Easing in to Winter?

Hello from Wilderness Bay!! I haven’t blogged since August?? What?? Well, hope you are all easing into winter. There was no “easing “in here.  It was a beautiful Fall day one day and woke up to snow the next am. I thought I was being punked!! I’ll call it “Flinter…” when Winter joins Fall full force in a matter of hours. 

 Fall at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort


Lots of rain…

The end of summer into fall was rain and wind for days.  I love myself a good rainy day, but this was a bit much.  We almost had a boat sink!! The wind and rain caused the waves to lap up into the boat and the inches of rain almost sunk the whole boat.  Dan went out in am and wet vacked and bailed water with buckets.  Nothing like started the adrenaline goin’ in the pouring rain first thing in the am. 


I had the front porch of the lodge decorated all cute for Fall.  I spent time picking out just the right color mums, pumpkins etc, rearranged it several times until I felt it was just right.  The next am… there was one of the big pumpkins all hollowed out by a deer.  She came onto our front porch to eat it??!! Her little hooves were probably tapping away on the porch and she munched merrily ‘til her heart was content.  A few days later, my mums had all been eatin’, leaving only green sticks in a pot. Since then, they have continued to try and eat more pumpkins, there are little bites taken out of pumpkins.  Now, I have pumpkins with chicken pox. UGH!!

Fall Decor at Wilderness Bay Lodge and ResortFront porch fall pics

Fall Decor at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

Fall Decor at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

Shit Storm!

Speaking of Adrenaline…. While were out of town at our daughter’s helping to prepare the nursery for the birth of our grandson, we had plumbing issue.  Thank God our friends Tony and Tricia were here to help while we were out of town.  To sum it up, without going into gory details, it was a literal shit storm.  And it had nothing to do with our septic system. Dan rented some big piece of equipment on our way home from Jen’s. We were getting a play by play of what was happening here on our 6 hour drive home.  I couldn’t drive fast enough.

Within a few hours of being home, and crawling under a cabin carry five gallon buckets of sewer water into one of the septic tanks, the culprit was discovered.  Turns out there was a rag that must have gotten flushed down a toilet long, long, ago as it was half disintegrated.  It had  blocked the entrance to the septic tank, causing back up.  That was fun. Let’s just say, I brought Dan home a hepatitis shot the next day. You seriously do not ever know what the next new day will bring as a resort owner. 

Septic Update.

Speaking of shit,  I am sure you are all dying to know about our septic system.  Well….. It has been started!! Wahoo!! Closer than we have ever been..The Fall was very rainy. It was like a monsoon. The wet ground put a halt to starting to septic for a bit. Once it dried out a bit, Pete Peterson and his crew have been busy getting’ ‘er done.  Dan went out there with the boys to lend a hand too! Whatever it takes to complete this project and put this behind us.  (no pun intended.) However, that snow that I mentioned?? It has put a damper on progress, but Pete assures us, it will be functioning by Christmas! Santa will be able to poop when he stops at Wilderness Bay!!

Septic Field Install Wilderness Bay Septic Field Install at Wilderness Bay

Docks out before ice in!

Dan got all the dock out of the water in the nick of time.  He did it in the snow, just like last year! A big shout out to the our friends on the Cisco Chain , Bob Mc Guffin, Pat Mans and Omar Shabaz for addin’ some muscle to the dock removal process. You guys are the bomb!! Boats are all out of water too, all tucked in for the winter. 

Store closes in November.

It has been a slow November, here in our convenience store. The first two weeks were lonely, only about four customers.   We made a decision to close the store the rest of November. It is one of the perks of the job.  We are still working behind the scenes though.  If someone needs something in the store, they just need to ring the doorbell! Isn’t that how it worked in Nelly’s store on Little House and the Prarie?? It’s the same concept, lol.

Bookings shaping up…Snowmobilers get your reservations sooner than later!!!

What has not been slow is the calls coming in for bookings for next year!!  Shapin’ up to be our best year yet!! We are so grateful and appreciative about this so we will not let up!! Every experience  here at WB needs to be great! We treat our customers like family and truly are thankful that they choose to come here to stay with us.

We are starting to get reservations for snowmobilers too!! Looks like we will have a snowy winter as we have already had several inches.  I forgot how beautiful it is here in the winter.  It is truly a winter wonderland.  The trees are flocked with snow.  The flakes are as big as my head. I love seeing all the little tracks that are scattered across the road as I drive to work in the a.m. and  I envision all the little critters rushing back into hiding as the sun starts to come out.

I spent almost three hours picking out valances for our store windows today. What is wrong with me?? I will not quit ‘til I find the perfect fit.  We have recently added a big rug to the store that makes it extra homey in here.  Several people have commented how our resort feels like home to them, whether it be in the store or in a cabin. For us, there could be no better compliment, it is exactly the feel we want our guest to have.  

Happy Thanksgiving! (Another reason to decorate….)

We actually have some guests renting over Thanksgiving.  I put together a little centerpiece for their table because  I think it’s so cool to spend Thanksgiving in a cabin.  It’s already been snowing  like crazy and I will try to have that arranged for them for extra coziness factor. 

Thanksgiving Centerpiece at Wilderness Bay Lodge and ResortPic of centerpiece


The Wilderness Bay Family adds a “new camper”!

On a personal note. We have a new addition to our family.  Our daughter Jen and son in law Mike and grand daughter Amy added a son, “Calvin Michael Spychal,” to their beautiful little family. 

We were able to close the store for a few days and make the trip to be there the day he was born.  Thanks to Tricia and Tony Basanese, again, for allowing us to be able to do this.  Our friend Melissa McGuffin helps fill in at the store too! Without their help, we wouldn’t be able to do these family life events together. 

We stayed for a week to help with Amy.  It was a great bonding time with her.  Auntie Juls was there and our son Drew (better known as “Uncle Meatball” to Amy!) came from Minneapolis to surprise Jen.  I’ve mentioned it before and I will mention it again. I love nothing more when our entire family is together. My husband, our kids and now grandkids are the greatest gift I have ever received. 

Jenna and Calvin Spychal

Grandma Toots and her Grandkids Amy and Calvin

Proud Grandparents at Wilderness Bay Lodge and ResortUncle Meatball at Wilderness Bay Lodge and ResortAuntie Juls at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

Proud Dad

Juls gains independence!

Juls is still gaining her independence at her new place at the assisted living facility.  She’s holdin’ her own.  She has started a job one day a week at a place where people with disabilities work. She likes it!! That is huge for Juls to like any sort of work whatsoever.  Lol. She actually gets a small pay check for this, which means the world to her.  Everyday she Facetimes us and calls us , more than once.  She misses the animals more than us.  We took BOBO to visit her. Their bond is still strong as ever.  She just is not quite responsible enough to take care of him around the clock.  He would end up down in the cafeteria, serving himself up some midnight snacks while Juls was sleeping. 

Juls Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

Smokey Joe Jones

Our cat Smokey Joe Jones has been busy protecting me from mice.  He leaves them at random places. One day, I watched him swallow the entire mouse whole.  I told him I was never speaking to him again because his breath smelled like mouse.  Seriously, we got him to be a mouser and he does a great job.  Just by luck, he has turned into so much more than that. He is one cool resort cat.  Our customers LOVE him. 

Smokey Joe Jones at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort


Stu had a recent injury while out galivanting in the woods.  He came running out of the woods, right to Dan, like “Dad, Dad, I have to tell you something.” He had cut his leg on something out in the woods and was bleeding quite a bit.  Long story short, he ended up having to get sedated and stiches! He wore the cone of shame and we tried to keep him quiet for a few days.  Anyone who knows Stu, knows he loves to tear through the woods, cone, or no cone.  He visits neighbors, chases animals etc. etc.  Well, we maybe took his stiches out a few days too early and allowed him to play in the snow.  His wound busted back open.  He is back in the cone of shame and no playing for several days to come.  It’s heartbreaking as snow is his favorite season. 

Captain Stubing in Cone of Shame at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

We are grateful for so much….

As Thanksgiving is fast approaching, Dan and I would like to express our gratitude to those of you who have made this past season so successful.  Tricia and Tony, who stay here while we are gone, and love our customers and pets as much as we do. Tricia, our guest love you and so do we.  Thank you for your countless hours of hard work.  You care so much about Wilderness Bay and it shows.  Thank you to Melissa McGuffin who fills in at the store at a moment’ s notice with her warm customer service.  Linda who helped us clean cabins this summer during some of the hottest days with no complaints. (I feel like I am giving an Oscar’s award speech.)

Our kids Jen, Mike, Drew and Juls along with little Amy who have come to visit and added their touches to the resort. We know we don’t see you as often as we would like and appreciate your love and support in our journey to do this. 

And last but certainly not least, thank you to our customers who have given Wilderness Bay a try again (just like the hunting group that checked in today!).  Everyone that has walked through the doors of our store and our cabins… thank you for stopping in and getting to know us.  Thank you for sharing your friends and family with us. Without you, we couldn’t do this.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your business.  I am not just saying that… we mean it.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort is a family oriented facility located in Watersmeet, Michigan on Thousand Island Lake within the Cisco chain of lakes.  Snowmobiling and ice fishing is available in the winter months and game fishing for muskie, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, crappie and bluegill is available in the spring, summer and fall months.  We offer waterfront cabins, snowmobiles, boat rental, a candy shop and convenience store where you can purchase hunting and fishing licenses. 

We take pride ourselves on being family oriented with the desire to a place that you will call your home away from home.  Owners Dan and Laura Hance are excited for this opportunity.  Dan comes to this resort with thirty years of experience within the hospitality field and Laura will continue nursing with over twenty five years of knowledge and experience within the health care field.  Dan and Laura want their love for people, their work ethic and combined talents to make Wilderness Bay their dream come true.  We look forward to hearing from you!








  • Anonymous 11/20/2018 at 7:35 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving neighbors! Great to catch up through your blog! The “shit storm” story was so familiar! I was sooooo excited when we got a new one just a few years ago!
    Best wishes to you all! Winter can be get a bit isolating…..so I may just stop in!


  • Anonymous 11/20/2018 at 9:22 pm

    Love your blog. You have everything looking so festive and pretty. Loved all the pictures of your beautiful family. Thanks for sharing. Hope you all have a wonderful THanksgiving and a Merry Christmas. Hugs to all. Joan


  • charlie grimm 11/23/2018 at 6:58 am

    hey friends…..great blog laura…..so nice to catch up on all activities…..even the poop business……congrats on new grandson…..we saw all 6 of our little ones yesterday, in 2 shifts…..our newest guy is joey, almost 6 months…..too much gravy and pie….life is good…..thank you Lord for family and friends…..happy thanksgiving…..hope your Christmas is blessed and winter treats you softly

    Charlie and Doreen


    • Wilderness Bay 01/21/2019 at 3:40 pm

      Charlie and Doreen! So sorry for the late response! Glad you had some great time with your grandkids too! SOO special to be grandparents isn’t it??? Looking forward to seeing you this Spring! D&L


  • Lisa and Jeff Dinse 12/27/2018 at 8:44 am

    Hello thousand island lake family! Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all! My name is Lisa Dinse and my family and I have a cabin on the west end of thousand. (Kitty island) We’ve visited your store a few times and think you are a wonderful family that has really turned wilderness Bay into what it is meant to be. So congratulations! I was wondering if you might have any current ice conditions as we ring in the new year as a tradition. We are heading up this Saturday for the week! I can’t wait! We are big ice anglers but have a hard time getting current reports because we are so remote. Let us know if you’ve seen ice fishermen or sleds on the lake! Or if they’ve put the trail markers out yet? Thanks so much, and again thank you for giving wilderness bay new life, we absolutely love the convenience of a short boat ride to get bait or candy for the kids from Juls store! Xo


    • Wilderness Bay 01/21/2019 at 3:38 pm


      I see we are quite delinquent in responding to you! Hopefully by now, you’ve been up! Ice conditions are incredible! Ice fishing is happening all across the Cisco Chain! Come and see us!
      Thanks for your kind words too! D&L


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