Thursday, September 20, 2012

RV Camping at Ottawa Lake, WI

This past weekend we packed up our kids and gear and headed up to the beautiful Ottawa Lake, Kettle Moraine Forest in Wisconsin for the North Face Endurance Challenge.  The whole family (minus Little A Bomb) participated in some sort of race - Kovas took on his first ultra, me - my first trail half, and Tazer, Gaigai and Munchkin - the kids' races.  In order to be well better rested and close to the event, we opted to camp in an RV at Ottawa Lake Campground where the races both started and finished.

Ottawa Lake Campground - collage courtesy of MML
For our first RV experience, we rented a RV from DeHaan RV Rentals, LLC in Elkhorn, WI which was conveniently located along the way to our final destination (less miles on the RV= less $$).  We left Kovas at DeHaan's for an "intro hour" during which the technician went into great detail explaining how everything worked, and even had Kovas take the RV out for a spin.

Meanwhile, the kiddos and I drove to the main forest headquarters, checked out the little museum and headed on to Ottawa Lake to check in.  At check-in we bought park permits for both vehicles and got our campsite location.  We had reserved our site some time in advance, but there are some non-reservable, first come, first served sites.  In addition to RV sites that have electric hook-ups, there are tent-only sites also.  The campground allows leashed pets in most areas.

We drove to our campsite and waited for Kovas and the RV...

RV camping
Our home for the weekend...
We were all excited to see our home for the weekend -- clean, pet and smoke free (thankfully!) and modern.  There was plenty of space for our family of 6, especially with the slide-out extended.     Unpacked and plugged in, we realized there was no water hook-up at our campsite (or at any campsite at Ottawa Lake), so we used the onboard water tank exclusively for washing dishes and toilet needs.  This was a good water conservation lesson, and the kids enjoyed going to the pump to fill up our drinking water jug.  We took advantage of the shower building for hot showers and washing up, but it was definitely a nice convenience having a working toilet in the RV (especially for middle of the night needs).

As for sleeping arrangements, our 3 oldest rotated sleeping above the cab, on the reclining couch and in the convertible dining area.  Kovas and I shared the queen-sized bed in the back with Little A Bomb.  We cooked most of our meals in the RV galley, but also made campfires for hot dogs and s'mores.  RV camping was the perfect combination of ease and roughing it, especially with little kids and plans for running long distances.  It was also nice to turn on the fan in the RV and not hear the noise from other campers outside (the campground was full up for the races).

In addition to the picturesque forest, other attractions at Ottawa Lake are a man made beach (in which Kovas and I "iced" our knees after the races), playgrounds and many hiking, running, cross country skiing and equestrian trails.  We also had the pleasure to listen to a lecture about wildlife rehabilitation - and to meet "Waldo the Woodchuck".

Waldo the Woodchuck
Waldo the Woodchuck
Heading out Monday morning we stopped at the dump station - luckily Kovas listened attentively how to properly empty the black and grey water tanks, but as we stood and watched, we kept thinking of the RV movie with Robin Williams:)

What a great weekend!  If you have children and/or want to camp before a big race, an RV is the way to go!  We would definitely rent again from DeHaan and stay at Ottawa Lake, especially for the North Face Endurance Challenge!

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1 comment:

  1. AHHH! Waldo! TOO CUTE!

    What fun! I love that you guys did this. I bet the kids will remember it forever! You guys do the most fun things :)

    It is very brave of Kovas to drive this thing! I would be worried about hitting something! Good thing you did not have to go too far ;)


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