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Old 06-15-2012, 02:22 PM   #61
FotoTEX
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Looks like you hit all our favorites in Grand Marais. The Pizza at My Sisters Place is one of my favorite Pizza's anywhere. Leaving in 2 weeks and your Ride Reports has me wishing it was sooner. Hope to see you July 14th for the TX BBQ.
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Old 06-15-2012, 05:59 PM   #62
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The Gunflint Trail. This is a very scenic out and back run. I think it is something around 60 miles to the end (120 round trip) but it is well worth the side trip. You can knock it off in about three hours even with stopping to check things out. No doubt a circle tourer can spare 3 hours.


The Gunfling is a scenic byway.




Nice view of Grand Marais (big marsh) from the high ground.


The Maple Hill Church and cemetery are an interesting short side trip.


Nice streams along the way.


You can tour this lumber mill. Logs are big business up this way.


Kiln for drying lumber.


Old growth white pine.


Some scars from forest fires along the way.


Trail Center. Word on the street is that they have good food.


Some old logging tools on display.


This is the site of an old lumber mill.


The store in the old days.


What used to be across from the store.






This guy is responsible for the Gunflint Trail. He was part of the development of Grand Marais. Once iron was discovered out this way, they slowly created and improved a path out here. This guy died on 1905 at age 75.


They tried to develop a mine out here and even built a connector rail line with a bunch of trestles in a mere seven months.




Fire.


Helipad near a fire base.


When one fire burned in here a few years back, it exposed some rock and terrain that showed evidence that the area was struck with spatter from the Sudbury meteor.




Forest service boat.


1935 cabin that is now the Chik-Wauk Nature Center.


Gives me an idea about cooking while tailgaiting at ball games.




These lakes are strung together into a long waterway.




Campground at the end of the line.


Looking across the campground.


Those aluminum tent pins might not cut it here.


On the way back, I ran the track on some of the old GFT that is not paved.




It is a nice road that won't be a problem.




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Old 06-15-2012, 06:00 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by FotoTEX View Post
Looks like you hit all our favorites in Grand Marais. The Pizza at My Sisters Place is one of my favorite Pizza's anywhere. Leaving in 2 weeks and your Ride Reports has me wishing it was sooner. Hope to see you July 14th for the TX BBQ.
Lots of options for restaurants there and it seems like they each have their own following. A nice town for sure!
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Old 06-15-2012, 07:12 PM   #64
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I may have missed something..

Another great RR! Thanks..
I went around Superior last summer. Took off from the town of Blind River, just east of Sault Ste. Marie early in the morning and went counter clockwise around Superior. In one day, I ended up going all the way around, and camped by the lake just across the border back in MN.. I may have missed a few sites.
I did see enough to know I want to go back. Hope to get up there with my wife in August.
Your timing is perfect. I doubt I noticed 5% of of the cool stuff to see. Now I'll know what I missed, and what to see on my return trip.
Thanks!!

Jeff
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Old 06-16-2012, 07:41 AM   #65
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On to the Canadian border.


This church was built in 1895. There was a Chippewa City of about 200 people here at the time.


There is an old Chippewa cemetery nearby. The old section doesn't have many markers.


Burial at the cemetery.


Georgie Morrison is buried here. He was born on a nearby reservation and later became a famous artist who taught in several universities.


Some of the last of the original shore road.




Nice scenery along the old road.


This used to be dammed up.


To power this old sawmill.




This is about all I could find of Colvill. The town is named after Colonel Bill Colvill who commanded a MN regiment in the Civil War. Colville had been arrested for allowing his unit to cross a river on logs instead of wading across. After a 14 day march to Gettysburg he was relieved of arrest and resumed command of his regiment on Cemetery Ridge. The ridge was about to be overrun, so to delay the rebels Colvill directed his regiment to attack to gain time for other units to reinforce the ridge. Of the 282 Minnesotans who made the charge, 217 were killed or wounded. The delay worked. MN named this town after Colvill in recognition of his work at Gettysburg.


6'5" Colvill (huge for the 1860s) was shot three times. Surgeons wanted to amputate his foot but he wouldn't let them. One shot that hit him in the shoulder tore across his back clipping off a part of his vertebra. For a while he recovered in a private home in Gettysburg and later at a hospital in Harrisburg. Good luck finding a bed for someone 6' 5" at that time. He eventually became Attorney General of MN.


There are a number of State Parks along the route. Some require a sticker to get access to certain areas. There are more waterfalls in this park (Magney).




This was a 1920s ultra exclusive club.


Jack Dempsey, Babe Ruth, and Ring Lardner are some of the famous that used to hang out here. Perhaps you want to stop in for that afternoon tea.


Hovland Dock. Needs some repairs.


Ran into another rider there. Ran into him again at Ryden's store near the border.


I guess there is a project afoot to restore the dock. At one time this dock and town were important to commerce in the region.


Old fishing shack.




It is worth poking around this town a bit. There are some interesting old buildings and history in the area. There used to be a CCC camp here as well.




Another one of those safe harbors along the shore.


Well monitored by the Border Patrol.


This is the site of the Grand Portage National Monument.


There was a big rendezvous of trappers here every year back in the fur days.


The Grand Portage is an 8 1/2 mile foot path that by-passes 21 miles or rapids and falls on the Pigeon River that can't be navigated. Once you get up the portage, it is smooth sailing (canoeing) again.


Re-creation of the old trading fort.


As it appears from across the bay.


Isle Royale is close and there is water transportation to the island available.


The oldest log church in MN (1865).


Next to this replacement.


There is a big C-store on the reservation at Grand Portage. You can get gas here and sometimes do currency exhchanges. Otherwise, you can do the same at Ryden's Border Store just up the road.


Nice overlook just outside of town.






The land for this state park on the border is leased from the reservation. There is a walking trail to the highest waterfall in MN on the Pigeon River which defines the border. More on that in a bit.
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Old 06-16-2012, 07:44 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by MizzouRider View Post
Another great RR! Thanks..
I went around Superior last summer. Took off from the town of Blind River, just east of Sault Ste. Marie early in the morning and went counter clockwise around Superior. In one day, I ended up going all the way around, and camped by the lake just across the border back in MN.. I may have missed a few sites.
I did see enough to know I want to go back. Hope to get up there with my wife in August.
Your timing is perfect. I doubt I noticed 5% of of the cool stuff to see. Now I'll know what I missed, and what to see on my return trip.
Thanks!!

Jeff
Thanks Jeff! There certainly is a lot to explore. Hopefully this ride report will allow people to sort out what they want to look into themselves. The background info should handy even for drive-bys on much of this stuff.
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Old 06-16-2012, 10:12 AM   #67
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Across the border and on to Thunder Bay.


Just after you cross the border you have another opportunity to hike in to view the highest waterfall in MN. Riding gear is not so good for long strolls on hiking trails, so I opted to check out another nearby falls instead.


The middle falls along the river here is easy access. There are no formal facilities over there - just a closed campground. Take the first left across the border to get there.


Not to difficult to find. You can hear it.


Just above the falls.




Looking downstream.


The water was really running.


Being from Wisconsin, I am required to keep an eye on cheese production. I heard about this farm and swung by to see what was up.


Closed on Sundays.


Norway sent a rock over here as part of some commemoration of Norwegians and Canadians who pioneered ski jumping in the area.


Nearby is a ski jumping facility.


Nice place, but judging by how the ski runs have grown in with trees, I would guess that it hasn't operated for quite a while.


As I came into Thunder Bay I ran across this mill.


It was nice to see that it was still operating. Some others further along are bankrupt and closed.


This is the visitor center at Old Fort William. It is one of the top ten attractions in Canada. It is a living history type place with more than 50 buildings. I guess it was the world's largest fur trading post.




Scenic stream that crossed a road in the area.


I stopped in Stanley. There is a historical marker at the river. The town used to have a soft drink bottling plant, a cheese factory, railway station, and a general store. Gone now.


But the Stanley hotel is still here (it burned and was rebuilt in 1945). Back in 1906 you could get a room and board your horse for a buck a night.


Today they are known for great burgers. I added a CannonCard to the board while I was there.


Chatted a bit with these folks from the Harley crowd. Very nice people. They've done the Sturgis run and pointed out that when they go to Superior they make sure the stop for a burger at the Anchor Bar.


Ran past this bike. Didn't see the rider. Might have seen this again near Quimet Canyon.


Kakabeka Falls is the Niagra of the north. 128' drop. The water was surging because the area recently got 2" of rain in about two hours. They needed the rain, but not all at once. Thunder Bay took a pretty good ass-kicking with flooded basements and washed out roads.


There was a lot of water pouring over the falls.


Not so good for canoeists.


The photograph doesn't show the motion, but that mist was shooting out of the canyon like exhaust from a jet engine.


The water was running under the platform on the other side so they closed it.


I thought these trainer planes for the Canadian Forces were no longer in use having been replaced by a more advanced aircraft. I guess some are still being used by the Snowbirds exhibition team. Not sure what the story is on this particular plane.


Heading across the river to the south part of town.


Nice bridge.


Mount McKay.


I took a ride up to this overlook. It is on indian reserve land.


Sleeping giant (more on that later). His snoring kept me up most of the night.


Chapel on the overlook.


Veteran's memorial.




River heading into the harbor.


This port is a huge grain port for Canada. Stuff from western Canada can come through here to be shipped through the Great Lakes to world ports. This is the largest outbound port on the St Lawrence Seaway system and the sixth largest port in Canada.




If I had ambition I'd stitch these into a pano.










Some people may remember that Thunder Bay is where Lawrencia Bembenek ("Run Bambi, Run!") hid out for a while. The former cop was charged and convicted of murdering her detective boyfriend's ex-wife in Milwaukee. She was convicted and sent to the joint. She managed to escape and fled with an accomplice to her escape to Thunder Bay where she worked as a popular waitress. Sure enough, one of those "most wanted" type shows came on TV and before she could flee the Thunder Bay cops had her.


Camped at a city campground at Chippewa Park.


Nice facilites. Reasonable rate.


Nice sleeping weather along the lake.
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Old 06-16-2012, 10:16 AM   #68
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enjoying the ride, but down here Marais means swamp and Grand Marais would be Big Swamp.

How were the bugs, esp mosquitoes? Customs at the border?
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Old 06-16-2012, 10:26 AM   #69
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enjoying the ride, but down here Marais means swamp and Grand Marais would be Big Swamp.

How were the bugs, esp mosquitoes? Customs at the border?
The border crossing was routine - standard stuff. I think that circle tourers have a certain obvious profile.

Bugs were not bad. Maybe because it was cool near the lake. I think I had one or two spots with notable mosquitos along the way. I stopped on one indian reserve where the blackflies were pretty annoying. Usually I spray my riding clothes and boots with tick spray (repels, kills ticks). This time I didn't thinking it was a road ride. Picking through the woods to look at some waterfalls and camping led to my finding 3-4 ticks crawling on me during the trip. I don't think I used insect repellent more than once on the entire trip.
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Old 06-16-2012, 06:43 PM   #70
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Cannonshot - Such a high quality report. Very interesting and educational too. Thanks so much for sharing. One thing - too bad you didn't take the short walk up to the Pigeon River Falls on the U.S. side in Grand Portage, MN. It really isn't as long as most people think (about 10 minutes of walking if memory serves) - most of it is flat, and there is a board-walk that is an easy climb up to the lookout. I have to admit that I find the Pigeon River Falls to be much more interesting looking than Kakabeka Falls. The water spills into a scenic pool surrounded by rock - it would have made a great photo for your report.

Keep it up!

Mike
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Old 06-16-2012, 07:00 PM   #71
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Canon,

Question of you, did you travel alone on this one?

Great photo journalism on this one. Made same trip couple years ago, took about the same time frame, it was priceless for me at the time.

Thanks,

Paul
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Old 06-16-2012, 09:08 PM   #72
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More of Thunder Bay, Sleeping Giant, and Silver Islet.


I do like the coffee and breakfast sandwiches at Tim Hortons so when there is one around that is where I like to start the day. This one was a take out/drive through joint. The line to the drive through never let up. A very popular place. People must like those Timbits and a double double.


Back in 1904 an enormous grain elevator was built on the shore of this river in the port. The engineering firm was bragging up how this structure had the smallest foundation and the loftiest storage house in the port.


In 1926 that foundation gave way. Too close to the river. It was 2100 hours so there was only a lone millwright working at the place and he was down in the basement. He heard the beams snapping and the place busting up so he vacated as fast as he could. Within a few minutes the whole shebang slipped from the foundation into the river. It moved around a little more the next day until it was about 50 feet from where it was originally built.


They hired 100 workers to dismantle this thing. Since it might collapse at any moment, the workers got an extra $5/day hazardous duty pay.


The same engineering firm that designed the first one, designed the replacement that was put in further away from the river on a better foundation. It was completed in time for the next grain harvest.


While I was in town I read a newspaper article talking about dedicating a first spike memorial at Fort William. Pushing the railroad west was very important to Canada. As with any developing nation, they had trouble maintaining control of the west without good lines of communication. The article pointed out that with the developments in the US west and the issues in the Canadian west, had the railroad not gone through Canada may not have the shape it has today. Interesting observation.




This sign talks about a pioneer trail they worked up to get troops to the west to overcome a revolt that was a problem.


The rails are still hard at it today.


The port is doing well.


Thunder Bay port is the gateway to the west.


They have some serious shipping going on here.


I guess that giant was sleeping in this morning.


At one of the overlook parks there is a monument to the Lake Superior Regiment in WWII. There are more casualties listed there than I cared to look at. Very nice view though.


I stopped at a local armory to visit a military museum. The museum wasn't open.






Impressive rail depot.




Stopped at a couple of seaplane bases to look around.








I imagine these fuel barrels will get filled and stashed at various places out in the bush.


Terry Fox set out to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He lost a leg to cancer and was in remission when he ran. He heroically ran 5,373 kilometers before being forced to stop near here. He is an enduring Canadian icon representing many fine traits.


Water access.


Sign forest at an international hostel along the way.


When I came upon this sign I was reminded of a 222 mile backpacking "stroll" I took from the Yukon border to Norman Wells which is on the other MacKenzie River along the route of the old WWII Canol pipeline. Evoked pleasant memories of a fine adventure that I got to revisit in my mind as I rode along.


No comparison between the two rivers though.


OK, I guess were are close enough to the Sleeping Giant to tell the story. Nutshell version is that a native found silver and knew that if the whites found out about it there would be trouble. He hid all the silver on an islet and said he would punish anyone that squealed to the whites about the location. Nanabijou ratted out the location of the secret stash to the whites. As punishment he was turned to stone. There are a few varying versions of this legend, buy you get the idea. Sleeping Giant was voted number one of the seven wonders of Canada.


Heading out on the peninsula.


There is a harbor (harbour if you are from here) down at the end of the peninsula.


The old store runs seasonally.




Nice dock.


Miners' houses are now cottages.


Old company building.


I guess if you really want a waterfront cottage you'll find a way to wedge it in there.


The mine was actually on a very small rock out in the lake sort of like this one. It was only about 50 square meters in size and rose 2.5 meters above the lake.


The mine ran for about 16 years and made quite a haul of silver. It was tough keeping things going because the lake would tear up the extensive works needed to have workspace. The mine got to be 384 meters deep. The whole thing went to hell when a shipment of coal failed to show up before the end of the shipping season in 1884. No fuel meant the pumps couldn't keep the mine dewatered. It filled up and despite a couple of attempts to revive it, it is down for the count.


The location of the islet and the mine.
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Old 06-16-2012, 09:20 PM   #73
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Cannonshot - Such a high quality report. Very interesting and educational too. Thanks so much for sharing. One thing - too bad you didn't take the short walk up to the Pigeon River Falls on the U.S. side in Grand Portage, MN. It really isn't as long as most people think (about 10 minutes of walking if memory serves) - most of it is flat, and there is a board-walk that is an easy climb up to the lookout. I have to admit that I find the Pigeon River Falls to be much more interesting looking than Kakabeka Falls. The water spills into a scenic pool surrounded by rock - it would have made a great photo for your report.

Keep it up!

Mike
Thanks Mike! Even though I made it a point to cover much more than I had in the past, I still had to forgo some exploring, particularly with the available hikes to watefalls along the way. I looked at photos of that falls and like you I think it is pretty impressive. I guess leaving some things unexplored gives me a few more reasons to revisit the area in the coming years.

I'm glad you are enjoying the ride and report. I enjoyed yours as well!

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Originally Posted by Unstable Rider View Post
Canon,

Question of you, did you travel alone on this one?

Great photo journalism on this one. Made same trip couple years ago, took about the same time frame, it was priceless for me at the time.

Thanks,

Paul
Thanks Paul. Yes, I rode this solo. When I am on these history rides it works best to be solo as I do a lot of exploring that can really interrupt the tempo of a shared ride. I also find that when I am by myself I engage and am engaged by a lot more local folks which often leads to some interesting conversations about an area. In fact, I even had people rolling down their windows to chat with me that were in the Timmies drive through line while I was relaxing and having a cup of coffe by the bike. If you pause at some old historic site, it usually won't take long for someone to come over and want to chat. Sometimes that pays off big with a lot of information that isn't otherwise too available. The other thing is that I am retired so I am not too worried about having to get back home or be someplace by a certain time. I was very content wandering around solo on this ride.
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Old 06-17-2012, 12:06 AM   #74
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Good stuff!

I'm impressed by the things you found along the way

EDIT Looked at your last post...I also lke riding alone sometimes for the same reasons.
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Old 06-17-2012, 06:52 PM   #75
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Ouimet, Red Rock, Hurkett, Nipigon


A short side trip to Quimet Canyon. Worth the trip. Nice climb to a parking area then hike across a bridge and down a trail to viewing pods.


The gorge is 330 feet deep and a little over a mile long. This thing was busted open either by the weight of advancing glaciers or the water released during their retreat.




Some ancient indian was helping Nanabijou make mountains and lakes. A part of a mountain he was moving fell onto and killed Nanabijou's daughter. The guy quickly hid her body. Nanabijou was looking for his daughter and when he sensed something underground he sent a thunderbolt to split open the ground (hence the canyon) and discovered his daughter. To punish the guy that killed her, he turned him into this piece of stone and put him into the canyon to watch Nanabijou's daughter's grave forever.


This outfit is nearby if you want to ride a zip line or some other such adventure.


This is Ontario's largest fish hatchery. It started out in 1931. Lake trout. They have a visitor center and exhibits (closed when I was there).




This closed gas station has wildlife murals on three sides. Largest mural in Canada I guess.




Stopped at the fishing docks at Hurkett. Judging from the trees growing through the hull, this vessel has been here for a while.




Red Rock doesn't have a lot going on right now.


Back in 1936 a company came in and started building a mill. They ran out of money before it was done. Someone else picked it up and eventually they ran a kraft paper operation for quite a while. It is closed now.


During WWII. Canada took some German PWs in that had been held captive in Britain. Since the incomplete mill had bunkhouses in place, someone decided to bring PWs here. They had over 1,500 prisoners here. It was barbed wired and guard towers and all that. Nonetheless, they closed the camp after a year because the bitter winter was too much for guards and prisoners alike.

There were a lot of escape attempts, although I don't know where they thought they were going. In addition to three major camps on the northshore, there were many wilderness camps where prisoners cut wood.

Here is a story about a camp closer to Marathon where there was a pretty interesting escape attempt. Same kind of things happened here as well. After the war some former PWs came here to live.


Red Rock Inn. Looks better from a distance than from up close. I think someone is working to bring it back to life.


Nipigon has some rail operations. It also has a pretty steep banked rail curve in town so trains can make speed on this winding mainline.


Most of the gas and restaurants are out on the highway, but it is worth a lap through town to look around. The old 1930s cafe.




In 1926 they started a co-op store here to try to beat down rising prices. For $5 you could buy in.




Early visits by missionaries.


Looking down the shore toward the mill at Red Rock. No road along the shore but the rails are being removed from the railbed so I anticipate a trail of some sort in the future.


I read somewhere that these bridges were the chokepoint on the Trans-Can. Looks like they rebuilt the highway bridge since that was written.
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