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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!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


THAT sounds like a delectably decadent candy, doesn’t it?? You think I may have that recipe for you, huh?

Well, it isn’t and I don’t.

Maple whips are the “sticks” that the county puts along the shoulders of all the roads in the fall, before the start of snow plowing. Some counties put little adhesive reflectors on all these whips. I’m not sure how many feet apart the whips are but it is a time consuming job and there are a LOT of them.

The whips are put there so the county or state plow truck drivers know where the edge of the road is. The whips are close to 6’ long and how they get them to stay upright in those little holes all winter long is beyond me.

But they do stay upright. And as I said, they are right on the shoulder of the road. And I’d say 96% of the ones that we see along the roads are still upright and still about 5-6’ long (some have been broken off).

However, we have noticed something in Chippewa County (we live in Luce County). MANY of the state road signs have been demolished; the treated 4x4 posts are broken off. Some are broken off about 6” above the ground while others are broken right in half…and these are WAY off the shoulder of the road…and the maple whips still stand. Some of the signs may still be standing but the mid section of the sign is broken out and on the ground.

This is not a complaint; just an observation. I would not want the job of plowing roads, even if I had the road all to myself. And there was a LOT of plowing going on this winter and in bad conditions. BUT what amazes me is that those whips are still standing ON THE SHOULDER OF THE ROAD and state highway signs have been knocked down or broken off….and they are OFF in the grassy part along the roadways.

Chippewa County was out replacing signs and posts yesterday…they will be doing this for quite a while!



  1. There must be some motivational truth buried in the story of the maple whips but I haven't discerned it.

  2. SBW, no motivational, hidden truths, just an observation about the lowly little maple whips and their testy strength vs that of 4x6 (or 4x4) treated posts.

  3. And, let us bow down our heads and say a little honoring speech about all those poor, unfortunate mailboxes that have met a bad end, as well....

    The Retirement Chronicles

  4. Thanks for the official title of the roadside'sticks', we have been calling them 'snow sticks' for the last ten years or so. We initially noticed them when we first started camping in the U.P. and wondered what they were for. Then one day the ah-hah moment happened and we realized they were markers for the snowplows. They have been the topic of many discussions and jokes as we have traveled the U.P. roadways. I still would like to know how they get something so fragile planted in the hard packed shoulder.

  5. Retired One,I betcha there were a lot of mailboxes that didn't make it, except the ones marked for air mail.

    Enjoy the time with the kids!

  6. PJ, when I get back from our trip, IF I remember it, I will post a story about a man who brought his wife up here in the late fall, trying to convince her to move up here...it has to do with those sticks.

  7. That is one of our jokes, that we will move to our cabin North of Newberry when we retire and our job will be to plant the 'snow sticks'.


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