Saturday, November 19, 2016

Bay Mills RV Park - Brimley, Michigan

Our first impression of the Bay Mills RV Park was that it was a big parking lot for RVs next to a casino. It's funny how first impressions can linger during your visit even when there were signs that the park offered some nice features.

Rosie in Bay Mills RV Park
Suzy looks a little ragged first thing in the morning

For example, all of the sites in our area were grass and pull-thrus. Plus they were large enough that you could hitch-up without your tow vehicle being in the road. The side-to-side space was large enough that it was safe to open your awnings. These features made it easy to park Rosie, our 25 foot Airstream trailer.

Another welcomed convenience was that our site had full connections including cable TV. Many of the TV stations on their cable system were HD. It was nice to have a wide variety of choices when it came to TV programming.

OK, the campground appeared to be a large parking lot, but it offered many amenities that were very much appreciated.

One of the big "draws" for the campground wasn't at the park. The park was located near several amazing sights in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and was a great base while visiting them.

This is a sign we don't see in the South


I had a different mental picture of "Paradise"

Shipwreck Museum

The campground was well maintained while we were there. Staff members drove through it several times and made sure everything was neat and picked up.

Here are some specifics about this park:
  • Our site had 20, 30 and 50 amp electrical service.
  • Our site had a water connection.
  • Our site had a sewer connection.
  • Our site had a cable TV connection that provided a good selection of HD channels.
  • We did switch over to Rosie's antenna to watch some stations from Canada. It didn't take long for us to lower the TV antenna and go back to watching cable stations.
  • The park's restrooms and showers were located near the entrance. They were well maintained and clean.
  • There was a coin-operated laundry at the campground. It was normally busy. We were thankful that it charged $1.25 to wash a load.
  • This was a pet friendly park.
Becky and Suzy on a boat ride 

Steve and Suzy on a hike

Becky at Tahquamenon Falls

On the boat traveling through Michigan's Soo Locks

Suzy as she travels through the Soo Locks

Looking at Canada's coast from the Soo Locks

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Munising Tourist Park - Munising, Michigan

This is a park I really wanted to like. After all, most of the reviews were positive and mentioned that the park is right on Lake Superior. Sadly, the park didn't live up to its reputation.

This is a city-owned park. From talking with other campers, reservations are fouled up for arriving campers with alarmingly frequency. We heard stories about campers who reserved sites with sewer connections and were told those sites were rented to someone else. Another camper said he heard someone who had two weeks confirmed being told that he could only have one week because his site was rented to another camper for the second week. So much for written confirmations!

Rosie at Munising Tourist Park (long runs to the water and power connections!)

Selfie in the campground

You can place us in the group that suddenly shifted to a site without sewer connections and our three day reservation mysteriously turned into two. I imagine that unhappy campers are common at this park if the scuttlebutt is true.

This was another park claiming to provide a Wi-Fi service. A speed test confirmed that the Wi-Fi speed was a pitiful 600 KB. Well, that beats the old 300 baud modem I used 30 years ago.

While whining, I'll also bring up the road noise heard at our site. It probably was similar to the road noise heard at other parks, but my tolerance level for imperfections was worn down by the time I started noticing road noises.

On the positive side, sites along the lake were spectacular. If you are not camping along the shore of Lake Superior, the park looks like any other run-of-the-mill park.

Suzy doesn't like stuffed bears

Here are some specifics about this park:
  • Our site had only 20 and 50 amp electrical service. We had to use our 50-to-30 amp converter cord to supply power to Rosie, our 25 foot Airstream trailer. The power box was about 50 feet from Rosie. Bring your power extension cord.
  • Speaking of electrical power, the voltage to Rosie kept dipping to 108 volts. That is close to being dangerously low.
  • Our site had a water connection. The spiquet was a little more than 50 feet from Rosie. Bring extra water hoses.
  • AT&T placed three bars of 4G voice and data service over this park.
  • We were able to watch CBS and digital channels Bounce and Escape. Laff drifted in for a few hours everyday.
  • The restrooms and showers were modern and clean.
  • This is a pet friendly park.
As I said earlier, I really wanted to like this park. It has an incredible location along the shore of Lake Superior and good facilities. Maybe the city will be able to fix the administrative problems that overshadow the great features of this park.

Miner's Falls

Painted Rocks from a boat tour

Selfie on the boat

Pictured Rocks

Pictured Rocks view from our boat tour

Pictured rocks

From the boat

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Indian Lake State Park - Michigan (Upper Peninsula)

Indian Lake State Park is in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. This is an area of the state that has many amazing natural attractions.

Entering Indian Lake State Park

It seems that Michigan state parks are in the land of single point connections. That means the sites in their parks have only electric service and no water or sewer connections. That also means you need to arrive with empty holding tanks and a full fresh water tank. There is a dump station with fresh drinking water as you head into the park and this is a popular stop for arriving campers.

Crossing the Mackinac Bridge in a rain storm on the way to Indian Lake State Park

A few of the Airstream trailers in our WBCCI Caravan while heading to the park

It was raining when we arrived at the park and that made the grass/dirt camping sites sloppy. Couple that with a cold wind and you have an uncomfortable setup.

Weather wasn't the big issue while parking Rosie, our 25 foot Airstream trailer. Rosie's batteries appeared to be having problems and the local store that stocked Marine/RV Deep Cycle Batteries was closing in less than two hours after we arrived at the park. That meant I needed to disconnect Rosie from our truck, pull the batteries out and get to the store as quickly as possible. Fortunately, I remembered to take a picture of how the batteries were connected before I pulled them out. That photo would prove to be a valuable tool when it was time to reconnect the batteries.

As expected, the batteries tested bad at the store and had to be replaced. Several fellow campers in the park said that we should expect about four years of service from RV batteries and the ones we replaced were five years old. So, the old batteries served us well.

One more thing related to our battery problems was that we were noticing a bad smell while at our earlier campground. Our first thought was that we had a propane leak. We checked the lines using soapy water and determined that our propane lines were OK. I think we now know what we were smelling. Rosie's batteries were cooking.

Rosie in Michigan's Indian Lake State Park

Many of the camping sites in this park are right on the lake or very close to it. That means you can expect some great views while in this campground.

Here are some specifics about this park:
  • Our site had 20 and 30 amp electrical service.
  • We needed to use our 25 foot power extension cord to reach the power outlet, which was a long way from our site.
  • Our site did not have a water connection. This appears to be normal for Michigan state parks.
  • Our site did not have a sewer connection. This appears to be normal at most state parks we have visited.
  • The park has very nice restrooms and showers. This appears to be normal for Michigan state parks.
  • We could not find any TV signals while using Rosie's antenna. Bring some DVDs if you want to watch TV.
  • AT&T placed a good 4G signal over the park for both voice and data.
  • This is a pet friendly park.
I started wondering while camping in this park if this was the lake the Cowsills sang about in the late 1960s song "Indian Lake." While that was an interesting thought, a quick Google search convinced me that the Cowsills were singing about a lake in upstate New York and not the Upper Peninsula.
While this wasn't the place mentioned in the song, it is a good place to visit and we enjoyed our stay at Indian Lake State Park.

Suzy in the Upper Peninsular

An iron ore furnace near the park

Fayette Historic Park near Indian Lake State Park

Celebrating Suzy's 10-month birthday

The Seul Choix Point Lighthouse

Becky at the top of the lighthouse

The Lighthouse