2014 Midwest USA Redux travel blog

Gilbert, MN - Sherwood Forest Campground - site B5

Gilbert, MN - Sherwood Forest Campground - site B5, another view

Gilbert, MN - Sherwood Forest Campground - site B5, and another

Two Harbors to Gilbert, MN 0 - our route - 72 miles

Two Harbors to Gilbert, MN 1 - our route is through another...

Two Harbors to Gilbert, MN 2 - more bogs - still no...

Two Harbors to Gilbert, MN 3 - downtown Gilbert, MN

Two Harbors to Gilbert, MN 4

Ely, MN Trip 0 - our route - 121 miles

Ely, MN Trip 1 - we wish the road all the way...

Ely, MN Trip 2 - some very tall, skinny pines

Ely, MN Trip 3 - a sidewalk sale in Tower, MN

Ely, MN Trip 4 - and many more lakes

Ely, MN Trip 5 - the water tower in Ely

Ely, MN Trip 6 - some Ely housing

Ely, MN Trip 7 - downtown Ely

Ely, MN Trip 8 - the very old and closed State theater

Ely, MN Trip 9 - downtown Ely is a little hilly

Ely, MN Trip 10 - the statuary outside the International Wolf Center...

Ely, MN Trip 11 - some of the great taxidermy inside the...

Ely, MN Trip 12 - some crows taking it easy inside the...

Ely, MN Trip 13 - three of the wolves doing the same

Ely, MN Trip 14 - Denali decides he needs a little walk

Ely, MN Trip 15 - one of the two dens for the...

Ely, MN Trip 16 - the other den

Ely, MN Trip 17 - Luna and Boltz - Luna is the...

Ely, MN Trip 18 - they had some very unique benches in...

Ely, MN Trip 19

Ely, MN Trip 20 - this is a picture of a picture...

Ely, MN Trip 21 - the trail to Kawishiwi Falls started out...

Ely, MN Trip 22 - a very unique tree along the way

Ely, MN Trip 23 - the birch actually grew inside an old...

Ely, MN Trip 24 - the trail starts getting a little worse

Ely, MN Trip 25 - and worse

Ely, MN Trip 26 - hopefully no worse than this

Ely, MN Trip 27 - our first glimpse of the 70 foot...

Ely, MN Trip 28

Ely, MN Trip 29 - from a different vantage point

Ely, MN Trip 30 - a view downstream past the falls

Voyageurs NP Trip 0 - our route - 259 miles

Voyageurs NP Trip 1 - some of the leaves are already turning

Voyageurs NP Trip 2 - one of the many trains we saw...

Voyageurs NP Trip 3 - and they were all very long

Voyageurs NP Trip 4 - and the usual construction

Voyageurs NP Trip 5 - the start of the Forest Overlook Trail...

Voyageurs NP Trip 6 - lots of ferns overgrowing the trail

Voyageurs NP Trip 7 - I think it's been a while since...

Voyageurs NP Trip 8 - at least Doris can find her way

Voyageurs NP Trip 9 - the Lake Overlook Trail was in considerably...

Voyageurs NP Trip 10 - the view of Kabetogama Lake from the...

Voyageurs NP Trip 11 - and one of the many boats making...

Voyageurs NP Trip 12 - approaching the Ash River Visitor Center

Voyageurs NP Trip 13 - this area is very hilly and rocky

Voyageurs NP Trip 14 - approaching the Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center

Voyageurs NP Trip 15 - Entering International Falls,MN

Voyageurs NP Trip 16 - approaching the last of the three visitor...

Voyageurs NP Trip 17 - our boat for the Rainy Lake Tour

Voyageurs NP Trip 18 - and our lake tour begins

Voyageurs NP Trip 19 - a very nice lodge on one of...

Voyageurs NP Trip 20 - the lake is huge with an area...

Voyageurs NP Trip 21 - it also has about 1,600 islands with...

Voyageurs NP Trip 22 - we saw this adult and two more...

Voyageurs NP Trip 23 - a beaver lodge near the shore

Voyageurs NP Trip 24 - a lone red maple amongst all the...

Voyageurs NP Trip 25 - one of the many rental houseboats on...

Voyageurs NP Trip 26 - one of the young bald eagles

Voyageurs NP Trip 27 - this is a glacial erratic left over...

Voyageurs NP Trip 28 - an eagle's nest - it's an active...

Voyageurs NP Trip 29 - a Canadian industrial complex just across the...


It was a quick 72 miles from Two Harbors to Gilbert, MN over the back roads through the Superior National Forest for the most part. With the exception of one seven-mile stretch the roads were remarkably good for being back roads. This route did save us 17 miles and about 30 minutes had we gone back through Duluth instead. There was a heavy mist for a good bit of the trip. That and going through the same type scenery we had been in on the Gunflint Trail limited the quantity of travel pictures.

We have a huge space at the Sherwood Forest Campground in Gilbert. It is a city park that is really nice and only about a quarter-mile from downtown. We have a 30 amp, full hookup site with a clear shot to the satellite and good Verizon service. The campground also has a pretty good WiFi, at least until the weekend when the campground will fill up. As a matter of fact, we liked our site so much we went ahead and extended our stay three days rather than take the Mothership to International Falls. We will make the trip for just one day in Libby.

Wednesday, we mad the 121 mile round trip to Ely, MN which is a touristy area near the NE top of Minnesota, in the middle of a large number of lakes. While there we visited the International Wolf Center and saw a small pack of wolves as well as hearing a couple of discussions on wolf behavior and the drastic drop of the moose in Minnesota. It was OK but this is the third similar place we have been and, while it seems to be the best funded, it still wasn't all that much. It did have some very nice pictures of the Aurora Borealis in Minnesota the last couple of years. Surprisingly, many of the pictures were taken in the middle of the Summer. We then went a few miles farther east and walked the trail to Kawishiwi Falls. It was graded as an "easy" trail but then maybe an Olympic decathlon athlete graded it. It definitely wasn't easy, especially for Doris. There were many areas of boulders that had to be navigated and the worst was the washed out roots which tried to reach out and grab you. The view was worth it though when we reached the falls which are about 70 feet high in multiple areas.

Thursday was a lazy day sitting at the campsite and trying to figure out where we are going the rest of the trip. It seems we will head back going down the center of Wisconsin as we didn't find much we hadn't already seen in central/western Minnesota. The problem with doing this by the seat of your pants is holidays. This weekend is Labor Day and the first place we tried to get a reservation for that time frame had no sites available out of their 185 sites! We did finally found a campground not too far from where we want to be and we will be there until September 2. We have to be back in Red Bay on October 7th so Chris can put in some new LED lights and Brannon can install new carpet for us.

Friday was an alarm clock day! We rarely set an alarm anymore but we needed to get an early start for the 259 mile trip up to Voyageurs National Park on the border of Canada and Minnesota. We had planned to take the Mothership up for a few days but liked our current campground so much we decided to just stay here and make the trip in Libby. As it turns out, that was a good choice as there isn't much to do if you are just touring the park. Most of the activity is lake related with fishing and boating taking up most of visitor's time. We walked a couple of short trails and visited all three visitor centers. We had reserved a boat tour of Rainy Lake and that departed from the Rainy Lake Visitor Center. It was 2½ hour tour and very enjoyable on a sunny, cool afternoon.

The rest of our stay was spent enjoying the cool weather and puttering around the Mothership. We did go into Virginia for Doris to get the laundry done, me a haircut and a bite to eat at one of the excellent restaurants there.

Tomorrow we head for the small town of Arbor Vitae, just outside Woodruff, WI. We are not sure if we will have Verizon or not but the campsite is close to a county highway so hopefully so.

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