Saturday, February 27, 2021

Exhausting but beautiful snowshoe and winter picnic.

On Fridays my friend, Barb, and I go on winter adventures and have a picnic. Yesterday, temperatures were in the mow 30s with sun, but with significant wind sustained at 20mph and gusts over 30mph. We decided to climb the hill west of First Creek.

We parked at the side of the road and headed toward the steps at First Creek. Here is the view of Lake Superior from the bluff.

Barb braved the snow covered steps on snowshoe. I was chicken so I went down the hill next to the steps.

The valley to the south of the steps....

Then we climbed up the hill to the west of the steps.

Up, up, up....

Views from the top....

Grand Marais Bay.

Next, we snowshoed around the perimeter of the valley up on top.

Then we found a spot out of the wind on the bluff and enjoyed a hot chicken veggi dinner I carried in a large-mouth thermos.

Barb's dog, Jake.

We shared champagne to celebrate my finishing compiling the review draft for my new book titled "Rocks Inside Out."

Then we headed back down the hill. Carefully, since it was icy.

Crossing frozen First Creek.

View looking north from First Creek.

Almost back to our cars. I must admit, I was totally spent and exhausted. It was quite a trek!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Book Progress and more

For a while I was doing better with posts -- until my laptop broke. A week ago Monday I was working away when all of a sudden my laptop told me the battery level was extremely low. That confused me because I had the computer plugged in. Well, for the second time the power jack broke, loosing its connection with the mother board, which prevented the battery from recharging. After quickly saving all the open documents and trying to shut down the computer, it went into a Windows update.  Then sure enough, with the "Do not shut down the computer" screen showing, the laptop ran out of power and shut down. OH NO! I had saved all the book files to an external drive the previous evening (thankfully), but had not saved the six hours of work from that morning to an external drive.

I called numerous computer repair places in the U.P. and northern lower, but was not able to find anyone who was willing to re-solder the connection. Apparently, this model of Asus laptop does not have an easy-to-repair connection between the power jack port and the mother board. I watched a couple of self repair videos on YouTube, and quickly realized how difficult it is to repair the solder joint and realized the repair was way beyond my skills. The videos taught me the proper terminologies, which improved my internet search. That is when I came across a web page from a computer repair shop in West Bloomfield. I called them Tuesday and decided to drive down on Wednesday. They explained that if the breaks were on the power-jack side of the connection -- they may be able to fix it. If the break was on the mother board -- they could not.  I was lucky since the breaks (yes plural) were on the power jack half. 

After visiting a friend and seeing my son and his family for the first time in 14 months, I picked up my laptop on Friday morning and headed home. On Saturday morning work on the book resumed. I worked all day and evening on Saturday through Tuesday, trying to make up for lost time. On Tuesday I finished combining the text and photographs for all the book's main chapters. Whew! What a project. Here are the specifications:

Number of pages in Word: 150 (the final layout in 6" x 9" size will be around 250 pages)

Number of photographs: 650

Number of rocks and minerals featured or described: 39

Number of computer files used to compile the book: almost 9,000

There is still a lot to do to get a draft ready for review, but I am hoping to finish these tasks in the next couple of weeks. Then, the reviewers will take 2-3 weeks. Then I have to re-compile the text and images into publishing software. Unfortunately, the software will not allow direct import, so I will have to create the final draft paragraph by paragraph, image by image. To make sure the re-compiling is done accurately, I will have a couple of people review the final draft. Once all the final changes are made, I will send the files off to the printer!

Yesterday was the first time I took the time to get outside for exercise in a week and a half. My friend, Barb, and I went on an hour and a half ski in the school forest. I only took a couple of photos. 

Lately I have been working up at around 5am. When I was drinking coffee this morning, I noticed the moon out my window. To get a better image, I went outside to take a couple of pictures, not realizing it was only 9 degrees.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Sunny Ski in the PRNL

Yesterday was a bit warmer at 12 degrees. It was sunny, so with an extra layer of protection to protect my eyes, I went cross country skiing with a couple of friends. Although the national park trails had not been groomed, others had skied and "human groomed" the trails. It was a beautiful day!

Wish me luck today. I finally received the call to get my first vaccine. Unfortunately, the U.P. is sandwished between two low pressure systems, so the drive will not be fun. We are supposed to receive 3-6 inches of snow. It has been a while since I did a dangerous winter drive. I have done more than my fair share and try to avoid it, but I want to get the vaccine. I forgot to ask which vaccine, but my second shot will be in four weeks, so it must be the Moderna.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Photograph examples from the new book

 Yesterday I staying inside all day and worked on the book. I used the eye drops left over from my cataract surgery a couple of times, so today my eye feels back to normal. I finished the first two rocks in the Sedimentary Rocks chapter, with eight more to go for this chapter. Then, I have the Metamorphic Rocks chapter and the appendices. 

Since I did not get outside, for today's post I will include a few low resolution photographs of rocks I will be including in the book. 



Granite pegmatite....


Porphyritic basalt....

Weathered banded iron formation....

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Very Cold Beach Snowshoe

Yesterday was beautiful with full sun, so Barb and I decided to snowshoe on the beach, along the east side of Grand Marais Bay. It was around 9 degrees ambient, but the wind chill was around -10 degrees.  We walked on the beach east to the Sucker River, which was frozen of course. On the way back to the car, we had to walk into the wind. I must admit, today my left eye is quite sore. It was not sore when I arrived home since I worked on the book for several hours. So this morning, I pulled out my eye drops left over from cataract surgery. They are helping. Next time, I will wear goggles.

This morning it is below zero with wind chills in the -20 degree range. I am staying in all day.

Looking across the bay toward Coast Guard Point.

Barb and her dog, Jake.

Frozen Sucker River.....

I tried to get a photo of the splashing waves, but my hands were too cold to be patient.

This morning's temperature....

Monday, February 8, 2021

Snow and Headlamp Snowshoe

The snow started coming down on Thursday and did not stop until Sunday evening. The wind was so strong it is hard to tell how much we received, but we have at least three feet on the ground with drifts up to five feet tall! On Friday, my friend, Barb, came over for dinner, cribbage, and a headlamp snowshoe. The snow was fluffy, deep, and hard to get through -- even with snowshoes on!

First, I took a few photos of my driveway plowing service on Friday morning. They have not been back yet, so I cannot even leave my house since the snow in my driveway is so deep!

Let the snowshoe begin!

We both have new technology headlamps. It is interesting that the falling snow shows up as a series of dots! In the following photo, notice Barb on the right and her dog, Jake, on the left. We all had a challenge getting through the deep, fluffy snow!