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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, May 04, 2009


One of my readers, in an effort to be helpful (for which I thank him) asked why Dan and I didn't try to do some of the campground preparation in the fall. That got me to thinking maybe other readers might wonder the same thing.

CLEANING FIRE PITS: I use to do this in the fall but by spring they were full of dead leaves. So now, I drive the loader around to each fire pit in the spring so I'm only doing it once. (One of my biggest "irks" about campers is the crap they put in the fire pit! TOO lazy to walk to the dumpster to get rid of cans AND DOG POOP!)

TORTURING TREES: Fortunately, this is not something we have to do every year. We could trim trees in the fall but prefer to wait till spring. And lots of times, through the winter, larger trees sustain wind damage so we have to cut them down and remove them after winter.

In the fall, there is enough to do to close. We have to stack all the picnic tables up, take all the screens doors off, take all the playground equipment down and put it away, remove the curbs and sign in the middle of the driveway (curbs are not light weight by any means), blow the water lines out at the campsites (usually done by Oct. 10th, depending on the weather), thoroughly clean the bathhouse (by that I mean more than just the daily cleaning it gets when we are open...in the fall we bleach down all the walls, KABOOM the showers, which even that gets done frequently when we are open...just clean it spotless so it is ready to go come opening in May).

Once that is done, then we tear the plumbing apart in the bathhouse (not the Laundromat) so we can drain the lines. This consists of taking the special shower components apart, plunging all the water out of the toilets, etc, etc, draining the water heaters. Then we go around and plunge RV antifreeze into the toilets and add some to the tanks, put some down the drains and hope we're good to go through the winter without something freezing (didn't happen this year; had a leak to repair).

In the spring it is a reverse of everything we did in the fall. One exception is that when it gets warm enough to turn the water on to the campsites we have to inject bleach into the lines first, make sure we can taste it coming out at various spickets and let it set overnight. The next day we run the spickets and get the bleach out of the lines.

That is it in a nutshell.

Next fall, it will be 'worse'. Since we won't be here for 6 months, we will have to drain OUR home, the cabins, the Little Lodge and do our usual thing to the bathhouse, only it will have to be drained all the way back to the pump house. The whole system has to be depressurized. Since this will be our first time to do this, I'm sure we will get Saunders Well Drilling from Curtis area to assist us. Then in the spring, the well has to be bleached and bleach run through the entire system, etc. This part HAS to be done by a licensed well person. We're hoping that we can get Saunders to have this all done by the time we get home so we can pretty much move back into our house when we arrive. THEN we will be scurrying around to get all the other stuff done!

We usually start splitting wood in October to fill the wood bin for wood sales for the next season but even that will have to be done earlier this year since we'll be leaving in October. It would be so much easier if we'd get a buyer between now and then!


  1. All this and a day job, too!

    I hope that six months away from cold, snow, ice, polar bears, etc. next winter means that you will be sojourning in/to the Southwest, where there are several hundred days of sunshine a year ... and where we live! Come see us!

  2. Tom and Sandy, Dan and I are headed to Alligator River Naitonal Wildlife Refuge for about 3 months of "work", and from there we go to a BLM park in Texas!

  3. Wow! Good to post all of your tasks so folks get what campgrounds have to do to prepare!
    I can't wait for your new posts when you "move" for the winter though..I am sure you will have lots of adventures to tell us about.


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