July 24 – 29, 2016, Two Harbors, Minnesota

It was time for us to pull up stakes in the Up and head on over to Minnesota  to meet up with some work mates of Guys from Seagate Technology, where Guy worked for 30 years.. We still had a few days before we met up with everyone, we wanted to finish our tour along the US side of Lake Superior so we headed up to Two Harbors, MN.

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Driving along Hwy 26 we were amazed at the destruction that was caused by the storm we had experienced as we were leaving Newberry, MI.

SPA_2925.jpgWe had skirted the storm on our drive and did not experience the full brunt of it, and that is what is called Divine Intervention. The drive from Houghton was over 5 hours, the trees were uprooted or broken in half the whole way to Two Harbor, MN.

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We found a great little private campground, Penmarallter Camp, it is privately owned  with only 24 pull thru sites, the sites are very spacious, most have water and electric, with campfire pits. The owners have owned the campground for over 20 years and had purchased it from their parents. They live on the property, sell firewood, will pump tanks once a week, and help plan your trip while you are there. (sorry no pictures)

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The road that follows along the coast of Lake Superior will take you up into Canada, and will take you around the Canadian side of Lake Superior. We drove up to Grand Marais, Mn (yes, its the same name as in Michigan).

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Along this coast are many areas that produce and ship iron ore on big barges. Taconite or iron ore is low-grade iron that is used to make pellets. These pellets are shipped to blast furnaces on the lower Great lakes to make steel. The area ships over 10,000,000 tons of taconite or iron ore annually.

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There are 6 steel docks and over 1,300 feet long and abut seven stories tall. There are 112 pockets on each dock, trains full of taconite or iron ore, move along the top of the dock and pour the iron into hoppers, which drop the ore into the full of the boats.

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One of the barges that move iron ore

Besides the 6 docks for iron ore there were two that were used for freight, coal and wood shipping. At one time there were up to 75 ships using the bay.

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The Edna G. tugboat, was the last steam driven tugboat in operation on the Great Lakes, it was retired in 1881. The tug was used to help bring boats to the docks, move boats around from dock to dock, and to assist in life saving efforts.

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The Two Harbors light Station was built in 1892, it was built to improve the safety of the barges carrying the ore. The light is still active and operates 24 hrs a day, it is almost 80 feet above lake levels.

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Not long after we left Two Harbors we came to a turnout with lots of cars, with cars comes something fun…a beautiful river, Temperance River. The water was flowing thru the rocks that looked liked years of water had eroded the rocks.

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There is a bridge we were able to walk out to where the river then emptied into Lake Superior.

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We found many rivers and light houses along our tour of this area, we stopped at Gooseberry Falls State Park, where we hiked up along the Gooseberry River, to the Fifth Falls up thru rocky gorge where the water flows over a series of 30′ waterfalls with the last that plunges 60 feet to the last pool and then into Lake Superior. There is also lots of lava flow that can also be seen along the coast of Lake superior.

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Split Rock Lighthouse State Park was built due to a storm in 1905 which 6 ships wrecked within a dozen miles of the Split Rock River. The light was used for 59 years, today it is open to the public. Major logging operations were conducted at the mouth of Split Rock River, the forest at that time was predominantly red and white pine. Today you will find birch, spruce, fir, ash and lowland brush and marsh that replace the pines.

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On our last day in the area we decided to drive down to Duluth, MN to see what there was in town, but we never made it, we found the scenic route and drove it. The road started out as a nice paved road, but turned into a dirt road. The views were fantastic of the lake and the skyline of the city.

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When we got to the best viewing area we found a nature walk along the top of the hill, Guy took the walk as we had LaciLou and did not think if there were animals that it would be good having her with us. It was too hot to leave her in the car so I stayed behind and took pictures of the wild flowers that were in bloom and the city skyline.

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The next thing I know Guy is calling me from up the hill wanting me to bring the camera as he had found something he wanted a picture of!! Putting Lacilou in the truck off I went not sure what to expect, and this was what he found, a discarded snake skin. It was all intact, even where the eyes had been, we moved the tail so I could take a picture.

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As we kept driving we came upon another waterfall, when we stopped we could hear lots of laughing and yelling. We took the trail down towards the noise and were so surprised to see a large swimming hole at the bottom of the waterfall. They were jumping from about 15-20′ off the rocks. Some of the kids were a little scared to jump so the others were egging them on.

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Our journey ended not to far from our campsite, that made our decision on whether  we wanted to go back to the city, the vote was “no”. But we made our last stop along the lake for my final pictures of this beautiful coastline.

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We leave this beautiful Lake Superior and head on down to Minneapolis, where we will camp at Dakota Meadows, right by the Mystic River Indian Casino. We could see the top of the casino and the flashing lighted sign. Luckily Guy and I are not thrilled with gambling and just throwing money away. So no the place did not get any of our money. We thought we would not go over but late on Sunday we didn’t have anything to do so took the free bus over, we walked in, yup, just what we thought, cigarette smoke. We took one walk around and went back out to the bus.

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The first afternoon we arrived our friends, Adam and Sarah came over with their daughter and her friend, bringing beer and a wonderful bottle of wine!! Thank you Adam and Sarah! The conversation never stopped, it was so great catching up with them catching up with Seagate stuff and our life on the road. The girls loved being in the coach and watching tv. We hope that some day we see them both out here on the road with us.

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Later that night off we went to Jim and Renee’s hours for dinner. They have a beautiful house on a small lake with trees and rabbits all around. They also have a beautiful view of some of the city buildings. Jim fixed lamb chops on the bbq, they were wonderful, little did Jim know that lamb is my all time favorite. The conversation went on for hours, it was so wonderful to catch up with them.

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Jim and Renee also had a get together at their home with other past Seagate friends that we hadn’t seen in so long. It was great seeing everyone, and telling stories about things work related. We have also made plans to be in Arizona in November with some of them as they move there for the winter. (I can’t believe I did not take any pictures of anyone nor Jim and Rene’s home.)

We are now heading west towards Sth Dakota and the Yellowstone, Grand Teton area, so come along and tour the area with us.