Sunday, August 24, 2008

Day 3: CMU Trip - Indiana Dunes - checking out our surroundings

After taking our time with a big breakfast, we decided to drive around the area and check out the National Park. Indiana Dunes State Park is surrounded by the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. This is definitely a case where the state park campground is many, many times better than the national park campground. We drove through the national park campground and it was primitive sites only. No electricity, no water, and the sites were very small. Many sites were blocked off so only tents could use them. We did see three or four very small travel trailers and a van or two but mostly tents and there weren’t many of those. Meanwhile, the state park the camp ground was full. It has 140 sites, many with 50 amp service, and has a lot of sites that will accommodate big rigs.

While driving back from the national park campground we decide to stop at visitor center. It was closed and moved to a new location, but the signs were still there. One of the few places that had signage and it was closed'! All day long we had trouble finding our way. There are very few signs to direct you to your destination and if you do find the place your looking for, there is nothing there to tell you it is the right place. Several times we saw people turning around in the middle of the road or ran into other visitors asking how to get to “such and such” or is this “such and such.”

We finally found one of the places we were looking for. We found the Chellburg Farm. There is a sign that points you down a road that ends at a shelter house and parking lot. We parked and began looking around and found an unmarked trail that led to an empty building. On our way back to the jeep we met another group looking for the Chellburg Farm. After some discussion we decided that it had to be there somewhere. I happened to find another trail and it had a sign the size of a recipe card with an arrow pointing to our right and the words Chellburg Farm. Can you believe it?
It was worth searching out. There were two ladies in the house to show us around and explain how things were done around the turn of the century. For those readers that are relation, the house reminded me very much of uncle Fred and John’s house when we visited as kids. It had the same wood burning aroma, similar screen doors that slapped shut, and wooden floors that felt the same as their's to walk on.

We spent a lot of time in the kitchen talking with one of the ladies about the kitchen, the surrounding area and using water from the cistern. They caught the rain water from the roof of the house and stored it in the cistern for later use. But unlike the house that I grew up in where we had diverters on the downspouts, they let ALL the rain water into the cistern. Therefore, there at times they had water that was funny colored or tasted bad. Diverters on the downspouts allowed you to divert the initial rain water away from the cistern. That water was usually dirt because it was washing all the dirt off the roof. After it rained awhile and the roof was washed clean by the rain we would switch the diverters to guide the clean water into the cistern. That way we had clean water in our cistern.

Once outside we were looking at the windmill and pump house when some of the workers came up to look at the pump. It was operational until just a few days prior when one of the parts gave way. We were welcomed into their discussion when I asked a question or two about the pump.

As we moved on to the barn and horse area we continued to discuss things with this gentleman. He very informative and knew a lot about the farm and it’s operation.

He was telling us about the horses when two of the park rangers went to get the horses to begin their daily chores. Our conversation ended when he went to help with the horses when one of them decided it did not want to go to the barn.

They had a great garden where Cindy and the gardener struck up a conversation about the purpose of the various flowers in the garden.

We had spent so much time driving around trying to find this place that by the time we left we were extremely hungry. While on our way back to the campground we accidentally found the new visitor center. We stopped in for a quick look around and for direction to a restaurant. They were not allowed to make recommendations but they could tell us where several restaurants were located.

After eating a late lunch, we headed back to the RV for a little rest.

Despite the fact that riptides had closed the beach for swimming there was still a line to get back in to the park.

Since it was cloudy yesterday we wanted to go back to the beach again today to get better pictures and to take the dogs.

On Saturday it was so cloudy and hazy that you could not see Chicago but despite Sunday was clear enough to see the 40 mile distance across the lake.

By the time we did that, it was time to start thinking about dinner.

So I built a fire to cook hamburgers on and to sit by after we ate. It was a beautiful day only touching 80 and getting cool after the sun had set.

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