July 11, 2018
We bugged out of Black River Harbor early on our last day due to mosquitoes (yes, pun intended). Our original plan was more hiking there but we were getting low on blood and decided to skip the other trails and move along down the road. Since our next “campground” didn’t take reservations, we could shift our planned activity schedule. A quick call to Apostle Island Cruises got us switched to that same day instead of our original tour for the next day. We rolled straight out from Black River Harbor, dropped the motor home at Bad River Casino and headed to Bayfield with plenty of time to check out the National Park Visitor Center, wander the town, get something to eat and get in line for the boat tour. So what do we do with our free day? Rest… relax… have some well-deserved chill time? Heck no!
We were on a grandchild summer vacation extravaganza mission. I had printed the affiliation packet for our Maryland Science Center Membership and our Friends of the National Zoo membership way back in February and during our hiding time from mosquitoes, I pulled it out and looked at it again. It said there were museums and zoos in Duluth that we could get into free or half price with our membership card. We like museums and zoos. Chloe LOVES them. So instead of down time, we added another half dozen activities to the schedule and rolled for Duluth.
A quick call while John drove snagged the last RV spot at Lakehead Boat Basin. There was a big dog show at their convention center and some of the participants were camped there (with their humans). This campground is a different type of parking lot with benefits – it is a MARINA with benefits. They have full hook up spots that back up to their fence and water/electric sites out on a concrete pier. The spots are on a paved lot, there is no grass or privacy but it is right in downtown Duluth. The free spot was full hook up so our view was pretty much just boats. It’s not a bad view but not as nice as the ones out on the pier. They could see boats and maybe the waterfront park, lift bridge and see the big ships go by.
They also had some grass out there on the end of the pier that I noticed the dogs appreciated. While I wouldn’t camp there long term, it is an excellent location for a couple of nights in Duluth. The RV “campers” have access to nice showers and laundry facilities inside the new Marriott that is also on that concrete pier. We walked a block or so up and over the lift bridge to check out the very nice Canal Park and get dinner at Grandma’s Restaurant. There is an Army Corps of Engineers Office/Museum along the canal but it wasn’t open when we went by. The campground manager was extremely helpful and gave us a website Duluth Ship Schedule so we could check the approximate schedule of ships that are due to go through the bridge. They blow a loud horn to tell people the bridge is going up. Alas, no big ships came through while we were there. Somehow we managed to misplace the pictures of the lift bridge BUT we have a picture of their sign (no clue how we managed this). Here is a link to a webcam of the actual bridge which is better than any pics we took from the ground: Aerial Lift Bridge Cam
There is a hiker/biker trail that runs along the waterfront of Duluth so we could have walked to the Bayfront Park and Duluth Aquarium (separate post). Our bikes didn’t come on this trip so we chose to drive. The trail goes in either direction from the lift bridge so if you have your bicycle with you, you can tour the entire waterfront and enjoy the back channel and lake as you pedal along.