Waterfalls in Michigan – Really?

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

The Fantastic Foursome

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.

“UP” Road Trip Map

Here’s a slide show of some of the high points of our trip.  I’m including a few short videos too.

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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”.

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

A Little Gem in Central Texas

A Little Gem in Central Texas

We left the SKP park at Lakewood, NM Thursday morning and the map told us that State Route 285 would be a direct route down through Carlsbad and on to I-10 where we’d head east.

Yes, it was “direct” but FILLED with all kinds of tanker trucks and heavy equipment working the oil fields that lined the state route on both sides of the highway.  As far as the eye could see, it was nothing but gas and oil wells and all the trucks and equipment to service those rigs. (Ugh)

Additionally, the asphalt was pretty bumpy having been heaved over and over by the heavy trucks day after day.  Although the speed limit was 75 mph (and the trucks liked to do it), I wouldn’t subject the coach (pulling the car) and the two of us to the high speeds with all the bumping and rolling this way and that.

All in all, it was a LONG drive down to I-10 to Pecos, TX (100+ miles) where we were FINALLY able to get on SMOOTH I-10 and head east.

We then drove about 4 hours east to a great little RV park we found on Allstays.com.  Pecan Valley RV Park boasts only 14 sites, (3 are full-timers and 2 are tent sites), but our host David told us on the phone he had a great 60′ 50amp pull-thru site that would be great for us.

The park is nestled a few thousand feet off the road behind a HUGE pecan grove and up against the North Llamo River.

Although there was no Verizon coverage and no television, we’d definately stop here again.  David was a gracious host, the park was spotless (see the slide show below) and the setting was peaceful and relaxing.  We cooked brats on the grill, sat out a bit and when we slept, it was with the windows open all night.  And NO traffic noise.

Beautiful and peaceful.  Pictures below.

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Last night we stayed at a “cement” RV park at Port Charles, TX (near Beaumont) and today (Saturday the 18th) we’ll continue east on I-10 where we’ll stay at what appears (online) to be a much nicer park at Livingston, LA.

More to come.  We hope your day will be a great one.

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

Oooops – Didn’t make it to Roswell

Oooops – Didn’t make it to Roswell

Our intention was to see the aliens at Roswell and visit Carlsbad Cavern National Park.  They are each about an hour away from camp, but in different directions.

We went to the Caverns first, then heading back north toward camp, we decided to swing in and visit Sitting Bull Falls in the Lincoln National Forest.  By the time we got out and headed north again, we realized our day was done.

The caverns were phenomenal.  We took the elevator down 850 feet into a beautiful wonderland.  There’s a path throughout the caverns with handrails on both sides so you can’t get lost or fall into an abyss (and there’s a few of them).  It’s a little tricky walking through because we’re always looking up toward the “ceiling” to see the beauty instead of looking down at our feet … and the path is anything but flat and level.  It takes a little over an hour to walk from start to finish.

And then you get to wait in line for the elevator.  The place was super busy.  The ranger told us they usually have about 1300 visitors daily, but since all Texas schools are on spring break, this week they are running about 4500 visitors daily.  And the two elevators that were in service only hold 9 people each!

I’m just going to give you a few pictures here.  You can follow the links above to be taken to the official web pages for each to get more information and pictures.

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Unfortunately, we were at the falls late afternoon and I was taking the pictures looking into the sun, so it’s really hard to see the water.  Some people waded in the pool below, while others climbed to the top to look over the edge – SCARY!

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Today we’ll be leaving the SKP Ranch at Lakewood, NM and heading east toward Junction, TX where we have a reservation at Pecan Valley RV Park.

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

Lake Havasu & Parker Dam

Lake Havasu & Parker Dam

While we were at Quartzsite, we decided to take another day trip and be able to check something off our bucket list.  We wanted to see Lake Havasu and London Bridge.  One of our fellow workampers suggested we be sure to take a small detour on our way to check out Parker Dam at Parker, AZ as well.

We weren’t real keen on going to Lake Havasu City, but we had a Chili’s gift card, so we drove on in for lunch and to see the famous bridge.

Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia about the lake and Parker Dam;

“Lake Havasu is a large reservoir behind Parker Dam on the Colorado River, on the border between California and Arizona. Lake Havasu City sits on the lake’s eastern shore. The reservoir has an available capacity of 619,400 acre feet (764,000,000 m3). The concrete arch dam was built by the United States Bureau of Reclamation between 1934 and 1938. The lake’s primary purpose is to store water for pumping into two aqueducts. Prior to the dam construction, the area was home to the Mohave Indians. The lake was named (in 1939) after the Mojave word for blue.[1] In the early 19th century, it was frequented by beaver trappers. Spaniards also began to mine the area along the river.”

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I was, of course, fascinated by the dam and how they move the water through the gates and into the hydro-electric plant.  But we both enjoyed the beauty of the blue water and the majestic mountains of the area.

Kathy had read to me in the car that the London Bridge there at Lake Havasu City IS the actual bridge from London, England, (I assumed it was a replica). But no, the fella that developed the city purchased the bridge from the city of London.

Here’s an excerpt from golakehavasu.com

In 1967, the Common Council of the City of London began to look for potential buyers for the London Bridge. Lake Havasu City founder and entrepreneur Robert P. McCulloch placed the winning bid of $2,460,000 on April 18, 1968.

McCulloch came by this figure by doubling the estimated cost of dismantling the structure, which was $1.2 million, bringing the price to $2.4 million. He then added on $60,000 – a thousand dollars for each year of his age at the time he estimated the bridge would be reconstructed in Arizona.

Each block was meticulously numbered before the bridge was disassembled. The blocks were then shipped overseas through the Panama Canal to California and trucked from Long Beach to Arizona. Following reconstruction of the London Bridge, Lake Havasu City rededicated it in a ceremony on October 10, 1971. Since then, it has consistently remained a favorite among Arizona attractions, drawing in visitors from around the globe.”

After knowing THIS information, it certainly made me have a much higher respect for the bridge and the effort of so many to bring it here to Arizona.

Stay tuned … more to follow from the Quartzsite trip (Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge & “The Naked Bookseller”)

 

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

Disinfecting the fresh water system

As you might imagine, since we carry fresh water (about 80 gallons) with us, it’s important to sanitize or disinfect our fresh water plumbing system periodically.  The experts say this should be done at least twice annually.

On our trip to the west coast this past April, we only used the water in our fresh water tank for showering, washing hands, and flushing the toilet.  We used bottled water or gallons of water we filled along the way for cooking, drinking, and brushing our teeth.

Nonetheless, I wanted to disinfect the system and since the coach is in our driveway right now, I decided to do that today.  This involves a few steps:

  • Drain the fresh water holding tank to about 1/2 full
  • Add appropriate amount of chlorine bleach to the holding tank (In our coach this equals about 1 cup bleach per 80 gallon holding tank)
  • Using the garden hose, fill the tank to overflow
  • Go inside and turn on all spigots on “warm” so that hot and cold are flowing and drawing through the water heater as well (water heater is “off”)
  • Once you smell chlorine bleach, you can turn off the spigots and let the system sit for about 24 hours.  This will disinfect the; holding tank, the hot and cold supply piping, the hot water heater, the water pump, and all the plumbing fixtures.
  • Next day, turn off the water pump, turn on (open) all the fixtures, open the fresh water tank drain and the hot and cold supply line drain valves and let the entire system drain out on the driveway.
  •  Hook up your sewer drain hose and open the GRAY water tank valve to empty the tank of any chlorine water you ran down the drains in the kitchen and bath sinks/showers
  • When all is drained, then close all the valves and refill the fresh water tank.  Our 80 gallon tank takes about 15-17 minutes to fill.
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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