Day 22 – To Golden Lake Campground (Total Miles = 371.5)

We had a nice ride down more back roads, and some highway.  Not too many hills either.  We were able to make all of them and we felt pretty good about that.  Also, we were back on Highway 2 with wide shoulders.  We didn’t see anyone until we hit the highway.  A large road crew was out tarring the cracks in the road and we had a pleasant conversation with the stop sign guy.  He doesn’t live in the upper peninsula, but up north in the mitten.  He was so thrilled to tell us that him and his wife just purchased their first home.  He has been working in the UP for months, just moving along the highway, tarring a section at a time.  He was able to go home during the 4th of July, but will be in the UP working for the rest of the summer.  The work is grueling, and hot.  But, here was a young man, willing to work hard, wherever he has to, so that he can have the American dream.

The part about not seeing anyone really hit home when we arrived at Golden Lake Campground.  A really nice area, with a large calm lake, big trees, clean restrooms, and a water pump.  Yet, there was not a soul there.  No one.  The entire campground was deserted.  On one hand, it was eerie, on the other hand it was, YES! we have the whole place to ourselves!  We set up camp and went swimming!  The water was refreshing and the lake was very clean.  You could see the fish swimming and felled logs laying on the bottom.  All we saw that evening was the fish, and a resident deer grazing through the park.

It started raining that night and the entire next day.  I was happy that we had a place to stay and that there was no wind, or booming thunder and lightning, like the last storm we were in.  We assembled our little camp chairs and hung out in the tent most of the day.  The rain would stop for short spurts, and we would venture out to brew our coffee, grab food, or use the restroom.  While enjoying our cup of coffee, an older gentleman pulled up.  He said he comes at least once a day to get out and walk his dog.  We had a short conversation and then he went on his way.  But, it was fun seeing a human and getting a dog fix.  It’s funny though, there were cars cruising the park like they were out on a Sunday drive.  I would try to see out the tiny vent of our tent to catch a glimpse of the vehicle out of boredom and curiosity.  Our campsite must have given them something to talk about and ponder.  The only one occupied in the campground, we had our red and yellow packs all over the place, clothes hanging soddenly over the laundry line, muddy shoes, small barely-habitable orange tent, and two bicycles dripping raindrops.  They must have known we were inside the tent staying dry, probably wondering who we were and what we were doing on bikes.  On one rain respite, we ventured out of the tent just as a car drove through.  It was Jerry, and he stopped to chat.  We found out a lot about Jerry, who lived most of his life in the UP.  He stashes a bar of organic, water safe soap in a tree stump and takes a swim several times a week.  He’ll also bring rubber gloves and a garbage bag to pick up trash.  He warned us of the bears roaming the park, too.  He was just fun to talk with, but he had to leave so he could get his swim in before the rain returned.  And, return it did.  We crawled back into the tent and were sitting staring at each other for a few hours when we heard a honk.  It was Jerry!  He brought us a couple of cold beers to pass the evening away!  Such a nice guy!!  I must say, we enjoyed the beer tremondously, if not for the novelty of it all!

It was 2am when Ken woke me up sure that something was trying to get into our packs.  I unzipped the tent and cover, grabbed a flashlight and aimed it at our packs.  Sure enough, I saw two glowing eyes staring at me.  Big eyes.  Not the small ones you might see from a racoon.  Bugger!!  It was a bear!  I yelled aggressively out to the bear to get out.  He ran off, so I put my sandals on to assess the situation.  The bear had moved just across the road because I could see the eyes still staring at me.  I yelled again and waved my arms and the bear ran off.  The bags were still intact, so I did what you are not supposed to do, I brought the food bag to the tent and set it outside under the rain cover, on Ken’s side of the tent.  I know!  That is a big no, no.  But, we don’t have heavy enough rope to hang the bag and frankly, all the tree limbs were so high up, we could never reach them.  Ken and I layed there wide awake and sure enough, that pesky bear came back again.  I looked out with my flashlight and saw it raise up and put its’ front paws on my bag.  I growled out for it to get lost, and the bear left for good, although we were left unsettled and awake.  I guess we finally fell asleep, because it was daylight before we knew it, and our food bag was still safe under the cover.

The rain had stopped and the sun was beginning to peek through the clouds.  We were worn out and ready to gather up the drenched, dirty clothes, equipment, and bags, and get out of Dodge.  We had a hotel reservation with showers and a guest laundry awaiting us.  As we were packing up camp, an RV moved into the park.  Les and Jo Ann were walking the loop finding the perfect spot.  Of course, they had a lot to choose from!  Ken and I talked with them for at least an hour, telling our story and hearing theirs.  A Christian couple, who like to travel in their RV, they were on their way to Montana.  They were ready to get out of Dodge, too.  Except their Dodge was their hometown.  Just tired of the politics, Covid-19, and the heartache of losing some friends and family to death (not due to Covid-19), they needed to get away. We had a chance to talk about the state of our country.  I really feel that the church, meaning all Christians worldwide, individually and institutions, have dropped the ball.  Not just now, but for many years…beginning with the day they removed God and prayer from the schools.  We all stand by silent, afraid of rocking the boat.  We sit at home complaining, but never acting.  With every day that passes, we are slowly losing our religious freedoms.  This country needs a revival…the reason Ken and I started this journey in the first place.  It really does begin with you and me, and we can’t wait until our timing is right.  I encouraged Les and Jo Ann to just sow a seed here and there.  Don’t be afraid to share your love for Christ.  Standing in the checkout, seeing the sights, taking a walk through the neighborhood.  Be on the lookout for someone you think needs a listening ear.  Pay it forward.  Pray it forward.  Preach it forward.

Golden Lake Campground

Maggie’s Snow Peas!  So Sweet We Ate Them Right Out of The Bag!

Golden Lake

See Her?

Our Shelter

Jerry’s Beer…Buusschh

Drying Out Before Leaving

The Sweetest Couple – Les and Jo Ann

Sorry…No picture of the bear.


2 thoughts on “Day 22 – To Golden Lake Campground (Total Miles = 371.5)”

  1. Awesome story Dani. I love your pay it forward pray it forward and preach it forward
    I will try to remember that.


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