I did not realize
it had been so long since doing my last journal. Here I thought I
would not have much to say, but actually might have a bit to talk about
and I do have some pictures to share. I guess I can start out by
saying that the site will go back into full update mode tomorrow.
I spent the better part of today making sure that the summer setup was
ready to go. I have made all the changes and will upload the summer
look tomorrow morning, as well as fire up the forecasts. Seems to
be strange talking about summer forecasts while l look out as snow still
on the ground. That's right, we got about 2.5" of snow last night
and it hung around pretty well all day, with temps only in the 30's.
We could actually get a little more in the next few days. Guess mother
nature is just making up for our December and January around here.
While we got 2-3", areas to our south got even more. Rhinelander
picked up 10" and a location about 20 miles to the southeast of Rhinelander
reported 20"! I can honestly say that I have mixed feelings about
not getting 20". It would have been neat to be able to ride today
and tomorrow and likely the next day or two, but then we would have had
to deal with the mess of the melting snow all over again. Some areas
are finally recovering from flooding and I would not want to wish any more
problems on those poor folks.
So it feels more like
winter around here than spring or summer. Actually I took the hounds
for a walk in the woods on Thursday and with the little bit of snow still
in the woods that afternoon and a cold wind blowing some flurries around,
it really felt more like the beginning of November than the end of April.
In fact, if I did not know better and would have been forced to guess,
I would have said it was the beginning of November or very close to hunting
season. The weather just felt that way.
I also took a trip
into the woods with the hounds on Friday. Actually, we took a trek
up the Hammell Creek. That is the creek that forms the Douglass Houghton
Falls. We did not hike up to the falls, still a little tricky footing
in spots along that route I would imagine. Actually we picked up
the creek where it crosses the Cemetery Road heading out of Lake Linden
and took it to the first tracks. That is where the snowmobile trail
crosses the creek. Most snowmobiliers would not even know they are
crossing the creek, as the trail crosses the creek about 75 feet above
it. Anyway, Friday was a little warmer and also sunny, so it was
a better day for a walk in the woods, and even a good day for the
hounds to do some exploring in the creek. They were really having
a good time, exploring a place we had never been to before. What
is most amazing about the fact that we had never been there before is that
we were only about a block away from my house. I did manage to get
the dogs stop running around for long enough to get a shot
of them posing.
There was even a patch
of snow left out there. Quite a big one too. No too deep
though, so it will not be around as long as the Laurium Glacier, but still
amazing to come across patches of snow in the woods as we get ready to
head into May. I was having a good time too. Exploring a new
area and seeing new sights. I guess you can say that I had shaken
my case of the "ordinaries". The creek even provided a small
waterfall to stop and enjoy. To get down to the waterfall, I
had to go down a pretty steep embankment. I had no problems, but
was amazed that the hounds did not beat be down there, or even make it
down. They kept running along the top of the embankment, looking
for the best place to get down. They never did make it down,
although all in all, it was a very enjoyable little excursion for all three
of us and now we have a place to go again.
Not much else exciting
to tell you about. You would never know unless I told you, but this
journal is being composed on a much faster computer. On Friday, I
had a new motherboard, processor and more RAM put into my main machine.
The old setup was a 300 MHz pentium with 128 meg or RAM. Sounds slow
now, but three years ago when I got it, it was state of the art.
I now have a processor that is 1.8 giga hertz and have 256 meg or ram.
The new motherboard is great too, with a built in sound card and 6 USB
ports. I went with the upgrade because everything else with the machine
was great. A high speed CD Rom and also a CD burner. My hard
drive is 30 gig and most importantly, all my software was already installed
and the machine was all set up to do all that I wanted it to do.
It would have taken me over a day to load all the software that I use and
reconfigure it to do what I want it to. Many programs I use have
been custom written for me and need tweaking every time I reinstall them.
So it was nice to drop off my computer at the tech's Friday afternoon and
get it back Friday evening running many, many times faster and with all
the programs still working.
I am amazed at how
fast things change in the computer industry. As I said, when I bought
my computer, a 300 MHz machine with 64 meg of ram and a 4 gig hard drive
was state of the art. It did not take long for the low end machines
to pass my machine in performance. That does not really bother me,
but the software developed usually is setup not for the older machines,
but the new ones. The software that was running my AL Cam was such
a processor hog that I had to shut it down when I used other programs that
needed lots of computing power. I do not use that program anymore,
but still, I will not have to worry about computer crashes or running out
of RAM anytime too soon. I suppose I will have to bit the bullet
in a year or two and get a new machine, but for now I am set. Now
if I could just get a machine that allowed me to type faster, I could sleep
in a little later! Actually I am thinking about checking out the
voice recognition software to see how that works. I can type pretty
fast, but not as fast as speak. Anybody have any experience with
The other thing I have
been doing this weekend is updating my operating software. I have
been tuning into the computer channel and saw where you can avoid many
of the virus problems by keeping your operating system (OS) software updated
every week or even every day if you want. For Windows 98 or newer
you just go to the start menu and click on the "windows update" choice.
It steps you through and updates your OS for you. All viruses are
written to take advantage of weaknesses in the OS. The problem with
anti virus software is that it can only protect you from a virus that is
already out. Updating your OS can protect you from viruses that have
yet to be created. Maybe not all of them, but many of them.
Since it's free, there is no reason not to. I guess I have gone off
on a tangent here, but thought that what I found out was pretty useful
stuff so I would share it with you. Hope it helps. Guess that
will do it for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
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which helps to make johndee.com
For as long
as I can remember, I have always tried to lead a life where "ordinary"
would not be used to describe the daily events that make up my life.
Not that I have to have life threatening things occur, or lead some wild
and crazy life. Heck, I go to sleep by about 9 pm most work days.
But to say my days are uneventful would not be a fair assessment.
Moving up here was a huge help in keeping ordinary out of my way of life
alive. All the interesting things to do, places to see and spots
to explore. Of course, the hounds also help to add excitement to
things, just watching them play or explore eliminates the opportunity of
ordinary to occur. However, I have to admit that the past few days
have been rather ordinary. Not that that is bad, I guess every once
in a while a little bit of ordinary is ok, but I will have to make sure
that is does not continue for too long. Part of the problem today
was the weather. We had thunderstorms roll through in the morning
and it has been raining lightly almost all day and now the wind is blowing
at about 35 mph, with gusts to 45 and the rain is changing to snow.
I suppose a trip to the north shore would be neat to see the waves building,
but with temps in the 30's, winds in the 30's, rain and snow, I think that
the hounds and I will sit this one out. Thus, the day will end without
one single walk for the hounds and I. We are now up to three a day
with the snow gone.
So the downside of
my ordinary days of late to all of you is that I do not have a lot to share.
The hounds and I did take a walk in the woods the other day and around
the Lake Linden sands yesterday, but other than seeing a few geese on the
sands, and a few seagulls squawking at us from above, not a whole lot of
wildlife was seen. I did not take any pictures because the scenery
was not any different from what I posted in the previous journals, so I
am really hurting for material. I have tried to take some video with
the new camera and load it onto my computer, but something is not working.
The camera seems to be recording and I do download something, but when
I go to play it, all that is seen is a black screen. There is no
lens cap to worry about so that is not it! I plan to play with it
a little more then call the tech line for the camera. I did get the
video to record and play back while the cam was directly connected to the
computer, but ended up with a file that was about 10 seconds in length
and about 60 meg in size! I doubt that people on a dial up connection
would want to spend 5-10 hours downloading a 30 second video of anything!
The video was very clear, almost as clear as a regular camera shot, so
it must have been in some kind of a different mode. I think the computer
was just capturing the live feed from the camera and not the camera actually
in video mode. So I do not have any video to share with you all yet.
I do have have a shot
of the Laurium Glacier.
It was taken yesterday, in our clear blue skies and temps in the low 50's.
As you can see is it still hanging on pretty good. I would think
that persons with dates from May 10th to the 20th would be most likely
to win, but you never know. We could see a string of 70 degree days
and it could melt off faster, or we could see temps like today occur and
it could stick around till the end of May, you just never know. I
would have to say that it is still about 5-7 feet deep. The amazing
thing to me is that is sits in the sun all day, so it is really it's size
at the end of winter that makes it hang around so long. There were
a few piles of snow in the woods, down in the deep ravines cut by the small
creeks. There the sun almost never shines directly, so the snow would
be expected to last longer. When I go into some of those ravines
in the summer, the temps are even cooler. Unless we get accumulating
snow overnight, my front yard will be bare in the morning. The very
last scraps of snow are melting.
I did get my sled all
cleaned up and greased up. I cleans up well. Amazing what I
will put it through all winter and it still looks so good at the end of
the season. I plan to do a little bit of tune up work to it next
fall to try and get it to run just a bit better. I think one problem
is that it is running very rich, but I do not want to lean it out too much.
Better to have it run rich than lean at 10,500 miles. 1850 miles
for the season. Probably all but about 300 were in the bush.
I good season I'd say.
So I guess that does
it for this time. One last thing. If anyone is having problems
with the pictures taken with the new camera let me know. The one
of the Laurium Glacier in today's journal was with the old camera, but
all the shots in the last entry were with the new cam. The reason
I ask is that the images will not load on one of my old programs that I
used to use to resize images, but do show up in all my other programs,
including my browsers, but just wanted to make sure that everything was
Good night from the Keweenaw.
I really do
not have a whole lot to say, but I do have a spare moment and a few pictures
I took, so I figured I may as well get out a journal. I continue
to play with the camera and it's software. I am really amazed by
the ability of this camera for it's price. The Al Cam images are
really clear and the still shots I take when I use it as a hand held are
even better. There are a few down sides. The only way to erase
the images from the camera are to hook it up to the computer and use the
computer software that came with it to erase the images. I don't
think that it would take that much doing to make it so that the images
could be deleted just using the camera itself, so if anyone reading this
works for Creative Technologies, that would be a good feature to add to
the next generation of this cam. The other downside to the cam really
does not have to do with the cam itself, but is the fact that almost no
documentation came with the cam. A little one page handout was included
and tells you how to operate the camera and how to load the software.
From there you are on you own for now only how to use the software, but
also what some of it is even for! About 5 programs came with the
cam and I am still learning what each one can do. The other night
I was playing with one of them and figured out that it can assist in the
compiling of images to make a panorama. So I went back to an old
panorama I took this past January and used the software to create a new
one. Compare this new
panorama with the old
one. The software is really neat, I will automatically match
the photos up, then blend them. You can also manually adjust things
if the computer has problems. Pretty neat I think. I guess
you all can expect some panoramas in the future. I still have not
tried to shoot a video. Actually, the shooting part is easy, it will
be the downloading part and manipulation part that will likely be the hard
things to do, as there is no documentation. There are help files
I guess the only other
down side will be the fact that when I am using the cam as a hand held,
it will not be running as the Al Cam. Maybe I'll have to get two
of them, they are pretty inexpensive. Actually, I think I will just
get a better hand held by next winter. I did take the cam with me
when the hounds and I went for a walk yesterday. We were able to
return to the bush and walk the snowmobile
trail. I was really amazed an how dry things were up there.
That was Friday when we went up there and we did have about a third of
an inch of rain on Wednesday and the snow also just melted on about Monday.
There were a few wet spots, but those are there almost every time it rains.
It was nice to return to that trail. It is just so peaceful and beautiful,
I think that the hounds even got a special thrill at being back up there.
They seemed to have an extra bounce in their step when we got to the trail.
I once read something where this guy believed that dogs do not really care
where they walk, as long as they get to go for a walk, but I believe that
Burt and Baileys do enjoy getting out into the woods or going to the beach
more than just walking my neighborhood. I know I do!
Believe it or not,
there were still a
few patches of snow up there. Obviously not enough to ride but
still a little amazing considering the weather we had earlier this week.
My backyard is now officially clear of all snow and raked as well.
There is even areas where it is fully green and growing too. It probably
will need the first cut by about the first of May. My front yard
still has a patch of snow on it, but hopefully that will be gone in a few
days so that I can rake that and get ready to start cutting it. It
is also a common practice for people to run their snowthower into the piles
of snow and spray it on the roads or bare spots of their lawn in an attempt
to get rid of it faster. It does work, the snow melts fast when it
hits the road or bare ground on a sunny day. Although I bet this
is one of the only places in the country where people first move the snow
from the roads and driveways into their yards, only to move it back from
the yard to the roads and driveways!
Today was a bit on
the chilly side, with highs only in the upper 30's to low 40's, but the
sun was out for most of the day and that helped to take some chill out
of the air. I had plans on taking down the Christmas lights and bush
protectors, but we ended up golfing instead. The L'Anse golf course
opened this past Thursday. Being in the Banana Belt, L'Anse does
not get as much snow, so they loose it sooner than most of the Keweenaw.
The courses up here hope to open in the next week or two. Another
neat thing about the new camera is that it has a timer, so I was able to
use the timer to take a shot of our foursome
today. It was me, Ron, Al and Jeff. Pretty neat to be riding
sleds on Tuesday and golfing on Saturday. Actually, we could have
ridden sleds on Tuesday and golfed on Thursday. I will say that I
am looking forward to golfing in shorts and a short sleeved golf shirt!
It was actually not that bad out there today, but warmer temps would have
made it perfect.
So I guess that gets
you caught up on things up here. Sort of a slow time of the year,
but with the snow gone, things will start to pick up. I will get
up to take a shot of the Laurium Glacier this next week. It is still
pretty deep and with fairly cold temps indicated through all of next week,
it might just hang around longer than it did last year. I will be
resuming the forecasts on Monday the 29th. I was thinking about resuming
them this coming Monday, but am really enjoying the break and feel my batteries
recharging. Pretty interesting forecast for MN and WI tomorrow and
Monday, with accumulating snows to fall. Maybe some of you will be
able to get in your last ride later than me. Of course maybe we have
some more snow to fall too!?
Good night from the Keweenaw.
I'd have to
say that if I could order up the perfect spring weather scenario, this
would be it. We went from winter to summer in about a week.
Now I realize that we will go back to spring here in a little bit, but
we lost almost all of our snow in a week to ten days. My yard is
now bare, well, at least my backyard. The front still has a patch
that is left over from clearing the driveway and walkway. That patch
is about 10 feet by 20 feet and is about 6-12" deep. It should be
gone in a few more days.
As I have said frequently,
the worst time of the year up here for me is the meltdown. Things
get all messy, you can't really play in the woods and it is just depressing.
Well, that depressing time lasted about a week to ten days. Even
if it does get cooler again (and it will) and rains (and it will), since
most of the snow is gone, we will be able to head back into the woods in
a day or two following the rains. We may even get more snow, but
it will not last more than a day or so. I even got most of my yard
work done. I scooped the dogs poop that had been deposited all winter
and also got the yard raked. All I need to do is take down the bush
protectors that are still standing and take down the christmas lights and
all my spring yard work will be done. If it does stay fairly warm,
I might even be cutting the grass in 2 weeks. It is greening up in
All the warm weather
has not been good for the creek and river levels. Not many problems
around here, but down towards Chassell a few roads are closed and there
are more serious problems in Wakefield and also in areas around Marquette.
My basement has had a little seepage, but nothing that I cannot handle
by going down and using the shop vac to suck it up. It has actually
almost stopped seeping now and did not really start until last Thursday
when we had all that rain and snow melt.
For those of you not
in the know, we hit 85 degrees yesterday. That is 39 degrees warmer
than the average for this time of the year. Needless to say it was
a new record. Heck, an 85 could be a record for a day in June, July
or August around here, let alone April. Of course, this is the Keweenaw
and there is a chance for some snowflakes to fall tomorrow night.
we may even get accumulating snow by the middle of next week!
With temps in the mid
80's, it seemed like a good day for a ride. No, I have not lost my
mind. There was enough snow in spots of Keweenaw County to ride in
and I thought it would be neat to ride
in shorts and a T-shirt, so I gave Brian a call and he agreed.
We were joined by Matt, who lives in the area we were going to ride in.
I must admit, it felt really weird to be loading the sled with temps climbing
through the 70's and me wearing shorts and a T-shirt. We stopped
to put some gas in the sleds and people thought we were nuts, but we had
fun. Here's a shot of a section
of trail we were riding. We were not on any DNR trails, they
are bare. We were riding all logging roads deep in the bush and in
some of the highest terrain of the Keweenaw. Here's another
shot. Not bad EH? Heck, the DNR trails were worse in many
areas for much of the season. Of course the snow was very soft, but
still snow and the sleds did just great. It felt equally weird to
be riding through the woods with only shorts, a T-shirt and boots on.
Oh, and we did wear our helmets. Both Brian and I thought the ride
on Saturday without them was not too smart. We did not go fast on
that ride, but still, I was not comfortable and will never do it again,
even if I am the only one wearing one.
We also stopped a little
more frequently to keep the sleds from overheating, but with snow hitting
the heat exchangers, I don't think it was a problem at all. Here's
a shot of Brian and
I showing off our legs. Here is Brian
and Matt heading down the trail. Here we are taking
another break. Even though there was about 8-10 inches of snow
to ride on, the melt was in full force, so there were some wet
spots to slosh through. That was Brian, here
is Matt and here
I am. That was a rather tame wet spot. There was actually
a section of trail that was about 100 yards long that was nothing but a
river about 1-2 feet deep. After riding up it once, we all had so
much fun, we turned around and went back down so we could come back up.
It had some turns on it too, which really made it a challenge. After
Saturday's water skipping, I felt much more confident going through the
water yesterday and after fixing a loose spark plug wire, the Pol Cat handled
the water just fine. No sinking, well at least to the bottom.
However, Brian said I should be called Moses because when I ride through
the water I do more parting than skipping. Here I come back
up from the other direction in the same skipping spot, and here I am
my parting technique.
The other byproduct
of the melt was that the creeks were running at full force. Creeks
that might only be a few inches deep or even dried up in the summer were
2-3 feet deep and some were even 4-5 feet deep. Most were about 10
feet wide and to throw in a challenge, some of them had banks of snow 1-2
feet high on either side. I can honestly say that the first few my
heart was in my throat, but by the end of the day, my confidence was way
up and it was actually a blast to ease up to them, hammer the throttle,
pull the skis up off the ground and skip across the creek to the other
side. Here is Brian
illustrating how it is done.
At the end of the ride,
we were loading our sleds on the trailer to go home. Matt lives on
a lake up here and as Brian was getting ready to pull his onto the trailer,
we heard Matt head out onto the lake. The ice had melted along the
shore, but there was still at least 6-8" of ice on the lake itself.
Brian was out fishing on it a little over a week ago and the ice then was
about a foot and a half thick. Anyway, with the sound of Matt riding
out on the lake and even doing some skipping of the water along the shore,
Brian's eyes lit up and he turned away from the trailer and headed out
to the lake. They started taking turns skipping the shoreline, here
is Brian. They were having so much fun, I figured that the only
way this episode of riding would end would be for one of them to sink their
sled. I was right, here's Matt
pulling his sled to shore. Here is a shot taken a little closer
in, after he pulled
it to shore. Brian ended up pulling in front of him and pulled
him back to Matt's house. We pulled took the plugs out, pulled a
few times, put the plugs back in and after some more pulling it started
up. Ran a little rough until all the water was out of the pipes,
but then ran just fine. Even so, I think I will avoid large bodies
of water for my skipping, or parting, which ever may be the case.
So yesterday will be
a ride to remember for quite some time. The only downside is that
the back of my calves got sunburned and the whips were a little hard on
the legs, hands and arms, with no clothing to protect them. I have
a few scratches to show for the ride, battle scars I guess. I bet
we were one of the last guys to ride up here and maybe some of the last
to ride east of the Rockies. Riding Tuesday, golf Saturday...I love
The other exciting
news is that I got a new camera. Actually, I got it to upgrade the
AL Cam, but it can also be taken off the stand and used as a regular digital
camera. It has better resolution than both my old AL Cam and my old
digital cam and can also take a 35 second video. I sure wish we had
the cam for yesterday's ride, but it did not arrive until today.
I did take with me on our afternoon walk today to try it out and the first
shot with the new cam was obviously granted to my
two buddies. Aren't they cure? I'll have to take some video
of them too. Here is another shot I took of the village of Lake
Linden with the melting Torch Lake in the foreground. I just
got it working as the AL Cam and the new image will be up tomorrow morning.
For those of you wanting to know what make and model, it is from a company
called Creative and is the Procam 600. It was about $150 dollars
and came with software that will run the cam. However, it did not
come with software to upload to the web, so I am using Kabcam software
from www.kabsoftware.com. They have an evaluation software that is
free and after playing around with it, it did everything I wanted it to
do and was only $20, so I bought a registered copy. I still may get
a new digital cam, one with zoom and other fancy features, someday, but
with this new one I will probably wait a while. The bottom line is
the Al Cam image will be very nice now and the still images will be pretty
I guess that gets you
all caught up in the goings on here. Until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
Spring has most
definitely sprung! The snow's a going fast, the birds are out and
we had our warmest day since November 18th today, with a high of 57 at
the airport, but likely in the 60's in a few other places. I am actually
sporting a little bit of color on my face from all the sun it got.
Not a burn, but some color, that is for sure. It was fairly plain
to see that today was going to be a great day. The sun was shining
brightly as soon as it came over the eastern horizon and the temps were
in the 50's by noon. Today seemed like the perfect day to head to
beach for a walk. The hounds are still sporting their winter
coats, so I knew that a walk today would heat them up and I figured that
a walk along the lake would allow them to take a dip anytime they wanted
to cool off. It was a perfect day for a walk on the beach, bight
sunshine, temps in the upper 50's and very little wind. We ended
up walking pretty far and the hounds did take several dips in the big lake
to cool themselves off. I did not need to resort to such drastic
measures. I usually wait until August to do that, although I might
wade in the water in June and July. Burt and Baileys did more than
wade today, Burt even fetched
a few sticks, his favorite beach time activity.
It was such a nice
day that we even were able to ride with the windows down and we took the
long way home from Big Traverse. When we got home, I saw a message
on my answering machine and it was Brian telling me that a few of the guys
were getting ready to go for a ride. So I grabbed my stuff and headed
out to Brian's with my sled. With it being so warm, all I was wearing
was a pair of nylon jogging pants and a long sleeved T-shirt. Felt
kind of weird to be on the sled without the bibs and jacket on, but it
also felt good. The ride was really more of a water skipping excursion
than a traditional snowmobile ride. It was actually planned that
way, I was a little leery, as my only water skipping experience was unexpected
and happened when we were crossing a pond back in December. The pond
had snow on it, but I was about number 8 in a group and by the time it
was my turn to cross, there was no snow and just about all water.
I made it, but it was pretty close! So needless to say I was a bit
nervous to do the water skipping today, but I also knew that the water
we were going over would never be much past my waist and never over my
head, so the worst that would happen is that I would get wet and cold.
With all the melting
and rain in the past few days, it is not too hard to find water to skip
over and we only had to ride about a quarter of a mile from Brian's house
to find the first swollen creek. Here's a shot of Al
crossing on his 900 Mountain Cat. Here's Kenny
heading up stream on his mustard bucket, and here
I am on the Pol-Cat. Of course, with these guys, it is not enough
just to water skip, we had to ride up stream like Kenny demonstrated and
some of the guys even had to throw in jumping, like Todd
illustrates here. I did not partake in the jumping. I figured
that since this was my first time water skipping (on purpose), that I would
not get too carried away, but I did travel upstream about 200 yards and
you had to follow the twists and turns of the creek too. After about
an hour of that, we headed back to Brian's house to see if anyone else
had shown up and Brian's son Cole decided he wanted to be part of the gang
and took his Kitty
Cat through a mud puddle in their yard, a little water skipping of
his own. Apple does not fall too far from the tree in that family!
When nobody else showed
up, we headed back out in search of the BIG water holes. We did manage
to find some bigger ones and I just about did not make it across one.
In fact, the back of the track did sink down far enough to make contact
with the ground and that is the only reason I made it across. It
is not a real good feeling to be headed across open water and feel your
momentum drop faster than will be enough to carry you to the other shoreline.
Thankfully when my track hit bottom, it was enough to shoot me the rest
of the 20 feet or so to the other bank and I was back on high ground.
Sinking your sled is not the only hazard when water skipping. When
you are riding with a bunch of long tracks with 2" paddles, you make sure
you are far enough back from them when they take off, or you will end up
looking like Brian's
sled did here, when was too close to Al when Al took off. Brian
was lucky enough to duck out of the way and was not splattered in mud.
Not all of the day's
riding was across water. We did find a
more conventional surface to ride across from time to time. If
you ask me, I prefer the snow better. Although it was a rush to scoot
across the water, especially since it was about 33 degrees! On the
way back we came to the jumping spot again, so I moved into position and
snapped some shots of the guys water jumping. Here's
Brian and here's
AL. Those long tracks sure do scoot across the water with ease.
Especially Al's 151" track with the 900 cc spinning it. It was more
like a jet boat than a snowmobile. He could actually slow down and
let the sled start to sink, then just hammer on it and the front skis would
lift about 3 feet off the water and the sled would be flying through the
Al felt really bad
about getting Brian's sled all muddy, so he decided to clean
it off for him. We all just about fell to our knees on that one.
When Brian got to shore, he stopped and spit out a mouthful of water!
So now I can add water
skipping to my resume of snowmobile adventures. I was fun, but I
do like the snow better. Give me about 15" of fresh powder and I
am a happy camper. I think that might have been the last ride of
the season. The snow is really going fast now. My back yard
is almost half bare now and I would imagine will be all bare, except for
the piles made by shoveling the roof, in a few days. I am ready for
bare ground. Al and I went and played golf on a simulator last night.
It is very realistic. You shoot your ball into a screen and sensors
pick up on the trajectory and speed and a computer then projects your shot
on the screen. We played the front nine at St. Andrews and I shot
a 9 over. Not too bad considering that was the first time I swung
the club all year. Some of the courses are hoping to open in about
2 weeks. If we have more day's like today, that should not be a problem.
Snowmobiling one weekend and golfing two weeks later. This sure is
a special place.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
Yuck, what a
nasty day. Off and on rain showers with temps in the 30's and now
it is even snowing. Not accumulating, more like slush falling.
It is suppose to rain all night tonight, all day tomorrow and into tomorrow
evening and we could pick up over an inch an a half of rain by the time
it is all said and done. Too bad it is not snow! Actually,
I am getting pretty excited for the summer weather to get here. It
is not that I am sick of snow, but after days like today, it may as well
be in the 70's and rain, rather than in the 30's. The snow is still
hanging on, although the trails that I have seen from the road are cooked.
I would imagine the trails in the woods by my house and also from about
Mohawk north would be snow covered, but the trail going from Hancock north
to Dollar Bay was just about all mud and the few peaks I saw of the trail
near Copper City had some water and mud on it. I am not sure if I
will be riding this Saturday or not. Just about everyone in our group
is chomping at the bit to do one last ride. The type of ride where
we can say; "We took our last ride on April 20th last year" or something
like that. The rains will melt some of the snow and temps will also
be warm enough to melt some, but I would imagine the places we have been
riding the past two weekends will still be able to be ridden the weekend
of the 20th-21st, maybe even the 27th-28th if we are not too picky about
what we are riding on. The main problem will be the creeks that are
starting to run. Up until now we have been able to either jump them
or ride right over them as they have been buried under snow. With
the spring melt, some of them can get pretty deep, so we'll see how things
go, but I can almost guarantee that we will be riding at least once more,
the sun peaked it's head out for a little bit. From about October
through April, sunshine is not a very common thing, but then almost every
day from May through September is sunny, so it does even out a little I
guess. Anyway, the sun felt good and I decided to take the hounds
to the north shore for a walk. This is the season where it can be
a little hard for me to come up with subject matter to talk about in the
journal and share with pictures, but I took the camera along anyway, just
in case. I was glad I did because there was some pretty scenery and
some interesting things to see that I can share. As mentioned, the
snow is melting and the creeks are opening up. Here is one that was
it's way to the big lake.
The hounds are liking
the thaw a bit, they get their favorite things to play in back, the lakes
and culverts. Here's a shot of the hounds
checking out a culvert. As for the big lake, they will have to
wait a little longer for that one to become completely accessible.
Still a lot of ice
castles out there. Even some ice volcanos. Here is a shot
of the hounds posing
in front of one of the ice volcanos.
Where a creek empties
out into the lake, is has melted the ice pack along the shore and there
is a bit of the big
lake showing. That was enough for the hounds to take their first
swim of the season. It is just amazing to how they can tolerate
that water. It has to be just a few degrees above freezing and they
wade around in it like it is Miami Beach or something. They did get
a little cleaner by going for their swim and their fur is even softer now
Not much else is going
on up here. I was asked to be the speaker at a gathering tomorrow,
so I figured I had better get out a journal tonight because I will not
be able to get one out tomorrow and will probably not feel much like it
on Friday. I suppose I will have to start trekking to the waterfalls
in the region to get shots of them. It is getting to be that season,
then smelt season, then golf, berry and beach season!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
It felt a more
like spring today. Still looks a lot like winter, but we did manage
to break into the 40's. Looks like a lot of 40's in the coming days
and maybe even some 50's by next weekend. Still lots of snow down
up here though. With the exception of today, we really have not melted
much at all in the past week or so. There is still at least 3 feet
in the woods up north, with at least 2 feet around my house. My yard
is melting, but that is because it is in the full sun and the snow stick
is close enough that even the heat that reflects off the house melts the
snow faster. That is why it is down to about 12" near the stick,
but still at about 18" in the yard and over 2 feet in the woods.
I've been taking full
advantage of the snow by playing in it. I took the hounds for a ski
through the fields and woods by my house. We even crossed the Hammell
Creek. A great day for a ski as we had picked up about 2 1/2"
of new snow earlier. Friday morning it started to snow at about 5
am. Between 5 am and 9 am we picked up about a half inch, then it
really started to come down and from 9 to 9:30 we picked up 2", then it
tapered off again. For a while there I was actually hoping that it
would keep coming down. Visions of busting some fresh powder started
to enter into my mind, but it wasn't to be. That's ok though, still
got in a great ride on Saturday. Probably one of the best rides of
the season actually. No fresh powder to bust, but lots of fun places
to ride and a snow surface that would let us go just about anywhere.
We had quite the crew
out riding yesterday. 11
in all. I guess word gets out how much fun we have and people
want to join in. Amazingly, we only lost one for the whole day and
that was about 5 minutes into the trip. Some mechanical problems
with his sled and he dropped out. The rest of the crew did not have
any mechanical problems, nor did we have any crashes that would damage
a sled or body. By late in the afternoon, the ranks had been thinned
down to 7, but that was due to 3 riders having to quit early to go somewhere
and one rider just to tired to go on. Here's a shot of the 7
remaining, 6 actually, I was behind the camera. That shot was
taken towards the end of the day and nobody had much energy left.
As I said, the ride
was great. A total blast. It was a mix of logging roads and
skidder trails and at one point we even just cut our way through the woods
to get from a logging road to some hills we saw. If it were not for
the swamps or creeks, we could probably ride anywhere we wanted to, just
cutting our way through the bush, making our own trail. The snow
is so dense and so deep that it hides any objects like stumps and fallen
trees that might cause problems and also supports the sled so well that
you can just stop and take a look around and then start going again.
Even on a steep slope. I only got stuck once and that was because
I tried to turn around at the wrong spot and spun the track. But
even getting out was not a problem. No major dig out, just lift the
track into some fresh snow and head out. I guess that is one reason
we were able to put in 5-6 hours of hard riding. Without the digouts,
we were able to use our energy for riding only.
Just about all of the
ride was spent in places I had never been and I am fairly certain that
when we decided to ride about 2 miles through the woods, on no trails what
so ever, that we were the first sleds to do so. A really neat thing
to experience. I felt like a true explorer. I guess the only
down side to the whole event was that I was so busy having fun that I was
not able to stop and take many pictures. I have only one more to
share with you and that is of our
tracks on a hillside we played on.
So I would imagine
that we have at least one more ride left. The places we were riding
yesterday will still have snow for several more weeks. The hill climbing
might be ending soon as the snow pack thins and stumps and logs start to
show up, but the logging roads will still support riding for another wee
to ten days at least. I doubt we will be riding in May, but we would
be during the middle of April at least. Strange to think in a month
I should be getting ready to cut the grass and play some golf. Looking
forward to that too, at least the latter of those two!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
Well, I did
have plans to update this sooner. Not Monday, that was only 24 hours
since the previous update and I did not have any material. By Tuesday
I had a few things to share, but got caught up taking care of some other
things and then got home late from a ride yesterday, so here I am today.
I do have some interesting shots to share and a few stories to tell, so
your patience will be rewarded.
Were still hanging
on to winter up here. The past 3 nights we have picked up at least
a dusting of snow. Actually had more than that in a few spots early
yesterday morning, about 2-3" just to the south of me and up to 4-5" in
a few other spots in the western UP. This time of the year, if we
are not going to get a foot, then I'd just as soon not get any at all.
The sun is so strong it melts off very quickly and just makes a mess of
things. A foot would be fine because it would be enough to play in
and would also last for a few days before becoming part of the "ice pack".
The snow on the ground is so dense that it is more like ice than snow.
I was asked in the "Ask John" what the liquid equivalent content of the
snow on the ground right now was and guessed it to be about 5 or 6 to 1,
meaning 5 or 6" of snow would melt down to 1" of water. Well, I was
way off. The liquid equivalent was 2:1. I was so surprised
by the first result that I picked a different spot and came up with almost
the exact result. 10" of snow melted down to just a little less than
5" of water. That means that there is still 1-2 feet of water out
in the woods. I guess that is why some of the creeks and rivers will
run up here all year round. All that snow melts, some of it directly
runs off in the creeks and rivers and some of it fills up swamps and lakes
and then those swamps and lakes feed some of the creeks and rivers.
Also shows how well this area can handle an influx of moisture. Most
of the snow will be melting in the next 2-3 weeks and we will likely be
getting some rain too. That means that the area will have to deal
with the equivalent of over 1-2 feet of rain falling in the next few weeks.
Most areas would see flooding, we just have good waterfall viewing!
Last year we had some flooding, but that was because we melted off about
2-3 feet of snow and got 5-8" of rain in 3 weeks and even then the flooding
was not severe.
So with the snow still
hanging around, the hounds and I have been taking to the woods for skis
and I went for a ride yesterday and will be going on one Saturday.
I took my first wipeout of the season on skis the other day. Not
a bad one, but still a good one. A full face plant. We were
at the school forest and going down about the only hill out there.
Not a big one, only about a 10 foot drop and about 50 feet long.
However, there is a turn at the beginning of the hill and a small fallen
tree that I have to duck under about halfway down the hill. I managed
to make the turn and duck the fallen tree, but did not see a stick on the
ground. The melted snow had revealed a stick on the ground.
That stick managed hook my ski and down I went. I did not go down
without a fight though. I managed to get a few more feet down the
hill with one ski on the ground and the other up in the air behind me and
then the sight of another tree in my path caused me to give it up.
I did manage to take a shot
of the accident scene for insurance purposes. Actually, the worst
part of the deal was trying to get back up. I had forgotten how had
it is to get back up after falling with cross country skis on. Nothing
hurt but my pride though.
Had a great ride with
Brian and Kenny yesterday. Temps were cold and lots of clouds so
the snow stayed very firm and it did not get too hot. We spent about
95% of the ride in the bush, going from Brian's house in the bush to Gay.
However, we did ride about a mile of the Gay-Mohawk trail and found it
to be in good shape.
I wish that I could give a report on the whole trail system, but I have
not been on much of it for over 2 weeks, but I would imagine that the majority
of the trail system was like I encountered. A few spots may be bare
or icy, but the majority of the trails should be snowpacked and flat.
The rest of the ride
was all in the bush, mostly on logging roads, but a few of them through
the woods and up the hills. We even had to cross
a make shift bridge. Here is Kenny
crossing. The bridge was not really wide enough for the skis
to cross and earlier in the season, the snow was draped over it and it
was wider. To cross now you had to put one ski on the snow and lean
enough to keep the other ski from dropping off the edge.
There were no other
tracks on a lot of the trails we were on, including the one with the little
bridge, so it looked like we were making the first tracks of the season,
but Brian said that he had been back there earlier this season, even with
a few KSE tours. So maybe some of you reading this will recognize
the bridge. Still, it was neat to be riding through the woods, on
roads without a single track on them. I am really very lucky
to be able to do that kind of riding on a spur of the moment thing.
Brian called me up in the early afternoon and we headed out with Kenny.
Speaking of Brian and Kenny, here they are riding
off into the sunset. Here's another shot of some
of our riding spots yesterday. Here's a shot of Brian
and Kenny coming at you.
We then came across
a pond that had a pocket of open water on it. We did not have to
cross the open water to get through, but Brian
decided to anyway. Then Kenny decided to give it a try and aaaalmost
didn't make it. It was then my turn, but I decided to pass.
With my luck, just as I hit the throttle, the engine with over 10,000 miles
on it would decide to give up the ghost. So Brian
took my turn. Call me a wimp, but I am a dry wimp. Actually
I have crossed more water than that, I just did not have a good feeling
about that hole. Maybe it was Kenny almost going for a swim, or the
fact that I almost went for a swim on my last crossing, but it just did
not feel good to cross this one. So we all made it home safe and
I have made some more
modifications to the Pol-Cat. I added full sized running board grips.
I had edge grips, but wanted the grips on the flats of the running boards
too. I also wanted to add a mountain bar for those times when I need
a little help in throwing the sled around, so I put on new handlebars,
one with a mountain bar. Now all I have to do is put on the handlebar
hooks and she'll be all set to go. One, probably two more rides,
I have one last shot
to share with you, it is of the Laurium
Glacier. Someone asked to see it and I thought that I would be
a good idea to take a shot and show how it is progressing. Looks
like a lot of snow, probably about 20 feet deep. Should last at least
another month. We'll see!
Good night from the Keweenaw.