I'm not going to lie to you. We didn't sleep in the Roadtrek eTrek last night.
We spent the night in a motel in Escanaba, at the far western end of the Lower Peninsula's northern Lake Michigan shoreline. I suppose if I looked around long enough I would have found a place to camp. But all the state and federal forests where we normally boondock up here in the UP were all but inaccessible because of unplowed roads. Somebody told me there was an Indian casino a dozen miles out of town but they were unsure whether they allowed overnight RV camping.
So when we saw a nice looking Budget 8 that was dog-friendly and had reasonable rates, hey, we took it.
But while we were in our room, we kept the eTrek's diesel-powered Webasto heater running all night, so our food and water inside it wouldn't freeze. And when I opened it up this morning to re-load the stuff we took into our motel room, it was a very comfortable 60 degrees in the eTrek.
That's pretty good, considering the outside temperature dropped to -12F/-24C overnight. But that's nothing compared to where we're going, north of Duluth, MN where, Monday morning from about 3AM until noon, I'll be volunteering as an amateur radio operator providing communications for the Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. At the crossing I'll be stationed at near Finland, MN, the predicted temperature at that time will be -26F/-32C. I will be in the eTrek, as will Jennifer and Tai. So this brief motel lollygagging won't last once the race starts Sunday afternoon in Duluth.
Our drive to Escanaba was about 428 miles and took more about nine hours. Roads were slick and messy downstate and the air was so cold the washer solvent kept freezing on the windshield. All the extreme cold has made for lots of potholes in Michigan and one of them dislodged a hubcap from my passenger side dualies. It was lost somewhere back along the snow banks that line the interstate.
But it was a beautiful day for RVing with clear blue skies for almost the entire trip. Crossing the Mackinac Bridge offered spectacular views of the frozen Straits of Mackinac where Lake Michigan meets Lake Huron. Just as darkness set in a couple hours later, snow squalls started up. We found a great restaurant, Buck's Inn, just on the edge of Escanaba and after a nice dinner, we were ready to call it a night.
It is frightfully cold. Even Tai didn't want to linger last night when I took him out to make yellow snow. I saw a grove of pine trees and some woods that I thought would be a good spot for his other functions but, no way, he wasn't having any part of it. Back to the warmth he tugged me on his leash.
During the drive up, I used Google Glass as a reporting tool to record my point of view and a windshield-mounted Go Pro Hero 3+ to get Jennifer and I inside the Roadtrek. Hope the audio isn't too bad. I think I can improve that in future reports.
But it was fun to shoot this video…taking you along as we rushed north into the embrace of the arctic vortex.