Summer of 2019 was filled with short trips around the state and Indiana. It was also brought us more grandchildren and a new to us fifth wheel.
May: We kicked off the season Mothers Day weekend at Lake Port State Park on Lake Huron in SE Michigan. We camped with our son, Patrick and his family. This weekend was all about the playground and bike riding for the little’s. DIL, Stephan chose a couple nice sites with good playground access and view. The beach was way too cold for water play but yielded nice rocks for rock painting time with Grandpa.
We set up our CLAM screen house, attached the sides and ran our Mr Buddy heater inside to make a cozy warm spot for dining and hanging out. Family time, Lake Huron’s beautiful waterfront and a nice easy drive for Pat and Stephan’s motor home made this a pleasant enjoyable Mothers Day.
Memorial Day weekend we joined Pat and Stephan again. This time at Sauder Village in Ohio. The campground is adjacent to a historic “living history” village. We spent an enjoyable day in the village visiting the old shops, riding the train, milking a goat, admiring the carriage horses and talking with the costumed guides.
The RV park had flat paved roadways that were perfect for more bike riding. There is a big Inn with an indoor pool that campers can use, but my favorite was the splash park. Grands could happily play in the fountains and cascading waters while Grandma sat dry and comfortable in a nearby chair. We enjoyed our visit so much that we have reservations to return in 2020 with hopes that the rest of our non RV family will join us by staying at the Inn.
June: From Sauder Village John and I proceeded on to Goshen Indiana to attend a Passport America RV rally. The rally did not deliver all that was promised but we had a good time none the less. The food was very good and there was live entertainment in the evenings. The second night our comedian’s act was cut short due to tornado warnings. We all had to hustle to the basement for cover. It wasn’t too bad for a basement as it was a clean meeting room with chairs and tables. I counted about 22 dogs and 1 kitty taking shelter. The storm moved on and we all returned to our RVs with no damages that I am aware of.
John and I skipped the offered tour of Amish Country because we thought it was too pricey. We did our own tour, visiting the huge Shipshewana Flea Market and shops in the historic district. We enjoyed the food stands, live music and visiting the many vendor stalls. We saw lots of Amish farms with the their laundry hanging out to dry, horse drawn buggies and the Amish children playing outside in the farm yards. I enjoyed shopping at the Amish hardware and department stores. There were lots of sensible shoes, sturdy clothing and simple but useful housewares.
We especially enjoyed forming a new friendship with our rally neighbors, Nancy and Bill. Bill had a very big, super deluxe, immaculate motor home. We were definitely the shabby cousins parked next door. They were super nice folks though. Hopefully we will meet up with them again.
We did have trouble with a bad smell that we thought was coming from a stinky black tank. You would have thought the intermittent beeping from our carbon monoxide detector would have clued us in, but NO! We returned from an outing to a nasty stench that could no longer be ignored. Investigation found our RV battery was smoking and boiling over! Very close to a major disaster!
The rally may not have lived up to its advertising ( many people who regularly attend rallies, told us not to judge all rallies by this one) but we still had a great time and loved meeting new people and hearing their RV stories.
We sandwiched Sauder Village and the rally with a few days stay on each end at Sportsman Campground in Oxford Michigan. Sadly, John’s mother passed away in May, so we stayed at Sportsman campground close to her home and John’s brother while arrangements were made. We held a family Celebration of Life Party at the bowling alley where she had participated in league bowling for many years. She had stated she did not wish to have a traditional funeral. We all felt she would have approved of the family bowling party in her honor.
Sportsman Campground near Oxford only recently opened to the public. It was always for Detroit Sportsman Club members only. In fact John camped there under tents and tarps as a young boy with his parents and their friends as his Dad was a member. It has changed a lot since then! We hope we can continue to pop in there when we are traveling as it is close to our son’s house in Oxford and makes a good stop for us as we travel through.
July: Our next road trip was to travel down to Indiana to await and welcome Baby George! Baby George arrived July 17th. His big brother, Patrick (2) didn’t know quite what to make of this new intruder and surely didn’t expect him to move into his house! We had a great time being Grandma and Grandpa and watching Patrick while Mom and Dad were at the hospital. Jessica’s parents came in from Detroit as well. It was good to see them and share the joy together.
Adding to the joy our daughter, Theresa and hubby, Howard made two announcements. 1) They were FINALLY licensed to be foster parents of a sibling group. 2) They were expecting! Baby is due March 1 2020. Two foster children were placed in their home July 30th. Brother 3, sister 10 months. The joy of grand children just keeps on coming!
Our trip to Indiana was our maiden voyage with our new to us fifth wheel. In early July we bought a 2013 Cedar Creek Silverback 29RL that was for sale in Tawas. The Silverback is longer at 34 feet, tip to end but it fills so many “wants” that our 25 foot Wildcat could not. Bigger bedroom with a REAL CLOSET, much bigger kitchen, bigger fridge, bigger and separate bathroom, two recliners, taller ceiling with ceiling fan, bigger holding tanks allowing us to park longer without dumping. (we camp a lot with out full or sewer hookup) and loads more basement storage. All in all, a bigger RV all over. John reports it tows smoother than the Wildcat. Perhaps because of the longer chassis and bigger wheels. Since we already have a 2500 diesel truck, we do not have any issues with the increased weight of this larger fifth wheel. We sold the Wildcat fairly easily to a local family who loved her spacious living room and shorter length just as we did.
When we are visiting Jim and family we stay at Lake Haven RV resort that is south of Indianapolis and about 15 minutes to their house. Lake Haven is pretty much parking lot style camping with lots of apparent long term tenants. However is is clean, gated, full hookups and has pleasant staff. It works just fine for us. We spend most of our time at Jim’s house and not the RV park anyway.
September: August flew by with beach days, grand daughters spending a week and trips to Lansing to help out with the new children, plus I go see my father downstate. He will be 97 in January.
For Labor Day we planned a family camp out at Chuck and Karen’s our friends in Lapeer. Karen and Chuck have a magnificent country setting. You enter via a long driveway, drive past a big fishing pond and their home sits behind a circle in the drive that surrounds a big fire pit and trees. They even have outdoor plugins for the RV electrics! On the side of the house is a very nice swimming pool with decking and gazebo alongside. Plus the paved driveway is great for the little’s to ride their bikes.
We headed down on Thursday with plans that Pat and Stephan with children Alice and Olive would be coming to camp with their motor home. Karen’s daughter, her hubby Reed and their two daughters would be coming with their pop-up camper and we would all camp together at ” Camp Karen’s.” We have since renamed it “Camp Everyone Goes to the Hospital!.” Because:
1) Chuck fell at a store on Thursday and was taken to the ER for his bumped head.
2) I arrived on Thursday with a mildish cold that turned VERY bad through the night. Ended up being admitted to the hospital on Friday with pneumonia and spent the entire camp weekend there!
3) Karen’s grand daughter fell off the swing set and broke her arm on Sunday.
4) Our grand daughter, Alice survived the weekend unscathed but promptly fell out of her kitchen chair (while coloring dangerously) soon after returning home on Monday and had to get stitches in her chin!
So yeah…. that could have gone better. On Tuesday Karen and Chuck left for our planned fall camping week up north. I was discharged from the hospital, rested another day and then we followed.
1st stop: Mitchell State Park near Cadillac. We got there in time for dinner and were scheduled to leave the next day so we didn’t do much exploring. The campground is situated between two lakes with a canal joining the lakes. There are some unique sites on the canal where campers can tie up their boats. The best part was being out of the hospital and recuperating happily in our RV. I had told the Drs. I would get more rest camping then I would returning to my house.
2nd stop: Orchard Beach State Park in NE Michigan. Ironically there is no beach. The campground sits on a high bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. High water levels have hammered the coast very badly. The bluff face is almost hanging over the lake and there is a risk that it’s lovely historic stone pavilion may someday be tumbling down into the lake as the water and waves have relentlessly pounded away at the bluff face during the last few years. The guys chauffeured Karen and I around to a couple wineries and we stopped to see the salmon climbing the weirs to spawn They were pretty amazing to see and there were lots of fisherman trying to catch them too.
3rd stop: Ludington State Park: Karen and Chuck left us to return home from Orchard Beach. Chuck was suffering swallowing issues caused by the tight neck brace they put on him after his fall. They made a Dr appointment to get that checked out. John and I went on to Ludington. Ludington is one of the most popular state parks so I was eager to experience it. Pouring rain stopped just in time for us to squeeze into our almost too small campsite. ( Reservations were made while we still had the smaller Wildcat fifth wheel.) Once we were set up we struck out to find the beach. Following sign post arrow “to Lighthouse” we hiked along a sandy trail. A 1/4 mile or less later my pneumonia lungs pooped out and we turned back. Good job too, later I found out it was two miles to the lighthouse! We did climb the dune immediately behind our site and we could see Lake Michigan a good distance away beyond more rolling sand dunes.
The next day we drove back to the park entrance and found the big beach area and concession building but the cool, rainy, windy weather was not conducive to explorations. Driving into town from the park we spotted several pull offs along the road with access paths going to the water. I imagine they fill fast in the summer.
We filled the few days we there with exploring downtown Ludington, checking out an art gallery and visiting the port of The Badger. The Badger ferries automobiles, trucks and campers across Lake Michigan to Wisconsin. John has memories of his family taking The Badger when he was a young boy. We did enjoy one afternoon of sitting on the city beach in Ludington. A wee chilly but good sunshine and no wind. There is a break-wall walkway out to a light house but it would have been too much for my still recuperating self, so we did not do that. We also explored the park. It is pretty big with three camping loops, a river, a dam and loads of nice bike paths and walkways. We left for home on the forth day. I will say I don’t quite understand Ludington’s HUGE popularity. Its nice with access to the lake but most other state parks on the Great Lakes have nice access beaches as well.
We brought the fifth wheel home and switched it over to its other life as John’s hunting cabin. John has always been an avid bow hunter and he spends a lot of time creating deer heaven with food plots and habitat improvements on our property. The last few years or more it’s really more about offering others the excitement of getting their first deer and experiencing days out doors in the woods, than putting meat in our freezer. In October and November, John hunts (or not) and spends many hunting season nights enjoying the season in the fifth wheel.
That about wraps up our RV tales for summer of 2019. I feel so blessed to have my sweetheart traveling buddy who makes it all possible by being the driving man on our adventures. I confess I am remiss in not taking the wheel. My towing times have been few and always on easy roads. Hopefully I will take the wheel regular in 2020.
This was the summer of LOTS of grand children! When new baby arrives we will be at seven! So many blessings! Sorry I can’t share pics of the foster babies, there are rules about social media. Rest assured they are adorable too. Thanks for following. Will post our winter excursion next.