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Friday, August 15, 2014

Duluth Vs. Superior

First, an announcement...I have just completed making a reservation for a solo camping trip to Hardin Ridge Recreation Area which is located in Indiana, about halfway between Indianapolis and Louisville.  I will be there for Labor Day weekend and won't be leaving until Tuesday, so anyone who wants to join me shoot me a message and let me know!  While I don't mind camping alone it's always more fun to have a buddy, especially for those hikes.

Crossing the bridge from Superior to Duluth

While we decided on a whim to hit up Duluth for a rainy day diversion while staying in Bayfield, a few other bloggers have stopped in the area deliberately.  The folks from Oh the Places They Go wrote up such a nice post about their time exploring Duluth that I thought I should give it another try.

Barges and boats

The tourism websites made such a big deal about the Canal Park area that we headed there first (after purchasing our replacement polarizer!) but quickly found out it was not the place for us.  Not only is parking limited and expensive, all Canal Park had to offer was a collection of shops, a movie theater and restaurants.  Basically an outdoor mall with insane parking, and the place was packed mid-afternoon on a weekday.

Just around the curve was the William A. Irvin, a cargo ship turned museum.  Parking is only available across the street in a pay lot (again, not cheap) and the tours are guided only for $12 adults.  I rolled my eyes and paid up because Wayne loves a ship tour, especially barges and tugboats.

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If you want to walk around a barge, my money (the same $12, as a matter of fact) votes for Museum Ship Valley Camp in Sault Ste. Marie.  Not only do you get to tour a barge, (self-guided) but you get to view 100 other maritime related exhibits while you do it.  And you can walk away from the screaming kids if they are present at any time.

Cargo holds - imagine them holding 44 elephants to get an idea of the size of the ship

My problem with guided tours of this type is that the guide just spouts a litany of facts that I don't have the time to wrap my brain around.  All I took away from this tour is the tidbit about the elephants and that this particular barge was a bit fancier than normal because the shipping company brought important investors/guests aboard.

We did get some nice views of Canal Park and the nearby bridges from the deck.

Our first glimpse of the "fanciness" was the the brass railings in the always-immaculately-clean-engine-room.

For the most part, it was a ship.  It had things like rivets and anchors.  I was not impressed with the "luxurious" guest suites and dining area so skipped taking pictures of those.

We just couldn't get into Duluth.  Too crowded, too industrial.  We stopped for a very expensive lunch at The Duluth Grill which I frequented the last time I breezed through.  It was delicious, but lunch with tip was over $50...and we drank water. An appetizer, a turkey burger, a slice of lasagna and a slice of chocolate cake to split, in case you were wondering.

Arthur M. Anderson

Back on the Wisconsin side in the town of Superior life is a little simpler.  Wayne was excited when he spotted the Arthur M. Anderson in dry dock.  It was the last boat in contact with the Edmund Fitzgerald before it sank.  If you want to see some good exhibits on that topic, head over to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Whitefish Point, Michigan.  We've been there, but I haven't posted about it yet because it was before we started the blog when we did the Lake Michigan Circle Tour.  That was a nice trip, I'll share it with you eventually.

Wisconsin Point Light

I convinced Wayne to turn down the road that leads to the Wisconsin Point Light.  Minnesota Point and Wisconsin Point create the longest freshwater sandbar in the world at ten miles.  It was quite an unusual drive up the narrow strip of road with woods giving way to beach here and there on both sides of the car, and the occasional views of the harbor includes those barges and an ore dock.

Wildflowers in the parking area

We only got out long enough for me to test out my polarizer, which as I mentioned before didn't seem any different than the one I owned that cost half the price.  Perhaps durability and longevity is the key factor.

We stopped at Amnicon Falls State Park to walk around for a bit and it was the best part of the day.  Photos to come tomorrow because I got enough that they need their own post.  One last photo from the Wisconsin side of port, we spotted a black bear crossing the road soon after leaving Superior.  If we would have been a few seconds later coming down the road we probably wouldn't have been able to avoid hitting it, it moved like lightning!

And a fun little mural on the way home will make its appearance on Monday.  Ah...Wisconsin!  If you missed my post from last August about my trip up to Superior you can read it here.


  1. I really liked the Wisconsin Point Light and the wildflowers in the carpark

  2. Glad you did get to see a little of Duluth. I am glad we had our bikes and were able to park a few miles oitside along the bike trail. It isn't anything to write home about but we enjoyed our time and the weather was perfect.