Past Journals
George's Eagle 
Harbor Web
Pasty Cam
Dan's Wilderness 
November 30, 2000-
    Seeing as though it is the last day of the month and I have only done one entry in the past 8 days I figured I had better sit down and put one out.  I am afraid that I do not have any tales to tell of adventure.  My little flu bug is still with me.  I have moments when I feel pretty good and then other times when I have barely the energy to stand.  So the net result has been for me and the hounds to stick close to home.  I feel sorry for them, as our walks have been few and brief and they have been so good.  I do think that they understand what is going on, I just wish that I had the energy to take them for a good old fashioned long walk.
    Today is not only the last day of November, but the last day of main firearm deer season.  The snowmobile trails officially open tomorrow, but it will not be to ride able conditions.  I suppose if someone were desperate enough, they could ride, but to actually drive all they way here from somewhere far away would be a waste of time.  It wont take a lot of snow to make the trails ride able, I would say that another 6-8" would set us up pretty well.  They may even start to groom if we got that.  I did take a short walk on the local trail by my house.  It goes across some village property so I knew we would not be shot at.  Anyway, it had about 3-4" of hard pack snow down as well as the 1" of fresh snow we got overnight.
    So we are close, not there yet, but close.  A lot better than we were last year at this time.  The short term forecast does not hold anything in the way of serious snow.  Maybe an inch or so by Saturday, but that should be it.  Yesterday's model runs did not look very good for next week, then things changed.  I am keeping my fingers crossed.  Such major changes in the models need to be taken with some reservations.  If things do play out as the one models says, we will be riding by next Tuesday.  Like I say, I am holding back my excitement for future model runs.
    Sorry I do not have any pictures either.  But like I said, the hounds and I are not really going anywhere too exciting.  The walk to the snowmobile trail this afternoon was a spur of the moment thing.  It is only a few blocks away and we were walking down the street and I just decided to head out there.  Hopefully I will get my energy back and things in life will become a little more normal.  I am looking forward to the weekend to be able to sleep in.  I have the luxury of being able to work in anything I want and only have to walk down the hall to get to my office, but I do not have the luxury of calling in sick.  A cough or stuffy head is something I can deal with, but when I can barely sit up, it makes it hard to get stuff done.  Ok, enough of the cry baby stuff.
    I have to say the inch of new snow we got last night was a very welcome sight.  It was just enough to cover the roads and all the dirty snow that had begun to develop.  That is one thing that is so neat about this place in the winter is that we almost never have old snow.  We usually pick up an inch or more every other day or so. That was one of the things I hated most about being down south.  We get snow and then about an hour later it is all brown and black with the salt and road grime, then it melts a few days later.
    I realize that this is about the 4th time I have said I am sorry, but if this entry seems a little mind less, it is because I have been sitting here trying to think of things to say and my mind is a bowl of Jell-O.  I am sure that there are some interesting pieces of information that I could share with you, but they are lost is space right now.  Maybe it would be better if I just called it quits for tonight and make a list for tomorrow!
    Have a good night everyone and I will talk to you in December.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  - November 28, 2000-
    I'm still alive.  I feels like I am just hanging on at times, but I am alive.  Sorry for being away so long.  I was out of town until last Saturday night, but then woke up Sunday to a nasty flu bug.  Last year I got the flu shot and was fine all year.  This year I did not get one because they were not available.  I don't know if they are available yet, but I do believe it is too late now.  This thing has been a real drain of my energy, so I have been selective in my activities.  Because of this selective process in what I do during the day, something had to be sacrificed when it came to updating the site.  I figured that most of you would rather get the forecasts and rest of the site's stuff than the journal, so that is why I have not done one until now.
    First things first.  The season officially opens Friday, that is the good news.  The bad news is that it looks like the trails will not be ready.  If you had asked me a week ago, I would have said; "Yes, for sure, I can't imagine there not being enough snow to groom and ride on".  But that was then and this is now.  So a word of warning.  For those of you planning on coming up this weekend, I would seriously reconsider.  There is still snow down and what is here now should stay into the weekend, but they will not be out grooming and that means that the trails have not likely been brushed completely and repairs made where they needed to be.  Plus, the conditions would likely be pushing the threshold of the term marginal.  I would not be surprised if there are a few bare spots on the trails, although I have not seen any on my travels by them on the road.  To give you an idea of what they look like, here is a look at the trail by my house.  As you can see, you could ride if you really, really wanted to, but a good 5-7" of fresh snow would go a long way.  The bad news is that we do not look to see that occur.  In fact, I am worried we may loose much of what we have left with another thaw early next week.  I am not going to worry about it right now.  The forecast has proven that it can change, just a week ago it looked like we would be seeing more cold and snow this week.
    I have been following the weather trends for this area extremely closely for 11 years and have studied the data for the past 50 and there is a rule of thumb that applies for about 75-80% of the years and that is by Dec 1-5, whatever snow is down is only added to, meaning that the depth only grows from that point on through the rest of the month and into January.  So at least I have the odds in my favor, even if the forecast does not seem to say so.
    Thanksgiving was good, the drive down was a little rough from Houghton to Mass City, with things being snow packed or even slushy.  What a pretty drive though.  All the trees were coated with about 2 feet of snow.  It was amazing to see how things had changed in just three days I was gone.  The past few days have not been much fun either, both watching the snow slowly melt and fighting the flu bug.  I do feel better tonight than I did last night, but still quite groggy.
    Maybe it is a good thing that we are not getting dumped on, last week my snow thrower proved it needed some work done so I need to get it in before the snow that WILL come does come, and I really need it.
    Well, sorry this is so short, but I am already running out of steam and need to get ready for a good nights sleep.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
November 21, 2000-
    Well, I suppose that a lot of you are checking in to hear about my ride, so I may as well start off with that.  I had to wait until after 5 to be legal.  I was heading up to Mohawk to meet a friend who was going to be riding with me so I did not need to leave until about 5:30 or so.  There was just a bit of light left when I hit the trail.  I passed two hunters, both very courteous and I was careful to make sure I slowed down as I got close to them.  About 1/2 mile after passing the second hunter, I came upon 3 doe.  No bucks seen, but I bet one was close, as where there are doe this time of the year, there are bucks.  As the darkness increased, I noticed that my headlight was not too bright.  I slowed down to see if it was caked with snow, but it was clear.  Dim, but clear.  I also noticed that the dashboard lights were dim and my hand warmers were not working too well.  I was able to make it to Mohawk, although it was a challenge to figure out where the trail went at times, with no groomed path and some ATV tracks going off in all directions.  I was able to make the right choices and did make it without any wrong turns.
    I put in a call to my mechanic friend and he said it was either the voltage regulator or the windings and that I could ride with either.  So it was decided that we would ride, with my friend in the lead and me in chase.  We headed north on the DNR trail, but not before spending about 30 minutes trying to get his sled going.  These new fangled machines need to have the gas turned on, imagine that!
    While we were outside trying to get his sled running, we heard some gunshots.  It was pitch black out and had been for almost 45 minutes.  Not sure how someone could see what they were shooting at, and I was hoping that whatever it was, they got it, because I did not want them shooting when we were close by.  The shots came from the direction we were headed.  I did not hear any more shots and did not see anyone out on the ride.  The riding was fun.  We took is slow, as in many places we were the first tracks, so with the 12-15" of snowcover, anything could be buried.  Like I said, we headed north and made it to the Vansville Bar to gas up.  Got to put my name in their registry as the first sled in for the season.  Kind of a neat claim to be able to make.  Surprised the owners too, as they were all shut down for the day.  I don't think they were expecting sleds that night!  Neither were the folks at the Cliff View where we went to grab a bite to eat.  After the Cliff View we headed north.  I wanted to do some exploring off in the woods on some trails that I knew of in that area, but with my riding partner leading and lighting the way, I was hard.  I could not make out the trails as well, with the snow on the ground and the snow falling at a pretty good clip.  We did get to go out in the bush a little.  Ended up on a seasonal road which was the highlight of the trip.  12-15" of fresh, untracked snow on a trail that was actually a road.  It does not get too much better than that at any time of the year, let along November 20th.  What a difference from last year.  We have more snow on the ground and more fallen at this point than we had before Christmas last year.
    Speaking of the snow and all, I cannot remember the last time that it was not snowing for more than about 30-45 minutes.  Currently it is coming down at a pretty good clip, with about 1 1/2" new in the past 2 hours.  Looks like we might get 3-8" by tomorrow morning.  The depth right now is 12" in Lake Linden.  This was officially measured on our walk this afternoon on the Lake Linden Meadow (sands).  I did manage to get the batteries charged in the camera.  Here is a shot of the Lake Linden campground.  Looks like there were still a few openings for tonight.
    It was a neat walk, with the snow squalls rolling through.  For those of you who have never experienced a lake effect snow squall, you are missing a real treat.  When the squall arrives, the sky grows dark.  Almost as dark as when a thunderstorm is approaching.  The snow increases in intensity very quickly, and soon the air is thick with falling flakes.  Soon the air is so full of flakes, you can breathe in a few if you want.  You can even hold out your hand and watch the snow accumulate on it.  My heart actually quickens it's pace and it seems like the squall will never leave.  Or maybe it is just wishful thinking.  After about 5-10 minutes, the skies begin to lighten and in some cases the sun may even be shining.  However, the flakes are still falling fairly hard so it is a very weird situation with a heavy snowfall under sunny skies.  About another minute or two later and the snow stops, just as fast as it started.  Each one of these 15-20 minute squalls can put down an inch or so of snow.  Let them last and that is how places up here pick up 18" of snow like Marquette's NWS did yesterday.  Here is a shot of an approaching squall taken from the LL Meadows ( I just like that name so much better than the sands) today.
    So like I said, we have about 12" down here in Lake Linden.  My snow stick at the AL Cam says 6, but the snow platform is sheltering it.  The platform actually has 8" on it, all from the current event, including settling.  A drive through Calumet indicated more, noticeably more, with about 15" done it looked like to me.  On our ride up in the hills above Phoenix, I would have to say that there was 15-18" down.  The snow came up to my knees when we stopped to turn around.  I am 6'2" tall.  Other places in the UP as well as lower p. and even off of lakes Erie and Ontario have more, but that is ok by me.  It is not a contest to me, just as long as we get our fare share.
    This will be the last report for the next few days.  I am heading south for Thanksgiving.  I will also not be updating the forecasts.  Have a safe and happy holiday and I will talk to you all by Sunday.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
 - JD  -
November 20, 2000-
    This is going to be a short one as I am going riding in about 30 minutes.  But I just had to tell you all about the wonderful snow we have received so far today.  When I went to bed last night I was thinking to myself that if I awoke to 2" of snow, then we would be in good shape, because I knew the storm was really going to get cranked up during the day.  I awoke to 3" and was in a really good mood.
    It has snowed at various intensities all day, sometimes heavy, sometimes moderate and sometimes almost not at all.  We have picked up about 8" of fluff here in Lake Linden, but I have heard reports of up to 12" down in the area.  I only have one shot to share with you right now.  My camera's batteries died.  Anyway it is of the snowstation during a heavier squall this morning.  I also wanted to show you this shot to help you tell when it is really coming down via the AL Cam.  The way to tell is to see which tree line is visible behind my neighbors house.  There is one tree line that sits above her roof, and another one that is closer and can be seen under the overhang of her roof.  Neither of them are visible in this photo, so that means that the visibility was less than 1/8th of a mile.  If the one above her roof can be seen, then the visibility is greater than 1/4 mile.  Just a little trick to help you all judge how hard it is snowing.
    Anyway, I am running out of time.  I need to go to the store to get new batteries for the camera, so will sign off for now.  Be back tomorrow, with some stories from the ride.
Good evening from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
November 19, 2000-
    I guess the biggest news was that I took the sled for a spin yesterday.  Not really a ride, actually a spin is more like it.  I awoke to about 2 1/2" of new snow yesterday morning and everything was just beautiful.  I jumped on the computer and got out the forecasts text and graphics and then put on my coat and took the hounds for a morning walk.  I brought the camera along to chronicle the moment.  We can start out with the traditional "front of house shot".  The bush protectors seem to be working out pretty well.  I did need to make a few adjustments in a few spots, but I think that my design will be a success.  I know that it will be easy to put up and take down from here on out.  If you look closely, you can see a few flakes picked up by the camera, especially in the vicinity of the garage.
    Here is a shot looking down the street one block over.  In the summer I can let the dogs walk off their leashes, as they know not to go into other peoples yards.  They pretty much stay off to the left where there is just a bunch of bushes.  However, in the winter, I am afraid to let them get too far ahead of me for fear that a car might not be able to stop in time on the snow packed roads.  So they have to be "hooked up".
    From there, we headed off to the fields near my house to check out the snowmobile trail that runs by the Traprock River.  A little ice is forming on the river.  All the puddles are frozen and with the cold snap coming for the next 3 days, it looks like a lot of things will freeze up.  I drove by Rice Lake the other day and it was also starting to ice up along the shoreline.  It is a very shallow lake, so it will be one of the first to freeze, but still, it sure looks like winter may be here to stay.  With that in mind, I put away all my autumn jackets and now have only the winter ones out.  All the warmer weather shoes are also put away and only the various types of winter boots lay in wait by the doorway.
    Back to the walk.  I just love to go out after a fresh snow.  Especially if it is still snowing a little.  That was the case yesterday morning.  Here is a nice little wintery scene looking up the access trail that goes from my neighborhood to the snowmobile trail.  After walking along the trail for a while, I could not help but think about firing up the sled and taking a short spin.  It was daylight, so I could not really go into the woods.  I am not sure if I could even go where I took these pictures.  That is the reason why the dogs were still hooked up when we were out there, as I did not want to take a chance at them running ahead and getting mixed up with a deer hunter.  I was wearing a bright yellow ski jacket.  Not blaze orange, but still nothing that would be confused with a deer.
    Anyway, as I walked down my street, I really started to consider starting up the sled.  I looked at my watch, it read 9:30 and I figured it was not too early to take a spin around the neighborhood.  I had mixed feelings about doing it.  Not because I would get in trouble, I doubt that was even a possibility.  No, I just really wanted my first ride to be a real ride.  I decided to let the sled decide.  I told myself that if it took more than 5 pulls, then I would just wait for another time.  So I put the dogs inside, walked over to the sled.  Turned the ignition on, pulled up the kill button and gave it 1/2 choke.  One pull and she came alive.  I guess she was more ready to go than I was!  I took off from the garage and rode around the block and then into the baseball field a block away.  We had about 5-6" down, just enough to ride on without even reaching down to bare ground.  I must admit, riding across the field felt really, really good and it was all I could do to keep from heading off onto the trails!  If it were not deer season, I would definitely have gone for a real ride.  I pulled her back into the garage and shut her off, but told her to be ready for more soon, very soon.
    My plans are to go for a real ride either tomorrow night or Tuesday night.  I have checked out the trails and all the really need is another 4-6" to support decent conditions.  Not excellent, but I have ridden on worse in other places of the Midwest in the middle of January.  The forecast looks pretty good for that 4-6".  The winds will not be optimal for LES here tonight or most of tomorrow, but even so, it looks like a 4-8" snowfall is headed our way by tomorrow at this time.  So if there is no journal tomorrow, you will know why.  The winds do look to become favorable by later tomorrow and into tomorrow night and early Tuesday.  The atmosphere will also be stabilizing some but we could still pick up enough to give us 12"+ from this system.  Currently it is snowing and we have about 1/2" new in the past hour or so.
    It has actually been snowing more on than off for the past 6 days.  Only hard enough to accumulate for a few moments in those past 6 days, but still it does remind me of the "good old Keweenaw" that I came to know and love.  The place where it never really stops snowing from about December 1st through the middle of March.  That's really how we get so much snow, not because we get these huge single day dumps.  Sure we get those too, especially in the big snow years, but most of the time we just get a few inches a day, everyday, for 3 1/2 months.
    Even with all that snow, the local ski hill had a hard time opening up before Christmas most years and many times had to close early in March because of poor conditions.  The main reason for that is because it is a south facing slope.  So they had a fund raising drive to try and get some snowmaking equipment.  The drive went very, very well and now Mt Ripley can create it's own snowstorm.  Given the forecast for snow and cold temps, it looks to be more of a question of will they open by Thanksgiving this year, and not Christmas.  There were already some kids sneaking a few turns on snowboards when I went up to take the picture.  The snow where the guns are blowing is about 2-3 feet deep, so they are not fooling around here.  When I lived back south, I always though it would be neat to have one of those mounted on my roof and just let it snow all winter.  Somehow I think that I am not the only one out there who has had those same thoughts.  Those machines in the picture are pretty much top of the line.  I don't know what the cost, but I do know that you can buy lower end ones for about 5-10 thousand dollars.  I don't need one now, but just thought I would throw that in there for those of you with the means and desire to make your own snow.
    Just in case I forget to mention, I will be heading south to my parents Wednesday and returning here Saturday.  I am currently planning on taking those days off.  I will be polling my customers tomorrow to see if they can do without a report Friday.  If so, then I will not be updating the site from Wednesday midday through Saturday, as I do not want to have to haul the machines down there.  If a customer wants me to produce a report Friday, then you all will be in luck.  At least from the forecast standpoint.  I doubt I will be doing a journal, but as long as I have the computers down there to forecast for the commodities, I may as well do it for snow.  Anyway, just a heads up so you all will know what is up if you don't hear from me for a few days.
    Well, guess that will do it for tonight.  Hopefully I will be able to take lots more snow pics tomorrow of all the fresh powder expected.  It sure looks like someone in the UP and possibly even western lower MI is going to get crushed with 1-2 feet of snow from this storm.  Wish it were us, but I doubt it.  I am placing my bets on the Munising area or maybe even in northwest or southwest lower MI.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
November 17, 2000-
    For those of you checking in early, sorry this was not updated.  I went and had dinner at the "Zone", chatted with some friends and then came home to write the journal.  For some reason, I was drawn into reading my journal from last November.  I don't know what made me do that, but I am glad I did.  Sort of put things in perspective.  Here I am just a little sad that the snows for yesterday did not play out, but we already have 4-7" on the ground up here and it has actually been snowing (very, very lightly all be it) for about 3 days straight.  In the past few hours, the winds have become more favorable for us and the snow showers have become heavier.
    Anyway, reading last years November journal, I really was able to feel the torture I was in with the lack of snow.  Last year it was a matter of "does it look like any snow will fall in the next week to ten days", whereas this year it is how much.  I like this year a lot better!  Last year was really something.  I hope we do not have one like that for a long, long time!  Shortest riding season ever and one of the lowest snow seasons.  I can only remember about 3 good storms.  Sometimes I wonder how we even picked up the 140-150 inches we got.  So far this year we have picked up more snow than we had into the first week of December.  If the current pattern continues through the winter, it will be big, really big.
    With the winds becoming more westerly, we headed to Big Traverse Beach for our afternoon walk.  It was a nice day for a walk.  We were sheltered from the winds and had the place to ourselves.  Plus some light snow fell the entire time.  Even though there was not 4 feet of snow on the ground, today felt like a genuine Keweenaw winter' s day, with snow never stopping.  We only got about 1/2 inch all day (we have since picked up about 1/2 in the past 30 minutes), but we still had flakes flying all day.  That is winter in the Keweenaw.  If you are a fan of big, intense storms which dump 20" in one day and then it is sunny for the next 4-5 before the next storm moves in, this is not the place for you.  Our winters are gray and snowy.  Almost every day it snows.  It may only be 1/2" like we got today, but it never stops.  Sometimes we do get hit with a big storm, but they really are more the exception not the rule up here.  With the exceptions of the really big snow years, storms with 12" or more happen only a few times a year.  I know that may seem weird to say, but when you think that from about Nov 15-March 31 we get nearly 20 feet.  Having only a couple of 12"+ storms is low.  The bottom line is when the sun shines up here in the winter, it is a treat.  We had just a few too many treats last year!
    I would probably be out at deer camp loosing my shirt at the poker table right now, but I have a conference call tomorrow afternoon which is very important and figured I had better take it easy tonight.  I had hoped that I would be able to ride the sled to camp tomorrow night.  There is still the chance, but I will not push it.  I might take it through the field across the street tomorrow.  There is already enough snow, I just did not feel like running it across 100 yards of snow and then turning it around and going back.  I wanted my first ride to be a RIDE!  We'll see.
    Not much else to talk about.  Things are fairly quiet with all the activity taking place out in the woods.  Not the best time to be a deer, but I can think of a lot worse ways to go and the most common starvation would be one of the worst.  Hate to end it on that note, but am at a loss for words!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
November 16, 2000-
    Looking at the weather unfold across the northern Midwest today, I was happy for all the areas that saw the snow.  Hopefully there were lots of happy snow lovers out there.  Things were a different story up here.  On my afternoon walk with the hounds today, I was trying to come up with a word to best describe my feelings and the only ones I could come up with could not be used here with me keeping my "PG" rating.  So I will just be reserved and say frustrated.  That is what I felt today.  Why, well, the lake effect storm did not exactly play out as advertised.  I need to be careful here, because it is not over by far.  However, so far it has been a bust.  The bust hit in two ways.  Not only did I have to deal with the frustration of not getting the snow, I had to face the reality that MY forecast was bust.  In my years of weather forecasting, I have learned many ways to get beyond a blown forecast.  The main thing is that I cannot dwell on it, I just need to regroup and move on.  I was able to cut my losses and changed my forecast (the one done for the radio stations up here) by this afternoon to indicate only minor accumulations (1-4") through tomorrow AM.  I also took some solace knowing that I was the first to lower the forecasted snowfall amounts and was not the only one expecting heavier totals in the first place.
    One of the biggest problems in forecasting lake effect snow is that in most cases you are never completely sure if it is going to be a doosy or a bust.  There are elements that you look for to help try and determine if conditions will be favorable and if so, how favorable.  However, sometimes they look like they will turn out one way but go the opposite direction.  Today, I watched the leading edge of the arctic air slip south over the northern shoreline of Lake Superior and then the lake effect plumes develop and all looked to be a go.  So at 11:45, I called in my updated forecast and kept the potential for 2-5" by the evening, with an additional 2-5" overnight in.  Then about 2 hours later, the leading edge of the plumes reached the Keweenaw and some snow showers developed.  About an hour after that, the snow did not intensify and I knew all bets were off so I got on the horn and updated my forecast again, to call for a few inches possible by tomorrow morning.  So I had to deal with the double whammy of frustrations.  It still looks like the winds may become more favorable for us by later tomorrow and tomorrow night, so we'll see.
    With the woods off limits I am a little more challenged to find a place to go. It was too windy to go to the beach, so I chose the Lake Linden Sands.  They are really not the sands anymore, as they have been covered over with dirt and vegetation was planted and is now growing.  So it is more like the Lake Linden meadows.  With a little more snow, it would have made a great place to ski.  Even so, we had a fun time walking.  It is actually a large area.  I don't know exactly how many acres, but I would have to guess at least 300.  The land is also probably worth some money as most of it is surrounded by the Torch Lake.  However, I doubt that it will ever be developed, at least beyond having some recreational features on it.
    So I guess I will just have to be patient about this snow situation.  We are already off to a better start than last year, a much better start.  The forecast still looks promising for more so I am not too upset, at least not nearly as much as I was this afternoon when the bust first became apparent.  No need to send any words of encouragement, although I do appreciate it that you all are concerned.  I am in good spirits, the ground is white, some flakes are flying and the snow depth only looks to be added to for the next 4-5 days.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
November 15, 2000-
    Well, first things first.  If you are reading this, chances are you never had a problem with seeing the live version of this site.  However, maybe some of you had problems seeing updates over the past day or so and now can see the updated or live site.  Anyway, what happened is that my host server, or the computer that all of the files that make up my site are kept on, changed the services that they use.  As a result, my DNS number also changed.  A DNS number is the actual address that your computer uses when you type in "johndee.com".  When a sites DNS number changes, a change of address notice is sent out to all the internet providers (IP's) around the world.  Most IP's constantly update their DNS list so the changes sent to them are updated very quickly.  In some cases, the IP's do not update their DNS list as often.  In this case, someone would go to johndee.com, but would still be going to the old sites location and would not be seeing the updated version.  So if you were getting stuff that had not been updated since Nov 12, but are now getting updated stuff, you know what the deal was.  If you know of someone who is still not coming to the updated site here at the new address, tell them to type in into the address box in their browser and they will be taken to this new address.
    The other thing I need to explain or even apologize about is my lack of responses to the Ask John section.  I am new to the software that is running that discussion board.  I put in the new discussion in last week and thought that the parameters I had set up for the first one would be carried over into the next one.  One parameter was that when someone posted a new question, I got an e mail notification.  Ooops, I needed to set that up in the new discussion group.  So I was beginning to wonder why I did not get any new questions in the Ask John.  I got my answer when I went there today.  Lots of new questions, no answers from me.  I have just spent the past 2 1/2 hours answering all of those questions, and will be making the needed changes to the details of that discussion group so that I will get e mail notification when a new question comes in.
    Now onto our regularly scheduled program...Today was either the day after, or the day before, depending on how you want to look at it.  Our final count from yesterday's snow was 6.5" at my house.  I did hear of as much as 9" falling at Calumet, but that may be a little suspicious.  It settled and melted a bit and my cover is at 4".  The forecast looks to bring us 4-10" by Friday morning, with maybe more after that, especially later Saturday and into Sunday.  Looks like I may just have to take a ride tomorrow night or even Friday night.  It is firearm deer season so I cannot ride during daylight hours, except between 11 am and 2 pm.  But I think I will play it safe and wait a few hours after dark and not even go out between 11 and 2.
    I did fill the sled up with gas and ran it.  Under the advice of my personal mechanic, I did not summerize it.  No draining the fuel tank or lines or carbs, no gas additives.  I just let the gas run real low on the last ride and then started the sled a few times this summer.  All seems to be fine.  I have learned to trust my "personal mechanic", even if his advice seems to go contradictory from what I think is right or even from common thinking.  He has never summerized his sleds and they all run fine.  Mine starts on the second pull, and seems to have good response to the throttle so we'll see.  I also got the snow thrower running and up towards the front of the garage so I should be all good to go.  Now it can snow big time!
    Not much else to talk about.  Well, maybe there is, but after spending two and a half hours responding to the Ask John questions, I feel a little typed out.  Hopefully tomorrow I will have lots more snow stories.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
November 14, 2000-
    Today was a wonderful day.  It was also a big day of firsts.  I suppose that I do not need to explain why it was so wonderful and so full of firsts, but for those of you not in the know, we had our first real snow up here.  There is no specific definition to what a "real snow" is.  For some in places further south, it may be an inch or so.  For me it is when it plays a role in everyday life; driveways and streets need to be cleared, driving is made more difficult, everything is completely coated in snow, etc.  That usually in the 2-4" range.  The total with this storm so far has been about 6" and we still get a few snow squalls that bring a little more and a little more until a new inch has fallen.  So it was the first "real snow" of this season.  I figured a front of house shot would be a good way to inaugurate the photo display of the storm.
    It was also one of those beautiful stick to everything snows.  Those two shots were taken early this morning.  About 2 1/2" had fallen by then.  Since it was the first real snow, that led to another first, the first visit of the plow truck.  Some other firsts (sorry no pics) were the first shoveling of the driveway, first wrestling match in the snow by the hounds, first walk around the neighborhood in the snow and the first snowball fight between the hounds and I.  I like to have those, especially because they cannot throw them back at me!
    Another first we had was the first ski.  There was just enough snow, it was not too wet, but was not perfect either, but I managed.  We ended up on a trail in Mohawk, I wanted to ski the woods, as they will be off limit beginning sun up tomorrow (deer season).  It was a joy to be back on the skis, cruising through the frosted trees, even the hounds seemed to be having a good time.
    I suppose there was even enough snow to take a spin on the sled, but opted not to, especially because it looks like we will have enough so to really ride in by later Thursday or Friday.  Because of deer season we cannot ride during the day, but if there is enough down, I will be out there at night!
    Changing the subject, I'm sure that all of you have heard of the unique image in one of the pictures I took while at the town of Mandan in Sunday's journal.  For those of you who may have missed what I am talking about.  I awoke Monday and went to the computer to get my work done and there were a few e mail messages saying something about an image in one of the picks I took while at Mandan.  Thinking it was no big deal, I checked out what everyone was saying a got creeped out big time!  If you missed it, click here and look in the upper left window and say hi to the Mandan ghost.
    What was also really weird about things was that when we were out there, that was the only house that the dogs ran up to explore.  Burt and Baileys even ran right up to the front door and Burt tried to push the door open with his nose.  That is not something that he usually does.  I know that there are reasonable explanations for everything, but it is still fun to let your mind wander to the supernatural possibilities.
    Thanks to the wonder of the web, the world really is a small place.  This afternoon I received an e mail from someone who's family used to own that house and used as a hunting camp.  He offered the reason for the anomaly in the window and I am buying it.  I still am not going out there by myself, but his explanation makes perfect sense to me and is as follows:  "This house was in my family from the late 40's till the early 80's.  Originally my late grand-father, Art, leased the house.  My name appeared on the lease for awhile in 70's.  My dad Gordon wrote my name by the door sometime in the early 70's when I was in my teen's.  My family deer hunted out of Mandan for many, many years.  We basically let the county take it back.  I'm a Technical Sergeant in the Air Force now and haven't been to Mandan in years.  Nice to see the place still standing.  Anyway, the ghostly image you can see in the up stairs window is fiberglass insulation my dad put in the window one deer season in the 70's to keep the cold out.".   So now I can sleep better.
    Speaking of which, I am getting tired and need my sleep, so will sign off for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw
- JD  -
November 12, 2000-
    The past 24 hours has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster.  Weather induced of course.  Yesterday was a cool day.  I got the snow cover for the bushes done yesterday.  I think that it should hold up to what ever this winter want to throw at us.  All joints are half lapped so that the stresses will be applied to the wood fibers, not a screw or nail.  I used joist hangers to attach the stingers to the horses and everything is pressure treated and or galvanized.  Another beauty to the design is that it will take me about 15 minutes to take down in the spring and about 15 minutes next fall to put back up.
    I got invited to a pre-deer camp party last night and decided to go.  Wednesday is the first day of deer camp and the guys decided to have a shake down at the camp.  On the way out to the camp, a few flakes were floating down.  Not heavy at all.  The kind of snow that you want to drive with your brights on just to make it look like it is coming down harder.  I did not stay at the camp too long.  I had not felt too good earlier in the day and did not want to push my luck.  When I went out to drive home, a beautiful snowfall was occurring.  Perfect, fluffy flakes were floating down and my truck had a dusting on it already.  The drive home was really neat, through the woods, with the flakes floating down.  At times, I could not even drive with the brights on, as it would cause be to be snow blind.  The high spot on the roller coaster ride.
    In the middle of the night, I woke up and looked out and all was white.  Enough snow had fallen to cover the ground and even coat the trees.  The snow station indicated 1/2" down this morning.
    Then I looked at the latest guidance and saw that just enough warm air would build into the region to change the snow over to rain later today and continue into tomorrow.  The beginning of the downward ride on the roller coaster.  Things only got worse when the light snow we were in this morning changed over to rain.  The way things usually go with the weather is once things go from snow to rain, they usually stay that way for most of the storm.  So I do not like to see snow go to rain, that is not good.  Today was no different from that trend, as it rained most of the day.  Some flakes did mix in across the higher elevations, which made for an interesting drive to Copper Harbor.  It was rain all through the Valley and then up the hill to Copper City, then some flakes mixed in from Copper City to Mohawk, then snow from Mohawk to the snow thermometer, where it was really coming down pretty good.  Back to rain in the lower elevation stretch near Phoenix and then back to snow from about the road to Central and Gratiot Lake north.  Then a patch of slush and a loss of control of the car just past the turn off to Lac La Belle and a near heart attack.  The roads had been all wet, even in the places that snow was coming down pretty hard.  But that particular stretch of road was slushy, it was not even snowing too hard there, but that did not matter.  My car slid into the other lane and then hit the gravel shoulder of the other side of the road, where I gained enough traction to be able to slow it down and get back on my side of the road.  Scary, really scary.  Glad no one was coming my way, things would have gotten really ugly.  I spent the rest of the trip at 35 mph and even dropped down to 25 where it said slow to 40.  We made it safe and sound and I was able to get my business done up there.
    I arrived a bit early so we had time to take a walk in the woods.  We headed up to the ski trails that start up by Lake Manganese.  As you can see, the trails need a little more snow before they are able to be used.  The little white specks in the photo are flakes of snow.  Here is a part of the trail that doubles as a two track in the non snow months.
    The business I had in the harbor took me almost two hours, the whole time the hounds were cooped up in the car so on the way home I treated them to a little walk through Mandan.  A ghost town between Copper Harbor and Delaware.  Come to think of it, Delaware is also a ghost town.  Anyway, it is really something to think that people lived in the middle of the woods like that through the dead of winter.  Even without snowmobiles!  The buildings are in different stages of disrepair.  Some nothing but foundations, some with the foundations filled with debris, some with the walls still up as well as sections of the roof and some which look to have been lived in fairly recently.  I really can't imagine living in one of those places now, but there were propane tanks and other signs of recent inhabitants living there at one of the homes.  I think that it would be neat to restore the town to what it was like way back when and let us see what life was like back then.  But it think that the builds are too far gone in most cases.  Plus the Historical Park seems to have different things on their agenda.  I don't know what they are, they keep getting more money, but nothing seems to be going on, at least to my casual observations.  Anyway, here is Burt and Baileys in an action shot exploring one of the homes.  Notice the snow on the ground?
    So we made it back ok, not more near crashes.  It is raining a little, with rain to continue through tomorrow and then back to snow tomorrow night.  There is still a chance for a few inches tomorrow night and into Tuesday.  Then more by Thursday and Friday and more into the weekend and early next week, so I have reason for hope.  Actually I am not too upset.  At leas not as much as I can be about a weather event that made all the wrong moves over the past 24 hours.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
November 10,  7:10 PM,  1975 -
    "We are holding our own..."

Those were the fateful last works of Captain Ernest McSorley.  Five minutes later, in seas over 25 feet high and hurricane force winds, Captain Cooper of the freighter the Anderson lost the Edmund Fitzgearld on his radar and notified the Coast Guard of the events.  A search and rescue was launched, but only two battered, empty lifeboats and some other small debris was found.  29 sailors lost their lives that evening on the storm tossed waters of Lake Superior.

November 10, 2000-
    What happened out there 25 years ago on this day has never, and will likely, never be known for sure.  There are theories which have tried to explain the events, but no evidence was found to completely explain what sank the 729 foot Edmund Fitzgearld.  I went to the lake today to pay my respects to those 29 sailors and the thousands who perished before them.  As I rounded the bend and the lake came into view, Gordon Lightfoots song came on the radio.  I challenge anyone, anyone at all, to look out onto that lake, with waves rolling in under the gray November skies, listen to that song and not have the hair stand up on the back of their neck and a tear well up in their eyes.  It is no wonder why that song was as popular as it was.  I doubt that you even have to be listening to the song on the shores of "Big Lake" to have it transport you into the cold and storm tossed night 25 years ago, but it doesn't hurt, believe me!
    We had some lake effect rain and snow up here today.  Hopefully the warm up to the main event later this weekend.  The rains were actually heavy enough to keep us stuck inside for our morning walk.  I knew that a full gale with horizontal freezing rain would not keep us from going out this afternoon.  Cabin fever is not something that the hounds nor I can tolerate very well.  Besides, they are Labrador Retrievers, with a lineage steep in dealing with the fowl conditions ever present in Newfoundland, and I am a weather nut and a little bit of "disagreeable weather" is not going to keep us shut in for too long.  I was thankful that the weather cleared enough so that we did not have to prove our merit.  Temps in the upper 30's and some light lake effect rain showers was all that had to be braved.
    Our first trip took us down to the shores of Superior so that I could give a moment of silence and respect to those on the Fitz.  Then a walk along one the road that follows the shoreline about 200 feet inland.  About 1/2 mile down the road, something triggered me to turn around and look back towards the car.  I do not know what it was that made me look back, but I am thankful for what ever force it was, because a glimmer of light through the trees indicated to me that I had left my lights on.  Another few steps and I would have not been able to see my mistake even if I turned around and the lights would have been left on for over an hour.  I told the hounds we had to turn around.  They looked a little confused, but obliged.  We had taken the Honda, a car that comes complete with an idiot bell that dings when you leave the lights on, take the key out of the ignition and open the drivers side door.  Obviously, I must have slipped below the idiot level, because when I opened the door, the bell was ringing, just as it had been since we got out of the car.  The car started just fine and things were ok, but I had blown most of the time allotted for the afternoon walk and had to go take care of things I had planned for the rest of the afternoon.  The hounds were compensated with another walk this evening.  Even a "longy".  Longies take over 30 minutes and shorties take somewhere less than 20 minutes to complete.  They have eaten and are now sound asleep at my feet as I type.  I am torn as to who is luckier, they or me.  I suppose it could be a draw.
    I see the NWS has posted winter storm watches for the southern 1/2 of MN and the extreme west central portion of WI already.  Our official forecast calls for snow Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  They took the "significant accumulations possible" out for now, so that could be a good omen.  Man I'm bad!
    It seems like for all of November and most of December last year I was looking at computer guidance packages that ranged from having to have everything come together just right to having to change significantly in order to produce some decent chances for snow.  Right now it is about the opposite.  Very little needs to "go just right" in order for the snows to arrive later this weekend and into early next week and a lot needs to change in order for us to miss it all together.  I hope that I have not jinxed things, but that is the way it stands right now.
    Well, I have written this prior to my dinner and want to post it so that I can go to the Zone (Loading Zone II) and grab a pizza, so I guess I will sign off for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
November 9-
    Crazy times EH?  In some way's I am glad that I am getting to experience all of this election craziness and in some ways I'm not.  And "Thaaat", as Forest Gump once said, "is all I'm gunna say about thaaat.".
    I have just about finished all the work I needed to before the winter kicks in.  All I have remaining is to put the Christmas lights up and cover the bushes.  I actually need to make the supports that will hold up the covering for the bushes.  I decided to go all out this year and build a set of horses and stringers that will be able to support the snow fence.  I will lay the fence across the stringers and that should work pretty well.  My system last year just barely got through the winter.  If we would have had a real winter, I'm afraid my system would have failed me.  If the system failed, the bushes would not have been ruined, as they were not protected the winter before I bought the house.  A photo of the house in April revealed the bushes flat as pancakes on the ground.  They came back during the the following spring, summer and fall.  Anyway, I anticipate it to take me about 2 hours to build the horses and about another hour to get the whole thing setup.  Then about 2 hours to get the lights up and I am all set.  Well, almost.  I have yet to try and start the snow blower, but it started fairly well last year, so I don't anticipate any problems this year.
    The hounds and I took to the beach today.  We went off to 5 Mile Point, one of my favorite ones.  Of course we had it to ourselves.  It was another one of those wonderful moments.  I can't remember a time that I went to that beach and did not feel that way.  One thing that I try and do on my walks is force myself to pay attention to the details of what is around me.  That way, even if I am walking in an area that I walked just yesterday, or even a few hours ago, I can find something new, or something that I missed the last time.  I think I learned that from the hounds.  They seem to be excited wherever we walk, even if we were just there!  I wonder who has learned more from who about life's secrets.  Actually, I am fairly certain I already know the answer to that.
    Back to the beach.  So there we are walking, the hounds off up in the woods that border the beach.  Me trying to take it all in, the waves lapping at the beach, the clouds rolling by, the smells, sounds and feel of the moment.  I look down and notice these unique patterns in the sand caused by the wave action.  So I stopped, admired natures handiwork and snapped a photo.  I only reduced this to 800x600 so it may even make a good windows desktop.
    Then if almost on cue, a bald eagle decided to make a visit overhead.  I have seen quite a few of these birds since moving up here, but it is just one of those sights that I never get use to.  It is amazing how effortless they fly, and how huge they are.  The land on the top of a large pine tree and the whole tree shakes.  I swear that this one's body was about as big as Burt or Baileys.  Maybe it was sizing them up (or me!) to see if it could grab an afternoon snack.  It flew off, only to return a few minutes later.  Sometimes I think that I would be so neat to be able to communicate with these creatures to be able to know what they were thinking.  I suppose I may be going off the deep end here, but I just think that it would be neat to be able know what the different creatures up here are thinking.
    On the return trip, we were treated to a man made special sight, a lakes freighter.  When I took the shot, I knew that it would not show up very well.  The freighter was not that far out, but the camera really overstates how far things are off in the distance.  Anyway, it was part of the afternoon's magic so I thought I would share it.
    So that was my day, well, except for a neat ride down cliff drive.  Clouds were rolling up an over them and that was pretty neat to see.  Sorry I did not get a picture, but the camera's batteries died.  They are currently charging for tomorrow's adventure, what ever that may be.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
November 8-
    No your eyes do not deceive you, it a back to backer!  I guess I am just warming up for the winter when I typically put one out every day.  Actually, I got a little bored and decided to go back to the journal last year at this time and read what about what I was doing.  It is weird how I can remember things fairly clearly when I start to read about them.  The entry for tomorrow is about a trip to Marquette I had to take on business.  I can remember that almost like it was yesterday.  Of course maybe it was because the temps were so unusually warm, but still, I can remember stopping for lunch at the Burger King in Ishpeming, going to my meeting and then feeling the warmth of this sun that day as it drove with the windows open on the way home.  Weird, cause unless I read what I did last week, I cannot remember what day's I did what!
    It is also funny to read about my despondent feelings on the weather last November.  I can remember my feelings too.  They were hopeful that the pattern would change, but I was also really worried that things were not going so well.  So far this year we have not received too much more snow, take away the event the first week in October and we have only seen a few flurries.  However, my sprits are much better.  I think because last year things really did need to make some big changes and those changes were never indicated to develop and this year, we appear to be on the threshold of the changes to a very wintry pattern.  Today was colder, highs in the upper 30's and it threatened some flurries all day.  I did see a few flakes fly on our afternoon walk, but if you blinked you missed them.  I was glad to see much of MN at least saw some flakes and some areas saw accumulation.  1.2" officially at the MSP weather forecast office in Chanhassen and Duluth reported 2" on the ground this am.  A good sign, a very good sign.
    Before I go on, I would like to tell everyone that the Northwoods Directory is beginning to fill up, at least the Keweenaw and north central WI regions.  Hopefully more businesses will send in their info soon.  But I guess my point it to let you know so that you can at least check it out and maybe it will help you plan a trip.  If you do use one of the businesses listed in it, please be sure to let them know that you found out about them on my site.  I think that after a few years, the directory will be full of info and will really be an extremely useful tool, already it is useful for this area and there are quite few businesses in the north central WI area as well as Big Snow Country, Marquette and Newberry areas.
    The Northwoods Cam Network is continuing to grow, with a new location making updates.  Ray at the Silvercliff in northeast WI is making the updates to that cam and be sure to check out his site.  He provides excellent, truthful reports on conditions for his area.  Many times with picks from his rides on the trails.  We are currently working out a few bugs with the cams for Gaylord MI and Presque Isle WI and Conover should be up by the first of December.  Should be a really fun season!
    Not much else to talk about up here.  A bit of election news, for those of you who did not find out from the other Keweenaw web sites, the proposal to allow rezoning of the land on Mt Bohemia passed.  This means that the developer can build lodging facilities as well as other buildings associated with the hill.  I guess it also means that I need to send in my money soon to secure a season pass that will not increase in price for life.  It will be a drive, but my goal to become a really good downhill skier will be facilitated much better there than at Ripley.  Not that Ripley does not have some challenging slopes, but Bohemia has expert terrain that rivals anything in the west.  Maybe not in overall vertical, but as far as steepness and other measures, it will hold up to anything out west.  I have seen some of the runs and I cannot believe they even got equipment up there to cut them.  Plus they only thinned some areas so that you will have to ski through the trees to get down.  I think that the ambulance service will be busy running folks down to Houghton from the hill!
    Well, as mentioned, it really does look like winter may arrive here late this weekend and then continue through next week.  I am ready.  A week from today deer season starts and the woods will be off limits.  A ski down the beach might be fun or just a walk around the neighborhood in the snow is fine by me.  Maybe I am setting my hopes too high with the amount of snow that will fly, but something in my bones is telling that it is really coming.  Might we be riding opening day?!  Only 23 more days!
    Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
November 7-
    Happy election day everyone!  I am a very happy man.  The polls have closed and the commercials have stopped!  I feel like a new man!  But seriously, it will be very nice to have this all behind us.  Every time I go to vote, I get this weird feeling.  I don't mean to sound corny, but I feel like I am really part of a process, that what I am doing is important.  Plus, I feel pride and respect for those who have given their life so that I can have the freedom to choose who will govern the country, state and local areas.  I really don't understand how someone would not want to vote.  Maybe they never have voted and never felt that feeling that I feel, or have voted and still did not get that feeling of pride and respect.  Or I suppose they just don't believe their vote counts.  I know that it seems to me like my vote really does not make much of a difference and in many cases, maybe it doesn't, but it still feels good to be part of the process.  In any case, for those who do not vote, I think that it is their loss.  Enough politics, this is suppose to be a fun site to come to, maybe even to escape for awhile.  So lets escape, shall we?
    We were mild again today, not warm, but with an average high of 41 for the day and the actual high at about 50, it can be classified as mild.  Another thing we had was some strong winds out of the southeast.  That is a rather unusual direction for strong winds to be blowing up here.  Normally when the winds are strong up here it is from a westerly or northwesterly direction.  Anyway, with the strong winds and "mild" temps, I thought that it would be neat to go to the beach at Big Traverse and see how angry the lake was.  As we rounded the shoreline of Rice Lake and saw whitecaps on it, I had little doubt that the big lake would not disappoint.
    I was correct, the waves on the lake there were larger than I have ever seen on that shore.  Almost as big as I have witnessed on the north shore during a few big blows.  One problem with a big lake and a camera with the type of lens it has is that it does not really show the true size of the waves.  In this picture, the waves look about 2-3 feet high, when in reality they were about 6-9 feet high. Here is one that I did not reduce, it is a little grainy, but you also can get a better feel for the size of the waves, especially the breakers further out.
    After playing in the grass and weeds that grow along the shore for a while, the hounds and I decided to take a walk down the beach.  It was very, very relaxing.  The roar of the waves and wind, the spray from the waves and the low scud clouds whizzing by was enough to allow me to totally become absorbed in the moment.  Every once in a while, a moment like that happens to me, when I am blissfully happy to be alive and in the place I am at and at the time I am there.  Another thing that makes them so special is that they all come about without any material things causing the feeling.  We walked and walked and walked, absorbed in the moment.  Then I looked at the hounds, who were trailing behind me, and they had a look on their face as if they had walked far enough.  They seemed to know that we had been walking in one direction and still had to turn around and cover our tracks, so I gave in and we turned around.  But before I go on, this was my view as we were walking down the beach today and I had my special moment.
    So the relaxing, almost trance like moment ended, but the fun of the afternoon didn't.  On the way back north, I saw the waves crashing into the "Irons" up at the entrance to Big Traverse Harbor.  I decided that it would be neat to go up there and see if I could snap a few shots of the action there.  Before I display some of those shots, I must admit that it is quite a difficult task to stand out in 30 mph winds, hold onto two dogs that want to go and explore anything/anywhere, hold a camera and wait for just the right moment to catch the wave exploding into the air as it hits the breakwater.  I did ok, but was never able to catch the collision at it's pinnacle. Here is the first shot.   To help describe the size of things, the distance from the waters surface to the top of the breakwater is about 8-10 feet.  Some of the biggest waves were making it right over the top of the breakwater, as can be seen in this shot.
    Needless to say it was not a good day to be out on the lake and the Big Traverse Fishing Fleet was safe in port.  I realize that it is not really much of a "fleet", but how many of you knew that there were still folks living up here who made their living as commercial fisherman?  My first view upon this fishing village years ago really surprised me.  It seemed so out of place with the "northwoods" and mining atmosphere up here.  I have never been to New England, but it sure seemed to me that this was just like a small New England fishing village.  It is also a very safe harbor, as you could tell from the calm water in port.
    So today was a very fun, unique day.  Looking at the forecast, in a week we may be back on the beach, but with cross country skis on?  It's a possibility.  A snow storm looks to be headed into the northern Midwest this Sunday and Monday and then the coldest air of the season looks to slide in and could bring some lake effect snow.  At this point I am not that worried about if it will be rain or snow, but I am more worried about the heaviest snow with the system Sunday and Monday slipping to our south.  Anyway, it looks to turn much more winter like around here in not too long.  That is a good thought to end with.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
November 5-
    The funny thing about a journal like this is that you arrive to it, start reading and you are taken right in.  I have been sitting here, in front of the computer for about 10 minutes with writers block.  Trying to come up with some 3 dollar words to describe the beautiful day we had up here today.  Cobalt blue skies, light winds and temps in the mid 50's.  I did take advantage of it and spent most of the day outside.  This morning, a friend and I took the hounds and his daughter to the mouth of the Gratiot River.  It is really neat to have that truck I got last week.  I would never have been able to drive my car down to where we went this morning.  It is so neat to see mud holes, sand pits or big ruts and know that I can go right through them, with out any concerns.  This truck is really going to make the warm months more bearable!  I am really looking forward to doing some deep woods exploring.  I already have heard of two waterfalls that I never new about that I can get to, plus I will take you all to Keystone Bay and High Rock up at the tip of the Keweenaw.  I doubt that I will be able to do much more exploring this season.  Only a week and 2 days and the main deer season starts and you cannot drive a motorized vehicle in the woods when that is going on.  At least during the day.  Plus we look to get some rain sand snow this week and next weekend, so things may get a little messy out there.
    Snow?  What's that I said, snow?  Yes, it does look like things will become a little more winter like around here in the next week or so.  The pattern does not look to be rushing into anything and we will have some rain as well, but much of the northern Midwest will see chances for snow in the next week to ten days.  Or at least that is what the forecast models are saying.  We'll see, but things look promising.
    I forgot I had some more pictures from this morning's drive to the mouth of the Gratiot.  This is the view looking west.  We all decided to walk to that little point off in the distance to see what we could see.  Not much to see off to the west, but the view back to the east as pretty neat, looking at the bay that the river spills out into as well as some neat shoreline further east.  Weather permitting, I may have so drive back down there and take a walk with the hounds up the shoreline to the east.  I promise to take you all along.
    I don't know about all of you, but I have never been more ready for an election to be over.  There are more political ads running on TV and Radio up here than I have ever experienced before.  I don't know if it is because buying time in this market is so inexpensive or what, but about 90% of the commercials ( I am not exaggerating) are the political ones.  Most ads are for local candidates, but even the Gore/Bush ones are getting to me.  I basically have given up listening to the radio and only watch things like discovery or Food TV on the television.  I think that I will actually NOT vote for this one guy up here who is running ads like I have never seen.  I am wondering what they think when they run some of their ads anyway.  None of them really tell us about their position, they either just badmouth the opponent or babble on about something that is exaggerated.  And then there is the whole Mount Bohemia deal.  Don't even get me started on this.  Actually, that has not been too bad at all.  The opponents are not running any ads and the developer is playing some ads on the radio, but they are done by the DJ and I can tune those ads out easier.  Plus it is an important issue.  It will be very interesting to see how things turn out, it sure is a messed up situation.
    Well, it has taken you probably not more than 5 minutes to read this, but I am on my second hour of typing, major writers block, so I am tired and need my sleep.  Maybe tomorrow, I will have lots more words of wisdom.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
November 3-
    Well, I seem to be stuck in this update the journal every three day rut.  I have to admit that I do have plans every day to update, but it does take a little more than just plans.  I really do have to sit down and start typing too!  Somehow, I continue to have about 10 plates spinning (remember those shows on TV, where the guy would try and see how many plates he could keep spinning on the end of a long and thin stick) and none have dropped, but I can't take any of them down either.  I am not complaining though, one of the plates that I keep spinning is the one for the hounds and mine afternoon walks.
    So did you all check out my big secret surprise addition to the site revealed this afternoon?  If not, all you have to do is click on "NCN" on the menu to your left.  I hope to have lots of cams set up.  I know that is something that I am looking forward to seeing all the different areas and watch their conditions change.  It will even help me out a little in the forecasting department, as I will be able to see what is going on and not just have to depend on the designated surface reports from the NWS.  I think that the site is about at capacity for now (ie. the plate spinning story).
    It sure has been fun to wake up and check out the computer forecast models now that they are indicating some winter weather to arrive.  I won't know what to do with myself if we see a great winter.  Well...maybe I will, but I'm trying not to think about it too much.
    Been taking our walks.  Yesterday we went out into the bush to try and walk along the local ski trail.  It is a lot easier to get around out there when there is snow.  We ended up walking through some pretty tall grass.  Can you find Bailey's in that shot?  One of my favorite locations along the trail is where we walk along the Traprock River.  That is the snowmobile trail running along side the river.  That shot is about 4 blocks, as the crow flies, away from my house.
    Today the "Gales of November" were a blowin' so the hounds and I decided to go check out the waves along the north shore.  On the way down, I finaly got to see Isle Royal.  They say that you can see it on a clear day.  I have always looked, but never saw it.  Today we took a different road down and there it was, very clear and sticking up pretty high on both ends, with a low spot in the middle.  I wonder if the atmosphere setup a situation that caused it to be magnified.  It sure looked a lot closer than it is suppose to be.  I took several shots from my location at the beach and have put together a mini panorama.  Nothing like the magic that Jim does for me in the panorama section.  Plus, I learned that taking a panorama of a body of water that has waves giving it a changing look will not work out the best, unless I wait for the waves to be lined up just like they were in the previous shot.  So sorry that the lake looks a little goofy and that the brightness is a little off as well, but at least you can get the feel of what it was like to stand on the bluff overlooking the lake.  To get the real feel, cool your house to about 39 degrees and stand in front of a giant fan that is blowing a wind of about 30 miles per hour.
    We finished the walk down a clearing that the Lake Superior Land Company put in to develop the shoreline.  They halted work on it about a year ago.  I can only speculate that they did this because the land along the road that they put in about a year earlier has not been bought up to the level that they thought.  There is one home along the other road now and another just being built, but that is the only development in what looks to be about 20-30 lots.
    Well, my plans for the weekend include building the snow station for the AL Cam.  With some snow a definate possibility next week, I want to get it done.  I also need to secure my bushes, but I think that I will get that done next week.  I am about at the end of my entry for tonight, but before I go, I will leave you with a shot of the "Official Truck of Snow Central".  That will be taking me (and you) to some new and interesting places.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
John Dee would like to thank Jim Formanek of Formanek Designs for his expert assistance in the creation and technical support of this site.  For anyone wishing to have a site of their own developed, I strongly recommend that you contact him.
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