You might have heard Bob Dylan singing a song once about Highway 61, which back in the day ran from New Orleans to Grand Portage on the Minnesota/Ontario border, passing by Bobby Z’s hometown of Hibbing.
Interstate 35 deprecated the relevance of Highway 61 but there’s still a stretch of 61 from Duluth to Grand Portage running along the northwestern shore of Lake Superior.
My wife and I head up that way once a year, usually in May. This time we went to Beaver Bay. We stayed in a huge cabin that rivals our house for amenities (a second bathroom and a dishwasher, for example).
The view was fantastic.
A storm set the lake a roiling, but rewarded us with a striking rainbow later.
We didn’t see any beavers, just this guy. We didn’t even get a chance to ask Mr. Woodchuck the famous hypothetical…
Beaver Bay itself isn’t much more than a few stores and restaurants along the highway, but if you cross the Beaver River on the way into Silver Bay, you can see a remnant of the thriving taconite industry that gave The Iron Range its name, not to mention sinking the ship that inspired a Canadian folk singer’s most famous song.
The mining company there is still in business, and you are greeted by the iconic Rocky Taconite when you enter town of Silver Bay.
We also scootched up the shore to Grand Marais for a day. The temperature there was barely above freezing, while just a few hours south in Minneapolis people were roasting. The sixty-degree difference in one medium-sized state made national news: they had the nation’s highest and lowest temperature the same day.
I read about a half-dozen books in four days, ate trout, and woke up early to catch the sunrise over the lake every morning before heading back to bed. The trip was basically about lazing around.