Monday, May 31, 2010

Vacationing vs. Full Time RVing

Roy and I are starting to see and feel the difference between being on vacation in an RV and living in one full-time. Our 12 day trip from Indiana to Michigan touring state parks had the push of a two week vacation. We would spend a day to a few days in each area seeing the sights before moving on. We feel we could have spent a month in each park. Now that we are in Michigan amongst friends and enjoying the great weather, we are already feeling the time crunch of our planned months stay. We can see that at times we might wish to spend several months in an area. Life on the road would consist of living in different communities for as long as one found the location interesting. No time constraints. We like it!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Crew

Charles is lying on "His" cabinet. It is his dinner table for canned fare, and below is the hole to the litter box. Roy recently added a hole to Charle's approximate 2' square cat cave. Charles entered before by sliding down a narrow space behind the couch. His dry food is kept safe from the dogs in the cave, and he loves to travel snuggled away in there. Prin is in her chosen spot on the couch. She hasn't been a happy traveler in the truck. For some reason she is fine for short trips at lower speeds, but doesn't like longer trips at highway speed. We recently tried having Sugar and Prin ride in the camper. They both liked it, and showed their approval with smiles and wags.

Sugar is in her favorite spot under the table. When not there, she has gotten quite comfortable where Charles is lying on the couch. You've probably figured out by now from the hanging cat toy on the table, and all Charle's other accomodations who runs the household. Roy and I thought we were smart enough and strong enough not to let it happen! How do cats do it???

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Question: What do you like the most about your new life on the road?

Answer: We are enjoying the freedom from all the responsibilities that go with maintaining a home, and love experiencing new places.

Question: What do you miss most?

Answer: The only thing we miss are our friends. We don't miss anything to do with our prior home. Some things we thought we would miss are the dishwasher, garbage disposal, hot tub, washer/dryer, big screen t.v., recliner chairs, garage, and tools. Here's my thoughts on why I think they're not missed. With our small kitchen, it seems that we don't dirty as many dishes. The simplified lifestyle has made doing dishes pleasant. This is amazing as I couldn't picture life without a dishwasher. We haven't felt the loss of a garbage disposal as dumpsters are always available. I'm not sure why the hot tub isn't missed unless it's the relaxed, but active lifestyle. The laundromat's simplification of getting all the laundry done quickly has won out over the load at a time home system. We replaced our big screen t.v. with a 32" wall mount t.v. in the camper bedroom. It's newer technology has a better picture than our older one. Lying in bed watching t.v. must fulfill the previous need for recliners. Roy brought several tools. Working from the tailgate of the truck and some saw horses seem to fit the need for a garage, as the camper projects are small. We're pretty amazed ourselves that we can be as comfy as we are in a mere 24' trailer!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Life's Not Perfekt

Oh no - not again!!! This time it's the rear bumper, and self inflicted. Roy was repositioning the truck to hook-up the trailer at Indian Lake State Park and he says he barely tapped a tree. The damage to the bumper and side panel keep the truck gate from opening. I guess the bright side is that we are back in our hometown in Michigan where all is familiar.

I've mentioned how I wrecked my back with my increased activity. In the last two weeks I aggravated it more with my youthful vigor, and blew it into a full sciatica attack. I won't elaborate like us older folks like to do other than to say it's the most painful thing I've ever had, and it's put the squash on many activities. I'm hearing it's a 4-6 week recovery. I'm at 2 weeks and counting. I'd like to say it's only up from here, but who knows what life has in store next. I'm counting on good things.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bay Mills - Brimley, MI

Friday the 23rd we pulled into the Bay Mills Resort and Casino campground.

The rates are steep at $25 a night for full hook-up, and no weekly or monthly price reductions. The good news is that Roy made $20 at the casino that night! The next day we moved to our good friends, June and Earl Fiebig's, driveway. We'd considered campgrounds in Sault Ste. Marie, but we all figured we wouldn't see much of each other during our stay, if we set up camp so far away. During our months stay, Roy and I want to do some boondock camping in Hiawatha State Forest near the community of Bay Mills. The places we are thinking of camping are areas we used to take the dogs to run.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Verizon vs. ATT

During our stay at Sleepy Hollow and Indian Lake State Parks, as well as, the campground we are at just east of Marquette, we have found that we aren't getting any bars on our ATT service cell phones. The interesting thing is that in all three places we have gotten excellent high speed internet with our Verizon internet plan. When the ATT phone plan comes up for renewal we'll be switching our phones to Verizon!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Riding along Roy and I were discussing how we've watched Spring unfold in Florida and Indiana and are now going to watch it in the upper penninsula of Michigan. We were basking in how great it's been being outdoors in great weather. We began thinking of travels by seasons. When we got to October, we both got quiet with that sinking feeling one gets when they know Winter will be closing in on them. For those that aren't Winter sports enthusiasts, it becomes a time to stay indoors. All of a sudden the revelation that our outdoor activities will no longer be impacted by the snows of Winter hit us! We're free to go to snow-free places and continue our outdoor life. Wow!!! I guess we knew it, but it hadn't really sunk into our psyches until now. Our exhuberance for the late Fall and Winter months returned! With the weird cold that swept the south this Winter, we didn't get a full understanding of what the South has to offer.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Palm Book State Park

Tuesday we booked another night at Indian Lake State Park so that we could go out exploring. We discovered that there are campgrounds on both sides of the lake. The west unit is totally different from the side we're on. The camp sites are within a woods. We drove over to the nearby state park called Palm Book. There isn't any camping there. It's attraction is the largest spring in Michigan. The spring is 200 feet across and 40 feet deep. It is extremely cool and worth a drive to see! This picture gives you some idea of the clarity of the water and its aqua green color. It doesn't do justice to how amazing it is.

The point at which the river and spring met was amazing. The river floor was a rich brown and at the spring it dropped away to aqua green. Full screen the picture by clicking on it for more detail.

There is a cool leafy vegetation growing on the sides of the springs bowl. The sand puff you see in the center of the picture is where water beneath the hard rock surface of the springs crust is squirting in. Over 1600 gallons a minute is said to be flowing into the spring! The flow continues throughout the year at a constant temperature of 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wherever there are circular pockets in the floor of the spring, there are fissures in the limestone leaking water in. You can see a couple sand swirls showing the water action.

Here is a mama duck and her baby that blessed us with their company. They were picking things off the side of the viewing raft.

This is the very cool raft that you get to steer across the spring along a cable.

Here is the Master and Commander at the helm! We had the raft all to ourselves.

The center of the raft is open for viewing the spring. The bottom of the spring looked like the surface of the moon.

Here is some information about the spring. If you full size the picture, you should be able to read it.

Full size this picture to read how the ground water and rock surfaces work together to form the spring.

Here is the main street of Manistique. It seems to have everything you could want in a small town. It is on the shore of Lake Michigan. It reminds me very much of seaport towns in Maine.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Indian Lake State Park

We're enjoying the beauty of Michigan with the perspective of being tourists. We arrived at Indian Lake State Park located just outside Manistique around 4:00. Manistique looks very interesting and I'm anxious to go exploring.

The campsites at the park are open from one to another. Not being busy yet, it seems very peaceful.

The lake is huge and some of the campsites are right at its edge. It would be a great park for people seeking to fish.

They have cute little cabins, but no pets allowed inside. Check-out the link on our website for park details.

Monday, May 17, 2010

State Parks Tour

We left Pokagon State Park on Saturday with the idea of visiting Michigan state parks that we've driven past so many times in our previous hurried life.

This is the campground entrance at Sleepy Hollow State Park near St. John, MI. The drive to the park is about 8 miles off the main road through cornfield country. It had us a little worried that we would be camping in an open field, but the park turned out to be very nice.

The campsites are paved which would be nice during rain, but have an ample grassy area. They are individual little nooks. Some sites have electrical hook-ups and a communal water spigot.

Here is a view down the campground road. You can see how the sites have privacy.

This is Lake Ovid within the park. It has a sandy beach area, as well as, areas along the shore for fishing.

This shot of the Mackinac Bridge is taken from the shore of the Straits Area State Park located near St. Ignace, Michigan. We pulled in late on Sunday.

The park is mostly open field camping, but has a pleasant atmosphere. It seems to be a park for people just passing through or possibly those wanting to tour the St. Ignace area. Our plan for the week is to head west across Route 2 of the Upper Penninsula and up to Marquette. We'll be in Sault Ste. Marie by the weekend. To our friends in Brimley and the Soo, "We'll see you soon!!!"

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pokagon State Park

It's Thursday and we've been at Pokagon State Park since Sunday. We are staying tonight and probably Friday. It's a great park. It's hard to capture a park with pictures, so I thought the best place to start was with a map of the park. As you can see there are lots of campground loops. The camp sites range from wooded to open grasslands.

Pokagon has something for everyone. It has bicycle, boat, horse, and x-country ski rentals. It has volleyball and basketball courts. There are several playgrounds for the kids. It has fishing, hiking & bicycling trails, and beaches for swimming. There is a toboggan run for the Winter. There are cabin rentals, a hotel, and restaurant.

This is our first campsite. It is next to the bicycle path. It was a great location, but was reserved by another person for Thursday. With the rain we've been having it was getting pretty muddy, so we didn't mind moving to a new location too much.

Roy picked this site with a cement platform. It's technically a handicapped site, but they let us use it anyway since they aren't very busy right now. After getting this site the sun popped out for the day. It's back to raining tonight, though.

Here is one of the cabins that they rent.

This is the Potawatomi Inn. The park lands and property all the way to Chicago were Potawatomi Indian lands. The name Pokagon comes from the last two notable chiefs of the tribe, a father and son.

This is the toboggan run. There are some videos of the Pokagon toboggan ride on UTube. It looks like fun!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Movin' North

We had a great time with family, and it was hard to break camp and move on. Sunday, May 9th, was my birthday and the expiration date of my driver's license. We headed north to Michigan to take care of business. I learned that when your license expires on the weekend or a holiday you have the following business day to take care of the renewal. Sunday we stopped in Muncie, Indiana to tour the Ball family estate gardens. The Ball family donated the property and buildings that established Ball State University in 1918. Their money in part came from the production of Ball brand canning jars.

This was the home of Edmund and Bertha Ball. Isn't it magnificient! I love historic estates. The homes were not open for tours, but are used as part of the campus facilities.

This is William and Emma Ball's prior home. The homes are on a private parkway along a bend in White River.

This is the prior home of G.A. Ball.

Each home had woodland and formal gardens. I thought his path of brick and stone winding through the woods was pretty.

Don't you just love this picture of Roy taking time to smell the flowers!

Touring the gardens was a great way to spend a birthday. We stopped for the night at Pokagon State Park. We're staying a few days. I'll get pictures posted. It's a great park! Monday we took care of my drivers license renewal in Coldwater, MI, as well as, did an early renewal of Roy's and the truck registration. We were even able to update our voters registration. Roy dropped his CDL and other commercial driver ratings on his drivers license, so we consider him officially retired! Monday night we got a real treat when our good friend Earl Fiebig, a long haul trucker, stopped by while in transit. If things fall together for him today, we may get to visit again this evening.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The flood kept everyone excited for a few days, and it's good to have life on Indian Creek be peaceful again. Yesterday the bridge had a couple of inches of water on it, but was usable. Like a big kid, Roy enjoyed splashing through the water on the bridge with his bicycle! Today we have sunshine and dry roads.

Look at the distance between the water and the sidewalk! The creek will go down even more, if it doesn't rain.

We are staying in Corydon until Saturday morning. At that time we'll go to Indianapolis for a graduation party at the home of my brother (Bill) and his wife (Marsha). The plan is to be in lower Michigan by Monday. No plans beyond that. Marilyn

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Flood Watch!

Early this morning the rain returned with a vengence! At times it sounded like the fire department was blasting the trailer with their hoses on full force. I don't know of any other state that can rain like Indiana! Roy sat outside between downpours keeping vigil as to whether we would need to move the trailer to higher ground.

This picture was taken directly behind our trailer. Look how close the water is to the sidewalk. If you look at yesterday's blog, you can see how much the creek has come up the bank. While not totally spilling over the sidewalk on the campground side of the creek, it is flooding the street and parking lots on the other side.

There's just a few inches in our yard. It's under the blue rug, too. My sneakers are soaked from trips out with the dogs. I've decided some rubber boots would be a great addition to our gear.

This is the view this morning when walking toward Rice Island.

The sign on the left side of the picture saying "Grand Trails" is the campground we are staying at. The sign is near the entrance to the upper campground. We are upstream to the right of the picture in the lower campground! The flooded area to the front of the picture is the street going uphill to the campground. The white turbulance in the center of the picture is water rushing over the bridge. The pile of brush above the yellow sign is stuff that floated downstream and jammed against the culverts under the bridge. If you click the pictures, they will go full screen. Just hit the back button to return to the blog.

Here's a closer look at the bridge! We're not trapped on this side of town, as there is a higher bridge just a few streets away. My brother said some white water kayakers used to show up when the stream flooded just to shoot the rapids and float over the bridges. The city eventually put a stop to it. That's probably a good thing. As I'm writing at 5:20 p.m., it's still raining. We're enjoying a peaceful day indoors listening to the rain and watching the creek!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Flood Threat

The weatherman forecasted 5 inches of rain for today, but so far it seems as though it has abated. The stream behind the camper has swollen tremendously, and we've been alerted to possible flooding. We've been keeping an eye on the stream today, and so far so good. This is the view downstream from Rice Island.

We have a pair of Mallards in the stream that we've enjoyed watching since being here. It seems the eggs have hatched! Aren't they cute!