Wednesday, July 18, 2018

July 16, 2018 - Duluth

I have dreamed of traveling my entire life. Not to Europe, or South America, or China, but all over the U.S.A. Washington D.C. New York. San Francisco. The coast of Maine. The diverse cultures and landscapes of our country have always fascinated me.

But. If you had told me that one of my most favorite places would turn out to be Duluth, Minnesota, I would have said, "Du-what?" Duluth was just never on my radar.

We ended up here on the way to somewhere else. Now we are talking about coming back here next year. The climate, the people, the scenery, the small town/big city feeling. We love it all.

Yesterday was our last full day here, so we crammed as much into it as we possibly could. It was a busy day for us old folks.

The North Shore Scenic Railroad
First stop was the North Shore Scenic Railroad, where we got on board for an hour long ride along the coast of Lake Superior. I had never been on any train other than the little kiddie trains in parks and zoos and the like, so it was very exciting for me just to be on an actual vintage passenger train.  The short trip was narrated and told about the history of the area we were seeing, which was very interesting.

The tracks.
Our next stop was the Corps of Engineers Maritime Visitors Center at the Duluth Port of Entry. We were happy to find a restaurant right next door, because we were hungry. And the food here was really good. 
The CoE Maritime Visitor Center and Museum
View from the top of the Visitor Center.
You can barely see the lighthouses in the distance.

The piers that lead out to the lighthouses are long enough and wide enough for all kinds of activities. There were people walking dogs, riding bikes, roller blading or just, like us, taking a leisurely stroll, enjoying the view.
The city of Duluth.
I was trying to get a good photo of the seagulls on the rocks,
but I was too far away for my phone/camera.
This is the Aerial Lift Bridge. The entire road part lifts up to let boats go through.
We met this nice young man and his rabbit out by the lighthouse. 
I got to pet the bunny.
I think he thought I was kind of strange
when I asked if I could take his picture.
After our walk out to the lighthouse, we decided to go home to the 5er and rest a bit. After a short nap (yes, we are old) and a quick supper, we went out for the second half of our day/evening. This time, Charlie Chihuahua got to go with us.
The Skyline Scenic Parkway is a 20 mile drive along the ridge above Duluth.
There are loads of great views of the city, with Lake Superior in the background.
I really need to get a better camera for this kind of shot.
Skyline Parkway also goes through several neighborhoods.
These houses are typical of the area.
This one was a lot fancier than most. Beautiful.

The last part of the Parkway is Seven Bridges Road. I won't bore you with the story behind the bridges, which is really only interesting to the local citizens. But the bridges, and the scenery were lovely.

Coming back into town, our next stop was the Leif Ericson Rose Garden. So gorgeous.

Here's Leif. I guess he's guarding his garden.


When we were at the Visitor Center earlier in the day, we noted that the next scheduled raising of the bridge would be at 10:30 pm, so that was our last stop of the day. Yes. Grammy and Poppy stayed out after dark. On purpose. And we stayed awake. It's a northern miracle.
The bridge lowered so that cars can cross.

Partially raised.

So, that was the end of our very busy day. We have had so much fun here. The people are incredibly friendly and proud of their town. The population is over 86,000, but it really feels more like a small town than a large city. The only traffic jam we encountered was near the port area when the bridge was up. And the normal summertime temp here is in the 60's and 70's. Bliss.

I really hope we get to return next summer, and stay longer. 

Our next major stop will be Branson. Where it will be hot. But always fun.
A comforting thought as we travel, on the road, and through life.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

July 15, 2018 - Duluth, MN

Well, we tried to go to church this morning.  I looked up the Southern Baptist Churches in Duluth, MN, and there was only one.  I checked out their website, and it said church began at 11 a.m., so we left plenty early enough to get there on time. There weren't many people there when we arrived, but that didn't seem alarming, since their info on said that they only had 18 members. But we were surprised when we walked in and there was no one in the sanctuary.  Turns out, during the Summer months, their only service of the day starts at 9 a.m. Somebody forgot to change the info on their website, I guess.

So we decided to have an early lunch.  The local eatery we wanted to try out already had a line out the door. Most churches here start at 10, so I guess they all get to the restaurants a little earlier than we do back home. So, we ended up at Texas Roadhouse. So much for trying the local cuisine.

After lunch, we decided to take a leisurely drive up the Lake Superior Coast Line on the North Shore Scenic Drive. It was beautiful. My photos never capture the natural beauty of God's creation, but here they are anyway.


Tom's Logging Camp is a big tourist attraction around here.
There's a logging museum and a petting zoo and several exhibits.
I really enjoyed talking to the lady in the gift shop.
She nearly had me talked into moving up here,
but Tim dragged me out of there just in time.