Mother and Son.
Every year since our first year fulltiming, we’ve returned to Michigan for some portion of the summer and early fall.
This past summer we decided to do something different and camphost in Colorado. When that didn’t work as planned, we opted to keep with the tradition and return to Michigan.
This was not an easy decision. We wanted to see Colorado in the fall. And we wanted to continue further west from there. It’s been years since we spent time on that end of the country.
But, the more we talked about it, the more my heart spoke to me. I needed to go back to home to “Reset.” When Mike asked me what that looked like, I wasn’t sure how to describe it. Thankfully he was willing to leave the west and head back to Michigan.
We’ve been in Michigan for 7 weeks now. It’s been a good visit, but I’ll be ready to head south next week.
So, what did my reset look like?
Time with My Boy
When Harrison moved out a year ago, I wasn’t sure when we’d see him again. That was a bit difficult for this momma’s heart.
We’ve gotten together with him several times:
- He spent the Labor Day weekend with us
- We watched him play baseball with his vintage baseball team
- Mike helped him run sound at his church
He’s doing well.
We’ll see him a couple more times during our final week here. It will be bittersweet when we leave him behind.
But, we’re planning to fly him to us for the holidays this December. That helps the leaving.
Time in a Michigan State Park
Camping at a State Park was one of the things I envisioned when I thought of re-setting.
Ludington State Park is my favorite. Unfortunately, it is a favorite for many people. We were unable to get in.
So we made reservations at Hoffmaster State Park instead. The week was totally refreshing for me. I spent time on a quiet Lake Michigan beach, walked some trails, sat by a fire (we seldom have a fire), and just relaxed.
Time with Family
We had the chance to:
- Camp alongside my parents (they became full-timers last summer)
- Camp by Mike’s parents (they sold their Michigan lake-front cottage, but camped with us in their RV before heading to their Texas home)
- Camp by Mike’s sister
- Connect with Mike’s brother
- Connect with my sister
Time with Friends
I also had fun meeting with a couple of girlfriends. I usually go to lunch with my friend Linda. This year we went kayaking together instead. I liked the change. We were still able to catch up each other’s lives, kids, and hobbies while getting a good workout.
I also met with my friend, Michelle. We’ve been friends since junior high. Last year she taught me about canning applesauce. When I realized we’d be here this month, I asked if we could do some more canning.
That day came this past week. We canned about 30 quarts of applesauce, 13 (12oz) jars of applebutter and 9 (12oz) jars of peach jam. By the end of the day we were talked out and exhausted. Can’t wait to do it again next year. ;)
Time to Take Delivery
Harrison volunteered to be our mail drop and I’m not sure he knew what he was in for. Since being back home we’ve ordered:
- Ditching Suburbia Moo Cards
- Ditching Suburbia T-Shirts
- Ditching Suburbia Stickers
- Clothes from Land’s End
- Our mail (from our mail service)
- Truck and Trailer Parts from Amazon
- Vitamins and nutritional supplements
A Michigan Summer Sunset
Miranda with Grampa B on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Parked next to Mike's parents in their just-purchased RV.
Sibs getting Captain Sundae
Harrison playing vintage baseball.
Miranda channeling her Grandma B, knitting at the campsite.
Crissa wading in a stream feeding into Lake Michigan
Flowers at dusk
Our campsite in the woods.
Crissa's parents with their RV.
Mike cleaning carpets.
Dad and Son
Time for Maintenance
Every year we compile a list of things to do on the truck and trailer while we’re in Michigan. This year’s list included:
- Making curtains to replace the breaking/broken RV shades
- Having the front nose cap repainted (covered even though out of warranty)
- Replacing the front Ditching Suburbia decal
- Washing and waxing the exterior
- Replacing all the wheel lug nuts with full-chrome versions
- Re-working the unused outdoor flip-down kitchen into a table/storage
- Sorting, purging, and donating items collected over the past year
- Purging stuff we had stored at Mike’s parents cottage
- Cleaning the grill
- Complete detailing inside and out
- Replacing hub caps damaged by tire shop
Time for Unplanned Truck Repairs
We had a couple of truck repairs that we did not anticipate.
Our fuel pump stopped working - which left us 50 miles from our next destination. We were “rescued” by many angels and on our way the next day.
The second issue happened after we were set up at Hoffmaster SP. A rear brake line burst. Mike was able to limp the truck to a local shop. Gratefully, the repair was a basic issue and cost far less than we feared.
Time for Unplanned Carpet Cleaning
We recently found an unexplained carpet stain. We figured we’d try spot cleaning it.
Then a bottle of liquid laundry detergent with a loose cap got knocked over in the bedroom. That was going to require more than a spot cleaning. Since we needed to rent a carpet cleaner we might as well clean all the things. We spent an entire morning working at it.
I’m happy to say carpet cleaner vacuumed the soap up, the stain came out, and all the carpet and throw rugs look almost new again.
Time for Unplanned Debugging
It’s a good year for stink bugs. They’ve swarmed our trailer. Worse after we washed it.
I’ve found them in my clothing drawers. Mike found one on his coat. They’ve made a mess in our bedroom vent fan. I have a feeling we’ll be debugging for the next several weeks (months?).
Time to Route Plan
While we’ve been back home our winter plans have come into focus:
- We were invited to a homeschooling-related conference in the greater St. Louis area
- We’ll head south from there - covering some of the same Mississippi River sections we did last year
- We’ll spend a couple of days in New Orleans - enjoying some live music and great food
- From there we’ll head east, visiting several friends who live along I-10
- We’ll begin another WWOOFing gig at a goat farm in Northern Florida with rough plans to spend 60-90 days there
Time to Launch-Plan
One of the reasons we’re doing another WWOOFing gig is that Miranda is considering using WWOOFing as her “exit-from-the-RV” strategy. She will move into the farm-provided housing for WWOOFers while we are there. We’re hoping this is a good way for her to “soft-launch” on her own while we are still close by.
WWOOFing usually provides room and board only. It’s not a complete solution for Miranda to gain independance. She would either have to find a paid job close by or try to get promoted from WWOOFer to paid ranch manager.
One step at a time.
Time to Dream
Mike and I continue to talk about what our empty-nest phase will look like. Options at this point are to downsize the RV and try something much smaller and continue RV-living. Or, a wild-card. Like joining the Peace Core for a couple of years.
Time to Go
And on that note - it’s time to go. With just a week left before we play snowbird and fly south there’s much to do yet.
What’s you winter looking like?