Rocky start and hunkering down

Saturday September 20
There was no traveling until my son came over to slide the house batteries back into Ecovision. An essential part of a motorhome are the house batteries. These are the ones that power everything inside the motorhome. Unless they are sealed, you have to check the level of distilled water. I did the right thing by checking these levels and did need to add distilled water. The batteries are new and taller and narrower than the ones they replaced making it difficult to pull the drawer out that holds them. Well I got the drawer out, but then could not get it back in.

I tried many things then called AAA. I have AAA Plus for RV coverage. After long discussion and the agent wishing he were closer so he could personally help, I learned they would not be sending a repair truck. Why? Because it wasn’t broken down. I couldn’t drive it like that, but it wasn’t broken down. That’s when I contacted my son who, as always, came through. He figured it out and with his usual persistent patience got the battery drawer to slide back in. Thanks Matthew!


Finished packing up food, clothes and way too many electronics and off we went. It was quite windy, but we headed southwest on Michigan Avenue (M-12) right into the wind so driving was manageable. It started raining about five miles away from Hayes State Park where we were going to stay for the night. Oops, the rubber blades on my windshield washers were awful! Useless, actually. Amazingly there was a gas station right across the street from the turn into Hayes State Park. Nevertheless I was filled with dread because unlike the gas stations of the 50s and 60s when actual mechanics ran them and could always help fix things, I knew chances of my getting help were slim to none. And that’s what I found. The two woman were helpful but knew little. The gas station was filled with row after row of snacks and drinks. Fortunately they did have the 18″ blades and two were only $6.13 for the pair! Then a nice young man filling his truck with gas came right over and put them on for me. I told him was an angel and I so appreciated his help.

So we drove around the state park until we found a couple of campsites I liked then secured one at the office. Here we are settled in with Ecovision plugged in and ready to give us a cozy place to spend the night.


Later quite severe storms blew in with thunder and lightening and gusty winds. I do carry a weather radio (and put fresh batteries in and tested before I left), but not quite bad enough to turn on. So we toughed it out. I should say I toughed it out, because Henry is oblivious to even the loudest of thunderstorms. He’s always the happy camper.


I reheated some turkey meatloaf with carrots and onions courtesy of Chef Elrod of the People’s Food Cooperative. Yum.


Henry was content to check things out around us and wag his tail at the two kids at a nearby campsite. He also growled at any dogs that passed by. Unfortunately, Henry has never forgotten having had his neck ripped open by a pit bull when he was a puppy that took two surgeries to get him back to normal.


I spent some time getting my iPhone and Macbook connected to my “old” (2 years old) Samsung Mifi. Even though I had gone to a Verizon store, paid $40 for 4 GB of service and they got me set up, now that I was on the road I couldn’t connect. So I had to call Verizon only to be told I had been given the wrong information in the store. Helpless on the road, I had to fork over another $20 for 1 GB less capacity. So $60 for 3 GB. Grrr, but I do now have a portable wireless hotspot for the next 30 days or 3GB, whichever comes first.

I read for awhile, but I was pretty exhausted from an over-busy week followed by getting Ecovision ready for the road. I started nodding off and by 9 p.m. turned off the light.

Henry makes reading in my couch-bed very interesting and cozy. Fortunately he doesn't stay up there all night.

Henry makes reading in my couch-bed very interesting and cozy. Fortunately he doesn’t stay up there all night while I’m sleeping.

Sunday September 21
In the morning it was pretty wet outside.


I woke at 7 and made a typical simple breakfast I enjoy while camping.

Peanut butter on Ed's sourdough bread with grapefruit juice and organic green grapes

Peanut butter on Ed’s sourdough bread with grapefruit juice and organic green grapes

I read some more enjoying this view from the couch-bed. The view is nicer than the photos suggests.


In the back of Ecovision are lovely dappled, wooded wetlands. Very private. Hard to tell, but there is a steep drop down to the water.


Had a little frog-friend take shelter from the rain alongside Ecovision’s window. Friend Karen thinks it’s a tree frog. Sure was tiny, size of my fingernail.


The wind continued and by 10 a.m. I decided I had to stay put another night. Winds were 15-16 mph with gusts of 28, which means RVers stay put. At least this one does. Henry and I walked to the office and paid $25 for a second night. I don’t mind supporting Michigan’s wonderful state parks for another night, and the staffer loved and cuddled Henry so a bonus. Then I called Indiana Dunes State Park and for no fee they moved my reservation from coming Sunday to coming Monday! Another bonus!

So that’s about it thus far. It’s not quite three and chilly and windy with some rain. Going to go back to reading “The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America, from Key West to the Arctic Ocean” written by Pulitzer-prize winning Philip Caputo. This is a memoir about traveling the longest possible road with his wife and two hunting dogs pulling an Airstream. Perfect book to read on my own travels with Henry. More adventures tomorrow!

Big Bay on the Big Lake

It was actually another backwards day.  I headed back east from Ispheming to first go to the Marquette Verizon store to try to set up a 4G Samsung Mifi so I can travel with my own wireless hotspot.  It took two hours, but patience turned to success (and the Mifi enabled me  to update my Grand Island posting from a few days ago with a photo and map this evening so check it out).

Once the Mifi was operational, Henry and I drove to the north side of Marquette to eat lunch sitting in Ecovision while parked at a marina.

The marina is in the shadow of enormous Presque Isle Power Plant built by Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company.  I learned that this one facility powers 90 percent of the Upper Peninsula’s electricity and 12 percent of Wisconsin’s.  I wish I had photographed the gigantic pile of coal.

After lunch we headed north to the town of Big Bay.  The drive takes about a 45 minutes from Marquette with some of the road shoulder-less and rolling.  Probably not that noticeable when driving an automobile, but it kept me on my toes driving my RV.

Big Bay is the town where many scenes in the book and movie The Anatomy of a Murder took place.  There is a Community Presbyterian Church across the street from St. Mary Church below.

St. Mary Church in Big Bay, Michigan

Big Bay was having a Farmers Market and I bought cherry tomatoes and a huge blueberry muffin.  I also bought a Powell Township tshirt with the proceeds going toward parks and recreation.  I even met the artist.

In contrast to the gray and rainy day on Grand Island, as you can see today was clear blue sky and bright sun.  In fact, I only saw one small puff of a cloud all afternoon.

From the town of Big Bay, I wanted to get to the Big Bay Lighthouse.  I remembered how stunning Lake Superior was below the cliff the lighthouse rests on.  The 100-year old lighthouse has been a bed and breakfast, although I’m not sure of its current status because when I was there two years ago it was for sale.

Big Bay Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast

It showed signs of neglect, and the land has been subdivided into lots according to a drawing on a large for-sale sign.  Ah, progress.

But for me the main event was, of course, the Big Lake Superior!  I only snapped a few photos because it seemed like there was a private event breaking up.

View of the long horizon of Lake Superior from Big Bay Lighthouse cliff.

Henry and I then headed back south to Marquette then turned west to Ispheming.  I hooked the water and electric back up and even pulled out Henry’s rug and my chair.  We both ate out there then I read Wild ShoreGreg Breining‘s book about kayaking around Lake Superior–while Henry dozed.

Then I put things away and Henry and I walked around the campground until the chill in the air chased me inside.


Tomorrow: Copper Harbor!


Henry Boy loves his striped rug.