After leaving Ionia SRA we needed a spot for the weekend as all of the nearby state parks were booked. I signed up for a membership with Boondockerswelcome.com to begin my search while at Ionia SRA.
A quick explanation. The website Boondockers Welcome is all about connecting property owners with people traveling via a self contained RV looking for a spot to park for a night or a few. The site allows up to a 5 night maximum stay. Each host (property owner) determines maximum amount of stay, whether there will be hookups, to request a donation for hook-ups, and other house rules. Think AirBnB for RVers with many stays costing nothing up to $15 a night depending on hook-ups.
The site is easy to search for available boondocking opportunities and a place to input the size of your RV. There is a $50 annual membership fee for guests to request stays. I looked along our route and found a spot. I sent the request to stay and waited. The host site responded quickly with “we would love to host you for the weekend. With our spot secure for the weekend, I could rest easy until the next search.
Our host spot was near Edmore, MI. Basically in the middle of nowhere. Which turned out to be fantastic for us. We both had some work we needed to catch up on. Our host, Todd greeted us warmly and was very friendly. He set us up and gave us access to an electrical hookup via their garage, saying it’s only 15-20 amps. But we were happy to have any. After setting ourselves up, we met his wife Lynette and ended up chatting with them both in our RV for awhile. Talking about traveling, boondocking, RVing, all of it. They too are RVers and I enjoyed hearing their stories of Nova Scotia, Alaska, and Maine.
We were able to park in their driveway, on a nice level spot. We really enjoyed the peace and quiet of their place in the country.
We didn’t see them the rest of our stay, as they were busy, and we went exploring. But it was wonderful to know we had a safe spot to park, relax, and explore.
The next day we ventured into the small surrounding towns/villages. I’m glad we did as we had great afternoon exploring a part of Michigan we otherwise would not have. Nearby a farm hosted a small market. The owner was very nice. They had fresh produce, the best milk ever, ice cream, meats and cheeses, and a variety of jarred items. Shane tried out the milk while we were there and was blown away. It came from a creamery in Nashville, MI called MOO-ville creamery. It was delicious and as a bonus is great for those with intolerances to milk. Glad we stopped in at Mac’s Farm, nice little local place. (No website that I know of)
Shane “milk bombing” my photo of Mac’s Farm Market.
This particular day we set out to walk a part of the Fred Meijer Heartland trail. A 42 mile paved trail connecting the cities of Alma and Greenville through central rural Michigan. Along the way we stopped in Vestaburg for ice cream at Farmer in the Dell. I must say their ice cream was perfect, delicious, and very creamy. Took Josie for a walk on part of the Heartland Trail in Riverdale. The mosquitoes were thick near the river and we forgot to bring bug spray. Followed by a couple of refreshing beers at Riverdale Tavern. On our way to the car we ran into a local named Linda riding on the trail. She noticed us admiring the old school house museum and offered us a tour. She was quite the historian, storyteller, and comedian all wrapped into one. The day was topped off with homemade sushi back at Ralphie.
The next day I found a great little kayaking spot at nearby Six Lakes. A chain of 6 lakes, 5 of which are connected by channels. A public access site at Belvidere Township Park made it easy to park and launch our kayaks. This was truly a wonderful way to spend the afternoon, paddling and drifting along with the current. It was so peaceful with plenty of swans, swallows, and lily pads.
In this video you can hear Shane trying to call to one of the local birds. I think the bird might have mistaken Shane for a potential mate. 🙂
Overall our impression from our first boondockers welcome experience was a positive one. Although I will admit it felt a bit strange to park at a complete stranger’s house. But they were friendly and accommodating. I had to remind myself they listed their place for that very purpose. The chance to explore small town nowhere, Michigan was a lot of fun. We would never have explored this area of Michigan otherwise. And the kayaking was amazing.
Here are links to places I referenced above:
Boondockers Welcome website: https://www.boondockerswelcome.com
MOO-ville Creamery: http://www.moo-ville.com
Fred Meijer Heartland Trail: https://www.fredmeijerheartlandtrail.org
Farmer in the Dell Ice Cream Shop: https://farmerinthedell.business.site
And finally I’ll just leave this Two-Story Outhouse for you to enjoy. This was in Cedar Lake, MI. As Shane said “I’m using the top one”. I’m inclined to agree. 🙂
You never know what you may discover exploring the local area!