Road trip: Indiana Dunes and Kalamazoo

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Our trip to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore had been in the works for months, so rain did not keep us from hitting the road last Friday. Despite many years of living in Indiana, I had never visited Michigan City or the Dunes, and I expected to see miles and miles of sand, trees, and water. But first…

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Driving through heavy rain on a busy interstate filled with semi-trucks is not much fun, so we left I-69 for U.S. 421. Despite the rain, it proved to be a much more enjoyable route past fields of ripe milo, cattle, and cornfields. My favorite sign, in front of a church: “The second coming will be here soon–hopefully before the election.” At a much-needed rest stop, Deb refueled with a hot dog and we enjoyed watching this ambitious little boy cleaning windshields.

After obtaining my National Parks pass at the visitor center, we proceeded to Indiana Dunes State Park and the lakeshore. It wasn’t raining at the moment, so after a bite of lunch, we  we walked along the shore, then climbed up the dunes on the steeper, waterfront side. It’s amazing to see how much vegetation can grow from sand.After reaching the top, I was thankful to find this picturesque path down to the parking lot and pavilion. Can you imagine what the pavilion must have been like in the 1920s?

Next, we drove past several houses from the 1933 World’s Fair Century of Progress exhibition. After the fair, someone purchased and relocated them to the Dunes. Think how futuristic they must have looked in the 1930s! Most of them have held up quite well, except for the octagon house, currently being restored. They’re privately occupied now.

I must confess my first impression of Michigan City was not positive because of the nuclear power plant spewing smoke into the sky. I can’t imagine living at its base, like some of the houses we passed. Continuing on, we drove south of town to our motel, then set out in search of the lighthouse.

By mid-afternoon, we had sunshine and blue skies  for our walk along the Michigan City beachfront.

A little bird kept us entertained as we walked beneath the catwalk (a local historic landmark dating to 1904) to the lighthouse. There was a nip in the air due to the breeze, and we could see the Dunes to the west.

I resisted the urge to take photos of all the delicious food we sampled on this trip. Instead, I preserved memories of the music–we took the flute and French horn along and found places to practice along the way, from parking lots to our friends’ home in Kalamazoo. We enjoyed the Celtic music jam with Trish and Yolande, and had a mountain and hammer dulcimer jam of our own. Fun!

To celebrate back-to-back birthdays, the four of us shared this delicious piece of orange chocolate flourless cake. Isn’t it funny how no one ever wants to take the last bite???

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After a great Monday morning bike ride, a visit to an orchard, a walking tour of downtown Kalamazoo, a movie, and best of all, good times with our friends, it was time to head home. Much to my delight, our back roads took us through northern Indiana’s Amish country (Shipshewana, Millersburg, etc). There’s something about rich farm ground, beautiful horses, and livestock that soothes my soul. What a perfect birthday outing!

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About JP in B-town

JP grew up on a sheep farm in northwest Ohio. She learned to knit by the age of ten, and loves the smell of wool. She fell in love with reading, a habit she fed with weekly visits to a nearby Carnegie Public Library. Reading fed her desire to become a writer, and her dream of traveling the world. She resides in Bloomington, Indiana, where she continues to knit and write.
This entry was posted in Amish, Dulcimer music and groups, French horn, music, State Parks, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Road trip: Indiana Dunes and Kalamazoo

  1. Sherry says:

    Wow! Looks like the kind of trip I love. Nice pictures. Glad you had such a wonderful birthday.

    Sherry

  2. Margaret H. says:

    I love that area, we’ll any area near a large body of water. Thanks for sharing yr trip in word and photos. I could almost hear the music too.

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