The Other Mike and biked around a good chunk of Northern Minnesota last week with stops in Duluth, Little Marais, Ely, Virginia, Hibbing, and back to Duluth. One day that started out difficult and turned very cool over time was from Little Marais to Ely. Little Marais is around 10 miles up the North Short from Silver Bay. There is nothing there but an intersection, and rumor has it that a local real estate magnate is buying up the land for a family compound.
From the Little Marais intersection, climbing away from Lake Superior is tedious.
There is no shoulder for much of the route, but little traffic. In areas where there is a shoulder, it tends to have a vibration cut-in to wake up the dozers. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make the shoulder particularly bike friendly.
The Knotted Pine is a hunting lodge and bar around 5 miles west of Isabella.
From this point, the road winds through deep woods and many lakes. This section was described to us as treacherous. Here’s a quick video of what this looks like in action:
The road is similar to this for around 30 miles with no gas stations or even bars, so be sure to take down a frozen pizza at the Knotted Pine before pushing off for Ely. I’d recommend this to anyone comfortable with riding single file. Mike and I passed through mid-day on a weekday, so may have avoided congestion issues. Two cars passing while biking may not fit all that well. It may also be worth avoiding during hunting season for a wide variety of reasons.