Gameplan for Cheeseburger in Caseville camping trip!

Our next camping trip is our annual trek to Michigan's Thumb for the Cheeseburger in Caseville festival.

The Cheeseburger festival is basically a 10-day festival that pays tribute to Jimmy Buffett and the laid-back lifestyle he espouses. And it turns the sleepy village of Caseville from a quaint community of 2,700 people to a cheeseburger-loving throng of tens of thousands of Parrotheads! Buffett-tribute bands, sandcastle competitions, cardboard boat races, golfing, crafts, cheeseburgers, and all manner of libations are what people have come to expect from this festival, now in its 12th year.

All of the main events take place at the Huron County Park, just a stone's throw from Downtown Caseville. This includes the huge sandy beach on the shores of Saginaw Bay as well as the stage and hillside amphitheater for the live entertainment.

Although the County Park also has an RV campground, we choose to stay a few miles up the road at Albert E.Sleeper State Park. Sleeper is typical of all the Michigan State Parks, although the east section is older and not as nice as the west. There are a number of unlevel sites in both sections, so pay attention to the site descriptions when making your reservations.

The main reason we stay at the State Park is because the County Park is the epicenter of the festival, and we can escape all that by staying up the road. Also, the County Park is extremely tight. Barely enough room to open the awning and spread out.

Another reason for the State Park is we're better able to make a reservation. There's so many people who want to stay at the County Park that they conduct a lottery. If you win, you're given a site, but not necessarily one next to a buddy if there's more than one of you who are lucky enough to get a spot.

We have four campsites this year, all together. We have 16 people, with the potential for another 4 coming.

We're all leaving at various times Thursday, with that night's meal being hotdogs and pies over the campfire. Friday breakfast will be pancakes and sausages, and Friday late afternoon dinner will be bratwursts over the fire. We're eating early so we can get down to the County Park for that night's band -- Marty Viers and the Music Doctors.

Saturday we're getting up a little early so we head back down to County Park for the family sand castle competition. We'll eat another late afternoon dinner, but this time it'll be cheeseburgers from the many places in Downtown Caseville that sell them as fundraisers. That night's concert is a biggie - Air Margaritaville. We'll reserve our spots early and then enjoy some great music that night.

Sunday morning is another big breakfast -- french toast and bacon -- before breaking camp and heading home.

Yes, we're only staying for 4 days. I'd love to stay for more, but we just simply can't afford that much time off work.

By the way: I just changed one of the camper tires. Had to replace one with cracked sidewalls, and was lucky enough to drive home on that one from the last camping trip -- a 4.5-hour trip!

So bring on Caseville!