Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Last Day in Duluth; Which Direction to Travel??

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

Route so far.
Tomorrow is moving day. I've been here for nine days and it's time to move on. I thought I had made up my mind to head west through North Dakota, but now have started having second thoughts. I need a long distance destination in mind so I can head in that general direction. The western destination was Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, Idaho. I had seen some pictures from Barb and Walt's blog, The Gypsy and the Navigator, and it looked like an interesting place. After doing some preliminary planning, my interest in that direction seems to have cooled off. I don't know why, but that hesitation made me look to the east. That means Wisconsin, Michigan and points along the other Great Lakes. I've been to most of those places and really liked Michigan but I'm not sure I want to backtrack through places I've already been. Oh well, I have until tomorrow morning when I have to decide whether to use the right blinker or left blinker.  

The Duluth area has been a very nice stop. There are only a handful of places in the country where I get immediate and long lasting "good vibs" about the place. The Duluth area is now added to that list. The area covers about a 50 mile radius around Duluth. I've gotten to the point where I don't try to figure out those "vibs" and just go with the flow. I trust my feelings about a place and have left some places early because of "bad vibs". I guess I should write that list of places down to see if they all have something in common. That sounds like work for a rainy day. 

I traveled up the coast towards Two Harbors, Minnesota. It is a nice scenic drive. There were a couple of things I wanted to see up in that area. There was a lighthouse to visit, a railroad museum and the building where 3M started. Besides scenic view stops, there was also a stop at a smoked fish market that I had heard great things about. I bought some smoked fish, cheese and smoked turkey. The turkey and cheese was good, most of the fish was thrown away. That is the second time I've gotten smoked fish in my travels, I don't think there will be a third.

This view reminded me of the Oregon coast, not the coastline of one of the largest fresh water lakes in the world.

Another view with a "backward" bench. When you sit on it you're looking towards the road instead of the lake. Bad design.

Another one of the scenic pull-offs.
This is in the yard of the Two Harbors Lighthouse. The benches were nice with a firepit for those cool evenings. I also like the fountain with the kids and the umbrella. 

An overall view of the lighthouse. Not much inside compared to others I've visited but still nice. I meant to get a picture of those two chairs from behind, but got distracted. 

View of the lake from the lighthouse
View of the harbor from the lighthouse. That's Freedom, to the left of the red truck. 

The place where 3M began. 3M equals Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing. From this beginning to over $30 billion in assets today. Only in America!!!

I started not to post this picture of the smoked fish but put it here as a reminder not to buy any more. The ones on the right are Whitefish and on the left, Salmon. Of the two, the whitefish was better, but not by much. Give me good old fried fish or even baked/sauteed,,, but never smoked. 

Two Harbors is a busy port that mainly ships iron ore (taconite). It was created a hundred plus years ago when high grade iron ore was discovered in the area just to the west of Lake Superior. Remember, the basic recipe for steel is Iron Ore and Carbon. There are other things that are added to it to improve the strength and quality but iron ore and carbon are the main ingredients. The next time you cross a bridge made of steel, think about it being made up of melted rocks. Almost all of that high grade ore was used during the two World Wars. Luckily, a professor and his staff at the University of Minnesota, developed a way to extract iron ore from Taconite. Taconite had been considered the waste rock when mining for the high grade iron ore. The percentage of iron ore in it was small and no one knew how to get it out of the rock. The process sounds simple now, but was revolutionary when it was first developed. To oversimplify: Crush the taconite to mostly dust, add water, pass the mixture beneath strong magnets so they attract the iron ore, form the iron ore goo it into marble sized balls and bingo, you have a high grade iron ore in the shape of pellets that makes for easy shipping and melting at the steel mills. It saved the iron ore industry in this area.
The Two Harbors railroad depot. The bench was pointed in the right direction this time. If you sit, you see the harbor.

I liked this picture a lot. It shows a ship loading up with taconite while two older men sit in a nice bench waiting for it to get underway. I wondered if the two men used to work in the harbor and they were reminiscing about days gone by. I started to walk over and ask them that question, but thought twice and knew that some things are best left as "wondering" instead of "knowing". 

This is the breakwater that creates the harbor at Two Harbors. The people are waiting for ships to depart and arrive. The fog was rolling in and it would hide the ship that was at anchor in the distance. It was a low fog but dropped the temperature into the 60's. Directly behind me, on the hill, was the lighthouse. 

One ship loading and the other waiting to take it place.

For those interested, this is the taconite process. 

Nearer the campground is a place called Wisconsin Point. It is a little peninsula that sticks out into the lake and forms the eastern side of the entrance to Superior Harbor. This entrance is the only natural entrance to the harbor since the Duluth entrance was man-made by the Corps of Engineers. I didn't find out about his place in my planning and only discovered it by following signs to something that sounded interesting. Come to find out, this is the port where the Edmund Fitzgerald loaded up with iron ore before her fateful trip. The Arthur Anderson, who sailed with her on that trip, loaded out of Two Harbors. Everything sort of ties together, sometimes by accident. Serendipity sure is a good word. The Wisconsin Point has several miles of lake beach that the locals seem to be keeping quiet, probably to keep the tourists in Duluth.
Standing on the concrete walkway that borders the channel at Superior Harbor. This is looking out to the lake. The structure on the left is the other side of the channel. 

Standing at the end of the channel looking out to the lake. The two structures in view are the breakwaters with lighthouse on one and a navigation aid on the other.  

Looking back along the channel at the loading structures. All but one looks to be "out of service". The one that is active is conveyor operated instead of the older ones that were railroad controlled. 

Driftwood beach next to the channel. Yep, that is Freedom, all alone in the parking area.

Freedom looking out towards the open waters of Lake Superior.

Yesterday I paid a visit to the Bank of Walmart and Walmart Drugstore. They sure make traveling around the country easy. I can get my prescriptions filled and cash money at the same time as buying groceries and other stuff. Convenience. And best of all, the Plutots are ripe and available at Walmart. They are my favorite fruit. 

Pluots. Cross between Plum and Apricot. These are sweet and juicy, with plum being the major part. They also grow a cross with the Apricot being the major part called an Aprium (sp). Both are good, but the Pluots is 10 times better. 

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



  1. I had to laugh at your smoked fish comment. Yesterday Walt bought a big chunk of smoked salmon while we were in Neah Bay Washington and couldn't stop talking about how delicious it was. I had one taste and had to find something else to eat to get the taste out of my mouth. Yuk! Great tour of the area. I wonder which was the blinker will point.

    1. Hello Barb. Yep, no more fooling me with smoked fish. As of now, 3:30 pm, still not sure which direction.

  2. I have not been able to acquire a taste for smoked fish either.

  3. Where to go.... "Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind" by The Lovin' Spoonful
    I've no doubt you'll pick the best direction!

  4. The nickel cup of coffee at Wall Drug in Wall, SD was good coffee.... if you're looking for a reason/place to go. Just saying....

    1. Been there, done that. The coffee and iced water was good. I specifically camped there to go to the drugstore.

  5. Great post Darrell. I’m with Barbara on the smoked fish. Good luck on your decision. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Thanks K&J. I hope ya'll are doing OK.

  7. Eastern Washington, Idaho and western Montana are some of the fondest memories of my travels out there.

    1. I agree Barney. I liked part of that area too. I'm still flip-flopping about direction. I may sleep on it and see what happens

  8. That "backwards" bench is there for you to put your foot up on so you can use your knee to help steady your camera. (Trying to make my home state not sound dumb.)

    1. OK Linda, I guess I can buy that. That means Minnesota is way ahead of the bench curve since they are the only ones that use those kind of benches.

  9. I accidentally deleted someones comment when I was checking it on my cell phone. My big finger hit "delete" instead of "publish". I don't remember the name of the commentor, but I do remember they were asking if I thought about going to Canada. The answer is I never got a passport because I didn't want to be tempted to cross the border. I also carry a weapon for self defense and would have to store it with a gun shop before crossing the border. That would mean I would need to return at the same border crossing. I believe there are enough things to see in the U.S. I've been to a lot of foreign countries when I was in the Navy and like staying here in the U.S. Thanks for your comment, sorry for deleting it.