As with everywhere we’ve sped through so far, Minnesota’s north shore could occupy your time for a week or more. It’s chock full of activities and scenery. We only had two days to explore the region and were further waylaid by various travel issues (namely a cracked bumper and a dog’s eye infection…). Regardless, we enjoyed the region immensely!
On our first day, we drove into Minnesota from Wisconsin via Cloquet and stopped to see the Frank Lloyd Wright Gas Station. For context, Frank Lloyd Wright is a famous architect who had dreams of creating his own little paradise one day, including buildings like gas stations. Though he never built his dream community, someone did build his gas station…in Cloquet, Minnesota!
Nearby Duluth is such a superbly beautiful town with many dog-friendly, outdoor (and FREE) activities. Since we had limited time, we opted to begin with an overview of the entire city by stopping at Enger Tower, a tower dedicated to a pillar of the community with outstanding views of Duluth’s Superior Bay.
Next, we drove into town and parked at the Maritime Museum visitor center for some history and views of the various lighthouses and Aerial Lift Bridge. People (seriously) gather to watch the 1000 foot freighters come in and out of this international harbor.
From the visitor center, we journeyed along the paved Lake Walk that follows the Lake Superior shoreline to view various of the city’s outdoor landscapes, starting with Canal Park and ending at Leif Erikson Park, which includes a beautiful rose garden!
On the way back to the car, we stopped in at the historic Fitger’s brewery and museum for a brew and some history.
For the evening, we stayed at a wonderful Boondockers Welcome site in Saginaw on a narrow road right between two lakes. It was lovely and our hosts were lovelier!
On our second day, we had two different issues to contend with: dog ailment and a cracked bumper. Both issues were taken care of easily, but consumed much of our time.
Chip got an eye infection somewhere along the way, so we had to stop in for a check up and some antibiotics.
The other issue will be covered in more detail in a blog post about the bike saga, but long story short – the weight of our bikes cracked the chintzy bumper on our camper. Despite our frustration, we were VERY excited to meet Bob the welder, who fixed us right up and also gave us a tour of his ultimate survivalist bunker! It was 7000 square feet underground and built by hand! You can’t buy this kind of tourism!
Once back on the road, we headed up the coastline to Betty’s Famous Pies, where we bought a delicious Great Lakes pie, comprised of 5 different kinds of fruit. Yum!
Then, we dropped in at Gooseberry Falls, a very pretty (but incredibly popular) spot for weekenders (which we realized it was!).
For the evening, we stayed in nearby Finland at another lovely Boondockers Welcome site. North Shore Michigan has been a very accommodating place!