Our plan for RV Trip 5 is to take our RV named Plankton to visit the Northwest Territories, the Yukon, and Alaska, so the journey will be our longest one so far at over 18,000 kms. Our first stop was to visit my brother and his family before heading to Sarnia to visit friends and across into the US at Port Huron. After picking up some groceries at our favourite store Meijers and of course 8 bottles of wine and some cheap diesel we were on our way to Bay City State Recreation Area in Michigan. More than half the campsites were flooded out so the park ranger told us to pick any open dry spot. We picked a nice dry spot and returned to the office only to be told that the site we picked was reserved! By the time we picked another one and returned to the office again the ranger had left for the night. We called in to the central booking area and they took payment for our site but couldn’t handle the charge for the day use fee. We tried to pay that the following morning, but the ranger wasn’t there and the visitor centre guy couldn’t take it so eventually we left it in an envelope. Needless to say, we weren’t too impressed with the check in procedures for this state park. In the morning before heading out we took a nice walk around the day use park to see Saginaw Bay and the marshes where we saw some Great Egrets and turtles.
From Bay City we headed north and eventually crossed the Mackinac Suspension Bridge which connects the lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan. The bridge was opened in 1957 and at 26,372’ long it is the 22nd longest main span bridge in the world and it averages 11,600 vehicles per day. On our trip last September, we had taken the upper route in the upper peninsula so this time we decided to take the lower route. Eventually we ended up at Indian Lake State Park which again was similar in that we could get electric hookup but their water fill, dump stations, and bathrooms were closed. Luckily we had been able to get water in Bay City so we were good for a few more days. This is part of the challenge of travelling in the early part of May because the nights can be cool and the campgrounds are really only partially open. We had a really gorgeous sunset view from our campsite across Indian Lake that night. For this park we did the self registration and included our day use fee in the envelope and the next morning the ranger came by to give us the day use sticker and tell us we could go to other parks anytime that day.
On the other side of Indian Lake was Palms Book State Park which was a day use area with Michigan’s largest natural spring. The pond had a raft on it that you could wheel yourself across the pond so we decided to take advantage of our day use fee and visit the spring. The park was significantly improved from 1933-1942 by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) including the new raft. We were the first to arrive there in the morning so got to enjoy a peaceful spin across the pond on the raft. The centre of the raft had a viewing area into the water and you could see lots of massive Lake Trout swimming around. The spring was called Kitch-iti-kipi by the Ojibway as that meant Big Spring. It was a good arm workout to wheel the raft across the pond and back. When we returned a large wedding group party was waiting to come on board.
We carried on along the Lake Michigan northern boundary until around Escanaba where we turned inland and for lunch we stopped in to see Bewabic SP in Michigan. The camping was closed here but we had our lunch by the lake and looked at the outside of the historic log bathhouse built by the CCC. We carried on along highway 2 through Michigan and then entered Wisconsin in Ironwood and on to Copper Falls SP. We were very surprised by the camping fees in the SP in Wisconsin as it was $25 for the site, $10 extra for Electric, and you had to pay an $11 day use fee. However after we did a very long walk along the Bad River gorge to see the various water falls we were really glad we had come to this park. They even had a couple of MTB trails but we didn’t have enough time to check them out so we’ll save that for another time. For the hike we went from the North campground to the Doughboys trail and then went way up to the Observation tower and in turn along CCC Trail 1962 back down to Horseshow Falls and across the bridge and up to see Devil’s Gate. We carried on to Brownstone Falls, the Cascades, and finally to Copper Falls before returning to the campground.
As we continued our drive through Wisconsin we stopped in at Amnicon Falls SP to have a quick look and walk around for future trips. The circle trail around the falls and across the covered bridge was very nice but the campground only had a small number of sites and it didn’t look like they had any electric hookups. The bridge was called the Horton Covered bridge and also a bowstring bridge and was patented in 1897. There are only 5 remaining and all are in Wisconsin.
We did our usual diesel fill up in Superior Wisconsin before crossing into Minnesota because Minnesota uses B20 Biodiesel and that is not good for our engine. Since I brought along an extra 20 L jerry can we also filled that up with good diesel and used that to help us get through Minnesota without filling up. We carried on along highway 2 in Minnesota and had lunch in Floodwood which is listed as the Catfish Capital of the World. Further along we saw “The Big Fish” so we had to get Plankton’s picture beside it😉
Our destination for this day was the KOA in Bemidji as their web site said they were open and we wanted a location with a dump station so we could empty our grey and black tanks before staying in Winnipeg for a week. However, as we rolled into their driveway they had a huge sign that said closed for the season. We had already checked and all the SP’s in that area did not have dump stations open as we were now further north. We started calling around to RV parks and finally found one open on Fox Lake. It was a little bit out of the way but they had water and sewer connections and it was a nice young couple running. We got a beautiful site right by the water and enjoyed a sunset walk around one portion of the lake and even saw a beaver swimming.
The next morning we dumped and flushed out our tanks and started the drive along highway 59 north west to Winnipeg. This route was mainly farmland so not quite as interesting as our journey through Minnesota last year through the forest areas but we had no traffic and I was able to hypermile the RV averaging 12.1 Litres per 100 km which was the best I’ve ever been able to do. We’ve completed 2,224 kms so far and we’ve started a wildlife count with the summary up to now being as follows:
Wild Turkeys – 8 Deer – 30 Turkey Vultures – 5 Large White Owl – 1 Eagles – 3 Fox – 1 Trumpeter Swans – 10 Turtles – 3 Beaver – 1
We’ll be visiting with family for a couple of weeks and then begin the journey north to the NWT so stay tuned😉