After spending over two weeks parking lot camping during our motorhome work performed at Entegra and Spartan, it was exciting to transition back to vacation travel mode! I have to say, though, the opportunity to meet other motorhome owners was an unexpected pleasure. We learned a LOT about our rig just by comparing notes and learning from others’ experiences. And we were able to ask questions of the folks that made our rig. We came away from the experience with a greater knowledge and appreciation for our coach – and met some great people along the way! We are now planning to loop back around this way at least every couple of years, just to keep our motorhome systems in top condition. It surely makes a difference to have work done by people who really know what they are doing!
South Haven wasn’t originally on our radar, but we picked up a free night’s stay at nearby Sunny Brook RV Resort during January’s Tampa RV Super Show. Since free is always good – and it was reasonably on our way north after our Spartan visit – we figured we’d check it out. I booked an 8 night stay (at the buy 6 nights get one free weekly rate, plus our free day). The resort is quite nice and I’ll do my customary review later.
South Haven is a charming little tourist town perched on the edge of Lake Michigan. The small downtown hosts shops, wine tasting rooms and restaurants with a view of the expansive lake and nearby light house. The Saturday Farmer’s market offered the usual variety of produce and sundries. There, I picked up a batch of prepared, fresh chicken tamales that re-heated (steamed) beautifully and were delicious! (It’s so hard to find good tamales) The nearby WalMart had the best price on milk that I’ve seen nationwide – $1.19 per gallon! That’s almost cheaper than water! The South Haven area also offers the Kal Haven (mostly paved) bike trail that runs 34 miles between South Haven and Kalamazoo.
Up the coast were the small towns of Naugatuk and Holland, each with their distinctive features. Naugatuk wrapped around a bay front, while the larger town of Holland celebrates its Dutch heritage with Windmill Island and the nearby Dutch village. I vaguely remember going to Holland as child, but I DON’T remember shelling out cash to see the village. They’ve been turned into “attractions” with a $15 admission rate to see the reproduction village and shops. I passed. It was a bit disappointing, really.
In general, I thought the little downtown shops in this area were overpriced. We did some biking, Jeff played golf one day and we toured around on the motorcycle. We hit up the Farmers market and visited a local meat market to purchase local smoked whitefish and salmon. After that …. there wasn’t much to do. It’s a nice enough area, and prettily scenic, but just a bit too sleepy for us. We like places that have a bit more going on.
One of the great highlights of our stay though, was a visit by long time friends Dave and Carol. We met through our workplace back in Indiana, while in our early-twenties. We are exactly the same age, all born the same year. We each met our prospective spouses there and became close friends before circumstances pulled us in different directions. They went north to Michigan while we went south to Florida. We’ve thought of them many times, but hadn’t physically met for over 30 years. They drove over from their home about an hour away, and it was as though we’d never been apart. We grilled burgers, drank too much wine, and talked and laughed away the years. It was absolutely fantastic.
We have dubbed this year the “Friends and Family” loop, and that is proving to be very true — and very wonderful.