February 28-
    Boy, here we are already, last day of February and last day of winter. Still winter like  up here and I am sure we still have our fair share of winter weather yet to go through, but the fat lady is in the green room and getting ready to be called out to sing. We had quite a bit of fluff fall earlier in the week. Tuesday morning is started snowing a bit and picked up a bit in the afternoon. These day's the suns rays are strong enough that if it is not snowing hard enough or the clouds are not particularly thick, then what falls on the surfaces like cars, roads and rooftops that can absorb the heat from the sun will melt as fast as it falls. That is exactly what happened until the sun sunk low on the horizon Tuesday. It snowed, but the cars were just wet as were the roofs and roads, but we had a few inches on the snowy surfaces by sunset. It came down pretty good all night and by the time Nora left for work Wednesday morning, we had 8" new down. It then snowed all day Wednesday and Wednesday night we picked up another 7.5" new. With it being so fluffy, the new snow on the ground Wednesday morning was only around 9" and that settled even more the rest of the week. 
    The one nice thing about getting fluff is that is sure is easy to move! I was able to put the snow thrower in 3rd gear and darn near jog behind it. The snow also came down with not a lot of wind, so it stuck to the trees well and gave that flocking that I so love. Big-G (my new nickname for the new truck) also got her first coating of snow- under my watch anyway. The banks on the driveway are also starting to get up there. Only around 6 more inches and they will be above the cutter bar on the snow thrower. Most years they go a couple of inches above the cutter and the year before we lived here, but I was keeping the driveway open to get to the shop, the snow was way above the cutters. In that year, the Mohawk area got over 100" of snow in one week in December. Figures, happened before we lived here!
    We have been getting snow all day today. It actually started late yesterday and when I woke up, we had picked up around 2" and have picked up around another 2" today. It is not that cold out, so we decided to but Gracie in her moon suit and put the snow tires on her stroller and take a nice walk on one of the quiet county roads. It was still snowing and blowing pretty good, but Grace was all bundled up and she really loves the outdoors, so was all smiles most of the way. Here is a shot of her and I, and another with my better side showing.
    The pups also had a fun time on the walk. The road really is very quiet and so we can leave them off their leashes and let them run. They probably travel 5-6 times the distance we do the way they run back and fourth and off into the woods a bit. Some fairly good sized snow banks out there too.
    We walked about a mile and a half. The county had not yet hit this road with the plow and it was a bit of a workout to push the stroller through the snow, so we piled back into the car and came home. If there is any question as to if fresh air can make one sleepy, this picture would answer that question. Tired little girl who is napping as I type.
    I did not go for a ride this week. Saturday was the only real opportunity I had and I chose to be with my family instead. It was probably a good thing as I felt a little "off" yesterday. I still have my days when I don't feel all that great, but it is usually something like lack of sleep related, which was the case yesterday. I only got 5 hours of sleep Friday night and best I tried, I could not nap Saturday, so I just made my way through the day as best I could and slept pretty well last night.
    I finally got the collage for the ride in done, you can check it out here. I also have compiled a list of those businesses and individuals that donated to the ride-in. My biggest fear was leaving someone off, so if you see someone that needs to be on the list let me know! Next year I plan to include what the businesses donated, but did not have all of that info this year, so just put the names. I also have some shirts that were not picked up for one reason or another. If you ordered one and do not have it, e mail me with your name and address and I will get them off to you.
    Well, kind of a short one, but I wanted to finish before the US-Canada hockey game comes on. Gonna pop some pop corn and grab a hockey-pop and hope for another upset.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-

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February 21-
    I'm sure that there may be those snow lovers amongst us that would probably complain about the weather up here this past week, but to me it was nearly perfect. Sure a bit more snow might have been nice, but from last Sunday through last Tuesday, we picked up 13" of snow and then skies cleared by later Wednesday and we had blue bird skies Thursday through today. Along with the sunny skies, we flirted with the freezing mark Thursday and Friday and then made it into the mid 30's yesterday and have hit 40 today. The air is very dry, so the snow is really not melting much. In fact, while we were riding in the above freezing temps yesterday, the snow was still powdery. This weather really reminds me of out west. Get some snow and then lots of sun.
    I'll get to the riding and other things in a bit, but wanted to jump back to the Ride In for a moment. We got everything totaled up and were able to raise a little over $6400 dollars this year. I am extremely happy with things, especially since costs went up a bit with the 3 entree dinner vs. the 2 entree dinner in years past. I plan to go back to a 2 entree dinner for next year. I am embarrassed to write that I STILL have not put together the list of persons and businesses that donated to the event, but I do have it all in notes and hope that this week will be a little slower for me and I can take them from hand writing to digital and put them in the next entry as well as on a page on the site. Plus I still have all the pics I took of everyone at the event and hope to put the collage together as soon as I can.
    Not sure how I end up being so busy these days, but I guess part of the problem is that from around 4 am to 4 pm I only have a few hours to spare that I am not doing regular work duties and then by 4 or 5 pm am pretty tired from the day's work and usually do not feel up to tacking a major task. So just running to town can eat up my free time for the day and it seems like I have been doing a lot of that lately.
    I sure cannot complain about my Wednesday diversion to Twin Lakes as it was to pick up my new used truck. As I mentioned in the last entry, I bought it from a visitor to the site that had posted it for sale on the discussion board. He lived in the Minneapolis area, so I was able to find a friend that lived nearby that was headed north to play in the snow bring it up with him on Wednesday. So Wednesday afternoon I drove south to pick up the truck. In another stroke of luck, I was able to sell Old Blue to a friend and visitor of the site who lives in Greenland. So he got a ride up to Twin Lakes Wednesday afternoon and met me there. I gave him Old Blue and the paperwork and drove home with the new ride. The new ride was full of road grime, so I did not take any pics right when I picked it up, but I did snap a shot of Old Blue driving off into the sunset. I am glad that she has found a new home and with someone that will put her to use and keep her from the scrap yard for a while longer. She sure served us well and I hated to see her go, but we just did not have room or a need for her anymore.  I did stop at the car wash on the way home and snapped this shot of the new ride at home all nice and clean. It was in immaculate condition, both inside and out and I am looking forward to trying to keep it that way as best I can. I typically do keep my vehicles in good shape and the blazer is actually in pretty good shape inside and out- especially for hauling Burt and Baileys and then Huck and Millie around for almost 10 years. The new ride (I will have to come up with a name for it) has plenty of room in the back for Huck and Millie and is why I actually got the crew cab. The bed is about as nice as the cab, with a carpeted bed and carpet inside the topper. Unfortunately the main reason why I got the truck rather than an SUV was to haul the sled and building materials around, so the topper is coming off and the carpet out. I plan to get a tonneau cover for it as well as coating the bed with a bed liner and then even adding a mat to protect it from all the things that will be put in the back. The one thing that amazed me about the new vehicle is how big it is! I new it would be bigger than the blazer, but when they sit side by side, it looks like the blazer could fit inside the new truck. I guess anything bigger and I would need a CDL!
    As mentioned, we got a good dose of snow early in the week. From the sounds of it, Keweenaw County did as well as anyone else in the western UP and it sounds like we were close to what folks got in the highlands of Marquette County. The pups were happy to see the fresh snow. They just love it when it is snowing and there is new snow to frolic in. Normally I would think it is because I am out with them having so much fun, but to tell you the honest truth, I do play with them a little each day, but they are fully content to just go out and play with each other. Here is a shot of Huck sitting on top of the 6 foot pile of snow I ramped with the ATV and plow. Here is a shot of Millie off in the woods up to her neck in snow. Just after this latest round of snow had stopped, they had to bunny hop through the fresh snow in the woods. It did not seem to slow them down too much, but they did sleep good at night. Of course what would some shots of Huck and Millie be without them wrestling with each other.
    Yesterday, most of the gang assembled for a ride. We have not shot much footage for our DVD up here yet, mainly due to the weather, but also due to schedules and health issues with me and a few others. Most of us were healthy and ready to ride yesterday, so the boys came by sled and by truck and congregated at my place and then we headed off into the woods to play. It was about as perfect a day for riding as it comes. Blue bird skies and temps in the 30's. Maybe a bit warm for some, but the air was dry so the snow stayed powdery all day, even when the temps rose above freezing. It is just so nice to be able to stop, take your helmet off and sit and chat and be comfortable. 
    With the heaviest snows falling in Keweenaw County last week, we stayed north of our place for the most part. We were able to find a lot of untracked snow and of course did our best to track it up. We had two POV (helmet cams) going and I brought along the big camera. I did not get a lot of footage with the big cam, but what I got was excellent quality and will make into the DVD for sure. I have not had a chance to check out the POV footage yet, but as long as the boys that had them mounted to their helmets had them working right, I think we got some great footage of us riding through the Keweenaw's logging roads.
    While I was out playing with the boys, Grace and Nora were out playing with the girls (and a few boys I am sure) at the Lake Linden School Forest. They had a little event going on there yesterday, so Nora bundled up Gracie and they headed off to take a wagon ride and have some hot chocolate at the School Forest. 
    Today was another beautiful day and while I was down in Houghton doing some shopping, Nora, Grace and the pups were able to get outside and take in the fresh air and sunshine. Here is a shot of Grace taking it all in. If you haven't guessed yet, mom loves to put hats on Grace. Of course we need them on her in the winter, but she has plenty for the warm season too!
    Well, I am sure I am forgetting something, but it's getting late for me and I am bushed, so will sign off for this one. Looks like some fresh snow this week too, so maybe some more riding pics will be able to be had.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
February 14-
    There has been this strange white substance falling from the sky since around 8 am this morning. Not exactly what it is. Some old timers up here say it is something called snow, but I sure have never heard of it and have been doing some research on it on the internet. Looks like the old timers might be right, but looks like it is something that mainly falls in the Washington DC to Philly to New York area and sometimes in Dallas. At least from all the internet search results I got that seems to be the case!
    I know, I know, I am just being silly, but it sure has been a slow start to 2010 in the snow department. "Only" 50 inches since January 1. Seems like we have gotten even less than that. I'm not really complaining too much though. This was not going to be a good winter for me to play too much in the snow, so if we are going to have an off one, this was good timing for my selfish reasons. I do feel sorry for others that were hoping for a big year though, I sure can relate to that. It sure is a good thing that we had such a snowy December though. There is a great base down because of that, both on the trails and in the backcountry and when we do get these doses of fresh snow, it makes things like new again, it's just been a strange 2010 so far. Not snowy, but not warm either. I have only been here for 11 winters, but I cannot remember a stretch where we had such an absence of snow, but also did not have any melting. It is just day after day of no new snow, but no snow loss.
    But alas, we have snow falling today. So far it looks like around 4-5" new and it looks like it should keep coming down through the next 30 hours at least, so we could very well end up with some double digit totals from this and I would not be surprised to hear about more than a foot falling in and around my neck of the woods. Looks like I will have to move snow for the first time in 2 weeks!
    What I thought would be a pretty uneventful week ended up being very busy. Monday afternoon I thought I was going to ride with our trail boss and some DNR boys to look at an area that needed sprucing up in the signage department, but the DNR came up in the morning, so I ended up riding with Brian and Phil. Phil's dad had some "chores" for us to do while out on sleds, so we kicked and screamed and got them done. It did require some pretty serious bush riding, so I was interested to see how I would hold up and I did fine. Lots of little creek crossing, stump or blow down hopping and working your way through the thickets. We did get out onto a logging road for part of the ride as well and it was nice to be able to relax a bit!
    Sadly that was the only riding I did this week, so that is the only riding pictures I have for this entry. I do have more pics to share though, so stay tuned. On Tuesday I had some business to attend to in the morning and then had to pick Grace up from the sitter early. Dave came up and we attached a Boondockers control box on the 09 M8. After all the mods I did to it last season, it had a bit of a low end bog, so I wanted to clean that up and after hooking it up and playing with it a bit, I think Dave and I were able to clean up the little bog it had at idle. It runs awesome at all the other throttle positions, so I have no desire to mess with those settings.
    Wednesday morning I spoke at the Lake Linden/Hubbell School for an hour and a half and then had rehab in the afternoon, so that day was shot. Thursday morning had me down with Nora and Grace for her 6 month check up and shots and then another business meeting in the afternoon, so there was that day. Friday I did not have anything going in the morning, but had my last rehab appointment in the afternoon. So far this week looks much quieter with no rehab and just a trip to Twin Lakes Wednesday afternoon to pick up my new used truck. Plans have been in the works for me to get rid of Old Blue and the Blazer and get a truck. I thought I would be waiting until summer was over to do that, but something caught my eye on my very own website in the classifieds of the discussion board and it just seemed like the right way to go. It is down in the Twin Cities area and so it was going to be a bit of a challenge to get it up here, but a call to a friend of mine from the site took care of all of that. He is coming up to ride this week with friends and said he could drive it up here for me. I'm going to wait until it is in my possession to tell you all what it is, but I suppose if you did a little bit of detective work on your own, you could find out ahead of time what kind of truck it is and even see some pics. I am pretty psyched for it to arrive though.
    Grace's check up went fine and even the shots did not seem as traumatic this time. She still cried, but only for about 60 seconds and by the time we were leaving, she was all smiles and flirting with everyone she saw. It even seemed like the needles they used this time around were much smaller. Anyway, we have a happy and healthy baby, so that was always good news to get. She has been cracking both Nora and I up with some of her antics and is starting to notice that effect on us, so she will really ham it up at times. She also is really getting into the puppies. She loves to play with their heads, ears, jowls, anything she can get a fistful of. The pups have always played so hard with each other that they do not mind her roughness at all and even seem to enjoy it. It is just so much fun to see Grace interact more and it will be a blast to watch her run around with the pups. I really think they are going the be the three amigos when she gets a little older.
    The other day Grace was sitting in the recliner and since she could not reach the leaver to recline it, she decided to take matters into her own hands and just recline all on her own. I cannot say for sure, but I think she was deeply engrossed in an episode of Bloop and Loop at that moment. One of her most recent tricks is to put her right foot into her mouth. I am lucky if I can cross my right leg over my left and here she is putting her foot into her mouth! She usually pulls her sock off first, but we had just come in from the outside, so she still had the sock on.
    Speaking of the outside, the whole Dee family had a nice outdoor adventure yesterday afternoon. It was a nice day, with temps in the upper 20's, almost no wind and a bit of filtered sunshine. So Nora and I strapped on the snow shoes, bundled up Grace and headed off into our woods for a little walk through the snow with the pups. It felt really good to be doing some exploring with the family again. We did not get the chance to do much when Grace first came home because I was not feeling great and then had the surgery and was down after that. I am continuing to feel better and thought a walk through our woods on the snow shoes would be fun. The pups and I did that quite a bit last spring and we all had fun yesterday. Even Grace really seemed to be enjoying the trip. She was pretty much smiling the whole time and never once complained. Of course the pups were beside themselves with joy that we were getting into the bush with them. They take short trips by themselves, but Nora and I always call them back before they go out of sight. So they were happy to finally see what was beyond the perimeter we have been keeping them in. Here they are tracking some bunny wabbit tracks. Here they are slogging through the snow on their way back from the hunt. And here they are doing their favorite thing, wrestling. If there was such a thing as dog wrestling, these two would bring home the gold for sure.
    My last shot was of my two favorite girls. We worked up quite an appetite on our 45 minute trek through the woods. It was more work than I thought it was going to be, but we all made it back safe and sound and got cleaned up and then went out for a nice early Valentines Day dinner, came home, took a sauna and went to bed!
    So I think that about covers it for this one. Hopefully the snow will continue to fly and we can pile it up enough to make for some nice powder riding. I know all of our crew has been anxious for some good powder to return to the area. Maybe the folks in the capital can send some of theirs our way!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-

February 7-
    Boy, hard to believe another week has gone by so quickly. I am feeling lots better these days and so I am busier and just getting through the day is so much more pleasant that I think time is going by much faster now. I think it can be compared to when you have the flu and just feel like junk and can't wait to feel better and how the time goes by so slowly. That is how it was for me for October, November and December, maybe even the first week or two of January, but things have really come around for me. I have now passed the point I was before they opened me up. In rehab I walk the treadmill at 3 mph on a 10% incline and do not get worn out at all. I can do all the other exercises asked of me as well. In fact, I had the option to go through 36 episodes of rehab, but could also stop anytime I felt I wanted to and I am going to make this last week my last week. I have an elliptical and Bowflex in the shop and will just work out on my own. I was on a pretty regular schedule before the surgery and am excited to get back into the routine. I have a stack of snowmobile DVD's to watch while on the elliptical so that is actually enjoyable and not a drudgery. 
    Yesterday I took a ride on the sled and felt good all day and even when I finished up. That is the first time I can say that not only did I feel good the whole time riding, but also when finished. The ride was only around 4 hours long, but I could have gone much longer. Even had to give tugs to two sleds to get them unstuck and a few weeks ago I would have been down for the count after that, but was no worse for wear after. So things are definitely getting better as far as my health goes and that is very encouraging as our group will be heading to Togwotee the third week of March and while I am pretty much planning on just riding from play spot to play spot and then just filming everyone else play, it's nice to know I can handle a full day's ride with no issues.
    I rode with Troy and Zach from Lac La Belle yesterday, but instead of the regular ritual of me heading up there and then riding from there for the day. They came down this way and we took off from here. We did end up back their way and then my sled and I got a ride home in Zach's pickup, but I was able to show them some places they have never been to and all in all it was a great ride. The backcountry was a mix of beat to heck logging roads and untouched powder. Quite frankly, I was surprised to come along the untouched stuff. We were not seeking it out or anything and did not go way off into the deep woods, but the spots we found with untouched snow had not been ridden on for over a week.
    One of the scenic spots I took them to was a section of a river that has some small falls on it. It's always a big guess as to if the spots on the river up here will be frozen or open or a bit of both. Sometimes I will approach them and think they have to be open and they are froze solid and other times I think they will have some flowing water seen and they are frozen. That was the case yesterday. I expected to see at least some flowing water, but the river was pretty much ice covered. There was a few pockets with no ice and you could see the water flowing underneath the ice, but I think I could have walked across the river had I wanted to. A coyote had done so a few hours before us.
    We worked our way northeast up the spine of the Keweenaw and as mentioned, encountered sections of the backcountry that were like trails that had not been groomed all season, with 2 foot moguls and other spots where we were the first ones through in at least 10 days, if not more. Thankfully the beat up trails were just a few short stretches and also at the beginning of the ride and we were treated to the untouched snow or sections with a track or two in them for the majority of the day. We even found a field that was left untouched for us so Zach could do a bit of carving.
    We made it to Lac La Belle safe and sound. I grabbed a bite to eat while Zach and Troy got ready to head to town. They dropped off me and my sled off at our place and proceeded to scare the poop out of Nora as I had not phoned ahead to tell her of the plans for me to get a ride back in the truck, but all was well when I yelled over to Nora to tell her that both me and the sled were fine and I just got a ride home is all. I have been known to have to get rides home from Lac La Belle because of a broken sled or banged up body part. So Nora was just playing the odds when she thought something had gone wrong.
   The rest of the week has been pretty quiet for me and the family. No new snow this week so I was able to catch a break from moving it around. I also laid low from some website things that need to be done (have a few NCN's to add). I need to put together the list of donators to the ride in, but it was nice to just take it a little easy this past week. We did get the final totals from this years event and we were just shy of raising $7000. So that is very cool and I am very happy with that. Thanks again to all that made it possible!
    We were also treated to some sunshine this week. For those that are thinking about moving here. The main downside to the winter is we see very little clear skies. In fact, I think in the typical year, you could count the number of days from around November 1 through Feb 28 with clear skies on one hand. No joking. The big lake just makes lots of clouds. The silver lining is there is usually snow falling from those clouds, but sometimes it is just the clouds and no snow. In the summer it is the exact opposite. The big lake eats the clouds, so we have tons of sun from around April through early September. Almost too much it can seem like sometimes.
    With the sunshine this week, Gracie was able to get out and spend some time outside. Of course with the sunshine and snow, one needs a pair of shades, so we put on her $500 Oakleys before heading out. Just kidding of course. I think they are $10 Walmart specials. For the days we know she will be followed around by the paparazzi, we have her movie star ones. Here she is taking in the rare Keweenaw winter sunshine.
    The week ahead sees a bit of snow to fly early in the week, but it is not looking as good for system or lake effect as it once was. Most of the system snow looks to pass to the south and it looks like the winds will be northeast while the best LES conditions are in place. So that means areas like Duluth/Superior and then Ironwood and the higher terrain west of Marquette will likely see the heaviest LES occur. All I can say is it's a good thing that we got the snow we did in December, or we would really be in hurting shape this season. It was looking like this winter may be a bit of an off winter for the Northwoods and so far that seems to be panning out. Of course, many times a spring with an El Nino going on can go out with a bang up here, so maybe we will have some great spring riding. I hope so because I am planning on putting out a full length snowmobile DVD this coming autumn and was hoping to combine footage shot from here and Wyoming and so far I don't have a second of footage from here! Might have to be a lot of interviews!
    Well, I think I have run out of material. We did not get over to see the snow statues this year and I am kind of bummed, but schedules (mine, Grace's, Nora's) just conflicted with each other this time around. I hear that they were as good as ever though. Grace also received two knit hats at the ride-in and I wanted to show pictures of her with them on, but the ones I took did not turn out well and she is sleeping right now and I dare not risk my life to wake her up just to take some pics of her with the hats on, but I promise to the two parties that gave the hats to her I will take pics and share them with everyone. My thanks to Mark for the snow globe with the yellow and black labs in it too! I always wanted one of those snow globes and now I have one- with two pups in it too boot!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-

February 1-
    Well, I'm here and have more energy than last night, so I should be able to get though this one. I guess for the past 2 weeks I was just running on adrenaline and then when all the ride in was over, it just hit the wall. In general though my health has really been improving. I now feel about as good as I did before they opened me up in October and noticing a difference every week. So hopefully in another few weeks I will be up near 75-80% and be able to do almost anything I want. 
    Now onto the ride in. Once again mother nature really came through for us. Just a week ago we had plenty of snow, but it was old and crusty, but it started snowing last week at this time and did not stop until this morning. All told, we picked up 22" last week. A bit shy of the 24" I had painted in the 5-10 day forecast at one point, but I know there were areas that picked up more than 2 feet last week. It was very fluffy snow for the most part and so it settled quite a bit, but it did wonders for the trails and the backcountry. So far we have always had good snow for the event. It would be cool if it always happened that way, but I know anything is possible, so I am just grateful for when we do have it good.
    The event itself was another big success. I do not have the final numbers of funds raised, but the amount of attendees was close to the past few years and everyone seemed to have a good time. The backcountry rides went well and since I forgot to thank the guides from KSE and all the other guides that helped out, I would like to do it here. They all donate their gas, oil and most importantly time to take the groups out, so I hope that those that go out appreciated their efforts and maybe even tipped them. I am compiling the list of businesses and individuals that either helped with the planning and setup of the event and/or donated prizes that went into the silent auction and raffle. However, I really do need to thank Kathy and Lori from the Wildlife Refuge Cabins for all of their prize gathering as well as John Stachler for handling the registrations and gathering some great prizes and also Big Vin for his first class emcee work and for entertaining us all with his vocal and guitar playing talents. I am always exhausted by the time the event is running down on Saturday, so in a way it feels good to be packing up and heading home for a sound sleep, but I am also sad to see it ending and all the wonderful folks that came to the event heading for the door. Speaking of all the wonderful folks that came to the event, a HUGE thanks to you all. If it were not for you, there would be no event. I know that sounds silly, but we can plan all we want and gather prizes all we want, but if you don't come, what we do means nothing. So thanks a ton for coming!
    In the 11th hour before the event was to start, we were matched with a wish child. Actually, he is no child, he is a very brave young man. His name is Kyle and he lives with his family in Baraga. He battled leukemia a few years ago and won and is now in remission. His wish is to go to the Mall of America with his family and take it all in. He is also a snowmobiler and so Al and I took him and his brother out for a ride Saturday. My thanks to Shawn and the crew at Evert's in Hancock for letting us use two of their rentals. I called on Thursday to see they could help us out and Shawn did not hesitate a second and said what ever we needed, he would take care of us. Just awesome! Here is a shot of Kyle getting the run down on the sleds features from Joe. Here is a shot of Kyle and his brother getting ready to go. Here is a shot of Kyle ripping up a field. Here is a shot of Kyle (second from right) and his family at the banquet Saturday night. I'm so glad that they were able to attend the festivities as well, as it was a last minute thing for them too. I wish we would have been matched with them sooner so we could have done more for them, but we were able to have fun and have some special things for them and I am just glad that we could be matched up with such a great family.
    As mentioned we collected lots of items for the raffle and silent auction. Here is the table with all the raffle items on it. A closer look would have found dozens of gift certificates for things like a free meal or free lodging or some other free item from a local business. Heading over to the silent auction tables, one would first encounter a pair of skis from Curve Industries and a woman's Klim coat from Keweenaw Motor Sports. There was also a gift certificate and a pair of outdoor speakers from Sounds and Motion. The good folks at Weber Grill donated a Q100 grill and stand. A little further down and there was a men's Klim coat from Klim and a tunnel pack/shovel combo from Sled Solutions. Chris Burandt came through with a backpack and two of his DVD's autographed. Castle stepped up to the plate big time too, with balaclavas for everyone at the event as well as a bunch of gear bags and some hoodies. Lori Sleemand put her talents to work and painted an awesome landscape on an old sawblade. Below the sawblade was a GPS unit donated by Rob W.- a visitor of the site. We also had an Aprilaire whole house humidifier donated to the prize chest by Brad- another friend of the site. Rolling down the line we have a pair of tunnel packs and heatloc handguards from Skinz. Next in line were some food and lodging packages that were put together from separate donators. Somewhere in the list of prizes was a 3 night lodging package to Krupp's Resort, but I missed it with the photo taking device somehow. Speaking of logding packages. The good folks at the Ash Trail Lodge also donated 6 three night stays in one of their deluxe 2  bedroom cabins. This is where Nora and I honeymooned and once Grace heard that, she put her name down and ended up winning one of the packages. So looks like we will all be headed there this October to celebrate our 6 year anniversary! We also had a bunch of DVD's sent to us from producers like Dobson Entertainment, Dan Gardnier and Thunderstruck. We put some of them together to make a nice 4 DVD package. Next was a custom scroll sawed plaque made by Joe S, one of the guides for the backcountry tours and last but not least were some CD packages donated by Big Vin our entertainer for the night. I am sure that I have left some of the auction prizes out and I did not do it on purpose and apologize, but I did want to try and give a good representation of what sort of prizes we have here and what you can walk away with at a pretty good price. But you have to be there to win!
    Near the entrance to the ballroom, we had setup some picture boards from the wishes granted the past two years for Maddy and Robert, as well as a plaque from the Make A Wish Foundation thanking us for our support. Also at the entrance were Lori Sleeman and John Stachler checking folks in and welcoming them to the event. Gracie did make a somewhat brief appearance at the event. It started almost at her bed time, but she toughed it out for a few hours and then went home to bed. I do have pictures of every single table of folks at the event and those shots will go into the collage of shots for the event. I will be putting that together in the next week or two and will be sure to post links to it when it is done, but here is a shot of Me, Big Vin and Skylar and here is a whole-group shot.
    So again, my sincerest thanks to EVERYONE that made this event such a big success. We'll be getting to planning for next years event soon and I will be sure to let you all know the date for it as soon as I can.
    Not much else going on up here- for me anyway. It is nice to have some down time right now. I plan to take it easy this week and just let my body catch up to itself. Not that I am feeling bad or anything, but I think it will be good to just take it easy for a few days and enjoy the good life.
    I know I only put one picture of Gracie in this entry so far and that is just not enough, so I have been told by many. So here are some shots that we had taken a few weeks back. They were taken by a professional photographer and then touched up by her as well. There were lots of pictures she sent us, but these are my favorites. This is a look we get lots. Here she is on the rocking chair grandma gave her. I like this one because it shows off the depth and beauty in her eyes. This next one I chose to share because it has that Mother-Daughter theme that makes me shed a tear every time I see it. This one because I love her in hats. This one because she is so darn cute and no need to say why I chose this one.
Sweet dreams everyone and...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-

 

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