After leaving Chicago (you can read about that here or watch here) we spent a couple more days in Illinois so we could enjoy Lake Michigan without the crowds. We stayed at the Illinois State Beach campground near Zion. The reviews were all over the place but we really liked it! We were a quick walk from the lake (we could have paid more for a view), there were walking and biking trails, we were a 5 minute drive into town, and the staff was very nice! The campground used to be a resort worthy of crowds but when the state started to struggle financially they had to close all the concession stands and shower houses so they are boarded up and run down. Some see that at trashy, but I see it as a reminder that we are in a place that is resort worthy! I love to sit and imagine places like this in their hay day. I bet there were kids building sandcastles on the beach and moms and dads grilling for their families. Music was probably playing, a football game happening in the sand, colorful towels all over and teenagers flirting! How fun! It was quieter for us, but fun nonetheless.
We reluctantly left the beach and headed just inside Wisconsin for a free tour of the Jelly Belly Factory. Now, to be real, you actually tour the warehouse but they try theirdarndest to make it fun. There are colorful decorations and you travel by a little tram. There were videos about Jelly Belly’s history and how the candy is made and shipped. The best part for all involved was the free package of Jelly Bellys at the end! Not a must do by any means, but it was interesting and we got these cool paper hats! LOL!
We left there and went to Mars Cheese Castle, you know, because we were in Wisconsin. It is a road side attraction in Kenosha. It is essentially a glorified grocery store/liquor store/tourist shop with a large cheese selection. We are not cheese connoisseurs AT ALL but based on the reactions of the cheese lovers around us it was the cheese jackpot! The beer and liquor selection was rather large and we saw several people leave with cart -fulls. We left with just memories and some pictures!
We splurged for a resort campground in Wisconsin. We knew pool opportunities were going to dwindle as summer was coming to an end so we indulged (relatively speaking) with two nights at Sky High RV Resort in Portage. We took a day trip into the Dells (holy tourist trap Batman!) and played Wizard’s Quest. Oh my gosh people, that was the most fun I have had in a long time! It is like a breakout room meets a scavenger hunt and they cast magical spells together! You have one hour to follow clues that are given to you on a tablet and you try to “free” as many Wizard’s as you can. It was around $80 for us to all do it – more than we usually budget for entertainment but I can’t regret it! It was SO MUCH FUN! (Did I mention that it was fun?)
The next day we left Wisconsin and headed to Minnesota. We traversed the zoo of the Mall of America. The place is craaazy. Besides being gigantic and having every store that I can think of, there is a six acre amusement park inside! The rides are impressive but overpriced (of course) but the stores are reasonable and some even had really good deals. There are like 30 restaurants so everyone was happy at lunchtime. You can watch my “Two Cents” on it here!
We wrapped up our time in Tinysota Minnesota with a couple of nights at Minneopa State Park. It was thick with woods and a great dry camping site. If you are in a big rig like us, make sure to get a spot in “B” loop. “A” loop is tight. There are two parts to the park. One is the Bison Drive. It is a bison reserve but we didn’t see any bison and neither did anyone we talked to. They are supposedly there but they must be shy. The drive leads you to Seppman Mill – a former windmill – that was a cool little piece of history and the site just asked to be photographed! The other part of the part were the Falls. You have to drive a couple miles to the other part of the “split park.” There is a neat bridge and paved walkway to the top of two falls. You can walk down the canyon and do an easy trail hike to the bottom of the falls too. Check out our YouTube channel for video – it is coming soon!