Mistake On the Lake

The phrase “mistake on the lake” has been rolling through my mind for the past couple of days.  It doesn’t apply to Duluth, which seems to be a wonderful place to live (or visit), but to our current campsite.  Yep, we’re camped out on the tarmac, and it’s not a pretty sight.  Here’s a photo of John grilling dinner….20141006_165824The sailboat behind us was moved into position early this morning, blocking our view of the graceful Blatnit Bridge, which connects Duluth to Superior, WI.  (This is not my photo – copied it from a random Google photo file)bridge When it became apparent that this boat was going to stay put, we knew that we had to visit whatever sights we were going to see in Duluth all in one day – we’re going to check out a day early.  I say this with a smile on my face, as we actually laughed out loud when we realized that we had a new sailing neighbor, which will not be sailing away anytime soon.  Mistake On the Lake is our campsite.

So, what to do with just one day?  It’s cool and windy as hell in the morning, so we hang out until 10:30 or so before heading out on bikes.  Minnesota Point was our first destination. This is the very southeastern tip of the little spit of land that lies between Duluth and Superior, WI.  There’s a narrow channel of water between the MN/WI ends.  The total length of 10 miles makes this the longest freshwater sand spit in the world. 20141006_11212320141006_112303 The road to the tip runs through a residential neighborhood, rather plain houses on one side, and spectacular beach homes on the other.

We had a good tailwind heading into town, so we decided to continue cycling along the Lakewalk, a paved path which runs north along the lakeshore from Duluth into the northern communities.  Part of the path runs through town, and past an interesting retaining wall, decorated with photo mosaics.20141006_122027A beautiful Vietnam memorial is also perched along this walkway.  This photo was shot through one of the ‘windows’ in the sculpture.20141006_122547Next up?  A beautiful Lakeside park, with several seating areas.  Brilliant sunshine had many folks out enjoying the day.  We were falling in love with Duluth.20141006_13380020141006_134216We 20141006_133954We traveled out of the City, and into a wooded area, where the paved path ran into several small towns to the north.  After a few more miles, we decided to head back to town.  Hey!  A brewery!  We’ve worked up a real thirst, so into Fitger’s Brewhouse for a quick refreshment.  We loved this place – the bartender had an entertaining crew of regulars gathered ’round, and they took us in as one of their own.  Excellent beer, and pretty good nachos, which we shared.  20141006_142019We liked this so much more than Canal Park Brewery, where we had dinner last night.  Beer there was pretty good, but it was superbusy, and just didn’t have the fun pub feel that we enjoyed so much at Fisger’s.

Now it’s time to visit the Train Museum. On the way there, we see this fabulous pillar beneath the Duluth Library. 20141006_162102 We’re sorry that we didn’t have more time to spend in this fascinating spot.  The first locomotive to be put into service in Duluth in 1862 is here (left).  Isn’t it the perfect Monopoly token?20141006_152938Good photos were at a premium at the Museum, as there was a very strong natural overhead light. 20141006_155617 We examined some of the huge coal-fired locomotives, which required 350 pounds of coal a minute to operate.  Passenger cars from the heyday of rail travel are there, as well as assorted coal cars, mail cars, a caboose (where you can sit up in the high seat and look out the window!).  Many old tools and artifacts from the boom years, as well as the years of decline are there to examine.  One exhibit we both loved was a video of a train equipped with a huge V-snowplow on the front.  It burst through huge drifts along the track.  Guess they need these up here in northern Minnesota, but it was an eye-opener to see.  The Museum is fabulous.

Time to head back to our parking lot campsite.  It’s nearly 5pm, and Jezzy has been patiently waiting for us to come back and entertain her.  We decide that we’ll leave tomorrow, although we had paid for an additional night.  Our original travel plan was to go to International Falls, MN (just because it’s there).  But, now we think that we really want to continue our journey along the Lake Superior shore, stretching northeast of Duluth, up to the Canada border.  Each spot we stopped along this magnificent Lake has its own character.  Some of the borders are white-sand beaches, some high rocky cliffs, some stony beaches.20141006_112523  We can’t wait to see what else is out there.  So, we say goodbye to our porthole view of the Aerial Lift Bridgewpid-20141006_212550-1.jpgand also to our view from the side of the Fireball, which doesn’t look out onto our sailboat neighbor.20141005_204805And hey – just to top things off?  Our refrigerator crapped out again!  Eh, so what?


22 thoughts on “Mistake On the Lake

  1. If you’re going back through Duluth, you might enjoy lunch at Tycoons. It’s in the middle of the downtown area on the main street across from the historic Temple Opera Block. Tycoons was the official City Hall building at the turn of the century. My mother was born in Superior in 1909 and went to school in Duluth. When we spent time there at the end of May, 2013 I couldn’t help but sense what life might have been like for her. When Spli Rock Lighthouse was built in 1909, it was a local attraction and locals would trek up there to picnic and socialize. I saw a picture of my mom on the back of a 1929 Henderson in front of the lighthouse, so we had to go there for sure.

    At the end of May, Duluth was windy and 45 degrees. However, we had to go to Wallmart which is at the top of the hill 9 miles out of town. Just climbing the hill and getting “off the lake”, the temperature rose 19 degrees.

    Just east of Superior is Amnicon State Park. Beautiful waterfalls and a unique wooden bridge designed and built by the guy who invented a technique for building bridges without using metal fasteners. He was quite famous in the area and built many bridges. There is a campground there with water but no electricity. Videos of all of the above on our channel.

    PS: Picking up our new TT tomorrow morning and heading to Great Smokey Mountains National Park a week from today. We’ve booked a train ride through the Nantahala Gorge to look at the fall colors. We’ll be eating dinner in a restored 1950s dining car :-) Oh yeah, starting a new blog with the new TT also.

    Curious about your fridge … it doesn’t work on either 110V or LP ?


    • You know a lot about this area, for sure. How cool to see your mom’s 1929 photo.

      Our fridge doesn’t work at all. We have only 2-way, not 3-way (propane). Had this issue before, but it was related to low power. For now, we’re not going to worry about it.

      No better spot for a shakedown cruise than the Smokies. Have a great trip. Hope you love love love your new trailer.


      • We’re pretty excited about tomorrow morning. We’ve already named the new TT, “The Heart of Gold”. You might recognize that name if you’re good with early 1970s Sci Fi trivia (you’re probably too young). Here’s a quick look at the intro for the new blog and background to the name, if you hadn’t guessed already. The pics are of a 2014 model at the delaership, ours is a 2015 so not sure what the graphics might look like. I’ll update the pictures by tomorrow night most likely.


        Yes, it’s a step up from our T@B :-)


      • Your new roller hone looks great. Don’t know if it’s a step UP, but it’s definitely a step forward (I’m prejudiced toward the mini a list side of things, in case you hadn’t noticed.). ;-)

        I’ll be watching. Have fun.


  2. I envy that you can point the Firetruck and follow with wild abandon! I admire that you take ‘situations’ in stride. Keep the chins up and we’ll be following you! Sandi & John


    • John is waaay better at taking things in stride than I am. I’m the ranter.

      We’ve liked this trip so much, because we have been able to fly by the seat of our pants. It’s really relaxing not to have any kind of agenda (for the most part). The refrigerator issue is just our little reminder that it’s not supposed to be too easy.

      Thanks, Sandi.

      On Tue, Oct 7, 2014 at 8:50 AM, campshaws wrote:



  3. We loved Duluth (in July)! This southern girl has difficulty imagining being there in October! We didn’t actually camp in Duluth – Superior WI was our home. How long are you planning to be out on this trip? Have a great time and stay warm. Oh, and sorry to hear about your fridge!


    • We didn’t actually stop in Superior – maybe we’ll hit it on the way back through. We’re nearing our turnaround point – need to be back home in the first week of November. We left on September 2.

      With the sun out, we’re good with the cold. Improves my attitude considerable! Not sure what it would actually be like here in the dead of winter. We have big snow, but nothing like the snow/cold here. Get outta town!

      On Tue, Oct 7, 2014 at 8:34 AM, campshaws wrote:



  4. Duluth sounds great but all I can think about is. . .winter is coming! Run away! Run away! Sorry to hear about your fridge. Between toilets and fridges these T@das can be a bag of snakes. Happy travels and say hi to Jezzy from Katie and Sid.


    • We know that we’re on borrowed time here in MinneSNOWta. Move on, move out!

      Guess the problems we’ve had aren’t too bad, considering the amount of time we’ve spent in the Fireball. We know friends with bigger, more complex rigs that can hardly move without bad juju going on!

      Thanks, Jennifer. Do you still have camping plans for the season?

      On Tue, Oct 7, 2014 at 8:25 AM, campshaws wrote:



  5. Another beautiful day trip to tag along on! But I do have to admit I’ve seen nicer campsites. It looks like John is making the best of it, though. :)

    I just LOVE your new header photo!!!!

    So sorry about the refrigerator. But I admire your roll-with-the-punches attitude.


    • I really do sound level headed, and easy to get along with on the blog, don’t I? By the time I get to writing about it, the ranting and raving is usually done. ;-).

      Thanks for the compliment on the header photo. I knew when I took the shot that it was what I wanted to do with it.

      Hope you are off camping soon, yourself. We’re just going to try to ignore the refrigerator thing, and move along (for now).

      On Tue, Oct 7, 2014 at 2:44 AM, campshaws wrote:



  6. As cold as it is, do you really need a refrigerator?

    Glad you liked the train museum, I see that they have added to their collection since I was there.

    I second the previous comment, Two Harbors and Gooseberry Falls are must see!


    • We’ve kind of joked that we can just open the door, and self-refrigerate. For now, I think we’re just going to move stuff into the ice chest, and worry about it. Of course, we’re hoping that it will jolt itself back to life on a bumpy road.

      Train museum was great. Thanks so much for your suggestion to see it. The Depot is a gorgeous building in itself, isn’t it?

      We’re thinking that we can see the rest of Duluth on the trip back thru. We’ve got some odds and ends left unseen.

      Thanks, Jerry.

      On Tue, Oct 7, 2014 at 2:34 AM, campshaws wrote:



      • Well, I hope it works out with the fridge.

        The train museum was all outdoors when I saw it, moving it to the depot is a “recent” event, but I had seen it in another blog, so I knew between what I had seen, and the other blog, that it was worth a stop.

        I also hope that you find a better place to camp on your way back, parking lots are no fun.


      • We’ve got a fabulous spot at Gooseberry Falls SP. Can hardly even remember the Marina anymore.

        Wow! Can’t imagine getting all that train stuff into the bldg. Must have been a monumental job!


  7. Don’t you just love all the detail on those old trains? They were so sturdy and still beautiful. It’s so cool that you can just pick up and go where you want and change plans on the spur of the moment. That’s the way to travel for sure. What’s with the fridge? What an annoyance. Are they fairly easy to repair or replace? Hope it’s easy and cheap.


    • It IS nice to travel on the fly. Wouldn’t necessarily be able to be so flexible in the middle of the summer, but now that campgrouns have emptied out a bit, it’s a pretty safe bet. Makes it nice for us.

      The refrigeration thing is an ongoing battle. We did have a problem before, bought a new fridge, and HATED it. Then, this one sprang back to life. Solutions are neither cheap nor easy. ;-( (unless we just want to ignore it and use an ice chest).

      On Tue, Oct 7, 2014 at 12:01 AM, campshaws wrote:



  8. Heading north from Duluth along the North Shore you’ll pass through the town of Two Harbors which has a neat old lighthouse and period train display also. Then check out Gooseberry Falls which isn’t far from Split Rock Lighthouse,another local feature. There are videos of all these on our channel but I won’t try to link them for obvious reasons :-)


    • Thanks for the suggestions. Haven’t had a chance to check out your videos yet, as we haven’t found much WiFi around. Don’t want to run it from my meager Verizon account! Thanks for checking in.

      On Mon, Oct 6, 2014 at 11:55 PM, campshaws wrote:



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