After a hectic few weeks in Elkhart and attending the Fleetwood GLAMARAMA Rally in Goshen, IN – we were in serious need of some alone time. Researching and writing a book really requires finding a unique balance of undisrupted solitude, but quick distractions nearby for breaks.
Our next major destination would be East Tawas, Michigan – but before arriving to visit with friends, we knew we needed to get in several days of writing and research. So we looked on a map, found the closest state park on our route and ended up pulling into Fort Custer State Park (our review) in Augusta, Michigan – between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo.
Just under 2 hours away, it seemed like a great escape!
When we pulled in, the campground host asked what sort of site we were looking for. We both exclaimed ‘Secluded!’.
She nodded and grinned as she assigned us to site 77.
And wow. What a treat! Our site was completely lined with shrubs and trees, providing a private little yard with nothing else in visible site. Our favorite kind – a place we can sleep with the windows open and not worry about walking around naked inside our home.
With our Michigan state annual park pass purchased ($31 for non residents, per vehicle) and 3-nights paid for at the campground at a very reasonable $21/night with electric included – we settled in.
We put up the ‘Quiet Time’ sign and got to work.
We should know by now however – that if we really and truly want alone time, we shouldn’t post about our location or update on RVillage.
Almost immediately, we got invites from folks to drop by for a visit to meet up. And we just can’t say no – we are social RVers after all, and we LOVE meeting up with our readers. It’s hard to resist.
Sandy & Randy contacted us via RVillage – they’re currently also staying in the area and asked if they could drop by for a quick visit.
It was marvelous to meet up with them, and it’s not just because they came bearing a lovely ‘Welcome to Michigan’ basket full of wonderful fresh vegetables and fruits.
These two enjoy seeking out treasures at thrift shops, auctions and garage sales – and then selling them on eBay. They’ve made an art form out of it that provides them a nice supplemental income.
Almost immediately after they left, Chris went to take a quick cat nap and I eyed a truck slowly passing by us and then parking across the way.. and start walking over. He saw our ‘Quiet Time’ sign up and started to turn away – but we caught him just in time to say ‘hi!’
Turns out, it’s our fellow GM bus nut friend Gordie Allen, who happens to live in the area and he caught word we were in town. Word sure does travel fast!
We last saw him at the ‘Back to Bricks’ bus meet-up in Clio last time we were in Michigan two summers ago.
Not only does he live in the area, he’s a volunteer trail master for the park and forges and maintains the mountain bike trails that we had been enjoying hiking on!
So, we got some bonus bus-geek time showing off the recent electrical bay modifications we made, and the engine rebuild.
So much for a cat nap.. and so much for alone time!
There are days we wish we could disguise Zephyr to look like a Fleetwood. But really, if the worst thing we can find to complain about is all the amazing people we get to meet – life is pretty darn good.
Despite the social distractions, we did get a lot of work done on The Mobile Internet Handbook project – and the book re-write is solidly underway.
While we could have extended for a couple more nights at Fort Custer and continue enjoying our lovely campsite – we decided to head on up the road to Sleepy Hollow State Park (our review) – we just love checking out state parks in our travels.
Having already checked Michigan’s online reservation system, we knew there would be several spots available – so we again didn’t make reservations. We pulled in, and the attendant warned us a severe thunderstorm alert had just been issued and then asked if we wanted to drive around the campground to pick out a site.
We opted for trusting her judgement on selecting us a nice site. And so glad we did, because just as soon as we backed into our site – the skies opened up. By the time I got back in the bus after directing Chris in, I was completely soaked. And then it hailed.
Once the storms passed, we got a peak at our site, and it was quite lovely. All of the sites in the park were, actually – lots of seclusion built in. Just the reason we tend to favor state parks!
We didn’t get too much hiking in at this park as all of the trails remained swampy.
The biggest benefit of this park however was how lacking in cell phone signal it was, which is not a feature we generally seek out. But it was perfect for testing out our Wilson Mobile 4G we had just gotten in from PowerfulSignal.com.
We collected a bunch of data comparing it to the Wilson Sleek, and it did provide a substantial boost that gave us very usable signals for general surfing. We’ll have a more comprehensive report out after we’ve been able to test it out in a greater variety of locations.
But alas, we had a phone video conference call scheduled with a new client we’re ramping up for after the book is done – so headed into the nearby town of DeWitt to catch some solid LTE.
We had asked on Facebook before hitting Michigan for recommendations of pleasant places to stay on our way up to Tawas – most everyone directed us up the western shoreline, claiming that central Michigan is lacking in beautiful places.
The western shoreline is very pretty – no doubt. But we completely disagree – central Michigan also has some beautiful spots too, and between Fort Custer and Sleepy Hollow, we definitely got our nature itch scratched.
Oh wait, that’s probably from all the mosquito bites!
What’s Next? We’re currently in East Tawas, Michigan along the shores of Lake Huron visiting our friends Krash & Karen. We’ll spend the next couple of weeks working our way northward up the index finger of Michigan. We’ll be super focusing on the book re-write – aiming to get a manuscript off to our editor by mid-July when we reach the bridge to the UP.
We’ll spend a little bit of time finding some new to us areas to explore (we’ve already done one pass through before and visited the popular attractions of Sault Ste. Marie, Tahquenomon Falls and Pictured Rocks) – and then get our butts westward with a stop in Billings for a 1-year inspection on our engine rebuild before the warranty runs out in August.
We have lighthouse duty starting on Sept 1 in Oregon, and the summer is seeming awfully short now! We’d really like to spend more time exploring the Pacific Northwest before settling in at Cape Blanco for the fall.