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Upper Peninsula

Bond Falls Flowage

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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.

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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!

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Back In Civilization!

Ahhh, back in civilization again!  And by that I mean that I have a good ATT wifi signal,  It’s been tough this past week without it, but at least I did have a phone signal so I could get email and texts from friends.  I could get a wifi signal by driving about 10 miles to town, and I did that one day, only to discover my laptop battery was nearly dead, so that was a wasted trip. I guess most of my friends would NOT agree that this was anywhere near “civilization”, in fact it would probably completely freak them out to camp here.

We were camped at Robbins Pond Campground for the past week, near Watersmeet. (Watersmeet, Home of the Nimrods.  What’s a Nimrod?) Nice little free campground, 3 sites with picnic tables, fire rings and outhouses, and a short walk to the pond and a designated picnic area that didn’t have any picnic tables! I thought that was strange; I guess it’s a “blanket on the ground” kind of picnic area.  It was about 5 miles back on a dirt road and very quiet. The first few days there was nothing on the pond, then one day a pair of swans arrived!  Maybe headed south for the winter?  The woods around our camp were beautiful!

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Another camper guy came along a few days ago and walked over, said he had been camping there for years and never seen another camper.  A while later he came back and said he was going to head over to the other free campground, Burned Dam, because he liked to drink and play loud music at night.  All righty then, thank you for that!

Then I got notice that my Ecuador check was returned uncashed yet again!  I found out that the reason was that the payee (my health insurance company) declined to pay the $100 cashing fee and 5% tax.  I had agreed in advance to pay any bank fees but not the tax, so……I guess I’ll make one more try!  We moved to this site near Escanaba today so I can take it back to the nice banker at Wells Fargo to start all over again. The check was returned to NC but Sharon is mailing it directly to the Wells Fargo in Escanaba and I’ll meet with him Monday or Tuesday to sign all the papers again. This time we will designate that I will pay any fees or taxes or ANYTHING that comes up!!  The 5% tax is for taking money out of Ecuador; I had thought it started at $5,000 but apparently it’s much lower. The check is for just under $2500.  This check’s gonna be the death of me!!!

We are now camped in another free site, not far from a paved road outside of Rapid River.  It has no name, but there are two huge sites on the left side of the dirt road going to the lighthouse past Little Bay de Noc Campground.  (18 miles from US 2) I love it here….great ATT and Verizon signals, huge mowed grass site with room for 3 or 4 small campers!  No picnic table, just a fire ring but that’s OK.  It is across the road from Lake Michigan, no lake access but nice view. There are outhouses at the lighthouse right up the road. These sites are not in any of the publications, but the ranger told me about them.  She said they were too small for anything but tents but I definitely disagree!  I was not bothered by mosquitoes while I was setting up, but it’s been storming and now I see a bunch of something-or-others flying around outside the door. I hope they are gnats and not mosquitoes!

View from the door.  The lake is in that direction, hard to see it in the photo but a lot of what looks like sky, is really water.

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View in back of the camper.  From this you can tell just how big this site is! It’s at least as deep as a football field, though not quite as wide.

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Roxie says “Are we almost there yet, Mom?”

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Just up the road are several trees with huge holes in the trunks….we scared up a Pileated Woodpecker, would they do this much damage?  These holes are 3″ high and quite deep into the trees!

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Along the way today we ran into miles and miles of bugs.  Constantly smashing against the windshield; I had to stop 3 times at gas stations just to clean the windshield!

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Pretty gross, huh?  Turns out they were common house flies!!  Must have been thousands of them.  At one roadside park they completely covered the walls of the outhouse.  I decided I didn’t have to go THAT badly.

The color is changing up here already!  It was just starting to change when we were in Lake Linden and this past week it has really advanced.  I hope I’m still here to see the full fall color display, though it won’t be as spectacular now that I’m out of the hill country.