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Old 06-11-2012, 10:39 AM   #16
achesley
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Yes! Gonna be interesting to see what all I missed during my trip over the top of Lake Superior a few years back due to getting caught in a cold front. I should of know better than to try it at the last days of September. South Louisiana Guy here just hates freezing cold weather. ;-)
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:45 AM   #17
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Superior, WI



As a side note, I have close to 1,000 waypints in the GPS file. I have fuel, camping, and points of interest marked. Obviously, I won't be covering every point of interest I visited in this report. If you have a question about something along the way that is not covered in the report, I may be able to give you more information about it and maybe even a picture or two.

The BNSF railroad runs a taconite sorting facility in Superior.


Taconite comes in to this facility from the iron mines.


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.


This 1898 firehouse once had horses and a steam powered pump on the first floor. Must have been the ultimate facility at one time.


Around the time of the Civil War, there was an indian uprising and related massacre in Minnesota. This got settlers in Superior a little alarmed. They quickly organized a home guard and built a stockade (fort) on this now peaceful site. A quick inventory of the neighborhood revealed they only had 60 shotguns, rifles, and pistols. The State of Wisconsin sent 192 muskets and 2 cannons along with a company of soldiers that had been captured by the confederates at Shiloh and paroled. It turned out that the local Chippewa indians remained friendly to the settlers.


Back in 1889, Marty Pattison built this 42 room joint for $189K. Marty was a lumber and mining baron and wanted a place to live in that was appropriate for his status. He lived there with his wife and six kids. When Marty kicked in 1918, his wife donated the place to be used as an orphanage. 2,000 kids lived there over the years up until 1942. In 1963 the city bought the place for $12,500 and was planning to tear it down. Long story short, here it is today, well preserved, serving as a museum.


Seaplane base on the sandbar.


This whaleback ship is on display on Barkers Island. By the way, Barkers is made up of dredge spoil from the harbor. This is the SS Meteor. Between 1888 and 1898 43 whalebacks were launched. This was the beginning of the Great Lakes bulk carrier fleet. 39 of those ships were built right here in the Superior-Duluth harbor. Young Frankie Roosevelt (some of you might know him as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt) came to town as a boy to watch one of these ships being launched. While trying to get a better look he fell into the drink and the fire department had to fish him out.


Speaking of building ships, the Fraser shipyard is still going. They started up in 1889 and at one time had the first dry dock on Lake Superior and the largest one on the Great Lakes. There were sometimes 10 ships being constructed here at a time.


This ship is at the yard right now - probably idled due to low demand.


At one time this ship was a tanker. During WWII she served on both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. She is credited with shooting down an enemy aircraft and was bombed while refuleing a destroyer in the pacific. In 1958 she was in a collision with another tanker and lost many of her crew.


She was then repaired and converted to a Great Lakes bulk carrier. She is a self unloader (hence, the conveyor boom).


This yard also installed thrusters like this bow thruster. Difficult to control a 700-1,000 foot ship without one. I watched a ship swing into a narrow harbor and back up to an ore dock unassisted. These thrusters help guide a ship through a lock without scraping the sides as well.


Fraser has also done some ship lengthening and shortening jobs. It cut 120' out of an ore carrier to convert the ship to a cement hauler. Some ships are built at ocean shipyards and then brought into the Great Lakes (while they are shorter and can fit) with the intent to lengthen them once they are on the lakes.


They also build small assault boats here. Pretty cool boats with water cannons and the like.


The Eddie Ryerson is one of two straight backs (not a self unloader) left on the Great Lakes. She is thought to be the most beautiful design on the lakes. Being old and inefficient, she is currently idled (kind of like some other things in life), but she does go in and out of service as demand for ore fluctuates.


If you are a polka fan or an accordion player, you might be interested in visiting the accordion museum. It is all things accordion and accordion players. I never knew there was such a thing.


Had to stop here for a burger.


The place is famous for them. Even been on television.


You can see it is a down to earth joint based on the beers on tap. The burgers are remarkably inexpensive.


A very worthwhile stop.
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:56 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by straightenarrow View Post
Very excellent reports of yours! New to the site and your reports are top notch. I am going to take a two week trip end of this summer... and this was on my short list!

Best!
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoy the reports. Hope you find this one helpful in your own planning.

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Originally Posted by GP640 View Post
Looks like you got the complimentary O.P.P shake down like we did last summer.

The top of Superior is the reason we take the Trans Canada instead of ducking down
through the U.S. when we travel to Southern Ontario. Possibly one of the most scenic
roads in Canada.
Yeah, no biggie with the OPP, but not what I am used to back home. I agree, it certainly is an incredibly scenic ride.

Quote:
Originally Posted by achesley View Post
Yes! Gonna be interesting to see what all I missed during my trip over the top of Lake Superior a few years back due to getting caught in a cold front. I should of know better than to try it at the last days of September. South Louisiana Guy here just hates freezing cold weather. ;-)
Yeah Andy, it does get cold. It was cool for much of this trip which was fine with me (riding gear and all). One day it was in the mid 80s and then the wind shifted so that it was coming off the lake. It instantly got to be very cool - quite the contrast for a simple wind shift.
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:30 PM   #19
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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.

Thomas
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:39 PM   #20
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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!

Tim
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:58 PM   #21
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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.
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:50 PM   #22
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Subscribed.

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

John
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:57 PM   #23
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I love it, looking forward to more! I like how it's starting off so close to home for me...I've spent almost my entire life in relatively near vicinity to and with strong family ties in Superior//Duluth. And yet, there's so much here that I've yet to see. Let alone the rest of the circle tour (which I have not done yet).

Quote:
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.
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.

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Old 06-11-2012, 05:31 PM   #24
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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.
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:45 PM   #25
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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.
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:15 PM   #26
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Good stuff! I recognize almost all of your opening pictures! Unfortunately, it's snowing up at the mining camp right now
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:30 PM   #27
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Quote:
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.

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

Quote:
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!

Tim
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by playharder View Post
Subscribed.

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

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

Quote:
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.
Doug
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.
Quote:
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.

Quote:
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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Old 06-11-2012, 07:55 PM   #28
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Duluth Part I



When in Duluth, one must stop at the 'stich.


For those that haven not yet been there, the showroom is great because you can try on the various sizes to get the right fit.


Ore cars full of stone.


There is an excursion train operating out of Duluth. Picture from their web site.


No sign of any excursion train while I was there.


Riverside was a ship building town. It is now a neighborhood in Duluth. The company came in and built the town for their workers. The outfit closed in 1945. This building was the company store, school, and offices.


This building was the company hospital. Remarkably it has been refurbished and is now a care facility.


The next town south is Morgan Park. It was a planned community by US Steel. In the early 1900s US Steel wanted a mill here. This is Lake View Store and is America's first indoor shopping mall. Downtown had the mall, bank, commons, and community center. The 1916 Lake View Store had a pharmacy, department store, butcher, clothing store, hardware store, furniture store, and a general store. The second floor had a bank, dentist, barber, hair salon, billiard room, and auditorium.


This steel town had better buildings that were made of block instead of wood.


The idea behind this mill was to get steel production up here. Iron ore could be brought directly to the mill from the mines. Limestone and coal could be brought up on bulk carriers that would otherwise be empty on their return trip after hauling ore to mills further south. They thought Duluth would become a huge manufacturing center. They made rails, billet wire, nails, fence posts, steel wool, and welded wire for concrete roads. Also stuff for missile silos.


It was a good idea but the mill still only got to about 20% production capacity. It closed in 1972 putting 2,500 people out of work. There is nothing left at the site now.


This is a view of the town from the ridge. It was well laid out and very pleasant. The mill would have been to the right of the picture. The big building in the middle is the school.


I run you down to a historic area where explorers landed and stuff like that. The waypoints are on the track.


Coming back north we ride through a training center for aircraft fires. Pretty hot set-up.


Some other old town buildings. This is a combo police and fire station. Must have been great at the time. This was in a commuter town for US Steel.


Al old telephone exchange building. In the background is the replacement facility that has a lot more capacity in a lot less space.


Looking north toward the mouth of the harbor.


Be sure to ride the Skyline Drive. The southern most end is gravel but nice.


You'll pass through the Spirit Mountain Adventure Area. In summer you can ride one of these down the ski hill.


Minnesota's only seaport. But . . . they do have access to the Mississippi River which gets them to world ports as well.


The Skyline Drive runs the scenic contours of some ancient beaches along the high ridges above Duluth. Very scenic ride.




Major Bong's memorial bridge. The climbing curves remind me of his being a fighter pilot.


Ship loading at the DMIR ore dock.


Early 1900s doing the same thing.


Enger Tower. Climb it for a nice view.


Overlooking Rice's Point from the Skyline Drive. This point separates the inner and outer harbors. You can see the sandbar which also hosts an airport.


The natural harbor entrance.


Rice's Point.


Inner harbor DMIR ore docks.


Lift bridge we'll visit later on.


Antenna farm on the Skyline Drive.


This concrete street was constructed over 100 years ago. It is the oldest concrete road in Minnesota. It is in great shape.


Whatever they did back then they did right.


Years ago some guy wanted a scenic drive. He ran a road down a waterway and crossed the river seven times with some elegant wooden bridges.


The wooden bridges blew out with floods and after the city got the property (donated) they put in stone bridges. A nice twisting and descending ride down the waterway in Seven Bridges Park.


In 1920 three black circus workers were lynched by an angry mob in Duluth based on a rumor that six blacks raped a teenage girl. A medical exam revealed no assault. The police chief lined up 150 circus workers and the two young people making the assault claim picked out six. A mob of 5-10K formed up outside the jail, broke down the doors, grabbed these guys, beat them, and after a quick phony trial hung them from a pole across the street from this memorial. Some people in the area already had ill-will about blacks coming north to get jobs (like at US Steel). The National Guard came to town the next day to restore order. Previously a Finnish immigrant had been lynched for dodging the draft during WWI. He was found dead in a park after being tarred and feathered. Ugly history for this town.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:36 PM   #29
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I did the same trip way back in 1966 when I was 16 years old on a 50cc Honda. Thankfully traffic was pretty light back in those days. Here's a link to my trip report:

http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...superior+honda
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:12 AM   #30
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Duluth Part II



Pushing loaded ore cars out onto a dock.


1902 sandstone and brick Carnegie library building.


High school. No longer in use as of last year. When this was built in 1892 it was considered the finest high school in the world. It had wide halls, sweeping stairways, iron bannisters, large chandeliers, beautiful statuary, and a huge clock tower.


Union Depot. Built in 1890. By 1910 it was seeing 50 trains per day from seven different railroads.




Amsoil (synthetic oil) headquarters is in town. Hence the naming rights on this.




You can tour the ore boat Bill Irvin if you like. This boat was launched in 1937 at a cost of $1.3M. It is 610' long and 60' wide. Each hatch cover weighs 5.5 tons. It was retired in 1978 because it is too small (14K tons versus 28K tons today). It burned 2,400 pounds of coal per hour. Nine officers and 32 crewmen.




This part of town is kind of a entertainment district. When you ride past the restaurants the pleasant cooking smells get your attention.


Ran across some reserve component soldiers taking a physical training test on the sandbar. Good place for the two mile run. Nice and cool too.


An old firehouse out on the sandbar.


Airport with seaplane ramp out here as well.


The Corps of Engineers has a nice exhibit in this building by the bridge.


Back in 1870 they cut a channel through the sandbar here. In 1892 they had a contest to figure out an island access solution. The high lift bridge idea won but the war department killed it. Instead they built a transfer bridge with a gondola that could carry 350 people plus wagons and stuff that would take one minute to cross. In 1929 they ditched the gondola and made it a lift bridge.




Nice exhibits in the park near the bridge.


In 1967 some teenagers were messing around on this structure with ten to fifteen foot waves breaking on it. One was swept away. Three coast guardsmen went to rescue the boys and one of the coasties was swept away and died.


Fitgers brewed stuff around here for about 115 years. During prohibition they switched over to soda and candy bars. In 1972 they called it quits. Now the complex is a hotel, restaurant, shopping type set-up.


Back in the day.


I was looking for a bakery that was in an 1875 wooden building and found it was out of business. This interesting place was next door.


We are embarking on the North Shore Scenic Drive as we head toward the edge of town.


Very exclusive Kitchi Gammi Club organized in 1883.


If you like big mansions, you can tour this one. The Glensheen Estate is a 39 room manison that was built in 1908 for about $854K.




This 1890 federal fish hatchery is being refurbished by the University of Minnesota. In the past it produced whitefish, perch, and lake trout.




That takes to the edge of town and next we head up the scenic north shore.
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