Sunday, August 22, 2010

Recollecting our Trip Part 1 with errors

The van all loaded for the trip.
Mary did all the planning for our trip to the North Shore of MN this year. We took off on the 5th of August for Grand Rapids, MN. The goal was to get a mom-and-pop motel (not too expensive, and willing to let 2 adults and 10 kids in as few rooms as possible).

Grand Rapids, MN is the home city of Judy Garland. There are lots of other special attractions, but Mary wanted us to get to a big musem. The Minnesota Discovery Museum: alas, it was not there, it was in Chisolm. There was another museum in GR with a similar name The Children's Discovery Museum next to the Judy Garland house. We didn't go there. Instead we went to a motel.

"OK eat, tell a bully, bully.
Hold your hanky, bully, bully."

The motel was managed by a man with a Pakistani or Indian accent with heavily trilled "r"s, who was kind of hard to understand. While Mary was negotiating with him he winked and said, "Aře you a membeř of AAŘP? I can give you the AAŘP discount. How aře you feeling--gřandpa?"

I cought the hint.

We went to a Mexican restaurant. The food was so so to poor for the rest of the family. I really liked my Chipotle Shrimp. (A Shakira CD was playing as background music)

Me leading Mary and the Kids
On the Lake Superior Shore.
Back to the motel. Girls watched "Wizards of Waverly Place", the boys watched "Destination Truth." I guess we could have done something educational, like the Blandin Paper Mill Tour, or the Forest History Center. But they didn't sound very exciting-esides, Selena Gomez' special guest star on "Wizards" was Shakira--the best possible role model for young girls to ever appear on Disney channel--well, mayby second after Raquel Welch. As far as I know Adrienne Barbeau and Caroline Munro haven't been on Disney Channel yet.

Friday the 6th we went to Duluth. The construction is bad there. We tried to get to the Thompson overlook, ended up on the Alpine Coaster road where we were welcomed. We weren't from Fondulac so we left for the lift bridge.

We started at the Rose Gardens in Duluth, looking for a nice place to make a picnic lunch. No joy. Too far to walk and carry stuff. Nice park otherwise.

We spent the better part of a day down at the Marritime Museum and the lakefront and pier.

After the museum we walked the pier to the lighthouse, drove across the lift bridge and decided we needed to find a place to camp.

I had taken quite a few photos with my camera, but the memory card died on me. I scrounged together what I could get with Mary, Louisa, and Elsie's cameras. So if anyone out there would let me use an eprom reader for the sd card, I'd be very grateful.

We made our way toward Two Harbors searching for an open campsite. None were to be had. We kept leapfrogging a silver family van from one site to the next, racing for the last open site. We got to Two Harbors and decided to go inland to the Cloquet State Forest campground named Indian Lake Campground. It's by Brimson, but don't expect to see any town when you get to Brimson. It's more of like a bend in the road with an abandoned house. It probably was something at one time, just like Roland.

The camping area was great, spacious and fairly private, even with so many in the campground on a Friday night. The drinking water from the hand pump was some of the best drinking water we've ever tasted.

I woke up early on Sat. morning, as one often does when one is out camping. I sat in one of our chairs by the fire pit and started some coffee brewing on a sterno.  While I was sitting there a fox came into the tenting area eating up all the animal crackers the kids had dropped the night before. The animal was 2 feet away from me and hadn't noticed me yet.

I cleared my throat and he just looked at me in a kind-of disinterested way, like, "Oh, a human. Again. Where's another one of those crackers?"

He went of to visit the lady in the next tent site and hunt mice. He wasn't mangy, he was nice and clean with a good coat and bright eyes.

We decided to get down to Gooseberry Falls. So we packed up. We went down to the lower part of the park and parked near the lakeshore.

Now, all this time, from the AARP discount to the shore of Lake Superior, I am still wearing the air cast for my left ankle. And I am still using a cane.

So Mary suggests we go to the other side of the rock wall to the cobble beach at the mouth of the river.

Then she suggests we walk a way on the path along the river.

And then we set the kids at liberty at the lower falls.

I think they enjoyed it.

This one above is where Louisa got a leech between her toes. I think everyone at GB Falls knew something was going on.

There were all kinds of scary and dangerous cliffs, handrails without nets, sheer drops. But we made it to the top safely to see the following sign.

Those who know the falls know that this is on the North side of the river and what that path is like.  The kids were great. And I did it all on an aircast, sprained ankle, and a cane.

As we got to the interpretative center we saw this sign on the door. It was meant for Louisa.

We got back to the campground. We hadn't brought along the geocache papers for GBF State Park, though we saw quite a few geocachers there.

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