June 2016 Journal: The Essential Bs: Boats, Birds, Bikes, and Beaches

(A little note:  Levi has been concentrating on making videos and other projects so I am taking over the journal entries for now.  Until further notice, you’re stuck with me.)

We are working five days a week (total of 40 hours each) at our new work camping gig with Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping.  I am getting familiar with the office routines and the reservation program.  Levi’s days are much more varied, some days helping to improve the landscape and others working alongside housekeeping; everyday is a new adventure (and a new pain introduced to his body)!

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Getting stronger everyday! No pain, no gain!

Since we have only a couple days off, we try to take advantage of the site seeing opportunities available only minutes away!  One of the perks of our camp host position is free and discounted offers to local attractions. We decided to knock off the top (and closest) activity first thing, visiting Mackinac Island! Courtesy of our company, we received two free tickets to board the Star Line Ferry, one of the fastest transportation methods to the island.  The Star Line is a hydro-jet ferry that zooms to the island in less than twenty minutes!  It is fast!

Essential B #1: Boats!

The "rooster tail" of the Star Line Ferry
The “rooster tail” of the Star Line Ferry
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Levi and Brewy aboard the Star Line Ferry. Brewy was initially nervous and then calmed down…I was initially nervous, too:)
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Fresh off the ferry and into the hustle and bustle of downtown Mackinac Island….lots of souvenir shops, restaurants, and no shortage on fudge!

We brought Brewy on our island adventure!  The island is very pet-friendly, allowing dogs into many of the shops and restaurants (well sitting outside the restaurant porch as you dine outside).  Fort Mackinac also allows dogs.

Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the island (save snow mobiles during the winter months). Instead, people get around with peddle bikes, horse and carriage, or by foot.  We decided to rent bikes including a closed-in carriage for Brewy and explored the main attractions…Grand Hotel (famous for some film with Superman Christopher Reeve, but he wasn’t Superman in that movie, more like a super time traveler), Skull Cave, Fort Mackinac, Arch Rock, and Butterfly House.

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Some of the many horse drawn carriages zigzagging throughout the island.
Our transportation around the island...well we got off the bikes and pushed them uphill for half that time...so I suppose biking and hiking were the modes of transportation:)
Our transportation around the island…well we got off the bikes and pushed them uphill for half that time…so I suppose biking and hiking were the modes of transportation:) Brewy was along for the ride…and push.
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The Grand Hotel…one of the highlights of Mackinac Island
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Strike a pose…Arch Rock in the background

The paths were very lush!  We happened to visit during the Lilac Festival so many flowers were in bloom and the pop of color added even more beauty amidst the green vegetation and roaring blue waters!

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Intense look as I study the flowers!
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Pretty lilacs!
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Time to taste some brews! We were up to the challenge! Levi has his game face on!
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Brewy looking bummed because the restaurant wouldn’t let her sit inside the porch area, dogs outside the railing….boo!!!

We took a break from touring with lunch, sampling beer and chowing down on sandwiches. That hit the spot and we continued exploring the coastline and browsing the many souvenir shops before heading back to the mainland.

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So many photo-ops around Mackinac Island!
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Stacking stones along the shoreline
Pooped out from hiking and biking.
Pooped out from hiking and biking.

Lucky for us, we caught the ferry taking a detour under the Mackinac Bridge before heading back home.  The suspension bridge is massive just driving across, but traveling below brings out more of its magnificence!

Essential B #2: Birds!

About midway through the month we learned about a little project happening right under our noses.  Levi was in the process of doing one of his favorite tasks (right up there with washing dishes and vacuuming), emptying the tanks, and noticed a robin swoop out from below the driver’s side slide out. Turns out, an American Robin was busy making a nest for her future family.  We attached our webcam to the underbelly of the slide out when she wasn’t around and watched in anticipation as egg after egg appeared in the nest.

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Setting up for the big robin production!
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Four blue eggs ready for their debut!

Over just a couple of weeks we witnessed four little blue eggs become little fragile pink bodies hungry for whatever their mother would bring.  Levi and I documented our daily and weekly observations on a separate page titled, The Little Stowaway.  You can check out the whole lot of journal entries and videos here.

Essential B #3: Bikes!

For the past few months, we have been talking about selling the scooter, for a couple of reasons.  One, we hardly use it.  Two, relative to one, we are paying insurance and registration fees for a vehicle that we hardly use.  We have tried selling it via Craigslist, LetGo, and word of mouth to no avail.  We were grabbing some groceries in Mackinaw City one day and passed by a scooter rental shop.  Long story short, we ended up selling it to the shop owner.  Issue solved. (*Levi did admit feeling a tinge of sadness as he parked it one last time and walked away.  It was a really good scooter and got him around Las Vegas when I was using the Yaris for work.)

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Once last glimpse of Levi’s scooter:(

We zoomed to Wal-Mart shortly after and purchased two peddle bikes, purchases we have been wanting to make since our stay in Kansas and missing out on the many biking paths in Wichita.  Michigan has tons of biking routes and paths, as well.  Since buying my mountain bike and Levi’s cruiser, we have biked all over the campground and into town.  The sites are breathtaking, but don’t take too big of a breath or else you will swallow some bugs!

Out for a ride!
Out for a ride!

Essential B #4: Beaches! 

Mackinaw City is quite a distance from commercial businesses that we are used to frequenting like PetSmart, CVS Pharmacy, or Costco.  The closest town (aside from crossing the border into Canada) that has most of these stores is about an hour and a half away in Traverse City. We decided to make a whole day of the trip and visited the national park, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  (I, of course, needed to add another stamp to my National Parks Passport, as well.)

We loaded the little blue car with our snorkeling gear and wet suits.  Brewy hopped in too. Away we went on our epic journey.  Sleeping Bear Dunes is massive!  There are so many outdoor activities to take part in throughout the many pockets of the park.  We found a secluded beach and jumped into the water after suiting up.  While we snorkeled and explored the many rocks and fish below the surface, Brewy swam in and out of the water (life jacket on).  We toured more of the park via car, including the visitor’s center.

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Tuckered from our park visit we finished up what shopping we needed and headed back home, OOHing and AWWing at the quaint seaside towns and tranquil colors of the sunset.

Essential B (Back to #1): Boats!

The end of June brought us back to climbing atop another boat, the Original Mackinaw Icebreaker! This beast was the largest icebreaker to hit the Great Lakes.  After it’s decommission, it became a museum, all its parts preserved in time. The Original Mackinaw Icebreaker served as a major transporter of material and transportation during World War II. The ship’s design is specific for its function, shatter the ice barrier and keep moving.

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All we had to do was follow the ducks to……

 

....the Mighty Original Mackinaw Icebreaker!
….the Mighty Original Mackinaw Icebreaker!
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Ahoy there, Matey!

Honorable Mention B: Buddies!

(added 7/15/2016) One of the best parts about full time RVing is making friends along the trail. We have met a whole host of people here at the park, fellow work campers and local workers. Everyone has their own fun personality and engaging stories to share.  We always learn so much from each person we encounter and try to apply what we have learned in some aspect of our new lifestyle.

We met potential full time RVers, Kristi and Andrew, on Facebook, coincidentally. I was commenting on a full-time RVer’s post, mentioning that we were in the same area, Mackinaw City. Krisit replied to my comment letting me know that she would be staying at our campground and wanted to meet to talk about full time RVing.  Her and her husband have been playing around with the idea and wanted to get some insight!

We met up a couple of times, swapped stories, shared a beer around the campfire and toured each other’s rigs.  They had many questions regarding the full time start up process and had great ideas to share about helping other, potential full time RVers, become more informed and acclimated to the lifestyle. We hope to meet up with them along the trail in the future!!

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Whew!!! No wonder we are always tired…between 40 hour work weeks and touring the town and nearby cities, we have just enough time to grab a bite to eat and a few hours of shut eye! There is so much to see in this state and so little time to do it!!!

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Lessons learned: Michigan should start with the letter B! The Great Lakes aren’t called Great for nothing! Boats are pretty awesome and so are beaches!

Feel free to leave a comment, as your feedback is always appreciated. If you would like to help keep us on the trail you can use our affiliate link to do your regular Amazon shopping here. Happy trails!

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2 thoughts on “June 2016 Journal: The Essential Bs: Boats, Birds, Bikes, and Beaches

  • July 15, 2016 at 6:05 AM
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    [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Human SPAM filter found “buddie” in “comment_content” *]
    You left out another “B”….Buds. Its always fun to establish new buddies (i.e. friends) along the way 😉

    Reply
    • July 15, 2016 at 7:59 AM
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      The most important B of all!!!! You are absolutely right!!! Levi and I did meet some pretty awesome future full time RVers….Kristi and Andrew….I neglected to add that to the journal and am doing so now:) We had so much fun talking to you two (and Andrew’s parents!) Good people!!!

      Reply

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