Two long blasts, followed by three short ones, deep and rumbling, awoke us at 6:30 am. I hopped out of bed in time to see an 800 foot long freighter enter Duluth Harbor under the Aerial Life Bridge. What a sight! What a great start to the day!
Duluth is the largest port on the Great Lakes, and it shows in the activity of the bridge. From our site at the Lakehead Boat Basin, we have a front row seat.
Lakeside Boat Basin is across the Lift Bridge from downtown Duluth. Arriving or departing, you have to cross the bridge. In summer, the bridge goes up and down as many as 40 times a day, since only the smallest boats can pass underneath without the bridge lifting… even a small sailboat has a mast too tall to pass underneath.
When we arrived in Scoopy yesterday, the bridge was just going up and we stopped at the end of a block-long line of vehicles. I got out and walked a block to see what was passing through the canal: the mighty Edwin H. Gott, one of the Great Lakes 1000+ footers. Yowza!
I wonder… how long does it take to become blasé about these big boats? I think it would take me a long time!
Odel turned off the engine and sat, generator running and both a/c’s on, in a line of traffic – along with buses, cars, delivery trucks, even a taxi – that grew longer and longer as the big ship glided under the bridge, through the narrow canal. Twenty minutes later, the bridge bells sounded its descent, I hurried back to the Scoopy, and we headed across the bridge to our new site.
The Lakehead Boat Basin (click here to read our review and see photos) is something else – always something to watch! Thirty sites are situated in two narrow asphalt parking lots that are used for boat dry-dock storage in the winter. We have a water hookup and a solid 50 amps of electricity, a picnic table, and an endlessly fascinating view.
As I write, I can look out the front window at the small pleasure boats in the marina, then directly across the neck of the harbor to the waterfront park where tents are being erected for the Blues Festival. Beyond that, the steep forested hillside of Duluth rise abruptly. Out the window to my right, I watch the Lift Bridge move up and down. Right now, it is all the way up – that means a freighter will materialize shortly.
|Daytime view from the marina…|| |
… and the nighttime view of the same scene.
In some ways, Duluth seems like a smaller Portland, Oregon. Water plays a big part in the ambiance of the city, we see lots of joggers, walkers, and bicyclers, and there is plenty of attention paid to being “green”. The city has done an superb job of rehabbing the Canal Park area – where big, old, unused, harbor-side factories and warehouses have been “repurposed” into retail and office space. The parks and walkways along the shore of Lake Superior are inviting, with a pedestrian boardwalk separate from a bicycle path. The green grass of the park space is busy with folks enjoying the lively scene; swimmers enjoy the small beach.
After the early morning wakeup call, we headed out before the heat and humidity of the day for a walk. As we left the marina, the owner, Joel, told us he had 20 rigs leaving today, and 24 arriving. Wow, that’s a busy day in a 30 site park! It’s all due to the Blues Festival; Joel says many campers reserve for next year after the festival ends, so campers who hadn’t made reservations far in advance were forced to clear out this morning.
When we got back from our outing, the RV sites looked almost deserted. Wonder who our new neighbors will be?