One of the benefits of our work camping job at Wild Cherry RV Resort is a chance to take a break and head out for a bit. Sort of a ‘vacation from our vacation’, so to speak. Thank you JoAnn and Paul for covering for us!
We are headed to Michigan’s Upper Penninsula for a week and a few days. First destination for last night was slated to be Mackinaw City and an overnight at Mill Creek Campground. Well….our normally trusty Ford pickup Henry had other plans. :). Remember our post ‘South to Florida’? You may recall that we had a front caliper lock up on us, so Bass Auto in Talahassee, Florida replaced both front calipers and pads. This go around, we made it to Elk Rapids, Michigan and Diana noticed a smoking rear wheel. Yep…same issue. So we did a quick Google search and found Uncle Rod’s Auto Repair. Rated very well, we gave them a call. Mark told us to bring it in, and he assured us we would be able to get the trailer into the lot. Seeing as it was 4 PM on a Friday, there was no way they were going to be able to get parts AND fix it before they closed. Mark said we were able to stay in the lot overnight, so we were all set. Uncle Rod’s is a Uhaul facility also, so we did have the option of renting a truck, if we needed to run to the grocery store or check out the town. It was nice knowing we weren’t totally stuck!
What a beautiful campground, Mark! Clara looks so cozy nestled in next to the tiger and day lilies! Uncle Rod’s is about a quarter mile from the east arm of Grand Traverse Bay, so we had a nice lake breeze. Knowing we were going to be running fairly flat terrain, I luckily put about 2/3 of a tank of fresh water in the tank before we left Wild Cherry. Mark let us plug into their 20 amp electrical outlet, and he even fixed us up with a couple of quarts of Brita drinking water. Now that’s service!
They do have guest wifi, which was spotty out in our trailer, but there was also a Verizon tower right next door. 5 bars of smokin’ hot 4G LTE!
Uncle Rod’s is far enough from US-31 that we didn’t notice the highway noise. That was a big plus, as we couldn’t run the A/C with 20 amp.
And they back up to a cherry orchard. The trees had already been shaken, so we grabbed a few stragglers. Stone Hardy Gold cherries….Yum!
In the morning, Taylor (our mechanic) was there at 8 AM…well before the rest of the crew. We asked him for a recommendation for a good breakfast, and he pointed us towards downtown Elk Rapids…about a mile and a half walk. Since the work was going to take a few hours, we decided to hoof it into town.
This is where good travel karma comes into play. We had travelled through Elk Rapids on US-31 before, but never stopped to really check out the town. In fact we were PAST town this time when Diana noticed the brakes smoking. Our little detour to Uncle Rod’s allowed us to stop and smell the Elk Rapids roses! With the town being about an hour from Wild Cherry, we will come back and do some more exploring in the near future.
First place we saw was a cool art store called Twisted Fish Gallery.
Next up was this funky old motor court called Paradise Pines Motel. Now closed, this was once a viable business, back when Bayshore Drive was US-31. When the highway was realigned, these cool little cabins closed up shop.
Next up was this cool old Gulf station. Somebody enclosed the overhang where the cars would pull in to get gas, but it was still fun to see nonetheless.
Further up the road, the east arm of Grand Traverse Bay came into view. That is the tip of Old Mission Peninsula, which divides the east and west arms of the bay.
Still further, the road turned into town, and the open waters of Lake Michigan came into view.
Coming into downtown, we saw several interesting places, which we will check out in detail on a future visit. The town itself is quite charming.
Taylor’s recommendation, Harbor Cafe, was a home run. The place was hopping!
Tip the cook and ring the bell! Thanks, Taylor…for the recommendation AND the great service on our truck!
Once we got back to the shop, Mark even shot some grease into our Bearing Buddies on our trailer…no charge. Thank you, Mark, for everything you did to help us out and make the best of what could have been a bad situation.
So, even though life handed us a lemon, we made delicious lemonade out of it. We actually had a great time, and we met some new faces that we will never forget. By all means… If you find yourselves in Elk Rapids and need auto repair or a Uhaul, call Mark at Uncle Rod’s. They do great work at fair prices!
Tonight, we are in St. Ignace at the KOA. We crossed the Mackinac Bridge in high crosswinds, so we were limited to 20 miles an hour. Seeing the bridge is 5 miles across, it took us 15 minutes to get from one end to the other. I was a tad ‘white knuckled’ going over…so that we literally didn’t go over the side…but Diana had all the confidence in the world with my driving, She fell asleep. 🙂
More from our adventure soon!