Test Drive

Yesterday, I hitched up the Scamp and drove 45 minutes to Astico County Park, a county park and campground in Dodge County, Wisconsin.   Many years ago, I served as a law clerk for Dodge County.  One of the judges liked to take me out for lunch every week or so.  One time we passed a wayside off Hwy 60, and the judge mentioned to me that there was a nice county park and campground across the Crawfish River from the wayside.

Twenty years later, I took him up on his recommendation.  The campground wasn’t far away, offered electric services, riverside camping, and reasonable fees at $27/night (including reservation fee).  While most of the nearby state parks were booked up, only about a third of the sites were occupied last night at Astico.   Here was the view of the Crawfish River from inside my Scamp.Towing the Scamp to the campground was not smooth.  Hwy 60 is in terrible condition .  I used to think our state roads were some of the best in the country; however, things have changed.  Hwy 60 between the I-90 and Arlington is particularly disgraceful.  I also noticed some trailer sway.  Upon taking measurements at the front and back of the trailer, I found out that I was not completely level.  After arriving at the campground, I  unhitched and drove to the local farm supply store in Watertown to swap my adjustable hitch ball mount for a ball mount with a more precise fit.

After picking up supplies in Watertown, I cooked up some Shrimp Scampi (of course) and had a glass of home-made Chardonnay.  Thoroughly stuffed, I took a perimeter walk around the campground and discovered trails leading to a mill and dam.  There was no access from my side of the river, so I found a trail that led to a bridge to the other side. From here, I was able to walk down below the dam.   Click on any of the thumbnails to enlarge.

From below the dam, it was easier to follow the Hwy T and Hwy TT to Atisco Park than to backtrack. But then I found an even faster shortcut.   I saw this cemetery as I passed through the campground earlier.  I just wasn’t sure how to get from the fenced cemetery to the campground.  Several of the graves were really old–people who had lived and died in the 1800’s. I tried to imagine what their lives were like.  Wisconsin didn’t become a state until 1848.  One person was born in 1824.  As I approached the campground, I contemplated climbing the fence.  Fortunately, just before I made that decision, I observed that some of the fence was damaged.  Walking through the gap was a better decision.

Time to buy some campfire wood.  Earlier, I picked up some store ads and an empty cardboard box, if needed, for fire starter.  As it turned out, I needed every bit to get the fire going.  The wood sizzled and hissed for about thirty minutes until the fire took off.  It was time to watch the river go by.

Around ten p.m., I tested out the television and antenna.  To my surprise, I was able to pick up a variety of free broadcast channels.  I found some evening news and watched a bit of Steven Colbert on the Late Show before falling asleep.  In the morning a few thunder showers with lightning passed through.  When the rain stopped, I successfully used the dump station to get rid of my gray and black water.  A successful test drive. More adventures ahead.