Another Ho Hum Travel Day? Not Quite

September 3, 2017 Travel Days 29, 30 & 31    Current Location: Ely, Minnesota


I’ve lost this entire blog post!….  AGAIN! How frustrating…..Two hours to write it (I am a slow composer), 45 minutes to download the photos- GONE!…….Continuing on…….

We only have 107 miles to travel today. We couldn’t find site availability anywhere on Lake Superior that accepted reservations so we opt for Ely, MN. Ely is located in another desirable location as we will soon find out. We travel south towards Highway 1. What’s that, a detour. This should present no problem as two semi tanker trucks come whizzing back onto the highway.

God said “You Nevadans really appreciated my creations here at the Great Lakes. Enjoy your ride to Ely!” But the Devil says “Not so fast! Here’s a little strife fer ‘ya!” The Devil throws up a 22 mile long dirt detour in our path. Crap! OK, we can still do 35 mph without stressing us or our equipment. So what that some oncoming traffic insists on driving right down the middle of the road! Zowie! We emerge from the detour in Finland. FINLAND? Is this a trick Mr. Devil? No, we are in Finland Minnesota. Whew!

Stony River Cafe Located In Isabella, MN

God said “You’ve done well dealing with the Devil. I will pave the road to Ely for you and provide beautiful trees, hills and lakes for your pleasure”.  Thank you Lord! Well, the Devil overheard the Lord and made the paved road so full of potholes, bumps and dips that we thought we would break or the truck and trailer would break. We travel at less than 35 mph on this posted 50 mph road passing Murphy City (which consists of a fella’s farm) and Isabella (a wide spot in the road). We overheard this from the Devil as we bumped our way along- “Hee HEE hee hee!”

The Lord was kind to us for the last 5 miles or so into Ely (3400 souls) and smoothed the road. Today Ely is a gateway to the popular Boundary Waters Canoe Area-lakes that are interconnected by waterways. We’ve seen more canoes here than autos I think. A lot of them are brought in on car top carriers but the majority are supplied by the local outfitters- lots and lots of outfitters who take people into the Boundary for several day canoe trips.

Back in the 1880’s iron ore was discovered near what would become the town of Ely. The Pioneer and Chandler mines were the first mines followed by several more. The mines produce ore rich in nitrogen and low in phosphorus, a very rich ore known as Vermillion Lump. The ore was shipped to Two Harbors on Lake Superior where it as shipped East. The Pioneer was the deepest mine in the world at the time at 1700′. Eventually all the mines were connected by tunnels. By the 1960’s the mines were done and the water that had been pumped from the shafts and tunnels filled causing their collapse. Miner’s Lake located in Ely is a result of such a collapse. One old timer stated “There would be no Ely without the mines”.

Ely Is Located In The Vermillion Range/ Pioneer Mine

Arrowhead RV Resort is a nice grassy park with well spaced sites conveniently located at the edge of town- but it is not a Resort. There is no industry standard as to what qualifies a park as a Resort. Arrowhead offers full hookups, a clean office/laundry/restroom building and lots of grass. Megan likes the grass field!


Our Site at the Arrowhead RV Resort

We visited several places over the last few days. We visited Fall Lake. Winton is on it’s shores.

Fall Lake and Eclectic Winton

We visited Garden Lake where I snapped the photo of the couple who were fishing. We enjoyed the National Bear Center and the International Wolf Center which were quite comprehensive and extremely interesting.

International Wolf Center

We also visited the Dorothy Molter Museum. Dorothy was born in 1907, her mom died when she was seven. Dad couldn’t handle six kids by himself so he put them in an orphanage. Remarried in 1919 he reunited his family.

North American Bear Center

As an adult she fell in love with the outdoors helping Bill Bergland run his resort located on Knife Island during the summer, then full time. Bill appreciated her so much that he left her the Isle of Pines Resort in 1948. Dorothy ran the resort 38 years until 1986. She is remembered for her home made root beer but more so for her kindness, generosity, and willingness to help others. Don’t you all wish we all could be remembered for the same?

A Look Around Ely, MN

Tomorrow we travel another relatively short distance to the Buffalo Valley Campground in Duluth. We will not be traveling on the same highways, electing to see new territory. We’ll see what the Devil has to say about that!







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