Nordhouse Dunes, Part II

Our camping trip to Nordhouse Dunes was divided into two distinct segments.  John and I arrived on Wednesday, established camp, and did our usual hike/bike/read/relax thing.  So wonderful just to park our fat butts and do nothing.  On Sunday, everything changed.  John escaped to head farther north with three buddies to tent camp and bike for five days.  Yea!  Jezzy and I get the Fireball all to ourselves for the first time!

Caroline towed her Camp Inn teardrop trailer up to join us for a few days.  With her mountain bike perched on the car rooftop, she made a splashy entrance into the campground, and he snazzy rig was the object of many envious glances all week.20140720_164415 Everyone wanted to peer in the window, and check out her amazing clamshell kitchen.  With a tongue-and-groove hatch, and stainless countertop, it’s a camping machine. 20140720_164052 She and Greg have thousands of miles on it in the five years (or so) they’ve owned it, including a three month trip to Alaska.

Caroline and I solidified our friendship years ago on bicycles.  We’ve traveled on bikes to Spain and New Zealand, and at least six states.  Riding the beautiful wooded trails and gravel roads in NW Michigan was our goal, and we made the best of it. 20140722_094740 Gravel and sand, sunny and shady, we spent three terrific days on our bikes, precariously riding beyond our capabilities at times.  What a hoot.  Lots of great sights on lightly traveled roads/trails.20140722_10372620140722_104116

On one of the trails near the campground one day, we happened upon two hikers.  One of them had picked up a ‘hitchhiker’ on her shoe.20140722_093055

Great food.  Happy campers.20140726_07545320140720_174016

Did I mention that I finished four books in 10 days?  (one was 700+ pages).  Bliss…..

Caroline had to leave after a few days, so Jezzy and I had a bachelorette pad for three days of our own.  Lucky Jezzy had endless hours on the the leash, with me catering to every whim of sniffing this leaf and that stick.  What I didn’t cover on two wheels, I walked with Jezzy.

One interesting sight in camp involved a large motorhome, in which lived two adults and three enormous dogs.  20140722_115001These folks actually had to run their generator in order to power their dog’s blow-dryer.  Not sure how I feel about that (but the dogs were adorable – a Newfie and two Leonbergers.)  We were pleased to be able to keep the Fireball powered up for 10 days with our 120W solar system, despite the challenges of a VERY shady site.

John was finally delivered back to camp by his friends, after five wonderful days in Empire.  Great cycling in the area of Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore.  Most beautiful area in Michigan.

Now we’re back home, and find that we’ve got mutant squirrels living nearby.  I thought I had spotted an albino squirrel one day while walking with Jezzy.  Not albino, just squirrels with white tails!  Gary Busey has kind of a mangy tail, and is easy to spot.20140730_123203 Farrah Fawcett has a huge, fluffy tail.20140730_123239 There are two more, but this is the first time I’ve seen any two together.

Should be an interesting weekend coming up, as we’re heading out in the Fireball.  Going to crew for a bunch of crazy cyclists riding 100 miles of dirt roads and two-tracks on The Night Shift.



20 thoughts on “Nordhouse Dunes, Part II

  1. Good friends, good food, and beautiful country on bike. That’s one trip I’d love. You make each trip a ball of fun for sure…excited for the next one.


  2. I didn’t realize you had kudzu that far north! It is kudzu on the old building, isn’t it?

    Loved the picture of the little hitchhiker.

    I almost lost it when I learned the bushy tailed squirrel’s name! How funny!

    Glad you and Caroline had time together, and that you and Jezzie got the Fireball to yourselves for a while!


    • Don’t think that’s kudzu, but kudzu’s evil twin sister. The leaves were enormous – that building was about the size of a garage.

      Haven’t seen my squirrel buddies since I took their photos. Hope I didn’t make them mad.

      Jezzy got to solo camp with John for one night, so we’re all even for now.

      Thanks for checking in, Sharon.


  3. Looks like you had a great time, but then again how could you not in beautiful MI. Could it be, Farrah the squirrel is just getting old like the rest of us and sporting some gray hair LOL! It would be interesting to know what caused the loss of pigmentation. Hope you’re able to get back out camping soon.


    • Don’t know the lifespan of a squirrel, but Farrah and Gary were both babies a few months ago. He’s just got a ratty look to him. Apparently all four squirrels in the litter had white tails. They are curious to see, for sure. More camping coming up – it’s a great way to go, isn’t it? Thanks, Ingrid.

      On Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 11:40 AM, campshaws wrote:



  4. Hi Judy, really enjoy your pictures and comments!! I was wondering where the forest was on your picture where you said “Riding the beautiful wooded trails and gravel roads in NW Michigan was our goal, and we made the best of it.”. Would love to walk it or bike it!! Barb


    • It’s part of a Trail that winds through the campground, then out into the Wilderness area. I’ve got a map of the area that you’re welcome to borrow. I could probably locate that section on the map – it’s gorgeous. The air there is tinged with pink from the reddish bark. Mosty, we just randomly wandered thru the Trails and two-tracks up there. Caroline may have a permanent record of her exact on her Garmin that she had running while we were riding. Got off into some seriously sandy, rutted forest roads after that! It was fun.

      On Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 11:10 AM, campshaws wrote:



  5. I really like that teardrop trailer, maybe some day. It sounds as if you thoroughly enjoyed yourself, and the weather was quite nice for cycling. I need to get away up north, and this post has me itching to go.


      • We figure these squirrels are the product of too many lawn chemicals, or something awful like that. We’re pretty sure they’re nothing to be proud of. It will be interesting to see if their offspring next year also have white tails.

        On Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 2:04 AM, campshaws wrote:



    • The cool, dry weather is perfect for camping. We went through a bunch of firewood in 10 days! Looking forward to more of the same. Thanks, Jerry.

      On Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 2:03 AM, campshaws wrote:



    • The great thing about the Teardrop is that it can be hitched up and pulled by nearly anything. The setup in the clamshell kitchen is wonderful. It’s quite an eyecatcher.

      On Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 10:47 PM, campshaws wrote:



  6. I’m so envious that you’re out in your Fireball! Sounds like you had a delightful time! Your solar system sounds very interesting – will be investigating that for sure. Those squirrels are amazing!


    • We did have a great time – it was our longest time in one spot, and I can’t wait to do it again. Love our solar system. Keeps us going, and makes it easy to camp anywhere.

      On Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 10:27 PM, campshaws wrote:



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