When the camp owner stopped to see how I had slept he seemed a little disappointed that I had had trouble due to the noise. Still, he could see that I was happy with the site. I asked for another box of matches which he cheerfully supplied.
I had brought my own water from home, so the first thing I did was heat water for coffee (instant coffee. After all, I was roughing it) and then made scrambled eggs in my new frying plan. I discovered that I had forgotten to bring salt. I checked the pocket of the cooler. Paul had always packed the cooler, and he often included napkins, silverware and packets of sugar and salt in a zip lock bag. Sure enough, 3 packets of salt. I miss him.
I "broke camp" and headed back to Durand to catch WI Highway 25 south to WI Highway 35 which runs north/south along the Mississippi River. I took some county roads so that I would come out closer to Durand before getting on to Highway 25, and thereby avoided the flag persons. Ha!
The Wisconsin countryside in that area is breathtakingly beautiful. These are picture postcard visions of the dairy farms that provide the milk that makes the state famous for it's cheese. The trees and crops and grass were lush and green. I was trying to decide if I would camp another night as I had planned. I still had no phone service and a lot would depend on the weather report. About an hour later I arrived at Pepin, Wisconsin, one of several small towns that sit on Lake Pepin, a renowned recreational lake. In fact, across the water on the other side, a bit north of Pepin was the town of Lake City, MN known as the birthplace of water skiing. I had recently driven Highway 35 and had noticed more than one sign announcing municipal campgrounds in several of the towns. I thought Pepin was one.
There was an inviting restaurant right on the highway. It was nearly noon, so I stopped for a California Burger and fries. A bonus, in addition to being able to eat outside, was that they had wi-fi.
I sent a quick text to the kids (they like to keep tabs on me, for some reason), and then checked the weather. 40% chance of rain/thunderstorms. Hmmmm. Now that I had experience as a tenter perhaps I should extend that experience to "difficult conditions". On the other hand, 40% chance of rain also meant 60% chance of no rain if my math was correct. I decided to go for it.
I couldn't find a campground in Pepin so I continued up 35. I didn't see anything at Lakeport, but in Stockholm, right in town, was a sign saying "campground". I made a left turn, toward the lake, and there it was, the kind of campground I had envisioned when I planned the trip.
Situated right on Lake Pepin, with a large grassy area in the middle for tents, and a friendly camp host, Pam, it was perfect. Pam told me to fill out my registration envelope, put in the money and drop it into the box, and she would show me around. It was only 2:30 in the afternoon but there were already 10-12 campers and RV's with their awnings and electrical hook-ups in place. There were no tents, but I would be in the circle of activity. I chose a spot in the middle of the knoll, away from branches that could break off in a wind and right across the road from Pam's camper. Pam rolled a metal firepit over to where I was and said, put it anywhere you like. If you brought wood you can burn that or you can buy some. Whatever you want. Pam and her husband were taking care of their 4 grandchildren for a week, so there was a lot of activity across the road. They were good kids and I enjoyed the lively atmosphere.
I set up the tent and got out my crossword puzzles and other books and kicked back and enjoyed the day. Before long a young couple from Eau Claire, WI, Sam and Josh, set up a tent across the knoll from me. They were very friendly and said they'd watch out for me. Sam said she grew up in Plum City, WI and Josh was originally from LaCrosse, WI. They said they really liked this campground and came here often. I was pretty sure their well-behaved, 1 year-old black lab, who slept in their tent with them, would warn us all of anything that went bump in the night.
We had a brief rain shower, maybe 5 minutes, which cooled the air. My tent did not leak. I made a light supper, enjoyed a campfire from the gift of wood from both Pam and Sam and Josh.