West End News: Sept. 8

A truck with an oversized load gets stuck on the Sawbill Trail
A truck with an oversized load gets stuck on the Sawbill Trail

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I'd like to welcome Kim Jahnke and her new business, Little Cubs Day Care, to Tofte. It is a big deal in a small community when a new business opens up. Kim has moved up from Blue Earth and has 16 years of experience in the day care business. She is licensed in Minnesota and is getting licensed by Cook County. She'll be providing her services from their brand new home on the upper side of Highway 61 on the east side of Tofte. Kim and her husband Lee have owned the property for three years. Lee operates an auto body shop near Blue Earth and will be commuting up to Tofte on weekends for a while. He plans to move up full time when he can. Kim is not only offering much needed day care services to local working families but will also offer temporary day care for guests at area resorts. Her hours are flexible and she can be reached at 663-7552.

We had some large-scale excitement here at Sawbill last week in the form of three giant heavy hauler trucks that took a wrong turn and ended up here at the end of the Sawbill Trail. The trucks were operated by a company from Colorado and they were hauling modular apartment units from the oil fields of Manitoba to the oil fields of North Dakota. Their problem, once they arrived here at Sawbill, was that they were too large to navigate the corners here at the end of the road, so they were unable to turn around to get back to the highway. They were on the back roads because their loads were too tall to get under the railroad bridges across Highway 61 at Taconite Harbor. If they couldn't get turned around here, they would have had to back up for six miles down the Sawbill Trail.

After much trial and error, they found that one truck's cab was four feet shorter than the other two. Using the smaller tractor unit, they were able to position the trailer halfway through the corner, then unhook the tractor, drive it around the trailer and re-hook it at a different angle. They had to repeat this laborious procedure with all three trucks. After three hours, they were pointed in the right direction and headed south again on the Sawbill Trail. The mistake that brought them here was in the permit that they carried from the Minnesota Department of Transportation. It was literally a typo that told them to turn on Cook County Highway #2, which is the Sawbill Trail, instead of County Highway #1 which is the Cramer Road in Schroeder. The drivers were very professional and highly skilled at their jobs. They were very careful not to damage anything as they jockeyed the loads back and forth to gain a couple of inches of advantage. They also paused when they could to let backed up traffic pass through. When they were finally done, they apologized graciously for the inconvenience they caused. Frankly, it was pretty good entertainment on what was otherwise kind of a sleepy Wednesday afternoon.

We received two unintentionally funny emails from customers yesterday. One asked if we had heard any reports of nuisance beers -b-e-e-r-s- on the portages or in the campsites. We were tempted to answer that certain brands of beer are considered nuisance beers just for their bad taste, but of course, we are much too professional to do that. The second email, from a different customer, asked if we knew of any "burning bands" -b-a-n-d-s- and if so, were they affecting us in the Sawbill area. Again, we were tempted to reply that there were several very hot bands in the area that were causing us to occasionally break out dancing, but again we decided to answer the intended question, not the actual question. These questions will now pass into the lexicon of funny questions that visitors ask, along side the old chestnuts: "Do the lakes freeze over in the winter?" and "When do the deer turn into moose?"

The North Shore Stewardship Association, based at Sugarloaf Cove in Schroeder is offering an interesting program next week. It's called "Keeping the Cabin in the Family- Intergenerational Land Transfer." It will address all the issues that accompany an intergenerational land transfer, from the gritty issues of taxes and titles, to the perhaps more important issues of values, goals, aspirations and conservation. The program runs from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 at the Beaver Bay Town Hall, which is located on the second floor of the building that houses the Lemon Wolf Café. There is a cost associated with the event and you can get more details by calling 218-525-0001 or Googling Sugarloaf Cove on the web.

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