Tag Archive for: Hearthside Grove


“You have choices you can make.”

Those six words, from September 24, 2017, had a profound impact on my life. Funny, isn’t it? I mean, despite what anyone might say, we tend to live our lives almost as if we are asleep, going through the same daily routines that give structure, and perhaps some form of meaning, to our existence.

I shared those six words at a seminar I gave last week.

I used this photo that I had taken of a site at Hearthside Grove Motorcoach Resort in Petoskey, Michigan as a backdrop to a story.

We absolutely loved being at Hearthside. One of the best spots we have visited with our motorcoach. And we absolutely loved being in our coach and enjoying the freedom that this two-week vacation allowed.

All too soon, that enjoyment and that freedom had passed. We had to pull up our jacks and return to the life we were living at the time.

As we were leaving Hearthside, we bumped into a wonderful couple. Here is a video snippet of our departure from Hearthside and the conversation that I had with Gary.

“We are so sad to be going, I have to tell you.”
“Then don’t go.”

“I’d love to stay longer.”
“You have choices you can make.”

He was absolutely right. I had been immobilized with fear. Safer to keep working, and doing what I had been doing for the past forty years or so. The future, unknown, uncertain, was out there and I had kept putting it off.

Following your dream takes courage.

We made the decision to retire as we drove home from Hearthside. “You have choices you can make.” Those six words made all the difference to me.

There is a metaphor about life. The waterfall. As we get older, we hear it. The sound of the waterfall. It becomes louder and louder. The river of life ends at the waterfall. It is coming, sooner now, but we don’t know when we will reach it. The waterfall reminds us that the life we live is short.

Follow your dreams before your life runs out.

I received an email from one of the participants at the seminar and he made the following comment:

Dreams and means fight, reality and routine settles in! BUT listening to you is putting another log in the fire.

To which I can only say, you have choices you can make.

Spring Cleaning

That was the roof of my coach after I had spent 8 or 9 hours washing, drying, detailing and buffing last spring. I think it turned out really well however I should have protected the roof right from when we first took delivery of the coach. I had used Rejex on the body of the coach back then but left the roof unattended. And even though the coach was still relatively new, it was a much bigger job than I expected to get the surface of the roof clean and well protected a year or so after having taken delivery.

The first challenge was how to get up to the roof itself. In the video below, you will see that I used a general purpose ladder to get access topside. With the ladder fully extended, I had to use a couple of interesting moves to swing my body up and over as the ladder was not tall enough. We had checked with Newmar and they told us that there was no issue with putting the ladder against the sidewall of the coach. More than strong enough to support the weight. We used towels at the end of the ladder to protect the finish.

Lorraine helped to bring the supplies up to the roof. I began with a hose, wash and rinse bucket and a lot of towels. Because it was still relatively early in the year, there was a lot of dew. There were quite a few black streaks around the air conditioning units as well. The black streaks were really tough to remove from the roof.

Once the roof was clean, I worked in sections of about 8 feet by 4 feet. I used some spare towels to mark the area. Once applied, I waited for the Rejex to haze, which doesn’t take very long at all, and then buffed out the area. That translated into ten sections to wax and buff. I do own a dual action orbiter however I elected to do the roof the old fashioned way: by hand. I removed my shoes so perhaps I should say by hand and by foot.

Quite the effort. Here is a short video that gives you a bit of sense of the task.

Although I do not have a particular fear of going up on the roof, I have been told that at my age I should just let someone else do the work topside.

When we were at Hearthside Grove in September of last year, we hired a detailer to come out to wash and wax the coach. I had them do the roof as well.

They were able to do in about 45 minutes what it took me over 8 hours to accomplish. They used a premium coating product and told me that it should last the coach until we go south to Florida later this year. The same detailing team from Hearthside heads south for the winter and I will use them again when we are at RiverBend in December.

Spring cleaning is going to come much later this year. Almost mid-April and our temperatures are still hovering around the freezing mark with snow in the forecast.

Hearthside Grove Sites

I wanted to post some of my images of the sites at Hearthside Grove. Not all of the sites look like these ones, but most of them do. In a way, it reminds me of how Disney might choose to design a luxury motorcoach resort. Everything here was just so, well, perfect!

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.