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Out in the Boonies with No Cell Service

Greetings from the North North Woods of Wisconsin.

It has been a while.  My last letter to you was June 20th.  In the meantime I have been either busy having fun or in locations were the cell service is poor or non-existent.  

This morning while doing laundry I sat in a little kids' chair using the wifi there to check email and do some shopping.  Not smart to use a public WIFI for shopping.  I will have to change some of my passwords the next time I have a secure connection.  Maybe at my sister's house on a visit to her in Rhinelander.  It is about a 40 minute drive from camp to her house.


When last I wrote I was in Chippewa Falls about to connect with my friends, John and Sandy from the Waukesha area.  We became friends when I volunteers for Waukesha Literacy and Sandy worked there in the 1990s.  

We had a great time.  And our time there was too short.  There was so much more to explore. 

We rode the Old Abe Trails in both directions from our campsite.

By the kiosks were shoe scraping brushes.  I thought that was strange until I saw this kiosk.  They are trying to reduce the spread of the seeds of invasive and nuisance plants.

We learned that if we sat real close to the side of my trailer in the mornings and the side of their trailer in the evenings we could get out of the hot sun.

The fairgrounds was preparing for the Fair and some smaller event.  Each day a crew of young men would come out and spray wash and move picnic tables and garbage bins.

We were out biking and hiking every day, and that was good because during the day we had no shade and it got hot.

On a bike ride we passed a cemetary with strange looking tombstones.  I looked at this one and through the guy died in 1892 at 15 years old and had several children.  Sandy took a closer look.  The 15 is actually a 45.   

In Rushford, MN I had seen a tombstone of a 14 year old that had two children when he died.  I probably made the same mistake.  He was probably 44.  Sorry for the misleading report.


Instead of blasting you with a real long catch-up letter, instead I will do snippets from the past few weeks as I tell you about what is happening now.

Right now I am volunteering as a host at a small campground in the Northern Highlands American Legion State Forest.  

I picked up in my General Delivery at the Post Office in Woodruff a new screen tent (Clam) and a canopy tent, that I LOVE.

My site and all sites at this campground are without power.  The water comes from a pump.

I can probably go for weeks on my battery if all I did was charge my phone and my lights. 

No sites are on the lake, but my site is right next to the boat launch.  The lake is deep and huge (over 3800 acres).  Lots of boaters come at night to fish for musky.

Each evening I go down to the dock to text a few friends and hopefully send them a picture.  Though the cell is a bit  better there, often the pictures don't go through.

I am amazed at a few things here.  

With over 236,000 acres and more than 900 lakes within its boundaries, the Northern Highland - American Legion State Forest provides wonderfully scenic opportunities for a variety of outdoor recreation from wild and remote campsites accessible only by boat, to developed family and group campgrounds, beaches, boat launches and trails. The forest is spread across three counties near the towns of Woodruff, Minocqua and Boulder Junction. 
  • The forest is huge!
  • There are over 900 lakes within this forest and some creeks and rivers too.  The kayaking opportunities and swimming options are great and varied.  Also many of those lakes are crystal clear.
  • The trails going all the way from St. Germain to Melen are paved, winding, and hilly.
  • There are over 15 campgrounds that you can drive into.  There are many many more scattered on hiking trails and along the banks of the lakes that are only accessible by boat or on foot.
A big plus of my campground is it is right on a pretty part of the Villas County Bicycle Trail system.  It is paved, hilly, winding, and never boring.

People are asking me how I like the camp hosting position.  I say the jury is still out.  Sometimes I think I would be better off with a 20 hour a week job and to pay for my camp site.  But a big plus of hosting is that I get to stay in one place for a whole month for free.

We will see what happens as time goes on.  Well, this is enough for now. 

I have so much to tell, but this is a start.  

Have you been here?  What did you do and what did you like best?  Let me know in the comments.  Thanks for traveling with me.  I have missed being in touch.


  1. We’ve been there, just riding through on the Villas Trail system we really enjoyed all the paved trails but could not stay at the campgrounds without power as we were not set up for boon docking. That part of WI is beautiful and we hope you enjoy your stay.

  2. Thank you! I am enjoying my stay and wondering why not return next year? So much to enjoy.... but other states also have a lot to offer. Only here I have my sister close by and I have met some folks already that want to do things like kayak and bike and hike with me. That is a big plus.


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