Home sweet home. It sure is
nice to be back. It is always nice to see family and it was great that most
of those in my family that have yet to see Grace in person were able to for
Christmas, but this is home and it sure is great to be back. Nora, Grace,
the pups and I snuck out of town on Wednesday and stopped off at my
brother's Wednesday night before going to my Mom's for Christmas. The trip
down was pretty uneventful. We did hit some snow just as we were pulling
into Milwaukee. It came down pretty good for a few hours and a couple of
inches fell- just enough to send all the Ricky-Rockets in their BMW's into
the ditches. Just cracks me up how some folks can live in an area like
Milwaukee and still have absolutely no clue how to drive in snow. Oh well,
we made it safe and sound and it was nice to be riding in a new vehicle too.
There is quiet a bit more room in the Pilot than in the old Blazer and so
all were comfortable.
Christmas Eve Nora, Grace and my mom did a bit of
shopping and then I took my turn at the local Best Buy and picked up a DVD
player for the vehicle so Grace can watch her Baby Einstein and Curious
George videos. My brothers came up and then we enjoyed a nice dinner with my
family Christmas Eve. We are always the first awake when we visit my family.
For one, we are used to eastern time, rather than central time, but we are
also early risers. So it was always Nora, Burt, Baileys and I that were
awake for a few hours before the rest of the clan crawled out of bed. This
year it was Nora, Gracie, the pups and I that were awake a few hours early.
I told Gracie that Santa had come overnight and that there were some
presents waiting for her. She
got really excited, but was able to wait until the rest of the family
woke up. Here is a shot of the
two of us waiting for everyone to wake up so we can unwrap the presents
and see what is in our
Grandma was the next to wake up and she and Grace had a
fun time doing some "Pony
Girls" while we waited for my brothers to wake up. Gracie sure
loves doing Pony Girl. Finally everyone was awake and we could get to
unwrapping the presents. My mom and dad started a tradition of hiding the
names of the recipient of the present's name on an old Christmas card and
attaching that card to the present. Before you can open up the present, you
need to find the name. One of the problems is, you pick up a present and do
not know if it is for you, so you can spend 10-20 minutes (or more) looking
for a name, only to find out it is not yours! The goal was to slow down
the unwrapping of the presents when we all were kids and it worked
wonderfully and the tradition continues. Gracie was not exempt from this
Christmas. Here she is all
proud that she found her name on a card. Her methods
of unwrapping the present was a little unconventional, but it worked!
After our family Christmas in the morning, we headed over
to my aunt and uncles place in northern IL to celebrate with them, my other
aunt and uncle and two of my nieces and one of their husbands. That
celebration was nice and it was the first time that all of them had seen
Grace first hand, so she was by far the hit of the party. Although Huck and
Millie were also an entertainment for all. I have to say that I was very
impressed and happy with how well the pups behaved all weekend. They were
pretty much perfect everywhere we went. I guess that was a sure sign of how
good they are- to be in so many different homes and around so many new
people, but to be so well behaved. Nora and I were proud parents and they
got lots of praise.
Saturday morning we got packed and headed out to come
back home. Typically it is a 6 1/2 to 7 hour drive to get back home, but
thanks to someone doing 25 in a 55 mph zone for about 15 miles before we
could get on the interstate and an accident that shut
down the interstate for a while, it took us a little over 8 hours to get
home. The pups and Gracie took it in stride, but I think we were all VERY
happy to get out of the car and be home.
While we were gone, the region got quiet a bit of snow.
Most of it came Christmas Eve and at one point I noticed the snow station
had just shy of 12" of new snow on it. Temps warmed and then the precip
did change to rain for a period Christmas Day, but most of the snow stuck
around. However what we came home to was about 10" of wet and heavy
snow on the driveway and vehicles that were left behind. We did not bother
clearing the driveway when we got home yesterday, which was a good thing
because it took Nora and I around 6 hours to clear the driveway this
morning. We took turns. I started out, then she did some, then I did some
more and she finished up. The driveway is clear and the wet snow did soften
up the snow mat on the driveway a bit, but that was good because the mat had
gotten too thick and is back to where it should be.
I got most of the snow off the vehicles, but did not
clear the roofs. Here is a shot of the Blazer
and the snow from the storm. Here is Old
Blue with the last storm, plus a few other snow events on top of it!
Nora took the Pilot to the car wash this afternoon to get all the salt from
the trip washed off and here
it is parked in front of the cabin.
As much of a pain it was to clear the driveway (you all
can keep that wet and heavy snow, I'll stick to the lake effect powder!),
the warm temps also allowed the
shop roof to self-clear while we were gone. So that was the one shining
star to getting all that wet and heavy snow and then a few hours above the
freezing mark. It was a good thing because the shop roof was going to have
to be cleared soon. It must have been a pretty violent clearing because
usually there is some snow that stays along the ridge line and the slide
zone on the ground next to the shop extended about 20 feet from the
shop. I would imagine it all just cut loose at one moment and slid fast.
There is still a bit that needs to be cleared
from the lean-to and none of the snow came off the
wood storage, so I need to try and get at least a bit of that snow off,
but it is nice to have the shop roof clean and ready for more.
The second to last item I have to share with you is
pretty much hot off the press. Grace has been noticing the pups for many,
many weeks now, but just this afternoon she tried to reach out and touch
Millie. Nora was on the couch with Grace and Millie hopped up and laid down
next to them and little
Grace reached out to touch Millie. We kept a close eye on things, but
were not too worried about anything Grace could do to Millie- especially the
way the two pups beat up on each other! Anyway, there was some ear pulling
and at one point Grace had a handful of one of Millie's gowls and was trying
to put it in her mouth, but Millie loved the attention and Gracie
has two new play toys! Later on Huck stopped by and Grace was just as
interested in grabbing a handful of him as she was in Huck. We will continue
to be very watchful of her with the pups until she understands that she can
hurt them or cause them to do something in defense, but it is great to see
her discovering them and wanting to interact with them. If the three of them
only knew what the future holds for them!
My final order of business is to remind everyone about the
Ride-in coming up at the end of January. We have some fantastic prizes
already in the hopper for the silent auction and raffle and many more will
be coming in in the next few weeks. Sounds like there is going to be a good
showing again this year and I know I am looking forward to it! So don't
forget to sign up! Links to the event are on the home page of the site.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
|This business directly sponsors
'twas the journal
before Christmas... Seems hard to believe that Christmas is just a few days
away. I am ready. I finished the last of my shopping today and actually
wrapped the majority of the presents on Thursday. I have just 4 more to wrap
and will be able to sit back and relax.
I want to thank everyone for their notes of well wishes
after last week's revealing journal. It's been a better week for me this
week. I even took my first snowmobile ride of the season yesterday- more on
that in a bit. I took it a lot more easy this past week. Still moved snow,
but only with the ATV and plow. Nora took over cutting back the banks with
the snow thrower and also stepped in and took over the wood loading chore.
There were a few days where I tossed a few logs into the burner, just to
make sure it had something to burn, but she took care of the meat of the
It was a less snowy week, so the snow moving was not as rigorous.
We still had more days that needed snow removal than not, but at least it
was not moving 12" around each time! In fact, the past day or so it has
been perfect. A light and fluffy snow has been falling at the rate of around
4" every 24 hours. To me that is the perfect rate. It does not sound
like a lot, but that is a foot of new snow every 3 days. Yet it comes at a
rate that is much more manageable to keep up with. I would be perfectly
happy having it snow like this all winter long. Non stop, a fresh 4"
every day. Of course we would break the all time snowfall record for a
season by a large margin, but I would not complain about that either!
Not a whole lot went on this past week. I got out to fix
the trail cam today and it was an easy fix. All of the components that make
up the whole system are way more reliable now than they ever have been and
that makes fixing things pretty straight forward. This time around all that
needed to be done was to start the software that runs the fancy wireless
equipment that was donated by a friend of the site. Not sure why, but that
is all it took. It was so nice to go out there and spend 5-10 minutes fixing
things rather than 6 hours! Hopefully it will not need any more fixing soon.
I know it ran almost all summer long with no problems, so hopefully it can
run the rest of the winter. If anyone is wondering about the pile of brush
in front of the trail cam. Dave did some cutting near by and he and Lori
plan to have a bonfire there someday soon. They said they will give me the
heads up and try and make a little event out of it, with hot dogs and other
treats. As soon as they come up with a date and time, I will put it on the
trail cam page as well as mention it here.
As mentioned, I took my first ride of the season
yesterday. Nora's brother and family are up for a week or so and I thought
it would be fun for him and I to head out for a little ride. I really did
not know what to expect as far as my endurance on the sled goes, so all we
planned to do was ride to Phoenix, stop in at the Vansville and then head
back. All told around a 17-18 mile round trip on the trail.
So yesterday late morning we got
suited up and ready to go. That last shot was me putting on my new pair
of free ride pants from Klim. I have heard a lot of good things about the
pants vs. the bibs for backcountry riding and thought I would give them a
try. While our riding yesterday was pretty mellow, I can see how they will
give more freedom to move around than the bibs, but will hang onto the bibs
for those days when the powder may be up over my waist.
My sternum has healed pretty well, but I was wondering if
I was far enough along to be able to start my own sled. I did, but was glad
for the EFI and 2 pulls it takes to start the sled! We pulled the sleds out
of the shop and before taking off, I snapped a shot of the
Rt 12 Twins. We stuck to the trail on the way up to Phoenix and I took
it pretty easy. Not only was this my first ride, but also the first run for
the 2010 M8. I am running a tank of pre-mix in there, but also do not want
to push the sled too hard just yet, so I kept it under around 6500-6800
rpm's yesterday. Even still, I can tell that the new motor Cat came out with
is a screamer and am excited to see all of what it can do. It will also be
neat to line it up against the 09 M8 and see how well the two match up. I
gained a lot of HP with the mods I put on the 09 late last year.
We made it to the Vansville just fine, in fact, the sit
down trail riding was so easy that I told my brother in-law Jeff that I
could have ridden all day. We did not have plans to ride all day, but I
figured we could go in, warm up a bit and then take the backcountry home-
which is exactly what we did. I still took it pretty easy when we got into
the backcountry, but did do a little stand up riding and did carve a few
corners on the logging roads and it felt pretty good. It did tire me out
more and I could not ride aggressively in the backcountry for very long at
all, but if I were part of a big group and hung towards the back and just
took it easy, I could ride pretty much all day. We found our way home safely
through the woods, stopping to take
a pic for posterity. I am looking forward to getting out again and
spending more time in the woods on the new ride.
So I talked about the weather and I talked about my first
ride, I guess that leaves the Gracie file. The big excitement this week was
that we started giving her something other than formula to eat. We started
with some rice cereal
and after a few days started giving her some banana baby food. She took to
eating it pretty quickly and seemed to enjoy it as well. Here she is with a
pretty content look on her face.
As mentioned, last week I wrote early because we had a
Christmas party to bring her to. Lately there has been a throng of paparazzi
waiting for us at the end of the drive way, so we thought we would try and disguise
her a bit to throw them off. It seemed to work as about half of them
stayed put as we drove by. Just kidding of course, there are no
photographers at the end of our driveway. Grace got those sunglasses from
one of Nora's friends as we decided to put them on her just for laughs.
Grace did not seem to mind them at all, which is good, because we will want
to put them on her for real when we go to the beach this summer. Grace did
get to meet Santa at the party and even sat
on his lap. She sure is a little angle and was perfect at the party.
Well, I guess that just about does it for
this one. However, it being the last journal before Christmas. I need to
wish you all a Merry
Christmas from the Dee's. Getting two wild puppies and a baby and Nora
and I to all look natural and pose for the camera is a next to impossible
task and that was the best that could be done in many attempts. I think I
will forever crack up looking at it, seeing the hat over Gracie's eyes and
Millie staring down what ever it was she bolted after the minute I took my
hand off her collar, but those things are exactly what makes a family
Christmas picture and reminds me of all the takes we had as a family when I
was growing up. We also took one with just Grace,
Nora and I. Better, but I think Grace was watching the pups play in the
trees or something!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Good morning from the
Keweenaw. This has to be one of the earlier starts to a journal in a long
time, but I have not been feeling too great the past few days and I am
hoping to be able to go to a Christmas Party for the local adoption group up
here this afternoon, which means that the normal time I would be writing, I
will be at the party and by the time we get home, I could have hit the wall
and run out of energy.
I am kind of bummed that I have gone the wrong direction
in my health the last few days. I really thought I was making good progress
and then late Thursday started to feel poorly and then Friday, Saturday and
today I have that flu-like feeling I had when there was the fluid build up
in my pericardium. I think I may have overdone it a bit this past week
moving all the snow we got and doing other chores like loading the wood
boiler and laundry and other household chores. Before I go on, I certainly
do not want it to sound like Nora is being some kind of a slacker. I am
doing all of this during the day when we have a sitter here watching Grace.
Nora gets home from a full day at work and then takes over Grace full time,
so she is working her rear end off too. Anyway, I just hope that the fluid
can leave on it's own. I really do not want to have to deal with surgery at
this stage of the game- especially with the holidays upon us. We'll see.
I know that I have kept the initial surgery personal and
was planning to keep it that way, but for some reason I just feel compelled
to share it with you all. It has actually bothered me a bit that I did not
say what it was and you all were SO good about letting me have my privacy,
but it just seemed wrong to not let the friends I have through this site
know. So, here it goes. On October 2nd I had open heart surgery to replace
two heart valves. Both my aortic valve and mitral valve needed replacing.
Both were damaged when I was a child and had radiation therapy to try and
cure me of cancer. I say "try" because the ironic part is the
first stage of chemo and radiation therapy I went through did not cure me,
but the second round of chemo did. Back in the 70's when I had the
radiation, they pretty much just carpet-bombed you with it and it was not as
precise in dose and aim as it is these days. So they were trying to get my
lungs and did, but my heart also took it on the chin. We have been
monitoring the valves for the past 30 years and the hope was that they would
not get bad enough to have to be replaced and things went well for those 30
years and then I started to become symptomatic this summer and went in for
tests and it was determined it was time to fix them.
My cardiologist up here in Marquette knew it was going to
be a pretty complicated surgery with lots of calcification of the valves and
other heart structures, so they referred me to the Mayo Clinic. I met with
the surgeon in Sept and was scheduled for surgery on the 1st of Oct. I went
in, was all prepped and ready to go and then they had to cancel as the
operation before me turned out to be more work and they thought it best to
wait until the next day so that the surgeon would have "fresh
legs". I had no problem with that! My surgery was also way more
complicated than they thought it would be. Normally a patient having my
procedure will be on the heart/lung machine (the pump) for about 60-75
minutes. I was on it for over 4 1/2 hours! I had a lot of calcification of
my aorta that caused the long surgery. I was also on the breathing tube for
over 2 days, when most patients are able to come off after about 6 hours. So
it was a pretty rough surgery and I think that is why my recovery has had
it's bumps along the way. I think you all pretty much know the rest of the
story from there, but I just thought you all deserved to know what started
all of these fun health issues I have been talking about for the past 2+
months! The good news is the valves are working just fine (mechanical) and
my heart pumping function is also very good. So it may have been a rough
surgery, but was a complete success and once I fully recover (6-8 months) I
will actually be in better shape than I have been in a long time.
So now back to our regularly scheduled programming...
SNOW! and lots of it. Once again, we here in the southern end of Keweenaw
County were not hit as hard as others. The big storm on Wednesday produced
around 14", but Ironwood picked up 30" and just west of Marquette
at the NWS office in Negaunee they picked up around 24" from the storm
alone. LES then added quite a bit to much of the UP Thursday and it really
looked like Friday would be our turn to be hit hard, but the pure west winds
never really fully developed. They tried, but out in the middle of the lake,
winds were from the NW and that kept the main banding just south of Houghton
where it looked like the South Range area picked up around 2 feet late
Thursday into Friday. We did get into the main convergence band snow briefly
on Friday afternoon and it was coming down at around 4"/hr, but that
only lasted around 30 minutes. Quite honestly, as I was starting to feel
pretty run down Friday, I was actually a little glad we did not get
hammered. Just more work and I am not up to speed to play in it yet.
The pups are sure up to speed to play
in the snow though. They just LOVE it! I can let them out and they will
play for an hour straight. They play
chase and tackle each other and from time to time take
a brief break (Millie was actually standing in that last shot!). As the
snow got deeper as the week wore on, they started carving paths through the
snow and have quite a network setup through the trees and yard. Sort of
reminds me of when you see those aerial photos of wolves in the deep snow
and the paths they have. Anyway, I am glad that they can entertain
themselves so well in the snow because then I do not feel obligated to have
to take them for a walk for their daily exercise. In fact, they have way
more fun playing by themselves than they have on a walk and they also get
way more exercise. It will just be interesting to see what they do when the
snow gets to be even deeper than it is now. Perhaps I will have to break
trail on snow shoes or better yet the new M8!
Speaking of that, I was set to take a short ride
yesterday, but with me slipping a bit in the way I felt, I decided it was
best to just rest. Hopefully I can get out next weekend, but strangely I am
OK with having to wait so far. I think I am just looking forward to ALL that
I will be able to do when I feel better that snowmobiling is just a part of
Needless to say we look to have all but guaranteed
ourselves a white Christmas and I think we are actually working on a white
Easter at this point and if we are not careful, we could end up with a white
Mothers Day! Actually it is not that deep up here yet, but strange to think
that just over a week ago we had nothing more than a dusting on the ground
and now it is almost dead of winter deep up here. Something what 60" of
snow will do! The cabin looks pretty all
nestled in the snowy woods and the snow is getting deeper and deeper on the
shop roof and will need to be cleared in not too long. With Nora's help the
driveway is all nice and clean. Even when I don't feel so good, I can
push most of the snow with the ATV and then Nora cuts back the banks with
the snow thrower. If we were not going to be building a log home in a few
years, I would just get a plow for the truck, but once the log home and
connected garage is in, then there will be very limited places to push the
snow and thus throwing it will be the only real way to deal with it. I do
plan to get a riding mower/tractor with a blower and enclose cab once the
log home is done as well. That is unless some farm supply store wants to
send one up for me to show off in the journal! I'm not picky, John Deere,
Husquvarana, Kubota, I don't care! :)
I do have a funny story to share with you. On Thursday
when we woke up to around a foot of new snow, Nora was getting ready to head
off to work. She had cleared the hood and windows of snow, but the roof of
the Pilot is very tall, so did not clear the snow off of it. As she is
getting ready to drive off, she hits what she thinks is the dome light, but
in reality is the moon roof and ends up getting an avalanche of snow inside
the new car! No harm done, it all melted and nothing was hurt, but not the
way Nora wanted to start her day!
I have two last items before I close for this one. First,
many of you have seen the new discussion board that went into place about 10
days ago. I hope that it has not been too much of a difficult transition to
make, but it really had to be done. The old board was being overwhelmed by
the activity on it and also had some quirky things that just did not make it
as user friendly. The new board addressed just about all of the issues of
the old board (except spell check, but there are add on apps for web
browsers that can help in that dept.) and is also much more stable. A HUGE
thanks needs to go out to moderator Paul for all of his hard work in getting
things running with the new board. He did EVERYTHING! All I had to do was to
make choices in how I wanted it to look as well as other features. The
bottom line is that it could have never happened without his help and I am
very grateful to him for all of his time and expertise. I owe him big time
and just need to figure out how to repay him- if possible!
The last order of business is the Grace file. She continues to
do just great. She is the funniest little girl when she first wakes up. She
is SO happy, just looking at her gets her to smile and shake her whole body!
Of course she's also very cute when she is having
one of her quieter moments. We like the quiet moments too!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
I sure has been a busy
week and I have lots to share, including 31 pictures for all you picture
hounds out there. I am getting a late start because when I went to go down
load the pictures from the camera, the battery died. The cam cannot be
powered by the USB cable (about the only bad thing about this cam) and it
also did not come with an external power cable, although one is available
for additional cost- go figure! Anyway, I would typically be sitting
and relaxing, getting ready to go to bed in an hour or so, but here I am
just getting started. So I may be a little condensed in my writing tonight,
but still have lots to share.
I suppose the main story was our jump from autumn to
winter. Not just via the meteorological calendar, but in reality as well.
The two did not align perfectly, but were only off by a few days. December
1st came in pretty much like November had gone out, with above average temps
for the day and a little snow on the ground. The main firearm season for
deer was over and that meant that the woods were open to exploring with the
pups, so off into the woods we went. These pups are really smart and they
pay close attention to where we are going once we get into the vehicle and
after a few turns, they seemed to know right where we were going and by the
time we got there, were bursting at the seams to get out of Old Blue to hit
the trail. There was a dusting of snow on the ground, which at least made it
feel a little like the first day of winter, but the pups did not care, they
had a blast running up and down the trail and off into the woods a bit to play
On Wednesday, there was a bit more snow on the ground. I
had an inch or two and snows were also flying in the air. I had to get some
blood drawn in Calumet, so we bopped down to the
lake for our afternoon walk. It was a bit windy and chilly right at the
lakeshore, so we walked a road that runs parallel to the lake, but is also
sheltered from strong winds off the lake, so we put on about 2 miles and
then headed back.
I cannot remember what we did on Thursday, but I did not
take any pictures of it, but on Friday the bigger snows started to come. We
actually picked up around 3 inches on Thursday, then a break Thursday night,
but things got going again Friday morning and it really came down for about
6 hours Friday morning and midday. Here is a shot of the
front of the cabin Friday morning. Here is a shot of the snows
covering up my excellent panking job that I did. I sure do love it when
it snows like that. It's the best drug ever. Not that I have a lot of
experience with other, but I just cannot imagine anything working any better
to make me feel good inside and out. The snows started to taper a bit by
around 3-4 pm Friday, but by that time we had picked up 10" fresh, that
on top of the 3" that was already down. It was starting to look like
winter around here!
Saturday we had to go to Marquette, but not for health
reasons!!! Nope, Nora and I bought a new vehicle. The combination of Old
Blue and the Blazer was just not cutting it since Grace arrived. There was
no way to take Grace in Old Blue if we had a passenger and while the Blazer
could hold Nora, Grace the pups and I, it also has 220,000 miles on it and
while still reliable, we both recognize that it could go at any moment now.
So it was time to get a reliable vehicle that could hold the whole family.
Nora fell in love with the Honda Pilot and I have had Honda vehicles in my
past and know their incredible reliability, so we started shopping and came
up with what we wanted. The closest dealer is in Marquette which will be a
big downside when any repairs need to be done, but we bought a Honda with
the thought that repairs would be few and far between. Let's hope!
It did not snow more than flurries Friday night. Winds
changed to a SW direction and put all of the lake snow banding parallel to
the Keweenaw and off shore. But just as we were leaving the bands started to
blow back in with a wind shift back to the west and the trip to Marquette
was fine. We did all the paperwork. Grace
tried out the new ride and so
did Nora. The hounds and I then headed back home in the Blazer while
Nora, Grace and Nora's friend Tammy stayed in Marquette to do a little
shopping. The weather was clear as a bell from Marquette to about a mile
away from Chassell. In Chassell, there was mix of clouds and sun and some
snow showers falling, but no big deal. About half way between Chassell and
Houghton the snow showers started getting heavier and by the time we got to
the Tech campus, I could not see more than 100 feet it was snowing so hard.
It was hard to judge how much snow had come down since we drove through
Houghton on the way to Marquette, but an easy 6-7" new looked to be
down. I stopped to get the pups some food in Houghton and then we started
making our way home. I had mixed emotions as we headed across the lift
bridge and towards home. First, we had just been on a 2 hour drive from
Marquette and if it stayed snowing that hard all the way to our house it
would take us at least an hour to get there. Of course if it was snowing
that hard all the way to our house, that meant we were getting hammered at
home too! Well, but Quincy Hill we went and the heavier snow tapered to
light to moderate snows and it was snowing, but lightly when we got home.
There was fresh snow in the driveway and when we got out of the car I could
see we had picked up around 6-7" new since we left for Marquette. I was
not there to see what happened and did not look at the computer to try and
deduce what had happened, but I know the winds were SW Friday night and then
switched to the west on Saturday. A westerly or even WSW winds is the
perfect direction for northern Houghton and all of Keweenaw County. The rest
of the UP sees sunshine, but we can get crushed. Many times a dominate band
will form and within that dominate band snowfall rates of 2-3"/hr will
occur. I have seen 4-6"/hr snowfall rates with that WSW dominate band.
In fact, I have nicknamed the dominate band the Bayfield Bomber as it
typically starts to form just north of the Bayfield Peninsula and really
gets going by the time it hits the Keweenaw. So we had our first Bayfield
Bomber of the season. It was a narrow one, about 4-6 miles wide, but
underneath it, the snows were bombing! I have seen the dominate band or
bomber be as wide as running from Painesdale to Phoenix. That one was in mid
December of 1998 and I have a friend that said over 60" fell in 36
hours. I'm hoping the next one rivals that 1998 event!
We got home safe and sound and rather than clear the
drive way, I let the
pups play in the snow. They just love the snow and it seems like the
deeper it gets, the more they love it. Take after their old man! Plus they
had been cooped up in the Blazer for 6 hours and a good leg stretching was
in order. With the 6" falling on top of the 13" we had already, it
was pretty deep in the "untouched" spots. Here is Millie
in some belly deep snow. The woods also had some nice
deep snow. Pretty tempting to break out the sled and ride, but I am
still recovering and am not going to ride alone.
Nora, Grace and Tammy got back safely as well.
Encountering the same smooth sailing until around Chassell and then the
white out conditions in Houghton and Hancock, with lighter snows just past
Hancock to our place. It looks like the immediate Houghton and Hancock area
was the big winner with this system that started Thursday and has sort of
tapered to generic snow showers today. I do not have final numbers, but did
see that at one point late yesterday afternoon 24" of snow was on the
ground in Hancock. Other areas from around Twin Lakes north to Copper Harbor
all did pretty well and I did measure some pretty deep snow in the higher
terrain of Keweenaw County- more on that in a bit.
Saturday evening I slipped into my office and did some
work and with Nora watching Grace all day, I gave her a bit of a rest from
that as well. So Grace
and I got busy weather forecasting. The radar is her favorite right now.
Today I shot down to Houghton to do some shopping and brought
the cam along. My hope was to see as much of our neck of the woods today and
share it with you all through a photo tour. Here is a shot of highway
41 as it travels through Calumet this morning at around 9 am. Not mid
winter looking, but certainly winter looking! Here is a shot of the
highway as it swings into Hancock. The banks are larger, showing the
heavier snow they got. There are some sledders up here and here
are a few riding the trail exiting Hancock and going towards Calumet.
Here is a shot of that
very same trail from just down the road a bit. Here are a
few parked cars showing the frosting they got over the weekend.
Got the shopping done, came home, ate lunch and then took
Nora's new car for a spin. They all stayed home while I took a quick spin up
the Keweenaw to see what I could see. The trip started out with a beautiful
shot of some flocked
pines at the end of our driveway. We are so lucky to look at that just
about all winter long as we pull out or driveway onto the road we live on.
Here is a shot of beautiful
downtown Mohawk. We did pretty good in the snow department, but not even
close to others up here. We traveled up highway 41 towards Phoenix. Here is
a shot of the
snowmobile trail at the Phoenix crossing of 41, looking southwest. Here
is the same location,
looking northeast. They have not begun to groom yet, but I am sure they
will be out this week. I think their plan was to let the few sleds that got
out pank the snow a bit and firm up any soft spots. Then they will get out
and pan it to do even more panking and then with more snow start using the
blades. Certainly enough snow down to start at least panning and I know that
since the change in operations up here a few years ago, the groomers like to
get out as soon as they can.
Speaking of groomers, all of the Keweenaw Groomers will
be sporting new decals,
courtesy of ArcticFX
Graphics. We also are also putting out donation buckets this season to
collect funds to help with the expenses of grooming the 200+ miles of trails
in the Keweenaw. The Keweenaw Trails services is the grant sponsor (the DNR
name for snowmobile club) that is in charge of the maintenance of the trails
from Toivola north to the tip of the point. I became a board member of KTS
about 18 months ago and one of the things I wanted to do was to let folks
know who was in charge of things. Not just so that they would know who to
praise or complain to, but so that they can help support us. Almost all
snowmobilers know that it takes donations from the snowmobilers to make sure
enough funds are available to groom the trails and brush them in the fall.
So we developed that logo and want to make the connection between KTS and
the Keweenaw snowmobile trails. So keep an eye out for that logo on the
groomers and the donation buckets and help us out!
Back to my trip this afternoon. I turned off of Hwy 41
and headed down to Eagle River. In many LES events, the areas right along
the shoreline will not pick up as much snow. However in the case of the
Bayfield Bomber, all areas get hit and sometimes the coastal sections can be
hit harder because they will continue to see snow occur even when the main
band has snaked off shore with a winds shift. Well, the shoreline locations
of Eagle River and Eagle Harbor did not have more, but were certainly
holding their own, with over a foot on the ground as well. Figured I would
toss in a few scenic shots as well. Here is the
Eagle River as it makes it drop down towards Lake Superior. Here are the
Eagle River Falls in the process of freezing up. Here is a shot of the
big lake at Eagle River. Here is a
lakes freighter heading up-bound to destination unknown. Just a few
weeks left for them to make their runs.
I don't know if the stretch of Hwy 26 from Eagle River to Eagle
Harbor has a name. I have never heard it called anything other than Hwy 26,
but I have nicked named it Cedar Drive as it
travels through a thick stand of cedar for the first few miles east of
Eagle River. I bet there are some summer-only visitors to the Keweenaw
reading this and saying: "Huh, so that's what it looks like in the
winter!". I did travel into some of the high country of Keweenaw County
today. Not too many plowed roads do that, but at least one is left. Most of
the roads and living in Keweenaw County and northern Houghton is done in the
low spots, where as in central Houghton County (areas like Twin Lakes) are
all at pretty much the highest spots and if you travel west or east, you
will start to drop off the spine (and into the lower snow). I find it
interesting how that is so. Not sure why, other than most of the population
centers in northern Houghton and Keweenaw counties were due to the mining
and many of them are on bodies of water to allow for easy shipping of the
mined product. Anyway, the higher terrain of Keweenaw County I went to did
have some deep snow. I measured 23" of snow on the ground, which is
nearly twice what we have here at our place. Here
is my leg in the hole I dug to find bottom. Kind of hard to tell from
that shot, but it went up to my knee. The last shot of my afternoon drive is
of Hwy 41 on the way home. Hwy 41 travels from Miami FL to Copper Harbor MI
and I have been on quite a bit of it in my lifetime. Without a doubt my
favorite part is the section from just north of Mohawk to Copper Harbor and this
Of course what would a journal be without a Gracie
section (even though I know the day will come when she does not have a
special paragraph devoted to just her)? This first shot is of her just after
coming home from church in
her pretty green dress. Here she is showing us the "reach
for the stars" dance move. I saved the best for last (at least in
my opinion). Here is Santa's
Little Helper. Can't think of a better way to end this one.
Good night from the Keweenaw..