My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip~Part 1

4 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Prelude:  The original idea around a Great Lakes region road trip was that there is a lot of history in this area and there are many areas of these northern states that I had never seen.  What little of this region I have seen, during past trips, was so different from the Southwest where I grew up, and Florida where I have lived for the past 50+ years, that it made the idea of visiting this area in more detail, very intriguing to me.   And of course, the summer time was the only time for this southern boy to venture that far north.

Day 1 – Tuesday July 23

I started this road trip with a great non-stop Southwest flight from our Orlando International Airport to Chicago’s Midway International Airport.  They didn’t serve peanuts on this flight, only miniature pretzels and miniature Oreo cookies, but they were both fresh.

My niece Karen, her husband Brian, and their daughter Katie picked me up at the Midway  Airport and we went to the Hofbrauhaus Restaurant, not far from the airport, for lunch. I had a delicious German Sausage plate, consisting of Vienna-style Frankfurter, pork & chicken sausages, served with imported sauerkraut, mashed potatoes & onion mustard.  Yumm!  That helped me get over the Southwest pretzels. 

We had a wonderful visit, all be it very short.  Katie has a new job as Stage Manager for a small theater company in western Illinois, and I got to hear all about it.   After lunch they drove me a few miles from the restaurant, to the Avis Rental Car location in Franklin Park, IL to pick up my rental car.  I ended up with a brand new Hundi Forte with all the bells and whistles (I never did learn how to operate all those electronic accessories).  I told them how much I enjoyed the visit, thanked them for lunch, and we said our goodbyes.

I headed east on I-90 for Gary, IN to visit the Aquatorium.  I was not sure what to expect there, but I learned the original Lakefront Park Bathhouse, built in 1922, has spent most of its life pretty much unattended.  It wasn’t until 1991, when the Gary Historical Society took over the renovation of the structure, that it was brought back to life as a museum.  The Aquatorium now honors Octave Chanute, who, it is said, flew the first aeronautically designed glider in 1896 from a dune just west of the building, and the famous Tuskegee Airmen who made a name for themselves as fighter pilots during WWII.  The museum displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the honorees. 

So, I moved on northeast another 30 miles or so to Michigan City, IN where I hoped to visit the Old Lighthouse Museum.  Now you would think a structure as tall as a lighthouse would be easy to spot, but neither Greta nor I could find it.  The internet picture I had of the lighthouse showed that it really wasn’t all that tall, so I felt a little better not being able to find it.  

I was sorry to miss visiting the New Buffalo Railroad museum located in New Buffalo, MI.  This small museum was closed, but their website tells me that the museum is housed in a replica of the original 1920s Pere Marquette depot located on the historic New Buffalo rail yard site.  Three of the original 16-stall roundhouse and coal tower are an interesting part of the museum.  Displays include restored WWII Pullman Troop Sleeper Car & a C&O Chessie  Blue Box Car.

Just a few miles east on U.S. 12 I stopped to check out the Three Oaks Bicycle Club Museum, located in Three Oaks, MI.  This small museum was closed, but here again, their website informs me that it was really a one-room-museum, with a collection of some very old bicycles, whose ages date from the early 1800s.

I got to Kalamazoo, MI late in the day and decided to wait until tomorrow to visit the Air Zoo Museum, as they were closed by now (I hope that decision doesn’t throw my Wednesday schedule too far out of reach). While I was planning this trip, I had researched the best restaurants in each of the cities where I would spend a night.  So, I asked Greta (my Garmin) take me to the “42ndLatitude Restaurant” there in Kalamazoo, for a bowl of their Jambalaya.  It was delicious!

By the time I finish that wonderful meal, I was ready for Greta to take me to the motel, so I could rest my weary bones.

—–To Be Continued—–

2 Responses to “My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip~Part 1”

  1. Onisha Ellis September 5, 2019 at 12:44 pm #

    You visit the most interesting places! I am going to enjoy this trip.

    Like

  2. divoran09 September 4, 2019 at 9:17 am #

    What a good writer you are, my love

    Like

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