Day 45 – Duluth to Bismarck

We are very sorry to leave Duluth and take off on the 435-mile drive to Bismarck, ND, but the first two months of our trip were planned months ago and we have hotel reservations to keep. Duluth is right on Lake Superior, filled with gorgeous mansions and certainly warrants another visit in the future.

I know everyone thinks we’re on the North American Ice Cream Tour (a friend has suggested that I add a counter to the blog that registers every ice cream stop) but for us an underlying theme has been John D. Rockefeller, Sr. and Jr. On one of our first days, we passed right by Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate; Jr. bought and donated most of the land for Acadia National Park; and now we’re told that our Duluth residence, the Cotton Mansion Inn, was the home of Joseph Cotton, who worked for Rockefeller Sr. for a number of years.

Anyway, the inn is stunningly beautiful and as we read the guest book, we see that many of the couples that have stayed in our room were either honeymooning or celebrating their anniversary. I wonder how many of the people checking in were grubby, hiking couples like us? No matter, our host is very congenial and we still clean up pretty well.

We enjoy breakfast – lemon French toast that is scrumptious – with two other couples before heading westward.

I’ve never driven cross-country and I’m fascinated by the landscape. The huge fields, the endless sky. As we head west, the sky darkens and now I’m in love with the cloud formations. It all clears up by the time we hit Bismarck and discover, much to our delight, that the Staybridge Suites we’re staying at not only has a “social hour” with free wine, beer and burgers (dinner for us) but it also has washers and dryers for guest use and they’re free, as well. We watch TV, read and drink in the lounge while our sweaty trail clothes spin about. We’re very happy to end our day with clean laundry.

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