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….The 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) 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. 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.A beautiful Vietnam memorial is also perched along this walkway. This photo was shot through one of the ‘windows’ in the sculpture.Next 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.We We 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. We 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. 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?Good photos were at a premium at the Museum, as there was a very strong natural overhead light. 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. We can’t wait to see what else is out there. So, we say goodbye to our porthole view of the Aerial Lift Bridgeand also to our view from the side of the Fireball, which doesn’t look out onto our sailboat neighbor.And hey – just to top things off? Our refrigerator crapped out again! Eh, so what?