Where We've Been (46 out of 50 States)...Where We Are!

Where We've Been (46 out of 50 States)...Where We Are!
We are extensively traveling around...working and having a blast...Life is Grand!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hickory Lake Campground

29510 US Highway 169
Aitkin, Minnesota 56431

All the sites are for sale but until they are all sold, they will continue renting them for daily accommodations. We managed this campground for three seasons and the expectations of the owners are of a first class rate. We revisited as guests in 2011 and the standards are just as high.

All sites have water, electric and sewer, they are not very level and some are bigger then others but if they are managed correctly then they will be able to put you in the correct site for your rig. The price you will pay will be around $50, depending on the size of your family and if you bring any pets.

They have WiFi but it is not very strong. Our Verizon phones and MiFi hardly work, AT&T and T-Mobile phones worked the best.

This is more of a campground that families stay for the weekend so the weekdays are usually available for overnighters, especially the few pull throughs. The restroom/showers were clean and a small laundry room which needs to be updated. They have a game room, store, a gathering room with puzzles, book exchange and plenty of activities for the kids on the weekends.

They are located right on a small lake where the fishing is great or for you to just relax.

Most of the folks that stay here are from Minnesota, but everyone is welcome. For those of you who are looking for a place to call home during the summer months, they are selling their lots and it is a great community with great people that you can call your family.

We took hundreds of photos while we worked here, to see them all, check out our Picasa Web Albums.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Michigan International Speedway - The Rest of the Story

We had intended to update daily or at least a few times while we were there, but with all the action and the slow connection due to all the usage of cell phones we were unable to keep up.

We arrived in the staging area at the track on Thursday around noon to prepare for our going into the infield around 5pm. What a great well oiled machine they have, the hundreds of campers lined up and orchestrated into the infield was amazing. We were close to the front of the line so it was pretty cool to watch the infield fill up with campers and all the things people do at the races to show their love for the sport, us included.

There are differences at each race track we attend, there were a few very noticeable ones here. Absolutely no dogs were allowed, actually no pets at all. Also, since there was no tunnel where vehicles could come in or out except when they opened the track, the traffic was low. Everyone drove their bikes around the infield instead of their vehicles which was a nice change. They also had a policy, which we did not learn until Sunday, but anyone who was a rookie, (first time in the infield here) hung caution tape all over them and their site, we did not but here is an example.

The track is very fan oriented, we apparently were flying our flag too high and were instructed by a very courteous security personnel to please lower it. We have been to several tracks either working or as fans and we have encountered some pretty egotistical workers who felt they needed to be rough to enforce the rules, these guys were not and we must admit, it was a welcomed encounter.

Most of our neighbors were great, we had that one guy that everyone regrets having in their group but all in all the others made up for him, for the most part, he got drunk then passed out. Our neighbor in front of us had a trailer with an outside generator that he situated about 6 feet from our rig, it was fine since it was in front of us and we sleep in the back area. We were outside enjoying the terrific weather we were having when I seen smoke, lots of black smoke coming from his generator and before we could reach it, the generator spewed oil ALL over our rig. The windshield, passenger window and the entire front of our rig was covered with oil. Luckily, Jerry had just washed and waxed it so it didn’t soak in too much, it was hot so once it cooled everyone joined in to get it off. It didn’t do any damage but it was a mess to clean up.

While trying to update our blog this strange bird came from out of nowhere and jumped up on my computer. It startled me at first, but then when it began to pose for me to photograph it, we knew it was harmless. It was not injured, just scared we think from the noise the cars made when they started their engines. It is loud in the infield and for such a small thing, it can surely feel like a huge distraction. But, once it got it’s bearings back, it flew away without a problem.

We had 3 great days of racing…Jerry watches it from the roof of our RV and I enjoy it on our patio with our Sprint FanView Scanner. Friday we enjoyed the ARCA race, then Saturday Carl Edwards won the Nationwide Series, then finally on Sunday, we watched Denny Hamlin take the checker flag to win the Sprint Cup Series. It was a great weekend for racing and for us to be in the infield and absorbing all of the energy, it was fantastic.

We had a great time and stayed until Monday morning, which many folks did as well. Our last evening we hung out with our neighbors having a huge bonfire since NO wood could leave the infield once it was brought in. This is something that is happening a lot in this part of the country due to the different types of bugs that are causing complete havoc amongst the trees. We got an early start and were on the road again heading north through Michigan.

We took so many photos, to see them all, check out our Picasa Web Albums.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Michigan International Speedway - Day One

Just wanted to share a few of the many photos we have taken so far...

See how close we are to the track...

All NASCAR'd up!

We will share the entire story and all of our photos, but for now we need to check it all out and do some shopping...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lighthouse Village RV Resort

1001 24 Mile Road
Homer, MI 49245

This is a membership park only, we stayed here using our Coast to Coast membership and paid $10 per night for a water, electric, sewer and free WiFi. Our Verizon phones and MiFi were a bit on the slow side but were usable. We found a site without so many trees so we were able to use our DirecTV dish.

This is absolutely one of those places that if we were to ever settle down it would be at a place like this. Very well manicured areas and each member has the same sort of pride with their own sites. It feels more like a community instead of an RV Resort.

They have several areas with restrooms and showers and each one was immaculate.

You won’t be bored here, they offer several playground areas, one even had a wooden train for the kids to climb on. We watched many folks fish on the lake and the pond. You can swim in the crystal clear pool or in the lake with a great beach area, or even enjoy the very hot indoor Jacuzzi.

There is something for everyone, they have shuffleboard, horseshoes, Putt-Putt Golf, and a recreation room filled with billiards, ping pong table, and all sorts of other indoor activities. The library is huge and offers an area to build puzzles or use the computer to go online.

There pet policy was normal and they seemed to adhere to it since we did not notice any violators which always makes it more comfortable for us to enjoy our stay.

“No pets are allowed in the clubhouse. No pets are permitted on the beach or in the playground. Pets must be maintained and controlled on a leash at all times. You are responsible for cleaning up after your pet.”

If you ever get the opportunity to stay here, do not pass it up, we will certainly stay here again.

For more photos, check out our Picasa Web Albums.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Casino Hopping

As you can see we decided to do some driving around Michigan and check out many of the casinos around. We did not hit any major jackpots but we had fun and what an adventure. We avoided bad weather, we only had some rain and wind but it was a great week of play time and the scenery was spectacular.

Sure did beat sitting around a campground without much to do. If you don’t have a gambling problem, then casino boondocking is a great way to go. They usually have some great deal meals and the price is usually right for parking overnight. We have come across many, especially in Oklahoma on I-40 that offer full hookups for 3 nights FREE, others have a small charge and then there are a few that are outrageously priced, and we have even been to a few that do not allow RV’s at all, not even to just go inside to gamble and eat, those we do not frequent at all.

We are now at a Coast to Coast park in Homer, Michigan for a few more days waiting to head to Brooklyn, Michigan where we will be in the infield for the race at Michigan International Speedway. We can’t get into the infield until Thursday evening, but we can if we choose to, stage outside until then…not sure if we will do that or not. The other adjacent campgrounds were able to get in as early as Monday morning, but the infield, not until Thursday evening so we will probably hang out here until then.

We are also ready to set forth on an excursion we have been working on for years…publishing our work. We are adventuring into creating e-books and an online magazine, something that has always been on the back burner, but is now up front and ready for exposure. We will let you all know just as soon as it takes off!

For those of you who are already successful in this venture, please share with us your thoughts on the software programs you use and why you like them and as usual any comments, suggestions or advice is welcomed.

For more photos, check out our Picasa Web Albums.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

The Hill Campground / Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe

7525 E Tomah Road
Mount Pleasant, MI 48858
(989) 772-2285

The only discount they offered was a $1 off for seniors, which we did not qualify, but he gave it to us anyway. We paid $16 for a water and electric site, they do not have any sewer hookups but they do have a conveniently located dump station. They also offer very inexpensive weekly and monthly rates.

The sites were a bit rough but we were level with just a few adjustments. They are currently updating all of the sites so they will all be 20/30/50 amps, for now make sure you let them know what you need and then he will give you the right sites with the proper amps.

The restrooms were a bit outdated and were not sparkly, they had spider webs and many dead bugs around which could have happened overnight or not.

The pool area was clean and sparkly.

They are associated with the nearby Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort and offer a free 24/7 shuttle service. All you have to do is call the casino and let them know that you need a ride and they will arrive at your site.

We would recommend this place and if we are ever in the area again, we would stay here.

For more photos, check out our Picasa Web Albums.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort

6800 Soaring Eagle Blvd
Mount Pleasant, MI 48858

They do not have a RV Park, but they have a hotel and offer boondocking with plenty of space and shuttle service 24/7. We had a little problem with our camera and our photos of the area did not turn out, but if we are ever in the area again, we will certainly stop and take some better photos.

The casino is huge with all the latest and greatest slot machines and plenty of table gaming. We ate at the Buffet and it was a bit pricey for lunch, it cost a little under $30 but it was really good. The only promotions by getting a players card was 10% off on purchases, food and merchandise.

For more photos, check out our Picasa Web Albums.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Sagining Eagles Landing Casino

2690 Worth Road
Standish, MI 48658

We boondocked here in June of 2011.

This casino does not have a hotel or an RV Park, but they do allow boondocking overnight. It is a small casino with many of the newer slot machines. The only restaurant they have is a Subway and a Deli. If we are ever in the area again, we would stop by again.

For more photos, check out our Picasa Web Albums.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Leelanau Sands Casino

2521 NW Bayshore Drive
Suttons Bay, MI 49682

They have an area across from the casino where you can hook up to electricity only for $7 which was perfect since it was a 90 degree day. We are perfectly content if we have electricity instead of using our generator, boondocking is not so bad then. We might have stayed a few nights but the casino was really small and not too many good machines that we like playing. We had excellent Verizon phone and MiFi service.

We had dinner at the Double Eagle Restaurant which was good, nothing too great for under $30, but was good. We really like the electric hookup, but because the casino is so small, if we are ever in the area again we would not go out of our way to stay here.

For more photos, check out our Picasa Web Albums.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Turtle Creek Casino

7741 M-72 East
Williamsburg, MI 49690

They do not have a RV Park but do make it very inviting for boondocking. There is ample space and we were greeted immediately by the shuttle to get us to the casino. He said if we are ever in need of a ride 24/7, just turn on our flashers and the shuttle will come to us. We had excellent service with our Verizon phones and MiFi.

The casino is beautiful, but unfortunately the machines were so tight, so tight that we only stayed a few hours before heading out. There were no promotions for first time visitors. We ate at the Seasons Buffet but they only serve off the menu for lunch, which is not indicated on the website. It was tasty, but nothing special for under $20.

If we are ever in the area again, we might check it out just to see if the machines would play with us a little more or not.

For more photos, check out our Picasa Web Albums.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Odawa Casino Resort

1760 Lears Road
Petoskey, MI 49770

They do not have any sort of RV Park but they do allow you to boondock overnight as long as you like. They have a great area for boondocking that is well lit up and away from the casino. They do offer a shuttle service from the area by using the phone provided to call a shuttle to come get you. We had great signal for our Verizon phones and MiFi.

The machines were nice and loose and they really gave some great promotions. We ate buffet lunch for free, coins to win extra money, and entries for all sorts of giveaways. They were so friendly and went out of their way to accommodate their guests. If we are ever in the area again, we will stop by to play and boondock.

For more photos, check out our Picasa Web Albums.

Rand McNally Wins the Worst Customer Service Award Hands Down

The following message will be distributed to blogs, Facebook, media and anybody else that will publish it in the days ahead...

On Monday, May 23, we decided to order it on their website before you could purchase it in the stores. For ordering it before June 1, we would save $70 and free shipping, so we did! That was without a doubt the beginning of the worst customer service we have ever had to deal with, so much so that even though for the few hours we had it in our hands we believed it was the greatest invention since sliced bread, we are now going to wait until another company comes up with the same product and for now purchase another GPS or possibly just live with the one we have.

Where do we begin…?

Anytime we order anything online, we track our packages. In the past, we have almost exclusively ordered from Wal-Mart or Amazon because they have the absolute best shipping in place, something as a full-time traveler is very important to us. We need our packages to be delivered without any sort of delays since we plan them so precise to our travels.

After the initial ordering, we tracked it and for days nothing…we became increasingly concerned since the holiday weekend was upon us and we needed it to be delivered on the following Tuesday as promised. We had already sent three emails asking for some sort of status and received NO reply. Then, on Thursday afternoon, we called again but this time refused to just leave a message, we insisted on speaking with somebody in charge. We were advised that there was some sort of warehouse issue and the package may not even begin processing until Tuesday of the following week. This was not acceptable to us. We went back and forth and we had to finally settle for them sending it to the next park we will be at next week.

Just a little side note, during all of this, we found that our credit card had been overcharged and we were dealing with another department for this. Finally, after several calls and emails we got this resolved…well not totally resolved as yet, but they said they would credit our account the overcharge, as of this moment it has NOT happened.

We received the package on Wednesday, and let me say for a few hours we played with it and absolutely LOVED all the different things we could do with it. We will not get into it too much since what happened next took away from all of its greatness!

On Thursday, we connected it to our computer to download the software and get the latest updates and weird things began to happen…we tried everything and all we kept getting were critical errors. Finally called the technical department. This time we got a very helpful guy who said that this has never happened but we tried this and that and finally diagnosed that we would need to send the device back it to them so they can repair it and then send it back to us, which could take a few weeks.


After many conversations with the supervisors, we all agreed that we would send this one back to them but did not want it repaired and returned to us. Instead, they would IMMEDIATELY send us one so it would get to us by Monday (since once again we would be leaving this place on Tuesday) and we would send this paperweight back to them. He suggested calling on Friday for the tracking number.

That call was suppose to be simply calling for the tracking number…NOT! Once again, the representative turned out to be a nincompoop. There are plenty of other descriptive words that could be used to describe his inability to communicate with me, but for now, we will stick with this one. He began reading script to me on what the policies were for Rand McNally on returns and continued to talk over me when I tried to explain to him that this was an extenuating circumstance that was approved yesterday by a supervisor. He put me on hold so many times and upon his return would once again quote his script. Every time I asked for a supervisor, he said they were all busy and would take a message, I told him I would hold. He told me he had other calls to take, he would give a supervisor my message, and he would return my call within 48 hours, I told him I would hold. This went on for so long, finally when he returned once again quoting the same script and I once again told him I would hold for a supervisor…he said thank you, goodbye now and hung up on me! You could see the steam coming off my head for miles…

I gathered my composure, called a different department this time (sales), and got a wonderful young man who was so sympathetic with my dilemma. He read all the notes and added more of mine that the last young man did not write in. After us going back and forth, we came up with a compromise that I was not happy with but was willing to settle for. He would place a brand new order for a new one to be delivered to us by Monday immediately and he even said he would personally open the box and test it once again so that it would not have any issues. The only problem with this idea is that he would have to charge my card again but it would be refunded once they receive the broken unit. As I said, I was not thrilled with this idea but it would get us our new device to us before we leave this place. He said he would call me later on Friday with the new tracking number for delivery on Monday. The call never came…

I left messages on his direct line he gave me along with numerous messages on the other line, along with several emails to all sorts of different departments and still not heard a thing. Today is Saturday, we do anticipate any sort of resolution, and our only recourse at this point is to just let it go. Too much hassle and annoyance and when that much is against us, we know that it is not meant for us. We will now only fight with them to get all of our money back and then find another GPS or as we said, we may just stay with the one we have. I am so tired of fighting…

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Lakewood Village Resort

14296 Cemetery Road
Wapakoneta, OH 45895

We paid $10 per night with our Coast to Coast membership for a water, electric and sewer site. Our DirecTV and Verizon phones and MiFi worked perfectly.

We had made this reservation months ago but for some reason there was a glitch attached that we were not aware of until we checked in. Coast to Coast members are not allowed through the holiday weekends, but since ours was made and confirmed, they honored it, which was a very nice thing to do. But, because of this they sent us to the very back area which was not as manicured as the other areas and we soon found out that it was where all the campers came on the weekend. It was also an area that was not patrolled often and that had many long termers who did not keep their sites up.

The staff worked hard keeping the restrooms, laundry room and other areas clean during a very busy Memorial Weekend, they should be highly commended. Once the holiday was over we opted to move to another site up close to the pool where it was much nicer.

Their pet policy of “Pets must be on a leash no longer than 10 feet at all times.“ was not enforced especially over the weekend but we noticed at other times as well. Many folks allowed their dogs to run free, grant it for the most part we noticed these dogs stayed in their area but since they were loose it made me feel uncomfortable to walk freely around the campground.

Even though with the few concerns about this park, if we are ever in the area again, we would stay here but it is one of those parks that refer itself as a resort and it really is a campground.

For more photos, check out our Picasa Web Albums.