Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Arrival,,, Duluth, Minnesota

Location: Northland Camping and RV Park; Superior, Wisconsin (el. 680 ft)

Yeah, yeah I know, the title says Duluth and the location says Superior. The campground is in a small town east of Duluth by about 5 or 6 miles. In fact, it's still not right, since the campground is actually in a smaller town but I'm too lazy to look it up, so I'll just stick with Duluth and Superior. 

The trip was a very short tow of only 85 miles which is good since it set into raining about 4 am on travel day and didn't let up until around 11:00. Checkout time was 12 so I was OK with just sitting and listening to the rain play music on Freedom's roof. That is until it came close to 11:00 and I walked outside and saw standing water about 3 inches deep on the left side of Freedom. Of course that is the side with the storage door where the chocks, blocks and electrical cord are stored. I put on some old shoes and went to work. 
The Geese didn't mind the rain
After getting hooked up, I pulled into the large parking lot to sort everything out and put on dry socks and shoes. Yep, I thought ahead on that one. After getting sorted out, I checked the weather and knew I would be trailing the storm system right up the interstate so I would have to go slow or stop along the way to give it time to move on. Even doing so, I had to drive in some rain but nothing heavy. I don't know what happened on this trip to get me in dutch with the rain people, but I've had to deal with more rain on this trip than any other. Oh well, no harm that I know of, so all is OK.
Typical views on the way to Duluth. It is like the "Tree Tunnels" down south.

A stop at a Rest Area to let the storms get farther ahead. 

51 degrees!! The closer to Duluth the lower the temp.

After all of my checking on Duluth, I didn't realize the town and edge of lake was at the bottom of a short but steep hill. It is like an escarpment surrounding the whole town. It was a shock as I pulled off I-35 into a rest area right as it breaks over and starts the downgrade. All of Duluth and Lake Superior just pops out at you. It was one of those "wow" moments I've had before and which was overdue. Not that I typed that, I'm concerned that I may have spoiled a "wow" moment for someone who hasn't see it before and comes to visit. I think it will be OK because that is one of those good things about a true "wow" moment is that it is always a "wow" even if you know it is coming. So, if you come this way, have fun with it. 

This is the "wow" of seeing the town and the lake after miles of the Tree Tunnel.

Some wildflowers and a view

The campground is an older one but I chose it because it is close to both Duluth, Minnesota and Bayfield, Wisconsin. In fact, of all the campgrounds I've stayed at, this is the first one with concrete runners at the campsites. It's full hook-ups and I got a surprise when I tried the TV. The antennae is working again and the pictures are clearer than ever. I don't know what happened to make it start working again but I'm guessing the antennae got embarrassed by the cable TV at the last campground. My plan was to stay here for 5 days but this morning I extended another 4 days to get me at least to the Fourth of July. I was struggling with where to hole up for the 4th, since lots of campgrounds are full and crazy on the holidays. Extending here took care of that problem and I got a free night since I stayed at least seven nights. Win, win, win.

Campsite #22. Notice the runners.
After getting set up the first day, I drove into Duluth with plans to get something to eat. Instead, I drove up to Enger Park. With the park located off of Skyline Parkway, it had to be good, uh? Well it was. The view overlooking the city was incredible but very cold. The temperature was in the low 50's with a strong wind blowing in off the lake. I'm guessing the windchill was in the 30's. Surprisingly, once you got away for the rock outcropping, the trees provided enough wind break to make it very comfortable. The Enger Tower is 80 feet high and has five stories. You can climb to the top by walking a zillion steps but the view from the top is worth it. Once I came down from the tower I started to leave but heard a deep sounding bell. I thought at first it must be from the harbor down below, but then noticed it on the other side of the park. It is a Japanese Peace Bell given to Duluth by their Japanese Sister City, Isumi-Ohara. Of course, I rang it a couple of times. It sounded great and gave off good vibs. I could feel the good Karma coming to me from the bell. I think I may be getting a few things mixed up, but psychologically, I'm fine. 

This is the best view of the City and Lake. It is from the outcropping at Enger Park. Cold as a ______ (fill in the blank, there are a couple of options)

A panorama view, with bench. :)

Looking up at the Enger Tower from the parking lot. This picture was taken about 200 feet from the outcropping, but 20 degrees warmer since the wind was blocked. 

Japanese Peace Garden, with bench, on the way up to the tower.

View from the tower. Not as great as the outcropping, but just as cold. It was still worth climbing all the stairs. 

The Japanese Peace Bell that gave out so really great vibs. 

Looking back at the tower

I headed on back to the campground and took it easy for the rest of the evening. The temperature dropped enough last night that I had to run one of my ceramic heaters to take the chill off. That is saying something for me to run it because I like sleeping with the temperature in the lower 60's. 

Today I went to the Corps of Engineers Maritime Museum at canal park in Duluth. It was a typical maritime museum and was generally OK. I was surprised at the number of people out and about on a weekday. I planned to watch one of the big lake freighter leave port, but gave up waiting after they kept pushing the time back. It was good people watching weather so after the museum, I sat and just people watched for an hour of so. I think I learned something about Yankee women Northern Ladies today.
I saw this huge structure from the road and pulled in to figure out what it was. I found a cop and another man in the parking lot so I asked them. Both were very knowledgeable. Very large ships would pull in alongside this structure and the chutes would fill the ship up with iron ore or taconite. I asked how it got out there to be emptied into the ship. Well, they told me the train trestle that was attached to this end had been removed long ago. Then it made sense. The train would back ore cars onto this structure which would empty directly into the ship. They said back in the day, this structure and the things associated with it, Railroad, etc, employed neartly 5000 men. Today, the newer ones are all automated conveyors and employ only a 100 or so. The times we live in.  

People watching at Canal Park. This is just outside of the Maritime Museum. The canal is where the ship enter the harbor. 

The lift bridge over the canal. It is one of the largest vertical lift bridges in the world. 
I plan to head to Bayfield, Wisconsin tomorrow to take a boat tour of the Apostle Islands. It looks like it will be the only good weather day for a while. I hope it isn't too crowded. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.     


  1. Very beautiful where you are, I can imagine the WOW moments. The tower is something else! Looking forward to more of your posts since you'll be there awhile. Probably a smart move!

    1. Hello K&S, It is surprisingly pretty around here. I also get good vibs almost everywhere.

  2. “I think I learned something about Yankee women Northern Ladies today...”. so what did you learn about them, Darrell?

    1. Hello Cat, I hope you're doing good. I'm still thinking it over about posting what I "think" I learned. I don't want to get into too much trouble if I'm wrong.

    2. Darrell I'll save you! Lifelong Duluth native here - Cat Lady we are tall, big boned and overweight and don't go out of our way to hide our bodies. :) We spend our life hibernating in the winter and playing in the sunshine in the summer. We are also very outspoken and assertive too.

      Enjoy your time here in the northland, it is a fabulous place to live with unending beautiful scenery. Try to make time for a trip up the north shore for even more Wow moments.

    3. Hello Mary. One of my day trips is to drive up to Two Harbors and see what's to see. Ya'll have a very nice place here. I like it a lot.