Rambling thoughts of 2 BabyBoomers, originally from MN, who have hit the Road as members of the FullTime RV Class of 2011.
We are members of ESCAPEEs (see http://escapees.com/) and Nomads-UMC (see http://nomadsumc.org/)
Because we don’t have good
connectivity up here in the Northland, we aren’t able to update the blog often
– sorry! Today we took a ride to
Virginia, MN to sit at McDonald’s and do some computer work, have coffee, and
then go to our favorite fish fry in Gilbert, MN. We’ll fit in a quick update on our fairly
quiet life up here.
We have an appointment for
repairs on the motorhome in Duluth next week.
We also have a contractor coming to put down Class 5 gravel so we have a
better driveway to park on. So we’re
hoping that we can park the motorhome in a week or so - without the problems we initially had!
Last week we spent a few days in
Elk River, going to Sophia’s band concert, meeting with friends, and getting a
grand-daughter fix. Over Memorial Day
weekend, we had the entire clan up at the cabin with us. Grandma Joyce came up as well. Quite an active time! David took the girls on an educational field
trip, up to the Soudan underground iron mine, which is now a state park:
With the holiday weekend over,
it was back to quiet time, with only the fulltime cabin people on the
point. This weekend the forecast is for
rain so the weekenders may be staying home.
After fish fry tonight, it is happy hour on the point at our
neighbors. Tomorrow is the road clean-up
day. Just a few things going on to keep
our hearts pumping! We’re getting a lot
of reading done.
We got to the cabin over a week
ago. Brett and the girls came up to help
get the motorhome parked. One tree and
many branches were cut to prepare. There
was standing water in the yard, however, the driveway appeared dry. Brett and Paige helped direct Bob as he
backed the RV into the driveway. It was
a disaster! First we got Bob too far to
the left and this caused the front of the motorhome to drop into a hole and
damaged the front fiberglass. After we luckily
got out of that mess, we tried again and backed into a too soft area that
caused the back, passenger side to drop into a hole. The driveway was not dried out enough for the
weight of this rig. We knew we needed
some gravel brought in but now we realized we really needed to get a
professional to create a genuine weight-bearing driveway. This is going to be done for us during the
first week in June (while the motorhome is at a dealer in Duluth to have the
fiberglass repaired!). After having a
tow truck come and get us out of the hole, we were able to park on a level spot
next to the garage. So we’re okay until
the new driveway is completed.
This week we are at Brett’s in
Elk River. We went out for dinner for
Pam’s birthday on Monday night and attended a band concert for Sophia on
Tuesday. We also had lunch each day with
friends so it’s been busy but good. On
Thursday afternoon, we’ll take Brett’s girls back to the cabin with us for the
Memorial Day weekend. Brett will meet us
up there on Saturday and Dave and Valentina are coming on Friday night.
We have always chuckled when the
local weather forecasters say it will be “…cooler by the lake.” We are not chuckling anymore, now that we’ve
been alongside the harbor for 5 days. We
are hearing about record-breaking heat throughout the areas we’ve just come
from (Oklahoma, Missouri, and Iowa) but we haven’t seen 50 degrees yet this
week. If it hasn’t been cloudy, windy,
and cool, then it’s been rainy, foggy, and cold. This evening it is so foggy that we can’t see
across the harbor less than 1000 yards away.
Just one reason why there are no photos tonight.
Other than icebrakers, US and
Canadian freighters have been using the port for a week or so. But the first international vessel (called a “salty”)
arrived in Duluth’s harbor about midnight last night, officially opening the
shipping season. The Diana sails under the flag of Antigua. It was delayed in arriving due to ice
conditions between here and the Sault Locks in Michigan. This is the latest arrival of the first salty
since Duluth became an International port in 1959. Saying the past winter was hard is an
Our week has gone by smoother
than expected. The estate sale buyer and
his crew (Bob calls them the “pickers”) came on Wednesday morning and filled an
enclosed trailer before lunch. They were
back later to load up the rest and were gone by 2:00. Joyce’s realtor also came over that afternoon
so her house is now officially empty and on the market. Thursday the cleaners (us) got back to work
with brooms, mops, vacuums, and scrub-brushes.
The house is now ready for showing – earlier than we had hoped for.
This will allow us to get up to
the cabin and open it up for the summer.
We have to look it over closely before bringing the new motorhome. We may have a few more branches and trees to
remove to get this bigger unit onto the lot.
We’d also like to lay out a harder/flatter driveway. Oh the joys!!
Brett and his girls are coming
up late Friday night so they’ll be around to help with some of the opening
chores. Brett will bring some saws to
help with the tree cutting. The girls
are very excited about coming to the cabin.
And…. The weather is forecasted to be dry and sunny, maybe even the 60’s!!! A good weekend, hopefully!
Here is a picture of the aerial bridge from our motorhome at night. Very pretty view here!
Ever hear of “bridge” being used
as a verb? It is common term around here
because Park Point is only accessible by road when the lift bridge is down. Being “bridged” is what happens when the
bridge goes up and traffic comes to a complete halt, sometimes for quite awhile. Sunday evening we took the photo of the
inbound laker, and got back to Canal Park as it was entering the harbor. After it passed, the bridge stayed up while
another ship left, so traffic didn’t move for close to half an hour. This is a part of life for those who live out
here on the point.
“Mesabi Miner” became one of the
newer “1,000 footers” built for use on the Great Lakes when it was launched in
early 1977. It is called a “self
unloader” because of its automated conveyor system which can move 6,000 tons of
coal or 10,000 tons of iron ore per hour.
More specs are available at http://www.boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/mesabi.htm
We looked up these details
because it just passed in front of our windshield. Here it is lined up on the canal out to Lake
A bit later it entered the canal
with the aerial bridge up and out of the way.
The pilot house and bridge both
blew their horns to each other as they passed.
Just outside the canal there is
still a lot of broken ice. They will get to open water about three miles
outside of the harbor. Seeing this has
been the highlight of our week so far.
Tomorrow will be interesting
when the estate-sale people come to Joyce’s house to load up everything that is
left. They will buy everything and carry
it off, which should be a whole lot quicker and easier than a series of garage
sales. Then the realtor is coming on
Thursday morning to discuss the preparations for the sale of the house. Going to be a busy summer!
We got a lot done while at Brett
and Jen’s place, but one of the most important was:
on a 500-piece puzzle)
We had a great time with the
granddaughters and look forward to seeing them this weekend when they come to
the cabin with Brett.
Under sunny skies (for a change)
we moved north to Duluth where we have Joyce’s house to empty and clean. We didn’t think our new home would fit in the
driveway, due to a low overhead power line, so we have parked for the week near
Duluth’s iconic aerial lift bridge.
This is not a “campground” like
most. It is a parking lot where boats
are stored for the winter. Spring is on
the way and the harbor is open water, but only a few powerboats and sailboats
have been launched yet. They have a few sites open this early, but more will
open up as the boats get launched. Our
windshield is a picture window overlooking the harbor.
After getting parked and set up,
we went to Joyce’s new place: an apartment in Duluth’s East End overlooking
Lake Superior, beyond the harbor.
Minnesota had a colder than normal winter and Lake Superior froze up
even more than normal. Much of the ice
has melted, and the Coast Guard icebreaker has broken the main shipping
channels open. The wind blows the broken
ice back into the cargo ships’ way. Here
is a view from Joyce’s new place showing a Canada Steamships laker plowing its
way through the ice toward the harbor entrance.
We will stay here for awhile,
doing work around the house, and checking out the snow level at the cabin. Neighbors there are posting photos to
Facebook showing the snow levels dropping daily, but the lake still has some
ice. We will slip up there later in the
week to look things over.