It started just after the maintenance guy (And we have the best!) de-feciated the AC so Scrappy could be bored in comfort, about 9 AM. A cooler full of pop, a tank of gas, and we were on our way to... Da-Da-DAAAA! South Bend.
Our first entertainment ( for lack of another polite word) was courtesy of this driver (for lack of another polite term):
Blazed in front of us, slowed until we almost got into their trunk. We try to pass, he immediately starts doing 80 and cruises far ahead of us. Two minutes later, here we are trying to pass him again. Not because we hit 80, but he went back into jackass mode. When several encounters -and almost watching them get run over by bigger and more ferocious drivers than Laurie later- we finally got a look inside, it appeared to me to be the old spinster mom in the passenger side and the loving-son-who-lives-in-the-basement-and-plays-video-games-all-day-at-40 driving. Somehow, Laurie draws these types like a magnet. Rarely see it fail.
But time marches on, and with time and a couple of really good oldies stations, we arrive safely at our destination.
|A large exhibit on the ladies baseball league (you know, A League Of Their Own?) of which South Bend and Fort Wayne were members.|
|A very interesting history section. Here is a statuette of Lincoln, Grant, and Stanton.|
|A lot of local artifacts, including stuff from the Kamm's and Drewry's breweries.|
|That gavel was given to local hero and VP under Grant, Schuyler Colfax, by his wife from wood from the Mount of Olives.|
|The man hisself|
|A map of the Underground Railroad through Indiana|
|Not an early model Tardis, but an early model Bendix Washing Machine.|
|That is a trilobite- the Cambrian Era's version of an aquatic cockroach.|
|That is a mammoth vertebra. No, really.|
|A section of an old French map of the Great Lakes. I love that Lake Michigan is "Lac du Illinois" and Ontario is "Lac du Frontenac".|
|Imagine this in the dark, and you'll have what we saw here.|
|You should click on this. I didn't realize we had our own "Trail of Tears" here... Nor did I know that Chief Pokagon's first name was Leopold.|
|A "locomobile"... steam-powered car.|
|"Laurie, before you start up the flying car, you might wanna put the flaps down..."|
|Grant and Colfax|
|I loved this cartoon on the corruption of GOP House speakers. Colfax (left) is identified as "Pious hypocrite and Credit Mobilier Bribe-taker".|
|They also had a astonishing "Last Days of Lincoln" exhibit. This is a replica of the gun Booth used.|
|"Our martyred Presidents"- Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley.|
|This one cracked me up, as well as amusing the museum. It's labelled "Our Greatest Presidents", and includes President-at-the-time Grant, with Washington and Lincoln.|
|The Marquis de Lafayette rode across the country in this in 1824.|
|Grant's on the left, McKinley's on the right.|
|Wander down enough trails and you stumble into the fun Studebaker side. Here is a Packard "Predictor". Laurie asked, "What does it predict? Ugliness?"|
|I thought this mirrored wall was another exhibit till I saw myself. Great time for a selfie, though.|
|And, I get two Lauries for the price of one!|
|This is the actual car from the first Muppet Movie!|
|The last production Studebaker before they shut down in '63.|
|"Whaddya mean, you don't know how to hot wire it?"|
|Possibly my favorite part of the whole day...|
Part two of Plan "B" was a stop here at a bar called the View. And why was that?
It was at this point I took over the driving. In the first minute, I nearly chopped Laurie's fingers off in the window. Moments later, I made a bracing attempt at running someone off the road. And we want to go farther tomorrow?
Next, I had a surprise for Laurie- I had found a park by a lake just off our route home. Google Maps told me that the park was Bixler Park, just south of a Pizza Hut. (Bixler Park was funny to me because in Kendallville we have Bixler Lake, with it's own park.) Shouldn't have been a problem, eh? Except that the Pizza Hut was on the other side of the road (so we missed it) and the park was called Center Park (so we missed it). After a couple miles, we turned back to the place I had tried to find- which we had seen and went past.
So we did some walking, some wading, and eventually I discovered...
|Yes, there is a small corner that was still labelled "Bixler Memorial Park"... try seeing it from the street, Google...|
|Uh, how many guy wires do you NEED?|
|Laurie off to harass the ducks|
This guy was a huge a-hole. Every time he found food, he screamed and chased off anyone who came near. And yet, when he first found his treasure, the shadow of the picnic table it was under scared him, and he ducked.
We were just about to leave when a gentleman who had a predilection to say, "I tell you", wandered up and started a conversation. He had come down from Cleveland and just stopped by for a break, debating whether to find a golf course and play 9. He asked us what the name of the lake was... and I had to say, "Well, we came up from Fort Wayne, and I have no idea what the lake is." (Answer: well, since it IS Center Park, Google notwithstanding, it is Center Lake.) We chatted a while, and he toddled off. I looked at Laurie and said, "Boy, there seems to be something about these flowered shirts and random gentlemen stopping over to chat (See the first Vacation post)."
Anyway, that about wraps it up. See you tomorrow for... well, that would be telling...