Road testing the new truck – Frankfort & Leland – July 19 – 28, 2021

We were fortunate that our new Silverado 3500HD was built, even during the chip shortage. We were able to pick it up at the dealership just in time to allow for the 500-mile “break-in” period (500 miles of city dring under 55 mph, no towing), before our trial run towing the RV.  Our trial run was to our property in Frankfort, MI, (aka The Northern Outpost), a short trip to the Lelenau Penninisula, to meet up with friends, back to the Northern outpost, then home. It was a great way to try out the new truck and hitch before our next major road trip.  Colorado is one of our favorite states, and we have been planning a tour their since early winter.

We purchased the new truck, as the lease on our light duty Silverado is running out, and we want the flexibility to add more weight and to tow in the mountains. Though the trailer pin weight is significatly lower that the maximum, for the truck, the total weight was near the maximum towing weight.  This deterred us from towing over any steep grades and forced us to be very weight-conscious when packing for a trip. We plan to have this truck for the next 10 years, or more. We also purchased the Curt A16 5th wheel trailer hitch, which was specifically designed for our truck and is an upgrade from our old hitch. We were thrilled to find that the HD truck ride is just as smooth as the light duty truck, if not better.

As soon as we hitched up and hit the road, it was apparent that the new truck and hitch were both major improvements.  The hitch is far more solid and sturdy, no creaking or clunking when turning or going over bumps.  The ride in the truck felt nearly the same as it does when not towing. It was awesome!

This would be our final summer stay on our property, before fall, so we made an effort to see and do as much as we could. My foot is still recovering, so I did not join Dave for the usual daily hiking. We went to our favorite local microbreweries, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Glen Arbor, Manistee, the local beaches, Beulah, downtown Frankfort and Arcadia.  Last year, during the first summer of the pandemic, people began flocking to the area in droves. Some of the small, usually quiet towns, including Frankfort, were jammed with people. This year, it was just as busy. The Sleeping Bear Dunes area had been closed last year, but this year was jammed with people, even on a Wednesday. We managed to avoid the crowds and have fun.

For the first time, we planned a camping meet-up with friends. We purchased our fifth wheel from Lynn and Brian, when they were upgrading to a larger rig, to accommodate their growing family. Their old rig was adequate until the kids were fully grown and son-in-law,  grandchildren and a second large dog were added to the family. They were spending a week at the Wild Cherry Resort, with plans for two of their grown daughters (with boyfriends) to join them at times during the week.

We spent two nights at the campground. Our site was probably the prettiest on the property and was next to our friends’ site. We had a great time exploring Sutton’s Bay, Fishtown and visiting a couple of wineries with Lynn, Brian and their daughter Kayla. We found that the Lelenau penninsula is not too crowded, with the exception of Fishtown in Leland. The wineries that we went to were low-key and without tour busses.

We spent one last night at the Northern Outpost. We packed everything up, for the winter, in case the weather is bad in the fall and we don’t return.  We are now at home, packing up for our next big adventure, leaving tomorrow. Colorado, here we come!

Brand new Silverado 3500 HD
Our Northern Outpost, Frankfort, MI
View from our driveway, Frankfort, MI
Arcadia Scenic Turnout, Arcadia, MI
View of Crystal Lake from Beulah Beach
Wild rasberries at the Northern Outpost
Frankfort Beach
Full moon over the Northern Outpost
Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive,
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Microbrews at St Ambrose Cellars/ Brose Brewing, Beulah, MI
Point Betsie Lighthouse, Frankfort, MI
Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse, Frankfort MI
View of Frankfort from the lighthouse
Our campsite next to Brian & Lynn’s at Wild Cherry Resort, Lake Lelenau, MI. Their first time camping in their new rig, next to their old rig, which they sold to us.
Enjoying a fun afternoon with friends Lynn, Brian & Kayla (who took this photo) in Fishtown. Leland, MI.
45 North Vinyard and Winery, Lake Lelenau, MI – named after the 45th Parallel, which runs through their vinyard. Peaceful setting, great wine and only 4 miles from the campground!
Bel Lago Vinyards and winery, Cedar Michigan. This one has been on my bucket list for many years and is my current favorite (wine, view, lack of crowds, beautiful patio and tasting room)
Dinner at the Outpost – northern Michigan sweet corn!
Our last night of the summer at the Northern Outpost. Hoping the weather allows for fall camping.