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Showing posts from August, 2008

Labor Day Weekend

Saturday, August 30, 2008 -- on Beaufort Lake near Three Lakes, MI

We're taking it easy this morning, updating the website and the online photo collection, reading various blogs and online newspapers, and waiting for the arrival of our son and daughter-in-law, Justin & Kaytlyn. They're driving up from Appleton for the weekend. And the weather looks absolutely perfect for canoeing, kayaking, sailing, and slow pontoon boat excursions around the lake. It should be a good time.

I'm flabbergasted how fast the summer has gone this year. Labor Day is the traditional end of the summer and that means fall is right around the corner. As I've mentioned before, there are a few hints at fall color in the woods but a lot fewer than last year. Within a couple more weeks though it'll be glorious.

Unfortunately, we won't be here to see it as this is our last weekend at Camp Soldner. It's hard to leave -- we've had a great and relaxing time. But we have an appointment a…

Quiet Morning Walk

Friday, August 29, 2008 -- near Three Lakes, MI

I paused during my walk this morning, something I don't like to do as I've always heard pausing a workout reduces the aerobic benefits and the training effect. But I had to stop. I can't remember when I last had this experience.

During the past week or so, I've been trying to get myself back into my old routine of early morning exercise. And I've been pretty diligent about it so far, having crawled out of bed, slithered sleepily into T-shirt, shorts, and shoes, and stepped boldly into the fresh morning air for 7 of the past 8 days. I used to run but my creaky knees don't respond well to the pounding anymore. So I've convinced myself that, really, I can get all the aerobic exercise I need by walking. Not a slow stroll down the garden path... oh no.  I like to walk fast... at least 4 mph and sometimes faster... and do it for the better part of an hour. Throw in a few hills and the old ticker is really beating away…

The Secret Shoe Tree Society

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008 -- Not far from Three Lakes, MI

What do Yoopers (those friendly people from the U.P.) around here do for entertainment? It's almost an hour drive east to the movies, theaters, and museums of the Marquette Metroplex... your best bet if high-culture is what you're looking for. In any other direction you'd have to drive for days to find anything similar. But here in the Three Lakes area people are lower-maintenance, have more basic needs, and certainly don't have to travel far to have a good time.

Besides the normal outdoorsy activities... fishing, hunting, making wood, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, snowplowing, and removing hundreds of inches of heavy winter snowfall from roofs before they collapse... besides all these fun activities, we stumbled upon another that demonstrates the creativity of people when they have a lot of time on their hands and too many shoes in their closets.

Just up the road from Camp Soldner is a large tree that canopies over…

New Lake Discovered

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008 -- Near Three Lakes, MI

Dar's been spending her spare moments working on the hundreds of pictures from the last few weeks, culling out the bad ones, adding comments, and getting ready to upload them to our online photo collection. Not wanting to add pressure and stress to her life, I think it'll be a few days yet before they're available for viewing. Our internet connection may also slow things down a bit as it's not as fast as we'd like for uploading pictures.

After a slow start to the day yesterday, Monday, we dragged the canoe out and headed out for an afternoon of exploration. The day was sunny and there was no wind -- perfect canoeing weather. The highlight of the expedition was our successful transit of the creek between Lake Beaufort and Lake George, the lake just to the north of us. This creek is a low wetland with a number of winding channels throughout. If we were to make it through to Lake George we'd have to find and follow …

Cold Morning

Monday, August 25, 2008 -- Camp Soldner near Three Lakes, MI

I knew it was going to be a cold night when word spread throughout the Three Lakes area that patchy frost was possible. A quick evening pontoon boat excursion around the lake with our good neighbors Bill and Nancy, despite heavier than normal outer wear, left me chilled and shivering. Before getting horizontal for the night the windows were all closed, our little electric heater was activated, and the full complement of covers, blankets, and bedspreads were in position.

When, at about 6:30am, my eyes opened enough to see the thermometer projected on the ceiling it read 39f degrees. Our neighbor, Bill, reported 35f degrees at his place. In any case, cold for August. A thick blanket of fog covered the lake but not the shore... and when I left on my morning walk (yes, I'm still at it... four days in a row now!) I couldn't see the other side. By the time I finished the fog was mostly gone and the day looks like it'll b…

The Important Things Come First

Sunday, August 24, 2008 -- at Camp Soldner near Three Lakes, MI

Solitude brings on fits of philosophical thinking. In that vein, I thought I'd revive the following old story that I've been carrying around with me for the last 10 years or so. I hope you'll find it enjoyable and thought provoking.

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A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. Wordlessly, as the class began, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

So the professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if th…

A Walking Habit

Saturday, August 23, 2008 -- Camp Soldner near Three Lakes, MI

A lively thunderstorm blew through the area last night, waking us up and scrambling to close windows. The weathermap shows this string of storms is pushing out ahead of a cold front that has already dropped temps from the lower 70's as the storm started about 3am to the lower 60's this morning. Nice but cool weather is projected for the next 4 or 5 days.

We've been busy around the camp and I haven't been diligent with the blog updates. Much of our first week here was spent helping with various work projects. Last year I wrote that my impression of the way a true "Youper" (a person from the U.P. of Michigan) views summer -- as a brief warm period that's used to get ready for the following winter. Building and remodeling projects up here are accompanied by an urgency not found in warmer places. And the woodshed needs to be filled with newly cut and split wood -- a Youper never has enough cut and s…

Beaufort Lake

August 18, 2008 -- near Three Lakes, MI

We're parked on the western shore of Beaufort Lake in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Beaufort is about a mile and a quarter long, a mile wide, and has a surface area of about 460 acres. It's deepest point is 35 feet with the average depth in the 15 to 20 foot range but there are a few shallow bars and an occasional boulder just below the surface waiting to eat your boat propeller. As we kayak or canoe around the lake we're 1640 feet above sea level. There's one small public campground along the north shore and no resorts or other commercial establishments with water frontage. The water is clean and clear, and the lake is surrounded by mostly heavily wooded hilly land. All in all, not a bad place to spend a few weeks during late summer in the north-country.

I have to clear something up. In recent posts to this blog and in the "What's New" section on our front page I've been referring to "Camp Soldner" -…

First Morning at Camp Soldner

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Friday, August 15, 2008 -- near Three Lakes, MI

The drive from Beaver Dam yesterday was about 270 miles; it took us a little over 5 hours. Other than a moderate headwind out of the north, driving conditions couldn't have been much better and the bus-house performed flawlessly. The camp is near the end of a small private one-lane gravel road and it's necessary to maneuver around low-hanging branches and a few trees encroaching into the roadway in order to get to the same spot we parked last year... facing east and about 50 feet from the lakeshore. We're partially shaded but enough sunlight finds its way through the trees to keep the solar panels busy much of the day. It's a perfect spot in this idyllic place.



We both slept late this morning partially because we're tired from the drive and the hustle and bustle of the last few weeks. Camp Soldner is in the Eastern time zone and that fact provided the best excuse for why we slept in until almost 9am. Coffee was enjoyed …

U.P. North Today

Thursday, August 14, 2008 -- near Beaver Dam, WI

The weather looks good for travel today... sunny, low wind (although it'll be a headwind of course!), with a high temp of only 76f. This has been a cool summer according to the weather service with many locations around the Midwest yet to have the first 90f degree day. But I'm not complaining as I prefer cool to hot.

We're experiencing that old "transplant" problem in getting ready to go today. When we stay some place for more than just a week or two, virtual roots grow down into the earth and grow deeper and thicker with each passing day. While the mind says "come on... let's go already!" these roots have to be dealt with. But the bus-house has had enough power to pull these roots out of the ground and move us on to new unexplored places.

The drive today will be a bit less than 300 miles, so we'll be wanting to get started earlier than normal for us. If we're on the road by 10am, we should be ar…

Resources for the Bus-House

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 -- near Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

While we're parked out at the farm near Beaver Dam or at Camp Soldner in the U.P. of Michigan, we ocassionally have to pack up and drive the bus-house to some nearby campground to dump our waste tanks. In both cases, we do have access to some limited electric power and can stretch hoses about 150 feet to fill the fresh-water tank, but there's no place to dump tanks.

A while back I wrote this piece about our ability to live independently of outside resources. I thought I'd revive it now:

The bus-house, like a regular "fixed" house, relies on certain resources from the outside world. Among these are fresh-water, sewer, electric power, and propane. There are others... phone, internet, television, radio... but these are all wireless and don't limit the length of our stay.

Of the big four, the addition of a solar array on the roof earlier this year has been a big positive with regards to electric power. We'v…

Mission Accomplished

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Tuesday, August 12, 2009

Well, the wedding is over and the newlywed couple is honeymooning on the Mexican Riviera. Everyone can relax and get back to a measure of normalcy in their lives. It all came off very nice and without any serious hitches, probably the result of all the good planning and preparation -- most of it by the newlywed couple themselves. Congratulations Justin and Kaytlyn!



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I find time fascinating. One of the reasons I like history is the element of time and the relationships between time and people. So when milestone events like weddings happen, I tend to think about time as it relates to those same milestones in my life and the lives of those around me.

Every living thing on the planet has a beginning and an end. It's the cycle of life, the way it's always been and the way it always will be. Even our planet has a beginning and an end. The solar system began as swirling gases that coalesced into clumps, and those clumps, eventually, into the sun an…

Wedding Preparations

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Our son, Justin, and his betrothed, Kaytlyn, are getting married this weekend. Family and friends are anticipating a good time and looking forward to helping with a happy start to their life together. They've handled most of the wedding preparations by themselves, and being financially conservative, they decided on a small uncomplicated affair... except that the father of the groom has been directed to wear a tux. A TUX? I'm not a tux kind of guy, but just as I've tried to keep a low profile during the past few weeks of final preparations, I'm smart enough to know the "tux-issue" isn't the one I was going to make a stink about. Just wait till you see the pictures!

Our daughter, Andrea, is bringing our two great grandkids for the special event. "Wait", you say... "you couldn't possibly have great grandkids! You're far too young!" Well you'd be wrong on both counts... I'm not all that young and I…