Past Journals
George's Eagle 
Harbor Web
Pasty Cam

April 28-
    Here I am, a week later with little to say! I have been busy with some projects around the house and the property and so I have not done much exploring. Our weather has been wonderful with temps in the 50's and quite a bit of sunshine. It also looks like we will be one of the very few areas that do not see rain fall this weekend. Some places will see rain fall for 3-4 days and we could very well be warmer Saturday and Sunday than places like Chicago, Des Moines and even Kansas City. I guess you could say we are leading a charmed life this weekend. Which is good because I hope to get as much work done at the property as I can. I would like to make all the battons and get as many of them up on the shop as possible. This week Nora and I put screen material up between the top of the siding and the bottom of the roof. There was about an 8" area that was just open. I planned it that way to allow for plenty of ventilation, but that was also plenty of room for critters and worse, bugs. I used the steel screening and and tacked it in with some wood strips. Should keep both the critters and bugs out.
    Hopefully we can get the battons on the shop up this weekend and then we can start getting underway on the cabin. The first order of business will be to get the earth moving contractor up to let me know which trees I need to remove for the septic. Then I will do that and let him come back up and build a pad to put the slab for the cabin on. We'll get started on the form work for the slab, have a plumber and electrician come over and get those elements into the foundation and then finish up with the other elements of the foundation. Get it poured and move on to the wall framing.
    I have actually been thinking so much about what needs to be done and how I want to do things that I think it is causing me to have problems getting to sleep. It's quite a daunting task designing, planning and building this cabin and I have not even gotten to the building phase!  Actually, that is really my stronger suit. Working with wood is really something I love and feel very comfortable doing. I can say that designing the layout for the shop has been fun. This will really be a dream come true to have enough room for everything and I have been working hard to picture where I want things to go- including future items that will be part of the shop. That way I can get the wiring runs in now as well as have the proper lighting. This bathroom remodel that I have been doing has not really been too much of my cup of tea. Plumbing, painting, ceramic tile. Not my favorite, but it looks good and I will be able to sit and admire my work for the next few months before we move!
    Getting back on track, I mentioned we have been having some nice weather, but things are really dry. In fact I drove by one of those DNR Smoky the Bear Fire Danger Signs and it read "Very High". I have never seen that before. Usually is says low or moderate and I think I have seen high a few times, but never "Very High". I wonder if they have a level even higher than that like "Ridiculously High!" or maybe "Don't Ask!". So far I have not heard about any fires breaking out, at least any big ones. But we also do not have much rain in the forecast for the next week or so. There are even signs of a few flakes of snow possible by next Friday. No accumulation and not enough to dampen things much. So I guess it is just time to keep our fingers crossed and hope that someone does not do something stupid because I do not see mother nature providing the spark anytime soon.
    The woods are still bare and I won a bet with Nora who thought that all the leaves would be out on the trees by yesterday. Thank goodness she did not look at past journals to see how long it takes for the trees to fill out up here. The only problem is that we did not bet anything. So I guess I can just savor my bragging rights for a few more hours before something happens to put me back in my place.
    Believe it or not there are still a few piles of snow left in the neighborhood. They are in shaded areas and are pretty small, but the weather we have been having is not really melting the snow off too quickly. Speaking of snow melting, it seems like there is an abnormally high amount of people thinking that I have missed the Laurium Glacier melting. Let me just say this: I do not call it a "glacier" for nothing! That drift really is one of the last places to see snow in this neck of the woods. There may be some hidden spots up north, but around here that is one of the final hold outs of winter and it is quite good at holding out! I do keep tabs on it and sometime go up to check on it several times a day when it is getting close. For those of you wanting to know what it looks like, here is a picture of it taken yesterday.  Still a couple of feet there and if we keep up the current trend in temps I would think it still has about 2, maybe 3 weeks left. Of course a mild spell or a warm rain and it could be sooner. But temps look to stay out of the "warm" range for the next week or so. So I think it will be around for at least another 10-14 days.
    There is still some snow left up at the property. All of the natural piles are gone, they left early this week. However, where the snow came off the shops roof, there is still about 18-24" on the ground. Maybe I can call it the "Allouez Township Glacier". As you can see that was the shaded side of the shop, but even the unshaded side still has some snow.
    Well, I think that about covers it for this one. It seems like I should have more to share in 7 days time, but I guess it's just that time of the year.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -

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April 21-
    Wow, I really cannot believe it has been almost a week since my last writing. For some reason I thought I had last wrote on Monday and was not doing too bad by writing on a Friday. I actually did not even plan to write today. I had planned on Nora and I going up to the property to get some work in, but there is a big old blob of rain directly to our south that is moving north and my plan was to start taking things out of the shop to make room to work in. So with the pending rain I figured it would be best to forgo the moving plans today and wait for a drier period. So here I am at the computer, looking out the window wondering where this rain is!
    You would think that after almost a week of time since my last writing that I would have more to say, but things have been somewhat uneventful up here. I guess with all that happened upon my arrival home from Wyoming uneventful could be considered a good thing. I sort of came to the conclusion that part of my problem in WY might have been the fact that I was probably in the worst shape of my life, so Nora and I have started getting more exercise. We are walking in the evenings and are up to around 4 miles. That combined with the two shorter walks I take with Burt during the day puts me close to 5 miles. The hounds and I used to put on around 4 miles a day, but then their joints started ailing them and we had to cut back drastically. I wish Burt could walk with Nora and I in the evenings and I know he wishes he could too, but his arthritis is really starting to get to him. He cannot take Rymidal as he has the liver reaction to it. We do give him some buffered aspirin and the glucosimine/chondrotin and may have to up the dosage of the aspirin to help him out. Swimming season is quickly approaching for him and that will be great exercise for him and he likes that more than hiking anyway.
    This is really a great time of the year for walks up here. A close second to the autumn. No bugs and the temps are just right. Not to hot and not too cold. I have been trying to mix up our walks with Burt to give him some variety. So far this week we walked the park once, the school forest once the neighborhood one and the tracks twice. It was nice to get back to the School Forest. We had not been there for a long time and the last time was on skis. Just about all the snow was gone and most of the trails were also dry. However, there were some puddles out there from all the melted snow. I still cannot believe how fast the snow went this year. I actually like it to go that way. Once it is no longer useful for recreation, then it may as well be gone! There were still a few patches of snow in the School Forest on Tuesday. They were easy to see, but hard to come by.
    Today we went up to the tracks and all the snow is gone from up there, even in the ravines. The woods are really dry at this time of the year. Winter comes pretty early in this neck of the woods, so all that dry autumn vegetation just gets flash frozen for the winter and when the snow melts we have our second fire season. Things have been damp the past few days, but all it will take is one mild and sunny day to dry things out again. About mid May the new vegetation starts to take over and the old stuff starts to decompose enough that the fire risk drops, that is as long as we do not have a dry spell. Speaking of vegetation, as I sit at my desk and look out onto the brown gardens, it is pretty hard to imagine that in just 2 months we will be picking strawberries. We still have some left over from last season we vacuum sealed and froze. We actually had some in crepes last weekend. They were very good, but I am looking forward to the fresh ones to put on cereal and desserts this summer.
    About the only other thing I have to talk about is not really unique to the Keweenaw, but will provide me with another paragraph in this entry, so I let it fly! I have been remodeling the other bathroom in our house this week. Tuesday we got the dumpster, so I did the demolition Tuesday. It has basically been almost a total gut. It was very dated and had this very 70's looking wallpaper paneling. The big problem with that stuff is I remove it and am left with drywall that is a mess with tons of holes, lots of sloppy joints and old construction adhesive to remove. I applied my final coat of joint compound this afternoon, will sand it in the morning and then let Nora prime and paint. Next week will be new ceramic tiles for the floor. Refurbish the vanity add trim to the room and then put everything back in. I have only been meaning to do this remodel for around 4 years and it will finish up everything I will be doing to his home before we move. I really hate taping and mudding drywall, especially when it is someone else's very messy job. I suppose in their defense it was just going to be covered up by that wallpaper paneling, but it's no fun to have to cut pieces of plywood to use as filler strips before I can even think about taping and mudding.  Oh well, it's all behind me now and I will be sure to do any drywall hanging in the cabin with great care so that the taping and mudding goes smoothly. Thankfully about 90% of the walls and all the ceilings will be tongue and groove pine. I like working with wood much more!
    That looks like it does it for this one. It is raining now, so my change of plans was a success after all!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
April 15-
    In the last journal I started out by saying that it was starting to feel like spring around here and in this entry I can say that is it starting to look like spring around here. The snow loss in the past week has been just incredible. Our backyard is completely bare and Nora actually weeded the flower beds today. The front yard still has snow from where it got piled up by the snowthrower all winter, but if the current rate of snow loss keeps up, then it will be gone in a few days. Even the snowbank that I used to load the 700 into the back of Old Blue last Friday is completely gone. That was 3 feet of snow gone in one week!  I stated that where we rode last week one would be able to ride with no problem this week. I have not been up there, but would venture to guess that the goings may be a little tricky via sled. All the locals that I know have switched from sled to ATV and it is safe to say that I am done snowmobiling for the season.
    On Tuesday, Burt and I took to the woods for our first walk in them since December 1st. That was the first day that main firearm deer season was over and the last day with little enough snow on the ground that we could walk. It felt really good to be up in the woods again, but also a little lonely without Baileys. I don't know why, but for the past week or two she has been on my mind a lot and I have been missing her extra. Not a day goes by that I do not think about her, but the past week or two has really been filled with lots of recollections of her. All good and many of them making me smile or even chuckle, but still bittersweet. I cannot be certain, but I think Burt has been missing her extra lately too. Nora and I have decided not to get another doggy companion for Burt, but there are moments that I think it might be fun. I can say that if I could find a dog with the exact personality of Baileys, then I would bring it home with us in a heartbeat, but I'm really not sure that is possible. I have never met a dog like Baileys in my entire lifetime and may not ever again. Anyway, Burt and I walked the tracks up the hill from the house on Tuesday. At that time there was still snow in the woods, but today Nora, Burt and I walked the same section of tracks and there was no snow left in the woods and just some patches left in the deeper ravines where the sun cannot get to it. On Tuesday, the ravines were still full of snow. It's interesting though, in the ravines that do not have as steep of sides, the southern facing slope will be almost bare, while the northern facing slope will still have snow on it as you can see in this shot.
    On Tuesday the temp hit 76 degrees at my house and 74 at the airport. The 74 at the airport tied the standing record. All week temps have been very mild, with 60's occurring every day since Monday- except for Tuesday's 74. Our average high for this time of the year is around 45. With all of the snow melting it pretty much goes without saying that the creeks, streams and rivers are running pretty high. No flooding and I think that can be chalked up to the fact that some of the snow had already melted prior to this warm up and also the fact that we did not get much rain this week at all. A few sprinkles or a brief shower, but nothing more than enough to dampen the ground. The Traprock River did reach flood stage on Wednesday, but did not get high enough to cause any problems. Nothing like 5 years ago when it reached it's second highest level ever recorded. With the snow gone from a lot of locales now, the creeks and streams have been dropping and the rivers will be following suit.
    We have been making some trips to the property this week, hauling some equipment up as well as taking care of a few preliminary things. I plan to start doing some work up there this coming week. On the shop, not the cabin. We still have to wait for the snow to melt in the spot where we will be building the cabin. I still cannot believe that if all goes as planned, in around 6 months we will be living up there. The snow has been melting up there too, although a bit slower and with more snow to start out with, there is still snow on the ground. However, a lot less than there was this winter. The woodpile has emerged from being totally covered in snow this winter. I think the last snow to go will be on the north side of the shop where it came off the roof and piled up to a depth of around 8 feet and is also sheltered from the sun. Still about 3-4 feet up there right now.
    Yesterday both Nora and I had the day off, so we decided to do a little exploring. We headed up to see the Hungarian Falls. The road up from Tamarack City is snow free which makes the trek a little easier. The Hungarian River had gone down a little from where it was earlier in the week, but still enough water in it to make the falls rather dramatic. There were also more people up there doing the same thing we were doing than I have ever seen up there at one time. Not that it was a mob scene, but I think I counted about 3 groups of 3-4 each.  Getting crowded up here in the Keweenaw! There are 3 main waterfalls up there and several smaller ones. I cleverly call them the upper, middle and lower falls. The upper and middle are pretty similar in that they drop around 20-30 feet and actually have a little auditorium that they fall into. The lower falls are the largest, falling about 80-100 feet. The upper and middle are easy to get a good shot of, while the lower is obscured by trees in most of the best views. I suppose one could get down to the river below the falls and take a shot from there, but it would not be easy and Nora, Burt and I did not attempt to do so. Here is a shot of the upper falls (FSV), here is Burt at the middle falls and here is about the best view of the lower falls from the hiking path. Although I can really say that picture does not do the lower falls justice. The view from the top of the lower falls is also pretty neat. That was an ice free Torch Lake. Ice out was actually Thursday night.
    I guess that about catches you up on things going on up here at the moment. All signs of winter in my neighborhood are just about gone. Only the most robust plow piles are left to finish melting in the sun. I suppose the further you go towards the tip the more snow you would find, but it looks like the temps will remain above average for the next few days, so it won't be too long before it's all gone. The Laurium Glacier is still there, but has shrunk considerably and unless the weather changes to a very cold setup, the earlier than average guesses look to have a leg up on the later guesses.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
April 10-
    Starting to feel a lot like spring around here. Burt and I just got back from a walk at the park and my thermometer reads 59 degrees. That is as warm as we have been in 5 and 1/2 months. Tomorrow is suppose to be even warmer and we might flirt with the 70 degree mark. The snow is a goin', but not so fast that I could not get at least one last romp in it. I say "at least one last" as where we rode yesterday there is enough snow that we could do it all again next weekend, but my regular riding crew is packing it in one by one and I really do not need to ride anymore. In fact the only reason why I would ride next weekend would be to try and have some sort of bragging rights that I rode on April 15th or 16th.  Of course if Brian or someone else were to call and say that they were going riding next weekend, then I would probably not turn them down!  So we'll see, but I think yesterday was the curtain call for this season.
    I actually did not ride with any of the crew from up here yesterday, but rather hooked up with Skylar, his brother Kim and their friend Lance. They had planned to make this past weekend their last ride and so a few weeks back I made plans to ride with them. It's late season riding, so that means that we have to haul the sleds to a drop off point and ride from there. There are still a few patches of snow left in the valley, but it's just not worth it to try and hop from one patch to another down here to get to the better snow up north. Especially when it is only about a 20 minute drive to the drop off spot and I do not have to haul the sled to ride all season up to this point. Having the truck and some snow banks on the side of my driveway still high enough to drive the sled right into the back of the truck also helps a ton.
    We got things unloaded and were onto the sleds by about 10:30 yesterday morning and it felt really good and a bit strange to be on the sled again. I suppose part of the strange feeling had to do with the fact that I was riding the 700 and not the 800 and the two really do handle differently, even though they are so similar in features. We did not have any specific destination in mind and the only goal was to have fun. So we played around on some smaller hills and then moved onto some bigger ones and soon were looking down on a lot of the Keweenaw. Or over in the case of this photo (FSV). That was Mt. Bohemia in the foreground with Mt Houghton behind it to the left and the Bear Bluffs behind it to the right.
    There was plenty of snow to play in, about 2 1/2 to 3 feet to be exact. When we started out the snow was rock hard and I wished I had some ice scratchers on the sled, although I never did smell my hyfax, so I think all was OK. Plus about 30-45 minutes after we started the sun was already starting to soften things up. Lots of old tracks out there, but we did have the whole place to ourselves. I did not see any other fresh tracks the whole day and we did not come across any other sleds. Here is a shot of Skylar and Lance in action. Actually, Skylar had just ridden a nice wheelie, but I missed it. The snow was so firm we all could pop a wheelie pretty good. We did manage to find a few logging roads that had not been ridden on since the last big storm we had about a month ago. Although with the snow being so firm it really did not make that much of a difference if you were riding on a tracked up trail or an untracked trail. At one point we came across the groomed trail and looking at it's shape I was glad we did not have to rely upon it for our fun yesterday. Although I suppose if one were desperate enough one could have rode those trails too!
    One fun thing about the snow being so set up this time of the year and still pretty deep is that you can go just about anywhere you want. As long as the sled can fit between the trees, you can take it there. We found ourselves doing that kind of riding on several occasions yesterday. There are just two problems associated with that type of boondocking. The first is that since you are not on any kind of a logging road and the creeks are starting to open up. You can some to a creek and find some challenging crossings. 3 feet straight down to the creek, about 3-6 feet across to the other side and then 3 feet straight up. Or sometimes there are just a series of "sippy holes" that you have to try and avoid as you make your way through. Here is what happens when you hit one of the sippy holes. Not too bad except for the fact that I can attest to the fact that the snow was still over waist deep there and the water below was over my boot! The second problem with that kind of boondocking is that you can happen along the occasional cedar swamp. Those are not what you would call a sled friendly environment. Because they do not get logged as often, you end up with lots of cedars spaced very close to each other and some soft ground underneath.  Yesterday we found ourselves in two. The one I knew was small and we could get through. The other looked like it was small, but actually proved to be quite large. So large that we just ended up turning around. Here is a shot of Skylar waiting for the other two to catch up in a thinned out section of the swamp. That thinned out section actually would be not too bad to ride through if you had to. The thick stuff is darn near impossible, but I don't have any pictures. Sorry.
    We also played on some hills and I believe we all got stuck on one hill or another, which was a bit of a surprise to all of us as firm as the snow was.  Of course I think that since the snow was so firm we all took more challenging lines that we might normally take and we all climbed the hills a lot slower than we might normally do, basically "burping" the sled up the hill.  We made it back to the trucks in decent time and I headed home for dinner while Skylar, Kim and Lance headed up to the Harbor (in the truck) for a bite to eat. No sled damage (at least anything major) and no bodily injuries, so all in all a successful last ride. I do not think that there will be any waterskipping this year because the snow will be gone about the time the water is high enough this week.  I could be wrong because I have not been up to Brians, but I can't see where his snow condition is much different than what I have around here.
    As mentioned earlier, Burt and went over to the park for our afternoon adventure. The snow is getting shallow enough out there that we can walk around. In fact about all that is left in the campground area are the plow banks from when the village came through and opened up the road about 2 weeks ago. Just a month and a half and the campground will be open for another season. The Torch Lake still is almost completely ice covered. Just last week Nora and I saw some folks cross country skiing on it!  Not too smart if you ask me, but on our return trip I did not see any holes in the ice, so they must have made it off the ice ok. This season was the first year that I never went out onto the ice of any lake up here. In an average year I would usually find myself on the Torch and Portage Lakes a few times. Not this year, was just too dicey where we usually ride on them. Despite the lack of snow in the campground/beach area there is still quite a bit on the "sands". I was actually a little surprised at how much was still there. I really cannot see the difference between that area and the area that had so little snow. Mother Nature...always leaving us with more questions than answers.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
April 7-
    Here is your update on my health. I say that with a bit of sarcasm as it is not my intention for this journal to be about my daily life's trivialities. I guess this has been more than a triviality and that is why I have been talking about it, but I really just want this journal to be about the Keweenaw and my observations and adventures in it. In any case, I had the TEE done. It was a very easy test. They start an IV and then squirt some kind of a numbing chemical into the back of my throat. Then I get some loopy juice and the next thing I remember the test is over. I guess I never get fully knocked out, but as far as I am aware I was. As I was recovering from the anesthesia the nurse brought Nora in and a little bit later the Dr came in and gave us the report. I was still pretty loopy so I am glad Nora was there to verify what was being said. Because not only did the Dr say my heart valve had not gotten any worse he said it never was bad!  Well, maybe that is a bit of a stretch. Anyway, for the past 25 years or so the Dr's have all thought I had a bicusped aortic valve (2 flaps) rather than the normal tricusped (3 flaps) aortic valve. They have been doing echocardiograms (like an ultrasound) for those past 25 years and have seen some blood regurgitating through the valve. This is common with bicuspid valves. The problem is when you try and look at the heart from the outside of the body you have to look through lots of things like skin, muscle, a bit of fat (ok maybe a little more than a bit) and of course the bones. So you do not get a perfect look at things and as I have grown older and thicker the look has gotten worse and worse. So the test yesterday required me to swallow the probe. The esophagus runs right next to the heart and you get a very good picture.  So not only has the flow through that valve not changed, but I do actually have all three flaps. That was double good news because not only will I not have to have the valve repaired, I NEVER will!
    My cardiologist did say that there were some abnormalities on the valve and that is what is likely causing the flaps to not close all the way. He says it is most likely calcium buildup from when I had radiation therapy when I was a kid, same reason why they believe I had a narrowing of my right coronary artery which caused me to have the stent put in 2 years ago. He said there is a small chance it is a viral infection and he wants to do another test like yesterday's in a month just to be sure it's not. If it is a viral infection then antibiotics will take care of it.  Keep in mind these are the details that I can remember from yesterday, they may be a bit off in some cases!  So we still do not know what has made me feel ill the 3 times this winter, but I am starting to strongly believe that what happened in WY was altitude related and probably related most to my "Barney stuck".  The other two times may have just been exhaustion (have had that happen before) or perhaps the start of the flu or another bug that my body was able to beat before it really knocked me down. I am going to go see my regular Dr next Thursday and I have plenty of questions for him and perhaps some more tests just to cover all the bases. I have been feeling better and better each day since this Tuesday and feel about 95% of the way back. But the bottom line is my valve is OK and I will not be going under the knife for that. Thanks to all who have had me in your thoughts and prayers!!!
    Even though I was starting to feel better the orders were for me to take it easy and Nora saw to that. Sure she did not let me play too hard or do any "fun work" that I wanted to do, but she also did all the "not fun work" that I might have had to do.  That means that I really did not do much this past week, but hang around the house. For those that did not notice I did get some Guest Shots done and plan to keep chipping away at it for the next few weeks. That is the bare minimum that it will take to get through them all. There are about 60 more submissions to do and I seem to be able to get about 5 done at each sitting. It takes about an hour and after that my mind starts to wander enough that just need to step away.  Don't worry they will all get posted eventually, but I do think that there will be some sort of a Guest Shots entry page setup in the General Discussions board for those that can resize and want to post them themselves.
    We did get up to the property yesterday evening and got some things out of storage. I had been storing Al's truck, ATV and boat in there for the winter. Yesterday he got the ATV and truck and I said the boat could stay for a few more weeks. But we now have room to be able to do some work up there and I plan to soon. Spring is here and even though we are at about 30 degrees today with snow flurries the snow will be leaving in just a few weeks and it will be time to get going on things. I have been chomping at the bit and now that the heart thing is past me I am ready more than ever. Yesterday while in Marquette we stopped at the Menards (pretty much a ritual if you go all the way to Marquette for something else) and I picked up a few things I needed for the next round of construction. Not sure when you will start to see things happen up at the property, but it may be as early as the end of this month. You will sure see the truck there starting as early as next week, it's just that I will be working on the shop and that is not in view of the cam.
    I think I can honestly say that not much else is going on up here. The snow is melting, but not too fast and certainly not fast enough for the re-shovelers. What is a re-shoveler? It is a term I coined to describe the folks that shovel the snow from the piles they made all winter back into their driveways and in some cases the roads (even though it is illegal to shovel snow back into the roads up here) so that it will melt faster. It does work, but if you ask me it is way too much work for the little bit you gain in melting the snow. Unless someone is really diligent and re-shovels a lot of the snow it really only gains them a few days from when mother nature would be taking care of the snow herself in most cases. But it gives these folks something to do, some exercise and probably most importantly some peace of mind knowing that they are making the snow go away faster. It has been around for almost 5 straight months now. We put snow down November 15th and have had cover since. Unless we get really warm and sunny for a long period of time, I bet one could find patches of snow up north this May. Probably not enough to ride in, but still some patches of natural snow, not plowed and piled snow.
    Speaking of riding, I am not sure if we will even have a water skipping season this year. Just when we get some warm and sunny weather and it looks like the lowlands will finally fill up with enough water to make it fun we have a couple of cold days like we are having today and things settle back down. There is still enough snow that if we had a good quick melt with some rain then we might have some skipping conditions, but then again we might be out of snow in our skipping spots in the valley.  So there may or there may not be any water skipping shots this spring. I do plan to take a ride on snow Sunday though and will be sure to bring the camera along.
    I think that about covers it for this one. I don't want to make any promises, but I would venture to guess the next journal will include some adventures in the Keweenaw and some pictures.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
April 2-
    Well, I really do not have much to talk about this time around. What ever has been ailing me is still doing so. The Dr's have ruled out things like the flu and a cold and I believe that they are pretty sure it is not cancer either. All my blood work has come back with no signs of an infectious problem. They are concentrating around the idea of something up with my heart. I have had a bad valve (two flaps instead of three) since birth and we have known about it since I was in about 7th grade. I head to Marquette for a test that will get a very good look at it on Thursday. I had a similar test this past November that showed things were holding steady with the valve, but things can change and the test this Thursday will get a much better picture because I actually have to swallow the probe rather than them just shooting from the outside like an ultrasound. Depending on the status of the valve (if that is really it) I could just get by with some medication or at the worst would have to have the valve repaired.  So we'll see. I am not worrying about things much. No need to, what ever will be will be. I am just anxious to get past all of this. I really hate having no energy, standing up and having my legs wobble and feeling a little light headed. Not much good for anything.
    The gang took a ride yesterday. They headed north up into Keweenaw County to find the best snow. I have not heard from any of them yet, but I would suspect that it was a good ride. Spring riding is always lots of fun. You can dress down a whole lot, the snow is setup so you can pretty much go anywhere and it's so late in the season you know most other areas are done, so you fell a little privileged to be riding. Based on the snow they have in spots in Keweenaw County (3-4 feet on the ground) I think that one would be able to ride up there for at least another week if not two. I am not talking about trail riding though, they are pretty well shot. I am talking about riding logging roads and other paths through the woods. I would imagine that next weekend may be the big weekend for water skipping in the valley. Not sure if I will be able to get any more miles on for the season or not.
    This has actually been one of my least active seasons for riding. I have about 1200 miles in total. I am not complaining at all. The miles may not be as big as in previous years, but the quality of those miles were all very good. The deep powder rides in December and February, the riding in Togwotee and all the rides in between. Yep there will definitely be some memories from this season that will stick around. That to me is really what it is all about- building memories not piling up miles. I don't have anything against anyone that wants to put on 1200 miles in a 4-5 day trip, but that is just not my cup of tea.
    I have had a rather uneventful week since coming home. We have been up to the property a couple of times and I am chomping at the bit to get going on things up there. That is probably one reason why I am chomping at the bit to get over whatever is ailing me right now. There are some things I would like to finish up on the shop before we start things with the cabin. Still a lot of snow on the ground up there. There are also places that are so shaded that may times there is snow on the ground at the end of April and early May. The vegetation has changed a bit up there due to the work we have done, but I bet we might have snow until late April up there this year.
    The sap has been running full steam ahead for the past week or two and the local that collects and boils it down has been busy doing both. Is boiler is a few blocks away, but in the mornings you can smell it if the wind is blowing just right. The rivers are starting to swell with the melting snow and bit of rain we have had. Some snow looks to fall tonight with more rains at the end of the week. I think next weekend may have to be our annual waterfall tour. We may not be able to see as many as we typically do, but will still be able to take in some of the favorites. Who knows, maybe by next weekend I will be on some med. that has me feeling better and I will have both snowmobiling and waterfall pictures to share with you. A good thought to end with.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -