Driving the North shore

We’ve driven a long way and it’s now time to re-enter the USA. We are interrogated at the gate, then in the building by another officer, then by the boss. They need to be sure we don’t want to immigrate to the USA, and the fact that we have an American car in my name doesn’t help. They say usually people ship their RV to do that kind of trip. After showing bank statements they agreed to let us in and we got our second 6 months stamp!

The first stop on the other side of the border is at Grand Portage. The place used to be the fur trading post of the Northwest Company, one of the biggest companies in the world in the 18th century. European fashion needed beaver fur to make trendy hats, they already had extinct the specie over there. The native showed the path from the great lakes to the fur country, first to the French then to the English. They became allied by supplying the fur and trading it against items like wool and tools. But their most precious contribution was the canoe. Strong but light, canoes were used to ship the fur across the lakes all the way to Montreal. Tobacco was used as a currency. Note that tobacco was a American Indian good that became popular in Europe after being brought back from the colonies. After the American revolution the Northwest Company (which had been bought by Hudson’s Bay Company) had to relocate on the other side of the border in Canada, in what became Thunder Bay. The trading post closed in 1803.

Along the shore are several state parks. We stop at judge Magney State Park to see the Devil’s Kettle, a waterfall splitting in half. Half the flow disappears in a hole and no one knows where the water ends up.

We end the day in Grand Marais. The town is tiny but has coffee shops and breweries, so we celebrate our re-entry with a beer flight.

We drive 25km inland to a free primitive campsite, back with the mosquitoes!