Airport side trip

Just south of Ottawa, Manotick has an operational grist mill with tour guides in period costume. They sometimes even host a scotch night.IMG_2215

You are free to explore the entire mill. Even entry and tours are by donation.Main floor

But the equipment only runs every second Sunday of the non-winter months.In the mill

Outside the mill

The Dickinson house next door also boasts exhibits with tour guides in period costume.Dickinson house exhibit

For women, Dr. Warner’s Health Corset — an all-in-one believable corset with skirt supporter and self-adjusting pads, approved by physicians, would keep women safe from men who used Dr. Gray’s Specific Medicine.


Oh, Canada

A last stop near the end of HW-2 in the U. P., Mackinaw Bridge. Mackinaw Bridge

Then north to Canada.

Sault Sainte Marie was worth a few pictures, but I was intent on avoiding a thunderstorm and kept driving. Once past the Canadian Sault Sainte Marie (yes, there actually is a Michigan version), if you’re headed to Ottawa there is pretty much only one road, which winds through small communities in Northern Ontario. You’ll pass Bruce Mines, which boasts tours of Canada’s first copper mine, and Thessalon, which offers decent waterfront camping and good food at Carolyn’s Beach Inn.

Also notable on the drive was the graffiti on a railway bridge, “This is Indian land.”

This was followed surprisingly quickly by a celebration of the twenty-fifth birthday of the Loonie. The coin was apparently designed by a local artist, Robert-Ralph Carmichael, and so the locals decided to install the world’s largest such coin. The sign proudly claims “and most visitors agree that Algoma Country’s big loonie has 20 times the value of Sudbury’s big nickel”. So in light of that, Sudbury, I guess your nickel really isn’t worth stopping for.Loonie


You’ll also pass by many trading posts,Trading Post

so a mission to find moccasins was launched and fairly easily accomplished. Harder to find was fresh fudge, since apparently many of the signs outside trading posts advertising “FRESH FUDGE!” are no longer valid.No Fudge Here

But there are still phone booths.Hello, Bell.

If you’re paying attention, you can cavort with a unicorn and a mermaid,Unicorn and Mermaid

or perhaps hug a bear.Bear


But if you’re passing through Sturgeon Falls, stop and eat at the diner car, right on the main drag.Diner car

They have homemade toast and friendly service.Fellow cryptographer

My fellow cryptographer enjoyed his French toast and bacon.Delicious french toast

Plus, it’s really a diner car,Diner car

so who can complain about that?Sexism in diner car


Coffee shops are a bit hard to find on ON-17, but Cobden has a surprisingly decent one for a town of fewer than 1,000 people. It’s busy and I think frequented mostly by locals, based on the curious stares received.The (Little) Coffee Shop


South of Ottawa, Kemptville is a nice town with at least one decent restaurant and a bakery.Kemptville

Iron country

You pass through iron country if you follow HW-2 into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Many of the towns boast iron in the name, the rest stops are advertised with a metal sign in the shape of a miner, and you can take tours of an old iron mine along the way.

Main Street Cafe in Iron River is a nice place to stop.Main Street Cafe

There are still plenty of Lutheran churches in this part of the country.Lutheran Church

The furniture store has ghosts and plenty of American spirit.Ghosts and American Spirit

And the jewelry store owner has a sense of humor.Diamonds and spurs

Across from the mostly unimpressive WPA-era post office is the old village hall. It sits for sale.Village Hall


After the mining towns, you make it to the shores of Lake Michigan and the iron ore port of Escanaba.Escanaba

Replete with lighthouse.Escanaba Lighthouse

And a single rudder from a wooden bulk freighter that was destroyed by fire in 1897; two crew members burned to death. The rudder sat in the bottom of the harbor until 1985, when it was raised by local divers.Rudder

Escanaba has a decent downtown stretch,downtown Escanaba

but it’s mostly still a working port town. The tourists generally swarm along the northern shore of the U.P.Escanaba harbor view

There is a hotel, but if you get there on a weekend you had better already have a reservation.House of Ludington


Gladstone, farther east along the coast, seems mostly able to support in Gladstone

And a hardware store.Swanson Hardware

And its denizens choose religious vandalism.Religious vandalism

Maybe they ran out of money for letters.Tired Letter Hanger

Ashland, WI

Sometimes unplanned stops in downpours lead to nice experiences the next morning, like the best coffee since Portland.Black Cat

The menu was impressive.Black Cat menu

Usually my experience in a coffee shop goes something like this:

–“I’ll have a small cappuccino, please.”

–“The twelve ounce or the sixteen ounce?”

The downtown is worth a stroll.
Port town mural


The alley

Make sure to go toward the lake.Bank

The harbor

And stop by the historical marker on the way out of town.William D Leahy

Entering Wisconsin

Historical detour along the way to Bayfield, heading along the south shore of Lake Superior.Davidson Mill

I guess you can drive on the lawn if you have a disability?Picnic or Parking

Note the decrepit land bridge to the right of the immaculate homestead .Homestead and Bridge

It is Wisconsin’s last Queen-Post bridge, moved to its present location by members of the Old Brule Heritage Society, who, I think, have hopes to restore and preserve it.
Wisconsin's Last Queen-Post Bridge

Because old farm equipment is always a good lawn decoration.Old farm equipment

Off to Duluth

Minnesota is the land of Paul Bunyan. Although I did see at least one place in the U.P. attempt to claim him, Minnesota wins by sheer number.
Paul Bunyan

Perhaps the best stop on the way to Duluth was at a lovely park. Lovely park

In case you don’t like the Star Wars angle of the historical marker (not my doing, I assure you), the caption reads:

When a federal marshall with
about 100 troops of the 3rd
infantry tried to arrest the
Chippewa chief Bugonaygeshig
at Sugar Point opposite here
on the northeast shore of the
lake a sharp fight occured
October 5, 1898. The Whites lost
7 killed and 16 wounded and the
arrest was never accomplished.

In Duluth, I saw tall ships.Old and new

Including a small one before the larger ships and tourists arrived.Mists of Avalon

There was also the world’s largest rubber duck, but she seemed to be something of a fraud.

If you’re looking for food in Duluth, stop at Northern Waters Smokehaus. Outside you can see yet more egregious displays of plentiful potable water.Fountain or Water leak?

If you want coffee and baked goods, stop by the Duluth Coffee Company, though the latter seems to arrive quietly at variable times in the morning and in rather small quantities. There is also the Lake Superior Bakehouse, but my experience there was somewhat mixed.

Oh, and make sure to walk down to the public beaches and swim. There are no pictures; I was too busy enjoying the water and the company of a new friend.

Little Yellowstone

Before leaving North Dakota, I followed a scenic drive down to the Fort Ransom and “Little Yellowstone” area. This started with another grain elevator in Kathryn.Kathryn

And provided stops at old Lutheran churches. In North Dakota you can’t really avoid Lutheran churches.Cemetery

Or golden fields of hay.Sample Golden Field of Hay

Or Vikings, for that matter.Hill Viking

They seem to crop up everywhere.Bar Viking