The calendar says it's springtime in Michigan. But winter still thinks it's in charge, with nightime temps still often dropping to just above freezing. But for dedicated RVers, enough is enough. Sometimes, you just have to take matters in your hands and head out there.
So it was with Jennifer and me this week as the birth of a grandchild took us to Western Michigan. Jovie Mae Wendland made her debut to son Jeff and daughter-in-law Aimee. We spent the first night driveway camping in their driveway but being that Lake Michigan is less than an hour away from their Kalamazoo home, we opted to head there for the next couple of days, in between hospital visits.
That's the thing about the small motorhome lifestyle: It is so flexible. Since everything we needed was in our Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL we made our way to the Holland State Park, one of the most popular and always-filled state parks in the country.
Except for the campground hosts, a family in a fifth wheel and one tenter, we had the entire 211-site Lake Macatawa campground to ourselves. The warm weather campers probably won't start showing up for a few weeks. We were toasty warm but had to run the heater Thursday as the overnight temperature dropped to 40 degrees.
At sundown, we took Tai on a hike through a series of wooded trails that took us to the top of Mount Pisgah, which really isn't a mountain at all but a sand dune that overlooks both Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa. We took a steep trail right behind the campground host's site and followed signs leading to the overlook. Tai loved the walk through the woods, his breath steaming the rapidly cooling air.
The trees were barren of foilage, of course. They were not even budding, though we saw some forsythias in bloom on the way to the park. We passed only a handful of other hikers, a sharp contrast to the congestion that will soon be there.
The Mt. Pisgah Sand Dune is 167 feet above Lake Michigan. Besides the trails we took from the campground, there is a boardwalk and a series of trails that can be accessed off Ottawa Beach Road near Third Avenue in Park Township.
At sunup the next day, we drove the Roadtrek over to the state park parking area on Lake Michigan and walked out past the famous red lighthouse that guards the harbor. The vast beach was quiet with only a handful of early-morning beach strollers. Come summer, it's wall to wall people.
After a morning hike, we found a local Anytime Fitness for our morning workouts and then took Tai to a local dog park where he could stretch his legs leash-free for his workout.
Then it was on south to another favorite beach at South Haven, about 20 miles from Holland. We hung out there for the afternoon as the temperatures climbed into the low 70's. There was a slight haze in the air because of the cold, 36 degree Lake Michigan temperatures.
On the dock, fishermen were after Steelhead, with the annual spring run just starting.
We day camped for a good part of the afternoon, before heading back to Kalamazoo to fuss some more over the grandbaby,
By then, 40 miles from the big lake, the thermometer read 77 degrees, the warmest we've yet seen this year in Michigan.
Maybe we really did force the season.
This I know: It's always good to be Roadtreking.