Harbor Springs Michigan

During our stay at Hearthside Grove in Petoskey, Michigan, we had a chance to tour many of the small towns in the area including Harbor Springs. We were told that there were some summer cottages that lined the waterfront and it took us roughly an hour or so walk that part of the town.

Hard to consider them as cottages. More like massive estate homes.

No people though. The area seemed empty and devoid of life. Except for the occasional vintage automobile.

Here are a few photos of the summer cottages.

Mackinac Island

During our time at Hearthside Grove, we made two trips out to Mackinac Island. We had visited the island once before, many, many years ago.

Shepler’s Ferry took us back and forth both times. On the first leg to the island, we had a chance to get a closer look at the Mackinac Bridge. Big Mac, or Mighty Mac is the longest suspension bridge between anchorages in the Western Hemisphere. The span is almost 5 miles in length.

We visited Fort Mackinac and enjoyed lunch at the Tea Garden. The restaurant offers a wonderful view of the harbour.

Along the main street of the island are some impressive cottages. From where I stood, they appeared to be more like mansions.

Exploring the island by foot is possible. Just be prepared for a lot of walking.

There are no cars on the island, only horses and bicycles.

Some of the houses have a very unique entrance, like this one.

We walked all the way up to the Grand Hotel. We did not go in as they charge $10 USD per person to enter the hotel. They don’t charge you for taking photographs. I suspect this building is one of the most photographed on the island.

Mackinac Island is home to a number of other smaller hotels and inns. They all looked very nice.

Lots of heritage buildings like this old American Fur Company Store from the 1800s.

Walking into the island takes you through Michigan’s first State Park, the Mackinac Island State Park.

Some wonderful views of the pristine waters that surround the island.

Getting back to the main part of the island took us the better part of our second day. It seemed like we had stepped back in time to a simpler age. Quiet and peaceful.

Retirement Card

We don’t have one. A retirement card that is. At least not yet.

When we left Hearthside Grove, we wanted to stay in touch with our new friends. Email is a way of keeping in touch. Our blog is another way of keeping in touch.

Most of our friends had retirement cards. Looks like we will need to make some up as well for the future.

Homeward Bound

Our last day at Hearthside Grove. The weather for the past two weeks has been incredible. Lots of sunshine and very warm temperatures.

The sense of community here has been far different than I imagined. Friendships formed quickly. Dinners, day trips, get togethers, and connecting with people as we walked around the resort.

Ken and Carol, Lou and Pam, Dave and Daphne, Moe and Cindy, Barry and Iris, Gary and Suzan, Rita. These were a few of the many people we connected with during our time here.

Most of the people we have met are retired. Not surprising given that we are vacationing in mid-September. And all have been very successful in their careers. Such amazing life stories.

It has given us a glimpse into what our retirement will look like and we are very excited about beginning that part of our journey.

When we said good-bye to one of our new friends, she described Hearthside Grove as a paradise. And she is right. This has been such an amazing experience for us. We would certainly buy a lot but for the location. As Canadians, we need to winter south.

That said, many of our friends here at Hearthside also have lots in California at Desert Shores and at Motorcoach Country Club. That is where they winter.

We are planning to spend a few months down there at one, or perhaps both, of those resorts in the early part of 2019. I hope we will see many of our new friends again.

Air Conditioner Drainage Problem

If you are having trouble with the runoff from your air conditioner spilling over the top of your Dutch Star, then this might help.

Ever since we purchased our Dutch Star, we have had an issue with the front air conditioner. It would spill water on each side of the front cap. On the driver’s side, the runoff from the air conditioner would drip over the windows and leave nasty water marks that were really difficult to remove. On the passenger side, the runoff from the air conditioner would drip down both sides of the door and leave really nasty water marks on the finish.

Whenever it rained, water would run down from the roof on the front cap and, yes, you guessed it, leave nasty water marks.

I had read that it was important to keep the roof of the coach clean to prevent streaking. After sealing the roof in July, the front windshield stayed clean after a rainfall. But it did not make sense to me that the runoff from the air conditioner would spill over the rain gutter on top of the coach. Surely there must be a drain?

When the folks from Superior Coach Detailing did the wash and wax, they told me that they would remove debris from the drain gutters on top of the coach and that should allow the runoff to drain properly.

Well, there was a bit more to the problem than cleaning out the drain gutters.

It turns out that the Dutch Star has four drains from the gutters on top of the coach. On our model, two of them are located on each side of the front cap and two of them come down on the passenger side of the rear cap.

This is what the drain looks like:

It consists of a drain tube that is roughly an inch or so in diameter. That drain tube terminates with a pinched rubber hose which you can see in the picture above. I guess they pinch that part of the drain to prevent critters from crawling up the drain pipe.

For whatever reason, my front drains were not only pinched but they were put at a right angle and inserted into the overhang of the bottom of the front cap. So, much like crimping a garden hose, nothing was draining out of the tubes. The drain tube would gradually fill up, the rain gutter would gradually fill up, and the runoff from the air conditioner would spill out over the sides of the coach leaving nasty water marks.

I crawled under the front cap and straightened out the down tubes. A significant amount of water was then released immediately. Perhaps I should not have been as close to the down tube when that happened. The water did not taste very good at all.

And now? No runoff from the air conditioner spilling out over the top of the coach. The runoff drains through the down tubes as it should.

I’ve been told to check the drains at the top of the coach for any debris that might interfere with channeling the water from the roof to the ground. That makes sense.

And I’ve been told to check the pinched rubber hose to ensure that water is flowing freely through the down tube. And that makes sense.

Some people will even use an air compressor to blow out the drain pipe to clear any potential blockages. I would be very careful with that procedure and use very low air pressure as the drain tubes do not look that robust.

And, of course, none of this will be found in any manual for the coach. Thankfully there are forums like iRV2 to find some insight.