March 20-22,2020 found us on our first outing. We spent two nights at Portage Lake Campground (42.3296x-84.2355) in the Waterloo State Park near Chelsea, Michigan.
But first we took Misty to General RV in Birch Run for a little scheduled maintenance. The weather was nice but very windy and the wind was off my left shoulder. That means I really got pushed around but the hitching system worked great and I stayed in my lane.
After General RV finished with Misty we headed south to Waterloo State Park and the Lake Portage Campground. The problem was there are several camps in Waterloo and I only had the directions to the Park Headquarters which we found to be in the middle of the park on several miles of muddy dirt road. After calling the headquarters, just about the time we were passing the building. The ranger was really nice and gave me the address to the campground entrance and physical directions.
As we arrived at the camp there was no one in the office and the directions to self-register led me to the reservation desk of the DNR. I was told our reservation was complete and to simply go to the site. Since we did not have a map of the campground, we found all the dead-end boat ramp roads and “road ends” signs. Finally, we got a glimpse of a camper through the woods and figured out how to get there. And of course, if we had taken the first road to the right after the entrance, we would have gone straight to site 25.
The site cam with electric but not water or sewage. One of the scheduled items General was supposed to do was de-winterize Misty. However, that did not get done. After unhooking and setting everything up we realized that we had no water. After the decision was made to wait until morning we settled in putting, or finding, where everything would go. Having shore power we enjoyed a warm night sleeping.
First thing the next morning I tore everything down and hooked up and carried Misty to get a big drink of water. I am a “newby” and after I filled the tank and pulled her back to the site, backed in and noticed a trail of water and followed it to the hot water tank. In the process of not de-winterizing the Anoid had been left out. I quickly started putting it back in place but found it difficult to get it started and as the pressure built up I ended up wet.
Instead of dragging Misty back to the water station I decided to go get water jugs. I knew that we would benefit from them later as we plan on boondocking and could use an extra 10 – 20 gallons of water. They were purchased at a local Menards filled up and poured into the trailer.
The rest of the trip was great. We were relaxed, our TV antenna did a great job picking up more channels than we get at home and flat top grill was in fine order as burgers loaded with onion and cheese were prepared for dinner.
Once again with heater operational we slept fine. Funny how going to bed earlier is easier when camping out.
The next morning was time to tear down and go home. Again, another lesson was to be learned. I can’t say “we” hear because this was all on me. My first Black Water Tank experience almost was a catastrophe. I did not get the hose hooked up and it blew off. I quickly got the outlet shut off with only a little splash on me.
That chore done we headed home with laughs and new knowledge.
About the park: The sites were large and our site was pretty level. We were told in the reservation process that we were able to get “waterfront”. I was excited about that and having one day left on my 2019 fishing license I was going to take advantage. I was disappointed when we got to the site I saw that it was a good hundred yards of heavy underbrush to the water and was very swampy. So there was no fishing. Because we were at the end of off-season and due to the corona scare the bathrooms were not open and there was only one faucet open for use. We do not yet have mobile internet service so I can’t give a report on reception, but the phones had plenty of service.
We have now found out that our future outing has been put on hold because the entire state of Michigan is on the “stay at home” order from our Governor and the State Parks are all closed. Bummer!