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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!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


On the first part of our journey….(well, we didn’t go through the dessert on a horse with no name, but our trip didn’t start out as planned)

But none of you should be surprised that our trip downstate didn’t start out as we had planned it. Really, it should have been a simple matter of getting in the truck and pointing it towards the Mackinac Bridge, right?? WRONG. We had to make a “stop” at the Kinross VA Clinic so Dan could have 3 blood tests done.

It had been close to 3 weeks since he’d seen the orthopedist at the Iron Mountain VA facility and we hadn’t heard a thing. I called the VA on Tuesday, the day before we left, to see if the Dr had remembered to even make the referral to the Milwaukee VA.

After being on hold about 15 minutes, the gal came back and said “OH!!! Dan has to have blood work! When can you come to Iron Mountain?” The way she said it makes us both think the orders have been there a while but no one followed up on them.

Long story short, she called the VA Clinic in Kinross so Dan could go there and have the blood work done at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday morning (the day we were to leave). So that added about another 2 hours to us getting to the bridge. No one can give us an answer as to why he had to have these 3 particular blood tests and we haven’t heard anything back yet.

The first 3 days of our tour of duty (AKA seeing the kids, grandkids, family and friends) was wonderful weather. The nights were a bit on the chilly side, but we had our heavy sleeping bags and the furnace works well in the popup.

Our first afternoon there, we sat in our camp chairs and admired my sisters yard and all the birds that visit her. Since we don’t have many cardinals in our neck of the woods, we didn’t know what their song sounded like, but we soon learned to identify it. There are cardinals ALL over her property. And the damn things start singing about 4 a.m….CONSTANTLY SINGING. NOT EVEN PAUSING TO SUCK IN AIR!

Her tulip trees and magnolia trees were almost in blossom. We thought they would be by the time we had to leave, but then the days turned cold and rainy.

Dan and thought about starting home on Wednesday although I was hoping he’d start home on Tuesday (especially since the weather was getting nasty). I had briefly checked emails while we were at Anne and Mike’s home and there were quite a few reservations I needed to get home and take care of. I was glad when Dan decided to head home on Tuesday.

By the time we got past Gaylord, I was anxiously counting the miles till I could see the Mighty Mac towers. What a beautiful sight they are. Dan turned to me and said “You’re not gonna cry, are ya?” Sometimes I just get so overwhelmed with emotion when I see the Bridge I can’t help but get tears in my eyes. Don’t ask me why…it just happens. This was one of those times. It IS one of the most beautiful man made sights that I’ve seen.

Now, it is time to get the campground whipped into shape for what we hope will be a busy season. Lot's of things to do between now and when we open. It is just a matter of the weather cooperating so we can "get 'er dun". And I HOPE I can start visiting other blogs again soon! I'm sure I've missed out on a lot!

And you may wonder how I think I'll manage to be away for up to 6 months next fall/winter. THAT will be different than spending a week trying to catch up with everyone. I'm sure we may both get home sick for da U.P., but we are excited for the opportunity we have next fall/winter.



  1. So glad to have you back!! You missed our snowstorm????!!

    The Retirement Chronicles

  2. Glad to hear you were able to see lot of cardinals and enjoyed your visit downstate, even if it didn't start off on the right foot.

    Sending you "busy" vibes for the upcoming camping season.

  3. Retired One...I didn't miss it at all...not one little bit! :-)

    Ashley, I pray it is busier than last year, especially after spending the last 45 minutes setting picnic tables back down!

    Appreciate the vibes!


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