Categories
Michigan Upper Peninsula

Heading South

As I was leaving Mackinaw City Friday I stopped off at the Big Stone Bay Fishery off Hwy. 23. Their whitefish was $2 a pound cheaper than Kreuger’s in town!  I asked for 1 1/2 lbs. and ended up with over 2 lbs. (3 big filets) but he only charged me for the 1.5 lbs! Nice guy; I’ll definitely shop there again! The whitefish and salmon was $8 a lb. and the walleye was $10. Oh and they had really fresh farm eggs for $3 a dozen!  I made a “sauce” of fresh tomato chunks, green and red bell peppers, onions and lemon juice; cooked that for a few minutes on top of the stove then sprinkled the fish with Zatarain’s Blackened Seasoning (it’s really not super hot) and poured the sauce over it, sealed the foil packets and baked it in the oven for 20 minutes. It was really good!!

I’ve spent the last few days at friends’ house in Pinckney, MI. (Thanks Jerry & Sue!) I had electricity and everything!!  I thought my battery was not holding a charge, been getting some weird readings with my little meter. So when I got there I went through all the hoop-la to get access to the battery. It’s inside the camper so I have to fold the mattress back, rearrange the plastic bins, pull out a piece of plywood and finally get to the battery. I took the cover off the battery box and just thought I’d pull the whole thing out so Jerry could put it on his charger. Wellll…..I unhooked the wires but it’s a little bit big for this battery box, and no amount of tugging and pulling would get it out of there! It’s permanently stuck. We were afraid that any further pulling would break the little plastic handle.  So Jerry put his charger on it but it read fully charged in about 10 minutes! Maybe nothing wrong with the battery. When we went to hook it back up though, it kept shorting the fuses; either the in-line battery fuse or the 30 amp fuse in the panel box. We worked on the dumb thing for 4 hours and finally had to give up….it makes NO SENSE!!  There must be a short somewhere. I wonder if mice or chipmunks have snacked on the wiring??  I have an appointment with a Certified Master RV Technician in Asheville on the 26th. In the meantime, unless I’m plugged in somewhere, I have zero power and have to rely on flashlights and my handy-dandy inflatable solar lights. http://amzn.to/2doQW7z   I love them and use them daily. Er I guess I should say nightly. But I still really miss the much brighter LED camper lights when cooking.

While I was in that area I spent the weekend with an old friend Cindy from way back when I was 4 and she was 2, and visited with Ron & Kathy (I went all the way from kindergarten through high school with Ron) and my friend Tam (a friend since 7th grade) It was great to see them all, and they all fed me too!!  NICE!

On Saturday Cindy and I went to Obstbaum Orchards in Salem, MI. It’s a small place with parking for only about 30 cars, and only open on the weekends. They had a Buy 1 Get 1 Free offer for gallons of apple cider so of course we got two, and a dozen of their sugary donuts. Unlike most of the larger cider mills, there was only a few minutes’ wait in line, and they had a bunch of picnic tables both inside and out, where you can sit and drink your cider and eat the donuts. They also sell homemade pie!  So we sat awhile and enjoyed the nice weather. There were a lot of bees trying to drink our cider right along with us though! While we had our cups right up to our faces they’d still try to sneak inside!!  A little too close for comfort. But that was some of the very best cider I’ve had in years!  The donuts were good but they would have been better if they’d been hot.  We also got a 1/2 peck of Honey  Crisp apples for $4, I think that’s a really good price.

This afternoon I hooked up and drove down to Cabela’s in Dundee, MI. It’s not far from Jerry & Sue’s but it will save me an hour’s drive tomorrow; my next free parking spot on the way to NC is at the arts center in Berea, KY. Probably a 6 hrs. drive tomorrow, and then another 6 hr. drive on Friday to get me to Asheville.

I put my 2 gallon water jug on the floor when I packed up, and the floor and Roxie’s bed was wet when I arrived here!  A mystery. I moved the water jug over to the kitchen counter and forgot about it. I kept hearing a little tapping sound and even went over and tried to figure out what it was…..later I realized it was water dripping onto the floor. I guess (duh!) that water jug has sprung a leak. My only roll of toilet paper is soaked! So I carefully unrolled some bits and pieces and have draped them around the camper so they’ll dry.      tp

The bad thing about this Cabela’s is that it’s right across the street from a Russell Stover Candy outlet. Oh dear.

 

Categories
Michigan Upper Peninsula

Fall Is Here!

dscn6522Fall is here! I think we’re at peak color now, and the woods around here are just gorgeous.

Today was Unpleasant Task Day, evidently. That’s kinda how it turned out, anyway. Yesterday poor Roxie had dire-rear and got it on her pantaloons. It’s really hard to clean up a mess like that without much water. Apparently I didn’t do a good job at all because this morning when she tried to go again, it got kinda stuck in the poopy-matted hair from yesterday. (No wonder the camper smelled so bad last night) Aaarrrgh!  So I had no choice, I had to figure out how to bathe her nether regions. I dipped a bucketful of water from the lake and heated some on the stove, then dunked her back half in the bucket to get her wet. Then I stood her on a towel on the picnic table and managed to loosen all the nasty gook and wash her up a bit with my no-rinse shampoo, then another dunk to rinse everything off. It worked out better than I thought, as she didn’t fight being dunked. I thought about bathing her in the lake but that would have involved ME having to wade in, and it’s cold!

I absolutely HAD to do laundry today; I’d put it off as long as I could. So I went to town and did that and picked up a few groceries, got some cheap gas as the indian gas station (I think they don’t have to pay tax, so they don’t charge tax?) It’s always at least $.15 a gallon cheaper than anywhere else!   And the third unpleasant task was to dump the porta-potty in the vault toilet.  Phew. I feel so virtuous, for getting all that done in one day!

Here are more leaf-peeper photos. I love being up here for the color change! These were all taken from my campsite.

dscn6512dscn6507dscn6509dscn6517

Thanks again to everyone using my Amazon link for your purchases!!  http://amzn.to/2dWipu6

 

 

Categories
Michigan Uncategorized Upper Peninsula

Bond Falls Again

dscn6501
Love this view of the campsite entrance!

The weather was pretty decent and I really like being ON the lake, but my campsite at Gratiot River Park was really not very good for solar power. I had to keep moving the panel to try and get ANY sun at all, and it barely kept my battery above half-charge. So I’ve moved back to Bond Falls Flowage and hopefully I’m in a site without so many flies and mice!  Today was one of those perfectly glorious fall days….sunny and cool, with a little breeze, and no bugs! I spent most of the day outside! This time I have a site close to the entrance, and I’m getting a pretty good wifi signal as well as phone, so I really AM a Happy Camper. This is a pretty site (#22) on a little point, so I have the lake on three sides, including a view of the dam. The fall colors are coming along nicely too but not peak yet.

dscn6502

dscn6493

dscn6495

It looks like I did really good this summer…..since June 10, I spent $17.50 on campsites!  Our site at Lyman Lake would have cost $35 for 15 nights but our visitor Bobbi gave me enough to cover that. (Thanks Bobbi!)  So let’s see…..that shakes down to less than 15 cents a night. Not too shabby! I’ve also found free campsites for the 3 nights on the road going back to NC later this month.  

Categories
Michigan Upper Peninsula

Keweenaw Peninsula

jacobs-falls
Jacob’s Falls – Eagle River

On Wednesday we went adventuring a little bit….to The Jampot in Eagle River to get some of their really good red cherry jam. It’s run by monks from the Holy Transfiguration Skete.

dscn6486

They were out of the cherry jam, wahhhh! But I did get some really good oatmeal-chocolate chip-raisin-peanut butter cookies. They’re just as good as I remembered. They have GREAT baked goods as well as the jams & jellies. Just up the road a tiny bit is Jacob’s Falls (above).

20160923_101946

The Canadian Geese are heading south!  The trees are changing color and the maples are really gorgeous but I just read that peak color up here is not expected for another two weeks. It’s really late this year, maybe because of the unusual heat we had?   dscn6461

Finally on Friday we got some sunshine! My camper battery power was getting seriously low since we hadn’t seen the sun for so long. And our campsite is not good for solar power; I have to keep moving the panel constantly. I don’t require much power though, so I think this will be fine for as long as we’re staying.

My only big find after the storm was a frisbee. Big whoop! Seems like there whould be dozens of agates just begging to be found, but I was not the person to find them. In order to really see them, the rocks have to be wet. The storm surge pushed up a 3’ hill of stones and it was impossible to get to the water side without actually getting my feet wet, and I’d already had enough of Lake Superior’s waters! It even changed the whole mouth of the river; closed it off so now the river runs parallel to the shore for about 50’ before spilling into the lake.

Near Calumet there’s a snowfall measure….record snowfall here was 390 inches.  Can you imagine?! “Normal” snowfall is only around 20′. TWENTY FEET of snow!     dscn6484snow

I am so mad! TWICE now the folks at Ottawa National Forest have given me wrong information! Now they say the campgrounds are free after November 1, not October 1. I guess I’ll probably end up back at Bond Falls Flowage then….I’ll have to do more research.

 

Categories
Michigan Upper Peninsula

Back to Lake Superior

On Sunday we all split up….Deb left headed for home in Gulf Shores, Donna left for downstate Michigan via Marquette, and I went to the Keweenaw Peninsula (far northwestern corner of the Upper Peninsula). I had heard of a free dispersed campground near Ahmeek. Well I found it, but talk about a bad road! It was about 5 miles after turning off the main road, and I thought my GPS was wrong when it said it was going to take 32 minutes to go the last 3 miles. Nope….it was right!  It’s a teeny one lane 5 mph sand road and since it’d been raining, it had HUGE puddles that were more like shallow ponds, and a lot of squirmy places where I just had to keep pushing through or get stuck. N0w that I’m here at Gratiot River Park, it’s pretty nice; no amenities but the sites are right on Lake Superior!  Maybe it’ll bring up some new agates…. I need more rocks. Riiiiight.  I don’t know how long I’ll stay here; it’s fine if I just want to sit and not go anywhere but the ATT signal is not strong enought to run the wifi hotspot, and very intermittent Verizon signals for the phone.

Donna Morey joined up with us for a few days last week.  She has a gigantic 18 ft. Chalet A-frame camper (it even has a bathroom with shower!)  I met her in Cottonwood, AZ at an a-frame rally she hosted last February. She’s in Michigan visiting her daughters and grandkids and she came to be with us on the way!   dscn6420

There was an old apple tree near our campsite that was loaded down with little bitty apples and they were GOOD!  Here’s a photo of some sitting next to a small store-bought apple. Those little cuties are only about 1.5” in diameter!   dscn6419

We were getting overrun with mice at Bond Falls!  Deb’s had mice in her camper since April, and I found evidence of mice in my car!!  Yikes. I think it’s that time of year where they are looking for indoor accomodations. My car is so stuffed with things, what a horror trying to find mouse nests! I took everything out of the back seat and removed all the food items, and didn’t find any nests so maybe I discovered them early on. I got some traps and caught two and now none for the past 2 nights so maybe that’s all there was??  One can only hope. I’ll continue to set the trap at night for awhile though. Deb has a much worse problem; pretty sure they’ve set up housekeeping in her camper. We think there were a lot of mice at Bond Falls who were looking for a new home. She’s got some big gaps in her camper that need a nice contortionist to fill them. (i.e. someone not as old as us)

Here are some pics from our excursion to Bond Falls, which was just a couple miles up the road from our campsite.  It’s one of the best falls in the whole state, and it’s different because there are stairs going up alongside the falls….you get the perspective from below, from next to them, and from above them!  I did not do the stairs this time….trying to save my knee.

dscn6433dscn6434

Wood Ducks (?) at the falls pond:   dscn6458

us-at-falls
Donna and I at the falls

My first full day here we had 35 mph sustained winds, with gusts up to 50! And rain that was driven straight sideways. The camper was rocking and really rather scary….I thought my weight might be the only thing keeping it from tumbling up the road! The lake was magnificently angry, with really high waves & crashing surf. It brought a giant set of tree roots in and then the next day, they were gone….pushed 100’ down the shore. The next day the winds were “only” 18 mph but it rained most of the day. Today is sunny! The lake has calmed quite a bit but still has good sized waves. I went walking along the shoreline looking for agates when a giant rogue wave came at me! I backed up as fast as I could but my crocs didn’t like that and I ended up flat on my back, with the next wave completely washing over me! Oh how fun. Lake Superior hates me! And now I have a soaking wet sweatshirt, sweat pants and socks to try and get dry. I don’t recommend trying to swim in this lake in late September.

dscn6472

dscn6478

I guess this afternoon we’ll try to get back out of here. The road was bad coming in and now after two solid days of rain, it should be really interesting. I pray we don’t get lost in any of the huge mudpuddles……er more like mudponds!

THANK YOU everyone, for being so loyal and purchasing your Amazon goodies through my link! I get a small percentage, based on number of items purchased and dollars spent. Here’s a quick link to it:  http://amzn.to/2cLu0NU

 

Categories
Upper Peninsula

Bond Falls Flowage

dscn6403

Here’s the view from my camper door. Stellar, eh? We were headed for an Ottawa National Forest CG near Watersmeet, which I was told on the phone was free after Labor Day. Wrong information! All the campgrounds in the NF (if still open) are free after October 1. So we spent a night at nearby Robbins Pond and the next day drove over to check out Bond Falls Flowage near Paulding. I knew about this place last year but never went & looked at it. Wow! Deb moved over there immediately and I went over on Sunday, when more spaces opened up. We got sites 19 & 20 which are lakefront, as you can see. There are million dollar views, but no lake access from these sites because there’s a steep bank. If we were younger and nimbler we probably could do it, LOL!  Our sites have trees around the outside and open in the middle, so they’re good for solar power. Most of the sites are grouped in 2-3-4 together so it’s great for friends who camp together. They have picnic tables, trash containers and we even have our very own outhouse!  And it’s FREE! Usually for 14 days but after Sept. 15 you can stay any amount of time.  We’re getting pretty good 3G Verizon but zero ATT so I have to go out to write blogs, etc. Deb discovered a flaw in her camper placement this morning when pinecones started to fall on her camper….it sounds like rifle shots! Poor Annie hates loud noises so she’s suffering.

img_0018

I accidentally whacked the side of my knee on a ledge alongside the bed so had a setback but it is doing much better now. I can straighten the leg out with no pain and when I first get up to walk, no pain! The more I walk the more it hurts though, so I’m still trying to take it easy. Still, WAY better than the hopping days!

dscn6404

 

Categories
Upper Peninsula

Casino Camping

We’re still at the Ojibwa Casino in Marquette.  Deb has been winning lately at the slot machines; she came home with $80 the other day! I haven’t been going over there much because Deb has to drive me over & drop me at the door, then find a place to park; it’s a hassle. Once inside they have loaner wheelchairs to use. When we return from a casino visit our clothes and hair REEK of cigarette smoke, ugh. Nasty.

My knee is much improved; it’s almost miraculous, the difference a week can make. It still hurts but it’s way better than it was.

If you are camping here, every day they give you $5 in free play. I was thinking I should just get my $5 free and cash it out, not play at all! But that seems like cheating. So far I’ve lost all the free play money within minutes. Deb has been winning on a game called Kitty Glitter and she’s only betting 9 cents at a time! The most I’ve won at one time is $1.80.

Here’s a photo of our campsite, finally. Isn’t it nice!  I think we will stay til Tuesday or maybe Wednesday. It’s supposed to be quite hot (83 on Tuesday) so we are reluctant to leave the electric hookups. The average high right now is supposed to be 68….quite a difference!    DSCN6401

Categories
Upper Peninsula

Dr. Visit

I saw Dr.Dixon today at Advanced Orthopedics in Marquette. Deb drove me over there and parked right in front of the door. My heart sank when I saw what a huge building it was in, but they had some loaner wheelchairs right by the door, yay! Everyone there was very nice; the Dr. was a young guy and I really liked him. They gave me some classy paper shorts to put on (as the nurse said, “one size fits none”) and I got wheeled off to x-ray. I’ve got some really big bone spurs in there, the kneecap has been pushed to one side by one of them and of course the knee is bone-on-bone; I knew that 10 years ago. He thought it’d be worth it to try a cortisone shot first, so that’s what we did. The next step, he thought, would be to try the synthetic joint fluid SynVisc. Everything I had done today was “covered” by Medicare (a relative term; I’ll probably have to pay about $300 out of pocket) and the SynVisc injections would also be covered; I’d have to pay 20% which would be around $800 or so for the series of  3 injections.  So I hope this cortisone fixes me up!

He couldn’t tell if the meniscus was torn but felt it was a non-issue, as he’d just read the newest study on that and they don’t recommend arthroscopic meniscus surgery for anyone any more. They don’t go in there and actually FIX anything, they cut off the ragged edges of the tear.  He was very positive about continuing to use the infrared light though, and also suggested cold laser therapy as another option. He says the only ones using cold laser up here are veterinarians but they’re having GREAT success with it.  Duh???  If it works for dogs, why aren’t we using it more for people??  Same with stem cell therapy, veterinarians are having huge successes with it but the human medical community is still fearful. I didn’t have to pay anything today, they said they’d bill me. So I’d better put some money in Savings, as I know I’m gonna need it in a couple months. Hope I can hold onto it.

After the Dr. appointment we went to our third Main Street Pizza, this time in Marquette. We each got two huge pieces of pizza for $2.75, and it was really good. We took it to a nice park right on Lake Superior to eat and there was even a big garbage can there so Deb could throw away the big box she got from Amazon! That’s one of the hardest things while boondocking, finding legal places to throw the trash.

Deb went to the casino last night and bought some food and dropped some cash on the slots so she is helping to justify our existence here.  This is a pretty small casino so there’s no restaurant, but they have a snack bar. She said the smoke was pretty bad. I guess the indians can do anything they want, the laws don’t apply?  My only complaint is about the flies here, there are a lot of them. They don’t bite (right now) but they like to land on me and I imagine them licking me or something awful. Ewww, fly tongues!

And then we went to my bank and to a smallish IGA store for groceries. Their prices were horrible! And they didn’t have any electric carts but they did have a wheelchair…without a shopping basket. I had to go along with Deb and use her shopping cart. Boy you’re really SHORT in a wheelchair! Thank goodness I am able to stand up; some people can’t. I wonder if they just buy stuff from the lower shelves, or do they have to ask for help? I wanted an item on a top shelf and I thought Deb was right behind me….I said “Hey hand me that” and some nice lady on the other side of me got it for me! I was very embarrassed & told her I hadn’t meant to be ordering HER around!!  The wheelchair was non-painful but it took a little while to get used to it. I’d just get going good and it would veer off to one side or the other.

Sorry I still don’t have any photos of our campsite. I’ll try to get Deb to take some soon.

So anyway, we don’t have to hang around here unless we want to; I have no follow-up appointments or anything. I’m SO glad I didn’t have to get an MRI! The lady I talked to on the phone said they would require it but I’m glad she was wrong.

Categories
Upper Peninsula

Waiting

I am still (impatiently) waiting for my appointment with the sports doctor tomorrow. How embarrassing is THAT going to be….it’s ridiculous to even say “sport”  and me in the same sentence!  Never the twain shall meet. I have spoken to his assistant and I already know he’s going to require an MRI. I hope it won’t take long to get that scheduled.

My knee actually felt somewhat better this morning!!  I’m doing some infrared light treatments twice a day, keeping it elevated and trying to stay off it as much as possible. I am able to straighten the leg more than before without extreme pain, so that’s  hopeful. It hurts quite a lot now, as we have moved and no matter how much I tried not to walk, there’s no way to accomplish packing up & moving without a good bit of it.

We’ve moved about 70 miles to the Ojibwa Casino in Marquette for a few days., if not forever! They have 7 nice FREE campsites with electricity, picnic tables, a little shade and even garbage cans!! Whip Hop!!  Deb went in to register for her site (there was only one site available) and they told her she can stay as long as she wants. And they give you $15 in play vouchers, and they even have loaner wheelchairs!!  They said it was OK for me to park in the same site so I backed in as close as I could to Deb’s camper was able to hook up to the 110v outlet. Wow…ELECTRICITY!!  I can’t remember the last time I had that…..I guess back in early June when I was on the way up to Michigan?  I’m so glad I don’t have to park out on the hot pavement. I’ve got the A/C cranked up and waiting for it to cool down in here.  I love this place….we’re never leaving.

Sorry for no photos again. Maybe I can snap some of our campsite later on but right now I’ve got to be kind to my knee.

Thanks everyone for using my Amazon link to place your orders! I get a small percentage of sales if ordered through that. Even if you’re ordering an inexpensive item, it helps because the percentage is based on number of items sold. Your small item might help me get to another level!   http://amzn.to/2c5csu8

 

Categories
Upper Peninsula

Stonington Peninsula, Rapid River MI

We sadly left Lyman Lake today, as our 14 day stay limit was up. It sure is a great campsite! But we’ll be back; we are meeting friends Bobbi (again) and Cindy there for Labor Day weekend. In the meantime, we can stay 16 days at the dispersed site here, near the Stonington Peninsula Lighthouse. We are on Lake Michigan but without access, I think. There’s a weedy shallow area between us and the main part of the lake…..but if it gets too hot, we might be checking that out for swimming. If it’s sandy bottom we could easily walk out to the lake. But no more yucky-mucky wading for me!  This is a great site, one of my favorites from last year’s travels. It’s a bit small for Deb’s big camper but I’m pretty sure she can wiggle in, maybe with  a lot of to-ing and fro-ing involved. She’s staying for 2 nights  at Vagabond CG nearby to get water, dump tanks recharge her battery, take a shower and do laundry. It’s a Passport America park, so only $12.50 a night. Then she’ll come here.

DSCN6393
Lake Michigan view from my camper

On the way here both Deb and I got stuck in a huge traffic jam in both directions that lasted 1.5 hours! A lot of people were turning around but I didn’t know of any other alternate routes so I just waited. And waited. A very fancy Class A motor home was burning……was glad to hear from Deb because I knew she was ahead of me and I was worried that it was her! Hope these folks have good insurance, and that no one was hurt. This is a photo that Deb took.

FullSizeRender

Now that my internet addiction was nearly cured, I’m back to having great phone and wifi signals! I’m sure I’ll backslide into my addiction very quickly.

There’s a lot of traffic going past our site to the lighthouse, as it’s a resting and gathering point for Monarch butterflies, before they make the long trip across Lake Michigan to Door County, WI. This happens in late August-early September…..I was a little bit late for it last year but hopefully this year we’ll get to see the thousands of butterflies. Traffic should be much less after the weekend.       http://www.visitescanaba.com/monarch-butterflys-26/

Tomorrow is the auction for the delinquent tax sale property I want! I’m very excited but I am also resigned to not winning it. I bid $1300 and I see that most of the properties in other counties have sold for more than that. Last year there were a bunch of wooded lots that sold for under $500; this year it’s 3 times that!  What’s the deal?!  Well keep your fingers and toes crossed for me anyway. I’ll let you know how it comes out.

Thank you everyone for using my Amazon link! I hear it’s difficult to locate, so I’ll try to put it at the bottom of each post from now on.  I get a small percentage of sales that are initiated through this link, and it sure helps with my money situation to get that $150 or so each month!!  Here it is: http://amzn.to/2aSm3CA