Motorcycle Road Trip 2011 – Day 16

Paul Bunyan and Babe, his Giant Blue Ox in Bemidji, Minnesota

Paul Bunyan and Babe, his Giant Blue Ox

Day 16 of my motorcycle road trip. Rather than riding across northern Ontario, I decided to ride back into the United States and ride Highway 2, south of Lake Superior. I’d driven north of Lake Superior when I lived in Toronto. I hadn’t been on the southern route since I was a kid living in Winnipeg. Besides, my scenic route books talked about how scenic it was along Highway 2 and the Michigan upper peninsula.

Besides, I wanted to see Paul Bunyan and Babe, his Giant Blue Ox, in Bemidji, Minnesota. I have found memories of seeing Paul Bunyan when I was a kid and my father and mother took me to visit relatives in Sarnia, Ontario.

There are still major areas of extreme heat and thunderstorms in much of southern Ontario, Michigan and New York. I’m optimistic that the weather front is moving east faster than me.

The ride south along Highway 95 was typical Manitoba prairie. A straight, flat highway through farmer’s fields. Nothing obstructing my view of the horizon. At one point, I was riding along side railroad tracks. This reminded my of being a kid on the prairies, and doing road trips with my family. I would see trains on these tracks that seemed to go on forever. My mother and father would get me to count the train cars. I had to stop to take a photo of the tracks.


 

Crossing the border into the United States was uneventful as usual. Although, I had an interesting experience with the border guard. There were several border guard stations, and I just picked one. As with a typical grocery store line, I seemed to have picked the slow moving one. When it was finally my turn, I was expecting to be grilled with endless questions. The conversation started with the usual where are you coming from, and where are you going, and are you carrying anything illegal. Does anyone ever answer “yes” to that questions? However, she then started asking me about my motorcycle trip. She seemed sincerely enthusiastic about my road trip. The people behind me must have thought I was being grilled, but we were having a very pleasant conversation about my trip.

Once I arrived in Grand Forks, I took Highway 2 east. Highway 2 is a nice, relatively small, state highway. Not a lot of traffic, so it was a very pleasant ride. It also took me from prairie country into lake and forest country. The change in scenery was appreciated. I stopped for a late lunch in Crookston, Minnesota. I pulled out my maps to explore where I might stop for the night. Duluth looked about right.

Next stop was the long awaited Bemidji, Minnesota. I headed for the Information Center to see where to find the statues of my childhood memory. Conveniently, they were at the Information Center. I seem to recall the statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe being enormous. And, they are quite tall. But, I guess they seemed especially large when I was a little kid. As expected, seeing statues brought back very fond memories, and strong emotions, of trips with my family.

From Bemidji, my next stop was to be Duluth for the evening. However, when I arrived at Duluth, there was a lot of highway construction in the area. It seemed like every time I saw a hotel, the highway exit was closed. I ended up riding through Duluth into Wisconsin without finding a hotel. I eventually stopped in Superior, Wisconsin, just east of Duluth. After checking into a hotel, I walked down to Superior Bay on Lake Superior. I saw what appeared to be an interesting looking ship in a harbor. I walked over to Barker Island where I discovered the ship was actually dry docked Whaleback Ship that was now a museum. The last Whaleback Ship in existence, its strange design left me wondering how it kept from rolling over in the water. A quick dinner on the walk back, and I was at the hotel for the evening.

Road Trip – Previous and Next Day Posts

Motorcycle Road Trip 2011 – Day 12-15

Motorcycle Road Trip 2011 – Day 17

Motorcycle Road Trip 2011 – Day 1

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