Porcupine Mountains State Park, Michigan

July 2, 2015 Categories Camper Van, Road Trips, Travel, USA

Our camp out at the random casino last night worked out great and we were undisturbed the entire night. It was a very comfortable sleep, though it did get a little chilly at some point during the night. We hit the road around 10am and headed for the Porcupine Mountains State Park, right off the shore of Lake Superior. We got in the area a little after 11am and stopped along the beach to relax for a bit and have lunch.

After a stop off at the visitor center, we drove up to the Lake of the Clouds, another seven miles up the road. There’s a really nice scenic overlook about 300 feet from the parking lot. I snapped a few photos of the lake and then we headed out to hike part of the Escarpment Trail that follows the ridge along the lake. We only hiked about an hour before stopping on a cliff on the opposite end of the lake. I think we sat there for a good 45 minutes just staring out at the forest and the water, enjoying the view, and talking about completely random nonsense. Eventually, we hiked back to the van.

There’s only one campsite in the park with modern facilities and we took it upon ourselves to stop over and use the showers. We’d paid the $9 for the daily “Recreation Passport” and figured we’d get the most out of it. It was a nice way to cool off after the hike.

We ended the day by driving to the opposite end of the park to look at Manabezho Falls, which ended up not being as impressive as the post card at the visitor center. It was still cool to see a waterfall two days in a row.

We’re camping out in a Walmart parking lot tonight, so we’ll see how that goes.

Ottawa National Forest, Michigan

July 1, 2015 Categories Camper Van, Road Trips, Travel, USA

We’re currently in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula checking out the Ottawa National Forest and a couple state parks. We were gonna do Isle Royale National Park, but it turns out the ferry ride to the island is like $120 per person, plus $4 per day to be on the island. I have no intentions of spending close to $300 just to visit ONE National Park on a list of many. I’m trying to conserve my pesos, man.

This morning started a little slow getting the last little bit of things loaded up into the van, as well as fixing/modifying some things that I noticed yesterday after driving a little with the drawers fully loaded. When I built the drawers, I bought drawer slides that have the soft-close feature which make them a little more difficult to open for the first inch, as they have to pop the soft-close springy thingy (technical term) in place. Well, with the full weight of food in the drawers it just wasn’t enough to keep the drawers shut going around corners. So, simple fix, I just bought the same door latch clippy things (another highly technical term) I bought for the cabinet doors and mounted it to the inside, top of the drawers. We drove all day today and they held up great. One of the other last minute add-ons was buying a cheap bathroom door mirror from Walmart (like, $5) and attaching it horizontally across the top of the kitchen sink area to use as a mirror for shaving (trimming), brushing teeth, or whatever. I also bought a small, wicked sweet rooster chalk board and mounted that up.

It was around noon by the time we actually hit the road. It took us about five hours to get up to Michigan from where I live in Wisconsin, and that’s including a stop to pick up some extra stuff along the way. We ended the day by checking out Bond Falls State Park inside the Ottawa National Forest. I’ve never heard of it before, but it is a pretty kick ass waterfall. There’s not much of a trail to get to it, but there’s a very nice walkway that goes all the way around it. We spent over an hour there walking the entire thing and I ended up taking over 100 photos, most of which I won’t be posting since a lot of them are similar.

We left the park and camped out at Lac Vieux Desert Resort Casino for the night. Seemed like a good place to stop where we wouldn’t be bothered. Today is the first time cooking in the van, and it went better than I was expecting. Because I’m using the counter top that covers the stove to put things on, I did have to clear it off and temporarily place everything on the bed, but since it doesn’t take too long to cook, it wasn’t that much of a bother.

As I’m sitting here right now, it’s honestly very easy to forget that you’re in a van. I feel like I’m just sitting in my bed at home; it’s surprisingly comfortable in here.