Very Wavy Lake Michigan

On a very cool July Afternoon, the Marion Y kids were greatly upset that the lake was just to cold for swimming as a brisk chilly wind was blowing. They all slipped out of their footwear and began timing the wave intervals to run in and out of them.  After 30 minutes their feet were freezing cold so I suggested burying their feet in the sand to warm them up. After that we headed t  the Ludington A&W to warm up even more with burgers and fries. Funny thing though, they didn’t object even once about the ice cold root beer?

How to Climb a Tree

The first thing you have to know in how to climb a tree is to dig your claws into that tree . Of course you have to be a bear to do that. And I think we interrupted Mama Bear  in teaching her Cubs  how to climb a tree. In fact she looks a little flabbergasted by being caught unawares. What she uses as a back scratcher  her Cubs will use for protection. After all mother bears do know quite a bit.27eab370e223aab7255a9f6f0e4cfa80

Ludington Harbor

The Ludington Harbor is rather impressive. Off to the right, and in the distance, is the Ludington Lighthouse on the Breakwater. That’s about 1/2 Mile from shore. And this Harbor doesn’t distinguish between large and small watercraft. The smallest of boats exits into Lake Michigan this way. And the badger ferry boat leaves the Harbor the same way. You’re all seen Darlene’s photographs of high waves hitting the lighthouse. That is why people that use the Breakwater in bad weather are just plain crazy.

Taking on the Dunes in Summer and Winter

I think that I would enjoy tubing year-round and on the sand dunes near Ludington I can do just that. Not with a sled mind you but rather a saucer. Metal saucers would move well even on dry sand and whiz you down whatever sand dune you choose faster than a speeding bullet. As on snow, sand serves as an excellent feeding system to a saucer.

There is a caution to be raised however in that I would suggest that if you go tubing in the summer time that you choose a dune not to close to Lake Michigan. This is especially so on those large dunes that almost runs into the lake. Can you imagine hitting high speeds down a dune and then go flying into Lake Michigan? You would almost be like one of those stones that kids toss into the lake to make it skip. You could bounce out quite a ways and then have a hard time getting back into shore.

I prefer using saucers on dunes that do not run directly into Lake Michigan and I can have just as much fun on those as anywhere else. The only drawback to saucering down sand dunes is that you have to walk back up them to do it again. Maybe some day someone will install a saucer lift like those ski lifts? Nah!

Enjoying the Sauble Lakes

I’ve often been asked which is my favorite of the Sauble Lakes and I would have to say the one that was the farthest away from civilization.  I have always enjoyed privacyToo many other lakes today are almost house to house to house.  I like those lakes that have some measure of distance between homes. 

And, as I earlier promised, there will be more of a focus in the future on the Sauble Lakes as today you will have two posts on them.  I also enjoy a lake where speedboats are not permitted.  Then I can take either a rowboat, kayak, or paddle boat out on the lake without a fear of being swamped by the huge wake of a speedboat.

Each of the Sauble Lakes can be reached via a channel much like the one between Big and Little Bass Lakes.  Without a motor I wonder how feasible it would be to take in all the Sauble Lakes in one day?  I would even be interested in locating the headwaters of the Big Sauble River which connects with one of the Sauble chain of lakes. 

But there is more to these lakes than meets the eye as you will learn this afternoon.

Manistee National Forest Campgrounds


One thing I like about driving down sandy roads in the Manistee National Forest and that is that you never just know when you’ll find a suitable campground to pull over in to have lunch. Darlene and I love to explore this forest. We do take a map and explore large portions of this forest nearly every weekend in the summer and early fall.

We start out each morning at about nine o’clock and pick out a section of the forest we’d like to explore. Even if the campground is not exactly an established one, if it appears somewhat decent enough I pull over and stop and out comes the lunch basket band a couple of deck chairs and folding table. Darlene is even astute enough to bring a table cloth.

After lunch we take a short hike in the immediate area and then return back to the car for the return trip home. There are just plain miles and miles of roads such as this one to explore just in our area. Our drives take us into either Mason, Lake, or Manistee County although the latter we reserve only for the summer months.

Stretching Out on The Good O’le Hammock


I had stretched my hammock out overlooking Round Lake and settled down for what I thought would be a few hours nap. I awoke near midnight but not naturally. A thunderstorm jolted me from my hammock right onto the muddy ground. I think I slept through some initial rain as it was a thunderclap that awoke me.

Needless to say I was soaking wet and quickly took down my hammock with mud still dripping from my hands. That hammock really had put me to sleep with ease that afternoon but I was not prepared for my rude awakening. I ran into my cabin only to have my wife greet me with a laugh. I must have looked a sight and she ordered me onto the porch to rid myself of my muddy clothes. Thank goodness she had a fire going as I was shivering badly.

Next time I plan on checking with the weather station before attempting any sleep around Round Lake.

The Ludington Pumping Station- Part Two

Windmill energy production is the newest thing and that is not lost on the Ludington Power Station. 

Consumers Energy discussed plans in 2008 to extend the life of the facility and upgrade the pumps to increase efficiency by up to 9%.  Consumers Energy also planned to tap the wind power resources along the eastern Lake Michigan shore with wind farms because wind is an intermittent power source and may inconveniently deliver large amounts of power during periods of low electric demand, pumped storage facilities are desirable to have on the same grid with large-scale wind farms. The available pumped storage capacity, along with the wind characteristics, partly determine the maximum contribution wind power can make to the overall electricity use in a region.

Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison announced an $800 million upgrade on February 7 2011. The six year project would begin in 2013 and extend the plant’s life by at least forty years and upgrade the generating capacity from 1,872 megawatts to 2,172 megawatts.

Comments on this subject are always wecome.


Ludington’s Pumping Station- Part One

On my aerial photograph, at the top of the page is US 31 just south of Ludington and that highway can observe the pumping station only as a large hillside with no view of the water. It would make for an excellent sledding hill. However should that earthen dam ever break, US 31 would be awash in mere seconds. Here is some good information on this location.

The Ludington Pumped Storage Plant is a hydroelectric plant and reservoir in Ludington, Michigan. It was built between 1969 and 1973 at a cost of $315 million and is owned jointly by Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison and operated by Consumers Energy. At the time of its construction, it was the largest pumped storage hydroelectric facility in the world.

It consists of a reservoir 110 ft deep, 2.5 miles long, and one mile wide which holds 27 billion US gallons  of water. The 1.3 mile reservoir is located on the banks of Lake Michigan because impervious bedrock is more than 800 feet below the reservoir, the builders had to line the reservoir with a layer of asphalt and clay to prevent water seeping into the ground.

The power plant consists of six reversible turbines that can each generate 312 megawatts of electricity for a total output of 1872 megawatts. Water is delivered from the upper reservoir to the turbines by six penstocks each 1100 feet long that taper from 28 to 24 feet in diameter.

At night, during low demand for electricity, the turbines run in reverse to pump water 363 feet uphill from Lake Michigan into the reservoir. The plant takes advantage of the natural steep sand dune landform of eastern Lake Michigan. During periods of peak demand water is released to generate power. Electrical generation can begin within 2 minutes with peak electric output of 1872MW achieved in under 30 minutes. Maximum water flow is over 33 million gallons per minute.

This process helps level the load of coal-fired power plants on the grid. It also replaces the need to build natural gas peak power plants used only during high demand.

Part Two tomorrow evening.

Ice Thickness Safety

this is probably a little late in the season to discuss this but it’s still cold in Michigan. I hope this chart is helpful. I know David Norris’ father almost lost his life going through the ice on Big Bass Lake. He was fortunate to find the hole he fell through. Many aren’t as fortunate. Let’s be careful out there on the ice.

River Tubing

I enjoy River  Tubing even more than tubing on the lake. With lake tubing you need a boat to tow you but on a river, the currrent moves you. My river of choice is the little Manistee River. It is a cold and refreshing river that takes you along at a good pace. But always take others with you just in case of an accident. Also know your route well. Then sit back  and let the river do the work for you . 

How About More Snowmobile Tubing?

A twelve-year-old girl who lives near us asked me about taking her for a tubing ride. I told her she would have to wait for summer and then she asked what was wrong about a winter tubing ride using my snowmobile. What a novel idea. So I hitched a tow line to the back of my snowmobile and too her on a ride both at a nearby lake as well as on the shores of Lake Michigan just outside Ludington.

The latter was my idea as I wondered why a snowy beachfront wouldn’t work as well as being on a lake?  Aside from some stinging sand being blown up a nasty wind that day everything was great.  We used our scarfs as mufflers to shelter our face from that sand. 

I might have to consider this again but with Darlene as my passenger.  When I told her of the thought she encouraged it but with me as the passenger.  All of a sudden it didn’t seem like all that great of an idea.  I could also see all that snow kicking up in my face.  That might be great for a kid but as for me?  Well???