Friday, August 26, 2011

A change in the purpose.

When we first started traveling we kept a daily journal in a Word document. It was an account of the small things like doing the laundry, shopping and other really trivial things, our thoughts and observations , future travel plans, etc. With time this morphed into a simple, and totally common, travelogue. We’re back to the original intention which we enjoyed more. If hearing about a stop to do laundry is a huge bore, and I can't imagine why it would not be, don't waste your time here.

Saturday, August 20.
We moved across the Portage Canal to Houghten on Saturday. Got lucky once again as the campground was full. We’re back to our $10/night grassy spot by the park. The three of us took a nice walk downtown then just poked around the campground. It was a busy day in the park we’re camped on. We watched a wedding take place , some kids flying kites and a few picnics and a kids birthday party. The beach is mostly empty It’s too chilly today for swimming.

The headline in today’s local paper was about tornados on Thursday. I asked the campground host about it and he said they had a major storm here, hail included, as well. I guess leaving our campsite on the Gratiot River was the prudent thing to do.

"If the traveler expects the highway to be safe and well graded, he might as well stay at home." Charles Kuralt

We should have stayed put. That was perhaps the most perfect campsite ever.

It turns out the local WalMart has a hair cutting place so this morning at 10am we were at the WalMart getting a WalMart special haircut. After that we started the trek to the south side of the UP. We went to the Bond Falls Recreation Area which is located between Bruce Crossing and Watersmeet mostly because access to the falls is handicap accessible. The local electric utility company (UPPCO) has a large campground surrounding the Bond Falls Flowage. Never heard a lake or dam enpoundment called a flowage before. That’s where we stayed. It’s very nice and it’s free.

Bond Falls

We continued east on US #2 towards Iron River. Drove through the Imp Lake, Golden Lake and Lake Ottawa NF campgrounds. I'm working with my friend Ted on his project of identifying every public campground in the Lower 48. When I'm near a campsite in the database, I drive through to verify the information.  All three of these campgrounds were OK but nothing special. We spent the night in the Iron River City RV Park. I’m afraid we’ve become terribly spoiled by some of the amazing camping areas we’re found over the years. We were talking about that earlier and wondered if we should  lower our expectations, continue the search for more "10's"  or start going back to our favorites?

First stop was the Sunset Lake campground; a Bates Township Park. The sites were so unlevel that after trying three different sites I ran out of patience so we just gave up and left. Crystal Falls has the Runkle Lake Recreation Complex which includes a campground. It was 2:00 so we stayed the night. Nothing real special but decent &  clean and reasonably level.

We set a new personal record for travel time between campsites. Per the Garmin, it was a 7 minute and 37 second trip from Runkle Lale to Glidden Lake SF campground. We are the only ones here so we’re in the best campsite. Right on the shore of the lake. The water is very clear and there are lots of very pretty white water lilies. This is a campground worth returning to in the future.
It’s supposed to get into the low 50’s tonight. I found a good sized log and split it for firewood. In the morning it was us and one young couple tenting.

Continued east. We drove through the Dawson Lake campground, a Mansfield Township park, just to take a look for future use. It’s just a series of closely spaced sites on a hill overlooking Dawson Lake. Nothing special. Continued on to Iron Mountain for some much needed grocery shopping, and a bakery fix of course,  then continued to a campground just north of Powers. It’s a Spalding Township Park called Veterans Memorial. A very nice community park and campground on a little river. There is a water faucet here. Locals come with their water jugs to fill them up. Generally this is a sign of poor quality well water at home.

Moved on, once again, but not very far. We’re spending the weekend at the O.B Fuller County Park on a site with an unobstructed view of Lake Michigan. Got lucky as this was the only lake view site not reserved for the weekend. We enjoy the interior of the UP but prefer camping along the Great Lakes with Lake Superior being our favorite. On the next trip up this way, we might do the Lake Superior circle tour which includes the Canada part of the lake.
The remainder of our trip through MI will be along the shore of Lake Michigan with a goal of a maximum travel time of 30 minutes between campsites. We’ll be searching for more of those special places that most others don’t bother with. In search of some more 10's.