Monday, September 9, 2019

Dog Days in Duluth

View of Lake Superior and Wisconsin from Enger Park

Roger here....  After a two-day drive from Door County, Wisconsin, we arrived for a long stay with our friends Jim and Sue (and their dogs) in Duluth, Minnesota.

This was our 30 amp campsite in their side yard.  However, we spent every night except one in a private suite on the second floor of their home.  Sweet!  (Jim and Sue know we're slugs in the morning, so the kitchenette was perfect to make our own coffee and breakfast while they did their usual early-morning stuff.  It was like staying in a four-star hotel -- everywhere I looked, Sue had put out thoughtful touches for us. -- D)

There was plenty of room at the back of their property for walking the dogs.  However, we counted on Jim and Sue to take us on daily morning and evening walks --- just like old times in Texas when they lived in our neighborhood.  

Front row:  Bandido, Poquita
Back row: Gabe, Klick
Our dogs were, of course, the focus of our walks.  Here we are getting ready for a walk in the rain.

It seems as if Proctor has copied the Boilermaker Special as its team mascot.
During one of our walks we explored the county fairgrounds in the nearby town of Proctor.

Gooseberry Falls State Park...

View of Lake Superior from Gooseberry Falls State Park
One morning we all piled into Jim and Sue's vehicle and toured Gooseberry Falls State Park.  Scenic does not begin to describe this place.

Three waterfalls cascade through the rocky face of the park. We hiked up and down and around both sides of the rushing water.

Dianne loves cairns.  At one point we strayed from the path down to the running water where a city of cairn skyscrapers drew our attention away from the falls.

Below is one last photo of the falls from the bottom of the lower falls all the way up to the highway above.

According to Sue, no trip to Gooseberry
Falls is complete without a stop at Betty's Pies.  We bought four pieces of pie for our evening happy hour.  Yum.

Duluth Trading Company...

I don't want to get too personal; however, It was time to update (throw away) some of my underwear.  What better place to do this than Duluth!  Sue took us to the Duluth Trading Company and to the Duluth Pack Store.

Getting there was somewhat of an adventure.  It reminded me of the pervasive roadwork from our visit to Indiana.  

it is!!!

how to get to it?

Miscellaneous Dog Antics....

Let's see now.  How many dogs did we have with us?  Our dogs (Bandido and Poquita) --- that's two.  Jim and Sue's dogs (Klick and Gabe) --- that makes four.  However, the picture below shows five dogs.  Oh yeah, James (Jim and Sue's son) went on a camping trip with his wife and kids.  They dropped off their dog (Kohana) to join the fun.

L to R:  Kohana, Klick, Gabe, Bandido, Poquita

Kohana and I hit it off right away.  This loving dog shadowed and liked everybody.  I liked to think she liked me best :-).

Sue got a picture of her cleaning my ears.

Worn out from hiking at Gooseberry Falls State Park
Poquita's favorite spot is on Dianne's lap.  However, usually she is laying down when she falls asleep --- not standing.


After a rocky start, Bandido and Kohana (the granddog) became best friends.  They had great fun chasing the pigeons out of the back yard every afternoon.  Poquita joined them.  I wish we had a movie of the fun.  The picture below depicts the constant watch.   

Notice that Bandido's tail is in motion :-)  The first pigeon arrived in the upper right corner of the photo.

Iron Clyde's...

During our stay, Sue and Jim prepared a mid afternoon meal every day.  We did not eat an evening meal other than appetizers (including pie) and wine.

In an attempt to repay their hospitality in some small way, we tried to pay for the cost of meals away from their home.   We had a great meal at Iron Clyde's one afternoon in an authentic iron works.

View from the Second Floor Restaurant.  Check out the photo on the far wall.

Jim, Sue, Dianne

Jay Cooke State Park...

No one can dispute that the area around Duluth is amazingly scenic.  Jay Cooke State Park was no exception.  Hiking there was a great experience. The suspension bridge in the photo below led to a (sometimes confusing) series of trails along a river and into the forest.

Into the woods we went.

The views of the river were spectacular.

Sue was our trail blazer. Armed with knowledge and a trail map, she adeptly directed our travels.  However, at one point (maybe two),  Jim questioned her choices.

I climbed a rock face to get an elevated view of the terrain, and....

.... after observation, determined that (as always), Sue was correct --- well mostly correct  :-).

With a little coaxing, Dianne scrambled up the rock to join me.  

Enger Park...

Dianne and I gave Jim and Sue a break one morning, driving a short distance to Enger Park.  The park towers over Duluth, just as this five-story tower, towers over the park.  We, of course, climbed to the top.

The elevated views of Lake Superior, the Duluth Harbor, and the iconic Lift Bridge were especially nice in the morning light.

The Hills of Wisconsin in the Background

Downtown Duluth

The iconic lift bridge is on the left.  The harbor area to the right becomes an RV park after the boats are lifted from the lake.  We stayed there in June 2011.  Unique spot!

The photo below is one of our favorites.  We were fortunate to watch the bridge surface lift so that a boat could pass beneath it.  Quite a nice experience from one of the park benches!

(Dianne here:  In the dead of winter it is amazing to check the Duluth Harbor live webcam and realize just how frigid Duluth is in the winter...

Duluth Harbor Live Webcam

  Our friend Jim showed me this link years ago.   There is also a boat schedule on the web site so that you can watch the huge cargo ships enter and leave the harbor, winter or summer.  It blows my mind in the winter to view this webcam from tropical Mission, Texas under a palm tree -- it's like looking at Antarctica!  I couldn't look at this view without remembering the frigid scenes I'd seen over the years on the webcam.)

We meandered on pathways throughout the park.  The Japanese garden area was especially well done.  

The flowered views of the tower on the precipice of the hilltop added to the experience.  So did the ice cream that we purchased from a food truck in the parking lot --- our late breakfast :-)

Our time with our friends and their dogs was special.  Thanks, Jim and Sue, for your hospitality and your friendship.   (It was the perfect way to close out our great summer vacation -- D.)

We are currently on our way home.  The trip from Duluth, Minnesota in the far north to Mission, Texas in the far south will be lengthy.  Thoughts of our home in south Texas have been calling us.

Dianne's Teensy Weensy Trailer Tip...

Here's another tip I discovered mid-way through the trip:  By reversing the dinette cushions on the seat bench they form a protected "corral" to place items (like my Instant Pot) for travel down the bumpy highways, things I'd rather not place on the floor or that won't fit in my collapsible crates.  

The edge of the dinette table (on the right, out of camera range) holds the cushions in place, and the countertop closes up the "corral".

Pet Pictures of the Day...

We loved watching Sue dispense treats to the dogs each afternoon at "treat time":

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