Guest Blog: the Mesabi by Motorcycle, Part 2

Editor’s Note: Please enjoy this guest blog by traveler, teacher and motorcycle enthusiast Phil Holbo. Phil and his wife traveled from the Twin Cities area in the spring of 2018 to experience the Mesabi Iron Range by car and motorcycle. You can read part 1 of their adventures here. 

After picking up a Mesabi 2017 Ride Guide at the International Motorcycle Show, I decided 2018 was the year I would visit the Iron Range on the motorcycle. This publication is good because it provides suggested routes, attractions, and restaurants along each route.

My wife, Jean, prefers short rides rather than long ones, so we “trailered” the BMW up to Mountain Iron. Our first stay at the Holiday Inn Express-Mountain Iron served as our base of operations. It’s nice, and the location is good for our rides throughout the Iron Range. The staff are great (thanks Travis), the place is clean, and the complimentary breakfast helps make an early getaway easy. A good choice.

The scenic Mines and Pines Tour made for a good tour to start our week. We went counter-clockwise through Virginia, Cook, down to McCarthy Beach State Park, then down to Chisholm.

McCarthy Beach State Park offers lake views, picnic areas, trails, beach and camping.

This ride was on a Monday. The Minnesota Discovery Center, and a few of the recommended restaurants, were closed on Mondays, so we saved them for another day.

Farms dot the landscape of the Mesabi Iron Range.

The route was nice. The spring growth in the forests provides a multitude of greens. I understand when riders come up for the fall colors, but the spring colors were a vision I did not expect. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many shades of green. Mother Nature at her best.

The “Mines” part of the ride was a fitting conclusion to a ride in the Range. After a nice lunch under a shade tree at The Stand, we visited the Minnesota Museum of Mining for a fun time learning about the history of the region’s mining.

Iron Man stands tall over one entrance to Chisholm, home to the Minnesota Museum of Mining.

After a couple of hours at the museum, we headed back to the Holiday Inn Express for a little “R & R” before dinner. The recommendation we had for a dinner restaurant was the Northern Divide Bar and Eatery. It was great! It’s been a long time since I had such a nice dining experience. It was nice, quiet, and a good place for a date with My Bride. The food and service were great! (Thanks Serena.)

The Northern Divide restaurant in Virginia overlooks the municipal golf course.

For more information about recommended rides for motorcycles, bicycles and regular old cars, contact the Iron Range Tourism Bureau at info@ironrange.org or call 218-749-8161 and leave a message. Happy trails!  

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