Saturday, July 30, 2016

Trip to Ely

Tuesday we loaded up my sister's car, and she, my cousin Pat, and I headed up north to Ely. It was a beautiful day, and I especially loved seeing this part of the state which I had never seen before. There were miles and miles – probably 50 or 60 miles – of fir trees.  That's all we saw on both sides of the highway. And then we arrived in Ely. It is a small town with a population of 3,455. Most everything is located right on the main street. It is well known for the International Wolf Center, but also boasts of the Dorothy Molter museum, and the fantastic N. American Bear Center. Out of these attractions, we saw all but the wolf museum.

Both days we were there, we drove out to Camp Van Vac where Peder and his family, his in-laws, and our cousin Linda each rented a cabin for the week. It was really fun seeing the place where Peder's family has been enjoying each summer for several years.

Leo standing next to their heat stove
L to R: Janet, Pat, yours truly, and Linda 
Pat standing next to the sand structure one of the campers had made
Linda standing next to her cook stove
While in town, we ate at some nice restaurants and looked around in many stores. My favorite place was the Jim Brandenburg Gallery. He is a well known photographer, whose work has been featured in the National Geographic magazine. I bought a poster there that I intend to frame to hang over my fireplace in autumn/winter. I also loved visiting the North American Bear Center and the Dorothy Molter Museum .

On our second evening there, we enjoyed a delicious spaghetti dinner outside Sarah's parents' cabin. Ken had made home-made meatballs and spaghetti sauce. My, was that good! After dinner, Pat, Peder and I walked around the resort a bit and enjoyed sitting by the lake looking out at the activities going on. Felix brought us a tiny frog he had found. Then when Leo appeared, folks that were swimming near by called out, "Hi Leo!" It seems everyone in the resort knew my grandkids. That was reassuring, knowing they would come to their aid if one of them got into trouble. Toward sunset, we moved some chairs near the shore to watch the beautiful sight to the end of the day, and then we headed back to town to our hotel.

Around 3 am the next day (Thursday), a big wind storm blew across the kids' resort, knocking down about a hundred trees, breaking down all of the power lines and closing off the roads and paths around the resort. One tree fell on Peder's cabin and one fell on Linda's cabin. They were terrified! Rain was blowing into the cabin windows so they had to close them, making it hot inside. Peder said they took the kids to bed with them and put their blankets over their bodies and heads to protect them should the wind blow out their windows. It was very scary.

At our hotel, I had heard nothing due to wearing ear plugs. When I got up to go to the bathroom around 4 am, the room was pitch black. I felt my way to the bathroom door but when I opened it, I was surprised to not see the night light. I called to Janet and announced our power must have gone out. Janet confirmed that and offered me her flashlight. Pat was now awake and asked if I had not heard the vicious wind around 3 am. I said I hadn't. They told me at that time the clock radio suddenly came on and then all the power went out. Later we learned winds 70 to 90 mph had whipped through the entire area, killing two boy scouts in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. We got up a bit before 6 and with the power still out, got dressed, and checked out of our hotel. We had intended to check out by 10 that day anyway. Driving out of town, we looked in amazement at all of the huge trees uprooted or broken off in the city park and in front of the high school. We had to drive to another town before we could find a restaurant with power so we could get breakfast. All of our family at the resort packed up too and once the fallen trees were cut away from the roads, headed for home – leaving a couple days before they were scheduled to leave.