According to Wikipedia – Castle Danger, Minnesota was settled in 1890, by 3 Norwegian fishermen, although the site was already occupied by lumber companies. The exact origin of the name is unknown, although it might have come from the cliffs on the shore resembling a castle; from a boat named Castle that grounded here;[2] or from the Walter Scott novel Castle Dangerous (1831). Or more likely, they were just drunk and laughing it up when they named the place; that would be my vote anyway.

And it was in Castle Dangerous where we ended up for the night after spending Day 12 pedaling only something like 35 miles because we got such a late start out of Duluth.

The morning of Day 12 started with coffee at the fabulous Duluth Coffee which lies a few blocks down Superior Street from the Voyager LakeWalk Motel. We followed coffee with a great breakfast next door at the inappropriately named Coney Island Restaurant. The coffee place was outstanding for 2 reasons – first the owner, Eric, a most wonderfully nice guy, father of two tiny ones, was most genuinely interested in our little father/daughter run/bike/canoe trip; made special because he had no real reason to be interested in us at all. And two, because the coffee was roasted with an extreme loving scientific care that made the Vienna style roast of the Sumatra grown bean one of the best coffees I have drunk in a long time.

We connected up with Eric because his employee, when queried, said that Eric was the guy to talk to about canoeing the St. Croix.  Eric listened as we told him what we’d done so far and how we wanted to finish the last leg of our trip back to Minneapolis by canoeing the St. Croix River. Eric asked for Sarah’s cell phone number and said he’d call if he came up with something. A couple of hours later Sarah got a text from Eric. He not just volunteered the free use of his canoe but that he’d take us and our gear to the headwaters of the St. Croix and we’d just drop the canoe off with his family in the town of Stillwater (which is the riverside town that lies on the eastside of Minneapolis) when we finished.

We stopped about 2 pm at a place 3 miles south of Two Harbors called the Mocha Moose. A very pregnant Mickey cheerfully chatted with us as she poured coffee and made sandwiches. We saw the Duluth Coffee sticker prominently displayed on a wall and we asked if she knew Eric. It seems that Eric helped Mickey and her mom out with advice when they were first starting up last December and they now featured Duluth Coffee roasted beans. Ah, we thought; the gentle helpful hands of Eric reached far.

We have been developing a new plan over the last couple of days. Our plans are somewhat contingent upon the bike trailer and that is if it holds up we intend to finish biking the north shore of Lake Superior to Grand Portage, Minnesota then take the ferry to Isle Royale, spend a night there before taking the ferry to the Michigan side where we will bike back to Duluth, donate the bikes and trailer and camping gear, before canoeing the St. Croix back to Minneapolis; all in time to catch our flights home on July 1st. All of this is again contingent on the bike trailer not breaking down in some permanent way.

Logistically the trip is marginally doable. A fellow biker said that the bike trip is 500 miles. He biked the western part of Lake Superior as I’ve described last year. So 12 more days of biking, give or take, should leave 5 days for the canoe trip. Can we canoe the 150 miles in 5 days? Who knows? But we will cognate on that over the next few days.