Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Doing Duluth

Our first full day of vacation passed partly by us and by the time we ate our breakfast and left the motel, it was almost nine. We ended up going back down to the harbor shore where we went on one of those tours of the harbor via boat. The first part of it outside the confines of the harbor was pretty lame and as we made our way back under the lift bridge, I was thinking foul thoughts about paying good money for the whole thing. Fortunately, most of the tour was yet to come insides the confines of the harbor itself and that I found very fascinating.

When the tour was done, we stopped at what was once the largest fresh water aquarium at least until they replaced one of their fresh water tanks with a salt water one. We did this to keep Little Abbey entertained a bit and it turned out to be highway robbery. There was very little of interest there for us adults but for Little Abbey, she had a ball playing with a plastic boat in a scale model of the Great Lakes as she worked the various locks along the way.

We ate lunch at the Duluth Grill which evidently was featured in the cable television show Diners, Dives and Drive-ins. The food was outstanding and though I don't have my normal picture of it, I enjoyed my BBQ buffalo strip sandwich and homemade onion rings immensely. In fact, those were the best onion rings I have ever eaten. As fate would have it, we randomly stopped at another diner featured in the same television show a couple days later. More about that later.

Because it was a vacation and we had been working pretty hard at relaxing, we went back to the motel for a round of naps and then spent the rest of the day down at the shore watching my daughter enjoying the cold water, reading and looking for interesting pieces of driftwood which there were plenty of around. I'm thinking about shellacking them and perhaps putting them in a glass container somewhere around the house where I can refer to them from time to time and remember just how relaxing that afternoon was.

General Mills cereal plant. 

I believe they said this was the largest grain elevator on Lake Superior. I was convinced.

Harbor tugs waiting for action

Humongous windmill turbine heads ready to be shipped. The blades were sitting a couple docks down but I couldn't capture a good picture of them. 

Ferrite pellet loading dock. The magnetic particles were mixed with clay and rolled into pellets which were hauled out to this dock by train and dumped. Empty ships could then pull up, those vertical shoots lowered and in a matter of minutes, the ship would be full loaded. This particular dock may have been over a quarter mile long.

Our tour boat parked between the pedestrian drawbridge and that large boat in the background which was an old lake boat turned into a museum. I didn't pay for the privilege of touring it.

About the most interesting thing I found at the aquarium were these fish outside the aquarium.

We had seen this Chinese ship out on the lake waiting for a captain familiar with Duluth harbor to be boated out to drive this boat in earlier during our harbor cruise. By the time the Chinese ship came in, we were up in the hills of Duluth overlooking the harbor. Hidden by one of the vertical towers of the lift bridge is the lighthouse pictured in Monday's blog post.

Enger Tower which is where I was when I snapped the previous picture. It gave me butterflies in my stomach when I reached the top and saw how far it was down to the ground. All I could wonder was when was the last time Duluth had seen an earthquake.

There was no shortage of driftwood along the shores of Lake Superior. I found many knots in these clumps which leads me to believe some of them had been floating for so long that the only thing that remained were the harder, more densely wooded knots.


Vince said...

They are still shipping iron from the Duluth docks eh. If I was asked I'd have said that had halted. Still since Mr Mittel -good name for a forgemaster- had works all round those lakes. The lake transport would be the most practical. Remember a while back Sage was near Chicago. But not at the same time. Down at the bottom of that lake anyway.
Oh, pilot is the term for the fellow that conns the ship to dock. And what he does as well for that matter. But what the holy frack is a Chinese flagged vessel doing as far from China and still be on earth. What could possibly draw them so deep down the St Laurence, up those locks and on into the upper lakes. That's just going at things the hard way.

malor said...

Hi Ed, It's been a while. I congratulate you and your wife for the new baby girl.

Duluth seems so industrialized. We plan a trip to MN too...

Ed said...

Vince - I don't know what the Chinese vessel was doing but they were empty coming into harbor and I'm assuming were intent on picking up their cargo before heading out.

Malor - Thanks. If you are heading up to the North Shore area, send me an email and I can let you know some of the places we stopped at.

Vince said...

I was thinking on that after. Grain would be the only reason I can think. But is bulk transport that expensive in the US by road or rail that a cargo vessel has penetrated that far from home ports. I can see from Seattle SF or Vancouver. But from Duluth ?!?!?!