Big Bend Day 4


Today we went outside the park on the west side, to the ghost town of Terlingua. I was interested to see it because I used to own  5 and 13 acre tracts of land near there at Terlingua Ranch, which I bought and sold sight unseen. I got gas in Study Butte (pronounced Stoody Byute) for $2.609, not cheap but at least it’s $.10 a gallon cheaper than inside the park. Terlingua is a really funky little place, with people living in shacks, nice homes, teepees, tents….you name it! I really like adobe and this isn’t this the cutest little adobe tiny house!


And the next door neighbor is this teepee! There are quite a few old adobe and rock remains of homes.

Near town is this place, shaped like a clipper ship. In case you can’t read the sign, it says “Passing Wind”!  At another house that had a completely sand yard was a sign that said “Keep Off The Grass”.  


In Terlingua there’s a really nice store with Texas and Terlingua souvenirs and gifts, and next door is the Starlight Theater. You can get dinner and a show! There’s going to be a live band tonight and I think my neighbor Neal is going.



I keep seeing coyotes coming and going on “our” Grapevine Hills Road but they always disappear into the brush when I get close. Today there was one that slipped into the brush but when I got to the place where he left the road, there he was! He stood and modeled for me while I look at least 6 or 7 great photos, then trotted off. Then I noticed the little yellow blurb in the camera that I’d been ignoring, it said “No memory card present”. I didn’t get ANY of those photos!!!  As I continued toward our camp, I saw another coyote that was trotting up the road and went around a bend. When I got around it, there was our campsite. And the coyote was right there! He sure had no fear of humans; Neal was standing in the doorway of his camper and the coyote went within 4′ of him! He too stood around for long enough to me to get some photos but I’m sure they are not as good as the ones I couldn’t keep.




On the way home I drove up to Chisos Basin; there’s a visitor center, campground, store and lodge there. The terrain is completely different….lots of conifer frees and there were signs warning of bears and cougars. There was even a “bear crossing” sign but I guess I was there at a time when there weren’t any crossings scheduled, as usual.







Well I successfully made it through another birthday. I loved being with friends on my birthday but am not crazy about being 68.  I’m now camped with my 3 best camping buddies at Twin Lakes CG near Clemson, SC. It’s one of our favorite places; an Army Corps of Engineers campground with nearly all sites lakefront, with water & electric for $13 a night with the Federal geezer pass. I believe it will be one of the very few times I’ll be paying for campsites in the coming year! Due to the drought, the lake is WAY far away from the campsites now, with a huge beach.

On Tuesday, a stupid squirrel chewed through my less-than-a-month-old propane pigtail; the hose that goes from the regulator to the tank. And naturally, the one on my camper is an odd size; it’s got a 3/8″ connection. I ran all over town Tuesday afternoon searching for the right sized pigtail and/or an adapter to get it from the (apparently) standard 1/4″ to 3/8″, with no success. I even thought of replacing the regulator, but it’s a non-standard size too! The outlet on mine is 1/2″ and the standard size now is 3/8″. I guess that’s the penalty for having a 13 year old camper.

On Wednesday morning I called 13 different places in Anderson, about 1/2 hour away, and nobody had one, but finally a mobile home parts place had an adapter. We went to lunch at the Red Lobster in Anderson for my birthday (very yumm!) and got the $3 part. I got it all put back together yesterday afternoon and it works! So that squirrel’s little snack cost me around $40….$27 for a new pigtail, $3 for the adapter and around $10 worth of propane that escaped. I hope the blast of propane in his face taught him a lesson! I did read that squirrels are attracted to rubber hoses, etc. But I kept wondering, WHY ME??  Why not the people on either side of me who also have exposed propane hoses that are the standard size & easily replaceable, and who have way more money than I do???   My chronic bad luck continues to stalk me. I wrapped the new hose with aluminum foil; that’s supposed to make it unattractive to squirrels. There’s also a coil thingie that I’ll get to cover the hose, for around $11.

I got new internet-ordered glasses! I got them from a place called  They have a no-questions-asked return policy, and many of the others don’t. But thankfully, the new glasses are amazing. I put them on and said “WOW!” two or three times. So nice to be able to see again.

I leave this morning to head west to Arizona! Eventually. First I’m stopping off at Big Bend and Guadalupe National Parks in Texas. I dread that long long drive.

Sorry no photos; I’ve misplaced the little adapter that allows me to get photos off the camera disc and into the laptop! I was going to buy another one but I decided it was too expensive. I know mine is in here somewhere; it must have fallen out of the camera case.




Time To Move On

We have spent a very productive two weeks here in Asheville, crossing a lot of items off my To-Do List! In fact the only things left on it are a trip to Wal-Mart for a few items, and some sewing projects which I hope my friend Jeanne will help with.

My house-sitting job ended on Wednesday. I spent a good part of that day toting stuff back to the camper that I’d taken to the house over the course of the week. Ugh! Why so much STUFF??  I bought too much food for the PJ Party and had to find places to stash that plus I bought some things on Amazon; now the camper is bulging!  But I do have a lot of free space in the car, I just haven’t gotten around to reorganizing that space yet.

Jenni finished up the propane projects today, testing all the new propane connections with soapy water and installing my new pigtail (the hose that goes from the propane tank to the regulator). Naturally the 24″ pigtail I ordered from Amazon had the wrong size connection to fit into my regulator, so Jenni made another trip all over town looking for an adapter. You wouldn’t think that would be so hard!  Well, turns out it was impossible. She ended up finding a 5′ extension hose that would fit both ends, so now I have a 7′ hose instead of the 2′ one I really needed. The excess is wrapped around the propane tanks and zip-tied so it doesn’t drag on the ground. Poor Jenni is always amazed at how complicated a perfectly simple job can become when it involves ME. The Paquette luck (or lack of it) holds true again.

Once it was all done, I said maybe I should test the new heater tonight, since it’s going to be in the 30’s. I believe she turned a bit pale, and said “while it’s under our carport?” Yeah, and right next to your Airstream, too!  Haha! Guess I’ll hold off on the testing until I get to Jeanne’s house tomorrow. Maybe I can manage to blow up their garage.

Here is my new little Olympian Wave 3 heater, isn’t it cute! And the ingenious way we invented to hang it from my cabinet without putting any screws into the door. It hangs quite securely from an over-door hook that has the triple hooks cut off, and the propane line attaches with a quick-connect fitting. I can even still open the cabinet and get stuff out of it while the heater is attached! (Though I won’t do that if the heater is running). I usually only run the heat at night. If I need to take the chill off during the day, I can just turn the stovetop on for a few minutes. (adequately ventilated, of course) With this type of mount, it’ll be easy to store the heater in the car when not needed.

Saturday….I’m now at Jeanne’s in High Point for a few nights. I’m parked in her driveway and have a very classy golf course view.


Yesterday we drove about an hour to check out some free campsites in the Uwharrie National Forest. I will go there until our next WACS gathering near Clemson, SC on November 27. I really am ready to be alone againl for awhile….I’ve been around people for weeks now! Nobody is bugging me or anything, but my already-limited social skills are growing thin. Funny, it doesn’t matter how much I might love my friends, I just really need lots and lots of alone-time.

Jeanne and I have really done a great job on our sewing projects! We made two slipcovers for Roxie’s little sling bed. Even though it’s just a simple sling and she can’t possibly do anything to make it “more comfortable”, she digs and digs at it until she gets it just right (in her own head). So she’s made a big hole in the middle.  This exact bed doesn’t not appear to be made any more, so I had to fix it.


We made two very simple slipcovers from some quilted material I had on hand. They are easily removed for washing and I didn’t even have to go through the work of putting a patch on the hole.        dscn6554

I also made two different covers from oilcloth for the new heater; the catalytic pad is supposed to be covered any time it’s not in use, as dust on the pad is not good. So I needed a front coverage one for when it’s hanging on the cabinet and a full-coverage envelope-style one for when it’s stored in the car. The covers are nothing to brag about but they’ll do the job.  We made a foam pad that slips onto the armest of my car so I really CAN rest my arm on it while driving. I used a 2″ piece of foam to get it to the right height, and covered it with fleece with elastic straps.  And we almost have my jeans hemmed. We tried to do it on the sewing machine but it didn’t want to go through that heavy denim material, so I ended up hemming by hand.  What a productive visit to NC….I actually got everything done that was on my list! The only thing left to do is to reorganize the back seat area of the car, though I don’t know why I bother….as soon as I move one thing, everything else fluffs up and takes up twice the space!

Oh I just passed the milestone of living in the camper on the road for 18 months!

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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.   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.


Michigan Upper Peninsula

Keweenaw Peninsula

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.


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).


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.


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.


Wood Ducks (?) at the falls pond:   dscn6458

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.



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!

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Free Willy (the worm)!

When I was a pre-schooler I always had lunch with Soupy Sales on TV. One of his characters was Willy the Worm who would stick his head up out of a flowerpot and say happy birthday to kids. One time he wished ME a happy birthday! Well today I liberated my Willy the fishing worms. The poor things had spent the past 2 1/2 months in that tiny plastic box in my fridge, and who knows how long before that in the store’s fridge. Sometimes when I’d get them out to check on them, their box would be full of water from the melting ice (because my fridge doesn’t work right)! Sometimes I would get out my bucket and dump them out to have an exercise day and to let their dirt dry out. Occasionally they’d get some yummy coffee grounds or newspaper to eat. Today I dug a little divot in the dirt and dumped them out, and before long they had all run away! Run free, Willys! I hope they’ll be happy.

The other day I dropped a full 20 oz. glass water bottle on my big toe. Oh oh oh! I thought for sure it was broken but it’s not, just bruised. Luckily (?) it’s on the leg that’s already gimpy.

We have loons! We’ve heard them but have not seen them, though some of the black specks way out in the lake might be them. I love hearing the loons. We also have plenty of flies here. I don’t know why this year is so bad for flies; I didn’t notice that many of them last year. And they are superman flies. When I do get lucky with my aim and hit them with a flyswatter, they laugh and get right back up.

And our campsites have a lot of food that some idiot has thrown out. Beans, eggs, even some steaks! The minute Annie gets loose she heads off to gobble some forbidden junk food. Deb buried some of it, and the steaks mysteriously disappeared last night. (don’t look at me! They were gross-looking!)

And I didn’t mention the other day that this campground is owned by the Upper Peninsula Power Company. Awfully nice of them to provide this great place to camp….for free!

We are expecting some company in about a week….Donna Morey, who I met out in AZ at an A-Frame rally last February! Looking forward to seeing her again.

We’ve been getting some cold nights. Tonight’s low is supposed to be 38….is it time to get out the fleece sheets??

Upper Peninsula

Bond Falls Flowage


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.


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!



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

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.

Upper Peninsula


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!


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.

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.


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.

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:


Cedarville, MI

Bama Deb and I have met up again, just east of Cedarville, in the Upper Peninsula. After AZ, Deb went on to Wyoming and then leisurely made her way up here. We are parked in nothing more than a long pullout at the side of M-134, which I found in the Days End Directory (from Escapees RV Club). It doesn’t LOOK like a campsite so we did not unhook the campers from the cars, in case we get kicked out in the middle of the night!  Tomorrow I may go visit the police department to find out for sure if we’re legal here. We are only about 75′ from Lake Huron here, with a little sand beach! The water’s COLD, by the way. It’s nice and sunny but breezy, so no mosquitoes (so far). And temps in the 70’s today and high 60’s for the next several days….perfect!  Check out the lovely view from the camper door!  DSCN6318


Property Hunting

Princess Roxie made me get up at 6:30 this morning and take her out! Of course when we came back in, SHE was able to go right back to sleep, but not I. So I’m up early today. I guess we will drive down to Waters, MI today and look at some properties that are up for auction due to unpaid taxes. There are 4 parcels there that seem interesting and their starting bids are all around $500. I would love to find a cheap bit of wooded land where I could camp for the whole summer, maybe even with electricity! Boy, wouldn’t that be luxurious!!  I found one piece that’s nice, near Wolverine, and have more to look at in the Upper Peninsula. I was going to combine the property search in Waters with meeting some old school chums for lunch but the lunch thing fell through.  I’m sure you are wondering how I can purchase any property, being so poor….well so am I!  But if I could get something for under $1000, I would have to put it on my credit card and try to pay it off as soon as I could. I really long for a place of my own, where I could spend summers without having to wonder where I’ll end up. And maybe my friends would come and camp with me too!

Also I cancelled my appointment to get the camper fridge cleaned. I guess it got jealous because as soon as I bought a foam cooler and some ice, it cured itself! I know it won’t last, and it still needs cleaning (or something) but if I could put it off another month, it would really help. I am meeting up with Deb on Sunday and she’s got an ice chest I can use if necessary, since the foam cooler already is cracked. I had water all over the camper floor!

Saw this sign on Facebook……it should be posted right here at my campsite!  Actually the bugs were terrible when I first got here…..fresh warm blood! But now they’re only bad in the early morning and late evening.   Mosquitos Sign

I found one out of the 4 properties to be very nice… met all my criteria…..level and wooded, not too far from a grocery store, with power available and good wifi and cellphone signals. And it’s on a year-round road. It even already has a driveway and clearing cut, and an outhouse and small utility shed!  So I’ll keep it on the list. On the way back to Mackinaw City I looked at the property in Wolverine again and ended up crossing it off the list. It was small and the land was all humpy; it would need a bulldozer to level it all out.

Oh dear, little Veggie’s last remaining offspring has been prematurely ejected. Poor Junior! I guess traveling pepper plants are not feasible. He’s about 2″ in diameter and will go nicely into tomorrow morning’s omelet.  (Oh yeah, you cry and moan about it, but you know you’d do the same thing! Maybe I’ll give him a little funeral before I EAT HIM)


Thursday at French Farm Lake

Yesterday I finally got my Social Security money for the month; I squeaked by with 27 cents left in my checking account, $7.85 in savings and around $7 in cash! Phew. What a bad bad month!  I guess this is a good time to THANK YOU everyone who’s using my Amazon and PayPalMe links! It sure helps.  $136 so far this month from Amazon, and I still have a week to go!

I was running very short on groceries & had been putting off purchases of Other Important Stuff, so I made a Wal-Mart run to Cheboygan, 18 miles away. On the way there I passed Salvation Army and Goodwill stores, and was able to get a nice fitted twin sheet for only $1.35 and a pair of shorts for $2.70 (after my senior discounts)! I’ve been using a flat flannel sheet on the bottom and it won’t stay tucked in, plus it’s kinda warm for sleeping on flannel.

My cellphone has been acting up again & refuses to do anything but call or text. It figures I’d get a smartphone that goes DUMB. Last time I was able to fix it by reverting to the factory settings (which means writing down & then reentering all my contact info) but this time that didn’t work. So I ordered a Tracfone reconditioned Samsung Galaxy Stardust phone; it got great reviews and has a lot more memory than most of the others. And it was only $39.99.I never really liked my SpongeBob Squarepants phone anyway.

This morning I took the BYOP kit back to Wal-Mart. On the way out, I spotted this mama turtle getting ready to lay her eggs in the sand at the boat launch! Thankfully I think she was off the main part enough so I don’t think they’ll get run over. When I got back two hours later, she was gone and the nest was all covered up again.  So funny, I’ve never seen that in my whole life and now I’ve seen it twice in one month; an Eastern Box Turtle was laying her eggs at my friends’ garden in Asheville when I was there.  I’d sure like to be able to see the little babies emerging.


Then I noticed the trail she left in the sand….she sure took the long way around!  DSCN6298

Here’s a view of our campsite. Pretty, isn’t it!

French Farm Lake Site #5

And Princess Roxie, dragging around her leaf collection…….



On The Road to Chiricahua

February’s Amazon Associates income was a bit over $200 this month!! Can you imagine what a difference that makes in the life of someone who’s income is $1200 a month?  It’s HUGE!  You guys are the BEST; thank you so much for remembering to use my Amazon link!

I have big news; Deb, a camping friend from Gulf Shores, AL is on her way out here! Unless I drive her completely nuts, she’ll be following me around for the next 7 months, from AZ to Utah, Colorado and Wyoming, and then up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for the summer!  I know my friends who were worried about me being all alone can now breathe a sign of relief.

So I got off my duff and finally moved from Sedona. I didn’t even like that site all that well, it was so terribly dusty! But I think inertia set in and I would have stayed there forever if Deb wasn’t arriving soon. I am backtracking and meeting her at Chiricahua National Monument tomorrow; hoping to snag one of the really nice creekside boondocking sites just outside the park.  When I first got to AZ I was actually on the backside of Chiricahua at Sunny Flat CG but didn’t make it to the actual National Monument. Sunny Flat still remains the most beautiful campsite of the trip so far.  I’m hoping the little one lane dirt road over the mountain is ice-free now and I can show Deb my favorite campground. If it’s not passable, then it’s about 100 miles by road!

I drove about 6 hours today, through the Tonto National Forest, up & over some mountain passes, through the piney woods and then into the hilly saguaro cactus terrain, and then down into the valley with lots of irrigated farmland. Went past Roosevelt Lake and the shoreline camping looked awesome! I stopped in at the visitor’s center to get info on the new Tonto Pass rates. Camping used to cost $3 a night for seniors but now there’s no discount at all and the rates went up to $8 a night! The only discount is on the annual Tonto Discovery Pass, it’s $60 for seniors instead of the usual $80. That does entitle you camp free at the shoreline sites, but not in any of the campgrounds. (I’d want a shoreline site anyway). Just not sure I’d get my money’s worth out of it.  The pass is good for shoreline camping on three different lakes though (Apache, Bartlett & Roosevelt) so I’ll have to do more research to see if any of those are higher elevations that would have cool enough weather for me.  Deb also hates heat!

I am camped for the night (didn’t even unhook the camper) on some BLM land about 8 miles south of Safford, AZ. It is 1.1 miles from Hwy. 191 on Haekel Rd. The entrance is in the middle of a big curve in the road; the road goes left and the road to the boondocking site goes right. Haekel Road is paved, so I won’t be eating any dust tonight! I’m the only camper here but there are hundreds of cow-pies all over the place so we might get some bovine company later on! If so, I hope they’ll be nice and friendly.

I didn’t take any photos along the way today but here’s the view from our camper door.