Saturday, April 21, 2018

Canal Park continued

One of the reasons I went to the Canal Park area of Duluth was to visit a fellow blogger. He is a luthier (maker of wooden stringed instruments) in one of the spaces in the Dewitt-Seitz Marketplace  in Canal Park. There were several reasons for this visit. Michael repairs some fascinating instruments as some are unusual, some are classic, some are just someone's favorite, or any other reason to have something tweaked or repaired.

I also wanted to try out a Seagull guitar as they are still made in North America (Quebec) by hand and are a more affordable than the other makes that I like. They are quite impressive to me and I need one. It should be an electrified acoustic guitar for band purposes. It'll be a while, though.
Here are some in the shop.

While commenting on Michael's blog I found out that he also had a connection to Iceland which is an unusual coincidence. It turns out that he lived there for a year when he was about 24 years of age and returns every few years to visit his other home and family.

There are several workbenches at Rosewood Music and all have instruments on them in various stages of work.
The location is terrific and Michael said he used to live across the lift bridge on Park Point so he could walk to work. That was so very convenient, but he has since moved out of the city back to the peace and quiet of being in a more rural setting. To give you an idea of how close he was here is a shot out the shop window.
Michael generously spent a good hour with me talking of many things, but he had to get back to work and I needed a cup of coffee before heading back to the bus depot. It's okay as I knew we could have a rest stop on the way back up the North Shore. Here is Michael in his natural environment.
Looking back on my day at Canal Park I can appreciate the outside world and make a connection. When I look out my window and see a ship going by I can imagine it having come under the lift bridge and through the canal more than a hundred nautical miles down the lake. If I wonder where it is headed I can actually go online and look it up.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Canal Park

I am writing this on my new laptop and still getting used to the way it feels and the way it works. Made the the switch from my old desktop so bear with me for a while.

I took this past week off as I had to use up vacation time or lose it. Not a bad position to be in so I took advantage of it. I decided to take the weekly (every Tuesday) bus to Duluth since I really hadn't been out of the county since mid December. I drove into town to meet it at 8 a.m. and gave the driver my fare for the 220 mile round trip.  I think the bus is designed for seniors, but anyone can take it, and it is subsidized which explains the $20 fare. It will drop you off in any number of locations as well as stopping to pick up other passengers anywhere along the route. I got off at the bus depot in Duluth and walked through the skywalk system to within a block of where I wanted to be.

Canal Park is an area that was a run down warehouse district adjacent to the entry to the harbor where the first saltie (ocean going vessel) just came in the other day. It made it from the Atlantic Ocean, through the Great Lakes and locks to end up in Duluth, a distance of over 2300 miles. 

Canal Park was developed back in the 80's starting with Grandma's restaurant and progressing into an area of shops, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, offices, museums, and hotels. It is now a destination for locals and tourists, of which I was one, coming to the head of the Great Lakes.

Here is some of what I saw.
The William A. Irvin was in service from 1938 to 1978 carrying coal ind iron ore. It is over 600 feet long and is now used as a floating museum. At Halloween (actually, most of October) it is turned into a haunted ship and is quite an attraction. Here it is still frozen into the ice, but it should thaw in the next couple of weeks. The harbor is open now and the icebreakers are no longer needed.

The Aerial Lift Bridge connects Canal Park to Park Point, an mostly residential area. It crosses the channel that these ships go through to enter the harbor and is a historical landmark. It was put in service in 1905 as an improvement to ferries, swinging foot bridge, and was first used as a gondola before turning into a lift bridge a couple of decades later.

This is the channel that goes from the lake to the bridge.
Here is the Bayfield, a tugboat that is grounded in front of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps operates the Duluth Maritime Museum at the west end of the bridge.

 Even though it was a chilly weekday people still walk on the paths and visit the displays along the end of the Lakewalk.
Long ago, in November of 1905, there was a shipwreck at the end of this breakwater, before they put a lighthouse there.

 The ship foundered and broke in half. Many lives were lost, but there were some survivors. It was only about a hundred yards off shore. Here is the story, but you'll need to embiggen the photo in order to read about it.
To be continued...

Sunday, March 18, 2018


No, nothing serious, just the winter into spring transition. There is still a couple of feet of snow in the woods, but along the lake not so much. There are bare patches and the road surfaces are all exposed. For the last week the daytime temperatures have been above freezing and below at night. This is good for those who tap maple trees for what will become a delicious syrup. Those of us with a little less ambition just watch in anticipation of what will come.

I went for a walk along the lake through Croftville, like I did in the fall. The road is bare, but there is still a bit of snow and ice around the edges. The coming days will be a little colder and getting out for a leisurely walk is a luxury for me. So I brought my camera along to see what things are like now.
Unfortunately I am still using my old computer and it no longer accepts my sd cards as it is aging and no longer accepts numerous things I tell it. The new one arrived Friday, but the Solid State Drive has to be installed in it and it needs to be configured in general before I can stick all the useful information from this relic into it. I am thinking it will be ready to go by the end of the month. Maybe hoping is a better word.

In the meantime I inserted the pictures in the Cooker's computer and had her email them to mine which means they had to be substantially reduced in size/resolution.

I started out stopping (?) by the harbor in town as I had a few errands to run before I could walk. Don't most people walk before they run? Not me. I have to be different. There was ice on the harbor, but not entirely, and some of it was making strange noise as it moved around.

The water is quite clear where there is no ice.
I didn't see any sunken ships or pieces of eight lying on the bottom. Darn!
A few hearty souls were walking out on the breakwater.
If you use your imagination you can understand why the ridges above the lake are called the Sawtooth Mountains. Rumor has it that they were over ten thousand feet tall before the last Ice Age, but there were no witnesses coming forward to verify that.
There is still thick ice along the shore rocks.

And a culvert that won't thaw anytime soon.
There is still snow in many places.

With the proper wish and more sunlight spring will be right around the corner.

Soon everyone, soon.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


My computer is aging rapidly and I hope to have the new one up and running in a week or two, but these things take time. I know, I know, how much time can someone of my age have left? I have learned patience over the years, but no longer have the time to practice it. Seems like a lot of us are in the same boat.

The other day at work I had to finish a project at my desk that took a while to complete. As I got up I noticed I was a bit stiff from sitting in one position for a bit too long. I discussed it with one of my not-too-much-younger coworkers. Thinking it may be a bit of arthritis or just a little aging we determined that it could actually be early onset rigor mortis. We are all in the long slow process of dying and it seemed like a distinct possibility. But what do we know? We're not medical examiners or morticians.

Here is a smattering of thoughts on aging.


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Photo Free Entry

Spring is a time of renewal so they say, whoever "they" are. I took a walk today instead of a ski as there is a not too icy place to go. Of course we will get more snow and cold and I will get out and ski again, but today it was a walk.

A lot of friends and acquaintances are traveling about now with most going someplace warmer. Costa Rica seems to be a favorite this year. Apparently our president hasn't insulted Costa Ricans yet so no one has to spend their time apologizing and explaining their way through the day other than general questions like "why" and "how" of course, but not specifically having to apologize to specific Costa Ricans.

Another guy I know, a recent immigrant to the county, is headed in another direction. To the Hebrides and the Faeroe Islands and vicinity. I doubt he is going for the weather. I hope he gets some nice days.

Others are headed down to Arizona, Florida, and other places to visit snowbird friends before everyone comes back up this way to evade the heat of the southern U.S.

The computer I have been blogging on is on its last legs and this may be the final post from it. It is eleven (maybe twelve) years old and aging, wearing out, slowing down, and becoming obsolete. I won't draw the obvious parallel to its owner. I have maintained, updated, upgraded, added memory, deleted files, and done my best to keep it moving, but it is about time for an assisted demise. I have already ordered another and will transfer the stuff on this one to it, hopefully, and be up and running again soon. Last weeks photos had to be loaded into the Cooker's computer and emailed to this one instead of the direct SD card reader which has now failed in addition to some other things. I shouldn't have to reconstruct too much, but it is always a chore to do so if I must.

'Tis a kinder thing I do to Old Vista. It has served me well. If I am not back in a week or so, don't worry. I will likely be pulling out my remaining hair and recalling words I haven't needed for quite some time, but I shall return.  

Sunday, February 25, 2018

More of the same only different

It is still winter. I can tell by the two feet of snow we have had this week. Smaller doses starting last weekend and finishing this morning with another foot of the stuff plus a pretty stiff wind. At least it compresses and blows away otherwise it would be impossible to traverse. I got out skiing yesterday and realized how much I missed moving. Walking is difficult because it has been slippery and until recently skiing hasn't been fun because it was too cold. Now things are getting warmer and better so I am excited to get moving more. Here are a few pictures from this morning.

The inside cats know just what to do when the weather outside is frightful and lots of snow needs to be moved. They have been doing their part so well for years that they can practically sleep through it. Here are Bella, Cotton, and Blue doing their part.
Vinny, the outside wild man, has a nice house on the deck. It was under snow this morning, but he had the forethought to spend the night in a hay shed making sure that no mice would rest easily. That is apparently his part. He is less fearful of the camera now, but his attitude is unmistakable.  Here was the day before the storm resting in his human made digs.
Still pointing that thing at me?

 Click the pics to embiggen.

It will be March this coming week. There are a lot of special days in March. The first ones to pop into my head are the Ides of March, in which I make a mental note to appreciate the works of William Shakespeare, St. Patrick's Day, and the Spring Equinox. Other special days are, March 2nd which is Employee Appreciation Day, March 4th which is Grammar Day, March 9th which is Meatball Day, March 11th which is World Plumbing Day, March 12th which is Napping Day (one of my personal favorites), and March 31st which is Bunsen Burner Day reminding us of all the near and not so near misses in our early science education. There are lots of other fun days in March in which I always celebrate the return of a decent length of daylight at last.

I would be remiss if I didn't congratulate Norway on it's fine and winning participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Gratulerer med spillene!