Naya laying on the ground and smiling while camping

Camping at Rock Cut State Park

Finally, Jason and I were able to get out with the camper for the first time this year. Hooray! While most summers this wouldn’t feel like a big deal, we weren’t sure when or if we’d get out this summer with wacky work schedules. We weren’t able to book a Wisconsin state park campsite well in advance … which is a big problem. So, off to Illinois we went, down to Rock Cut State Park.

Jason and I have been meaning to visit Rock Cut for several years now. Every time we drive past the interstate exit to the park on an Ikea run, we say, “We need to go there sometime.” Finally, we’ve been, and it was worth the wait!

We hooked up the camper and headed out after work on Friday. The dogs had the run of the back half of the Tahoe, which works so much better than our backseat hammock. We hit a minor snag while driving along the interstate — one of the camper’s storage compartment doors hadn’t locked all the way and was flapping open. But a kind driver flagged Jason, and we were able to fix it quickly and continue on our way.


When we arrived at the park, we stumbled on a new issue — none of the water hydrants for filling the camper’s water tank had hoses. We’ve only camped at Wisconsin state parks, and the water hydrants we’ve encountered all had hoses attached. And of course, a hose was one camper supply we failed to buy. So off to the thankfully-nearby Menards we went, and we returned with a 50-foot hose. That should cover us going forward.

With our Menards detour, we got set up and got dinner going later than we usually would. I planned a quick, easy dinner of Whole30 Perfect Burgers and foil packet green beans. After dinner, we enjoyed relaxing under our canopy until about 10:00 pm before heading off to bed.

Naya and Bailey laying in the dirt

We woke up to HOT. With temperatures nearing 90 degrees, we took it super easy. We slept in, had breakfast, and then just sat under the shade of the camper canopy reading and hanging with the dogs.

Our Palomino Palomini travel trailer

Naya laying on the ground and smiling while camping

After lunch, we jumped in the car and drove around the park. Rock Cut State Park has lots of great picnic areas. And the Rock Cut Concession on the south side of Pierce Lake in the park rents canoes, kayak, and SUPs. It’s a large park (the largest in Northern Illinois, in fact), and we know we only got a glimpse of it by car. Next time, we’ll hope for more hiking-friendly temperatures.

Dinner Saturday night was pretty delicious if I do say so myself. We cooked obscenely large steaks over an open flame. We served our steaks with a side of foil packet potatoes — russet potato for Jason, sweet potato for me. In both cases, I just cut the potatoes into chunks and placed them on a piece of foil. I added scallions (to mine), minced garlic, and dried thyme; drizzled it all with olive oil; sprinkled some salt and pepper; and  closed ’em up. They turned out awesome!

Steak and sweet potatoes on blue enamelware camping plate

The whole goal of this trip was doing nothing, and we definitely accomplished that goal. Here’s hoping we can do it again sooner rather than later.

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  • Reply brendan barrett June 23, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Those sweet potatoes sound delicious!

    • Reply Laura June 23, 2016 at 8:05 pm

      So good and so easy (healthy, too)!

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