Wednesday, June 23, 2021


 Rumor has it that we ventured out of our super secret undisclosed location. Well the rumors are true. I can say that now because we are locked up inside our super secret undisclosed location, safely ensconced behind the safety of our walls and moat.

Very similar to the one pictured here.  That's not actually our fortress of isolation but a close facsimile.

Our daughter called us up and wanted to go on a vacation with us. (Isn't that sweet?) So we agreed, and quite frankly we needed a little break from our fortress. Not having been anywhere now for over a year. (Thank you Covid.) She wanted to go to the North Shore of Lake Superior. We love going there and it has been a few years since we were there so we made plans to head that way. Luck would have it that when we would be there, it was during the dreaded heat wave of June 2021. It is always cooler around the lake and that felt great.

We loaded up the fifthwheel, which is strange to admit. We used to live in it fulltime and everything we could possible need has always been inside it. But now living in the cabin, we had to actually think about what we would need and then pack accordingly. Just one of the trade offs for not being fulltimers now.

Our first stop was going to be Duluth for a couple of days. From there we could do our exploring. Most of the state parks along the North Shore are not big rig friendly, and even if they were, it is virtually impossible to get a reservation in them because they book out a year in advance. (Thanks Minnesota for  going to a reservation system.)

Our first obstacle to get over was going to be our driveway. Yep our driveway. We have only traveled 300 yards and we have obstacles.
It is steeper and longer than it looks. Especially with a 16,000 pound forty foot camper behind you. That was the first time we ever went down the driveway but now that we have done it once it will be no problem. I just don't want to do it when there is snow and ice on the ground. The next obstacle was getting used to pulling that thing around again. It has been almost a year since I pulled it before and almost 2 years since we have gone farther than 25 miles in it. 

To make a short story long, we made it to our campground outside of Duluth.
It was a nice shaded spot to relax in. The only downside is that when you sit outside, the gnats will feast on you the entire time. So bugspray is a must. But duh! This is Minnesota. Land of 10,000 lakes, taxes and the occasional mosquito the size of hummingbirds.

The first thing on the agenda was to drive along the North Shore. The day was perfect. Sunny, mid 70's and no wind. Which is rare to see a lake the size of Lake Superior without a wave on it. I have never seen it so calm before.
It was a beautiful day for a drive. We stopped many times along the way for photos so I will shut up here so you can look at the pictures.
Seagulls on a rock. It was hard to tell where the water ended and the sky began.
Freighter heading into Duluth.
Is that ship flying?
My ship has come in.
Two Harbors.
These freighters can be over a thousand feet long.
Two Harbors lighthouse.
Falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
Black sand beach.
Mother, daughter time on Gichi-Gumi.
One of the many harbors along the way.
The water was very clear.
Our final destination, Grand Marais.

We couldn't have asked for a better day. Next up is Glensheen mansion and Duluth Harbor.

Kendra wanted to see the Glensheen Mansion on the shores of Lake Superior. This is a 20,000 square foot mansion with 39 rooms. It was beautiful and amazing. There was a staff of 13 people that lived in the mansion, just to take care of the Cogden family. I can't imagine what it would be like to live like that. If it was just  Lisa and I, it would be impossible just to keep it clean. I guess we will stick to our cabin.
The front of this shack.
Looking down a hallway as you enter. The wood work was incredible.
A small portion of the main living room. It was too big to get it all in one picture.
The main staircase to the second level.
One of the many bedrooms. Also much larger than I could film.
The breakfast nook. This is my favorite with the greens and stained glass windows.
Basement hallway.
Lower level family room.
The back terrace overlooking Lake Superior.
Looking back at the back of the mansion.
The boat house.

Looking back at the pictures, I realized that I missed taking pictures of so much more. Our tour went through the main level, second story and the basement. There was also a third floor but that was in a different tour. We saw the servants quarters, kitchen areas, carriage house, gardens and the gardeners house. If you are in Duluth, it is well worth the money to tour this mansion.

You can't visit Duluth without going downtown and see the infamous aerial lift bridge. Luck would have it that when we were down there to to see the lift bridge a 1000 foot freighter was passing through.
The lift bridge

Here comes the freighter!
It's getting closer!
This ship is so long I had to break up the video into 2 segments. I hope your sound was on.
There is not a lot of wiggle room for these ships that size.

As I re-watched those videos, I realized that my dead finger got in the way a little bit. Sorry for that and because of that I fear I shall not win an emmy for that. Well that is it for Duluth. On to Hayward, Wisconsin.
Hayward, Wisconsin? Hayward was kind of a last minute thing for us. We originally planned on camping in Grand Portage but when the campground finally returned our phone calls (plural), all they could tell us is that they were booked full because of the road construction project there. (They couldn't tell us that months ago? Sheesh!)

Camping at the KOA!

We rarely stay at a KOA. Mainly because of the price, but when you are scrambling at the last minute, you take what you can get. I have always felt that KOA's can not justify their prices. $65 a night? I will have to say that this is one of the few that can. They have so many things here for kids to do. We got there Wednesday and there were maybe a dozen campers there. By Friday it was packed. Kids running everywhere and the adults were chasing them around with beer in hand. We were glad to leave Saturday morning.

The only thing worth mentioning that we did in the area was to drive to Bayfield, WI and take the ferry to Madeline Island. I would suggest not to go there until the weekend though. Most of the few stores and restaurants they have there don't open until the weekend. So it was a bust for us. The few places that were open, the staff was very rude, like we were a bothering them for shopping in their stores. So the ferry was the highlight of the trip.
The ferry.

The ferry is a car ferry and they have a state park on the island. If you want to camp there they can accommodate large rigs. On one such ferry we saw had a fifthwheel going across.
A nice day to ride the ferry.

That is basically it for our little outing. It was nice to get out and act normal again. Just like the good ole' days of 2 years ago.

Our cabin work has slowed down now. We have been working on some outside projects. Lisa is busy, busy, busy.
Our yard this spring.
Lisa has been busy growing grass.
Some landscaping.
More landscaping.
And more landscaping. Our back patio.

We still need to work on the grass back there. All in due time.

The best for last. My finger update. I have quit physical therapy because there wasn't any improvements. Just a lot of pain. I am still waiting to get into the Mayo Clinic. I was supposed to go June 23rd but they rescheduled me to July 28th now. (I guess the doctor had a golf game he couldn't get out of or something.) 
Lisa tells me that after dealing with this damn finger for going on 9 months now, that it is making me crabby. I don't believe it. I am super jovial all of the time, and if you don't think that is true then, as my mother would say "I will stick this finger where the sun doesn't shine."

So Nameste'.