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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Finding Bigfoot with Bill and Janet

We belong to a few specialized groups on Facebook and on Yahoo that are specifically related to the Safari brand motorhome that we own. We've been in some of these groups for as long as we have owned our rig back in 2006, and joined up when Yahoo groups first started, long before I ever heard of Facebook!

Over the years we have developed friendships among various members. Especially the helpful ones who can offer advice, part numbers, repair and modification ideas. As you can imagine, sometimes there are varying opinions or things get heated up, or unecessary comments develop on a thread that is uncomfortable. And usually, along comes who we call "THE VOICE OF REASON" a.k.a. Bill Edwards! He can usually straighten things out, clarify things, or lead the conversation back with the correct information and help really relay what the actual circumstance or what the poster is trying to portray.

We have so enjoyed Bill's helpful conversations and input over the years, but never met him in person.  One time he even sent us a replacement door panel for our cabinets when he was doing some remodeling and didn't need it.  We did, and he graciously sent it to us in the mail from Colorado. Free of charge!  Can you imagine our delight to find out that he and his wife Janet were going to be traveling through our area and they asked if we could meet up somewhere... and maybe spend a day or two together! How wonderful!

It turned out that they would be traveling through a part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan just a mere hundred miles from our home. We arranged a day that would work out for both of us to meet up at a campground of our choice. We coordinated our meeting time, and Steve and I decided to go up a day earlier, just to be sure to secure a couple of campsites that were in a more open solar-friendly area for our panels to operate. This was better than the more fully wooded sites that we knew that were in this rustic National Forest campground.

I will do a following post on a campground review for this place, called Little Bay De Noc on Lake Michigan in the Hiawatha National Forest:

Little Bay De Noc National Forest Campground


Steve and I left on Friday morning to drive up, even though the weather was not very cooperative. As we drove along, it was getting rainier and cloudier and windier.  Ugh. 

But we persevered on our way through to get to the campground. Fortunately, the two sites that we wanted to occupy were vacant and they were the first come first serve variety. Some of the sites in the park are reservable, but not all of them. That is nice to have some sites remain first come first serve, so it allows travelers on the spur of the moment to still have the chance of getting a good site, even on a Friday morning.

We are down on the far end in the Twin Springs loop,
 sites 35 and 36.  Nice and open for solar exposures.

Actually, there were only three other campers in the entire Campground. So getting a site really wasn't a problem after all.

We paid the envelopes for both sites to occupy it for Bill and Janet to hold their site. We weren't sure if they would make it in on Friday night or not until Saturday morning. We erected a small pup tent that belongs to our grandchildren and parked our Saturn on the site. Just as we finished getting the tent put into place, the rains really started pouring down. So we rushed back into our motor home and laid down and took a wonderful afternoon nap with the rain pounding down on the roof.

As we woke up, it was getting cooler out in the mid-fifties so we decided to kick on the propane Olympian Wave 8 catalytic heater.  At the same time I also had the refrigerator going on propane, and I could hear a howling squealing sound outside of the motorhome by our propane tank. Steve opened up the window and yes, he could hear our propane pressure regulator making an obnoxious sound. It had done it a couple times last fall and once this spring already. It seemed to do it when more than one propane appliance was drawing from the tank.

He said it would be a good time to change it and we knew that there was an RV dealer only 20 miles back in the city of Escanaba. We called them to make sure that they had one in stock and yes they did. It was slightly larger than the one we currently had but it was still a dual stage with the proper inlet and outlet threaded sizes, so it would fit. They were open until 7 p.m. so we hopped in our Saturn and drove over and got the regulator. 

Luckily, the rain had stopped. Steve always carries a sufficient amount of tools to do just about any repair job while we are on the road. So we got out our tools and supplies and I helped by being his go-fer and we took care of changing over the regulator. 

The captions in the pics explain the process:

The hard to read the lettering:
"Having grandkids means you always have blow bubbles along, 
perfect soapy water to check gas fitting connections."

(typo: Protective caps)

In no time it was done, the squealing had stopped, and we were back to the peaceful quiet National Forest woods. The weather for the evening had turned beautifully calm and the rain had stopped. The sun was setting and it was absolutely fantastic!  

Here is a bit of overkill of pics,

 but it was SO pleasant after a rainy windy icky day.... 

There is a nice swimming beach further up in the park,
but each site in this loop had nice sandy access as well.

The bay water was like glass....  how serene.

We sat out until dusk ...  and then we went back inside and played a couple games of Yahtzee and watched a bit of the local news before turning in for the night. 


The next morning we anxiously awaited the arrival of Bill and Janet!

Soon Janet and Bill rolled on in and got all set up on the site next to us. They were quite pleased that we selected an open site for them so their solar panels would have adequate access even though it was a cloudy and rainy windy day again. The winds were blasting so strong we couldn't even visit outside, we had do our visiting inside of each other's rigs. It felt like a winter day outside.

We were parked pretty close together, but we still had to use an umbrella to get back and forth, just in case of a spontaneous deluge of rain. The weather kept changing from sun to clouds and rain and back to sun again.  It couldn't make up it's mind.

That afternoon, the campground host stopped by to chit chat. He politely inquired as to whether or not we had dropped our pay envelope in the post over at the registration kiosk. The remaining tag from the envelope is hanging on the post at our campsite so he knew we must have filled one out. He stated that when he went to clear out the envelopes that morning to do his paperwork, there was only the one envelope holding the site next door for Bill and Janet. He did not receive our envelope. 

Well I know darn well I had put both envelopes in, and he said don't worry about it, they'll look around and see if they made a mistake somewhere. I felt bad, I almost felt like I should pay again because they couldn't find our envelope. The Host couple stopped by a couple times and chatted that afternoon, but said no, they still had not found the envelope. They also were missing the one for the site on the other side of us.  They were new hosts just starting that week, and their boss was coming later to go over things with them.  They really wanted their books to be correct, and they were considering putting in their own money to make things balance! 

We offered a little mirror that they could look up inside of the post in case the envelopes were stuck inside. They did one better, they went and used a cell phone and stuck it in there facing upwards and took a photo with flash. Sure enough! There were four envelopes stuck up in there inside of the pay post!!!  It was ours and the neighbors and 2 from some previous camping people. Evidently the fifth envelope that went in for Bill and Janet's site was able to fall down below and not hit the little support bracket that the others were all hung up on. 

It's amazing that nobody else had ever complained about missing envelopes from the previous hosts from last year, or maybe just their paperwork was always wrong because they were missing envelopes? Who knows. But evidently all the envelopes must have eventually fallen down last year, otherwise someone surely would have recognized the problem. 

Anyhow, the hosts were relieved that they did not have to pony up the extra cash to make their books balance before their boss got there, and we were relieved to know that our envelope was finally found. P.S. This Campground is normally $22 a night for a rustic camping site but with our Federal Senior Access America pass, we got it for $11 a night.

We sat for a while in Bill and Janet's rig admiring all of their changes and updates and interior. Then we went back to ours to cook supper and invite them over to our rig for the evening again, admiring each other's changes and update and interior. It sure was fun. Their rig is a few years newer, a bit longer, and has a slide in the livingroom and kitchen area.  But still made by the same Safari company with a few changes over the years. 

We have a lot of the same standard features and some custom features. Sharing ideas and improvements, but also bemoaning the repairs and the "Not So Well-Designed" things too. It was a wonderful evening and we enjoyed hosting them for dinner. We had bought four of the traditional Cornish mining specialty food that is quite popular in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan called a "pasty". Here's some information on what pasties are all about:

In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the term "pasty" is associated with a particular type of pastry shell stuffed with ground beef and root vegetables, although the pronunciations of these terms differ. The food variety, ironically, rhymes with "nasty" rather than "tasty." The dish is as culturally ubiquitous in the U.P. as deep-dish pizza is to Chicago.

The pasty's prevalence is linked to an early 1800s rush to mine copper deposits in the region. The resulting onslaught of laborers from Cornwall, England, brought over the pasty.

The Cornish miners favored the dish due to its portable nature — a small meat pie that could easily be carried into the mines for 12-hour workdays. 

I baked up four pastys in the oven along with making some salads and we had a wonderful evening meal together.  We also gifted them with packages of Wisconsin Treats...  cheese curds and string cheese that we picked up in our state before we headed up to the U.P. We thought it would be nice to introduce these Colorado folks to some of the "local cuisine" LOL.

Before we knew it, it was time to toddle off into bed, listening to the wind outside and the rain. It was a miserable evening for weather. No sitting around the campfire for us.


The next morning we were up early and perked up some fresh coffee on the stove. I mixed up one of those Krusteaz's cinnamon swirl coffee cakes and baked it in the oven. Janet and Bill joined us for coffee and the coffee cake and we were happy to see that the sun was coming out. It was still windy but not quite as bad as the night before.

We enjoyed our morning coffee clutch conversation and then we decided to do a little exploration and drive through the campground so they could see the rest of the sites, and particularly why we chose the ones we chose.  (They had a little mishap with the winds crossing the Mackinac Bridge and it loosened a cargo bay door. They rescued it and stored it inside until they could later repair it, so the space is occupied by some cardboard until they can do the repair).

Then we drove on down about 15 miles to tour a lighthouse on the very end of the peninsula, called Peninsula Point Lighthouse. It is also part of the Hiawatha National Park and we went through the grounds on display. Janet and I went up inside of the tower while Steve and Bill wandered around the point, out on the rocks and looked at the surrounding grounds. 

The lightkeepers house is gone, but we could climb up the stairs in the tower to the top.

I tried a panorama shot with my camera... but it really distorts it

They are also protecting the monarch butterflies with a stopover site on the point of the peninsula.

On the way back we drove through an area with a deserted little Village Store and some pretty buildings and farms around it called Deerfield.

I will have to research this little area some more.... 

The stonework on the barn is like artistry... 

And this old farm house speaks to me... 

From there we drove a little further north and Bill spied a Safari motorhome, just the front end, peeking out of somebody's barn! We drove into the driveway a little ways to take a couple pictures. There were signs warning that there were surveillance cameras and there was electric wire fencing around the paddocks. 

Nobody came out to find out why we were stopped in their driveway for a few minutes taking pictures of their motorhome in their barn. But we decided we better get out of there, since there wasn't any type of friendly encounter (and we didn't want an unfriendly one) so we may as well take off. 

We drove further up the road, driving through the woods.  When off to the left I spied BIGFOOT! You just never know who you're going to see in the woods of the U.P. What a hoot!!!!

Here is a closeup:

See???  He DOES exist! 

After our little journey around we went back to the campground for an afternoon of relaxation. The sun was shining and then the weather would change instantly and it was pouring rain. Then the sun would shine again and it would be beautiful. But then it would be pouring rain again. 

In between the showers Bill had set up his Weber Smokey Joe charcoal grill and also his Blackstone griddle on the picnic table. They were treating us to the evening meal. Bill and Janet prepared a wonderful seasoned pork loin on the grill and big baked potatoes wrapped in tinfoil. Then on the Blackstone he grilled some tasty fresh asparagus. We checked out his Blackstone, and it might be something that we might consider buying in the future. We do enjoy cooking when we are camping and this just might be our next newest toy of choice? 

As we were finishing up our meal, the sun was setting again with the most absolutely beautiful sunset the colors were amazing the camera doesn't even do it justice. The winds had finally calmed down and it was going to be a pleasant evening for sleeping.


The next morning was going to be Bill and Janet's departure date. The water was smooth as glass and peaceful now.  Sure wish it had been like this all weekend!!!

We had done many many hours of jaw-jacking and idea-sharing and parts information and vendors and places to find things on the internet. It was so interesting. We got a lot of new ideas and I hope they did too, sharing with each other. We had some fresh coffee and home baked blueberry muffins for our coffee clutch in the morning. 

Soon it was time for Bill and Janet to start loading up and getting organized to head out further west. They had other commitments of stops to make as Bill was having some parts replaced or repaired for some things on a big back hoe, which was the whole reason for his trip over to our neck of the woods. So he was meeting up with somebody else near Minneapolis and needed to make a connection there later on.  

What a great campsite! 

Since it was so nice out, I decided to take a few pics of their Safari Panther motorhome and their jeep tow vehicle.  What a way to travel, eh?  They are not full time RVers, and have a home in Colorado. But they love to get out and see the sites like we do, and travel in style in our vintage Safari Motorhomes.

Most Safari motorhomes have custom painted murals on the back, done by the Dame family at the factory before they even leave the facility.  Each one is different and unique, and many have tiny hidden animals on them.  I didn't find theirs, but I will look closer later at this photo I took. 

Ours has 2 white tigers and tiny hidden mouse.

So they got all loaded up and hooked up and we said our goodbyes. 
We took our obligatory photos by our rigs to share with the others on our group:

Soon they were winging their way west...

 That left us debating if we should start loading up or stay another day???

We messed around a little bit with a Tire Linc tire pressure monitoring system that we had bought on clearance over at the RV dealer on Friday when we picked up the propane regulator. The problem was the new app available for the system was not compatible with the sensors and transmitter of the old system we bought that was made to function with their older app. We wasted a ton of time on the phone with customer service, to no avail. So that's why it was on clearance. Basically it was obsolete. So we decided to load on up ourselves, swing by the RV dealer and return it on our way through heading south back to our house. I think we will buy a current Tire Minder system instead. That is what Bill has, and we have researched it a while back and have it sitting in a wish list catagory on Amazon. 

At the same time we stopped at the Aldi grocery store in Escanaba and did our bi-monthly grocery shopping --- since we were driving right past it. It was easy to pick up all of our groceries and put the refrigerated and freezer stuff right into the motorhome to transport it home. The winds were kicking up as we were driving home, so we kind of battled a little bit of a headwind and side wind for the final 100 miles home. But we got back in the mid-afternoon and safe and sound.

It sure was a fun weekend to spend with people that we have corresponded with easily for the last 10 years or so, and to finally meet in person.  Thanks Janet and Bill for a fun weekend! 

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