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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Campground Review – Sunset Lake – Bates township park – Iron River, Michigan

(this is one of series of posts of various campgrounds we have been to over the years... I am going through my files in alphabetical order and posting past camping trips in my blog.... something to do until camping starts again--- sigh)

We used to camp here a lot in the 90's ... Our growing kids enjoyed the playground, swimming beach and campgrounds.  The fishing here is very good too.  Mostly perch.  Even in the winter, my family comes here a lot for ice fishing.  There are about 14 or 15 sites in the campground...  no hookups but there is a water faucet in the park to fill your tank from before parking in a site.   The new shower/bathroom buildings are locked at night to prevent vandalism, so you better go to the bathroom before 10pm or you can't go again till morning!  A host and hostess are on the grounds 24/7  and keep close tabs on all comings and goings of the park.  For many years now it's Elmo and his wife, not sure if they are planning to be back this year or not.

Now that we have a bigger rig, it's pretty hard to fit on any of the sites, even making the turn at the bottom corner of the loop is really tight and we have to back up and forward a few times to make it around without collapsing the back wheels into the deep ditch.

Here we are on the one site we fit at .. but with the rear tires almost (but not quite) off the ground, it is NOT good because the emergency brake on our motorhome is the kind that clamps the driveshaft.  If the rear wheels are off the ground, even slightly, the whole rig can freely roll as the front tires are not utilized by the emergency brake. That means it collapses the hydraulic levelers and those would be ruined in such an event.  Even with blocking and chocking, I feel uneasy about it, so we camped somewhat unlevel here.

That type of unlevel camping presents other problems: the fridge can be damaged from setting too long uneven. The ammonia can pool up in parts of the coils and crystalize and burn through the coils in time.   By the next day, our fridge stopped working, so we knew we were too unlevel.  We added more boards under the back tires to help out a bit more, but it felt precarious and wobbly inside.

And the shower will not drain properly when on such an angle either. At this angle, the kitchen sink will sometimes back up into the shower stall, which is then all greasy icky stuff that needs cleaning from the bottom of the tub, each time you run the kitchen sink.
getting the fire going
  Everyone gathered at our site and we had the community fire.  Once everyone toddles off to beddy bye in the wee hours of the morning, and things are quiet again.  We are usually about the only ones camping here besides the host.  Sometimes there are folks nearby but we ask them to join us, and they are usually someone who knows someone in our group.  So drag over your lawn chair and join us!  

It the morning, Steve and I are usually the first ones up.  We pick up the empty beer cans, (Michigan has 10 cent deposit, so they all get bagged up for the return to the store)   We get the fire going again, simmer up a big pot of coffee, bake some muffins or sticky buns and wait for the others to drag their butts outta bed.

In this pic, it was a hot and humid weekend...  resting the the shade was about the only amount of effort expended on the weekend activities.  LOL     Friends stop by from in town to visit us when we come up camping.  This weekend my folks came with their motorhome, and sister and broinlaw, Schmoo and Fuzz camped in their travel trailer too.  Then we called Bob Senior to join us with his new trailer.  It always becomes a family visit throughout the day.  Folks from town like to come out for a ride through the park and *see who is camping this weekend*  ... no kidding!
relaxed camping

Here is a pic of Bob Senior... I wrote about him in a past blog.  That is his older rig, the Class C in the background in that pic.  He has since got a new travel trailer for camping .  He and his buddy Shadow live like kings now in the new rig.   Senior's son, Bob Jr. (of course) comes out every time we camp, and brings his daughter, Autumn, my little camping buddy.  
 senior and shadowtuckered out

This is my brother, Umpee, (really Eugene, but everyone up north has nick-names)   He brought his new cat out to meet us one time.  Of course his cat can come and sit around the campfire, why not?   The guys like to come out to go fishing and someone always has a boat launched in the water for them to head out to drown a few worms.   I think the cat was waiting for a treat from the fresh caught yummies.

umpee and blue kittystevio camping 1

(some of these pics are taken by my sister, Linda, from another time camping here) 

This is my nephew Mikey... he brought out his dog, another *Shadow* to do some swimming. 
Mikey and Shadow

 My brother Butch (Steve) and all his grown boys.... from left to right: Darren, Mikey, Butch and Matt
butch and his boys

The whole crew gathered to deep fry a turkey...  sometimes they don't get things started on time for the meal to be finished by supper.... so it took a bit longer and was well after dark before it was time to eat.  LOL
gathering for the feastcarving the bird

What a feast!  We never go for lack of food when we go camping... with all the extra folks who stop by, we need to prepare a lot.  If there are leftovers, great!  If not, oh well, hope everyone got a full meal. This time the guys cooked a ham and deep fried a turkey.  The gals do all the salads and taters and other *go-withs*!

deep fried turkeywhats left of the ham

Gotta have the sweet corn!      Senior & Lowell, (my stepdad but we don't use the word *step* in our family)
corn for the hornold fogies Senior and Lowell

And THIS is why it is called Sunset Lake! 



  1. Again..great campout memories!!
    You guys look like ya'll have a blast as a family. That is pretty rare these days.
    Are you unpacked from this weekend?
    Still waiting for grandbaby..she will go in...in the morning if she doesn't have her today..so we are playing the waiting game! lol

    Cindy and Walker

  2. Ohh congrats on the sweetheart due any minute! I will watch your blog for news.

    Yah, we have fun as a group to go camping. But we have to drive the furthest to join up with them. They all live nearby and we have to drive 110-120 miles to get up there.

    We only unpack the cold food from the fridge and the dirty clothes. Once they are washed they are put right back in, We keep the rig fully stocked all spring, summer and fall. When I go to the grocery store, I have two columns on my list. One is stuff for the house and one is stuff for the rig.

    Then we we decide at the last minute to GO, all I have to do it toss in some cold food, or stop at the store on the way outta town.


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