77. DC to Grand Rapids, MI

Tuesday, June 23, 2020.

After a really nice visit with Jon & Vicki Ruiter and grandchildren Charlie and Juliana, I left the DC area this morning. I have a reservation at Wabasis Lake Campground just north of Grand Rapids. It’s part of the Kent County park system. Though I lived in GR for nearly my first 40 years, I’ve never been to Wabasis Lake. Daughter Deb stayed at the campground for a week or two leaving only 2 or 3 days ago and she told me it was a nice pleasant campground so I’ll try it. I plan on staying there 6 nights.

It’s about a 660 mile drive and I had hoped to split the distance in two. 330 miles got me to the Pittsburgh area and I didn’t feel like stopping there. Some of the OH turnpike service plazas have RV facilities. It’s barebones separated parking area with 30/50 amp service. I had overnighted in one some years ago. So I pulled in to refresh my memory. Sites are small for my motorhome. I would need to unhook the car only to hook it back up in the morning. And, though it’s not near the truck parking area, it is next to the noise of both the turnpike and the service plaza. For that they charge $20. I elected to drive on.

I pulled into a Cracker Barrel in Sandusky, OH making it a 450 mile day with lots of wind and quite a number of rain showers. I don’t need to make a habit of that! I had dinner at CB and still have $$ left from what I didn’t spend at the service plaza “campsite”. This parking lot ‘camping’ is a lot like anchoring out for the night without the moon on the water panache.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Finished the segment ending uneventfully at Wabasis Lake Campground. The route was a bit longer than originally planned because I added some miles by taking the I66/I81 route out of the DC area and then by going cross country from Sandusky to Toledo. I did the former to stay on major interstates and avoid cross country with this rig in the DC area and the latter to enjoy being off limited access highways. I enjoy cross country so much more. Anyway this second day was 250 miles for a segment total of 700 miles. I quickly settled into the first of my 2 sites. I’m to be in an electric only site for 2 nights then moving on Saturday onto a full hookup site for 4 nights. Though generally located in my old stomping grounds of 30+ years, I had never been to this Kent County Park. It’s very nice and the campground is very pleasant – generally about 20 miles NNE of downtown Grand Rapids.

Thursday afternoon brought a short visit at the campground from my brother Ron and SIL Gert. Friday morning I drove into Greenville to reprovision the motorhome groceries. That was followed Friday with a visit at their home and a home cooked meal. Delicious meal and nice to catch up again. Last time I saw them was in late Jan or early Feb 2019 in Cortez, FL when my boat was ‘on the hard’ (blocked up on land) post purchase but pre launch.

Saturday afternoon, I was invited to Gun Lake for a fish fry with nieces Joan, Sue and spouse and nephew Bob. They have adjoining cottages on Gun Lake about a half mile from Yankee Springs State Park. Gun Lake is about 25 miles south of downtown Grand Rapids. Unbeknownst to me until then, daughter Deb was staying for a couple of nights in her motorhome at the State Park (I thought she was in Grand Haven) so she was there as well. Sue’s daughter and family as well as some neighbors were also there. The afternoon was spent visiting and the kids went riding, tubing and water skiing on the flotilla of pontoon and speed boats as well as jet skis. A neighbor furnished some Alaska caught salmon. I’m not sure where the sea bass and the blue gills came from. Besides pan fried blue gills, the salmon and sea bass were divided with half smoked and half grilled and those were subdivided into portions done with lemon or herbs or spices; a veritable potpourri of offerings from the sea. The table was filled out with an assortment of salads, salsa, breads, fries etc etc. Must have been 20 or more people there. Needless to say, it was past 9 pm and long past my bedtime 🥱😴 before I got back to camp.


Returning to campsite I found a note in my door indicating I had missed a visitor, Rick Ruiter. I knew he was around and might stop by but not when. Rick is a retired Kentwood police officer, one of many I knew from my days at Kentwood Natl Bank. Used to have lots of fun with those guys. My girls remember Rick especially. One great Saturday afternoon decades ago, we were anchored with our boat by the Grand Haven State Park just sunning, relaxing and swimming off the stern. In the distance a swimmer had broken from the larger number of swimmers at the beach and was heading towards the boat. It turned out to be Rick who had recognized the boat so he came aboard for a brew. I do know that in his retirement (I’m betting it’s an active one) from the force, he travels the country some driving a charter bus load of folks from a retirement home or delivering new fire trucks to various FDs.

It was years later that I learned, with it finally sinking in, that Rick and my son in law Jon‘s father from Massachusetts were brothers. Then Jon told me that his aunt Mary knew me in high school. I had no clue. I had jumped ahead a grade in high school and between a shortened tenure and a huge class (guessing 3 or 4 hundred) I didn’t know many kids. I later figured whoshe was, and as slow as I am, then figured out that Rick and Mary were brother and sister. I think Mary gets her frequent camper miles at the various Lake Michigan State Park campgrounds. Small Dutch world. Sorry I missed you, Rick.

Did a little more grocery shopping on Monday and will do laundry on board tomorrow (Tues) before breaking camp Weds morning and heading further north to find a place for the Fourth of July.

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One thought on “77. DC to Grand Rapids, MI”

  1. Rick and Barb love camping at Wabasis Lake and I’ve been hiking there recently. Brother Dan is camping at Mears now and over the Fourth. I’ll be there on the 13th. We’re so happy the State Parks are open. You had some wonderful family time during the last few weeks! Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

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