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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!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


Dan and I are having such a hard time believing how good business is this season in view of the sad shape of the economy. While it is true the gas prices are about ½ of what they were last year, we are amazed that people are out and about…and very thankful.

The past week has given us a couple of large groups of tenters. The first group was girl scouts from downstate. They ranged in ages from 5 (no, she wasn’t a GS but her mom was a chaperone!) to 10. They were such a good group…particularly considering how had it rained as soon as they started unloading to set up…and it rained the next day…and hailed the next day. Thankfully they missed the hail and none of their tents were left with holes in them. I think that day they were at Tahquamenon Falls. And they were ALL the way to the end of the trail AT the falls. And it started to pour. Yep, they had a real blast. Seriously, everyone had such a good attitude, or maybe they had some Mother’s Little Helpers??? Nah, it was the attitude. Even bearing in mind all the skunk activity after they’d sent the girls to their tents for bed….I think the adults spent that time praying that none of the little girls had to take a potty break until after the skunk had wandered out of their area. When they checked out, they stopped by the office and all the girls came in to thank Dan and I for letting them stay and they told us all about what they did. The 5 year old managed to lose a tooth while she was here. She actually DID have it in her possession at one time but it came up missing so she lost it twice. We assured her if we found it we would make sure to mail it to their scout leader. We have found all kinds of things on campsites over the years, but never a human tooth! Ya never know!! The girls had some left over sweet corn, red raspberries and some blueberries that they gave to us. That was a nice, tasty treat!!

The same day they checked out, we were expecting the other group that I wrote about; the group that we were taking half of and KOA the other half. They arrived by charter bus…in the rain. So they too had to set up tents in the rain. These kids ranged in ages from I’m guessing 12 to maybe 16??? They were here for 3 nights, during which time Dan and I didn’t get much sleep. We would check the bathhouse about 10:15 p.m., then have to go out and remind them it was quiet time. I would go to bed but Dan stays up later than I do so he sometimes had to go out again and remind them it was quiet time…and check the bathhouse again. I would get up by 4:30 a.m. to I could get out to the bathhouse hopefully before any of the guys got in the men’s side so that way Dan could stay in bed. I think this group had a good time too.

We had two women who managed to leave their cares, hubbies and kids behind and come up for about a week to tent camp. One night, in the middle of the night, one of the gals woke up because she heard something unfamiliar. There was a critter in their tent!! She woke the other woman up by screaming her surprise! So now you’ve got two screaming surprised women and some critter in a tent. I never did hear who got out first; the critter or the women, but I’m thinking it had to have been the critter because it was closest to the “door”. One of the gals had run an electrical cord into the tent via the zippered “door” so she could charge her cell phone. By doing this, the zipper was not all the way closed. She admitted that they had some munchies in the tent which is what attracted the critter. I keep saying critter because she wasn’t sure what it was. She THOUGHT it was a rat (which in 17 years I have never seen a rat here; doesn’t meant they AREN’T here but Dan nor I have seen one), but she also held her hands to give me an idea of the circumference of the critter and described it as not having a tail. I knew from the way she held her hands apart (like about the size of a basketball), it was not a rat (or if it was it was a mutant rat or somehow it got here from Viet Nam). The part of no tail is what had me going…especially if she thought it was a rat. So I thought possibly it could have been an opossum…they have a tail kind of like a rat…and a nose kind of like a rat. We’ll never know. But can’t you picture two women, in their sleeping bags, sitting straight up and screaming at a critter in their tent. And I picture the critter with the same look of surprise on its face.

There have been a lot of motor homes and 5th wheels here too. We’ve been running about 62-65% occupancy this month which is twice of what it was last year at the same time. I know this can change in an instant so we’re not getting comfy with the idea that the rest of the season will finish out this way. Our lodging has rented very well this season too. Hopefully all of this will be a continuing trend all over America.

Not only do Dan and I keep a daily percentage of occupancy chart, but we also rely on another tried and true method to figure out if we’re having a good year. Nope, it isn’t the check book…that’d be too simple and not much fun. Dan and I have always joked about we can tell when we’re having a good year by the amount of TP we have to purchase. Let me put it this way; two cases of 96 rolls, 1000 sheets per roll, will be arriving next Monday. Heck, we don’t watch the checkbook…we watch the TP!!

I’m still tweaking computers so wish me luck! At least my eyes are back in their sockets!!!


  1. Cathy, I was talking to my sister-in-law with the Sault Visitor and Convention Bureau and she is getting reports about occupancy similar to yours. She thinks the Pure Michigan ad campaign is helping. I don't know what is helping but I'm glad tourism is up here.

    Glad you got your computer.

  2. Now if the weather would just cooperate a bit for the next month and have some summer! Glad you are having a better camping season. Your stories of campers are so funny. I can only imagine what else goes on around there!

  3. SBW, I think the price of gas has helped too. For us, when I ask how people found us it is usually Trailer Life or ARVC Michigan, but I DO hope that ad is paying off!!!

    DVM's Wife...GOOD TO HEAR FROM YOU!!! I need to trot on over to your site and see what the latest info is!!

    Oh, there are some funny stories and some that just plain tick us off!! And I never know who might be reading Yarns!!

  4. WOW, you have a very full house!!!! Glad biz is so good.

    I'm off to Ohio for 5 days. I'll catch up with you when I get back on Tuesday. Have a fabulous weekend. Hope the rain stops :-)


  5. I'm glad to hear business is good! Camping is such an affordable and fun vacation for families!

  6. Joanna, don't know if you'll be reading while you are in Ohio, but thanks for the well wishes! Hope you have a great time!

    Shelley, Yes, it is an affordable way to travel especially now that the cost of fuel is "reasonable". Hope it stays that way!!!

  7. Maybe using more TP just means you are having more women campers? ha

    I am happy for your good year despite our weather! Good for you guys.


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