A New Chapter...for awhile travel blog

A small sailboat passes under the lift bridge in Duluth

Yes, there are people in the water. And it's still cold despite...

The Duluth Harbor North Breakwater Lighthouse

Our ferry to and from Madeline Island

The quaint, yet unimpressive waterfront of La Pointe on Madeline Island

July 4th is also known on Race Day on Lake Superior in...

The tour boat got pretty close to the rocks...

These rocks at Devil's Island

The Devil's Island Lighthouse

The Raspberrry Island Lighthouse, it's keepers quarters and storehouse

When we woke up on Monday we had no plans, so we opted to head about an hour west of Iron River to Duluth, Minnesota so I could get a haircut and we could grab some lunch in the big city.

After I got my haircut and Michele did a little shopping, we headed toward the waterfront near downtown and had a very good lunch at Bellisio’s, then we took a walk down along the water. We watched their lift bridge open for a couple boats, then we walked out to the lighthouse to gawk at the downtown skyline. Since today’s weather was great I’m sure it made the city look better; in January when the wind is blowing about 30mph and the thermometer is around 5° it ain’t so nice.

Our plans for the 4th of July included a trip to the town of Bayfield to catch the boat to tour the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. But before we left the campground we had to dispose of another mouse; this one had fallen victim to the spring-loaded, skull crushing metal bar of one of the bacon-baited traps. So...as feared, the first one was not a loner. Now the question becomes “How many of you little @!#$%^&# are tagging along on our trip?” I re-baited and moved some traps before we left for Bayfield and so far, we haven’t gotten any more of the unwanted vermin, but I can’t swear that we are done with them. How will we know? Are there more just lying in wait before they crawl across my face in the middle of the night? If I open a cabinet will I find one chowing down on some Tostitos? Or comfortably nestled in my shoe as I slide my foot in? Maybe we should just light the place on fire…

We got into Bayfield about 1:30 and decided, since we were way early for our 5:30 boat ride, that we would do another boat ride. This was a short 20 minute ride from Bayfield to Madeline Island to snoop around. We could have taken the Jeep to allow some further snooping, but opted to just wander the island town of La Pointe near the ferry docks. Including some picture taking and a stop to buy some water, we were done wandering in about 40 minutes – there was not much to see at all, so we hopped on the 3:00 ferry back to Bayfield.

We were still early for the sunset cruise – a misnomer because sunset was way after the cruise was over – so we wandered the mainland for a while then stopped at the Pier Plaza Pickled Herring Club for a very mediocre lunch. Michele was happy with her Portabello and Swiss burger, while my blackened trout sammich was a couple notches below tasty. We finished our lunch then got in line for the 5:30 boat ride and in short order were out of the harbor and headed toward the Apostle Islands for our second boat ride of the day.

The Apostle Islands are a series of 22 islands near the southwest corner of Lake Superior, the largest freshwater body of water in the world. Oddly, the largest of the islands of the Apostles is Madeline, but it is not part of the National Lakeshore, and the remaining 21 range in size from 3 acre Gull Island to 10,000 acre Stockton Island.

The tour was pretty good thanks to the narration by the captain, but it did not include any stops on any of the islands. We did get to go by 2 lighthouses, got up close and personal with the sea caves on Devil’s Island and were regaled with stories about the history of some of the individual islands. The most interesting thing I learned was that the water from Lake Superior actually flows into the other 4 Great Lakes and through a series of dams, the flow of water has been reversed over time so that all of the polluted water from Lake Michigan near Chicago is actually sent into the Mississippi River where it flows south to St. Louis and is used to make Budweiser. I did not know that. The captain did such a good job telling the story, using much more detail than I do here, that he had the undivided attention of the passengers and even as he told the punch line, I think some of them actually believed him.

The boat got back to the dock about 8:45 and since we had an over an hour drive to get back home, we opted to pass on watching the fireworks and headed back south to Ashland, then west on U.S. 2 to our less-than-inviting home near Iron River and it’s empty mousetraps...dang it.

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