45th Anniversary


Winnie was our 45th anniversary present to each other, so it’s only fitting that our first adventure in her would be on that weekend. On our honeymoon we went to Mackinaw City and tented on the shore next to the bridge; an area that is no longer open to campers. We thought it would be nice to revisit that area again for our 45th anniversary.


Our Campsite in 1971


View from our Campsite 1971

The destination was special to us and was also a good distance for her 1st adventure. It is just far enough to get comfortable driving a big rig and close enough at the same time. The weather was predicted to be very cold and it was. Not nice for being outside, but it did give us the opportunity to use our furnace a few times.

Being the parts for the jacks had not come in time and therefore we could not properly level her, we did not want to risk putting out the full slide. We did our best to always find level spots to park in.

Getting Winnie back the night before we were to leave gave us very little time to get everything done. We had not de-winterized her before taking her in for repairs, so that needed to be done. We weren’t sure if they had done it or not. We saw no traces of the antifreeze. But, just in case, we wanted to sanitize the tanks. Unfortunately we could not get the water to stay in the tanks. We tried everything, reading and re-reading the manuals. It was getting late and we were tired and frustrated and still had a lot to get accomplished before we could go. We would just have to get our water the old way; from the community faucet and heat it up in a kettle on the stove.

Our 1st Adventure in Winnie

Up early, like every other day, we were on the road by 7:30 am. Our first stop was to get gas.  After reading what other motorhome owners recommended, we filled up at our local Kroger’s, using the outside lane.  Success. No hiccups. Yah!  Next stop, coffee.  Need my morning coffee and right here in the shopping center is a brand new Biggby Coffee Shop.  We weren’t sure if it was open yet, but we did see someone else go in. So, I get dropped off and go in for a nice fresh cup of coffee.  Come to find out they were not yet open for business but they were training the new staff.  The manager says “that’s ok. We just made a fresh batch. Help yourself.” So, another successful stop. Two wonderfully smelling, fresh, hot coffee’s free.  Next stop around the corner to Kroger for our groceries. Normally this task would have already been done, but with all the issues the past few days we just didn’t have time. While in getting the groceries I rented a couple movies from Redbox to watch at night. Another 1st for me. I hate to admit it, but neither of us know how to operate the did player at home. I don’t even think it’s hooked up. Now out the door and groceries put away, we were happily ready to be on our way without any problems so far.  Well, maybe a small one.  Someone decided to park in front of us, which made leaving the shopping center a little tricky.  But, like a pro, he managed nicely.

Our plan was to take it slow and easy, stopping whenever we needed a stretch or bathroom break.  I also wanted to make a point to always be at our nightly destination by around 3 pm.


Day 1 – Destination:  Hartwick Pines State Park, Grayling, MI.  

  •  205 miles.  7 1/2 hrs.
  •  Left home at 7:30 am. Arrived at 3:00 pm.
  •  Site #68   $35  Full hookup, pull through site.


Day 2 -Destination:  Mackinaw City KOA, Mackinaw, MI.    

  •  107 miles.  6 1/2 hrs.
  •  Day included site seeing and souvenir shopping.
  •  Arrived at campground 3:50 pm.
  •  Site #24  $34.63 w/10% discount.  Full hookup, pull through site. Excellent showers.


Day 3 – Destination:  Wilson State Park,  Harrison,  MI.      

  •  95 miles.  6 hrs.     
  •  Day included drive over Mackinaw Bridge, site seeing, and souvenir shopping.
  • Arrived at campground 3:20 pm.        
  • Site #19  $22.00  pull through site.  Water at site. Nice view of lake.

Day 4 – Destination:  Home

  • 151 miles.  4 hrs.
  • Arrived home 12:45 pm.

Trip Totals        

  • $91.30 – Camping fees (average – $30.54 per night)      
  • $266.00 – Gas        
  • $24.13 –  Propane (8.5 gallons)  
  • $20.00 – Bridge fare ($10.00 each way)          
  • 610.6 Miles

What We Learned or Realized

  • Not extending the main slide-out is very doable but snug.
  • Slide-outs only work when emergency brake is engaged.
  • Engine only starts when chassis is on.
  • Steps can be set to go up and down with opening of door or set to remain down when camping.
  • Not having water in tank is doable as long as campground has adequate showers. Water for dishes and washing up is heated on stove.
  • You can run the furnace either by generator or electric hookup.
  • Blue Ray movies can only be played on a blue ray player.
  • Having a motorhome is very comfortable, enjoyable and fun.

I can’t wait to go full time.

 Until next time,




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