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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Emotions. They play a huge part in our lives and often can be difficult to handle, at least for me. I miss being around people and in particular families and children; its a lonely road I’ve chosen to ride.

Arriving in Duluth amongst a large family gathering (mum, dad, son, daughter, partners and grandchildren) was special, because I had no problem fitting right in. I’ve always been pretty gregarious and this journey has made me much more so, probably because now I truly value time in the company of others. My hosts Rich and Molly even organised a cake and celebration for my birthday, despite having a busy schedule with folks preparing to run the Grandma’s Marathon the next day.

The birthday boy!

I extended my stay, not just because I needed the rest, but because I so enjoyed being here and the arrival of another cyclist (Bala, coming from the East) gave me the opportunity to plan out my onward route. Molly writes a great blog and wrote an article about my visit:

To Give is to Receive

How do you thank such people, who give so much?  I feel truly blessed to call them my friends.

Bala, Molly and Me. As rich was in the cake shot, he’s behind the camera!

My only regret was the weather, late June and the cold winds and fog from Lake Superior made sightseeing difficult, although we did get sunshine one morning and headed down to the harbour area. Here’s a few pictures:

Bridge in the mist, just across the road from my hosts house.

Living just a short walk from the lake and surrounded by woodland, wildlife would wander by on a regular basis and Rich showed me some wonderful pictures he’d taken. I never got to see the foxes, but deer came to within feet of the house.

One of the many deer who visited…

The replacement lens I was able to get in Viet Nam is not great, as focus with wildlife is never pin sharp. I suppose that’s the chance you take when buying cheap – the same lens which I broke was great, so it’s just the luck of the draw whether you get a good one or not. This shot of a merganser illustrates my point perfectly.

Merganser and chicks

It’s not a big problem with landscape shots, as I can use a small aperture (f16-f22) to give me a greater depth of field.

Lester River Falls

Down on Lake Superior it was cold. The ice had still not gone in early June and so the winds coming off the lake brought the temperature down considerably, but it was the fog which made it feel almost like winter. It’s a beautiful area though.

Lake Superior seen through the fog

The port is a great place to wander around and the small maritime museum is free, well worth a visit along with taking in one of the port city highlights, the Aerial Lift Bridge. It began life as an extremely rare transporter bridge, the first (of just two) built in the USA in 1905 and upgraded to a vertical lift bridge in 1929-30. It is still in use today.

Aerial Lift Bridge, Duluth City Port

Close-up of the Aerial Lift Bridge, Duluth City Port

Lighthouse, Duluth City Port

Duluth City Harbour

The cycling here in Michigan (so far) has been much the same as what has gone before, mostly flat roads. Of course being by the great lakes has added to the scenery and it’s just such a shame that I passed through a period of very poor weather, making the photography I love so much difficult and the reason there are not many photos of my cycling. It’s warming up now and I’m seeing more sunshine, I just need the wind to change direction as I’ve battled it for more than two weeks constantly.

No problems with cycling on these large shoulders in Michigan

I’ve now made it to Marquette, where I’m going to enjoy a couple of days rest with another nice couple from Warmshowers. I’ll post details and pictures soon, stay tuned…

Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 9:26 pm

Was great having you visit us in Duluth, Derek. I hope the tailwinds finally arrived to give you a push!

Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 9:29 pm

We so enjoyed hosting you, Derek! You were a great extension of our family, and we are so glad you chose to stay for a prolonged rest period. Safe travels!

    Sunday, June 29, 2014 at 1:50 am

    Hey Rich and Molly,

    Being part of your family for those few days meant so much to me, words are just not adequate. I treasure these moments.

Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 10:29 pm

As always, beautiful pictures and beautiful people..x

Thursday, July 3, 2014 at 7:28 am

Hi, I have read about your trip in Saigon Times and thanks to reference in this article I found your blog, which I am just starting to read. You are Great ! Thank you for sharing your experiences online. All the best on your way. Renata

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