Wednesday, June 24, 2015

On the way to Erie

Roundup Lake Campground, Mantua, OH – June 23 through 24, 2015

Today was just an ordinary travel day. Bradd and Halls was getting pretty busy and even though we had one or two adjustments we wanted them to make, it was time to go. Sometimes, you just have to get moving.

After a fairly uneventful day of travel we landed at our destination, Firelake Campground in Bowling Green, Ohio. After we got Big Guy set up, relaxed with a adult beverage and enjoyed the sunset.


the next morning we arise near 8’ish and putter around on miscellaneous things while enjoying our morning AirPress coffee. Soon it’s noon and we must make a decision as to whether we go exploring or move on the the next location. If we are moving on, as a rule we have been picking a couple of campgrounds (Plan A and Plan B ya’ know) and just showing up to grab a site for the night. While that has worked well in the western half of the United States, up here in the Northeast it’s been a whole ‘nother story.

We’re finding now that we have to call ahead to secure a spot early, and if we haven’t made a weekend reservation weeks in advance, forget it. You’re not getting in. For us this is very unsettling as we hate plans and don’t want to have to rush from campground to campground and not explore along the way. We prefer to meander as the mood strikes. This may have to change if we are to continue spending the summer here in the northeast. Boondocking is out of the question for two reasons, 1) Too hot, it’s in the mid 80’s during the day and 2) There are very few boondocking spots around that we fit into.

So, with that said, we’re aiming for cooler weather up near Lake Erie. In the back of our minds we have a potential destination in mind, but first we have to get off our butts and get going.

We like traveling primary and secondary highways and avoiding Interstates whenever possible. I know, I know, you can average a higher speed on the Interstate but it’s sooo boring. That said, adventure awaits on those US, State and County highways. for instance, where along an Interstate could you get out and check how the corn was growing?


This is my navigator hard at work.


Then, one of the county highways we chose ended up being resurfaced. So we got to see the backend of lots of trucks.


For a while US 6 was our main highway and to our surprise, is dedicated to the Grand Army of the Republic. Ah, you ask, what is that?

In 1937, Route 6 stretched from Provincetown, Massachusetts  to Long Beach, California making it the longest transcontinental highway in the US. Originally named the Roosevelt Highway, the name fell out of favor in the 1950’s. It was soon thereafter dedicated to the Grand Army of the Republic.

The G.A.R. was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army (United States Army), Union Navy (U.S. Navy), Marines and the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service who served in the American Civil War for the Northern/Federal forces. Founded in 1866, it was dissolved in 1956 when its last member died. The G.A.R. was very active politically, supporting voting rights for black veterans, promoting patriotic education, helping to make Memorial Day a national holiday, lobbying the United States Congress to establish regular veterans' pensions, and supporting Republican political candidates.


One thing we continue to be pleasantly surprised by is the display of patriotism we see along the way.


We stumbled onto Hudson and decided to stop and figure out where we were going. We needed to call around and see if any one had room for us. We weren’t just going to show up and get a nasty “Sorry, No space” surprise. And we needed to get Mocha some of her special cat food.

We spied a small shopping center that had a pet store and pulled in. After we had purchased the cat food and were on the way back to the RV, we noticed these cool old cars pulling in.


Afterwards, we just had to go support the sponsoring restaurant.


Then it was on to Roundup Lake Campground in Mantua, Ohio for the night. Next stop, Erie, PA.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Milling Around Muskegon, Part 2

Fisherman's Landing Campground, Muskegon, Michigan - June 11 through June 16, 2015

This campground is all about fishing as you can tell by the campground name. Every where you look there are boats. And as we’ve come to expect, all the prime spots are occupied by seasonal campers. We request a spot away from the playground and they find one for us next to the bath house. Since there are no sewer hook ups, this location will come in very handy.


Another plus to this campground is that it is right beside a 10 mile bike trail which EJ and I take advantage of.


EJ’s in the lead and I’m trying to keep up!


The first day we are there a washing machine shows up in the bath house. It sits unused for a day even though its hooked up and ready to go. Then word gets around the campground and all of a sudden there is a waiting line to use the washer. It’s free, so why not? A walk around the campground reveals lots of clothes lines hastily thrown up to dry the freshly washed clothes.

A day or so later, the companion dryer machine shows up. Now both machines are running constantly until the wee hours of the morning. The weekend goes by and we patiently wait our turn. It eventually comes. After all, it’s free and we can afford to wait. And besides, Mocha, the cat, is in the way.


While we’re on cat pictures, the temperatures here next to the lake are pretty brisk in the mornings. Mocha tends to get a little wild when that happens. Lets see what happens when you add a few sprinkles of catnip. Hmmm, a zoned out cat!


EJ’s been craving a decent farmer’s market and it so happens there is one right downtown. It’s very nicely done and well laid out with permanent roofs and lots of room to maneuver.


Next we walked to the Post Office, which is right next door to the farmers market to post some letters. Dad’s birthday and father’s day is coming up so we need to get some cards in the mail.

Leaving the post office, there is a water jet display for the kids to play in. On little kid though, seems to enjoy sitting right on top of the water nozzle.


Snow? In June? I know it’s been cool, but snow?


Actually the Cottonwood trees are spreading their seeds in feathery little tufts that reasonable cotton. The wind has piled them up here along the road so that at first glance it does resemble snow.

Where we are staying is a municipal park surrounding a private campground. The park is very active with gatherings, fish tournaments, and activities. One day the had a fishing tournament for young kids. And it was popular.


Right across from us, one of the seasonal campers was trying to grow a patch of grass from seed. They even had the patch marked with a yellow string so folks wouldn’t walk through it. This muskrat really seemed to enjoy all the efforts of this camper while munching on the fresh shoots of grass.


When you’re exploring you never know what you will come across. This vintage vehicle was chugging right on down the street.


We saw an announcement for an antique tractor and hit or miss engine display at the local fairgrounds, Having missed the opportunity at other locations many times in the past, we just had to check this one out. There was a smattering of old trucks and cars, a lot of antique tractors, but only about 4 hit or miss engines. And only one of the engines was running, but it was still fun.


Then the real fun began. How many old guys does it take to turn a gunny sack full of of ears of corns into a bucket of corn meal? Well, it was sort of corn meal. There were an awful lot of whole kernels that made it to the bucket.


One afternoon, we decided to go see what the area north of Muskegon looked like. We found another lighthouse. This one is the White River Light Station.


This blockhouse located in Muskegon State Park was heavily damaged by fire, then rebuilt. If you enlarge the picture and examine the left side of the building under the overhang, you can see attempts have been made to burn it again. And, I got photo bombed by some kid in the window above me.


After the weekend crowds died down at the campground and most of the vehicles left, this sign became visible. So that’s what all the commotion was about Friday and Saturday nights.


Our time is Muskegon has come to an end. The cool weather was a blessing, but now it’s starting to warm up. Our blinds and chairs have arrived in Elkhart, so we are headed back south to get them installed.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Milling Around Muskegon, Part 1

Muskegon Elks Lodge Campground, May 31 through June 10, 2015

Definition of Milling Around – to move around in a disorderly manner in a limited area.

We are being shocked at the prices of overnight stays at campgrounds in this part of the country. Boondocking spots are mostly located inland where it is too hot which means pricy RV Parks might be the only refuge. Using our research resources we discover that the Elks Lodge in Muskogen has a campground right on Lake Michigan. And it has a weekly rate that is reasonable. So we make a quick phone call and find they have space for us. Frank checks the place out using Google Satellite it appears that there are 80 campsites.

Once we arrive, it’s explained to us that out of the 80, only 5 are available to transient travelers like us. The rest of the sites are only available by the season. Well that’s certainly interesting. However, it is such a unique spot, on the lake, surrounded by wilderness, but only 10 minutes to the closest Starbucks, we can definitely understand the attraction of renting a site for the whole summer season. We asked about the availability of one of the seasonal spots and were told the waiting list was over a hundred names long. Plus about the only way to get a spot was for someone to die. Wow!


Just after we arrived and got set up, Frank’s brother Terry, who lives in Texas, called and asked where we were. We said Michigan, and he said that’s where they were headed. Plans were made to get together in a few days.

In the meantime, EJ found a Costco in Grand Rapids where we needed to get some warranty work taken care off and she also made an appointment for Frank to go to an ENT specialist to see if the ear infection that didn’t want to to away was causing any hearing damage.

So it was a big day to get all that taken care of, but we managed to have some fun along the way.


The next day, Terry and Joy arrived. We hung out in the RV for awhile before deciding to head over to Spring Lake to check out Old Boys Brewhouse for lunch.

Afterwards we wandered over to the beach to check out the views.


The next day we decided to check out Holland. It was too late to see any tulips, they were long gone. We had lunch at the New Holland Pub on 8th and it was good.


Next we headed off in search of ice cream.

2015-06-07 16.43.58

Wandering down the streets we spied a new kind of convertible. I’m guessing this is a “one of a kind”!


We took a walk along the waterfront and found a light house.


All too soon it was time to head back to the RV and say our goodbyes for Terry and Joy were headed back to their house in the morning. After they drove off, EJ and I walked over to the beach and caught a fantastic sunset.


Over the next few days we continue to meander around the area exploring more breweries, beaches, lighthouses and margueritas.


On Saturday night, the Elks had a steak cookout and we were invited to join them. $25 got you two steaks, potatoes, salads, desserts and more. But you had to cook your own steaks. This is what happens when you get a bunch of ELks hunting a bargain. Somewhere in the middle of that mass of people is the cooking grille.


We couldn’t get close enough to the grille to cook our steaks, so we took everything back to Big Guy, got out our own grille and had our own picnic.

We tried to extend our stay, but all the spaces were reserved for the next few days so we have to move on. We are enjoying the temperatures here, so naturally we have no desire to move any further inland. We find an RV park right on the edge of downtown Muskegon on the water. So that’s our next stop.