The Official Site of Author Joseph Heywood The Official Blog of Author Joe Heywood
22 Jul

On Da Road Again: Escanaba

The highlight (the only illumination)  of yesterday’s signing in Escanaba was the presence of our friend, Laurie Tebo, who after leaving us, did some back-to-schoool-shopping for son Preston, and then drove back to Carney to go horseback  riding in the late, hot afternoon.  Oh to be young again!

Signed books? Not so many. My name was on the mall marquis, but no newspaper advances and people thus chose fishing and better things than a bookstore. Good judgment.

Thunderstorms pounded us pre-departure from Deer Park and hit us again passing through Rapid River, where heavy rain was blinding. But we soldiered on and found a parking spot directly in front of the Swedish Pantry, where I gave Jambe Longue her inaugural sortie with Sweditch Jhow. The Swedelander Pantry is a fine experience for all to have had at least once. Their Sweditch pancakes don’t  compare to the Foster City Café’s, but that’s another story, and no doubt SP has its own afficiandos and fans. Swedish food is, like the country’s more recent political history, neutral, that is quietly and competently tasty, if no exactly savory or mouth-watering.  Good meal. I had their egg salad on fresh baked limpa bread and we bought a loaf to fetch home.

The thing that sort of distinguishes the Pantry is that it is filled (stuffed, overflowing, I grope for the right word) with “stuff.” (Maybe stuffed with stuff works.). Giant $500 shiny wall clocks, glass shelves filled with gewgaws of all sorts, it is a difficult place to eat and maintain concentration on your cuisine. Great wait-staff (and our blond young lady even looked  to be of Swedling extraction). The hostess-cashier, not so great, and in fact her scowl makes one think she resents customers, but this seems an egalitarian prejudice, that is all who come to eat are not outwardly appreciated. Perhaps she thanks god at her own dinnertime for such  cash customers, but this is pure speculation on my part, and  my own interpretation (but shared by Jambe Longue, who whispered, “What is her problem?” I leave it to you to discern her tone.)

So, a visit with Laurie post signing and it was RTB to Deer Park, via FH-15 (M-94), up to H-58, across the 12-mile Adams Trail through the old burn and through the beautiful natural tree tunnel along the way. We let the Shan out several times to explore while JL took photos of stumps to use as models for building up 3D canvases of gesso mixed with fine Lake Superior sand. She applies this substance to canvases and sculpts shapes with palette knives. No painting has yet taken place; she’s industriously creating canvases first.

Having  reached home base, we called friends Donna and Jay in Kazoo where he regaled me with stories of 50-pound trout in Wyoming, where he and bone hunters had been “dirting about “for two weeks. He is testing a program whereby satellite imagery of geologic formations is used to predict certain geologic ages, and therefore bones. Very interesting stuff and the scientists he works with are specifically interested in vole and rodent bones. The period of focus was first in which mammalian  rodents and predators emerged. Also the time of tiny first horses, and in keeping with the theme, Jay witnessed wild horses in a nasty fight over some unspoken prize or problem.  A former Navy navigator, my pal jay is a raconteur of the highest order and a terrific chum to hang with.

But while we were talking I happened to spot four deer swimming across the lake from the swamp in the west, like geese in a line, handed  the phone to Jambe Longue, grabbed the camera and ran forth to take some terrible blurred pix of absolutely nada.  No idea what spooked  the deer, but they were motoring east and suddenly 180d back to the west and hit the beach in high bogey, which leads me to believe they were deeply spooked, the area where they appeared being the same as that where Jambe Longue saw the wolf carrying the fawn some two weeks back, while I was at Fish Camp.

The way the deer departed sharply to the right left me thinking of Shakespeare’s famous stage direction, “Exit stage, pursued by bear.”

Excitement over, we dined sumptuously on leftover pizza and green salads and  repaired for the night. Lonnie fought a migraine all day, due to sharp barometric pressure fluctuations, and finally succumbed to it during the night, forcing her to take on of her pills, but only the second this month. Last month only 3, which compared to 7-8 over past couple of years is distinct improvement, and greatly improved over  13-14 a month  of a few years ago. She awoke feeling great.

Shanny and I were awake at 0500 to greet the day. A great blue heron was  perched on Bill’s Peninsula, with quiet, motionless water and a great reflection, and I grabbed for the camera, but when I looked back the creature had fled and I had to wonder if I had imagined it. Breakfast , and back to bed, where I slept till 1000. Driving takes more and more of a toll on my old bones, I would note unhappily.

Down to Deer Park Lodge to my picnic bench table to write this and check E-mail, etc. Moved heavy junk before leaving to make way for vacuuming. Lunch when I get back, then the dog gets a bath (needed), and I get to scoop poop from the yard. This afternoon later we’ll drive around the lake to visit the DiSilvestro clan, many of whom  are assembling over in the woods. Maybe write a little tonight, on actual paper. This morning over breakie I did some think-writing (in my head, not on paper, a key part of the process).

Tomorrow Lonnie’s college pals, Don and Chris Maxwell arrive  pulling their fifth wheel for a week in Muskallonge Lake State Park, a mile east of us.  Lon hasn’t seen her friends in years, so it will be my turn to play her role when Vairo arrives and we jaw about our old  college and  USAF days.

Tomorrow marks our 60th day Up North ATB; 101 remain, not to mention fine September brookie and October coho fishing. Life is sweet oot in da woods, especially these.

While I was sitting here, Mike Brown brought me The Firecracker Boys, by Dan O’Neill, which chronicles the atomic adventures of our federal government in Alaska, led by nutcase Edward Teller (Think Dr. Strangelove: Teller was the model for Peter Sellers.).

No stable flies (the biters) out at the moment, wind slightly from the north.

No more book signings until September ,here at Deer Park Lodge, Sept 15,and at Snowbound Books in Marquette, Sept 22


“Yo, dude, that’s MY spot.” (Even among animals no angler courtesy these days.)

Adams Trail Tunnel of Trees

Think YOU’VE got disappearing water frontage problems?

Green Streamer Oot Dere on Dose Kingston Plains

Swedish Pantry gewgawery, from our table on the wall. Cramped!

Swedish Pantry Front

Trio of Travelers

Laurie Tebo. Books, friends, hugs. Very cool

You want me to write WHAT to WHOM?


Wall Menu, Sweditch Panktree, Esky


Who wants to be in a book store when there’s a bluebird sky? Great signs won’t overcome that!

Little Bitty Angler with Not So Itty Bitty Smallie on the Muskegon River — great fishery!

20 Jul

DNR “Stuff” from Da Way-Da-Heck-Back.

Wolves disappeared from the state around 1961 or so, at least that’s the last one way shot before they moved back in almost 30 years later. While doing some historical digging I ran across some interesting mentions of wolves in Luce Co.  And outdoor subjects were always of interest, so let’s go back and look at the sorts of things that involved wildlife, fish, DNR and hunters-fishermen got media attention. All of these notes are from the Newberry News.

Aug 18, 1886: “After next Sunday the 15th, deer can be “legally” be killed in this peninsula. [Here we see the typical Yooper wink at the law, like “Yah sure, okay, yousebetcha, we don’t shoot no deers till after dat date, eh?”

March 1, 1887: Luce County established.

12-18-1891: A Christmas Turkey Shoot at Dollarville, all are welcome and people attended from all over the county, but the McM illanboys did the best and carried off the greatest number of fowls.”

1-13-1905: The Board of Supervisors in the Upper Peninsula Counties has taken measures to encourage the extermination of wolves by increasing the bounty. The wolves are threatening the extermination of our deer.

9-15-1905: Two deer the limit: License this year will cost $1.50, double the fee from last season.

9-28-1906: Partridge season opens next Monday, Oct 1, and lasts until Nov. 30. It is unlawful to kill more than twelve in one day or to have more than fifty in your possession at any one time.

11-18-1907: Bounty on sparrows is in effect for the months of December, January, and February. Two cents each and must be in lots of ten.

1-10-1908: Sunday a party of sports was out hunting deer with a dog. The dog ran a deer upon another man who was still-hunting. He first shot the deer, then turned his artillery on the dog, killing it. The owner of the dog took revenge by punching the man who did the shooting, and now he threatens to have his assailant arrested for assault, and the owner of the dog will retaliate by having him arrested for killing deer out of season. [Some things never change oot der in woods, eh]

12-4-1908: J.H.Leaky shot a big timber wlf Monday while returning from a two week hunt at Camp 9. The wolf was one of the largest ever seen here, weighting in at 90 pounds. Mr. Leaky intends to have the wolf mounted.

August 1910: Speed limits on roads in Columbus Township are 10 mph and the clerk is instructed to put a notice in The Newberry News

6-7-1912: John Hatch last Saturday went fishing, taking along his trusted rifle. One his way to the trout stream he shot a monster she-wolf, and afterward visited a few traps he had set, and captured alive a young bear. He then went fishing and landed 46 speckled beauties, among them several two-pounders. [On the other hand, Da times mebbe she changed a whole bunch, eh?

8-15-1913: For all you NRA types: New gun law:  Any man buying rifles, pistols, or other tools of destruction will be required to leave his name, age, occupation, and residence in the dealer’s book.[GAWD, that damn  Guvmint must be in the process of disarming us Americans….in violation of the Constitution and our rights!]

10-10-1913: The Michigan bear is no longer protected by the state game laws. It is not known if this was decided by the legislature that bears were harmful, or whether it was an oversight in the drafting of the game laws, but at any rate, they are now open season.

5-15-1914: Brook trout fishermen are reminded that the 7-inch minimum remains in force, bthe angler may take only 35 in one day, a change from last year of 50 in a day.

7-29-1914: At fur farm near McMillan, a red skunk appeared, something heretofore unheard of by naturalists or fur men.

5-28-1915: August Ware, who runs a boarding house in McMillan, is now convinced that it is better to patronize the local butcher than to run counter to the law and serve his boarders with nice juicy venison steaks. He thought he could save a little money until he was handed an invitation to appear before Judge Seymour. He contributed $25 to the Library Fund. [Uh, my inflation calculator says  that’s $558.59 in today’s funds. Which raises a side question. If inflation is when value is going up, shouldn’t it be unflation when it goes the other way? Just asking.]

7-30-1915: 725 wolves were killed in Michigan this past year.

11-21-1918: Special trains added to handle hunter traffic.

11-25-1927: Two Mackinac City hunters are ill with smallpox in a camp north of McMillan. All the members of the Camp 9 hunting party returned to their home on Tuesday. The party bagged five edeer and reported hunting conditions to be the worst in years.

1-20-1928: Someone decided there are too many dogs in town as several have been found poisoned recently.

12-7-1928: A freak deer was killed in Ewen. Dr. Smith, a Lansing dentist, killed a doe with eight-inch antlers. Amos Thompson shot a large wolf at his camp on the Tahquamenon River on Wednesda.

4-5-1929: Michigan is to vote on a state bird. [Really, and we picked a robin?  I shake my head.]

2-28-1930: Adam Massey caught a fine fox, but a coyote got to it first.
            7-25-1930: Excitement  reigned in McMillan this week about ten o’clock Thursday morning when a doe came up from the swamp and broke its neck while attempting to jump the fence of the tourist park.

10-3-1930: On Tuesday morning tradesmen found a large ten point deer that had been shot and left lying by the section house. Warden Kimmel was notified and came and got the deer.

11-3-1930: Donald McInnis had a distressing accident Thursday when the gun with whih he ws attempting to shoot,  backfired on him. We are glad it wasn’t worse.

3-27-1931: A pack of wolves estimated to be at least twelve, are slaughtering deer in the McMillan deer yard. Conservation Officer Thorsen made an attempt to visit the yard but was prevented by flooded conditions in the yard.  Another pack is operating in the vicinity of the Tahquamenon Falls and doing much damage. It must be that those 25 wolves are  that are all that is left in the Upper Peninsula have migrated to Luce County.[This is what some people think, even today. In 1931 it was said tongue-in-cheek.]

5-29-1931: Harry Fitzpatrick, Laurel Painter, and Alvin Tucker hit a large wolf near ten curves. If was found to weight 85 pounds.

10-16-1931: Supervisor Heidebrfeicht reports the loss of a valuable cow last week, the animal having been shot by headlighters shining deer. It was several days before the loss  was discovered and the meat was unfit for food at that time.

1-13-1932: COs gave a confiscated deer to the hot lunch c lub Monday. The clu b is feeding between 35 and 40 children each day. [Economic conditions about the same as today, eh, but hell let the little buggers stand on  their own feet or die , we ain’t gonna raise no welfare brats….Heard anyone yapping like that recently? I have.]

3-4-1932: Of the 132,750 fish planted in Luce County, 92,750 were brook trout and 40,000 perch fingerlings.

7-20-1934: Donald McInnis and John King succeeded in landing a 20-pound pike at Fox Lake, near Ross Lake, on Sunday.

11-30-1934: A freak deer shot by Ed Hackstead of Traverse City, near Kentgon in Ontgonagon County, attracted a lot of attention here on Wednesday. Mr. Hackstead was in the town en route rto his home. The deer was of both male and female gender, weight 170 pounds, had a six-point spread of antlers which were soft and still in the velvet.

12-7-1934: An army of 20,000 hunters had brought slightly fewer than 5,000 bucks through the Straits of Mackinac Friday night as the curtan rung down on the 1934  deer season.

3-13-1936: Four deer were killed accidentally here on Monday. Two were struck by a freight train and two by trucks that were hauling cordwood. CO Frank Generou distributed the meat among needy families. [NOTE: I believe CO Generou is  the grandfather of CO Derrick Miller, who moved lazst year from Luce County to Washtenaw Co.]

5-15-1936: Forty moose have been trapped on Isle Rouyale and most will be released at Camp Cusino.

10-17-1936: Several thousand trout were planted in the Tahquamenon and adjacent streams by CO Frank Generou this week.

11-13-1936: Edward Stone got lost in the swamp on Monday, north of town, for several hours. He was finally located by CO Frank Generou and brought back to town. Besides being cold and wet, he was none the worse for his experience.

11-20-1936: Deer seem quite plentiful in this area this year.

12-4-1936: Security Act effective January 1, 1937: Provides pensions for workers and women after they reach the age of sixty five.[Workers AND women, as in women AREN’T workers?]

5-28-1937: Twenty-three cans of walleyed pike were planted in local lakes by COs Frank Generou and Richard Beach. Each can held approx. 3,500 fry

6-25-1937: Brook trout have been planted in the headwaters of Columbus Township streams. The trout are five months old and average two inches in length. The Tahquamenon 3,000; Syphon Creek,10,000; East Creek 6,000;Silver Lake 2,500; and Silver Creek, 7,500.

1-14-1938: Frank Generou has purchased the Frank Skidmore home and expexts to move his family thee the last of the month. [“Nuttin’ like help hull damn town find game warden’s house, Holy wah!]

6-3-1938: Cos planted 7-9-inch trout in Silver Creek and in the Tahquamenon River.

2-3-1939: One hundred Michigan whitetail deer are being shipped to Virginia this week to replenish and revitalize the herd in that state. John McLaren of McMillan and Ernest Edwards of Manistique will be in charge of the shipment from this district and will accompany it to Virginia. Fifteen deer are being taken from the UP and the balance from a refuge in the lower part of the state.

2-17-1939: John McLaren returned from Stockton VA where he helped transport 20 deer4 from the reserve at Cusino. Mr. John McLaren expects to leave again next week with twenty more deer to be taken to the Blue Ridge Mountain region in Virginia.

4-28-1939: Smelt jamboree at Black River, last Saturday night.

6-23-1939: Frank Generou just  completed a ten-day course in Conservation Officer School at Pigeon River.

10-13-1939: CO Frank Generou planted 38,000 bluegills, and 3,750 largemouth bass in local waters this week.

2-23-1940: An attempt to establish the blue grouse in the UP is to be made this year by the Conservation Department on request of the Northern Michigan Sportsman’s Association. The blue grous is larger than the ruffled grouse, some up to three pounds, and is similarly colored, and marked. It’s range coveres several Rocky Mt. States.

3-15-1940: CO Frank Generou left Wednesday to accompany E. Hastings, state photographer from Lansing, on a two-day trip down the Charcoal Iron Company Line. Mr. Hastings will be taking moving pictures to be used in newsreels depicting the natural resources of Michigan.

10-24-1941: This fall for the first time in 20 years the killing of doe deer will be legal in Michigan. Under the new law, each party of four hunters is entitled to take “one deer,” either buck or doe for camp use. [The so-called Camp Deer Law, which some hunters stll think is in effect, at least in the Yoop]

10-6-1944: Anglers trying their luck next spring will be limited to 10 trout rather than 15 per day.

1-12-1945: Floyd Tucker speared a 24 ¼ lb pike, measured at 47 ½” in Manistique Lake on Thursday.

9-20-1946: The Whorl Club, located on a branch of the Two-Hearted River, has just completed the development of a small waterpower of sufficient capability to furnish their clubhouse with electric lights, running water, and other conveniences. A small wooden damn on the stream was carried out by high water last spring, so the club set about erecting a more permanent structure, with steel tubing, a sluiceway and aluminum water wheel, fish ladder, etc. The project represents the expenditure of several thousand dollars and is designed to be of a permanent nature.

7-7-1947: Frank Peterson had good luck in landing a 26-pound Muskallonge in the Tahquamenon River, Sunday.

9-26-1947: A 230-pound bear was shot Sunday evening on the Charles Kubont farm. The animal had been molesting their calves.

10-31-1947: Michigan is top producer of venison according to a survey by a national outdoor magazine of deer hunting. Michigan’s 1946 deer hunting army of 354,371 killed 115,400 deer.

1-9-1948: A white pine, 13-6 in circumference and 160 ft high is believed to be the biggest white pine in the UP and has been located in the Rock River valley, about 3 miles north of Eben Junction

7-9-1948: Brimley Girl killed by bear. The first case on record of a bear attacking and killing a human occurred Weds about 3 p.m. near Brimley, when a bear seized a three year old child from the  back porch of her home, carried her into the woods, killed and mangled her. The bear was later found and shot. [NOTE: The child’s name was Pomranky and if you Google this you can learn the whole story.]

12-3-1948: Mackinac County is laying claim to the largest bear ever shot in Michigan. The beqr, an eight-foot brute, which dressed out at 597 pounds (add roughly 150 pounds for live wt = @750 pounds live). Killed Nov 19 near Spring Lake by Louis Karmes of Hastings MI. The  bear is declared to hold the record for the state. [NOTE:For the geographically challenged, Spring Lake is a pond-size little body of water about a mile north of the Carp River and west of the East Lake Road – maybe 4 miles south of East Lake. I think this is now part of the so-called Mackinac Wilderness, which is largely inaccessible except on foot.]

4-25-1952: Quite a few people have  been driving out to the  Bill Kline farm in Lakefield, to see the albino deer.

4-17-1953: The count of Michigan’s deer and grouse by rural mail carriers started in April this year because of mild weather, the Conservation Department reports. More than 450 rural and star route carriers take part in the count, recording numbers of deer and grouse seen as they drive their mail routes. A total of 126 carriers watch UP back roads, and 327 work northern lower byways.

4-23-1954: “Dump” Bears a Local Problem. The Conservation Commission decided recently it would not prohibit the shooting of bears at city garbage dumps in Michigan. The bear problem came up for discussion at the April commission meeting, and the seven-man board decided unanimously at that time to keep hands off bear-at-garbage-pit questions. [Decidedly modern pols, deciding not to decide.] Look this up to see other details, how Chippewa County organized a one week dump hunt, etc.

Oh, and before I close, anybody know why Deer Park is called Deer Park, or when it became the name?  We have reason to believe this area was called Sucker River, then Muskellunge, before becoming Deer Park. It Occurred to our new friend Sterling McGinn that the Deer Park name might have come from the reindeer herd once here, but the Newberry News says the reindeer were delivered to Deer Park, thus the name prolly came before the  ‘Boos. Picture of reindeer in enclosure is at tail end of this piece.

Well, that brings us close to 60 years back, and that’s enough. There are some really wonderful county and township and village histories around the Yoop, if you can lay hands on them. Next week I’ll do a photo essay from the Luce County Historical Society and old jail. Beautiful building, great society of history-minded folks.

Of more recent vintage, we have a small bear crossing Muskallonge Trail about 75 yards  north of the cabin, and leaving its calling cards. Shanny sniffs in that direction every time he goes out, especially  during middle-of-the-night pee breaks.  Lonnie has seen this animal’s scat on the beach about 200 yards west of  us, but now it seems to be wandering around Max and Brenda Stinson’s house, perhaps because 90+ Audrey Nix (Brenda’s mom) just moved up from Alabama and hasn’t much  experience with bruins. She’s been putting out bread scraps for birds. Not many good reports on the bloob crop right now, and if berry crop is down, bears will likely get into some  trouble over nest couple of months of summer. Last fall hunters shot at least three bears out of the swamp to our west, all of them 165 lbs or less, all “dogged” out of the Trout Creek” swampitat..” Life Above Da Britch. Love it!

Book World in Esky tomorrow, 1300-1600!



Deer Park Reindeer Herd.


19 Jul

Information Needed

If you have information on the history of the Two Hearted River area, or Deer Park, especially printed materials or photographs, please let me know. There is no officially published history of Deer Park (Luce County) so Jambe Longue and I are looking at gettting one started. We have a long list of old timers to talk to, but things already in print would help, or old photos. We’ll credit any information you can provide. Thanks for assistance. Over.

19 Jul

Yoop Pix

Can't top directions soon as you drive off the ferry....

Howdy. More photos from recent travels plus trail camera shot forwarded by Jambe Longue’s nephew Jeff Miars. Thanks Jeff. This was taken in south Marquette Co,not that far in cougar travel terms from where we saw cougar on US 2 last September.

Other pix from signing at Northern Gifts on the Gem called Drummond Island.

And the blue herons on our beach at 0700 this morning. Earlier this week we had four at one time!

Track of wolf Jambe Longue saw carrying a fawn. Shanahan wanted no part of the area and fought her all the way over.

Big Bird!

"Can't wait. Gotta git!"

Looking for a lift?

My editor-supervisor

The plein air office at Deer Park Lodge. Thanks, Mike and Monica Brown!

FOR SALE by the side of the road....

In line for the mainland.

Signing site. Thanks to Jim and Holly for their hospitality, and the folks who dropped by.

South Marquette Co, June 1

16 Jul

Two Nights in The Motel Hell: Life on the Road….


The Motel Hell

I drove up from fish camp to meet Jambe Longues at a the Skyline Motel in Epoufette. Always  been a great spot: view of the  big lake, great restaurant next door and across the street, not that far from Da Britch.We’ve stayed there many times, but never a stay like this one.  En route I stopped to say hi to Mike Vairo at his place near Iggy, and Jambe Longue checked us in. She had previously made reservations by phone, but at this place, the actual key biz is self-serve: you go into the unmanned (unwomaned) office and find a card with your name and a key.

JL goes to room, gives it the once over. The toilet he no work, so it’s back to the office. A young voice answers from Lalaland and Lonnie explains and  says,”Do you want to send someone to fix it, or should we take another room?”

“Like, take a new room, but make sure you take a card so nobody gets confused?’ This is semi-prophetic statement. Lonnie also asks, Do you honor Triple A discounts, and the girl says after a pregnant pause, “I don’t think we take that one, but the owner will be here tomorrow.  Maybe she was, just not when we were. We move from Room #2, to Room #3, and I arrive and Shanny, JL and I jump in truck and drive over to Mary Carney’s First Edition Book Store just north of Brevort to sign stock. Mary is in Ludington for an event, but her husband checks in with her, I talk to her about future books and events, sign the stock in inventory and we take a ride through the “secret spot” to check the  bloob situation. Good crop of berries, ahead of ours 60-70 miles north. Then we take a snowmobile trail out, over five small bridges, and return to the motel.

Later a male calls to ask who is in Room #3? Apparently the paperwork system/ handover didn’t work so well.

We note the beds are as hard as tarmac. Some guys are sucking brews out front by the highway, and we read and retire for the night and fall asleep around 2230 — just as the  boys (average age est. at 50ish) decide to explode some fireworks, which sends the dog trying to dig under the  bed and JL reaching for an ironwood waliking stick, intent on going out to the boys to clubbomg them into silence.  But good sense prevails, the fireworks end and we sleep. No AC and no fans. The humidity is around 80 percent, and our windows face N-S with the wind out of the east. So it goes. Oh yeah, one plug hanging out of socket, and no inside door locks. The chain has been ripped away, and the inner key lock, she no work, so we push a chair under the door knob – the old way. The bathroom door doesn’t work, and the toilet doesn’t always flush unless it gets a 10-minute rest. Bill for two nights is $58+ per, and a one-time $7 charge for da mutt.  An un-itemized receipt, naturally. Towels are for vertically challenged people and the water is orange, meaning iron, so JL won’t drink it. Me either. By the way, there were two young women sort of working at the office, but they got into a car and headed east about 2030 – though office says it is open until 2200. Sort of.

The T.P. holder is a double, but ran out and when JL went to change rolls, the front flopped down, the duct tape that held it, giving way, and it wouldn’t go back up, so we left it figuring it would get fixe the next morning.

Next morning there has been a fine hexagenia limbata (a.k.a.,Michigan Mayfly, Fishfly) hatch and the monster bugs are all over the place.  We pull out at 0915, gas up in Brevort and head to Mike Vairo’s, where  The colonel (once upon a time The Goose) makes a breakfast frittata and we have a swig of champers, and salute our boom operator MSgt. Nick Carter who passed away not long ago and made a huge impression on his two young officers. Mike’s  son Chris, Wife Rene, Son Jarad and daughter Brianne are coming in this afternoon from Nebraska.  Chris gave us venison and some Vairo sausage, and some wild board sausages!

Off we go to Drummond Island, where we are loaded, and  then shifted and adjusted 4-5 times over 25 minutes and it begins to pour rain and we make the crossing, shoot 2l.5 miles up the road to Northern Gifts and check in for the  book signing, arriving 7 minutes before scheduled start time. We are there 1300-1600, do the signings and head back to the ferry across the St. Mary’s River to Detour.

Rains off and on all the way back to east of Iggy and JL says she’ll feed Shanny before he gets out of the truck. But as we pull in the thunder booms and lightning sparks in the SE and Shanny goes into paroxysms,  shaking and trembling and refusing to eat or drink.

Dinner with Vairos and a friend of Chris’s and we head for the motel, where we pull through the sprinkler to park, this right after the rain.

Where we open the door and find the beds not made, the wastepaper basket not emptied, nor the ice bucket. The old towels are gone and new rolled ones are on the security chair by the door.  TP dispense still hanging down, and  the second roll of paper not replaced, but someone kindly left us a small fan whose cord will reach only to the funky plug, so it goes unused.

Yapping one-bite next door (aka, small dog, rat-on-a-rope).

The sign in the office says NO VACANCY. The Neon sign out front says, VACANCY. None of the fluorescent lights along the front walk work, nor the string of white Christmas lights. The motel advertises “The Best View on US 2,” rates from $45.” Absolutely on the view, but I told JL, good thing we didn’t get a 45 room! She sort5 of laughed.

Thunderstorms and rain all night.

Arrived home noonish in Deer Park, took a nap, went into the bathroom for my daily, opened the Soo News and bang! The water heater popped like an outgoing mortar and JL wondered why I slammed the door until I yelled for her and the dog to get out. Something hit my right thumb and cut me, so we bailed out until the situation could be checked. New water heater being installed as I write.

Friday the 13th reprised. So it goes on the road.






Uh, no inside locks?




Broken Dispenser, No tape, no fix.



Morning Hex Hatch Above Epoufettte Bay


09 Jul

More From Yooptimes

Weds May 30 – We spent all day in Noobs: more hours for fones; conference with Eunice at AT&T, which works off our deck; Joy Hospital for Lon to get stiches removed; Dollar Store to get time cards for phones, then to AT&T to get minutes added; lunch at Timber Charlies; grock-shopping at Rahilly’s; gas stop, Tahnquamenon Area Library to check E-mail. Cold the whole day, but I saw a guy in flip-flops, shorts and wife-beater shirt sitting on picnic bench in front of the local version of Dairy Queen, chowing on a sundae. I guess temp is relative if you winter over up here….True Yooper blood, methinks.

Thursday, May 31, we had frost in the morning and of course we had just potted basil, dill, rosemary, and jalapeno plants, but they made it fine. That night our showerhead wouldn’t turhn off and we had to call in the Stinson Emergency Service.

Friday, June 1,  Sgt. Darryl Shann of  DNR LED woke us up first thing in the morning (for us). Fire at 76 percent contain, but 20 percent of that is Lake Superior shore line. Sun out, wind calm, temps only to 54. Played with smallies on their beds. Darryl told us that CO Kevin Postma (of Rudyard – Go Bulldogs!) saw a coyote carrying a newborn fawn through a burned over fire area, with the mother following hopelessly behind. Not Walt Disney: that fawn was headed to a coyote den. Lots of game reported moving through burned areas.  Set up book signings for July and October. New book comes out Sept 18. Red Jacket.

Saturday, June 2, it rained all night. Hard, and still falling at 0900. Local Fox radio continued to bray about its stellar fire coverage. They are only radio station we can get when we can get one, which isn’t often. No TV up here and no WiFi. Have to travel for that.


09 Jul

How Our Yooper Sojourn Began, Written Looking Backwards

Deer Park Diary:

Memorial Day – Muskallonge Lake: The temp dropped from 85 to 53 in 90 minutes today, thunderstorms moved in, and a half-inch of rain fell on our lake. The rain is welcome. Low snowpack and only 1.3 inches of rain since winter has left the Eastern UP (EUP) with July’s usual dry conditions, meaning pregnant for fire. Last Sunday night a thunderstorm front pounded through the area, depositing 27,000 lightning strikes (recorded by radar), and igniting numerous small fires. When we rolled in Thursday night all the talk was about the Seney Wildlife Refuge Fire (@ 40 mi SW of us) and if it would breach M-28, but that night, May 24, the 100-acre Duck Lake fire, caught the 40-50 mph winds and headed north where it melded with a small burn near Pike Lake and the whole damn thing went from 100 acres to 17,000 in one day! Scary.  The winds roared from the south at 45-50 mph all night on May 24, and the fire crowned (got into the tops of the trees and took off, a phenomenon seldom seen in Michigan, but fairly common out West, and damn scary wherever it happens. The merged Duck Lake inferno was about 9 miles from us and even at that distance we could see flames in the daylight. Nobody hurt or killed, but a lot of property damage camps and cottages, some businesses and various vehicles the fire raged across. We were told if the wind shifted to out of the SE, we might have to evacuate, so we didn’t bother to unpack the vehicles, and lived out of our suitcases for 4-5 days. People were really concerned when the winds blew out of the east all day Sunday, but the DNR fire bosses reported 50 percent containment, with 200 firefighters on the job,woring 16 hour shifts, then coming through Newberry (on their way to bunks in Hulbert)  to be enthusiastically greeted by townspeople. The folks of Newberry are special. We’ve seen them join arms before and it takes no urging. Yoopers always seem to know when they’re needed, and there they will be doing all they can to help. Truly this is the definition of community. Every night the Noobians cheered their return. Cos came in from the northern lower and western Yoop to help relieve the D2 troops. Every morning the Noobians greeted outgoing crews with water and other materials to see them through the day. All of this is the sort of group behavior I associate with rural folks, and is a primary reason I love to write about the UP, though my focus is often on he small minority of jerks and wrong-doers. This place is very humbling, and moving.

Our first 24 hours were interesting on May 24, as I narrowly avoiding kissing a very large bruin crossing west to east across M-123, 3 miles north of town at 1:30 in the afternoon. With bears you just never know when or where they will show and when they decided to cross a highway, they just boogie. This one actually came at the driver’s door, but I got the truck slowed and he veered right across the front of me and danced off into a sparsely vegetate field. If you knows the area there’s a sort of turquois blue house and this happened about 200 yards south of there. Great return to the UP to be greeted by a bear on the first day. Also that day Lonnie got her first blackfly bite (which left a bruise) and I caught my first smallie of the trip, a fat 15-incher, on a Clouser minnow. About all we unpacked at first were flyrods and a few clothes.

Fire commo from the state was pretty stellar, but local electronic media, who kept baying about their coverage,  was pretty sad and lacking. They could have at least read a status report once an hour, even if nothing had been changed: No change reported since this a.m., back in one hour. Also would have helped to have a fire boss call in on radio and have that relayed to media, even if there was no change to report. It shows interest in keeping the community apprised, basic PR101. There was a huge community meeting one day, and it was broadcast, and not one person gave an actually assessment of the fire as of that time: containment, winds, directions, etc. Nada.

Friday we had pair of hi-viz yellow Minnesota water bombers scooping water out of Muskallonge Lake, coming from east to west, right at our place, coming in for refills every 8-10 minutes or so. I got some great movie footage. The air crews also worked their butts off and probably had a great deal with the ultimate containment.

Saturday was eldest son Tim’s 45th birthday.

Wildfire is a different animal than BTB, where fires area usually limited to one or two dwellings. Here whole communities are almost immediately threatened. Despite fire, lots of bald eagles on the lake, many immature ones, possibly driven from the fire area. We had venison chops and steamed veggies on the grill on Sat and Sunday we had chicken herbs de Provence, followed on Monday we dined on  Alaskan sockeye salmon with baked tateys and tossed salad. The dog, of course, was a mess due to impending thunderstorms.

Weds May 30 – We spent all day in Noobs: more hours for fones; conference with Eunice at AT&T, which works off our deck; Joy Hospital for Lon to get stiches removed; Dollar Store to get time cards for phones, then to AT&T to get minutes added; lunch at Timber Charlies; grock-shopping at Rahilly’s; gas stop, Tahnquamenon Area Library to check E-mail. Cold the whole day, but I saw a guy in flip-flops, shorts and wife-beater shirt sitting on picnic bench in front of the local version of Dairy Queen, chowing on a sundae. I guess temp is relative if you winter over up here….True Yooper blood, methinks.

Thursday, May 31, we had frost in the morning and of course we had just potted basil, dill, rosemary, and jalapeno plants, but they made it fine. That night our showerhead wouldn’t turhn off and we had to call in the Stinson Emergency Service.

Friday, June 1,  Sgt. Darryl Shann of  DNR LED woke us up first thing in the morning (for us). Fire at 76 percent contain, but 20 percent of that is Lake Superior shore line. Sun out, wind calm, temps only to 54. Played with smallies on their beds. Darryl told us that CO Kevin Postma (of Rudyard – Go Bulldogs!) saw a coyote carrying a newborn fawn through a burned over fire area, with the mother following hopelessly behind. Not Walt Disney: that fawn was headed to a coyote den. Lots of game reported moving through burned areas.  Set up book signings for July and October. New book comes out Sept 18. Red Jacket.

Saturday, June 2, it rained all night. Hard, and still falling at 0900. Local Fox radio continued to bray about its stellar fire coverage. They are only radio station we can get when we can get one, which isn’t often. No TV up here and no WiFi. Have to travel for that.



09 Jul

Reading List: May 22 till Nowabouts

July 8– Muskallonge Lake: Here’s the periodic reading list from light to not so much. This list began May 22,  in the order they were read (mostly) and is up throughand including today:

1) Christopher Fowler. The Memory of Blood.

2) Jose Ortega y Gasset. Meditations on Hunting. [NF]

3) Hans Helmut Kurst. Officer Factory.

4) Dan O’Neil. The Firecracker Boys. [NF]

5) Daniel Woodrell. The Outlaw Album.

6) Margaret E. Murie. Two in the Far North. [NF]

7) John Grisham. Playing for Pizza.

8) George Orwell. A Collection of Essays. [NF]

9) Carlos Ginzburg. Threads and Traces: True False Fictive. [NF]

10) John Grisham. The Brethren.

11) Peter Matthiessen. Far Tortuga

12) Arturo Perez-Reverte. The Fencing Master

13) Jay Tolson, Ed. The Correspondence of Shelby Foote & Walker Percy. [NF]

14) Carlo Ginzburg. The Night Battles: Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. [NF]

15) Tad Crawford. A Floating Life. [ARC, Novel]

16) Arturo Perez-Reverte. The Seville Communion.

17) Arturo Perez-Reverte. The Queen of the South.

18) Marc Bloch. The Historian’s Craft. [NF]

19) Gunter Grass. My Century. [SS]

20) Joseph L. Arbena, Ed. Sport and Society in Latin America: Diffusion, Dependency, and the Rise of Mass Culture. [NF]

21) Joseph Heywood. Red Jacket. [Page Proofs]

22) Joseph Heywood. Black Behind the  Black. [SS]

23) Joseph Heywood. The Third Partner. [SS]

24) Joseph Heywood. Killing A Cold One.  [MS]

25) Joseph Heywood. Brown Ball: League of Summer Joy and Suffering.  [MS]

26) Joseph Heywood. Mountains of the Misbegotten [MS]

27) Daniel Woodrell. Woe To Live On.

28) William Alexander Percy. Lanterns on the Levee: Recollections of a Planter’s Son. [NF]

09 Jul

Fish Camp Number, Uh, Huh?

Drove down to Baldwin yesterday, intending to fish for brookies, all the cricks in the Yoop were heavily socked in with fog, into which I had no interest in wading, so I pushed south and fished for a couple of hours on the Jordan R.  Four small brooklings.

I cruised through Cadillac en route to da south, first time through there for years. Been years. Quite the development  there. I reached camp on L-Lake around 1230 walked around house to look at the lake and a loon was floating nearby.  Al showed up next, around 1300, then Robochef at 1430. Dinner last night: Honey-glazed chipotle chicken, served on mixed spring salad with raspberry vinaigrette, blue-cheese onion tart. Some sort of white wine. The main line of dinner conversation was trying to  pin down the number of consecutive years at camp, 34,35, or 36? There is no answer for the moment.  The ages of we “campers” is 62,69,69,72,73, and 75, so some mind-slippage is acceptable.

Coyotes sang at 0300 and 0500, and the loon began to sing at 0515. Nice start.

28 Jun

Publishing News

Spring 2013 (next year)HORSEBLANKETS will be published, my  collection of 25 short stories about Conservation Officers all around the U.P. There also will be two other short stories, one featuring Grady Service, the other following Lute Bapcat. These may be sold as “singles” in the electronic book world, I don’t know the details. Also next spring: The Snowfly wil be re-published in soft cover, and for the first time ever as an e-book. Also, audio books are coming for Force of Blood, Shadow of the Wolf Tree, and Death Roe. Don’t know dates yet.

And here is a look at the crown fire over on the Duck Lake burn night of May 24. I think I’m finally getting all this e-crap coordinated.
Back soon. I write to you from the Pine Stump Eatery.Over.


Duck Lake Crown Fire, Night of May 24, 2012


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