Campground Review: Finn Road Campground – Essexville, MI

The water hookups are a bit strange.  Four sites share a four hookup water spigot.  In our case our water hookup was on the wrong side of the camper and fairly distant from it.  I pieced a few spare hoses together to reach it, so no worries.  However, I can imagine a person coming in and not having enough hose to reach.  It would probably be wise to have some extra hose along.

The campground has good WiFi and a heated bath house.  I had good Verizon 4G and was able to get a satellite signal with no problem.  A big Krogers and lots of other shopping is nearby.  There are several seasonal residents at Finn Road and I can see why they like it.  This campground gets a thumbs up from us.

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Sightseeing Review: Bay City and Frankenmuth, MI

The other highlight for us was a tour the USS Edson, DD-946 in Bay City, MI at the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum. Since we volunteered at the Battleship Texas last winter (and plan to do it again this coming winter) we found a visit to this ship especially interesting. Upon admission we were given a walking tour flyer that explained the highlights of the ship. There are many well documented displays providing lots of information on the ship and the places it served. We saw where the enlisted sailors lived, ate, got medical care, and got haircuts. We saw where the officers spent their leisure time and saw their sleeping quarters. The engine area was a bit overwhelming for me, but Scott liked looking around. I especially liked the pilot house and combined information center which controlled all communications. This is an excellent tour for those interested in 1950’s-80’s Navel history. It does require walking up steps, including going up and down steep, narrow ladders. Still, I think it was well worth the effort.

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Campground Review: Tiki RV Park – St Ignace, MI

Tiki RV Park is in St Ignace, MI – a primary launching point for visits to Mackinac Island. The park is just minutes from the ferry docks and downtown St Ignace and near the northern end of Mackinaw Bridge. There are a variety of campsites, ranging from full hookup, 50 amp, pull-throughs down to tent sites nestled in the woods. Most of the sites are gravel, although there is a popular no-sewer, grassy area near the restrooms. Many, but not all, of the back in sites have grassy strips between the campsites but the pull-throughs are a generally a bit tighter. We were given an “end site” that resulted in our having a larger front yard. Our neighbor to the driver’s side, though, was faced in the opposite direction of us and was within just a few feet of us.

The interior roads are all good gravel and the sites are fairly level with the exception of a few that would be challenging. Lake Huron is easily visible from the road in front of the campground entrance but only a very few campsites would offer any sort of lake view at all.

There are some big trees in the campground but we were able to get satellite TV after moving the dish around some to find a “hole in the sky.” My 4G Verizon was pretty good and the campground WiFi was solid. The restrooms were kept reasonably clean and there are individual shower rooms as well as a laundry on site.

They honor Passport America, Escapees, and other discounts and I was allowed to combine them, giving me a nice discount for 6 of the 7 nights we stayed. Obviously, the discounts offered, plus the location results in lots of overnight visitors who are just passing through. I don’t think we would have done any better for the price at any campground in the area.

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Sightseeing Review: Mackinac Island, MI and vicinity

As we planned our 2015 Adventure we included a visit to historic Mackinac Island, MI as a highlight of our trip. It did not disappoint.

Once we arrived at Mackinac Island we took a horse drawn carriage tour of the island. Really, there are too many historic homes and buildings to see in one day. I especially enjoyed touring Fort Mackinac. Many of the buildings there are furnished with period items and sound effects give a feel for what it might have been like to have lived at the fort. We were entertained by the close order drill that included many of the audience. There was also a noisy and interesting rifle firing demonstration. After the Fort we walked over to the Grand Hotel. We were disappointed that they charge $10 admission to even walk into the foyer! Having already paid for the ferry, the carriage, and the fort – and still planning on buying a few souvenirs we decided to head to the main shopping areas rather than entering the famous hotel. As we walked, we were impressed by the beautiful flowers in the yards along the way. We bought a few things, but my favorite was some of the world famous island fudge! It will come as no surprise to my friends that I especially enjoyed visiting the public library which has some terrific outside seating overlooking the water – what a great place to relax and read a good book!

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Campground Review: Jack Pine Lodge and Campground – Manistique, MI

The campsites are spacious and generally long enough for most any RV and there are a few pull throughs. There’s good shade but we had no problem getting satellite TV. I can’t say as much for cell and internet. Our Verizon cell service was zero to very poor at its best. The bar and grill on the property offers free WiFi and it is dependable but noticeably slow and easily overloaded. You have to be either inside the building or at least right at the door to use the WiFi. There’s a playground for the kids and some horseshoe pits but the big attraction is the many 4-wheeler/snowmobile trails out through the National Forest. Several of the RVers had 4-wheelers and they headed out every day to explore the area via the many miles of well-used trails. It looked as if it would be a lot of fun. In the winter the Lodge hosts snowmobile rallies. I don’t think I’d like the cold and snow through the long Upper Peninsula winters but I’d sure like giving that sport a try. The campground has a heated bathhouse and a small laundry. The next time we travel in this part of the country I’ll be happy to return.

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Sightseeing Review: The Central Upper Peninsula of Michigan

We also spent time on Lake Michigan at Manistique, MI. We took a scenic walk on a boardwalk and out to the East Breakwater Lighthouse. We enjoyed this nice walk on a sunny day with the sound of the waves all around. Manistique has lots of small shops here and plenty of restaurants and sandwich shops.

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Campground Review: Gladstone, MI Bay Campground

Our neighbors were very close by but folks were generally friendly and just wanting to enjoy the cool Michigan Upper Peninsula summer weather. In fact, we made some good friends whose company we enjoyed very much.

At $30 a night this was a more-expensive-than-usual stay for us as fulltimers. With the short summer camping season in the area we understood that paying a premium (for us) price was acceptable. We did wish there was some level of discount for a weekly stay; or maybe some membership discounts – but alas, there were none. This is a popular summer place so I recommend you make reservations if you plan on staying over a weekend.

On future visits I think I’d pick either one of the end spots, giving us a bit of room out the front door, or maybe one of the electric only grassy spots which are much roomier. Not only would a grassy spot give us some elbow room, but since they offer only partial hookups, they cost a bit less too!

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Sightseeing Review: Escanaba, MI and vicinity

Nearby Escanaba is where the primary shopping for this area is centered. The historic downtown has many stores and unique restaurants. We enjoyed a good meal at the Swedish bakery and restaurant. We also visited a local shop that specializes in an Upper Peninsula staple, the “pasty.” This is a hearty baked meat pie. We enjoyed our beef and potato version and plan on trying out those with other fillings during our time in the UP. We also enjoyed touring the Sand Point Lighthouse. This lighthouse has period furniture and looks as it did in the nineteenth century when it was an active lighthouse. The adjoining museum, which is operated by the Delta County Historical Society, has many artifacts from businesses and families that tell the story of the county from its early days to modern times. There’s a nice walking path around the point of with a good view of the Harbor Light which stands guard over the entrance to the marina. The August temperatures during our stay were just a bit cool for me, but Scott just loved it. We both, though, had a hard time imagining the bay being covered with ice so thick that, in the winter, people drive their vehicles out onto the bay and move huts out on the lake for months of ice fishing!

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Campground Review: Holtwood Campground – Oconto, WI

The river is a popular kayak/tubing spot and people also catch a variety of fish. Canoes, tubes, etc. are available for rent and firewood is for sale at the camp office. The city pool and ball fields plus a disc golf course is nearby.

Our site was situated in an interesting spot. We were right on the river, a pretty spot. However, just across the river is a Kwik-Trip convenience store, a mini-golf course, McDonalds, and auto parts store. However, to get to these, and other stores, at least without a boat, we had to drive out of the campground and around it through town, following the river. The driving distance was over a mile and a half. There’s talk about adding a foot bridge, which would be convenient. However, many of the seasonal residents are concerned with the amount of non-camping foot traffic through the campground that would result.

The campground recommends reservations, and I’m sure they are needed on summer weekends as many folks from Green Bay come for a quick get-away. We had good 4G Verizon and got two of our three Dish Network satellites. I think it would be easy enough to get all the satellites in some sites and downright impossible to get any of them in others. All in all, we really like this campground and will likely return on future trips into and through northeast Wisconsin.

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Sightseeing Review: Northeast Wisconsin

We made just a short trip to Green Bay where we checked out the shopping mall and visited Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers. The area was filled with tourists like us taking pictures and enjoying the bronze figurative sculptures of Curly Lambeau and Vince Lombardi by the husband and wife team of Julie Roblatt-Amrany and Omri Amrany in front of the building. Many were gathering for the stadium tours which included seeing the field itself that we could not see from the atrium. We enjoyed browsing the pro shop and seeing photos of some of the famous athletes that played there.

Scott’s sister Susan was with us part of the time we were in this area. It was fun having company to share our sightseeing adventures.

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