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Thread: The Dunes at Silver Lake

  1. #1
    Been Around the Block jtpedersen's Avatar
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    The Dunes at Silver Lake

    Had a fabulous time over the weekend. Took my wife and two of my kids to Michigan's Silver Lake ORV Area. What an absolute blast.

    JTP-20160827-0015.jpgThere's nothing like the work out you get trying to climb a 160' towering sand dune pushing angles of 45 degrees! Angles of attack varied across the lengths. And, wow!, what a place to just hang out and look at the sheer variety of 4-wheel contraptions.

    First time out, despite family's urging, spent about 10 minutes just watching. First time wheeling with a full Jeep, figured I'd leave the tires around 17 PSI. Wasn't sure how much 4 adults with some cargo might compare to my normal 2-person minimal-cargo adventures.

    First shot, 3/4 way up, stop. Back it down. Always feel the size of a bug when I have to back down. 400' or so never feels so long otherwise Tried a few times, just couldn't get up there, bit further, just wouldn't break the ridge. Frustrating when I'm seeing some F250 diesels climb the hill (talk about sooty exhaust). One, in his full-size rig asked about PSI. Said he'd had the same problems day before until he simply dropped his to 12. That makes you wonder, 9K lb truck moving aggressively on 12 PSI.

    At any rate, dropped the tires to 12 PSI. Sure enough, just 5 PSI, big difference. It was still a struggle, but we made it up.JTP-20160827-0025.jpg
    Now, you'll laugh, but this experience was a tad overwhelming at times. Imagine a line of 80 vehicles all waiting to take a turn launching up the hill. Kids and wife hooting, hollering. And getting a tad frazzled. And, as you'll note in the first pic, most struggle themselves to get to the top, and then just sit there, blocking it for everyone else. SO, now, you're fighting this climb, shooting for a spot 2 vehicles wide, when someone walks across in front of you w/o looking. Yet another reason to back down the hill. So, it wasn't until a run or two later it occurred to me, yes, laugh, "Duh! I own LOCKERS!"

    Surprisingly, lockers do not automatically deliver a magic solution. But they definitely help. Enough so I spent most of an 8-hr day with both lockers on the entire time. They add about 1/4 as much benefit as simply airing down the tires perhaps.

    At Silver Lake, the main dunes (3) have one-way travel. The biggest one comes first, the a milder 2nd and 3rd. None are insignificant, but if you can do the first, you should be able to find your way through the next two. What is entertaining with the next two though, is they have sections that are much steeper. Some have sections that only have a 30' relative height to climb but with a 60 degree incline toward the top. Learned how to punch the gas as just the right time...launched the front end the first time.

    In between the main dune runs, there is plenty of other space to explore. Large flat areas between dunes for instance...JTP-20160827-0033.jpg

    One thing I thought worth mentioning, it was perhaps the best example of what being an American is all about. Folks of all race, creed, vehicle type, out having fun. People helping each other, taking turns, and no BS. It was surprisingly refreshing in that regard.

    There's also plenty of activity along the shore line. Including a couple getting married with bride out there in a bright white dress.
    JTP-20160827-0020.jpg
    Kids told me, "We pegged the fun meter Dad! How about we go take the roof and doors off, then we can break the fun meter?" We'd come prepared to do this but it had actually looked like it might be a rain day early-on. So the doors had stayed on. Mid-afternoon, back to the motel we went, stripped the Jeep, then went back for 4 more hours.

    Had to laugh at myself. Coming back to the park, the first dune is right after the main entry corridor. So here we are, left turn, and roaring up the dune we go, getting about 2/3 way up. Unimpressive. Then I realized. Duh. 4-wheel drive dude. 4-wheel drive.

    Amazing how fast the day just disappeared! Didn't seem to be 'doing' much, but boy that watch hand just seemed to keep moving in hour chunks. I will note, my kids resoundingly confirmed, "we shattered the fun meter Dad!" Been awhile since my wife and I had such a successful family get-away. It was also part of the plan in buying the JK...have a convertible, be able to do something the whole family might enjoy, go explore places we'd not see otherwise. Check, check, and check. Shattered the fun meter Dad...

    We did take an hour to just stop and relax at the beach. That in itself was a whole 'nother people/vehicle watching experience. But simply relaxing was enjoyable as well.JTP-20160827-0086.jpg

    So, all in all, a great time was had by all! If you're anywhere in driving range of Michigan's Silver Lake ORV Area, it's highly recommended.

    JTP-20160827-0048.jpg

  2. #2
    Old Timer TrainWreck618's Avatar
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    Awesome! Looks like you will be doing a lot more of this in your future

  3. #3
    Knows a Thing or Two Jegar's Avatar
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    Awesome write up!

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    Nothing but a Thing TOPLESS's Avatar
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    Awesome place to just have fun all day! I love seeing all the different kind of toys you'll run into.

  5. #5
    Been Around the Block jtpedersen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrainWreck618 View Post
    Awesome! Looks like you will be doing a lot more of this in your future
    Yes, I think this will become an annual outing as long as I live close enough.

  6. #6
    Been Around the Block jtpedersen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOPLESS View Post
    Awesome place to just have fun all day! I love seeing all the different kind of toys you'll run into.
    Sitting and watching seemed to be the #2 past time there, actually. #1 was running the dunes, but a lot of folks enjoyed just parking and watching. Learned by doing that. Best example, keep momentum up, if you start to peeter out, then skew yourself sideways and crab the rest of the way if possible.

  7. #7
    Been Around the Block jtpedersen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jegar View Post
    Awesome write up!
    Thanks; glad you enjoyed it

  8. #8
    Been Around the Block Johnlmt33's Avatar
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    That looks like a blast!
    "2014 Willys Wheeler"

  9. #9
    Knows a Thing or Two bthomas's Avatar
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    Very cool, thanks for sharing the pics and story, sounds like y'all had a blast!

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