Wednesday, August 03, 2011

To Beat The Heat

I’ve used to wonder why news reports urged people to “check on the elderly” during heat waves. But now that I’m over 55, I can see why. The heat seems to bother me more and more each year.

This past weekend I thought we would catch a break as the wife and I joined another family in heading over to Lake Michigan. Lots of beach, lots of water—the best recipe for beating the heat.

So as temperatures started to cook on Saturday, we made our way to MacWoods Dune Rides by Silver Lake, a stone's throw from Lake Michigan. It was unusually busy that day and they said we would have to wait 40 minutes for our tour, so we walked next door to the ice cream stand. Cooled us off some in the mid-day heat.

I was looking forward to the part of the dune ride where they stop at Lake Michigan and let passengers out to wade into the surf, take pictures, etc. Since we take this ride every year, we know what to expect. They also skim the shoreline with the scooter, spraying passengers with a little bit of lake water. Ahhhhh, couldn’t wait. When we boarded, my brother-in-law made sure to take the seat that would expose him to the great soaking. Smart fellow.

But as soon as we were all strapped in, our tour guide announced that we wouldn’t be going down to Lake Michigan this time because the endangered Piping Plover was nesting there.

WHAT??!!! Piping plover?? Is she making this up? This name sounds made up. Is a piping plover a cousin to the rocking rover?

Instead of getting soaked, we were baked. My brother-in-law in particular got a good sandblasting in his end seat. The driver said to make up for stopping lakeside, we would stop atop the highest sand dune where we could all run down and climb up again. WHAT?? In 90-degree heat? I can see this same cruel tour driver out in the southwest somewhere saying sadistically, “We’re not going down to the Colorado River today, but instead we’re going to head out to Death Valley where we’re all going to participate in some exciting sack races.”

What made it worse was when we made our aforementioned scheduled stop atop razorback dune, it was right above Silver Lake. All right!! Salvation. But our tour guide said we could run down the dune, but couldn’t go in the water. WHAT??!! Are the piping plovers bathing there or something?

What made it even more worse was that after we had taken our tour through the hot, sandy landscape, Wendy and I wanted to head over to Silver Lake State Park where we knew we COULD go in the water. But when we got there, “LOT FULL.” The attendant said to try back again in a couple hours (he had to be a relative of that tour guide).

So we tried the park by the lighthouse right on Lake Michigan. “LOT FULL.” How about the park by the off-road vehicle area? No beach there but at least they had shade. “LOT FULL.” Up to Pentwater where there was another State Park. “LOT FULL.” Finally, up to Ludington where we found an air conditioned restaurant. Afterwards, we passed some excitement as some elderly lady had collapsed from the heat on a downtown sidewalk. A passerby was giving her water.

New law. Only those 55 and over may use state parks when the temperature is above 80 degrees. And dune ride operators must post any variations in their route at the ticket counter.


Blogger Jan said...

Seriously...endangered Piping Plover?

The worst sunburn I ever got in my life was at Lake Michigan on a frigid day in May. We thought we spent the day huddled in towels. Guess not.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Carine said...

I still love heat Dave (despite the yearly tirade about the lack of a/c used in my home), it's the humidity that kills me. Grandkids are here, yesterday's temp-93, but the humidity here was 97%! almost unheard of for CA. I felt sticky, dirty and wished I could be in the wading pool w/ the boys. But they were sweating in the pool.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

JAN--I checked and I guess it is legitimate. I Googled and read an article that said piping plovers are on the federal endangered species list.

CARINE--Michigan is known for its humidity, with the lakes all around. I can take dry heat much better than the muggy heat. Sweat or no, I think I would have waded in with the grandkids.

9:05 AM  
Blogger TechnoBabe said...

I had to look up Piping Plover. It is a pretty bird. Sorry it was the cause of staying hot. It would have been fun for you and Wendy to get in the water. My hubby and I are well over 60 and he rides his bike 7 to 9 miles in the humidity but I just ride around town for a half hour. Too hot for me. I do sit on a stool and pull weeds in the flower beds but usually only a half hour at a time.

4:02 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

TECHNOBABE--It better be a pretty bird with all the fuss. Temperatures have cooled down some for this weekend. You're better than I am with the weeds; my weeds were waist high before I finally pulled them.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Dave ~~ Very well written and humorous post with one major mistake. My friend, you are NOT elderly -- try 77.
And the Piping Plover was a cute name that the tour guide could have made up.
I really enjoyed this post.
Thank you for your comments and I was happy with my doctor report - but they
don't usually forget about us, because that costs them dollars.
Best of luck for your appointment at the end of the month. Take care, keep cool. With Best Wishes, Merle.

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry you didn't have a great ride at Mac Wood's Dune Ride this summer. The Plover's kept us off the beach for about a month. We did have signs in the shop telling about the piping plovers and not stopping at the beach. Sorry you didn't see them before buying your tickets.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

ANONYMOUS--To be honest, we probably would have taken the dune ride anyway. We've taken the dune scooter ride almost every year for a dozen years. So it's tradition regardless of the conditions. That's the first time I remember them not letting us on the lake though.

6:19 PM  

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