Workamping at Pere Marquette RV Park – Baldwin Mich

We’re coming to the end of our first year as full-time RV’ers and Kathy and I have taken stock of the decision we made to leave the stix-n-bricks world of home ownership and hit the road as Workampers.

We left our family and friends back in Ohio on Labor Day 2016 and headed west to Arizona for our first Workamping experience.  This position was for Sept 15th to March 15th, 2017.  I’ve written many posts about our experiences while working in Arizona, you can find them elsewhere on this blog.  Here’s a link to a post on our workamping experience there.

We had a great time and made some great new friendships there and we’d like to go back to Arizona again in the near future.  If you’re contemplating visiting Arizona, we highly recommend the central portion of the state near cities like Cottonwood, Camp Verde, Clarkdale, Sedona, & Jerome.

Central Arizona – Not too hot in the summer, not too cold in the winter

These spots are far enough north of Phoenix to be a little cooler and less looking like desert, but in the winter you’re far enough south of cities like Flagstaff so the chances of snow are pretty slim.

Our 2nd and most recent gig is where we’re presently working and about to depart from (Sept 15th).  We’ve had the pleasure of working at Pere Marquette Oaks RV Resort in (of all places) BALDWIN, Michigan.

Baldwin, MI

This video below takes you on a bicycle tour of the park.  It’s a beautiful lush green RV park full of towering oak trees, an in-ground heated pool, hot tub, picnic pavilion, laundry room, and club house.

We don’t have to park new arrivals, answer the phone, or take reservations.  There is a rental manager for that.  Kathy and I are responsible for maintaining the rest rooms, showers, pool, hot tub, club house and laundry areas.

Take the tour and find out a little more.

Although it’s only been a year, we’ve come to realize that we are really enjoying this lifestyle change.  We have sold our home in Ohio (to our daughter and son-in-law), and will be registering as Texas residents this winter when we are there for our next (winter) workamping position.  Texas is viewed by “those in the know” as one of the 3 best states to domicile in for full-time RV’ers.

We hope to continue this lifestyle as long as our health allows and recommend to anyone considering some sort of lifestyle change to think about hitting the road in an RV and workamping along the way, both to help keep active and contribute to the household budget.  We look for employers/positions that ask for about 10-20 hours per week in exchange for a full hook-up site along with water, sewer, electric, cable, wifi, and laundry allowance.  We don’t want to work 40 hours+, we’ve been there / done that.

Thanks for reading … don’t be afraid to ask questions …we’d love to hear from you.

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

How to get rid of the varmint

Struggling to get rid of that cute but pesky little varmint. Should I use a BB gun? Maybe a live trap? Maybe some rat poison? Should I worry about what is most humane? Watch the short video below.

Let me know your thought on this (below in comments) or if you have any other ideas on how I might get rid of this little fella.

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

They Certainly Know How to Party!

This was our first experience at the Bloody Mary Party, but others in the park had been talking about the upcoming event for weeks.  Everyone looks forward to the annual gathering hosted by Bill & Lee.

We weren’t disappointed … lots of food, lots of drink (open bar / self serve), and LOTS of friendly talk and laughs.  This crowd knows how to party!

Fortunately, since the guests all live here in the park, there was no danger of DUI since we could all walk home.

Here’s a few snaps from the party … Thanks again go out to Bill and Lee for their gracious hospitality.

 

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Our First “official” Week On The Job

It’s been a few days since I’ve written … we’ve been keeping busy here at the park.  Our new workamper partners, Russ & Mary arrived on Sunday the 14th and our first official day of work was the 15th.  The first few days of that week we all worked together to get the place “open” for the season.

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Pere Marquette Oaks RV Park is a beautiful park.  There are about 115 RV sites here.  All the lots are individually owned and each property owner is responsible for all the upkeep of their lot with the exception of the grass mowing and trimming which is paid for by the association from the annual association fees.  They hire the crew from the golf course across the street to take care of the turf and those guys come over every Tuesday morning to mow and trim and blow off all the edges.

This first full week the guys pressure washed all the concrete surfaces around the pool deck, the sidewalks, and the picnic pavilion.  We used a pretty slick tool that I wasn’t familiar with called a “PowerFit Surface Cleaner“.  This attaches to the gas powered pressure washer and helps to easily clean the concrete surfaces.

The ladies did the initial “deep cleaning” of the bathrooms to make them spic ‘n span for the season.  We brought out all the tables, chairs, and umbrellas to arrange around the pool … washing everything down as we set them up.  We installed the sand volleyball and badminton nets.  We worked to stabilize the pool and hot tub chemicals so that the water would be clean, balanced, and safe for everyone to use this Memorial Day weekend.

Our site here at the park is close to the main entrance so Kathy and I get to see everyone as they come and go.  Part of our responsibilities include “cruising” the park 3 or 4 times daily in the golf cart and just being aware of anything looking out of the ordinary on residents sites.

Although there are 15-20 folks that are here all summer, many of the sites are unoccupied during the week while their owners are downstate working and then they come “up north” on the weekend, so our weekends are often going to be “full house”, especially on holiday weekends like this Memorial Day weekend.

Kathy and I will be taking some day trips around northern Michigan and we’ll share some of that with you as time goes on.  Thanks for stopping by and we’d love it if you’d leave a note with your thoughts …

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Our day trip to Ludington State Park

We took a drive over to Ludington (about 45 miles west) yesterday so we could check out the beach at Lake Michigan and we wanted to see the lake and stream inside Lugington State Park.

The beach was empty, still a little cold here in Michigan, but I’m sure there will be some diehards out there on the beach come Memorial Day weekend.

Looks like a great spot to camp, fish, kayak, and canoe – we’ll be sure to come on back here in the summer when it’s warmer.

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Fisherman’s Paradise at Pere Marquette

Since we’ve been here just a few days in the “up north” area of Michigan, we’ve been able to do a little exploring.  We arrived at Pere Marquette Oaks RV Park on Sunday the 7th of May and our official work start date is not until the 15th.

Right after we arrived Sunday night, we noticed a leak in the kitchen sink area.  First thing Monday, a trip to the local ACE Hardware in Baldwin.  WOW!  What a store.

Baldwin ACE Hardware

Large store with ample supply of what seemed to be anything anyone might need or want without the need to drive to Big Rapids or Ludington for one of the big box stores.

Just a small length of plastic pipe strap fixed the problem in a jiffy. The slip joint on the “p” trap had come loose from the jiggling as we travel down the road.

While we were in town we decided to check out some of the Pere Marquette River boat launch sites AND OF COURSE one of the local restaurants for a late morning breakfast.

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After breakfast we walked across the street to see the famous JONES Ice Cream Shop.  They have been making their private recipe ice cream in the back room for 75 years.  The parlor’s walls are lined with hundreds of black and white photos showing Lake County history from the mid 1800’s forward.  Take a look at the photos below and see the old time ice cream parlor chairs and stools at the counter.

After breakfast we decided we wanted to look around town a bit check out the river that this area is so famous for.  I’ve put together a video (below) showing some of the different walk-in sites and boat launch sites to the river and some of the lakes in the nearby area.

So far, we are impressed by the beauty of the water and the quiet that abounds.  It’s so peaceful and calming.  Our next post will be a little about the park we’re living at for the summer.  Stay tuned for more.

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

First Day in Michigan @ Proud Lake Recreation Area

Our “home” parked in front of the bunkhouse

We left Mount Gilead on Monday morning May 1st.  We had parked in the driveway for the month of April, were able to see our doctors, get our taxes done, attend worship at our church, and have plenty of time to visit with family and good friends.

While we were “home”, we took advantage of the time available to us to sell a lot of what we had left behind when we started this new full-time RV’ing lifestyle last September.

Sara & Stu

Since our daughter and son-in-law were renting the house from us in our absence, it made our departure much easier as we had literally left nearly everything behind.

But now that we have confirmed that this full-time thing is for us (at least for the next few years), we want to sell the house so that we can be totally debt-free.  Selling the house will free up money that will allow us to pay off what little debt we have.  Craigslist and Facebook allowed us to sell thousands of dollars worth of household and yard/garden tools & equipment in very short order.  I sold Dewalt drills, a Mastertow Tow Dolly, Agrifab lawn sweeper, Cushman golf cart, and a whole lot more.  It was amazing how quickly things sold.

We’re not worried about where we might live when the time comes to hang up our keys to the coach.  We still own four rental units in Mount Gilead with great renters in each, but if push comes to shove we could ask any of the tenants to leave and we could take their place.

Another alternative is for us to take advantage of the life-time RV Lot lease program at any of the Escapee’s Co-Op Parks around the south, southwest, and northwest parts of the country.  Depending on the park and the amenities, lifetime leases are available for anywhere from about $7000 to $25,000 (one time payment).  Once the lease is paid, the only on-going costs are electricity and an annual Operating & Maintenance fee that usually runs $600-$1200 yearly.  And the really great part is that when we are “done” with the lot, whether it be 1 year later or 20 years down the road, we turn it back over to the Co-Op and get 100% of our lease money invested back!

But that’s on down the road a bit.  Right now our plan now is to spend a week here in Southeast Michigan where we can visit friends and family that we’ve known for 40 years or more and then we’ll move on up the road at the end of the week to the Grand Rapids and Holland, Michigan areas to see more “old” friends and then up to Baldwin, Michigan (near Ludington) to start our summer workamping job by May 15th.

We are camped at Proud Lake Recreation Area just off Wixom Road in Commerce Twp, MI.  This is just north of I-96 about 5 miles.  There’s about 4700 acres of wooded wilderness here with miles of trails and the campground offers 130 (electric) sites along with a small beach and boat launch.  The shower house was built new in 2016 and offers very attractive and comfortable private bath and shower rooms.  Here’s a slide show of a few pictures of the campground facilities.

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Today (Tuesday May 2nd) we spent a few hours (and lunch at a great Mexican Restaurant) with Jeff & Sandy (Overmeyer) Houghton.  Sandy is the cute little girl with blond curls on the left in the first row (our 2nd grade class picture)

Mrs. Fosmoe’s 2nd grade class, Bulman Elementary

Jeff, Sandy, Kathy, and I all were in High School together and graduated in 1972.

We’ve got more planned for the rest of the week and we’ll fill that in as we go along.

Kathy, Herb, Sandy, & Jeff

 

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy
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