Turning North to Michigan, and stumbling across our best Casino deal yet along the way.

So we are executing option 3 of our revised route planning, but encountered a wrinkle during our stay in Iowa: our fridge stopped fridgerating.  At first I thought I had left the door ajar over night and lost all cooling, but after giving it a day, trying it both on electrical and propane power, it didn’t get any better, and finally I started getting a diagnostic flashing light which my manual helpfully informed me meant it required professional servicing.  At eleven years old, I suspected the thing might have completely given out: for these RV two way (powered by either electric or propane) appliances, they tend to blow compressors and leak ammonia when the get older, usually meaning the entire thing needs replacement.

Our poor little fridge, room temp and empty.

After looking at our primary options: stay in Iowa while we got diagnostics, probably had to order parts, and wait for installation, or just continue our plan and take care of it near Marquette on the Upper Peninsula, we opted for the latter, making arrangements with Hilltop RV to see us when we arrived.  Since we planed to stay in the UP for about three weeks, we figured it would work out about right even with a week or two delay awaiting parts.  Along the way there we would make a full list of things for the RV service techs to look at that hopefully would be covered by our EasyCare Extended Warranty.

A rare few minutes on the road when PKM doesn’t insist on sitting on Rosemarie’s lap.

So with our big Coleman cooler pulled from under storage, cleaned, loaded with our perishables and a lot of ice, we turned northeast for our roughly 600 mile journey.   Encouraged by our renewed luck finding casino resorts, I sought out one for a midway stopping point in Wisconsin.  We skipped the first option that looked a bit small and in a less than stellar area, but hit gold with the Ho-Chunk Casino in Nekoosa, stumbling upon our most generous set of casino promotions yet.

Sure, it’s just a parking lot, but it’s free and includes electrical power at each of those little yellow posts.

First, they offered free electrical hook ups, so already we feel lucky and grateful.  Once we got inside to register our overnight stay, we learned that in addition to the traditional new member players club promo, they had a special deal just for overnight RVers that we had caught the tail end of.  Each of us got $25 in free play and $5 in food coupons, along with a one time $20 gas coupon for their station next door.  Oh, and if we came in the next morning, we would get another $25 free play and $5 food coupon each.

The offer was so good, and since we were effectively a day ahead of schedule for our RV mechanic appointment in Marquette, we extended our stay to two nights, allowing us to take advantage of the RV special three times.  After you add on the new member and text sign up bonuses, we were provided a total of $190 in free play (which we turned into $145 in real money,) $40 in gas (it was supposed to have been a one time but they accidentally gave it to us twice,) and $30 in food coupons.  Ridiculous offer, not sure how they justify it frankly, but we’re not complaining!  We even considered forcing this casino onto our return route because of this deal until we learned that it was ending Sep 5th. Oh well, great while it lasted!

After two days and three rounds of promo benefits (and yes, that means we were gambling right after breakfast on day three) we unhooked and continued north into Michigan.  Having spent most of our UP time in Grand Marais, we were not particularly familiar with the RV options in the area, and our research had not revealed any particularly great deals: no Passport-America, no military base, and the one casino option was further beyond Marquette than I wanted to go that day.  We settled on a little reviewed state forest campground called Squaw Lake in Republic Township.

This turned out to be a bit of an adventure: the entry road was solid packed earth but very narrow.  I wouldn’t want to try it with a rig bigger than ours, and when we met a work truck coming the other way we were fortunate that they were able to back up into a side clearing so we could pass.  Once we cleared the 2.5 miles of dirt road, we arrived into a frankly beautiful campground, completely tree covered with with many large and widely spaced open spots.

This would be drycamping, and not particularly cheap drycamping at $13 a night, along with a daily vehicle pass of $9.  I had forgotten about Michigan’s state park “gotcha” fees, and didn’t realize they applied to state forests as well.  Oh well, it was a beautiful place and we were only here for one night, so we luxuriated in it, the cool weather, and having finally arrived in the UP on the last day of August after our nearly 3,000 mile run from Whidbey Island.

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