Day 53 - International Falls, MN - Two Far 2020 - NTF (Not Two Far) - CycleBlaze

July 22, 2020

Day 53 - International Falls, MN

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We decided to spend another day here.  Kerry needed to go to a bike shop for some maintenance (maintenance for the bike, not for himself) and we wanted to explore International Falls a bit.

For the first time on this trip, we found an open museum!  The Koochiching Museum has two sections.  One is dedicated to local hero Bronko Nagurski.  Neither Kerry nor I knew who he was, but we learned.  I'm guessing that our friend Cecil, who lived in Minnesota and loves the Bears, is a big fan.

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The other side of the museum is dedicated to local history.  Paper manufacturing has been very important here for more that 100 years.  I found this little piece of papermill history interesting.  The workers either carried or had lunch delivered in woven wooden baskets.  There was a large display of the baskets in the museum.  There use has just about ended as microwaves and plastic containers have replaced basket lunches.

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Another exhibit I enjoyed was two very early snowmobiles.  The Merrymaker was deigned and built by a local man.

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This 1956 Sno Traveler is from the first year of production of Polaris snowmobiles.

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There were the usual historical home artifacts and in the old toy section I saw something I used to love that I haven't thought about in years.

I had so much fun with this when I was a kid.
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The best part of our visit was seeing the wooden boats models made by the father of the cyclist whom we met in Little Falls  about ten days ago.  Jayme Johnson had sent us an email suggesting places to eat in International Falls and letting us know that the local museum had a display of his dad's model boats.  We mentioned this to a couple of people in town and it seems that Buck Johnson was a well known guy in town.

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Outside the museum is the Smoky Bear Park which is the home to the US's largest statue of Smoky the Bear.

Smoky's being a responsible citizen and wearing his mask.
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But, no hugs for now.
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After the bike was ready, we took a ride around town.  Kerry wanted to see the working part of town.  

Across the river is the former Resolute Forest Products paper mill which closed in 2014
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A very large pile of woodchips
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As we rode under this overhead pipe, we could hear the woodchips. They were being transported to the Packaging Corp of America plant about a half mile away
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The source of the woodchips. There were several woodpiles this size in the woodyard.
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International Falls also has a large railyard used for the storage of grain cars.
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We saw the 2nd shortline railroad of our trip. The Minnestota, Dakota & Western Railway (MDW) is shorter than the Vandalia RR. It has only 4 miles of track, but 4 locomotives and 3,100 freight cars. It was originally founded in 1910 to serve the area paper mills.
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A doe and her 2 fawns in the city.
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This path leads from our motel down to the Rainy River.
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At the bottom of the path is the economy room. Great view, but limited services.
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Today's ride: 9 miles (14 km)
Total: 1,515 miles (2,438 km)

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Jayme JohnsonGlad to hear your experience in my home town was (mostly) a good one and that you had a chance to check out what the area has to offer.
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2 weeks ago
Jeanna & Kerry SmithTo Jayme JohnsonIt's a place we'd like to return in the future and spend more time exploring the area. When we can cross into Canada again, we probably will. Also, we had an excellent lunch at the Coffee Landing Cafe. Thanks for the recommendation.
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2 weeks ago
Jayme JohnsonTo Jeanna & Kerry SmithThank you for the note. If you do get back into the area, please let me know. We have a summer place on the lake about 5 miles east on 11. There's a fairly good chance I could make arrangements to be there and show you some of Rainy Lake from a boat. (You'll have to let me know how best I can get my contact information to you.)
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2 weeks ago