Passport America Resorts

August 27, 2016

Dear Friend,

Before I move on to the next destination, I have to mention where we stayed when we visited Air Zoo. I am growing ever so fond of our “Passport America” membership, complete with its book. This organization bargained with countless numbers of RV resorts to grant 50% off a stay. Some stipulations may apply depending upon the area, time of year, and length of stay. We paid for it with just using it only two nights already. The last place we stayed at was a tremendous value for what we paid.

The place was called Hidden Valley RV Resort in Hopkins, MI. Should I start by saying I felt like a redneck when we pulled our Blue Ridge 5th Wheel through their gates? Pristine log buildings, fountain in the pond, manicured grass lawn sites with a level concrete pad, heated pool and hot tub, WIFI, and cable. No roughing it here. I appreciated Passport America finding this gem for us. Too bad there was a two night limit there. I could have easily become used to this lifestyle.

I quickly became spoiled. We moved on to the next place and God brought me back to a humble spot. We loved the price, and the availability through the weekend. It also looked like they tried to have some activities for the kids. The lady taking our reservation over the phone was very sweet as well.

We pulled up late Friday afternoon to their office, or converted mobile home trailer. Without getting into too many details, the people in the area looked rough. I know looks can be deceiving, but I kept my eyes open for drug activity (just saying). Later on I ran across one guy and his friends who had a pile of empty beer bottles and cans beside them. This guy’s eyes were glassy as I could see he struggled to understand my question I asked. In general, kids ran around unsupervised and stray cats roamed. But, everyone was extremely helpful and friendly. Everyone waved as we drove by, even the 1 year old baby, wearing only a filled dirty diaper sagging to his knees. I had to kind of laugh at that one.

As we were driving to our lot, I started noticing one camping group watching us and looking up. So I looked up too and noticed electrical wires hanging low. Oh boy. I rolled down the window and asked, “Does it look like we’ll clear it?”

Arriving at our site on a hill, Joel worked the trailer back and forth trying to find the most level area possible. We had to settle with a slight angle to our trailer, so the tires would still touch the ground. I stepped out of the truck. I recognized the smell, but what could it be? Then it dawned on me. That was the same smell as when I just finished collecting my previous dog’s poop in the plastic bag. I looked around at the site to see if there was some around. I even looked at the bottom of my shoes. Come to find out, next door had three dogs, among others nearby in the park. Across from the camp site was a woodsy area where the people must have thrown it all.

After verifying the trailer was stable, I went inside to cautiously open doors to make sure nothing would fall out at the angle. I then used the filtered refrigerator water to fill my water bottle. Salty, even after filtering. I quickly informed my family to use only the bottled water we kept on hand just in case.

Later on my older son and I took a walk around the park to see what they had to offer. A mildewy, moldy smell permeated the air. Most of the trailers looked like they have been there for the past 20 years. Lawn ornaments, clutter, old watercraft. A cat in a pen, a bird cage with birds in it right next to cooking supplies at a table. A chicken statue, signs, dogs tied out. Tarps, over-grown grass, campfire rings with rotting woodpiles. We decided to check out the showering facilities to conserve our septic tank due to no sewer hook-up. They had bleached out ceiling panels with dark spots still on it, iron streaks running down the walls and dead bugs on the counters.

I contemplated having a “shower strike”. Okay, would it sound more noble if I called it a “Shower Fast”? Instead, I stepped up to the plate as an example for the boys and humbled myself with a reality check, recalling other people’s situations I know of around me. After three days, I started getting used to the area and the showers. Of course I was kind of nervous walking past that group of party guys on my way to the showers. What would stop them if they wanted to come in after me? No one was moving around yet that morning. In general, while I would not want to go back to that resort, I learned to appreciate the people there and be grateful that I have other options.

On our way out, the owners warned us of a tight corner we’d have to manipulate the trailer around. Joel expertly maneuvered it, making it around on the first try. The seasonal site guy on the corner congratulated us saying we were the first large trailer that made the corner on the first try. Oh ya, that was definitely a “proud of my man” moment and relieved to know we could exit with no further discomfort. It was a good morning for sure.

I told Joel that I preferred to not stay at“the Hilton” and then go directly to “the Hood” again because it was too much of a shock. But, God does definitely have a way to keep attitudes in check though.

Until we meet again,


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