Silver Lake State Park Campground
I cannot believe I am back home. The New York Times is still bundled in a blue plastic bag. We just had a great meal of rosemary chicken, Michigan asparagus, potatoes and a homemade coconut cream pie from Woodland Bakery. This was the meal we were supposed to have in Michigan but never found the time. Reflecting back on this weekend makes me smile. We camped with new friends. We attended our first fish boil. We scaled the massive dunes surrounding Silver Lake both by foot and in a monster truck. The campground we stayed in was probably one of the worst we have ever been to in Michigan with massive Outdoor Recreational Vehicles parked every which way, chain link fences and crowded sites. Our campsite was directly adjacent to the dump station. Despite that, I loved every minute of it. Every time I visit West Michigan, I discover something different and find new reasons to return.
So lets start at the beginning. I met my new friend Chad while waiting for Lucy at ballet. What are the odds that two dads would be sitting around at a ballet studio in Dayton, Ohio and both be Airstream owners? In my hometown, those are pretty long odds. Chad and his wife Leah had previously owned a Bambi and were just about to purchase a brand new 23 foot Flying Cloud bunk bed Airstream. Chad and I begin to correspond and it turned out that he works right across the street from me. Melizza and I met up with Chad and his wife Leah a few weeks ago to see their new Airstream. We all hit it off and planned a getaway to Michigan together. Oh yeah, they also have twin daughters that are Lucy's age. They wanted to visit the dunes along Lake Michigan. That is a tall order booking on a summer weekend at the last minute. We were able to find two horrible sites at Silver Lake State Park. It is not Ludington but they do have great dunes.
The dunes along Silver Lake are enormous. There are over 2000 acres of sand dunes within the park. The campground is pretty much albino white trash but I am, after all, both pale and white. While I lack any facial tattoos or a vehicle with monster truck tires, I was just happy to be there. I had to admire all of the cool trucks. I am especially fond of the vintage Broncos from the Sixties and Seventies. The star attraction for the crowds here are the dunes. This is the only location in Michigan where you can drive on the such a massive expanse of dunes. There is a loop along Silver Lake itself which is bordered by the dunes across from the campground.
|One of the many Broncos surrounding me|
|Lucy sitting atop the dunes overlooking Silver Lake|
After all of the ascents and descents on the soft golden sand, we headed to the Whippy Dip for lunch. We spied a vintage 1972 Bronco in mint condition in the parking lot.
Maggie was allowed a rare ice cream treat after the intensive workout.
We headed over to the local fruit market and learned that they would be having a fish boil on Saturday night.
When Chad and Leah arrived Saturday afternoon and set themselves up, we all headed out for the famous Mac Woods Dune Rides. They have an exclusive lease to operate tours on the dunes and they do a fabulous job mixing corny tourism with a thrilling ride on their distinctive elongated red trucks. We have been on this tour before and were happy to repeat the experience with our new friends. As the truck crested the top of each dune, the sound of the engine was quickly drowned out by the shrill screams of three six year olds.
That evening we attended our first fish boil. This is a Scandinavian tradition dating back to the pioneer loggers who held these events to bring in friends far and wide. A large iron pot is brought to a boil and potatoes, onions and spiced Lake Superior Whitefish Fillets are added. What a show it was. We all enjoyed an elegant and educational evening at Cherry Point Farm. They also served cherry pie and ice cream for dessert. The highlight for the kids was when the accelerant was thrown on the fire before serving. That beats the onion volcano at Benihana any day.
|Lake Superior Whitefish is a fast growing fish so it does not carry toxins.|
Saturday night was all about getting to know our new friends by the campfire. Leah and I are both talkers and we shared many stories while the girls made S'Mores and retreated to the Flying Cloud for a movie. Melizza and I are so grateful to find new friends to share new experiences with. We look forward to many future trips with them.
This morning I woke up early and took Maggie for a walk along Silver Lake. After that I biked a couple of miles over to Little Sable Lighthouse. The Lighthouse was still shrouded in fog and I had the entire beach to myself. The only sounds disturbing the still morning were the shrieking gulls along the shoreline.
|The dunes across Silver Lake|
|Leah's childhood bike that she has passed on to her daughter|
|Group picture of the South Dayton Airstream Club Charter Members|
It all ended too soon but I had to get home and be into work early on Monday morning. I cannot wait to return to the endless dunes along Lake Michigan.
If you ever find yourself in Whitehall, Michigan check out Pekadill's for fabulous sandwiches in a charming old house. Behind this casual restaurant and ice cream parlor is a charming garden. The front screen door snaps shut with a satisfying snap of the spring. That is definitely a sound of summer vacation. Every time I visit this area, I discover something new.
After all that action, I arrived home before sunset. You just have to love the summer solstice.