Two RV Gypsies: Full-Time RVers
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June 14-15, 2012 -
The two RV Gypsies in Duluth, Minnesota
and at Lake Superior

map of Lake Superior

The above map shows the city of Duluth, plus the state line between Minnesota and Wisconsin, and the path that the cruise boat follows.

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The two RV Gypsies drove on 25-mile Skyline Scenic byway, and stopped at secluded overlooks; the first overlook being Rice's Point.

sign: Rice's Point
the Aerial Lift Bridge
view from Rice Point

The Aerial Lift Bridge, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Minnesota, was constructed in 1904-1905 as the Aerial Ferry Bridge. Before that time, Park Point was only accessible by ferry boats and, during the winter months, a temporary suspension bridge.

aerial lift bridge
aerial lift bridge
sign: Enger Park in Duluth MN
landscape at Enger Park in Duluth MN
a weird tree at Enger Park in Duluth MN
sign about Duluth's Enger Tower

Enger Observation Tower: Built in 1939, Enger Tower, a 5 story structure constructed of Blue Stone taken from this region, stands guard from the top of the Duluth skyline. Looking out over the Duluth Harbor and the St. Louis Bay, the green beacon mounted at the very top of the western Duluth hillside brings it to 531' above the level of Lake Superior.

The tower was dedicated by Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Martha of Norway on June 15, 1939. The dedication was in honor of Bert Enger, a native of Norway who came to this country and became a successful furniture dealer. At the time of his death Mr. Enger donated two thirds of his estate to the city of Duluth. This included the land known as Enger Hill which includes Enger Tower, the park and Enger Golf Course.

Enger Observation Tower
Enger Observation Tower

The tower is 80 feet high, and there are numerous lookouts at each level of the octagonal tower, with a stair case taking you all the way to the top. Each level offers fantastic photographic opportunities from every vantage point.

view from Enger Observation Tower
view of the aerial lift bridge from Enger Observation Tower
view of the Aerial Lift Bridge from the Enger Observation Tower
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Minnesota Slip Bridge in Duluth

The Minnesota Slip Bridge (built 1991) in Duluth, Minnesota. This unusual, Pedestrian Drawbridge, which is common in the Netherlands, is a curiosity in the Duluth Harbor area. It separates the convention center from Canal Park and rises to allow a Vista Fleet cruise ship to enter the main harbor with passengers on a sightseeing cruise. It has an elevation of 604 feet.

Lee Duquette at the Minnesota Slip Bridge
panorama of the Minnesota Slip Bridge in Duluth MN

Above: the Minnesota Slip Bridge -
Below: view from the Minnesota Slip Bridge

view from the Minnesota Slip Bridge in Duluth MN
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The Aerial Lift Bridge - 227 feet high

the Aerial Lift Bridge
the Aerial Lift Bridge

Below: Karen Duquette on the Lakewalk by the Aerial Lift Bridge. The Lakewalk begins (or ends!) at the Bayfront Park Pavilion, pictured below.

At this point it technically is a river walk, as the adjacent body of water is the mouth of the St. Louis River which formally empties into Lake Superior as it passes under the Aerial Lift bridge.

An act of June 3, 1896, unified the harbors of Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin and provided over $3 million for improvements. Part of this money was used to widen the Duluth Canal and replace the existing piers with substantial structures of timber and monolithic concrete and work started in April 1898. The south pier was completed in 1900 and marked the following year by a pair of range lights, while the north pier was completed in 1901 and was not lit.

The piers each have a length of about 1,700 feet and project roughly 1,150 feet beyond the shoreline. The foundation cribs extend twenty-two feet below low-water, and the concrete superstructures rise to a height of ten to eighteen feet above low-water. The lake entrance, between the piers, is 300 feet wide.

Karen Duquette at The Aerial Lift Bridge
Karen Duquette at The Aerial Lift Bridge

The Aerial Lift Bridge anchors Canal Park and the beginning of this portion of the Lakewalk.

Here the bridge lifts to allow an excursion boat to pass through the canal to the inner harbor on its return from a cruise out on the big lake. The bridge is an equal opportunity worker, raising as promptly for a 25 foot pleasure sailboat as it does for a huge commercial 1000 foot Laker.

The Aerial Lift Bridge

Lee Duquette on The Aerial Lift Bridge

Lee Duquette on The Aerial Lift Bridge

The World's largest, farthest-inland seaport with more than 1,000 vessels dropping anchor here each year, carrying cargo throughout the Great Lakes and across the globe. Lake Superior, the world's largest freshwater lake, looks and acts much more like an ocean than the average lake.

The World's largest, farthest-inland seaport
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Below: North Breakwater

Built : 1910

Construction : Conical, cast iron

Status : Active, Public Access

Location : Entrance to Duluth Harbor, North Pier

Height : 44 feet

North Breakwater Lighthouse History : The conical tower was completed in April of 1910 and is resting on a concrete base. It is 10'-6' in diameter at the base and 8'-0" at the top. The lantern room is made of cast iron frame work with an octagonal shape. The lens focal plane is at 44 feet above lake level with a total tower height of 37 feet. The lens, made by Henri Le Paute of Paris in 1882, is of the Fourth Order Fresnel type. It consists of (4) panels with a central drum.

North Breakwater Lighthouse
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South Breakwater Inner Light (Rear Range) History : The original lighthouse was built in 1891 and replaced by the current one (in the photo below) in 1901.

Location: south pier, Duluth Ship Canal
Automated: 1976
Foundation: Wood crib and Concrete pier
Construction: Steel/cast iron (current)
Tower shape: Skeletal tower
Markings / pattern: Black with white lantern
Height: 70 feet
Focal height:68 feet
Original lens: Fourth order Fresnel lens

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view from the Lakewalk

The two RV Gypsies ready for a sight-seeing cruise on Lake Superior.

downtown Duluth Minnesota
The vista Star cruise ship inDuluth MN
the Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth MN
North Breakwater & South Breakwater lighthouses
cruising on Lake Superior
cruising towards the Aerial Lift Bridge
Vietnam Memorial

A white band-shell shaped Vietnam Memorial (shown in the photo below) that stands as a reminder of the local heroes that have fallen in the Vietnam War.


Below: a tunnel on I-35 in Duluth

Duluth, Minnesota
a tunnel on I-35 in Duluth
panorama of Duluth MN
Duluth Minnesota
the Aerial Lift Bridge

The tower on the hill as seen from Lake Superior

Enger Observation Tower as seen from Lake Superior
USA flag

The John G. Munson was built in 1952 at Manitowoc, Wisconsin. She was lengthened by 102 feet in 1976, an upgrade that extended her useful life on the Great Lakes. The Munson had a self-unloading boom from the beginning, and has 22 hatches on her deck that open into 7 cargo holds and provide a cargo capacity of 25,900 tons. She had one of the best steam whistles on the Great Lakes but it has been replaced by a air whistle that is still quite loud.

She is powered by a 7,700-hp steam turbine and is equipped with both bow and stern thrusters that allow her to maneuver in tight situations, particularly close to docks. In many ways, these engines replace the work done by a tugboat in previous years. Her stern thruster was originally the bow thruster from the Enders. M. Voorhees, and was installed in 1986.

She was named after the president of Michigan Limestone who became an officer for United States Steel Corporation in 1939. He retired in 1951 and died the next year. A new boat, launched that year, took his name while the older version became the Irvin L. Clymer

Today the Munson often brings limestone when she comes to the Twin Ports but she carries a wide variety of cargos including iron ore pellets and coal.

The John G. Munson cargo ship
coal pile

Part of an old bridge no longer in use.

Part of an old bridge
Part of an old bridge

Trains off-loading

Trains offloading
Trains offloading
Trains offloading
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Algoma Olympic cargo ship:

Gross Tonnage: 22,887 tons

Net Tonnage: 16,686 tons

Dead Weight Tonnage: 31,250 tons

Length: 220.55 m

Breadth: 22.85 m

Depth: 12.95 m

Draught: 9.14 m

Self-Propelled Power: 10,000 brake horsepower

Speed: 14.5 knots
Fuel type: Diesel

Algoma Olympic cargo ship
Algoma Olympic cargo ship
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Below:A funny sign for a real business to have - "fairly reliable" ???
laughing clipart

sign: woody's Fairly Reliable Guide Service
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awesomeAfter the cruise on Lake Superior, the two RV Gypsies had dinner at Bellisio's Italian Restaurant because they had two coupons for free wine. With each of the coupons, Karen Duquette got 4 glasses of wine as shown below. One set was 4 samples of Italy's most famous red, light to full-bodied Chianti wine. The second set allowed Karen to compare the difference in wine tasting of 4 different Cabernet wines. Lee Duquette does not drink wine, so Karen got to try all 8. The wine was great, and so was the food.


Later, the two RV Gypsies went to the Alpine Slide which Karen Duquette really enjoyed.

Alpine Slide at Lutsen Mountains 90 minutes NE of Duluth on Lake Superior's North Shore, Karen Duquette rode to the summit of Eagle Mountain with a leisurely chair lift ride, then hopped on a sled and cruised down an exhilarating half-mile of twisting, turning track. This sled allowed Karen to control the speed - take it slow or let it rrrippp! Of course, she let it rrrippp.

Karen Duquette on the Alpine Slide in Duluth Minnesota

This is not a liner website, so there are always choices of where to go next:

go to the next adventure of the two RV GypsiesTo continue the 2012 journey: The two RV Gypsies took a long day drive on the North Shore Scenic Drive in Minnesota - waterfalls, lighthouses, cargo ships, Lake Superior, and more......


go to the next adventure of the two RV GypsiesIf you got to this page from the 2015 Duluth, Minnesota page, (or if you just want to see more of Duluth) please return to that page now. The pages are quite different.