GRANDSON'S COLLEGE GRADUATION TRIP travel blog

Draw Bridge Down

Draw Bridge Up

Ship In The Canal

Ship In Canal And Under The Bridge


It is a chamber of commerce day with the current temperature at the campground being 64 degrees at 1605. Downtown Duluth seemed slightly warmer. Ross took his sweatshirt but did not need it and Marge wore her light jacket, more for sun protection than for warmth. The sun is bright with a few very high cirrus clouds. The forecast does predict there may be some rain tomorrow.

Ross and Marge drove to downtown Duluth, Minnesota and toured the Maritime Museum. They were about half-way through the their Museum Tour when there was an announcement that a freighter ship was approaching the Duluth Canal and it would be passing through the entrance canal shortly. Ross and Marge, along with at least several hundred other people crowed along the canal wall to watch the ship pass as well as watch the draw bridge rise to allow the ship through. It was a bit surprising how quickly the ship seemed to move along the canal but it must require more speed that you would normally think necessary because the ship came in under its own power and a 1,000 foot ship needs a good deal of speed to simply maintain steerage.

The draw bridge is of a unique design. There is a large truss that connects piers and rails on each end of the roadway. The roadway has a lesser truss atop the bridge deck frame that is attached to the vertical frame rails along which the bridge deck slides and there are huge counterweights that are connected to large wire ropes that are connected to the couterweights and the bridge deck frame that are looped over huge rollers allow the cables to roll on as the counterweight and bridge deck go up and down. Numerous private sail and power boats use the channel and bridge while going in and out of the harbor so on weekends during the good weather season this must be one very busy bridge.

The museum gives a lot of information about the Great Lakes, how they are interconnected, how the interconnection started and the ships that sail the Great Lakes. Duluth is located on Lake Superior and today the water was calm, the wind was very light, and sailing conditions could not have been better. However, more often than not, the lakes can be very dangerous and the bottoms of all the lakes are littered with wreckage of ships and boats that have gone down. One of the more famous wrecks is the Edmund Fitzgerald that sank so quickly that even a distress call was not be sent. The ship was a relatively new ship and the wreckage was examined and after extensive investigations no absolute cause could be determined. There were no survivors and Gordon Lightfoot wrote and recorded a song that was a big time hit about the tragedy of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

After the tour of the museum Ross & Marge had lunch at a restaurant located across the street from the museum. The restaurant is a small local chain called Grandma's and it seemed to be a very busy and popular place to eat. Ross and Marge shared a bratwurst that Ross thought was very good and Marge said she would not order again.

When Ross and Marge visited the Information Center last Wensday they were given a map of the downtown area of Duluth and the contact at the Center outlined a tour we could take. They were going to follow the outlined route but as they left the parking lot the bridge went up so they could not get out to the area where the marina and a campground are located. They were able to drive along the waterfront and ended up at the large railroad yard where 100 car trains come in from Wyoming and Montana with low sulfur coal that is piled in the open and then reloaded onto great lake ships for movement to steel plants and power plants along the coast of the various Great Lakes. In the museum there was a large display that included the major products shipped in and out of the Duluth Harbor and these include a form of iron ore (Taconite), wheat, coal, and limestone for cement.

Tomorrow morning Ross and Marge are leaving the campground and heading for Wisconsin for a one night visit. They will travel approximately 150 miles to a point about mid-way down the state and stay one night before leaving Wisconsin and heading to Missoula, Montana to visit a good friend that Ross went to junior college and Cal Poly with. It is not just Ross and Dave that are friends because Marge and Mary are also friends. There were several times while Dave and Ross were attending Cal Poly when Mary and Dave would babysit for them. Ross & Marge were not able to return the favor because at that time Dave and Mary had no children and when they did Ross had graduate and Ross and Marge were living in San Ramon.

That Is All For Now,

Ross & Marge



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