Saturday, November 07, 2015

25 Juy 2015 A Day Near Duluth

We never realized Duluth was a getaway destination, but we realized why during our time in the area. Since there were so many guests in the area, we opted to stay at a Best Western across the river in Wisconsin. I was a little concerned when we arrived at dark and found a very dark parking lot. It was busy with Model T's passing through (I wish we had been a half hour earlier). When we got inside, there was a large pool in an indoor courtyard. There were happy loud kids everywhere. Then our stay really turned positive as the room was very quiet and comfortable. The only weird thing about the room was our room was about to be rammed by a very large scale model of the Edmund Fitzgerald outside the door.

Ramming speed...

Best Westerns are paranoid about remotes in a way I've never seen at other chains. This one put the remote in its own bag.

Our first stop of the morning was a visit to a Perkins in Duluth for a geocaching event. Unlike Perkins near us, this one was crowded and served a good breakfast. We were lucky to have two local cachers offer to share their table with us. It was a very enjoyable meeting local cachers and getting their thoughts on must-do caches in the area. It was a most enjoyable morning with many friendly people.

Our next stop was at Park Point for some walking along the sand and shoreline woods. Before the walking though, there were floatplanes, wonderful, noisy planes on the water and in the air. They were awesome. They were only $50 for a ride, but there was no time for a stop. :( Still I got to see them and hear them up close.

The water is a strange mix of business and pleasure. Large freighters are a familiar sight in Ohio, but they are much closer here and there are many more boats on the water.

The trail to the point was quiet and pleasant. Besides seeing interesting wildlife, we also enjoyed meeting another geocacher on our journey.

We were also able to see the remains of the 1856 Minnesota Point Lighthouse...

and 360 degrees of graffiti in a spooky, abandoned Coast Guard building.

These fun, little runabouts used to be a staple of boating. They were first made in a time when cars had fins. Some of them were adorned with fins too. They were boats many could afford. Now they are a glimpse of the past dwarfed by the monster boats that seem to fill the water like overgrown and underused trucks fill the roads. I remember seeing these everywhere when I first started to spend time at Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. They were really basic with two bench seats being a typical configuration. They weren't the best for fishing, but were nearly perfect for water skiing. Passing by, this one appeared to be in perfect shape and lovingly cared for with a wonderful deep exhaust note from its Merc.

Jay Cooke State Park

Jay Cooke was packed when we arrived. The park was mostly full. We were getting used to big crowds in Minnesota parks, but this was a little different. We didn't know it was the day of the Minnesota Voyageur. This race started in 1982 and seems to be one of the oldest ultramile marathons in the country. We were mixed with dozens of runners as we visited the park.

For me Jay Cooke was all about an outstanding suspension bridge with fast water flowing below. The time of day was terrible for photos, but the river was beautiful.

The quieter section of water

Our last stop of the day was for a ten-year-old multi on a rail trail. We headed out with grey skies and ran back in rain, but in the middle we found the old multi, a few other caches, and our first orchid in Minnesota!

Another rail trail

With purple fringed orchids

And many other wildflowers

A rainbow treat

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