Saturday, September 28, 2013

There Will Be Bad Days

We enjoyed our stay in Grand Marais, MN.  We got lucky upon our arrival.  They have reserved sites and non reserved sites.  We had reservation for 3 days, but we wanted to stay at least a week.  I figured as big as the place was I would be able to, upon arrival, wangle a spot of some kind.  One of the lake sites which are non-reservable had just become available.  I was asked if I wanted a water spot, and my reply, "if I have to" :).  While the smallest of the sites along the water, it had a beautiful view.

We were close enough to town to walk to eat and close enough to the local areas to take a leisurely drive to see the sites.  We took a drive up to Grand Portage and the border and were to surprised to see a lovely area.

The first picture is overlooking the bay and the second is High Falls in the State Park.  The town of Grand Portage also has a nice National Park informational area discussing the Obijiwa Indians and their involvement in developing trade in the area.

After two weeks were going to have to move so we decided to head on down the road towards International Falls.  We had to go all the way to Duluth to stop by Walmart and get our meds renewed.  All went to plan until I pulled into the Walmart parking lot which was within a mile from the Int Airport.  My MCD shades went haywire and wouldn't respond and my direct wired windshield night shade went 2/3d's the way down and stopped and wouldn't do anything.  I thought the batteries had gone out so I went in to get new ones.  That didn't fix the problem.  Called MCD and after about 30 minutes he asked me if I was next to an airport and I said yes, the map indicated one reasonably close.  Seems that some airport frequencies will override the wireless controls to the MCD shades and when we move away they will start responding.  That would not work with the windshield shades as they are direct switch wired.  The closest dealer for MCD was Anoka, MN which is about 2.5 hours south.  A couple of calls later I had a place to stay the night and headed that way.  After a few miles I tried the wireless shades and they were working correctly.

Upon arrival and unhooking the truck someone, I think at Walmart, had backed into the MH.  I was a little perturbed.
The next morning called Shorwood RV in Anoka, MN and luckily arranged to bring it on in and they would work me in.  It was determined the motor in the shade was dead.  A call to Tiffin to find out the stock number revealed they had 26 of them in stock.  I think this is a recurring problem and they would send one out UPS that day to arrive tomorrow.

We arrived about 9:30 and my part had just arrived.  I was parked on the street, and the Svc Mgr said he would be right out. :)  When he arrived we were standing outside on the curb talking when a pickup pulling a brand new trailer pulled out of the Dealership.  I immediately started saying and yelling he was not going to make it and was turning to sharp when he hit my DS front mirror. 

Luckily the mirror broke away and HE stopped before it got into the windshield frame and cracked the windshield.  The mechanic went and got wrenches and we got it back into place and all of the mechanics still work.  It just has a pretty good scratch on my big chrome mirror. After all of the problems the last few days I did speak a little harshly to him, but after a few minutes of repairing and calling Tiffin for part prices, I did go and apologize to him and shook hands.  It happens to all of us and no one was hurt.  Since he had insurance it was just a little inconvenience. 

We got our shade motor replaced, it had completely come apart and he had to dig gears and such out of the tube.  We motored on to St Cloud, MN about 50 miles away and are waiting to hear from his insurance adjuster.  Maybe Wednesday or Thursday we can go on.  Anyway we have full hookups and there is a little to see around the area.  The fulltiming lifestyle allows for instant changes like this and I've had to react to similar changes throughout my working career.  So it is no problem.  Also, the leaves are turning, we'll do just fine. :)

When life throws you a lemon just make lemonade and watch a sunset. :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Land of "Gitche Gumee"

It has been far to long since my last post. We have been moving slowly across the Upper Peninsula and Lake Superior area into Wisconsin and Minnesota.

We made our trip into the UP landing in St Ignace at the Tiki RV Park.  It is a Passport America park and St Ignace is located right on Lake Huron.  We really liked the slow pace of the town and ended up staying three weeks.  The town is a small town with no traffic lights.  A traffic jam happens every Saturday night about 10:15 pm when the summer fireworks are over.  It only lasts for about 10 minutes and due to the location of them (over the harbor) you can see them from just about all over town.  The park is almost downtown and close to plenty of places to eat.

While there we went on some excursions.  The first was to Whitefish Point to the Marine Museum.  A very moving and well presented exhibit of all the shipwrecks of the area.  Everyone can relate to this one.
Another trip was to Taquamenom Falls State Park. Had some good paved trails and platforms that allowed great access to the falls.  A pretty good falls that had lots of water going through it.
We made a trip to the Soo Locks also.  We got lucky with our arrival and there were two ships scheduled within the next two hours.  One 700+' and the other mid 600'.  They locked through at the same time.  The picture shows the larger one in front of the smaller one heading out of the lock.
Everyone goes to see the above sites and they are all worth a trip, but we got an extra perk when a Tall Ship came into port heading to the Chicago tall ship race.  The SSV Niagra came in.  We thought we would get to see it under sail, but it came in and left under its own power.  It was a cool experience to see it so close.  Its crew is made up of mostly kids paying their way to crew the ship.  We happened to meet up with some parents that were there to pick up their 18 year old daughter. This was her second year and we learned a good bit about the experience.  Believe me when I say this is not a cruise boat experience. :)  I don't think I would like it now, but when I was a kid it would have been fun.  I would have had to mow a lot of yards to come up with the funds. :(
After our laid back three weeks in St Ignace we headed to Munising, MI to take a Pictured Rocks Cruise.  The City Park was certainly not a destination park, but it was nicer than any other park in the area.  We did not have full hookups (although they are available but booked far in advance) and only 30 amp, but due to our short stay and the lower temps we survived.  The first site did not have good power and kept knocking the breaker off.  Upon moving that did not happen again and we were on about 1/4 acre.  You could park anywhere as there was no set pad.  The power and water hooked up in the middle of 4 sites.  An extension for power and water was necessary.

Our main reason for coming here was to take the Pictured Rocks cruise.  It was nice.  Over our four days there we picked the best day for a cruise and it turned out very nicely.
There are 15 miles of bluffs to ride by.  It is one way out, turn around and then back.  I would sit on the Port side or left side of the boat on the top.  People are kind of in the way for some nice pictures going up, but on the way back they get a lot closer and you have the advantage then.  I like advantages. :)

We went to Houghton, MI and stayed in the Houghton City Park.  Now I'm here to tell you that this is a nice park in downtown.  Houghton is a college town with lots of restaurants, a Walmart within 1 mile, and PO and other government buildings close.  It is well up the peninsula which allows day trips as far as Copper Harbor which is at the end.  One word of caution is make sure you have fuel before you leave town as it is scarce up the peninsula and/or very expensive.

We ended up staying here 12 days because of the nice peaceful site.

Each site has a balcony with there being 6 sites on the upper level overlooking a row of sites below. The river flows below with Hancock on the other side of the river.  Although not really looking for it, most sites have another sewer outlet which would allow a MH to face the river.  Extension cords would be necessary.  I didn't do this, but it looked feasible.  This is a busy park and reservations are a must.  We got lucky and since it was coming up on Labor Day I called about 10 days out and got a site although I was going to have to boondock for two nights.  When we arrived, this was fixed and we wouldn't even have to change sites.  We were lucky indeed.

Our next stop is Ashland, WI to the Kehrer RV Park owned by the City.  While it is right in town you are on the water with nice views.  Our reason for being here was to go on the Apostle Island Cruise.  The cruise goes out of Bayfield, WI which was only about 40 min from the park.  The weather was pretty active with either wind or rain coming through.  We picked the best day we could and dealt with it.  The weather while out changed 3 times.  From fair to cloudy and windy with 3-5' waves to fair again.
We enjoyed the trip, but I was expecting more of the wave washed rocks.  While there were a few other areas the one they showed us was only about 300 yards long and we spent a little time there so taking pictures was not a problem.  The narration about the area and the islands was very informative and since it was 3 hr and 15 minutes there was a need to fill up time.  Overall a good experience.

We took a lot more pictures at each place, but not wanting a War and Peace blog post only selected a few.

We are currently in Grand Marais, MN.  That will be next time.  We love to travel slowly and see a few sights along the way.  We like to eat along the way and are enjoying the local fish servings. :)

Next time.

Run your life don't let life run you!