I personally think the Arrowhead region is the prettiest part of the state. Before moving to Idaho, I grew up and graduated H.S. in a small town near Rochester, Eyota and my sister still lives their. My parents now live in Wabasha.
When you mentioned Isabella and Finland it reminded me of a vacation I took there about 25 years ago. I can't remember my camping spots, but I remember driving in many of the small towns like Silver Bay, and Grand Maris on our way to Thunder Bay, Ont. I remember Silver Bay almost looking like a ghost town after the decline of tacinite iron ore mining. The north shore drive is great and I always planned on going back in the fall, but never made it. I'd like too some day. Oh, and it was on this vacation that I saw my first black bear running off the road. Also, as a very young teenager I remember staying at Gooseberry Falls State Park. If I remember correctly, the falls are right off Hwy 61 and go under the roadway...or something like that. Some memory loss!
Anyway, sounds like you had a great ride and I wish I would have ridden in the area when I was younger.
Take Care, Kris