Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Cities’ category

Rain! Petoskey, Michigan

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We woke up to HEAVY rains, thunder and lightning. Like a small hurricane, the winds blew hard. I was worried a tree or big limb would fall on the Airstream. It was predicted to last all day, so we read most of the morning. By noon it let up, so we drove into Petosky and went to the library. Certainly one of the nicest libraries I have been in, the nice lady at the desk told us it is more quiet on the second floor. With comfortable tables, chairs and lounge chairs, we picked a good spot to catch up on the blog. 45 minutes later I was done. We headed across the street to an old church that now served as Crooked Tree Arts Center and checked out all the work, most of which was for sale. 

By then the sun had come out and it was warming up, so we decided to go to Bear River Valley Recreation Area, where the river had been turned into a 1.5 mile white water section. You’d better know what you are doing to run this one. Of course it was rocking from that torrential rain last night. By the time we had walked up the trail for a while, we started peeling layers off. From the 49 degree start of the day, it got up to 75 and sunny.

On our way back to Petoskey State Park, we stopped to look at the incredibly pretty houses overlooking the bay. I hadn’t walked very far when a gentleman, out for his walk, asked me how I was doing. The next thing you know we were walking together, talking about Petoskey. He said he has been coming here for 76 years, his parents bringing the family from the time he was born. He went on to jobs bringing distressed companies back to life, living in many places including Florida and 8 years in Hawaii. He said this is the best place he has very been, and I believe it as it is gorgeous. He told me we should buy a cottage here. Then he gave me recommendations of where to eat and places to go, among them Pictured Rocks and Harbor Springs. We said goodbye. A couple he knew came up the other side of the street, and he went over to talk to them. He must be the mayor of Petoskey. 

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I resumed taking pictures of the lovely homes, but didn’t make it down to Bay Street where the biggest houses are. Martha had made it down and around two blocks before we met again. We decided to go to Petoskey Brewing Company for dinner. A good burger and fries complemented the porters we ordered. A group of 10 guys were seated next to us. I couldn’t help but listen in as one guy told the story of deer hunting when a wolf killed a deer right in front of his deer stand. After all that rain, it turned out to be a pretty good day. 

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.

Off to Michigan

Monday, September 24

We managed to get loaded before the rains came.  Driving was a bit tense all day, partly due to the rain, and we were in it all day. We finally arrived at Deer Creek State Park southwest of Columbus. It is a nice, modern park on a pretty lake. The paved campsite was so level, we didn’t have to unhook the trailer – perfect!

We took a walk around the campground in the drizzling rain to get the blood flowing a bit. We took showers in the morning and got on the road about 8:30. West on I70, north on I75 to 469 to 40 through Sturgis, and checking into Holland State Park by 4:00. 

We hiked up and around Mt. Pisgah once we got settled. There were nice views of sailboats on Lake Macatawa as the sun set. A big storm was heading across Lake Michigan with tornado warnings for Holland. Fortunately they never came, and the rains passed quickly. It did bring a cold front, so it was chilly in the morning and only got up to 60° during the day.

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Holland is a nice town on Lake Macatawa. First stop was the very nice and large farmer’s Market where we found some nice quiches and meat pies, some bread, a quash, some apples and of course a blueberry donut. We enjoyed driving through neighborhoods, then parked downtown to poke around the shops. After a few nice stores, we carried quite a few bags. In the cooking store the sales lady recommended lunch at Cranes, just up the street. We split a chicken salad sandwich and a piece of apple crisp. 

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After wandering around downtown a bit more, we heading back to the Airstream and a little relaxation before dinner. At 7:00 we went to Tunnel Park beach to watch the sun set. Winds blew off Lake Michigan making it quite chilly, but it was a good one.

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Tomorrow we will head north to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park.

Savannah Trolly Tour

May 14, 2018

As we were driving out, a Barred owl flew across the road and landed in a tree. We managed to get a few pictures before it took off again. 

Taking the OldTown Trolly tour of the historic district of Savannah, we agreed to stay on the tour if we had a good guide. We stayed on, because Lilly Belle was great – the perfect tour guide. It was interesting to see the lovely old houses and many parks and squares. There was the bench where Forest Gump sat while saying “Life is like a box of chocolates”. We passed the Six Pence Pub where Julia Roberts saw her husband with another woman in “Something to Talk About”. Lots of other movies have been filmed here.

On our second trip around, we got off at Brighter Day Natural Foods Market for lunch and some groceries. Then we visited the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. An entertaining man gave a nice history of the church, and what a gorgeous church it is. We had to have ice cream at Leupold’s, voted one of the best ice creams in the world and in business since 1919. We could not disagree! Then we went into the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. A man gave a short history of the church and how it was built. It is quite beautiful.

We stopped at Bonaventure Cemetery, listed as one of the top 10 things to do in Savannah. It was very pretty with big, old trees and sitting on a bluff along the Wilmington River. We found Noble Jones’ grave, who was on the first ship to the settlement. He built Wormsloe Plantation.

Pinehurst, North Carolina

May 4, 2018

We enjoyed a day visiting Pinehurst, NC, a beautiful little village with pretty houses, cute shops and good restaurants. We found some nice gifts in Le Feme Chateau. Deborah Myatt, the owner, is wonderful. Beautiful Italian handbags, handmade scarves, and many other items are designed by her. As she said, “not to be found on Amazon”. She has a website at www.LFCcollection.com. 

We had a nice lunch at the Holly Inn. It’s hard to beat shrimp and grits. Then we walked around town, gawking at the beautiful houses. On our way out, we drove up to the famous golf club. 

We stayed two nights at Badin Lake Campground in the Uwharrie National Forest. This is a great place for boating, off-road 4-wheeling, horseback riding and hiking. 

Wendover, Nevada to Super 8, Rawlins, WY

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

If yesterday’s drive through the high sage plains, today was totally different. We were immediately on the Bonneville Salt Flats, with only a break when we crossed a big mountain range. On the other side was the Great Salt Lake. We passed the Morton’s Salt plant with their lady with the umbrella out front. Salt Lake City is a busy place, even on a Wednesday morning. There are lots of roads coming in and out of Interstate 80, around curves and up and down a mountain. Young people in cities drive like they are playing a video game. I am always happy to get out a big city.

Then we were into red mountains, and then wind. The winds were blowing all day, but we really didn’t notice it much while driving. When we came to a rest stop, though, we had to hold the doors tight when we opened them. A flashing sign to beware of 50 mph winds. Late in the day another flashing overhead sign said the road ahead might be closed. 70 mph winds with a high risk to high profile trailers of blow-over. We got off at the next exit looking for a campground, but it was closed. As we sat there considering our options, the wind rocked the truck and trailer. Across the street was a Super 8 Motel. We pulled around the downwind side where it blocked the wind. We went in and booked a room, then went downtown to Anong’s Thai Cuisine. We had a nice dinner with leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I was comforted knowing how well the Airstream did in pretty strong winds.

410 miles today

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Move to Olympic National Park

October 22, 2017

With a 7:30 start we got to the ferry terminal before 9:00. Fortunately we had a reservation, because it was full. We parked in the designated lane and waited till 10:00 when they came around to check passports and a few questions. It’s an hour and a half beautiful ferry ride across Juan de Fuca Straight to Port Angeles. A bit cold and windy on deck, I got used to it after a while. It’s fun to wander around checking the views and the people, but I had to go in a few times to warm up. We had a nice conversation with a gentleman from California who went to Victoria to look after the grandchildren while his daughter was in a conference. He had some good suggestions about the ways to travel south.

As we approached Port Angeles, Olympic loomed large, covered in clouds with sun trying to peek through. Snow covered many of the mountaintops. Several whales were spotted in the distance, Arriving at port, customs pulled all the campers over to search them. We were the last ones, but the guy was very nice. We found County Aire Natural Foods that had high ratings and ordered some a Hunter sandwich with turkey, pesto, pepperoni, onions and something else and some chili, Both were very good. One should not grocery shop while hungry.

Then up to the Visitor’s Center for some suggestions and information, and on to Heart of the Hills Campground. It was a beautiful day while we were in town, but by the time we settled in camp, the rains returned. We were happy to relax for the remainder of the afternoon. I was happy to have time to sit and read my book, “The River of Doubt”.

Hike Squirrel Cache, Bike to Ralph’s for a Milkshake

September 29, 2017

As we got ready to hike Squirrel Cache Trail, Ken and Ruth came over. We had spoken last night as they were cooking dinner because they have a new 19’ Bambi. They are from Spokane and wanted to get their new Airstream out. They knew all about the campground and the area. Previously tent campers, this is all new to them, but Ken is an avid reader of the Airstream Forum. As we stood there talking, another couple came up. They too have an Airstream, a 23’. Both couples were very nice and interesting to chat with.

The Squirrel Cache hike was an easy hike, even though we made a wrong turn somehow. I keep looking at trees with holes all through them for a baby owl to be sitting in the opening.

After lunch we rode the bikes into Bayview and Ralph’s for ice cream and WIFI. Riding the Lynx Trail over gravel, rocks and tree roots slowed things down quite a bit. It makes it interesting for a while, but we rode on the road coming back. Bayview is really a nice, little town in a beautiful setting with big mountains surrounding a beautiful lake. I ordered a double scoop chocolate cone, while Martha went for the Huckleberry milkshake. Both were outstanding. I’m going to miss Ralph’s. He is sponsoring a fishing tournament this weekend and had 78 entries.

Back at camp, Martha cooked salmon, potatoes and brussel sprouts over an open fire. She is very good at cooking this way.

Travel to Hayburn State Park on Chatcolet Lake

September 22, 2017

We drove through University of Idaho, where our friend, Karen Human, went to graduate school. It is a beautiful school in a beautiful area, and Moscow is a cute, little university town.

On the edge of town, we visited the Appaloosa Museum. These horses were likely brought by the Spanish, but their heritage goes back thousands of years, probably originating in China. The Nez Perce developed this breed along the Palouse River and throughout their region. Their traits are they have a great disposition and work well with children and all members of the family. They are strong, durable and very fast.

In the war of 1877, Cheifs Joseph, White Bird and Looking Glass and a small band of women, children and men managed to outrun the army for four months over 1500 miles, partly because of the Appaloosa horse. There was a map in the museum showing the routes of the Nez Perce or the Palouse tribe, the army chasing them, and also the routes of Lewis and Clarke.