Our Camp Journal # KOA St. Ignace /Mackinac Island KOA: UGH!!

Our Camp Journal # KOA St. Ignace /Mackinac Island KOA: UGH!!

Date(s) of Trip: July 6-9, 2018

Campground Info:

State CG
Federal Land
National Park
✅ Private/KOA/Other: KOA ignache / Mackinaw Island
Boondocking (where)

Summary of facilities, activities or overall trip experience.

The GOOD – The BAD – The UGLY

GOOD:

BAD/UGLY: had to cut time in Maccinaw Island short because we needed to take camper to the RV repair. New brakes ordered – to be repaired Monday.

The KOA Campground is a nightmare. Sold to new owners a year ago. Seeing how BAD it is now, this place should have been in a lot better condition.
Electric is apparently sporatic, especially a few weeks ago.
Bathrooms are needing total update. They are just gross. There are shower stalls sitting outside the bathhouse waiting for install. They’ve been there a while, and we don’t know WHY. Is is lack of workforce? The manager said she needs more help. They had gotten taken by a local installer who never did the work.

Other items noted:
Website shows a k9dog Park. There isn’t. The “dog park”is in a stack of fencing. There is also several piles of wood, teepee polesand bed kits sitting to be installed.
The bathrooms are disgusting. It appears they’re not trying to clean since they know showers are being replaced.
Grass is being mowed by a teen with a push mower.
Someone else came out and used weed eaters.

Story to remember?

We are very cranky and irritated with this KOA right now.

First time in 13 years of camping in a travel trailer that we just got a “warning” for our dog barking. We have 3 – but I know when and which pup.m
It was about 5:30 pm. It was Camper, our 10-month old puppy. She had a tizzy barking because she was hungry and wanted to walk. I was outside with all 3 dogs. I was putting on hiking shoes when she had her fit for 5-10 min. After being fed, she stopped barking. Totally.

Kevin got home in the meantime and a KOA volunteer man came up, said there was a complaint, it’s a warning and it’s the rules.

So now I’m paranoid that if ANY of the dogs bark – which they will – especially if they see another dog or the kids riding bikes by our site every 10 minutes. We’ll be told to leave.

For such a crappy KOA, with an out of state owner and off site managers, they have more important things to fix. Starting with bathrooms and showers. Ugh. Pigsty.

#koaneedsfranchisepulledfornow
#koastignacemacinawislandisinpoorshape
#koacorporatetakealook

Filed under: Camp Reviews

Our Camp Journal: Fourth of July HEAT!

Our Camp Journal # Fourth of July HEAT!

Date(s) of Trip: July 3-6, 2018
Site #: 354 and 345.
Due to automated reservations, we had to switch sites after our first night. We had to do it before – and yes it’s a drag. But when we could’ve just camped in the “second site 345” we would have been fine. The site was EMPTY our first night. Grrr. So in the sweltering heat we diligently moved to our new, uneven site. Done.

Location: Interlochen State Park, Interlochen, Michigan
It is in Grand Traverse County.
Michigandnr.com

Total miles driven from last location:

Campground Info:

✅ State CG Federal Land National Park KOA/Private/Other: KOA
Boondocking (where)

This is the first state park in Michigan. The campground is very large with over 500 sites. It is a public recreation area between Green Lake and Duck Lake. Being a holiday week, the park was extremely full, as expected. It cleared out on the 4th, ironically. I assume it’s because many people return to work on the 5th and the fact that no fireworks are allowed in parks.

Main Activities include: camping, boating (there are boat ramps and trailer parking), kayaking, swimming at the beachfront.

TIP: it was going to cost us $9-12 for out of state vehicles to get into the park – regardless that we were camping. So Kev bought a Michigan State park pass (adheres to window) for $32. So basically it pays for itself. As we plan to continue to camp in Michigan state parks.

We paid $25 per night for camping! Great!!
Rent a tents and cabins are also available.

Summary of facilities, activities or overall trip experiencej.

The GOOD – The BAD – The UGLY

GOOD: campsite was okay. Typically of any state park. The city has Fourth of July celebrations during their annual cherry festival. $20 for parking at a dentist. $5pp to buy a coin (like a poker coin) and $6 per drink beer or a mixed cherry drink/margarita (yum). During the festival you can enjoy cherry-spitting contests and other activities. Concerts, etc. We didn’t get tickets to Sheryl Crow. But, we did enjoy fair food like corn dogs, onion rings and cheesesteak sandwiches.

BAD: Since it was a holiday “weekend”,the traffic and kids and dogs were non stop. We always feel bad because 2 of our 3 dogs will always bark to say Hi. Always.

UGLY: Nothing due to the campground.

Story to remember?
First night, we met another family with a 10-month old golden named Luna. She had a beautiful reddish coat. Very quiet mannered and shy. Totally opposite of our Camper. The owner wasn’t overly enthused with letting them play, but he did moreso out of curiosity. I would have loved it, but I knew not to push my luck by asking for a puppy photo!

Filed under: Camp Reviews

Camp Review #2: Withlacoochee, Mermaids & a runaway puppy!

 

Camp Review # 2: With-la-coo-chee, Mermaids & a runaway puppy! 🐾

Date(s) of Trip: April 20-22, 2018
Location: Withlacoochee State Forest, Brooksville, FL
Total miles driven from last location: 206 miles

Campground Info:

✅ State CG       Federal Land     National Park
Private/KOA/Other:
Boondocking (where)

Summary of facilities, activities or overall trip experience.

The GOOD – The BAD The UGLY

The GOOD:  We picked this camping location because we were going to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. I hadn’t been in probably 35 years and Kevin had never been. I was surprised to see the park busy – which is good. There is a swim park within the front of the Weeki Wachee Springs, which is what we came for. I didn’t remember how they swim under water so long until I saw the long air hoses. So we saw the mermaids perform a skit from The Little Mermaid -all under water. We were impressed with their ability to swim in costume. A little cheesy, but it was fun to see a childhood memory still intact.

 The BAD. our story to remember is the “bad”.

The UGLY:  The campground roads and site a were bit rough.  It was rugged, but in good condition.

Story to remember?
Late at night we walked the dogs. They got tangled in their retractable leashes. Kevin was trying to get them untangled when suddenly Camper, our 8 month old puppy saw or heard something. She took off – with the retractable leash dangling behind her – as she chased SOMETHING. Kevin thinks it may have been an Armadillo or something else that could move fast… because she was running fast! The whole campground could hear her barking and Kevin (trying not to) yell. Well believe it or not, we found Camper. Shaking and hiding underneath OUR camper. How she knew it was “home” is beyond me! The poor little thing was so scared. Kevin had to crawl under the camper to get her. He just held her in his lap, checking to make sure she wasn’t attacked or injured.  She was okay. Just scared.

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Camp Review #1: Make it livable!

 ~~~ Camp Review #1: Make it livable! ~~~~

Date(s) of Trip: April 16-20, 2018
Site #: 40 and 57

Location: Koreshan State Historic Site, Estero, FL
Total miles driven from last location: 5.4 miles!

Campground Info:

✅ State CG                Federal Land               National Park
KOA/Private/Other:       Boondocking (where)

Summary of facilities, activities or overall trip experience.

The GOOD – The BAD – The UGLY

GOOD

We have camped at this campground literally about 20 times over the years.  It’s no frills.  For us, site 40 is the BEST site in the park. It’s on an end, so you only have neighbors on one side. Plus, there is a grassy section in front of the site which is GREAT to take the dogs for a quick “go” and a few cars can be there at night for visitors.

Site 57 was OK. But our camper plus parked truck was really too long for the site. So Kevin had to partially park in the road. Not idea. But no one complained.

We still had quite a bit to do Including purging more things – put in storage. Our closing on our home was Monday afternoon (16th). We had a 2-day sale that weekend on Friday-Saturday and then gave away and donated what didn’t sale via a popular “Free Curb Alert” on Craigslist and Marketplace on Facebook. After closing, we made one last walk through, got our dogs and hooked up our camper. Luckily, we had a short ways to go to the local state park. We’ve been there many many times over the years personally and with Boy Scouts.

We took this time to just get things better put away and organized. My goal was MAKE IT LIVABLE!

This also gave the dogs some time to get acclimated to camper living – especially our puppy. We also ran various errands and doctor appointments this last week in Fort Myers.

Kudos to the FPS to update site electric hookups. With this update , we assume that’s why a lot of the excessive palmetto bushes were overgrown into the sites has been cut back. That’s the biggest improvements we noticed.

BAD  After 2 nights, we had to switch sites because we really didn’t know how much time we’d need to get everything done. We stayed 4 nights total. We hadn’t been there since the park was closed for quite some time. One thing that didn’t change was sand. The sites were sandy and with us coming and going plus 3 dogs – sand was EVERYWHERE.

UGLY: no, not really. It’s a typical Florida state park. The bathrooms have always been so-so. During season, they have a lot of people camping there. But that’s just how it is.

Story to remember?
None at the park. We visited with each of our kids and family separately during the week.  We really weren’t in the Campground very much that week!

Filed under: Camp Reviews

Camp Review 15: Umbagog Lake SP, Errol, NH

Our Camping Journal 15 ~~~~~ MOOSE!!

Date(s) of Trip: May 23-25, 2018
Site #: 1
Location: Umbagog Lake Campground @ Umbagog Lake SP, Errol, NH
Total miles driven from last location: 200 miles

Campground Info:

✅ State CG
Federal Land
National Park
Private/KOA/Other: KOA
Boondocking (where)

Summary of facilities, activities or overall trip experience.

The GOOD The BAD The UGLY

GOOD: Beautiful view of the Lake and mountains in the

American Sunset

background. Campground is getting ready to open for season, so everything looks clean and ready to go. There were only four camper groups here during our stay, so it was extremely quiet. There are plenty of water related activities available but it was rather windy and the water was rough. We did have phone service.

BAD: Black flies!!! Awful! We either stayed in camper or drove around. No cable…which we knew.  

UGLY: no.  But we won’t be back.

Story to remember? We saw FOUR moose while driving along the main road! So exciting!  

And we got a surprise when we went to take a shower.  We needed quarters.  One quarter for every 5 minutes for warm/hot water!  LOL

 

 

 

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Camp Review 14: KOA Brattleboro North, Vermont

Our Camping Journal 14

Date(s) of Trip: May 20-23, 2018
Site #: A17 Other good sites (for future) any
Location: KOA Brattleboro, Vermont
Total miles driven from last location: about 200; 2,600 miles total!

Campground Info:

  • State CG
  • Federal Land
  • National Park
  • Private/KOA/Other: KOA Since 1972. Current owners 11 years.
  • Boondocking (where)

Summary of facilities, activities or overall trip experience.

The GOOD – The BAD – The UGLY

GOOD: Spacious, well maintained sites. Has kept Historical cottages – available. Lots of tall maple trees. Dog park split into 2 sections by front office. Owners are hands on and very friendly. The triangular building for KOA parks is in center of the park. The first floor is a carpeted tv and game room with a pool table, ping pong, 2 arcade games and a claw toy game. There are 3 washers and dryers $2 per load each.  

 

BAD: nothing is bad – Just cosmetic, such as dog park fences should be repaired vs zip tie boards to avoid crawling under fence. But it works. The bathrooms are dated – but everything has been painted over -including sink countertops.

UGLY: nothing

Story to remember? The owners have two billy goats as pets: Chocolate and Buttercup. You can see them in their pens at the dog park. The owner said he likes to walk them around camp when kids are camping.

Also, since this campground has been a KOA since 1972, there are historical cottages still able to be rented on property. The owners didn’t replace with KOA cottages. The owner shared that a couple came back to stay in one of the cottages to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.  What a great memory for this couple! Same cottage. 50 years later.

 

The state line for New Hampshire and Massachusetts are not far away. There are about 100 covered bridges still standing – most still in use. We found three so far!

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Things Happen!

We’ve had our Starcraft Lexion Lite for 7+ years.  Knock on wood, we’ve had no MAJOR issues. Sure we have had our learning curves with the three trailers we’ve had over the past 13 years. 

We had to replace the sway bar once or twice, the manual stabilizers, repair A/C, the awning and some other minor issues.  While in SW Florida it took months to get it back from Camping World. But we HAD to have a/c.  It cost us too much but that’s just how it goes.

So here we are at Camping World of Bridgeport in Swedesboro, NJ.  Why?  Well with increased rain the domed skylights are leaking.  Two of the three.  Not good timing.

Shower skylight

Some “rigging” repairs were made temporarily last week – with tape.  But now? We’re headed to New York today where it’s supposed to rain – a lot.  

 

This Camping World is jam packed.  Service has no availability.  For a long time, it appears.

We spoke with a KOA employee about our leaks and he suggested that we find out what type of caulking is used on the top of the roof and use the same caulk inside.  Some caulk is not compatible and won’t adhere to other types.  Makes sense I guess. 

When asked my opinion, I honestly said that we knew the skylights were getting really yellowed from the sun and one in the living area started to crack…BEFORE we left Florida. So now, a month later, more are leaking a little (it’s not pouring in). At this point it doesn’t matter what should have been done. It’s do what’s needed for piece of mind and to get back on the road.  So, I suggested that we go back to Camping World and just ASK what we need to do to get it repaired, atleast temporarily. We did.  Two replacement skylights are in the camper to be installed and sealed as soon as we get to our next stop.  Before it rains.  

The moral of this story is:  take care of any issues when they come up.  Because no time is a great time for making repairs.  ESPECIALLY when your traveling in a new area and have no place to stay, with 3 goldens! 

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Product Reviews #1

Product reviews

~ Our Favorites ~

Things we use, like and personally recommend!

NOTE: We do not receive ANY compensation for our reviews and recommendations. These are strictly our own opinions about what we like and don’t like! If that ever changes. We’ll let you know!

Bombas.com
BEE HAPPY WITH THESE SOCKS 🐝

I first saw an ad on Facebook for these socks. I was curious so I read the comments. There were and still are a LOT of comments. A lot of people asked what’s so good about the socks and why they cost so much. Initially I agreed that they are pricey. So I didn’t order them. Then later on, about a week or so later, I looked at my sock drawer. I had three pairs of Nike ankle socks. Good. But the rest were old, thin no-shows, low ankle and crew socks.  We were preparing to sell everything and go RVing.  My old socks needed to go.

So initially I made an order for Bombass colored ankle socks. It was just a few socks…a conservative order to try them out. I loved them.
That’s all I needed to know. We now buy our socks from this company. I tried the ankle socks first and love to wear them with my Keds and New Balance sneakers. Fun or boring colors. Your choice. I got both. I love the extra cushion at the back of the sock to prevent blisters.

I’ve also have tried the quarter socks and the hiking socks. I need more. Seriously. I bought a 6-Pack of quarter socks and only 3 hiking socks. Not only am I getting arch support, I’m getting ankle support, which I really need because tend to swell when I’m on my feet – or in the truck for long distances – a lot. My feet feel better and are not as sore when I take them off at the end of the day.

So, they make well-made socks that have arch support (my fave), reinforced socks and toes (you don’t feel the seam line). Why are these important to me? I need arch support for my low/flat arch, we are camping and hiking as well as walking our three Golden’s 4-5 times daily (minimum). These socks aren’t going to wear out soon.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the BEST reason to buy these socks:

FOR EVERY PAIR PURCHASED,
ONE PAIR IS DONATED TO THOSE IN NEED.


Awesome ❤ 👏 🐝  Way to go Bombas!

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Merrell’s Hiking Boots

Merrell.com

Since these are shoes we will wear daily on our trip around the United States, I thought it worth mentioning. Before we left “home”, my husband bought his second pair of Merrell hiking shoes (at regular ankle height). They look like they are MOAB 2 Ventilator hiking shoes. He bought them at Dicks Sporting Goods Store for $100.   I already own one pair of Merrell hiking boots (high top style, above the ankle). I believe they are called the MOAB 2 MID Waterproof.

By knowing that we BOTH have and wear these shoes daily, you hopefully can figure out that we enjoy and rely on these hiking shoes for comfort and support. Besides that, they last. (Unless one of our Golden’s decide to chew on them! It happens!). Honestly, these shoes should last – as they cost us about $100+ for each pair. The expense is well worth the quality and durability.

Until next time….

Future product and other reviews:

Life is Good clothing products etc
Lazy One clothing products
IKEA Poang chairs and ottomans
IGLOO portable ice maker
Chewy.com dog treats and products
And more!  If we’ve bought it or have used it, I’ll write a review -good or bad!

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Our travels so far April 16-May 3, 2018


We left our former home, kids and grandkids on April 20, 2018. We stayed 5 days at Koreshan SHS in Estero, FL to finish up loose ends (like DMV, glasses, purge more things, etc). We then headed North on our way out of Florida.

This past week we’ve been staying with my sisters family at their home in Cornelius, NC. They have a great fenced yard for the dogs to play. (Remind me to tell you about playing with a laser pointer). For the most part, we’ve done some shopping, repairs or improvements to the camper (details to be discussed separately, along with pictures).

Due to schedules, we really didn’t do anything special – which is fine with us because we’ve been go-go-go. I guess the highlight was going to see our nephew receive a $150 scholarship for a bowling tournament in Mooresville, NC. He bowled the 300 in a handicap tournament!!  We’re proud!  🎳 

Pro Bowlers in Mooresville, NC

We watched five pro bowlers finish their final competition. We’ve never seen pros bowl in live competitions- just on tv. So that was neat. My family grew up bowling, though our nephew is the only one who bowls now. He’s really good! Hope he’ll be able to get a bowling scholarship for a college. He very easily could go pro, if that’s his desire. XOXO

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