G has a "swell" time kayaking

G has a "swell" time kayaking
G has a "swell" time on Lake Michigan in an inflatable canoe

Dawn on the Gulf of Mexico

Dawn on the Gulf of Mexico
Dawn on the Gulf of Mexico

Warren Dunes Sunset

Warren Dunes Sunset
Warren Dunes Sunset

Monday, October 19, 2020

Final Day in Michigan 2020

 



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Well it is time to shut down oy Michigan "cabin" in the pond and prepare to embark to Arizona.

We began the day at Eric's Cafe, and it was still dark. We wished Laurie and the other waitress a pleasant winter, thanked them for their wonderful service and then departed. Of course, I left a 25% tip. 

After breakfast and with the sun rising we headed to the dunes and Lake Michigan.  We were greeted by deer and wild turkeys.  The deer are always skittish, but we drove within 10 feet of the turkeys and they were oblivious.  I do undertand; breakfast is a important meal.

 

 


 


 We were greeted with a lot of fall color.  Last night it didn't get as cool as predicted and it was about 50F at 7am.

 


 The dunes were empty but for one other walker.  The snow fences are going up and soon it will be winter.

While the sun rose behind us the lake was grey and cloud cover behind us muted the rising sun.

 


 


 We returned to the campground, winterized our "cabin", stowed the cook station and glider, and ran the slide in.  That's the end of this summer. 

 


Now,to prepare for the trek to Arizona! 


Original material http://roadtrek210.blogspot.com/

 


Sunday, October 18, 2020

End of the season in Michigan





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Well, tonight the weather prediction is a low of 37F.  This is our last walk this season at Weko Beach.

We began the morning at nearby Eric's cafe for breakfast.  Then to the beach. I began packing the Roadtrek shortly thereafter. And then the rain came.

The weather continues to shift to winter.

 


With the  fierce winds, insects need to cling to nearby objects so as to avoid being blown away.  The monarch butterflies have all departed for the southwest and Mexico. We rescued a walking stick on the path and deposited it into the grass.  As a cold blooded insect, this is the sunset.





A squirrel decided to create a nest in the kitchen drawer of a neighbor's travel trailer.


I'm prepping the Roadtrek for our 2,000 mile trip to Arizona.  I'll let the Chevy dealer change the oil, rotate the tires and so on.  I did not replace the tires as planned because we only did local driving this summer.  

Original material http://roadtrek210.blogspot.com/

 

Surf is up at Weko Beach







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I wrote this in mid-September, but delayed posting.

Some people tell us that we are lucky, and we are. However, I also tell them that we began planning this in 1999. It took many years to get the many pieces into place. We traveled by automobile checking out some possible locations, but other obligations limited our travel including work.  And, of course there are financial constraints. As we got close to putting all of it into real action we rented a Class B RV in 2013 to test the plan. We then purchased a Roadtrek so we could explore the remaining places we had researched, experience the lifestyle and visit National Parks and other things we were interested in. We jumped at the opportunity to get an annual site at a campground in Michigan although the plan was to first deal with the southwest U.S. location.

 I did spend thousands of hours on this research, including deciding which Class B to purchase so we could plan our escape and explore many "lily pad" locales. But, there are no guarantees. LOL. I am a firm believer in the philosophy that "life is short" and "today is the best day of my life". In other words, it is all downhill from here. So, while I plan and prepare it is all about shifting constantly from thought into action. 

For those who don't know me well, it all appears to be serendipity, luck and hip shooting. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yet, I am so fortunate that things have turned out as they have. That is part luck and by the grace of God. My favorite expression is "God loves us, but the universe doesn't care". I consider that to be life-affirming, it empowers me and I act accordingly.

I do hope everyone is doing well in "the year of covid-19".  We decided to hunker down for a good part of the summer on the eastern short of Lake Michigan.  Politics kept the restaurants locked down but they have gradually opened. We had a good summer but there was less travel than normal; the governor of this state was issuing punitive punishment against businesses which were deemed to be in non-compliance of the governor's orders, which were found to be unconstitutional. LOL.  

 

We had a lot going on.  One thing was to prepare the condo which we seldom use for sale.  We have two other "lily pads" so the condo has become superfluous.  I got a large dumpster and got rid of a bunch of old business stuff, some furniture and I also gave away a lot of Steelcase and Mayline office furniture. In all, I carried more than 3 tons to the recycler or into this dumpster. LOL. 




Original material:  https://roadtrek210.blogspot.com/

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Replacing the tires at 42,000+ miles



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Our 2013 Roadtrek 210P came with Bridgestone tires.  At 42,600 miles and nearly 8 years old, these have done very well (Chevy chassis manufacture date 12/2012). With these tires we find the road noise acceptable at highway speeds of 80 MPH. These tires show no signs of rot, remaining tread sufficient according to the Michelin tire indicator. etc.  Ergo, my satisfaction. Some might say I'm a preventative maintenance nut because I rotate the tires about every 6,000 miles. But PM is about avoiding unscheduled breakdowns. I want to get where I'm going while trekking and that's why I perform PM and why I carry some unusual spare parts. "Avoid" but not "Eliminate" because things do go wrong from time to time.

We rotate these tires with every oil change. At about 43,000 miles the wear is balanced. "You get what you pay for" and I do think the frequent rotation and tire checks are a good investment in worry and maintenance free controlled trekking; I want to avoid unscheduled maintenance stops. I'd add "You get the service life that you maintain for".

I've begun to look into replacing the tires this year.  I have no interest in getting into a religious battle about the best tires.  I will not purchase China bombs. Period. Here is what I'm researching:

LT245/75R16 E (load range E). 
Service Description: 120/116R (3,169-2,806 lbs. per tire) with speed rating "R" = 106 MPH.

The Bridgstone "Duravis R500 HD " is an all-season tire that approximates what I'm looking for. Installed cost about $250 per tire.

Definition of Highway All-Season: Focused on longer tread life while providing a smooth ride and sufficient all-season traction

FMCA Tire Discount Program
I'm a member and the FMCA does have a discount program with cooperating Michelin, Continental and Hankook dealers. I'll be looking it this as a possible tire source.

Cost to Operate

From a cost to operate perspective the tires cost me about $125 per year.  I pay about $60 for each maintenance visit to our Chevy dealer. That includes full synthetic oil change, tire rotation and multi-point inspection. This occurs about every 6,000 miles, or over 8 years, about once each year.  A really good investment, in my humble opinion. I do simple things like replacing the wiper blades...

Original material:  https://roadtrek210.blogspot.com/

Thursday, May 28, 2020

A Tale of Two Treks, as of 42,612 miles





We completed an 1,824 mile trek and this post compares mileage statistics with a 2,374 mile trek in the fall of 2019.
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This trek was not one of those leisurely ones.  With various lockdowns in various states, campgrounds opening late or is disarray, and closure of restaurants and many sight seeing venues it seemed prudent to simply cover as much ground as quickly as possible.

The fall 2019 trek was more leisurely and at a slower pace.  Speed was at or slightly under the speed limits and was generally in the range of 55 to 65 MPH. Cooler weather and better gas also contributed to better MPG. (not that summer blend low mileage stuff).

The May 2020 trek was a direct run.  Daily miles ranged from a low of 303 to a maximum of 599.  Speeds were all interstate with a range of 65 to 80 MPH. The exceptions were construction on I-55 in Illinois and local roads to and from campgrounds and truck stops.

There was a significant difference in MPG for the two treks, per the gasoline receipts and vehicle odometer:
  1. Fall 2019 = 2,523 miles,  156.98 gallons, cost $372.18, 16.1 MPG. At lower highway speed I clocked 16.5 MPG.  Average cost per gallon = $2.37.
  2. Spring 2020 = 1,824 miles, 128.9 gallons, cost  $226.50, 14.2 MPG per gasoline receipts. I checked the idling and local city miles MPG and it was about 10.5!
  3. Gasoline cost for the Spring 2020 trek was below $2 per gallon until we crossed into Illinois. Lowest cost was $1.599 per gallon in Miami, OK.  That was for 86 Octane; I usually fill up at 1/2 tank and when doing so I alternate 88 Octane and 86 Octane. That averages to 87 Octane. Highest cost was $2.249 for 87 Octane in North-East Illinois (near Chicago).

Several days after this "stop"  I took the Roadtrek to the Chevy dealer for a full-synthetic oil change and multi-point inspection.  Cost $56.98.



At the Chevy Dealer




Original material:  https://roadtrek210.blogspot.com/

Monday, May 25, 2020

Chiricahua National Monument








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"A "Wonderland of Rocks" is waiting for you to explore at Chiricahua National Monument. The 8-mile paved scenic drive and 17-miles of day-use hiking trails provide opportunities to discover the beauty, natural sounds, and inhabitants of this 11,985 acre site. Visit the Faraway Ranch Historic District to discover more about the people who have called this area home."

We visited this National Park Service public site on April 7, 2020.  Shortly thereafter it is my understanding that the park roads were closed although walk-in was possible.  Thia was due to the CCP Covid-19 National Emergency.

The Monument is southeast of Willcox, Arizona, about 120 miles from Tucson.


This site offers a number of very pleasant walking trails. There are also interesting views.  As usual in this dry climate, using a head covering and carrying water to keep hydrated is essential. The lower trails offer shade and are cooler.





On the Massai Nature Trail:
 


There's a convenient lookout point on the trail:






There's even a tunnel on one of the trails:





Balanced Rocks Everywhere:



Hoodoos, too:



For cooler walking, try the Lower Rhyolite Trail:

The Lower Rhyolite Trail is an easy walk for portions, but there are more strenuous options:




Original material:  https://roadtrek210.blogspot.com/



Here's a link to the National Park Service website about this amenity:

https://www.nps.gov/chir/index.htm