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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!

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I think I mentioned that Dan had been finding a few mushrooms, which is REALLY early for up here.  So I wasn't really surprised at daffodils in bloom or even a few tulips, but what is scary is the lilacs!!!

They aren't in bloom but there are "bloom buds" on them!  And it isn't even May yet!  And the Mackinac Island Lilac Festival isn't until JUNE!!!  IF we get another cold snap (which I bet we will) I don't think there will be any lilac blossoms in this area.  And if we DON'T get another cold snap and the lilacs DO blossom, I feel there won't be any on the Island for the festival!  Either way, I can't help but wonder how it'll all work out for the Lilac Festival.

While we were gone this past fall/winter/spring our neighbors kindly plant sat for us.  I only have two house plants but they are HUGE.  One is a Christmas cactus that is close to 70 years old and the other is a wax plant I've had for as long as I can remember.  It flowered once and then I made the mistake of transplanting it to a larger pot and it hasn't flowered again.

The flowers on this wax plant are so delicate; they remind me of beautiful decorator icing flowers that you see on those really fancy wedding cakes.  The flowers are very small but SO full of nectar that anything they come in contact with is sticky....so while they are beautiful and some what fragrant, they are very messy.

Dan and I just returned from getting our plants back and some other items they stored for us.  I'm hoping that when my daughter comes up this year that she will be able to take the Christmas cactus home with her.  I wish she could take the other plant too but I don't think she will have room for it.

One of the other items they stored for us was 3 gallons of stain that we have had for 3 years.  We have been trying for that long to find THE PERFECT DAY to get the cabin roofs stained (they are cedar shake).  It can't be windy, it can't be too cold, it can't be damp, it can't frost or rain within 24 hours of staining and of course we have to make sure the cabins aren't occupied when we stain them because that stain WILL leave an odor for a couple of days. 

Which brings me to an old "story" that I thought you might enjoy...


Swell. But perhaps you should consider consulting a psychiatrist instead.

Somewhere in this great country of ours is a man or woman, or better yet both, who feel strongly that owning or operating a campground is the way to an easy fortune. In all fairness to these folks, who obviously have camped twice and done little research, I offer the following givens, assumptions, truths, (and half-truths) from the pen of a man who embarked on the American dream a dozen years ago, with brave and naive partner.

Take everything you have; sink it, along with your blood, sweat, and tears into a piece of earth and all America will help you create a lifelong dream. Specifically the vision consists of an endless stream of citizens, using the same ground over and over until (1) It (the ground) is paid for. (2) The electric wire is paid for. (3) The sewers are paid for. (4) The table is paid for. (5) The fireplace is paid for. (6) The water hookups are paid for. (7) The toilets are paid for. (8) The showers are paid for. (9) The playground is paid for. (10) The mower is paid for. (11) The ice machine is paid for. (12) The jeep or tractor is paid for. (13) You have $10,000 set aside for all of the above, which constantly don't work or wearout.

When all the above is completed and your body is old and weak, the Department of Environmental Resources will tell you that they haven't got the money to spray for the gypsy moth anymore but if you don't spray at your own expense, they'll close down your operation. So before you leap let me offer you these thoughts:
All campers in tents are not poor.

All campers in Large RV's are not rich.

There is a strong correlation between a camping family and at least one pet dog.

Not all people who camp simply "love it (camping).

There is a strong correlation between campers and chubbiness.

It is very possible that a camper owning a $10,000 RV will argue with you over a quarter.

All visitors to your campground will not seek you out to pay their guest fee.

Many campers who frown on those who openly consume alcohol get pretty pie-eyed inside their trailer.

Keeping every camper happy is akin to killing every gypsy moth with a pair of tweezers.

Campers tend to be more conservative with their LP-gas than with your electricity.

Some campers who never miss church are not above sneaking electric heaters into their units.

Some campers will drive 10 miles to buy a can of beans because your beans were three cents more.

Most capers assume campground owners are independently wealthy.

Campers agree that everyone's dog should be tied up except their own.

If the wife and kids like your campground you have a good shot at the family's return business. Fathers don't seem to matter.

If first-time campers spend a weekend in constant rain it's 15 to one against you (or any other owner) ever seeing them again.

Parents of kids who cause problems will tell you that you're wrong and the kids are right.

Campers truly believe that three successive days of rain are your fault.

If a complainer is Catholic he'll tell you that you favor Protestants. If he is Protestant you'll be accused of being special to the Irish and Italians. If the camper is Jewish he probably won't be camping.

If your bed is near the game room, Pac Man and the juke box make resting impossible.

Sewers always overflow on Sunday (usually at lunch time).

Many campers want what they want when they want it (usually when you're in the shower).

There is a strong correlation between campers and poor reading ability; you write the rules they apparently can't read.

Campers all seem to have faulty speedometers. Your sign says 5 mph, their speedometer says 30 mph.

Permanent campers must occasionally be reminded that "rental" of a space doesn't mean ownership of the entire campground.

Permanent campers also know far more about "what's going on" than you ever will.

Campers love activities that you provide at your expense but only attend the ones that suit them and complain about the others!

You can scrub toilets daily for 47 days and the one rainy Sunday you miss the inspector will appear.

Families of seven shrink drastically if your rates are for four.

It is often difficult to out think 1000 or more adversaries.

To some, quiet hour means "Let's see if he'll throw us out. After all, we paid for four and there are 16 of us."

To others, a holiday means "Well, no rules tonight! We won't be back anyways!"

If you ever reach the point where an infraction is rationalized by saying "Mr Owner said so," then you have arrived!

If the mere sight of your vehicle (jeep, truck, golf cart or unicycle) sends them scurring into their RV you have arrived!

If you don't get your fee "up front," your last view may be that of a "disappearing Nomad!"

In all sincerity and with no tongue in cheek, measure every move by the kids in your campgound. If they obviously like you, respect you and are just a little in awe of you, this means good things are being said around the campground. If the kids seem to indicate you don't exist, quit, collect as long as you can and become a handyman. You'll possess all the tools!

I'd like to offer one more important consideration to you budding campground owners. Your best training is to have dealt in some way with large numbers of adolescents (age 12, 13, and 14). After these unbearable ages I have learned that the human body only gets larger and fatter. The intelligence, the emotions, the jealousies and the greed stay about the same or increase. (So does the sex drive but fortunatley the body won't respond) As long as you can make each one believe he is special, even if you grit your teeth a lot and create new bad words under your breath, you will be successful. Just don't ever let them realize they're just the same as anyone else or your're in trouble.

All of the above is written in good humor from experience to make you think and smile. By and large, real campers are the most honest, caring, warm and sharing, unobtrusive, thoughtful people in the world. I'm still in debt but the goodies I've met outweight the baddies 50 to 1 and if I had it to do over again even at age 48 instead of 36, you couldn't stop me! In 12 years we have grossed over a million dollars and we've only spent a million and a half. Why stop now?


I don't know if the author is still alive or not, but things really haven't changed that much since he wrote it (except the price of an RV isn't $10,000 anymore!).  But yep, we DO enjoy what we do, otherwise we WOULD need a psychiatrist!!


  1. Are you guys still looking to sell your campground or did you change your mind???

  2. Retired One, Nope, still looking to sell. We are at that age and the reason we bought the park in the first place was to build it up for our retirement...and for Dan that is NOW! He robbed the cradle; I've still got some years to go!

  3. sfeutz8:56 AM

    Enjoyed your comments on RVers since we have been on the road for 4770 miles in 2 1/2 weeks with our little camper and staying in RV parks. It was fun but home sure looked good! I didn't know you had a knee injury. Hope it is doing better, Sounds like your spring is in full bloom. We drove back into Colorado into a snowstorm over the mountains! But looks like spring today. I am sure that Newberry is glad to have you two back home. Take care of that knee. Sandy


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