Silver Lake Sand Dunes 2000
By: [unknown]

Saturday, October 21, 2000

Wow, what a run we had this year. We had more kids than I can remember, more prospective new members, and a really good turn out, even better than last year.

Usually I put in everybodyís name that attends the runs. This time I canít remember everyone that showed up. So, rather than upset people that were there and forget to mention their names I will just say that we had a really good turn out. (Getting old is not any fun!) Besides, you know if you were there or not!

The plans were to meet at the Okemos rest area between 0530 and 0600, leave the rest area at 0600. We did leave the rest area at 0615. Some of the group left on Friday night.

The ride up was pretty uneventful. Kathy and I had to stop off in Muskegon to pick up Steve who was spending the night on the submarine, an overnight Cub Scout event that Steve was really looking forward to. The rest of the convoy continued on their way to Silver Lake. We picked up Steve and made it to Silver Lake around sometime oíclock.

We checked in to our motel room and unloaded the truck of the gear that we wouldnít need on the dunes. Thanks Paul for the use of the carpet space!

The group made their way to the dunes. Kathy and I had the kids in the back of the Bronco and soon found out that they needed helmets. Paul took Diane with him so we needed only two helmets. We went over to Rip-off Land, I mean, Duneland and rented them. At a cost of $120! With Steve and Chuck in their helmets we continued on our way to the dunes.

On the road up to the dunes we had a panicked youngster in the back. He kept saying that he was scared. We tried to tell him that there was nothing to be scared off. Didnít help. We caught up to the rest of the group, which was waiting at the bottom of the big hill.

Steve thought he was scared on the road into the dunes until he saw the big hill. He didnít want anything to do with going up and over. Scott came to the rescue and let Steve ride with him. Scottís son Matthew and Steve became new buddies. Again, thank you Scott for letting Steve ride with you.

With Steve out of the Bronco and Chuck in the back seat with his helmet on and Kathy strapped in so tight with her seatbelt we took off for the hill. I was impressed with myself (of course I am easily impressed) for making it up and over on the first attempt. Chuck thought it was pretty cool and couldnít wait for the next set of hills, which we did with out any problems.

After we had our fun on the big hill it was time to play hide and seek. Again, my memory fails me as to who hid and who didnít. All I do know is that when Rick Bannister hid he did a really good job. While looking for him I got stuck. What four-wheel drive trip would it be if I didnít get stuck! And yes, it was I that was driving and not Kathy. We tried to make up this hill that I just didnít have enough momentum to make it up. We started to turn sideways on the hill. I have never walked a truck sideways down a hill before. I think that the passengerís found out what the letters APF stands for now!

Well, we didnít tip or roll we just got stuck. About this time Eric and Kristen showed up. A few minutes later Lee and Cec showed up too. Kathy was sure to get the video camera out and take some pictures, as did Lee. At first Lee tried to winch me out. I kept pulling him down hill. Next we got out the shovels, you couldnít see two of the tires, and the frame was resting on the sand, so we started digging. Eric took one side and I took the other. Lee re-positioned himself for a better angle. This time we used the strap. Three jerks later and we were unstuck. About this time is when the others started showing up.

I am not sure if we started to play follow the leader or continued to play hide and seek. Either way we were still having fun. I think that it was at this time that Chuck decided to ride with someone else. I donít think that he liked being at the angle while we were stuck!

Around one oíclock or so Kathy and I went back to the motel to get our room and to move the stuff out of Paulís room. Steve had a photo project for Scoutís and his camera was in my bag back at the room. So we headed off to take care of that. We did think of putting cellophane in Paulís room, but he was nice enough to let us use his room as a storage place. In hindsight I should have used the cellophane with as many times as he put my one hub in free!

We played follow the leader after hide and seek. Bill Green does this game really well. He will start out normal, if there is a normal for Bill, and then start weaving in and out of the rest of the group.

After hide and seek we all stopped for a break. Some of us took this opportunity as a photo op. Steve was able to get some shots of the group for his project. Paul to the opportunity to unlock one of my hubs, while he was talking to Kathy! Of course we had no idea that he did it until the next hill that we came to. I think that the clubís mission is to get even with Paul. In the 60 years that he has been a member no one has been able to pay him back. I think that it is about time that we, as a club, make it a point to repay him for all the times that he has gotten us. Anyone up for the challenge?

Around four oíclock or so Kathy and I decided that we should head back and take the helmets back. They needed to be back at 5:45 or before if we wanted some of our money back. We started back via the big hills. Chuck was back riding in the Bronco. We waited for an opening in the line and made our way up the big hill. Again, we made it on the first try. Down the hill and onto the second. We made that one too. At the top of the second hill we stopped so that I could get out and take some video of the group coming over the top and down the hill. I was able to shoot a couple of our group, unfortunately I wasnít able to record their smiling faces!

I had just turned the camera off and put the lens cover on when I saw a brown jeep come over the hill. He not only came over the hill, but he rolled it! Now, something happened to my head and my thought process that I just canít seem to explain. The old news photographer must have shown up cause the first thing that I thought of was to get this on tape. I turned on the camera looked through the viewfinder and saw nothing but black. I couldnít figure out why! After giving up on getting it on tape I realized that there might be someone hurt and that we should get ourselves up there. While I was trying to figure out the camera Kathy was on the CB trying to get DNR on channel 9. She didnít have any luck and decided to run up the hill to the jeep.

When she took off running I ran over to the truck and told Chuck to buckle up. On our way up there I was trying to get DNR on the CB with no luck. I finally went to channel 4 and told any Wolverine in the parking lot to get a hold of DNR that we had a roll over on the big hill. Kathy didnít know that Chuck and I were on our way up the hill and flagged down a blue pickup truck to take her the rest of the way there. I slowed down to pick her up and lost all of my momentum. Chuck and I ran the rest of the way up, Chuck carrying the first aid kit and me carrying the shovel. Never thought of the fire extinguisher!

When we got there all three occupants of the jeep were out. Kathy was looking for them to make sure that they were all right. Roughly ten minutes after the jeep rolled DNR was on scene. From a distance we watched as DNR got out their jump kit and looked the occupants over. Fortunately for them they had a roll bar and this accident was not a fatality.

Kathy, Chuck, and I made it the rest of the way down to take the helmets back. We made it in plenty of time and got our money back. On Sunday we would divide the kids up so that we donít have to rent the helmets again. For those of you that gave the kids a ride in your vehicle, Kathy and I would like to say ďThank youĒ.

At this time we would like to say thank you to Scott and Mathew too. Not only did they let Steven ride with them, but also they enjoyed Stevenís company so much that they all chilled out watching a movie in Scott and Mathewís room over at the Best Western. Chuck even joined them when Chuck and I walked over to relieve Scott of Steve.

Later that evening Rick cooked a wonderful dinner for all of us. Art also cooked hot dogs for those who didnít want to have spaghetti. I know that our kids had one or two, (okay, a lot more than two) of the hot dogs. Thank you Art and Rick for supplying the food for Saturday night. It was good; (I had two helpings!).

Now sometime after dinner there was a conversation that took place outside of Rickís room. There was Art, Paul, Mat, and myself. For those who didnít hear it, well, letís just say that it was a most interesting conversation about the male anatomy and what a male must go through when he is finished starting the family!

Around 11:30 or so is when I decided to hit the sack. Hmm, maybe I should rephrase that sentence after the above paragraph! Naw, I am going to leave it just the way it is!

Sunday, October 22, 2000

On Sunday I woke up around 7:15. Of course I didnít crawl out of bed till 7:45 or so. After taking a shower I was on my way over to the gas station to get Kathy and myself some cappuccino. Kathy had gotten up after I was dressed and she was getting into the shower when I left the room. Well, I never made it to the gas station. As I was walking by the restaurant I saw this personís hand waving. I stopped in to see who it was. At the first table were Paul, Lee and Cec. I joined them. Mistake number one.

The waitress came over with a menu WHICH I DECLINED. I told her that I would have just coffee. Mistake number two.

A few minutes later Rob came into the restaurant by himself. We told Rob to join us, that we would make room for him. The waitress came over with the coffeepot and a menu for Rob. I had her refill my coffee cup. Mistake number three.

Meanwhile, back in the room Kathy is getting the kids up and getting them ready to go. You must realize that the kids are a lot like their Mom, they are NOT morning people. Kathy knew that we were schedule to leave around 9:30 to go play more on the dunes and she wanted to make sure that the kids would be ready. Of course I had no idea that she was getting the kids up and getting them ready.

I figured that Kathy would come up to the restaurant when I didnít come back. She didnít know that I was walking up to the gas station to get cappuccino and got side tracked. Mistake number four.

Sometime later Kathy came looking for me. She saw the same hand waving to her that waved to me. She came in the restaurant and gave me a look that is usually reserved for the kids! Well, she thought that I had breakfast and didnít wait for them. I knew better. Even though we have only been married for a five months I knew that it would be my death sentence if I had breakfast and didnít wait for them. Now Paul recognizes his opportunities really quickly. He told Kathy that I DID have breakfast and that I was lying. Sometimes you just gotta roll with it.

Kathy and I went back to the room to get the kids so that we can have breakfast together. The kids were ready so we walked back to the restaurant. For all of you parents out there with little ones take note. When they become teenagers look for a restaurant that has a buffet. The teenager in the family is like a machine, an eating machine. I donít know how the Silver Sandís Restaurant kept up but they did. When Chuck stopped eating I could have sworn that I heard a big sigh of relief from the kitchen!

After breakfast we went to play on the dunes some more. There were a few that headed back early. But for the rest of us we stayed and played. There were a couple of times that I tried to make up some minor hills and just couldnít do it. Paul strikes again. This time he did it while he was talking to me and unlocked the hub with his toe! Thatís right I typed his TOE! Bill Green challenged me to go up this one hill and he would video tape it for me. I said ok, and gave him the video camera. Bill that tape is now destroyed! I never got stuck but I did have to check the hubs at the top of the hill! We backed down and gave it another shot. We made it without any problems.

We played at this hill for a bit. We decided that it was about time to leave and head back to the motel and have lunch, compliments to Lee, Cec and Rick. On the way back in I was following Paul, everything was going just fine until Paul made this sharp left hander. I tried to follow him but the truck just didnít want to go through the sand. I thought, that darn Paul just got me again. I got out to check the hubs and sure enough one of them was in free. Art was stopped next to me with this big grin on his face. He asked if there was anything the matter and admitted that it was he that unlocked the hub and not Paul. After locking the hub back in we made it back to the motel just fine. My apologies to Paul.

I am really glad that I put the lockouts on the Bronco. I believe that Paul and Art are too as they wouldnít have had that much fun. Rest assured that I will be checking them more often in the future than I did on this trip!

After having lunch and more than enough time to pack up we headed back home. I know that for the kids and me we had a blast. I hope that the kids came away from this weekend with some life long memories and life long friends. If you were to stop and think about it all of the kids (which includes the adults) had a great time.

I am glad that the accidents that happened werenít fatalities and I hope that those involved are thanking their lucky stars that they had an angel watching over them that day.

Our next big trip with the kids will probably be Sno*Blind. I am hoping that we will be able to put a roll bar in the Bronco by then. I will need a lot of help with that project and donít have the slightest idea where to start.