The RV Adventures of Bug Smacker

Traverse City State Park

Traverse City State ParkThis is exactly what the doctor ordered. A quiet and relaxing week near Grand Traverse Bay. With the exception of the trucks & tractors working on the road out front, an occasional airplane taking off, a train or two and a brief spring shower every so often, this camping trip has been long over due. These small distractions are to be expected when the campground is located in an urban setting such as Traverse City State Park.

Over the holiday weekend the Traverse City State Park was absolutely packed. There wasn’t an empty site to be hadTraverse City State Park anywhere. The Bayshore Marathon was held on Saturday and the whole town was jam packed with people. The campground was no exception. The weather here was sunny and warm. It was a perfect holiday weekend.

Throughout the weekend we had a chance to meet up with some of our closest friends. We took a ride up to our favorite winery Chateau Chantal. We had some fabulous meals. We took a stroll through downtown Traverse City. We took time to play a bit on the beach. We even stoked up a nice little fire to wrap up a wonderful day.

Traverse City State Park

Saturday was my anniversary. It has now been 22 years without the inhalation of toxic smoke into my nicotine scarred lungs. I am quite proud of this major accomplishment. To celebrate, I grilled myself a fabulous ribeye steak. After all, nobody can serve up a steak as mouth watering as me. And I deserved the best on this day of celebration for my achievement.

As Sunday rolled around the entire park emptied out. Left were only a handful of RVs scattered here and there. The place became quite desolate. But then again, this was the part of the trip we were waiting for.

Now, back to the show……By show I mean “The Blacklist”. We have the entire last season recorded and have decided that this is an opportune time to do some binge watching. I have just 2 more to see so please no “spoilers”.

The Blacklist


Posted in Adventures, Park Reviews

Valley Plaza RV Resort

After my trip over to Tow-Line Trailer, I decided not to return home with the RV right away. Instead I headed to Valley Plaza RV Resort in Midland, Michigan. We have been there several times in the past and always enjoyed it.Valley Plaza

Upon my arrival, I found out that the park had been acquired by new owners. In fact, they took over as of today. I hope the new owners plan on spending some money on the place and doing some well deserved maintenance. The place is showing its age and needs a little TLC. We are hoping it can once again become a top notch resort.

We were lucky enough to grab a great campsite. It is large and upfront near the pool. It is also close to the parking lot which will come in handy for family to join us for Mother’s Day this weekend. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.


Posted in Adventures, Park Reviews Tagged with:

Axle Inspection

Due to the tire problems I recently had with my RV, Jayco recommended that I have someone look over the trailer. I got a hold of the local Jayco dealer and they said that I should take it over to a trailer repair shop.

Today I took it over to Tow-Line Trailer to have them check it out. They told me that everything looked to be aligned correctly. They said that the problem was most likely cheap tires that did not hold up.

The other day I was at a tire dealer in town. I explained to them the problem I was having with my RV. They said that trailer tires are pretty much all the same. The guy there said my tire problem was most likely due to an alignment problem with the suspension.

I really do not know what actually happened to my tires and caused the belts in the center to separate on them. All that I am sure about is that both tires on the same axle went bad at the same time. Even more confusing is that both tires on the axle in front of these tires are still looking brand new after 2 years of service.

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Stove Wrap

Stove WrapIf your RV stove is like ours then it is absolutely impossible to keep clean. Food, grease, grime and even water will stain it. Once it is soiled then don’t even think of trying to get it clean again. Cleaning the top of an RV stove is harder than taking a picnic basket away from a bear.

Until now you just had to live with a grungy stove top. Yes, I said until now. We just became aware of a new product called the Stove Wrap. This thing is really great. If your stove is showing signs of its age, you can cover it up. If you are one of the lucky ones who own a stove top that is not yet stained, you can keep it that way.

The Wrap is made of Non-Flammable material that is washable and reusable. It is pre-cut and sewn to fit.


Stove Wrap

1. When your top grate is cool, remove it from the top of your stove top.

Stove Wrap

2. Place the Stove Wrap on the stove top and align the 3 large holes around each burner.

Stove Wrap
3. Align the 4 silver grommets in the Stove Wrap with the 4 feet of the grate. Re-install the stove grate.

Stove Wrap
It is just that easy. We both love this thing and think you will as well.

Stove Wrap

Posted in Gear Reviews, RV Articles Tagged with: , , , ,

Matlock Tire Company

While Terri and I were in Tennessee, I went to chock the RV tires and noticed that the tire on the rear axle was larger in diameter than the front one. The tread in the center of the tire was bowing out all the way around the tire. I also found the tire on the other side of the trailer that was on the same axle, was doing the same thing.

I called the dealer that I bought the RV from and was told they had never heard of such a thing. They said it was very possible that a tire had gone bad, but he couldn’t explain why two on the same axle would do the same thing. This would turn out to be the Million Dollar Question!
I then called Jayco. The woman on the other end also thought it was most likely a couple of bad tires. She said since I was so far from home that she would escalate the call to the service advisor. I should get a call back from someone in the next couple of hours or so. She also gave me the phone number of the people who warranty the tires on my trailer and said that I should call them.

So I called the tire people and spoke to a woman by the name of Olga. The name of the company was TBC Wholesale. Olga said she was 99% sure that the problem I was having was due to belt separation in the tires. She made arrangements with a local company by the name of Matlock Tire Company in Lenoir City, Tennessee to check the tires out for me. I called the tire place up and was told to come on in. When I asked how much the tires were going to cost me I was told $115 each.

I hooked the trailer back up to the truck and hauled it back into town. On the way, I got a call back from Jayco. They wanted me to take pictures of the tires and the trailer hooked up to the truck. These are the photos I took for them.

Rig Tire Damage Tire Damage Tire Damage Tire Damage Tire Damage Tire Damage

After arriving at Matlock Tire Company was when I got the pleasure of meeting Craig. He seemed to be like a service adviser or something, although he never actually introduced himself. He never really said anything at that point. He simply looked over my tires, wrote something on a paper and proceeded to make a phone call. I knew that he was calling the tire warranty people when I heard him leave the following voice mail. He said on the phone “This is Craig from Matlock Tire; I don’t have time for holding for you. I have other customers to deal with. After all I am doing you a favor, so you can just call me back. When you do, ask for Patrick.”

Patrick was the guy who actually did the work of replacing my tires for me. He was a very nice guy. In fact he apologized several times for what was going on here.

When Craig ran off I decided to call the tire warranty place back myself. I waited for a little bit and got Olga on the line. I handed the phone to Patrick who answered the questions she had. I then spoke to her again at which point she said that they would warranty my tires at 80%. This would amount to $192 for both tires. Not really having any choice in the matter, I agreed.

I went inside the store to look for Craig. I told him I needed to pay for my tires. I said it is going to be $115 apiece, correct? He looked at me and said “No”. I was now told that the price was $150 each. I said that wasn’t the price I was quoted on the phone. Then he said “I don’t know who you talked to on the phone, but that is the price.”

And then words came out of Craig’s mouth that simply shocked me! He said to my face” I never wanted you to come here anyway!” I didn’t know what to say. I was dazed. I just paid my bill and left.

As we were pulling out of the parking lot I saw a man come out of the back door of the building. He was dressed a little better than the other tire changers, so I thought he may be someone to speak to. I asked him if he had something to do with this little establishment here. He replied yes. I proceeded to explain the situation and how disrespectful Craig is to his customers. The man took my phone number and said he would get back with me.
After our conversation I asked what his name was. He told me his name was Jimmy Matlock. As I was speaking to him I could see large signs leaning up against the side of the building. The signs had on them “Re-Elect Jimmy Matlock on November 4th”.

Later that afternoon I did get a call back from Jimmy. He said he had a chance to speak with Craig. However, Craig didn’t seem to remember saying that he didn’t want me there. In fact Craig seemed to remember things going a whole lot different. I simply said to Jimmy “you know, that really doesn’t surprise me”.

You know in hindsight, Jimmy Matlock seemed to show quite a bit of concern for my situation but when it comes right down to it nothing ever got done about it.

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