.
Past Journals
George's Eagle 
Harbor Web
Pasty Cam
Dan's Wilderness 
Journal
September 28-
    Well, after my little fall on Tuesday, I decided that I was going to get right back up on the horse that bit me, or however that saying goes and the hounds and I headed back to the cliffs Thursday.  We took a slightly different route, not to avoid danger, but just to see some different sights.  We got to a different overlook, one that makes me very nervous to be on with the dogs without their leashes.  It is basically a rock outcropping that has a drop off of about a few hundred feet.  The dogs like to get right up to the edge and look over and that scares the heck out of me.  It is one of the few times that I ever raise my voice at them, calling them back or telling them not to go over by the edge.  They seem to sense the stress in my voice and are very responsive.  I even tried to get them to pose on the rock (many, many feet away from the edge), but they did not want to do it for me.  So I ventured out and took a shot looking northeast towards Phoenix.  The builds of Phoenix were the light dots off in the distance.
    I then gingerly turned to my right and took a shot looking southwest down the cliff drive.  In that shot you get a better idea of the drop off there is up there.  Really kind of heart stopping, especially with nothing between me and a drop of several hundred feet.  We climbed off that outcropping and did some more exploring up on top.  It was a strange day, thick overcast skies from about Calumet north and clear blue skies in places like Houghton and Hancock as well as points south.  Sort of a weather forecasters nightmare, but still a great day to be in the woods.
    As you can see from that last shot, the colors are changing, but I just took a peak back at my journal entries from last year at this time and they are not even close to being as changed as they were last year at this time.  Really unusual.  Another thing I keep forgetting to mention is that we (I say "we", but it is really the hounds) have flushed only one partridge all fall.  That is also very unusual.  Usually we will flush one or two in an hour walk.  Don't know why that is, but I would not want to be a bird hunter up here this fall.  It would really be frustrating.
    I have one last shot to share with you from the venture up on the cliffs.  We were walking through an area that had been logged, following a rough clearing, not a road, when we came across evidence of just how powerful the machinery they use is.  Here is a shot of a rock that had been busted in half when one of the machines struck it.  Just to put things in perspective, it was about three feet from one end to the other and I was able to reach my hand in and get the smaller piece of rock that was sitting in the main crack.  Wonder how what ever it was that hit it is?
    We have been having really great weather the past few days, but I think that today would be have to be characterized as a "10" in the weather records for nice days.  Cobalt blue skies, temps in the upper 60's, very low humidity and a fresh breeze.  It did not start out beautiful.  Thick fog enshrouded the valley.  I went out to take a picture of how thick the fog was this morning, but the flash just reflected off the fog and the image was all white.  I did take a trip into Houghton later in the morning and was able to snap a shot of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge as the fog was burning off the lake.  By the time I got home from being in town, the fog in the valley was all gone and skies were crystal clear.
    With such a perfect day, the hounds and I spent a lot of time outdoors.  We took our longest walk since my leg break and Baileys surgery, spending about 2 hours in the woods.  We stuck pretty much to the old train tracks running north up the ridge line of the valley.  For a short time we were heading down a country road up here and that is where I snapped this shot.  That was actually Gas Plant Road, for those of you who know some of the local trails up here.  Some very beautiful views from up on top of the ridge line on Gas Plant, that is for sure!
    With all the nice weather we have been having up here, it seem almost impossible that in just a week it could be snowing, but that is what the models are saying right now.  What is also very interesting is that if things play out as indicated, it could be a very similar event to what happened last year on the same date.  It was October 6th last year when we got our first real snow.  It did snow on the 5th, but on the 6th is when the entire region saw about an inch and the higher elevations of the Keweenaw picked up 2-4".  Ishpeming and Negaunee picked up close to a foot!  It is still a week away so we'll see what happens between now and then, but very interesting.
    It was interesting, I was on K Mart this morning and I overheard folks talking about how nice it was today and also about the potential for snow next weekend.  It's fun to hear them say my name in the store and have them not even recognize me.  I feel kind of like a spy or something when that happens.  Well known, but only by name, not face.  Just the way I would like to keep it!
    I guess that is going to do it for now.  Keep those eyes out for the cold at the end of next week.  Sure looks to be a winter-like punch of cold air.  More than just the UP could see snow, with some meaningful accumulations in some of the LES belts of the Midwest.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
This business helps sponsor pasty.net
which helps to make johndee.com possible.
September 26-
    First off, I'd like to congratulate the good folks in northern lower MI for being the first ones to see snow this season.  Yep, it snowed around places like Gaylord and Alpena, with Atlanta picking up enough to coat the ground pretty good, or so I hear.  No snow here in the Keweenaw.  We did have a good frost yesterday morning, but that is it.  There is some chances seen on the horizon (late next week or the following weekend), but that is a long way off to be to concerned about.  Lots can change.
    Speaking of change, the trees are not doing that with much enthusiasm.  It seems like they have not changed much in the past week.  Here in town, there is very little color.  A few trees are really lit up, but the majority of them are still just green.  That includes the ones in my back yard.  I have not forgot to re aim the AL Cam, it is just that the trees have not begun to change yet.  There is no way that we will reach our peak color by the end of next week.  I have no idea what is causing them to be delayed in their changing, but they are behind, that is for sure.
    I decided to "get away from it all" yesterday and headed up to Keweenaw County to do some exploring.  I thought that maybe the colors would be further along up there (don't know why exactly, but it was a thought), but they weren't.  Even one of the traditional color hot spots, The Cliffs, was still pretty green.  My plan was to take the hounds up to the top of the cliffs and take in the view.  Nice thing about exploring up here, you do not need to get to your destination to enjoy the view.  There are little scenes like that all over the place up here.  Sure makes enjoying the journey, not just the destination, much easier.
    Further on up the trail we came across a spot where a little rock slide had taken place.  Kind of unusual to see up here.  Rock slides up here are not that common.  Someone with something had to push the rocks out of the way to make the trail usable for vehicles.  Even further up the trail we came across another surprise, this one not too pleasant.  The quaint little bush trail heading up the cliffs to the overlook had been transformed into a major logging highway.  Now don't get me wrong, I am not against logging or the usage of our natural resources.  I realize that as a human, I am by definition, a consumer.  I also realize that the logging industry does supply jobs up here (although I think that their claims of number of jobs provided is a bit overstated), but it is just so disheartening to be walking into an area that was once so picturesque and seemingly unspoiled and find it to be mauled, manipulated and basically industrialized.  Needless to say, my attitude was changed fairly dramatically by the change in scenery.
    About the only thing I can say positive about the change is that it did make for easier footing for our walk.  However, that did not stop me from taking a pretty good spill.  Actually I fell when we got off the trail to try and find the overlook.  We were going through an area that was logged, but lots of tree remnants were laying on the ground.  We were going down a pretty steep hill and I was watching Baileys to make sure she was getting through ok when I stepped on a limb that promptly rolled out from underneath my foot.  Suddenly I was airborne with my feet out in front of me.  I came down right on a rock about the size of a watermelon that was sticking about 2-3 inches above the ground.  Got the wind knocked out of me and really hammered my tailbone.  No broken bones (at least I don't think so), but man did it hurt.  I was able to hobble down to the car with the dogs and we made it home ok.  Thankfully I still have some great pain medicine left over so I took one before bed and slept fine.  This morning was a rough one.  It took about 2 minutes to get out of bed and about half as long to get seated in the chair.  For awhile, I thought that I might have to go get it x-rayed, but it loosened up with some movement and by this afternoon, I was actually able to head up to get in a workout.  I almost never bruise (never did bruise when I broke my leg) but I have a nice one developing as I type.  About the size of a softball.
    That little experience has convinced me that I really should get a cell phone.  I really hate those things, especially living up here, where things are so laid back.  I do have an old one from the Chicago days, but I think that I will pop for a new one that works better than my old flip phone.  I suppose that I can have it off and retain my solitude while out in the woods and just use it for emergencies.  I might still be there if I was immobilized somehow.  Anyway, I am all safe and sound.  A little sore still, but it has not cramped my style.
    I just have one last shot to share with you.  It was taken on the way back down.  We came across a spot where the evil, mean, dirty logging machinery had not gotten.  Yet.  Now maybe you understand why I was so disappointed when I came across the new road and lack of trees.
Good night from a still very beautiful and magical Keweenaw.
- JD-
September 23-
    I really wanted to get a journal out tonight, but it became a real struggle to decide which to sacrifice, the journal or my comfort in front of the TV and a great fire in the fireplace (my fix worked and my fireplace is not basically smoke free).  Then I looked over to see my laptop sitting on the table in the living room and knew that I would be able to have my cake and eat it too.  So here I sit; on the couch, in front of the tv, with a football game on, a fire in the fireplace and the hounds at my feet.  Pretty lucky Id say.
It's been a good day for a fire, we have been in the 40s all day and the sun has been hidden behind a low overcast all day.  A few showers have even rolled through from time to time, but we did not get much rain, at least not as much as other areas to our south and east.  I was even dry enough to take a few walks.  It was chilly enough on the morning walk that I wished that I had my gloves on, the old fingers got a little numb with temps in the low 40s and enough winds to create a wind chill in the 20s.  On the afternoon walk, we were in the woods, so I did not have to have them on a leash, as a result, I could put my hands in my jacket pockets to keep them warm if need be.
    I have to admit, it was nice to be walking in the woods with the cool temps.  It finally seems like fall up here.  There were even a few leaves falling, just to add a little more atmosphere.  The hounds also seemed to enjoy the cooler temps.  They did not slow down the whole time we were walking and the afternoon walk lasted about and hour and a half.  I was actually a little worn out by the end, but they seemed to want to go on.  Of course, I am still going strong right now and they are sound asleep, so maybe it all equals out in the end.
    The colors continue to change, although it does not seem like we will be at our peak in just two weeks.  Most of the trees are still just a pale shade of green, with about 10-15% of them showing real color.  I do have some shots that I took the other day, but one problem with using the laptop is that I cannot download the pictures from the cam.  So I will have to ramble on here for a while and then when I run out of stuff to say, go into the office and use the desktop to download the pictures and then comment on them.  To tell you the truth, I cannot even remember what the shots are of, but I am confident that they are stimulating.
    The weather sure did cooperate with my weekend plans.  I had to play in a golf tournament yesterday.  The day started out on the cloudy side, but by noon, the sun was out and the weather could not have been any better for a day on the links.  Temps in the mid to upper 60s, a light breeze and loads of sunshine.  My team actually did pretty good, coming in second place in the championship flight, with a 2 under par for 9 holes.  The wining score was just one better, at 3 under.  It was so nice that after finishing the 9 hole tournament, we decided to play another 9 holes.  I had to cut that round short to go and feed the hounds and sneak in a walk with them before heading off to the banquet.  I don't know how many more rounds of golf I will play this year.  The season will be shutting down on us pretty soon.
    It's getting dark out now, but as I look out, some lake effect rain showers are passing through.  Just another sign that the season is a changing.  I do not see any snow on the horizon for the UP or anywhere else in the Midwest in the coming week to ten days, but we sure are at that time of the year.  Glad the fireplace is working good now!
    Well, it looks like I have reached that time when my rambling will no longer be entertaining to the majority of you, so I will head into the office, down load the pictures and then do some commentary on them before signing off.
    Well, as promised, I have some tantalizing shots to share with you.  As they started downloading, I was able to remember what they were from.  I took the hounds for a walk Friday afternoon and brought the cam along in case we came across something interesting.  Not much was seen, but here is a shot looking up Nordman Road just to show you the status of most of the tree colors.  Still kind of green huh?  The other shot was on more of a humorous note.  The hounds have this affinity to stick their heads into every culvert that we cross on our walks.  I don't know why, but they just cannot pass them up.  If the culvert is big enough, they will actually crawl or walk through them.  I am just glad that they never encounter something that does now want them there.  Anyway, here is a shot of them checking out a culvert.  Crazy.
    Well, guess that will do it for tonight.  I had a late night last night and got up early, so I am fading off.  Rather than rambling on and ruining a perfectly good journal, I will quit while I am ahead.
good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
September 19-
    Well, I guess that the main event up here has been the changing of colors.  With that said, I just realized I do not have any pictures to show any of that!  However, I do have some interesting shots to share.  My brother, nephew and I (as well as the 4 dogs) took a trip to the top of Mt. Lookout, or "Baldy" as the locals call it.  Soon after moving here, I decided that going up there would be a lot of fun, but I have never been able to have things come together to allow an expedition.  I made up my mind that we would go there as part of our adventures when my brother and nephew came.  I was told about the trails that head up there, but was not completely sure I would be able to find the correct one from the highway.  As luck would have it, I found the correct trail and we made our way up.  It is possible to walk to the top and back.  It is about a 3-4 mile trip each way and you gain about 500-600 feet in elevation.  However, with my recovering leg as well as Baileys, I decided that we should drive most of the way.  We drove as far as the first peak and then parked the car to walk the rest of the way, about 3/4 of a mile.
    The view of Baldy from the lower elevations surrounding it mad me believe that the view from the top would be something special and I was right.  That was the view looking east towards Brockway Mtn. and Copper Harbor.  Here is a shot looking to the southwest.  That side of the mountain is much different than the others, having sheer cliffs, rather than a more gradual slope.  That spot seemed like a good place for a pose, so here I am with the hounds.  Also, as we were hiking up to the top, we caused a couple of eagles to fly from their resting spot at the top of the cliff.  We were only about 30 feet from them when they took flight, really awesome to see them up so close.  They are huge!  It is just amazing how well they fly and maneuver with their size.  Really a wonder of nature.
    The view northeast overlooks Lake Bailey as well as Agate Harbor, and the view to the northwest overlooks Eagle Harbor, both the body of water and the town.  In the left center of that shot, you can see the hill where we parked the truck and walked the rest of the way.  No name for that hill on any of the maps I have in my possession.
    I decided to take a panorama shot of the view from west to east so that you can see the entire view of the lake.  I hope to take a return trip with my tripod to get a 360 degree panorama.  Maybe even take the truck all the way and set the tripod on top of the truck for a real birds eye view.  Plus, now that I know where the trail head is, a trip by sled will be in the offing this winter.  That is something that I had planned to do last winter, before I broke my leg.  It was even a destination that I had in mind for a KSE trip.  Here is one more shot showing the cliffs on the south side of the hill.  I took that shot from the approximate spot where the eagles were when we arrived on the hill.
    We walked back to the truck, it was a pleasant walk, with the majority of it being downhill.  Seeing as though the rest of the walk down to the Eagle Harbor cut off road was also downhill, I asked my brother and nephew if they wanted to walk, while I followed them in the truck and they said yes.  So Baileys and I bounced down in the truck while my brother, nephew, Burt and my brothers two dogs walked down.  About 1/4 of the way down, Burt either realized I was not with the group that was walking or just saw the truck behind him and thought that he would rather ride with Baileys and I, because he ran towards the truck and wanted to get in.  So the 3 of us bounced down in the truck following the four others.  We made good time getting back down.  The slope was all downhill and not too steep, so they were able to keep up a very brisk pace.
    After all that hiking and bouncing around in the truck, the dogs were pretty hot and thirsty so I took the whole gang to Great Sand Bay for a swim.  The dogs all swam for about an hour (Baileys gave up a little earlier than that) and everyone was pretty worn out, so we headed back to base.
    I think that the 2 1/2 days that my brother, his dogs and my nephew were here were the most active that the dogs have had in a long time.  They were quick to hit the hay every evening and were content in not moving a muscle all night.  I gave them a bit of a break the past two days, but plan to take them on a fairly long hike tomorrow.  I continue to work out and all the hiking the past few days did a lot to strengthen the leg.  I think I might try and make climbing up Mt. Ripley a somewhat regular event to further strengthen it.
    So that gets you caught up in the goings on up here.  We are about 2 weeks from peak color, but you would not really know by looking at the majority of the trees.  Most have a bit of color, but few are too far along.  I will be pointing the AL Cam towards my trees soon so that you can catch their changing act in person.  No snow seen on the immediate horizon for the Keweenaw.  There is a slight chance that places in the MN arrowhead could see a few flakes early Sunday, but that is about it so far.  I am not worried about the winter at all.  I'll begin to worry if we get to deer season without any real snow, and that is still about 7-8 weeks away.  Till next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
September 17-
    Have a lot to share with you tonight and it is already creeping up on my bed time, so I will get right to it and may be brief, but to the point.  Autumn is continuing to take hold on thins up here.  I have removed both the air conditioners from the windows, I find myself reaching for a jacket almost every time I go outside for a prolonged period of time and the leaves are changing by the day.  We had out first frost last Friday morning.  The temp at the airport was 34, so I bet we were even a bit cooler than that.  It was not a hard killing freeze, but I did see frost on my truck and on the neighbors rooftop.  I did not check the grass before the sun had a chance to warm things, but I think that there was frost on it as well.  All the mornings are chilly now, dropping into the 40's regularly, I even needed the heat for a few hours Friday morning, just to take the chill off.  Sunday morning I drove by the Torch Lake and it was showing the signs of the season.  Mornings sure can be beautiful.  It is really my favorite time of the day.
    One of the things I noted when I moved up here was how patriotic people were.  The 4th of July is such a huge event up here.  Well, needless to say, the patriotism is cranked up into high gear.  I was fortunate enough to get a flag, maybe the last one in the peninsula.  I tried the stores in Calumet after hearing all the stores in the Houghton/Hancock area were out, so was Calumet.  I ended up actually getting one here in Lake Linden.  The hardware store had one left.  So it is flying with pride on the front of my house and I have put a spot light on it to keep it illuminated at night.  The village is all decked out in red, white and blue, flying two flags on every street light on the main drag through town.  It is really neat to drive through town and even through my neighborhood and see all the red, white and blue.  Heck, I will be driving through a country road and where a private drive leads from the road to a house set back so far in the woods that you can't see it will be a flag flying. Really great feeling.
    Well, my brother and nephew have arrived from down south.  They pulled in yesterday afternoon and we did not waste much time heading off to have some fun with all the region can provide.  We took to the beach since it was a pretty nice day.  He has two dogs and so the four dogs and three of us played on the beach for about an hour or so.  Today we headed north to climb Mt. Bohemia.  It was a good day for such an adventure.  Overcast skies, temps in the low 60's.  It did sprinkle a little bit every once in a while, but not enough to be a problem.  The last time I hiked up this hill, was before the ski hill went in.  Hiking up this time was a bit easier.  Not because it was any less steep, but because there were more options and the options did not have too many obstacles to get around.  Although I have to admit that the going was still not too easy.  Beezy and I, the two cripples in the group brought up the rear, making it to the top a few minutes after the rest of the group made it up.  But we made it and here is the proof, a pic of the hounds and I at the top.
    Hiking up the ski run had me thinking how much fun it would be to ski down them.  However, I would need the runs to be groomed.  I am not good at, nor do I like, the bumps and most of the runs on that hill are bumped up.  The hill looked really well laid out, with the runs following the fall lines nicely.  The new runs even open up some new views of the land below.  Here is a shot of Lac La Belle that I was never able to see before the ski runs went in.  We decided to go down a different way that we went up.  We chose the double black run to see just what they thought was a double black.  The first part was no problem, actually more like a blue (intermediate) run.  However, about midway down, there were a few spots where you lost view of the ground ahead and it looked like a cliff was ahead.  It was not a cliff, but was steep.  Steep enough to make posing for a shot interesting.  However, that is not the toughest run on the hill.  The toughest are where they just cleared out enough of the underbrush to allow the skier to make his/her way through the trees.  Yes, that was a ski run.  You wouldn't catch me skiing down those anytime soon!
    We found our way back to the car and took advantage of one of the neatest things about the Lac La Belle area and that is being in the "mountains" one minute and five minutes later being on the beach.  I doubt that there is never a bad view of of the Bear Bluffs from Bete Grise and today backed that point up.  We allowed the dogs to swim, cool off and get some water to drink while at the beach.  There was not a whole lot of sticks for the dogs to fetch, so Burt had to prove how strong he was with this one.  It is amazing to me that he can carry that stick and can even swim with it.
    We made one last stop on the way from Bete Grise back to my house and that was at a roadside park between Lac La Belle and Gay.  There, the hounds used up their final bit of energy fetching some more sticks and running up and down the beach, and I was able to try my hand at some landscape photography.  It is my desire to get a digital camera that is just like an SLR camera, in that you can control the exposure and also control things like the focus and depth of field.  They are down to about a thousand dollars from about 4-5 thousand a year or two ago.  I think that they can even have different lenses used which would really get me going on the picture taking adventure.  All in good time.
    Tomorrow we have plans to get to the top of Mt Baldy, overlooking Eagle Harbor.  I have yet to go there, so I hope I can find the road.  If not, I know we will have fun trying and will of course bring you all along for the adventure.  Until next time...
good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
September 13-
    Boy, it seems like a month has passed since I last wrote a journal entry.  So much has happened, so many emotions.  I had plans to do a journal on Tuesday, but obviously they were put aside.  Then yesterday I was getting ready to do one and just could not find things to say.  There is so much being said about the events in New York and Washington that I felt anything I would say would just be trivial.  It did not seem right to talk about the day to day events going on up here, they too seemed trivial.  I guess that sums up how I have been feeling, that the events, concerns, worries and even joys of my life recently have been so trivial when compared to those directly impacted by the events this past Tuesday.  I do not personally know of anyone who was involved in the attacks, but I am positive that I have customers who have friends and people that they do business with that were involved.  I just can't imagine for a moment what those people must be going through.  I suppose that the way I feel about everything that has happened is representative of just about everyone, so maybe I am just preaching to the choir.  I guess I just thought I may as well speak a little about what I have been feeling.
    One thing I have also been feeling is tremendous pride to be an American.  Not the hollywood type, or "pose for the camera with a baby" type, but true pride.  That this event will truly make our country and maybe the world a better place.  I truly have faith in our leadership and in the collective mindset of the American people.  It has choked me up to see images of all the people standing in line to give blood, to see the folks standing on the side of the street to cheer on the rescue personnel going in, to see American flags flying in windows, on sides of houses, on flag poles where they were not flying before the event.  This is truly the best nation in the world and the best nation in history.
    So now I guess I can talk a little about what is going on up here.  Not much.  Tuesday evening I went to the Loading Zone for dinner because I was so caught up in the events, that I forgot to get a dinner ready.  Then by the time my stomach told me it needed food, it was too late to start thawing out food to cook, to I just headed over to grab a bit at the local joint.  All the TV's had the coverage on and there were folks there watching the coverage, but the main action in town was actually taking place outside.  We had a little run on the gas stations take place Tuesday evening.  Rumors of 4 and 5 dollar per gallon gas hit and when I parked my car across the street from the gas station, the cars were lined up to get gas and the line grew and grew and at one point was all the way to the park.  For those of you not familiar with the village of Lake Linden, that is about 4-5 blocks long.  Pretty long for a gas station with 4 pumps.  I heard that the scene was the same in places like Calumet, Houghton, Hancock, Chassell, L'Anse and Baraga.  Prices only rose about 10 cents at most of these places and have since gone back to the prices where they were before the attack.  So other than that, the reactions have been fairly subdue, just lots of American flags flying.
    The days have not been void of walks in the woods with the hounds.  In the last journal I mentioned how Burt got stung by a bunch of bees as he wandered onto a ground nest.  Ever since then I have been a little hyper sensitive about where the dogs go.  Tuesday, it paid off, as Baileys was about to hop over a hill and check something out.  I called her back and she was a good doggie and came to me.  Thankfully, because on the other side of that hill was this.  Just in case you did not recognize what that was, it was a hornets nest, with the little ones busy flying in and out.  Sheesh!  That was a close one!
    It started to rain a bit soon after we started our walk, but that did not seem to phase the hounds and I decided to keep chugging along.  I was wearing a water proof jacket and we had a bit of cover from the trees, so it was not too bad.  There is something special about walking through the woods when it is raining.  It seems to become extra peaceful.  First of all, I guess I know I will not run into any other nut case out in the woods in the rain.  But also, things just seem more peaceful.  About the only sound is the raindrops hitting the leaves and the sloshing of my shoes through the wet ground.  Even the subdued lighting seems to make it more peaceful.  There are no sharp contrasts, just mellowed shades of green, tan and brown.  So I was actually glad to be walking in the rain.  It was refreshing, peaceful and helped to take a little edge off of the events of the day.  For a moment I was able to escape and just be one with the environment and my dogs.
    More signs of fall are appearing.  The skies have been filling up with the sights and sounds of Canadian Geese.  The first flocks through so far have not stopped (at least at the traditional stopping ground in Lake Linden), so maybe that is a good sign for the upcoming winter.  The trees continue to turn.  Here is one caught in the act and here is one fully changed.  Of course the majority of the trees have yet to show any change in color.
    The next item to talk about is more of an order of business really.  I was contacted by a friend of the site that they have a groomer for sale.  It is a 1992 Tucker Sno-Cat groomer, 360 gas, Allison automatic, 2700 hrs in excellent shape for sale. The journals were re sleeved in 99 and track redone with new belting and new breaker wheels and drive sprockets in 2000. It has strobe lights and stereo radio.  They also have a Trail master 9â€6 drag they will sell individually or as a unit. He says they are able to give some club a very good deal . The Tucker will be traded in early October if not sold. They are open to any reasonable offer, they would love to see some club give it a home. They have done a lot of up grades. This groomer would be excellent for a small club or a club in a short snow season area or as a backup unit. The only reason they up graded is that it became possible for their club to purchase a new Sur-trac groomer. If you want to see a picture of the unit it can be seen here.  I'd try and get someone up here to get it, but from what I understand, we are going to be the testing ground for a new high tech groomer, it is suppose to create a very firm surface.
    A bit of good news; weeks ago, I mentioned in the journal how some very beautiful and special land in the Keweenaw was being sold by it's owner the Lake Superior Land Company.  The land (6000 acres) included such special spots as the mouth of the Montreal River, the shoreline from that river to Smith Fisheries and several inland lakes.  At the time of my mentioning in the previous journal, there was an effort on to try and get the State of Michigan to purchase the land to put it in the public trust.  To keep it open to public usage and to keep it in it's current state.  I asked that if people thought it a good idea that these lands be put in the public trust, they write a person in charge of the review process at the Michigan Natural Resources Trust.  I am pleased to say that the land purchase has been approved by the MI Natural Resources Trust Fund.  It still has to clear a few more hurdles, such as a bill regarding this issue to be passed by the legislature and the bill to be signed by the Governor, but from what I understand the major hurdle is to get the approval of the trust fund authority.  So that is some very good news.  Some very special land may very well go into the public trust and remain in it's current pristine state for all to use for generations.  Thanks to all who wrote the letters, I have no doubt that public commentary had a significant impact.
    I always try and end the journal on a positive note, so I guess I will call it quits for tonight.
Good night from the Keweenaw!
- JD-
    September 9-
    Well, I have a few free moments, something that I think will be lacking in the next few weeks, so I thought I would get out a new entry.  I do not have a tone to talk about and only one picture, but hey, at least it is something.
    Fall has finally arrived up here.  At least fall like weather.  Today we were cloudy, windy and cool all day.  We topped out at about 60 degrees and it is currently drizzling and in the upper 50's.  We picked up about 1.1 inches of rain in the past 2-3 days.  It was very welcome, as things were really drying out around here.  I have been watering my lawn, trying to get it in decent shape so that I can take the long winter better, but the good soaking rain did more good than 3 weeks of watering with the sprinkler.  Someday someone will invent a sprinkler that does as good a job as mother nature.  Hey, maybe that's how I'll make my millions!  I have actually thought about how to improve current snowmaking equipment (surprised?!) and actually have the process needed to improve it down, I just do not know how to do it.  If I could figure that out, I would definitely be a multi millionaire.  Imagine being able to have man made snow that was the same quality as mother natures.  Anyway, the grass is all nice and green.  A far cry from the 100% brown and almost dead that was occurring about 4 weeks ago.  With the cool temps I will not have to worry about cutting it as often either.
    Signs of autumn are beginning to show up more and more in the trees up here.  I tried to take a shot of a tree, but it did not turn out.  Most of the trees are still quite green, but about 20% of them have quite a bit of color.  That process will start to really get going in about 2 weeks.  It seems like we go from about 50% turned to about 90% turned in the last week of Sept..
    Yesterday we were in and out of rain most of the day.  As a result, the hounds and I kept close to home.  We took three walks, but they were all in the neighborhood.  Poor Burt, on our morning walk, we went to the outskirts of the village in an area where there is a road, but no homes.  So I let them off the leash to get more freedom for roaming.  Burt stumbled upon a bees nest in the ground and they did not like him there so started to swarm.  He and Baileys were actually behind me, but as luck would have it, I turned around to seem him really biting to get at something on his rear paw.  I though that maybe he stepped on something and cut his paw again or a little critter had bit him or something, so I quickly moved towards him to see what was wrong.  I was about 20 feet away when I saw the bees all over him.  I ran over, swatted two main groupings of them, probably killing about 10 with each swat, then grabbed him and pulled him away from the nest.  They were still swarming so I swatted at them in the air and on him, then Baileys steeped into the action.  I think that she actually could see what was happening, because she went after some of the bees that were on Burt's hind quarters.  After about a minute, they all had either been killed or flown off and the excitement was over.  It was amazing, I did not get stung once and I do not think Baileys did either.  Poor Burt got a bunch.  I would have to think that he was stung about 10 times or more, as there were at least 6-7 different places that were bothering him after it was all over.  I was a little worried, as too many stings on a human can cause problems and Burt being smaller in size than a human might react to fewer stings.  Thankfully there was nothing more than the left over stinging for him and by the evening he was fine.  That is the second time he has been stung several times at once.  Baileys is the lucky one.  She has actually chomped down on, and eaten, three of those big bumble bees and never had a problem.  I tell her no when I see her eyeing one, but sometimes she sees them before me.  I am so worried that it will sting her mouth, throat or even stomach and that will cause a problem with her breathing or something, but so far so good.  Maybe there is some kind of built in instinct that they have that allows them to bit it just right to kill it so the bee can not sting them.  I think it is just luck.  I hope I never have to find out.
    Today I took them on a morning walk in the neighborhood, avoiding the area with the bees nest, then got the call to play golf and then took them for an afternoon walk in the woods.  We headed up to the first tracks, old railroad tracks that double as the snowmobile trail in the winter.  They are called the first tracks because there is a second set further up the hill.  Anyway, it was a good day to be in the woods.  There were a few puddles to avoid, the result of the recent rain, but other than that, a very pleasant time was had by all.  The woods were not all quiet though.  It is bird hunting season and every once in a while a shot would ring out in the distance.  I sure wish that I would have grown up in this area, or an area were guns were more common, or at leas not used for killing humans.  I am really afraid of guns and even the sound of a shot off in the distance is unnerving to me.  I am not against hunting by any means, it is just the sound of a gun going off rattles my cage.  I think that the grouse and partridge season is going to be a slow one.  The dogs and I have only flushed one so far this season.  Normally we will flush 2-3 in an hour walk through the woods.  Maybe it is still early.
    The goose migration has not really kicked in either.  A few early birds (sorry, just couldn't resist) have come through, but the huge flocks of geese on their way south from Canada have yet to show up.  I can't remember when it is that they come through, but it seems to me that it is around this time of the year.  Hope that is not a signal for the winter.  My first year, they came and actually stuck around for quite a long time.  Winter came late and not with much vigor.  Last year, they came and went rather quickly and the winter came on time and with quite an early season punch.  Maybe they know more that us weather guy's!  Would not take much!
    I have begun to keep my eyes posted for signs of winter to arrive here in the northwoods.  I do not see anything.  A few days ago, there were some signs way out in the forecast period, but the next day they were gone.  I'm not one bit concerned.  I'll take the 60's we have on tap for the next week to ten days anytime.  That is about perfect weather as far as I am concerned.  Perfect for getting out and enjoying the woods or beach.  No jacket needed and then great sleeping weather with overnight temps in the 40's and low 50's.  This morning I still had my window in the bedroom open and the smell of burning wood from my neighbors wood furnace helped to send home the fact that summer is over.  The snow will come and with a little luck I will get in a pre thanksgiving ride like I did last year.  Anyway, keep checking in.  I am not doing the text forecasts right now, but if there is a reasonably good shot for snow, I will be sure to put out a special little blurb on it.  I realize no riding will be done, but still, this is "Snow Central", so I will stay on top of it.  No flakes will catch me sleeping at the wheel!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
September 7-
    The weather seems to be confused again.  We were more like the south end of HWY. 41 (Miami) than the north end the past few days.  Today was downright sultry.  Not too hot, the temps today were in the mid 70's, but very humid, with dewpoints in the low 70's.  Man, I really hate that humidity stuff.  Yesterday and the day before we were in the 80's, but with dewpoints in the 50's, it was actually very pleasant.  The hounds and I took a great walk down the beach at Big Traverse yesterday.  We were almost the only ones, a couple were sitting down the beach with their dog so I did not intrude on their solitude.  Still, we were able to get in some good play time at the beach.  There was a strong wind out of the south and it kept things really fresh.  The hounds got some good swimming in and I was able to leave any of my worries on the sand to be washed away by the waves of Lake Superior.  Sort of a nice little summer treat, something we do not get much of this time of the year.
    With the recent warmth and today's humidity, it seems strange to think that today is the anniversary of the earliest measurement of snow at the Houghton County Airport.  Back on this day in 1956 a trace of snow was measured.  I suppose that the first flakes may have actually been seen even earlier than that, but the historical records do not indicate when snow fell, just recorded precip amounts and temps.
    The first little wave of cooler air has already arrived.  I stress little, temps have only dropped about 5-6 degrees and the dewpoint has dropped about as much.  Just enough to make our evening walk a little more tolerable.  I was comfortable, but the hounds are still panting.  The recent unique weather we have had up here caused a unique hatch of some kind of fly this evening.  On our evening walk, we were almost swarmed by these unique flies.  They were about the size of a deer fly, but were much slower and did not bite, at least did not bite me.  I have a feeling they will not be around for too long.  They seem like sitting ducks for any predator and I suppose they will not deal with any cold too well.
    It will be getting cooler here soon, by Sunday, we will be struggling to get out of the 50's.  Sounds like a good day to build a fire and watch football!  I suppose I had better fix my fireplace first.  I have some of the work done.  I decided to hook up a fan to help force air into the firebox.  It is a low velocity fan so it will not blow to hard, but now I know I will not have to worry about the air just being drawn into the firebox by the low pressure created there.  The air will be pushed in and that should take care of my drafting problems up the chimney.  I am also thinking of taking the hounds for a hike up Mount Bohemia, so we'll see which happens.
    My mind has been turning more and more to snow.  Not really on its own, but rather because the locals have started talking about it.  Some view it as a pending doom, while others are excited.  Today there were reports of snow in the Rockies out west, so I did a little surfing of web cams on the net and found some snow falling.  That was a picture taken at Grand Targhee Wyoming this morning.  Didn't it look just wonderful?  I would be very interested in hooking up a pulse monitor to me and measuring the increase in my heart rate as I flip up that picture.  Man that is so cool (pardon the pun), I can almost feel the chill of the cold air and the flakes hitting me in my face.  Soon, it will be soon.
    I suppose that a mountain climate is actually my ideal climate.  Lots of snow in the winter (Grand Targhee averages over 500" a year), warm, but not humid summers, short springs and beautiful falls.  I just get a little claustrophobic being in the mountains.  It is beautiful to be there, but after about a week, I really miss being able to see the horizon like I am used to living here in the Midwest.  I suppose that the climate here is about as close to the mountain climate as you can get while still being in the Midwest.  We average as much snow as many locals in the mountains (more than places like Aspen), have short springs and beautiful autumns, the summers are just a bit too humid from time to time.  Plus it seems like you have to be a millionaire to be able to afford to live out there, so I think I'll just stay put.  I can't complain at all.  This is God's country and many of you reading this would switch places with me in a heart beat.
    Not a whole lot more to talk about, things have actually been kind of quiet around here.  I need to fix some things on the truck before I can take any more adventures.  No major repairs, but I suppose my battery needs to be held in place by more than a bungy cord and the battery cables.  I would like to take a ride to High Rock, maybe even when a little autumn storm is cranking.  I would also like to get to the top of Mount Baldy.  Plus there are some seasonal roads I'd like to head down before the snow hits.  So much to do, so little time!  'Till next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
September 4-
    Welcome to autumn everyone!  Meteorological autumn that is.  I'm sure I have said this before, but we meteorologists have our own time frame that we attach to the seasons, independent of the solar calendar.  Sept-Oct-Nov are meteorological autumn.  Actually, up here it should be from about Sept 1-Nov 15, then deer season, then winter!
    This is the season of change.  Not just in the colors of the leaves, but in the weather.  Mother nature has been very demonstrative of that the past few days.  Thursday night after golf, I forgot to tell you all that I drove home from the course in a hard drizzle that was accompanied by winds and very cool temps.  I'm sure that more than a few of you are wondering if I have lost it, "hard drizzle"?  What the?  The main difference between drizzle and rain is not it's intensity, but the droplet size.  Off hand, I do not know what the official size parameters are, but what was coming down Thursday night was most definitely drizzle, but hard enough to keep the windshield wipers going on medium.  Friday was sunny and fairly mild, but Friday night/Saturday morning was a cool one.  I did build my first fire, the chimney cap solution was not the fix, so plan 2 will be put into motion this week.  We did not have a frost Saturday morning, my thermometer read 37 degrees and we had fog, so the dewpoint was high enough to keep the temps from dropping beyond that.  I saw that the airport up on the hill got to 38.  So no frost.  The changeable weather continued, with Saturday evening bring some rain and temps in the 50's and then Sunday being in the mid 80's.  Just 2 evenings after I had a fire going in the fireplace, I needed the air conditioner to cool down the bedroom to get to sleep.  It was in the low 80's in my house at 9 pm.  I am going to leave the AC in the bedroom window for about another week, then yank it until next season.  I bet I will need it tomorrow and more certainly Thursday, as we look to rise into the 80's up here.  Most of the evenings have been cooling off nicely and with the sun disappearing behind the hills to the west at a little after 7, the temps usually cool off pretty good at night, but tomorrow and Thursday may be too much to ask of the natural circumstances.
    From what you tell (no journal all weekend) I had a very relaxing labor day weekend.  Played some golf, did some minor work around the house and even took the truck on it's biggest adventure through the bush so far.  Actually, I don't think that it would be possible to put it though much more of an adventure without overnighting.  Al, his son, the hounds and I took the truck north into the Keweenaw (Al and the other locals in Lake Linden call Keweenaw County "the Keweenaw").  Ever since hearing about a place called "Keystone" a month after moving up here I have always wanted to get there.  2 years ago, a neighbor and I attempted to get there, but were stopped by a car blocking the only road in.
    Keystone is actually Keystone Bay, way up at the tip of the peninsula.  It is only about 2-3 miles from the very tip or High Rock, another place I want to venture to.  So Al decided it would be fun to take a trip up there.  Only thing is that most folks take the highway to Copper Harbor, continue past on 41, then where 41 ends, they take a dirt road around to the road to Keystone.  Al said we would be taking the bush all the way to Keystone, so I gassed up the truck, we gathered some rations and headed off into the bush.  For those of you who have been on a KSE tour, you know what "the bush" is.  Some of the trails we were driving down Saturday double as our bush trails for the sleds in the winter.  In the summer they are a little more grown in.  Soon after that shot, we hit the end of the road, as we were heading down a steep hill and encountered some logs too close together to get the truck through.  I tried, but almost got the truck stuck in between them, adding some new character marks to the passenger side of the truck, as well as depositing the "K5 Blazer" detail at the log pile on the right.  I was a little worried that we might be stuck when the truck lodged itself in between the logs and the right front tire dropped into a 2 foot hole, but I locked in the front hubs and put it in 4 high and was able to back the truck out.  I really should have taken a picture of the truck, as I was quite amazed it got out.
    Not all of our travels were as adventurous, most of the driving was on logging roads or two tracks (older, more grown in logging roads).  We did manage to make most of the trip via the bush, with the only traveling by road being from Gratiot Lake Road to Lac La Belle.  We could have taken the bush for that stint, but we decided that a little bit of highway driving would be nice as well.  Plus it was getting a little late and we wanted to make it to Keystone before dark!  We did find some neat trails to take KSE tours on.  Some of which will be really fun, we both were chomping at the bit, thinking about cruising through on the sleds in a few months.  We got to the turn off for Keystone with plenty of time to spare before dark and headed down the last bit of trail.  About a half mile before you get to the lake, there is one final obstacle to cross and that is the beaver dam.  I have heard some stories about trucks, rather large trucks, all jacked up, disappearing in this beaver dam, so I have to admit that my heart was pumping a little bit as we entered into it.  Al said not to worry that the water was way down and it might not even some in through the doors.  He was right, it was only about 2 1/2 feet deep and we made it through without much seepage in through the doors.  In the spring, I guess the water can be 5-7 feet deep and even higher.
    I have to say that Keystone did not totally live up to the hype that others gave it and my imagination.  It was beautiful to be sure, and I think that if I were to head up there today or any day during the week, I would find it to be much more appealing.  However, it is the main destination of the 4 wheeling, camping crowd and being labor day weekend, it had a fair amount of people.  Not totally packed according to Al, but still way too many people for me.  Reminded me of the forest preserves back down around Chicago.  Beautiful, but also containing just a few too many weekend warriors.  Even the beach was sort of a highway used by trucks and ATV's to get from one camping areas to another.  It did not hurt the beach, I am just not used to seeing the beaches up here driven on and that took some of the special nature to the place away.  I will go back, to be sure.  However, I think I may choose a weekday when the risk of seeing others is low.  It was clean.  For all the folks out there, it was well maintained.  I think that is so great that you can have that amount of people out there and they all know that to leave stuff behind would only ruin it.  Makes me proud to be part of the demographic group represented out there camping and partying.  We even ran into a few friends out there that were camping for the weekend.
    We did not stay too long, Al, his son and I were getting hungry (the hounds were fed at keystone), so we took off for the harbor and dinner.  As it turns out, we were some of the last ones to eat at the Pines, as they had a fire early Sunday morning.  The fire destroyed the kitchen, caused smoke and water damage to the restaurant, but spared Zik's, the bar.  In fact, they were able to have the band play in the bar as scheduled on Sunday.
    As mentioned earlier, Sunday was a warm one.  We rose into the mid 80's.  Thankfully it was windy and with the sun angle not as strong, so it did not get out of hand.  I took the hounds to the village beach anyway and we had a good walk along the shore.  Yesterday was nice and cool, so we headed off into the woods.  We actually took our longest walk since Baileys and I started our recuperation.  We were out a full hour and took one of our old, regular walks on the tracks above the valley.  Both Baileys and I did fine and I am happy that we can take longer walks like that now.  I can sense some nice, long ones coming up once the crisp autumn days arrive.  Today we headed off into the woods.  We did not spend an hour out there, but a good 35-40 minutes and it was just as enjoyable.  On the way back from the walk we passed one of the local pieces of history.  Anybody recognize that that was?  You can leave your answers in the Ask the Audience section.
    So something of interest showed up in the weather forecast models this morning.  The first indication of snow in the Midwest.  Yep, I did not miss type.  Snow in the Midwest.  Now, before everyone gets all excited, it is a long way off and will likely disappear before it becomes reality.  The models generally make lots of mistakes when you get way out in the forecast period, but a big upper air trough is indicated to build in the week after next and enough cold air and moisture was indicated to occur in the models to produce some snow in sections of western and northern MN.  I'll keep an eye on it (obviously), as it would not be unheard of for there to be snow flying in MN on Sept. 16th, but I would not count on it at this point.  Still, it is encouraging to see those conditions being represented in models for the Midwest.  Getting close!
    Changing the subject... I am sorry for those of you checking in to the AL Cam and seeing a blank image.  I think that my cam is dying on me.  I have to reset the white balance every time I reboot my computer.  I'm going to keep an eye on it and get a new one if need be.  Can't have that thing acting up when you all are trying to watch the snow fly!
    Speaking of cams.  A visitor to the site sent me a link to a cool cam.  It is in Lake Superior near Duluth and you can actually watch fish swim by.  Really cool, you can see it at: www.duluth.com/fishcam  Thanks Brad for sending me the link.
    Well, I guess that about does it for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
 
 
.
John Dee would like to thank Jim Formanek of Formanek Designs for his expert assistance in the creation and technical support of this site.  For anyone wishing to have a site of their own developed, I strongly recommend that you contact him.
Design and layout by:   Formanek Designs 2000
Formanek Designs
218/631-7356
Email: formanek@wcta.net
Website link: go to Formanek Designs