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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Vacation day 4 of 11.5

When we realized Sunday night that plan "A" involved a venue that slept in on Mondays, I swiftly went into constructing plan "B".  Bleary eyed, sweating because the AC had just done a fecal overload, and pissed at the Reds for not only trading the best pitcher they'll see for the next 20 years but tacking on a stirring 17-7 loss to the ledger, I accomplished a minor miracle.

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.

  The History Center Museum and the Studebaker Museum.  Well, it wasn't exactly that easy- a road closing made us retrace about a downtown South Bend mile of our tracks to get there, but still, we did indeed arrive safely.  And what did we see for our $10 each?

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..."

Mastadon tusk.

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?

Because their "Becky Burger"- "The burger features two beef patties, American and Swiss cheeses, BBQ sauce, grilled onion and bacon on a sesame bun"- was the 2014 Best Burger in Northern Indiana.  We had build a burgers, which were good, but I've had better.

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...


  1. Wow! They had a subway system that covered the entire state of Indiana? Oh, I guess you meant something else by "Underground Railway". Glad to see you staying so busy during your vacation. I've been staying in the house a lot but that's par for the course for me.

    Wrote By Rote

    1. Yeah, but you just did your "'Round the nation" thing...

  2. Great pictures!! I love the muppet mobile.
    You just have that nice approachable look to you I guess. Its funny because people do the same with me. Todd cracks up because I will be standing in line somewhere and people will come up to me and start talking. I don't mind though.
    have fun and drive safe!

  3. Chris:
    That's what I miss a lot of - taking those wonderful "day trips" (must be a Beatles song in there somewhere, hmm?).
    I admire your ability to finsd things aroyund here (Northern Indiana) that not many get to stop and visit (like that Black Pines animal place).
    The Studebaker museum seems very cool (and not becasue they probably have the A/C on).

    I was always a fan of that car-maker, and even when they absorbed Packard motors (who had already merged with Hudson motors), you could tell the end was near.
    The "Big Three" didn't want ANY competition (at least not here in the states).
    Studebakers might not have been the prettiest cars, but they were reliable...and, there was the AVANTI (cool car for it's time).
    I suppose with some decent designers, they could have made a better go of it.
    That last car was the Lark (model).
    And I LOVE that "repair" sign...I know some (very) upstate PA mechanics in some really small towns that would pretty much charge the same thing for the same noises...LOL

    The historical [part of that place had some things I never knew about (the forced "migration" of the Pottawatomie tribe to KS)
    And, I can see the trouble you had w/ Google Maps...sounds all too familiar to me)
    I'd go with CENTER LAKE...why not?

    Those seagulls - always have ONE in the bunch that's a uber-alpha male.
    And that burger doesn't sound that bad a deal (unless it costs over $
    (a fair price for an out-of-the-way locale)

    Glad you both had a great time. Thanks for sharing it all.

    Stay safe (and keep cool) up there, brother.

    1. - Black Pines is coming up...

      - They did have a couple of Avantis... the real "ugly" was saved for a couple of 1963 prototypes that apparently saw no further light of day.

      - Google Maps part II coming up...

      - I think the Becky Burger was like $8 something... hard to get a burger outside of McDonalds under $5 anymore.

  4. I hate drivers that do that (pass at speeds exceeding the sound barrier and then drop to twenty miles below the speed limit once getting in front of you, only to speed up when you go to pass as if there is some prize for being in the front of a line of traffic.

    Detroit never adopted my idea for a hood-mounted rocket launcher, but I think it would be a popular option...

    1. I'm an old Star Trek fan. Not a TREKKIE, mind you... but I think I'd like to hold out for the "phaser" option.

  5. Ok when one drives anywhere they will encounter idiots because the roads are full of them just saying.

    I love old stuff, which is why I am still with
    Seriously I do like old cars and old planes and old trains see a pattern here.

    I love road trips if I don't have to drive, due to the road being full of idiots so when we go on a road trip I let the king of road not idiots lets say people drive.............I can't call Tim an idiot although he does a lot silly things

  6. Just returned from a road trip to Atlanta. It was the first time that we associated the trip with two great meals instead of the activity or destination.

    Another comment...

    I love to look for fossils but I'm not good at it at all. While standing in a parking area surrounded by gravel, Hubzam leans over and says, "Hey! A trilobite! " Dang if he found one THAT easy.

    1. I used to do that when I was a kid. Wish I still had all them.