A Slice of Life
Day 7 (Wednesday, Oct.5, 2016)
I took my time getting ready this morning because my first stop today was to visit the Grissom Air Museum (located only about 10 miles north of the motel) and just south of Peru, IN. Since they didn’t open until 10 o’clock, I slept in and had a leisurely breakfast. The museum had a small memorabilia area with some cockpit simulators and a nice collection of static displayed aircraft outdoors.
Next on the list was the Kersting World of Motorcycles Museum, located 4 miles south of North Judson in Winamac, IN. This museum turned out to be situated in the middle of cornfields on all sides, and Greta and I had a difficult time locating it. I was given a personal guided tour of the museum, by the 80-year old founder and owner, Jim Kersting. Jim told me that he built his first motorcycle at age 12, and that he called it the Simpletag (See the museum’s website for the fascinating story of how the motorcycle got its name).
The first motorcycle of Jim’s collection was a 1931 Indian 4-cycinder, which he got at a farm auction, and his collection has been growing ever since. Jim told me the story behind many of his various 100+ machines in the museum, and was especially proud of the ones he raced at Daytona, Florida when he was younger. He had some great stories to tell of his adventures.
Next, just up the road a ways, I had planned to visit the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum located in North Judson, IN. However, it turned out that the museum is only open on Saturdays, so the best I could do was to stop and take a picture of the station.
My next stop turned out to be the farthest west I would go on this trip. The plan was to visit the Indiana Aviation Museum, located adjacent to the Porter County Regional Airport in Valparaiso, IN. When I couldn’t find the museum, I stopped at the airport and talked to a friendly young man. He informed me that the museum had evidently sold all their airplanes, and closed the museum a year or so ago. They still had an Internet website listing, so I was surprised to learn of the museum’s closing.
Even after getting off to a slow start this morning, I was still running a little ahead of schedule by now, so I headed northeast a few miles to visit the Old Lighthouse Museum, located in Michigan City, IN. This was a very small lighthouse building that has been converted into a museum. The ground floor of the building is made up of mostly local lighthouse memorabilia, and I was offered the opportunity to view the yacht harbor from the top of the lighthouse structure. I declined this offer, as I’m sure my knees would have given out before I got to the top. The elderly museum curators understood completely.
Next, I headed southeast to visit the La Porte Historical Society Museum, located in La Porte, IN. This was a fabulous multi-level museum, containing a huge collection of local historical memorabilia of all sorts. This part of the museum included fully furnished living room, dining room, and kitchen representations for the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.
The Door Prairie Auto Museum, which once was a museum by itself, has now been incorporated into the La Porte Historical Society Museum, and takes up the entire second floor of the building. This automobile museum has some of the most unusual examples of the early American auto industry, and each automobile has been beautifully restored for museum display and public auto shows.
By now it was time to head for the motel, for a marvelous meal of leftover Cracker Barrel grilled catfish with green greens, corn, and one of their famous hot buttery biscuits and honey for dessert. One of my favorite meals.
—–To Be Continued—–