Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Boondocking: Ojibwa Casino Marquette, Michigan

        We have stayed here several times now and since we were on our way home from our winter's journey we set up here for a few days of relaxation once again.  Yes, we are going to wage war on the local 'one armed bandits', but we would stay here regardless.  Simply put, they pay you to stay here.  Yes, that's right.......THEY PAY YOU TO STAY HERE!  The Ojibwa Casino http://www.ojibwacasino.com/marquette-location/4111176 is located on the south shore of Lake Superior about 10 miles east of Marquette on M-28.  This is beautiful country.  It is a fairly unknown casino as things go unless you are a local.  It is a small format facility, lacking the flair of the much larger Kewadin Casinos.  There are many slot machines, a couple of blackjack tables and roulette as well as a small bar and snack bar.  No floor shows, no hotel, no super buffet restaurant, pretty bare bones.  Don't misunderstand me, it is still a very nice establishment. 
      The secret here is a very good location in proximity to the greater Marquette, Negaunee, and Ishpeming area as well as a large area of the Lake Superior shoreline.  And.....it's free!       
      There are 7 sandy, level sites that are very deep (100+').  They sit in the pine trees on the west side of the parking lot about 100 yards from the casino.  These sites have both 30 and 50 amp power boxes, picnic tables, and garbage cans, but no water or sewer.  You must 'water up' before arriving and then dump somewhere else when leaving.  We watered up at the truck stop in Rapid River, MI about 40 miles to the south so as to NOT haul the water weight any longer than necessary, but there are other options as well.  We will dump our sewer at the Straits State Park at the Mackinac Bridge on our way home.  The sites are all FIRST COME FIRST SERVE.  We have never been here in the summer time therefore have never experienced NO VACANCY.  I'm sure it is much different during peak summer travel time.  The regular parking lot is also free for overnight camping without any amenities, but it is quite angled and leveling out here could be a challenge.  You would never be able to stay here during the winter as the snow is so deep and they do not plow.  This trip we arrived the 25th of April. 
      Upon arriving, picking a site, and then setting up......you must go inside the casino and check in with Guest Services.  Here is where the fun begins.  They register your name and camp spot, give you a free drink ticket to the bar,  two free coupons for blackjack hands, and a $5 bill to gamble as you wish!  Ready for this?   You must register every day, but you receive all these 'bennies' each and every day as well!  You don't have to be a casino patron to stay here, but I'm sure they count on it.  Barb and I do visit it each day for a bit, but also tour the local Marquette area as well.  If you haven't been in this area of the UP, it is a hidden treasure!  Two of our favorite local eateries are the Crossroads Bar for the best Pasty you will ever have http://extras.miningjournal.net/ads/MenuGuide2015/MenuGuide2015-16.jpg and Lagniappe, a Cajun restaurant that rivals many of the best in New Orleans with authentic, fresh, well prepared fare.  http://marquettecajun.com/  Another great stop is Ralph's Italian Deli in Ishpeming, about 25 miles to the west.  Great local ethnic favorites prepared fresh from scratch daily with sauces and meats to boggle the mind and taste buds!  http://www.ralphsitaliandeli.com/  Unfortunately, the diesel prices in the Marquette area were $2.24....
      This location is not only a great destination, but a great stopover if your destination is much farther.  Great location, friendly local casino, no charge, and many daily benefits you may have never seen before. 

"My favorite things in life don't cost any money.  It's really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time"
                                                                                 Steve Jobs

WiFi courtesy of Verizon MiFi

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