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Monday, September 25, 2017

VACATION - Looping Around Lake Superior - Day 14 -to Kleinke Park in Michigan and HOME!

since I started blogging in 2009! 


Thank you, kind readers, for following along!

Here is the map of day 14 travels down to the next campground... this map shows leaving Little Bay de Noc national forest campground number 22, and heading up around through Gladstone and Escanaba, down to Kleinke county park in Menominee county, Michigan, 23.

We left our campsite (and grumpy camphost) at 10 am from Little Bay de Noc.  I hadn't gotten a good pic of our campsite the day before, so here was one in the early morning.  In the background is all water from the Little Bay de Noc but it doesn't show up in the early morning picture.


We headed north and then west snaking around through Gladstone. It was by far the roughest stretch of highway we had traveled on all of the trip so far!  Once we got into Escanaba, it smoothed out of course. We made our stop at Dobbers Pasties that I mentioned in yesterday's blog.  We know it is right next to a big parking lot for easy access to their shop.  They carry a variety of Yooper souvenirs and delicacies from the area.

We stocked up on a dozen frozen beef pasties (with rutabega!) $4.95 each, plus 2 fresh ones to eat for lunch, a frozen unbaked Danish Kringle (caramel and nut flavor) and a bag of Trenary Toast.

If you have never had Trenary Toast, you are missing out. It's thick hard Finnish rusk bread made into toast slices, (like Zwiback) with cinnamon and sugar on them.  Good for dunking into coffee, some smear soft butter or peanut butter on them, some give them to teething babies. Any way you have them, they are great.  Made in Trenary Michigan, in the heart of the U.P.

Now it was just a hop, skip and jump down the shoreline of Lake Michigan on M 35 to some of our favorite campgrounds. If we couldn't get into the one we wanted, we know of four others we can get into.

  1. First is Fuller Park in Delta County with electric and water
  2. then Fox which is a rustic campground, 
  3. then by Cedar River is a rustic state forest campground about 8 miles in to the west,
  4.  then next on that strip of road is J W Wells state park with electric and water
  5. and lastly, our favorite, Kleinke Park of Menominee County with 50 amp electric only $20 a night.

Our friends Roz and Gary were at Kleinke campground for a few days, and we were hoping to meet up with them there. By the time we reached them via phone, they had already packed up that morning and headed home.  We pulled right next to the spot they had just vacated that morning.  Gosh, we would have been neighbors!

Kleinke has always been a favorite of ours.  Many sites are right along the sandy beach and water is clean and clear, far from the mouth of the Green Bay where it's icky by late summer.

The dogs are allowed on the beach and it's got great 50 amp power.  Showers and bathrooms are nice and newer, and a dump station with potable water is on hand for the campers. If you are just traveling through, you can use their dump station for a small fee.

It was SOOO hot and humid when we got there, but it was still 15 degrees cooler than the temps back at home in Chilton.  We donned our swimsuits and plunged in the water.  Finnegan was not too happy to get dunked in a bit, but he wanted to join me in the water. Binney said NO THANKYOU when we tried to get her to come in.

After drying off and relaxing under the awning for a while, we moved on indoors at 3:30 to watch  the Packer Game on tv.  We knew being close to Escanaba we could get CBS for the game... as well as a myriad of stations from as far away as Milwaukee travel over the water and come in really well.  I scanned the tv for stations and got over 50 of them. That is more than when we lived 45 miles  further south in Oconto.

We had both roof airs going on the 50 amp service to be comfortable inside the motorhome. I whipped in a Dina Mia pizza, also made in the UP of Michigan, for our halftime snack (and supper).  Once the nail-biting game was over, with the Packers winning the Bengals in overtime... we went back outdoors. It was finally cooling down at 7 pm.  We met some nice folks as we wandered around with the dogs on leashes. Sitting out under the awning until dark brought in swarms of small lake flies or gnats, and there were zillions flocking around our patio lights and crawling on the awning.  Time for INSIDE---  and we kept all of the windows closed so they didn't find a way in through the screens.  It was an early night for us, as the heat was really taking a toll on my health. It always does.

After a quiet peaceful sleep, 
we woke up to the most AMAZING sunrise! 

I took seventy million pictures, but here are the best.  
It kept getting more brilliant as it rose, from soft pastel pinks to hot pinks to blazing golds! 

What a GREAT way to start the day---

After looking at the local weather, and knowing we were only 110 miles from home, we decided to pack it in and load up before it got too hot.  It was gonna be a scorcher with high humidity again.

We have a wifi thermostat at home that we can look into the conditions inside the house.  At 7:30 am, the inside temp was already 10 degrees hotter than the outside temp, so I electronically turned on the air conditioning and it will be cozy and comfortable by the time we get home, about noonish.  It should be about 90 when we get home.

We asked the dogs if they wanted to go home, using a few key words like "BIG BACKYARD" "FRONT PORCH"  "MAIL LADY" "UP THE STAIRS" and naming all the toys like "football" "squirrel" "bumblebee" and "hedgehog"  ... they are eager as recognition flashed in their eyes.

Binney jumped up and nabbed Finney around the neck to get his attention as if she was saying: SEE???  I TOLD YOU THEY WOULD BRING US BACK TO THAT HOUSE AGAIN, WE ARE NOT LIVING IN THIS MOVING ONE FOR EVER!"

We got road worthy in a short time, and drove over to the dump station for the final dumping before heading home.  Steve rinsed the tank with our turbo swishy thing that is built into our black tank since nobody was waiting in line. Once we get home we will wash off the layers of road grime. Now its all ready for our Halloween camping at High Cliff in late October.

I am typing this up as we roll south, just passing through Green Bay now.  I will post a recap blog tomorrow with things like costs, campgrounds, links and final expenses for our trip.

Thank you to Steveio 
for being such a good driver 
and getting us to where we wanted to go. 

(Doesn't he look relaxed?)

We are now HOME ...safe and sound.  
Thanks be to God for watching over us on our travels.  
We went 1513 miles without a single breakdown 
and no accidents.  

Temps are 85 right now at noon.  Ewwww
Glad we came home.

110 miles traveled today
1513 total miles

Sunday, September 24, 2017

VACATION - Looping Around Lake Superior - Day 13 - Soldier lake, Portage Bay and Little Bay de Noc

This is day 13 of our trip. We are now back in the United States, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (my home stomping grounds)   Having grown up all of my formative teenage years in the UP, we know a lot of the campgrounds and tourist sights and things to do.  Our goal now is to unwind, relax, pick up some pasties and slowly make our way home.  Stopping at a few favorite campgrounds on the way, and perhaps meeting up with some friends later today.

Here is our route that today's blog is about.  Leaving Soldier Lake 19, stopping at post office in Manistique 20,checking out Portage Bay State Forest 21, and then down to Little Bay de Noc in the Hiawatha National Forest 22.

Waking up in the woods, peaceful and quiet in the remote sites on Soldier Lake was soooo comfortable and refreshing. It had rained overnight and we were happy to see the sun shining in the morning. It was somewhat hazy, because it was going to be a hot hot humid muggy record breaking day! 

The campsite we chose was wayyy down in the last loop, and appeared to be a newer loop that had been added since the last time we were there. All of the new sites are very long, very level and spaced far apart in the woods. You can not see or hear your neighbor (if there were any, because we were the ONLY ones there in that loop!)  The campground also has five new outhouse facilities and water spigots with solar powered pumps.  I guess the old metal hand pumps are a thing of the past in the Hiawatha National Forest now! 

We set out chairs, 
perked our coffee

We enjoyed our peaceful morning overlooking the lake across from our site


We had picked up some HUGE apple fritters in Canada the day before,
at a little bakery stop on our way down...

(I saved the 2 tiny "last bites" for the dogs, as my Mom would want me to) 

Steve noticed that some little bug or caterpillar 
was crawling around on the hood of the Tracker overnight! 
You can see it's trail faintly in the dew covered metal

We walked down the by water's edge with the dogs. Everything was smooth as glass in the early morning. Since it was going to be a hot muggy day, I thought I would let the dogs take a little dip.  Thinking the waves at the big Lake Superior shore were too scary, this smooth lake might entice them to come in?




It didn't take long for their little wet feet to dry off. They were NOT interested in any way shape or form to think about swimming in that big bathtub.  LOL ... What a couple of prima donnas, I tell ya.  

My other shelties Akasha, Max and Duke all LOVED the water, as well as both of the collies, Mustang and Ducky.  We used to take them swimming all of the time. Duke and Ducky would even put their heads underwater to fetch things on the bottom when you threw them in.  Here are three old pics of them:

Duke n Ducky

Silly Duke looking for a rock we threw in,
he would even blow bubbles out his nose while underwater! 

They would jump in and ask for more more more! 

It was time to pack up and move on....

As we drove through Munising, MI I located the post office and had to mail out a package for a customer from my online Etsy store.  When walking in, it was like walking into the post office in Chilton!  (almost)  because it had also been made by the CCC Civilian Conservation Corp back in the day. It was a government program to put out of work people into jobs that could earn some money for their families back home.  Many little towns had post offices built like this with the same entry way, same woodwork, same gilt lettering ... and the artistic piece of a mural painted on the wall overhead.  This one was of loggers (how appropriate for the U.P.) and the one in Chilton WI is of farmers baling grains and haystacks. 


We drove further west on US 2, along the shore of Lake Michigan this time.   Goodbye Superior, now it's back to our own Great Lake... which we will follow all along back down to our area of Chilton in the eastern/middle part of the state.  What a happy motorhoming man, cruising along with the windows open and fresh air coming in for the morning.  By noon we had to turn on the dash AC to stay cool as we drove.   If it gets REALLY hot we can run the generator and turn on both roof air conditioners as well. 

We unhooked the Tracker at Garden, MI and left the motorhome at a park n ride across from Foxy's convience store and station. John Fox said he would keep an eye on it, and we purchased some goodies from his store.  Gabbed a bit about Bears and Packers, and how our rig looked like we are Lions fans (we are NOT!) 

Our plan was do a quick drive through down on the Garden Peninsula to our favorite campsite at Portage Bay State Forest.  We had been there multiple times with our 33 ft Sierra Travel Trailer and our 28 ft Coachman motorhome, but not yet with the Safari (which is 38 ft)   We heard the gravel road had been widened the last 6 miles into the campground, but we wanted to be sure.  

Well, it is 20 miles down the Garden Peninsula to get there, the last 6 miles consists of rough gravel road. With VERY tight turns and twists. By rough I mean BIG chunks of gravel, like river rip rap rock!  Not smaller gravel like most roads.  It had been recently graded, and widened, yes, but was WAY too rough to travel on, even with our Tracker we were getting bounced around a lot.  We would not mind crawling in slowly if it were a bit smoother, but we think we would have been rattled to pieces in 6 miles of this rugged road, complete with a lot of pot holes, even after grading.  We had hoped to spend a couple days here, but it was not meant to be.

We took some pics from our favorite campsite, and sadly hopped back in the Tracker to return up to the motorhome. It saved the motorhome an extra 20 miles down and 20 miles back to just take the Tracker. Smart move. 

We got back to the motorhome, hitched it up and headed further west.  We knew we wanted to be near water because it was forcast to be in the 90s and so humid to break records.  We knew of a park along the western shore of Little Bay de Noc, just east of Gladstone and Escanaba.  It's down about 6 miles from highway 2, and all paved roads.  The park is very quiet, with only 4 or 5 other campers in the 40 odd sites.   $19 a night to the concessionaire contracted by the Hiawatha National Forest to run the park.  They are doing a great job on the park, but the host is a bit "controlling" ... oh well, it closes on Oct. 10. Perhaps she is experiencing some end of the season burn out.  We have seen her policing the other sites and lecturing when she can. We can ignore her and enjoy our stay in spite of it. 

Most of the sites were heavily wooded....  we drove around with the Tracker after leaving the mtorhome at the information kiosk up at the entrance.  That is our best way to find sites in the national forest campgrounds, because sometimes we end up in rustic situations we can not get out of.  Too tight turns or loops that are made for 20 ft campers and not 40 foot ones.  Many of these parks were laid out 50 years ago or more.  So unhooking and traveling around in the Tracker first to find a site is what works best for us. I stuck my business card on the post to hold a site, and we went back to get the envelope and motrohome at the entrance. It took 5 minutes. THAT is what ticked off the host. There were only 4 or 5 campsites even occupied and nobody else driving around looking for a site. Just us. We found one site that was really open along the lakeshore of the bay... so our solar could charge up each day. We thought about staying here for a few days and enjoying the end of our vacation.   (but now we might move on later today to join friends at another favorite park) 

I took out my antique sockknitting machine and relaxed and made some new socks.... it's 100 years old and very persnickety, but fun.  Yes, this is how I relax! 

What a sockknitting machine looks like:

I know my fiber readers are going to ask.... The yarn is from Lion Brand called Amazing. It comes in a lot of different colorways. I sometimes grab a bunch when it's on sale at Joanns with a coupon deal. It's 53% wool and 47% acrylic.  They are washable and last longer than 100% wool if taken care of. They get fuzzier and softer when worn.  I had a lot of leftovers from full skeins, so I joined them up to make a new colorway.

While I crank, Steveio relaxes too.  Enjoying some of his LaBatts beer from Canada, he is making the most out of our last week of vacation.  The temps were picking up inland, but the shoreline where we were was 10-15 degrees cooler than other parts of the state.  We had a nice breeze and it was quite comfortable.

For supper, Steve whipped up some burgers on the grill,
so we didn't have to heat up the rig cooking inside. 
(our kids got him that Tshirt) 

We put a campfire in our pellet Flame Genie firepit and relaxed until way into the night. The bugs were very minimal. I sat out with the laptop and finished yesterday's blog while we were sipping our beverages and enjoying the quiet evening.

Windows open all night and fresh air and sound of the waves on the bay right behind our rig.  That is what we call heaven!  ahhhhhhh

This morning the solar panels are charging up already at 8 am, even with the hazy sky.  It's gonna be another hot one again, according to the weather reports.  We will either stay here another day or head on down to Kleinke park just south of Escanaba.  Gotta stop first at Dobbers Pasties in Escanaba and stock up the freezer to take home!

History Of The Pasty (Pas-Tee)

Why “Dobber’s”?
Dobber’s Pasties has been in the family since it originally opened in Escanaba, Michigan in 1975, under the name of “The Red Onion Pasty Shop”.
In 1988, Doug and Bonnie Mantela decided to trademark their business, so they had to come up with a new name and logo. Doug’s nickname was “Dobber” so the business was trademarked under the name Dobber’s Pasties.
A Little Pasty History
For those unfamiliar with this delicious treat, it is pronounced “pass-tee”. The traditional pasty had beef, potatoes, onion, rutabaga, and turnip, baked inside a golden crust. The Cornish miners, known as “Cousin Jacks” and their wives as “Cousin Jennys”, are properly given the credit for bringing the pasty to the Upper Peninsula in the early 1850’s when both the copper and iron mines were first being opened. The version that arrived here in the 1850’s was a hearty and hot, hand-held “no dish” meal for miners who had no time to come above ground for lunch. Some miners reheated their pasties underground; others kept them at least body warm in a chest pocket. Others set their pasties on a mining shovel and held them over head-lamp candles until warmed.

Steve is cooking breakfast 
while I am working on the blog.... 

This is nice.


139 miles traveled today
1339 so far