by Michael Boyinkfirstname.lastname@example.org
A little farm town.
Middle of nowhere.
One large employer.
High school sports. Home-town pride. Veterans Day parades. Farmer’s Markets. Classic cars. Festivals. Summertime fishing. Fall hunting.
If it’s all sounding familiar, you’re wrong.
I’m not describing Ava, MO.
But someone from Ava would be comfortable in Fremont, Michigan.
Until the snow flies, that is.
Fremont averages 63 inches of snow per year to Ava’s 13 inches.
Not that we were there for winter.
The hardest season to RV fulltime in is summer. Summer is when all the “normal” people pull their campers out of storage and fill up the same campgrounds that fulltimers want to be in.
Michigan has some state parks that are beautiful. And popular.
Other northern states are the same way – a short camping season means campgrounds book out months in advance.
As fulltimers we didn’t like to plan out that far.
Our kids were maturing. They wanted things like summer jobs and internships. We had medical issues that needed attention. We wanted to visit family.
And we were on a budget.
Buying nights in campsites is like buying anything else. The more you buy, the cheaper they are.
A campground that costs $35/night for one night costs $18/night if you buy a month’s worth. And $13.50/night if you buy a whole season (five months).
We bought the season in Fremont.
And became small-town residents.
Fremont’s city-owned campground is right on Lake Fremont.
We watched the sunrise while floating the lake on our kayak. I fished from the shoreline. We walked downtown for half-price burger night at the local bar. We got to know our neighbors and pulled our chairs over to the community campfire at night. We got library cards and maxxed them out. We went berry-picking and apple-picking in local orchards. We went to the free concert series in the local park. We volunteered for community events.
Our son found a job at Subway and umped in the Little League. Our daughter found an internship at the Humane Society.
We enjoyed Fremont so much we ignored our own “don’t repeat an experience” rule and did it all again the next year.
Thinking about it makes me miss Michigan.
Especially this time of year.
Something happens to the breeze in the middle of August in Michigan. I’ve never been quite sure what it is. Maybe it comes from a different direction. Maybe it’s a degree or two cooler. Maybe it smells different. Maybe it knocks the first leaves off the trees.
No matter what the cause, the result is the same.
Summer becomes fall.
The nights get cooler. Apple trees get heavy with fruit. Cider goes on special. A bit of orange and yellow starts to appear in the trees.
The beaches fill up with last-hurrah families. Boats start to disappear from slips. Ice cream stands limit their hours.
Don’t get me wrong. We love our life here in the Ozarks. Getting established here, finding jobs, buying a house, getting to know the community – its been as much of an adventure as traveling.
But I don’t ever think I’ll make it through August in the Ozarks without missing Michigan.
Fremont, Michigan is located approximately an hour north from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Fremont is home to Gerber Baby Food, making it the Baby Food Capital of the World. Learn more online at cityoffremont.net.