Thursday, December 29, 2011

Snowmobiling big in Gogebic country

   You can tell you're a long ways from Detroit when you begin seeing Green Bay Packers jerseys for sale instead of the Honolulu blue and silver of the Lions.
   A good 10-hour drive from Oakland County to Bergland in the western U.P. puts one in touch with some decent snow; enough for snow machines to run on.
   Staying at the Timbers resort, we are about the only guests here to do something other than ride trails. "We're booked solid," Timbers resort owner Sarah Long said. She and her husband Tim run an operation that looks more like a lot for snowmobiles than it does for cabin rentals.
   Situated on the shore of Lake Gogebic, it's but a short snowmobile ride down the hill in front of the resort to the lake below.
   Besides riding on the frozen lake, there are hundreds of miles nearby to explore via snow machines. One could ride to the tip of the Keweenaw, or to Wisconsin, and back through the U.P. to the Soo.
   On our drive up here we didn't encounter snow until well north of Escanaba, probably near Sagola. Whether you ice fish or come here to ride, be safe.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lake Gogebic-plenty of ice

   This western lake in the Upper Peninsula has ice good enough to support shanties and snow machines. That's not all the good news if you ice fish. The word is the walleye bite is good. Perch are so-so, and Northern pike are on the prowl.
   We drove nearly 10 hours from Oakland County to arrive at The Timbers Resort which would be home for a couple of days while we tested our piscatorial skills against those of the fish. I'll let you know how that all works out.
   For the snowmobile set there is decent snow for sleds as evidenced by many on the trails, at gas stations and in the local restaurants and watering holes.
   Funny this weather. All across U.S. 2 through Escanaba there was hardly any snow. After turning north, passing through an area called Helps, we finally had snow on the ground.
   It's going down to around 10-degrees tonight. Ice fish in begins for our group tomorrow. I hope the bite is still on.

Monday, December 26, 2011

No snow-still plenty to do

   Get outside now while we have sunshine and mild temperatures for this time of the year. This is a good time to naturally collect that vitamin D the sun produces and we need for energy especially over the winter.
   Make your time outdoors productive by hiking one of the many nearby trails including Paint Creek, Independence Oaks County Park or the Huron-Clinton Park system.
   Don't forget the opportunities within the several state lands that are in our area or at least nearby. If you feel adventuresome, try a paddle on the Huron River. Dress warm even though the sun has been poking through and by all means wear a PFD.
   Around home, finish those outdoor chores you didn't think you would have time for. With a break in the weather, now is a good time to clean any pet residue left in the yard.
   Finish trimming and cleaning up where you can. Don't destroy any plant roots as they are comfortably asleep this time of the year. If anything, give them a heap of mulch or leaves to help them winter through.
   People like me who are always in the garage now have a change to get at the organization portion especially in those garages that aren't heated.
    Stay healthy by getting out for a slow, gently walk. Speed and difficulty can come after you get back into shape.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Some terms from the past year

   Terminology over the year seems to come from the officials in Washington, D.C. We now have "kicking the can down the road" as in putting a decision or action off.
   Some people are busy "occupying" something. Lately, there is talk of a play about occupying the North Pole. You wonder what is next following the occupation of Wall Street and big city parks.
   We used to have "to do" lists. Now we have "bucket lists" that can include to do subjects, but most often have to do with things we would like to personally do such as sailing around the world, hunting big game or some exotic trip.
   You can read more about it in this Sunday's column. In the meantime, pardon me while I kick the can down the road as I go over my bucket list while occupying my recliner and watching the Lions this Saturday.
   Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Busy week ahead

   Not too many households are quiet this week what with last minute shopping, cleaning, and later, all the cooking that goes into Christmas dinner.
   We are no different. One son is due in from Germany Wednesday with his wife. We've not seen them in over a year and look forward to the visit.
   Also getting ready for Christmas is Molly, out Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She's at the groomer, or as I say the beauty parlor at the moment.
   She was overdue for a good bath, nail cutting and clipping. We vacuumed the other day and emptied the vac bag. My wife said there was enough dog hair in the bag to make another dog!
   Whatever is on your agenda these days, take your time and be safe. In the end, it somehow all gets done. If it doesn't, it usually works out to where it isn't that important after all.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas-a week away

Ho, Ho, Ho. In case you've been incapactiated for a bit, Christmas is a little over a week away. If you are like me, there is still lots to do.
   This Sunday's column suggests a few items for the outdoors one on your list. They aren't expensive either. Bill McElroy's wonderful bass and other fish art is available in decal form from KD Outfitters in Waterford.
   I like to use them on my Plano tackle trays, right on the lid. Get creative and use the bass decal for bass fishing, walleye for that species and so forth.
   Next is Clam's Ice Armor socks. I mentioned those because I have been prone to cold feet. These socks keep the cold out.
   Finally, I'm always looking for a way to get everything on the ice and back without a snow machine of any sort.
   Clam's Ice Fishing Chair does that rather well and is comfortable too. That's because it's like a folding chair, it has a back.
   Not to mention compartments for tackle, rods, and even fish. Okay, there you go. No excuses now. Get out and get that shopping done. Oh, I'm an XL in case you were wondering!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Weather prolonging the start of winter

With the balmy-like weather we've been experiencing, I can just about to see buds on trees, birds chirping, and my neighbor getting ready to plant his garden.
   While those are exaggerate!, the lack of snow and ice surely has put a damper on businesses that depend on those things.
   Any snow made by area ski resorts is either all gone by now or it's turned to heavy slush. Even the resorts up north are suffering.
   "We've sure had it good with the weather," friend Dave Johnson said yesterday. Johnson, a retired heavy equipment operator says he would have been operating in shirt sleeves had he still been on the job.
   When it's this wet I prefer staying indoors and getting something done that otherwise would wait until I got back from skiing or ice fishing.
   Still, remember to dress for the weather, including a hat. This type of weather is made to catch a cold or some other virus.
   Stay positive!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cold temps could lead to snow making!

   Mt. Holly will be making snow providing predicitons from the weather people for colder temperatures over the next several days, is accurate.
   Tree Tops resort in Gaylord will be making snow too. Tree Tops is getting ready for the Ski Free Weekend which comes up Dec. 16, 17, 18. Special room rates are available from $55 to $79 and include places to stay from B&B's to Tree Tops Resort.
   With each night of stay comes a free lift ticket good for skiing and snow boarding. A free skiing clinic hosted by Tyler Sharpe, Tree Tops director of skiing, will be offered.
   Closer to home and back at Mt. Holly with 18 runs and seven chair lifts along with rope tows and conveyors, everyone is poised to open, hopefully sometime this weekend.
   Whether you hit the slopes at Mt. Holly or head north to Gaylord, it looks like you'll have snow even if it's the man-made variety.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pearl Harbor; a date never forgotten

   Seventy years ago today, well before I was around, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in a surprise and unprovoked move.
   Like other parts of WWII-the Normandy invasion, the battle of Iwo Jima and the raising of the flag on Mt. Suribachi-much of today's population isn't familiar with these important times in our nation's history.
   Several years ago I wrote about Normandy, France following an emotional visit to this historic place. Sometime later I was contacted by a local radio station for an interview.
   One of the questions I was asked had to do with whether today, people remembered the invasion and the sacrifices that went on there.
   I answered no, that these things weren't being taught in schools anymore. It's important we remember and pause to reflect on these historic dates like today's and Pearl Harbor.
   If you have a flag, lower it to half staff. Not only in honor of those that gave their lives at Pearl, but in all the rest of the campaigns the U.S. has been in to bring peace and freedom to our country.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Gray, cold, damp days, ugh!

   These types of days; cold, damp, and gray, make me wish we had stayed in sunny southern California. Then you look at the terrible storms, fires and earthquakes out there and figure you can handle this. Just give it some time.
   I confess that I am a victim of SAD or seasonal affective disorder. When the days continue like this, one after another, my outlook goes from good to bad in a hurry.
   My wife bought me one of those lamps that is supposed to help supplement the light you would get from the sun.
   I usually use it while at the computer. But I walk outdoors no matter the cold, snow or whatever. The docs say that any little bit of sunshine helps.
   Today I didn't receive any help while on my walk. It remained overcast and got colder almost with each step I took.
   But there is always tomorrow and no doubt a change in the weather. Keep your spirits up no matter the weather.
   And this is the season of the year that many of us look forward to as helping to maintain good, positive spirits and thoughts. Keep walking!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cougarsm skis and rabbits, Sunday column

   Cougars, that four-legged critter some swear they see while others equally loud, swear there is no such thing in Michigan. Read the latest on cougar sightings in the U.P. and whom saw what!
   Cross country ski folks interested in some volunteer work while at the same time getting good, outdoor exercise and being of a service and help to others, should look at the Ski Patrol program at Independence Oaks. Whether you have patrolled before or not, a mandatory meeting will take place soon. See my column for the details this Sunday.
   We've had hunts, mainly deer hunts for the kids. Now comes a rabbit hunt right after the first of the year in conjunction with the DNR, a state game area and conservation club.
   You'll read it all in this Sunday's Oakland Press!