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Old 06-11-2012, 06:30 PM   #27
Cannonshot OP
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Joined: Jul 2005
Location: SE Wisconsin
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Originally Posted by DocStrange View Post
Great to see this ride report pop up, Cannonshot. I'll be reading eagerly as I begin planning my own trips out of Milwaukee to parts north.

Hi Thomas! I hope you find this useful in your own planning.

Originally Posted by LumpyOne View Post
Looks awesome so far! I plan on doing this route with my son in 4 years so we have some time to plan and Cannon you sure make planning so much easier! I can never say it enough but thanks for everything you do for us!

Hi Tim! I hope you guys get to take your time when you make this trip. Lots to see and enjoy. I hope that the report and GPX will serve you well.

Originally Posted by GB-Dan View Post
Excellent timing Cannon!

I was gonna try a trip out west this year, but life circumstances have me looking at a Superior circle as well.

I'll be really interested in the falls and nature photos. Also any info on mileage of trip and gas stops that require a bit of extra planning for. camping spots...well...ok...I'm In as well!

Side note- I've seen the Ryerson in either Green Bay or Sturgeon Bay, when fishing....likely hauling or getting worked on.
The Ryerson was probably hauling coal if you saw it in Green Bay. I visited quite a few falls as I was trying to add more entiries to this waterfall report. I'll be posting more in that thread as I process the pix from this trip. No fuel constraints and I have plenty of camping opportunities waypointed as well. A good tip is to check out the township, county, and city campgrounds as they are usually inexpensive and often have great facilities.

Originally Posted by playharder View Post

Looking forward to more of your great photography and your well researched and inciteful commentary.

Thanks John! I hope you find this entertaining. I had fun gathering the information.

Originally Posted by dsy View Post
Thanks Cannonshot! My wife and I are leaving from Ohio July 21st to make the same trip so the timing here is perfect. Looking forward to the gpx tracks. Only thing undecided for us is which direction around the lake to take. We have two weeks to make it around so plenty of time to poke around exploring. Have been back and forth across the lake many times as a deck hand on the ore freighters in the late 70's but have never been away from the docks. Cant wait to get back up there.
Hi Doug! I had this ride reaqdy to pull the trigger on for quite a while as it was my intent to get it done early in the season so that others that find it interesting might be able to get a trip in yet this season. I wanted to get out last month as I hoped to find the rivers running more than they do in summer. As it was, I was still pretty early in the season as far as finding things open. I read a book about being a deck hand on the Great Lakes and found it was pretty interesting. Long season to be on a boat though - for me anyway.

Originally Posted by Rogdog View Post
Thanks for sharing your ride... can't wait until you get to the north shore... one of the few places in the world that makes me home sick. Some of the most beautiful camping in my life was waking up (cold) on the north shore!!

Keep it coming. Love the detail in your report. Good reading.
Thanks Rogdog! The north shore is sure beautiful. Lots to take in along that part of the route.

Originally Posted by Cannonshot View Post

These docks, like many others still in use, used to be set up to have trains roll right out onto the dock to offload and fill the ship loading bins. The train tracks have been pulled and a huge conveyor now runs from the stockpiles to the dock. Not sure what the advantage is. I guess there will always be enough taconite on hand to sustain an efficient ore boat schedule without having to worry about trains keeping the docks filled.
Originally Posted by Lutz View Post
My guess (only somewhat educated) as to the reason for conversion to conveyors over trains is ship loading speed. It takes a long time to get trains on and off of docks and it takes several trains to load an ore boat. A conveyor system on the other hand can load continuously, along with loading only specific bins, if needed.
Well, I'm not too smart on this ore dock thing myself. I did a little more research about ore dock operations and I guess I captured some of the issue with not having to rely on trains. I guess it is a pretty tight schedule getting cars to the mines and sometimes there are interruptions in production at the mines that upset the schedule as well.

Typically a dock has four tracks on the top. Two sections of cars can be unloaded into a line of bins each of which holds four carloads. This means it takes two iterations of cars on the docks to completely fill the bins. It is also possible to spot another train on top to add to the load as the bins get emptied.

The big thing I didn't realize is that ore comes in multiple grades and that the ships must be loaded with the grade ordered by the mill. Some mines produce multiple grades of ore depending on where it came from in the mine. This sorting can be done using rail cars. It can also be done in a taconite sorting facility and then conveyored to the bins on the dock in the appropriate grade.

Some facilities actually uncouple a car and rotate it to dump it onto a conveyor that leads to the dock. A modern facility like one further up the north shore can unload trains without the train even stopping.

Kind of interesting and I can see where making these operations work from mine to mill could get pretty involved.

Originally Posted by ZZR_Ron View Post
Good stuff! I recognize almost all of your opening pictures! Unfortunately, it's snowing up at the mining camp right now
Hi Ron! Gotta love that weather. Another reason I was glad to go in early June instead of trying to make this run earlier in May.
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