Hook and Bullet Club

by Nick Wognum

Having two short weeks at the Echo is not a lot of fun. We had to have our products sent to Duluth for printing a day earlier due to Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
But getting back to back three day weekends was worth it in the end. Over Christmas we had Jacob and Kyah and granddaughter Kinlee home, the best present anyone could ask for.
Kinlee kept us all entertained especially helping Megan hand out gifts on Christmas morning. She can read names and was always a bit more excited when she saw her name written on a present.
She likes puzzles and books and spent a lot of time with an old train set Mary had dug out of storage in the basement.
This was just a plastic track with train cars that connected together along with a tunnel to drive through. Dad Jacob put his engineering skills to work with various track layouts that would test Kinlee’s driving skills as she pushed the train around the track.
But then one of the five grand-dogs would come tearing through the living room and there would be pieces of track and train flying through the air. Back in the box the train set would go only to return again later that day or in the morning.
* * * * * * *
The next Saturday was our wedding anniversary and I had come up with the most romantic of plans.
“Wanna drive to the North Shore and deliver snowmobile maps?” I asked.
Mary may have very well rolled her eyes but she said yes and off we went down Highway 1.
We had taken this route last fall to drop off ATV maps. This time the roads were a bit more challenging but overall not too bad considering the time of year.
Our first stop was the Knotted Pine which was closed to customers looking to come in and warm up at the bar but it was open for those who needed gas or basic supplies.
We left a box for those who come in off the Yukon or Tomahawk trails this winter and want to find their way around our neck of the woods.
Our last stop was at the Trestle Inn, one of the most famous snowmobile stops in northeast Minnesota. It was also closed to indoor eating and drinking but that didn’t stop the 20 or so snowmobilers gathered in the parking lot.
They were able to place an order and eat at one of the picnic tables or dine on the seat of their snowmobile.
We ran into Alex Povhe and the Johnson brothers, Warren and Greg who were part of a group that had ridden the back roads from Ely.
Greg is my classmate from the EHS class of 1985 so we enjoyed being able to catch up on life on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon.
When they took off we chatted with the folks who run the Trestle and then headed back on Cramer Road which would bring us back to Finland.
Part way there I hung a left, not really sure where it would bring us. Mary is used to this and didn’t blink an eye, even when we went by a sign that said “Welcome to Cook County.”
As luck would have it we came out on Highway 61 and headed southwest until we got to Duluth. We had Lake Superior waving at us along the way and noted changes since the last time we traversed the North Shore.
Once in Duluth my plan was to go across the Blatnik bridge to take my bride out to dinner. Wisconsin still had some sanity and allowed indoor dining.
We ended up at Applebee’s and sat at the bar to avoid the wait. The parking lot was filled with cars, the majority from the great lockdown state of Minnesota.
A retired couple came in and sat six feet from us at the bar. They struck up a conversation and Mary asked where they were from.
They admitted to having driven down from Mt. Iron, although they said they would have much rather preferred driving to Ely and dining at their favorite restaurant, the Ely Steak House.
When they heard we were from Ely and had driven down just to dine out, they said that made perfect sense.
During this pandemic not much makes perfect sense but sitting in an Applebee’s in Superior, Wisconsin was as close as we could get.
Definitely worth the trip.