Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Campground Review - Sunnybrook RV Resort


Dates we stayed here:  September 6th -12th (Sunday - Saturday)

Location:  South Haven, MI

The campground is very conveniently located just a few miles from downtown South Haven, which is a great little beach town on Lake Michigan.  Nice public beach, tons of restaurants and shops, marina.  Between the campground and downtown, there is a Walmart (right off Us-31), and a GREAT ice cream shop -- Sherman's Dairy.

Also close by is the Kal-Haven bike trail, which is a nice way to get to South Haven if you want to ride bikes, or could be a pretty extensive ride if you headed toward Kalamazoo.

Our site:  #62


We arrived on Sunday of Labor Day weekend, and the campground was pretty well packed, but by early Monday morning it had emptied out significantly.

our site

All of the sites are basically the same size, concrete, with decent space between them.  The newer row of sites (where we were) are slightly wider for the full length of the site, than the older sites which flare out near the road.  This gives you a little more patio space under your awning.  The sites have a picnic table and firepit.

Looking down our empty road.

empty road

All the sites are full hookup (30/50A), and wifi is available and free.  Some areas of the campground get better wifi reception than others -- we were in an area where it could be spotty at times.  The roads are wide, and very accessible for big rigs.  We had a good Verizon signal for cell phones.

We paid $49.00 per night.  They do offer some mid-week specials, which we didn't get because of the timing of our visit, and have off-season rates later in September.

Amenities:  The campground has a large clubhouse with a fitness room, computer room, gathering area with games and television, pool table, and a meeting room.  The campground had planned events in the summer, cookouts, and "timeshare-type" sales presentations where they try to get people to buy lots in the campground ) we didn't get invited to a presentation, and wouldn't have gone if we were).


In front of the clubhouse is an area of games (corn hole and ladderball), a small playground,


and the pool.


The pool is large and very nicely maintained.  There is also a hot tub in the pool area.  During the week we were there, we pretty much had them all to ourselves!

Access to the pool is through the bathhouse/laundry building which are small (3 washers/3 dryers), but very nice.  There is also a dog wash on the outside of the building, although we never got around to giving Casey a bath while we were there.

laundry_bath house

The campground also has a small lake (really more of a pond) with a beach at one end.


There is a small dock at the opposite end of the lake, and canoes and kayaks are allowed on it, as well as fishing from the dock or the side opposite the RVs.  The lakeside row of sites are reserved for motorhomes only.

The entrance to the campground is gated, with a small office .  Office staff are on-site, so there probably wouldn't be a problem if you arrived late, after the office was closed.


Our overall opinion:  This was our 2nd stay at Sunnybrook RV Resort (we were here for Labor Day 2009, as well), and we felt like the staff this year were not as welcoming as the previous year.  Also, some of the people who own sites have an attitude towards visitors, particularly those with children or dogs (which we have both of!)  Although we really like the location of this campground and the facilities, I'm not sure we'd come back again.  I think that, as more sites are sold, the atmosphere of the campground will become less and less welcoming to "campers".

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Michigan Flywheelers - Antique Tractor Show & good-bye new friends

We woke up on Friday to BEAUTIFUL weather, and although it was a little chilly still, it was promising to be a great day!  The boys got started right away on their schoolwork, and soon our new friends - Georgia & Glenn - had their rig all hitched up and were ready to continue northward in their exploration of Michigan.  We took a break to wish them safe travels and say "Good-bye for now!"


We really enjoyed getting to know you guys, and hope to meet up with you again sometime -- maybe at the RV-Dreams Rally in April! 

The boys finished up their work around noon, and we had a quick lunch and then rode our bikes over to the Michigan Flywheelers Museum for the Antique Tractor Show.  We couldn't believe how crowded it was!  We arrived just in time for the "Equipment Parade" led by the Grand Marshall (also known as the Manager of the local Walmart -- seemed fitting!).

Grand Marshall

There were tractors in all shapes and sizes

-- small ones --

small tractor

--  HUGE ones --

big tractor

-- really OLD ones --

1922 Fordson

-- and ones that wanted to be a train --


train cars

We saw several old Ford tractors that reminded us of the one we have at home, but none exactly the same.

Ford 660

We even saw an old Chevy truck

Chevy truck

and a Willy's Jeep (those were built in Toledo, OH!)


Lastly was this crazy John Deere -- it reminded me of some of the remote control cars that Nick & Bryce had when they were little!  He was spinning it in circles as he drove along!

crazy John Deere

Oh!  I can't forget the FUNKmobile -- I'm not sure what it does, but somebody told us that it was completely hand-made!


After the parade, Tom decided that he should check out the "steamed corn" that he kept seeing people walking around with.  It was quite an operation!  Here's the engine that produces the steam to cook the corn --

corn steamer

Tom's waiting patiently in line for his corn.

waiting for corn



After Tom had his snack, we walked around looking at some of the permanent museum buildings,

-- like this blacksmith shop --

museum buildings

-- and this shingle shop --

shingle shop

-- and the sawmill --


Watching these guys take big logs and turn them into 2x6's was really cool -- and loud!

sawmill power

making 2-by boards

Bryce said that he would never want to work in a sawmill -- he's much too clumsy, and would end up losing an arm!

After the displays, we walked through some of the Flea Market -- it was pretty typical flea market fare, with a lot of it geared toward tractors.

flea market

This row of John Deere tractors looked pretty impressive!

John Deere row

The grounds here are really nice, with lots of shady areas for the exhibitors to camp, a huge grass parking area, and a big barn for the evening entertainment.  There were even a bunch of these old movie theatre seats scattered around in the shade!

empty chairs

After 3 hours or so, we were hot and tired, so we rode back to the RV Resort to take a swim in the pool, and have some dinner.  At 8:30pm, we went back to the fairgrounds to catch the evening entertainment -- The Bronk Brothers!

Bronk Brothers

They are a local country band who were surprisingly VERY good, and put on an entertaining show!  We stayed until about 10pm (they still hadn't taken a break yet!), and then went back to the campground to have our last campfire. 

Today we woke up to rain (I thought the weatherman said it wasn't supposed to rain until LATER today!), but had to pack up and get home regardless of the crummy weather -- oh, well -- that's the life of the not-yet fulltimers!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Riding the Kal-Haven Trail

In this area, and maybe in other areas of the country too, there has been an effort to give new life to old, unused railroad tracks.  It's called "rails to trails" and it takes an old railroad track and converts it to a bike path.  They are usually pretty nice paths to ride -- flat, smooth, crushed gravel surfaces that go for miles, taking you from one small town to another.

In this area of Michigan, there is a trail that goes from Kalamazoo to South Haven, and it's called the Kal-Haven Trail.

Kal-Haven Trail

It just so happens that the trail runs just north of the campground we're at, so today after the boys were finished with their schoolwork, we decided that it would be a good day for a bike ride.  Temps were cooler today (mid-60s), but it was sunny and the wind had died down considerably -- excellent!  We used the campground's nature trail through the woods to get to the county road that runs along the east edge of the property, and just a few minutes later we were at the Kal-Haven Trail.

Ready for the trail

We headed west and rode towards South Haven.  We rode along the river,

covered bridge

over a bridge,

under US31

and under the freeway.  There were benches for resting every 200 feet, porta-potties, and even a campsite!


It was a fun and easy drive, and we all enjoyed the exercise and scenery!

on the trail

marci and tom 2

Arriving in downtown South Haven, we determined that we had ridden about 3.5 miles on the trail, and probably another 1.5 miles getting from the campground to the trail and from the trail to downtown.  It was 2:30pm by then, and we were all hungry, so we decided to get a some lunch at the mexican restaurant that was too busy the other night.


Su Casa

Su Casa

We had a delicious lunch, and then walked off some of it with some window-shopping.  We found some cool chairs at this one shop -- for the golfer,

golf club chair

the snow-skier,

snow ski chair

or the water-skier!

waterski chair

Hey Donnie, these might go over big at the lake!!  Only $350!! 

After we got our fill of the shops, we hopped back on our bikes for the ride back to the campground.  Just outside the campground, we saw these old Model A "Doodle-Bugs" pulling into the party store.




There's an antique tractor show in town that starts Thursday, and these guys will all be on display.  I'm sure we'll be checking it out!

Since we had a late lunch, we decided that we wouldn't need dinner, and decided to go for a swim in the pool (& hot tub, since it was a little chilly) when we got back.  We had the whole pool to ourselves, and it was very refreshing after 10 miles of bike riding!

Tonight we had a campfire, and spent some time getting to know our neighbor, Georgia.  She and her husband are new full-timers from Texas, and are enjoying their first trip to Michigan.  We had a really nice time visiting with her until about 10:30pm, and then we all retreated to the warmth of our RVs!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Saugatuck on a crazy windy day



It was a beautiful day today -- hardly a cloud in the sky, and it was warm -- but the wind was brutal!  The gusts were so strong that it had us wondering if the wind could possibly blow this monster of an RV over!

We started the day with schoolwork,

Busy at school

and once we had a few computer issues worked out, they finished up around 1pm and we had lunch.  We wanted to see the big waves on Lake Michigan, so we decided to take a drive to Saugatuck.  This little town was recently voted the "#4 Coolest Small Town" in America, by Budget Travel, and they are getting ready to celebrate this coming weekend.  The town gets so crowded on the weekends, they have to make people park at the high school and shuttle them in to downtown!  On this Tuesday after Labor Day, though, parking was no problem -- even for our big truck!  Walking around town was no problem either, and we visited a few of the little shops and enjoyed a mid-day ice cream cone. 

We weren't in much of a shopping mood, so we drove on to Oval Beach to check out the waves.  Driving into the parking lot, you could see the evidence of the wind as the sand was piling up.

Sand covered parking lot

There were just a few adventurous souls on the beach, and none of them in the water!

Oval Beach

These are some of the biggest waves we've seen on the lake,

Angry Waves

and the water was COLD (but they only got their feet wet!)

Boys at the Beach

Next stop was Mt. Baldhead (that seems to be a trend in sand dune names!)


282 steps up to the top of the dune!!!


But we were ready to go!


We had some discrepancies in the number of steps that each of us counted (285, 290, 304), but whatever it was, we eventually made it to the top!

At the top

The view was definitely worth the climb!

Beautiful view

We rested our legs, and then headed back down.

Going down

Back at the bottom, there was another overlook on the river side, where you could see the town of Saugatuck.

Kalamazoo River

We also found this little garden path with these really cute sculptures.


That was the end of our Saugatuck adventure, and we meandered our way back to South Haven, stopping at a Farm Market on the way back where we picked up some apples and loaves of blueberry and zucchini bread.

Back at the RV, we grilled some chicken for dinner and got our campfire started.  We had a pretty good fire, but by 9:30pm the wind had driven us inside.  so, Tom and the boys are watching a movie while I catch up on blogs, and outside the wind is still whipping around and shaking the RV.  These high winds are supposed to end overnight -- I certainly hope so!