Days 4 – 5, September 2-3, 2010
Mile 463 – 549
Hinckley, MN to Duluth, MN
Thursday afternoon, I drove up from the Hinckley area to Duluth, MN, and spent the night at a campground in West Duluth. The drive up was not terribly eventful, but I was frequently reminded that Minnesota is Scandinavian territory – and I was (quite honestly) disappointed to find that I was a few days too late for the annual Rutabaga festival in Askov, MN! I also finally crossed out of the tension zone (see 9/3 post for details), which became apparent when I found myself surrounded by all manner of conifers: fir and spruce were added to the pines that had been with me since southern Wisconsin.
I spent Thursday night at Indian Point Park Campground in West Duluth, which was more or less right in town, though it was on the harbor and adjacent to a state bike trail. It wasn’t bad, given its proximity to town, but there was no privacy from other campers, and it cost $21 per night for one tent – with additional charges for additional tents or vehicles per site (not to mention electric and water for RV’ers). For a little bit more, I could probably have found a motel for that cold and rainy night, but no matter.
The next morning, I woke up and explored Duluth, which turned out to be a pretty cool town. The industrial (mining and shipping) side of it, the beautiful gateway to the North Shore of Lake Superior, and the college town atmosphere all combined for a unique ambience. It would be a great place to explore further, but as it was I only took a walk down there very nicely-done Lakewalk, saw the sightsfrom the hills above town, and grabbed a beer and delicious lunch at Fitger’s Brewhouse (on Diana’s suggestion… and it was a great one!). I had their beer sampler, and although their season Smoked Helles was really good, I think my favorite was actually the Wildfire Lager, which the waitress was kind enough to bring me a taste of, even though it wasn’t on the standard sampler list. It’s a pepper-infused lager, which I normally find way too spicy and not very good as a brew, but this was definitely the best I’ve ever had in that genre! It was, of course, pretty hot, but the flavor of the chiles really came through, and meshed well with the crisp lager. If I had had the foresight to order it before eating, it would’ve gone great with my grilled Rainbow Trout sandwich with beer-battered french fries. Stop in for a taste or a drink if you’re in town!