Today I woke up in a very quiet Wisconsin RV park. I saw no one, which is not uncommon for these places, and the office was empty and locked. I curled up in the van and ate a quart of van-made sauerkraut while editing photos of the beautiful Lake Superior I had visited yesterday. If the office of this place wasn’t open in another hour, I’d have to be on my way, but wasn’t sure how I’d pay.
I had no service and no company at last night’s Michigan campground , so I made a lot of tea and dove back into Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins, a gift from my older brother. I slept deep and had horrifying dreams which didn’t wake me but sat with me at breakfast. I stalled in my attempts to start the van, I always do. Cold mornings are not easy for the diesel engine, it’s as if she’s pressing the snooze button on me, and I approach the moment with patience. After a few spaced out, unsatisfying attempts, the loudest of rumbles echoed through the trees and rocked us down the dirt road. Heading west, towards Munising, I begin a 10-mile hike through Pictured Rocks, for which I packed too much food and too many layers. I took a similar hike six years ago at an equally transitional time of my life, only I was accompanied by a bunch of goofy farm kids, all barefoot, eating wild blueberries and thimbleberries on our way to the beach.
After this overdue one on one time with my most impressive lake yesterday, I stood at a new and unwelcoming campsite close to Marquette. I loitered outside the office, appalled by the twenty dollars a night tent-camping fee, and decided I’d go to Wisconsin. It was 5pm and I still had 4 hours of daylight so I knew I could make it somewhere, and it would beautiful. That’s how I ended up here, at this dark RV park void of humans, nervous I would wake all the neighbors. I parked and quickly fell asleep.
In the morning, after four failed attempts to get into the locked office and pay their overpriced charges, I sat in the roaring van, wondering what to do. I hadn’t seen anyone and the rumbling diesel engine could leave no one asleep. With no mailboxes, envelopes, or information available, it felt unfair to make paying so difficult! I considered sliding my wrinkled twenty under the thick door but there was hardly space enough to squeeze it through and I was unsure about this plan. I recalled the other campsite which was off-season and therefor, free… could it be?
Eventually, I had to continue on my way and felt guilty as I slowly approached the exit. I drove slowly through the back roads and noticed the Sheriff behind me at a stop sign. As I turned left towards Steven’s Point, WI, his lights came on and I pulled over, feeling very prepared this time (for my second cop-stopping of my life). A young red-headed, seemingly bored man approached my spacious window. He took my Michigan license and seemed reassured that it didn’t match the California plates. He referenced the RV park I had just departed from and the mentioned that the owner was concerned because I showed up late the night before, and, was I traveling alone? I explained the dilemma I had found myself in attempts to pay, so we drove back to the RV park together to meet and pay Ted.