Wonderwhere Roads

We recently were able to explore some Wonderwhere Roads in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Our only regret is that we no longer have a wonderwhere vehicle. We downsized to one means of transportation, a van, and sold our 24 year old Suzuki Sidekick for scrap.

When we lived in the Black Hills of South Dakota, with the nearest city our size or larger a six-hour drive away, Jeff and I sent many hours exploring wonderwhere roads in our wonderwhere Sidekick.

Wonder what a wonderwhere is? If you haven’t guessed it by now, it’s usually a seasonal dirt, mud, rock, or sand road, usually wide enough for only one vehicle to traverse, going off into the untamed wilderness. Oftentimes, there would be fallen trees across the road — simple enough to climb over or walk around when you’re hiking; not so much when you’re driving. But it sure makes for interesting times.

Once we were literally driven off the road by two men in a pickup truck, who sped towards us on the one-lane path without veering, with snow-filled ditches on each side. Yes, at the last minute, Jeff chose the ditch over a head-on crash, deep in the heart of the Black Hills where there was no cell phone reception.

Even with that one negative people-experience, whenever we pass one of these “roads” off of the asphalted roads, we say to each other, “Wonder where that road goes?” If we had the time back then while in the Black Hills, we’d go off exploring. I didn’t capture too many road photos in the Hills since I was bouncing inside the car too much.

Boulder Hill Road   IMAG0015

Today, if we had a proper vehicle, we’d explore, as well. As is, the backroads (Seasonal) in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are…exciting. Up one road we started to explore, our tires nearly got buried in the sand. On another, the potholes were more like barrelholes, with marsh on either side, so there was no way to avoid them, as we prayed for either a higher carriage or someplace to turn around. You’d think we’d learn by now, but we still hold onto that hope of exploring, plus, Wonderwhere Roads are have become a part of our Carlson adventures.

Sandy Road.JPG   Aral Hill Rd B


Sure, there is the uncertainty of not making it out with our vehicle, especially a van. We know we could always hike out. It’s not too-too distant to a paved road. But even so, getting a tow truck back in there would be questionable.

Last time up north in Michigan on one of the seasonal roads, we came to a dead end where a couple with a baby and two large dogs sat in their vehicle. They’d been waiting for a couple hours for a tow truck, but didn’t know the name of the road they were on, so had given vague directions. The dogs had apparently triggered a light in their car which then ran down the battery. As we always carry jumper cables with us, we were glad to help them out.

Oh, the adventures. Gotta love them. (And then I get to chisel those experiences into bits and pieces which often ends up in my novels. What fun.)


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