Monday, July 20, 2009

Friday, July 17

#1 The very large docks for loading iron ore
#2 A loon on the water
#3 The light at Split Rock Lighthouse
#4 The lens at Split Rock
#5 Split Rock Lighthouse
#6 One of the many scenic points along the north shore drive
#7 The Hull-Rust Mahoning Mine

Jerry connected with a friend from his working days who lives up here….Jim and wife Bev would exhibit at trade shows and they became friends. Somehow, I managed to miss out on meeting them until now. At any rate, the plan is to meet them for dinner tonight in Carlton, but he gave us some suggestions for things to do today.

After breakfast, we headed back into town and up the North Shore. We stopped at Two Harbors Lighthouse which is a bed and breakfast and walked a bit of the way out on the breakwater. Most interesting there were the big loading docks which had been used for loading taconite. Taconite pellets are iron ore pellets that are used in making steel. Mining iron ore and shipping it to steel mills has been one of the major industries in the lake states. With this economy, not much is being done right now.

Back on the road we stopped at a farmer’s roadside stand and I got a couple of tomatoes and some fresh corn. The next stop was at Split Rock Lighthouse. Run by the historical society, it is a lighthouse restored to the early 1920’s, complete with costumed staff. It was a great stop with beautiful views of Lake Superior. The lighthouse sits high on a rocky cliff and we climbed to the top for the view and a look at the lens. The light is kept turning by a 200 lb weight that needed to be re-wound every 2 hours. It was a most interesting stop and wish we had more time.

The next destination was Hibbing - which was about a 60 - 70 mile drive. Hibbing is the site of one of the largest open pit mines in the world - the Hull-Rust Mahoning Mine. The pit is 3 miles long and 2 miles wide and 600 feet deep. Unfortunately it was a cloudy, misty day, so we did not get the panoramic views we had hoped for, but it was an impressive sight nonetheless. The observation tower closed at 5 and we did not get there until well after 4, so our time was somewhat limited. Jerry learned a lot from a retired miner who had worked the mines for over 30 years. Opened in 1895, it has mined over 1 billion tons of ore!

We then traveled south for about 60 more miles to meet Bev and Jim Whorton for dinner at the Cozy CafĂ©, a landmark restaurant for that town. I enjoyed meeting them and we had a great time with them. We just happened to catch them in MN, as they have moved back to MO. They have a Christmas tree farm and were up here for the week trimming trees. Of course we now have plans to get together with them in MO…although they live in the far NW corner of the state. After dinner, we returned to the campground and bed. Poor dogs, they have been cooped up in the truck all day, with only a few breaks.

After some discussion and a recommendation NOT to go to International Falls, we decided to spend an extra night here and do some more things in Duluth. There is really a lot to do here.

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