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Old 04-15-2009, 07:43 PM   #15
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I thought Fall Lake campground had a dump station, but I see no reference to it. Anyone know?

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Caryl
There is not a dump station at Fall Lake, but there is one at the Ely Chamber of Commerce; junction of MN 169 and MN 1 east end of town, $3. It is very convenient drive through parking lot, and right on your way into town. Ely, Minnesota | rvdumps.com
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Old 04-15-2009, 09:20 PM   #16
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Keep an eye out for anything relating to a wonderful old canoe builder who passed away a few years ago by the name of Joe Seliga. His wood and canvas canoes are now legendary - real heirlooms. I'd be curious to know if his shop or home has become a museum or shrine to the guy... it sure would be fitting based on the stories I've heard.

A great book I own about Joe and his boats:
Amazon.com: The Art of the Canoe with Joe Seliga: Jerry Stelmok: Books
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Old 04-15-2009, 09:30 PM   #17
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Isn't the transplanted Dorothy Molter cabin/museum at the Wolf Center? www.rootbeerlady.com or Cabin of the Root Beer Lady, Ely, Minnesota

Susie stopped and bought a root beer from her back about 1969 or so.
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Old 04-15-2009, 10:28 PM   #18
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We'll be in that area in early May and thanks for the info. We plan to take the Gunflint Trail and later go to Ely and then up to Lake of the Woods to Kenora and then west. Plan to stay in NF and state park campgrounds as much as possible. Of course, I'll net internet access every couple of days or will go batty (battier). Looking forward to this trip and hope the ice is gone, the snow has melted, the mosquitos are still sleeping and something's open. I'll be posting all along the way.

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Old 04-15-2009, 11:00 PM   #19
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Isn't the transplanted Dorothy Molter cabin/museum at the Wolf Center? www.rootbeerlady.com or Cabin of the Root Beer Lady, Ely, Minnesota
Dorothy Molter's cabin is close to the International Wolf Center but not quite the same location. They are both east of Ely on Highway 169.

Wonder what's the difference between an International wolf and a regular wolf?
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Old 04-16-2009, 08:22 AM   #20
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Keep an eye out for anything relating to a wonderful old canoe builder who passed away a few years ago by the name of Joe Seliga. His wood and canvas canoes are now legendary - real heirlooms. I'd be curious to know if his shop or home has become a museum or shrine to the guy... it sure would be fitting based on the stories I've heard.

A great book I own about Joe and his boats:
Amazon.com: The Art of the Canoe with Joe Seliga: Jerry Stelmok: Books

Brad

Thanks for the information. I will enjoy learning about Seliga and historic canoes of the BW. It's gotta be a rich history.
I have read much about Rushton of Canton NY as well as the canoes and guideboats used in the Adirondacks where we used to live. I have a canoe based on Rushton's Sairy Gamp. It will be fun to explore Seliga and other canoe makers. Thanks for the tip.

Caryl
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Old 04-16-2009, 08:41 AM   #21
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Fall lake is beautiful! Did you know there are mountains in Minnesooooota? Take Hwy 61 northeast out of Duluth to northeast of Silver Bay and then Hwy 1 to Ely. It is a great drive. Look out for moose.

In Duluth don't miss the railroad museum right down town. Really one of the best in the nation.

We go to Duluth every summer and stay at Indian Point Campground on the south edge of the city. Nice place and close enough in to drive into the city and see the sights. Lots of bike and hiking trails.

Love Fall Lake! There is a very nice island half a mile from the campground that is a great place to spend a day.

Like ribs. Take the south bridge to Superior and at the end of the bridge watch for the sign a couple blocks over for the "Shack". Good food!!
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Old 04-29-2009, 11:22 PM   #22
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Welcome to the wilderness!

Caryl,

Since you indicated this is your first trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA), I thought that a general introduction to the “lay of the land” in the Minnesota Arrowhead might be helpful in your trip planning.

I guess my first observation is that there are not very many people in it! (One of its major attractions.) To name one benchmark, there’s not a single Wal-Mart northeast of Duluth.

You can think of the Arrowhead as really two separate vacation areas, the rocky north coast of Lake Superior and the wooded wilderness consisting of everything more than a few miles from the coast.

The twin ports of Superior, WI and Duluth, MN are the gateway to the Arrowhead. From Duluth there are two routes to Ely, the “end of the road” and jumping-off place to the BWCA. You can take MN 61 northeast up the coast to Two Harbors then County Road 2 north out of Two Harbors to Minnesota 1 to Ely. Or you can take US 53 north out of Duluth to Virginia, then Minnesota 169 northeast out of Virginia to Ely.

The coastal route is shorter (about 100 versus 115 miles) but the US 53 route is faster. By the time you reach Ely from Two Harbors you will know why they call it “wilderness”. I have driven that route—about 75 miles—without seeing another car. (Although not at the peak of the vacation season when you’ll be there.) And it takes two hours or more—MN 1 from County 2 to Ely is the twisty-turney-est “highway” I believe I’ve ever driven. You’ll do well to make 25 miles per hour towing the trailer.

There’s a lot of stuff to see along the coast, and several places to camp. If you have time you might want to spend a few days along the coast on the way to or from the BWCA.

Starting in Duluth and Superior, if you like ships, by all means tour the SS Meteor in Superior Wisconsin (right alongside US 53), the last of the Great Lakes whalebacks (a. k. a. pig boats) Tour the last whaleback ship in the world and the ore boat William A Irvin in Duluth DECC - Duluth Entertainment Convention Center . If you like museums there are several museums and historical buildings in Duluth and Superior within a few blocks of US 53.

Nowadays MN 61 is four lane to Two Harbors but you can still take the old two-lane scenic coast road for breathtaking views of the rocky coast. While in Two Harbors be sure to stop at the Depot Museum, right on the harbor, where you can see one of the last of the Duluth, Mesabi, and Iron Range articulated 2-8-8-4 Yellowstone steam locomotives. The DM&IR Class M-3 and M-4 Yellowstones were among the largest steam locomotives ever built. (Disclaimer for purists: the Northern Pacific Class Z-5 Yellowstones were a skosh bigger.) My other favorite museum in Two Harbors is the Dwan House Museum, more commonly known as the Sandpaper Museum, on the site of the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing’s first and only mine. (After it turned out to be a failure 3M stuck to manufacturing.)


If you are going to “do” the coast, by all means follow 61 up to Castle Danger (love the name of that town!) and tour the Split Rock Light House. From there your best bet would be to go on up 61 to Silver Bay and take Minnesota 1 to Ely. (The southern end of 1, though two lane, is a lot faster highway than the northern end up near Ely.)

A word about shopping: From Fall Lake your nearest source of supplies is Ely. Winton is a small town at the head of Fall Lake, but the only retail stores are the municipal liquor store and the Fat Chicken Feed Store, which also serves as the post office. You can get just about anything you need in Ely, although groceries tend to be on the expensive side on account of shipping cost to “the end of the road”. We generally stock up on groceries in Two Harbors or Virginia on the way up. Gas prices, oddly enough, tend to be the same in Ely as in Duluth.

That’s all I can think of for now. Hope you will enjoy your trip to northern Minnesota. Who knows, maybe you’ll come back. My Swedish ancestors called it “God’s Country”. I still do.



See you up the road,
Nuvi
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Old 04-30-2009, 06:03 AM   #23
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We'll be in The Arrowhead next week, Nuvi. Thanks for sharing all the information. I hope winter is over.

Gene
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Old 04-30-2009, 10:41 AM   #24
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Gene,

Well, still some snow in the forecast but you should be OK. Ice is breaking up on the lakes. Forecast looks mostly cool and rainy--less than ideal, unfortunately.

Plan ahead--many of the attractions and some of the campgrounds don't open till mid-May.

A neat feature of this time of year is that the animals tend to be nearer human habitation than in summer, where they head into the deeper woods. Be especially vigilant when driving--the deer are still in their winter coats and they're hard to see.

Best,
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Old 04-30-2009, 11:40 AM   #25
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Reading about the Minnesota Arrowhead is not as good as being there, but almost Enjoy for all of us still stuck at home and summer dreaming! ~G
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Old 05-01-2009, 12:26 PM   #26
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Nuvite,

This is tremendous information. You mentioned Taking the old two-lane scenic coast road to Two Harbors. How would that work towing the Airstream?

I know my husband would love touring the ship and any and all old industrial sites as well. Once we went to Niagara Falls. He wasn't interested so much in the falls, but thought it would be great to get in to see the Love Canal site. I am sure we will be doing the mine tour.

I am getting out the map and using it to follow your posted ideas. Except for the mosquitoes, this trip is looking better all the time.

Caryl
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Old 05-01-2009, 01:00 PM   #27
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Nuvite,

This is tremendous information. You mentioned Taking the old two-lane scenic coast road to Two Harbors. How would that work towing the Airstream?
It's nicely paved and works great. The far north edge of Duluth is marked by the bridge over the Lester River. The turnoff to the old highway is about 1/2 a mile further on the right. Stay on it all the way to Two Harbors. Stop and get some smoked lake trout at Knife River. The Scenic Cafe between French River & Knife River is yummy if there aren't too many cars in the pull-through loop in front -- but it can be popular Fri-Sun at mealtime.
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Old 05-01-2009, 01:19 PM   #28
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Caryl, you might enjoy spending a few hours in Two Harbors, a charming Lake Superior town. As you enter town from the scenic drive, mosey your way down to the water where you'll see directions to the lighthouse/museum and the beginning of a good walking trail that circles the harbor. You'll have adequate parking for your tv and AS at the museum. Just as you leave Two Harbors, heading on up the North Shore, on your left across the highway, you'll see the little fish shop called Lou's. This is our favorite for smoked salmon and smoked jerky, so good we've been known to order it midyear for Christmas gifts. If we hit Lou's in early to mid am, we know we have the makings for the greatest beach lunch on up the road, so be sure to have crackers and wine/beer beverage of preference on board! Our lunch always ends up along the harbor of Grand Marais, a couple hours on up the North Shore. Ah...take me away! And, you're visiting the Gunflint too...lucky you. ~G
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