It was great to spend so much time with our daughter in North Carolina, but we were anxious to get back to Michigan to see family and friends. The trip was a bit of a blitz, with only a few long stopovers.
We took two days to get to Delaware State Park, just north of Columbus, OH. Our goal was just to relax for a couple of days and to visit some friends from our time in Key West. We met John and Terri two years ago in Key West, and John has been my best buddy for geocaching since he introduced me to the sport. We had a great time visiting and having dinner at our campsite.
Our next stop was Middlebury, IN. We had noticed hydraulic fluid collecting on the footpad of one of our leveling jacks, but couldn’t figure out what was causing it. We had had the leveling jack inspected at an RV dealer in Pensacola, but even they didn’t know what was causing it. Quadra Systems makes the Bigfoot Leveling System and is based in White Pigeon, MI, so we decided to travel via White Pigeon and have it checked out by the people that manufactured it. We had an appointment for 7:00 AM, which made for an early departure from the KOA campground in Middlebury. Fortunately they were able to find the problem (a very minor one) and we were on the road within a half hour.
With only about 75 miles to our next stop at the Woodchip RV Park in Byron Center, MI, just south of Grand Rapids, we arrived early in the morning. Fortunately we were able to get into a site right away. We knew there was a weather front moving into the area and it was nice to be all set up and able to sit through the storm nice and dry!
Both of my uncles live in the greater Grand Rapids area and we made plans with my sister to meet all of them for dinner. Ever since my dad passed away in October of 2010 I have felt the need to have a stronger connection to them.
The primary reason for staying in this area was to see family and old friends. I used to command the 3rd Battalion, 126th Infantry of the Michigan Army National Guard and I was able to meet with several of my former comrades in the Third Michigan NCO Club at the Grand Valley Armory. Two of my former staff officers both have winter homes in the Phoenix area and didn’t know it. Now they will be able to see each other while in Arizona. Another one had served as a commander in the northeastern provinces in Afghanistan. Wow, did he have some stories to share with us! I was proud of him and even prouder to hear from him that much of what he did was based on what he had learned from me over the years we served together.
Pat had some friends in the area from high school in Bad Axe. Kay and Lynn have been our friends for years. After dinner we were able to watch some videos of Lynn singing in barbershop quartet competitions. Lynn was a member of a couple of national award winning quartets as a part of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, better known as the SPEBSQSA. My dad had also been an active Barbershopper and I really enjoyed watching Lynn’s performances.
After all of these visits I couldn’t believe we had spent time with these people who are important to us and didn’t take a single picture! What a lost opportunity!
Even though we consider our trailer our home, it is still a trailer. Consequently the rolling aspect needs regular maintenance. We made an appointment with Cummins Bridgeway, LLC to have the wheel bearings inspected and replaced/repacked. We also asked them to inspected the brakes. We only had a short trip to make to get to our next stop in Lansing, so we planned to have the work done on Friday morning on our way out of town.
We were enjoying breakfast when I got a call from Matt, our service advisor, that one of the drum brakes was literally falling apart and the other three had severe wear on the linings. We told him to go ahead and do what had to be done. We spent most of the day shopping and hanging out in the area and were finally able to pick up our trailer around 6:00 pm. This definitely made for a late arrival in Lansing, but a much safer trip.