Many of you have been following this blog and/or our You Tube channel at herbnkathyrv and for that we say “Thank You“. It’s gratifying for us to know that you care enough to “c’mon along” for the ride and even better when you leave a comment either here at the bottom of any of our blog posts or in the comments area on You Tube (just below the video).
So many of you are curious as to where we’re going next and what we’ll be up to, so here’s the scoop;
Here is the link to Google Maps showing our route with overnight stops along the way from Baldwin, Michigan to Balloon Fiesta grounds at Albuquerque, NM. (We’ll be there from Sept 17th through Oct 14th when the Fiesta ends.)
We’ll be leaving here (Michigan) on Wed Sept 12th, staying in the driveways of friends we haven’t met yet on 3 nights (thanks to BoondockersWelcome.com), one night in a Cracker Barrel parking lot, and the final night at a “regular” campground at Amarillo, TX. By staying in a “regular” campground the final night, we’ll be able to dump our waste tanks and take on 70 gallons of fresh water before we move on the next day to the Fiesta grounds.
If you care to, you can track our progress on the road real-time by following this link at any time. This web page is linked to our GPS and tracks our location every 5 minutes or so. You can plug in a recent start date and end date if you like so you don’t see everything that’s been recorded over the past few months.
Here’s our ITINERARY
Sept 17th to Oct 14th – Working at ABQ Balloon Fiesta
Oct 18th to Oct 22nd – EPIC Nomads Movie Premiere Rally – Wellington, TX
Oct 25th to Oct 28th – Airstream “Texas Air” Rally – Brownwood, TX
Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb – We’ll have Rover’s Roost RV Park at Casa Grande, AZ as our home base, but we’ll be traveling;
Nov 18th to Nov 24th – Escapees Club Boomers Group Thanksgiving Rally at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, CA.
Jan 13th to Jan 18th – Boomerville Rally at Quartzite, AZ
We’ll also take other excursion trips from Rover’s Roost as time and weather permits to see points of interest, museums, parks, hilltops and valleys.
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Thinking about your next summer’s Workamping gig? Don’t rule out northwest Michigan. With all the inland lakes and streams, as well as the Great Lakes, Michigan truly is the Water Wonderland of the country.
So much to see and do in Michigan and with this job you have every other week off (that’s seven days straight) and you typically only work about 3-4 hours the days you are on duty.
Check out the video and comment below with any questions you might have or email me at email@example.com
We had a severe rain and wind storm a couple nights ago here at Pere Marquette Oaks RV Resort near Baldwin, Michigan. We knew it was coming and went around the RV park to warn folks and tell them to take in their awnings and secure any lightweight items like plastic chairs and such.
The newscast said winds would be about 50-60 mph so we were expecting it, but it came up SO FAST!
Kathy was out just as the storm was moving into the area. She was directing the ladies that were arriving to the clubhouse for the Ladies Golf Outing Dinner – showing them where they could park.
Sara and I went over to the pavilion to watch the storm – she and I always use to enjoy sitting on the porch or out in the garage watching a good storm – the more thunder and lightning the better.
Just as Kathy’s parking duties were done, she walked over to join us at the pavilion and then it hit – and the power went out. Good thing the ladies dinner was a pot-luck and the clubhouse has plenty of windows!
The video shows how strong the wind was, although it seemed a LOT worse there in person than it does on the video. They say a picture is worth a thousand words … and these new digital cameras are amazing but still, they just don’t show the true enormity or depth of the experience in person.
The power was out from Tuesday about 7 pm when the storm hit and power was restored Wednesday night about 10:30. Since the park has well water, no power meant no running water either. Many of us keep some water in our fresh water holding tank so we could shower and use the commode, but had to make sure our gray and black water holding tank valves were closed so that nothing went into the park sewer system. If the power is out, then the sewer system pumps don’t work either. Others took advantage of the 5 gallon buckets placed at the swimming pool so they could carry pool water back to their units so they could flush the commode.
I was told that one individual even took a bucket of water from the hot tub (still warm) to shower at the shower outside the bath house!
After the storm, many hands made light work as we cut up tree limbs and removed the debris down to “the pit” where it’ll all be burned during the winter when there’s no chance of starting a forest fire.
It’s all over now, but was plenty of excitement while it lasted and some sore backs and leg muscles after the cleanup was all done.
Many thanks to all that helped.
And now on to the Labor Day weekend festivities !!
Spending our 2nd summer as Workampers at Pere Marquette Oaks RV Resort in “Baldwin” Michigan, we again had the opportunity every few days to explore the area of what northwest Michigan has to offer.
We’ve been working 7 days on duty, then 7 days off duty sharing responsibilities with our Workamper co-workers Russ and Mary.
One day Kathy and I took a drive “down state” a little to Grand Rapids to visit the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and Burial Site of he and his wife Betty.
Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. was born on July 14, 1913.
While Gerald Ford was still an infant, his parents were divorced, and his mother moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she married Gerald R. Ford, Sr., who adopted the boy and gave him his name.
After graduating from the University of Michigan (1935), where he was a star gridiron-football player, Ford worked as an assistant coach while he earned a law degree from Yale University (1941). He joined the navy during World War II and served in the South Pacific, attaining the rank of lieutenant commander and nearly losing his life in 1944 during a deadly typhoon that killed hundreds.
In 1948, the year he won his first elective office, as Republican congressman from Michigan, he married Elizabeth Anne Bloomer (Betty Ford), with whom he had four children—three sons (Michael, John, and Steven) and one daughter (Susan).
He served nearly 25 years as a Representative of Michigan’s 5th congressional district, eight of them as the Republican Minority Leader. Serving from 1973 to 1974 as the 40th Vice President of the United States, Ford was the first person appointed to the vice-presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment. He then became President upon Richard Nixon’s resignation on August 9, 1974, and served until January 20, 1977 as the 38th President of the United States.
Ford is the only President of the United States who was not elected by ballot for his terms as either President or Vice-President. (see below)
The 44,000-square-foot two-story triangular museum is one of the highlights in a 20-acre park complex that includes the Grand Rapids Public Museum along the west bank of the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids.
Click on any of the pictures below to see a larger image with caption
A symbol of Ford’s time on the University of Michigan football team
The desk from Ford’s congressional office
A replica of the White House Oval Office during Ford’s presidency
The Cabinet Room
Betty Ford’s Citizen’s Band (CB) Radio and her QSL card
Just part of the museum displays
A view of the pool from the 2nd floor of the museum
Looking east from the museum across the Grand River to the Grand Rapids skyine
Outside view of the 2 story triangular building
There’s so much to see and so much to read in this museum. There are lots of typed and hand written letters on display, audio and video recordings of the early years and his time as the leader of our nation, along with an entire display room dedicated to Betty Ford and her contributions to the community, the presidency, and the nation.
Definitely could go back and spend the better part of an entire day taking in all the museum has to offer.
Living the full-time RV lifestyle presents us with the wonderful opportunity to see and experience so much that we wouldn’t otherwise have had available to us.
On this particular Workamping gig, we work Thursday through Wednesday .. 7 days on duty and 7 days off duty. At least one of us needs to be here at the park all 7 days, while the other can run into town for grocery shopping, a visit to the barber or other needs as they arise.
But on the 8th day … we’re free to take off and do as we please. And this has been a wonderful benefit of Workamping. We work about 3 hours each of the 7 days we’re on duty in exchange for our RV site, electricity, wifi, cable TV, heated pool and hot tub.
We have 2 weeks every month to come and go as we please and see the sights … and since we grew up here in Michigan and lived in Ohio the last 35 years before we hit the road, we’re fortunate enough to have friends and family visit.
Our first visitors were our daughter Sara and son in law Stu (along with Dulaney and Arlo)
More recently we had a visit from my sister Betsy and brother in law Bob. They live in the Virgin Islands and were up in the Detroit area visiting their sons and were able to take a couple days to come up to Pere Marquette RV Resort to visit us.
My other sister Marilynn lives in Jacksonville and it’s always great to hook up with family and our visits are too far and few between.
This time we took a rafting trip down the famous Pere Marquette River. The river is 65 miles long and runs from Baldwin to Ludington and on out to Lake Michigan. We traveled only about a half mile as the crow flies, but it took us just about two hours to go from the landing at Green Cottage to Gleason’s Landing.
The Pere Marquette River is know far and wide for it’s excellent Trout and Steelhead fishing and since much of the river is in the Manistee National Forest, there’s a lot of wildlife throughout the area. The video below illustrates our relaxing ride.
So if you ever find an opportunity to visit northern Michigan, make a stop in Baldwin and take a great ride down the Pere Marquette River. Baldwin Canoe Rental is the ONLY canoe rental on the PERMITTED portion of the river and they know what customer service is. They’ll spot your car down the river so it’ll be there ready and waiting for you when you get to your appointed stop.
Tell ’em Herb & Kathy BALDWIN sent you … see if they’ll give you a discount (yea right)
The reason (or so we thought) that we embarked on our full-time RV lifestyle on Labor Day of 2016 was to fulfill our desire to travel and see as much of this beautiful country of ours that we could.
We’ve seen a lot of sites since then, but there’s still so much more to go and we could spend a lot more time in any specific area to allow us to explore more deeply, so it’s very likely we’ll be going back again to many places in future years to do so.
A HIDDEN BENEFIT
But what has really turned out to be a wonderful benefit of traveling and not being on a “vacation” type schedule (running from place to place) is that we’ve been able to meet up with and spend time with family and “old” friends (not to say they are OLD by any means!).
This blog post features some pictures of those we’ve met up with along the way. Some are “NEW” friends and some are our “OLD” friends.
Unfortunately, although I had every intention of taking a “selfie” of us altogether at every meetup, we occasionally parted company without remembering to shoot a pix, so I’m listing those folks as well. If I’ve missed you in this post, I apologize. If you’re reading this and you can send me a picture of yourself, I’d really appreciate it. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
I know many of you won’t know any of these folks, but I also know it’ll be fun for those that are in the pictures to see some of the others and remember times past along with the brief time we spent together in the last year or so.
I’m going to post the pictures into a collage, you will be able to click on any individual photo to enlarge that particular picture to see a “zoomed in” view. The zoomed-in view will also let you see a brief description of who they are and our relationship.
Known Sandy since 2nd grade, Jeff since high school, saw them at Wixom MI May ’17
Frank and Lora, an old neighbor (late 70’s) we saw at Brooklyn, MI May of ’17
Eric & Nancy, (Jaycees) since 1972 we saw at Wixom, MI May ’17
Tim, (Jaycees) since 1971 met at his flower shop at Ypsilant MI May of ’17
Mike (high school), Linda (Kathy’s sister) & their youngins Eric and Lindsey – May of ’17
Brian (High School) and his wife Connie at Spring Lake, MI May ’17
Mike and Kim, best friends in Mt Gilead (since 1984) came to visit us at Baldwin, MI July ’17
Norm & Alice (worked @ Xerox w/ Norm) friends since 1973 we visited @ Ludington State Park Aug ’17
Donna & William, just met at Baldwin, MI summer of ’17
Charlie & Mary, fish-fry experts (Baldwin, MI) summer of ’17
Kathy and I were both born and spent our early years in Michigan on the west side of Detroit and then spent our school years in Redford Township where we met in high school, got married shortly after we graduated and started a family of our own. I’ll tell you about those early years some other time.
Our vacation travels as a young family consisted of driving on up to the Kalkaska area of Michigan’s lower peninsula where my folks had moved after Dad’s retirement from Ford Motor Company in Dearborn. It would always be a “low budget” trip. We would be able to stay close to home (about 4 hours away), the kids would have some time with Papa and Nana, and Kathy and I might even be able to sneak away for a couple hours alone while we got free baby sitting from my folks. All in all, it was a “win-win” for all of us. We had fun back then.
And although we spent a lot of time up in this neck of the woods, we had no idea there were so many waterfalls in Michigan. Workamping here at Pere Marquette Oaks RV Resort gives us every other week (7 days straight) off so we can do what we want. Kathy thought it would be fun to go on up to the U.P. (Upper Peninsula). As we researched our potential trip, we found that Michigan boasts being home to nearly 200 waterfalls and all but 2 are located in the UP! We had been up to Tahquamenon Falls years ago, but we thought that was it. Boy were we wrong!
We loosely planned our road trip to take up 3 days time. We decided to not take the coach and stay in motels 2 nights so we had more mobility and easier entry to some of the sites where the falls might be located. It was a good thing we decided this as many of the sites had small access roads and/or parking areas with not much turnaround room.
We invited our new friends Chuck and Joanne to come along with
us and we all had a great time. They’ve retired from the Grand Rapids area and as a family they’ve done lots of camping over the years and they had some ideas on where we could go and what we could see.
Although we wanted to see LOTS of falls, we knew that time, money, and our “rear ends” in the car would tell us that 3 days out would be about all we could handle.
Here’s a map showing our 3 day route up and back. If you want to see an interactive map where you can zoom and pan for yourself, click here.
Besides the numerous falls we saw, and the pasties and smoked fish we ate, there was something we learned that I had no idea existed. I knew that folks who lived in the Upper Peninsula were known as “Yoopers”, but I had no idea that those of us who were born in or lived in the Lower Peninsula were known as “Trolls”.
I couldn’t imagine why I would be called a “Troll”, until a Yooper shared with me it’s because we live “below the bridge”! Now it all makes perfect sense.
Here’s a slide show of some of the high points of our trip. I’m including a few short videos too.
Here’s the video montage of our UP Falls Tour to go along with some of the pictures in the slide show above.
All in all, we had a great time seeing beautiful sites with great friends and looking forward to our next adventure. So long for now from your friends “The Trolls”.
I thought the ferry was so cool. A ferry boat has been crossing this narrows since 1883, with this present vessel being placed into service in 1925. On most boats, ferry or otherwise, the captain (or pilot) not only controls the engine speed and direction, but also steers the boat by use of a rudder and/or bow thruster engines/props.
With this ferry however, the craft is “driven” by propellers on each end (from one small diesel motor that runs in both directions) but the direction that the boat travels is guided along by a 3/4″ diameter steel cable that is secured at the ferry dock at each end. There is no steering and there is no rudder.
Back in the “old days” the passengers provided the power by pulling the boat along using hand-over-hand power on the cable.
“How do boats navigate the narrows” you ask? There is enough slack in the cable so that it is only above the surface of the water at each end and at the ferry boat itself. Otherwise the cable drops to a depth of about 25′ so that other watercraft can safely navigate.
We are continually amazed and delighted at the opportunities that this workamping lifestyle affords us. Although we were both born and raised in Michigan, we continue to be pleasantly surprised with all that this beautiful Water-Winter-Wonderland has to offer.
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.
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.
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 left Charlevoix the next morning after a comfortable stay at the Maple Leaf Inn and continued north on M-31 toward Petoskey. We had an opportunity to go along Lake Charlevoix on our way to Urgent Care (that’s another story altogether) when we happened along some of the famous “Mushroom Houses” we had heard about. You can read more about these famous homes and the self-taught architect that designed and built these beautiful homes by clicking here.
Heading out of Charlevoix on M-31 along the south edge of Little Traverse Bay, we arrived in Petoskey (famous for Petoskey Stones) and we happened across their Farmer’s Market. Since we don’t have a lot of room for storage, nor do we have a large refrigerator, the only thing Kathy bought was a bar of hand made soap. Here’s a few pictures from the market, everything was so colorful and attractive!
Moving on up the road out of Petoskey, some friends of ours here at the park told us about State Route 119 and the “Tunnel of Trees“. It sounded fascinating and we wanted to stay along the lake shore, so off we went due north on SR 119. Video below.
The Tunnel of Trees starts at about Harbor Springs and ends at a small hamlet called Cross Village where we found the famous (and out of the way) “Legs Inn” restaurant. Unfortunately for us, the restaurant doesn’t open until noon and we got there just a little too early, but we did take the opportunity to walk the grounds and check out some of the history of the place. There are beautiful gardens out back with patio seating and the original designer, Stanley Smolak had an eclectic flair and utilized the local Odawa Indians to help him build the Legs Inn. See more about the Legs Inn at this link.
Beyond Cross Village (on M-119) we worked our way east and north on up to The Headlands International Dark Sky Park, McGulpin Point Lighthouse, stopped for ice cream in Mackinaw City and then on over the bridge. Although the day was clear and sunny in the city, the fog was heavy at the bridge and visibility was poor if not non-existent.
We ended up the day heading on down I-75, then over to Kalkaska where my folks had lived in their retirement years and are buried at the Garfield Twp Cemetery. Kathy and I drove around the area reminiscing how we used to come up here to see them when the kids were toddlers (they’re now 39 & 40).
All in all it was a great trip. Seeing new sites along with revisiting some places we used to frequent and bringing back pleasant memories. A great way to spend a few days in northern Michigan.