Past Journals
George's Eagle 
Harbor Web
Pasty Cam
Dan's Wilderness 
February 28, 2001-
    Today is the last day of meteorological winter.  We still have about 3 weeks of astronomical winter left, but as far as the meteorologists are concerned, tomorrow is spring.  Now as far as the Keweenaw is concerned, we have about another 4-5 weeks of what most would consider to be winter left.  There may be some thaws and or periods of rain, but for the most part, the temps should remain below freezing and the majority of the the precip should fall as snow.  Even last year, after 10 days of very warm temps at the end of February and the beginning of March, the rest of March was marked by cool temps and some snow.  So we'll see what the weather decides to do this year.  The next few days of weather looks to bring some mild temps and no new snow, but then the second half of next week looks to return winter to the region.  Personally, I am not yet ready for winter to end.  The main reason is that I know that we do not see any real, sustained, warm temps until the end of April or beginning of May.  I personally hate days in 40's and low 50's with rain so I would just be happy skipping spring and going from winter to summer.  In big snow years that is what happens.
    Now, onto the events of the past two days.  The leg is still coming along.  It does not hurt much at all, I can move it around and even bump it and do not feel too much in the way of those sharp pains.  I continue to do my exercises, but the bending of the leg still is not increasing as much as I would like it too.  The muscles in the thigh are still very tight.  I am hoping that they loosen up soon, the doctor wanted me to have almost full flexibility by the time I saw him again March 16.  That is just a little over 2 weeks away.  I am not worried about me not trying hard enough, but would like to have better results.  Patience is the key.
    It was funny, I was sitting on the couch yesterday, reading the evening paper and inside were some promotinal advertisements for some chain retailers.  They all were for spring and summer items like outdoor furniture, swim suits, shorts, t-shirts.  Yet, I looked out my picture window and the snow bank blocked my view about halfway up and the top half revealed snow falling, snow that had been falling all day.  It just seemed a little out of place to see the ads for summer stuff with winter raging outside.  That helped remind me of just what a unique place I have moved to.
    Not much else happended yesterday.  I had a nice dinner with Julie and then after she went home I created the "Ask Julie" discussion group in the "Ask John" feature of my site.  So far there has only been 3 requests to see her picture.  They way I figure they will be in the hundreds in not too much time.  I think that she will have to break down soon, but I will not pressure her.  Take it from me, she is a cutie.  I am to insecure to date someone with just a "good personality"!  I suppose it doesn't hurt that she becomes more and more beautiful everyday too, but she was pretty darn cute to begin with.  Ok, enough mushy gushy, but don't be shy to stop in to Ask Julie and start up a chat.  I am definately not the jealous type so I will not be threatened by anything anyone of you want to ask.  I also have complete trust in her.
    Today was actually the first day that Julie did not come over to help out.  She was a competitive ice skater and still teaches figure and power skating lessons.  She even has some pro hockey players as past students, pretty cool huh?  Anyway, she had to be at a meeting today for the ice show she is helping to put on in a few weeks so I was on my own.  So far so good, but it was strange to not have her walk through the front door at 5 pm.
    Brian and Joe came over at about the crack of dawn to clear my roof.  I was still working when they started, so I could not get out to get any shots of them on the roof.  However, I was able to get out when they were done with the roof and were clearing pathways around my house.  Here is a shot of Brian clearing a pathway in the back yard.  Those banks are about 7-8 feet high, glad my windows are high off the ground, good ole' yooper house.  Here is a shot of Joe clearing the front.  Those banks are not as high, but are still about 6-7 feet high and the snow out front is about that deep in the whole front yard.  Anyone for dates when it will be all gone?  I think that about April 20th to the 25th.
    I then hobbled out to the street to take a shot of the front of the house.  Joe was still working on the front walkway, you can see from the stream of snow up by the front door, but you can't see him and he is at least 6 feet tall.  Now that's yooper snow.  I am so glad that we had a good old fashion winter up here.  Most of the locals are ready for spring and I can't blame them, but not me, not yet.  I will be soon.  In that shot you can see that they even cleared off the truck.  I am glad for that.  I want to start it up, but it was encased in snow before and I could not open the door.
    This afternoon the hounds and I took a little spin around my end of the block.  Here is Burt checking out Joe's work to make sure he did a good job.  Burt gave it his approval.  I took that shot standing up and I am 6'1" tall, so you can see the banks are higher than my head.  I need to get some film shots of that for the memories.  I am sure that there will be bigger years, but this the biggest one for me so far.
    We also took to the back yard and Burt climbed up on top of the snow banks there to check Brians handywork and to be King of the Hill.  He's so cool.  Actually, Bailey's climbed up and they were both up there.  I got out the camera to take a shot, but Baileys preceeded to fall off before I could get a shot.  She fell towards me, I moved my broken leg out of the way and also helped to slow her desent off the 8 foot bank with my arms and she was fine.  But it was a little scary as she started to fall.
    So that was my day in a nutshell.  I am going to finish this up so that I can watch "Atmospheres" on the Weather Channel tonight.  I usually do not get into that program, but tonight's is on the snow season out west.  How can I miss that?  Before I sign off, I got a request from some friends in Curtis MI (eastern UP) to let everyone know that the trails are in great shape there.  The same goes for this area and I can say that this weekend will be really great for riding.  Maybe a bit warm, but both areas have plenty of snow and temps in the mid 30's for a few hours in the afternoon will not be a problem at all.  Nite time temps will likely drop into the teens so things will firm right back up.  Don't put those sleds and skis away just yet!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
February 26, 2001-
    Mother nature is trying her best to bury my fence tonight.  She decided to leave it exposed this weekend.  We did get hit with the storm, but were on the low end of the expected totals, not the high end.  We did get a bit of freezing rain Sunday morning, but it was not too much and did not harm the conditions up here.  We got about 8-10" total, 4 of them coming after the freezing rain.  So far today we have picked up about 4-5".  Light fluffy LES.  Most of that has come in two squalls.  One about 4 PM till 5 PM when we picked up 2" and then about another 2" with the latest squall that has been going on for about 45 minutes.  I wish that I could have taken a picture during this current squall, it is really coming down.  Definitely heavy snow, with visibility less than 1/4 mile, more like 1/8th.  Nice big flakes that pile up too.  My fence is actually buried in at least one spot.  I saw it as I was slipping into my chair in the office.  I still have about 4-5" to go until all areas are buried, so we'll see.
    Not a lot of news to report.  The leg is doing good.  I actually took a real walk yesterday afternoon.  We went down the block and then around a few blocks.  All in all, I think that I traveled about 1/4 mile.  That does not sound like too far a distance, but on crutches in a snow storm, I was happy.  So were the hounds.
    I got out again today when Julie came over.  I took a new front of house shot.  I wanted to because Brian and another friend are coming over tomorrow to shovel the roof so I thought that it would be interesting to have a before and after shot of that.  I guess that is one blessing for my injury is that I have a reasonable excuse to not have to get up and do my roof myself.  I am really grateful this time, there is a lot of snow up there!
    I went on a mini walk with Julie, but I will let her take over and give the play by play.  So without further adeu...Is that how you spell it?  Hey everyone, it's Julie.  It's kinda funny writing my real name (actually it's Julia) - I was getting used to being called JW and a few of John's friends still call me JW.  I am happy to tell everyone that John is doing sooooo much better physically.  Mentally...I'm not sure from time to time.  That microwave deal and now this obsession with his fence.  Yadda, yadda, yadda.  The guy has got to get out more.  We went all the way to the end of the block today - I think his 1/4 mile trip yesterday did him in a bit.  I worry about him wandering off too far so I ordered him one of those "I've fallen and I can't get up" beacons that you can put around your neck.  It's not too attractive, but that's ok, I don't want him picking up any gals on his travels.  You know what a chick magnet dogs are and now he can play the sympathy card with the crutches.
     Really though, John is remarkable.  It's been only 3 weeks since the accident and he is so able to do most everything now.  He does too much if you ask me.  I knew there was no keeping him down and the more he gets outside the better he feels.  I took some pictures of him clompin along on those spiked crutches.  At one point though, he was ahead in the race for home and I heard a whoppin burp come out of the guy.  So I raced ahead to catch a picture of the guilty - I think he looks guilty.  He seemed pretty happy with it, although he tried to blame Baileys, who was a good 50 feet away.  I think this is a sign that the romance is over.  This is the picture of him fleeing the scene of the crime and running for home.  Lucky for him that he had made a pretty good dinner for us tonight.
     Don't tell John, but I'm pretty ready for it to stop snowing so much.  The bank in front of my house is huge and I don't want to shovel it anymore.  I'm thinkin that John can get a little ride on his sled in the middle of March to tide him over and then we could have a nice little thaw happen.  I think most folks around here feel the same way too.  Enough already.  Hope he's not too disappointed in me.  He's of course hoping for a second riding season till at least the end of April.  Ugg.  People are gonna want to kill the messenger in that case.
     Gotta get home soon and want to spend a couple quality minutes with the weather man so I'm gonna go.  Talk to you again soon.
      Well I'm back.  Julie has gone home and I am getting ready for bed time, so I will sign off for tonight.  Don't know if Julie was a jinx, but it stopped snowing while she was typing and I even saw a few stars out.  Actually, we must be in just a little lull, I checked the satellite imagery and it still indicated some fairly decent cloud cover out over the lake and conditions look to remain favorable for at least light snow through tonight and even into tomorrow.  We'll see.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
February 24, 2001-   Let's see... What's new....Hmmmmm, well, it's snowing.  Wait, that is not new, but it's good!  We are now on day 27 in a row with snow and mother nature is not fooling around anymore.  We have picked up about 5-6" new today and it looks like we could pick up an additional 6-12" between now and tomorrow at this time.  Actually it would be about an additional 12-20" if we were not to have some sleet mix in, but it looks like that will happen sometime between about 9 pm tonight and 8 am tomorrow.  The really unfortunate part is that during that time period the heaviest precipitation rates will also be occurring, so a lot of the moisture and energy will be wasted making sleet.  Oh well, a 12-18" dumping for a storm total is still nothing to shake a stick at and will likely be the biggest storm we have had all season so far.
    My spirits are really up today.  I don't know why, but quite a difference from yesterday.  I think that Julie had a ton to do with it.  She came over and just let me be my sad little self yesterday.  Plus she brought to light that my predicament is only temporary and in not too long I will be back to normal.  That is really the best thing to keep in mind.  I can't even begin to imagine how I could deal with this situation permanently.  Anyway, we got out and about today to do some shopping, which was good for my spirits.  I got to ride the zippy carts at both Walmart and the grocery store.  The one at Walmart was faster, but the one at the grocery store had a better low end (acceleration).  All I can say is that if I had one, it would be about 4 times faster and would have snow tires on it.  Maybe even a paddle track!
    I even ventured out into the great outdoors for a little bit today.  Julie was getting ready to take the dogs for their afternoon spin around the hood and invited me to go out so I took her up on her offer.  I keep talking about the snow banks, mainly because they are really incredible.  Here is a shot me me standing in my driveway.  I am 6' 1" and that snow is almost on the level in my whole front yard.  It may drop about a foot way in the middle, but otherwise, that is how deep it is.  Across the street from me the owner of the lot has an old station wagon.  It has not been moved for the 2 years I have lived here and it is currently buried under about 4 feet of snow.  Believe it or not, the snow is as deep as the hood of the car, what you are looking at is the what has just caked on it all season.
    It's kind of cute, the hounds really like it when I go outside with them.  I think that they really miss me taking them for walks, but I also know that they are really excited to go with Julie and one of my neighbors who has been great and comes over to walk them in the mornings.  I don't mean to sound conceited, but they know I am their best buddy and here they are showing me how much they love their daddy.
    I have one more shot of a snow bank.  Sorry I can't provide anything more exciting right now, but I guess something is better than nothing.  This is the one across the street and extends behind me about another 20-30 feet.  I am beginning to wonder when these will be gone once it all starts to melt.  Even with last years early thaw, which was going on at this very time, my snow banks stayed until the beginning of April.  I bet this year they last well into April.
    I guess the only other bit of news is that when we got back from shopping, my sled was sitting in the garage.  I know I will not be able to think about riding it for several more weeks, but it is still good to see it back home.  I missed it!  Maybe I will sneak out and start it up, just to smell the 2-cycle.  Who can identify?
    Well, I am going to sign off, I have a big date.  Julie is over and we are going to have steaks (I am really keeping to the required diet!), some pasta and then watch "The Perfect Storm" in front of the fire.  So if you don't mind.... I'M OUTTA HERE!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
February 22, 2001-
    Greetings from the Keweenaw everyone.  A snowy Keweenaw I must add.  As I was updating the "Historical Weather" feature of the site I noticed that we have quite a string of consecutive days of measurable snow going.  With today's snow we are now at 25.  There are a handful of days when only a trace was reported and not too many big dumps, but still, 25 days in a row is a good little string.  I will have to see just how many days since the first of December have not seen at least a trace.  I bet it is pretty low.  That is not that unusual for this area.  We get our big snow numbers from the fact that it almost never stops snowing, not because we get a bunch of big storms.  Today has really be a bit of a surprise.  It started snowing at about 6 am and has not stopped and it is about 3:30 right now.  At times it has even been coming down pretty good.  We have picked up about 4" new so far and we still have a few more hours of this stuff to go through before we get into some lake effect tonight and early tomorrow.  The forecast (including mine) called for a few inches today and a few more tonight, but I think that we have shot past those numbers already.  I am not complaining.  I'd much rather error to the low side!
    After finishing up my morning work, a case of cabin fever set in and I got the urge to go outside.  I decided that I would do just that.  I could walk out to the front of the house and update the front of house shot (has not been done since the beginning of Feb.) and take a look around, plus I could let the hounds play out in front for a while.  The main danger was going down the 3 steps from the kitchen to the garage and then back up them.  I have gone up and down them several times so far since being home and all went well then so I figured that I could do it this time.  I did make sure to have the cordless phone in my coat pocket just in case.
    On the trip down, no problems.  I opened the garage door and flipped down the ice picks on my crutches and stepped out into the snow.  This was not the first time I have been out and about, in fact I went to dinner with Julie, Brian, Al and some friends up from Chicago on a two day KSE tour at the Loading Zone II just last night.  However, this was my first solo venture out of the house.
    I am just amazed at how big the snow banks are getting around my house and in town.  I can't even imagine how big they must be up in places like Calumet and Mohawk.  Maybe I will get up there some day soon and snap some shots.  Anyway, here is a shot looking from my garage down my driveway.  The banks on the side of my driveway are about 5 feet high and that is just about level snow.  It does get a little lower as you travel away from the side of the driveway, but only by about a foot!  The walkway to my front door has just about become a tunnel and after I get my roof shoveled off next week it will be for sure.  You almost can't see out of the bottom 1/2 of my picture window on the front of my house.  It is getting really deep up here.
    I did manage to make it to the street to take a fresh "front of house shot".  You can look to the right and see how the snow is piling up in front of the window.  I even compiled a before and after shot using the last front of house shot I had taken back about 2 1/2 weeks ago.  There looks to be close to a foot of new depth since then.  Especially when you look at the difference in snow on the far left side of the roof.  Really amazing as the snow does compact to about a 6-1 ratio.
    Before heading back towards the house, I snapped a shot looking down my street.  Some of the banks down the street are enormous!  The one just across the street from me (just to the left in the previous picture) is about ten feet tall.  Now to be fair about things, these piles are not just mounds that peak at ten feet high, but usually go back about 20-30 feet too.  It is really cool and exciting to see.  And to think that this is only about an average year!  Just imagine what things would be like had we had a record or near record!  Wow!
    I did not want to go in right away after taking my pictures so I decided to get a little work done, so I grabbed a spade and went to work at clearing the compacted snow from my steps.  The neighbor across the street as been awesome at clearing my driveway and walkway and would do my steps I am sure if I had a shovel out, but it has been in the garage.  There was about 3-4" of hard packed snow on the steps and there are already enough broken legs around here so I decided to get the steps clear.  It was not too hard and in no time I had the steps cleared.  I then took a look at the 2 feet of snow on top of the bushes and decided to clean them off before the protection setup I have over them collapsed.  That also went well, but I was getting tired after that and had to get back to work anyway, so I called the hounds and we all went inside.
    All in all it was a successful venture.  My bushes are now free of the heavy snow load, the steps are clear, I got some fresh air and more exercise than I have gotten in almost 3 weeks and the hounds also got to play outside for about an hour.  They are really great at entertaining themselves if they have to.  After doing my midday work and having lunch, I just about passed out though.  But it was really good to be productive again.
    As I have been typing this journal, it has really been coming down.  We have picked up about 1 1/2 inches in less than an hour.  Sure is pretty out there.
    I won't go into the leg too much.  But as I am sure you can tell, it is feeling better.  In fact the past few days have really made a big improvement in things.  I do not get a shooting pain every time I stand up or sit down and I really have to twist it or bump it to make it hurt.  I think that I am well on the road to recovery.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
February 19, 2001-
    I can sense a rather short journal coming up this time.  Being a shut in does have a way of stripping me of material.  I have not encountered any new or interesting quirks with my household appliances and the depth of my explorations is to the front door to check for mail and the afternoon paper.  I do feel that in a week or less I will be able to take a short venture out and about my neighborhood on the crutches, but I do need to build up the arm strength.  Plus, I doubt that Julie will let me take such an adventure by myself.  With good reason.  My crutches do have flip down ice picks which work great in gripping the ice and snow.  They are on hinges so I can flip them up and out of the way when I don't need them.  A really neat invention if you ask me.  I can't imagine using my crutches on the ice and snow without them.
    Julie came over to keep me company as well as cook dinner and take the hounds for a walk.  I figured that some of you might be getting a case of cabin fever vicariously from me so I gave her the camera as she headed out the door to take the hounds for their afternoon romp through my end of the village.
    We continue to get a steady input of snow up here.  No major dumps, but just a good old Keweenaw style steady light snow.  4 new inches today and it looks like about another 4-8" from later tonight through tomorrow night.  It is also going to get cold up here.  Not as cold as it will in other areas to our north, west and even south, but we will be lucky to reach double digits for highs tomorrow and Wednesday.  The banks of snow on the side of the road continue to get bigger and bigger.  It is even more noticeable to me now that I only see them about once a week.  Here is Baileys striking a pose in front of one in my hood.
    The size of the banks only slow the hounds ability to get into the woods and hunt for bunnies or anything else that happens to be in the neighborhood, but does not stop them.  Here is the Beez climbing back onto the road.  I was not there, but I am putting money on the idea that Burt is still in the woods.  He really loves to sniff things out good.  In fact, I bet this shot was taken just moments after the previous one.  It is neat to see these shots, because I can feel like I was there.  I can actually picture them romping down the road, stopping all of the sudden and flipping on their backs to roll in the snow.  I do not know why they do this, but on my morning walks they always did it in the same spot.  I think that they are trying to mark their scent there.  I just do not know what was so special about that spot.
    It is also funny to watch the dogs go "off road" because they seem to just fly into the deep snow, forgetting that they will have to climb back.  They usually get pretty deep off trail and then decide to turn around, but by that time they have already expended most of their energy.  Julie caught a good shot of them (especially Burt) struggling to get back on to the road.  This one could be called "Don't have a cow Burt".  Of course, Baileys probably just got stuck there and then sat there with her big puppy dog eyes and asked for help.  That is usually what happens when I take them out.
    Now to be fair about things, Burt really is a bit of a stud.  If you are ever in doubt just ask him.  Anyway, I could not leave you all with the false impression that he is not the true King of the Hill, and master of his domain.  When I grow up I want to be just like him, if I grow up that is.
    I think that this handing off of the camera might be a good idea.  I really do not have much to take pictures of in my home.  Brian has a bunch of tours this week so maybe I will let him borrow the camera so that he can supply some shots.  Tomorrow might even be a good day with the new snowfall.  I am still watching a biggie to roll into the Midwest this weekend.  It may not be the biggest to hit in long time, but may just be one of the biggest this season.  Right now we are dead in it's sights.  Things can change and most likely will, but if it hit as indicated, my fence would be buried.  That has been the goal all season.  Only time will tell.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
February 17, 2001-
    As promised, I'm back and ready to write.  Like I said yesterday, things are going very well with my recovery.  There is still a bit of pain from time to time, but I have a lot more flexibility that I can do without having that sharp bit of pain.  My mental status is also very good.  I do miss being able to get out and play in the snow, but I am just accepting that situation and not letting it get to me.  Julie has been terrific as usual.  Not only from the standpoint of coming over and making me dinner, cleaning and caring for me, but also being a huge help in keeping me company and from going stir crazy.  Today we went for a ride, had lunch and did some shopping.  It was very nice to get out of the house.  I was a bit tired for some reason, but it was still nice to feel the cold on my face and breathe in some fresh Keweenaw air.
    One of the highlights of the shopping trip was to get on one of those motorized carts and tear through the grocery store.  I was glad that we could get one that matched my coat.  However, that one needed some clutch work and maybe some pipes to get it in good running form.  It was a little slow at the low end and did not shift really well.  Even so, I was able to manage a few wheelies down the frozen food isle and even some doughnuts in can goods.  Speaking of doughnuts.  I couldn't just pass those up.  I don't know if I mentioned this before or not, but before I went home from the hospital, I got a visit from the dietitian.  When she introduced herself as the dietitian, I could feel my stomach just quiver, thinking that she was going to give me a list of things to eat like broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, you know, all that stuff that is suppose to be good for you.  Much to my amazement and delight, she said that I was to eat a lot of read meat and avoid vitamin K.  I did not know what vitamin K was in and she said "green leafy vegetables!"  YES!  So basically, I am to lay off the veggies and eat as much meat as I want.  A really good thing for this picky eater.  I was still under the influence of some medications, but I do believe that she said that doughnuts were good for me too, so I have been sticking to a regiment of them as well.
    I did have a weird thing happen this morning, my feet began to itch like crazy.  I'm not just talking about a little itch here or there, but a full blown scratching frenzy.  Almost to the point that I thought I would loose my mind.  It is amazing how such a little thing like an itch can get so out of hand.  I was alone, so I called Julie, she then called the doctor and he gave her a a list of things to help.  She showed up just in the nick of time and the ointments and pills seemed to work well.  That has been my only down point since coming home.  I am getting around more and more and have a ton more energy since last weekend.  Still not 100%, but enough to allow me to function fairly normally.
    One thing for sure is that I am getting around much more slowly.  Although, that is not always a bad thing.  It has allowed me a different perspective on things.  I am noticing things about the house and things in it that I did not before.  One such thing is that I learned that the carousel on my microwave makes one complete revolution every 10 seconds.  Not earth saving information, but when it takes a lot more effort to reach something at the back of the microwave that at the front, I know to cook everything in increments of 10 seconds.  That way when I put it at the front of the tray, it will be at the front when it is done.  Exciting stuff, huh?
    The weather has been typical Keweenaw fare.  Light snow most of the past 2-3 days.  It looks like we picked up about 4 inches yesterday and another inch or so today.  It has also been cold and windy.  Today as we drove to Houghton, I watched as folks rode down the trail and they did not seem to be bouncing around much at all.  I would imagine that the trails in most places are in pretty decent shape.  The forecast looks good too.  No thaws and a couple of decent chances for snow.  There is actually a whopper of a storm indicated for next weekend.  It is a bit too far out to feel too confident in, but one of the models has been indicating it for three days now, so that is a good sign.  I know that I will not really be able to take advantage of any new snow that falls, but I don't care.  It would still be awesome to be clobbered by a major storm.  We have not had one up here for several years and we are do.  Plus, I really want to bury the fence in the back yard.
    Actually, if we have a cold and snowy spring, then I should be able to take advantage of the snow.  I am about 5 weeks away from possibly being able to start to use the leg again.  I know that it will not be all good as new at that time, but I am determined to give it exercise between now and then and have it as ready to go as possible.  They do continue to groom up here through the whole month of March and I could be ready to use the leg by the middle of the month, so who knows.  I'm not talking about taking any KSE tours, but still, just a little ride down the trail before the season ends would be fun and might be in the cards.  If not, then I will just look forward to being able to take the hounds for walks in the woods and on the beach with Julie.  Speaking of Julie, she wants to say a few words, so I will let her take over the controls.
     Hey ya'll - it's me, Julie.  John and I had a fun day today.  Even though he had a rough start with his feet, he bounced back and was up for an adventure - shopping in the Twin Cities, Houghton and Hancock that is.  It was great for him to get out and back amongst the living.  As you saw above, he was terribly excited to get back on a motorized vehicle again, although the thing went way to slow for his liking, and I had to hold him back from tweaking the motor a bit for more speed.  You should have seen him though.  I cracked up the whole time.  He was in reverse (more of a challenge) most of the time and went down quite a few isles that we didn't need anything in.  John was none too concerned with shopping etiquette either as one woman had to grab her son out of the path of danger.  And then he pulled up to the lady in the other motorized cart, revved his motor and asked her if she wanted to race.  Of course I stayed at least 10 paces back to remain incognito.  That's when I caught him checking out the donuts.  Oh ya and John was pressing the morphine button every minute when he thought he heard the dietitian tell him that donuts were good for him.  The picture I didn't get was when he furrowed his brows in disappointment at the donut selection and took off and found the Hostess/Little Debbie display.  The guy is a brutal eater.  Next Dr's appointment...cholesteral check.  My bet is that it's up there - way up there.
     It does just keep snowing here but as far as I'm concerned, a major thaw around the middle of March will be perfect.  Next season for snowmobile riding is soon enough for me.  I think the walks in the woods and beaches sound wonderful to me - two feet on the ground at all times.  I know that he's goin back out there, but I need some time to psyche myself up for it.  I don't think I knew enough to worry this year.  Well, did I go to school two weeks ago.  This kind of knowledge I can do without.  I know you can take the boy off the snowmobile (for a while), but you can't take the "faster, higher, deeper" out of the boy.
     I should let John back in here and send this off to you.  He really does improve everyday and he is unrelenting in his determination to be stronger and independent.  He is so strong and will meet every timeline on the early end I'm sure.  I'm loving being with him everyday, but I know that he's getting more and more capable of doing almost everything himself - although he keeps saying how that vacuuming and toilet cleaning send those awful shooting pains through his leg.  Hmmm.
     Thank you all again for all your wonderful well wishes to John and your wonderfully kind words to me - they've meant so much to both of us.  Goodnight all.
    It's John here.  I just wanted to sign off, but before I do, I want to again thank all who have sent me cards and e mails and other forms of well wishes.  Words cannot really describe how good it makes me feel.  I have been brainstorming of ways for me to meet all of you sometime and I may just try and organize a ride-in for next year.  It is just in the thought stages right now, but I have some neat ideas.  I'll be sure to keep you all posted on this, so that we can make it a successful venture.
    Oh, and by the way, Burt and Baileys are doing just fine.  They seem to know that there is something keeping me from getting around and they do not bug me one bit to go for a walk.  However, they do know that the minute Julie arrives it is "WALK TIME!".  So far they have only yanked her down once.  Should have warned her about the "Beagle House". Julie back...(jerk!!!).  Hey, can she do that?  This is my journal!  I'm loosing control!  Julie back..."THE REALITIES OF DATING BUDDY!"  Ok, time for us to go, I think I will give here some of my pain meds to slow her down a bit.  I'll be sure to give her the ones labeled "for extreme pain".  She's getting to be one!  Julie back..."Oh BooHoo John"
    Good night from the Keweenaw!
- JD-
February 15, 2001-
    Greetings from a snowy Keweenaw.  I have to apologize.  I got a much later start on this than I wanted to and am out of steam already.  However, I did want to say that things are progressing well with my leg, there is very little pain anymore and I am glad for that.  Things are also going well with my mind.  I have not had too many periods of mental pain since I last wrote.  I think that I was just on a low part, trying to deal with both the physical and mental challenges.  My spirits since then have been very good and the physical challenges are getting smaller and smaller.
    Thanks again to all who have written in and sent me the words of encouragement, they have been a huge help.  Plus knowing that so many people care, genuinely care, also makes my recovery easier.
    So will cut this one short, very short, but I promise to give a more detailed recap of things tomorrow and I promise not to put it off until I am so tired.  Till then...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
February 14, 2001-
    Hello everyone.  I am getting an early start on things today.  I want to get the journal done, take a nap, and then get all cleaned up for when Julie arrives this evening.
    Things are going ok.  It is slowly becoming more of a mental challenge than a physical one.  Not just from the standpoint of the limitations I have, but also the fact that I have to stay inside all day.  I have not gotten cabin fever too bad yet, but can feel it building.  Plus the mental challenges arise from the physical ones.  Just doing every day tasks take a major effort.  One that I need to actually get myself psyched up for.  I'll be going along fine on those, like paying bills or something and then something happens like I drop something.  Now usually when something gets dropped, you just pick it up.  Not in my case, it takes a major circus act to balance myself and then drop down to pick it up.  Most times I actually break a sweat in a process like that.  It is also amazing how much work it is just to go to the bathroom!  I won't get into detail, but standard toilet seats are not made for a broken femur.
    So I don't know if it is the fact that since my physical pain is dropping I now concentrate on the mental aspects, or if the mental challenges are just adding up to the point where they really become hard.  I am making it, it just can become overwhelming sometimes.  Especially at night, when I am tired and alone.
    But enough of that.  I want to thank everyone again for sending in all the get well wishes.  I wish I had the energy and time to respond to all of them.  They do make me feel very good though.  It is nice to have some many people care.
    The weather has been fun to watch up here and it is also very nice to have all the tools available to put out a forecast.  Last week drove me nuts being in the hospital and trying to figure out what was happening with the storm from sources like the Weather Channel or the local news.  We have had fairly persistent snow since I got home.  Of course, the big snow was just when I got home, but then we have picked up an inch or two every day since.  It sure would be fun to get out and play in it all, but for now it is not to bad just to watch it fall.  This weekend looks to provide quite a bit of snow.  Maybe not a ton in 24 hours, but yet a fairly persistent snowfall for 3 or 4 days.
    I really don't know what else to talk about.  It seems like since I do not do much all day except for work, I do not have much to talk about.  The big excitement for the week will be Friday when I go to the doctors to get checked out.  I suppose that is when my staples will come out of my incision as well.  The leg is in a lot less pain than it was when I first got home and everyday things get better and better.  I can bet that in another week or two, my challenges will really be to keep myself from going stir crazy.  But maybe even by then I will be able to get outside myself.  If just to catch some snowflakes on my face.
    Good afternoon from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
February 11, 2001-
    I have a bit of energy so I decided to sit down and finish the story by telling of the hospital experience.  Of course the first few hours after surgery were spent in a deep sleep, being so drugged up.  By Monday, I was more alert, but still in an out of some fairly deep sleeps.  I had a thing that I called the magical morphine button, which was a button connected to a morphine syringe that allowed me to have that pain killer on demand.  They said I could hit it as often as I wanted, but for one, I am not one to take drugs, even things like aspirin and cold medicine and secondly, I thought that the button would only work every few hours or so.  After a period of some severe pain, they asked me if I had been hitting my button a lot and I said that I had a few hours ago.  They went on to explain that I can hit it as often as it want, that I would get a hit of morphine every 10 minutes if I kept hitting it.  So then things got a lot better after that.  I still did not abuse the item, only using it when I really needed it.
    There were lots of blood tests, pills to take and the ever frequent blood pressure test and O2 level test.  Plus they worry about a patient getting pneumonia when they are so bed bound, so I had to do breathing exercises with this funky devise and had breathing therapy twice a day.
    I had ups and downs, but my spirit was never broken.  The food was OK, even better when I found out I did not have to follow the menu and could order other things.  Plus Julie was awesome at bringing in contraband from places like the Library and the other finer eating establishments up here.  So I did not starve by any means.  The one thing I did not realize was just how much I slept when I was there.  I guess when I look back on it, that is why I did not get too bored.  I was always asleep!
    Physical therapists came in the first day to get me up and around.  The first day all we did was go from the bed to a chair right along side.  That only took me 15 minutes!  Kind of discouraging, but I did have to realize that at that point, my leg had been broke for less than 24 hours.  The next day was a little more productive. Up and out of bed and get around on crutches to the end of the hall.  By day three I was really getting around and things were going good.  Day four I was all confident and ready to get up and around.  I had even been doing my stretching exercises by myself.  We worked on climbing stairs on my crutches and then had an intensive workout of stretching and moving.  I think I over did that because that night (Thursday night) was really rough.  Lots of pain.  To make matters worse, my IV bag dried up and so we had to take the IV out or start a new one.  We opted to take it out and thus I lost my magical morphine button.  After spending a few hours in the most intense pain since the break itself, I had enough pills to kill the pain and put me to sleep.  That pain event really set me back mentally, as I was to go home the next day and wondered how I would ever make it without help.  Julie would be there a lot to help me through the weekend, but then by Monday I was on my own.  How would I make it, how would I make it kept going through my mind.
    Friday I awoke and the leg felt great.  The morning therapy went well and I felt mentally and physically ready to go home.  One problem, I could not be sprung until the afternoon, when Julie was done teaching and could come and get me.  Mother nature took care of my wait with a great snowstorm to watch.  The heavy snows started about 10 am and kept up all day and even through the night.  We ended up with about 12-14 inches new in most areas, with some places picking up 18-22".  Julie, true to form, worked it out that she could get out of work early and was there to pick me up almost an hour earlier than we had planed.  So at about 4, the hospital doors opened and I felt the chill of the Keweenaw air on my face and even got to have some flakes land on my eyelashes as I was rolled out to the car.
    It was really nice to be out and among the well again.  One of my first duties upon arrival home was to get to the captains seat and regain the controls of the site.  I read a few e mails and responses and then was worn out form everything, so went to bed.  So far this weekend has been pretty good.  A few bumps and one minor fall, but I fell back onto the couch.  Lesson learned:  Tell Baileys to move rather than try and get around her.
    Brian has been stopping in to see how I am doing and he even too the camera with him on a ride.  It's funny, I have spoken with a few of my friends and they have been out riding, but also have been taking it a bit easy.  I suppose my injury brought a little bit of reality to the riding that we can do at times.  I wanted to say that on all of the KSE tours, you are never subjected to a situation where you will be in over your head.  What I did was hit a large mogul that all the other riders went around.  Hindsight is 20/20 and I would have gone around it too, had I known.  I just did not want anyone to think that because of my injury, the risk was high to anyone who rides.  We were very careful to set things up that all the rides would have ways to get around a challenge if someone wanted to chose a less difficult way around.  I am the only injury of all our tours this season, which speaks well, as we have likely had about 60-80 riders so far.
    Like I said, Brian took the camera with him and he was not shy taking shots.  I ended up with about 25 I think.  Since I do not know the story behind most, I will just put a list up and you can click through them.  I was a bit jealous of the ride, especially since Brian was on my sled.  They said it is really deep out there.  Past the knee in all areas and past the waist in others.  Oh well, next year.  I still get to look out on it.  Here's the shots:  PIC 1 (my XLT), PIC 2 (Dave cutting some powder), PIC 3, PIC 4, PIC 5, PIC 6, PIC 7 (when a steel Polaris bumper meets a plastic Ski Doo bumper), PIC 8, PIC 9, PIC 10, PIC 11, PIC 12, PIC 13, PIC 14, PIC 15, PIC 16, PIC 17, PIC 18, PIC 19, PIC 20, PIC 21, PIC 22, PIC 23, PIC 24, PIC 25,PIC 26.
    Looks like I have some competition for picture taking!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
February 10, 2001-
    So I am wondering, who is more grateful to see a date other than "February 2, 2001" at the top of this journal, me or all of you?  I think it might just be a tie.  I am sorry for my absence, but I am sure that it is well known that I did have a reasonable excuse.  Before I go on with the details of things, I would like to say thank you to ALL those who have sent me well wishes.  I had well over 100 e mails and it looks like as many in the "Ask John".  I sat down to read them all this morning and broke into tears for a moment at how much I mean to you all and what a great group of friends I have here with this thing.  I would also like to thank all that gave words of encouragement and praise to Julie, "JW".  I have found the most wonderful woman in the world and do not plan on letting go.  She has been no less than a saint through all of this.  I am sure that you know a lot of what she has done like take care of the hounds and keep you updated, but there were thousands of other things that she has done and continues to do for me.  I am not sure I could have kept my mind through all of this without her.  With her, all I have had to do was concentrate on getting myself well and nothing else.  You cannot imagine the complications this accident caused and she took care of them all with flying colors and even took care of things I forgot.  I have never known anyone more caring, loving and hard working than her.  I cannot wait to repay the favor.  Of course, not the same way, but to baby her and treat her like royalty as soon as I am up and around.
    Now onto just what the heck happened.  Well, we were out on a tour and I was bringing up the rear.  We had already been down to see the dredge.  I am sure that a lot of you have seen this thing beached along the side of the road between Dollar Bay and Lake Linden, just to the north of Mason.  I wonder how many of you have seen the inside?  It was really weird to be standing on a level surface, but have the whole room tilted.
    From there we shot the lake across and rode some fields and back country trails and were having a blast, the conditions were perfect with the new snow and all and it felt really good to be out.  We then ended up running the side of the Gay to Lake Linden Road for a while.  I was still bringing up the rear and noticed everyone go past a perfect jump.  I decided not to waste this one, as I had done in the past and launched off of it.  The approach went well, I hit straight and the sled shot up into the air level.  Even the landing was good, but maybe a little harder than expected, because my left boot slipped off the running board.  My bodies momentum then continued to push my leg into the snow and this is where things get a little sketchy.  At the scene of the accident, I told the sheriff that my leg had gotten tangled up with the track somehow, but now I think that all that happened was the force of the snow just grabbed hold of my boot and leg and began to twist it.  Caution:  do not read on if you are weak of stomach.  Anyway, my leg continued to get wrenched by the snow and all of a sudden I felt and heard a "pop".  At that point, my body pretty much went numb and I let go of the sled and just let is slide out from underneath me.  I have never broken a bone before, but somehow knew that that pop either was a bone in my leg or my knee or both.  The pain was pretty intense.  Maybe not the worst I have ever been in, but just a really intense, dull pain.  Afraid I was going to loose my lunch in my helmet, I took that off first and then began to try and examine for any protruding bones.  There did not seem to be any, but my whole leg was going numb and I could not move it at all.  When I tried to move it a bit to free the good leg, I grabbed the top of my thigh, but the knee and rest of the leg stayed put.  At that point, I knew that I had lost something that was attaching the upper thigh to the rest of the leg, but I could still not tell if it was the knee or femur.
    The rest of the group was still traveling down the road and my sled was sitting there about 20 feet from me, just idling away.  Kind of made me jealous that it was just sitting there, ready to go, but I knew my season had probably just ended.  I was not cold yet, but was hoping the rest of the group would notice me not there soon so we could move forward with the whole police/ambulance/hospital thing.  It had been about 3 or 4 minutes when a group of riders came up from the direction we had come from and I flagged them down.  At first it seemed like they were going past, but then I head the racing of their engines getting closer and closer.  They were coming to help, and in a big hurry.  My anxiety of being alone in the cold with a mashed leg began to subside and I felt better already.  At least I would not die alone!  Anyway, they happened to be some Tech Students out on a ride through the bush and began to ask what happened and what was wrong.  I told them that the rest of my group was up ahead and one guy hopped on his sled and raced to catch up with them.  The others offered me things like their coats to keep warm, but at that point I was still warm.
    The rest of the group did show up a few moments later and it was determined that we needed the paramedics and hospital.  riding the back of a sled was not going to work this time.  We tried a few cell phones, but they were either out of reach or low in batteries so Brian sped down the road a bit to a friends house to call 911.  Just got 911 about a month ago, good timing huh?  Brian came back about 10 minutes later and said the call was put in and help was on it's way.  I was relieved, as the pain was really starting to wear me down.  I tried to keep my mind off of it by cracking jokes and stuff, but the reality of the situation was that I was in a ton of pain and scared to find out how bad it was.  Here is a shot of me trying to be brave.
    I also decided they guys should get a shot of the crash scene so that you all would have a better feel for things.  The picture does not show it real good, but I traveled about 10 feet and I guessed I was about 6-7 feet high.  I was not going really fast, about 20-30 mph.  That is what is so weird about this whole event, that it was not a big jump or a violent landing or anything.  Just one bad thing went wrong as my foot came off the running board.
    So I lay there in the snow, just waiting to get out.  I was beginning to get cold too and was now really wanting things to happen fast.  Of course when you want them to like that, they never do, but in reality the first respondent showed up about 5 minutes after Brian got back.  It was what we call a "first responder".  That is a local who is trained in emergency aid and has a scanner and can hear when assistance is needed.  This is a great thing, as sometimes things happen far from the towns and villages where the emergency personnel are stationed.  A few more first responders showed up and then about 10 minutes after Brian got back the Laurium Police showed up.  I immediately asked for a blanket and he came out with something resembling one of those dinner table cloth, with plastic on one side and a thin paper material on the other.  It did seem to help a bit, at least mentally.  The county sheriff was the next to arrive. Seeing their guns made me think that had I been a race horse, I would have been shot already.  The one county began to ask me questions for the accident report and I answered him.  At first he did not believe me when I told him my name, but we were all able to convince him that I was not trying to make up a name and escape justice or something.
    Finally the ambulance arrived.  I say finally, but they had to come from Calumet and they got there in about 20 minutes or so since Brian had returned from making the call.  They began to ask the questions and feel for protruding bones.  Finding none and seeing that I could still feel my toes was a good sign.  I would not die out there in the snow.
    The next step was about the most painful of the whole ordeal.  We needed to get me straightened out so that I could be put on a back board and then carried to the ambulance.  The whole moving/straightening/securing of the leg just about put me out.  I did black out, but did not loose conscienceness.  Meaning that all went black with the rush of pain, but I could still hear everything and feel everything.  I then got my sight back a few moments later.  They carried me off to the ambulance and then put me in for the ride to the emergency room in Laurium.
    Once in the ambulance, the one medic started an I.V. and I was glad to be on my way to the hospital.  I decided to ask her what she thought about my prognosis and she said it looked bad.  She said she could not say for sure, but that it looked like my leg was broke and would require surgery.  I asked how long and she said at least a week in the hospital.  Suddenly my world was tipped on edge.  What about the hounds? my work?  all the other stuff that makes up my daily life?  A bit of a panic set in.
    Before leaving in the ambulance.  I asked if the guys could call Julie and they said they would.  We had plans to meet at my house about 1 and go for a ski.  It was about noon and I did not want to stand her up.  A lot of the rest of the ride is a blur, but soon we were backing into the port of the emergency room and the doors flung open and I was the man of the hour.  3-4 persons were there waiting for me and we began to get my cloths off so that they could x ray my leg.  Julie also showed up, which was a huge mental boost for me.  More pain, as we had to take the splint off that was put on in the field.  I think that my yell told them I needed some meds so a shot in the arm with some stuff and then one into the I.V. with some more and soon the room was spinning and my leg did not hurt as much.  We got all the cloths off, but had to sacrifice my bibs and sweat pants for the cause.  Looks like I will be in the market for some new bibs for next season.
    Once the cloths were off and my leg was visible, it was a pretty gross sight.  My knee was all twisted in a manner than knees should not be.  The x ray's revealed that I had a spiral breakage of the femur.  I hope to get a copy of the x-rays and post them here, as they clearly show the break.  No need to be a doctor to diagnose that.  The bones were about 1" apart they whole length of the fracture, which was about 2/3rds of my femur.  The femur is the bone between the knee and the pelvis.
    So I had all I needed, but a surgical staff and operating room so I needed to be shipped down to the Portage hospital in Hancock.  I do not remember much of that ride at all.  The drugs had kicked in and I was spent from all the events over the past hour.  I basically slept the whole way down.  I awoke when we reached the hospital and was met by the surgeon.  He introduced himself and then escorted me off to the O.R..  Soon I was feeling the burn in my I.V. and then drifted off into a deep sleep.
    The surgery went well.  I have a rod and some screws holding the break together.  I have no cast, only stitches from the incisions made to insert the rod and screws.  I awoke in the ER to Julie's beautiful face.  I was shaking uncontrollably, they keep the OR at about 60 degrees.  I don't know why, but I was frozen after the 3 1/2 hours in there.  A lot of the rest of that night is a blur.  I was really drugged up.
    I will leave the hospital details for another time as I am getting a little tired.  That is my main problem now is I get so tired.  I really underestimated how much I slept when I was in the hospital.  I thought I would get home and be all ready to get back into action.  I do have pain in my leg and some meds for it.  At times I miss my magical morphine button I had in the hospital, but for the most part it is just that I run out of energy.  So I am not sure what the schedule for the site will be.  I will just take it one day at a time and I would imagine by the end of next week I will be pretty much doing it all.
    Julie sends her thanks for all of their kind words, well wishes and support through all of this.  It was a great help and very much appreciated.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
February 2, 2001-
    Well, the storm hit, not with the full effects anticipated, but not a dud either.  I drove down to JW's for dinner yesterday and took my truck.  A good thing because it was really coming down and the side roads on the way back were pretty deep.  I would have to say that we picked up 5-8" in most areas, but I do know of a few spots picking up 12"+.  It has actually been snowing all day.  Very small flakes and some periods, where they are barely falling, but still, that good old lake effect machine has been going all day, keeping everything all nice and white.
    Before I go on, I have to make a brief announcement.  A lot of my readers were also fans of the Landings at Lac La Belle.  Many of you were very interested in its status and back this fall it was re opened by new owners and was renamed the Lac La Belle Lodge and Seasons Restaurant.  The new owners are very great people and also very sled friendly (they have sleds and are riders themselves).  The only unfortunate thing was that the restaurant was not open constantly from breakfast through dinner.  That made it hard for the folks that were use to just dropping in and grabbing a bite to eat.  I am happy to report that they are now open from 9 am until 9 pm, 7 day's a week.  They also are in the process of re working the menu back to one that will please everyone.  It was a little fancy/gourmet before and they are working through the old stock of food and are on their way to having something for everyone. The owners Kathy and Troy are super people and it is their goal to please everyone, so I hope anyone that had bad luck in getting in to eat there earlier this season will give it another try.  I know I was one who arrived between meal times with the past setup and I will also be one to get back up there before the snow melts and then after as well!
    Now back to the events of the past 24 hours.  So my forecast was not a bomb, but was not right on track either.  I am just glad that I did not have two bombs in two weeks.  That is pushing the threshold of peoples tolerance!  My snow depth is 33" and that is as high as it has been all season and as high as it got last year as well.  Given the forecast for the next week to ten days, I am fairly confident that the snow depth will grow even more.  Some of the new snow will settle, but there is about 24-26" of snow that will really not pack much more.  That is the base from all of Decembers snows and January's thaws.  The snows may not be too heavy in the next few days, but by the middle to end of next week, I have a feeling that things could get really interesting around here.  Maybe in other areas of the Midwest too.  The one model, the MRF is indicating the "Mother of all Alberta Clippers" to drop in by next weekend.  Just the storm itself could bring as much as 6-10" of snow, with maybe twice that in Lake Effect.  Now, I need to add that a forecast that far out is bound to change and I would not be surprised at all to see the system not even indicated in tomorrow's run, but it is neat to dream about such a system occurring!
    The Village's Snow-go came down my street again today.  That is the second time this season.  Last year it only came once.  That thing really cranks!  It is so powerful, I can feel my house shake as he comes down my road.  It is also fun to watch the operator work it.  He is awesome at aiming where the snow ends up and is very careful not to pile it where it is not wanted.  A good thing because it could put about 3 feet of it there in less than 3 seconds and I am not kidding!  That brings up another announcement I wanted to make.  This is a little more personal, so you all will just have to bear with me.  Anyway, about a month or so ago, the grader came down to clear the road and used my front yard to turn around in.  That thing is huge, a regular road grader.  It really shook the house and scared the heck out of me.  It also left two deep trenches in my yard, almost all the way to the bushes.  I got a little worried that this might become the regular method they use to do my section of road.  I am at a dead end and they either need to drive in, then back out, or back in and then drive out or drive in and turn around.  The way they had been doing it last year was to back in and drive out and plow as they drove out.  If they kept turning around and using my yard, it would look like crap and could tear it up so I asked the village manager if she could ask them to not drive on my yard.  She did, but I think that maybe they got the wrong idea in that I did not want any snow piled up on my yard too, because ever since I asked her to talk to them, they have been very careful not to pile up the snow banks on my side of the street.  I really don't care about that, in fact I'll take all the snow I can get.  So Sue, if you are reading this, you can tell them that I don't care about having the snow piled up on my side of the road, I just did not want the grader going up onto my lawn!  Anybody reading this who sees Sue can also pass this message along to her!  For the rest of you, sorry for this little interruption, I could have just called up Sue or stopped in to see her, but this is kind of a neat way to do it, I think!  Here is one more shot of the snow go in action!
    I took the hounds out on the JW/JD ski trail.  The tracks had basically been covered from yesterday, but I have been out enough to know right were it goes.  In most areas it is not hard to tell, but there are a few fields where I need to line up a special tree with a bush or something like that to stay on track.  It is important to stay on track, as the snow is packed down underneath.  If I get off track, I still get through about the same, but the hounds sink up to their chest.  They can not go too far like that.
    Speaking of the hounds, they still are wanting to go and check out the culverts.  Even though they are filled with 2-4 feet of snow.  It is also getting harder and harder for them to get out, especially after a storm like we just had.  The snow drifts on the edge of the ditch and get about a few feet deeper than the surrounding snow.  Getting in is no problem, they just otter slide down into it, but once down, they have a job at hand to get back up.  Burt did not even go down this time, but Baileys did and had a time getting out!
    A little further on we came to my favorite spot on the trail, the buried creek.  The snow really collects out there and is really deep.  I cannot tell for sure, but I would have to guess that it is at least 5-6 feet deep.  It is funny, it would be an awesome place to take a sled through, but for some reason, I just have no desire to do so.  I guess I just like the idea of keeping that place as pristine as possible, and only leave a set of ski and some dog prints behind.
    I did not ride today.  I was tempted to, but thought that it would be nice to just take it easy after the ski and then sit down to do the journal.  I have a very important dinner date tomorrow so I will most not be doing a journal.  I am planning on going on part of a tour we have Sunday, so I will bring the camera.  I wish I had been able to get out on the tour today.  I bet there was tons of fresh to play in where they were going.  Oh well, next time.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
February 1, 2001-
    Today was has been an real exercise in patience.  Things in the weather department have been slow to develop and I have a forecast for at least 8-12" of snow hanging out there.  All morning I was watching the satellite imagery trying to figure out just what the heck was going on.  All I can say is that I was seeing things happen out on the big lake that I have not seen before.  The winds were out of many different directions and were not uniform as you went up into the atmosphere.  That created a hodge podge of lake effect snow bands.  At one point, much of the Keweenaw from Houghton north was basking in sunshine!  Not a good feeling when I was calling for so much snow.  By about 2 pm, things started to look a little better both in the satellite imagery and just looking out the window.  A band of clouds began to slip south across the Keweenaw and it appeared to be go time.
    I made a quick trip to the post office and then took the hounds out for a ski on the JD/JW trail.  I figured the sure way to make it dump was to go out there and run the trail.  That way the new snow would bury it and I would have to do it all over again tomorrow or Saturday.  The weather confusion did not end though.  The wind at the surface was still from the south, but this dark bank of clouds was moving in from the north.  Now I know that it is possible to have differing wind directions at differing levels of the atmosphere, but that cloud bank I was looking at was only a few thousand feet up and was moving in the opposite direction as the surface wind.  Strange.
    Here is a shot of the trail, just as the cloud band was moving in from the north (left in picture).  A little further down the trail, we were headed north and I could see the snow band associated with the cloud bank coming down the valley.  Still really weird to see the snow band traveling against the wind.  I decided it would be neat to take a shot before the squall hit and then one during the snow.  These two shots were taken about 60 seconds apart.  I should have included more of the view to the left, as that really demonstrated how much the visibility dropped.
    A little further up the trail we came to a swamp buried under about 3 feet of snow.  I stopped to take it all in and just appreciate my luck at being able to be where I was.  Many times when I am out in the beautiful wilderness up here I think back to my day's of working back in Chicago.  Thinking that if I was still there, I would have likely still been in the office. Yuck!  I know I should knock on wood here, but I don't think I could ever go back to that, even if I had to.  I think I would be much happier living here and just getting by financially than to head back south and make money.  I guess that old saying "You can't buy happiness" really does hold some weight.
    So the hounds and I are back home, all safe and sound.  It is still snowing out.  Not as hard, but not lightly either.  We have picked up about an inch in the past hour and it looks like the forecast will verify.  Maybe not a foot, things just do not seem that organized, but I will be surprised if we do not get at least 8" new.
    I did ski over the snowmobile trail today and the groomer had been out recently, so I would suspect that most of the trail conditions are in fairly decent shape.  Temps have been cold and with the new snow and grooming, they will be set up for the weekend.  I'm going to try and get out on a ride tomorrow.  Maybe even cut some powder 8's.  There is about 8-10" of powder out there already and with another 8", that would be plenty to lay'er down.
    Before I go, Brian, the KSE guide keeps reminding me to say hi to Mike and Mark, his ride last Thursday.  Hope you guys had a great time.  Speaking of time, if I ever make some, I will try and set up a gallery on the KSE site for the tours that we have taken.  I have not been able to go on all of them, so I don't have pictures from every one.  But if those of you who have been out, without me,  and have taken shots and want to send them to me, I will be sure to post them to the gallery once I get it up.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
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