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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Silver Bay Minnesota

Copyright 2018, CABS for Reflections From the Fence


After leaving the Gooseberry Falls State Park, we once more head a few miles north on 61 till we reach the Silver Bay area. This first photo sent me on a research tangent.  Meet Rocky Taconite.  Rocky is made out of storage tanks of thick steel, erected in 1964. Supposedly that plaque tells a story about Rocky, and the of the man who figured out the way to change something that absolutely had no value into a valuable thing.  By digging around a bit, it may be that man is Edward Wilson Davis, but, that is a bit of a guess by this researcher.  Rocky has a Facebook page, for the record.  If you are curious about taconite, yes, there is a Wikipedia page for that as well.

We drove up to the Northshore Scenic Overlook and got out and took the short walk.

I found flowers, wild flowers, along the way, see if you can find the buzz maker having lunch:

Over looking Silver Bay, you might note the dead birch trees, lots of them. Of course, I went researching, and found that the birch started dying of old age in the 1980s, hurried along at times by drought, disease, and insects.  Deer also factor into this issue.  I found articles here and here

This is the North Shore Mining Taconite Plant:

Tis time to turn back to Duluth, but, we stop for a photo op of the Split Rock Lighthouse first.  Sony and I were working it, zoom, zoom, zoom:

Our day is drawing to a close, we have enjoyed this brief stop in the Duluth area.  Back at the campground we wander down to the waters edge, this is the Saint Louis River.

Not a bad view to end the day.

The next day we will travel to Ishpeming Michigan for one nights stay.


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Gooseberry Falls State Park, Minnesota

Copyright 2018, CABS for Reflections From the Fence


As we continue our sightseeing ride north on 61 out of Duluth Minnesota we came to Gooseberry Falls State Park, and in we went. 

We walk/hike/climb around the park, there are water falls.  Their web site says there are lower, middle and upper falls.  Frankly, I remember two sets of falls, but, it's been 5 years folks, my memory is not that good without my photos, Sony GPS and Google Maps.  *Wink wink.

On our walk to the falls, there was this stunning birch tree, later in the day we would see many birch trees in another area that appeared to have died, not sure why.

And, there were falls, I presumed they were the lower ones, however upon studying maps and satellite views of the falls area, blown up as large as I can get them, I have decided these are the middle falls.

With a little zoom assist from Sony:

Man and I watched the peeps frolicking in this area of the park and then, started walking/hiking "uphill".  Sony and I were busy, turning back and forth:

The middle falls again, from a different vantage point:

I could look at this peace for a very long time and not grow tired of it.  That is route 61 passing over the Gooseberry River.

This is what I have determined are the upper falls, again relying upon Google Maps, satellite version and information provided by Sony's GPS recordings.  It was a bit of a distance and we had to cross under route 61 to reach these falls. There were not as many visitors here, as it was a bit more difficult to reach.  And, there is no swimming or jumping at this falls.  Seriously, this spot is gorgeous, but, it is also more dangerous. There is a monument announcing that one should not swim, and it is in memorial of a teen, Richard Paul Luetmer, who did not survive his encounter with this river in 1978.  Richard is memorialized on Find A Grave.

We climbed around to a different spot, these next two photos are taken from pretty much the same vantage point:

On our way back to Jolly we came upon this stunning wall.  If I have this right, this was the original retaining wall for a parking concourse, built between 1936 and 1940 by the Civilian Conservation Corps.  It was originally 300 foot long, 12 to 15 feet hight and 12 feet wide at the base.

There were stairs, and of course, we went up top, where we found, this hingepin and truss segment from the original Gooseberry River bridge.  That one lane bridge was originally built in 1925, widened to 2 lanes in 1937 and replaced in 1996.  I enjoy abstract art and history.

From our vantage point, having some elevation, we could see a freighter cruising down Lake Superior.  For the record this photo was basically a gray mist, Sony had zoomed to the max and that freighter was wayyyyyyy out on the lake.  So, I enhanced and color tweaked and lightened and sharpened and who knows what else.  But, you can see it, right?? 

As we returned to the path to the visitors center and our vehicle and the rest of our day, I took one more photo, cause ya just gotta have some flowers.

We will drive a bit further north on route 61 before we turn back to Duluth for the night.  Next time - - - 


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Sightseeing in the Greater Duluth Minnesota Area

Copyright 2018, CABS for Reflections From the Fence


We have one day to snoop around the greater Duluth area.  Duluth is a major port city in Saint Louis County Minnesota, it is the second largest city on Lake Superior's shores.  It sits on the north shore of Lake Superior. In the first half of the 20th century, Duluth was an industrial port boom town, having several grain elevators, a cement plant, a nail mill, wire mills, and the Duluth Works plant, an industrial steel and cement manufacturing complex that closed down in the 1980's.  Images of the industrial life abound.

On the north side of town we found a number of large beautiful old homes, but, I could not get good photos and we could not stop.  SIGHHH

As you drive north on 61, the scenery changes, nature's beauty is shown.  Man and I pull off where we can, for photos, and gawking.

This is the site of Buchanan, home of the original U.S. Land Office in the northeastern land district in Minnesota Territory. Laid out in October of 1856, most of the town sites never sold. On June 26, 1859, the federal land office was relocated to Portland Township (later part of the city of Duluth).  The site is considered an abandoned ghost town. You can read more about it here, and note that my second photo, is quite similar to one on this web page.  Someone has a good eye - - just sayin - - 

This is near Two Harbors, is that you Paul??  We did not stop to allow me to ask him. 

Alas, my researching curiosity got the better of me, nope, not Paul, but rather, Pierre the Pantsless Voyageur.  You can read all about him on Roadside America.  Seems in 2017 Pierre had an argument with Mother Nature and Mother Nature slapped him around a bit.  

This was a museum at the Duluth and Iron Range Depot.

The breakwater and lighthouse is nearby. The Two Harbors Lighthouse is the oldest operating lighthouse in Minnesota, it overlooks Lake Superior's Agate Bay. Construction began in 1891 and the lighthouse was completed in 1892. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Some additional history and information on touring the light house can be found here.

Meanwhile, back at the museum, we walked around outside and found two stunning old locomotives.  Look how shiny and pristine they keep them. 

This is the 229, it is a Yellowstone locomotive.  It is one of 72 that were ever built in the U.S.  The Yellowstones were 128 feet long, weighing over 400 tons, empty, as in with no coal or water to run it.  It could carry 25,000 gallons of water and 26 tons of coal.  The power of the Yellowstone was equal to that of four Diesel locomotive engines running today. (What a beast!!!!) The 229 was completely restored cosmetically in 2011.

As we left Two Harbors to continue our ride north on 61 we had a bit of a close encounter.  Due to Man's great driving, no harm was done to either of these beauties or to Jolly.  Our nerves may have taken a wee bit of a hit tho.

Per Sony's GPS and Google Maps, it appears they were crossing to play a bit of golf, or find some good eats, at the Lakeview National Golf Course.  

The beauty of this day has just begun, there is so much more to see.


Monday, July 23, 2018

Itasca Minnesota to Duluth Minnesota, You Saw WHAT?

Copyright 2018, CABS for Reflections From the Fence


As we continue east and towards the stick built, counting down the days, our 10 months on the road draws near the end.  Today we will travel about 170 miles.

It was one of those days, that you laugh and giggle at some of the oddities and gasp at the beauty.

This was our picnic table at the campground near Itasca, no, we have NO idea why.

Silos are another favorite:

And, we need a pelican of this stature in every town, don't you think??  He is cute, eh?

This lovely view is near Walker Minnesota, this is Walker Bay, part of Leech Lake.

And, some times the story is all about the clouds:

Brought to you by Remer Minnesota:

At Proctor Minnesota, trains and planes:

As we leave Proctor, a very nice view, according to the GPS on Sony and Google Maps, the water is the St. Louis River.

A first glance at Duluth Minnesota:

We would spend two nights here.  I managed to take 245 photos in one day.  It was a pretty area, eh??


Sunday, July 22, 2018

Headwaters of the Ole Mississippi River

Copyright 2018, CABS for Reflections From the Fence


We came to this area specifically to see the headwaters of the Mississippi River. It is a very pretty and lush area, at least in 2013.  No drought that year, just look.  Yea, I have a thing for old barns alongside the road. 

We are headed for Itasca State Park:

And, here is the sign, the "Mississippi River", no this is not the headwaters, just the tiny Mississippi:

Isn't it pretty, so small, so peaceful.

At this spot you can walk down.  Other spots in the park there are boardwalks.

You know I had to find a flower:

There is a wonderful visitors center with quite a large number of displays and signage. Nicely done.  Very educational.

Oh, my, we are getting close now:


The headwaters, in the background is Itasca Lake:

As you can see, people cannot resist getting in the water, so they can go home and have bragging rights that they stood in the headwaters, the beginning of the Mississippi River.  Reviewing my photos, I found this information on this formation, paraphrased/extracted data by Moi:  "It is a 44 foot long, 7 foot wide concrete piling/rock dam, constructed by the CCC in the 1930’s, to stabilize the flow out of Lake Itsaca, making a “beautiful site” at the beginning of the Mississippi.  Top was covered by exposed rock weathered to make it appear as natural as possible."  That explains it, I did wonder why - -

Seriously people were having a lot of fun.  While reviewing the photos, I was struck by how party-like the atmosphere was, joyous.  Photo op time!

Now we turn to walk along the Mississippi, at this point we are actually heading north, The Mississippi does meander.  It actually leaves Itsaca and goes north and east to Bemidji, before it eventually turns south and heads for the Gulf of Mexico.  That is a distance of approximately 63 miles northward before the river turns east and then south. Flow is not always north to south with water, it is from high to low.

(By the way, despite the fact that we saw a number of peeps walking along in the water, the signage suggests, my paraphrase:  "Today’s approach to the area is to protect the ecosystem, allowing it’s more natural state of a swampy, sluggish flowing water way.  Thus the boardwalk hopes to allow visitors to enjoy the area and inflict minimal damage.")

Isn't it pretty tho?  Nothing like the Mighty (and some times muddy, always powerful) Mississippi we see when we cross it near St. Louis Missouri, or near Sikeston Missouri, Vicksburg Louisiana,  or Baton Rouge Louisiana, to mention a few places we have driven over the Mississippi in our travels. 

This was a bit "downstream" from the "head" of the river, and people were enjoying a stroll down the Mississippi. (See notes above about how this is actually frowned upon, I am not sure if there is a "official" stated rule to stay OUT of the water this far downstream.)

Next we drove the "Wilderness Drive" for about 7 miles (one way).  We saw Itasca's largest white pine and Minnesota's (former) record red pine (lost it's top in 2007), Elk Lake, Mary Lake and this beetle.

We also saw some lovely lily pads, and since it was so stunningly bright that day, what with my photography skills and photo editing skills, the flowers are little more than glare and shine.  But, here is one anyway, just cause, yes, heavily edited, for all the good it did.  (Note to Carol, you really need to up that photo editing skill/game.)

All in all it was a lovely day.

Next we are off to Duluth Minnesota.