Time for the change in plans we have been referring to.

Ok, we have been toying with hints and innuendo’s about our summer travel plans changing for the last few updates so I guess it’s time to get up to speed with what we have been referring to.

Some of you may or may not remember or even know about the hoopla we went through in Florida when we bought this coach in 2014 but to make a long story VERY short (compared to the whole ordeal) we drove away with a few very small items left on our punch list of repairs unfinished and of course during the first year of ownership a couple more very small things popped up. None of them earth shattering or any that hampered our use of the coach but issues that needed to be addressed none the less at some point.

We communicated to Tiffin that we probably were not going to be anywhere near the factory within our 1st year of ownership and we really felt having the issues we did have taken care of at the factory was something we wanted to do. And of course them knowing what we went through with our original purchase they told us they would keep the list of issues on file and would honor the repairs under warranty at any time in the future convenient to us which was all we could ask for.

As time went on we actually fixed a couple things ourselves that was on the list and never really worried about the other items until about 6 months ago when we had an electrical failure on part of our heated floor, we have 2 zones for the heated floor and the zone that control’s the front half from the bedroom forward failed.

We normally stay in warmer climates so not having the front heated floor wasn’t a big deal but the idea that it was an electrical issue bothered me and soon after we experienced the problem a recall was issued so we knew what to expect as far as repairs go. So I just cut the power to that zone and we carried on with life. Again, nothing earth shattering, except that failure could have really gone bad fast.

What our map looks like for our travels since Jan. 1st. 2017

What our map looks like for our travels since Jan. 1st. 2017

Then a little over a month ago during one of our travel days on the wonderful roads in Michigan (roads in Michigan are among some of the worst we have traveled on since hitting the road) we heard a loud POP but nothing was obviously wrong from our seats. However once we reached our destination Diane realized during setup that a tile had cracked right in front of our refer, we figured that was the pop we heard. Well bummer!

We carry a couple spare tiles with us and normally I would just replace the tile myself but as mentioned before, we have heated floors and I’m not all that familiar with just how the heated floors in the motorhome are constructed so I decided doing this repair was something I would leave for someone else. I didn’t want to be responsible for really screwing up the heating portion of the floor. If a shop screws it up THEY can fix it on their dime.

Even though a cracked tile would be hard to describe as earth shattering it was something that would bug us more than any of the other little items on our punch list so it started us thinking and our thoughts went something like this.

We are in Michigan which is about as close to Alabama as we may be for maybe another year so if we cut out time short in Michigan by just a couple weeks but do a few longer day trips while still in the area to at least see a little of the towns we originally planned to spend time in (we are referring to the long day trips to Holland and Ludington a couple updates back) and then bee-line it to Alabama so we can get all of our repairs done and out of our hair and still make it to Casa Grande Arizona for our November 1st reservations it would be a good thing. Whew, was that one long ass sentence full of poor grammar or what!!!! LOL!!!

All of that thinking happened while we were in the Traverse City area which set us up for our stop in Stanwood which was about as centrally located to Holland and Ludington and a couple other spots we wanted to visit and put us on a direct line to Shipshewana Indiana which would be the starting point for the real change in our summer plans, going to Red Bay Alabama.

Our original plans were to spend a little more time in Michigan, then drop out the bottom and angle over to Kansas City and tour Arrowhead stadium before continuing on through some of Colorado and on down to Arizona. But like most of us Fulltime RVers say, our plans are made in Jell-O and can change shape at any time. One thing we have learned to do in this life style is  be flexibility.

So, like we mentioned in our last update we woke up on Friday (9/15), lifted our jacks and hit the road with only one thing on our minds, and that was to drive the 640 miles in 2 days and get to Red Bay on Saturday.

Why the push to get to the factory on a Saturday when no one would even see us until Monday you ask, darn good question. The answer is you can’t make appointments at Tiffin and it’s a first come first serve type of setup, like it or not.

Anyway, after leaving Shipshewana we drove 430 miles (a new record for us for miles traveled in one day since hitting the road and one I hope stands for a darn long time) and spent the night in Goodlettsville Tennessee just north of Nashville.

Saturday morning we woke and hit the road at 7am again and drove the remaining 210 miles to Red Bay Alabama, checked in at the office, turned in our list of items needing attention and started the wait.

The next stage would be waiting for a tech to make his rounds Monday morning meeting everyone that checked in between closing on Friday and the opening on Monday to verify their list so they could be put in the Que.

Keep in mind that there are still lots of rigs still sitting from the week before still needing attention and even rigs from the week prior or maybe even the week prior so the waiting game can be pretty intense if you let it be. At this point we will just kick back and make the best of it.

All of these rigs are here for some type of repairs. It's just one big Tiffin Rally,,,, not really. We are on the right hand row about the 8th rig from the bottom of the long row of motorhomes.

All of these rigs are here for some type of repairs. It’s just one big Tiffin Rally,,,, not really. We are on the right hand row about the 8th rig from the bottom of the long row of motorhomes.

OH, to top it off Red Bay is in a dry county!!!! Why the heck are there dry counties anyway!!!??? And it’s hot and humid, dang we went from temps in the mid 70’s most of the time for the last couple months to high 80’s and high humidity in the blink of an eye. I’m not so sure we have our heads screwed on right LOL.

We will just let it be at this and will go into how things are going, or went at Red Bay in our next update. We are hoping that we get out of here in a timely manner and if we do we plan to head North West to tour the New Horizons 5th wheel plant in Junction City Kansas before angling down to Arizona for the winter.

Wish us luck.

[DK1]

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A visit to Shipshewana Indiana

Well, after our travel day Monday (9/11) we woke up in Shipshewana Indiana where we stayed for 4 nights.

 Why Shipshewana? Well it seemed to be a centrally located spot to tour a couple RV manufacturing plants in the area PLUS it’s the only place in Indiana listed in the “1000 Places to See Before You Die” book LOL!!

 Shipshewana is a very small town of less than 1000 people but it has a number of antique shops, country style décor shops, a couple great Amish furniture shops and restaurants that are strong with Amish flavor.

 Shipshewana is also very well known for a huge Flea Market, it’s considered the largest Flea Market in the Midwest.

I didn't count but there must have been at least 7 rows like this.

I didn’t count but there must have been at least 7 rows like this.

Make me some ice-cream!!

Make me some ice-cream!!

 We have to be honest, we love going to Farmers Markets but the Flea Markets of this sort that have everything from the cheapest Chinese made products known to man to who knows what really isn’t our thing. At least not while we are living this RV life style because let’s face it, even though a person can find some really cool rusty & dirty things to take home and make treasures out of, what the heck are we going to do with them living in a RV.

Coleen!!! You would have spent hours in this booth. It was much bigger than I could fit in a picture.

Coleen!!! You would have spent hours in this booth. It was much bigger than I could fit in a picture.

We saw people using these at the Oshkosh Airshow and thought they were cool. We actually bought one. A blue one not shown here.

We saw people using these at the Oshkosh Airshow and thought they were cool. We actually bought one. A blue one not shown here.

 The upside to this particular market for us was that there was a pretty good Farmers Market set up at one end and we were able to pick up so nice fruits & vegetables, now those we can use!!    

 So between the attractions we mentioned, the Amish culture and the natural beauty of the area Shipshewana draws over 1 million visitors each year that according to a study that was performed adds about $137 million to the LaGrange County economy, so it has to have something people like.

 Ok, so we ate one meal at the #1 rated (by Trip Advisor) restaurant in town called the Blue Gate Restaurant and Bakery. You can either eat a sit down & order type meal upstairs or have a buffet style meal downstairs, we (well I) opted for the buffet (Diane would never pick a buffet as her 1st choice) which was far from the best meal we have ever had but it was ok. If we ever return we would try the sit down & order option upstairs.

 One good thing about eating at the buffet is that we were so darn full after eating that we didn’t buy a single thing at the bakery LOL!!! You can always find an upside if you look hard enough.

 We also went to Goshen and did a little touring before stopping in at Keystone RV Manufacturing to take a tour of the Montana 5th wheel plant.

 Goshen’s population is about 32,000 and is known as a center of manufacturing for recreational vehicles and accessories and the home of Goshen College, a small Mennonite liberal arts college.

 Even though the population is only 32,000 it was a PITA driving around because of all the road construction so we ended up showing up early for our tour at Keystone.

A frame of a Montana

A frame of a Montana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We won’t bore you with all the details of the tour, this was more of a researching thing for us  but the tour lasted a little over 2 hours and we went through all of the stages involved with the build process from when the frame enters the plant until a finished unit leaves. Well everything except the paint booth.

 On yet another day we drove 15 miles to Howe, Indiana to take a tour of the DRV 5th wheel plant.

Triple beam construction of DRV

Triple beam construction of DRV

 Once again we will not bore you with the fine details of this tour either but it also took about 2 hours and we saw the entire process from a bare frame sitting in a lot with suspension’s sitting alongside all the way through to completion (again except for the paint shop which is located off site).

Part of a cabinet shop at DRV

Part of a cabinet shop at DRV

A lot goes in before any side walls go up.

A lot goes in before any side walls go up.

This is how DRV mounts a side wall on a 101" wide unit.

This is how DRV mounts a side wall on a 101″ wide unit.

A coach ready for a side wall.

A coach ready for a side wall.

Waiting to go on a coach.

Waiting to go on a coach.

Wall being taken to the coach for installation.

Wall being taken to the coach for installation.

 By now you might be wondering, what the heck are Dave & Diane up to touring 5th wheel plants, they are motorhome people. Well that has a two part answer.

 #1, back in my working days one of the things I enjoyed most was being able to tour many manufacturing plants around the country. I’ve toured everything from lumber mills on the west coast to carpet and hardwood plants in Georgia and countless other plants in between and I enjoy it.

 #2, we have always said that even though we love our motorhome and everything about it just fit’s for us we would re- evaluate and consider switching to a 5th wheel when and if the time ever comes that we slow down our travels. We don’t mean stop traveling but if we start staying put in one spot for 2, 3 or 4 months at a time and moving far less than we have over the last almost 5 years.

 If you take into account that last winter we stayed in one location for 3 months and plan to do the same thing this winter for 4 months and the fact that we have been watching for a spot or 2 that we could do the same thing at during the summer months got us thinking that we might not be that far away from such a change. Certainly not this year and probably not next but after that who knows.

So because we were passing through the area of a couple well know and popular 5th wheel manufactures it just made sense to toss in a little advanced research. In fact if we had more time we would have toured a couple more plants just for fun but because of the slight changes to our final stages of our summer travel plans we couldn’t really hang around any longer, well we could have but felt it best not to.

We found some good meat in hear to toss on the grill!! Well actually next door I guess.

We found some good meat in hear to toss on the grill!! Well actually next door I guess.

 And now you might be saying, there they go again bringing up changes to their travel plans and such, what the heck are they referring to LOL!!! Well I promise we will go into that in our next update. Dang, are we turning into suspense writers???

I don't know why but we always get a kick seeing horse drawn carts parked. At one spot there were more carriages than there were cars.

I don’t know why but we always get a kick seeing horse drawn carts parked. At one spot there were more carriages than there were cars.

 Anyway, we enjoyed our short 4 day stay in Shipshewana but it was time to move on so on Friday (9/15) we woke up a little extra early and were on the road at 7am with no reservation for our next stop. Hmmm, now that’s different for us because we have a normal ritual of wheels rolling at 9 and 99.9% of the time we have reservations in place for our next stop, more suspense? Well it will all come together in our next update.    

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Touring around Stanwood, Ludington & Holland Michigan

 OK, as we mentioned at the end of our last update, Monday (9/4) we lifted our jacks, said so long to the Wild Cherry RV Resort and drove 120 miles south to the River Ridge RV Resort just outside of Stanwood Michigan.

Clubhouse and pool at Rivers Edge Rv Park

Clubhouse and pool at Rivers Edge Rv Park

1/2 of the park. Ok, count 4 rows from the left and we are the second rig from the right

1/2 of the park. Ok, count 4 rows from the left and we are the second rig from the right

Another 1/2 of the park

Another 1/2 of the park

 We have been spending all of our time since hitting Michigan along the Great Lakes shoreline so we thought moving inland a ways might give us a different perspective of Michigan. Even though River Ridge is still on water, but a river this time.

The boat ramp area just below the campground

The boat ramp area just below the campground

 The Muskegon River is a huge draw for this park, a lot of the people that come here own boats and take advantage of the boat docks right here in the park.

The river stayed pretty busy on the weekends.

The river stayed pretty busy on the weekends.

 If I had to guess I would say roughly 60% or maybe a bit more of the sites in the park are rented by seasonal renters and it seems to be very family oriented but while talking with a couple seasonal renters we were told that the owner of the place would like to see a larger present of the park being rented by seasonal’s and also be less geared for kids. But that may be tough with the big ol playground they have set up and the location to the river.

These sites have a great river view.

These sites have a great river view.

Everyone is gone and everything is covered up.

Everyone is gone and everything is covered up.

 We know one thing for sure, during the week even though there were plenty of rigs sitting in sites and lots of golf carts sitting covered the place was a ghost town. If it wasn’t for a small group of 8 Mobile Suites 5th wheel’s that rolled in together I think we would have felt all alone LOL!!

We are the second rig in on the left.

We are the second rig in on the left.

 Alone or not we had places to explore so it didn’t matter to us. On our first day there we toured Stanwood and Morley, a couple small towns closest to the RV Park. Well that took all of 15 minutes each LOL!! It took longer to drive to each of them than tour them.

 On another day we drove to Big Rapids. Big Rapids is a College town with a population of around 11,000 people so it had “stuff”. You know, stuff like a more happening downtowns area with eateries and a few pubs and it’s large enough to have any major shopping you might need to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Big Rapids was named for one of the biggest rapids on the Muskegon River but for some reason we neglected to find it. We just parked and walked the downtown area and did a driving tour around town during our visit. Big Rapids is the “go to” town if you ever stay at River Ridge for any shopping just so you know and is under 20 miles from the campground.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One day we took a day trip to Ludington, a little more of an aggressive tour day for us being 75 miles away from the campground but with the changes we have made to our trip south that we alluded to in our last update we needed to take on a couple of these longer tour days if we wanted to see a little more of the state before heading out.

Ludington is o the other side of the water.

Ludington is o the other side of the water.

 Ludington is a harbor town located on Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Pere Marquette River and has a population of around 9000 people and according to what we read on the internet (so of course it has to be true) Ludington is the fifth-most-popular tourist city in Michigan, behind Mackinaw City, Traverse City, Muskegon, and Sault Ste. Marie.

The beach in Ludington.

The beach in Ludington.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We only spent a chunk of one day touring Ludington and it did seem to have a lot to offer and is certainly a location we will go to spend a couple weeks when & if we return to Michigan but from our little snapshot of the area I would think rating it the 5th most popular tourist location in Michigan is pretty aggressive keeping the Petoskey and Charlevoix areas in mind. But hey, we did only spend part of a rainy day there.

 While in Ludington we checked out the water front and mainly did a driving tour of the area because once again we had a off and on again rainy day so doing much walking was out of the question.

 Ludington was originally named Pere Marquette then later named after the industrialist James Ludington, who’s logging operations the village developed around. Ludington was incorporated as a City in 1873.

 The town is big enough to have about everything a person could need as far as amenities and entertainment and with the summertime temps being what they are it’s a spot we could see ourselves visiting. Average highs are May 66, June 75, July 80, Aug 78 and September 70.

 While there we made sure to check out a few campgrounds to see first-hand in preparation for a return trip in the future. There is a variety of campgrounds to choose from ranging from State Parks in privately owned parks and I think we picked one out that would work for us.

 After touring around a good chunk of the day and having lunch at a spot called “House of Flavors” we picked a different route home and went on our way.

 As if one long road trip day wasn’t enough we opted for yet another to a town called Holland which was 79 miles one way from our campground. Holland has a population of 34,000 and was founded by Dutch Americans and is in an area that has a large percentage of citizens of Dutch American heritage. So because my grandma & grandpa came over to the states directly from the Netherlands this was a must visit spot for me.

 Because we only had one day to check things out we had to pick wisely and the #1 thing on our list to see was the Windmill Island Gardens.

When Holland, Michigan residents Willard Wichers and Carter Brown were looking for a way to pay homage to the city’s Dutch heritage they began a project to bring a Dutch windmill to the United States. However, many of these monumental structures had suffered serious damage in World War II and as a result the Dutch government had placed a ban on the sale of windmills outside the Netherlands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wichers and his group were able to gain an exemption by selecting a heavily damaged mill known as De Zwaan. De Zwaan was at the center of a controversy, with three local agencies unable to determine the future of the damaged windmill. The Dutch government decided to sell it to Wichers for $2800 so they bought it from a retired miller in the town of Vinkel in the province of Noord Brabant making De Zwaan the last windmill to leave the Netherlands.

 

 

 

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In October, 1964, De Zwaan arrived aboard the ship Prins Willem van Oranje. It was unloaded at the Muskegon harbor and transported by truck to Windmill Island in Holland.

 It took approximately 6 months to reconstruct the mill and in April 1965, the 125-foot windmill was formally dedicated on Windmill Island making it the only authentic, working Dutch windmill in the United States.

Check out the brick pattern and how it is angled from inside to outside instead of being flat. It's for strength.

Check out the brick pattern and how it is angled from inside to outside instead of being flat. It’s for strength.

In order to catch the wind from different directions the top of the windmill can be turned. It's done by the system in this picture and is held in place by the chain and hook.

In order to catch the wind from different directions the top of the windmill can be turned. It’s done by the system in this picture and is held in place by the chain and hook.

The arm going straight to the right with the rope hanging down is the brake system for the windmill.

The arm going straight to the right with the rope hanging down is the brake system for the windmill.

Another shot of the system that rotates the windmill arms "around" the tower.

Another shot of the system that rotates the windmill arms “around” the tower.

Under that angle piece is where the chain is hooked to anchor the windmill from rotating "around" the tower.

Under that angle piece is where the chain is hooked to anchor the windmill from rotating “around” the tower.

Can you see the black band that is going around the tower between the white strip and the blue and white squares? That is what turns "around" the tower and of course the arms move with it to catch the wind from the proper direction.

Can you see the black band that is going around the tower between the white strip and the blue and white squares? That is what turns “around” the tower and of course the arms move with it to catch the wind from the proper direction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oh, the De Zwaan was first was erected in Krommenie, Netherlands in 1761. In 1889, it was moved to Vinkel, Netherlands and reconstructed there so it had an interesting life before ever reaching the United States.

This is where the grinding wheels are adjusted to grind from course to fine. Pulling the rope is the main adjustment and the little blue things hanging on the piece of wood on the left is the fine tuning. The metal vent you see is where samples are taken from right before it drops down to where the bags are filled.

This is where the grinding wheels are adjusted to grind from course to fine. Pulling the rope is the main adjustment and the little blue things hanging on the piece of wood on the left is the fine tuning. The metal vent you see is where samples are taken from right before it drops down to where the bags are filled.

Grinding wheel.

Grinding wheel.

Like this the grinding wheel is disconnected from the arms on the windmill.

Like this the grinding wheel is disconnected from the arms on the windmill.

Back in the day when the mil keeper was working upstairs they had ladders instead of stairs so if someone came to buy a bag of flour the money would be put in the shoe and the keeper would just lift it up by the rope. Bags of flour would also be dripped down by the rope, see the bag hanging?

Back in the day when the mil keeper was working upstairs they had ladders instead of stairs so if someone came to buy a bag of flour the money would be put in the shoe and the keeper would just lift it up by the rope. Bags of flour would also be dripped down by the rope, see the bag hanging?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Of course we took the guided tour through the Windmill which was no doubt the highlight of our visit but there are other things to see as well like listening to the antique Amsterdam street organ and seeing how it operated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And walking the well landscaped grounds.

Ummmm, not so comfy

Ummmm, not so comfy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After our visit to the gardens we headed to the #1 rated (by Trip Advisor) restaurant in town called Deboer Bakkerij & Dutch Brothers Restaurant for a bite to eat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After lunch we spent a little time driving around town and walking the streets of downtown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the time the end of our tour day came we knew Holland would be a spot we would want to spend a week if & when we return to Michigan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last couple days in the area we played Pickelball a couple hours each morning followed by a trip into Big Rapids one day for a little shopping and on our last day we just stayed home and chilled.

Diane is over there on the right side of the picture.

Diane is over there on the right side of the picture.

Diane is over there on the right side of the picture ready for a serve to come her way.

Diane is over there on the right side of the picture ready for a serve to come her way.

 This will wrap up our time in Michigan this year and if you haven’t been able to tell by reading our updates over the last 6 weeks or so we have loved it!!

Swordfish & taters.

Swordfish & taters.

Burgers with a little cheese melting along with taters & onions.

Burgers with a little cheese melting along with taters & onions.

 One thing I think we realized after making our last jaunt more inland is that we liked the areas that are more on the shoreline and even though there are certainly a few things that are on our bucket list to see on the east side of the state we will be hard pressed to make ourselves break away from the west side.

Time for some stuffed French Toast

Time for some stuffed French Toast

It tasted a LOT better that in presents.

It tasted a LOT better that in presents.

 Monday (9/11) brought another travel day, we lifted our jacks and moved 150 miles south crossing into Indiana where we have a spot for 4 nights in Shipshewana.  

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Finishing up our stay at Wild Cherry

 Our short but pleasant 5 night stay at the Wild Cherry RV Resort just a few short miles outside of Sutton’s Bay has come to an end, Monday (9/4) we will lift our jacks and make another move.

 Wild Cherry was a nice contrast to the last few resorts we have stayed at in that it had more of a “campground” feel all though it a very well taken care of and well-manicured park with nice green grass, a pretty pond (that just begs for a floating target and floating golf balls I might add LOL), good sized site’s, a friendly staff and all surrounded by tree’s creating a feel isolation even though it is just a short drive to activities. Sort of an “I just want to stay home and kick back” feeling.

It got a little busier over the weekend but with the nice sized sites it was noooo problem.

It got a little busier over the weekend but with the nice sized sites it was noooo problem.

 Of course you know us, we have a hard time just kicking back it seems, especially when there is new territory to explore!!

 We spent a couple days walking the streets of Sutton’s Bay which is the closes town to Wild Cherry.

A couple shops in Suttons Bay

A couple shops in Suttons Bay

A couple shops in Suttons Bay

A couple shops in Suttons Bay

A couple shops in Suttons Bay

A couple shops in Suttons Bay

A couple shops in Suttons Bay

A couple shops in Suttons Bay

 We popped in and out of all the shops and enjoyed a nice lunch at the V.I Grill (rated #3 by Trip Advisor of places to eat in Suttons Bay).

Having lunch in Suttons Bay

Having lunch in Suttons Bay

This fruit stand was just up the road from our campground. We picked up some peaches & corn here.

This fruit stand was just up the road from our campground. We picked up some peaches & corn here.

Suttons Bay

Suttons Bay

Suttons Bay

Suttons Bay

Suttons Bay

Suttons Bay

 And we spent some time walking the docks like we have found ourselves doing more times since we have been on this summer’s trip than we have in our entire lives I think. Here is a link to more info about Suttons Bay in case you’re interested. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suttons_Bay,_Michigan

 

Suttons Bay

Suttons Bay

Suttons Bay

Suttons Bay

Just thought this was cool.

Just thought this was cool.

We also drove through the small town of Lake Leelanau but didn’t spend a bunch of time there even though it looked like they had a couple small places to eat that might be good.

 We also drove through Peshawbestown, Omena, Northport and Leland. Northport had a few shops that we walked through and had a couple restaurants that might be worth checking out if we were to be in the area longer but not this trip. One shop did seem to have a good grasp on how to greet customers however LOL!!

This little shop knows how to treat customers LOL!!

This little shop knows how to treat customers LOL!!

 Northport also had a nice harbor that we spent some time walking. As much as I dislike water I sure love the views that come with it. Diane on the other hand likes water, that’s one of the things I probably hold her back from enjoying in this life style but she doesn’t seem to mind too much even though she gets her digs in now and again LOL!! Here is a link to more info about Northport  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northport,_Michigan

 

Northport Michigan

Northport Michigan

This is for sale!! We have a friend that should buy this and make it home!!

This is for sale!! We have a friend that should buy this and make it home!!

Diane kicking back on the picnic bench taking in the views.

Diane kicking back on the picnic bench taking in the views.

Leland seemed to be our favorite little town in this area (along with Sutton’s Bay). Fishtown, a section of Leland filled with weathered fishing shanties, many original that are now filled with small shops along the mouth of the Leland River really make it special.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The historic shanties were once used primarily for commercial fishing operations, including net-mending sheds, ice houses, smoke houses, and storage. A few Fishtown shanties are still used today to support the current, active commercial fishing operation.

 Fishtown represents over 150 years of a working waterfront. Just think about the many cold, windy, snowy winters in Northern Michigan, these shanties have endured.

 While in Leland we had lunch at The Cove (rated #2 by Trip Advisor of places to eat in Leland) on the upper deck overlooking the water.

The view from our table during lunch

The view from our table during lunch

See the upper level patio on the right side of the picture? That is where we ate lunch.

See the upper level patio on the right side of the picture? That is where we ate lunch.

 It was a pretty darn good meal but it came with a pretty darn good sized tab as well LOL!!! I think when we drop out the bottom of Michigan we will need to get back to eating more meals at home. It seems we keep buying all these cool new items at the stores yet we keep eating out at all the neat places we see. The cupboards and freezer are bursting and we keep eating out.

Just saw this sitting along the street in Leland

Just saw this sitting along the street in Leland

 Well that really sums it up for this area, it’s time to make another move. Monday (9/4) we lifted our jacks and made another move to a spot we will celebrate our 19th Anniversary and Diane’s ## Birthday. Hmmm, funny the keyboard didn’t register Diane’s age. I guess it was looking out for my wellbeing.

Keeping the grill busy.

Keeping the grill busy.

Tuna and taters.

Tuna and taters.

A little Tri-tip action.

A little Tri-tip action.

 After this next stop the original thoughts we had on getting down to Arizona for the winter have changed but we will talk more about that in the next couple updates I guess.     

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Travel day to Wild Cherry RV Resort

 Well Boy HOWDY!!!! After recording our expenses for August I had to go back and check but we have just completed 2 of the most expensive months we have had since being on the road for almost 5 years (excluding buying the new motorhome and pickup). We keep this up and we (well I) will be looking for a work camping gig LOL!!!

 It seems we always spend more money on this side of the country but we did say we were going to treat this summer like a vacation. So, if you read our yearly reviews you might remember us saying that we don’t normally treat this life style like a vacation because if we did we would go broke and our fulltime travels would come to a premature end, well these last two months confirm that LOL!!!

Oh well, we have been having a great summer and life is short so what the hell, right!!?? We have to “Throw Caution to the Wind” now and again just to live up to our blog title LOL!!

 For the record we ended up a bit over $1100 over budget for August with campground fees and food being the biggest culprits. Even with being over on food “a lot” if we could have even been CLOSE to our campground budget we would have been under budget over all, campground fees killed us.

 Keep in mind that we were planning on staying in the west coast this year when we made the 2017 budget and I didn’t bother to change it mid-stream when we changed our minds about coming east.

 OK, onward. Wednesday (8/30) rolled around and it was time for another move. But not before a little time on the Pickelball courts!! We only had a 30 mile travel day ahead of us and check out at Traverse Bay wasn’t until noon and check in at Wild Cherry wasn’t until 1 so we had some spare time on our hands.

Our view out our windshield.

Our view out our windshield.

 In our last update I mentioned that a new site owner in the park (Woody) was trying hard to get the game of Pickelball going and part of his efforts was to put out another flier on Monday to everyone in the park and an email to all of the owners on Tuesday mentioning that he would be giving lessons on Wednesday morning at 9.

 During a bike ride Tuesday night we had a chance to chat with Woody and at that time he said that no one had responded about being interested so things were looking bleak.

We are across the water

We are across the water

 After doing the “morning stuff” Wednesday we emptied the tanks and put away all of the hoses and outdoor stuff and packed up everything inside so that all we had left to do was pull in the slides, lift our jacks and drive away and then headed to the Pickelball court’s a bit before 9, of course we were the first ones there and then Woody showed up right after us.

 We chatted a bit and dinked the ball around a bit until all of a sudden bodies started coming our way from all directions. It was almost like we were in a fenced in compound and the walkers from the show Walk Dead were coming our way through the fields LOL!! And we mean that in the nicest way!!

This is a shot of the upper section. The office is right in the middle behind the small water feature. And the clubhouse is to the left. The RV's on the bottom are along the road that leads down to where we are by the pond.

This is a shot of the upper section. The office is right in the middle behind the small water feature. And the clubhouse is to the left. The RV’s on the bottom are along the road that leads down to where we are by the pond.

 It turned out that 12 people showed up to play and 8 of them had never played the game before and 1 had played once or twice. And better yet everyone except Diane and I were site owners at the park meaning they just might end up with an active group with a little luck. Keep in mind the probably 1/3 of the owners had already left for the winter.

 Because so many new people showed up Diane and I offered our help and mentor. I handled 1 court myself and Diane helped Woody on another and I think everyone had fun. In fact Diane was following a few of them as we walked away after the lessons ended and we couldn’t help overhear them talking about how much they enjoyed it.

Clubhouse

Clubhouse

Inside the clubhouse.

Inside the clubhouse.

I love this work bench that sits in the clubhouse.

I love this work bench that sits in the clubhouse.

 It really felt good after everyone finished most of them went out of their way to find Diane and me and thank us for or time and help and asked if we planned to come back next year. Everyone was so nice.

That's us in the middle of the bottom with a great unobstructed view of the pond.

That’s us in the middle of the bottom with a great unobstructed view of the pond.

 I also found a new admiration for the mentors at Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort in Arizona that helped us learn the game. It sure took some concentration to pay attention to everyone’s moves and try to walk the fine line of pounding in the proper way to play the game yet make it fun enough to not turn anyone off.

 By the time we finished playing we had about ½ hour to be out of our site which was no problem at all. As we mentioned, all I had to do was pull in the slides, lift the jacks, unhook from power and roll.

 As we mentioned earlier our travel day was going to be another whopper with 30 miles to go but because we had to drive through Traverse City and a bunch of the drive being in areas with a 45mph speed limit it ended up taking close to an hour, whew.

Keeping the grill busy.

Keeping the grill busy.

 Once again after getting set up we opted to just hang out at home and enjoy the views at the park instead of going out on our normal “get the lay of the land” driving tour. Besides, we have 5 days to tour a not so large area so no worries.

 So I guess because we carried on a bit longer than I figured to about our departure from Traverse Bay RV Resort and Pickelball I guess we will cut this update off here.

 We will be here at the Wild Cherry RV Resort for 5 nights enjoying some peace and quiet and getting through the holiday.

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Our stay in Traverse City Michigan

  Wednesday (8/23) we lifted our jacks and made another move. We rolled out of Indigo Bluff’s in Empire and had another excruciatingly long travel day of 30 miles to our next home for a week at Traverse Bay RV Resort in Traverse City.

South section

South section

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 As soon as we rolled into the campground and got signed in at the office we were told about a free hamburger & brat’s lunch that was being served in the clubhouse courtesy of Millennium Motor coach who also had a nice “used” motorhome on display in the parking lot that you could pick up if you so desired for a cool $1.7 million.

 We were told it was a lightly used 2014 and a new one similar in features would run roughly $2.5 million. Dang, that’s a depreciation that would drop a person to their knees. Actually knees hell, it would give me cardiac arrest.

 Well we of course wanted to take them up on a free lunch and we always like to look at shinny things so we parked the motorhome in our site, set the brake and walked over to the clubhouse leaving the setup for later.

 Oh, we forgot to mention, while signing in we saw Bill & Nicki behind the desk who we met while buying our coach at Lazy Days in Florida. Bill was a salesman at Lazy Days and it turns out they now summer here in Traverse City and Bill sell’s lots here at Traverse Bay RV Resort and Nicki works in the office. They return to Florida for the winters but Bill no longer works at Lazy Days. It’s a small world.

 It didn’t take long before we had struck up conversations during lunch, everyone seemed very friendly and welcoming and after lunch we of course did a walk through and around the display coach. To be honest I was more impressed with the technology of the coach and the mechanics than the actual interior and I don’t think Diane was that impressed period. Whew, that’s good LOL!!!

 Normally after getting set up in a new location we go out for a driving tour on travel day but this time we didn’t. After lunch and touring the display coach we set up and just enjoyed the beauty of the campground with a nice walk, stopping to chat now and again and some down time.

Our site's side yard.

Our site’s side yard.

Sitting in front of our coach.

Sitting in front of our coach.

 Traverse City is a little deceiving as is Traverse Bay RV Resort by everyone saying it’s in Traverse City because Traverse Bay RV Resort is actually in Williamsburg which is 6 miles outside of Traverse City and in fact has the small town of Acme between the two. And there are a couple very small townships close around Traverse City and they all run together almost seamlessly which makes what we thought a town like Traverse City with a population of 16,000 people would feel like seem much larger.

 In fact if you add together the populations of the small towns that really make up Traverse City the population is closer to 30,000 which is still within what we call tolerable and also makes it big enough to have what we were told is a great hospital, big box stores like Home Depot, Lowes, Bed Bath & Beyond, a Super Walmart, Sam’s Club and a new Costco is being built. All of them are on the outskirts of town which allows the old downtown to remain very quaint with great shops, restaurants, breweries, a theater and other fun stuff.

 The campground we stayed at “Traverse Bay RV Resort” is about 6 miles outside of Traverse City in a quiet area and is very very nice. We had a nice nose in site that gave us a great view out our front window and from our patio.

 This is a campground that you can buy sites and we will admit that we just about bought one ourselves, we were soooo close I can’t even believe it. In fact I think Diane was a little disappointed that we didn’t and I admit that I was a little sunken hearted myself but I just don’t think it’s time yet to get a summer spot. A winter spot yes but we still have areas of the country to see that can really only be seen in the summer months and even though the park has a rental program it just makes no sense to fork out the money for a site and not really use it ourselves for maybe 2 or so more years. There will always be something for sale here when it comes time and we both agree that this is the #1 resort now on our list for a summer location.

Look at the size of the yard in this site.

Look at the size of the yard in this site.

Simple & clean with a nice shed and covered sitting

Simple & clean with a nice shed and covered sitting

We love the brick work and landscaping

We love the brick work and landscaping.

 A brief summary of this resort. There are 2 sections that are Class A only areas and 1 section that is open to all rv’s over 28’. Prices range from $36,000 up (the site we almost bought was $50,000) and once you pay the original price of a site the annual dues including HOA and taxes is roughly $3100. So for roughly $258 per month you can have a spot to stay from May 1st until Oct. 31st (so in reality $516 per month for the 6 months you can use it which is dirt cheap for a nice resort in Michigan let us tell ya).

South section

South section

This is the north section, Class A only. We were camped to the left of the middle fountain of the middle pond. In fact if you look real close you can see our red truck parked. We were nosed into the pond.

This is the north section, Class A only. We were camped to the left of the middle fountain of the middle pond. In fact if you look real close you can see our red truck parked. We were nosed into the pond.

South and oldest section to the left. Class A motorhomes only.

South and oldest section to the left. Class A motorhomes only.

This is the center section where all RV's over 28' can camp.

This is the center section where all RV’s over 28′ can camp.

Entrance road to the right, South section (the oldest) at bottom, The little strip in the middle that goes off to the left is part of the center section and way at the top is the North area where we camped.

Entrance road to the right, South section (the oldest) at bottom, The little strip in the middle that goes off to the left is part of the center section and way at the top is the North area where we camped.

 That includes garbage, water, cable, use of all facilities like the gym, pickle ball & tennis courts, pool & hot tub, games rooms, 1 free dinner each week in the clubhouse, free ice cream socials, they mow the lawns but you take care of your own landscaping as far as bushes & flowers. And most sites have a 10×10 shed that you can do what you want with and some have an extra 10×10 extension for covered seating.

This is one of the 2 secondary club houses. This one has a weight room, individual shower & bathroom's and laundry. Oh and a small library.

This is one of the 2 secondary club houses. This one has a weight room, individual shower & bathroom’s and laundry. Oh and a small library.

Game room in one of the 2 secondary club houses.

Game room in one of the 2 secondary club houses.

One of 2 laundry rooms in the park

One of 2 laundry rooms in the park

Main Clubhouse

Main Clubhouse

Behind the main clubhouse

Behind the main clubhouse

 It’s still not what we would call a perfect spot for us but we can honestly say it is the closest we have seen for a summer location since hitting the road. A very nice resort in an area that the temps struggle to get much into the 80’s close to a town with a population under 40,000 that has everything you could possible need and close to a number of other small towns where you can go get a change of pace without driving very far at all, and close to numerous lakes. Hmmm, maybe we should have written a check LOL!! But hey, we only spent 7 days here, I have never bought even a TV without researching longer than 7 days not alone a chunk of land.

Simple but a nice sized site.

Simple but a nice sized site.

I love this site. This is exactly what I would like to create when we find a spot to hunker down.

I love this site. This is exactly what I would like to create when we find a spot to hunker down.

Tell me you couldn't relax in this site.

Tell me you couldn’t relax in this site.

They have a section that they are putting in park models and sheds.

They have a section that they are putting in park models and sheds.

These are great sheds. I wish you could have these in the RV section instead of the 10x10's. But these will only be in the park model section

These are great sheds. I wish you could have these in the RV section instead of the 10×10’s. But these will only be in the park model section.

Very neat & clean.

Very neat & clean.

Love love love this site.

Love love love this site.

 Ok, let’s get beyond how much we like the park, I’m sure you are tired of reading about it.

 We of course spent some time walking the downtown area which we found nice enough and we hear they shut down the main street each Friday night during the summer months to cars and set up a music & food venue along the street. We didn’t attend but probably should have.

Downtown Traverse City

Downtown Traverse City

A very dog friendly store, to all sizes of dogs LOL!!

A very dog friendly store, to all sizes of dogs LOL!!

A bachelorette party making the rounds on one of those peddle powered things downtown Traverse City .

A bachelorette party making the rounds on one of those peddle powered things downtown Traverse City .

 We found a nice Farmers Market downtown that sets up every Saturday morning.

1 of 3 rows at the Farmers Market in Traverse City. They hold this Wednesday and Saturdays

1 of 3 rows at the Farmers Market in Traverse City. They hold this Wednesday and Saturdays.

 We took a drive to the Old Mission Lighthouse with a couple stops along the way at a vegetable stand and a couple vineyards.

Old Mission Lighthouse

Old Mission Lighthouse

Old Mission Lighthouse

Old Mission Lighthouse

Old Mission Lighthouse

Old Mission Lighthouse

Old Mission Lighthouse

Old Mission Lighthouse

Old Mission Lighthouse

Old Mission Lighthouse

One of many honor system vegetable stands we came across.

One of many honor system vegetable stands we came across.

 We also stopped in at the Jolly Pumpkin Restaurant & Brewery for a bite to eat and an adult beverage.

 We played a little Pickelball, well just the two of us. It does seem that a small group of people gather on Wednesday mornings to play and a new site owner just sent out a memo about giving lessons (which we got involved with on our departure day before leaving and we will talk about that in our next update) and trying to develop a more active Pickelball group in the park. And the owner of the park has committed to re-surfacing the tennis and Pickelball courts next season so all of that is a plus except the tennis court also doubles as the 2 Pickelball courts so not a perfect world but certainly better than nothing. And we were told there are a bunch of indoor courts in town.

 One evening after a day of touring the park supplied a Taco dinner in conjunction with a craft show. I didn’t get any pictures of the crafts but there are some talented people in the park.

Serving up taco's

Serving up taco’s

On another day we headed out on a driving tour that took us around Torch Lake and along some of Intermediate Lake and through small towns like Rapid City, Alden (there is a great kitchen store there called The Mill House that makes and sells great spices & kitchen gadgets), Bellaire (we stopped in at Short’s Brewing Company and had lunch and a brew), Central Lake and Elk Rapids before finally ending up back at home.

A nice dock on Torch Lake in Alden.

A nice dock on Torch Lake in Alden.

We sat on that bench looking out over Torch Lake for a while just enjoying the day. This is in Alden

We sat on that bench looking out over Torch Lake for a while just enjoying the day. This is in Alden

What the heck is she whispering in his ear!!!

What the heck is she whispering in his ear!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If we were to compare the small towns around this area to how we felt about the small towns around Petoskey we would have to say we like the feel of the towns around Petoskey better. The towns of Charlevoix, Boyne City and Harbor Springs just had more action. But you can’t not appreciate the smaller more kicked back feel of the small towns around Traverse City.  Plus Charlevoix is only 44 miles from Traverse Bay RV Resort, Boyne city is 55 miles away and Petoskey is 61 miles away so all are close enough for day trips.

The sign says, waiting on my wife.

The sign says, waiting on my wife.

Alden's Mill House

Alden’s Mill House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plus Traverse Bay RV Resort is only 47 miles from Frankfort which we toured and liked while staying at Indigo Bluff’s and 35 miles from the Sleeping Bear Dunes. It’s also only 26 miles from Sutton’s Bay which is our next stopping spot and everyone we talk to seems to love Sutton’s Bay but you will need to come back again to get our thoughts.

Breakfast is served.

Breakfast is served.

 That sum’s up our short 7 day stay in the Traverse City area. It looks like we will be rolling out Wednesday morning without being shy one check and our bank account intact and headed to our next home for 5 days at Wild Cherry campground just a couple miles outside of Sutton’s Bay.

steak, Pork Chop and sweet potato's.

A steak, Pork Chop and sweet potato’s.

 It sure seems from our last couple updates that we have starting feeling the need for some type of home base. In fact we got ahold of Jojoba Hill’s SKP park to get on the waiting list a couple days ago but it turns out that we took the tour just over 2 years ago and 2 years is the cutoff for getting on the list after a tour. It seems we need to take another tour to now get on the list, geezzzz. Maybe we will go there after our winter stay in Arizona OR maybe it’s just not meant to be. Time will tell.

Part of Grand Traverse Bay

Part of Grand Traverse Bay

 We apologize for all the photos of lots but I’m sure we will be referring back to them in the future ourselves.

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Our visit to Empire Michigan and the Indigo Bluffs RV Resort

It’s us again!!! A quick thing before we carry on, as I was logging notes in our spreadsheet about our stay at the Petoskey RV Resort I realized it just took over the #1 spot for the highest priced campsite we have stayed at since hitting the road almost 5 years ago. Yup, it took the #1 spot away from the Polson RV Resort in Polson Montana back in 2015.

That’s OK, we said it was going to be a vacation type summer and we would live up to our blog title of Throwing Caution to the Wind. In this case I guess we were Throwing $$$$ in the Wind LOL (turning into a Boo Hoo Hoo) LOL!! All joking aside, no regrets.

Thursday (8/16) brought another travel day and once again we found ourselves dragging our feet because of a relatively short travel day and finally had the wheels rolling at 10am.
We had a couple options for routes and opted to take HWY 31 down the shoreline which took us through a few small towns like Charlevoix (there is a nice easy spot for fuel here), Elk Rapids and eventually through the heart of Travers City which was pretty congested driving the coach through but the route was pretty scenic and a nice mellow drive.

Our site

Our site

We rolled into the Indigo Bluffs Rv Resort at 12:30 and were finally all set up about 2. Yes you read that right, 2 LOL!! As soon as I started hooking up water & power I got yacking with our neighbor and time just flew by. Normally we are set up within 30 minutes, BBQ furniture and all.

This was our site from the rear

This was our site from the rear

Indigo Bluff’s has 2 sections to the property, a campground side and a resort side, we opted to stay in the resort side. Why, well because we decided to pamper ourselves a little this summer, and why not.

We drove through the campground side to check it out and ¾ of it is heavily treed and sites are pretty close, not horrible but close. The other ¼ is fairly new with concrete patio’s and the trees have been thinned enough that you might “might” get satellite is some of the sites.

The resort side is totally different, once you pass through the automatic gate you enter an area that is nicely landscaped, all the roads are paved and the sites are huge with nice stamped concrete parking pads and some have small casita’s and enlarged sitting areas. Very comfortable.

The resort side is intended to be sites that can be purchased however it seems the owner of Indigo Bluffs has not been keeping up with his end of the deal (according to the owners we spoke with) as far as installing amenities that have been promised so what we gather by talking with a couple owners, sales have slowed to a trickle, and believe me the owners like to share the story. It seems a few of them have filed lawsuits.


Of course there are always two sides to every story and I’m an inquisitive person so I gathered information from the president of Indigo Bluff’s and he stated that there are no plans for any more amenities on the resort side and didn’t indicate that there ever were. So who knows and for us that’s all we really care to know. If we were to ever find a spot to hunker down for longer periods of time like we did last winter in Casa Grande we will require some activities, at least a gym. It’s easy to stay busy here for a week or two by seeing the sites, taking in a few hikes and doing a few day trip’s but after you do and see those things we would feel the need for internal activities within a park.

A basic but nice site

A basic but nice site

A basic site

A basic site

We really liked this site

We really liked this site

So, we are of the mindset that if we find a place we like but it does not have what WE want we just keep searching until we find that spot instead of trying to make the park change for us. Hmmm, boy I could get borderline political from here but Diane would slap me upside the head LOL!!

A nice site at Indigo Bluffs

A nice site at Indigo Bluffs

This building has sat like this for 3 years I guess.

This building has sat like this for 3 years I guess.

More lots yet to be developed.

More lots yet to be developed.

All the land on the right are sites yet to be developed.

All the land on the right are sites yet to be developed.

Speaking of activities in the area we stayed pretty active even though we have changed our plans a little so didn’t have the need to tour as large a circle while here (more on that later).
We took a day trip down to Frankfort with a stop at the Point Betsie Lighthouse along the way.

 

 

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It always just amazes us how violent Lake Michigan can been on those somewhat breezy days and how it so reminds us of being on the ocean. Sure, we sort of knew it from reading stories but now that we are actually standing on the shorelines it becomes reality AND we are here when the waters really aren’t that bad. You wouldn’t catch us on those waters during bad weather I tell ya.

 

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We didn’t actually take the tour of the lighthouse but we did walk the grounds and watch a video they had playing in the boathouse. Here is a link to more info on Point Betsie if you are interested. http://www.pointbetsie.org/history/overview.html

Once we reached Frankfort we were pleasantly surprised that it was such a busy and touristy place, with a population of only 1300 people or so we expected less.

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We walked the streets and did the touristy thing of popping in and out of shops filled with the usual lower quality clothing with “Frankfort” stamped on them like you find in most tourist towns and the usual knick-knack shops you would expect to find as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And we walked out to Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse. I had hoped to walk out to it but boy howdy the water was so rough that waves were breaking over the walkway and there was no way anyone was going to walk out there.


But we sure enjoyed sitting and enjoying the view for a while and watching a few brave (or crazy) souls at least look like they were going to walk out only to find themselves running “not walking” away from the waves LOL!!

We wanted to eat lunch at the local brewery but the wait was 45 minutes and I was just too hungry to wait that long so we wandered down to the Crescent Bakery and had a sandwich which was really good before starting our trek home.

On another day we took a road trip south on HWY 31 which took us through some pretty country and a few small towns until we reached Manistee.


It’s funny because Manistee has a population of just over 6000 so we expected it to be a busier spot that Frankfort but it was just the opposite, it was more mellow which was fine to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once again we found ourselves walking the streets, and we happened across a small Farmers Market which we of course walked through before eventually driving out to the Manistee North Pier Lighthouse and the Lighthouse Park where we found a picnic table, broke out a light snack and enjoyed the scenery.


After our light lunch we continued with a short driving tour through a little more of Manistee before finding our way to HWY 2 and started our scenic drive back north towards home and another stop in Frankfort (we still had that brewery in mind).


When we reached Frankfort we found a good sized and well attended Craft Show going full swing so of course we stopped in to have a look before going downtown to put our name in for a table at the Storm Cloud Brewery, this time it was a 30 minute wait.


The menu was a bit puny we felt with mainly salads and pizza but we will say that the salads we saw people eating did look good and the pizza that we had was very good.
And of course we had an adult beverage to wash things down, Diane had a red beer that she liked and they didn’t have any wheat beer on tap so I opted for a hard cider that was tasty.

After out late lunch / early dinner we headed back home. This day trip was just over a 100 mile journey, but well worth it. Town surrounding Empire are not as close together as they were while staying in Petoskey, a small draw back when comparing the two areas.

We also made a couple trips to Glen Arbor which was only 10 miles from our campground. It’s another touristy town with a few good places to eat and a few typical touristy shops to browse through but certainly worth a visit when in the area.


We had lunch at the Cherry Republic Grand Café which is rated #1 by Trip Advisor as places to eat in town and really enjoyed it. In fact I can’t remember what it was called but their biggest baddest burger with cherry bacon was to die for!! And their cherry pies are pretty darn good to.

Just feeling artsy fartsy I guess

Just feeling artsy fartsy I guess

After eating they also have a couple buildings that you can wander through, one being more geared to wines and another filled with salsa’s, dried cherries, chocolate covered cherries and other tasty treats and enough samples to keep you busy for a little while anyway.

Of course you can’t visit this area without visiting the Sleeping Bear Dunes. We visited the Sleeping Bear Point Maritime Museum,


We stopped in and watched people walk up the Dunes Hiking trail. We say watch because for years we spent many weekends out on the dunes with our sandrail so we have walked up enough sand hills in our life that we didn’t feel the urge to conquer this one LOL!!
And we hiked the Pyramid Point Trail that is all uphill going with some fantastic views to enjoy once you reach the top.

GET OUT OF THE WAY!!!

GET OUT OF THE WAY!!!

 

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And another must do hike in the area is the Empire Bluff Trail. It’s a hike on rolling terrain with a few steep (for this area) spots but again the views at the end are worth it and besides, we had to try and work off some of the calories we have been taking in somehow LOL!!


It was sort of funny about a week back after one of our updates a friend and blog reader asked us if we ever just had a down day without doing something which got me thinking. And the answer to that was no, I couldn’t remember a down day since the 1st of June LOL!!

People doing the stream would come to this spot and either take there boats out of the water and walk them across the road OR ride them through the culverts.

People doing the stream would come to this spot and either take there boats out of the water and walk them across the road OR ride them through the culverts.

Then they shoot out the other end.

Then they shoot out the other end.

Most of the time they got shot through the corner and into those tree's LOL!!! It was funny because most of the people that went through didn't know about the current and corner until it was to late.

Most of the time they got shot through the corner and into those tree’s LOL!!! It was funny because most of the people that went through didn’t know about the current and corner until it was to late.

Well with that “down day” thing in mind and after scouring the area pretty well we decided a down day just might be in order. Of course our down day involved washing the truck inside and out (even washing out the bed) and cleaning the wheels on the coach while Diane did a good cleaning inside but hey, the truck never left the campsite so I guess we will consider that a down day for us LOL!!

These are quilts!! The pictures do not do them justice at all.

These are quilts!! The pictures do not do them justice at all.

These are quilts!! The pictures do not do them justice at all.

These are quilts!! The pictures do not do them justice at all.

These are quilts!! The pictures do not do them justice at all.

These are quilts!! The pictures do not do them justice at all.

These are quilts!! The pictures do not do them justice at all.

These are quilts!! The pictures do not do them justice at all.

Well, for the sake of trying to stay up to date on our updates I think we will call this one good. In fact we have already made a move to our next home for a week in Traverse City and man are we loving it. In fact we had better leave soon or we just might become land owners in Michigan, and we are not even half joking about. But more on that in our next update.

Traverse Bay RV Resort

Traverse Bay RV Resort

The view out our front window

The view out our front window

Mmmm, shrimp fajita's

Mmmm, shrimp fajita’s

A French Toast morning

A French Toast morning

Potato's & onions

Potato’s & onions

 

 

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