Saturday, July 10, 2010

Two Harbors, MN

Continuing north. We drove to the Minnesota Welcome Center near Duluth to collect a bunch of very helpful info. Took Old Highway 61, aka the North Shore Scenic Drive, to the town of Two Harbors. Went to the city campground but they were full. Turns out to be a very good thing. We stopped at a rest area on Lake Superior, had lunch then took Gopher for a swim while we decided what to do. Visited the lighthouse which is Minnesotas oldest operating lighthouse. Walked out on the breakwater to get a good look at the still operating taconite loading piers. A ship had just finished loading. After that, we headed to the downtown area just to look around. It turns out this is Two Harbors Heritage Days weekend. There were other RV's parked just passed the RR tracks near the old RR station so we pulled in. What a find!!. All the events are taking place within a few blocks of where we are. There are helicopter rides, a craft show, old car show, street dances, on & on. All the very typical small town fair sort of things. One of the most interesting events is a rally of Railroad Motor Cars/Put-Put's. They are small vehicles used to transport RR workers for different reasons.
On Saturday there was a parade. As is typical of small town parades, every group, organization, politician, etc. was there. There was a mom pulling a canoe with wheels loaded with kids. ?? One "float" was a semi pulling a flat bed trailer with bales of hay. Sitting on the hay were a bunch of guys who obviously had started drinking beer very early in the morning. They were waving to everyone they knew in the crowd. Two of them, could no longer wave; they mostly sat there and rocked back & forth.
We went to mass at 4:30. A very small & plain church.
At 7:00 the entertainment highlight of the weekend took stage right by the RR station. A guy direct from Las Vegas who did Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra & Elvis impersonations. Enjoyable, but it's obvious why he's playing in Two Harbors to a crowd of perhaps 50 people, rather then in Vegas.
This one one of the most enjoyable weekends of the trip. On the road, we seek out these small towns. That's where you'll find the *real* America. Not in D.C., or NYC, or LA, but in places like Two Harbors, MN. The little kids watched the parade, Mom pulled a canoe the guys drank two much beer, & Elvis sang some songs. What a fine day.

Thursday, July 08, 2010


On Wednesday we drove to Ashland, WI, a beautiful little town on Lake Superior. We were hear last year as well. Stopped by My Daily Bread store and a small organic Co-Op grocery store. Stocked up on goodies. Again. Ashland has several murals in the downtown area as well as and an old train.
Stayed here for two days enjoying just beautiful weather. On Thursday we visited the Our Lady of The Lake church. We went there last year as well. Carol especially enjoys all the beautiful angle stained glass windows.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Hodags & a Concrete Park

This morning we drove to Rhinelander. Went shopping, stopped by a few nice parks then went to see the statue of a hodag. a hodag is a local monster not unlike bigfoot. They are's rarely seen, but the locals are convinced they do live in the woods. Some towns, like Fort Pierce, have manatees around town, we've seen moose & cow statues. Rhinelander has hodags. :-)
Later we drove to the Wisconsin Concrete Park. A fellow who was a logger, farmer, tavern owner and musician, also was a self taught sculpture; Fred Smith. He used wood frames/wire and concrete, pieces of glass, bottles, stones, etc., to create the most amazing pieces of sculpture. There are over 200 pieces.
We wound up at the Solberg Lake County Campground near Phillips, WI. We have a nice water front campsite.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Into Wisconsin, July 4th, 2010

We drove to Marinette,WI this morning. Primarily to stop at the WI Welcome Center to pick up information on the areas to which we would be traveling. They had a wealth of good stuff. The Welcome Center is right downtown near a city park. There was a 4th of July celebration going on. Mostly it was for little children. There were several of the inflatable childrens bounce type toys, a few food booths, a small group of vendors, etc. We enjoyed the visit. In the afternoon we went to a Martinette County campground; Twin Bridges. Nothing real special for us, but, as expected, the place was packed with families.
On Monday, the 5th, we continued on. It was raining when we got up and only stopped briefly during the day. Drove through the town of Wabeno. Stopped at the visitor center/town museum but it was closed today for the holiday. All of this area was a major logging center in the 1800's. By the early 1900's, all the commercially feasible land had been logged. There was simply nothing left standing. The museums don't seem to want to deal with that reality. Mostly they focus on the prosperity it brought to the area and ignore the complete destruction of the environment. Some things never change. Mostly we want prosperity today and to heck with tomorrow. Last year we visited a wonderful Forest Service Visitor Center in WI. In the late 1800's there was a move in Congress to put some controls on the logging in the area. The Senator from WI was quoted as saying there was enough timber in WI to last for all future generations. No controls were put in place.
Continued on to the Forest County Veteran's Memorial Park Campground near Crandon. A very nice park right on A huge lake; Lake Metonga.