My good friend Jack and I went for a one day circle tour ride through NE Minnesota. We decided to take a trip to Ely, then over to the North Shore of Lake Superior, and back home. We started out on MN Highway 38, which is narrow, curvy, and lined with dense forest and lots of lakes. Effie MN was our first waypoint.
From Effie, we headed East towards Cook, and passed through Togo. This was the first time I have ridden this road. We passed a small correctional facility way out in the boonies, but the highlight of this section of road was the two wolf pups that crossed the road right in front of us. We slowed down and got a pretty good look. They did not pause for photos.
This section also had a few twisties, but there were a half dozen or more 10 mph 90 degree corners. Mix in a little gravel from intersecting roads, and you’ve got an interesting maneuver. No spills, we exercised a little caution!
It was a little cool and overcast when we started out, but the clouds started to break up about two hours into the trip. I was getting a little chilled and by the time we got to Ely, I was down right shivering.
We stopped for lunch at the BoatHouse BrewPub. Nice little place, and they make great beer too. I had a flight of beers. (Four 4oz samples). I really enjoyed the peanut butter chocolate porter.
Jack let me borrow an extra sweatshirt he brought along, and we headed off to our next destination — the North Shore of Lake Superior. We continue along MN Hwy 1, and it is one of the twistiest roads in the state. Narrow, windy, hilly, rough, and close quarters with trees and bedrock outcrops.
The scenery approaching Lake Superior on Hwy 1 is breathtaking. My spouse grew up in Silver Bay, so I have seen this area a lot. Sorry I did not take any pictures here to post. We drove though SB, and took the back roads to Beaver Bay. Then, down MN hwy 61 towards Two Harbors.
We stopped at Betty’s Pies (if you are from Minnesota, you’ve heard of the legacy) for a treat. The line was way too long for anything by pie to go, so that’s what we got. Yum! I ordered two slices, one for immediate enjoyment, and the other for later. Jack got a whole caramel apple pie, at a slice from it, and my Bestem pod safely got the rest of it home.
Castle Danger Brewing’s taproom is only 7 minutes from Betty’s Pies, so off we were. We arrived at about 3pm, and got their before it became too crowded. We each had a flight of their beers. Sorry, no pics. Dang!
Two Harbors is a small town, and the North Shore of Lake Superior is a huge tourist destination. That spells TRAFFIC. We got through it, and headed towards Duluth. There is a divided 4 lane highway from TH to Duluth, and most folks take that route. But, the original highway (US Hwy 61) ran along the lake as a two lane road. It is now considered the Scenic Route. We opted for this more leisurely way. Glad we did too. The lake was beautiful today.
We got through Duluth and decided to take a more scenic route home, and avoid US Hwy 2. Hwy 210 through Jay Cooke State Park was our chosen route, and off we headed. Unfortunately , heavy rains earlier this month caused a road closure, and we did not know in advance, so we were committed to finding an alternate way. Mrs. Google’s maps application came through, and we found some County roads that would get us back to MN 210.
We encountered a little light rain, but didn’t need to suit up. Nonetheless, it looked ominous at times, so we high-balled it the last 80 miles.
Total Trip distance 389 miles. 11 hours. 7.645 gallons of fuel (premium)
I am sure glad we didn’t let the 50-60% chance of rain in today’s forecast dissuade us.