Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saturday July 30, 2011-Newberry KOA

This was about as laid-back a day as we've had in a long time. We slept late in air conditioned comfort, and when we woke, we leisurely drank a pot of coffee and Stella made us breakfast. After breakfast we sat out in the shady front yard and read our books. Very nice way to start the day! We have done everything and gone to see everything in this area, so we are done with traveling until we go to Munising on Tuesday.

Jim, the maintenance man from the park dropped by to check on our electrical problem and we told him that we haven't had any more issues. He said to let the office know if we had any problems and they would contact him. He told me again that if we chose to move to one of the non-sewer sites, he would come by and drain the tanks with the park's pumper truck. What service! We will have to change sites on Monday due to a reservation in our present site but won't need Jim's pump-out services.

After reading for a couple of hours, I came back inside and got caught up on reading the blogs that I follow and finished my own entry. Later in the afternoon I took a nice long walk around the park and set up our gas grill for supper to be cooked. Most of the other trailers around us had left but a couple of the sites were later filled by late-comers.

About five o'clock, it clouded up and later we got a very nice shower that made the early evening very nice. I went out around nine o'clock and checked on everything and enjoyed the night air. There is a class C motorhome that just pulled in. I don't envy them coming in late and in wet and muddy conditions. Glad our days of doing that are over.

So long.

Friday July 29, 2011-Newberry KOA

We slept all night without air conditioning because the surge protector kept tripping because of low voltage. The park's maintenance man had left town and was some distance away, so help could not be had until the next morning. After we had the electricity fail three times, we turned off everything but the television and had a fan running and it didn't trip again. I spoke with the manager who told me that if we wanted to move, either out of the park or into another site, he would work with us. He gave us a refund for our entire stay and said to let him know what we wanted to do in the morning.

The park offered breakfast to guests for only a donation which was a very good deal, so we went down and ate a good breakfast. We met Jim, the maintenance man, who told me that he thought the problem could have been with the surge protector and suggested removing it and monitoring the electricity, which we decided to do. I removed the surge protector and had no further problems throughout the day. It probably helped that most of our neighbors also left today, which lessened the electricity draw. We monitored the voltage during the day and it never dropped below 110 volts. We hope this problem is over, at least for now.

We went up to the "supermarket" in town and were amazed at the selections in this tiny little store in a small town in rural Michigan. We didn't need a lot, but we bought what we needed. I also went to the Ace Hardware next door and picked up a few items that I needed and came home and fixed our street sign that had recently broken in a rain and windstorm. I know those of you in Texas don't remember rainstorms, but it happens up pretty often.

Stella fixed us some coneys for supper and then she and I sat outside at our table and played a few games of dominoes. It was a very pleasant night and we enjoyed it. Although it wasn't bad last night, it was nice to have the a/c tonight.

So long.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Thursday July 28, 2011-Newberry KOA

It was cool this morning but not as cool as the last couple of days, probably in the low 60's this morning. We decided to drive over to the Tahquamenon Falls and then to Whitefish Point to visit the Shipwreck Museum there. It was a nice day for a drive, partly cloudy and dry. What I have noticed about this trip is the lack of Police presence in the areas that we've been in. I know that budgets are tight, but we certainly haven't seen many policemen since we left Spring in May.

We didn't leave until about 11 o'clock and drove the 60 miles to Paradise, where the falls are located. It is a heavily wooded area and there is no cell phone service, nor are there many service stations. It's good that we have plenty of fuel aboard.

We went to the Tahquamenon Falls state park first, to the upper falls. This is just one of the falls, and it is very pretty. This is the largest of the falls in the park, falling 50 feet. There is a handwritten sign at the park that says 2010 gallons per second are falling. I wonder why they are being so precise when making an estimate? Wouldn't it have been just as well to say the falls produce approximately 2000 gallons per second? When I see exact numbers like that, I have a problem with it and then question the accuracy of everything I hear after that. But thats just cynical old me...

A little explanation of the river and falls. Hope you can click on the photo and read it better.

A different view of the falls.

The river is very pretty and serene.

More falls and rapids.

They rent boats on the river. I wanted to rent one and have Stella row me so I could water ski but she didn't want to. Said she might get her hair wet. LOL

Blow this one up and read the history of this tree. WOW!!

We've seen more lighthouses here in Michigan than we've ever seen before. This is the old Whitefish Point Coast Guard base that was established in 1849. There are displays of the barracks, the officers quarters and the commander's home with period furniture and clothing. Very interesting.

This is the ships bell from the most famous of the shipwrecks, the Edmund Fitzgerald. The ship went down in 1975 and the bell recovered in 1995.

We came back to the park and discovered that our electricity had been off. Luckily it was still rather cool, with temps in the low 80's but it was still hot inside but not unbearable. We turned off everything that uses electricity that we could and only ran the television, a computer and a fan for the rest of the night. Scott, the park manager, came down and said his maintenance guy would come by in the morning and take care of things. He gave us a refund for our rent and said it was our option about whether we moved sites or left the park. We'll have to see how tomorrow works out. There's always something when you live in your RV.

So long.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wednesday July 27, 2011-Moving day-Clementz North Country Campground and Cabins to Newberry KOA

Today we were making the big move to the KOA about 12 miles away. There were several other trailers moving out today including our new neighbor in his Tiffin Zephyr. I did get a chance to talk to him briefly as we were both packing up to leave, and noticed that he has a tear or split in his fiberglass wall below the bedroom slide out. I told him of our friend's problems with their Zephyr and he said he is taking it back to the factory when they finish up in Michigan. Just proves that no matter how much you pay for a rig, something can go wrong with it.

We got away about 10:30 and made it to the KOA in about 15 minutes. We pulled in and learned that the previous tenant in our site was already gone, so we were all set up and relaxing by noon. The best thing is, we now have both wifi and our own network to choose from and the dish antenna is working well. Good to see the swamp gator hunters and American Pickers again!

It was cold again this morning, about 52 degrees outside! Stella had already turned the heater on, so it wasn't too bad inside this morning. She takes pretty good care of me.

So long.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday July 26, 2011-North Country Campground and Cabins

We woke this morning to 57 degrees outside and 68 inside the trailer! I was freezing when I got up and put on my sweats and a long sleeve shirt. wow!! After a little while, while I made coffee, I went outside to see who might be around and was glad I had the warm clothes on. I didn't stay out very long because there was no one out to talk to this morning. There are three or four trailer across from us that are all from Michigan and they hang out together. I'm not sure if they are working around here or not but they have night time and morning fires in the firepit but they don't speak and haven't been real friendly.

Stella woke up and made us some breakfast and we decided to drive over to the KOA on the south side of Newberry to check on a site there. Boy, did we luck out! They will have a full hookup site with a clear view of the sky so our Carryout antenna should work. I've heard that before, but we decided to take the site anyway. It IS full hookup, has good wifi and should be good for TV reception. We'll see tomorrow.

We drove back into Newberry and stopped off at the visitor's center to pick up some brochures for the area. I also stopped off at the Dodge dealer and made an appointment to have some service work done and to have a recall notice checked.

We were on our way home when we saw a sign for Oswald's Bear Ranch that is located outside of Newberry and decided to stop and visit. The bears are kept in a natural habitat environment that is enclosed by a high fence. Guests are allowed to walk all the way around the enclosures to view the many bears on the property.

No, this is not one of the bears. Someone did some good carving on a tree stump though. Takes some skill!

A short explanation of the bear ranch and its operations. It is an interesting place with many bears. I'd hate to run into one of these in the woods!

This is a couple of the males. They are very large and I would estimate weigh 500 pounds or more. They have several colors of bears and grizzly as well as black bears to see.

Just look at the claws on this one! I say again, I'd hate to meet him in the woods...

The cubs are cute but they are usually accompanied by their Momma Bear, and from the look of the ones I saw, they are nothing to mess with either.

Here are two of the females, walking around in their pen. They are much larger than the males. Keep in mind, I am only talking about bears, not the female humans. Just sayin'

These are the hibernation areas for the bears. These are built for the bears with wood floors and straw inside them. I'm sure these bears are better fed and cared for than they would be in the wild.

So long.

Monday July 25, 2011-Moving day-Mackinaw Mill Creek campground to North Country Campground and Cabins

Today we moved from Mackinaw City to Newberry Michigan. It was cool again and we slept in again since we only have about 75 miles to go to our new destination. We ate a leisurely breakfast and drank our coffee and pulled out a little before 11AM. We got here before 1PM and were all set up and relaxing by 2, with a very uneventful drive. We drove the scenic route along the lake and it was a very pretty drive. I'll bet this is a pretty area in the winter, but I don't want to come up here in January or February. We are north of Green Bay Wisconsin and we have all watched the Packers play in the cold and ice.Mackinaw City is near the Canadian border but Newberry is more centrally located between the attractions that we want to see.

The park has 30 amp electrical service, good water and cable television. We were told that our carryout antenna might work (didn't) and that they have Internet service provided by Tengo Net-same as Rayford Crossing. When I tried to connect with the Internet, I found that I could not because of a low signal to the antenna. Rats! Then I tried our Verizon card and found that it wouldn't connect either. I didn't know why, so I went to the office to talk to the owner about the problem. She said that she has issues with Tengo Net and there are hit and miss problems. She said site #38 has service but #36 does not. She did not offer an explanation for the Verizon card not working. I came back home and after more investigation, I found out that there is NO cell service where we are. Hmmmm, didn't know that one!

At least the cable works well, so we just stayed inside and watched television. Stella was supposed to work for one of her clients and I have work I need to do on the computer, so it is important that we are connected to the Internet. Tomorrow we will check out some other parks in this area. I'll let you know how this works out.

So long.

Sunday July 24, 2011-Mackinaw Mill Creek campground

Our last day here at the Mackinaw Mill Creek campground was spent in the park all day long. Our new friends Ed and Karen left this morning after exchanging our information. We hope to be able to see them again before we all leave Michigan. We will be in the same area of the state but different cities.

We just stayed around the trailer all day except for taking some nice walks through the park. We watched television and I got caught up on reading the blogs that I follow as well as finishing up my own entry. I took a couple of good walks around the park during the afternoon. Remember the two brothers that own the Bighorn and Landmark? I walked over to talk to them about joining the Owners club but they were already gone. I did see a Sundance and another Landmark but the owners of them were gone too.

Later in the afternoon I began putting things away for our departure tomorrow. I took the porch and steps down and the Carryout antenna. I had been moving it around since we've been here but never did find just the right location and had given up on it, at least here at this park.

It has been a good week here in Mackinaw City and we have enjoyed our stay. I'm not sure when or if we'll be back here, but this is a nice park if you get some of the sites near the water. These back here where we are are secluded and there is little traffic but you're away from most of the people.

So long.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Saturday July 23, 2011-Mackinaw Mill Creek campground

Another lazy day here. At least the weather has cooled off some. It still gets warm in the daytime but it cools off nicely in the evening and night. The only thing we did today was go to the washateria and washed our clothes. It was very pleasant sitting in the truck while Stella took care of our clothes. I was able to park in the shade, and with the breeze, it was nice. I went to a little "pasty" shop that was nearby and bought myself a cup of coffee to sip on as I read a book on the Kindle. When the clothes were done, we went back to the store and bought a couple of the pasties, which are a meat or chicken with potatoes and carrots that is wrapped in a dough and baked. I had a chicken and Stella had a beef. Neither one of us was impressed with the things but they weren't really bad, just not great. It must be something that is popular around here because every restaurant sells them.

We came back home and after putting our clothes away, we relaxed (napped) for a bit before we met Ed and Karen to go eat supper in town. We went to the Blue Water Grill to try it out. Again, the food wasn't bad but it wasn't real good. Three of us had the trout special plate which was filling but not real tasty. We enjoyed our time visiting with Ed and Karen since they are from our area of Texas. We will miss them when they leave tomorrow.

We came back home and sat outside until the skeeters sent us all back inside about 9 o'clock. I suppose the cooler weather has made me stay up later because I have been staying up until almost midnight every night. Then I sleep in until 7:30 or 8, which is a bad habit for me to get into. When I get back to Rayford, I have to be up early for coffee. Something to work on.

So long.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Friday July 22, 2011-Mackinaw Mill Creek campground

We didn't do too much today. We drove into Mackinaw city and ate a big breakfast at The Admiral's Table restaurant. When we finished with breakfast, we went for a ride over to St. Ignace, across the big bridge. That bridge is under construction or being repaired every day. They even thought ahead when they built the bridge and built a large apron to store large equipment on while working. There is probably enough room for a truck to park off the roadway and allow traffic to flow.

We rode around the picturesque little city, but there isn't too much there except a pretty setting for the town, overlooking the lake and the big bridge. We checked out a KOA campground just outside of town but it's no better than the place where we are.

We decided to come back across to Mackinaw City to go to the grocery store. We found that there is only one "supermarket" in town, an IGA store. They have a little bit of a lot of stuff, not much selection and high prices. I guess thats what you can do when you're the only store in town. We did find that there is a Wal Mart in Cheboygan, about 15 miles away but we didn't need enough groceries to make it a worthwhile trip, so we just bought our few items and came back home.

When we came back to the park, I talked to two brothers who are Heartland owner that have a Landmark and a Bighorn. Neither was very happy with their rigs, so I gave them a card and told them who to call at the factory for some help. I also suggested that they join the forum for the exchange of information there. I hope it works out for them.

We hung out with 0ur next door neighbors, Ed and Karen. They are living in Alabama but own property in League City and Kemah and had a home that is about five miles from our house in Dickinson. Small world isn't it?

We had a nice time visiting with and comparing notes about people that we all knew. They will be leaving on Sunday and we leave Monday and are all going in the same general direction, so we may meet up with them again.

So long.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Thursday July 21, 2011-Mackinaw Mill Creek campground

Today we went to Sault Ste. Marie to take a ride on the Soo Lock boats. The Soo locks are in the St. Marys river and accommodate vessels of up to 1200' in length. It is interesting to watch the ships rise or drop 21' between the two levels of the river.

This was not the boat that we were on but is one that is used for serving meals to the guests. Our boat had benches or chairs for everyone to sit on, while this one had tables.

This is dock #1 where we met our boat. By boarding at dock 1, we had our choice of seats, and it was good that we did this because a large group of Amish people also boarded and by the time we picked up some more passengers at dock #2, the boat was pretty full. I don't know what group or sect of Amish these folks were, but they seemed to be much more "progressive" than the ones that we've been around before. One of the adults and a couple of the teens used cell phones. I know they don't use electricity or telephones in their homes and was surprised to see them using cell phones. There were several of them that are disabled and it was nice to see how many of them helped those with disabilities. Their clothing used buttons while still not using modern fasteners and was made of a polyester material. Maybe its their dress-up clothes to visit outside the home area. I did talk to one of the men and learned that they took a bus from Fort Wayne IN to make this visit. He was amazed at the size of the ships (see below) and it was interesting to hear his comments to his wife.

This ship had just come through the locks and was meeting our boat. Most of these ships carry iron ore that is smelted and used in the automotive industry.

To the right of this picture is another huge, 1000' ore-carriers that is entering one of the locks. You can see the bow of our boat as we near the lock that we will ride through. I did a series of photos of the locks opening that you can view HERE

This is an old sailing vessel that is on display here. There isn't much information on this old ship and it is being worked on by the crew in the small boat under the bow.

The US Coast Guard is on duty in the river in their small patrol boat. We passed by the Coast Guard station and saw a cutter and some of the buoys that are waiting to go back out into the water to protect boaters and ship traffic.

This is a view down the lock with the viewing platforms. These are open to the public and we will try to go there when we return to Sault Ste Marie in the future. We were told that the water is transferred to either raise or lower the levels by underground tunnels that move one million (gasp) gallons per minute.

Here you see the unloading of iron ore from one of the ships. I read on one of the sites that these ships are self-unloading onto the conveyor belt.

The black raised platform is a railroad track that is lifted to allow ships to pass below it. This is one of only two in the United States that operates in this manner.

This is another unusual railroad crossing of the river. This one swivels to cross the river and is the only one of its kind.

We were actually in Canadian waters in the river but didn't have to show our passports when we got off the boat, unlike the hand-pulled ferry border crossing into Mexico that we had to identify ourselves even though we never left the boat on the Mexican side. This bushplane museum is in Canada, so we were this close to being in Canada. We plan to return soon, so perhaps we'll be able to visit this museum then.

This was a very interesting day and we look forward to seeing more of this area soon.

So long.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday July 20, 2011-Mackinaw City Mill Creek campground

We didn't do much of anything today. We had planned to go into Mackinaw City and look around in the downtown area this morning but it was threatening rain and thundering so we decided to wait out the weather. Stella fixed us a delicious breakfast pizza this morning, so we just stayed inside and watched and listened to the rain. Both the dogs get nervous in thunderstorms, so they liked it when we didn't leave.

I worked on catching up on my blog and added some photos. It took a long time to get the photos uploaded to blogger, but I got it done. When it stopped raining, I went for a short walk around the area, just to get out of the house for awhile. The people here are not nearly as friendly as they are in Texas. Not exactly unfriendly, just won't make eye contact and don't speak to walkers. I did see another Texas license plate on a truck just checking in. Maybe I'll try to find them. Bet they'll talk to me...

We drove into Mackinaw City this afternoon and walked around the shops for awhile. We found a couple of things to bring back to the boys, but all these stores sell almost exactly the same things. It seems to me that they would change up just a little bit, but the merchandise and prices are exactly the same. It was very hot in town, and we were glad to get back home where it was nice and cool.

We had a pork loin and some noodles for supper. It was almost like we were back in Indiana with the all-white meal. It was pretty tasty and very filling. We heard thunder again, so we just snuggled in and watched some television. Sucks not to have my dish hooked up.

So long.

Mackinaw Island Photos

We went to visit historic Fort Holmes, originally called Fort George by the British, prior to 1815 and now referred to as Fort Mackinaw. Mackinac is the Indian word, with the American spelling being Mackinaw. Both are pronounced Mackinaw.

Taking off from the dock on the Mackinaw City side. These boats throw up a good roostertail behind them. I suppose it is in the design of the stern of the boats or the engine used.

It was very foggy on the morning trip. We were supposed to go under the big bridge but couldn't because of the visibility.

It was difficult to see the fort overlooking the strait from the water.

One of the signs explaining the lighthouses around the strait.

Taken from the fort above the harbor. The fort is 320 feet above lake level and the island covers 3.8 square miles. There is a road around the island that is 8 miles long.

This photo is taken in the enlisted men's barracks. Notice the wear on the stair treads. How many feet did it take to wear these down this much?

A picture of the soldier's barracks. Very little privacy here.

One of the skits that was performed. They were demonstrating advancing on an enemy in the old army ways.

The firing of the cannon off one of the gun turrets. The uniforms worn were similar to the ones worn from 1870 until 1882. At that time the best army in the world was the Prussian army and these formal uniforms were similar to the Prussians.

Motor vehicles are not allowed on the island. The only way onto the island is by either private boat, ferry, small airplane or in winter, snowmobile. Motorized vehicles have been prohibited since 1898 and the only exceptions are snowmobiles in winter, emergency vehicles and service vehicles. This is one of the tourist carriages. The other major means of transportation around the island is by bicycle, although skateboards and skates are allowed outside of the downtown area.

Even the UPS guy had to use a horse-drawn wagon to make his deliveries. It seems kind of ironic to use a computerized scanner beside bicycles and a horse-drawn wagon.

Our boat coming in to pick us up to go back to the mainland. It turned out to be the same boat that took us over this morning.

Leaving the island. The boat must not throw up the big wake until we cleared the breakwater jetty.

It was still foggy and hazy this afternoon as you can see by the Mackinaw bridge off in the distance.

When we got out in the open water, look at the amount of water kicked up! I read on the website that the company's Hydro-jets throw up a roostertail of 35 feet. Wow!!

Shutting the roostertail down as we near the dock in Mackinaw City.

Thanks for looking.

Photos from Mackinaw City

I got these photos posted today after I changed locations and got a better connection. Thank you for hanging in with me.

Here we are, at home again in Mackinaw Mill Creek campground. These sites give a little more privacy between the sites but they have some others with a water view with little separation between the sites.

Here I am, standing in Lake Huron. This makes two of the Great Lakes that I have been in while on this trip.

Stella didn't want to get her shoes wet, so she stood beside me while another visitor took our picture.

Here is the "Big Mack" bridge. It is a beautiful bridge and reminds me of the bridge over the strait of Baytown, also a suspension bridge.

This is Fort Michilimackinac-wow, say that three times! in Mackinaw at the base of the big bridge.

The description and history of the fort.

The Icebreaker Mackinaw

A little explanation of the icebreaker features.

To show that boats from all over come here, I saw this one from Alaska.

and this one from Alaska. I looked for one from Texas but couldn't find one.