We got a decent start and headed up MN 61 – North Shore Scenic Drive – towards Canada. It is very pretty with many of the trees beginning to turn color. Unfortunately we missed our opportunity to get a really fantastic picture of a group of red-leafed trees. We hope that Canada will provide a suitable photographic opportunity.
Our first stop was at Two Harbors, MN for a look at one of the iron ore loading facilities. From what I can gather trains bring in the raw ore (taconite) which is then processed into a low grade iron. This low grade iron is then shipped to steel mills to produce high grade steel. There was also a steam locomotive that was used to haul ore.
We stopped next at the Cascade Falls and took Cap and Reg on a short hike. The forests are dense and dripping with dew. The weather is very overcast with stretches of fog that had me put the wipers on their lowest intermittent setting. I suppose we were seeing the area in one of its many moods.
We had lunch in Grand Marais, MN at a brew pub. Grande Marais means “large marsh”, but there is no evidence of a marsh now. Grand Marais is a bit of a tourist town, but not overdone in my view.
Our last bit of US driving took us through the Grand Portage (Indian) Reservation. One rather unexpected site was three otters crossing the highway. Yes, three otters all in a row doing their sinuous up and down slow run. No time to get a picture as they lost themselves in the woods. Just a few miles later there was a stunning view of the lake Superior and the Susie Islands. We hoped to see Isle Royale National Park, but clouds obscured our view. Still, you will probably agree that the view was still worth seeing.
After this it was only a couple of miles to the border with Canada. Very nice folks who confiscated my mace. You can carry bear mace in Canada, but mace for people is illegal. We went another 18 miles to Thunder Bay and used an ATM at the Royal Bank of Canada to get Canadian dollars. Cathie bought a map in a drug store and was told about a donut shop that had free wi-fi. We don’t have a data plan for Canada so surfing can get very expensive. The donut shop hanger-outers seemed a bit sketchy but we logged on and found a KOA just northeast of Thunder Bay. After getting a little bit off course due to a blocked road, we arrived and set up camp for the night.