Thursday, August 20, 2009

Indiana Dunes - Raiders of the Arches - Day 4 - 6

As I left off in the previous post, we find ourselves in Michigan City, Indiana. We are just outside Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. While the area is nice, there is really nothing special about this National Park, except it holds INK , a key catch for completing the NPT.

Inside Indiana Dunes is the Bailly Homestead, a National Landmark. The homestead consists of multiple buildings for the fur trader Honore Gratien Joseph Bailly de Messein, which still does not mean alot to me, but we captured the place nevertheless. Some pics as follows:

I indicated there is really nothing that special about the Dunes, however we found ourselves spending about 3 hours at this location. Of course, we had to put our toes in Lake Michigan.

Indiana and Illinois has to be two of the worst states to ride in. Maybe it was the route I choose, however no matter where you go the roads are pencil straight and really nothing to see that is interesting. We found ourselves riding from town to town and it is as if we were traveling the mall road to hell. I exaggerate of course, but you get the picture.

One of the books I use to guide in route selection and interesting places to stop is Road Trip USA. One of the sections was on Gary, IN which basically said this was one place to avoid. Of course our next destination was the Little Red School House just south of Chicago, so Gary could not be avoided. As I said I took MeAsWe to all of the best neighborhoods, so Gary was on the itinerary. It really wasn't as bad as the book portrayed and there is something scenic in the industrial parts of the country, you just have to have an eye for it. Rides don't have to be all mountains, oceans and flowers.

Here's the Little Red School House I was talking about. With the INK from this location, we have completed the 25 state, 50 park requirement for the Iron Butt National Park Tour. Out next destination is Davenport, Iowa, but I asked MeAsWe if she had any great desire to go to Iowa. She kinda of shrugged her shoulders, with that and being behind, I decided we would head for Springfield, IL

Before we leaned left to Springfield, we just happened to past this spot requiring a mid-street turn around for a photo opp.

Jake and Elwood must already be in ChiTown someplace picking up instruments for the fund raising event.

We start Day 5 just north of Springfield, IL. On today's agenda is Lincoln's Tomb, his home and a couple of Landmarks in Springfield

While we do not need any additional states, we are heading for St Louis to see the Gateway to the West. We get to St Louis around noon. The National Park here consists of both the Jefferson Expansion Memorial which is housed in the Old Courthouse and the Arches themselves. Parking at the Jefferson Memorial can be a pain, however it is the 2nd week of August (nothing special about this week) and it is Wednesday, so a couple times around the block and we find an empty parking space essentially right next to the court house. About 6 quarters and we got 2 hours to kill. The walk to the Arch, while not far by reasonable standards, kills me, because my knees have different standards than reasonable. I grind and bear it thou.

"Jefferson Expansion Memorial and the Arch"

We grab a bite to eat and we are off to Indianapolis. Just 240 miles away. Figuring it is 5 hours or so, we should pull in around 8pm or so. Well mother nature had different plans for us today. MOTHER NATURE's PLAN

Day 6 is the longest riding day of the trip. Having to make up the miles from Mom's Little trick today's plan is to ride straight thru to St Clairsville, OH about 470 miles for the day. St Clairsville is just outside WV. The original plan was to spend about 4 hours at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH, but sometimes ya just gotta go with the flow and change the plan. There are some sites I just gotta see in PA and the once you hit the eastern part of the OH the roads are much more scenic.

Even with the changed plan we manage to make a stop at one Landmark in Terre Haute and one in Indianapolis

We have been chasing the weather all day across Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Finally we found that gold at the end of the rainbow and got into the St Clairsville just as the sun disappeared behind the horizon.

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