Nick’s Blog 2

WHERE IS NICK? Starting December 26, 2009………..Click on  SPOT TRACKER

 ***Tracks Nick’s location every 10 minutes***

**Does not track actual miles ridden, only general miles between two points.**


(To see a map of the daily ride – click on the Day #)

Thank you everyone for coming out to join Nick for the FINALE CELEBRATION on Tuesday, February 23rd at the River Station in Richmond!  Nick was truly touched.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010     Day: 60

  • Starting Mileage: 19,787
  • Ending Mileage: 20,131
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 344
  • Total Miles To Date: 19,506  (unofficial new world record)
  • Travel: Richmond-MN, Melrose, Fergus Falls, turned around and headed back down to Avon, back to Freeport, and finally back to Richmond.  (On the map you will see a route from Onamia to Richmond – that is from the end of my day: 59 that took place after midnight.) 
  • Notes:  After only 3 hours of sleep I managed to get myself out of bed and finish out my final day of my 60 day journey.  The temps outside when I left in the morning was 17 degrees and very windy.  The cross winds were so great that they were trying to wisk my helmet off as I was riding down the trails.  It was great having 9 guys standing outside my door in the windy cold temps when I was just waking up in the morning.  They all showed up at my house to ride with me on my final day.  We had great trails and the sled was running amazing – it has now become a part of me.  It seems to have a mind of its own, to bring awareness to such a great cause and to our foundation.  When I got north of Richmond on the trails (Gertken’s woods/shelter), I was in ah for all the people that were out in the woods waiting for my arrival.  Sleadhead24/7 was there filming the crowd and joined in on the final miles.  I gave 4 of my grandkids short quick rides before I took my final ride into town not knowing what to expect.  It was amazing and breathtaking riding my final miles into Richmond to the River Station.  I had a mile of sleds following behind me and the groomer in front.  When I hit the city roads my fellow Richmond Fire Department (being that I am a retired member) and local Police were parading me into town withtheir sirens going.  Then the final mile seeing all of the community standing along the roads and at the final location cheering me on and congratulating me.  Thank you so much for all of your support!  You all brought tears to my eyes and a priceless image in my head that I will never forget.  If it wasn’t for two of my grandsons sitting on my sled (Alex in front and Zachary in back) I may have fallen over from being so tired and overwhelmed by amazement.  I want to THANK everyone a million times for everything that everyone has done to support the Keller Family Community Foundation.  This truly has been a ‘we’ experience.  I could have never done this alone.  I may have ridden on the sled, but all of you did the support behind me.  THANK YOU!  I hope that everyone understands that I wasn’t able to speak with every last one of you.  It is a deep sorrow that I could not thank everyone personally but know that you are all in my heart and soul.  Please come back and check out my blog again…..I will be adding additional feelings/comments.  

Monday, February 22, 2010     Day: 59

  • Starting Mileage: 19,479
  • Ending Mileage: 19,787
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 308
  • Total Miles To Date: 19,162
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, crossed over to Wisconsin, Mellon, Marengo, Ashland, and Brule.  Farming-MN, Albany, Senoia, Isle, and then turned around and sled back to Richmond-MN.   
  • Notes: I left Ironwood around 9am this morning and made it all the way to Brulebefore problems hit (I was able to get 115 miles on the sled).  I started hearing a noise, so I stopped to check it out.  Sadly, I found that the track has a tear in it.  Luckily Todd M was riding in the truck with the trailer near by.  So we have loaded it up and on our way to A & C Yamaha in Paynesville, MN to get the track fixed.  I didn’t want to ruin the sled by riding on it any further.  After the track gets replaced I will ride into the night to get the remainder of my miles on for the day.  Well, A & C Yamaha did a great job of getting the track fixed super fast.  They had the track replaced in about 90 minutes.  WOW, now that is what I call quick/great service!  Thank you so very much!  I trailered over to Goat Ropers in Farming, MN to eat a quick dinner and socialized withmany family, friends, and people in the community that have shown all their support for my Snowball Cancer journey.  I then got on the sled and rode withWayne D, Neal, Victor H, and Scott K for a nice night ride from about a little after 9pm until close to 2:30am (temp was at 9 degrees when I pulled in).  Thank  you guys for sticking withme all night.  This day has truly been a roller coaster day witha high when I left and then hit a low when the track had the tear in it.  Overall, the riding for the day was smoothwith great trails in all 3 states.  Right before I got to Brule, WI I saw a group of 3 deers with 4 turkeys on the trails.    Well, let me get a few hours of sleep before my final day.  

Sunday, February 21, 2010     Day: 58

  •  Starting Mileage: 19,045
  • Ending Mileage: 19,479
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 434
  • Total Miles To Date: 18,854
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Bessemer, Porcupine Mountain, Lake Gogebic, Marenisco, headed over into Wisconsin, Presque Isle, Turtle Flambeau Flowage, Iron County, and back over to Ironwood-MI.  
  • Notes: The temp hit a high of 32 degrees and was down to 12 degrees when I came back in tonight.  I had a great time riding today on all of the lakes within Michigan and Wisconsin.  I was also able to make some stops and do some socializing along the way.  I even made my longest stop so far on my journey (90 minutes) by visiting my good friends at Camp ‘1’, Dale and Cathy.  Cathy is a Nick’s Blog addict.  They have always been so supportive and have been such great friends through the years.  I also got to speak with alotof different people that have seen me on John Dee website along with seeing me on SleadHead 24/7 show (the second show should also be airing on Monday, Feb 22 on FSN).  So that was pretty exciting.  Otherwise, I am just trying to get a little rested up for my big day riding back to Minnesota tomorrow and finishing up my 60th day on Tuesday.  This has truly been a great journey that I will never forgot and all the wonderful people that I have met along the way.  Thank you everyone! 

Saturday, February 20, 2010     Day: 57

  •  Starting Mileage: 18,638
  • Ending Mileage: 19,045
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 407
  • Total Miles To Date: 18,420
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Bergland, Greenland, Houghton, Copper Harbor, Mass City, Bruce Crossing, Lake Gogebic, and back to Ironwood.
  • Notes: This morning it was -3 degrees, with a high of 25 degrees, and back down to 17 degrees coming in tonight.  The trails have a lot of brown spots on them.  It sure would be nice to get some more snow.  I am so thankful that I started this 60 day journey when I did.  I don’t know what I would have done with all of this snow melting away.  Well, I of course talked to a ton of people on the trails and gas stations today.  When I was in Greenland filling up gas I came across a group from Catlin, IL.  Sheila, Bruce, Todd, & Bob asked where I was heading (Copper Harbor I told them) and asked if they could come along.  Sure, come right ahead!  They had never been up in this area before so I was happy to take them with me.  So the 5 of us rode from Greenland up to Copper Harbor and back down to Bruce Crossing together.  Thank you for coming along and enjoying my day with me.  I think I am going to try and get some sleep tonight.  Hopefully tomorrow I can keep up with my average and get a little rest before taking the long ride back down to Richmond, MN on Monday.     

Friday, February 19, 2010     Day: 56

  •  Starting Mileage: 18,227
  • Ending Mileage: 18,638
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 411
  • Total Miles To Date: 18,013
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Watersmeet, Iron River, Tyran-WI, Crystal Falls, Pentoga, Caspian, Elmwood, Kenton, Sidnaw, Mass City, Bruce Crossing, Bergland, Lake Gogebic, Wakefield, and back to Ironwood.
  • Notes:  I woke up this morning to the temps down at -6 degrees, it warmed up to near 34 degrees, and back down to 8 degrees as I came back into town tonight.  We really need some more snow again, the trails are getting pretty rough.  When I was sledding on Lake Gogebic there was a man trying to walk back to the resort that they were staying at since their sled belt broke.  I thought instead of him walking the 5 miles it would be quicker for him if I just gave him a ride on the back of my sled.  He hopped on and away we went.  So after I dropped him off, I finished up my long day of riding.  Otherwise, I had a great ride and will try to get to bed and get some rest for another day tomorrow.    

Thursday, February 18, 2010     Day: 55

  •  Starting Mileage: 17,875
  • Ending Mileage: 18,227
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 352
  • Total Miles To Date: 17,602
  • Travel: Greenland, Rousseau, Sidnaw, Kenton, Iron River, Caspian, Watersmeet, Ironwood, Iron County-WI, and back to Ironwood. 
  • Notes:  After changing oil last night I found a crack in the exhaust pipe.  Instead of snowmobiling up to Pat’s Auto & Yamaha in Greenland, Todd and I trailered the sled 85 miles as to not risk damage to the machine and get the exhaust problem repaired.  However, I am sure Tanner would have been happy to drive it just the way it was with all of the noise.  As I was looking out the window at the repair shop, I was thinking about how my grandkidsareall playing outside in the snow at school while I was waiting patiently to get out and play too (I mean work).  I tried to rest up when I waited since I knew that I would be having a late night of riding (since I only started around 3:30 pm today).  I needed to get a full day of riding in to keep up with my miles.  When I was down in Caspian putting gas in a lady reassured me that I wasn’t crazy for doing all this sledding.  She let me know that I was doing it for such a great cause and was so happy to have seen me.  Also, when I was coming back tonight I saw a big grey wolf on the trail.  Well, I better get heading to bed and get some rest since I will have a long day of riding again tomorrow.     

Wednesday, February 17, 2010     Day: 54

  •  Starting Mileage: 17,530
  • Ending Mileage: 17,875
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 345
  • Total Miles To Date: 17,250
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Wakefield, Lake Gogebic, White Pine, Rockland, Greenland, 36 mile loop, Mass City, Rousseau, Sidnaw, Kenton, Bergland, Lake Gogebic, and Ironwood. 
  • Notes:  The temp outside this morning was 23 degrees withahigh in the afternoon of 32 degrees.  It was warm but pleasant outside with pretty good trails.  I only ran into a few rough trails.  I went up to Pat’s Auto & Yamaha dealer in Greenland to take some pictures of the owners.  I also bought myself a cool shirt.  When I was thereI found some people that were from Alexandria, MN that had read about me in the Senior Perspective.  The lady is a cancer survivor and was very happy to have seen me out in Michigan.  I was thinking today how I will be happy to finish up this 60 day journey but also sad that it will be over as well.  I have truly been enjoying myself and getting to know a lot of people along the way.  Well, I called it early today sinceI was past my oil change.  So I am going out to the garage to change oil and do other random maintenance on the sled. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010     Day: 53

  •  Starting Mileage: 17,125
  • Ending Mileage: 17,530
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 405
  • Total Miles To Date: 16,905
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Silver City, White Pine, Greenland, Lake Roland, Hancock, Calumet, Lake Linden, South Range, Mass City, Bruce Crossing, Bergland, Bessemer, Mercer-WI, back to Ironwood.
  • Notes:  Today was an interesting day with temps around 17 degrees in the morning and a high of 26 degrees.  It was misty, rainy, and snowy all day.  I rode about 100-150 miles in the icy rain.  I was trying to figure out how to get wipers on my helmet.  I could just feel the rain/ice hitting my legs as I rode down the trails.  You know what they always say, a bad day of playing is always better than a good day at work.  Oh, yeah….I am at work, not playing.  🙂  Even though I do a lot of riding, people are still very interested to learn all about the cancer journey (so I talk a lot too).  But luckily I always seem to enjoy my work day.  Well, I will be needing another oil change at the end of my ride tomorrow.  That is pretty good – one oil change every 7 days for the last 3 weeks.  Otherwise, my brother John showed up today to do a little socializing and brought up his wife’s uncle to see the ‘shack’ up here in Ironwood.  Hopefully, tomorrow we don’t get anymore rain.  I just need to have 5 more days of winter up here before spring can arrive.   

Monday, February 15, 2010     Day: 52

  •  Starting Mileage: 16,733
  • Ending Mileage: 17,125
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 392
  • Total Miles To Date: 16,500
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Watersmeet, Iron River, Iron Mountain, Kenton, Bergland, Wakefield, Mercer, and Ironwood. 
  • Notes:  This morning it was 20 degrees with a high of 27 degrees in the afternoon (and slightly windy).  I went out and changed the back 2 skid wheels this morning so that I don’t lose them and replaced the barrings.  Todd and I went out and enjoyed the great fresh snow that came down.  We got close to a foot of snow (I am estimating since I didn’t watch the weather channel – the grandkids were watching cartoons).  I got started working late so I had to ride later into the evening tonight but it was sure great on the trails.  I was going to try for more than 400 miles today but I was going to have to stop for more gas, so I just decided to finish up for the night and head out again tomorrow.  I want to try and ride as much as I can this week since I am nearing the end.  Also, I have to try and make it a little bit harder for all of you that are going to try it next year.  Otherwise, majority of my family headed out today so I will see them in one week on Day: 60. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010     Day: 51

  •  Starting Mileage: 16,350
  • Ending Mileage: 16,733
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 383
  • Total Miles To Date: 16,108
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Bessmer, south boundary road, Silver City, White Pine, Ontonagon, Mass City, Greenland, Rousseau, Sidnaw, Iron River, then trail 2 north back to Ironwood.
  • Notes: SNOW!  We finally are getting the snow that I have been wishing for.  So with the temps around 20 degrees and holding steady through the day, I went and greased the barrings and suspension before heading out.  I will need to go out and do a few more maintenance things on the sled again tomorrow morning.  Then off I went on the great trails.  The snow was really coming down hard near the lake and hardly any sleds on the trails.  I saw a lot of deer out with the fresh snow coming down.  Otherwise, I rode where the trails were groomed or had a lot of fresh snow on them so I ended up making a big circle.  When I got up to Mass City I stopped and spoke with Mari (Rachel’s mom).  Had a good discussion on cancer related issues.  People are always wondering how much money we have raised thus far.  I let them know that it isn’t how much we raise but rather that it will still only be pennies compared to the thousands of dollars that are needed for helping everyone with cancer.

Saturday, February 13, 2010     Day: 50  

  •  Starting Mileage: 16,033
  • Ending Mileage: 16,350
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 317
  • Total Miles To Date: 15,725
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Wakefield, Bruce Crossing, Rockland, Mass City, Rousseau, back tracked to Bergland, Lake Gogebic, Marenisco, Presque Isle, Winchester, Manitowish Waters, Pine Lake, Iron County, back to Ironwood.
  • Notes: The temps were a brisk -8 degrees in the morning, with a high of 31 degrees, and back down to 12 degrees when I got back in tonight.  Today was a great day since I was finally able to meet Rachel (13 year old who has cancer) and her entire family.  I had a great time getting to speak with all of them and take pictures by the sled (look on picture page to see).  We spoke about peoples frustration with cancer and trying to find help.  People seem to hit walls everywhere they turn.  I hope that more people will step forward to help with shining some new light on this big problem that we have that cancer families have to deal with everyday.  After meeting up with the Brown family.  I dropped 100 miles down to the next function by sled.  I was then met with three more cancer stories.  Everyone knows someone with cancer and everyone has a story.  I then rode back up to Iron county.  I met a group on the trails trying to find one of their buddies.  I kept my eyes open for him but never sighted him.  We definitely need SNOW.  Think SNOW.  The trails are getting worn down.  Otherwise, my other daughter Julie and son-in-law to be Jason arrived tonight.  Well, like I always say to people….this world record attempt is a ‘WE’ journey, never a me.  I rode but my family and community have been behind me all the way.  I could have never done it without everyone helping.  THANK YOU! 

Friday, February 12, 2010     Day: 49

  •  Starting Mileage: 15,695
  • Ending Mileage: 16,033
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 338
  • Total Miles To Date: 15,408
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, 11 north, 102 south, Lake Gogebic, Bergland, Ontonagon, Greenland, 36 mile loop, Mass City, Bruce Crossing, Bergland, Lake Gogebic, and came back to Ironwood.
  • Notes: I woke up to -10 degrees outside, it got up to a high of 22 degrees, and back down to 9 degrees by the time I rode back in tonight.  Before heading out I did one radio interview and then off to riding.  The trails were pretty good but we definitely need more snow.  There were alotofsledsout today and imagine that there will be many more this weekend.  I had Todd, Paul, Scott, and Pat with me on the trails.  The three new comers were ahead at first until the last 40 miles (they were tamed down a little bit when we hit rough trails).  We had a great time and had lots of fun.  They realized what I am doing is truly a job.  People ask…Don’t you ever give up?  I let them know that it is just a job, just numbers.  I was excited that my wife (Janet), daughter (Melissa), and all 5 of my grandkids(that live in Minnesota) showed up last night to Ironwood.  I have not seen my daughter or the grandkids since Day 1 & 2 of my journey.  So you can image how excited they were to see me and I them.  Well, I am going to spend some time with them, therefore I will grease the barrings in the morning.          

Thursday, February 11, 2010     Day: 48

  •  Starting Mileage: 15,365
  • Ending Mileage: 15,695
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 330
  • Total Miles To Date: 15,070
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI,  all the way down to Spread Eagle-WI via trail 2, and then turned around and came back to Ironwood.
  • Notes: I got a good night of sleep and went out to change the oil/flush the chain case this morning.  It was a great day outside with the temps up to 23 degrees this afternoon and back down to 6 degrees tonight.  I had 310 miles of great trails and about 20 that were a little rough.  I met a group of sledders from New York on the trails near Marinescotoday.  They were on day 6 of their 7 day trip.  They had been trying to look out for me the whole time they were here and were very excited to have finally found me.  It was great getting to talk withthem and got pictures of one another.  Todd and I were also able to get to a great little place that we found a few years ago to eat at near Spread Eagle.  I enjoyed talking witheveryoneandenjoyed a friendly place to eat.  Lastly, I think that I am doing pretty well at maintaining my weight on this journey of mine even with all of the cookies and ice cream bars that I get to enjoy.  Well, I am going to try and get to bed and get another great night of sleep.      

Wednesday, February 10, 2010     Day: 47

  •  Starting Mileage: 15,010
  • Ending Mileage: 15,365
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 355
  • Total Miles To Date: 14,740
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Porcupine Mountains, Silver City, Ontonagon, Greenland, 36 mile loop, Freddo loop, Mass City, Bergland, White Pine, Bessemer, back to Ironwood.
  • Notes: When I took off this morning the temps were around 21 degrees and back down to 11 degrees when I came back tonight.  I made a quick ride over to visit my buddy Bob at the gas station this morning.  People just keep wondering how I can keep riding that sled each day and putting on all those miles….  I always tell people, when you have a really good reason and motivation to do it, you can do anything (I have 12 really good reasons to keep going).  Then, I realized that I forgot my mother’s rosary at home so I had to turn around and head back to grab it.  I didn’t want to forget it on day 47 since I have been holding it in my pocket for all this time.  It was just so beautiful outside today on the nicely groomed trails from the fresh new snow that we had from the day before.  It was so peaceful with the snow clinging to the trees, no snowmobiles in site for miles at a time, and no sound to be heard.  It was just me and my family members watching me from above.  I even had to look down at my sled a few times to make sure that it was still running.  It was just so quiet and I was in my own little world.  I had a ruff day of thinking.  Thinking about my sister Carol and hoping everything is going to be alright with her.  Also, thinking about my daughter Carrie again.  Thinking about how it is technically her birthday here in the states but for her half ways across the world she is already to the next day.  I am praying that she is doing well and that everything is going good.  I had to stop in Greenland to speak with Claudia (who is a cancer survivor) so that I could clear my head with some of my thoughts.  I felt much better after speaking with her.  Thanks Claudia!  Otherwise, I think I am going to head to bed tonight since I am getting tired.  I will change my oil and flush the chain case in the morning before heading out.  Sleep good and happy riding.       

Tuesday, February 9, 2010     Day: 46

  •  Starting Mileage: 14,627
  • Ending Mileage: 15,010
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 383
  • Total Miles To Date: 14,385
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Marenisco, Watersmeet, Iron River, Mass City, Bergland, Porcupine Mountains, back to Ironwood.
  • Notes: This morning I had to put some new slides on the sled, greased her up, and then we were ready to go.  Someone told me today, … I think you inhaled to much cement dust through the years that it damaged your brain to make you tackle a job like this.  I told them that it might have helped.  I met a group of snowmobilers in Berglandat a gas station that went to school withmy daughter Carrie today.  It was great talking withthem and they were happy to see me up in Michigan.  I have had so many acts of kindness today by so many people at the filling stations.  The individuals that work there are so great and show their support towards the cancer run.  Otherwise, it was a fantastic day on the trails.  I had Wayne D, Terry, Nancy, and Tanner riding along withme.  Nancy and Tanner had a high goal of how many miles they wanted to get on their sleds for the two days that they were up by me, so I had no trouble adding on the miles today.  Tanner did end up using Wayne’s service today by begging for some gas, since he ran out 5 miles short of the next gas station.  Well, besides trying to stay focused on the sled and talking with people today my mind was thinking alot.  I was thinking about how remarkable it was that I was going to go withadifferentsled color and then decided to just go with the red color.  Later, at the kick off event at Goatropers I find out that my mother’s favorite color was red.  My sisters thought it was so great that I chose that color just for her.  (Honestly, I didn’t know that or remember that red was her favorite color.)  Then, I thought about how Linus Hiltner (my brother-in-law who passed away from cancer at the age of 28) had to be smiling down from heaven on Wednesday, February 3, 2010 when he got to see his grandson Jonathan being the first to witness the tying and breaking of the world record on my sled.  I never thought about that until now.  Lastly, I was thinking about my sister Carol (how she is doing) and even more on my mind was my daughter Carrie.  I also want to wish her an early Happy Birthday since it is technically already Feb 10th in Australia (I think about you always and love you so much). 

Monday, February 8, 2010     Day: 45    

  •  Starting Mileage: 14,304
  • Ending Mileage: 14,627
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 323
  • Total Miles To Date: 14,002
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Porcupine Mountains, Ontonagon, Greenland, Mass City, Bergland, South Boundary Road, Bessemer, Ironwood.
  • Notes: The temps this morning and evening were around 17 degrees withahighof about 25 degrees.  I had fellow riders Pat, Nancy, Tanner, and Todd on the trails with me today.  Tanner was breathing heavey down my back so I flipped him and Nancy in front of me so that I could follow them.  Tanner thought his dad (Pat) was going to slow me down but he didn’t.  We kept a good pace all day on the trails and had a great day of riding.  I brought the sled into Pat’s Auto & Yamaha dealer in Greenland this afternoon.  We did clutch maintenance on the RS Vector GT.  They donated all of their time and service to the Snowball Cancer run.  Thank you so much (Pat, Claudia, & Kip McIntyne) for all your help and continued support for our fundraising event (also to keep it running at it’s ultimate best).  Also, thank you to A & C Yamaha in Paynesville, MN for your continued support and checking in with me all of the time.  Lastly, we want to thank Yamaha Corp for all their continued support to make our Snowball Cancer Challenge a reality.  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!  So next time you are in Greenland or Paynesville, please stop by and let them know how appreciative you are to them for all their support.  Just wanted to let you all know that I am still enjoying each and everyday out on the trails.  I like going out and getting to ride with new people and meeting new friends along the way. 

Sunday, February 7, 2010     Day: 44  

  •  Starting Mileage: 13,902
  • Ending Mileage: 14,304
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 402
  • Total Miles To Date: 13,679
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, up to Copper Harbor, Lake Gogebic, and back to Ironwood.
  • Notes: The temp this morning was 14 degrees outside witha high of 25 degrees and back down to 17 degrees when I rode back in tonight.  The trails were great withvery few people on them.  This morning as Victor and WayneK headed out I finished up doing general maintenanceon the sled .  I will have to put new rods (carbides) on the sled tomorrow morning since they have worn down to much (so for safety reasons I need to change them).  Otherwise, I made a few stops on the trail to talk withpeople; one was a guy driving the groomer, another with some people on Lake Gogebic, and lastly to drop off a card for Rachel (she is the 13 year old girl battling cancer).  I love stopping and talking withpeopleandtelling them my story.  People always want to know what keeps me motivated to ride this many miles in such a short amount of days….all I have to do is show them my log book which has all 12 members of my family that have had cancer.  I brought their pictures with so that they to can ride withand enjoy everyone of the miles with me.  They are truly the reason that keeps me going everyday -they are my inspiration.  Lastly, I have another trivia question to throw at you since you all seem to get the last one so quickly.  I have 2 suspension wheels that are the original on the sled.  If they are 16 inch wheels, how many times have they gone around in 14,304 miles?  Good luck.  Otherwise, I better get some sleep since some new arrives have shown up tonight (Pat, Nancy, & Tanner).  If you forgot, Tanner is the young guy who is a third of my age.  He thought he would come back up and try and challenge me some more.           

Saturday, February 6, 2010     Day: 43    

  •  Starting Mileage: 13,558
  • Ending Mileage: 13,902
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 344
  • Total Miles To Date: 13,277
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Bergland, Lake Gogebic, Watersmeet, Iron River, Sidnaw, Kenton, Watersmeet, Marenisco, Wakefield, Iron County-WI, and back over to Ironwood.  
  • Notes: The temps this morning were around 16 degrees with a high of 23 degrees.  I was way to excited to get on the trail again today that I forgot to hold the tracker button down long enough to activate.  Good thing my daughter, Melissa got a hold of me to set it correctly.  🙂  The more I ride the fuel injected RS Vector GT the more it impresses me.  The durability is great!  I have only had a few minor maintenance issues thus far with almost 14,000 miles.  Most people that I meet on the trails wonder how many years I have been riding the sled to get that many miles on it…..the look on their face is priceless when I tell them it is a 2010 sled that has been riden for 43 days! Otherwise, it was a nice day of riding withlotsofpeople on the trails.  I was a little chilly since I didn’t put any long johns on today, nothing a nice hot shower can’t fix.  I had Victor, Wayne K, and Brian with me riding today (Todd stayed back for the day off).  I asked Todd if he was going to try and break my record when he turns 56?  He said that he gave up on that idea once he saw how much work really goes into it and that I get NO rest.  Lastly, I want all my grandkids to know that I am still thinking about you and seeing lots of deer on the trails.  Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Alex who turned 7.   

Friday, February 5, 2010     Day: 42

  •  Starting Mileage: 13,246
  • Ending Mileage: 13,558
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 312
  • Total Miles To Date: 12,933
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Bergland, White Pine, Ontonagon, Greenland, Rousseau, Sidnaw, Kenton, Lake Gogebic, and back to Ironwood.
  • Notes: The temps were around 19 degrees this morning with a high of 24 degrees in the afternoon.  I had to bring the sled into Pat’s Auto & Yamaha in Greenland for some preventative maintenance to get the exhaust (donuts & clamps) fixed.  Not bad after having more than 13,300 miles on the sled.  They got me in and all fixed up in about 2 hours.  Thank you so much for the great service!  The guys (Victor, Wayne K, Brian, and Todd) all waited patiently for the sled and I.  Otherwise, we had a fun and enjoyable day on the trails (there was a lot of people out on them today).  I am still having so much fun riding each day and look forward to the weekend and more people arriving.  Lastly, I want to wish a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my new grandson Sean in Australia (he turned 7 years old today). 

Thursday, February 4, 2010     Day: 41

  •  Starting Mileage: 12,940
  • Ending Mileage: 13,246
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 306
  • Total Miles To Date: 12,621
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Silver City, Ontonagon, Greenland, 36 mile loop, Mass City, Rockland, Bruce Crossing, Lake Gogebic, and back to Ironwood.
  • Notes: Want to start out by giving a big THANK YOU to everyonewhoshowedup yesterday for the breaking of the world record.  Also, thank you to my brother John, Uncle Jerry, and Brian for helping me do all of the maintenance on the sled last night (it took about 2 hours).  My uncle Jerry didn’t even have to bring his tire pressure out with him.  It was great to see another generation out helping support the cancer run.  Apparently, he didn’t throw $20 in for me since he had no receipt.  But he did assure me that he has been praying for us and to keep us all safe for our cancer run.  Well, I tried not to smile to much for all the pictures that my family was trying to quickly take before they all left this morning.  I told them that some of us had to get back to work.  So as I said bye to my family, I had new friends joining me for the ride.  These people included Wayne K, Todd, Brian, and lastly but very importantly my brother-in-law Victor who is a 15 year cancer survivor.  He loves to snowmobile and enjoy life to the fullest.  As we were out on the trails today we ran into a lot of great people cheering me on who have been following on our blog or over on the JohnDee thread.  I look forward to tomorrow and meeting more people.  Lastly, I have a trivia question for everyone:  If my track is 121 inches long….How many revolutions has the track gone in 13,000 miles?  Can anyone calculate the amount?     

Wednesday, February 3, 2010     Day: 40

  •  Starting Mileage: 12,786
  • Ending Mileage: 12,940
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 154
  • Total Miles To Date: 12,315
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI over to Iron County-WI again today. 
  • Notes: I officially broke the current record at 9:35 am when my odometer showed 12,789 miles, which put my total miles to date at 12,164!  My godchild’s son (Jonathon who is 9 years old) got to sit on my sled and be the first to witness the mile.  Thank you everyone for all of the support you have shown me!  Now I am off to ride for the next 21 days and see how high I can set the record.  I had Todd, Chuck, Allen, and for about 30 miles my great-nephew Jonathon with as well.  I was able to take it easy and make a few stops at some friends and local businesses.  Chuck was enjoying himself so much that he even past me up on the lake a few times.  Even after he got some strong warnings to take it easy on his son’s sled, he was just having so much fun.  Sorry Bill I tried.  Otherwise, I was just so surprised at the turn out that came today to be a witness to this great accomplishment.  (Many people from local businesses within Hurley and Ironwood were present, along with Wisconsin DNR, Ironwood police, City of Ironwood members, White Thunder Rider members, and many many friends and family.)  It was all just so overwhelming!  Well, when I got back from my ride I had to go out and do another oil change and other misc maintenance on the sled.  The sled is close to the 13,000 mile mark and riding great.  I definitely want it to keep up with me and see how many more miles we can get within the next 20 days.  Goodnight everyone. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010     Day: 39

  •  Starting Mileage: 12,549
  • Ending Mileage: 12,786
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 237
  • Total Miles To Date: 12,161   (2 miles away from the current record)
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI over to Iron County, WI today.
  • Notes:  Today was a slow day at work.  The temps were pretty steady around 10 degrees withlight snow falling.  I had my youngest brother Allen (who has not ridden a sled since 1995), Todd, and Brian withmetoday.  We went and visited friends at Camp ‘1’ and Bear Chasers during the ride.  Cathy made Dale share his treats with us that she bakes.  Brian ran into some bearing difficulty.  We had to get my brother John to come pick him up and get the sled over to the Timberline Sports Ski Doo dealer in Bergland to get it fixed.  They assured him that they will get it fixed in time for Brian to be with me for tomorrows world record breaking ride.  Thank you so much for all your support!  Ron from A&C Yamaha (my local dealer) continues to call in and check on me as well.  They want to make sure that everything is going good and to see if I need any help.  Well, I got myself within 2 miles until I am to the current record of 12,163 miles within 60 days straight.  I am so excited that after a long 39 days I am so close.  I have the sled patiently waiting for tomorrows ride to make history.  I am so thankful for all my friends and family that have supported me through all of this so far and that I still have 20 more days to go.  Like I always say, you can have all the money in the world but it doesn’t matter if you don’t have your friends and family by your side.  To my surprise alot of my family has shown up here in Ironwood to support me.  Even my mother’s sister Toots has shown up this evening.  What a great surprise that everyone has kept from me.  Tomorrow will truly be a special day and now the rest will just be frosting on the cake from here on out.   

Monday, February 1, 2010     Day: 38

  • Starting Mileage: 12,101
  • Ending Mileage: 12,549
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 448
  • Total Miles To Date: 11,924
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI all the way to Copper Harbor (until we hit the stop sign at the edge of the water) and then turned around and headed back to Ironwood.
  • Notes: This morning it was -5 degrees outside, 12 degrees in the middle of the afternoon, and ended the night with3 degrees.  It was a great and sunny day out on the smooth trails.  I had 2 radio interviews this morning and had to speak withmyfavoriteyoungest granddaughter Nicole to wish her a Happy Birthday.  She turned 5 years old today.  Also, I want to give a quick Happy Birthday to my youngest brother Allen who turned 43 today.  Well, when I finally got out on the trails with Charlie and Neil we rode all the way up to the peak of Copper Harbor.  We had to turn around and head back south after we hit the stop sign at the edge of the water.  We met a lot of people out on the trails who were very excited to hear all about the cancer run and what I am doing.  I think tomorrow I am going to take it easy and enjoy a light day of riding so that my youngest brother Allen can join in on the run.  I plan on doing the official ‘unofficial’ world record break on Wednesday morning in Ironwood since I have only 239 miles to go.  Neil wanted us to take a little break tonight and just keep riding so that I could have broken it in the early morning of Tuesday, but I thought I would wait and take it easy.  Lastly, I want to thank Will for taking 3 of my grandkids out fishing yesterday since I couldn’t be there.  Thanks everyone for all of your support! 

Sunday, January 31, 2010     Day: 37

  • Starting Mileage: 11,757
  • Ending Mileage: 12,101
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 344
  • Total Miles To Date: 11,476
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Lake Gogebic, Watersmeet, Iron River, north of Florence, Crystal Falls, Amsa, Sidna, Kenton, Bergland, Iron County-WI, and back to Ironwood.
  • Notes: The temps were at 5 degrees when I woke up today with a high of 10 degrees in the afternoon and finished up tonight at -3 degrees.  The snow was coming down pretty good this morning and it was a bit windy.  I rode today with Brian, Neil, and Charlie.  I stopped and took a picture at 10:35am that shows on my odometer reading that I have exactly 1,000 miles to hit the current record.  I officially started the downward spiral to the record today.  After an enjoyable day on the trails, I sent the ‘kids’ home and finished up the last 1 hour of riding on my own in Iron County, WI.  I tell people all of the time that none of this would be possible without the support of all of my friends, the community, my wife, and three daughters.  Thank you so much for everything that you do!  Well, I need to get some sleep tonight since I am getting really tired and falling asleep as I am doing the blog.  I have been running so many days with very little sleep.  Goodnight everyone.

Saturday, January 30, 2010     Day: 36

  • Starting Mileage: 11,428
  • Ending Mileage: 11,757
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 329
  • Total Miles To Date: 11,132
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Bessemer, south boundary road, Lake Gogebic, Bergland(met up with SledHead 24/7), White Pine, Ontonagon, Mass City, Greenland, Ontonagon, Bergland, and back to Ironwood.
  • Notes: When I woke up this morning it was -8 degrees, took off at noon with+12, and came home tonight at +1 degrees outside (with the full moon in the sky).  After a long morning of changing the high fax (do to warm weather last week) and greasing the machine we had a late start today.  Hence why I was so excited to get on the trails that I forgot to set the SPOT tracker correctly.  Sorry about that.    Well, SledHead 24/7 was up filming today and was able to interview a local business owner in Greenland who is a cancer survivor.  She is one of many new friends that I have met along my journey.  As I always say, Strangers are just new friends you haven’t met yet.  So on the trails with me today was Charlie, Neil, Brian, Erik, Doug, Bruce, and Jeff.  SledHead was even able to ride for about 100 miles on the trails.  Otherwise, the sled is running great and I am getting really close to breaking the current record.  After tomorrow it will sound really nice that it will be less than 1,000 miles to go.   

Friday, January 29, 2010     Day: 35

  • Starting Mileage: 11,075
  • Ending Mileage: 11,428
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 353
  • Total Miles To Date: 10,803
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Lake Gogebic, south boundary road, White Pine, Ontonagon, Greenland, 36 mile loop, Mass City, Rousseau (local bar to eat lunch -Population: 3), Rockland, Bruce Crossing, Bergland, Iron County-WI, and back to Ironwood.
  • Notes: This morning was a bright and sunny -8 degrees when I woke up.  The high of the day was +8 degrees with it already back down to -3 when I came riding back in at the end of the day.  I got a late start riding today since I was on the phone for about 2 1/2 hours talking with multiple people including a radio interview.  Dave patiently waited for his memorial ride today.  But when I left on my run to honor him today, it couldn’t have been any more beautiful and peaceful outside.  As I entered the forest with the fresh snow clinging to the trees…it was the brightest whitest snow that you could have ever seen.  I thought to myself that this truly was the perfect memorial for such a great man who loved the outdoors.  It just felt as though I was riding through a tunnel of snow into the pearly white gates.  I told Brian, I think I died and went to heaven with Dave.  My ride today was just so memorizing and full of peace – a heavenly beautifulness.  I thought about how Dave wanted to come up northtogo snowmobiling with me but that he was to sick to come.  So my goal today was to do a minimum of 349 miles (my 300 and Dave’s 49 for his age).  I finished off the ride tonight with Dave in the full moon shining above so bright in the sky and reflecting off the snow riding in one of my favorite trails in Iron County, WI just for him.  You will truly be missed Dave!  And I will continue on my cancer ride for all the other cancer survivors and the ones who past away before their time.  Good night everyone.

Thursday, January 28, 2010     Day: 34

  • Starting Mileage: 10,736
  • Ending Mileage: 11,075
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 339
  • Total Miles To Date: 10,450
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Wakefield, Watersmeet, Kenton, 1/2 way to Baraga, Bruce Crossing, Ironwood, down to Mercer -looped around and came back to Ironwood.
  • Notes: This morning the temps were -5 degrees, withthe high today of about 6 degrees.  It was -6 degrees when I rode back in for the night.  The machine is all white withfroston it everywhere.  (I will try and remember to take a picture of the frozen sled for my daughter Melissa next time.)  Well,we had about 3 inches of fresh snow on the ground in Ironwood.  Today I had Wayne, John, and Mike riding with me.  Mike ended up having some mechanical issues when we were 1/2 way to Baraga.  So we had to use Wayne’s towing service to pull Mike’s sled 10 miles back to Bruce Crossing.  We found a very nice local resident who trailered the sled up and drove Mike and his sled 1 hour vehicle drive back to Ironwood.  Thank you so much for your help!  Also, I went into a grocery/gas station in Watersmeettodayto keep my promise to a lady that works there.  She wanted my autograph on a poster that I hung up back in November, but I told her I would come back when I got closer to breaking the record to sign it.  So today, I addressed my letter on the poster to her 3 children with the following message: Set your goals high in life and live your dreams!  Lastly, I want to dedicate my ride tomorrow to Dave Gertken.  Sadly he lost his battle to cancer earlier this week.  Unfortunately, I will not be able to go back and offer my condolences personally so I will have my entire ride tomorrow in memory of him. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010     Day: 33

  • Starting Mileage: 10,401
  • Ending Mileage: 10,736
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 335
  • Total Miles To Date: 10,111
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Porcupine Mountains, Greenland, Mass City, Rockland, Bruce Crossing, Bergland, and back to Ironwood.
  • Notes:  Today was cold and blustery outside withsomelight snow.  The temps were -5 degrees when I rode home tonight.  I had some great friends riding with me today (SkiDoo riders).  Bill from Nathe’s Marine & Sport Center – SkiDooDealercame up to join the cancer run.  Also, Charlie who is still battling the fight with cancer (rode snowmobile today) and his son Rick.  They all came and joined in on the ride for the cause.  Lastly, a lady from a gas station today told me that she now truly understands why I am doing this cancer run (her husband just found out he has cancer).  People telling me stories everyday really pushes me on and reminding me why I am doing this cancer run in the first place. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010     Day: 32

  • Starting Mileage: 10,035
  • Ending Mileage: 10,401
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 366
  • Total Miles To Date: 9776
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI up to Copper Harbor and back. 
  • Notes: This morning there was 8-12 inches of new snow on the ground and the temps were around 12 degrees.  I was so excited to go out and sled today that I forgot to put in my extra liner in my new Yamaha boots.  My feet still stayed warm, but got just a little wet.  I will try and remember them tomorrow.  This morning I got going a little later than I wanted to since I wanted to get some preventative maintenance done on the sled (a wear item in the suspension).  I had no breakdown, I just wanted to prevent anything from happening in the future.  Not to bad for having more than 10,000 miles on the sled.  Thanks to Lonnie at Greg’s Towing (one of the many shops willing to help me out on my cancer run) for fixing the sled up and off I went.  My new arrivals from last night were Wayne, Mike, & John.  They pushed me all day today.  So I was wondering if Christine knows how Wayne is breaking in her new sled riding all of those miles with me.  If she knows really how he is handling it?  But he is taking good care of your sled.  Well, I am just finishing up changing my oil tonight (I average about every 8 days of riding) and then off to bed.     

Monday, January 25, 2010     Day: 31

  • Starting Mileage: 9664
  • Ending Mileage: 10,035
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 371
  • Total Miles To Date: 9410
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Berland, Mass City, Houghton, Phoenix, Twin Lakes, Greenland, Rockland, Bergland, Ironwood, Pine Lake, and back to Ironwood. 
  • Notes: Today was my hardest day of sledding.  The first 200 miles were rough trails, I thought I might have to get off my horse and walk it down.  The trails were bad from all of the warm weather and the groomers couldn’t do their job until it got colder/snowing.  However, my last 100 miles at the end of the day were great.  I had nice groomed trails and they are ready for some good riding.  As I was riding today I was thinking about my phone conversation with my daughter Carrie.  She said that she wanted to come up to the U.P. to see fireworks in July when they come home to visit.  I told her that it would be along ride just to watch some fireworks (about 375 miles one way).  She of course had some smart comment back about….I shouldn’t be complaining about the miles since I should be used to it.  Well, I finally made it over the 10,000 mark on my odometer on the 2010 Vector (with only 35 days of riding on the sled)!  I look forward to many more great and wonderful miles to come with the fresh blood that just arrived today.  I hear they got all rested up and ready to ride.  Keeping thinking snow…     

Sunday, January 24, 2010     Day: 30

  • Starting Mileage: 9346
  • Ending Mileage: 9664
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 318
  • Total Miles To Date: 9039
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, South Boundary Road to Union Bay, Porcupine Mountain, Lake Gogebic (4 times), Bergland, and back to Ironwood.
  • Notes: Very depressed this morning that I had to wait out the rain, but it finally switched over to snow around 10am.  So in the mean time, I went over to the neighbor Steph’s house to have her download my pictures for me.  She was actually making chocolate chip cookies -which she shared withme.  Then I had a little smile on my face when I finally got to go to work after watching it snow for about 3 hours.  So I went out to work around 1pm and got to chase snow toads on the lake a few times.   It was nice outside with temps around 22 degrees this evening and we got about 3 inches of snow that I had to shovel off the deck.  Hopefully, it will snow some more through the night and get a good day of riding in tomorrow.  Lastly, I did my ride today for my grandkids.  I wanted it to be easier for them to say at show-n-tell that their grandpa did over 9,000 miles in 30 days.

Saturday, January 23, 2010     Day: 29

  • Starting Mileage: 9044
  • Ending Mileage: 9346
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 302
  • Total Miles To Date: 8721
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Bessemer, Porcupine Mountain, Lake Gogebic, Ontonagon, Mass City, 36 mile loop around, back to Greenland, back up to Ontonagon, Berland, and finally Ironwood.
  • Notes: Well, the temp this morning was 33 degrees (cloudy and windy).  I rode for about 25 miles in the rain before I stopped for lunch in Mass City and then it rained at the end of the day for the last 45 miles.  It was an enjoyable day when it wasn’t raining.  The 36 miles of trail on the loop that I took was great.  I will be bummed if it rains all day tomorrow and I can’t go out riding.  I look forward to riding everyday to keep the fundraising efforts going.  Lastly when I was on Lake Gogebic, I stopped to visit and take some pictures of people ice fishing.  I thought Stuart and Sean (in Australia) would like to see what it is all about.    

Friday, January 22, 2010     Day: 28

  • Starting Mileage: 8809
  • Ending Mileage: 9044
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 235
  • Total Miles To Date: 8419
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, zig-zag through Iron County, WI all day.
  • Notes: The temps started out at 18 degrees and got to the mid 30’s.  The trails were a little mooshy today.  Also, the forecast for tomorrow is not looking good either….freezing rain.  So I will have to see how much riding I will be able to get in tomorrow.  Well, I put on new high fax slides today do to the low snow conditions.  That worked alright.  Also, my brother John actually got on a sled today and rode with for about 125 miles.  He has not ridden a snowmobile in over 10 years.  My daughter Melissa thought that was pretty amazing and was wondering how much pain he was in.  Maybe he will feel it in the morning.    Otherwise, I am glad that he got to come with and see all of the trails and the great scenery from the sled.  Lastly, when we were out on the trails we were able to watch some people logging wood.  It was very interesting watching the machines rip the branches off and cut the logs into pieces all at once. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010     Day: 27

  • Starting Mileage: 8448
  • Ending Mileage: 8809
  • Daily Miles Traveled: 361
  • Total Miles To Date: 8184
  • Travel: Ironwood-MI, Bessemer, Marenisco, Bergland, Rockland, Mass City, Rousseau, Sidnaw, Kenton, Mass City, Greenland, Ontonagon, White Pine, Bergland, south boundary, back to Bessemer, and lastly Ironwood.
  • Notes: This morning the temps were around 18 degrees and sunny with the high around 23 degrees when we came home.  I have been enjoying my day with the Kern brothers.  They are really enjoying riding with me for the Snowball Cancer Challenge cancer run and world record attempt.  The last factory change that we did is proving to be very worthy of it.  It is running at its ultimate best.  The sled is running so great and has finally broken in wonderfully.  This 2010 Yamaha Vector is the best snowmobile that I have ridden in my 37 years of riding.  The ride is so great that I have had no pain.  Good thing I wear a face mask all day, otherwise people would see my big grin on my face enjoying the ride ALL day. I truly love my job!  I was wondering today…I would be interested to know all the states/countries that are watching/following the blog for my cancer run and quest for the world record.  I know that I have people in MN, WI, MI, TX, IL, & Australia (that would be my daughter, future son-in-law, & group of friends).