Ely, Minnesota – An Up North Experience

We left the Upper Peninsula, drove through Wisconsin then on to Minnesota.  After driving very narrow and winding roads for who knows how long we finally arrived in Ely.   Everything is south of Ely.  You don’t to go to Ely unless 1) you live there 2) you are purposely going there.  You would never get lost and end up in Ely.   John came to this small town with his brother and other friends when they were just kids on a canoeing and camping expedition and had always talked about returning.  So when we arrived, I noticed that, albeit the town had obviously grown some, Ely gave the appearance of being just like the town on the tv series Northern Exposure.  It is just too darn cute, hilly with lots of log and wooden buildings.  While there, we visited Rockwood Cafe, a really cool restaurant where a band happened to be playing really fun music and where we met several people at the table across from us, some of who had lived in Ely for many years.  We met the producer for the local tv station who was sitting with Sven, a Swedish guy, who brought with him his alphorn.  The alphorn is an instrument I had never seen and it was by far the biggest horn ever.  It had beautifully hand painted decorations.  Sven suggested I try to blow the alphorn and it truly was a blast.  This instrument is really big in Sweden and must be amazing to hear as it echoes through the alps.  

We’ve been traveling with our friends, the Wests and the Waltmans and the big thing in Ely is to enjoy the wilderness experience.  While the girls stayed behind, the boys charted a guide and a small motorized boat and off fishing in the boundary waters they went.  They had to carry their boat over a couple of portages and that was pretty arduous for the old geezers, however, they were hoping for rewards at the end.

They caught just enough fish for a delicious shore lunch and some sides provided by the guide but had no luck catching anything worth bringing back, so back at the ranch we ended up having burgers in the evening.

What I later learned was that John was having chest pains radiating down his left arm since he underwent strenuous activity, the pain although managed with nitroglycerin pills, would just not go away.  We ended up leaving early the following day and drove to St. Cloud where he was seen and immediately taken in for a cardiac catherization.  After incredibly speedy medical care, he now has 4 cardiac stents, but most importantly he has now used up all of his 9 lives.

After recuperating from the procedure we continued our trip, however rather gingerly.  We are on our way to Sturgis, SD with stops at Wall and Mitchell.


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