have a 3" and 4" lift kit available to raise the trailer frame off the ground and we are now considering that option also.

TUESDAY - Devil's Lake State Park is one of Wisconsin's premiere state parks and as such it's entrance fee is $16 a day, the highest in the state. Not only is this park the largest state park in Wisconsin, it's the busiest.

There are three separate campgrounds in the park, for a total of 423 campsites. About half of them are set up for tent camping with no electricity. The other half all have 30-50 AMP electric service, but like our site, many of them just don't make it easy to level a trailer of any length on them. We were seeing a lot of small popup campers in the park when we arrived, now we know why.

The main draw to this park is fortunately not the less than excellent campgrounds. It's Devil's Lake itself, with it's swimming beach and boat rentals. There is a snack bar type restaurant with a gift shop and an ice cream shop. Also there are also many miles of hiking trails all throughout the park.

Here are three photos taken during Tricia's 6:00AM walk this morning!

Now that we've had our breakfast it's time to get out of the park and do some sightseeing.

Thirty minutes south of Devil's Lake State Park in another state park. This one has no staff, no entrance gate, no functioning bathrooms and apparently no funding to repair or replace the worn out and often missing signage along it's hiking trails.

What it does have, and is the reason for our visit, is a natural bridge carved out of the rock by ancient glaciers from long ago. Can you guess the name of this state park?

It's Natural Bridge State Park of course!

A quarter mile down an often overgrown and unmarked path you'll come upon the namesake of this park. There was only one other car in the neglected parking lot when we arrived and we met up with her and her two dogs when we arrived at the natural bridge.

She, being a local, hikes this trail often with her dogs and explained that back in 2008 there was a massive flood in the area and repairs were never made to the park afterwards.

She left us to be alone to enjoy the bridge and take our photos, then while walking out we ran into a single middleaged man walking in. That's it, an entire state park, with just four people and two dogs over the course of an hour. They'll never raise the funds to repair this park at that rate.

Me leading the way in search of the Natural Bridge.

There it is! Twenty-five feet high, thirty-five feet wide and 11,000+ years old.

On our way back to the campsite we stopped at Walmart and picked up 9 gallons of drinking water and three cans of soup that I haven't been able to find anywhere else lately.

We drove past the lake and were amazed how many people there were at 2PM on a Tuesday afternoon. I'm glad we won't still be here when the weekend "crowds" arrive.

WEDNESDAY - More sightseeing and picking up an Amazon order at Kohl's is what's on the agenda for today.

We got up and out of the trailer early today and enjoyed a great breakfast at the Broadway Diner in Baraboo, WI. Then we traveled another 15 minutes north to where we were to board our boat for a tour.

We are in Wisconsin Dells, WI for a trip on the Dells Boat Tour. They offer several different itineraries, an Upper Dells trip, a Lower Dells trip, a Jet Boat trip, a Ghost Ride trip and finally a Sunset/Dinner cruise.

We chose the Upper Dells trip because it's the only one where you can get off the boat not once, but twice, to explore on land.

We were the first to arrive for the first tour of the day, as usual, so we got to pick any seat we wanted on the boat. We selected the front row of the upper outside deck and enjoyed an unobstructed view of the entire trip. The things we do just to get you better photos of our explorations, just kidding!

The first stop was at an area known as Witches Gulch. It is a 150 yard long stroll upon an elevated boardwalk with narrow slots between the rock walls on both sides of you and rushing water below you.

Just when you get the feeling you've been transported to another planet you come around a curve in the walkway and find a complete snack bar and gift shop. There are fortunately also restrooms.


Our ship has finally come in! Complete with a crew of two.
Dells comes from the french word dalles, which means gorge or flat rock.
We saw two of these magnificent eagles high up in the trees on our tour.
This is a section of the river is known as The Narrows where the water flows at 25-35 knots, most of the time the current is well below 5 knots.
This 70 foot tall formation is known as Romance Cliff.
The beginning of the boardwalk through Witches Gulch.
The terrain here just looks like it's from other world, at least to me.

We returned to the boat and grabbed our same seats. Then we motored on over to the other side of this mile wide lake where we once again went ashore.

This time we walked up a short boardwalk to Stand Rock were we watched a very agile 3-year old German Shepherd make the leap between two rocks, a tradition that used to be done by humans until the 1960s. That when the Department of Natural Resources here in Wisconsin aquired the property and quickly put a stop to that.

Ever since the daring feat has been performed by the trained dogs. Don't worry there is a safety net just below where they make the leap and in the 60 years of jumping no dog has ever failed to accomplish the stunt.

You'll notice I didn't record the dog leaping onto Stand Rock, only the return leap. That's because the dog was so eager to get it over with so he could get back to the trainer to receive his treat, he took off before he was queued to do so. Oh well, all's well that ends well.

After the tour we went to the other side of town to pick up our Amazon order at Kohl's, only to find out that one item was shipped separately and hadn't arrived yet. It was Tricia's new sneakers she plans to wear on those morning walks. So four hours later when they were delivered we made the 15 mile drive back into town to pick them up.

You may have noticed that things don't always go as planned for us!

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