August 24, 2014 – Silver Lake Sand Dunes State Park, Michigan

This afternoon, we headed out on a dune ride at the Silver Lake State Park today with Mac Wood’s Dune Rides. The park is 1.5 miles wide and 3 miles long, and composed of mature forest land and over 2,000 acres of sand dunes. It is divided into three segments: the northern area is an all-terrain vehicle park, and is the only dunes area east of Utah where a private motorized vehicle may be driven from April 1 through October 31, the middle of the park is a non-vehicle area (the Walking Dunes), and the southernmost section is leased to the Mac Wood for scenic dune cruising with spectacular views of Lake Michigan and Silver Lake.
Sand Dunes (c) in Silver Lake Dunes State Park, MI - 2014-08-24The area was once covered by dense white pine forests. However, the stands of trees fell prey to American’s growing demand for lumber during the 19th Century. In 1871-72, much of the lumber is rumored to have gone toward rebuilding Chicago after its disastrous fire of October 1871.

With nothing to hold the soil or stop the movement of the sane, the dunes began their slow movement eastward from the Lake Michigan lakeshore. Stumps of the old forest still dot the mostly barren landscape.

Remains of Buried Trees (a), Silver Lake Dunes State Park, MI - 2014-08-24 Remains of Buried Trees (c), Silver Lake Dunes State Park, MI - 2014-08-24 Remains of Buried Trees (d), Silver Lake Dunes State Park, MI - 2014-08-24 Remains of Buried Trees (e), Silver Lake Dunes State Park, MI - 2014-08-24 Remains of Buried Trees (g), Silver Lake Dunes State Park, MI - 2014-08-24

Interestingly, the hole in this stump bears a striking resemblance to Michigan’s Lower Peninsula

Interestingly, the hole in this stump bears a striking resemblance to Michigan’s Lower Peninsula

Arriving at Mac Wood’s premises, we paid for our tickets, after which I was told that there was a $2.00 per person discount for veterans. So, back in I went, showed them my ID and, lo and behold, they handed me $4.00!

While waiting for our group to be called
2014-08-24 -Carol, Suanne, Georgina, Leslie, Debbie, LaDonna and Dave, MacWoods, Silver, Lake, MIwe had a chance to look at some of the vehicles previously used for

1934 Ford Dune Scooter – This 2nd generation scooter was No. 10 in the Mac Wood’s fleet (in use from 1943 to 1962). It had a 5.38 ¼ track differential1950 Ford 100 HP engine, Hudson steering section, direct clutch, 15” limousine tires and 10” double-width wheels.

1934 Ford Dune Scooter – This 2nd generation scooter was No. 10 in the Mac Wood’s fleet (in use from 1943 to 1962). It had a 5.38 ¼ track differential1950 Ford 100 HP engine, Hudson steering section, direct clutch, 15” limousine tires and 10” double-width wheels.

1960 Studebaker Dune Scooter, No,9 I Mac Wood’s fleet (in use from 1960 to 170). It has a 289 V-8 engine, traction bars, ½ ton 2-wheel drive chassis, sand tires, 3-speed transmission. It was the first truck chassis used and the last 2-wheel drive dune scooter.

1960 Studebaker Dune Scooter, No,9 I Mac Wood’s fleet (in use from 1960 to 170). It has a 289 V-8 engine, traction bars, ½ ton 2-wheel drive chassis, sand tires, 3-speed transmission. It was the first truck chassis used and the last 2-wheel drive dune scooter.

1968 International Harvester 1200 Series Light Duty Truck. 345 cubic inch v-8 engine and 4-speed transmission. Built in 1970 as a 3-seat vehicle, it was converted to a 4-seat vehicle then a 5-seater in the 1980s. It was used until 2007 when it was replaced by a new Ford F-250.

1968 International Harvester 1200 Series Light Duty Truck. 345 cubic inch v-8 engine and 4-speed transmission. Built in 1970 as a 3-seat vehicle, it was converted to a 4-seat vehicle then a 5-seater in the 1980s. It was used until 2007 when it was replaced by a new Ford F-250.

Then, there was the price in 1965 …

Today, more than six-times that rate

Today, more than six-times that rate

Our driver, tour guide, Tim, and local 8th grade science teacher during the school year, was knowledgeable, funny and interesting.
Tim, Driver-Guide for our Dune RIde, MacWoods, Silver Lake, MI - 2014-08-24Our trip began among the still verdant forests

Dune Ride (a), MacWoods, Silver Lake State Park, MI - 2014-08-24 Dune Ride (b), MacWoods, Silver Lake State Park, MI - 2014-08-24 Dune Ride (c), MacWoods, Silver Lake State Park, MI - 2014-08-24before emerging into a world of sand …

Dune Ride (g), MacWoods, Silver Lake State Park, MI - 2014-08-24Interrupted by isolated patches of dune grasses

Grass (c), Silver Lake State Park Dunes, MI - 2014-08-24 Grass (b), Silver Lake State Park Dunes, MI - 2014-08-24 Grass (a), Silver Lake State Park Dunes, MI - 2014-08-24and poplar trees; which, when their trunks become covered by drifting sands generate new root structures and sprout new trunks and limbs above the sand.

 The original roots could be 10’, 20’ or more below today’s level of sand Our trip wound over and between the dunes.


The original roots could be 10’, 20’ or more below today’s level of sand
Our trip wound over and between the dunes.

Dune Ride (e), MacWoods, Silver Lake State Park, MI - 2014-08-24

Obviously this guy forgot to tighten his seat belt

Obviously this guy forgot to tighten his seat belt

Dune Ride (f), MacWoods, Silver Lake State Park, MI - 2014-08-24

As on roller coasters, it’s “Hands up” as we go down hills

As on roller coasters, it’s “Hands up” as we go down hills

Dune Ride (j), MacWoods, Silver Lake State Park, MI - 2014-08-24 Dune Ride (k), MacWoods, Silver Lake State Park, MI - 2014-08-24Lake Michigan finally came into view

View of Lake Michigan (b), Silver Lake Dunes State Park, MI - 2014-08-24 View of Lake Michigan (c), Silver Lake Dunes State Park, MI - 2014-08-24 View of Lake Michigan (d), Silver Lake Dunes State Park, MI - 2014-08-24where Tim took us right through the surf.
Jeep with Tires in Lake Michigan (a), Silver Lake Dunes State Park, MI - 2014-08-24After a stop to dip our feet in Lake Michigan and a group photo op
2014-08-24 - Carol, Chick, Sue, John, Leslie, Dick, Debbie, LaDonna, Georgina, Russ, Suanne, Bill and Dave, on the Lake Michigan Shore, Sliver Lake Dunes State Park, MIWe continued on, we eventually crested a large dune overlooking Silver Lake … where the same is inexorably encroaching on the lake.

Dune Ride (m - Sands Encorching into Silver Lake), MacWoods, Silver Lake State Park, MI - 2014-08-24High overhead, a couple of osprey circled
Osprey (b) Soaring Over Silver Lake Dunes State Park, MI - 2014-08-24 Osprey (a) Soaring Over Silver Lake Dunes State Park, MI - 2014-08-24while a lone monarch butterfly
Monarch Butterfly Fluttering Jusr Over the Sands at Silver Lake Dunes State Park, MI - 2014-08-24fluttered in seemingly aimless patters among the drift wood and the few flowerless seedlings.
Seedlings (b), Silver Lake Dunes State Park, MI - 2014-08-24After a few more hills

CLICK OR PASTE INTO YOUR BROWSER TO PLAY: https://www.dropbox.com/s/a0v0yowc4s76dsv/Dune%20Ride%20VIDEO%20%28a%29%20MacWood%2C%20Sliverl%20Lake%20State%20Park%20Dunes%2C%20MI%20-%202014-08-24.AVI?dl=0https://www.dropbox.com/s/a0v0yowc4s76dsv/Dune%20Ride%20VIDEO%20%28a%29%20MacWood%2C%20Sliverl%20Lake%20State%20Park%20Dunes%2C%20MI%20-%202014-08-24.AVI?dl=0

It was back through the woods

Dune Ride (n), MacWoods, Silver Lake State Park, MI - 2014-08-24 Dune Ride (p), MacWoods, Silver Lake State Park, MI - 2014-08-24
to end a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.

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