Playing with Michiana Jeep Club at Drummond Island, MI
Back in June, I attended a Jeep Jamboree event in Attica. During that event I met some awesome Jeepers! The two that stood out the most was John and Shane, since I was by them a ton. They were also our trail guides and giving a ton of pointers being my first time Jeeping. Shortly after, Shane told me about two club rides that are coming up. One was back in Attica, which I joined but was Commandeered by Pirates and never even rode with Shane. Meet Chori at that time too but he was with Shane. So again didn't ride with him. The second ride was with their Michiana Jeep Club, which John is the president of the club. This time we were going to Drummond Island in the upper peninsula of Michigan. I was very excited to get up there since I was going to do the Jamboree event there but didn't want to spend the money. I had two other Jamboree events lined up in the year. So this allowed me to not only wheel an awesome area but I get to see and ride John, Shane, and Chori. Oh plus we get to take a ferry to get there!
Day 1: Getting There
Thursday after work, I hit the road right away. I had 9-10 hours of driving ahead of me if I didn't stop much. It was nice being night time and raining on and off. Made me less tempted to make stops. Then around 1 maybe 2am I got tired and needed some sleep. I checked out a rest stop and they had signs saying, "No overnight parking" all over the place. Like what the shit. Rest stops are supposed to be for rest and you are telling me I can not sleep in my Jeep. Said, "Screw it" and pushed onward. Came across a park down by the lake. Again, no overnight parking. Well I am exhausted and I don't want to push my luck driving. So I parked, crawled in the back, and fell asleep. Woke up to some pretty awesome views though.
I walked around a bit in the morning, took some pictures, and setup a time lapse. This allowed me to get some work in while my time lapse was shooting. Afterwards, I was caught up on work and hit the road. I knew there were more photo opportunity stops along the way, which I was totally right! I ended up stopping at a few wayside stops, a rest stop, and a few places I came across before hopping on the ferry.
Was at the last stop before heading to the ferry for a late lunch. Finished out my work day, closed my computer, and hopped on the next ferry. I was damn excited to get Lana on a ferry! So sweet to drive onto a boat, get shuttled across, and drive off onto an island?! Given I had no clue where the group was so I just explored the island myself. Then I heard from them but there were on opposite sides of the island. So I made my way over for some fun games, fire, and of course some beers. Everyone was crazy nice, giving, and just fun to be around. I was planning on sleeping in my Jeep but they all said I could crash on the couch. So I took them up on that one :)
Started the day off with a tasty meal. Again, everyone was super awesome and let me eat some of their food. Pretty tasty egg sandwich. Followed by a Phat Fudge to get ready for the trails! Headed to a trailhead to meet up with the rest of the club. We established a game plan and hit trail!
Pretty sure Chori and I have hit every mud puddle we could find. Just blasting through them left and right. Trail was not crazy technical, just some fun flowing trails with tons of water. Got mud all over Lana heck even some inside, which I still need to clean out. To this point no major issues with anyones Jeep, until we got to the next challenge. Had a water entrance to a double mud step up. John went first and just stopped. I was confused since he typically makes it through everything one way or another. Tried it a few times but was not moving. It was weird it didn't look like he was stuck or hung up. Then he calls out over the CB something is not right. Sure enough he jacked up his front drive shaft.
We got him pulled out and up to a flat area to see what is really going on. Yup, the shaft had to come out. So now John is wheeling the rest of the day in 2WD. This will be interesting since we still had the challenging trail to take later in the day, but we will see what happens. For now the rest of us want some fun on that step up before heading to lunch.
Before we ate lunch we had to line the Jeeps up for a group shot. Afterwards, we all ate our lunches, which John had his cooking all day on his manifold tray. Umm yeah you read that right! So awesome and I need one! During lunch I kept telling Chori he needed to play in that massive puddle, he didn't disagree and fired up the his Jeep. We found out some needed gas, more food, and see what gifts they had before heading back to the trails.
All set and ready to take on the next part of the day. We had our eyes on Fossil Beach on the north side of the island. Our navigator took a few wrong turn in the process but we made it. We all got out to enjoy the views. Chori and I rolled up our pants to get into the water. Man oh man that water was clear!
With the daylight slipping away, we knew we had to get back on the trails. Still had the challenging route to take too. Part of the group split off, but the rest of us wanted some more fun. We found just that! Had a blast on this one hill climb. I ended up being the first to go at it and flawlessly mountain goated my way up lol. Had so much fun I went down the bypass route and back up the hill again. I could have done that a few times, but again daylight is getting limited. So we hit the trails to get back to the cabin for the night.
Last day on the island is upon us. I checked on Lana to see if any major damage took place. All clear, I walked out to the lake to reflect on how awesome yesterdays ride was. Truly amazed at what a Jeep can do each and every time I wheel. But the best part is getting to meet others passionate individuals for Jeeping. Sadly, this is where we part ways, for now. They all were convoying through Michigan and I was going to cut across Wisconsin. We took the ferry over together, gassed up, and parted ways.
On the ferry ride over I was thinking how I didn't want to drive straight home. There were a few sites I wanted to see along the way. First off, was the Mackinac Bridge. Next, was a lighthouse I spotted on my way in. Lastly, was a waterfall I remember seeing a sign for, but didn't recall where. I just knew it was one off HWY 8. Just had to keep and eye out and see if I can find it :)
Man on man what an awesome adventure! Yeah like 1300 miles of driving start to finish but each mile was totally worth it. Awesome views the whole way, ferry ride, jeeping, and seeing good friends. Plus making some new ones! I am crazy grateful for the open invitation to tag along with the Michiana Jeep Club on their fall trip. I will for sure be wheeling with them again!