Grand Rapids, MI

Disclaimer: This blog was written at a significant delay (December 2018). As in, the delay was so significant, that I don’t feel that I can accurately represent our time at this location in story form. So, I am just going to post photos I captured here and then ramble about some of my clear memories of the place via some bullet points.

How did I get so far behind? Well, there was a summer visit from a nephew, and also a giant party in Rochester that needed to be planned for. But, also, if it comes down to blog writing or sleep – I will always choose sleep. So anyways, back on the blog game. But in abbreviated form until I catch up to the present day.

We rolled into Steamboat Park Campground as a crew of 5 – bickering with the 7 year old crew member over whether we could PLEASE eat at Subway today because it is the 7 year old’s deepest desire to eat a ‘sub’ at Subway. I don’t know if you can call microwaved bacon drenched in Italian dressing and piled onto a white bread roll a ‘sub’.

We chose Steamboat Park Campground due to its proximity to the city of Grand Rapids, where many breweries are stationed. We have been working hard with the 7 year old member of our crew on the benefits of breweries. While he at first was appalled that his father, aunt, and uncle would fathom drinking BEER in his presence, he has started coming around to the idea. It has been highly beneficial that we have installed a Pavlovian method of reinforcement involving 7 year olds being allowed to order a soda anytime an adult orders a beer…

Steamboat Park Campground is a newer campground, plopped between a river and a small airport, and dotted with tiny obnoxious oil pumps. Getting into this campground was a bit of a fiasco, as there was road construction going on which seemed to really want to trap Dyna in Cul-De-Sac neighborhoods. Maybe people were getting bored in the neighborhoods and thought it would be fun to watch all <50ft of us try and navigate our way out of a Cul-De-Sac. Jokes on them – we weren’t tricked, but we did drive Dyna the wrong way down a declared ‘ONE WAY’ for ~1/8 of a mile in order to get to the campground that is smushed between the river and the small airport.

We made it.

  • Steamboat Park Campground was a bit bare – but had a nice saltwater pool. Much time was spent at the saltwater pool during the weekdays. Saltwater pools are effective sources of entertainment to get 7 year old humans out of RVs so wage earning tenants can get some work done.
  • We hit up a few Grand Rapids based breweries during our week in the area. Brewery Vivant was freaking neat – it is housed in what was once a horse stable, and then a chapel – and is now a brewery with good food and good beer. The Mitten Brewing Company is set in an old firehouse, and has some of the most creative pizza options we’ve stumbled across. My brother still (5 months later) reminisces about their strawberry balsamic pizza creation. The fact that they also seemed to really like baseball there didn’t hurt his opinion of The Mitten either.  We had to hit up Founders, which feels like an OG micro to us. A bit hectic, but good beer and good food. And just to round things out – and because by the end of our week crammed together in a 40×10′ box where the bedroom slide-out needs to be pulled in when it rains due to a leaky seal (have I mentioned this new development yet?), we swung by Greyline Brewing for a 3 beers and a soda (one beer each guys – come on!).
    • Our rear slide-out starting leaking profusely when it rains. We found out about this while we were ‘ditching Dyna’ and Jake’s sister Emily was RV sitting. We hadn’t fixed it by the time we got to Grand Rapids. We planned to fix it once we were back in Rochester, as the ‘solution’ of pulling the slide in when it rains makes the leak go away, and, well, I guess we’re just getting a bit lazy. Spoiler: it’s now December. We’re still pulling our rear slide ‘in’ when the weather calls for rain. It’s cool – it’s totally cool.
  • The Corpse Flower at Meijer Sculpture Park & Gardens (MSPG from now on) decided to bloom for the first time in 18 years while we were near town. So, we decided we better go smell that sucker. Well, we arrived about an hour after it had closed its stinky self back up, but we did catch a few whiffs of the smell of rotten death and were catalyzed by her stinky highness to explore the rest of what MSPG had to offer. In short, we enjoyed the park much more than I would have predicted. Our 7 year old crew member is not easily impressed by flowers and statues. However, when the word ‘carnivorous’ is paired with the word ‘plant’, Dexter takes a much larger interest in flowers. There was an entire room dedicated to plants that are supposedly carnivorous. My brother discovered a new hobby while we explored the grounds, involving photographing himself posed in scandalous ways with sculptures or other objects of our world. We spent much more time at MSPG than I anticipated – and it was good.
  • To get Dexter out of the RV park on a weekday while Jake worked, Andy and I took him raspberry picking. This venture turned out to be Dexter using a stick as a weapon to fight off imaginary bad guys while Andy and I picked raspberries. At least Jake got some stuff done.
  • We spent a Saturday going for a (short) hike and kayaking around a smelly little lake to fulfill one of Dexter’s new found desires – which was kayaking. Then we swung by the Fish Ladder in downtown Grand Rapids, which was actually super cool. We spent a while watching some big old fish repeatedly try to climb their way up the ladder. None of the fish we noted made it up in the time we were there.
  • We spent a few evenings after the pool closed watching Gamera movies in the RV. 7 year old boys are weird.

Next stop: Detroit! Eminem or bust!


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