Sometimes a spur of the moment, “Hey let’s try that place,” turns out to be one of your favorite stops. We had miles to cover and a pit stop for Bruce planned along the way, so we were looking at three possibilities for overnights, each about 50 miles apart. This park won based solely on mileage and it was just lovely.
But first, we had to take care of an expected oil change. Just like our last cross country trip, we knew we’d need to find an Acura service center somewhere along our return route and Bergstrom Acura, in Appleton, Wisconsin, timed perfectly with the oil level hitting 20%. They had a hard time understanding our situation at first when we called, and kept trying to push us to a scheduled appointment several days out. Once we got a manager on the phone and explained we were traveling across the country, they got it and were ready for us when we pulled in. As Bruce was getting his makeover, we got to enjoy really fast WiFi. The oil change turned into more regular maintenance work that was due, and two new tires. The service person (whose name was Alisha who has a car named Dory) was super friendly and probably surprised at how nonchalant we were at paying a LOT more money than an oil change. Thing is, we were thrilled someone took a close look at the tires and we are always happy to pay more at a planned service stop than, say, out in the middle of nowhere. So her look of quasi nervousness explaining we’d probably be ok if we kept going as is, changed fast to a look of relief when we were like, “Oh yeah, do the service, And new tires for sure!” She got Bruce a nice wash and gave us a $1000 Acura tote bag. Bruce looked fantastic for about ten minutes on the road.
We clocked 267 miles by the end of the day, so I was pretty happy to stop at the Mississippi River. The state park was just three miles off the highway and looked to have availability when we checked online. There were no electric hookups, but we decided that was fine based on temperatures in the 70s. The approach to the campground is about a mile of gravel, but it is well graded and hard packed. The campground itself is situated on bluffs about 600 feet above the river, in a densely wooded, tropical seeming, forest. There are about thirty sites and we got one at the end of the loop. It was completely private and right next to a couple of hiking trails.
After setting up, we went out to two different overlooks. One of them is perched directly above the river, offering a sweeping view of the Mississippi and Black River Delta. You can see tug boats making their way slowly along the river, and catch the sound of trains as they pass by somewhere way down below. There is a constant cacophony of birdsong and (I’m guessing) insect hum in the surrounding canopy. Either that, or the trees were full of rattlesnakes.
The other lookout happened to catch a dramatic pseudo sunset, as a bank of threatening clouds slowly narrowed the beams of the setting sun until they disappeared. Then the gentle onset of rain suggested us back to Dory, where we closed windows and ate dinner under the soothing sounds of water hitting the roof of not-a-tent. Then shows on the big screen and beddie byes.
Lovely stop. One of our faves.
Total miles: 267.2, 15.5 mpg, 5 hours 53 min. Site 19. There may have been one site with a 20 amp electric hookup, but most of these have no hookups. There is a vault toilet, but also a full bathroom with showers and everything. LTE for both of us. Deep shade, so no solar. If there’s a dump, we didn’t see it.