Caribou is where we go to get's where we spend every Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor day (and a few other weekends as we have time).

Caribou Contents

About Caribou

JoAnn's family has an isolated cabin on the north side of Caribou Lake, about 23 miles north of Grand Rapids, just over the Laurentian Divide. The cabin is situated on a bluff about 50 feet above and 100 feet back from the lake. 

The above photo shows the cabin as you'd see it if you were walking up the path toward it.  The lake is to the right (down the hill) in this photo. We actually park down the hill from the cabin (where I stood when I took that photograph).

Activities at the cabin include fishing (see the contest below), kayaking, special projects, finding rare treasures, swimming, and just plain relaxing.

We'd probably go up there more, but it's a four-hour drive from home.

Fishing Contest

The annual fishing contest started with little fanfare back in 1996. 2002 marks the seventh year of the contest.

Current Rules

Past and Current Results

Year Winner Details
1996 Jeff Neau none recorded
1997 Jeff Neau none recorded
1998 Jeff Blesi 2 pound 8 ounce (16") Largemouth Bass, caught on 9/3/98 in Duck Lake. Jeff won $12.
1999 JoAnn Neau 1 pound 5 ounce (13") Largemouth Bass, caught on 9/5/99 in Fly Lake.
2000 Pat Blesi 4 pound 6 ounce Largemouth Bass, caught on 3/21/00 in Fly Lake.
2001 Jeff Blesi 3 pound 5 ounce Largemouth Bass, caught on 10/4/01 in Fly Lake. Jeff won $24.
2002 Jeff Neau 1 pound 14 ounce Largemouth Bass in Caribou Lake's bay. Jeff won $30.
2003 Jeff Blesi 2 pound Largemouth Bass in Fly Lake. Pot is $20.

The Cabin Journals

Patty B. started keeping a journal back in 1990. As I have time, I'm transcribing the entries and making them available here.

  • 1997
  • 1998
  • 1999
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002


Here's a mish-mash of photos from the cabin. If you step back from your screen far enough, the collage looks like a bunch of little pictures. Click on a picture to get the full-size image.

The Old Days

These pictures date back to the first cabin, before JoAnn's grandparents bought the property. One of the members of the family that owned the cabin was Marshall Jones.  He actually wrote a book about his times at Caribou Lake.

The chimney in the photo on the left is the same chimney that now stands by itself between the current cabin and the garage. The old cabin burnt down many, many years ago leaving just footings and the chimney.

The slide in the right was demolished right after the photo was taken.  Turns out the wood was fairly splintery...

Click on either picture for the full-size version.


The 2001 Fourth of July CD

We cut a theme CD for all who participated in the 4th of July festivities in 2001.  Here's what was on the CD:

  • The Loons of Mirror Lake
  • Caribou - Katy Tessman
  • Cabin Down Below - Tom Petty
  • Towing Dad's Boat - Jeff Foxworthy
  • Across the Great Divide - Semisonic
  • The Hook - Blues Traveler
  • Lord Build Me a Cabin - Dan Crary
  • Fish Heads - Barnes and Barnes
  • Dip Dip and Swing - Katy Tessman
  • So Sexy When We Fish - KQRS Morning Show
  • Theme from Leave It To Beaver
  • Permanent Vacation - Aerosmith
  • Rock the Boat - The Hughes Factory
  • U Can't Catch Fish - Shad Rapp
  • Bad Fish - Sublime
  • Theme from The Woody Woodpecker Show
  • The Lake - Trip Shakespeare
  • Vacation - The Go Go's
  • Around the Lake - Toadies
  • Wildflowers - Tom Petty
  • Pontoon Boat - Garrison Keillor

The 2002 Fourth of July CD

Another theme CD. Here's what was on it:

  • Wondrous Boat Ride - Willy Wonka Soundtrack
  • The Black Widow - Alice Cooper
  • Boat Prop - Roy D. Mercer
  • Gone Fishing - Bing Crosby & Louis Armstrong
  • The Fishing Song - Arrogant Worms
  • Don't Rock the Boat - Bob Marley
  • Burgers on the Grill - (unknown artist)
  • Cabin on the Hill - Chuck Wagon Gang
  • Da Fishing Trip - Da Yoopers
  • Cold Day in July - The Dixie Chicks
  • Boat Drinks - Jimmy Buffet
  • Little Cabin Home on the Hill - Elvis Presley
  • Cool Water - Marty Robbins
  • Cabin Fever - Muppets
  • Lake of Fire - Nirvana
  • I'm Gonna Miss Her (Fishin' Song) - Brad Paisley
  • Fishing in the Dark - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
  • Bass Fishing - Ray Stevens
  • Rather Go Fishing - Strange Folk
  • Fishing Blues - Taj Mahal
  • The Star Spangled Banner - Boston
  • The Long and Winding Road - The Beatles

The 2003 Caribou Lake CD

  • Fishing in the Moonlight - Michael Rowbottom
  • Music for Boys - The Suburbs
  • Caribou - Ekoostik Hookah
  • Walkie Talkie - Spanky Hockenpuss
  • Every Day is a Winding Road - The Artist
  • Kayakin' - The Love & Safety Club
  • Cabin Boy - singlecyclehum
  • Get It Hot - AC/DC
  • Dippin' My Worm - Rockfish
  • Hummingbird - Jimmy Page
  • Kiss My Bass - Rockfish
  • Fish License - Monty Python
  • Nightswimming - REM
  • Pancakes = K@Phish
  • Grainbelt - Textbook
  • Some Like It Hot - The Powerstation
  • The Pancake Song - Unknown
  • The Trees - Rush
  • Woodstove Man - Joe Z & The Night Cooks
  • Fishing Pole Blues - Kerry Oakey
  • Tail Dancer - Tina Turner



The Compound

You've heard of Ruby Ridge. You've heard of Waco...

If you're driving up to the cabin on Highway 65, like we do, you may come across this oddity. It's located about 13 miles north of McGrath on the east side of 65.

The FBI should check this place out if they haven't already. The sign on the fence in the picture on the left says, "Do not stop and get out of your car.  Just honk and wave." We don't know how all the stuff ends up on the fence.  Do passers-by throw things out their windows?  Things which are then picked up by the luddites and then placed on the wall?  We may never know.

For you GPSers, here's the coordinates: N46.42825 W93.26242. Proceed with caution.

Miscellaneous Data

Various facts about the cabin gathered from the journal.

Year Improvements Made by Pat and Jeff Break-ins (date discovered) Jeff & JoAnn and Other Guests
  • Fixed wheel bearing and alternator on Jeep.
  • Oil and filter change on tractor.
  • Completely re-did roof (tar paper, shingles, fascia). Repaired rot.
  • 11/24 - 11/26: Jeff, JoAnn and Jack (Boppa's dog)
  • Removed old stumps on beach.
  • Replaced boards on dock.
  • Transplanted 30 red and white pine along driveway.
  • Took down dead birch that was hanging over the cabin.
  • Built overhang over front door.
  • Painted fascia on little cabin.
  • Fixed drippy toilet.
  • Fixed-up old chairs from boat house.
  • Put up a shelf in the closet.
  • Washed and waxed the kitchen floor.
  • New shower head.
  • Fixed broken window.
  • Rewired cabin: New junction box, new fixture above sink, new outlets on porch.
  • Replaced wood stove.
  • Added trundle bed.
  • Painted trim and porch ceiling.
  • Covered old drywell and dug new drywell.
  • Wired new fixture above stove.
  • Fixed lock on garage and shed.
  • 8/2: Broke closet window and left door open. Took nothing noticeable.
  • 11/15: Broke into garage and shed.
  • 3/28 - 3/29: Boppa
  • 5/10 - 5/12: Jeff N. and JoAnn
  • 8/2 - 8/4: Sue, Norm, Annie and Steve
  • 8/30 - 9/2: Jeff N. and JoAnn
  • 8/31: Tom, Joan, Charlie, Bill and Woody
  • 9/21 - 9/22: Jack
  • 10/4 - 10/6: Jeff, JoAnn, Steve, Pat, Ted and Elizabeth
  • Fixed cabin door and garage door (from break-in).
  • Took down dead birch over power line.
  • Took down all dead trees on the point.
  • Painted kitchen ceiling.
  • Put new door and sill on little cabin.
  • Fixed toilet and water heater.
  • New battery terminals on the Jeep.
  • Planted a tree on the beach.
  • Fixed Jeep muffler.
  • Cleared two large trees from driveway and two from road to lake.
  • Fixed leak in hot water heater.
  • Fixed muffler on Jeep.
  • Washed and waxed kitchen and bathroom.
  • Painted "no trespassing" signs.
  • Trimmed all brush along driveway.
  • Planted seven trees on peninsula.
  • Fixed and sealed leak in old chimney.
  • New weather stripping around door.
  • Cut a tree that fell over lake road.
  • Cleared the road to the bay property.
  • Cut dead trees from the lake shore.
  • 5/1: Broke bottom of garage door, broke center panels out of shed door and kicked in the door of cabin. Stole a flashlight and gas fire starter.
  • 5/22 - 5/25: Jeff N. and JoAnn
  • 6/5 - 6/7: Joe, Judy, Matt and Elizabeth
  • 7/3 - 7/4: Nana and Boppa
  • 7/3 - 7/5: Jeff N. and JoAnn
  • 7/19 - ??: Michael Noyen and friends
  • 9/5 - 9/7: Jeff N. and JoAnn
  • 10/9 - 10/11 - Steve, Pat, Ted, Elizabeth and Butch
  • Planted Ponderosa Pines along the driveway and by the lake.
  • Cleared downed tree blocking the driveway and one on the old road.
  • Planted Ponderosa Pines by the garage.
  • Fixed lamps.
  • Painted the dock.
  • Put new boards on the dock.
  • Fixed the starter on the lawn mower.
  • Replaced screen in screen door.
  • Got the crawler working again.
  • Washed and waxed kitchen floor.
  • Repaired the chimney.
  • Fixed the lawn mower.
  • Painted the screen door.
  • Fixed door lock.
  • Installed GFI outlets above sinks.
  • New wheel bearing for Jeep.
  • New plumbing and sheet rock in bathroom.
  • 5/28 - 5/31: Jeff N. and JoAnn
  • 6/26 - 6/27: Boppa
  • 7/2 - 7/5: Jeff N. and JoAnn
  • 7/23 - 7/25: Jeff N., JoAnn, Jeff Kruesel and Sheila Knaup
  • 9/17 - 9/19: Steve, Pat, Ted, Elizabeth and Butchy
  • 9/24 - 9/25: Nanna and Boppa

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