Day 29: More from the Northwoods

It’s the little things in life — that can make such a huge impact.  That’s one of my 20 amp fuses — and the dreaded transmission fluid drops on the ground:

No fuse blowing — or “check engine” light at all today.  A little bit of dripping in the morning — but then nothing at all the rest of the day.  Really confusing — and sometimes stressful – but what-ev-er.  All I can do is keep driving — or possibly stop at a transmission place and spend three days there for possible rebuilding — or big life/death decisions re: Sparkle’s future.  I remember my mother used to drive a big Thunderbird that went thru tons of transmission fluid — she’d just nonchalantly refill it when it started grinding or something.  And I had MG Midgets back in California that guzzled & spilled oil like crazy.  I went thru quarts of oil weekly with them and thought nothing of puddles on the ground.  So, I’m just gonna try to ignore these mechanical issues, although I’m at least a thousand miles from home — unless I hear noises, feel something weird, or see more than drips.

Nik is definitely all better.  And everybody got lots of lakes and grass today.  Being extra careful about locations since up here there’s probably more to worry about than ducks — things like bears, moose, etc.  And my little munchkins would think nothing about chasing and confronting them.

Photo-time.  Let’s start out in Virginia.  Neither I nor Dee screwed this one up — this is really that faded:



The building below this one now houses, ironically, an Anytime Fitness.  I’m guessing this was originally a cleaners since they typically had these funky type clocks.  But maybe something else:



Cool little supermarket:

The context:



Moving on to Chisholm:



Plastic signs really don’t get as much respect as their steel counterparts.  And since they’re not as durable, I bet in another ten years, they’ll really be rare.  This one is a nice example of plastic and steel/neon.  The plastic panels might have been later substitutes for steel & neon.  Really hard to tell.



I’ve never seen a neon sign exclusively announcing “Off Sale”.  Which means a bar / liquor store that’s licensed to sell bottles or cans of beer (to be taken “off” the premises).



On to Hibbing.  Surely, not a Chinese restaurant originally with that facade:



I’m thinking from this building’s position on the lot and the tacked on building behind it, that this may have been a gas station originally:


In addition to all the lakes and pine trees, we’ve definitely been in iron mining country the past couple days.  Lots of underground tours, gouged up mountains, etc.  This gas station uses local rocks as landscaping:



I stopped in Nashwauk to see if this building was still there.  I assumed it wouldn’t be.   This photo from an old postcard on eBay:

But when I showed this photo to a local, he recognized it immediately and directed me to this building.  What a shame.  It just goes to show you how much buildings can be remodeled into nothingness:



This place is in Grand Rapids:  huge sign (probably all neon originally)…

and a neat sign, log cabin, chimney (faux I assume) on the side of the building:



A giant pike in Deer River.
“Look kids — a giant fish!  Time for some photos!”
“Oh mom, do we HAVE to?”
“If you want sausage, then you have to.”

So this fish had small fin platforms — probably to park you kids’ butts on — or have them stand on.  And I just had to have all four dogs up there so… it was pretty much a balancing act.  I thought the biggest (Fix) with the smallest (Grem) and then the two mediums (Nik & Grip) would work.  But turns out Nik was a leaner and knocked poor blind Grippie off the perch (landing on her feet though).  So I switched the order.  Poor Grippie hanging on with toenails for dear life.  Nik not giving Grem hardly an inch to stand on.  Fixie smirking like hell.  But, there, I got my shot, though clearly nobody happy about it.

Another photo from Deer River:



Almost to International Falls — my long run of good weather got sucky.  I had thought about a photo-op for the kids with the famous Lake Kabetogama saddled-up fish.  But the saddle was so small and slippery — from a million tourist butts I guess.  So I decided to let Gremlin handle this one alone.  Still, she could barely find any traction — and she was about 20 feet up there — so I just got a couple of shots and ran up the stairs in back to get her:


Tomorrow, moving on to the more western half of northern Minnesota.


6 thoughts on “Day 29: More from the Northwoods

  1. LOVE the fact that your pups replace kids in the “here, pose for a wacky photo op!” – such troopers they are! You got some great stuff today- I’m crossing my fingers for you and Sparkle to make it home safely, whenever that may be.

    • Yes — they are troopers. They were all taught to stay within a week of adopting each one. But I’ve never taught them to smile. Will have to work on that. More mechanical complications tonight. Crap. Hopefully, we’ll be rolling again tomorrow at some point.

  2. Great pictures! I love the Sawmill Inn and the possible (likely) old gas station.

    So Sparkle started leaking right after a transmission fluid change? In order to change the transmission fluid, you take the pan off the bottom of the transmission, which is sealed with a gasket. You dump the fluid, clean the pan and the area it attaches to, and put it back on with a new gasket. It’s very likely that somebody botched that part. Seems like too much of a coincidence to me. Likely an easy fix (replace gasket). Let’s hope so.


    • Well — we shall see about the transmission thing tomorrow. More mechanical trouble tonight. The fuse thing blowing immediately upon replacing now. Will be at the Chevy dealer in North Forks at 7am — hopefully rolling again tomorrow. Dammit!

    • Exactly — they were SO not in the mood that day. If you read the story about that photo, you’ll see they barely had room to stand on those fins. So they were more irritated than usual.

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