Friday, July 27, 2012

Exploring Duluth

Thursday morning we drove south of the city to pick up Skyline Parkway and drive its 25 mile length to the north end of Duluth. About a mile from the Parkway's beginning, the road was closed so we took another route and then drove back toward the beginning of this scenic route....until we got here. It quickly became obvious why the road was closed...teehee We had run across several road closings and I had heard a fleeting reference to a flood but had no idea that the flash floods from a 10 inch deluge of rain happened just over a month ago and caused upwards of 100 million dollars in damage.

I walked past the Road Closed signs to take the photos above of the washed out Skyline Parkway road. The old stone bridge itself was standing but I didn't want to get any closer not knowing if the ground is now stable. As we drove the Skyline there were other roads closed but this was the most dramatic washout that we had access to see. It's rained every day; it's raining now.

Above the city on the Parkway we had a great view, from south to north, of the Bong Bridge, the Duluth Iron Ore Docks, and the Blatnik or High Bridge with the rail yard in the foreground. Both of these bridges connect Superior, WI to Duluth.

Skyline Parkway would around through city neighborhoods too and then eventually down to Bob Dylan Way. Oh yeah, he was born right here in Duluth and lived here for the first SIX YEARS of his life, somehow making him a native son and earning him his own "Way."

Our next destination was the beach at Park Point. Crossing the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge was the beginning of our drive along the seven mile sand spit, Minnesota Point/Park Point. This is part of the largest fresh water sand spit in the world. The Bridge is a vertical lift bridge that was built in 1905 and reconstructed to serve its current purpose in 1929-30. A clearance of 180 feet is attained when the span is completely raised. The bridge operation is primarily through electric power derived from storage batteries that are charged by generators. There are two 450 ton concrete block weights on each end, lifted by electronic pulleys to raise and lower the bridge. It's a mind-boggling feat of engineering!

There's something primordial about my relationship with water. Yeah. Well. Whatever. When we reached Park Point Beach I, naturally, had to walk down to the beach...

...where I could commune with the waters of Lake Superior. Lucky for me, Rich walked down to the beach too and took on the role of photographer!

This was a first; I had never before waded in water where the cold waves carried debris crashing into my legs.

After a late lunch at Grandma's Saloon & Grill back on the mainland, we went to Lake Place Park,

which overlooks Brighton Beach. It had rained hard for a short time while we had lunch...perfect timing! Note that rectangular structure in the water;

it is called The Cribs, has a colorful history, and is used by local youths as an extremely dangerous diving platform.

After watching the divers, we walked through Lake Place enjoying the sculptures. This first one is my favorite!

On the way back to our car we stopped in at the downtown Fond-Du-Luth Casino where Rich quickly lost his self-allotted $20 and had to wait while I spent down the $3.90 winnings I had accumulated on my original $1 investment on a penny slot machine...we are such gamblers!

One more stop remained on today's tour and that was Leif Erikson Park so that I could take a photo of the statue recognizing his reputed discovery of North America in 970 A.D. and subsequent journey by ship to what is now the city of Duluth.

While I was uploading the day's photos and after the evening storm had passed, Rich suggested I look outside. Grabbing my camera I stepped outside to shoot this lovely evening sky and its reflection in the pond.

My uploads have been excruciatingly slow to Blogger tonight so it is after 1:00 a.m. but I wanted to share this varied and interesting day.

Lovin' Life ~~ Discovering a New City

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