On Becoming An Explorer

Mission Accomplished!
Vacations are supposed to be a removal from what you do day to day. This year, after reading all of the literature, my wife, Myla, and I decided to take an adventure around the northern shore of Lake Superior known as the Circle Tour of Lake Superior: "beautiful vistas, water falls, islands, historic sites, lighthouses, smoked fish, moose, elk, bear and the Northern Lights." Wow, what could be better? What the literature did not say was that if one was into kayaking, canoeing, motor cycling, hiking or cross country bicycling, the experience would be fantastic. Myla and I are not outdoor people, so our adventure into the wilderness only accomplished one goal, and that was to see a moose.

The landscape was beautiful when viewable; but the fog was heavy. The waterfalls were magnificent, along with the mosquitoes. The days were cold, and we wore three layers of jackets all-the-while wishing we had not forgotten our toboggans. The food was just okay with no real local lake food available.  We had expected to spend two days in Thunder Bay, but the rain and forecast of more rain pushed us onward to Minnesota.

Crossing the border, we ventured southward towards Duluth, MN. We drove into a small town not knowing what to expect, and found a gem of an artist colony in Grand Marais, MN.  We discovered great food, Bed and Breakfast inns, beautiful vistas and lots to do. It was amazing, but still cold.  Met a nice yarn shop owner and learned of a fantastic pizza hangout in town. We were told that there were still small icebergs on the lake, making natural air conditioning on high. The waves crashed along the shore line, the winds blew and people stayed indoors, but it was beautiful.

Split Rock Lighthouse
On the route to Duluth, we stopped at Split Rock Lighthouse.  The light’s lens was made in France in the late 1800’s as were those of other lighthouses throughout the US. It is able to magnify light up to 20 miles away. Lighthouses are monuments to the past and are normally no longer in use because of GPS.

To say we vacationed in Duluth, is strange, but we had great fun in this charming city.  It is hilly like Seattle and San Francisco.  Driving up the hills was challenging, and winters must be really interesting.  There are gourmet quality restaurants, tours and shopping available.  On the Duluth harbor tour, it was explained that along the ocean coasts there are sea gulls, but in the bay outside Duluth, they have only “bay-gulls” (ha,ha,ha). 

Flood waters were high on our way down to St. Paul/Minneapolis.  Our son just moved there, so we were excited to see what brought him to this town.  Great restaurants, shopping, parks, buildings and museums were abundant. We visited the St. Paul History Museum where a retrospective exhibit on popular toys from the 50’s through the 80’s was on view.  I saw toys I had played with in the 50’s and 60’s:  Block City (the precursor of Lego), Hop-a-long Cassidy paraphernalia, Erector Sets and Lincoln Logs.  Charles, my son, was amazed and commented, “No electronics?”

The rest of the trip home was along the flooded Mississippi River on the Wisconsin side. We drove by religious grottos, monuments to French explorers and a lot of wineries. We stopped through Galena, IL where President Grant entered politics, and we had a great time looking through shops.  Onward to Normal, Illinois where we met “Normal” people. We shot through Indiana to Springfield OH, the original home of 4H.


Once back in Parkersburg, we napped for two hours, then went to the factory and picked up my market display. We drove south to the Mountaineer Arts and Crafts Fair in Ripley, WV where Kreinik was a prize sponsor for the annual Quilt show.    spent three fun displaying my goodies, all the while making friendship bracelets, talking to quilters, knitters, cross stitchers, needle pointers, spinners and weavers.  People were pleased to see my little display of art quilting, dolls and product ideas.

Mountaineer Arts and Crafts Fair in Ripley, WV
Custom Corder Friendship Bracelets in Ripley, WV


Doug on Vacay










Vacation was a 3500-mile trek filled with interesting challenges, adventures and surprises.  Myla told me that next time we will visit Mackinaw Island rather than driving by it and seek out a moose with antlers.  We will see about that.

by Doug Kreinik

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