Saturday, September 15, 2007

(31) Mac Wood's Dune Rides, Windy days, Michigan

Mac Wood’s Dune Rides

Good Eaten at Dave’s and Dorothy’s

Windy days

Since my truck has been in the shop all week getting pretty, I’ve been driving around with my sisters car. Dorothy and I decided to go up to Silver Lake to go on one of the dune buggy rides. Sleeping Bear Dunes, Douglas Dunes and a couple others also have dune buggy rides.

We drove along a number of wooded country roads with more fruit farms along the way. The keen observer would note that the hills in the area are actually old sand dunes, thinly covered with ground cover and trees.

When we got to the dunes around 10:30, we were the first visitors there and after the owners unlocked the store, we had a great opportunity to talk to them and learn more about the area. The granddaughter (Shelby) told us how the rides got started. Her grandfather owned a cottage and land along the dunes and one day he decided to try driving an old jeep over the dunes. He had so much fun, he came back and told grandma to join him on a ride. They had such a good time and after telling neighbors, one of the neighbors said he’d pay 25 cents for a ride on the dunes. Then another and another and before you knew it, they had themselves a business.

We had a great driver, Weasie Olson (her son Chris recently married the granddaughter Shelby and what a fun couple). Weasie told us how the dunes got started. By clear cutting all the timber off the land bordering Lake Michigan in the 1800’s, the strong winds off of the lake quickly revealed the sand dunes. Eventually burying most of the tree stumps and light soils and underbrush that once covered them. Eventually the trees will take back the sand dunes which have also been stabilized by the planting of sea oats and grasses. But before the dunes disappear, a number of cottages along the edges of the dunes and Silver Lake keep getting buried each year by the advance of the dunes especially during the winter. The poplar trees are survivors though and can continue to grow higher and develop new root systems even as they get buried deeper each year by the dunes.

What a fun ride on an overcast day. The contrast of the lighter sandy dunes against the dark skies and white capped lake, seagulls playing on the waters edge, fresh crisp air whipping around the sides of the dune buggy as we climbed around and over the dunes, with an occasional sprinkle hitting our faces just made the day feel energizing and alive.

On our way back home, my sister and I stopped at the Country Dairy farm in New Era Mich. It’s a full working dairy farm with a farm store and deli and a Moo school tours. We had a great lunch and all the milk you could drink included. Michigan is so much more than Detroit and cars. If you like Lakes, sand dunes, kayaking, canoeing and sailing, country farms and fresh air, this is the place to visit.

Note for future trips: From Sault St Marie (Canadian side) there is a train ride called The Agawa Canyon Tour Train. It travels 114 miles north through what I’m told is awesome scenery into the Canadian Shield. This is a trip I plan on taking in the future. Cost about $59-77 depending on the season.

Well I’ve had a great week spending time with my sister Dorothy and her husband Dave. Dave has completely spoiled me by creating some great dinners. Bourbon Glazed Salmon, Hand made pizza including the dough, Chicken, black beans with onions and green pepper burritos, and of course the melt in your mouth baby back ribs.

Indiana. I’m pretty much traveling through Indiana. Nice farm country to travel along. I’m taking a secondary road, U.S. 31. Going around Indianapolis the other day on their loop road, 465, was a pleasure. There were no repairs going on and the traffic really flowed nicely. I’m in a small hamlet called Trevlac and Bean Blossom. It’s all winding country roads. The Army Corp of Engineers/State campgrounds are a bit pricey, around $25 for a site with elect. I can usually do better in other states, but it seems the price of campgrounds continues to creep up.

I’ve met up with buddy’s, Walt, Ben, Scott and Tim. We’ve all met up at a campground where Walt will be giving horseback riding trips to the campers. Who knows, I may even get on a horse myself.

I’ll be heading to Cincinnati to meet up with a newspaper publisher and will discuss my Roving Reports… who knows, I may find a source for publishing some of my articles. Although I think the blog is just too cool for right now.

Then on to Richmond Kentucky where I’ll meet up with Nancy and Jerry and on into Tennessee .
Note: Photo of Lake Michigan by Louis Olson

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