What I Did on My Summer Vacation, Part Deux

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life36 Comments

When we last left our weary travelers—wait, it was only Day 1… they couldn't have been weary already, could they?—they had just landed in Duluth, where they stayed for two lovely nights and enjoyed all that the fine fresh water port city had to offer…

(I have to switch to non-third person narrator mode, or it's going to get too weird, too quickly.)

I present yet another big bird somewhere out of Duluth:


No, I won't tell you what Dan actually said when he saw this thing, but you can fill in the blanks. (It rhymes with 'rock'): There's your big ______, babe.

Next up, Pierre the Pantsless Voyageur in Two Harbors:



Just where I've always wanted to really be…

Next stop: Gooseberry Falls State Park.


Is it just me, or does this shot of me and Cole have a titch too much Awkward Family to it? Something about the way he's leaning desperately and uncomfortably away from me.

Here's a cute girl:


And here's a cute but stuck-on-a-ledge Dad, processed using the Pioneer Woman's Seventies action:


Then it was onto the Split Rock Lighthouse in Two Harbors. Gorgeous views of both Lake Superior and the lighthouse itself.


Inside the Visitor's Center, we were forced to stop for an "Insert Head's Here" shot. Unfortunately, there was no one handy to shoot all four of us:


And that, my friends, is why Photoshop can be the traveler's best friend:


Then it was time to point our compass due West as we left the coast and headed directly into the heart of the Iron Range. Our first point of interest: Rocky Taconite.


Welcome to the land of iron ore and tall trees, weary travelers! 

Side note: This was my first visit to Minnesota's Iron Range. In my mind, I pictured a bleak, vast wasteland, the color of, well, iron. I was shocked at the lushness and stunning beauty of my adopted home state. Honestly, the topography is so different from the southern part of the state where we live. It was absolutely gorgeous. The drive along the National Forest Highway 11 was one I would do again in a heartbeat.

Our final stop for this leg: Eveleth, Minn., home of the US Hockey Hall of Fame:



And home to the world's largest hockey stick and puck:



Whew…all this travel has got me tuckered out. Tune in again for more tales from the Road Trip that Will Provide Endless Possibilities for Blog Fodder for All of Eternity.

Coming tomorrow: mining pits, Bob Dylan, the Greyhound Bus Museum and Judy Garland, just to name a few.

Cathy ZielskeWhat I Did on My Summer Vacation, Part Deux

36 Comments on “What I Did on My Summer Vacation, Part Deux”

  1. #1

    There are just so many random oversized items in Massachusetts!! (which I have now looked up on a map and have learned that it definitely isn’t near California as I thought. Good job I don’t have a degree in geography…oh wait… I do! ) The awkward family shot is really funny, you look like you are grabbing Cole saying “stay here with Mom NOW!” Bless. Great shots, and great “actions” applied. Can’t wait to start playing when I get CS4 🙂

  2. #2
    Sandi Malloy

    What fun photos and weird sights. Perhaps some new material for your own Me TAV book 🙂 Personally, I’m happy your vacation is over 😉 It means that it is almost time for class to begin. My little book is bursting with words to trigger memories, I’m over sated from summertime visitors, (1 more round this weekend – I do love them all coming, but it’s been nonstop this summer) and desperately in need of some Me TAV time. Welcome back!

  3. #6
    Sandi D

    Your photos are so great. I have to start taking some “fun” photos of my family.
    Looks like it was a great trip.

  4. #7
    Kim K

    Love Rocky Taconite! Haven’t seen him before!
    That shot of Dan on the ledge could have easily been Cole…I see where your son gets it!

  5. #8

    We drove through Two Harbors yesterday and saw the pantsless voyager – why is he in the middle of that parking lot – you would think they could have given him some friends???

  6. #11

    I went to high school in southern Minnesota (somewhere between a corn field and a bean field), so I am familiar with many of these places–but there are many that I have not experienced. But…my first thought as I read through your travel adventures, is that those non-Minnesotans reading your blog must really think that we are all wacked. Now you just need to travel south to Blue Earth to visit the Jolly Green Giant.

  7. #12

    Looks like you guys had a fabulous time!! So hillarious … can I go with you on your next vacation? Then you’d have someone to take pictures of all four of you sticking your heads in things!

  8. #13

    I am forwarding these vacation posts to my parents – I have the most tortured memory of being 14 and trekking from Washington to Kansas, barely stopping at gas station restrooms. And, sadly, my own husband is just like his dad – no such thing as a leisurely sightseeing drive – you get in the car and only stop when you’re in danger of running out of gas. I’m thinking Aidan and Cole know how lucky they are…

  9. #16

    i totally want to go on vacation with you guys!! i’m from the mid-west originally, and can totally appreciate all the wierdness, and ya’ll just look like you’re having way too much fun!! wink!!

  10. #17

    Glad to see I am not the only one who makes my family stop at all weird and funny things along the way on vacation!! Looks like you had a great time!

  11. #20

    Kathy my Mom is from Virginia…Minnesota that is. Have you started to insert Ya hah into every sentence?

  12. #21
    Lynn Brown

    You’ve inspired me. I now want to take a trip through my home state of Michigan and find all of the weird things it has to offer. I doubt Michigan will have as much weird to offer as Minnesota seems to have. At least nothing like a Pantsless Voyageur!

  13. #22
    Heather Jordan

    What’s up with Midwestener’s and their need to replicate farm animals and other items enormously?? Cracks me up! I was born and raised in southern Wisconsin (now reside in sunny CA) and we had a gigantic cow in front of the Ramada Inn…which reminds me of a wedding reception we attended there and the drunken fellas trying to climb it mid-party, in January!! Good times!

  14. #23

    This forever changes the way I will choose to enjoy family road trips. Btw, I first read “Pantsless Voyeur.” Where is my mind???

  15. #24

    What’s up with the over-sized statues in Northern Minnesota?! LOL. As soon as you posted the first one, I was like, “Oh! I hope she posts the giant hockey stick too!” I have a friend in Embarrass, and we drove up there (from Winona) on our February break one year. She took me to the big hockey stick, and she *worked* at Iron World as an actress/singer. 🙂

    So I love seeing these photos! Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂

  16. #25
    Dixie Lee

    There’s definitely a large-scale model theme going on in Minnesota. And while the Pantsless may have been a voyager…you were a voyeur….

  17. #26

    I never realized there are so many weird and big statues in Mn. Your posts have been very educational! LOL! I know there is some weird stuff in Iowa, but I may have to investigate further and see what I can come up with.

  18. #28

    definatley wierd things in your state. so glad you are sharing them with us. still love reading your blog! 🙂

  19. #29

    As a member of the Jones clan myself, I was most impressed you had a travel photo of ‘our’ sign. And on the topic of roosters – we have an acquaintance who has a rooster tattoed down one side of his body and leg. It is truly impressive. As is the reaction of ladies young and old, when he asks if they would like to see his magnificent c**k. Especially if he is starting to disrobe already. Which brings us to Pierre…

  20. #32

    Loving these travel photos! I live in Minnesota too – just a few miles from The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota. You must come visit!

  21. #33

    Loving your vacation. This is so what I would love to do on our vacation. However, don’t think I could get hubby to go along. Oh well, here’s to vacationing at a campground not too far from home.

  22. #34

    tHERE ARE so many BIG things in MN. You missed the big crow and the big walleye just to mention a couple.

  23. #36

    Loved your vacation shots! Nice how the big chicken welcomes you to Two Harbors. We have our big scrapbook retreat (10th anniversary this year) at Grand Superior Lodge just a bit further north of there. You went past it on your way to Gooseberry Falls. Next time you’re on the road again looking for something BIG, come on west to Darwin, MN for the largest ball of twine. Weird Al even wrote a song about it! LOL

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