The Keweenaw National Historical Park celebrates the copper mining history of the area and the contribution it made to the development of our nation. This is a new park and as yet, has no federal facilities or visitor center. I get the stamp at the Keweenaw Tourism Council in Calumet and I start heading south. Iíve got my first stamp of the day and itís only 8:30 AM.
I head west, crossing the Wisconsin border and lo-and-behold, Iíve gained another hour. Cool, Iíll need it. I stop for a quick breakfast in Washburn at the Time Out Restaurant. Great French toast and a dish called "Road Kill" Ė hash browns mixed with chopped sausage, onions & green peppers. Before I know it Iím in Bayfield having ridden 200 miles already.
Wisconsinís northernmost landscape juts out into Lake Superior as the scenic archipelago of 22 Apostle Islands. These sheltered islands on the worldís largest lake offer pristine beaches, sandstone cliffs, sea caves, and dense forests. I get the stamp at the Park Headquarters and then ride around the peninsula to Meyers Beach for a walk along the shore.
Continuing west, I reach Superior and then move north through Duluth and start heading up the Minnesota coastline. I need to make it almost 150 miles more to the edge of the country, Grand Portage, but problems lie in my path. Tourist traffic clogs the road near Two Harbors. Reconstruction of the road between Schroeder and Tofte turn the highway into mud for three miles. Deer stand in the road like they live there. And local sheriffs enforce their 40-MPH speed limits. I'm wondering if I'll make that last stamp before they close.
Alas, I reach Grand Portage with over an hour to spare. I spend some time walking around the reconstructed stockade that appears as it did in the 1700s. Grand Portage was the North West Companyís fur trading headquarters on Lake Superiorís western shore. The 8.5-mile portage was a vital link on one of the principal routes for Native Americans, explorers, and fur trappers heading for the northwest.
My reward for a day well done: I check into the Best Western Superior Suites, back in Grand Marais, and get a room with a Jacuzzi bath. I need it.
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