Extra…Extra! Read all about it!

As I have said in the past, sometimes I struggle with much to write and then there are times when the situation is the opposite. I don’t have ton of things to say, but for sure have some material to go with.

First and formost, I would like to thank all that have made donations via the Keweenaw Snowmobile Club’s GoFundMe page for our new groomer barn. We still have a long way to go, but are making progress. Please visit the page and click on the “read more…” link to open up the rest of the write up on our situation, plus you can view a video that was put together by our groomer boss illustrating the bad and dangerous state our current building is in. I call it a “building”, as it is not a structure built for storing grooming equipment, or really anything else besides lumber. It was picked up by a former board of directors as a very temporary storage facility about 15-20 years ago. It is actually an old building center that was built back in the 50’s and had little to no upkeep done to it. Over the years, we have made “patch” type repairs to it to keep it from totally collapsing, but two years ago, we did lose an entire wall due to the snow load against it. That was repaired by us.

There is a mantra among snowmobilers that you need to support the local clubs and this is the perfect opportunity to do just that. Our club has already been able to raise 50,000 dollars through fundraising events and donations, but we need to get to 130,000 to be able to build the building we need. It will be a no-frills building, just 4 walls and a roof. It will be heated so that the machines can thaw out between runs and worked on, so also needs to be insulated.

We were hoping to get started on the building this summer/autumn, but have been held up with the land aquisition. We have come to an agreement with Calumet Township for some land right alongside the trail just on the south side of town, but still do not have the deed, so cannot even move a rock yet. With winter closing in, we can only do site prep work at this point, but hope to have that done and hit the ground running next spring.

If you are sitting here thinking…”you need 80,000 bucks! what will my $20 or $50 do?” the answer is get us that much closer. EVERY bit helps. We got to our current $50,000 in savings in that very manner, in many cases, $1 at a time through the donation boxes. The Keweenaw is an exceptionally popular place to snowmobile and the donations can add up quickly, no matter the amount. So please, I cannot stress enough how much we need your help!

Speaking of fundraisers, we have three that will be going on this season to help raise money for the groomer barn. First is a good old fashioned Fish Fry being held at the Bear Belly Bar and Grill in Lac La Belle on November 8th from 4-8:30 pm. The cost will be $13. 95 and is for all-you-can-eat. All proceeds will be going towards the building fund. Our first attempt at this last year was nearly shut down by a tremendous snowstorm. Blizzard actually. Due to the storm, attendance was only about 20% of what is typical for other charity fish-fry’s that LLB has. So hopefully the weather will be more cooperative!

The second fund raiser will be an all-season long 50/50 raffle. We will be selling the tickets at various businesses up here, as well as on-line through the website. The tickets will be available as soon as we get our licence and the tickets printed. I will be sure to let you all know when that happens. It is sure to be a HUGE prize, with both locals and those that just love and visit the Keweenaw purchasing tickets. Tickets will be $1 each or 6 for $5.

The third fund raiser will be the annual trailside bonfire and cookout. It will be held at the Trailside Lodge in Calumet from 11 am to 2 pm on January 25th. We will have free food, as well as pop, coffee, water and hot chocolate. The fire is also a great way to warm up your bones and stretch out your muscles while riding that day.

Last but not least is our annual trail work weekend. It will be this October 25th and 26th. Volunteers will be meeting up at the Trailside Lodge in Calumet at 9:30 am to form into groups and hit the trails. As is always the case, no special tools are needed, but if you have things like loppers, or something to cut back brush, bring it! Pole saws are a useful item as well, as are a few chain saws. Free lodging is being made available by the Trailside Lodge to volunteer workers, so give them a call 906-337-9905. Space is limited, so do not wait until the last minute!

If you noticed, there are two businesses that keep popping up in our fundraising efforts. The Lac La Belle Lodge/Bear Belly Bar and Grille and the Trailside Lodge in Calumet. This is no accident. These businesses, year after year, step up to the plate to help us out. I wanted to recognize these two for their constant generousity and commitment to the snowmobiling program and I hope they are rewarded for that by business from snowmobilers.

In other news…The color show in the Keweenaw is getting ramped up and in some cases, very near peak. On average, I would say most spots will be at peak in a few days and by next weekend, all will have reached peak, or will be very close. I can say that it looks like it is going to be a banner year for the colors as well. The trees that are changing have incredible colors and when they all reach peak, it will be a sight you will not find anywhere else. In years like this, we have had folks from New England say that our colors beat theirs. I am sure hoping I can sneak away for a bit of a tour, although the drive around Bootjack and Jacobsville is going to pretty spectacular in itself. We are still about 4-5 days away from peak here, but as I said, the trees that are changing are glowing. This was the view this afternoon as I was driving down the Jacobsville Rd.

The weather this week looks to be pretty spectacular for the leaf-peeping activity. Warm temps and little to no rain. That is until Friday, when some rains will be produced by a passing cold front. The air behind the front looks to be cold enough to create some lake effect precip. Right now it looks to fall in the form or rain and snow, depending on where you are. The higher terrain, especially further inland, will see more snow than rain, while areas right up against the lake or at lower elevations will see more rain than snow. Not much in the way of accumulation looks to occur, perhaps a wet inch or two in the higher terrain, but to the west of us a much different story. A major snow storm looks to shape up for ND, SD and possibly far NW MN. It is still very early in the game to be putting a lot of faith into the details, but as things stand right now, some areas of ND could see 2 feet or more of snow fall. Plus winds Friday night into Saturday could be 45 mph sustained, with gusts over 55. So if you plan to travel through the Dakotas this weekend, best keep an eye on the forecast, or change your plans!

We had a bit of slush fall here Thursday morning. I had to pick up some things in Houghton, so shot down there in between my work duties and at around 11 am, I was getting back into my truck to head home and saw a few very slushy flakes hit my hood and windshield. They were not true flakes of snow and thus will not be counted as such, but it was nasty! That time of year I guess.

The barndeminimum is progressing. The weather held the progress on the exterior back a bit, but they did come on Saturday and got some of the metal roofing up, as well as the septic drainfield pretty far along. With the help of my brother on Sunday and then a friend Tue, Wed and Thursday, got all the windows in, as well as one of the three garage doors. The other two had to be ordered and should be here in a week or so.

The partition walls on the second floor also got done, so I can run electric there, as well as water supply lines. The drains and venting for the sinks, toilets and shower were also done this week and the hot water boiler for heat and domestic hot water is well on it’s way to being done.

I am really hoping that with the good weather, the roofing and siding can be wrapped up this week, as well as the septic and that the boiler can be finished up as well. It is really crunch time for ALL the contractors up here and mine is included, so I know I am sharing their resourses with others. I plan to get all the supply lines done and as much electrical as possible. We still have not been attached to the power grid, but I am also hoping that happens this week. As soon as we have power to the building, I am moving in! The stand-by generator is nearly ready to go. All that needs to be done is for me to connect the generator to the transfer switch and for a propane line to be hooked up to it. I am not going to be using the generator for full time power until we are hooked into the grid though. Just a progress report!

Also, we got a call from the folks who’s home we will be moving into and living out the rest of our years in, on Friday and they made an offer on a place and it was accepted! So as long as all goes well with that, their closing date is Nov 18th and they will be moving into their new place the following weekend, or not too long after…depending on how the packing goes.

So lots of exciting things going on up here. I do plan to get my seasonal outlook out sometime next week. I really would like to be out of the camper and into the office in the barndeminimum when I do that.

I guess that covers it for this one. I got a lot more long winded than I thought, but I guess that comes with old age!

Good night from the Keweenaw..