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Gr8LakesCamper: Michigan Campgrounds with Available Sites this Holiday Weekend

June 30, 2011 by Gr8LakesCamper · 11 Comments 

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Wanna hear a good one?

FYI: This is not me nor my wife; pretty sure not my kids either.

FYI: This is not me nor my wife; pretty sure not my kids either.

I’m trying to get a campsite for this coming Fourth of July weekend.

I know, I know … why wait till the last minute?

To make a long story short, we thought we’d be ferrying my sons to some baseball tournaments this weekend. But too late we were told they only have one game on Friday night, so now it’s a scramble to find a campground with an available campsite. And I’m hoping beyond all hope that these campsites are mostly level, somewhat shaded and not at all close to anyone with a case of firecrackers. That, and clean facilities.

I know, I know … you get what you deserve.

Fortunately, the Michigan Chapter of the Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds just issued a list of their member campgrounds who have available campsites this weekend. I’m saved, although now all my lectures to my kids about not waiting till the last minute to do their homework/chores/ etc. have been shot to you know where!

Campgrounds reporting availability for the holiday weekend include:

Beaver Trail Campground, West Branch (989-345-7745) http://beavertrailcampground.com
Cedarville RV Park, Cedarville (906-484-3351) www.cedarvillervpark.com
Clementz’s Northcountry Campground, Newberry (906-293-8562) www.northcountrycampground.com
Coolwater on the Pine, Wellston (231-862-3481) www.coolwatercampground.com We have stayed at this campground and it is okay. It is heavily used by large groups of canoer/campers during the warmer summer weekends, however. Also, most sites are not big rig friendly and, again, be sure to ask for a site away from the rowdy canoer/campers (although there might not be that many this early in the summer).
Cranberry Lake Campground, Marcellus (269-646-3336) www.campcranberrylake.com
Duggans Canoe Livery & Campground, Harrison (989-539-7149) www.dugganscanoes.com
Emmett KOA, Emmett (888-562-5612) http://koa.com/campgrounds/emmett/
Frankenmuth Jellystone Park, Frankenmuth (989-652-6668) www.frankenmuthjellystone.com
Gaylord KOA, Gaylord (800-562-4146) www.gaylordkoa.com
Holiday Camping Resort, New Era (231-861-5220) www.holidaycamping.com
Indian River RV Resort & Campground, Indian River (888-792-2267) www.indianrivercampground.com
Irons RV Park & Campground, Irons (231-266-2070) www.ironsrvparkandcampground.com
Kalkaska RV Park & Campground, Kalkaska (231-258-9863) www.kalkaskacampground.com
Kampvilla RV Park, Bear Lake (800-968-0027) www.kampvilla.com
Lakeview UM Campground, Lakeview (989-352-6896) www.lakeviewcamp.org
Lighthouse Family Camping Resort, Mecosta (231-972-2112) www.lighthousefamilycampingresort.com
Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping, Mackinaw City (231-436-5584) www.campmackinaw.com
Matson’s Big Manistee River Campground, Manistee (888-556-2424) www.matsonscampground.com
Mio Pine Acres Campground, Mio (989-826-5590) www.miopineacres.com
Moscow Maples RV Park, Moscow (517-688-9853) www.moscowmaples.com
Myers Lake Campground, Byron/Linden (810-266-4511) www.myerslake.org
Snow Lake Kampground, Fenwick (989-248-3224) www.snowlakekampground.com
Timber Ridge RV & Recreation Resort, Traverse City (231-947-2770) www.TimberRidgeResort.net
Timber Trails RV Park, Decatur (269-423-7311) www.timbertrailsrvpark.com
Troll Landing Campgr./Canoe Livery, West Branch (989-345-7260) www.michcampgrounds.com/trolllanding
Twin Oaks Campground & Cabins, Wellston (877-442-3102) www.twinoakscamping.com We have also stayed here. Wonderful place! Again, heavily used by canoer/campers during the warmer months, so ask for a site away from their group camping areas.
Waterways Campground, Cheboygan (888-882-7066) www.waterwayscampground.com

Type and date(s) of site availability vary by property. This is not an all-inclusive list. This list includes campgrounds that responded back to a survey indicating availability, as of June 30. Availability subject to change. Reservations are required.

From the companion blog: It’s been a while since I’ve posted at RV.net, so there’s dozens of posts on my companion blog, which I update daily. Some that you might find interesting are: Michigan Legislature names August as Camping & RVing Month; Illinois DNR pumping $12 million into state park improvements; and Summer Festivals and Events in Hocking Hills, a region every RVer needs to visit at one time in their life.

Gr8LakesCamper celebrates the world of RV Camping in the Midwest. Gather around the campfire and share tips, ideas and stories on RVing, camping and travel destinations. Follow Gr8LakesCamper on Twitter, Facebook and the personal blog.

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Gr8LakesCamper: Holiday Gift Guide

December 13, 2010 by Gr8LakesCamper · 3 Comments 

Here — in no particular order (or rhyme or reason) — is a somewhat decent holiday gift guide for RVers, starting with three new products from the Fastway company:

Fastway Flip automatic jack footFastwayFlipB3WEB
The new Fastway Flip automatic jack foot adds 6 inches to your jack instantly, and flips up and down automatically as you retract or extend the jack. The Flip jack foot eliminates the hassles of storing and stacking wood blocks, or finding a place to store a removable extension. The Flip jack foot puts itself away each time you use it. No springs, cables, or pins are required. The Flip jack foot installs easily using pilot holes in the foot as a guide; then a single bolt (supplied) mounts the Flip to the bottom of the jack. The Fastway Flip jack foot fits most tongue jacks round or square, with models to fit 2-inch and 2 1/4-inch jacks. Maximum tongue weight rating is 1,400 lbs. and designed for use on horse, RV, cargo, boat, and utility trailers. For more information call (877) 523-9103 or visit www.FastwayTrailer.com.

Fastway ONEstep tandem axle wheel chock84-00-4000Web
The Fastway ONEstep is the fastest and easiest tandem axle wheel chock. The ONEstep wheel chock eliminates common chocking hassles like ratcheting, pinched fingers, bending or kneeling down, splintery wood chunks, and stuck wedges pinched by trailer movement. The ONEstep chock sets quickly in place by simply stepping down on the scissor arms, and removes easily by pulling up on the cable handle, even when wedges have been pinched under a tire. The ONEstep chock is adjustable from 16 inches to 24 inches to fit most tandem axle trailers. It works great with horse, RV, boat, cargo, utility, and farm trailers. An XL model that reaches up to 30 inches is also available for trailers with “wide track” type axle systems. The ONEstep is made from solid steel wedges and arms, with zinc plate and powder coat finishes helping it look great for years. For more information, call (877) 523-9103 or visit www.FastwayTrailer.com.

Fastway Zip breakaway cableFastwayZipCableOnlyWEB
The Fastway Zip is the new, fast and easy way to protect your breakaway cable. With the Fastway Zip there are no frayed ends or cables dragging on the ground. The unique coiled cable of the Zip easily stretches to your tow vehicle and clips right on with the included carabiner. There is no looping over and around the trailer tongue to keep the cable out of the way. It is faster and easier to use than the standard breakaway cable. The Zip quickly replaces your current breakaway system with its coated high-strength coiled cable, split ring, and easy to use carabiner. The Fastway Zip breakaway cable is available in 4-foot and 6-foot cable lengths, and is offered as a universal replacement cable only, or a complete set with a cable and switch. For more information, call 877-523-9103 or visit www.FastwayTrailer.com.

iWavecube microwaveRedOpen_wDims
For those who want a microwave when camping, but not anything larger than necessary, the iWavecube measures just one-cubic-foot — plus it has all the electronic controls and safety features you would expect, and it plugs in anyplace that has a standard outlet. It’s quiet, super-energy-efficient, and measures just 10 inches by 10.5 inches by 12 inches — weighing only 12 lbs. It features a built-in carry handle and view-through door. The product is available in red, black, and silver. Perfect for a dorm room, camping trip or just at the office. For seeing the different ways campers are using their iWavecube check out this link.

The Perfect CampfireGrillNewOriginal
I have the Perfect CampfireGrill original grill and I have given them as presents. I love mine and recommend them to anyone who cooks over a campfire. The Perfect CampfireGrill original grill ($60), launched in 2005, continues to be popular for its large 20-by-25 inch grilling surface that can easily hold 24 strip steaks, 70 hot dogs or 30 large burgers. The Rebel ($40) fits easily into bicycle and motorcycle saddlebags. It can be used over the campfire or as a charcoal grill where campfires are not permitted. At 10-by-12 inches, The Perfect CampfireGrill Rebel is the smallest of The Perfect CampfireGrill products. The Explorer ($30) with its folding legs can be set up at any campsite on the beach, in rocky terrain or at a conventional campsite. The grill provides 12-by-18 inches of grilling surface. When its legs are folded, its 1 1/2 inch thickness makes it easy to transport in most backpacks and gear bags. The Pioneer ($40) provides a circular 18-inch diameter grilling surface that is perfect for weekend getaways and family outings. It is easily packed into smaller vehicles. For more information, go to www.campfiregrill.com.

REI Camp Mini Kitchen36ad756f-9c74-444a-b6ab-571c7728fb8c
Stow your cooking and dining essentials in the REI Camp Mini Kitchen ($69.93 on sale) so you’re always ready to hit the road! Staying organized in camp helps keep the fun factor high. Features include: Aluminum roll-top table holds most 2-burner camp stoves or other gear up to 60 lbs.; Ripstop polyester storage compartment provides dedicated spaces for a 2-burner stove, fuel bottles, plates, utensils, spices, wet sponges and more; Frame has integrated carry handles. Note: the photo at right shows items not included. For more information, visit: www.rei.com/product/798433

RV Handbook, 4th EditionRV Handbook
Completely Updated – the New RV Handbook, 4th Edition ($29.95) is a 299-page How-To Guide with handy checklists, helpful photos and easy-to-follow charts all designed to keep you on the road and enjoying your RV. This 4th edition of The RV Handbook from Trailer Life Books is known as the “RVer’s bible” for the RV road warrior; it’s a “no-fluff” comprehensive guide for both novice and seasoned RVers. Packed with checklists; photos; schematics and charts, as well as plenty of sound, user-friendly technical advice. Features hundreds of proven RV tips, tricks and techniques to save you time, money and maybe even your sanity! You simply won’t find this level of detail covered in any other RV book. If you are looking for a complete resource that answers all your RV-related questions, the latest edition of The RV Handbook from Trailer Life Books is exactly what you are looking for. 
Click here for more information.

QwikShower WipesShower Wipes
Although this product is marketed toward kids who can use them after gym class at school, I think these would be a great addition to anyone’s RV. QwikShower Wipes – from a company that calls itself My Kids Stink, LLC — are large, moist, single-use disposable cloths with a subtle scent and economical price point. QwikShower Wipes are appealing for many reasons:
• Convenient. Each wipe is individually wrapped for portability and to ensure it never dries out.
• Effective. With a large 10-inch by 12-inch dimension and a resilient cloth-like material, QwikShower Wipes are big and study enough to clean the entire body, also leaving a slight fresh scent behind.
• Green. Environmentally friendly, QwikShower Wipes are non-aerosol and emit zero fluorocarbon emissions unlike popular body sprays.  This also ensures the scent won’t invade the personal space of others or overwhelm the small space of a camper.
• Economical. Starting at just 49 cents each coupled with the company’s free shipping policy, QwikShower Wipes are very affordable.
• Versatile. QwikShower Wipes are great for use after sports practices and games, a day at the beach, or an impromptu restaurant outing with the family. Also a stellar solution for adults, the wipes are perfectly suited for boaters, campers and fitness enthusiasts. They are also a must for emergency preparedness kits in the event of water outages.
For more information about QwikShower Wipes visit www.QwikShower.com.

State Parks gift cards
Quite frankly, a state parks gift card or gift certificate is just about the perfect gift to give an RVer. A State Parks gift card is an appealing choice for anyone who likes to play outdoors or unwind in comfort.  Gift cards can be redeemed for camping, getaway rentals, cottage rentals or overnight stays in state park campgrounds, and some are good for use at state park lodges. Many states allow them to be used used at State Parks’ public courses, boat rentals at some state park marinas, or for food and merchandise purchases.

“Drives of a Lifetime” from National GeographicDrives_COVER web
Fall vacations conjure up images of cozy fireplaces, mugs of warm apple cider and drives through gorgeous foliage, rich with the changing colors of the season. National Geographic provides details of hundreds of scenic fall drives and more in “DRIVES OF A LIFETIME: Where to Go, Why to Go, When to Go” ($40 hardcover). Following on the success of National Geographic Traveler magazine’s popular Drives of a Lifetime series, this sumptuously illustrated gift book will appeal to all who have a yen for the open road and for every magnificent sight along the way. Click here for the Amazon.com page for this book.

Duraflame Gold Firelog177 gold_log_lft
Sick of the high cost of firewood? Sick of buying firewood at some campgrounds that’s little more than bark? How about trying the Duraflame Gold firelog for your next campfire. Packaged in chic gold and black, the Gold firelog is ideal for a great weekend fire, and burns longer with brighter with larger flames. The Duraflame Gold firelog is the first 7-pound firelog that burns for over four hours without tending, and is made from 100 percent renewable resources and burns 80 percent cleaner than wood. Available in a four-log pack for a suggested retail price of $24.99 or sold as a single log for $5-6/log. For more information visit www.duraflame.com.

“Winnebago Man” documentary on DVDWinnebago Man DVD
The outrageously funny, critically-acclaimed documentary “Winnebago Man” ($29.95) is available on DVD by Kino International. Following its much-publicized U.S. theatrical release in over 100 markets, as well as Jack Rebney’s national television debut as a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the DVD is one of the most talked-about documentaries of the year. Click here for the Amazon.com page for this DVD.

BananagramsBananagrams - Open Banana
Bananagrams ($14.95) is a fast and fun anagram game that drives players bananas! Requiring no pencil, paper or board, Bananagrams comes in a small portable banana shaped pouch and is perfect fun for kids from 7 – 97 years-old, at home or on the go. Bananagrams is available online as a free Facebook Application and on the iPad, iPhone and iTouch as well as in a series of books. Bananagrams recently launched in Spanish, French, Norwegian and German as well as in a larger version – DOUBLE Bananagrams, the big banana for the larger bunch (for 16+ players).

Cascade Sleeping Bag from Peak Camping4_Cascade20
I’m not one for mummy-style sleeping bags, but for those who are then jump in and snuggle up for a long rest with this best-selling High Peak USA Cascade Sleeping Bag.  With a temperature rating of +20, -5, and -15 degrees F (ladies bag is available in +20 and -5), you can be assured a restful sleep outdoors even during the most frigid nights. The Thermolite Quallo insulation is a special fiber technology that promotes warmth and easy packing and maintains resilience and high loft. The Cascade also features an insulated chest collar to keep cold air from sneaking in.  The shell is made of 310T/210T nylon.  Dimensions: 31 inches by 79 inches by 21 inches (footbox).

“Along Interstate-75″ booki75
Since 1992, Dave Hunter (and his wife and travel partner, Kathy) have acquired hundreds of friends and travel industry contacts along the I-75 corridor, who share their “local knowledge” of roadside secrets, local restaurants and ways to save money. “Along Interstate-75″ is published by Mile Oak Publishing, Inc. and is available in bookstores, at AAA in OH, by phone at 800-431-1579, online and at www.i75online.com. Useful travel information to help anyone driving this popular interstate from Detroit to the Florida border and back.

So there you have it. Granted, it’s not the most comprehensive list in the world, but these are things I’ve come across that I thought might catch your eye as well.

From the personal blog: I continue to post information on great getaways to many popular Midwest destinations, including Traverse City’s Winter Wow!fest, as well as great tips on how to protect yourself from the cold. Another pretty cool post was the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds recent announcement of the 32 campgrounds and RV parks that received an ‘A’ grade.

Gr8LakesCamper celebrates the world of RV Camping in the Midwest. Gather around the campfire and share tips, ideas and stories on RVing, camping and travel destinations. Follow Gr8LakesCamper on Twitter, Facebook and the personal blog.

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Boy Scout RV Tour

July 31, 2009 by Nick Russell · 365 Comments 

boy-scout-rv-front-web

My cousin Terry Cook is very active in Scouting, so when he told me that a specially decorated RV is traveling the country to celebrate the Boy Scout’s 100 year anniversary in 2010, and that it would be in Traverse City, Michigan yesterday, I accepted his invitation to go check it out.

The 32 foot long Class C, donated by Coachmen Industries, is scheduled to visit all 308 Boy Scout Councils in the lower 48 states between now and next February, when it will end its tour at the National Scouting Museum in Irving, Texas. Fourteen teams of Scout leaders from different areas around the United States will take the RV on separate legs of the journey. Traverse City was stop 186 on the “Century of Values Tour.”

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15 Great Oddball Museums

July 30, 2009 by Nick Russell · 110 Comments 

We love finding strange museums in our travels around the country, and we have discovered some real finds as we explore this great land of ours. Here are fifteen of my favorites, in no particular order.

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Tips to Save Money on Your Next RV Vacation

February 15, 2009 by rv.net · 4 Comments 

By Guest Blogger, Ted Kasper

A typical vacation, even with just a family of four, can become quite expensive. There are costs for transportation, lodging, food—and don’t forget the entertainment. Amusement park tickets, museum admission, historic tours, boat rentals and the like all add to vacation expenses. RV family vacations are, on average, 26 to 74 percent less expensive than travel by personal car, airline or cruise ship.

Here are some tips that will help you save money while still enjoying all the fun, freedom and flexibility that RVing has to offer.

  • Camp closer to home. There’s no need to venture outside your home state! For example, in Michigan, there are over 1,000 campgrounds located near popular destinations, along major tourist routes and even in metropolitan areas. Remember, you’re always on vacation at the campsite, even if it’s only an hour drive from home.
  • Stay longer in one place. Many RV parks are vacation destinations in their own right, offering something for everyone—swimming pools, playgrounds, game rooms, boating, fishing, nature trails, planned activities and more!
  • Eat in. Cook your family favorites in the convenience of an RV to avoid the high costs of eating out. Better yet, cook over your campfire!
  • Drive 55 instead of 65. For every 1 mph increase over 55 mph, fuel efficiency decreases 2.2 percent.
  • Adjust home thermostats to save energy when traveling.
  • Pack light and purchase firewood, water and other camping materials at the campground to keep the RV lightweight while traveling.
  • Tune up the engine of your motorhome or tow vehicle, inflate tires properly and conduct regular maintenance to maximize fuel efficiency.
  • Use the grade of fuel recommended by the engine manufacturer to increase miles per gallon.
  • Travel during off-peak times. Avoid rush hour or travel at night when the weather is cooler and the vehicle air conditioning is needed less.

For more information about RV vacations, visit the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) Web site, www.marvac.org.

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