Back On The Island! Grace and I snuck away on Monday to visit my mom in southern WI and returned late Thursday. My mom usually makes a summer visit up here, but back in May, she fell and broke her hip and leg, so has spent the better part of the summer healing up from that. She is able to get around all on her own, including driving. Not too shabby for a woman that is 83 1/2 years old! Nora had to stay back to work and was able to watch over Huck and Millie as well. As always, it was nice to be with her and also see my brother that lives down that way. Gracie had a lot of fun visiting with her grandma and uncle and also with the girl next door, Emma, that is the same age. Her folks bought the home next to my mom and ended up tearing down the house and building a beautiful new home that is a perfect fit for that spot.
Grace first met Emma last October when the girls joined me in my annual October trip to southern WI for the Milwaukee snowmobile show. They hit it off immediately and had been looking forward to their next get together ever since. In fact, except for when they each had to go and get changed, they pretty much spent all of Tuesday afternoon, Tuesday night (sleep over of course!) and all of Wednesday together. Probably a total of 30 hours together and not a single issue. The activities ranged from swimming in the lake to horseback riding to just hanging out and chatting. It was hard on both of them, as they had such fun, but then had to say good bye and not know when the next time they will see each other.
The trip down had some sketchy driving, as we hit that heavy rain that fell in the Madison area on Monday afternoon and then on the way back, a semi-truck that was likely hauling milk, went off the road ahead of us and almost flipped. I am not sure why it went off the road, but the driver did an awesome job of recovering, as the trailer was really swaying back and forth and it looked like it was going to flip at one point, but they were able to get the trailer to settle down and the rig back onto the interstate. The rest of the trip back north was uneventful and I really like it now that the speed limit on the interstates is 70 and even the stretch of highway 45 from Watersmeet north to Bruce Crossing is 65. That knocks off quite a bit of time from when it was 55 mph. I was amazed at how many people were still doing 55 though. Not sure what that is about!
Anyway, we arrived home safe and sound and to a hero’s welcome by Huck and Millie. They sure hate it when a member of our family is out of town. I can freely admit that it was also very nice to be home. I cannot explain exactly why, but there is such a sense of relaxation and joy that hits me as we get into the Keweenaw. It is, for sure, home.
We all slept well Thursday night, including the pups and then awoke to a pretty rotten day on Friday, so we all just took it easy and did some recuperating. Then on Saturday, Gracie had her “birthday celebration with friends”. Instead of having a bigger party when she invited lots of friends, Nora came up with the idea of having 2 of Grace’s friends join her and Nora for a girls day out. They went to Copper Harbor and played mini-golf, had a picnic and did some shopping and playing on the playground they have up there. Then headed home and swam in the pool for a while, followed by dinner and then capped things off with a trip down to one of the girls houses for a campfire. These three girls have all become very close friends in a short matter of time. Grace did not even know Flora (the girl on the left in the picture) at the start of the summer. It is so cool to see Grace developing some friendships that will likely last right through high school. They girls and their parents are super cool too and that makes it nice when we all hang out.
Grace and I had planned to go to the Houghton County Fair on Friday, but because the weather was nasty, we put it off until today. Nora was not feeling so well, so she stayed home to rest and hang out with the pups. Grace missed going to the fair last year because Nora had family in town, but we promised we would do all we could to get to the fair this year. She really loves it, then again, what kid doesn’t?
We got to the fair just as the carnival part was starting and upon entering were right upon the dog show. A gentleman goes around and rescues dogs from shelters or even the streets and then trains them to do tricks, such as catching Frisbee’s, even jumping off a platform into a pool to do that. He also had two dogs that could climb up a nearly vertical wall to grab hold of a padded inner tube. It was really incredible to watch the dogs run up to the wall and then up it!
After a quick bite to eat, we hit the Ferris wheel. We both were all smiles as we looped around on it and were able to take in the fairgrounds from atop the wheel. Grace and sometimes I, went on most of the rest of the rides, at least the ones she was tall enough for. The two most intense she still needed to be around 3-4″ taller for, but I was kind of glad, because I was not thrilled with the idea of going on one of them. I am all for heights and things like roller coasters, but the ones that spin rather violently are not to my liking! The bumper cars where a hit with Grace and she tried her hand at the rock climbing wall. She did pretty well, but was disappointed that she did not make it to the top like she did at the waterpark in Minneapolis this spring. We stuck around for a while and watched several kids older than her not make it as high as she did, so I think that made her feel pretty good.
The main event at the fair today was the demolition derby and when I explained what it was to Grace last night as we were talking about today’s adventure, she could not believe that people would smash up perfectly good cars. When I explained that the cars were one step away from going to the junkyard anyway, she understood. There was a huge crowd for the demo derby, probably more folks that I have ever seen in one spot up here, except for maybe a Tech hockey game. They ran 4 heats and I have to say that heat number 2 and number 4 were two of the best demolition derbies I have ever seen. They really went at it and there was some incredible driving by some of the drivers and an incredible effort put out by some of the vehicles. If you look closely at that last image, the car closest to us appears to not have any rear wheels. They were still attached to the car, but in a rather unconventional manner! That was a view a few seconds later and as you can see, both wheels are just being dragged along and not supporting the car at all. As the match progressed, that car and driver became the crowd favorite and actually survived through the round, but was not able to go at it anymore.
As for the other happenings up here this past week, I cannot really comment, as we were not here. We arrived home to a beautiful Keweenaw summer day on Thursday and then nasty rain for most of the day Friday. Saturday started out cloudy and cool, but the sun came out in the afternoon and warmed things perfectly for the girls to swim in the pool. Today was warm and very humid and as I type, things have grown almost as dark as nighttime, as a thunderstorm is getting ready to hit us from the west. Some of the radar imagery looks frighteningly similar to the imagery during the Fathers Day flood, so I hope we have none of that happen! Rains look to continue into tomorrow, along with the humidity, but then dewpoints crash into the 40’s for Wednesday and Thursday. I am pretty much done with summer weather. Not that I will complain about any more that happens in the next week or two, but my thoughts have gone to having to wear long pants and a jacket when outside and I like those thoughts!
One quick announcement. The annual trail cleanup for the Keweenaw Snowmobile Club is going to be held on October 19 and 20. A Friday and Saturday as is always the case. Needless to say there is quite a bit of work to be done. We will not be doing any of the repairs to the huge washouts on trail 3 from Dollar Bay to Lake Linden, but lots of other signing and brushing to be done. So mark it down in your calendar and I will be sure to add more info (such as where free lodging will be offered) in the future.
I guess that covers it for this one. Talk to you next month!
Good night from the Keweenaw..