Archive for February, 2012

Again with reservations

Thursday, 2nd February 2012; 10:47 pm

It seems every year around this time I begin to have reservations. You know: for campsites. 🙂

Scouting out the state parks’ online reservation system, I can see that some of the more popular campgrounds are already starting to get reserved up. Since I have the vacation time approved, there’s little reason to hesitate about making my own reservations.

The only arguments for waiting are 1) it means spending the money now instead of some later date, and 2) something could happen between now and later that would require me to cancel the trip. But despite money being tight due to the past year having a lot of unexpected expenses, I can come up with the couple hundred bucks that I’ll be spending on camping. And I worry too much about “what if”. So I’ve committed.

It turns out that I’ll only be staying in state parks 4 out of the 7 nights I’ll be on the road. That’s Mitchell SP (Cadillac) and Petoskey SP on the way up the Lower Peninsula, Tahquamenon SP at the northern end of the ride in the UP, and Clear Lake SP on the way back down through the LP.

The first two are what I think of as “suburban state parks”: located just outside of small cities; these are the ones that were starting to get reserved already, presumably by families taking the RV out for a week or weekend by the lake. The last one is similar, but without a nearby city. My goal with these reservations was to make sure I got sites that would be to my liking: a little out of the way, hopefully trees, suitable for pitching a tent… electrical hookups and ease of parking an RV, not so important.

Tahquamenon SP is more of a “tourist state park”: people go there to see the Falls. I’ve camped there once before, as a stop on the way to my first visit to Isle Royale, 10 years ago. On that visit, I selected the most rustic campground in the park; I was getting ready for a week in the wilderness, after all. This time I opted for a site at one of the campgrounds closer to the Falls themselves… more touristy, but the site I picked was described as “unlevel”, “elevated”, and “no camping pad”, all of which sounds simultaneously bad for an RV and attractive to me.

The three non-state-park nights are all going to be at “forests”. These are usually more rustic than state parks, without electric hook-ups and often without plumbing. The first is DeTour State Forest, on my first night in the UP. They don’t do reservations. The second (on my last night in the UP) is Brevort Lake, which is part of the ubiquitous Hiawatha National Forest; I’ll have to reserve that separately. (I considered staying again at nearby Straits State Park, which has a great view of the Mackinac Bridge, but decided I’d been-there and done-that a few years ago.) The last is Black Creek State Forest near Midland, which I selected almost entirely for its location on my route home. They don’t do reservations either.

At the state parks, I tend to stick out as an oddball, because I’m traveling by scooter (instead of an RV), visiting solo, and sleeping in a tent. At the forests, I tend to stick out as an oddball, because I’m traveling by scooter (instead of a truck or car), and not fishing or hunting. I never really fit in anywhere. But that’s what it means to be me.