This morning, we spent a little more time in Duluth before heading south. We took a scenic trip all the way around the Duluth airport searching for Cirrus Design Corporation and finally found it close to where we started looking. Cirrus is one of only two manufacturers of single-engine planes built from totally new designs. Most small general aviation planes being made today are based on designs that are 30 or 40 years old. Cirrus, on the other hand, just delivered their first plane to a customer in August. It’s a speedy little four-seater with a composite fuselage and a built-in whole-airplane parachute for emergencies. Anyway, we didn’t have an appointment or anything, but we did see the place and saw one of the planes sitting out on the tarmac. For a pilot, it was pretty cool. (For a non-pilot, it was moderately cool as well.)
We made a brief stop at a bookstore to restock Kathy with crossword puzzles and buy an audio book to keep us entertained. I’m a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson is a winner; we highly recommend it. By the time we hit the road out of Duluth, it was almost noon. Just over the bridge from Duluth is Superior, Wisconsin, which appeared to be Duluth’s more industrial and run-down twin. Just a few miles outside of Superior, though, and we were into the Wisconsin of postcards: rolling hills covered with fall foliage and dotted with small farms.
We turned south at Ironwood, in the heart of the old iron mining region that has transformed itself into a tourist destination. The roads seemed to be quite full of weekend warriors heading home to Milwaukee or Chicago. We decided to stop for the night in Wausau. After a brief tour of the town, we found a brand new Marriott Courtyard hotel (it seemed like we had the place to ourselves), checked in and headed out to dinner. We ate at the sort of place that has been all too difficult to find: a local institution. “The 2510” restaurant was really pretty good. A high point of our dinner was the “battered cheese curds” appetizer: hunks of cheese curd dipped in a light batter and deep fried. As if cheese by itself was nothing special. Yikes. By the time we finished our dinners, we were full, but not stuffed. Unfortunately, the place is known for its desserts, so we just had to get some. Wisely, we got a piece of cake to go and saved it for the next day.