The Marchon Family - '97 Great Plains & Rockies

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Day 2

22 June 1997: Bloomington, MN - Virginia, MN; 358.9 miles

Well, I really had planned to get up early today, but I didn`t manage to get out of my cozy bed before 8.30am ... so what - this is a vacation, isn`t it?

After checking out of my hotel, I get in my car and start driving eastward. It`s a beautiful and sunny day - it`ll probably be a warm one, too. Not much traffic on the Interstate, but it`s Sunday after all ...

I leave I-94 just after crossing into Wisconsin, near a place called Hudson (nice town, by the way ...) on the St.Croix River. I had crossed the Mississippi a few miles before that - still in the Twin Cities area. I drive on over Wisconsin state highways and county roads, passing through small towns in a rural farming area (Wisconsin - "Dairyland"). In one town, I pass a sign saying "Drive-In Worship" - well, I've heard of Drive-In movie theatres, fast food restaurants and banks before, but this is the first "church" of this type I've ever seen ...

Late in the morning - around noon in fact - I reach Superior, my last "stop" in Wisconsing for almost four weeks. I cross over the harbour into Duluth on quite an impressive bridge. To the north if Duluth, there's a really scenic stretch of highway that runs right beside the Lake almost all the way to the harbor city of Two Harbors.

In Two Harbors, Iron Ore (Taconite actually) is being loaded from Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range Taconite trains onto Lake Superior ore ships for transport to Pennsylvania stell mills. The old steam engine in photo #1 is on display next to the small museum down in the harbor. There's also another steam engine, a much larger Yellowstone class.

From the pier leading out into the Lake, there's an excellent view of the ore docks and operations.

A little farther up the road towards the Canadian border lies Split Rock Lighthouse, a state historical site. This lighthouse was constructed in order to facilitate iron ore ship traffic from and to Two Harbors, Taconite Harbor and Duluth/Superior.

Later in the day, I reached Virgina, Minnesota, an old mining town, where I got a room in a nice motel and got to sleep.

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