Riverbend Nature Area to Dimondale
August 18, 2017
Tom Writes . . .
You guys may or may not know that we do our canoe trips backward, in a certain sense. We always need to leave a vehicle at our ending places, and then drive back to the starting places. (Clear as a muddy river?)
So… Yesterday, our ending place was the cool little river town of Dimondale, Michigan. We parked my car there, next to the river. And then, before we went back to the starting place with Joe’s truck, we ate lunch at Mike’s Village Restaurant in Dimondale.
Mike’s is a genuinely American place, in a genuinely American small town. If you get visitors from other countries, please take them to Mike’s in Dimondale, to show them what the USA really is like, and to meet, or at least see and eavesdrop on, actual Americans.
This was lunch time, not breakfast time or supper time. But, the people at Mike’s apparently offer a full breakfast menu AND a full supper/dinner menu, all day long. This, I believe, partly, is a throw-back to the days when rural Americans used to eat their big meals at noon-time, rather than at night. In the USA, dinner used to come at noon. Joe and I opted for the supper-ish menu. Joe ordered a burrito, and I ordered perch with mashed potatoes. ( Note that in most of Michigan, they put beef or chicken gravy on the mashed potatoes, even when you order fish.)
Mike’s has a lot to offer, a wide menu selection; they bake their own bread, and, Mike’s still seems to be the center of community life in Dimondale. Plenty of customers there at noon yesterday.
We had good service. An interesting fact about Mike’s: Every time an order is ready, some cook pushes some button that causes a version of our national anthem to play. The first two lines of the Star-Spangled Banner, in bell tones. This, I suppose, is to alert the servers. It also alerts the customers. We heard it at least twenty times while we were there. (Editor’s note: Tom is too nice to say so, and I also liked Mike’s, but the Star-Spangled Banner chime quickly becomes annoying.)
We left well-nourished for our time on the river. When we finally got out on the river, we encountered rocks and rapids, more than ever before. We saw a pair of eagles. I will leave it to Joe to write about our paddle time, since I have used up my writing allowance on Mike’s Restaurant.
Joe Writes . . .
There is not too much to add about Friday’s paddle, although I think we made good time for a couple of old codgers: just under five miles in two hours flat. There was no one else on the river, which is always a bit disappointing for me. The Grand is such a great resource, but few of its co-owners (the citizens of our fair state) get much use from it. The river is low from lack of rain and we twice had to get out and pull the Billie V through the shallow areas., something we have not had to do since last summer in Jackson County. Two immature eagles were spotted just as we left the Riverbend Natural Area, but I didn’t have either of the cameras (my iPhone or the GoPro) ready. I will insert some video of a heron lifting off and a few photos, below.
Top: Video concludes with blue heron taking flight.
Photos: (L) Stone monoliths as we approach Dimondale, MI appear to be old railroad bridge supports; and, (R) the stone weir in Dimondale where there used to be a dam. The weir creates some fast water which would have been more fun if water levels in the river had been higher. The trend on the river is to remove dams and allow the river to return to a more natural state. Eaton Rapids and the Village of Lyons have both removed dams recently.
We would love to hear from any who may stumble across this blog: Tom Neely can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; Joe Neely can be reached at email@example.com. If you have a kayak or canoe we would love to have your join us for a day. Our next trip is likely to be Dimondale to one of the parks in Lansing.