Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chase turns six!

We were blessed to celebrate Chase's sixth birthday with some family when we stopped by my sister Becky's house in aurora. Chase was super excited to spend the day with his cousins and Aunt Becky and Uncle Joe!





We had a cool Avengers cake (he has seen the cartoon, but not the movie). Chase opened presents and we ordered some Chicago style pizza! He said it was all awesome and we had a great time with some of our family. This was our first time seeing our newest family member as well - little Lily who was born just over a month ago!


Baby Lily

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Campground Review - Cassidy RV Park

We had a quick stop over at Cassidy RV Park in Laporte, Indiana.



Staff - 7 - Staff takes care of hotel, they were nice, did not see anyone around during the day.

Natural surroundings - 7 - Nice little pond sits in the center of the park. Interstate runs right by it.

Roominess - 8 - Normal sized lots.

Facility Fun - 5 - Pond is nice to walk around, not much else to do.

Facility usefulness - 1 - Not a lot to offer here.

Bathrooms - 2 - Just an outhouse.

Cleanliness - 8 - Clean and well taken care of.

Nearby attractions - 6 - Close to Michigan City and Benton Harbor.

Value - 9 - Paid $18 a night for a pull-through site with full hook-ups. Used Passport America.

Overall - 6 - Clean park, and the right price with PA discount, but basically just a traveler's park.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fixing Howard

Throughout our trip we have fixed several things on Howard ourselves, and we have had a few repair jobs done by the dealer or a service contractor as well. I am surprised by how many things we have been able to tackle by using some common sense and researching the internet!

We originally purchased Howard from Terry Town in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We took him back there last fall before our standard one year warranty was up and they fixed a few things for us. We did purchase the extended warranty on the major items when we purchased the motorhome, and a couple of those things had some issues so we stopped in again to the dealer on our way out of Cadillac.


I can say we are not sure if the extended warranty was such a great idea since mostly they either did not have time to fix something (our stove), an item was covered but not that particular part (one of the slide-outs) or the part needed to be mailed to the manufacturer (the control for the jacks). So the jury is still out. Supposedly we can take it to any dealer who will work with our warranty company. We did contact Big Foot about our control box for the jacks which is having issues and they gave us the address to mail it to them, so we are hopeful this will be fixed! And we got our slide out fixed, but it cost us about $60.

Being in Grand Rapids for the day without our home always puts us a little out of sorts. We did get to have lunch with a friend who I used to work with in Roanoke, Jon Allen. He and his family now reside in the Grand Rapids area, so we had a nice time catching up and sharing all of our adventures with him.

We stayed the Woodchip Campground in nearby Byron Center, Michigan after we picked Howard back up.


Staff - 8 - Staff was nice enough.

Natural surroundings - 7 - Nice and quiet neighborhood.

Roominess - 8 - Normal sized lots.

Facility Fun - 7 - Playground, outdoor pool (not open until Memorial Day), 

Facility usefulness - 9 - Laundry, dog run, propane, picnic table, fire ring and grill at each site, free wifi.

Bathrooms - 8 - Nothing to complain about here.

Cleanliness - 8 - Nice and tidy.

Nearby attractions - 7 - Close to Grand Rapids.

Value - 9 - Paid $18 a night for a pull-through site with full hook-ups. Used Passport America.

Overall - 8 - Clean park, and the right price with PA discount.



Monday, May 28, 2012

Out with a Bang



We are so sorry, but this post has been removed because it is a part of our book Napkin Dreams that details our trip around America!











Sunday, May 27, 2012

Cops and Doughnuts

This post has been removed because it is part of our new book - Napkin Dreams!








Friday, May 25, 2012

Campground Review - Valley Plaza Resort

We stayed for three nights at the Valley Plaza Resort RV Park in Midland, Michigan and enjoyed the indoor pool all three days!


Staff - 7 - Staff was courteous but not super so.

Natural surroundings - 7 - Mature trees and not in the city. Still close to highway.

Roominess - 8 - Normal sized lots.

Facility Fun - 10 - Playground, indoor pool, horseshoes, small lake with beach, basketball court, restaurants, movie theater and bowling alley on site, hot tub, sauna and tanning beds.

Facility usefulness - 7 - Picnic table, fire ring and grill at each site, free wifi.

Bathrooms - 9 - Showers were great, part of locker room area for pool.

Cleanliness - 9 - Very clean.

Nearby attractions - 9 - Right in Midland, close to Saginaw, and Bay City.

Value - 7 - Paid $38 a night for a pull-through site with full hook-ups.

Overall - 8 - Fun park and very clean and well-kept.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chippewa Nature Center

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We are so sorry, but this post has been removed because it is a part of our book Napkin Dreams that details our trip around America!




Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Power of the House Plant


We spent half of Mother's Day at in Birch Run, Michigan. Here we gave Patsy her presents. Now taking five boys shopping for their mom is actually a little fun. Their ideas for what to get her are interesting to say the least! We had votes for candy bars, Nerf guns and light sabres. It took most of my energy just directing them to the candle aisle!

I did have one special gift in mind though. Patsy loves house plants and she used to have a bunch of them. She gave them all away when we started our trip 21 months ago. I know this was sad for her, but in our rig with seven people and two pets, live plants were just not practical to haul along. 

So I knew that she would love to have one for Mother's Day. Sort of a thank-you for putting up with a husband who is part gypsy and fancies himself as a real life Indiana Jones! The plant represents the sacrifice she made, the love she showed her family and the next chapter of stability in our life. As I thought would happen big tears welled up in her eyes as she took the plant. It was as if she knew what the gift meant and that more would be coming once we truly "settle in" to a stick house.

Once in awhile a guy can get it right, and after seventeen years of being together, I guess a simple gift can say a whole lot and bring tears of joy better than diamonds or gold! To a great mother - my wife Patsy Martin.

We stayed at Pine Ridge RV Park during this time. Here is the campground review.


Staff - 6 - For the most part the folks were nice here, but one guy was a bit gruff. He told our kids not to go in the bathroom . Huh?

Natural surroundings - 8 - Mature trees and not in any city.

Roominess - 10 - Very big lot that we stayed in.

Facility Fun - 7 - Playground, club house, horse shoes, basketball court.

Facility usefulness - 7 - Laundromat, propane, dump, pass card security, picnic table at our site, dog run, wifi.

Bathrooms - 5 - Decent, but the showers were coin operated.

Cleanliness - 9 - Very clean.

Nearby attractions - 9 - Close to Frankenmuth, Birch Run outlets, Saginaw, Bay City and Flint.

Value - 8 - Paid $34 a night for a pull-through site with full hook-ups.

Overall - 7 - Gruff employee, coin operated showers and lots of room to walk and ride bikes!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Campground Review - Frankenmuth Jellystone

We splurged and stayed at the Frankenmuth Jellystone to take advantage of their Mother's Day activities and the indoor pool!


Staff - 8 - Nice peeps working at the Jellystone!

Natural surroundings - 8 - Mature trees and not in any city.

Roominess - 8 - Normal sized lots.

Facility Fun - 10 - Large playgrounds, indoor pool, mini-putt, game room, basketball court, planned activities, hot tub.

Facility usefulness - 8 - Laundromat, propane, dump, pass card security, picnic table at our site, dog run, camp store, exchange library, wifi.

Bathrooms - 7 - Nice, but the showers were push button and you could not adjust the temp. The water faded in between hot and cold.

Cleanliness - 9 - Very clean.

Nearby attractions - 9 - Right in Frankenmuth. Close to Saginaw, Bay City and Flint.

Value - 6 - Paid $52 a night for a pull-through site with full hook-ups. Used our Good Sams card.

Overall - 8 - Fun park, plenty of bucks!
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