DuneFest – noun: A gathering of friends and family at the Chapman’s compound near Silver Lake, Mich., for a weekend of off-roading in Jeeps, sand rails, dune buggies, or anything that the Chapmans can add extra power to or just keep running to get over the huge hills of sand along the shore of Lake Michigan. Complemented by camping, good food, sunsets, tall tales from Uncle Bruce and s’mores around the campfire.
So, our second trip to Dune Fest last weekend was a success. Jeannie, Shelby and I packed up Shelby’s Subaru Outback on Thursday evening and made our way to Grand Rapids, Mich. After crashing for a few hours of sleep at Mom and Dad’s, we grabbed a quick breakfast with my sister at Panera, picked up some Starbucks for the road, and off we went to Silver Lake.
Our first afternoon out on Friday was pretty uneventful…well, if you count breaking only a windshield and getting stuck once in the dune buggy uneventful. Could have been worse, I guess.
I was the one to break the windshield in Dad’s beloved Buttercup, the yellow Jeep. I was driving by myself, drag racing my Crazy Uncle Bruce and Jeannie, when I hit a bump or two and the empty passenger seat bounced forward and smacked the glass. Oops! Sorry, Dad!
Jeannie and Shelby teamed up in the purple dune buggy quite a bit…helping one another shift the little guy. I believe the story goes that Uncle Bruce passed them when they were trying to get it in a gear, thought about stopping to help, but then figured, “Oh, they’ll figure it out.” And they did. They then got stuck on a dune after waiting for an SUV to get unstuck. What’s a DuneFest without getting stuck, eh, girls?
Some of us were witness to a young man’s “oops, I shouldn’t have gone through this mud puddle.” The young punk and his girlfriend attempted to drive his Jeep Cherokee through one of the mud holes out by the lakeshore. Either it was too deep for him or he didn’t blow through it fast enough, but when we caught sight of him, only his front half was sticking out of the water…back half completely submerged, with bubbles from his exhaust surfacing. It took two Jeeps to tow him out and when they finally succeeded, man, you should have seen the water rush out when the doors were opened. I got some pictures; we’ll see how they turn out.
To all friends and family reading this: You are invited to join DuneFest ’06. It’ll be bigger, badder, louder and faster. Make plans now to join the fun! Mom and Dad’s cabin WILL be ready for many visitors. More details on dates and travel in about nine months.
Me, my Dad and The General
Buttercup, The General and the purple dune buggy waiting for the sunset
Charissa and I at DuneFest
Jeannie and Shelby in the dune buggy, waiting for the sunset over Lake Michigan
Mom and I hanging out at the picnic table
The sun sets over Lake Michigan