Bug-Eye by Travis

name is Travis and last summer I was in the Manistee National Forest near White Cloud. I have finished supper up early, I was tired after a long day of hiking. I had gotten about an hou I had gotten about an hour to sleep when I was awakened by a noise behind me. I grab my camera fast and caught a picture this thing. I knew about this website and emailed it to the head guy. I don’t want no publicity but I thought people should be Warned. When my film developed I kind of called this guy Bug-eye. I have no idea what it was nor did I follow it. I’m neither Brave Nor stupid. Don’t know how dangerous it was and wasn’t about to find out in the thick of Darkness. Next morning I hightailed it out of there. Don’t think I’ll ever return. Stayed up all night cuz I was afraid to go back to bed. My friends thought I dream the whole thing up but I got this picture to prove my point. That’s about all I got to say.

Brown Fisheries Fish House

a few days ago Darlene told of an ice cream place in Hell Michigan. Well, instead of talking about hell, I chose Higher Ground. I’m talking about the brown Fisheries Fish House in Paradise Michigan. For those not in the know that is in the upper peninsula. And their white fish shrimp basket is the best ever. They get their white fish from Lake Superior. Here is a copy of their menu. how do you say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach at my stomach was well taken care of at the fish house. It’s a good atmosphere and friendly staff. And the food is outstanding. I’d say Paradise is one leg up on hell.

Delicious Cattail Pancakes


On one camping trip to our family farm the boys club kids made Cattail Pancakes with blueberries. Gathering cattails was the easy part. Here is the recipe-


1 cup cattail flour
3 eggs
2 cups milk
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
Blueberry filling

To make cattail flour, boil the root stalks into a starchy gruel and dry in a 175 degree oven. This we accomplished at my grandmothers cabin using her oven. After the gruel is dry, remove the long fibrous hairs and you will have cattail flour. Kevin Hansel was the chief chef for this part of the project.

Combine the eggs with 1/2 cup of milk and beat for 2 to 3 minutes with a whisk or mixer. Add the cattail flour and beat to a heavy, smooth consistency. Beat in the remaining milk and melted butter and salt.

Lightly grease a cast-iron skillet or griddle. Don’t grease much, as the large amount of butter in the batter will make the pancakes soggy if you over-do it.

When the skillet is hot, drop 1 tablespoon of batter onto the pan for each pancake. When the edges brown lightly after about a minute, turn the pancake and cook for another minute or two.

Blueberry Filling:


3 cups fresh blueberries
1/3 cup sugar
Crush the berries slightly and sprinkle with the sugar. Let stand for an hour or so.

Put 2 tablespoons of blueberries in the middle of each cooked pancake and roll it up. Secure with a toothpick if necessary. Sprinkle lightly with sugar

Then enjoy some good eating direct from mother nature.

Oh, Oh?

I have often wondered what would happen if two cars met on a road like this? Fortunately this is never happened to me but I’ve often wondered, what would I do? As you can see, there’s only room for on there’s only room for one car. I suppose one of us would have to back up to the nearest place where we can go off the road and let him pass. In the rain or snow that could be a problem. Maybe I shouldn’t think of something like this until it happens?

The Big Boy Graveyard

no these aren’t the Seven Dwarfs as there are too many of them. What we have here is a form of Resurrection. The big boy franchise is Alive and Well on the East Coast. But it died in the central USA several years ago. Now, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, are many big boy character from various restaurants. Surprisingly they are all in the same place as if by Magic. Will the Big Boy franchise make a comeback in the Midwest? I hope so because I enjoy eating at Big Boy restaurants. as for the big boy hamburger, it surpasses all other burgers because of its unique sauce. It looks a little like thousand island dressing sauce. But it has more zing to it and it is far more tasty. I wish I had one right now.

Camping in Our Woods

North Forested Property

For two nights, on one trip with the boys club, we moved one tent from our wooded beach into the main section of our forest. I wanted to give the boys an opportunity for deep woods camping. For those two days we still took our meals on the wooded beach but the remainder of our activities took place in our forest. On this trip from the Marion Boys Club I had another adult supervisor who stayed with one group of boys on the wooded beach while I took volunteers into the forest.

Our activities there were chopping wood for night time fires, digging our own firepit, hiking, and woodlore. We took a daily dip in Big Bass Lake along with the other group but then retreated to the deep woods. Each night of the two we had a nightly campfire and did roast marshmallows as the treat for the night but that was as far as we did with any type of cooking.

The boys actually found their sleep more peaceful in the forest than on the beach. One night the wind was rather brisk and the boys said they heard the trees talking by way of windy whispers which helped them drop off to sleep even faster. The brief experience in the forest was a success and I often wonder why I didn’t repeat this with other trips to our property. I suppose having a second adult along contributed to the success of this trip. Most times I went with the boys alone.

The Girls Camp on Big Bass Lake and Dr. Frederica Baker


Most people probably don’t realize that there was a second camp on Big Bass Lake, which at the time of that camp, was known as Lake Na-Tah-ki (By an act of Legislature in 1907). Dr. Frederica Baker purchased land from William P. Jones and she named her cottage Okwa Lodge (Welcome). She came up with the idea to create a camp for little girls from both families she knew and also from clients she had as a obstetrician.

She was the all in all at that camp. They traveled to that camp on the Goodrich Steamship Line across Lake Michigan from Chicago to Muskegon. They then took the Pere Marquete train to Peacock where they were met by Anton Matson with his horse and buggy. Quite a trip! It seemed that Anton then owned the Lakeview Resort and many of the campers had their meals either there or at the Old Homestead Resort.

The last time Dr. Baker brought the children up to Okwa Lodge, she collapsed from the intense heat, on the Chicago pier, but she managed to get her charges up to the camp where she soon succumbed to her final illness.

Dr. Baker is buried in Lakeview Cemetary in a plot surrounded by an iron fence (1866-1917). The inscription on the headstone reads: Frederica R. Baker, August 12, 1866 – August 7th, 1917, Physician – Friend”. In truth this was the first camp on Big Bass Lake. One has to wonder if Martin Johnson was inspired to start his own camp from Dr. Baker.

Screams Crematory

I once ate here when I was much younger. It is located in Hell Michigan. They also have a miniature golf course and you can take your picture in front of and you can take your picture in front of all places a coffin. The ice cream is fantastic. And every winter you can eat here till Hell Freezes Over. They have great flavors and the atmosphere is nice for hell. I never thought I’d ever be in hell but for the short time I was there it wasn’t all that bad. I hate to say this but if you ever get the chance, go to hell.

Night of 100 Big Mac’s

As part of a promotional program operated by the Chicago White Sox, every time one of their players hit a home run at home, the McDonald’s Corporation would donate $100 to a local youth organization and on a night in 1978 that youth organization just happened to be the Hoffman Estates Boys Club. Chris Nolan, one of my board members, heard our name announced on air during one of the Sox home games when that big home run was hit and then she heard my name being promoted as the Executive Director.

The next day a courier came to our club with the McDonald’s check and we used that $100 to purchase 100 Big Mac’s. Of course that was during a time when those hamburgers were just under a buck. I remember going into our local McDonald’s that evening and asking for 100 Big Mac’s to go and giving one of their employees the shock of his life.

He gulped saying, “You’ll have to wait for a bit“, and began preparing our order. Needless to say there was a major McDonald’s celebration at our club that evening. Our Torch Club sent a thank you note both to McDonald’s and to the Chicago White Sox for their promotion. You know, there’s just something about that Big Mac sauce that keeps you coming back for more!

Year Round Lodge

The building in the background was used by my Hoffman Estates Boys Club monthly during the off season and ULBC Camp Director, Al Mackin, was always on hand to provide the boys with great fun.  At times some of the Union League Club kids also were up the same weekend providing a joint camping experience.

I remember on one trip I met an older Greg Kokines.  I had his younger brother, Mike, at Tent City when  was a counselor at the camp in the 1960’s.  Our kids made great use of the forest around now Fox Lake playing Hound and the Hare with both Al and myself as the hares.  Once when it snowed several boys camped out in the snow for a night and had a great experience doing that.  I chose to stay in the heated lodge.

I wonder if this lodge is still used by present campers today in the off season?  Is the present camp director hired year round?  Let us know by way of a comment.

Life in a Pickle Barrel

How woull?d you like to have your life in a pickle barrel? No this isn’t a prison but a home. And a family actually lived here for a Time. Presently it’s a museum. I would say that this family was the Talk of the Town while they lived there. They were probably the butt of a few jokes as well. I wonder if their last name was Dill? How would your family manage In A Pickle Barrel? I will say something about Michigan. They have something for just about everyone in this state.

Kenny and The Haunted House

Kenny was one of the older boys that camped with our boys club trips on our property. He was also the young man that had mistaken bear tracks for deer tracks as another article states elsewhere on “BBL & Beyond“. Now it was the time for us to travel out to the Haunted Island and House. He was a little more than apprehensive after his “bear tracks” encounter.

Kenny was a little afraid of the supernatural world and especially at midnight as our boats docked at the rickety pier on the Haunted Island. He volunteered to stay with the boats as I could tell he had no desire to visit the actual Haunted House itself. But Kenny wasn’t a real good swimmer so he had to go with the rest of the boys. Knowing his more than fertile imagination if he had gotten scared by even the noise of a loon he might have tried swimming back.

As we approached the clearing to the haunted house he was holding onto the hands of another younger boy. On this trip out to the house there was nothing planned but that sure didn’t settle Kenny. Some of the boys stuck their heads through the doorway and windows but Kenny stayed back at the tree line. A sudden wind broke through the trees and Kenny hit the ground as the other kids began laughing since he was the oldest and the most scared.

Kenny then brushed himself off and had to pretend to be brave so he walked toward the house in almost a stagger saying that he was only joking about being scared. One of the younger boys suggested that we spend the night by the haunted house to which he said, “Forget you!” faster than a speeding bullet.

After a few minutes we returned back to the boats and then on back to our wooded beachfront. Kenny got his stagger back said he was just putting on to get the kids going but no one brought that line whatsoever. First the bear tracks and now his fear of the haunted house. This just wasn’t his week. But the rest of his trip went just fine.

the Manistee National Forest touches Lake Michigan

when I worked for the National Forest Service, this was a place for me to be. The wind off the lake was refreshing and I love hearing the sound of the surf. Now that I live in Arizona I miss this greatly. There is nothing like the sound of surf crashing against the shore. Or going down to the lake on Windy days and watching the huge waves come to land. This area has unsupervised swimming and plenty of sand dunes to hike around. There is a campground for lunch and dinner not to mention breakfast. This area is called the Lake Michigan recreational area. I would recommend it to anyone.