2nd week, July 2018
Wabash - Indianapolis
One of those beautiful travel days where you never know what’s ahead of you on the highway. All we knew for certain was that we would be ending up in Indianapolis, probably boondocking at a Walmart or Cracker Barrel. We decided to take secondary highways to enjoy the country side. We passed several small towns, could have stopped in any one of them, but instead we decided to take a look at Wabash, primarily because Glen wanted to see if it was related to the Wabash Cannonball song. We parked in front of a stately old City Hall building and before we even had a chance to figure out whether we were going to walk around or drive, an elderly man stopped and starting telling us the history of Wabash. According to him the Wabash City Hall was the first building in the US to have outdoor electric lights. Then he proceeded to tell us about the elephant. in 1942 an elephant named Modoc from a traveling circus got spooked by a dog and broke free of her chains. She ran into town until she smelled peanuts inside a corner drugstore. She broke through the front door, inhaled the peanuts knocking the owners wife to the ground in the process. She stomped out the back door, taking the door frame with her and proceeded to wander the country side for 5 days until a Dr Doolittle type man was able to talk her back into captivity. The story is now embedded in Wabash history. The cafe is now a coffee shop that several people in town told us we had to visit. When we did, the owner Angie spent at least 45 minutes giving us more details and showing us photos.
After several enjoyable hours We continued on to Indianapolis. Again, not knowing what to expect we were worried it was just going to be another big city hard to get around. First we established permission to sleep overnight in the closest Walmart then drove downtown to an Indianapolis city market. While we were parking an young man came out of a building and started chatting with us. He was very interested in the traveling we do and we ended up giving him one of our cards. The market was closed so we walked through the downtown area. It’s what we do best. Indianapolis has an amazing centre circle area with a monument built in 1861. It was very impressive. As we were walking a policeman came up to us and started chatting. He gave us a few tips of places to see and chatted with Glen about local sports teams. We’ve chatted to more strangers who have approached us today than in any other state! Indiana is very friendly. After about 2 1/2 hours of straight walking we stat down in an Italian restaurant Buca di Beppo for a glass of wine then drove to the Jazz Kitchen for a late night snack and good music. Considered stealth camping in the quiet neighbourhood but ended up driving the 7 miles back to Walmart.
Indiana Dunes state park.
Nice quiet wake up for the first time in several days. Its a great day at KOA. Made reservations to come back day after tomorrow so we can clean the RV out and get ready for storage. Then drove back into Indiana to explore Gary and the Indiana Dunes state park. Plans changed when we stopped at a Visitor Centre just outside the State Park. They told us not to go into Gary because it was no longer a safe place to visit. Since they also said we could boondock in their parking lot we decided to drive another hour to tour the RV Hall of Fame museum in Elkhart. What a lot of fun that was! Starting from 1913 we saw
trailers, tent trailers and RVs. Had no idea there was such a history of RVing. Made me feel proud. Once the museum closed we drove back to the Visitor Centre, parked for the night then got on our bikes for a 2 mile ride to the beach. First look at Lake Michigan. Like Lake Erie the size is amazing. It fills the horizon. Even though it was early evening by this time the beach still had a lot of people enjoying the area and preparing to watch the sun set. We decided to head back to the RV before it got dark. We were the only vehicle in the lot so the place was nice and quiet. We were actually able to get limited internet from the centre so had a nice undisturbed night.
Woke up to an empty parking lot. Beautiful sunny “great to be alive” morning. We drove into Valpairoso for breakfast. It was a very pretty little down with a well kept downtown shopping area. We had breakfast at the Fluid Cafe, sitting at a sidewalk table. A local man at the next table overheard us talking about Chicago and joined right in. We’re meet so many friendly people in Indianapolis. It took us another 1 1/2 hours to get back to the KOA in Kankakee. It seems a long drive and I was glad when we arrived. Now the process of preparing for storage. While I defrosted and cleaned the fridge, Glen drained the sewer system. It’s depressing work because it means we’re almost finished our trip.
For our final camping night we hoped on our bikes and rode 2 1/2 miles to another local State Fair. Watch an unbelievable event - a school bus demo derby! I didn’t know where to be thrilled or horrified. 19 old school buses proceeded to drive figure 8’s in the mud and smash each other out of the race. We watched until there were 8 still running then went out to enjoy the rest of the fair.
The band Feudin’ Hillbillies were performing so we watched them, but not for long because we will be seeing them again tomorrow night in Chicago. Our bike ride back in the dark was very scary because the traffic was heavy and the shoulder on the road was very narrow. Beautiful star filled night for our last sleep in the RV
Exciting to be in Chicago but bittersweet. We put the RV in storage today. Although we will be back in 2 months, it’s still hard to walk away. We have a hotel for tonight close to the airport because our flight is at 7:00am and we will need to be up at 5:00. Blah! Took the train into Chicago, only $5.00 from the airport which is a great deal! Spent the rest of the day walking along the river out to Navy Pier, where, just by coincidence, the Feudin’ Hillbillies were performing again. Had dinner overlooking the river and all it’s activity then back to the hotel for bed. We enjoyed Chicago and plan on spending more time exploring here when we come back in the fall.