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Road trip around Lake Superior

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I did this trip on a family vacation as a teenager and come up the North Shore almost yearly.

ON 17 is a very good highway; well maintained, lots of passing lanes, plenty of cool views.
The way you're going around, once you pass the airport in Thunder Bay, you're out of town as far as services go.
There is no duty free store for American-bound travelers at the Grand Portage port of entry so if you were looking to resupply with tax-free liquor, you're SOL.

I highly recommend Sven & Ole's in Grand Marais.  Great pizza.  Turn toward the lake at the traffic light and park in the public lot on your left.,-90.332884&spn=0.002305,0.005681&t=m&z=18
MN 61 is, in my opinion, one of the most scenic highways in the entire country.  Take advantage of the many turn offs and soak up the view.  There are several spots where waterfalls cascade right next to the highway.  And there's some pretty impressive mining-related industry in Silver Bay and Taconite Harbor.


--- Quote from: agentsteel53 on December 10, 2012, 03:49:09 PM ---
--- Quote from: NE2 on December 10, 2012, 03:35:28 PM ---
Looks like *north* of Pickle Lake to Windigo Lake (old 808) is good quality gravel.

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good stuff, thank you!  I'm guessing south of Pickle Lake, the road is all paved.

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The latest detailed Ontario road atlas says the road up to Pickle Lake is paved.  Looks like you're set.

MN 61 is still scenic, but it's been degraded considerably in the quarter century of so I've been driving it. More and more developement and widening and straightening projects, with modern shoulders and clear zone. The scenic route between Two Harbors and Duluth was totally bypassed so they left the old road in it's scenic, dangerous beauty. There are three modern rest areas, two adjacent to state parks, and a nice parking area at the Silver Creek Tunnel where you can walk on the old road around the edge of the cliff which is now a bicycle trail.


--- Quote from: oscar on December 11, 2012, 07:13:13 PM ---The latest detailed Ontario road atlas says the road up to Pickle Lake is paved.  Looks like you're set.

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the weather is looking pretty iffy (overcast/snow) so it might be a very last-minute decision to cross into Ontario or not.  I may actually end up driving only up to 17 and then taking old 61 down from Thunder Bay.  I've only done enough of that road to clinch the last county in Minnesota, and I did it at 2am in a rainstorm, so I definitely didn't see much!


--- Quote from: agentsteel53 on December 10, 2012, 03:30:31 PM ---
--- Quote from: AsphaltPlanet on December 10, 2012, 02:41:08 PM ---Pickle lake (Hwy 599) is further north than Red Lake (Hwy 105 and 125).

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and further east.   the direct route from International Falls to Pickle Lake is almost perfectly normal to the aurora equipotential circle.  so that is, indeed, the way to go.  what is the road quality of 599 to Pickle Lake?  I'm assuming it is paved?

what about route 808?  what is that like during the winter?  I'm guessing that won't be passable in a compact car with non-studded tires.

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Peter Egan of Road & Track wrote a column a few years ago about driving an old Jaguar, I believe an E-Type, to Pickle Lake, although the trip was during the summer. Seems he made it with no mishaps, which certainly suggests the road ought to be OK when the weather is decent. The column was in the May 2005 issue (based on a reference to it that I found online).


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