Sunday, September 7, 2008

"The Spice must flow"

Before I forget, if you get a chance, go to my entry about the RNC's use of the Heart song "Barracuda," and check my pal Sheria's (Aimer) comment. Sheria is a lawyer, and she explains that as long as the rights are bought through ASCAP, anyone can use a song, unless the ASCAP contract is structured so that the works may not be used by a political group. Thanks for the clarification, Sheria, and I learned something! I would hope, however, that any group would respect an artists' wishes that they not be affiliated with that group. But if they do use it, they are not in legal violation of anything.
Our friend Lee from Florida was in town for a wedding, so we met him in Bridgman, Michigan today for lunch. A few others came along, including his sister and nephew, and we had a really enjoyable lunch at a Chinese restaurant. It had been quite a while since I had Chinese, and it tasted really good! Of course, after the egg drop soup and the eggroll, I couldn't even eat half of my Chef's Special, and Ken couldn't eat all of his, either, so we've got dinner for one night this week! Lee is doing well, and as we were leaving we agreed that we'd see him in Florida, probably in June.
In the parking lot, Ken and I said we were going to walk around town a little bit to walk off our lunch, and Lee suggested going down the road we were on, and it would take us right to Weko (pronounced Way-co) Beach. On a Sunday afternoon, Bridgman seemed to be snoozing pretty soundly, so we took him up on his suggestion.
We drove through a beautiful hardwood forest, and saw some really nice homes back in the woods. It didn't take long to get to the beach.
The beaches on Lake Michigan in northwest Indiana and southwest Michigan are dunes. In fact, one of our state parks in Indiana is called Indiana Dunes State Park. This is not the same as Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, which is a National Park. From Wikipedia:
The beaches were formed by winds coming off Lake Michigan, which drop sand when the wind hits plants, dunes, and hills. As the lake level of Lake Michigan dropped at the end of the Ice Age, the shoreline receded, and new dunes were formed along the lakeshore. Vegetation took over the previous dunes, and eventually forests grew on top of them. There are "blowouts" along the dunes, where dead stumps were revealed after the wind blew the sand from on top of them.

Native Americans used the area for years, the Potawatomi and Miami tribes being chief among them. The Dunes were along trade routes Native Americans from the Mississippi River used to trade goods with other tribes along the Great Lakes.


Ken and I didn't take a long walk or go hiking, because we hadn't planned for it, but we agreed that we need to get up there more often. It's extremely important that people stay off the dunes (although I think there are some at Indiana Dunes that you can still climb) in order to protect them from erosion, so at Weko Beach, they've built an elaborate system of walkways so you can walk through and see the vegetation, but not disturb the sand. (There are signs everywhere, but we still saw a spot where someone had gotten off the walkway and played in the sand. What is wrong with people?!)

We noticed several walkways like this, and they had benches every so often so people could stop and rest. There was one little "dead end" turnout, up a few steps, and a girl with long brown hair was sitting up there reading. Ken said, "Look, it's Beth!" I could certainly see myself doing that! Surrounded by trees, looking out at the lake, enjoying the quiet...yeah, that could be me!

It WAS very quiet, too. There really weren't many people out there, which was surprising, because it was a beautiful day. I don't know if people are just doing other things as the summer winds down, or if it's a little-known beach.

This walkway is closer down to the beach, and eventually goes right to the beach. There are plaques along this walkway, explaining how the dunes formed, plant life, etc.
As you descend to the beach, the winds (which can be very stiff coming off of Lake Michigan) blow sand up onto the walkway. It was pretty thick in spots, and it was much finer and cleaner than sand I've seen at other Lake Michigan beaches.
They have a little cantina there, and it looked like a small clubhouse. There was some kind of function going on, so we couldn't go in. I wonder if they have a small room where they have little receptions or meetings? What a nice place to have something like that!
It's a fairly interesting ecology on the dunes. (Well, it is to me, anyway!) You don't often think of beaches having forests right by them, but that is part of the dunes ecology. The beach grasses grow first, and apparently they have really long roots that serve to keep the sand in place and stop erosion.
The dunes vegetation and ecosystems include woody shrubs, pines, oaks and maples, oak savannas, and prairies. An interesting factoid:
"Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore has more than 1,135 native plant species distributed over six plant communities. Among all the national parks in the United States, it ranks seventh in plant diversity. This is an amazing feat for 15,000+ acres."
It's also a great place to go birding, so I see us heading up there more often. I'd forgotten what a lovely area we have so close by!
On the way home, we took the back roads, and it's always fun to see what we find. Plenty of beautiful countryside, and twisty roads. We found Fernwood Botanical Gardens, which we've heard of but never visited, and that's something to put on our list. I was so relaxed, I dozed off for a while! I hope you all had a lovely day, as well!
Looks like it's about time for the NFL pregame show for the Colts vs. the Bears. Last I saw, the line was Colts by 10. Perhaps more later!


lv2trnscrb said...

thanks for telling us about what Sheira said about ASCAP; my husband (a professional musician) said the same thing when I mentioned your entry to him; glad to get it directly from someone involved with the law

beautiful beach and pictures! somehow I don't think of Indiana as having beaches, living in So. California, but this was really pretty!!! it would be a nice place to spend the day :)

WTG for Notre Dame winning over SDSU yesterday! like I said yesterday, may the best team win, and it seems the best time won :)

enjoy the week ahead :)


gen0507 said...

I'm glad that Sheria cleared all that up for us!  Sounds like you indeed had a good day.  Those pictures are beautiful.  I'd definately want to go back too....


buckoclown said...

It was great to visit with Lee.

I wish I would have brought my camera, did not think we would be at a place that would have been picture worthy.  The dunes are definetly a place we need to return :o)

mereel2005 said...

The pictures are beatiful.

nightmaremom said...

great shots... and good luck tonight!  Bills actually scored 34 points.. LOL

makemarc said...

I guess that explains how the Aryan Nations used "Shaft" at their convention.  (JUST KIDDING.)

aimer said...

Thank for not finding me boring. I get so caught up in parsing out how the law applies that I sometimes go on and on without recognizing that everyone else is not nearly as fascinated as I am. GIven that Heart has been so direct, I hope that the Palin campaign drops the use of the song. Didn't Mellencamp complain about the suse of one of his songs and the Republican party vluntarily stopped using it?

Your descriptive observations and the lovely pictures make me want to visit Weko Beach. It sounds like a lovelyt way to spend the day.--Sheria

preciousone25 said...

Beautiful pics... it's amazing how much beaches differ from state to state.... the beaches here, in some places you can walk into the water just a few feet and you'd be up to your waist in water.... in Maine, you can walk into the water for 20 feet or so, and still be only up to your ankles in water.... LOL!!!  I loved the beaches in Maine!!!  And I love beaches with GREEN!!!


rdautumnsage said...

Beautiful local, I would love walking around the walkway there. I'm betting it's a nice hike on an Autumn Day. (Hugs)Indigo

mpnaz58 said...

Cool pics!  I think people think stay on the path signs are for everyone else, EXCEPT them!!   What a splendid afternoon :)
xoxo ~myra

lisawesmalayna said...

Thank you sharing this place, I will be going to see it's beauty the first chance I get! Thanks for letting me know some of the history of this wonderful park.


sybilsybil45 said...

What a great day you had, That was interesting about the sand dunes...I havn't actually seen sand dunes at a lake,,,,there is a cotswald water park quite near here and they actually imported sand into one area so that it could become a "beach" area...  I love chinese food... other than our own it is my favourite, we are lucky to have a really good chinese in Chippenham 6 miles away but it is a bit expensive so only go on special occasions !!   Love for now   Sybil xx

wwfbison said...

Love the pics...I would be making a point to go back as well.  How neat they took into consideration the vegetation and made the walkways for protection.  Very interesting read with great pics...thanks for sharing this.

helmswondermom said...

Love the pictures!  
I'm disappointed to learn that it was legal for the RNC to use that song, and agree that they should have taken the Wilson's wishes seriously and NOT used it.  

lurkynat said...

beautiful pictures