Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Three Weeks of Our Trip in One Post

I am WAY behind on this blog. Rather than trying to catch up, I will just list the titles of some of the blog posts I would have written, had I written them, and blog current activities. 

1. Great Lakes Post 2: Shipwrecks

2. Great Lakes Post 3: Waterfalls

3. The Chaga Man, and Other Interesting People We Have Met

4. Minnesota’s Obsession with Leif Ericson

5. The Minneapolis Skyway

6. What State are We In, Remind Me Again?

7. Iowa Tourist Attractions

8. Looking for My Roots in Council Bluffs, Iowa

9. How We Almost Had to Spend the Night Locked in the Omaha Nebraska Zoo

10. Collecting State Capital Buildings

11. Keeper of the Plains, Wichita Kansas

12. Four States in a Day

13. Tucumcari New Mexico, a Route 66 Theme Park

14. New Mexico Birding (Current Activity!)

Some photos to give examples

Great Lakes Shipwrecks

Great Lakes Waterfalls

The Chaga Man

Leif Ericson

The Minneapolis Skyway

What State are We In, Remind Me Again?

Iowa Tourist Attractions

Looking for My Roots in Council Bluffs, Iowa

How We Almost Had to Spend the Night Locked in the Omaha Nebraska Zoo

Collecting State Capital Buildings

Keeper of the Plains, Wichita Kansas

Four States in a Day - Wichita, KS to

Tucumcari New Mexico, a Route 66 Theme Park

New Mexico Birding

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

The Great Lakes Part 1 - Lighthouses

We are currently heading to Minneapolis. After spending most of our time till now on the shores of one or another of the great lakes, we are finally leaving them behind.

It’s hard to get my head around just how enormous these lakes are. Looking out over them is like looking out at the ocean. Endless water to the horizon. An occasional island. Lake Superior, the largest, has a surface area approximately the size of South Carolina and contains an estimated 10% of the world’s fresh surface water.

The Great Lakes are a shipping corridor for tons and tons of cargo. Freighters up to a certain size can navigate from the westernmost port of Duluth on Lake Superior all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. Most common cargoes are iron ore, limestone, coal, grain - all heading east.

Back in the day, these waters were extremely dangerous. There have been over 6,000 known shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, and an estimated 30,000 mariners’ deaths. That’s in less than 250 years. Gordon Lightfoot has been playing on a loop in my head this entire time.

Lighthouses were built on the shores of the great lakes and their islands to help ships navigate and avoid the dangers. Most of these are obsolete now what with the use of modern technology such as GPS. But countless lighthouses remain and are maintained because they are just so darn photogenic.

Tawas Point Lighthouse, Lake Huron, Michigan

Manning Light, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore , Lake Michigan, Michigan

Charlevoix Harbor, Lake Michigan, Michigan

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, junction of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, Michigan

Grand Marais Lighthouse, Lake Superior, Michigan

Au Sable Light Station, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Lake Superior, Michigan

Marquette Harbor Lighthouse, Lake Superior, Michigan

Marquette, Michigan

Presque Isle Harbor Breakwater Light, Lake Superior, Michigan

Two Harbors Lighthouse, Lake Superior, Wisconsin

Split Rock Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse Fog Signal Building

Split Rock Lighthouse Keeper’s Houses

Duluth North Pier Lighthouse, Duluth, Lake Superior, Wisconsin

Duluth South Breakwater Inner Light, Duluth, Lake Superior, Wisconsin

Fun Fact - The US Post Office issued a “Lighthouses of the Great Lakes” Series in 1995. Each stamp cost 32c. These were first class stamps, not postcard stamps. The first stamp in the set was the Split Rock Lighthouse, see above. I used those stamps for the invitations and rsvp envelopes for Eli’s bar mitzvah.

Extra Credit – For each lighthouse, does the lighthouse look like a

A. McMansion

B. Rocket Ship, Flash Gordon era

C. Rocket Ship, Space-X era

D. Water Tower

E. Firecracker

F. Science Fair Project

G. Grain Silo

H. None of the above

I. All of the above

Monday, November 15, 2021

Fall Foliage Review

We are currently in Duluth, Minnesota on the westernmost edge of Lake Superior. Three weeks into our trip, winter has finally arrived. The temperature was in the low thirties yesterday and it went as low as 17 degrees last night. Until now, it has been so warm we sometimes only needed a light jacket. Fortunately, Our V's heating system keeps us toasty warm.

Fall foliage is finally over, as of about a week ago. We didn’t expect to see any on this trip this late in the season and this far north. But it has been spectacular.