Thursday, 3 July 2014

On my day off in Duluth


The slack in my rear brake lead me to Continental Ski and Bikes (name to be checked and link added later) which is a bike store I would patronize as much as needed if lived in Duluth. Friendly, nice and knowledgeable. One of the people suggested I check out a nearby waterfall which I did.

I then went to the Lake Superior Railway Museum which houses one of the world's largest steam locomotives.  I haven't the energy to go into the details of the thing and I suspect I would bore much of my audience if I did. I will say it was designed haul trains full of iron ore from mines in the Mesabi Iron Range down to Duluth. I approached it from the rear and struck at how ginormous the tender alone was. (A tender is where your store fuel and water for steam engines unless it is a tank engine like Thomas).  Very cool in a train spottery way.

I lunched on about six types of deep fried food from a "Cap'n Fishy Bob" type booth on the waterfront. While I waited, a small boy proudly told me he had just been on a big bike trip. Smiling, I asked him where he had gone. I don't recall the precise details but it was essentially out along the spit and along the waterfront. Translated into Vancouverese: around the Seawall in Stanley Park and along part of False Creek.  Then the boy's father asked where I had biked from. They were impressed at my answer to say the least. ;-)

While I was eating lunch a small girl managed to knock over Leonardo onto his right side. I couldn't see any damage.

I then tour the William Irvin lake freighter built in the 1930s for use a freighter and yacht for the company's president, cronies and potential cronies. Apparently a third of the construction cost of the ship went into the guest quarters. Impressed the tour guide by remembering the name of the ship's telegraph between the engine room and the pilot house. On traditional lake freighters (like the Irvin) the former is in the stern and the later in the bows. Apparently most people on these tours forget in the time it  takes to get from one to the other.

The ship served into the 1970's. She bore signs of having been updated over the years including two radars and sign on the bridge giving instructions about what to do if a nuclear attack was likely. To paraphrase, the orders were: "Get the hell out of Dodge and into a dispersal area and rig the ship's fire hoses to spray water to reduce the effects of fallout." I was struck at the almost surreal concept of "dispersing" freighters on the Great Lakes which are inherently relatively confining.

The fair which I had shared the road with on Monday, was busy setting up shop in the waterfront area. I know this was the same fair as I asked one of the carnies if they had been on Highway 2 that day.

The Great Lakes Aquarium was a mild disappointment mostly because their otter had just been fed and therefore wasn't in the mood to entertain me with its antics. I did get to admire some huge lake sturgeon and pose with fiberglass moose.

Riding in search of a grocery store, I found Leonardo was shifting imprecisely. To be on the safe side, I went back to Continental Bikes were one of mechanics (an old guy with a huge beard) checked things out and made a few adjustments. I was struck at beauty of the chain changing gears up on the stand. The mechanic said there hadn't been much wrong but tactfully suggested I clean the chain.  I did and Leonardo has shifting more accurately.

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