March 21-
    Before I get into the meat of things and forget, I just want to let you all know that there will be no entry next week. So read this one good or come back next week and read it again. There should be some stuff to share on the 4th.
    I do have some stuff to share this week, but it was a lay-low week for me. I think I caught a bit of an intestinal bug last week. I won't go into the gory details, but it did have me sticking kind of close to home and also not doing much. When I woke up this morning, it was like someone hit a light switch, I knew immediately that I was feeling better and that my body was able to take care of things on it's own.
    No riding this past week and I think I am done for the season. I have not been to the area where we rode last Sunday, but based on the snow loss here at our place in the past 7 days I would imagine that one could still sneak in a ride up that way if they really wanted to. 
    In the weather department I guess the analogy would be that the bleeding has been stopped, but the patient is dead. Temps cooled this week and we even got a dusting of new snow on Friday, but except for a few choice spots, the snow is pretty much gone. Even the Portage Lake (canal) melted earlier this week. Here is a shot of the snow in our woods today, the shot was taken about an hour ago. That is where I am getting my snowcover measurements from for my area. As mentioned last week, the AL Cam location is snow free and has been for some time. If it were a bit warmer, we would probably have to cut the grass there! A good representation of what the sun can do this time of the year- plus a little help from the septic field. Another good representation of what the sun can do is this next shot, where the road is basically bare on sun side and still has quite a bit of snow on the shade side. That happens every year, but usually in April, not March.
    Boy, I think this is going to be a short one. I can still see the beginning of the entry and I am almost done! However, I know that I did not have a single picture of Gracie in the last entry and I know that there are folks wanting to see the latest, so I have some Gracie goodies and then I think that will about do it. This first shot is of her in her latest gadget. I lose track of what they are all called, but this one sort of reminds me of a fancy captain Kirk chair. It has plenty of objects on it for her to play with and the seat swivels. I can tell that she is growing because when we first got it, her feet did not really even reach the ground, but now she can get that thing bouncing like a carnival ride. This next shot was taken back in the sunny and warm days. Nora had her out on the deck trying out her new sun hat. We still have not been able to find anything that she does not like to eat. If this tolerance for foods continues, she will be barking at me to eat my vegetables rather than the other way around! All of my outdoor shots were taken on our afternoon walk. The sun was out and temps were in the low 40's, but there was lots of wind, so we had to bundle her up as if it was still winter out. She had a good time and loves the outdoors, but about 3/4 of the way into the walk she disappeared on us
    So I guess that about does it. Again, no entry next week, but the gang is out west having fun at Togwotee as I type and will have pics and stories to share and I am sure I will have some things to share as well. Until then...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-

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March 15-
    Let's get into things shall we? First off, what a melt down! Just amazing how fast things have changed around here in the past 2 weeks. When I look back to pictures taken two weeks ago and then today- seems like a month of melting has occurred and in reality, that is about how long it usually takes to melt the amount of snow we have in spots. Once the sun finds some bare ground, it really goes to town in melting the snow.
    For those of you looking at the AL Cam and wondering how I can still be saying I have 14" on the ground. Keep in mind that the AL Cam location is not my official measuring spot. For one it is heavily sheltered by the pines in the back, so it does not get as much snow in the first place. Then there is the thermal pex running near by that feeds the cabin with the hot water for heat and domestic hot water. There is also the water supply line that even though it is buried 6 feet under the ground and does not have the warmest of water running through it, puts off enough heat to melt the snow above it. Last but not least is the septic field that is right next to the snow station and snow stick. So while there are only patches of snow there, the woods out the front of the cabin still have a bit over a foot down. Hopefully, once we build the log home and live there, I will be able to move the AL Cam to a spot that better represents the snow up here at our locale.
    But there is snow, in fact enough still exists in the woods to allow Skylar, Joe, Joe's son Emmanuel, Dave and I to take a ride yesterday. It will most likely be my last ride as the whole gang leaves for WY this Friday and the way this weather is going, it will most likely be ATV weather when they get back. Combine the rather off winter we had and my health issues and I only rode about 350 miles this winter. That is all that is on the 2010 M and if I was not riding it, then someone else was along side me, so it's miles are equal to the miles I rode this season. Seems like I had more, but I guess not! I'm certainly not complaining though. Just happy to be alive an kicking with all I went through. Next year will be HUGE!
    The trails are pretty much shot up here. One might find stretches that are still fine to ride, but I know from Copper City through Mohawk is gone, completely gone. In fact, they had to move the ending of the sled dog race up here from Calumet to Mohawk because of the conditions around Mohawk to Copper City.
    It's spring riding and that usually means tossing the sleds into the back of a pickup or onto a trailer and dropping off where the snow is better and that is exactly what we did. We could have just left from my house and rode the bush to the best snow, but no need to force that issue of riding from the house, plus Skylar and crew were staying in Twin Lakes and had to trailer up here anyway. It also gave me the first chance to use the new truck to haul the sled. I meant to take a picture of the two together, but forgot. They looked good though! We all met up the highway a bit from where I live and dropped the sleds into the snow and did not waste much time getting out to ride. When I was loading up the sled, the temp was just below freezing and the snow was all hard and crusty, but the skies were blue and once the sun rose higher in the sky, it softened up the snow just right and we had a blast riding all day.
    I have a mix of pictures to share with you. This first one is of our gang at the top of one of the higher spots in Keweenaw County. There is no name for it (like I would kiss and tell anyway!), but you could see many of the named high spots like Bohemia, Houghton and Gratiot from that spot. The main reason I took the shot was to show how much snow was still on the ground in the higher terrain of Keweenaw County. Just off to the right was a tree that had blown down and it's root ball. All the snow had melted around the root ball, but then there was a sharp contrast to where the snow had melted to the ground and where it was equal to the snowcover elsewhere. Looked to be about 2 feet. Most of the riding we did yesterday was in snow that was around 14-18" deep.
    From there, we wound our way back down to the "flatlands" and rode some logging roads for a while. The logging roads were actually the most fun- at least for me, as the snow was soft enough and deep enough that you could carve in it, or just ride it sitting down like an old man- which is what I did a lot of the day! 
    By midday, the temps had risen into the low 50's and that led to a few more pit stops than we typically would take, but the sun and warmth felt so good, it was hard not to shut down the machine and take your helmet off and chew the fat with the gang every time we paused on the ride. This next shot was probably a good example of what we rode most of the day. Logging roads that had be ridden on quiet a bit all season, but still had plenty of snow on them and full of lots of fun. One of the things we needed to keep an eye out for were the holes opened up in the snow by running water. A small one was in that last pic on the right. The larger ones called for some bunny hopping.
    Of course what would spring riding be without some hills to climb as Joe and Skylar demonstrate here. I sat out most of the hill climbs to reserve my energy for the day. It's not so much the climbing that would have wore me out, but the getting unstuck.
    After the hill climbing came some jumps. Again something I sat out, but would have done so in perfect health. Ever since the broken leg incident, Johnny doesn't jump. Dave does and here he is giving it a try. Here he is going the other way. Here is Skylar giving it a whirl. All jumps were successful so it was back to carving up some logging roads.
    Spring riding can also mean water skipping. We did not find too many areas that afforded that activity. Lots of hills and rocky ground in Keweenaw County, so there are not too many places the water collects and the ones that do collect water are called swamps and it's not a real bright idea to water skip in a swamp. Although I have seen tracks from some numskulls that did. Anyway, we did find one little stretch where the water had pooled on the ground enough to allow the boys to do a little skipping. It could not have been more than a foot deep, but still plenty enough to have some fun.
    After the skipping it was back onto the logging roads and a little later we stopped and I saw it was getting past 4 pm and was running out of steam, so I decided to call it a day. The rest of the gang decided to call it as well, so we loaded up, chatted for a while in the near 60 degree temps and sunshine and then headed home.
    Other than the riding pics, it was a slow week for me to take pictures. Not sure why, but no baby or puppy pics this time around. Not much new in the puppies world, but Grace seems to be having an upper tooth come in. The drooling factory has started up and her sleeping is off a little bit from where it typically is. Plus we believe that she might be saying her first word. That is "Hi". She has said it a few times to Nora and I when we come into the room and the sitter said she did it twice to her today. It could just be coincidence, but maybe not. I have been trying like the dickens to get her to say "momma" in time for Nora's birthday this Thursday. Who knows maybe she will surprise us all.
    I guess that gets you caught up for now. Until next time... 
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
March 14-
    Well, got back from riding late today and just finished dinner. Getting a little late to write tonight, so will write tomorrow.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-

March 7-
    Spring sure seems to have sprung around here. Almost impossible to believe that it was just a week ago that it was snowing and felt and looked like the middle of winter around here, but stick 5 days of 40's and tons of sun in a row and winter weather seems like a distant memory and one that that may not be refreshed until next winter. I seriously doubt that we are done with snow for the season, but there is not any seen in the forecast and things just have that feel that this is more than a couple of day melt.
    There is still plenty of snow up here to both play in and admire. We still have more on the ground than just about anywhere else in the Midwest ever had all season, but it is melting for sure and the snow on the trails is sugar, so unless we get some fresh, the efforts of the groomers will not last as long. I have also not seen the state of the trails directly in the towns up here, but would suspect that they are not in as good a shape as things are out of the towns.
    Since spring seems to be upon us, I guess it is a good time to start the Laurium Glacier contest. It has not officially started, I will be starting it around 9 AM eastern time tomorrow (Monday, March 8th). For those wanting a sneak peak at the glacier itself, here is what it looked like on Friday evening. Seems like there may not be quite as much snow there as in previous years and if this weather keeps up, we may have an early melt on our hands. Of course the weather can turn on a dime around here and some big storms are possible in these parts in March and even April, so no guess is a given in any year is what I am trying to say here!
    The family and I all piled into Big G today and took a drive. I figured I would stop at some of the road crossings up this way and snap some shots of the trails from there. I know it's not the same as riding from one end to the other and taking pics of all that I see, but it is better than nothing. My first stop of the day was where the trail leaves Mohawk and heads north towards Phoenix. The next stop was where the trail crosses US 41 just to the south of Phoenix.
  We continued up 41 and when we got to the turn for Lac La Belle, we took it. The trail crosses the Lac La Belle Road a short time after turning off highway 41, so we pulled over and I snapped a shot there. Conditions seemed to be a little better there. The snow was still pretty sugary, but overall seemed to be in slightly better shape. That is not a surprise at all, the further up the peninsula you go, the less traffic that usually hits the trails and thus the lower beating they take.
   While I did not go and take an official measurement of the base on the trail, I would have to estimate the areas that I looked at today to have around 8-12" of base, maybe more. So unless we stay in the upper 40' s all week with sunshine we should have at least 2 more weeks of riding up here and pretty much no matter what happens this week will still have snow to ride on by next week. Keep in mind I am talking about from Mohawk north. I did not get to see what things were like further south, but would venture to guess they are similar to Calumet and probably to the outskirts of Hancock. I just checked the trail cam and things seem to be holding up there as well. Woods riding will be good for two more weeks as well, but you will have to start keeping an eye out for those pesky obstacles lurking just beneath the snow.
    Sticking with the snowmobile theme, I got some bad news that I will not be able to make the trip to Togwotee this year. My Doctors just do not think it is a good idea for me to be at that altitude with all that I have gone through in the past 5 months. I'm doing pretty good and feeling pretty good with the occasional off day or two, but I did not put up much of a fight. I did ask about possibly staying down in Jackson where the altitude would be lower, but the answer was still no. So I will be sitting this year out, while the rest of the crew heads out to play in a little less than two weeks. They will be bringing a bevy of digital still cameras and video cameras, so I like you all, I will be able to see much of the fun they had. I will just not be able to share in it. The good news is that I have been able to ride in that fantastic spot for 5 or 6 years in a row and the doctors do not seem to have a problem with me going out in future years. So it looks like that pump gas turbo I strapped onto the 09 M8 will not go to waste.
    Just kidding! I did not put a turbo on the 09. I really don't have any ambition to either. It makes plenty of power for these parts and while it would be great to have out west, I do not want to spend that kind of money for 6 days of riding. Plus I need to start saving for Grace's 120! Maybe we'll put a turbo on that, they seem to be a little underpowered.
    Back to our drive today, we continued on past Lac La Belle and hooked back around to return to Mohawk, but via Gay. Just past the split at the bottom of the hill in Lac La Belle, the Haven Falls are on the side of the road opposite the lake. With the melting of the snow the past few days, it has started to flow. Another sign that spring is starting around here. 
    Just as we were getting ready to round the bend near Point Isabella, the hills on the other side of the big lake became visible, so we pulled over and I took a picture of Mt. Houghton and also one picture of the Bear Bluffs. There is not a lot of shore ice out there, nor was there every much this season. Beaches will be ready in just a few weeks if this warm weather keeps up. The pups were hoping we were making a stop today! They sure are ready to hit the beach!
    The lake sure is beautiful. I don't spend that much time near it in the winter, or it is covered with ice near the shore and I can't see it, but every spring when it'd deep blue waters re-appear I am reminded of how beautiful it is and also how lucky I am to live in an area surrounded on three sides by it.
    As much as they love the snow, the pups have been enjoying the spring weather. They have no desire to come in and because they are not getting cold, they just stay out there for an hour or more at a time. I think they would be content to stay out there all day if they had food and water and maybe a few more toys to play with. I am just glad that, unlike Lake Linden, where Burt and Baileys were confined to the back yard to do their business, Huck and Millie get the free roaming of the woods and take full advantage of that. So there will not be much of a mess this spring.
    Grace is doing good. Been going backwards with her naps and nighttime sleeping a bit. Not sure why, but both Nora and I wish she would go back to where she was a week or two ago. When she was tired, we just plopped her down in her bed and she crashed out. Today I have been listening to her whine and even flat out cry for about 30-45 minutes trying to fight a nap. There is no doubt that she needs one. She was crabby, did not take a morning nap at all and did not sleep much at night. No signs of any more teeth coming in, so it is a bit of a mystery. For about the first 3-4 months of her life she fought naps, I guess she is just not one that likes to take them. Personally- I love them!
    Hucky does too and loves to lay by her sister. I feel kind of sorry for him because for some reason, Grace seems to be more interested in Millie. Millie loves Grace too, but is not as interested in her as Huck is. I am sure that as Grace gets older and recognizes that Huck wants to play with her more than Millie, she will bond more with him. Kind of hard not to- the big gallute!
    Grace is starting to understand some words. She has known her name for a while, but is starting to know what other words mean. Just yesterday, Nora was getting ready to take her up to put her down for her nap (or try at least!) and she said give your Daddy a hug and my knees buckled a bit when this little tootsie roll reached out her arms to put them around me. Holy smokes, that is what being a dad is all about! She is also rolling around from front to back and back to front like a Marine in boot camp and is just starting to scoot around on her tummy. I feel that the days of constant supervision are not far off! She has also gotten big enough to sit in the high chair. This is an old family heirloom that I believe just about everyone in Nora's family has sat in at one time or another. I actually want to strip at least the base down, sand it a bit and then refinish it when the weather gets a little nicer. It is a little beat up and would look nicer spruced up a bit and there really would be no character lost either. It's kind of an ugly beat up and not a nostalgic beat up, if you know what I mean. The back and seat are actually still in good shape. 
    Well, I think that about covers it. When I started this, the score of the Blackhawks-Red Wings game was 2-0 hawks. The game ended about 15 minutes ago with results that were not what I was hoping for when I turned on the game.

Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-

 

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