139. Silver Lake – 3

My index is a little funky for the last two posts. Until fixed you may just cursor down till you reach #138 0r 139. Apple’s last update has screwed thing up and until there’s a work around I’m missing commands needed to add to the index. It’s also difficult to write in that instead of typing nice black letters against a white background, the Apple update has turned my drafting background into a dark charcoal grey with black letters so basically I can barely read what I type. It appears when it’s published that it reverts to correct black lettering against a white background.

Not too much to report.  It’s been great weather.  A few days that started humid but dried out.  Mostly temps in the mid 70’ to low 80’s and full sunshine.  Looks like it got into the 90’s away from the big air conditioner known as LK MI.   By Monday June 7th, the crowds representing the Jeep Invasion had all gone leaving a pretty much closed up town till the next weekend.  There are a few campers that will come in on Monday, Tues and Weds but on Thursday the rush begins ending late Friday afternoon.  By early Friday evenings, the campground is essentially full.   Saturday the campground doesn’t shrug off sleep till about 10 am or maybe later.  

For those who know me, I’m learning, as Archie Bunker says, to stifle myself.  I usually say what’s on my mind, a privilege of my age, I guess.  But my ‘job’ as host is to be all smiles, an ambassador, they tell me.  Well that’s hard work.  I’ve developed some opening lines that are pretty much fool proof.  Lots of people sitting on the benches by the lake, lying in their hammocks (there are dozens) or reclining in their camp chairs enjoying the fresh air, no pressure and lots of sunshine.   So I walk up with my DNR camp host vest on that I’m to wear when ‘on duty’

and I have my little white notebook and pen in my hand (used to count contacts, record complaints etc) and say “Excuse me, I really hate to do this but I’m going to have to write you a citation”.  A little startled, my guests reply “why? Or “what did we do?” And I respond that “there’s a rule/regulation about being too relaxed” and most find it amusing and start talking about how nice it is or how they’ve been enjoying themselves.  So today, Monday a very quiet day, there’s this older couple in the south loop and I do my shtick and she responds “you did this yesterday and I found it only moderately funny; today it’s not funny in the least” AND SHE MEANT IT!  Guess I’ll have to be more careful.  Her husband then engaged me in a half hour conversation about camping so I guess it wasn’t all bad

Never learning, a half dozen sites down a couple was unloading their covered cargo trailer of a dune buggy and two Rzr ATVs or UTVs.  So I stepped up with the citation routine and answered the “why?” saying there was a rule that they needed ‘more toys’.  He laughingly told me they’d already dropped their boat off at the boat launch.  Guess I’ve been told.  I then was invited in the cargo trailer to see the various types of tires in the trailer used for various terrains/sand/mud etc.  Who knew? So I’m also getting educated.

Another guy stopped his truck and 5th wheel right across a main park intersection, got out and came up to me (I was on one of my walks around the park). “Where is site #229?” he belligerently asked.  I pointed to the sign board about 10’ away which showed #229 to be up the hill.  “I’ve been there and it’s not there” he retorted.   “I’m sorry” I said,”but I gave my last map away; I’ll go across the road and get you one” at which time he spun on his heels and very angrily told me he already had a map if that’s all I was going to do” got in his truck and unblocked the intersection!  I made sure my walk got me past his site and he had found it.  He was very much struggling to back in – on of two pull thru sites in the park.  Not one word escaped my mouth but can’t say the same for my brain.

The camper site immediately across from me, formerly occupied by the orange Jeep and super friendly campers, was now populated with a camper, a pickup truck, an SUV and a Jeep with raised axles, big tires, roll bars and no doors.   Oh did I forget?  Parents with nine, count ‘em, kids one one of which was probably a teenager.  The rest of every age from two to teenage. Eleven bikes scattered on the site and….   Buts that’s OK. It’s a family campground and they’re building memories. Or are they?

Parents would put two of the kids in the back of the Jeep each morning and would be gone from 10 am  till 4 pm riding the dunes.  The remaining 7 kiddies and dog apparently were to be wards of the campground.  Everyday it was mom and dad and the current day’s selection of two kids gone all day.  As far as I was concerned, the kids were having a camping experience and, though loudly playing, weren’t hurting anyone. And then…

So one morning I woke up and entered the great outdoors and found a generous piece of visqueen, used to wrap bundles of firewood, between my fire ring and the road.  A few feet further was a multi colored plastic handle generally stapled into the wood bundles to assist in carrying them.  A few feet further was the 4”x6” red tag that’s stapled to the each wood bundle explaining the origin of wood. Scattered in between were two pieces of firewood.  All in a perfectly straight line towards their campsite.  Oh did I mention my last bundled pieces of wood were missing.  Apparently my last bundle got legs during the night but though I could guess, I didn’t know for sure where it went.  And since the park’s been furnishing me with my wood, gratis, and I hadn’t seen the ‘deed’ and since I’m supposed to be an ambassador of happiness, I decided to let it pass.😇😇😇😇

So fast forward a few hours, to about 1:30 pm and it’s time to do my N. loop walk and I go past their lot.  I carry a bag with me to voluntarily pick up paper etc, something to do while walking and an excuse to stop now and then.  What do I see on the ground right next to the drivers door of their brand new white Ford pickup but a one dollar bill, a five dollar bill and a paper that looked like a store receipt.  I picked it up and walked on the site – 3-4 kids including the oldest female about 13 or 14.  Asked for their parents (knowing the answer) and was told they’re out riding the dunes.  I explained what I found and where and that it appeared as though it might have fallen out when the truck driver. The oldest girl confirmed the receipt was theirs and the 2or three that were around kept effusively thanking me and repeatedly saying how they couldn’t believe I’d return it, that I didn’t just keep it etc. I said I wasn’t that kind of person to take someone’s six bucks unlike whoever took my wood the previous night.  The oldest girt shot a look at the 9-10 yr old boy and his head went down.  I immediately knew who stole my wood.

The young boy, maybe 9 or 10, started making excuses that they ran out of firewood the prior nite and he didn’t know the wood at MY fire pit on MY lot next to MY rig was mine.  That they intended to come and pay me in the morning (it was by then nearly mid afternoon and mom & dad are out enjoying themselves.  I told them taking the wood was bad enough but leaving a trail straight to their site was dumb and making me pick up their mess was evil.  I told them that maybe they didn’t know it was mine but they sure knew, with no doubts, that it wasn’t theirs.  Since it was a non ambassadorial confrontation with a family of weasels, I reported the conversation to the Rangers who were upset that the kids were unattended by someone 16 yrs old or older.  Apparently another rule I didn’t know.  Around 5pm parents are back, Ranger Smokey the Bear has talked to them and dad is knocking on my door. 

Dad acts all apologetic.  I wasn’t buying.  We meant to pay you.  So? “It was dark when I closed up, I said.  Am guessing you also don’t leave your kids unattended playing with fire at nite and so further guessing you or your wife was present and at best didn’t stop your boy from stealing and at worst actually sent him over to do it.  You’re too blind in the morning to see the trail to your site.  You bs me with how you were going to pay me but you didn’t and you haven’t.  You left your kid to take the rap for you.  What kind of example are you setting for the brood?”   He just kept saying they intended to pay.  I told him to remember this day 10 yrs from now when his kid is arrested and tells the cop that the car stalled and he wanted to go home and saw a car lot across the street and hot wired one of them telling the cop ‘I was going to bring it back in the morning’.  That’s the lesson you’re teaching your kids.  They’ve now left two days ago and I haven’t seen $ or wood.  The gene pool is contaminated.  

While I do have a number of stories, by in large, most (98%) of the people are friendly and pretty well mannered (except for site 148 this morning which occupants had left and from which I picked up a box of over 200 beer bottles and cans).  I’ve had a bunch of good conversations with folks staying in a lakeside teardrop.  I met a week plus ago a couple that were real interested in full timing and pros & cons of 5th wheels vs motorhomes.  Turned out they were actually camping in the private campground a block away.  They returned this weekend and we sat and talked for another hour.  

I mentioned walking the loops of the park.  I’m getting better at it.  Since I’ve been here, I’ve walked over 70 miles so far in the park.  Working my way up. Today I did 7.10 miles. Often it feels like one or another of my hips kind of seizes up for a bit and I walk thru it.  I don’t remember that happening today.  Don’t know if it gets better or if today I had fewer stops but the ones I had were for longer duration as people seemed to want to chat.  Whatever!

I have one more story.  I already posted this to my Facebook page but a number of readers are not FB friends (at least I’m not aware of any FB friends I have in China, France, Italy, UK or elsewhere.  

So a new one on me.  Have never seen this in my 22 yrs of camping 365 days/yr.  I’m on my one of my many walks thru the park and I hear a motor, a small motor.  I look around and finally see the poster boy for OCD.  

Now I see many campers with big mats out to provide a nice defined seating area.  Mine is out now and I will take it out when I’m staying long enuf to justify the effort.

I see campers with brooms sweeping their mats daily and I’ll confess to sweeping the tree debris off once in the past 2.5 weeks. Once in a great while, like maybe every two or three months, someone will be blowing the leaves/sand/whatever off with an electric or gas leaf blower.

But never before have I seen someone with a long alum extension ladder at the back of his 5th wheel and with the camper up on the roof with his gas powered leaf blower blowing the ‘whatever’ off his roof from front to back.  SMH.  I understand those who don’t have slide toppers (roll up canvas over the slide outs) to keep twigs off the slide top and keep those twigs from entering the rig when retracting the slide) who clean the slide top before retracting it but this guy was cleaning every inch of his roof! All the while being still under those dirty trees!  Wondering if all these years I’ve been doing it wrong by having the ‘whatever’ blow off with the breezes while either sitting on the site or driving down the road.

Pic could have been better but as camphost I didn’t want to be too obvious and kind of hid behind a tree figuring my laughter was enuf.  There’s a FB site for Volunteer MI Campground Hosts and I posted it there as well.  About half thought it was funny while half thought I was evil incarnate for posting (there are many posts about stuff that happens).  I was accused of being judgmental.  Well yeah.  I’m judgmental about pretty much everything.  What food I like, what food I hate. What color car I want.  Where or how I live.  How late I like to sleep.  And even what people I like.  What I didn’t do is indicate to the camper what my judgment was. 

Lake Michigan from the dunes.
And Silver Lake near sunset with the dunes in the background

8 thoughts on “139. Silver Lake – 3”

      1. Enjoy reading your blog. I can well imagine your spele walking through the park. I must say I am very impressed with all your walking. Be sure to take a bottle of water with you to stay hydrated. Oh and stop bitting your tongue. It can really hurt after a while. Good for you for sticking up for the wood and tell the guy off. The kids are sure to be convicts down the road…

        Liked by 1 person

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