Monday, September 16, 2013

Duluth, MN...The Greatest Lake experience

We arrived in Duluth for a couple of days of rest and stayed a week.  We have location, location, our timing is good.  The gray skies turned to blue, the clouds puffed and billowed, and temps were mostly in the 70s.  We are well pass the season of heat and summer crowds (and bugs), and well before the winter's freezing blizzards.  Ahhh...Autumn approaches.

Here we are at Lakehead Boat Basin
What we see from our site!

Nighttime views are nice also...

We fell in love with the city, especially our area which is centered around, first and foremost, Lake Superior, the greatest of the Great Lakes, with major tourist attractions like Canal Park and the Duluth Ship Canal and Aerial Lift Bridge within easy walking.  We are staying at the Lakehead Boat Basin which has 30 RV sites, 12 with full hook-ups at $39 per night, and 18 with water and electric for $34...where we are.  Our view looks out at the marina, the bridge, and across to the Duluth Hills. The parking is nothing fancy, just asphalt parking lot style, but very accommodating for easy access to many attractions.  Did I mention views:

The gigantic Alcoma Navigator in motion at the Aerial Lift Bridge

We walk a quarter of a mile to the bridge and across to Canal Park with its impressive Maritime Museum and Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Center.  The shipping schedule for the day is posted and each ship as well as its size, history, and cargo announced as it approaches the canal's entrance.  A horn-blowing sequence sounds as the bridge closes to pedestrian and car traffic and the bridge's 390' span lifts vertically 130' in about 3 minutes. This occurs 25-30 times per day in busy traffic season.

The Paul R. Tregurtha is the largest of the Great Lake freighters at 1,013' in length!
The Lake Superior Maritime Museum & Corps of Engineers Visitor Center at Canal Park
We took a break at Little Angie's for mojitos and chips, also in Canal Park
We chose to walk but there were other options...

After days of driving with little or no daily exercise, we are drawn to the Duluth Lakewalk Trail; 4 miles of pathway tracing the shores of Lake Superior and fronting downtown Duluth, with the fascinating lure of a working port with foreign and domestic traffic arriving almost hourly.  This becomes our daily morning routine, sometimes returning in the afternoon.

Just after leaving the marina...
...and crossing the Aerial Lift Bridge
Along the Lakewalk Trail

By the shore of Lake Superior

Looking downtown
The Aquarium by Bayfront Park

More docks & marinas

Another good option, though we didn't

And looking back....
...and looking back

Looking across at Canal Park

But this is our crossing, over and back, up and down, even under!

We did other things, occasionally.  Howard rewired the electric connection between the jeep and MH.  It came loose while driving and one end of the plug was shattered.  We were forced to wash windows as we couldn't see out of them from all the road grime.  We bought a new Blu-Ray at the very best Best Buy to replace our very old DVD player that died in the middle of Breaking Bad.  We were "this" close to buying a new touch screen, notebook/tablet, with Windows 8 and a super fast processor.  It's on hold for the time being as we explore wants vs needs.  We shopped for granddaughter Christina's upcoming 7th birthday....

This girl has style...and is truly missed by yours truly!

We found the very famous Great Harvest Bread Company and visited it many times with delicious rewards.

We drove around town and admired the early 1900s architecture of homes along Superior Street...

Duluth offers up a lot of history.  From the arrival of Europeans and the French fur traders, the period between 1650 and 1850 saw the establishment of the American Fur Company, then rumors of copper mining began to circulate, and locks and channels were constructed in the East allowing large ships access to the area.  

With the opening of the canal at Sault Ste. Marie and the coming of the railroads, Duluth became the only port with access to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  For the first half of the 20th century the city boomed with lumber, grain elevators, cement plants, and shipyards.  An influx of immigrants arrived. 

The 1950s supposedly brought an economic downturn when high grade iron ore gave out; ore shipments from Duluth harbor being the most important element of the city's economy. 
And with the decline of the city's industrial core, the local focus shifted to tourism. 

From all we have seen of the many cargo ships arriving daily, and the obvious magnetism for tourists, this City is doing very well.  There is a wealth of things to see and do, a multitude of shops and restaurants. It's just that we don't always play tourist.

We left today, Monday, and have stopped at the Duluth Cummins Truck Center.  Howard decided it was time to replace the fan and serpentine belts. They'll also hook us up to their computer for an engine diagnostic. If all goes smoothly, we should be cruising through Wisconsin, continuing our Highway 2 journey as far as Michigan, and more of the Great Lakes.

If anyone reading this blog has suggestions for places to see and things to do along our route, we would be greatly appreciative for your help. Until the next time, and do keep in touch!

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