Saturday, June 30, 2018

End of the Month Catch-up

I'm back at the Lake Michigan Recreation Area for the week leading up to July 4th boondocking in some great weather, although kind of warm.  I originally reviewed the Rec Area here:  Lake Michigan Rec Area Review .

Lake Michigan

I got here early and snagged the last campsite that has open views of the sky with only a few blocking trees so solar and DISH TV are both working really well!

Even running the DISH and TV while charging my phone the battery stays at 100%.

On a sadder note my 35 year old Ibanez electric guitar finally gave up the ghost.  I loved that old guitar but over 35 years I really beat the Hell out of it.  So I got a new one!

It even came with a nifty guitar stand.  Thanks Amazon!

This campground is one of my all-time favorites and it's pretty packed which isn't surprising given the holiday next week.  My campsite is nicely isolated from the sites to either side so I can't see or hear my neighbors which is great.  You can even get decent Verizon reception if you use a cell booster.

Part of the Manistee National Forest.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Breakfast at Big D's Pickford, MI

I'm spending a week at the Glen Gough Memorial Park in Pickford, MI.  I previously reviewed the park here:  Picford Township Park Review.  When you stay in Pickford eating at least one breakfast at Big D's Diner is MANDATORY.

The Meatlover's Omelette!  About a pound of goodness.
One of the daily specials is the Meatlover's Omelette which must have at least a half pound of cheese, meat and eggs in it -- I challenge you to finish it!

As far as I got.

Fortunately Big D's provides "To Go" boxes because as you can see I have another meal left over.  Diet, what diet?

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Campground Review: Midland County Fairgrounds Midland, MI

When I visit my family in Midland, MI I used to park the Mini at the Four Seasons RV Park and bite the bullet and pay their $38 per night camping fee because there really isn't a lot of RV parks in the Midland area.  This year I wanted to visit my Dad for Father's Day so I did some research on non -$38 per night venues and found that the Midland County Fairgrounds charged only $20 per night so I tried the fairground camping out.

87 degrees!  So much for escaping the Southwest heat.

The RV sites at the Fairgrounds are informally laid out on grass pull-thru's where the electric hookups are supplied by centrally located poles where about 6 to eight receptacles are hung.

The Mini parked near a "power pole", water is available from spigots like in the foreground.

Here's the Midland County Fairground data sheet:

Hookups:                                             20, 30 & 50 amp, water                                             
Fire ring:                                              No                                                                              
Water Access:                                     No                                                                  
Fresh Water:                                       Yes                                                     
Trash Service:                                     Yes                                                                 
Toilets:                                                Yes                                         
Showers:                                             Yes                                                     
Dump station:                                      Yes                                         
WiFi:                                                    No                                          
Level sites:                                          Yes                                         
Laundry:                                              No                                                      
Store:                                                   No (Across the street from a Mall)                            
Pool:                                                    No                                          
Shade:                                                Yes                                         
Verizon reception:                               4G, 4 Bars                                          
Internet reception:                               4 bars
Cost:                                                    $20 per night

There are several very well cleaned bathrooms around the Fairgrounds, one has showers for campers.

The flower-lined shower house at Midland County Fairgrounds.

As I mentioned in the Data Sheet you could not be any closer to shopping when you stay at the Fairgrounds, the Midland Mall is right across the street along with a Walmart, Home Depot and a bunch of other stores.  The Fairgrounds is also only about a half mile from my Dad's house so that was also convenient.

The campground office is thru the glass doors then immediately left.

The county really does a nice job of keeping the Fairgrounds up and litter free, it really enhanced the camping experience.

Even the Dump Station is lined with flowers!

I enjoyed my 3 days camping at the Midland County Fairgrounds and I enjoyed saving $54 dollars over what I would have spent at Midland's "other" RV park even more.  The Fairgrounds is now my default Midland campground!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Michigan's Casino Trail

Every year as I make my way from the hot Southwest to the cooler climate of Michigan's Upper Peninsula my monthly costs go up due to increased gas usage incurred by the long distance travel (the pickup/Mini combo only gets 10 mpg).  One way I stretch my budget during this period is by "casino camping" at the Indian casinos across the UP.  Most welcome RV'ers for a couple of nights and a few even provide free electrical hookups.  I reviewed one of the more popular casinos here:  Kewadin St. Ignace Review .  I'm actually at the Kewadin Manistique casino right now which offers free electrical hookups.

Free hookups and blackjack!

So if I can break even playing blackjack (yeah, right!) I can end up saving $15 or $20 a night I'd spend even at my Passport America discounted rates.  Sometimes I even leave the casino with more money than I came with!

The Mini's grassy site at Kewadin Manistique Casino.

Surprisingly, there aren't that many places in Michigan's UP that you can boondock in, at least that I've found, so utilizing the free casino camping is a good way to keep costs down.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Year Five of Road Life Completed

Today marks my fifth anniversary of full timing in an RV.  When I closed on the sale of my house in Texas on June 6, 2013 I told myself I would give RV living a full six months to see if I was going to embrace it or not.

2400 square feet down to 160, what could go wrong?

Although I was a complete RV newb I was able to avoid a lot of camping and RV pitfalls by reading as many of the many RV blogs on the Internet as I could and learning from other people's experiences.  I'm really grateful for that education, I probably couldn't have made it five years without it and I'd encourage anyone thinking of heading out to read RV blogs you'll never regret it.

What's next?  I don't have any plans to stop full timing, I just love traveling around our country and camping in new (and some repeat) locations.  I'll try to keep reviewing cool campsites when I find them, maybe that can be part of my paying the RV experience thing forward.

Thanks for reading!