Changes continue

Nothing is easy anymore. Well, that’s not entirely true, but when we were younger, things got done a lot faster for sure.

Now what used to be a one day job turns into a one week job. More rest breaks, more re-tracing our steps to go back and get what we forgot we were going there for in the first place, more thinking, planning, contemplating about the completion of the project instead of just “doing”.

Our latest change in our lives is the decision to stop traveling full time while workamping and camp hosting.

The first couple of years after we sold our home in Ohio were full 12 month years of workamping and camp hosting in RV parks and campgrounds as we traveled.  It was a wonderful time being in new places and making lots of new friends.  We worked doing mostly simple light-duty jobs in campgrounds like being greeters, selling ice and firewood, sometimes being tour guides along with being an extra set of eyes for the campgrounds manager or ranger.

And our camp site and utilities were always free in exchange for 12-15 hours of work per week. It was a win-win.  No W2, no 1099, no income to claim and no taxes to pay.

But after 2 or 3 years of traveling and working, we decided we’d appreciate a break. We obtained our lot at the Escapees RV Club RV park in Casa Grande Arizona where we could come back to “rest” in between our campground gigs.  It gave us a chance to take a breath and catch up on things like car repairs and medical needs.

As time went on, we came to realize that we’d like to stop working altogether.  I mean, after all we’d done that for 40+ years and we had now come to enjoy the slower pace.

The park here at Casa Grande is a Co-Op park meaning that all of us who are lessees are co-owners of this not-for-profit corporation.  And because we all volunteer in running and maintaining the operation, it keeps everyone’s costs down.

Over the last few years Kathy and I have assumed different responsibilities at the park. We’ve chaired the Veterans Day Recognition Lunch, the annual road cleanup, the Christmas party, the Brown Bag Raffle at our annual Follies fundraiser, and now currently stock and maintain the canteen in the clubhouse in addition to serving on the Marketing committee and the Lot Wait List committee.

So being that we’ve become more involved around here, we decided to not travel full time and volunteer in campgrounds around the country but instead become snowbirds.

You might remember that in early 2022, we went back to Ohio to take care of our daughter Sara who had become seriously ill.  Since it was the dead of winter, we left the motorhome in Arizona and had to ask one of our renters back in Mt Gilead to move out so we could move in.  We spent the next few months helping Sara.

Sara and husband Stu

In September, Sara was finally well, and she and Stu moved into their own place about a half hour north of us. 

Kathy and I decided to stay in Mt Gilead for the winter and get a couple surgeries taken care of.  By the time we were fully recovered and feeling pretty good, spring ’23 had sprung.  Might as well stay in Ohio for the summer, right?

So we had the opportunity to spend time with our family and our wonderful Mt Gilead friends who we hadn’t seen for months, or in some cases years. And I went back to my part-time job as a medical transport driver for Morrow County Area Transit 3 days a week.

Ultimately fall was upon us and we climbed back in to our Airstream motorhome and headed back to our winter home in Casa Grande, Arizona.

We traveled slowly spending at least a couple days up to a week in any single location, so it took us almost a month to make the trip. We talked a lot on that trip about what changes we might make to our lifestyle and ultimately we decided that when we got to Arizona we’d sell the motorhome and look for a travel trailer or 5th wheel that we could leave on our lot and just drive the car back and forth.

The implementation of our plan moved along quickly and before we knew it (around Christmas time) we had the motorhome sold, a commitment to purchase a used 5th wheel trailer from someone here in our park, and we traded in our lot for one along the northern wall overlooking the desert to the north.

Here’s the new (old) fifth wheel trailer parked next to the motorhome while we transferred our belongings from one to the other.

We also bought a 2nd car that will stay here in Arizona while the Explorer will stay in Ohio and we will fly back and forth in the future. We discovered that Allegiant Air can fly us for as low as $56 per person one-way, (if you’re not picky about dates!)

I advertised the motorhome on the Phoenix Craigslist along with posting a You Tube video describing the rig and we had it sold in about 3 hours.

Airstream motorhome for sale video

So there you have it.  Changes in our lives lead to changes in lifestyle, but we’re OK with that.

We are so thankful to have had the opportunity to be full time RVers on the road over the last 7 or 8 years.  Not only are we grateful for being g able to visit all the places we’ve been, but more. Than that we ack owledge we’ve been blessed to meet so many wonderful people and make so many nee friends.  Lots of these friends we will stay in touch with for years to come.

As our winter season in Arizona winds down, we look forward to heading back to Ohio and spending the summer with friends and family.

Stay tuned for more …

Motorhome Sold In One Day!

Life is full of change. Back in 2015 we bought a motorhome and in 2016 we decided that we would sell our home in Ohio, quit work, buy a motorhome, and hit the road.

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time you know that we’ve had a lot of new and wonderful experiences, saw sights that we never imagined we’d visit, and made a lot of fantastic new friends, a lot of which we stay in touch with to this day. We really are so thankful that we had the courage to make the big step back in 2016.

But we’ve decided it’s time to make another change. We’ve not lived in the coach full time since early 2022. And since we are not living in the coach full-time, we’ve decided to buy a smaller travel trailer or 5th wheel that we can leave on our lot in Arizona and just become “Sno-birds” and either drive the car or fly back and forth from Arizona to Ohio.

To that end, we are putting our beautiful 2002 Airstream motorhome up for sale. If you happen to know somebody who might be interested, feel free to send them this link.

Asking $40,000

2002 Airstream 365XC 36′ Diesel Motorhome – $40,000 (SOLD)

Here’s more detailed information:

2002 Airstream 365 XC Diesel Pusher Motorhome For Sale

Beautiful full body Sherwin Williams Auto paint w/ 3 layers clear coat 

(3 colors green, 1 gold small stripe)

36’ length, 2 slides, Freightliner XC chassis, Caterpillar 3126 300hp diesel engine

Just over 100,000 original miles (avg under 5,000 miles per year)

See separate Airstream Freightliner chassis data sheet included with this information

See separate 365 XL Floor plan included with this information

See separate 365 XC Standard Features sheet included with this information

  • 95 gallon fuel tank (fill from EITHER side)
  • 70 gallon fresh water tank
  • 52 gallon gray tank
  • 52 gallon black tank
  • 10 gallon hot water heater 110vac or propane fired with Motorade
  • Cummins Onan 8000 watt diesel generator located in front drawer w/ 3 location remote start/stop switch (cockpit, kitchen, bedroom)
  • 110 vac engine block heater (switchable from the bedroom)
  • Vinyl plank flooring in living room and bedroom
  • Ceramic tile flooring in kitchen and bath
  • Pocket doors separating kitchen from bath and bath from bedroom
  • (2) 13,500 BTU Penguin ducted a/c units w/ heat pumps
  • (3) Roof mounted Fantastic Fan vents with hinged smoke covers (kitchen, toilet, bedroom)
  • (3) Skylights – 1 in kitchen/living area, 1 in bathroom, 1 in shower
  • (6) 200 watt solar panels on roof, (2) Blue Sky controllers,  (2) 100 amp hour Battle Born Lithium batteries
  • 30” Samsung Flat Screen TV w/ surround sound 
  • (4) large basement storage compartments (2 each side) & (2) smaller basement storage compartments (1 each side at rear)
  • 105# propane tank with Extend-A-Stay adapter installed
  • All solid oak cabinetry throughout
  • All polished brass lighting fixtures and cabinet hardware has been updated to burnished bronze
  • Real leather (not vinyl or pleather) captains chairs & jackknife sofa excellent condition
  • Upholstered residential grade swivel rocker-recliner
  • Dinette table extends with stored leaf underneath (includes 2 oak upholstered dining chairs
  • Solid oak Amish made window boxes conceal MCD style day and nite roller shades on all windows
  • Motorized roller day and night shades on front window
  • Custom made ShadePro sunscreens for windshield and front side windows
  • Spring loaded pull-down outside acrylic (cloth) shades on all windows.
  • All windows are shade tinted and double pane for energy efficiency
  • Heated basement wet bays and water tanks
  • 13’ road side slide holds couch and kitchen range/microwave/convection oven and sink
  • 5’ curb side slide holds clothes closet and drawers below
  • Custom made black vinyl bra to protect the front from stone chips when highway driving
  • Electronic (customizable) dash on an 8” table for instant reference of engine operation
  • TireEez 10 tire TPMS system provides constant monitoring of coach and toad pressure & temp

Campground Review – Kendall Campground USACE Jamestown KY

Kendall is a United States Army Corp of Engineers campground.  USACE campgrounds are most often built as a recreation feature upon completion of a flood project such as the building of a reservoir, dam and/or hydroelectric powerhouse facility.  Such is the case here.  Kendall campground is laid out immediately adjacent to Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery (and Visitor Center) and just a few hundred feet downstream of the Wolf Creek Dam.

There are actually two campgrounds here, Kendall and the Kendall Annex.  Kendall has 77 electric only sites laid out in two heavily wooded loops with 2 bathhouses and 2 dump stations. The sites are packed gravel, mostly 50-60 feet long, and level.  There are a few pull through sites but the vast majority are back-in sites. 

The annex loop is about a half mile to the north (you will pass the road to the annex when you come to the main camp entrance or the Visitor Center).  The annex has 40 electric only sites, a dump station, a bath house, and a free laundry facility.

Site 13 at Kendall Campground-Wolf Creek Dam-Jamestown, KY

The video below shows water being released through the sluice. Even though the lake level is down, they release water that subsequently hits the concrete wall and forces the water up into the air. This aerated water is then sent downstream to keep the fish healthy.

From the main Kendall camp it’s a short walk to the dam, splash pad, the snack bar, the hatchery, and the Visitor Center.

The pictures below show us enjoying our walk to the snack bar.

We’ve stayed here twice (once in 2020 and now in September of ’23) and appreciate the calm quiet. Now that school is back in session, campers here are mostly “senior citizen” fishermen (and women). However, when Thursday afternoon came around, the families with all their little ones came in and “took over”! The rest of the weekend was filled with kids on bicycles (w/ training wheels), tricycles, skateboards. And dogs along with Mom & Dad riding their golf carts all over. The lesson learned is … don’t go camping on a weekend!

And remember, all the Army Corp campgrounds qualify for the “America the Beautiful” Senior Interagency Lifetime 50% discount. This park, and the next one we are going to camp at (Defeated Creek TN) cost us only $18/night vs the standard $36 nightly fee while Maumelle in Little Rock is only $12/night with the Senior Interagency Lifetime Pass.

Seniors can buy the lifetime discount pass for only $80.  When we bought ours a few years ago, the cost was only $10, but they’ve since raised it to $80.  If you think you MIGHT camp a couple nights in a National park, US Forest Service park, or other national inter-agency park, you’d better buy your pass now before they raise the price again. Here’s the discount pass link again.

Here at Jamestown, there’s the Wolf Creek Dam that holds back the water that forms the man-made resevoir Lake Cumberland. Not only does Lake Cumberland provide miles and miles of recreation water, but also flood control and electric power for the area provided by the six hydro-electric generators. Although the powerhouse is only open on a very limited basis for pre-arranged tours, you can drive across the top of the dam on U.S. Route 127 and get a pretty good view of the dam from either side. Continuing on down south on 127 will get you to a couple different routes to Dale Hollow Lake State Park at Burkesville KY where we volunteer camp hosted spring of 2021.

Here’s the link to the Wikipedia link about Wolf Creek Dam and some pictures of the dam from the overlook on the south side.

Here’s a link to The Visitor Center and National Fish Hatchery. They have some nice interactive displays inside not only about the hatchery, but also about wildlife in the area and a little about the dam & powerhouse. Here’s a few pictures from inside. Click on any of the pictures to get a larger view.

And lastly, if you’d like to get more of any idea of the layout and the sites at Kendall, go ahead and watch this short video shot by the dashcam as we head to the dump station.

That’s all for now. Until next time, be good to one another and to yourself.

Volunteering at 40 Mile Point Lighthouse

Since 2016, Kathy and I have traversed the country many times as we’ve volunteered or workamped along the way.

All but one (unnamed) location have been great experiences and our most recent was no exception. Let me tell you a little about it.

40 Mile Point Lighthouse at Rogers City, Michigan along the western Lake Huron Coast plays host to thousands of visitors annually and offers RV’ing volunteers the opportunity to live onsite in their rig for two week stints while they act as museum docents or “guest lightkeepers”.

We met Matt and Sherry in the fall of 2016 while we were volunteering at Escapees “Rainbows End” RV Park in Livingston, Texas. We’ve always stayed in touch, sometimes working with them at campgrounds or museums. Sometimes we just meet for a meal as we move through each other’s location.

Matt & Sherry
Matt and Sherry

They had told us about 40 Mile Point and the stories of their experiences there piqued our interest. We sent an email with our resume to the Volunteer Coordinator in August of ’22 and by February of ’23 we had a commitment for this past August.

We were to arrive on Monday July 31st with our first day of duty Tuesday the first of August. We had been to the Escapees Chapter 6 Rally at Ludington Michigan the week before and we were taking it easy at a small campground at Alpena when I got an email from the lighthouse that said we could come on up early if we wanted because one of the couples had to leave due to a medical issue so there was a spot available for our rig. So on up we went.

Our route from Mt Gilead to Ludington, to Alpena, to Rogers City

We spent the next couple of days getting to know “the Lay of the land” so to say and had the opportunity to sit around the campfire at night and learn from the outgoing crew some of the do’s and don’ts of the program.

Our nightly campfires

The lighthouse is closed to visitors on Mondays so we took that day to go into town, do our grocery shopping and laundry (at the cleanest laundromat we’ve ever seen!)

The cleanest laundromat!

Tuesday morning we all (the new crew of eight) met with Leonard and Shawn. They led us on a tour of the buildings, filled us in on the do’s and don’ts, showed us how to use the register in the gift shop, and set us loose as visitors started to arrive by about. 10:00am. Full speed ahead!

It’s called 40 Mile Point because it’s located 40 nautical miles to the southeast of the Straights of Mackinac. All the buildings on the grounds including the lightkeepers apartments, the light tower (53 steps), the oil house, the fog signal building, and the privy were built in 1896 at a cost of $25,000.

The duty schedule works like this. There are four volunteer couples. Couple A works all day (10am-4pm) while couple B works the morning, couple C works the afternoon, and couple D has the day off. The couples on duty changes every day so with the rotation everyone gets two days off each week.

Duty stations include; top of the tower explaining the of the light’s role in mariner safety, the bottom of the tower being the lightkeepers quarters for he and his family, a third volunteer staffs the the gift shop, and the 4th person staffs the Calcite freighter pilot house.

Join me in a climb to the top of 40 Mile Point Lighthouse

The lighthouse grounds are actually a county park but the buildings are wholly maintained by the 40 Mile Point Lighthouse Society, a group of dedicated volunteers who are dedicated to the preservation of this historical location and to educating the public on it’s significance to both the maritime and local community.

Kathy and I really enjoyed our time there (first two weeks of August). The weather was warm but not too hot or humid, there was always a nice breeze off the lake, the other volunteers we worked with were all wonderful people, the town of Rogers City is a really nice clean small town with good restaurants, a great meat market, and be sure to stop at “The Painted Lady” for coffee and ice cream!

If you’re interested in volunteering as a Guest Lightkeeper for 2-4 weeks in the summer, get in touch with me and I’ll see that you are put in contact with the Volunteer Coordinator. To find out more about 40 Mile Point Lighthouse, visit their website.

We are now back in Ohio getting ready to head out next week to our winter home at Rovers Roost in Casa Grande, Arizona. C’mon out and visit us sometime! (seriously)

A great trip back home

We left our new “Lighthouse friends” on Sunday and headed down U.S. 23 a couple hours to Tawas Point State Park where we camped for the next two nights alongside our long-time friends Norm and Alice.

The four of us at Tawas Point

We became good friends back in the mid 70’s when Norm and I began working for Xerox fixing copiers in downtown Detroit.  We married our (now still) sweethearts the same year, bought our first homes the same year, and each helped to bring two beautiful babies (a boy and girl each) into this world.

During our time together at Tawas, we ate, we drank, we rode our bikes to the lighthouse and we drove into town for ice cream 🍨 of course!

Don’t we look smashing?
Tawas Point lighthouse undergoing repairs

We could’ve easily spent a couple more days with Norm and Alice at Tawas, but we had to continue toward home as we needed to get our house in Ohio ready for the traveling nurse who would be renting from us starting September 1st.

A few months ago when I had written about our upcoming volunteer gig at the lighthouse in Rogers City, I got a message from one of my grade school friends.  Kevin told me that they now live on a lake at Oscoda, Michigan.  We made plans to meet up for lunch as we would be passing through on our way home.

Kevin and Colleen

Although our visit was brief, it was great to meet up and renew our friendship.  We committed to being up in their neck of the woods again and making a point of looking them up for a longer visit next  time. Thanks for reaching out to us guys!

We tried to meet up with a couple other schoolmates from the Class of ’72, Tom who was actually camping at Tawas Point the week before we got there and Diane who is now living at Hubbard Lake. Unfortunately, although we messaged each other trying to make it work, it just didn’t work out. Thanks for reaching out to us guys … hope we can try again sometime.

Although we could’ve driven straight through from Oscoda Michigan to Mt Gilead Ohio in one stretch, we decided to boondock at one of our preferred dry camping locations.

Our stop for the night at Cabelas

Cabela’s at Dundee Michigan has HUGE parking lots and the one in the back of the store by the loading docks allows us to park alongside a very large retention pond that makes for a quiet and beautiful rest spot. Although there were a few trucks parked a few hundred feet away, they never kept us from a restful night.

Since we only had about ten days to get the house ready for Tara (the traveling health professional) and we needed to pack the coach for our upcoming trip to Arizona, we were going to park it at David and Lisa’s house.  Turned out however they were having a big garage sale this weekend.  So instead we were lucky enough to snag a site at Mt Gilead State Park, for the weekend. It’s a great little heavily shaded campground with both paved full hook-up sites and gravel electric only sites.

The next few days kept us busy between me going back to work M-W-Fridays, moving our personal items out of the house and into storage in preparation for our renter, and moving other “stuff” from the house to the coach in preparation for our 6 month stay at Rovers Roost in Arizona.  The final day Kathy kept busy dusting, vacuuming, and mopping while I got a badly needed haircut, took a bunch of broken-down cardboard boxes to the recycling center, and dropped off a few things at the local Goodwill store.

After the garage sale we moved our home on wheels up to David and Lisa’s just outside of town (Mt Gilead) where up on the hill it’s always breezy and there’s a nice oak tree right outside our windshield that shades the morning sun from heating the coach too early in the day.

There’s always a little anxiety about change and moving down the road. But we make a plan and start working through it. So far things are working out nicely.

Thanks to David and Lisa’s hospitality, we’ll be here for a few weeks before heading to Arizona for the winter. We’re looking forward to a relaxing, enjoyable (and uneventful) trip west. Stayed tuned for more.

A great visit from family

I have two sisters (along with two brothers-in-law) and when we talked a few months back about our volunteer gig up here at the lighthouse, we all decided it would be a great place to get together for a couple days.

Betsy and Bob live in Owosso Michigan while Marilynn and Rick came up from Jacksonville Florida.

The lighthouse is closed on Mondays and we asked for Tuesday as our other day off this week so we had two days with all of us together.

Rick, Marilynn, Kathy, me, Betsy, and Bob

Although their visit was short, we all enjoyed our time together. Kathy and I gave them a private tour of the lighthouse, the tower, and the pilot house. Later in the day we drove on in to the beautiful town of Rogers City where we stopped at the quarry overlook at the Calcite Limestone Mine.

After that we headed back into town to give them a treat at The Painted Lady, an eclectic shop offering unique hand painted pottery, ladies sun dresses and lakeside accessories, jewelry, picture framing service, children’s toys, and my favorite Ashby’s Ice Cream and all sorts of coffee drinks.

Michigan Pot Hole

It’s always great being with family and we all look forward to the next time in the spring of ’24 in Jacksonville.

Goodbye to new friends

Last night we sat around the campfire getting to know our new friends a little more before they had to leave in the morning. The old crew pulls out by Monday noon (lighthouse is closed in Mondays) and the new crew pulls in Monday afternoon.

From left to right; Wendy, Belinda, and Terry. Danny and Marilyn were packing for their morning departure

It was great that we were able to pull in here a few days early as we learned not only about our new job responsibilities but also about the nearby things to see and do (and eat!) while we are here in the Rogers City area.

Terry and Belinda pulling out headed to the Soo Locks

This coming week is the annual Nautical Festival in town and it’s a big celebration with loads of scheduled activities drawing thousands from the surrounding area and bringing in lots of pleasure craft to the harbor. We are expecting big crowds this week at the lighthouse. We shouldn’t be bored!

Later today our new co-workers (3 couples) will pull in and we will all have our orientation and training Tuesday morning.

We’re looking forward to another great volunteer experience. Since we hit the road in 2016, we’ve been blessed with not only seeing a great portion of our country and all the beauty and majesty it has to offer, but we’ve been able to make so many new friends along the way.

More to follow over the next few days.

We made it to the light!

Getting ready Friday morning to leave Campers Cove at Alpena and move a little west to Eckert Park at Hamlin, I received an email from Leonard at the lighthouse that we could just come ahead now rather than have to wait until Monday due to one of the couples working here had to leave due to a medical issue.

It was only a 45 minute drive and we were here and settled by about noon. There are three other rigs here (all motorhomes) and as the volunteers each came and went to/from their lunch break they all stopped to introduce themselves and welcome us.

We continued to set up camp. We connected our electric, water, and sewer lines, took our e-bikes off the back of the car, set up our little Weber propane grill, brought out the bungee chairs and side tables, and rolled out the side awning.  All this takes about a half hour and now we can sit and relax a bit! There was a nice breeze off the lake, but it was pretty warm and humid.

Our home in the trees for the next couple weeks

All four sites are nestled in the woods (lots of shade) and there’s a community fire pit with plenty of firewood, two large picnic tables, and a large propane BBQ grill.

Just beyond the fire pit there’s a trail going down to Lake Huron.  Kathy and I took off our socks and shoes, put on other more appropriate footwear for trudging through the sand, and headed down to the water to check it out.  Surprisingly, the water is warmer than I had imagined it would be this far north!

See the freighter in the distance?

Our supervisors Leonard and Carrie came by on their bicycles to greet us, they live just down U.S. 23 a bit and there’s a nice paved bike path alongside the road and the lake that goes all the way to Rogers City about 7 miles south.

Kathy and I ran into town for a bit to pick up a couple things.  Shortly after we returned, the crew had finished their day (4:00pm) and we all settled at the picnic tables.  Each of us had our favorite drink and we had the opportunity to get to know each other.

Our first nights supper with new friends

All of a sudden an instant pot showed up and we all shared a great time enjoying homemade vegetable beef soup and Texas toast.  Ok, one side was a “little” overdone on the grill, but the other side was great 😃

Our first night backed up a couple hundred feet from the waves of Lake Huron was cool, breezy and SO comfortable we were lulled to sleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow.

Although we had visited the lighthouse last year, the next day we visited each venue to hear how the “pros” tell the story to visitors. Leonard had emailed us lots of info for us to study about the history, but it’s always good to see and hear how other docents share the story.

That’s the report for now. Today we’ll take a drive into town to get some groceries, stop at one of the local produce stands, hit the laundromat and then when we get back we’ll visit the venues again to hear how others tell the story. The volunteers rotate assignments each day so that each gets an opportunity to work everywhere.

In the meantime, be good and stay safe.

Back to Northern Michigan

Although we’ve hit a lot of our beautiful country over the last six years on the road, it seems that our hearts often lead us back to northern Michigan.

Michigan (the Detroit area) is where Kathy and I were raised, married, bought our first home, and saw our children through their early years in grade school.

Our early vacations often involved throwing the kids and the dog in the van and driving up to Kalkaska where Grandma and Grandpa Baldwin had retired to. It was a low cost trip away from work and the hectic city downstate and provided my mom and dad with a handyman (me) to take care of the list of tasks that dad kept adding to that he could no longer take care of himself.

But when we have the opportunity to revisit the memories in Michigan, we always choose to do so. We have a lot of fond memories of great times with family and friends.

You might remember that we got off the road in early 2022 to head back to Mt Gilead Ohio from Arizona to help our daughter Sara heal from her sudden serious illness.

That took us through September of ’22 when we could have returned to Arizona for the winter, but we decided we’d stay in Ohio for the winter and get our hip surgeries completed.

In October of ’22 our son in law Stu wanted to make a fishing trip to northern Michigan so we naturally tagged along in our motorhome and made a family trip of it. You can read the post on that trip here. Norm and Alice, our old friends from my Xerox days came along and camped with us. We all had a great time catching up and telling stories.

Then in December of ’22 Kathy and I both had our hip surgeries. Mine was a new total right hip with a pretty quick recovery and hers was a torn left hip tendon repair which required nearly two full months of healing and rehab taking us through February of ’23. By that time we were well into winter and decided we would stay in OH through the summer and into fall ’23 when we would head back to Arizona for the winter.

To keep from getting bored and to give me a little spending money, during our time in Ohio I work part time for the county transporting patients to medical appointments.

Mid June of ’23 we decided to get the coach out of storage and make a trip up to see my sister Betsy and brother in law Bob in Owosso, Michigan. It’s about a 5 hour trip. Since the coach had been in storage for more than a year at this point, we thought it wise to take it on a short shake-down cruise. And we’re so glad we did!

On our way back from Owosso the last 50 miles or so found us in “limp mode” barely doing 30 mph. Ugh!

So into the shop she went. We drove the car back to Mt Gilead and waited (me not so patiently). Two more shops and three weeks later we finally had a resolution. Turns out the fuel tank (95 gallons) had a lot of rust and algae in it. Both are caused by excess moisture sitting in the tank during extended periods of storage. The rust and algae plugged up not only the fuel filter but the lines as well. The solution to this problem is to always top off the tank just before placing your rig in storage.

But by mid-July and thanks to Great Lakes Truck Center in Monroeville, Ohio where we were in the shop for about four days waiting on parts. New fuel tank and associated parts. We finally got back on the road headed to Ludington Michigan.

We then moved on to Ludington to attend an RV rally sponsored by our Escapees RV Club Great Lakes Chapter. There were about 30 rigs there from all over the tri-state. We had the opportunity to meet some new friends and visit with “old” friends we’ve met across the country too.

Larry & Robyn along with their son (home from college) Caleb

After the Ludington rally we moved 4 hours over to the east side of the state. We settled in at Alpena where we could stay until Friday morning when the “weekend warriors” descend on the campground. This is a very common occurrence as most folks have only the weekends to take a break with the family and head to the local camp or lake cottage.

Our site at Campers Cove, Alpena

This was a stop to give us time to catch up on our grocery shopping (we have a small 9 cu ft fridge) and find the local laundromat. We did take a drive over to the Thunder Bay Marina and enjoyed looking at all the yachts along with a large cruise ship in the distance heading south on Lake Huron.

As we walked the downtown streets of Alpena we came across a nice little park in between a couple businesses. I wanted to share this picture of the wall mural. Note the large 3D fish in the mural! Pretty cool, eh?

We got a really special and pleasant surprise after we arrived here at Alpena. I had posted on my Facebook page that we were here and almost immediately I received a message from an “old” friend of ours when we lived in Redford Twp MI pre-1984. What a blast from the past! Tim reached out to us to let us know that he and his wife Nancy now have a home near Harrisville, MI about 40 miles south of here. We made arrangements to enjoy a beautiful evening re-kindling our friendship over a wonderful dinner at an upscale Italian restaurant in Alpena. It was great to spend time with them both and we look forward to seeing them again when we will very likely be back up here in a few years.

I’m usually pretty good about taking pictures, but we were so busy talking that I totally forgot – my bad.

We were intending to move tomorrow morning over to Emerick Park Campground at Hillman MI while we wait until we can get into our spot at the lighthouse, but I just got an email from our supervisor at the lighthouse and he has an empty spot now so we are going to head on up to 40 Mile Point Lighthouse tomorrow.

More to follow after we settle in up there.

Summer camping in Michigan with friends and family

This is a post I wrote back in late October and THOUGHT I had published, but just found it in my DRAFTS folder. Better late than never.

When our daughter Sara became seriously ill in early 2022, we made a bee-line trip back to Ohio from Arizona to help her through the recovery process.

It’s now summer and Sara is doing so much better. She’s the best and happiest we’ve seen her in 20 years.

Sara and Stu

Since Stu and Sara sold their Mt Gilead home in April, we’ve all been living together in one of our small two bedroom rental homes in the village. It’s “cozy” but it’s got a great attached garage for the guys to play in and a fenced yard for the dogs w/a concrete patio so the girls can sun themselves while keeping an eye on the little 4 legged mischief makers.

Our Mt Gilead home where the four of us lived May to September 2022

As our lives got more and more back to normal, we yearned for more “normal” activities. One of these was Stu’s desire to go fishing in northern Michigan again as he had the year before.

Sara wanted to go along, but the idea of being out on the lake all day really wasn’t her idea of fun – nor was waiting in the motel room all day for Stu to come back with the car towing the boat. Quite the conundrum.

Kathy and I proposed the idea of us tagging along and setting up camp in a local campground that could also provide a rental camper for the two of them and the dogs. We found a great little campground called Campers Cove RV Park & Canoe Livery where we got sites just a few hundred feet apart. As an added bonus Stu’s mom Barb came along as well!

Our site along the canal heading out to the lake
Location of Campers Cove near Alpena Michigan

We set our camping trip for October and when I mentioned that to a Facebook friend, another one of our “old friends” (not THAT kind of “old” really but friends we’ve been since the early 70’s) suggested they might come along since we hadn’t seen each other in a few years. Great idea!

Kathy at Stu, Sara and Barb’s camper. The little gal is Dulaney

What a great time we had camping in northern Michigan enjoying the fall colors, the cool weather, the nearly empty campground, the crackling of the campfire every day and night, along with great food provided and cooked by our friends Norm and Alice. What a treat!

Chef Norm grilling up the innards for our burrito dinner while Sara awaits

Our relationship with Norm & Alice started when Norm and I hired in at Xerox as copier service reps in 1973 (I think). We soon became fast friends as we both worked covering the downtown Detroit big office buildings servicing copiers in law firms, government offices, stock brokerages, banks, and others. Back in those days it was only Xerox, Kodak, and IBM in the copier business. It would be a few more years before the influx of the Toshibas, Minoltas, Canons and other Japanese brands into the market.

Norm, Alice, Sara, Stu, Barb, & Kathy

As our friendship grew, the four of us partied together, got married about the same time, went on some trips together, each brought our children into the world (each with a boy and a girl) about the same time. We bought our first homes the same year. They, however have done the smart thing and stayed in that home for nearly 50 years while we’ve moved in and out of nine homes before finally selling the last one and hitting the road in our motorhome in 2016.

Everybody’s favorite pastime at the fire
Ooooh … S’mores Sticky fingers

We didn’t just sit around the campfire and feed our faces for three days however. While Stu went off fishing, we made a couple day trips to see the Mackinac Bridge and visit a couple lighthouses too.

Herb, Alice, Norm, Barb, Kathy, and Sara @ The Old Mackinac Lighthouse

Kathy and I are going to be volunteering late summer of ’23 as guest lighthouse keepers at 40 Mile Point Light near Rogers City, MI. Since we were pretty darn close, we decided to swing on by and scope out the place!

Sara and Barb getting ready to head on in for their self-guided tour of the lighthouse

We couldn’t have asked for better weather. The sunny warm days faded to cooler afternoons and evenings. Time together with wonderful old friends and our family really was a special time telling stories of times past and just enjoying each other’s company.

Stu and Barb enjoying some time together playing golf

As we prepare to stay in Mt Gilead for the winter so that I can get my second hip replacement, we reminisce about our six years on the road workamping and camp hosting.

We’re so glad that we made the decision to quit working early (at 62), sell the house and hit the road. The places we’ve gone and especially the wonderful lasting friendships we’ve made along the way would never have happened if we stayed home – working or retired.

Some of the places we’ve at least spent the night along the way

But for now we will be content to stay in Ohio to get some medical issues taken care of, spend the summer of ’23 in/near here and then head to Arizona and spend next winter with our “other” family there.