Before leaving Virginia, Minnesota and heading to Ely we made a couple of stops. The first one was at a butcher shop where we picked up some brats and saurkraut for dinner. I also picked up a couple of jars of pickled turkey gizzards, one for my friend Bruce and one to take home.
Pickled gizzards are, in my opinion, vastly underrated as a culinary delight. Kind of like a meat pickle. You don't see them in many stores here in New York City, though.
Pickled Eggs, Gizzards, And Pork Hocks
My friend Tom, who was at Sawmill, is a Vietnam veteran and is very active in raising money to erect a Vietnam Veteran's memorial in Virginia. In fact he is the Chairman of the committee to raise the necessary funds. Unlike in large cities like New York, Los Angeles, etc., the spirit of patriotism still runs very high in smaller towns throughout the United States. You really do have to step away from your cynicism when you visit places like this.
On one of the buildings in Virginia is covered with portraits of residents who have served in the various wars the United States has fought in.
My Friend Tom Is On The Left
From Virginia we headed to Ely where Jon showed me his problem with beavers first hand. Last year he was complaining that they were taking down trees on his property. This year he showed me where his dock was underwater because the beavers had damned up the outlet of his lake.
Luckily someone has raked a clearing to one side of the dam to allow some of the water to escape.
I won't say who created the bypass because, I believe, it is against the law to mess with a beaver dam.
A Possible Suspect
It is probably also against the law to shoot a wolf who is eating your child.
For lunch we headed to a restaurant that was formerly an Arby's, or something like that.
An Improvement, Although I Like Arby's
The food was decent and plentiful and there was beer. They also did a nice job remodeling the place and added some Minnesota memorabilia.
This Is An Old, Original Painting Or Something
The Obligatory Wooden Fish
From there we headed to an old bar that has been in the same family for at least two generations. This is the type of bar that was common back in the days before Ely became somewhat of a touristy town. And only the tourists would consider walking in the front door.
The Back Entrance To Zaverl's Bar
This is a great bar, just the kind that Bar Man likes. Great Saturday afternoon crowd nursing their beers, draft Schmidt's, and shooting the breeze with each other and with Gary Zaverl who was tending bar. And Schmidt's is the only beer they have on draft here.
All Decked Out For Halloween, Too
And Gary Joined In
After shooting the breeze for a bit we headed back to Jon and Ruthie's where we grilled our brats, heated up some saurkraut and beans, and had a mighty fine supper. And the next morning the Mysterious Chinese Woman and I headed up to International Falls to visit my friends Bruce and Donna.