Kent and Carol - Mobile travel blog

AuSable Vealley Railroad

Ausable Valley Trestle Bridge

Model T Ford waiting at crossing.

Model T Ford waiting at the crossing.

AuSable Valley tunnel.

AuSable Valley Steam Train

AuSable Valley Steam Train

Buckeye Beauty? Contest at Jypsy Journal Rally

One way to get your car and your fifth wheel trailer to...

I need to correct the last sentence of the last posting; the Gypsy Journal RV Rally is in Celina, Ohio not Celina, Indiana as I typed. It is in Ohio near the Indian border.

We left Sault Ste. Marie on Friday, August 24, and drove about three hours to an RV Park near Grayling, MI. We stopped at a Jellystone RV park, which Jellystones and KOAs we try to avoid because both park chains cater to families and are always full of kids, smoky campfires and always more expensive than regular RV parks. But location, location, location is the reason for the stopping there. The weekenders were out in force and they always have to have a smoky campfire even on the hottest days, I guess that is part of the camping experience.

Saturday, we drove the Jeep to Fairview, MI to the home of the AuSable Valley Railroad. This railroad is a ¼ scale, 16-inch gauge train on private land owned by the Schrader family. (This is the same size as the miniature train at Line Creek Park in Kansas City that I visit when in Kansas City.) AuSable Valley train operates on weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day Weekend, and then two weekends in October for the fall colors. The newest engines are two F-7 diesel hydraulic locomotives built by Custom Locomotive of Chicago, IL. The train route is about a 20 minutes ride back through the woods and passes through a curved tunnel and long, high curved wooden trestle bridge. Along the track are some houses, shacks and two real Model T Fords waiting at railroad crossing for some scenery as you travel the route. I was talking to the owner, Howard, about the trestle bridge and he said it took him and his collage age son over a year to build. Howard then took Carol and I back to his shed to show us the steam engine that he runs on selected weekends. It is a beautiful engine that looks just like a real steam engine and it was hand built by a friend of his. The AuSable Valley Railroad is also the home to Schrader’s Railroad Gift Catalog, which I have ordered from before. I asked Howard how the catalog business got started and he said it was to help pay for his train hobby. He said he was getting too old to keep this up much longer and the train and the catalog business are both up for sale. Anybody interested?

Sunday, the 26th, we drove the RV south for about three hours to the outskirts of Detroit, MI. We parked at the Haas Lake Park, which is a huge RV Park scattered around four small lakes. Their ad said they had 494 RV sites. They had plenty of sites available until August 31st, the Friday before Labor Day, but from that date on they were going to be completely full through Labor Day Weekend. While we were there it was nice and quiet and we used it for some R and R until our next event. I had an e-mail birthday coupon for, Famous Dave’s, one of my favorite B-B Ques, so we used that.

Thursday morning, we drove the RV about three hours south to the Mercer County Fairgrounds in Celina, Ohio. This is the location of the Gypsy Journal RV Rally, which does not start until Monday, September 3, but we are allowed to park early. It is a Passport America Park and they only charge $10 a night, which provides only electricity, but that is fine. We filled our 100-gallon fresh water tank at the fairgrounds and with careful use; we can survive about a week on that water supply and the two 57-gallon holding tanks for wastewater. After the week we will use the fairground’s dump station to empty the two holding tanks before hitting the road.

The Gypsy Journal is an RV newspaper written by Nick Russell. He used to own a small town newspaper in Arizona but now is a full time RVer that travels the U.S. in his Winnebago Motorhome and writes about his adventures and travels. Carol and I subscribe to his newspaper that is published several times a year. He also writes other RV books and has written three murder mysteries that I have really enjoyed. Nick holds two RV rallies a year and this one has been the first rally that has worked into our schedule. During the rally, Nick announced that this was his last RV rally that he and his wife were going to hold, so we were glad we made it to this last one. I personally think he feels he can make more money writing books than all the work trying to produce two rallies a year. The three full days of the rally has seminars, entertainment, vendors, door prizes and get-to-gathers with other RVers. Each of the three days, I attended five seminars per day and Carol attended several other seminars. We did not attend the same seminars. One evening’s entertainment was the Buckeye Beauty Contest, guys dressed in drag, which was hilarious. The winning “Queen” was awarded to the guy/gal on the far right. I spent some money at the vendors and the rally ended Thursday evening with door prizes that included two Kindles and a grand prize of an inflatable kayak. We didn’t win any big door prize but did win one small prize of $25 off at a vendor, which I gladly used.

Friday, September the 7th, the rally was over and also that morning I got a phone call informing me that my good friend Charles, had passed away. So Saturday we headed for Galesburg, Illinois for a funeral on Monday the 10th. Details of that and the trip back to Kansas City will be on the next posting.

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