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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Monday, April 27, 2009


13 days from today we reopen for the season! Hopefully there will be as many campers then as have been calling last week asking if we were open yet. At least, hopefully those calls were a good sign!!

And today is the day we do something that gives me a real gut ache every year. It is time for our annual water tests.

Let me explain the gut ache part. When we purchased the park in 1992, there were MANY things we had to do in order to get our license and one of them was a chemical and bacteria water test. I won’t go into all the details of how long it took, etc, but let me say we shocked the well enough times and bleached the lines enough times that Clorox stock soared. One time the test would come back clean, and then the next time it wasn’t. We finally thought we were going to have to put in a new well. Before doing that, the “well guys” decided we’d take a water test right from the well, so that was done. And the first test came back clean, so we did it again and it came back clean again. We realized then it wasn’t a problem with the well water, but in the distribution system itself….which stemmed from the pumphouse. We tore down the old pumphouse and put in a new one in a slightly different location (meant new plumbing from the well to the pumphouse). We did more water tests and they were fine. The health department waited a week and did them again, and again they were fine. Problem solved and we were finally able to get our license so we could actually open for business.

So, yes, I get a gut ache every time we do water tests. There is NO reason that there should be a problem, but I won’t forget that period of 6 months going through that. It isn’t taking the water test that bothers me; it is the waiting for the results.

And now, the state has changed how water tests are sent in. It isn’t a big deal, but it is something new this year. Once a year, at the start of the camping season (or any other public water supplier with their own well), the chemical test also has to be taken. Apparently, it has been decided after all of these years that these tests aren’t always as “fresh” as they should be. Water tests have to be taken on certain days of the week and sent by priority mail in order to be tested the next day. There are only certain days of the week that, in our case for the U.P., Houghton does water tests. So we take ours on a Monday so they can be tested on Tuesday.

What has changed is now the tests have to be sent with ice packs in the Styrofoam box. It use to be the bottles were each placed in a bottle size Styrofoam box(about the size of a large Tylenol box), and those little boxes were then placed inside a kind of flimsy white cardboard box and sent off that way. Now, they have a LARGE shiny white cardboard box with a small Styrofoam “cooler” inside. They include two small blue ice packs for you to freeze in order to send in your two bottles. They ask that you try to ship them out with your PO’s last mail shipment of the day. At this same time, we also have to bleach the line that goes from the pumphouse to the bathhouse. And we will have to bleach all the lines that go to the campsites as well. I’m the taste tester for that…

So later today, I will go out to the pumphouse, armed with my sample bottles and my bottle of bleach (need to clean the sampling point with bleach) and take the tests….and try to get to the PO between 1:30 (when they return from lunch) and 2:00 (when the last mail run is picked up)….and then wait for the results.

The great thing is our water is absolutely the best water Dan and I have ever drank. We even have had guests tell us we should bottle it and sell it.

I already have THE GUT ACHE!


  1. I hope the water tests come out fine for you! I feel for ya!!

  2. Thanks...I should know by tomorrow...and if I DON'T, then I will really have a gut ache!

  3. I understand your gut ache. Anxiety is what it is for sure.
    When I was the Administrator for an Assisted Living, the health dept. would do spot, unannounced visits and inspect every inch of our kitchen, bathrooms, etc. I always held my breath until they would give me the ok. We never failed anything, but you feel paranoid until they pass you.
    Good luck!!
    Try some wine for that gut ache...it helps! ha
    The Retirement Chronicles


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