Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Daniel’s Hometown Tour


Duluth MN – (1) A Cold ass town on a hill where you can't get lost. All you have to do is pop the clutch and let the car coast and you'll find your way to Lake Superior. The two major Duluthian Pasttimes are Getting Drunk and Getting Frostbite.  (7) a homophobic, racist… town full of hicks. has no culture whatsoever…
The above definitions are opinion, not fact. More may be viewed at  Urban Dictionary.

I thought it might be fun to give a virtual tour of Daniel Winthrop’s hometown. Photos, unless otherwise noted, are shamelessly stolen (with permission) from my good friend William.

Daniel Winthrop, the main character in my upcoming release, DeVante’s Children, hails from the northern MN town of Duluth. It is a beautiful city, but often cold and intractably conservative. I have said, more than half-seriously, that Duluth is a big white bubble. In more than one way.
First, there is a lot of white snow and ice here.
lakewalk winter
iced canal park lampposts
duluth winter 2
(Above is the pier that Daniel and Roderick walk after Pride)
Second, there are a lot of white people here. Daniel’s experience of never having met a black person until he was 12 is perhaps less possible today than in 1981, but not by much.
I’m not speaking out of criticism, I’m just trying to explain what is, and why Daniel had to flee.
There are ZERO gay bars or clubs in Duluth. There are 1 to 3 gay (the actual number depends on what you consider a “gay” club ) across the St. Louis Bay  in Superior, WI. The Main Club, The Flame Nightclub. It only takes a few minutes to drive from Duluth to Superior in a car, but public transportation between the two cities of the Twin Ports is limited to once an hour, at best.

Here’s a picture of Elephant Rock in Lincoln Park, which would be considered by Daniel’s parents to be the “wrong” side of town, by the way. There is an anonymous child on top of the rock, near the center – just for a size reference.
Elephant Rock
And now a picture at the top of what’s known as the Turtle Slide, in the same park. No, I don’t know why it’s called the Turtle Slide. LOL.
Turtle Slide
And a view of the Turtle Slide from below:
Turtle Slide from below

Duluth’s Canal Park is popular with residents as well as tourists.
The Aerial Lift Bridge spans the shipping canal and leads to Park Point, a 5 mile long sandbar, beach, and prime real estate.

Here is the bridge in its standard street level position:
Aeriel Bridge down

Here’s the bridge surface raised up a little bit to allow one of the Vista’s Fleet to pass underneath. The road surface actually lifts pretty much to the top to allow 1,000 foot ocean-traveling ore boats to pass underneath. It is amazing to see.

Aeriel bridge up

Al Franken in the PRIDE parade:

Franken at pride crop

Festival Saturday at Bayfront Park (in close vicinity to Canal Park) is a huge, fun, rainbow-filled event:


Here’s a view looking in the direction of downtown, which is opposite the lake and the canal. Significant is “the big hill.” Northlanders go “over the hill” to the mall, the Barnes & Noble, and if they are headed to the Iron Range.


Here’s sort of the opposite view, from the top of the hill to the east, looking out over the harbor. You can see the sailboats flocking around the Tall Ships, which came in as an exhibit for a few days. The stretch of land to the right that angles across is Park Point (the 5 mile sandbar). The large buildings in the center and at the far right are parts of Essentia Health.

moms pics, cruise 185

Here’s a winter shot of Lake Superior and one lonely, foggy ore ship. Yes, the summer pics are prettier, but the truth is that Duluth winters are long and dreary, so don’t be fooled. We just get crazy happy when the sun shines and the temp rises above 50 F, so we take a lot of pictures.

moms pics, cruise 230

Winter scenes are by far the most common. In the next picture, look how HUGE the ship entering the pier is compared to the actual pier. The channel is narrow, but it is DEEP. The “barge” in the center is the ship, the “barge” to the right of the ship is the canal, and if you look hard you can see the Aerial Lift Bridge – tee-tiny, and that ship will go underneath it. Amazing.

moms pics, cruise 078

One more that shows a little perspective. The foreground is Duluth, MN. The angled stretch of land is Park Point, and on the far side of the Point and beyond is Superior, WI. There are two bridges that connect Duluth and Superior – the Blatnik Bridge, otherwise known as the High Bridge – and the Richard I. Bong Bridge, otherwise known as the Bong Bridge. I’m just reporting the names, folks, I did not make them up.

moms pics, cruise 008

I will leave you with what Daniel saw the night he walked the Canal with his elusive-maybe-vampire-boyfriend Roderick, begging Roderick not to leave him… you might even see a version of this picture on the cover of DeVante’s Children!


Happy Thursday, Darlings!

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