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Sunday, June 25, 2023

CAMPGROUND REVIEW - Muskallonge State Park by Lake Superior

We woke up in our peaceful little campsite at Blind Sucker # 2.  The golden sunshine was streaming in and we lazily perked a pot of coffee.  Our neighbors in the tent campsite were absolutely quiet --- they must have snuck off at first light with their boat to go fishing again. We didn't hear a peep.

Last week, we had set up our Weboost in the motorhome cabinet.  

We knew that using it with the included small car antenna would be less than ideal, especially in the northwoods. The cellular signal here was pretty weak and we are with a local carrier in Wisconsin called Cellcom. Thus we were "roaming" and only get low priority on the towers when other carriers let us on. 

We have ordered the larger antenna for this Weboost system but it hadn't come in yet. It operates off 12 volt and we set it up in the compartment behind the tv. The little desktop antenna in the foreground sets on the countertop when in used and creates a little area to set the phone too get a good signal. The small outside antenna we ran out through a window for now and stuck to a metal pizza pan as ground plane. But we can use the larger antenna  and mount it on the rooftop when it comes in next week. 

We barely had enough data signal to pull in the weather report for the area. It seems that those strong southerly winds kept blowing up more and more heat from the south. We were due for higher temperatures here in the Upper Peninsula that were higher than back home in Oconto! We're looking at close to 90° and hot southerly winds. Not fun. I have a hard time breathing when the temperature gets that hot and it's also not very comfortable for our elderly sheltie Binney. 

We were going to need air conditioning to get through the next couple days. We could either find an electric hook up campsite or stay here and run our generator. That would be a real shame to run a generator when it is so peaceful and our neighbors are obviously enjoying the quiet. We sure wouldn't want to be those kind of obnoxious RVs that run their generator all day and ignore their surroundings that are peaceful and serene. Although our on board Onan LP generator is pretty quiet, we still wouldn't want to impose that on anyone in such a peaceful place. 

We had just enough data signal coming in that we were able to pull up the listings for the nearby state campground called Muskellonge State Park. They had about 10 open electric sites to choose from on the website. I could not get enough cell coverage to even maintain the connection to add a credit card to reserve a site online, so we decided to just load up and head over there in person to choose a site. 

So we quickly packed up and in a matter of 15 minutes we were able to get ready to leave our peaceful campsite at Blind Sucker #2. But we will for sure go back again.


We hit that same lumpy bumpy washboard gravel road to head over 8 miles to the Muskallonge state park. Otherwise we could have tried to go south and work our way around up through Newberry to finally hit the paved road. But it would have been many miles out of the way and not sure how much of it still would have been gravel roads. So we gritted our teeth and headed over on gravel washboards to get to Muskallonge state park.  We were SO happy to finally see the sign for the park entrance! 


Muskallonge Lake State Park is located 28 miles northwest of Newberry in Luce County. The 217-acre park is situated between the shores of Lake Superior and Muskallonge Lake and the area is well known for its forests, lakes and streams. Muskallonge Lake State Park was the former site of Deer Park, a lumbering town in the late 1880s, and prior to its lumbering history, an Indian encampment. Muskallonge Lake was a mill pond for millions of white pine logs that were brought to it by railroad lines. By 1900, the virgin stands of pines were depleted, the mill was closed and the lumbering operation moved away. All that remains as evidence of the lumbering community are piles of sawdust and a few partly submerged pine logs in the lake. The park was also the old site of a Coast Guard Life Saving Station.

The very helpful office staff gave us a campground map marked with each site that would be available for that one night. We had the choice of about 10 sites for one night. Some were very small and tilted, more suitable for tents. There were only two sites that were available for two nights in a row. Absolutely nothing was available for the upcoming weekend.  Out of 159 campsites, we were quite lucky to get a site. 

We chose one site along the edge of the very crowded park. Almost every campsite was occupied and the trailers were very close together. This is not our preferred way of camping but at least we got a campsite with electricity to get through the next 24 hours. Sites are $30 a night. 

We found the most level spot of our campsite by parking off to one side of the site. We were very lucky we did park that way, because right after we were set up the neighboring people came over. They pointed out a newly freshly dug up area of sand and said they were glad we hadn't driven over it with our tires. They had just observed a big snapping turtle the day before laying her eggs there. They had asked the rangers to safely mark it, but nobody ever came by to do it.

Steve found four sticks in the woods and I grabbed some yarn out of my knitting bag. I made up some little signs and covered them with wide strapping tape so they wouldn't fade off if it was going to rain.

 Now at least the area was safely marked so nobody would walk on it or heaven forbid, drive on it!

We will let the rangers know again to take care of this area or warn any future campers on it to not drive here. Perhaps they could use a large shovel and scoop them up and move them to another location out of the way?

The temperatures were rapidly rising. It was getting quite hot. By noon we were close to 90°. Our air conditioning was working flawlessly and inside the rig we were a nice cool 72°. Thank goodness for the air conditioning. For only $30 a night we were getting comfort. We weren't too happy about being crammed into a busy campground, but at least we could run the air conditioning.

Since we were going to be trapped inside for the rest of the afternoon, I hauled out my little Singer Featherweight sewing machine and my quilting supplies. I have a nice folding table for outside sewing, but it would take up a lot of room inside the motorhome. Instead I just used our regular table top that comes with the rv. I put it in the base up near the rotating cockpit seats. It swivels out of the way to get up and down out of the seats. We covered the front windshield with reflectix as well as the two bunk bed windows to keep out the bright hot sun.  I sewed for the afternoon in the coolness of the RV. As long as we had electricity, I might as well use it!

My plan for supper had been to cook some frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts over the campfire and then add some barbecue sauce to them at the end. I was going to wrap up potatoes and tin foil and toss them in the campfire as well.

The winds were coming up pretty strong from the south and the rangers were discouraging any campfire use in the campground. They said we could make a cooking fire if we wanted, but needed to supervise it and extinguish it when we were done.

Well, now that we had electricity I could use the convection oven in the rig to cook supper.  BUT.... Using the convection oven would cause quite a draw on the 30 amp hookup because of the constant use of the air conditioning. 

I really didn't want to shut off the air conditioning just to cook supper. That would also heat up the interior of the motorhome. 

Soooooo I thought of the next best thing was my Instapot! We could put that out at the power post on a picnic table and run it off the 20 amp outlet from the post. It would not bother the draw of the 30 amp going to the motorhome with the air conditioning. 

Here's my instapot set up out on the picnic table:

For one meal, I used the Instapot with optional air fryer lid three different ways:

1. In Crock-Pot mode with 2 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts in soup broth slow cooking for 4 hours. I forgot to take a picture of that step. It works just like a crock pot.

2. Next, in pressure cooker mode, I sealed the lid and I turned it up for 25 minutes to cook and tenderize the chicken breasts. Again no picture because I was dashing out in the hot sun and then going back into the coolness of the motorhome and didn't take my phone camera with me. 

3. Adding the air fryer lid (sold separately) set in baking mode I did a couple baked potatoes. I rub them with a little olive oil and poke them with a fork. The skins come out lightly crispy just the way Steve loves them. 

When they were almost done I put the potatoes in the bottom portion of the air fryer bucket. There is a metal rack that goes on the bucket halfway down to set the chicken breasts on. 

So I set the chicken breasts back on that metal bracket with some barbecue sauce bushed on. Then I set the air fryer lid to broil mode.  The baked potatoes stayed warm underneath while the chicken and BBQ sauce crisped up under the broiler. 

So one appliance can be used three different ways and take up less storage in the motorhome. Plus I kept all of the heat outside of the RV while cooking dinner, and didn't overload the power needed for the air conditioner.  It is a quick clean up with the removable center stainless steel liner and the little air fryer bucket and grid. Easy peasy. 

We finished off the rest of the cucumber, tomato and onion salad at the same time. 


The heat was unrelenting and the winds coming up from the south were pretty hot. We stayed inside the rig for most of the evening. We didn't get any cell phone signal at all unless we walked down to the lakeshore. We were able to pull in a faint TV signal from Escanaba. We could see the weather back home was cooler than it was up here along Lake Superior. Ugh!  

I did some more sewing in the evening and we popped in a DVD and watched some old episodes of Northern Exposure before bedtime. I love that quirky show. 

We did get out and walk Binney around but that was the extent of our adventuring outside. We had the shades pulled and the air conditioner going on full blast. So I guess it didn't matter if we were in a crowded park or in the middle of an industrial site just as long as we had an electric hook up to run the AC. But Steve was getting a little stir crazy and had some cabin fever. This wasn't like camping the night before at Blind Sucker #2, for sure! 

The next morning we woke up and it was still in the low 70s. We decided if we were going to go walk along the shore of Lake Superior we better do it before breakfast!

The trail down to the lake was across the road from the state park. It was just a short distance down and was such a pretty little path through the cool green shady trees. 

We worked our way down the path, it is not wheelchair accessible or anything like that. Some areas were a little slippery. Then we had to cut through a big patch of wild raspberries that were just humming full of bumblebees! As long as you didn't bother them they didn't bother you. We emerged on the edge of the lake shore right by a big fallen birch tree. We made a mental note of where we came onto the shore so we would know where to go back. 

It was strangely calm! Almost to the point of being eerie! I have been to Lake Superior a lot of times in my life and it's always windy and there's always waves and it's always cold. But with these strong winds coming up from the south with the heat, there were really no waves out on the lake. It was so calm and smooth.

Walking up to the edge of the beach one can see the different layers of the gravel and stones that are washed ashore depending on the strength of the waves. Further out was a strip of bigger rocks, then was a strip of smaller rocks mixed with some sand. Then right near the edge of the water the small rocks were rinsed clean. Beyond that were tiny rocks that were pushed ahead onto the sand. Then of course was the hard packed layer of sand where it was much easier to walk. 

Every time I have gone to an ocean or the Gulf or any of the Great lakes I always take a picture of my foot in it. Then I email it to my youngest brother and tell him "sucks to be you!"... It's become a family tradition. LOL. 

Remember, this is the exact area where the famous Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald happened. You know those gales of November on Superior? Well this sure doesn't look like that wicked horrible Lake of the fabled song by Gordon Lightfoot. I was 15 years old when that happened. It was quite the event in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Yup it happened right out to the north of this campground. 

We strolled along the beach to the west, and there wasn't anyone around by us at all.  It was serenely peaceful and so softly quiet.  No crashing of waves or pounding of surf. 

There was one other couple further down the beach to the east, hunting for some rocks. Lake Superior agates are quite coveted and searched for by avid rock hounds. Another gentleman came down with his dog and had his handful of pooper scooper bags hanging out of his pocket. It's nice to see people being respectful with their pets so they are allowed on beaches. All it takes is one or two bad ones to ruin it for everyone else. 

We walked up and down the shore and sat for a while on a log to admire the scenery. The temperatures were rising and it was going to soon soar back up into the high 80s for the day. Ugh! 

We came back up to the campsite and saw this huge garter snake winding around near the front of the motorhome. We chased him off into the brush so he wouldn't go near the turtle eggs. 

I used to have a pet snake just like him called "Snakely Whiplash" when I was a kid.

Now we had to make a decision. Our campsite was reserved by someone else and we needed to get off of it by 1:00 p.m.  There was one other site that we could move to but it really wasn't that level and we really weren't all that fond about being in a crowded state park.

We knew of another small township campground near Seney, MI on the Fox River. It is about 45 miles to the south and west of here. It has about 10 or 12 campsites with electricity. We figured since it was only Thursday, we could probably get a campsite there. It is also first come first serve, no reservations.

So we packed it up, pulled in the slides, and unplugged that delicious air conditioning with the electricity from the power post. 

The Mercedes-Benz chassis has dash air conditioning in the cab of this motorhome. It is sufficient to keep the entire 25 ft interior cool while we drive. 

With our last Safari 40 ft motorhome we would have had to run the generator and both of the roof air conditioners in addition to the dash air while driving down the road. Sometimes we would block off the back half of the motorhome with the bathroom and bedroom doors. We are very fortunate with the new smaller rig and adequate dash air to be totally comfortable as we drove away in the 90° heat. 

Time to move on to Seney Township Campground in the next blog post. 

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