Matt Sent Me Camping Pictures + Planning

Matt left early this morning for Cash(sp?) Course training in Kansas City. He’ll be back next week Friday, leaving me with one empty weekend, the rest of this week, and a few days off next week to fill. Yesterday, however, he sent me the handful of phone pictures I insisted he take last week before I got up north. I know I was wondering exactly what he got up to. Matt’s recount of the three days before I got there was brief at best, so the pictures he took himself helped fill it in, from Matt’s perspective.

Probably right before he unhitched the camper.

Probably right before he unhitched the camper.

Ada lake.

Ada lake.

From the beach, probably his first morning.

From the beach, probably his first morning.

Proof that the 17" bass wasn't a fish story.

Proof that the 17″ bass wasn’t a fish story.

I heard at least one night was made a bit more colorful by one of his old high school buddies.

I heard at least one night was made a bit more colorful by one of his old high school buddies.

And this stuff. Plus some Captain and Miller Light.

And this stuff. Plus some Captain and Miller Light.

Now the story of what Matt did without supervision is rounded out.  I’m wondering what I’ll get up to with the full weekend to myself. Of course, the weekend he comes back, I work Friday and Saturday. I’m taking the VW in for new tires + oil change today, so while it’s over at the tire place, I may stroll down the bike path near the house with the dogs, and see if the blackberries along it are ripe yet. If they are, I’m donning long sleeves and an entire can of bug spray to go berry picking tomorrow out at Sunny Slope. I want at least a pie, and maybe even a gallon carboy of blackberry wine. With all the rain we’ve had this year, I’m hoping the berry bushes are heavy. That’s if I’m not too late entirely. Besides that, I may try to bank fish somewhere. Maybe beg acquaintances with boats to take me with them. Hopefully I’ll find something to do.

 

Update: On that walk, I saw an older gentleman out picking berries in the ditch. I chatted with him and he said about half of them were ripe. That means berry picking this weekend is a go!

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A Beautiful Saturday in the Northwoods

I was a bit short on time this morning to finish that post. However, the rest of the weekend went pretty well.

When I woke up, I took my camera to get a look around at the spot. In the brief phone call I had with Matt, he said he got the best spot there. He wasn’t wrong.

She towed beautifully, he said.

She towed beautifully, he said.

Fire pit, and the glow of sunlight on the lake.

Fire pit, and the glow of sunlight on the lake.

The dogs were super excited for a morning swim.

The dogs were super excited for a morning swim.

Ada Lake, 50 feet from our site.

Ada Lake, 50 feet from our site.

The only time Matt cooks for me is camp breakfast.

The only time Matt cooks for me is camp breakfast.

We fished most of the day on Saturday. In the morning, Matt took me to the lake behind the house he grew up in, and we caught a lot of bluegills, a couple perch, some tiny baby bass, and some green bluegills. We would barely get our bobbers in the water before a little ‘gill was running with it. The only ones we kept were ones that died on the hook. I got very badly sunburned on my legs. It’s still swollen.

The road to the canoe launch, which we missed the first time

The road to the canoe launch, which we missed the first time

Matt in the canoe.

Matt in the canoe.

A bad angle on the first green bluegill.

A bad angle on the first green bluegill.

The tiniest perch.

The tiniest perch.

As the day got warmer, the bite died down. We packed up and headed out. We dropped off the fish we kept at his dad’s house, chatted with his grandpa a bit, and went back to camp. After lunch, a swim in the cold spring water of the lake, and a nap, we were ready for more fishing.

At that point, I was beyond frustrated with my camera’s read error when I tried to make room on the memory card. It needs to be replaced very badly. No photos of the evening fishing, sadly. It was lots more little tiny ‘gills. Matt managed to reel in three good sized bluegills, though. He kept them to attempt to taxidermy them himself. I imagine that will be another series all its own. On my last cast of the night, I hooked into a nice largemouth. It was 12 inches, which isn’t too shabby. The limit up north is 18 inches, though. Back in the water it went.

The glow of both campfire and last light.

The glow of both campfire and last light.

We paddled back from the fishing spot, and made our dinner. Matt’s family stopped by to chat, as we were leaving early in the morning. Matt had to be back by 11:30.  We chatted and hashed out some ideas for a trip to replace the one we were originally taking to Texas. So far, the one sticking out is to head up to Door County and play on Lake Michigan or the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior. Possibly hire a salmon charter. It would be in August or September.

Anyhow, we woke up around 6 to pack up camp, hitch the camper up, and hit the road. We left with no major issues- I just separated from Matt to drop off the cell phone charger and thank you to the clerk at that gas station. Even with that and a second pitstop farther south, I rolled in maybe 10 minutes behind Matt. He went off to work for a bit, and I unpacked the camper. Being able to leave so much stuff in it makes the whole process so much easier. By now, the laundry and dishes from the trip are done, and all the dirt is swept out of it. But I’m ready to go again.

 

Finally Getting Our Crap Together.

This weekend, not everything went according to plan. We nixed Summerfest and opted to go fishing instead. Thinking we had the Merc going again, we headed out onto Waubesa on Saturday afternoon. We got a little ways from the launch, and the motor started up on the second pull, only to chug and sputter out. Something was up with its sparkplug wire- it wouldn’t stay connected and the motor wouldn’t start.. We trolled and cast anyway. It was a weird day, weather-wise, but not unusual given this year. Lots of scattered thunderstorms. It would go from sunny to a windy downpour in a matter of minutes. Once we were on the water, though, it didn’t rain. The wind kicked up, nearly overpowering our poor little trolling motors.

For fishing Saturday, I had one solitary bite.

That night, Matt resolved to get a new outboard. Ok, so, it wouldn’t be new-new, but anything post-1949 would be a step up. Sunday morning, we somehow had the luck to find an estate sale going on less than a mile from our house. It was for a man who’d run a marine and outdoors repair/warehouse. I wish I’d taken some pictures, because my goodness. His son was cleaning out the warehouse before he had to return to Alaska. We didn’t even go all the way inside, but on top of having about 10 small fishing boats with trailers and motors, he had another 6 or so canoes, 5 outboards sans boat. Oh, and two sailboats; one that looked to be well over 35 feet- it required a big tri-axle trailer. There was also a horse drawn sleigh on top of a big shelf.

We took a little 3 horse Johnson motor. It’s a beautiful antique from the 50s. It also runs wonderfully. We took it out Sunday afternoon looking for muskie and pike. We saw a few of them jump, but no bites. We at least got the lures wet for the first time. Both days were quite windy, making for some good sized waves. Our little boat rocks a lot, and any waves make it difficult to stand and cast. It ends up being a mix of fishing and surfing.

Maybe we can make it out again on either a calmer day, or onto a protected bay. We also are looking at getting real trolling gear. Way easier than casting for predator fish. At any rate, we now have a working boat motor.

A Little Bit of Good News

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So, I’ve been working a bunch this week- lots of closing shifts, which means I’m not usually home before 10 or 11. Midnight in some cases, like last night. It was a busy, rowdy night at the bar, but everyone cleared out around 11:30, and we were able to close and get out by about 12:30. I checked my phone around 11, and saw that Matt had texted me. He was saying he’d done something awesome, and wanted me to bring him home a reward. He sent it around 9. Figuring he’d be long since asleep by the time I finally got home, I decided I’d get him ice cream on Friday.

This morning, we got up, and he tried to get me to guess what the awesome thing was. It was pre-coffee, and I had nothing to go on, so I failed that one. He’d tinkered even more with the old boat motor, and got her to start! Turns out that in spite of draining the tank 3 or 4 times in the last month and a half, there was still some water lurking in the fuel. Luckily, this motor is from 1949, and is incredibly easy to work with. Couple that with the fact that he got it registered for Wisconsin (it was previously registered in Iowa), and we can take her out again! Now we just have to remember to renew our Madison Lake Access Permit so we can use all of the 16 lovely, well-maintained launches on the Madison chain.

In other news, the camper sprung a leak. Honestly, it’s probably the leak that originally caused all that mold in the upper part of the front, where we had to knock out all the modly paneling. Matt’s been up there spraying over cracks with that nifty spray-able rubber stuff that Rustoleum makes. We’ve got a blower fan set in there to dry things out a bit now.

This weekend, we were planning on trekking back to Milwaukee to go to Summerfest. But I also have a Friday night off for the first time since probably February, when the golf course started up their Friday Fish Fry. We may make it out to fish tonight and a couple more times this weekend, and we’ll be able to do more than troll a quarter mile from the launch!

One Project Down.

And just like that, the camper’s done being painted. I got spray paint today and painted the shutters and we put them back on.

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I’m going to put the light covers back on tomorrow. I need to find something to un-fog the plastic on them. Besides that, my only idea is to try and paint the outlines of the branding decals. As it is, the paint lays on them a little funny. Plus, they pretty kitschy, neat things. The “TrailBlazer” logo is a pretty bad depiction of a Native American person, though. I may leave it off. But she is finally finished!

The Camper’s Painted!

Matt told me Friday night that he planned to start painting the camper today. So, while I was at work for twelve hours, he did just that. I got a text around 6:30 telling me he’d gotten pretty much all of it painted. I got home a little before 8 and it looked great. Time for a before and after.

The camper way back when we got it late last summer.

The camper way back when we got it late last summer.

A lovely glossy white.

A lovely glossy white.

We’d assumed it would be exterior house paint on the aluminum of the camper. I found this paint bucket on the porch, though, so maybe it didn’t go according to plan? I’m not sure, as Matt isn’t home yet and has some work-related activities going on, and I doubt he could answer his phone.

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So, for the camper that leaves painting the little decorative shutters, and it’s finished! I think I’m going to get some glossy spray paint and make them a green to match both the interior of the camper itself, as well as the Ditch Boat and our little fishing boat.