Great America Road Trip Days 36-42: Duluth Interlude

After driving almost every day for a month, Daniel and I were ready for a break. And not just a little break, either. We needed some serious downtime.

So we headed north and made our way to Duluth, Minnesota. Situated on the westernmost edge of Lake Superior, Duluth is the starting off point for exploring the lake’s spectacular North Shore. It is also home to our dear friends Evan and Adam and their families.

A Socially Distant Visit with the Town Brothers

Daniel and I met Evan and Adam years ago at Burning Man. Even though we haven’t seen each other in years, we have remained friends. We always promised to swing by if we were ever in the area. Well, that time finally arrived!

The Town Brothers were gracious enough to let us park in their driveway for a week. So, we settled in and made ourselves at home. I was glad to finally meet Maggie, Evan and Lacey’s adorable daughter.

Meet Maggie!
Maggie sits in papa’s chair
I couldn’t stop taking photos of Maggie! She’s so cute. Plus, did you notice that her dress has unicorns on it?

I was committed to keeping our visit as socially distant as possible. So we hung out in the yard mostly and chatted around a fire. One evening, Evan set up a TV in the garage so that we could watch a documentary together. We brought in lawn chairs and opened up all the doors to maximize the ventilation. On a different day, we didn’t see each other at all due to the rain.

It was a little awkward at first as we became accustomed to each person’s social distancing boundaries. Not only that, we all had to get used to being social again. It was such a joy to see our friends, but exhausting too. It felt like we were exercising a muscle that we haven’t used in a long time.

By the end of the week, however, we had gotten used to being around people again. On our last day, we celebrated with a barbecue in the back yard.

The grill master at work
Adam and Ashley
Lacey and Maggie
Maggie likes to drink “spicy water” aka sparkling water
Maggie chillin’ with papa on the hammock
As it turns out, Ashley also used to be a member of PFM (Potential Fresh Meat) roller derby club in Seattle. Small world!

Canal Park

No visit to Duluth is complete without a visit to Canal Park. Featuring the famous Aerial Lift Bridge, the Canal Park neighborhood is a popular tourist attraction. The Aerial Lift Bridge is particularly unique as it’s a rather rare example of a vertical-lift bridge.

So Daniel, Evan and I headed over there one afternoon to check it out. The neighborhood was bustling with people and reminded me a little of Seattle’s waterfront neighborhood. We strolled along the waterfront and made our way to the iconic lighthouse pier.

Aerial lift bridge
Lighthouse Pier
The lighthouse
On the other side of the canal

Minnesota Point and Wisconsin Point

We soon grew tired of the crowds and drove over the Aerial Lift Bridge to Minnesota Point. At approximately seven miles in length, Minnesota Point is a long narrow sand spit that separates Lake Superior from Superior Bay. Park Point Recreation Area is situated on the point and we spent some time along the beach enjoying the view.

The beach at Minnesota Point
Daniel and Evan stroll along the beach
Daniel strikes a pose

There were fewer people here than at Canal Park, but we didn’t exactly have the beach to ourselves. So we retraced our steps and drove across a different bridge to Wisconsin. Evan took us to Wisconsin Point, which is similar to Minnesota Point except that it is half as long and has fewer people.

We have the beach to ourselves at Wisconsin Point
Another view of the empty beach at Wisconsin Point
Daniel ponders driftwood
I dip my feet in my first Great Lake

Enger Tower

On our last day in Duluth, we also visited iconic Enger Tower. I actually hiked to the tower along the Superior Hiking Trail, a long-distance footpath that travels along Lake Superior’s North Shore. I have much more to say about the Superior Hiking Trail in my next post, so stay tuned for that. But in the meantime, here are some photos of Daniel, Evan and me from our visit to Enger Park.

Climbing up to the entrance of Enger Tower
View from the top of Enger Tower
Ringing the Japanese Peace Bell at Enger Park
View of Canal Park from Enger Park. We actually watched the bridge go up and some ships pass underneath it from this vantage point.

Where are we now?

We are in Duluth, Minnesota!

Date: August 10-16, 2020
Great American Road Trip Status: Days 36-42

Starting Location: Minneapolis Southwest KOA – Jordan, MN
Ending Location: Duluth, MN
Miles Traveled: 185.1
Total Trip Mileage: 3982.9

For more details on our Great America (Socially Distanced) Road Trip, see my previous posts:

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