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January 27-
    Hmm...This is one of those evenings where I sit down to write and am stumped for what to say! I guess I can say that if you have not yet registered for the ride in and still want to, you must do so by tomorrow at the latest. We actually have until Wednesday for the restaurant, but because of some other issues we need to have the numbers by Tuesday morning. One of those reasons is that Castle is going to be showing up at the ride in and bringing some goodies for every person that is registered. We need to get the number to them so they know how many goodies to bring up with them on Wednesday. They will also be bringing some idems for the silent auction and raffle.
    There is no question that this years event will have the best cache of prizes to be given out and auctioned off that we have ever had. I know there are a few items that already have the interest of myself as well as many others. We also have lots of lodging packages and some gift certificates for dining. The generosity of all that have supplied gifts to this years event has really been great. We are compiling a list of the businesses that donated things and once everything is over, I will be putting that list out on the journal and into a page on the ride in section and will also be sending a letter to the editor.
    The weather looks to cooperate well for the event. We look to see a wintry mix tomorrow (could even be some snow) and then tomorrow night it changes over to all snow with snow to likely fall for most of the rest of the week. No major storms look to hit like last year, so everyone should be able to make it- unlike last year when several parties had to turn around because of the major snow storm that was happening during the event. We have the places picked out for the "Poker Run" and will be getting the cards to those businesses this week, so it looks like all is going well. All we need is for you all to come on up and have a great time! Our numbers continue to grow and we are now at or above the numbers of the past 2 events, so that is also a good thing. I know I am looking forward to it. The first year was a little nerve wracking as we did not really know what to expect. Last year was better as we had the previous years experience behind us and this year has been the smoothest sailing so far.
    Please note how I use the words "we" and "us" when I talk about the work being done for the event. My name is on it, but there are persons working very hard to make sure the event is as big a success as it will be. Lori and Cathy from the Wildlife Refuge Cabins and John Stachler have done an excellent job in gathering prizes for the event. John has also been the one handling all the registrations. The folks at the JohnDee Store have handled all the shirts that will be given out at the ride in, there have been others that have been helping out with prizes and I have been taking care of things as well. Seems like I do not have one single responsibility (except for setting up the banquet), but rather am involved in all aspects to some degree. It is another level of work and issues to try and manage, but is all worth it. To know that the money raised will be going towards some child's dream come true is all I need to keep going. Although it will also be nice once the event starts and we can just have the fun and stop the planning! It's really not that much different from planning a wedding, only we do not need to rent tuxes or buy dresses!
    Just a quick reminder that those wanting to go on the back country rides, you need to show up at the Best Western Franklin Square Inn at around 9:30 in the AM Friday and/or Saturday. The meeting place is in once of their board rooms. Just go into the lobby of the Franklin Square Inn and there will be signs pointing you in the right direction. Also the banquet will start at 5 pm with a cocktail hour and a half and then dinner will be served at around 6:30. That also is in the Best Western Franklin Square Inn on the top floor.
    As far as what else has been going on, I did get out for a ride on the sled on Friday. Hooked up with a guy I rode with way back in the Pol-Cat days. In fact it might have even been before the XLT became the "Pol-Cat". In any case I hooked up with him and his buddy and we took to the backwoods of Keweenaw County. I have been learning more and more routes to go up here and some of them are still secret enough that I can almost expect to be the one making the first tracks. There are some spots up here that are not hard to find, where lots of folks know about and they can be ridden to where there is barely a flake of untouched snow. Then there are the secret spots of untouched powder.
    I have to admit though, that I was expecting that snow to be a lot more fluffy than it was. The area that picture was taken in had picked up over 3 feet of snow in the previous 6 days, all of it being lake effect, but like the lake effect we picked up here at our house the flakes were small enough that the snow was a whole lot more dense after it had fallen. It was still soft enough to be able to carve with no problem, but I guess I was expecting powder over the windshield and the snow came up to about the bumper.
    The good thing about the snow already being set up is that it will not settle too much and will also provide for a great base for the new snow that will fall this week and beyond. As you ride around up here it can sometimes be hard to know just how much snow you are riding on. With everything covered in a thick blanket of snow, you can lose perspective on how deep it really is. So when we came across a downed tree that had the seasons snow piled up on it, I thought we should stop and take a picture of it. To add some perspective I had my two riding partners pose near the tree. However, even that did not do it full justice as they were still around 20 feet in front of the tree and snow on it, making things behind them look smaller and I used my zoom on my camera, so it looks like they are standing right in front of the tree. In any rate, the snow is deep and even though in this shot it looks like there was around 3 feet of snow on the tree, in reality it was closer to 4 feet. Plus you can see how setup the snow is by the fact that they were only sinking up to their knees.
    We had a good ride and were able to make first tracks for much of the afternoon. I think we all got stuck once or twice and had a good time finding our way up the peninsula. At one point one of my riding partners Chris got a little too close to me as I was getting my sled through a thicker area of snow and got the old roost. No harm done and it was a rental anyway! Although I did not see him following too close behind me the rest of the day! We found our way up to Lac La Belle, got warmed up a bit and then ended up taking the trail back down south to my place and they continued on down to Calumet. I did not ride with the gang today as Nora and I were invited to a surprise 50th birthday party for Lori Sleeman (of the Wildlife Refuge Cabins fame). It would have been a great day for a ride, with loads of sunshine and temps in the upper 20's, but I have a feeling that had I gone for a ride I would have been too tuckered out to write!
    So that is where we stand. I have a pretty busy week ahead of me and even the week after is busy as Dobson Entertainment will be sticking around after filming the Ride In activities to start shooting footage for Born to Ride 7. I then have friends coming up the week after and the week after that and then February will be over and it will be time to head west to play at Togwotee! So even though January is not even over yet, I have a feeling that February will just fly by. At least we have 29 days to the month this year! Anyway, not sure if I will be able to write later this week or not. I hope to, but with everything going on it may be a week until the next entry. Just thought I would give you all a heads up!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-

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January 24-
    Well, the snows are finally starting to wind down up here. Since last Thursday we have picked up 32.5" of snow. Not bad for a week and I know of places that have picked up more than that. Some of the higher terrain in Keweenaw Country has picked up close to 4 feet and have close to 4 feet on the ground. I have 32" down, which is just 3 inches shy of as much as we had on the ground all season last year and January is not even over yet. In reality, we are about where we should be for this time of the year though, but it has been a weird winter. It seems like we just have extremes. It is either snowing to beat the band, or we are in a thaw! I am certainly not complaining, but this has not been the typical 3-4" of snow/day Keweenaw winter, that's for sure.
    The funny thing is that we have the best riding conditions on or off trail we have had all season and I am not riding! I guess when you play you have to pay and right now I am doing the paying part, since I got to play so much last week and then again on Sunday. I may sneak out for an afternoon ride tomorrow, but that will be about it as I have things going on this weekend that will keep me off the sled. I also cannot complain about not riding right now as so far this has been a great winter of riding for me. I do not know my mileage as I have been spending time on both sleds this winter and I really do not keep track of miles in the first place. But I can say that just about every single ride I have taken this season has been a good one and some have been top notch. It is nice to know that the season is not even half over yet. That is if we do not have a March meltdown like we have had in the past two seasons. Somehow I have a feeling that a March meltdown is not in the cards for this year. We always start to lose some snow in March because the sun gets stronger and the temps do pop above freezing from time to time, so that is certainly a possibility, but I just have this feeling that this will be one of those Marches that have more than one good spring storm to dump on us and keep the snowpack from shrinking.
    I may not have been on the sled since I last wrote, but that does not mean I do not have pictures to share. The snow is getting deep up here and that means there are interesting sights just about everywhere you look. It seems like all I have been doing the past 3-4 days is working at my regular job or at the website or moving snow! Yesterday when I was moving snow around up here, I figured that it would probably be the last time I would need to for a few days at least, so I did an extra good job. So now I am all set with banks cut back and piles ramped to make room for the next round of snow, which by the way is starting to look like it will be shaping up for next week.
    It looked like the snow was just about over this morning as the flakes were getting smaller and smaller and there were even some intervals when it did not snow at all. Burt and I got ready to tend to our afternoon chores, which today did not include moving snow, but did include loading up the wood boiler. I figured as long as we were out and bundled up, I would take along the camera and shoot some shots of how things look around the Dee compound. Just as we got ready to head out, the snow really started to come down. It did not last for too long, but in the 15 minutes or so it took me to shoot the pictures and load the wood boiler we picked up around 2" of snow. For a while there I thought I was going to have to move snow again! It slowed down and now the sun is even trying to peak out with some flurries still falling, but no need to move what came down this afternoon, it will just jet panked down.
    The snow squall did add an extra element to some already snowy shots that I was planning to take this afternoon, so that was a bonus. The first shot is what is now the traditional "Front of House Shot". Every time I look at the cabin I am so thankful that the roof will never need to be shoveled! I can say with the up most confidence that the log home will have a nice steep pitch to the roof as well. Maybe not a 12/12, but nothing less than an 8/12. The shop has a 4/12 and it will load up more than the cabin, but it does self unload too and if not, I can get the snow to come off without having to climb up there as well. At the moment, there is quite a bit of snow on the roof of the shop and if it does not self unload with the next warm up, I may just help things along a bit so that it will be ready for the next storm cycle. As mentioned we have nearly 3 feet of snow on the ground at the moment and the only places Burt can go are places that the snow has been cleared for him as the snow on the level is well over the top of his head.
    A couple of weeks ago I took a shot of the propane tank to show you how much snow was down up here, so this afternoon I figured I would do the same as it does help to add some perspective to the depth. One of the other shots I took was of the snow on top of the wood pile, so here is that shot again. I really should have had someone in that shot to illustrate how much snow is there, but just for reference, when I stand there, the bottom of the snow on top of the wood comes up to my shoulders. We are about halfway through our wood supply, so it will be interesting to see if we make it. We have used more than I thought we would, but I am not worried as I do have a line to some wood in case we do run out before the heating season draws to a close. That and while riding this winter I have found some good stashes of wood that I can grab once the snow melts. It was just over a week ago that I had to use the snowmobile trailer and had to clear it off completely. Well, here is what about a weeks worth of snow up here looks like, that is if you can even make out the trailer! I am kind of hoping that I do not need it again this winter!!!
    The way I keep the driveway clear we do not end up with really large snowbanks. In fact the the banks are the same as that of the depth of the snow on the level. So it is pretty cool to drive into the property and see the the driveway just sliced out of the snow pack. I am kind of hoping that the depth up here can get to at least 48" or even more than that as it would really be neat to see. I can't remember how deep the snow got two years ago when I was keeping the driveway cleared even though we did not live here, but I do remember having to aim the chute across the driveway because it could not throw it at a steep enough angle to clear the bank on the side I was clearing. Maybe I'll have to look back and see if there are any pictures I took at the end of the season up here.
    After tending to things up here, Burt and I hopped into Old Blue to run some errands. Our travels took us into Mohawk to get the mail and it has been interesting to watch the banks grow in town. The banks on our road do not get as large because we live on a country road and the plow truck can travel much faster and thus throw the snow further, rather than just pile it up as it does in town. I suppose they are going to have to hit those banks with the snow go pretty soon, or they will be out of room to plow it. I don't think the banks can get much taller than they are right now, which is about 6 feet. Some of our other travels today took us through Copper City and then down through the valley into Lake Linden. I don't know how many of you have been up here in the summer and of those that have, I do not know how many have noticed how high our street signs are, but if you ever did and ever wondered why, the answer is so we can see them in the winter!
    Our trip to Lake Linden today was to check on things and clean some of the snow down there as well. Al has been a good friend and has gone over with his plow truck when I ask and cleared the driveway. However, the walkway and steps to the front door still need to be cleared and usually the bush protectors too. Not as much snow down on the ground in Lake Linden, but there was still a lot to have to clear today. Burt and I were able to get that done and when finished I took an old version of the Front of House shot. Looks like the roof is going to need a shoveling very soon!
    So other than the snow on the roof of the Lake Linden house, all the snow is now cleared. We are just about done with this latest snow cycle and it does look like things will be fairly quiet for the next several days and perhaps even some non snow precip by Monday. The good news is that cold air looks to race back in by Monday night and could set the stage for some pretty hefty lake snow for much of the rest of next week. That would be nice as the Ride In starts next Friday and we sort of have a tradition of great snow for that event and I would hate to break with tradition. Actually I am not worried at all at this point. Sure the forecast can always change, but at this point there looks to be way more good than bad between now and the ride in. Speaking of which just a few more days to register for those of you still wanting to come that have not registered.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
January 21-
    I'm here, I'm alive and I apologize for not writing sooner, but I have been busy. Some work and quite honestly a lot of play. I got to ride last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and then again yesterday. Both Wednesday and Thursday I finished up too late to be able to write and on Friday I went to Brian's surprise 40th birthday party. Then yesterday I also finished up my ride too late to write, so here I am today.
    I can start out by talking a little about my stint at bartending Saturday up at the Bear Belly Bar and Grill in Lac La Belle. Things went pretty well, I tried not to screw things up too much. A big thanks needs to go out to the owners Troy and Cathy as well as the manager Dave and also the regular bartender Chris. He was there and took care of a lot, while I sort of fumbled my way through the afternoon and early evening. I did not have any problems making or serving drinks, but trying to figure out where things were located as well as the in's and out's of how things were done was another thing. Plus I made sure to stay away from the register! When I bartended many years ago, sometimes I was responsible for balancing out the drawers and at times when a certain bartender was working, things did not balance out too well and it was a real pain to try and figure out where things went wrong. So I figured I would save Chris or whoever does the drawers the trouble and just have Chris make change. Poor guy was busy at that register! I survived the afternoon and early evening and managed to bring in $660 for the Make A Wish Foundation and thanks to a very generous visitors offer to match our take dollar for dollar up to $1000, we were able to double the $660 to $1320. So we are off to a great start with the fundraising. It was also great to meet those that stopped in on Saturday and thank you all for your contributions!
    In other Ride-In news, keep in mind that this coming Sunday (the 27th) is the last day you can sign up and still partake in the dinner part of the banquet. You are still more than welcome to sign up and partake in all the other events, but the restaurant where we are having the dinner needs the numbers by Monday morning. So far the sign up has been very good and I am happy with the number of people that have signed up to come. However, it is one of those parties where "the more the merrier" applies! So don't be shy, if you are on the fence, take a leap and come join us, Lori and Kathy from the Wildlife Refuge as well as John Stachler have all collected some very nice prizes to be used in the silent auction and raffle and I have collected my share as well. With each passing year we just keep making improvements to the ride in and it sure looks like this years event will be the best by far.
    I would also like to add that for folks up here the weekend of February 9th and 10th, the Valley SnowDrifters (the club I belong to up here) will be having their 22nd annual spaghetti dinner. The funds collected at that event go towards the clubs equipment to groom the local Dreamland Snowmobile trail. For those that have never been on it, I strongly suggest you give it a try. It is much different than the other trails up here and is very pretty. It is easiest to pick up the trail head at the north end of Dollar Bay, where it comes into the main snowmobile trail. The Valley SnowDrifters maintain this trail with no help from the DNR funding. This fundraiser is the main event to generate revenue to keep that operation going. The dinner goes from noon until 6 pm on Sunday the 10th of February.
    In other news... It is finally starting to look like January in these parts! The snow has been falling nearly straight for a week now and the banks are getting tall and everything is coated with at least a foot or two of snow and I have seen some trees in the bush that have over 3 feet of snow on them. This most recent round of LES hit everyone in the area with at least 8-12" of snow since Friday, but there have been some areas that picked up 1 to 2 feet and it is still snowing. In fact the winds have become their most favorable for most locales in this neck of the woods and it has been snowing pretty good since mid afternoon. I was just finishing up moving the snow this afternoon and it was snowing lightly, when all of the sudden it started to get dark out. Much like it does when an approaching thunderstorm. Well, about a minute or two after that it really started to come down and we picked up a quick 1-2" in about 15 minutes. It has since backed off a bit, but still coming down at the rate of a inch every hour or two. Things should stay pretty favorable for the LES to continue through about Thursday, then a quick break before more snow for later Friday and into the weekend and next week.
    As mentioned, I have been doing a fair amount of playing. I scored another hat trick with three days in a row last week. On Wednesday I hooked up with Skylar and friends Joe and Eric and we decided to head to a spot where the terrain can get rather gnarly. The snow was pretty set up, so there was not much fear in getting stuck in a spot that you were not going to get out of. However, in some of the steeper hill climbs, you had to be careful to not flip the sled over backwards on you. Plus there were times when the sled might hit something and since the snow was so unforgiving, it was easy to get tossed around. So there were still a few stucks or moments when rider was no longer with sled and here is one of those moments for me! I actually forgot to bring my camera and that picture was taken by Eric and sent to me, so that is all I have of Wednesday's riding.
    On Thursday, we rode up here by me. There were some places I wanted to explore and that crew is the exploring type, so we had fun heading through the woods. There was anywhere from 6 to over 12 inches of untracked snow just about everywhere we went on Thursday, which made for some great riding as well as some very pretty scenery (FSV). It is pretty strange to be riding the backcountry up here in mid January and still see a pond that is not frozen, but the first half of January was so mild that that is what is happening. I have not been by that spot since then, but I am willing to bet it is frozen now with all the cold we have had in the past 4 days.
    We managed to get to one of the few fields in Keweenaw County and there was around 8-10" of fresh snow sitting there waiting for us to play in. We all staked our claim to a different section of the field and had some fun carving. Here is Skylar. Here he is proving it is not all fun and games. Here is Joe in action and here I am carving to the left and to the right. Here I am proving it is all not fun and games! After the fun in the fields it was off to do some more exploring. Our exploration turned out to be a success as I found some paths through to different areas that I was looking for. Now if I can just remember them for the next time! On the way back, we decided to run down some logging roads that we had never been down before to see where they went. Most of them just dead ended in a half mile or two, which really is not that bad of a thing when you are riding across a foot or more of untracked snow. Then we came to one that just kept going and going and going. We must have rode over 3 miles when I decided to stop and take a break. This was the view in front of us when we stopped, so that is what we got to ride in for those three miles. Usually if a logging road is going to end, it will do so in around a mile or less. So I figured that this one was one that was going to eventually come out somewhere and had a general idea where I thought it might. Well after about another mile or so of riding, the trail ended! I really could not believe that this logging road would go in that far and just end, but it did. So we doubled back and then found another path through the bush that did go all the way through and ended up taking us to a spot that is a common spot for us to go. So now I have a new way to get through to some play spots, which is nice.
    Friday I hooked up with some different riders in the afternoon and again we headed north, only this time I met up with them in Lake Linden. It had been about 2 years since I rode most of my old back country trails down that way, but we managed to find our way north through the valley and up this way where things are more familiar. I did not bring my camera with me that day as I knew it was going to be cold and the batteries were in need of a charge and I did not have enough time to charge them. So no picks, but we were riding in about 6 inches of new snow that fell late Thursday and into early Friday. Plus it snowed the entire time we rode on Friday. One of the sleds had a mechanical problem develop that caused us to have to end the trip a bit sooner than was anticipated, but not by much. We got the sled towed out of the woods and onto a trail and then down to Phoenix. Friday evening there was a surprise birthday party for Brian, so I had to leave the group rather abruptly in Phoenix so I could get back, shower and get to Brian's in time to take part in the surprise for him.
    I did my bartending stint so did not ride Saturday, which was probably a good thing as it was the coldest day of the past 5, with a high around 5 above and temps spending much of the day a few degrees below zero. I realize that just about all of the Northwoods was colder than us on Saturday and that many were out riding in that cold as well as the cold we had here. However, for as much as I love the snow, I am not a big fan of the bitter cold. My riding equipment is not really set up to ride in the extreme cold either. For one my handlebars stick up about 2" higher than my windshield and I do not have any hand guards on them. So my hands are fully exposed to the wind. Not a problem when you are in the backcountry because we are not going fast. Nor it is a problem on the trails when the temps are around 15 degrees or warmer. However, it can get pretty chilly on a cold trail ride home! My helmet situation is also set up for backcountry riding or riding the trails when the temps are not bitterly cold. I can ride the trails when it is bitterly cold, but need to use some surgeons foam tape to insulate the tops of my cheeks from the tiny bit of air that sneaks between the goggles and breath deflector on my motocross helmet. If I were a trail rider then I would likely have a full face with a heated shield.
    I did end up riding yesterday though. While at Brian's party on Friday, there was talk of the gang getting together for a ride on Sunday. This would be about the first time this season that most of the gang got together and the first time this season that I rode with any of the regular riding pack. The entire gang was not there with Dave having to work, but Brian, Al, Kenny and Matt did show up as did I and a few others. We met up at Brian's place and then took some familiar and some not so familiar routes to Gay. We had lunch, gassed up and then took some more logging roads north to the high country of Keweenaw County. I mentioned earlier how some areas got hit pretty good and some just OK since Friday. Well, we managed to find some of the areas that got hit the hardest, with anywhere from 15-20" of fresh snow down since Thursday at least. How do I know that much snow fell since at least Thursday? Because this picture was taken in a spot that I rode with Skylar, Joe and Eric on Thursday and that snow was up to my mid thigh as I walked through it to take the picture.
    We ended up being out a bit later than I think most of us had planned or wanted. The backcountry is not the place to be at night, especially when it is around zero out and snowing. Lots of snow dust to further reduce visibility, but we manage to make it back to Brian's place by around 6:30. And even though the group had swelled to 11 sleds at one point, we did not have a single breakdown or crash to deal with. I think the reliability of the sleds have come a long way, even in the 9 years or so since I have owned a sled. Brian called this morning to see if I wanted to ride. I had the day off due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but because I played so much late last week and Sunday and was gone for most of the day on Saturday I had a lot of catching up to do. For the most part I have gotten all caught up and will be ready for the work week to start tomorrow.
    I do not know when I will be riding next. Perhaps Friday. The weekend looks to be a bit busy with things going on and then next week I will likely take it easy to make sure the sleds are ready for the ride in. Nora's brother is coming up and they all plan to head out on Friday and Saturday to do their own exploring of the trails up here, so I need to have both sleds running so Nora can choose which one she wants to use. The snows look to keep piling up here for the next week to ten days and even more. The past two years have provided the best conditions of the entire season for riding up here and right now we are on course to have that repeated for a third year. I suppose things could still get better after the ride in, but if the current forecast holds, things will only get better between now and the ride in and they are pretty awesome right now!
    Well, it is getting late (for me) and I have rambled on for long enough, so will sign off for this one.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
January 13-
    It's times like this that I wish I had an emergency list of things to talk about! I have been a busy guy the past few days, but with some personal and work issues that I do not feel is the type of stuff I share in the journal. I know that will be changing in the next few days, with snow to fall and with some riding scheduled. For now though, I do not have a ton to talk about. I can say that if you are reading this on the same day I am writing, then this is your final day to register for the ride in and still be able to pick up your shirt at the event. After that you can still register and take part in everything, but will have to wait for your shirt to arrive at a later date and will have to pay for the shipping as well. I can say that the numbers are climbing for persons registered to attend the ride in and that is nice. We still have plenty of room, so don't be shy.
    I have fielded a few questions about how it all works. People ask me if there is going to be one big ride we all go on or if we all go into the backcountry, etc...  So here is the gist of things (hopefully it is not a day late and dollar short, but most or all of this info is contained on the pages for the ride in). The only part of the event that everyone will be at in one mass group will be the banquet on Saturday at the Spica Restaurant. That is on the top floor of the Best Western Franklin Square Inn in downtown Houghton. It is basically the big tall building at the east end of town towards the university. There is snowmobile access to the building. It follows a road that runs along the lake shore from the bridge down to the hotel. As far as activities to do on your snowmobile go, there will be the back country rides. We will be grouping riders based on their abilities and also the type of back country riding they are looking for (aggressive, laid back or somewhere in between). Because we do not know exactly how many folks we will have that will want to go on the back country rides and we do not know the number of guides we will have each day, I cannot say how many riders will be able to go out each day. I can say that in the past 2 years, everyone that wanted to go on a backcountry ride was able to at least one day and some riders were able to go two days. In the event we have more riders than we have guides for, then there will be a lottery to see who can go that day. Riders not able to go out on Friday will be given first dibs on Saturday.
    For those that do not want to go on a backcountry ride, but would still like something to do other than just ride the trails. We are putting together a "Poker Run". The details to this are still being worked out, but it will be in the fashion of a typical poker run, only we are going to limit the bars riders go to and obviously you will not need to consume an alcoholic beverage to get one of the cards! We will have all of the details squared away in the next week or two. Riders wanting to go on the backcountry rides and or those wanting to participate in the Poker Run HAVE to show up at the Best Western Franklin Square Inn at 9 am on the days you want to participate. That is where we will be organizing the backcountry rides and be handing out the rules/instructions to the poker run. We will be in one of their conference rooms in the Franklin Square Inn and there will be signs pointing you the way to our meeting place those two mornings. Keep in mind we here in the Keweenaw are on eastern time! I know when I was involved with KSE snowmobile tours there were a few instances when groups thought we were on central time and showed up late.
    If you do not want to go on a backcountry ride or participate in the poker run you certainly do not need to. We have some fabulous trails up here and some of the most scenic country in all of the Midwest, if not the country. We would still like for you to show up and register at the conference room set up for us in the Franklin Square Inn, so that we know you made it safely and we can give you your commemorative shirt. We will have someone there to register folks from 9 am until 11 am on Friday and from 9 am until 10 am on Saturday. The banquet will then start at 5 pm on Saturday as a cocktail hour. Everyone will get to meet each other as well as look over and bid on the items in the silent auction. If you are bringing something for the silent auction or raffle, it would be great if you can bring it to the registration, if not then that is ok, just be sure to bring it to the banquet! After the cocktail hour (or hour and a half) we will have dinner and then move onto the raffle and then the live Entertainment featuring BIG VIN! The event then ends when we run out of steam on Saturday night or when they throw us out- which ever comes first!
    So I hope that further explains things. I guess the most important parts to keep in mind are to 1) Show up at 9 am on Friday and/or Saturday at the Franklin Square Inn to register and to get signed up for a backcountry ride or poker run if you want to partake in them. and 2) Show up around 5 pm at the Spica Restaurant on top of the Franklin Square Inn for the banquet.
    Other than that, my only news is that both the 800 and 700 are back in the stable and ready to go. Well, actually I did order up a new wiring harness for the 800. I bet I could ride it as is for quite a while more, even the rest of the season, but I figure why chance it, especially when it will be the sled that heads out to Wyoming with me in March. I have not been out on the sleds for a week now, but do plan to head out Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Then I bartend up at the Bear Belly Bar and Grill in Lac La Belle Saturday and then hope to ride next week, espeically if the snow is like it is suppose to be.
    It has started to snow up here again. Yesterday we had light snow for most of the day and the snow continued over night and most of today. All told I think we are up to around 2 1/2 inches new so far. Not a ton, but enough to cover up the grime and the activity is suppose to pick up in it's intensity tonight and tomorrow, with a brief break Tuesday and then it could really cut loose by Wednesday and by all indications not stop snowing through the forecast able future, which is currently January 29th. That would be 13 straight days with snow in them or even better yet, 15 out of the next 16 days with snow falling in them. It's going to get cold too, but I will take the cold if it means snow. The trails up here are OK. Certainly not perfect. The snow on them is sugar snow that does not pack. So grooming only flattens them out, but the grooming will not hold for too long. Thankfully the base on the trails is so firm that the moguls were not able to grow too large and they are grooming lots and that keeps things from getting too nasty. The traffic has been down too and that is another factor that is keeping things from getting in too bad of shape. Typically when we have this degree of sugar snow it takes around 8" of new snow to repair all damage and make the snow on the trails in great shape. There is the possibility that we could have that much down by Tuesday morning. If not then I would imagine at least half of that and for I would be amazed that we do not have 8" of new snow on the ground by later Wednesday, with a whole lot more after that. So it has been a week of waiting, but it looks like the wait is over and winter is about to blast at us with both barrels.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
January 10-
    This will be a very quick one as 1) I really do not have much to share and 2) have quite a bit of other things to attend to. However, I really feel like many of you like even just a short little entry to read and keep you in the loop, rather than to have to wait a week to read a novel. One of the reasons why I do not have much to share picture wise is that for the past few days I have been without sleds. I mentioned my electrical problems with my 800. I did get it down to my ace mechanic and good friend Al and he performed his magic and came up with a diagnosis. It is a couple of wires in the harness for the ECU that are becoming loose. He does know which ones they are, but unfortunately has never had much luck redoing them. So it looks like I will be in the market for a new wiring harness for the ECU on the 800. Anyone got a spare one laying around, I'll take it! I also brought the 700 down so that Al could swap parts off of it with the 800 to try and diagnose what was working on the 800 and what was not. So I was without sleds for a few days and thus could not ride and take shots of the trails. They are so firm right now that I don't think I would have even taken the 700 had I had it up here. The 800 with it's ice scratchers would have been the way to go, but it was sick.
    I had to use the trailer to get the sleds down to Al's. Actually we had put the 800 in the back of Old Blue on Saturday when it really started to act up and it stayed there until I got it down to Al's, but there is only room for one sled in the back of Old Blue and that meant I had to dig out the trailer to put the 700 on or bring the 8 down, drive back up here, put the 7 on and bring it down. Then do that all over again to bring the sleds home. So the smart option seemed to be to use the trailer. Well, 2 hours later and the trailer still not ready to go changed my mind on that one, but once I hit the two hour mark I figured I may as well make all my effort to that point worth while, so I persevered and managed to get it out. The main problem was that after I cleared the snow off the trailer and got the snow cleared out from around it, I used the ATV to pull it out. There is still about a foot and a half of snow on the ground, so the trailer did sit in a bit of a hole. The ATV had to be put in that hole part way to attach the trailer to it and I ended up sticking the ATV so good that it took some digging and pulling with Old Blue to get it unstuck. In the process I almost got Old Blue stuck! That would have really been something, to have that stuck. Anyway, eventually the ATV became unstuck I got the trailer out of the hole it was in and hooked up to Old Blue and away we went!
    I have two pictures to share with you. This first one is of the snow that was still on the trailer before I cleared it off. I mentioned in the last journal how the thaw really did not melt much of the snow and we never had any real rain (other than a few sprinkles). So it was really more a matter of the snow settling and firming up due to the warm weather. There was still 17" of snow on that trailer and it was so set up that I had to break pieces off in order to be able to shovel it off. Not quite concrete, but maybe more the consistency of styrofoam. So it will make for an awesome base for when we get some more snow and that does look to happen soon. In fact there are ideas of a major arctic air outbreak to occur by the end of next week that could last for a week or more. Arctic air alone does not guarantee a huge dumping of snow, but so far the ideas are that it would come down in a fashion that would lead to some pretty incredible snowfall totals in these parts and other LES belts of the UP and northwest lower MI. In the short term it looks like we will get enough snow over the weekend and on Monday to at least freshen things up around here.
    As mentioned, I do not have any pick of the trails, but from what I have seen, they are OK. Very firm, but still fully snow covered. Traffic is still pretty light up here, although a drive past the Ramada in Hancock today showed a lot that was pretty full of trailers, so either they all just arrived and have not been out yet, or they have gone south and not up this way, or I am just missing all of them when I am out and about. In any case the trails up here are holding their own just fine. Obviously not as good of shape as they were a week ago, but then again a week ago they were perfect.
    I am happy that the forecast holds the potential for a major dumping leading up to the Ride In. We have been blessed the past two years to have THE best conditions of both years happen the exact time the Ride In was going on. Perhaps that is the powers that be thanks to those that come up and partake and share in their generosity. Speaking of the Ride In... You honestly did not think I would sign off without putting in a plug for that did you? A reminder that you have until this Sunday to sign up and get your shirt at the event. After that you can still sign up, but your shirt will arrive after the event and there will be an additional shipping charge. I have created some donation buckets to put out at local businesses up here, so keep an eye out for them when you are up here and drop a dime or a buck or a ten spot or what ever strikes you! Once I have them all placed I will be sure to list those businesses here. I know for sure there is one at the Bear Belly Bar and Grill in Lac La Belle and there will also be one at Zik's in Copper Harbor. They will likely stay up for a week or two or maybe even a good chunk of the snowmobile season, depending on how long the businesses want to keep them there.
    I am getting excited for the ride in. I have corresponded with several groups that are coming and am hoping that there are those that are hoping to attend that can. We have already collected some very nice prizes for the raffle and auction. I know one very generous prize has been offered up by the folks at the Ash Trail Lodge. It is a weekend stay in January 2009 for up to 4 persons in a 2 bedroom cabin. This is the place where Nora and I spent our honeymoon and I can speak very well of the owners, their cabins and their food. Nora and I plan to spend our 5 year anniversary there and I really wish I could break free in the winter to go and ride there. Perhaps some time. Anyway, I do not wish to make light of any of the other prizes collected so far, but this is a prize worth $720 dollars and felt that I should give it a little promo so folks can save their $ to bid on it when the come to the ride in.
    So I think that about covers it. A bit more wind in me than I though, but I guess that happens some times. Getting on my bed time, so will be signing off.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
January 6-
    I am a tired boy, but for all the right reasons. I managed to score the hat trick, riding three days in a row. I could actually ride more today or go out tomorrow, but am glad to be in the warmth of the cabin right now and am not beating down doors to find someone to ride with me tomorrow! We actually ended up with very good conditions for riding all three days. Temps did not rise above freezing up this way until around 10 am this morning and even right now our air temp is only around 35-36 degrees. The thaw is not over yet, but so far this event has been even less of an event than the one we had two weeks ago. Our driveway is still rock solid, the snow has slid off the cabin, but is still sitting on top of the shop and most importantly, the snow conditions for off and on trail were excellent this weekend.
    I realize that when given the chance folks will stay at home to play in the snow or just not travel all the way up here and I most certainly cannot blame them at all, but in a way it is a shame that more could not be up here this weekend to enjoy the conditions we had. As mentioned, the temps remained below freezing at the cabin all day yesterday and the snow remained powdery as well. Friday we never made it past the mid 20's and even with the mercury above freezing today, there is no major meltdown going on and the trails were flat and firm. We did not do a ton of trail riding this weekend, but when we did we found all the trails to be flat. In fact yesterday we rode the trails from the cabin to Lac La Belle and passed as many other sleds on the way up as we did groomers! Two other sleds, two groomers. The amazing thing is that once we got out ahead of the groomers, the trail was still perfectly flat and not in need of grooming, but they were just "panning" the trail, using the weight at the back of the grooming sled to try and firm up the trail as much as possible.
    Anyway, Skylar and his brother Kim arrived Friday around midday and we wasted little time getting out to ride. They swapped out an A-arm on Kim's sled and I had to drain the crankcase on the 800 because the carb froze in a way that allowed gas to keep draining into it, but it took all of us less than 45 minutes to get those tasks accomplished and we were off into the woods to play the rest of the afternoon. As mentioned, Friday's temps were in the 20's, so any untracked trails we found were still powdery and quite good for carving. I was surprised to see the amount of tracks in the snow that we saw on Friday as folks only had 2 days to put them in and things were pretty quiet up here, but some of the regular spots had already been tracked up, so we worked a little harder and found some logging roads that had not been tracked up and still had about a foot of fresh on them.
    I really enjoy riding with Skylar and his brother as well as the others that will venture up here with him because we all share the same interests in riding. Our motto seems to be: ANY riding is good riding, as long as you are not breaking things or getting hurt. Then the level of enjoyment will go up based on things like the air temp between 15-28 degrees, scenery, if we have been down that trail before and believe it or not fresh snow. It is not crucial for us to have fresh bottom less powder to ride in to have optimal conditions. In fact I think we all can say that some of the most memorial rides were not in fresh untracked snow. I like to put it this way: Fresh untracked snow is like the icing on the cake. It is not needed to enjoy the cake, it just makes something that is already enjoyable that much more enjoyable.
    So Friday's goal was not to waste too much time searching for that one logging road that went on for miles and miles that no one had been on yet, it was just to get out and ride and have some fun. As mentioned, we did do a bit of looking for some fresh snow, but had a blast looking for it and really did not have to look all that hard either. So not only did we get to have our cake and eat it too, but it also had some frosting on it as Skylar illustrates here and here!  Next was Kim's turn and unfortunately there was a little operator error with the camera man. I was waiting until the last second for the perfect shot and waited a second too long and by the time the camera took the shot the carve was over. Trust me, it did look good though! We played in the powder for a few more miles and then took a break. Skylar and Kim will ride with me, but know better than to get too close, even when we are stopped! Just kidding, not sure why my sled ended up being separated from theirs, but found it funny to see in the shot, so figured I would make a joke of it.
    We played for a few more hours Friday and then darkness started draw closer, so we started back for home, but on the way back did a bit more exploring and were able to find a new route to an undisclosed location. That is one of those bonuses while riding the bush, to find a new route to somewhere. Many logging roads just dead end and a few go all the way through and to fine a new one that goes through is a great find. I know many folks that just want to be told where the good off trail spots are and I guess I must be different because I think a lot of the fun is actually finding them. Now if I can just remember my new find!
    On Saturday, the plan was to head up to Lac La Belle and hook up with the owner Troy. I have ridden up that way many times with him and it is always a blast. He knows the land up that way better than anyone. Not just because he lives up there, but because of the 1000's of miles he puts on in the backcountry as a hunting guide. I suppose I should really try and pay closer attention to where we are going when I am riding with him, but it is just nice to play follow the leader and mindless ride down the trail not knowing or even caring where we are. Most of the time I have a some sense of where we are and could probably point to the correct section number (square mile of land used for land survey/identification) on a plat book or USGS quadrangle map, but every once in a while we will stop for a break and I will just not have a clue where we are or even which direction is north. It was Skylar and Kim's first time riding with Troy and really doing any off trail up that way, so they had a blast too.
    Troy was able to clear his schedule so that we could ride all day with him, so that meant we either trailer up there or ride the trail and not the back country. Since it takes almost as much time to get there via sled on the trails as it does via a car and also since riding up there eliminates the need to load the sleds onto trailers or the back of Old Blue, we opted for just riding the trails up here. As mentioned earlier in the journal, we encountered as many groomers on our trip up to Lac La Belle yesterday morning as we did sleds. Two of both. The shape of the trails where the groomers had been was obviously flat as a pancake and we actually were the sleds to track up their ribbons in both cases. However, even once we got out ahead of the groomers, the trails were flat as pool tables and nice and firm too. I was planning on taking several pictures of the trails to show the different conditions, but the honest truth is they did not change from the shot I last showed. Every mile of trail all the way to Lac La Belle was like that and every mile of trail that we were on the rest of yesterday and again today was just like that. Seeing how things got several years ago, it almost seems impossible, but it is true.
    We got to Lac La Belle in about 45 minutes of trail riding and topped off the tanks and headed out with Troy, his son Zach and Zach's friend Andrew. The two boys were with us for around an hour an a half and then bugged out so that they could go tear up Bohemia on their snowboards. The Lac La Belle area picked up around 16" of fresh snow earlier in the week, with over two feet of fresh at the top of the hill and there was still some fresh snow up there to be tracked up via a different means, so that left Troy, Skylar, Kim and I to explore the wilds between Lac La Belle and Copper Harbor. I think Troy as or even more excited to show us to some of the untracked powder than we were to see it, but he was able to deliver the untracked stuff and we played on logging roads like this for many miles. There is tons of scenic views at the end of the Keweenaw and Troy took us to a handful of them. Here is the view of the Bear Bluffs (FSV) and then a little further up the coast more towards the tip we rode out to Fish Cove and were able to take in the icy shoreline of the Keweenaw (FSV).
    We worked our way through the bush to Copper Harbor and had a nice lunch at the Pines, chatted with the owner Ken for a while and then attempted to head our way back to Lac La Belle. I say "attempted", because the 800 started to act up on me yesterday. Actually it acted up a bit on Friday, but we thought it was the tether. Turns out it is not the tether, not the kill switch and not the ignition switch, but there is something causing the sled to not send any spark to the spark plugs. We will saw on it and saw on it and saw on it and get no spark. Then out of the blue we get spark and it will run until the next time I shut it down and then not start until it feels like it. We did eventually get it started up at the harbor, so we headed back, taking a mix of groomed trails and back country trails. It did start to run pretty rough on the way home from the harbor, missing on occasion and then when we got to Lac La Belle and let it idle for a bit it sounded really bad, so I pulled it up on a snowbank and called for a rescue from Nora, Burt and Old Blue. It did not want to start when it came time to put it into the back of Old Blue, so we just pulled it in and there it still sits until I can get it down to Al's shop tomorrow and let the pro work his magic on it. I figure it has to likely be something with either the stator or components of the stator or perhaps the CDI, but like I say, I will let the pro have this one and ride the 700 until the 8 is feeling better.
    Speaking of the 700, that is exactly what I rode today with Skylar and Kim. They had to head back down to central WI today, but we still managed to get in a couple of hours of riding in today. I think we were all a bit sore and a bit worn out from the riding of the previous two days, so we took it a little easier this morning. I know I spied a few lines in a few play areas we rode through that my mind wanted to go and take, but my body said something else. I am sure Skylar and Kim saw those same lines, but I did not see them take them either, so figured they must have felt the same way I felt. It's a good tired, but a tired none the less and having to dig out a sled would only make matters worse, so we played it pretty safe today. As mentioned, temps did finally make it above freezing up here today. Not way above so far, only into the mid 30's, but still above freezing. The snow in the backcountry lost it's powdery texture it had Friday and Saturday and started to get a little heavier, but was still a lot of fun to be out in. The trails did not seem to mind the warmer temps at all so far. Here is a shot of the trail from Phoenix to Gay taken around 11 am today and here is a shot of Skylar and Kim coming towards me on the main trail just north of Mohawk about a mile or so.
    Now before you all start sending me e mails about how we should not be out tearing up the trails during the thaw, let me say this. I agree that in the best interest of all, it is best to let the trails rest when a thaw is underway. With that said, the trails up here were still as firm as ever when we were riding them. So firm in fact that I was a little worried about my hyfax wearing, but I did not smell anything and every time I looked they seemed to be getting enough snow to lubricate them. But the bottom line is the trails were plenty firm and were no worse for wear from us being on them or the handful of sleds we saw on them. I guess all the grooming and the low traffic so far this season has really allowed them to pack down one heck of a base because when I walked out onto the trail to take that last picture, it was almost like walking on a road. The snow was that firm. I realize that this thaw is not yet over (although I continue to watch my temp go down inch by inch as the sun sets) and we are not completely out of the woods yet. However, it looks like in about 24 hours the thaw should be done with and we could even pick up some light snow tomorrow night into Tuesday and Wednesday and even off and on the rest of the week. So it is looking more and more like we dodged another bullet, which cannot be said for other areas of the Midwest unfortunately. So I sure hope that other areas can recover quickly as I do not want this area to become the ONLY place to ride. An increase in traffic for the local businesses would be great as they are only running around 30-40% of what they typically would see so far, but no amount of grooming or snow can keep conditions up here like they are right now if we are the ONLY place to ride. Only time will tell.
    My only other bit of news is about the ride in. Remember that you have just one more week to register in order to be able to pick up your shirt at the ride in, after that you will have to wait for it to be shipped at a later date and will have to pick up the cost of shipping (something like $5 a shirt or $7.50 for two). The cut off date for the banquet is January 25th. We did receive a nice letter from the Make A Wish Foundation that describes this years child we are sponsoring. You can read more about him here. For those that cannot make the Ride In, but want to pitch in a bit and will be in the area in the coming weeks, I will be putting out donation cans in the differing businesses in the area and you can drop your spare change or a buck or two into these cans to help with the donations. I cannot say for sure where they will be as I need to get permission from the businesses first, but one spot for sure will be the Lac La Belle Lodge. In addition to a donation box there, I will be guest bartending at the Bear Belly Bar and Grill up at Lac La Belle on Saturday January 19th from 1-6 pm. So if you are up in the area stop by and say hi! The bar wanted to donate the proceeds from my bartending stint to the ride in, but cannot do so due to laws against that, but they will be making a donation to the Ride In, so I am grateful for that.
    So I guess that about covers it for this time. For those struggling through the recent warm spell, hang in there, winter is not over yet! The snows and cold will be back!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
January 2-
    HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! I figured I would get out a quick one and share some snow pics with you. I actually had hoped to have a bunch more than I have, but I got caught up in moving snow this afternoon and before I knew it, I had used up the time I was going to use to take a drive around and look for some nice snow pictures. Funny how we can get into a snowy period and before you know it we have it piled up. A week ago it was snowing for the first time since the thaw before Christmas and since that snow started, we have picked up close to 30" of new snow. A lot of that has actually fallen in the past 30 hours or so. It started snowing yesterday around noon and came down pretty good. At around 5:30 I decided to clear the driveway and there was 6" down. It snowed all night and we woke up to another 5.5" off of it. It has snowed off and on all day and we have picked up another 4". It is lake effect, so it is not wet and heavy stuff, so that has made for some pretty easy moving around, but it has kept me busy.
    This afternoon I got to clearing snow at around 1 and was not done until about 3. I decided to do an extra special good job as it looks like the snows will taper off tonight and then end by tomorrow and then we do not look to see any snows until about Monday night or Tuesday at the earliest. So that is 5-6 days without having to move snow and I figured I would just get everything done and not have to worry about things until the next flake flys early next week.
    The snows were pretty widespread across much of the Keweenaw. I do not think that areas around Houghton and Hancock picked up quite as much in the past 30 hours, but I got a report out of Lac La Belle that as of 6 am this morning they had picked up 15-16" of snow. I also saw some reports out of southern Houghton County that were pretty impressive and going by the web cam at Krupps Resort, it looks like they got a good dumping of snow. We are way ahead of last year and I am happy for that. There is another thaw coming this weekend, but I am not going to worry about it. The snow we have now will certainly settle and some will likely melt. It would be nice if the impact is similar or even less than that which happened the weekend before Christmas, but I am not going to make any predictions. Snow loss can be even trickier to forecast than snow gain sometimes. I know I have seen other thaws in the forecast and thought we would get by just fine, but for some reason we really take it on the chin. Then we have a situation like we had 10 days ago and I expected to loose a lot of snow, but we came through just fine. I do plan to ride the backcountry a lot this weekend and as long as it does not pour rain, then the warm temps will not be much of a problem. We do a lot of spring riding around here and most of that is done in temps warmer than we are suppose to get this weekend, with sunshine too. So the temps are not a concern and any rain we look to get right now does not look any more than a bit of drizzle or a few spinkles and that type of weather is what Al Gore invented Gortex for- Right? :)
    Well, as promised I did take some pictures of the today. Not as many as I had hoped for, but for snow lovers, I think you will still enjoy them. The first shot is actually one that many of you probably already saw this morning. It is the front of house shot. It was coming down pretty good for a few hours and that was the main reason for the 4" we have picked up for the day today. One of the reasons why I took some shots around the cabin today was to illustrate exactly how much snow is down. Unfortunately the location of the snow station and Al Cam are not the best for showing the snow in my yard. There are a lot of trees directly behind it and they actually grab a lot of the snow that falls. I have a note on the Al Cam page that says the snow around the snow station is 20-25% less than I actually have, but also realize it might be hard to imagine what the extra 20-25% would make it look like. I wish I could move the location of the snow station and Al Cam, but it is what works with my office right now. Once the log home is built, then hopefully a better location will be found.
    So exactly how much snow do we have around here? Well hopefully the next few pictures will help to illustrate that. Here is a shot of our propane tank covered in snow. Throughout the season so far I have show a picture of the snowmobile trailer. The snow on it has been undisturbed all season and it has been a good gauge of the amount of snow we have. The problem is, the snow is getting deep enough now that the snowmobile trailer is starting to look like a giant bump in the snow. The snow on top of our wood pile has also been pretty much undisturbed since it started to fall. I do have the fun task of removing the snow as I need wood underneath it, but this probably illustrates best how much snow we have down.
    The roof of the cabin and the shop cleared during the thaw we had around 10 days ago, but the snows started to pile back onto it about a week ago and here is a weeks worth of snow on the shops roof. The driveway is starting to take on the look of a path carved out of the snow. I know last year I was hoping for the snow to get to the 4' on the level mark, but we only made it to around 30" or so. This year we are at the 25-30" mark and it is only the second day of January. I keep looking at that last picture and imagining the banks twice the size as they are now, that would be pretty cool. The trees are all nicely flocked in snow again and here is a shot of the hiking path from the cabin into the woods.
    Burt and I actually took that hiking path today. Soe most of the way it was pretty difficult to even see where the path was, just a thin depression in the snow cover through the woods. HArd to believe that just a few days ago it was a clearly defined path as Burt, Nora and I went down it. For much of the time today I was walking in snow up to my knees. I had to take little "baby steps" the whole time to clear a path for good old Burt. He did well, but it was a workout for both of us!
    Between that hike and spending around 2 hours clearing snow and feeding the wood boiler, I got myself a pretty good work out today. Needless to say I am feeling much better than I was a few days ago. My cold is on the ropes and I am nearly back to 100%. Thanks to all that sent me suggestions on how to handle head congestion. Some good ideas were shared with me and I really appreciate so many of you taking the time to offer up suggestions.
    Of course now that I am feeling better and looking at all of this fresh snow, I am chomping at the bit to ride! Had I known I would feel so good today and had I known we would get THIS much snow, I would have tried to make plans to ride today. That is just the way it goes sometimes I guess. I am not going to ride tomorrow because I will be riding Friday afternoon, all day Saturday and hopefully Sunday morning and want to be fully rested for all of that. I also have a few things to take care of before the weekend arrives. Part of the problem of living where many folks vacation, I actually have to work and not just play!
    My last order of business before I sign off is to remind everyone that the ride in is coming up quickly! In just a little over 4 weeks it will be going on. Plus you have less than 2 weeks to get signed up and be able to receive your shirt at the ride in. You can still register after January 13th and if you cannot make it and want to still help us raise funds for a UP family with a sick 11 year old boy that wants to go on a Disney Cruise. We have been able to raise over 9000 dollars in the past 2 years and I hope that we can keep that level of commitment going. So far the sign up is good, but could be a lot better as we still have plenty of room. I realize that not everyone can make it and some have a tight financial situation, plus I certainly do not want to guilt anyone into participation. However, if things are going good for you and you would like to do something positive for a sick boy that has a wish to go on a Disney Cruise to try and get away from his medical issues for a while, I know I would be very much apprecative for your help. If you can make it up the first weekend in February that is even better. We really do have a good time at the ride in and with more events lined up for this year than in the past two, I can guarantee it will be even more fun than in the previous two years. Many folks have attened both events and I sure hope that you all will be able to attend this event. Of course I should also mention that THE BEST RIDING CONDITIONS THE PAST TWO YEARS HAVE HAPPENED ON THE WEEKEND OF THE RIDE-IN. Last year we got so much snow in the upper Midwest in the day leading up to the ride in that some folks could not even make it into town. So that should be a little inspiration to decide to come up as well! In any case. I hope all that can and want to come do. The more the merrier and we are doing something good for someone in need and that will make you feel good too. I will stop for now, but am not going to stop for good until the event is over!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-