David Freeze: Leaving Minnesota and entering Wisconsin, plus lots more
Editor’s note: Salisbury native David Freeze is cycling from Anacortes, Washington, to Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Post is chronicling each day of his ride. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So much happened Monday that I am afraid to leave something out. But here goes.
Sunday was an emotional day and not much happened on the ride. Then I got to Floodwood, Minnesota, just ready to submit my story and watch the Yanks beat the Red Sox on Sunday night baseball.
Have you ever heard of a motel that doesn’t have ESPN? Leave it to me to find one, the only one within 50 miles or the bugs would get me otherwise.
The Yanks lost anyway, but I would have loved to see the game.
Monday started off chilly at 50 degrees. I jumped back on U.S. 2 and headed east for Duluth.
After about 25 miles, I was hungry. The only store I had seen advertised food, snacks, grill, etc.
Inside I found a bar and four guys already drinking before 8 a.m. Off I went until the next real store, and I got my Wisconsin map and some snack stuff and directions from the bike store on how to find them.
I got on Minnesota 194 and then U.S. 53 and cruised right to Galleria Bicycle in Hermantown, just before Duluth. I got my supplies and plenty of wonderful advice from Brent Edstrom about what to see in Duluth, how to find it and how to get out of town.
We also devised the best looking route to head for Green Bay once I left Duluth.
I’ll say that Brent was dead on about everything, with perfect instruction and explanation. I certainly stopped at the right place.
Then it was on into Duluth, a city of about 90,000, but it seemed much bigger.
The first sight of Lake Superior was from a high perch entering the downtown area, and it was dramatic. I also went to Canal Park, the area that as one resident said, “Where everyone congregates on a nice day like this.”
In fact, it was a little chilly to me, but the sky was clear and bright and the water was fantastic.
The highlight of the waterfront area is a high lift bridge that sits over the harbor and is raised when a ship needs to come in or go out. There is no specified time for it to happen, but one worker told me that the whole waterfront crowds up when a big ship comes in.
The bridge goes up vertically from both sides, very similar to one I saw in Burlington, Ontario, a couple of years ago.
There is also the Corps of Engineers Nautical Museum that was fascinating. Ship lore and history from the Great Lakes is fascinating to me. Included is the still unexplained 1975 wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Time was starting to slip away, so I jumped on the very long downtown bike path to locate the Bong Bridge that gives bikes and pedestrians a way to go over the massive bridge system and enter Wisconsin.
The bike path was clearly marked until it got near the end and then the striping on the path and signs both disappeared.
After asking a couple of folks, I rode more than a mile and a half at a top height of close to 100 feet over the water into Wisconsin. Do you think there was a sign for my 45th state? No, but Minnesota had one going the other way. I got a chinchy Wisconsin one later.
Richard Ira Bong was named the United States “Ace of Aces” after his service in the Army Air Corps of World War II.
I exited the bridge and found a roundabout that gave options on which road you wanted. I got back on U.S. 2 again, heading east toward Ashland, a route that Brent at the bike shop said I wouldn’t want to miss.
But the first thing was to go through Superior, Wisconsin, just across the bridge from Duluth. The town had half the Main Street torn out and traffic was tight as both directions ran on the same side.
Right away, U.S. 2 and U.S. 53 joined up to make an interstate-like raceway for about 10 miles before they separated and things calmed down.
Little towns like Wentworth, Poplar and Maple passed by quickly. Main Street of Maple was a steep climb up a mountain, the hardest climb in the last few days. Next came Blueberry, with just old dilapidated buildings remaining of the town that once was.
Finally, I arrived in Brule, mostly focused on the outdoor living surrounding the Brule River. As you might expect, fishing is really big in this area right now.
I stayed in the great Brule River Motel and Campground after 84 miles, but inside this time as hazardous weather was predicted and looked to be in the area. In fact, it was thundering.
One thing worth mentioning is that I stopped in this large convenience store called Kwik Trip, mostly to use the bathroom and grab a quick snack before going to the Duluth Waterfront. I wondered why every parked space, marked or not, was jammed full.
There is a huge stock of fresh baked goods and deli stuff along with the normal things. The prices are fantastic, and they are constantly announcing specials. The staff members were all out of their way nice. I was in heaven and liked it so much that I stopped at another one in Superior Monday afternoon.
Sue, one of the Superior staff, told me that the stores are only in two states, but the chain is growing. I hope to see a lot more of them. My bags are so full of stuff that I didn’t have to get food Monday night otherwise. Good thing, because I was late again.
Monday was fun and had good weather, with only a slight wind. The storm will probably bring more wind changes. We’ll see how it goes today.
Keep hanging in there with me; we’re going to Green Bay!
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