Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Archive for ‘October 3rd, 2018’

Nature & Me RV

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October 2, 2018

Our appointment at Nature & Men RV was at 3:00. We went to the grocery store and got a few things, one being a new lighter for the gas stove. I was looking through a whole display of them, mainly looking for one that was refillable. Martha walked up and said, “Why wouldn’t you get the Ohio State one?” I couldn’t believe here in Michigan was an Ohio State lighter. I had settled on a Michigan State one as a souvenir for our trip, but since we had been at Ohio State for five years, it was an easy choice. 

Then off to Backcountry North on Rt 31. Martha wanted to trade her gloves that she bought downtown. It’s a dangerous store. With kayaking, hiking and camping gear and a very nice and helpful staff, I enjoyed cruising around while Martha found gloves and a sweater. I bought some kayak gloves and a light neoprene shirt for kayaking in this weather…..if I get to do it. I should have bought pants, but had already spent too much.

We had lunch, checked out of the campground and went to Nature & Me RV, arriving about 1:30 for our 3:00 appt. I checked in with Joe, telling him we didn’t expect to be seen until 3:00 and would just hang out. Maybe I could catch up on the blog on their WIFI. After cruising the parts and accessory section and looking at all the Vespa scooters, I went out to the truck to get my computer. I was surprised to see Alan already working on the hitch. I asked if he minded my watching. He didn’t. I always like to watch, so I can learn what is done in case it happens again. He was very nice explaining things, and it was obvious he had done a lot of these things. I told him I was glad He was doing the job, as I could see it was going to be very secure as he tightened the bolts with his air wrench. He replaced both bolts on the affected side and the other side for good measure. 

I went in to pay the modest bill and enjoyed talking with Joe, who grew up here. He asked where we hiked. He likes to float the Boardman. In the same way I complain about my home, Charlottesville’s growth, he said he and his friends walked or biked everywhere, never feeling threatened. Traverse City has steady growth, with steadily increasing traffic. “You should see it in the summertime”, he said. I could be friends with Joe. He loves his town and all the great outdoor things to do and likes his job. He is going to visit the Airstream factory in Jackson City for the first time soon. I told him he would really enjoy that. He was still apologetic about not being able to see us yesterday. “Hey, we never would have taken that great hike at Brown Bridge”, I said. I thanked him very much. Lucky us!

 

We were on our way at 3:00, heading up 31, east around the bay, then north. On the map it looked like you would see water on both sides, but we rarely got a glimpse. Still, it is very pretty land, farms and little towns. We drove through the cute, little town of Petosky to Petosky State Park. We found a spot near the beach and set up, then built a fire in the Solo Stove. I really like this thing. You can snuggle right up to it to stay warm without the smoke driving you away, and it burns hot. Martha cooked some Brats, acorn squash and veggies over the fire. Then we walked over to the beach to watch the sun set. We put everything away except the Solo Stove as the rains were supposed to come in the night.

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Hike Brown Bridge Quiet Area

Monday, October 1, 2018

After being on the road for 7 days, it was time to do laundry, so we went to Eastfield Laundry on 8th Street. With good machines, a nice attendant and WIFI, it made our job easy. We had a Reese hitch bolt come out and needed to get that fixed as well. Having replaced it twice myself, I was ready to drill through the box frame and put a bolt in one side, a lock washer and nut on the other, but Martha wanted to take to an Airstream place we saw driving in. I called Airstream of Northern Michigan. A salesman named Greg put me through to Joe, the service manager. Thinking I just needed the right bolt or slightly bigger bolt, he said to come at 2:00. 

We finished up with the laundry, put it away, had some lunch, hooked up and checked out. The Airstream place is called Nature & Me R.V. Greg directed me to service where I met Joe Hooch. We went out to check out the problem, and he called Alan to take a look. These are tapped screws that go in one side of the boxed frame, and Alan said it didn’t work too well. Now they put a brass rivet nut into the hole, acting like a rivet when you tighten the bolt. He noted that the second bolt on that bracket was also stripping, which I knew. Really you should remove both brackets and put in rivet nuts and new bolts. They were busy with winterizing, other jobs and a couple of other travelers like us, so we agreed to come back tomorrow. Joe was very apologetic, but I fully understood. I could see they were very busy. 

We checked back into Traverse City State Park where the staff was really into decorating for Halloween. Arms, hands and legs hung on signs and tried to come out of the ground. Ghosts hung from a fence, and a huge spider scared me in the bathroom. Martha found a hike called Brown Bridge Quiet Area along the Boardman River. It was good to get out and get some exercise. We parked at area #1 and read the sign. Must be getting old, but we couldn’t read the tiny symbols on the little signs. Oh well, you couldn’t get lost in a place like this. Following a ridge line, we headed east toward #2 through the woods. We could barely see the river winding below us. It is an old lakebed that has been drained. Our plan was to walk to a loop to the river at the far end of the lake, turn around and come back for 4.2mi, getting back for cocktail hour

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Those little blue triangles have numbers in them

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When we finally reached the river, I was so happy to see this beautiful river and take some pictures, we took a wrong turn and crossed the river over a bridge. There were side trails in a lot of places, especially along the river where people fish or just walk along it. Then that little sign was so small and hard to read. We didn’t realize what we had done until we got to marker #6. Finally I took a picture of the map with my phone and expanded it so we could see the tiny numbers. Well it wouldn’t be that much further, and it was much prettier following the river. It would be a great float through here although a bit chilly today. I wondered at the map whether there was another bridge at the other end of the old lake. By the time we had walked 8 miles and crossed the dam, we arrived at the bridgeless Boardman. I certainly wasn’t walking back, but Martha was hesitant to walk across. It was supposed to start raining any time and the sky looked like it. The river is shallow at that point, 2-3ft, and not running too hard, but it was a cool, cloudy 50 degrees, and I had on blue jeans, cotton socks and hiking shoes. We held hands and walked across, up the hill to the road and back to the truck. We shed the wet shoes and socks. Martha’s hiking pants dried quickly, but jeans won’t dry for a very long time. Fortunately it was only a 20-minute drive back to the campground. A hot shower felt good.

North to Traverse City

Sunday, September 30, 2018

We went up to the Visitor’s Center in Sleeping Bear Dunes. There were nice displays and a movie telling the history of the area. Sleeping Bear is a great park. We left a lot undone, but we had a great visit. There are many pleasant streams to float, a great bike trail, lots of hiking trails and miles of beaches. A through-hike in this park would be great.

Hooking up, we headed north on Rt. 22 to Traverse City.  After some trouble leveling the trailer in soft sand at Traverse City State Park Campground, we went downtown to cruise the shops and get Martha some warmer clothes. She found some gloves, hats, sweat pants, but couldn’t find the shirt she wanted. We found the world’s best Mommers hand-made ice cream at Peppercorn, a kitchen shop.

Next up was the Peninsula Drive to the light house, stopping at one of the many roadside fruit stands and bought Honey Crisp apples and plums. Beautiful farms growing grapes, fruit trees and vegetables are on both sides of the road. I have never seen apple trees trimmed to grow like grape vines. The road follows a ridge, so you see Lake Michigan on both sides. Heading back down on the west coastal side, we passed a little restaurant, the Boathouse, right on the water. After some discussion, we turned around and went back for dinner. The prices and cuisine are suited for yacht and wealthy homeowners, but it was excellent.  Driving back down the coast as the sun set, it was fun looking at the beautiful houses. With side roads going everywhere, there is much to explore here. When Ed and Diego and I were here last summer, Diego ran a marathon out this road for a beautiful run. 

Back in camp, Martha was happy to have TV reception. She watched her “Buff Boys” (NCIS LA) as I fell asleep.