Our Travel House

Our Travel House

Thursday, July 31, 2014

 7-29-14, Tuesday...We've been busy!! Last weekend my daughter and ASIL ( almost son in law ) came up to Houghton Lake and spent the weekend. Luckily the weather behaved, though cool at night. Our hosts, Jerry & Terra, let the company use their 5th wheel accomadations. They haven't even used it yet!! Just got it a short time ago. Nice rig !! We all ate way too much good food. Jerry smoked a nice variety of meats and even a large turkey !! YUMMY !!! We talked about their upcoming wedding and a million other things. I guess us being gone 22 months required a lot of catchup one on one time.

We all shared hugs and smiles Sunday night as they had to be back at w..o..r..k.. (sigh) on Monday morning.
Yesterday I decided it was time to do the semi annual scrubbing of the motorhome. I dread that job ! No, not really, it's just that it's a lot of w..o..r..k ! (please notice I dislike that 4 letter word). Out came the cleaning gear and power washer and hoses. I did a really good roof cleaning as I want to put a coat of sealer on it. I need about 3 days of good weather to complete that. I washed the front and rear and about then I ran out of steam. WOW, where did 4 ½ hrs go ?? Oh well, there's always tomorrow to finish. The windows came out nice and clean. The well water in Houghton Lake is great.
Today, the weather guessers are saying rain possible so No Roof Sealer today. Decided to “ purge “ some more stuff in the trailer. Managed to get some extra gear out. Beginning to look like we might have some extra room in it. Hmmmm! I wonder if a scooter would fit in there??
Got a plan to go to one of our favorite parks, Reedsburg Dam.
We'll stay there from Thursday til Tuesday.It's about 5 miles West of here. No hookups but only $13 per night.We've got a few other people coming to join us. There's a lot of memories out there. Hopefully the fish are hungry. Want to join us?? The more the merrier !! Lots of bonfires !
We've managed to see a lot of our friends. Our good friend, Dora, has let us “camp” in her parking lot behind her business ( Back Door Saloon & Eatery )and Wednesday we'll be there again. It's “spaghetti day” and it's GOOD !
We have really enjoyed seeing her.
I think I mentioned changing out the trailer axle. DONE !! I gave up on the dropped axle style and now have a straight axle.

This is #3. I got a made in the USA axle this time because the made in Mexico axles bend even though the trailer weighs only 2840# and the axle is rated 3500#. I sure hope we don't do a repeat of this problem. It only takes about an hour to changeout but isn't cheap.
We're helping Jerry get his new 5th wheel setup and loaded for the weekend so I gotta go!

Charlie & Heather

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July 20th thru 23rd..Camps 110-111 Michigan summer.

Sunday 7-20-14--The last few days have been soooo relaxing! We're hunkered down in Camp #109 at our friend's house. The past 3 days have flown by. Bonfires every night and great gabbing. Last night we had a smoked brisket with corn on the cob and lots of sides. A lot of friends showed up so the time flew. My buddy Jerry is a master chef of smokin' !! His new smoker is huge.

My project for the week is to change out the axle on our utility trailer. Seems to have bent again. This will be the second time I've done this! These axles are rated for 3500# and the trailer, loaded, weighs 2840#. It's getting aggravating. We've had a few people mention the angle of the tires and I could see what they meant. These axles are what is known as a “ dropped axle”. They lower the trailer box about 6” . This time I'm installing a straight tube axle to, hopefully, stop this from repeating.

Our Michigan weather has finally normalized. This week will be in thee high 70's and sunny. Much better.

Tonight we're headed to The Back Door Saloon, Camp 108, to enjoy some music & karaoke. Gonna do some domestic chores today and hit the dump around the corner.

Houghton Lake, Mich. is fully into tourist season and the traffic is quite heavy. Reminds me of Florida during “ season “. Wally World was packed yesterday. I really don't like crowds like that.

7-22-14 Tuesday We pulled out for a day or two trip at about 1000 hrs .. Left the trailer in the yard this time. Seems weird without it. Speaking of weird, used the house bathroom and found myself trying to flush the toilet with a foot pedal that wasn't there..ha ha ha ha.....We got our fishing licenses and LP Gas and gassed up. Heading up to Mio and Mackinaw City to visit Heathers family. It's only a few hours drive. I found a couple of Passport America Parks and will do some 1 night stops.

Met Heather's dad, near his house, at Ma Deeters, a well known Pub in the country and had lunch. He arrived on his Harley, which is all chromed out and beautiful. Nice visit !! Camped for the night at Pine Acres CG for $16. ( Camp # 110 ).

7-23-14 Next day we visited the cemetary to visit Heather's mom's gravesite and then drove the scenic M-33 North up to Cheboygan and lunched a Big Boys..YUM..then to Mackinaw City. Holy Cow was that place crawling with the summer crowd. We scouted the area for RV parking as we're meeting Heather's Aunt & Uncle at their restaurant, The Pancake Chef , in the A.M. Great food coming!! We also drove out to the USCG Ice Cutter, Mackinaw. I hadn't seen the new ship and it's impressive. We noticed a new museum dedicated to this ship so we may do the tour tomorrow too. That'll solve the parking problem too as it's only a block away from the restaurant.

For tonight were at Mackinaw City Park just South of town (Camp 111). $15 tonight.

Really haven't made any plans after this. I guess we'll see what the weather guessers are saying in the morning first. If we drive back to Houghton Lake it only takes about 2 hours.


Charlie & Heather.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Camps 108 & 109 Home in Houghton Lake, Michigan

Middle of the week 7-16-14. Up and running at 0730. Knowing that we had a little longer drive than our usual piddly amount we cut the morning coffee hour down to 2 hrs. (grin)

Checked the wether (purposeful) or not reports and all was a go. Light winds and partly sunny.

Southbound I-75 thru the U.P. was a breeze. Traffic was light and we blasted thru at our usual 55MPH+. We stopped at a scenic turnout and got a few pics of the Mighty Mackinac Bridge in the distance. I think tree trimmers are needed.

Per Rand McNally, we had a total of 170 mls to traverse. Whew!! I may be worn out after that!! I figured we'd be in Houghton Lake by 1530 hrs.

It was a good feeling when we finally saw our exit sign and we were both grinning. We dawdled our way into town on M-55 and took notice of anything that had changed in 22 months..not much.

Took a parking spot behind “our” favorite hangout, The Back Door Saloon. ( Camp # 1 & now 108) Our close friend, Dora, and owner of the place, was “attacked” by hugs and grins just moments after we shutdown. So wonderful to see her. Of course we took her Wednesday's special,Spaghetti, with us for dinner. We chatted for awhile and a few hours later headed to Jerry & Terra's place to camp in their yard. (Camp # 109).

Jerry & Terra and us go way back. When we had a stix & brix we all hung out and camped together. Nicer people could never be found. Gotta lot of plannin' and fun to do. Sure feels good to be here!

Can't forget to mention Terra's son, our young man's name, Terrance Now, as much as we love to travel and explore, ya just can't beat “ home” feel. We've got a lot of travel stories to share with our “homies”. Lot's of bonfires this month and if ya want a stock tip....Amheiser-Busch will probably go up this month !! (grin).

Our friend, Mike C., also stopped in for a quick chat. So nice to see him too.

About 2000 hrs I just had to slip in a nap. Too much excitement for 1 day I guess. Managed to stay down for an hour and decided to unload our day on this blog. I'm all grins and content for tonight. Hope to see Terra before it gets too late ( she had to work tonite).

Hmmmm !!! As I was writing the last sentence, guess who showed up !! Of course Jerry had started a backyard bonfire and we all sat up and talked til 0100hrs..Oh My !! Haven't done that in a longgggg time..

The world would be a better place for everyone if everyone had our circle of friends.


Charlie & Heather.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sault Ste Marie Mich. Camp #107

Mid July in Michigan's U.P....Been enjoying the cooler daytime temps but mid 40's at night?? Crazy Michigan weather !!!
We're camped in Sault Ste Marie at the Keewadin Casino RV Park. ( Camp # 107 )
Just electric but there's water and a dump here too. Since it's only $10 per day and it's got showers it's a great deal. We also have access to the hotel pool & sauna. We're only a 2 minute walk to Lady Luck. Had some good luck the other evening and ended up $300. Guess that'll cover expenses here.
Went touristing yesterday. Took in the Soo Locks Boat Tour.

Nice 1 ½ hr boat ride thru the American Lock upbound

and the Canadian Lock downbound. The weather stayed pleasant all day but the afternoon had some sprinkles. Had pasty's for lunch. (famous U.P. food) I was in the US Coast Guard up here in the 60's
and we took a cruise thru the town and it sure has grown up. We also went thru the Great Lakes Museum which is on a freighter.
Lot's to see !

Today we're staying flexible as the weather guessers are sayin rain. Bought our tickets to see the History Tower and finish the Great Lakes Museum. Yesterday our feet said enough so we cut that short.
Jello Plan says we may leave the U.P. Wednesday. I've had enough “ winter “. Getting tired of listening to the furnace at night.
Besides, we're looking forward to getting downstate. A short drive of 170 miles will get us to Houghton Lake, our hometown, and warmer weather. It'll be good to see our friends. Originally we thought we'd do some visiting enrt. But …...well, ya know !!! :) We'll go visiting from a “home base “.
I still need to get a fishing license. That's one thing I miss about Florida, fishing all the time!
We hope everyone of you are in good health & Happy.

Charlie & Heather

Thursday, July 10, 2014

7-10-14 Thursday...Left Gladstone, Mich. At our usual leisurely pace about noon as we only had a short hop to make.

Did something different this time. I have a buddy of mine & his wife, that I used to work with, ( I've been retired since 2002) that live near Manistique, Mi. I've kept in touch with him via Facebook and so I called him and we stopped at his place. They really have a beautiful spot in North country. Had a great afternoon and evening of chit chat and went out to dinner to partake of Pasty's ( meaty pot pie, sort of). Pasty's are famous up in the Upper Penninsula. We got stuffed and went back to his place to burn the midnight oils. Finally called it a night at 2300hrs, geezer time, ya know??

We had coffee with them in the A.M. and headed to Manistique, only a few miles West..Kewadin Casino..They have a RV “park”..basically a spot to park and a 20 amp plug. Of course since the Casino is only 800 ft away we had to try our luck! We ate in the casino restaurant and gambled for a few

hours. I certainly had fun but Lady Luck wasn't with me. Heather had fun but just broke even. I guess the best thing I can say is we didn't watch any commercials !!

We had coffee hours in the A.M. And pulled out at noon. Had a longggggg 35 mile trip to accomplish ! By 2PM were were planted again at Big Cedar CG & Livery in Germfask, Mich. Nice RV Park in the woods. The owner greeted us and it only took a few minutes to get comfy again. I really like these longgggg drives. LOL

It amazes me how RV Parks advertise. This place is a Passport America Park, so 50% off. It says on the internet site & on the sign out front it has FHU ( full hook ups) . We got a site with electric & water. HMMMM!! ( For the newbies, that's NOT FHU)

I walked around and noticed about 9 sites with sewer and there's still 1 unoccupied. It's no problem for us as we can go for days without FHU's but then the owner informs us it's $10 to use the dump..( con game).another hmmmm !!! We've been in over 100 camps in the last 2 years and have never seen such chicken sh** !!! I guess I could do a great “review” on park reviews.com, couldn't I ???

We took advantage of the laundry here because we will be kinda ruffin' it for the next few days up in the Taquamenon Falls area. Got another Longgggg drive tomorrow, I think it's 70 miles..hahahahaha.

The cool nights are great for sleeping. Averaging mid 60's. I keep looking at the Southern temps and saying to myself “ I'm glad we're not there” !!

We video chatted with some friends of our's down in Florida via FB ( facebook) ...I think that's so cool !!! Imagine doing that 20 years ago..real Dick Tracy kinda stuff !

Very hard to believe we're approaching the middle of July. Time goes by when you're havin' fun !!


Charlie & Heather.

I was going to put some pics on this blog...no such luck---AGAIN !!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Da U.P. travels--Camps 101 & 102

7-7-14 Up early Monday morning. Moving day again. Enjoyed our 5 day stay at ( Camp # 101 ) Lake Gogebic State Park in the beautiful Michigan U.P..

That park should be used as an example for all State's parks. Well kept, clean, restrooms are pristine, individual showers. Staff was friendly. Nice friendly ppl. Quiet at night. On the water, etc..

Before we left the park we hit the dump and loaded up a tank of fresh H2O.We pulled out at 1100hrs and a lot of campers were still there, about 50% full.

We drove the picturesque US 2 and US 69 til we hit Escanaba. Had to detour a few miles when we came up on a terrible wreck a few miles West of Escanaba involving a big motorhome and other vehicles. We could see the mess from where they detoured us. NOT a good situation.

Made a quick supply stop in Escanaba and drove for about 10 minutes to city of Gladstone & the Gladstone Bay campground. ( Camp # 102 ) Easy check in, friendly, $27/night for FHU & cable !! Our site is a pull thru and graveled and very level. Only here for 1 night. We have a view of Little Bay De Noc on Lake Michigan. Gotta dip our toes again. This summer we should be able to dip toes in 3 or 4 of our Great Lakes.

Took an evening stroll and Heather dipped her toes in the cold water.
There's a nice running path that follows the lakefront. This park also has bikes to borrow for free. I do believe they've thought this CG out very well.

Casino camping tomorrow..c'mon Lady Luck !


Charlie & Heather.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Feel like becoming a Gypsi !! Lake Gogebic

7-6-14 Presently at Lake Gogebic State Park near Marenisco, Mich. In the Western Upper Penninsula.

I was thinking about our “ Gypsy Lifestyle “ today, if that's what you call it. We have the ability to go where we want, when we want and seldom worry about deadlines. That's quite a change from what life was like a few years ago. I'm sure anyone contemplating becoming an RV gypsy wonders how they would acclimate to this lifestyle. But...that's one of the tricks to make the change!! It's not a vacation..it's a “lifestyle”.

As most newbies start out they move around quickly as they're still in a frame of mind, developed during their working years, that they have to cram as much in as if they were on vacation. I remember thinking I needed a vacation after my vacation.

Once the dust settles, usually after the first year, it hits ya “ What's my rush??” Things that you always rushed thru become mundane and relaxed. The grin on your face comes more easily, people you come across put you at ease. Bonfires become second nature. Things you worried about become less and less.

Because we travel in an older, classic motorhome people always ask us what we do for any breakdowns. We decided, long ago, that it would be burdensome to carry $100000 of debt and always have to head to an RV dealer for repairs to do the very same thing we do now with no payments. If we need a repair we always find a truck repair place to fix most anything. Another perk is I can get almost any parts needed at and auto supply. Our 454 (7.4L) Chevy drivetrain and a P30 Chevy chassis is very common and parts are always available. Unlike the newer rigs, I can still work on this one and not have to worry about all the gadgets that seem to be a boondoggle to all the new rigs.

We've been on the road now for almost 5 years and fulltiming for 2 years and so far so good. Total down days due to breakdowns?? About 8 days. Not too bad. Been towed 2 times and got lucky enough to camp in the repair yard a few times. Only had to use a motel once. ( of course, repairs at a Chevy dealer). Another ploy I use is to find a local pub owner and ask who does repairs..works every time.

I recommend Progressive fulltimer's insurance and Good Sam Road Service to hedge your bets. We've had good service from both.

Feels good to be in our home state. Have plans to cruise around in the U.P. and do some sightseeing. We'll be up here for a week+ (jello plan) and then drift to the “mitt”. Some visiting with some friends I worked with are in the plan. Haven't seen Mitchie & Pam in quite awhile.

Sault Ste Marie, where I spent my Coast Guard years, and the casino there, will encompass next week. Memories, memories !!

Hope ya'll had a great 4th of July weekend, we did.

I lost the ring Heather gave me !! She found it in the fire pit! All is well..thank you Lord !!


Charlie & Heather

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Last days in Wisconsin 6-30-14

6-28-14 Saturday...Had our usual relaxed coffee hour and pulled out of Stevens Point, Wi., Jordan RV Park at 1000hrs..kinda cloudy but the weather guessers are saying only a 20% chance of rain.

We drove straight North along 39/51 all the way to the shores of Lake Superior and went West about 25 miles to Bad River Casino RV park. Just a parking spot a few hundred feet to the casino entrance. We have electric and water and they have a dump close by behind the gas station. As usual, the free wi-fi doesn't work even though it shows a good signal, and since we're in the boonies there's no Verizon cell or wi-fi service. I sometimes wonder if they place these casinos in out of touch areas so you only have gambling to entertain you !! I guess I should be happy as they gave us $5 free for gambling.

The wind today was testy! Kinda gusty and it was enough to keep your attention on the road. The last 50 miles was traffic free so no problem drifting!

I'm glad, once again, for the long 30 amp extension cord we have.

Never would have reached the power pedestal without it. We've used it in about 20% of the RV Parks we've stayed at due to the trailer adding 15ft to our length. If RV Parks had the hookups on the driver's side about 10ft from the rear line all would be good, but there's no standard designs. We also carry 100ft of extra water hose and extra 24ft of sewer hose and 200ft of extra coax for the satellite dish. “Semper paratus “ as I was taught in the service! This all adds to less hassle and more fun.

I'm still in the middle of installing our new “ Jack Antenna “. Got most of the pre-wiring done and just waiting for decent weather and sitting in one place long enough to drill the holes in the roof to mount the antenna. I hate putting holes in the roof! Bought a lot of expensive caulk for the sealing of it. Perhaps this week??

6-30-14 Monday..

We've been camped at Saxon, Wi. County RV Park for 2 days. Absolutely beautiful park right on Lake Superior. There's a Marina here too. Seeing all the boats, rigged for Salmon fishing, reminds me of the decades I was on my boat. One BIG drawback—no cell or internet service !! It's times like this I wish we had Hughes Net service but I think we'll survive. It's suprising how addictive we can become to all the connections to the world nowadays. We're at the base of the hill that surrounds most places around the Great Lakes so no signals of any sort. The campground host has Hughes Satellite service so they're in touch with it all. I just can't see paying that much for the few times we find ourselves in this situation.

Have any of our followers used Dishtv internet?? Can't find too much info on user satisfaction or how to set it up. Do they use a sat dish??

This park has electric service and water is nearby and a dump is across the street. The flies are terrible. We pull out tomorrow and we'll be heading to Ironwood, Mi., about an hour East. Hope to find a laundromat and some civilization for 2 days and then we camp at Lake Gogebic State Park thru the Holiday weekend.

Watching, on tv, the weather West & South of us. Glad we're not there. 80MPH winds and tornados is definitely not the way to have fun. We watched a storm out over Lake Superior yesterday and we could hear the thunder and see the lightning. Very awesome to see that on the horizon. If I remember correctly, the horizon is about 60 miles away. We had a windy afternoon today and there's lots of tree debris on the ground now. Our daytime temps have been 80F.

Since we're heading into Michigan, our home state, I've been calling some of our friends and family to setup some visits. We'll probably spend (Jello plan) a few weeks in the Upper Peninsula and hit mid Michigan after a few visits enroute.

As any of our followers know, we like casinos. Just made a few hundred dollars at the last casino we stopped at. There's several casino CG's across the U.P. so I know we'll use them. They usually run $10 to $20 less per night than private CG's and they certainly give you more options for things to do than watch TV. Another look forward to stop is Sault Ste. Marie. Hopeing to take the boat tour of the locks and see the Maritime Museum. I spent a few years there, in the Coast Guard, when I was a young man in the early 60's.

Enough blogging fot the day ! Steak & corn on the cob grilling tonight.


Charlie & Heather