Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lake Superior Circle Tour -- Day 8

We escaped the grungy motel without any noticeable rashes or visitations by creatures with more than two legs. We expected them and they never came. We were relieved.

I have always liked Duluth, and after 5+ years of looking for a job in the Munising/Marquette, Michigan area, without a single nibble, I had been seriously considering Duluth as an alternative. And then... we couldn't find a breakfast restaurant. For an hour and a half (!!!) we drove around downtown Duluth (avoiding Canal Park because it was infested with people for Blues Fest) looking for a non-bar restaurant to grab some eggs for our morning meal, and there WERE NONE!! Sure, we could've had a greasy drive-thru meal at a fast food chain, but we wanted some damn eggs, toast and bacon! Jeebus, Duluth, get a breakfast restaurant, will ya?!

We did see much of Duluth. A few mysteries were discovered.

Why do all the sewers exhale steam, even when it's 90º outside?

(Photo taken by Boyfriend Extraordinaire)

How is it they can have a casino in the middle of downtown? Is Duluth on a reservation or is it the new Vegas or Atlantic City?
(Photo taken by Boyfriend Extraordinaire)

The whole building? Just for women? What the...?
(Photo taken by Boyfriend Extraordinaire)

We were starting to see a pattern on this trip. In Bruce Crossing we passed up on the opportunity to rent a room from Carl's Gun Shop and Motel, opting instead to stay at a motel/restaurant combo. Strange bedfellows, a gun shop and motel. We saw more and more businesses pop up that combined unusual things. Like this bar and apartments combo.
(Photo taken by Boyfriend Extraordinaire)

Anyway, these were all taken while looking for breakfast!

We ended up driving around so long that it became lunchtime and we had a sandwich at Jimmy John's for breakfast. It was good, but then again, it's always good at JJ's.

Then we began our search for a laundromat. Having located one near the college campus (which was the obvious place to look), I set about washing all our soiled clothes while B.E. wandered off who-knows-where, seeking out garage sales on foot. He returned just in time to help load up the car. Coincidence that he didn't arrive until all the work was done? I think not.

Once again, it was 90º in Duluth and we hadn't the energy to do much except drive to our next destination and bid Duluth adieu. I was very ready to escape the city chaos! Duluth is far too big for me to move to. I will have to keep looking.

An absolute necessity is a stop at Stoney Point, just north of Duluth. The soft, smooth rock outcrops and the cool blue water of Lake Superior make this a delightful area no matter when you go.

There were a few animals we saw on this trip en mass. Like, worthy of considering a plague due to their numbers, and these grasshoppers were definitely the most prevalent living things we saw. They were EVERYWHERE. And their little clicking was audible everywhere we went. I swear, just the ones I saw numbered in the millions. But they were cute. And at Stoney Point, it seemed impossible to move without running into one.

This area is one of the few around the lake where the rocks (maybe part of the Canadian Shield -- I'd have to check) are smooth and ancient.

The view was great, as I sat on the rocks and let the waves lap at my toes. Then I heard some children yelling and turned around to see a frightening sight. A mom in her early forties-ish was climbing around on the high rocks wearing a skirt. A short skirt. *Blink, blink* What posesses people to wear skirts to the beach? What was this woman thinking, climbing on large rocks like that? Did she want us to be blinded by her undies? Sheesh! I tried not to look, but every time I turned around, there she was with one leg up on a huge rock, staring out at her kids or the water. MY EYES, WOMAN! MY EYES!

I had to move to the other side of the shore to escape.

Beyond the smooth rocks that make up the shoreline are the beautiful stones at the bottom of the lake. I love rocks. And it was so damn hot out, when I found my new relaxing spot, I immediately went right into the water and sat on one of the larger rocks poking out of the water, with my feet dangling in.

I took that picture and then I decided that I wanted a movie of the serenity of these rocks in the waves for when I get back to my boring life and want a sweet escape. Ahhhh!

And just when I thought it couldn't get any better, something divine occurred!

A couple appeared. With two dogs. And the dogs were awesome! And he had tennis balls which the dogs retrieved. In the water! They were great dogs! One ran past me and stopped for one second to shake all the water off himself, getting me soaking wet, and then he ran on while I squealed. Dogs are good! Dogs improve everything! Let there be dogs!

It was a perfect moment!

Boyfriend Extraordinaire does something very entertaining when we get to a nice area of shoreline. He builds boats out of debris. I will run straight for the water and begin wading while picking up pretty rocks and stuffing them into my pockets, and he's up at the top of the beach gathering his hull, a sail, a rudder, etc. With his Trim Trio (an infamous -- between us -- little mini Swiss Army Knife), he shapes branches, bark and feathers into sailboats and we then launch them into the water.

This one we dubbed Number 1, because it was the first one he made. Number 1 sailed far and we lost sight of her eventually. She was the grandest of them all.

Number 2 did quite well, too. They both went south toward Duluth, far beyond our sight. Who else crafts such fine vessels out of debris?

Number 3 did not fare as well. The wind shifted and it capsized almost immediately after launching, but the capsized boat floated on for quite a ways.

B.E. changed the design on Number 4, afraid that the sails were too big and the rudders too small, and we put all our hope into Number 4, that she would make it and join 1 and 2 and make an armada.

Number 4 struggled with the wind shift, which was pushing her inland, but she managed to narrowly escape a collision with a gigantic rock and we thought she was home free.

That's when the Redneck Boys discovered her.

Rather than cheer her on and admire the primitive designs that are still successful today, they heaved rocks at her! Those beasts! Fortunately, they were bumbling fools, those Redneck Boys, and they couldn't hit her. Rock after rock they threw, cheering one another on as B.E. and I paced on the shore farther down.

We yelled, "GO! GO, NUMBER 4!" and Number 4 went! She really did. She tried so hard! The wind was pushing her toward the Redneck Boys, but she fought it and we cheered for her.

Then Redneck Dad shouted, "C'mon, Boys! Time to go!"

B.E. was so protective of his little boat that he repeated the dad's call, "Time to go! Dad's calling!"

The Redneck Boys ignored their dad and the dad kept calling to them. Finally he got fed up and walked down the rocky shore to where they were. He reiterated that it was time to go, but when he realized what they were doing, being the bumbling fool of a Redneck Dad that he was, he too picked up rocks and started throwing them at Number 4!

We were horrified! Redneck Dad had better aim! Number 4 seemed doomed! We shouted to her, encouraged her, hoped with all our hearts that a strong wind would carry her out of harm's way or at least make the Redneck Family stupider so that they started throwing rocks at each other. Redneck Dad came so close that we closed our eyes, knowing Number 4 was done, but she never went down! Eventually the Rednecks got tired of their sport and went home, much to our relief, and Number 4 sailed on.

We like to think that Number 4 joined up with Numbers 1 and 2 and they still sail around Lake Superior today.


The temperature was dropping and we still had miles to cover, so we left Stoney Point and B.E.'s boats, which were somewhere far away now, and we headed to Two Harbors for the night.

For dinner we tried to stop at Betty's Pies, but it was so crowded that we decided to play a little more at Flood Bay, collecting rocks and building more boats. After 8:00, the sun started to set and the mosquitoes were too much to handle, so I hid in the car while B.E. continued launching boats at the water. For an hour we played and then my hunger was overwhelming, so we gave Betty's Pies another chance.

Lo, and the people were gone! Hallelujah!

Wild rice burgers, fries and pies! What more could you ask for?

The Voyageur Motel was a LUXURY SUITE compared with our previous two nights, and we were thrilled to have a tiny room with no air conditioning adjacent to the noisy office. Wow! What a nice place!

The funny thing was the shower. There was one light in the bathroom, and the shower was almost around the corner from the light and sink, so when you closed the shower curtain, you were plunged into darkness. After two nights of staying in motels where I was afraid to shower, having a cave was a vast improvement and I showered for a very long time in the dark! It was wonderful! I felt clean for the first time in many days. It was a good night.

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