9/13/14

Gooseberry Falls State Park, Minnesota

It's been a few days since I've been able to post to my blog. I did use the Blogger app to write a short post yesterday, but it feels like years since I've been able to put down what we've been up to since leaving International Falls. This morning, we are running our generator, and that means I can use my laptop computer. I sure as sh*t am not writing a full-length post tippy-typing on my iPhone.

So here goes for all who wonder as we wander. It was a mere five minutes from our spot at the RV park until we crossed the border into Canada.


And it was September 11th, so all the flags at the crossing were at half mast. 


As I look at this image, I realize that I cut off the US flag on the far left. We were a little worried about clearance under the border patrol building here, but we made it easily. The Canadian man in the booth had little patience or sense of humor until we told him we were going to leave Canada the next day and drive down the "coast" of Lake Superior. He told us in no uncertain terms that "coasts" were located in Oregon, and that here in Canada, it was referred to as a "shore". Noted. Thank you.


All we can say is that people on this side of the continent talk funny...no disrespect...just fact.

We were entertained by these signs. We don't see these much in Oregon. In fact, we don't see them at all.


Our destination on that day was Thunder Bay, Ontario. We didn't get our first really good view of Lake Superior until we visited the marina in downtown Thunder Bay.


The lighting hasn't been very good for photography the past few days, and so my pictures are alternately too dark or too light. Remember that you can always click on an image to make it larger. You can't see it in the panorama above, but there was a lighthouse in the bay. I was able to zoom in so that you can see it.


I've been looking for breweries along the way, and I happened to read that this part of Canada has quite an enthusiastic craft brewing industry. I was hoping I might find a commercial brewery where I could get a t-shirt for Erik. (Erik loves his beer t-shirts.) Anyway...it had me reading about the restaurants in Thunder Bay when I read the description of Gargoyles Grille & Ale. It sounded good, and it turned out to be just a few blocks away. While we were there, Mike taught me how to use the HDR feature on my camera. Don't ask me what that means, but it takes several images in one picture when one is faced with a difficult backlighting problem, as I was in the image below. I bring this up only to explain Mike's stern expression as he watched me snap the shutter.


The place was inhabited by gargoyles. You can see them sitting on the bar, and draped over the lamps in the image below.


Speaking of bars, I ordered one of their specialty drinks, a "Raspberry Splash". It was yummy with its frozen raspberry garnish, Chambord, raspberry vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice, and some other stuff. It went down like Kool-Ade. One could get into a lot of trouble with these.


We were enticed to the restaurant by the description of the Dinner Triptych, which consisted of portabello mushroom bruschetta,


(that was absolutely delicious!), Caesar salad,


and an Herb Roasted Chicken, served over mashed potatoes with a side of steamed broccoli.


It was all delicious. We were so stuffed at the end of the meal, that we ordered no dessert...and that's sayin' something.

The next morning we crossed the border back into the United States. They took pictures of us and our car at several spots. Obviously on the lookout for terrorists, and the date on the calendar no doubt made folks extra nervous.


And even when one is only out of the country one day, it is always good to be back in one's own homeland. And howdy, Minnesota!


Just across the border, we pulled into a scenic lookout for another spectacular view of Lake Superior (the one I posted yesterday). We were also amused by this moose weather vane.


Just for grins, you can see exactly where we were.


And I gotta say, Minnesota, you are a beautiful state. Beautiful lakes, beautiful parks, beautiful people, beautiful barns, friendly folks...there is almost nothing bad to say about Minnesota except for this one thing: your roads suck. I promised Mike a short day of driving yesterday...147 miles total...which is about half what we're used to doing on a driving day. It took forEVER to get to our final destination because there was so much construction, and this long section of road (Minnesota 61, mind you...not a country road...a state highway!) where there wasn't even any pavement...just miles and miles of dirt.


Finally, we arrived. We had no reservation at the state park, and so we were very happy to find a space available for our big rig. It was a bit of a challenge getting backed in, but once we were parked and set up, nothing would do in Smitty's world until we got him out for a walk. He wants to write his own blog post telling you about his walk. You can look for that in the next day or two.


And holy catnip! We saw a squirrel eating a mushroom. Don't you think he wanted to have that guy for lunch? Yes. Yes, he did.


He was out for about 20 minutes before we put him back inside for the night. We'll get him out again today. Mike and I continued on our walk which took us along the lake shore. We discovered toward the end of our walk that we were on the Gitchi-Gami State Trail.


We love the names of things in Minnesota and Ontario...some of them real tongue-tanglers. 

The lake shore was so interesting to us, very volcanic in appearance, although I'm not sure what accounts for this rocky shoreline.


We weren't sure either why there were so many, um, tidepools? Puddles? We assumed it was the 14 foot waves in this area just a few days earlier. My friend, Lisa, sent me this weather alert about a storm, but it came through a few days before we arrived.

We saw fishermen,


and grass growing in the most unlikely of places.


Mike walked right to the water's edge and felt the water, pronouncing it warmer than the Pacific Ocean, which isn't saying much.


We continued on to this very rustic chain fence/wall protecting folks from falling into the lake (we supposed). It was such heavy chain and so old in appearance that it looked as though it had been there for hundreds of years.


A little further on, there were big rocks below.


We walked down a stone stairway to the bay below us, where the sand was not the white sugar sand we're accustomed to seeing along the Pacific coast, but this brown/gray stuff, the same color as the rocks...go figure!


It was a lovely bay. On that short promontory in the middle left, there was a bench.


Sitting there, this is what we saw.


And after that, we went back to our trailer. We had enough juice in our trailer batteries to watch a little TV, and then we fell into bed and slept great. It's quiet here. No trains, and no highway noise.

After such a harrowing drive yesterday, we decided to stay two days here. We're hoping to get over to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan before we head back west, but we may not make it. Time will tell. For today, we want to spend the day exploring this area between Beaver Bay and Two Harbors. There is a quilt shop in Beaver Bay, and also a couple of gift shops I'd like to check out. But the main thing we want to see today is the lighthouse at Split Rock. We'll head on down the coast tomorrow. 

And with that, I'm going to fire up the waffle iron while the generator is still running. Waffles for our breakfast this morning. More later when I'll let Smitty take over and tell you about his walk. And hopefully, I'll have another quilt shop to tell you about soon.

10 comments from clever and witty friends:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I found it funny that you are calling shorelines, coastlines - but, I guess someone who lives along a coast would use that terminology. I like the fact that you adjust your schedule and stop to smell the 'roses'. You are in an area that deserves an extra day of exploring.

Sher S. said...

Yes I understand about shorelines and coastlines, my dd lives in Traverse City, Mich. right on Lake Michigan and corrected us the first time we were there. She has lived there 4 years and now sounds like a Michiganer. LOL! Although she still says soda instead of pop, but she doesn't drink it either. Did you get a t-shirt for Erik? That place looked like lots of fun. Hope you have good weather the rest of your trip. So. Cal. is having a major heatwave, today here it's 104. Enjoy your cool days. Safe travels.

Barb H said...

Here in Wisconsin, we refer to either the "South Shore" or "the North Coast" when speaking of our part of Lake Superior. I was glad to hear that I'm not the only one who thinks the Customs people at the border have no sense of humor--then again, I'm glad they don't!

anne Scott said...

Sounds like you had a great time.
I like it when people do their jobs yet find a nice way to communicate. There is no good reason for rudeness no matter what job you are doing.
I know what you mean about the great feeling of coming home. I feel that way about being back in Canada.

Dana Gaffney said...

I thought Mike was doing his best gargoyle impression, now you need to explain that H whatever thing to us, at least tell me what the button looks like.

Quilter Kathy said...

Enjoying being along on your trip with you!
I love Thunder Bay...so funny about the differences in speaking. You would probably think I have an accent I guess :) Love that rocky beach to explore!

quiltzyx said...

NIGHT DANGER? I guess the moose only charge at night, huh??

More gorgeous lake pics. I'll be going back to look at the bigger images again too. I never think of lakes as having waves really. Guess that's the "coastal" coming out in me. ;^)

I like what Dana said about Mike doing a gargoyle impression! That made me guffaw! And who needs dessert after that Raspberry Splash anyway?! Dinner looks so lovely...hmmm, might have to eat my leftover burrito sooner than I planned today!
Smitty is just so darned photogenic! Looking forward to reading his post. And I just wanted to rub that squirrel's tummy!
Is the orange on the chain fence 'posts' something that's growing? Lichen maybe? Neat colors with the gray background.




LethargicLass said...

I truly don't know if I would have said shore or coast... I tried both, but being forced, I couldn't tell which seemed natural LOL!

Brown Family said...

Some road signe as so funny. I wonder if they ever get time to pave that state highway? After summer tourist season, it is winter!

Lyndsey said...

Yep I would have said shore. if we walk along the edges of the Thames when the tide is out we talk about walking along the shore of the Thames. Great pictures as always.