Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Lake Superior--Naniboujou

I spent the night in a state park just south of Grand Marais...


Then drove into Grand Marais the next morning to have breakfast at the marina overlooking the town.

Let me share my North Shore breakfast:  Banana bread from Deb Middleton, tomato and  egg from a roadside stand on way to Duluth, last baked sweet potato from Louisiana and finally some local smoked fish.    

More breakfast view...

My neighbors...

...and more neighbors--with birdhouses.

I stopped at the Gunflint Tavern to look up a friend of a friend but didn't have any luck.  

 Then back on the road.

I love the geese--they are almost tame which probably isn't a good thing.

Just a few miles north of Grand Marais I came upon this lodge and (per Jeanie's advice) stopped in to take a few pictures.

Naniboujou Lodge was first conceived in the 1920's as an ultra-exclusive private club.
Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey and Ring Lardner were among its charter members.

When the stock market collapsed on 'Black Friday' precipitating the 1929 depression, the club began to fail.  In the mid-1930's the club reached a state of financial shambles. Throughout the years the lodge has been owned and operated by various corporations or private individuals and families.  

The Hall is brilliantly decorated in designs of the Cree Indians, as bright and colorful as when it was first painted by Antoine Gouffee in the 20s.

It is in full operation now, seems to be doing very well and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It also boasts Minnesota's largest native rock fireplace --200 tons worth that stands at the end of the dining room. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Gooseberry Falls State Park

As I drove away from Duluth I could feel the  industrial world fall away.

There were long stretches of wildness separating towns so small they boasted only one or two cabins, a motel  that was still 'closed for the season',  plus an occasional gas station that sold not much more than smoked fish and live bait.  I bought some fish, but not the bait.

This pleased me--a 'natural' bridge/tunnel that gave wildlife a safe means of crossing the road.   At different times I saw some deer, a moose, a fox, and a porcupine.

Betty's Pies was recommended by Jeanie---
This restaurant/bakery opened in 1956.  Their bakers make approximately 33.000 whole pies per year  (198,000 slices).  I had a cup of tea and a slice of cherry pie.  Very good.  

They are famous for their "Pie Shake".  Yep, they blend together ice cream with a slice of your favorite pie, complete with the crust.  I passed on this one--'drinking ones pie' did not sound appealing to me.

Gooseberry Falls State Park

I had been passing some minor falls along the way that came tumbling out of the forest to plunge into Lake Superior,  but Gooseberry Falls was more than minor.  I stopped for a closer look.

Starting at the top of the falls there was a staircase descending down into the valley, across a bridge and then back up the other side of the falls....

...finally crossing another bridge at the top of the falls to return to the visitor's center.  Not terribly far but the many stairs were a  definite obstacle I decided to challenge.

Why do I mention this?  Because this was a real test of my new heart valve--and Babe performed famously. I was feeling more sure all the time that I would be able to enjoy these hikes and climbs without worry.  

I love the way these trees reach their roots out like long fingers to hold onto the eroding bank.

This was the bottom and I was going to climb all the way back to the bridge at the top of the falls.

I made it!

The highway is on top of us and the footbridge hangs below it.

We had a great view all the way to the lake.

This wall was built between 1936 and 1940 by the Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees as a retaining wall for the parking concourse.   

It is 300 ft long and 15-25 ft high and it was designed after a castle.

The gooseberry bush grows all along the river.


The berries ripen in the fall, make excellent jam but they are very very tart.  It was my husband's favorite jam.

I spent the night in the State Park with Jonathan as my only neighbor.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Duluth, Mn

This was my first sighting of Lake Superior. 

Stopped here for a good view and lunch of walleye and chips.  

Then checked out the Army Corps of Engineers maritime museum for a little info on the lake.

Lake Superior is 350 miles across from East to West 
and 160 miles from North to South--altogether it is the size of Maine.

If I were to drive all the way around it I would cover 1300 miles.


                                    Lake Superior holds 10% of the world's fresh water.

It is larger than the other 4 great lakes and is the largest fresh water lake in the world. 

Duluth is only the second largest city on the lake but it ships more tonnage from its port than even Chicago on Lake Michigan.

  The largest city on Lake Superior is Thunder Bay in Ontario.

The city is interesting in its age and variety.

It is industrial with the shipping of iron ore and also timber and grain. There is some tourism.

The docent in the museum suggested I park for the night in an RV park just on the other side of this bridge at the local marina,

The RV park (?) turned out to be a parking lot at the marina. 

My space was surrounded on three sides by water.  It was not the best park I have ever stayed in but....

....I loved the views.

The skyline of the city was particularly interesting.

I carefully set the parking brake for the night.  It would be a little sad to wake up in the drink.

The next day I headed for the border.   

The scenery was immediately beautiful 
and I had to scold myself for stopping at every little pull out.

After all, I had a very long way yet to go and even though I knew I had all summer...

...I feared I could run out of time if the entire trip looked like this.

It is an absolutely Superior lake!