2019 Journey to Lake Superior and other places travel blog

From Enger Tower - Aerial Bridge is in the down position

Two Harbors dock with a ship and the town

Two Harbors Lighthouse

The falls at Gooseberry Falls State PArk

Split Rock Lighthouse

The ship leaving and bridge road is in the up position

Ship leaving and the lighthouse at the ship canal

Bridge midway for the arriving ship

Ship arriving right after the other left

Duluth is built going up


I keep saying we are going to Duluth, MN but the destination is LAKE SUPERIOR. Just a little geography/info. Duluth is a city of 87,000 people that is on the border of Minnesota. Its twin city is Superior, WI with 26,000 people that is on the border of Wisconsin. We are staying in Wisconsin at a nice, locally owned RV park for 9 nights – our longest stay of the trip.

This a vacation destination for Mid-westerners. There are lots of trails, marinas, educational attractions and dining/drinking locales. There is a casino downtown and old and new buildings to see. We are here for 9 nights because there is some driving do to see some of the places we want to see without moving the trailer each time.

Of course, Lake Superior is huge. It is almost like looking out at the ocean, except you know that you can drive around it. Duluth has a lot of port activity with lots of grain elevators, manufacturing and mining businesses. Our 1st day we went on a driving trip and we found Enger Tower which you can see from the port. It is high on a hill with a lovely garden/city park. We climbed the 105 stairsteps to get a fantastic view of the port and coast. Duluth is built on a series of cliffs so some of the streets are almost 45 degrees incline. That was a surprise to us but only because this is all new territory for us.

While planning this trip I realized that there were lighthouses along the Great Lakes shore. Most of them are not operational, but we just had to see some of them. We drove up the scenic highway as far as Split Rock Lighthouse, MN just to see the shore and sites. Two Harbors is a port for the big ships, and they have a non-operating lighthouse. We stopped at Gooseberry Falls State Park for a short hike to see some falls and there were a ton of folks there. Split Rock Lighthouse is also part of a state park. We took a guided history tour and then saw the lighthouse and fog signal house, the keepers house and some fantastic views.

The Army Corp of Engineers has a big role in the Great Lakes. They build and maintain breakwaters of all sizes for all types of purposes. They also manage the use of the ship canal that provides access to the inner harbor where most of the big ship loading and unloading takes place. The Aerial Lift bridge is a Duluth attraction. On our driving trip to the end of the point we had to stop and wait while the bridge was up for incoming pleasure craft. The departure and arrivals of big ships are readily available online, so we were able to schedule a visit to the canal that afforded us the chance to see the arrival of one and the departure of another within a 40-minute window. It was very cool to be standing under the bridge as it came down. Tom was glad not to be in the traffic waiting for the bridge to be lowered. The visitor center at the ship canal is part of the Corp of Engineers and we thoroughly enjoyed the displays and information there. As always, we learned so much and wished we had more brain room to learn/store more. I will say the wind was blowing hard and it was only about 60 degrees but the sky was lovely. Oh and the waves were loud – not as big as ocean waves. We learned that Lake Superior can get waves up to 30 feet high in a big storm.

We were quite fascinated with the whole operation at the ship canal and Aerial Lift Bridge – you tell by the photos. Duluth and Superior are pretty towns. Of course, there is lots of green and there are many historical sites related to mining, government, church and shipping. The residential areas are nice with a huge variety of sizes and styles.

There is so much info I could share with you but then I would go on and on and may never finish. Look Duluth up or come see it. I have sent this update now so I wouldn’t be trying to make a 9-night entry and because we are taking a break today from a lot of walking. Wait until you see where we go next.

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