This is Bill Gross. Bill had the misfortune to be my boss for many years at the Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. In spite of that, we have remained BFF’s for over 35 years. (See how I pick up on this stuff? I even know LOL means “little old lady.”) I took this picture of Bill in his office overlooking the U.S. Capitol a tad over 10 years ago, the day I retired and moved back to Vacationland USA. I also introduced Bill to Anne, and they have now been married for over 30 years. Yes, I was a matchmaker long before it became an internet site.
Back to the plot. Bill is now also retired, but Anne is still gainfully employed in a job that occasionally requires a trip to Minneapolis. This first week of October was their such third trip, and they always extend their stay for a visit to the shores of beautiful Lake Darling. Prior to this visit, they had suggested we all take a trip to the Badlands/Black Hills, et al. We advised that’s a lovely trip but it’s 8 1/2 hours one way. We suggested the North Shore – even more beautiful at this time of year and only 5 1/2 hours to the Canadian border. The trip was on!
[Bill and Anne on our Alaska cruise three years ago.]
[Dad, Mom, and me at Bill and Anne’s wedding some thirty years ago.]
OK, the set-up is complete. But first, another side bar –
This is our new front door. Teddy Hockey installed it yesterday. Today, on yet another gorgeous fall day, I had golf league. The supervisor stayed home to paint and stain the new door trim (and Teddy Hockey returned to caulk our leaky windows). The consensus was I had the better day! (I did shoot a 79, thank you very much.) This is just one of several “distractions” of recent vintage that has caused me to do a terrible job of covering the Cardinal fall sports scene. (The staff photographer has three soccer games in queue and I a volleyball game.) I will try to do better in the future.
Now, where were we? Oh yeah, heading north. With the supervisor at the helm, we left early on Wednesday morning. Our first stop and photo op was at the Brainerd information center.
Then it was on to the Duluth information center.
Betty’s Pies. Yup, they’d read about it before they even left D.C. We arrived to a rather lengthy line and were told it would be a 20-minute wait. It was closer to 40 by the time we got seated – but we got a good laugh during our time in the lobby as every new customer who came in was told it would be a 20-minute wait. Bill had his first ever pasty – it was a hit – then we had what I believe was called Great Lakes berry pie. Mmmmmm!
Then it was on to the Split Rock Lighthouse overlook. You can’t leave there with only one picture!
We pretty much sped past everything the rest of the day. We were overnighting in Grand Portage and would hit the missed places on the way home the next day. But we did pull off in Grand Marais for the overlook, turning off the Gunflint Trail at Pincushion Drive. And what an overlook it is!
The yellows that are birches, the reds that are sumac, the greens that are evergreens (d’ya s’pose that’s how the got their name), the town that is Grand Marais, the lake that is Superior . . .
Naniboujou is between Grand Marais and Grand Portage – it’s famous for its neat ceiling (it’s not often one can work “it’s” and “its” into the same phrase) . . .
And closed out Day 1 at Grand Portage, a Donovan McNabb Hail Mary from Canada . . .
The sky over the Grand Portage casino while we were checking in for the night – I think it meant we should have fish sticks for breakfast . . .
Unless I come down with a debilitating case of the croup, Day 2 of the North Shore will magically appear in the next addition of this missive.