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Monday, September 18, 2017

VACATION - Looping Around Lake Superior - Day 7 - Ouimet Canyon


We slept well through the night at Sleeping Giant Prov Park, after the rains and storms stopped, and now it is Sunday morning. I baked some muffins (from a mix, no baking soda required)  and all of a sudden I heard a BANG!   It came from IN the oven. DANGNABBIT my pizza stone broke in half!

It was a used one from a thrift store, so I don't know how well it was made or how long it had been used. I had it laying on the lower oven surface above the burner, to help displace the heat more evenly.  Is that where everyone else puts it?  Maybe I should have it on the rack under the pan and not on the lower metal surface?  For now it only split in two, so I will set it in place and snug the two pieces together....  Will keep my eye out for another one I suppose, at rummage sales or a thrift shop.

After coffee and muffins, we snapped on the dog leashes and hopped in the Tracker to explore a bit.  20 years ago we had driven to the southernmost tip of this Sibley Peninsula and explored the little village of Silver Islet.  I had made a video back then as we drove along the narrow shoreline of tiny cottages, embedded into the cliff on the edge of the water.  We watched that video a few weeks ago before our trip.  Now I made another one.

Almost everything is the same, other than some solar panels on some of the houses and a few satellite dishes.  We see lots of propane tanks and propane lights and propane vents from the sides of the houses (gas log fireplaces).  Many have big big piles of firewood stacked up for the oncoming winter, so they must live there year round.  There is a helicopter pad nearby for emergencies I would venture to guess.

We drove around a bit, but not too many backroads to explore. Some were marked private drives so we didn't go in those.  There is a little campground association with some private lots in one area.  We did notice also a commercial campground up higher on Pass Lake with a small general store and restaurant.  That was about it.  We didn't see any moose.... but we did see a lot of the deer in the park.

We packed up about 11 am and got road worthy.  The check out time is noon.   I think we will head up to Ouimet Canyon (the Grand Canyon of the North) and hope the weather brightens up.  As we are driving up the peninsula now to the north, things are getting brighter and I see bits of blue sky peeking out from among the rain clouds.  Once we reach the highway, there is a Flying J and I will try to hook onto the wifi there to send this out.e

We stopped at the Flying J and purchased some fresh milk.  I asked about their WIFI and she said no, they don't have any.  Well, the had three signals, one of which was their printer signal I could find, so I know they did. Oh well, if she didn't want to let me use it, its probably a company thing.  None that the truckers could even rent for a fee.  I didnt want to start my 24 hr data use of the TravelPass from Verizon quite yet, so I decided to keep on typing and see what else is further down the road.

The sun is now poking out at noon, and the clouds are clumping up into puffy white pieces of cotton. I think we are going to finally have a NICE day!  The view is so pretty now as we are driving along.. I don't want to even get up and go to the bathroom, for fear that I might miss something!

We found the road easily to Ouimet Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the North.  As we got closer to the park, we came across a bridge ... RUT ROH!   5 ton limit!  We are almost 15 tons!  ack!   Should we chance it?  I don't think so.  I know 20 years ago we came this way towing a travel trailer and had our pickup truck.  Don't recall the sign, but that would not have weighed as much as our diesel rig fully loaded does.

What to do?

Find a spot to turn around!  We found a gravel road to one side. Steve got out and walked up and down it, it seemed quite sturdy. There is NO way we wanted  to incur a tow truck bill on our vacation to get out a muddy situation.

 I think logging trucks have used it, plus there was a big abandoned mobile home nearby, with painted words: "NOT FOR SALE" on it. LOL.  We unhooked the Tracker on the road, and then backed into the gravel spur to park.  It seemed solid enough, no tires sinking.  We left the motorhome there with a sign taped to the front windshield:

Then we locked it up and proceeded into the park nearby.  Signs in the park were warning of a steep 10% grade up to get up onto the rim of the canyon area.  Partway up we saw a newer parking lot area with signs stating to unhook trailers and leave them there.  That lot wasn't there 20 years ago, back then we went all the way with our pickup truck towing a 33ft long Sierra travel trailer!

We got to the parking lot and only saw 2 other cars there.  Quiet and peaceful and not overrun by tourists like in the summer months.  It's just  a smaller parking area and a loop turnaround with a few longer spots (where we parked last time)  and a small information/concession store that was closed for the season.  Steve used the outhouses which were still open and we headed on down the trail with the dogs.  It's about a full mile loop and felt good to stretch our legs.

First there is a little bridge and a boardwalk....  and then up the trail it suddenly opens up WIDE to this HUGE EXPANSE overlooking the canyon!

As one stands on the observation deck (or "pod" as it is labelled) the thermal drafts up the sides of the canyon walls can be felt.  The birds ride the thermals up with outstretched wings and no flapping needed. I think they are having fun!

We stood and looked and wondered and gazed around. Mother Nature at it's BEST!   The dogs were not too keen on getting near the railing, which was fine with me.  We took turns going to the edge and looking over the top rail to the rocky terrain below.

We could see lakes in the far distance and wayyyy down to the bottom of the canyon.

Here are some of the informational plaques in the viewing area:

Of course, we HAD to do a selfie... nobody else around to help us out and I didn't take the selfie stick from the motorhome.

We walked along the woodsey path to the next viewing "pod" and the view was even more breathtaking if you can imagine that?   We looked around for a while and relaxed.  We headed back on the loop to the parking area and ran into one other couple with the most gorgeous Belgian Terverian herding dog!   We chatted a bit and Binney wanted to sniff, but Finney didn't want any part of him. LOL... They had heavy accents and English was not their native tongue.  We exchanged pleasantries and headed on our way.

We did see some wildlife, this ruffed grouse was sitting on the trail. 
As we approached, she waddled off into the woods and didn't seem to care about us. 

I made a little video clip of our walk on YouTube:

At the parkinglot we saw this heavy duty stealth vehicle camping unit. The people had a little dog up front with them, and the lady got out to go to the rear to open the back door. I tried to peek in without being rude, but managed to just snap a pic of the door shut.  Would have loved to see the inside.

We wound our way back down off the high park location, over the bridge and back to our rig. It was safe and sound.  I am a bit apprehensive about leaving it alone in remote locations.  Even more so if  the dogs were left in it.  I don't care if a catastrophe happened to the rig, it's insured. But the dogs, well, that is another story.  I would never forgive myself if something happened to them!  Like the old parable story goes ... "You gotta trust in God AND tie up your camel"

We hooked the Tracker back up on the Blue Ox tow bar, and always double check our connections.  Steve does the outside hitching, locks and wire connection stuff and I do the inside gears, brake and key.   We clamp a white rag with a hair clip to the top dead center of the steering wheel so we can see it turn from the rear view camera. We can be sure on the first few turns that the steering wheel is unlocked and the tires following correctly.   Once we are each done with our hookup connections, then we go back and double check the other one's job.  Finally I stand out back and check the auxiliary lights while Steve operates them from inside, left, right, headlights and brakes.  Good to go!

One time, our Tracker popped into gear while going over a series of speed bumps in New Mexico at Elephant Butte State Park.  We blew up the engine. Now we are extremely careful so we don't incur another $2,000 engine rebuild job!

We were good to go, so we headed back out onto the main highway of 17 and 11 and headed east....

Because I filled my post up with soooo many pics, I will do the second half of the day into another blog post.

Stay tuned for the next adventure!

1 comment:

  1. Pizza stones are, or should, be refractory grade ceramic or fired clay. They are generally very durable but can be susceptible to fracture, especially when subjected to un-even heating/cooling or shock (impact). Suggest you place the next on on the bottom rack, not on the bottom steel plate in the oven.


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