A journey is in order. An opportunity to strip away the noise and commotion of real and imagined problems, actual and created grievances, and return to the simple realities of a life on the road. You will recall that last we were together on the edge, was at Grand Forks, ND, a short distance form the Canadian border and essentially the easternmost end of the flat, straight 49th parallel agreed to as a delineation between there and here back in the Treaty of 1818 which, in typical bureaucratic pace, settled matters resulting from the War of 1812 which actually ended in 1815. I won’t officially leave the 49th until International Falls, MN, but essentially, the days of straight drives are over.
Getting to the starting point is always a source of some internal debate — hurry along to get started, or, find a way to make the journey to as interesting as the journey from. For this leg, I will choose the latter and get to Grand Forks by ascending the Mississippi River via the Old River Road from somewhere near Dyersburg, TN all the way to the source of the River at Bemidji, MN and from there northwest across the ND border to Grand Forks. Hopefully the bulk of this ride will be on the western side of the River, but at the very least, it will adhere to the River itself whichever bank. I haven’t really seen the Mississippi River on my trek around the edge since it was floating barge traffic above my head on the way to Venice, LA at the start of this entire ridiculous adventure. I look forward to returning for an extended visit along the shores of this redemptive ribbon of drainage.
From Grand Forks, I will head east along the northern edge through International Falls, Voyageurs NP and the Boundary Waters of Minnesota before running slap into Lake Superior — the big lake they call Gitche Gumee. I will follow its western and southern shoreline through a patch of Wisconsin and out onto the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, cross between Lakes Michigan and Huron to follow the eastern shore of the “thumb” of Michigan all the way to Detroit, and then make a decision. I’ll either follow along the southern shore of Lake Erie to Buffalo, NY before turning for home, or, I’ll head back from Detroit and pick up there in the spring.
In addition to marking another segment of the edge off the list, I’ll get a chance to visit childhood noises like International Falls — which was always the spot the weatherman said was the coldest (weird memory fragment that) — and personally investigate the area that claimed the Edmund Fitzgerald, in the hopes of vanquishing that ever-present Gordon Lightfoot ear worm. Hey, it’s the little things. As always, I hope if you are so inclined you will check in each night to see what drivel I’ve spilled on the page and maybe offer a few comments. I’ll spend the next few weeks preparing the truck and organizing things, but should be on the road within the next 30 days or so. Go to http://www.ropeandchain.com and you can register your email to get a notification whenever the posts go up. Click on Edge Trek at the top left to see the so called rationale for this whole journey and review previous posts.
I’m ready to get out there.