Camp Report - Michigan UP National Forest - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-11-2012, 10:00 AM   #1
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Camp Report - Michigan UP National Forest

We had a nice 11 day vacation in our UHaul, so I thought I'd share some highlights. This vacation was in the prime July 4th period so it was a little more crowded, and temperatures were in the mid 90's - rare in the UP.

On day one we drove from SE MI to Hartwick Pines State Park. I'm not usually a fan of state parks, but this one is exceptionally nice. The section with no sewer hookups is nicely wooded and shady with good separation between sites. The showers were modern, hot and clean. There is a dump station at the entrance.

Days 2 -5 were at Soldier Lake NF campground, SW of Sault Ste Marie in the UP. This is a rustic campground with a small shallow lake with multiple sandy edges, just right for kids to play in. The sites are large, wooded and well separated. The pit toilets were reasonably clean and there were unthreaded water spigots scattered around the camp ground. We had a pair of hermit thrushes constantly in our camp site and they serenaded us in the monnings with their flute like song. Thrush Songs | Wild Music

We were towing with my Escape hybrid with an 18" canoe on the roof and ran the AC the whole time. We averaged 23 MPG at speeds less than or equal to 55 MPH.
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:11 AM   #2
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We then moved on to Pete's Lake NF campground, 10 miles south of Munising. This lake is much larger with access for power boats, and a large swimming area. There has recently been an infestation of beech trees in the area and many were cut as a safety precaution. The sites are also well separated here and some of the pit toilets were new with handicapped access. Unthreaded water taps were in each loop. This lake has 6 very choice lakeside sites if you want to reserve them - they are designated with an A in the site number. A general store with everything form propane to boat rental is one mile south of the camp access road. Two smaller NF campgrounds are within 5 miles of Pete's Lake, each with lake or river access.

Photo one is the beech tree cuttings. Unlimited firewood here!
Additional photos are of our dollar store camp shower suspended from our screen tent. We lowered the roof to 6 feet to use the shower and increase privacy. Water was headed in a solar bag, then transferred to a pop bottle with a sprinkler head.
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:22 AM   #3
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Additional highlights. We taught the greyhound to canoe - she only jumped out once.

The fridge worked well in the heat. Here is a photo of inside and outside temperatures - we maintained a 50 degree differential. One experimental upgrade was secondary doors. I took an old piece of plexiglass and cut it to fit the inside dimension, then cut that piece into 5 doors suspended with plastic ties from the shelves. Now, when you open the door all the cold air doesn't plop onto the floor - you just open the small door for the item you want. I was afraid it might be a pain to use, but it worked well for us.

One last item that I loved were these suction cup coat hooks from Dollar Tree. These things stick like crazy to the UHaul inner shell and support a lot of weight. I installed a half dozen and used 'em all!
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Old 07-11-2012, 02:49 PM   #4
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I really like the fridge door idea. I'll have to see about doing that when we fix the 'fridge's door.
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Old 07-11-2012, 02:52 PM   #5
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Sounds like a wonderful trip, really like the fridge modification, makes perfect sense.
Will have to add that to my to-do list.
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Old 07-11-2012, 03:00 PM   #6
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With those temps I would have wanted to be right on the Superior shoreline. In fact, that's where I'm headed in a few days....
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:04 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mike Magee View Post
With those temps I would have wanted to be right on the Superior shoreline. In fact, that's where I'm headed in a few days....
Yea, it was amazingly cooler just 10 miles north in Munising on the shore. We escaped there daily for ice cream and cool breezes.

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I forgot to mention that Hartwick Pines State Park has a large stand of virgin pines and a logging museum with handicap accessible trails - a very nice facility.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:58 AM   #8
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Thanks for the trip notes! Sounds like a great trip. Were you using your onboard water tank and battery for your water and power on this trip? Sounds like you were if the campgrounds were rustic. Just wondering.
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Old 07-13-2012, 06:13 PM   #9
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Welcome back Tom. Nice report. We might be headed that way this fall so I'm taking notes. I'm curious, what don't you like about the state parks? Raz
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:10 PM   #10
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I'm going to take a guess, Raz, and say it's the higher fees. Not just higher campsite fees but a vehicle entrance fee on top of that. Forest CGs tend to be lower cost, and smaller (less people). Am I right, Tom?
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:52 PM   #11
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I went to the state park web site. The fee structure is mind boggling.



Link added for clarification

DNR - Campsite Amenities and Fees

Imagine how long the fee committee met.
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:22 PM   #12
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Welcome back Tom. Nice report. We might be headed that way this fall so I'm taking notes. I'm curious, what don't you like about the state parks? Raz
Raz, the really popular Michigan state parks seem crowded and noisy. I like space, privacy and the sounds of nature, not generators, music or kids. Yes, the fees are higher, too, but that is not a primary consideration for me.
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:23 PM   #13
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Enjoyed your report and the pics! Great looking CT,TV, Greyhound and Significant Other!
Hotter up there than in Miami! Thanks for the PM to Jim at Uhaulcampers.com, but, I was able to resolve the issue myself with my smart phone this evening.
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Old 07-14-2012, 02:38 AM   #14
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Nice report and pictures. I love the sound of the hermit thrush. We usually hear them when we're either in northern MI or the U.P. Also hear whippoorwills, which I hadn't heard since I was a child. We also prefer state or national forest campgrounds. The sites are further apart, you're tucked in among the trees and they're usually very quiet. The U.P. is one of our favorite places to camp.

We also have a Wenonah canoe. The kevlar makes it light and easy to portage on our canoe camping trips.
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