We left Manitoba and crossed the US border into North Dakota heading southeast to fill up with cheaper gas enroute to old stomping grounds from 2004 – 08: Eagan, MN. We spent that night in Crookston, MN in a fairgrounds overflow parking lot.
Friday morning we drove through the Detroit Lakes area into the Twin Cities. Doug stopped at his former MN HNTB office to say hello and we ran a few errands before arriving on Erik’s Blvd. We spent a week here in the driveway of our friends, Kathi & Joe and visited with our former neighbours: Linda & Brad, Vicki & Andy, Judy & Norm and from Richards Lane: Christine & Matt and Lori and her family. On the first full day we pitched in to help Kathi & Joe’s daughter’s family move and of course that turned out to be the most humid day of the entire week! Figures!
Joe helped Doug solve/fix a few electrical issues we’d been experiencing (Doug thinks electricity is the devil!). Thanks SO much Joe; your methodical thinking later helped Doug solve a subsequent problem we had with the fridge. Oh the joys of owning your own home, even if it is only 29 feet long J . We’d been having some issues with our on demand hot water tank in that the hot water wouldn’t seem to make it to the kitchen sink but Doug figured that out and life is even better now; it’s the little things, ya know?
During the week we also visited our friends, Dan & Cheryl, and Doug met up with a few of his former DOT coworkers. We got some US errands done and left on August 1st to head north once again. We took the beautiful drive up along the western shores of Lake Superior through Duluth where we spent the night at Hat Marina in Grand Portage. Saturday morning we took the day trip boat ride over to Isle Royale National Park. This is our 49th US national park.
It was perfect weather for a boat ride on Lake Superior which can be pretty rough a lot of the time. It took 90 minutes to cover the 22 miles to the park and we did a couple of hikes and listened to a few ranger talks about the history of the Rock of Ages Lighthouse and the resort history of the park. The island is part of the state of Michigan but is closer to Canada than MI. It is 45 miles long and about 9 wide with no roads and not many services. At one time there was a thriving fishing industry but the introduction of smelt into this Great Lake, ended that. The natives also used to mine copper on the island. It is geared toward long hiking camping trips with many scout troops taking advantage of this opportunity. There are about 1000 moose and about seven remaining wolves (all hiding while we were there of course). On the return trip we were taking past the famous Rock of Ages Lighthouse which warns ships of the large and dangerous rock reef surrounding it.