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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, March 03, 2010


Nope, this isn't another story about Ben and Jerry's ice cream and my frozen, cracked tooth. This is about what we will be bringing or changing before our trip this coming fall...

Our first adventure is winding down. Another month, give or take a day or two, and we’ll start the long trek back to da U.P. of Michigan.

Since we will be heading out of here by way of Arkansas, we plan on venturing into Tennessee, possibly to Fall Creek Falls State park (depending on the weather). A long time ago, we camped there in a tent in mid April…this will be early April and we will be in our 5th wheel. It is a beautiful park, so go if you ever get the chance.

When we get to northern Indiana, we will find a place to camp so we can spend a couple of days trying to catch up with our kids, grandkids and my sister and mother….then, as long as there aren’t any blizzards in the forecast, we will start home.

So, what have we learned with our first trip of this kind? What will we do differently next season when we get ready to go? WHERE DO I BEGIN??!!

Hopefully, there will be a different bed before we take off; that is a priority on Dan’s list.

II will pack differently for me. I will bring MORE cold weather shirts/sweaters next fall. I will trade some of the summer blouses I brought along for different summer blouses that I did NOT bring. (WHO WEARS A BRIGHT, WHITE NICE BLOUSE WHILE CAMPING??? IT ISN’T LIKE WE GO ANY PLACE FANCY!).

Dan wants a different ladder instead of his antique wooden ladder. He only used it a couple of times, but he wants one that takes up less room. There possibly will be a small crock pot and a smaller electric skillet than the one I have. There will be two baking sheets that fit into my Easy Bake Oven in case I want to make biscuits or shortcake, or even fish sticks.

There will be at least one, if not two of those “over the arm of the chair” holder things…ya know, the thing you can put your remote in (if I can pry it from Dan’s fingers long enough to put it there). We are always looking for pens and a pad of paper when we are in our living room chairs and the little table between the chairs is cluttered enough with binoculars, the remote, the weather radio…things we probably will use once or twice a day while sitting in one of those chairs.
We are thinking of getting a very small fridge to take along and I DO mean small. Something that we could store extra pop, wine coolers, a loaf of bread…those kinds of items. Where we will be next fall has a little storage shed for each of the two volunteers so we could put it in there once we arrive. It wouldn’t take much to run a good extension cord to the pedestal OR the camper.

We will be taking one of the upright vacuums from one of the cabins. I bought a hand held Dirt Devil for this trip and let me tell ya, I’m getting TOO old to be on my knees running a vacuum or bent over to sweep with it.

And we are thinking of a few, slight renovations to our 5th wheel….adding some shelves where there is a lot of wasted cupboard space. If we can figure out how to do it without “ruining the set up” of the dining room window, we may remove those pleated pull down shades and replace them with lined drapes. THAT particular window gives us fits to open or close those shades. The other windows and their shades are fine. And speaking of dining room, we will be getting denser foam for those seat cushions. As it is, if we are going to be sitting at the table for any length of time (playing a game for example), we each set on the extra cushions that we purchased to set on in our living room chairs (following all that??). And if I wanted to set at the dining room table and use the computer, I’d need a booster seat so hopefully the denser foam will help all the way around.

Dan has thought of removing one of the living room chairs and making that corner my computer corner so I’m not tying up the couch. I’m not sure how I feel about that idea yet. When I do watch TV, I prefer to sit in my living room chair because I have a straight on view of the TV. If you sit on the couch, you have to turn your head sideways, unless you kind of stretch out on the couch with your back against the arm of the couch which then gives you ample opportunity to put your head in the window shades on the back end of the 5th wheel (on the slide out).

We will bring a different quilt for the bed. The one we currently use is one that my dear, sweet, MULTI- TALENTED sister made for us. It has been on our bed at home for many years. But for whatever reason, it slides OFF this bed during the night and we’re constantly, gently pulling it back in place. I have another quilt that Christy made me. It is about 30 years old so I’ve had it a bit longer than I’ve had Dan. It is in need of some repair and Christy suggested I could try Stitch Witch (I guess it is a type of glue??). It wouldn’t easily be repaired with a needle and thread (or whatever you use to hold quilts together with when they are falling apart). This is a very heavy quilt done with velvet squares on one side and flannel squares on the other side….and it does not slide off from anything. It is about the weight of 4 X-ray bibs!

AND WE ARE GOING TO TAKE OUR FISHING POLES!!! Dan and I use to enjoy fishing; summer and winter. But after buying the campground in 1992, we basically gave up fishing and even sold our Toy Boat. I wouldn’t be surprised if our reels need to be replaced. The rods should still be OK. Since we haven’t purchased fishing licenses in about 18 years, the fact that it is going to cost each of us $45.00 for a Georgia nonresident fishing license is something we aren’t going to worry about. We can fish off the bank of the Cooper’s Furnace Day Use area. The Etowah River runs through the area and I’ve researched what kind of fish we MIGHT be able to catch. Of course, if we DO catch enough fish to fry, they WILL be fried OUTSIDE!
One thing that I plan on buying in abundance before we leave; POTATO PANCAKE MIX!!! You cannot find it in the south. I guess you are supposed to make homemade potato pancakes, but when you are camping, that isn’t the easiest thing to go!! I’ve looked from N. Carolina all the way to Texas.

At the moment, I think that about covers it!

Any of you campers out there who have added things to your list after a lengthy camping experience?


  1. Yep....a hotel room.
    Actually, we used to camp alot when our kids were younger...for many years, right up until they went away to college. Now we love the luxury of a hotel and we just go hiking out to the beautiful parks instead.
    Sounds like you have a zillion details figured out already for next year! Good for you...I hope both your healths stay good enough for you to enjoy doing it for as long as you two want to!
    It will be nice to have you back in the U.P though...
    I am excited, I am going to meet up with Shelley in your neck of the woods next week and probably hike into Taquamenon for some winter shots too! Do you know if we can drive up to Crisp Point lighthouse in the winter or are those roads closed off this time of year?

  2. Retired One, you can get to Crisp Point by snowmobile this time of year. It is a favorite destination of snowmobilers. You won't have any issues getting to the Falls and as long as you are that close, you should go on up to Whitefish Point too!

  3. Its out for us to go by snowmobile to Crisp Point....we don't own a snowmobile.
    But they told me the trails are packed to walk to Taquemenon from the parking lot from all the snowmobile tracks, so we will do that. I may put the snow shoes in the trunk, just in case,but we won't get to Crisp point. Dang.


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