Friday, June 3, 2022

Indiana for a Couple Days - Got the Dinner!

 May 31 - June 3, 2022
Indiana Dunes State Park, Indiana

Back on I-80 east, another short driving day of 65 miles. This is our 7th state in the two months we've been traveling again since we left Tombstone. We've stayed in Indiana in years past, but are finally getting to this state park on the south shore of Lake Michigan. 

In addition to several dry camping sites, Indiana Dunes State Park has 83 50 amp electric sites. We're in #83 just inside the gate. Large, level concrete pads with separate space for the toad. Large green grass sites with hardwoods that block our satellite, and no privacy. Other than the camp host's loud music it is very quiet, and dark at night. 

A lovely green park.

Both days are forecast to be cool and cloudy so Wednesday we decide to explore the beautiful state and national shoreline parks and the neighborhoods along the lake. 

I still struggle with seeing this massive body of water as a lake! Beaches and waves and unlimited liquid horizons - sure looks like an ocean to me :-) Although it isn't saltwater, it still smells oceany.

Only swim on the side you can't read the sign Swimming Prohibited.

Lake. Sure.

Dense forests line the back roads.

The Armco-Ferro House. Built for $4500 in 1933, the frameless house is comprised of "thinner than a dime" corrugated steel panels. One of eight Century of Progress   moved here from the Worlds' Fair in Chicago, these homes reside on a short stretch of shoreline. 

My favorite is this flamingo pink construction on the cliffs above the lake. The Florida Tropical House was the most expensive build at $15k, and the only one sponsored by a state. Currently it's known as a bright navigational beacon for Lake Michigan boaters. 

The small visitors center has nice pieces to tell the local stories. 

A handful of indigenous critters. 

Yep, a couple of our favorites :-)

Large bears is one of the guesses when we're trying to figure this out from a distance. Root balls pulled up from the marsh when the trees fell. 

One of those interesting surprises. 

Still not seeing many wildflowers so these pretty vines really catch the eye. 

Mount Baldy is a 126 foot tall dune at the Indiana Dunes National Seashore. It moves several feet each year and is called a "living dune".  

Only the second active nuclear plant we've seen in our travels. Michigan City, Indiana.

Incredible multi-level lakefront homes.

More modest, but beautiful, homes tucked into the trees.

Miles of water access is restricted to home owners. 

I love the modern construction homes. Some are seven levels!

Just buy a house and you can play here.

We end our day at Brewsters for tasty Italian food. It's a lovely setting and I'm going to call it my birthday dinner :-) 

I'm surprised to wake to bright blue skies! Would have been the perfect day for that lake exploring - alas today is the RV Museum in Elkhart. It's a 70 mile drive, but it's one of the local museums I've wanted to see, and this is likely the closest we'll be. 

It's a beautiful drive on Hwy 20, avoiding the toll roads, through rural Indiana. We cross the North/South Continental Divide at 864 feet :-)))) Lots of trees and rolling green hills. Some fields have 3 inch corn stalks while others are still being fertilized. It's a peaceful, bucolic world.

Elkhart is the RV capitol, and where 90% of American RVs are born. In 1973 the RV Hall of Fame and Museum was also born here. 

On a Wednesday in early June there are only four other visitors. Perfect. 

It's a great exhibition of vintage trailers and motorhomes, a new model with it's own helicopter, an exceptional toy RV collection, and a hall that recognizes those who have contributed to the industry and a way of life we love. 

I find this narrated 1/25th scale RV factory replica fascinating! I'm confused why the appliances are installed after the slides. 

Not much information on this concept model Forrian, and no interior access :-( However the roof top patio and huge awnings are visibly impressive. 

Even the video doesn't show the interior, but does include the helicopter landing on the roof next to the hot tub! And the typical RVers in formal wear.....

First in the exhibition is this 1913 travel trailer with canvas roll-up sides, pulled by a beautifully restored Model T.

This 1958 Der Kleine Prinz (Little Prince) is the smallest Airstream, and the only one of this model ever made.

The beginning of Fleetwood - this 1950 Sporter is the first trailer built by hall of fame member John Crean.

Canvas cot top bunk.
The internal chimneys just seem like such a scary feature!

The 1985 Bounder changed the industry by including basement storage in a Class A model. 

Perhaps not what one thinks of as a 1966 Mustang - but still a gorgeous classic!

Exactly the way my aunt and uncle's trailer looked when I was a kid.

One of the first models with enclosed bunk sleeping option, and a toilet/shower/sink combo!

This Darth Vader beauty is a favorite for both of us! 1937 Hunt Housecar built by Hollywood producer Rob Hunt. Not surprised by its movie world roots.

Simple lines with elegant curves. 

Perhaps the most "famous" piece is this custom-made 1931 lounge car, gifted to Mae West from Paramount Studios. The rear shown here is like a caboose with a small outdoor space where Mae was known to sit in her rocker. 

Chauffeur driven with a hot plate, ice box and comfortable seating for Mae and a few friends. 

I've been a vintage GMC motorhome fan for decades. Love the big windows all around! 

Quality upgrades make this the most luxurious unit here. 

I thought that tubs were a new upgrade only recently available, but most of these older rigs have them. 

1929 Pierce Arrow Fleet Housecar - so many wonderful details inside and out. 

I didn't capture the information on this big-window coach. 

But the driver's seat certainly earns it a "most interesting" nod!
Many of the interiors have deep, rich wood interiors. Taking the cabin feel on the road. 

Two walls filled with fun and unique toy rvs and tow vehicles. We figure it to be from several collectors but learn it's on loan from one man!

Even though it's a longish drive, I'm really glad we made the trip. The museum is something every RVer should visit. I enjoyed every bit of it.

Our Thor motorhome was born here in 2014 so we take a quick drive by the factory. It's not as big as I expected but the parking lot indicates it employs a lot of people. 

Birth place of our wonderful motorhome. 

The clear skies hold and the return drive is just as nice. A quick stop for tasty BBQ in a little dive beside the highway, then we're back home.

Always the best spots :-)

Next we head into Michigan for a month

Our youngest Virginian - Penelope

Hard to believe Elliott will be 2 in just a couple months. 


  1. I'm so sorry we missed this museum the last time we were in the "neighborhood"! thanks for taking us along on your tour, now we HAVE been there! Love the pink house......

    1. It's not a big place, but has an amazing collection. Glad to have you come along, there was plenty of room :-)

  2. It’s Gay…what a fun and interesting museum. Love seeing these old homes on wheels and thankful for the comforts we enjoy in them today. Can’t imagine driving down the highway in that leather chair!

    1. That's what I said!! Can you imagine making a sharp turn - you'd slide away from the steering wheel!

  3. We were fortunate to have more time in the area and could include the Studebaker Museum, Notre Dame and Amish/Mennonite museum and their towns. Something for your next visit.
    The one thing I noticed at the RV Museum was the old units all had more windows than many of todays offerings.
    It's fun the way you close the blog with pics of the grands.

    1. Yes! so many more windows, and much larger. I guess less storage but they were sure a lot brighter inside! Love sharing the grands and watching them grow through the blog.

  4. The pink house certainly is a beacon for all. Very fancy. The house with the all window front reminds me of the chapel in Sedona. At first glace I thought...a chapel! Some beautiful homes along a beautiful body of water. This an area we haven't visited. Thanks for the tour. I'm glad you made the long drive to museum. We found it very interesting. The older RVs did have lots of luxuries and class. Enjoy your time in Michigan. It's such a fun state. Enjoy lots of cherry products.

    1. Several of them have that chapel front look to them Some lead windows but didn't see any stained glass :-) I have Cherry Republic and a couple other spots on the list for cherry goodies!

  5. Thanks for the RV museum tour, a place we will probably never see in person. Mike is a fan of the GMC motorhomes, it's a wonder we don't own one!! I'm the same way about the Great Lakes--are you sure it's not the ocean!! Glad you found a good dinner!

    1. We know Mike has good taste!! We'll be "along the lake" for several weeks and I'm sure it will always feel like an ocean to me :-)

  6. Loved the tour of the RV museum thanks so much. Do people live in the Century of Progress houses? Indiana Dunes SP is on my list since staying there with the transportation to Chicago right at the door is the only way I might EVER get to Chicago. I always thought the Great Lakes looked enough like the ocean to fool me. They are HUGE.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! The homes can be leased but not purchased. Residents have been maintaining and upgrading per very specific specifications. I originally thought about going to Chicago on the ferry but if not for the holiday onslaught it's a pretty drivable city. More like New Orleans than Boston!

  7. Laurel ( 8, 2022 at 7:36 PM

    We've stayed at Indiana Dunes twice and really enjoyed it....I'm glad we didn't have a camp host playing loud music! Who do you complain to? 😜 We were there primarily for birding and to visit Chicago, but we did take a drive by those cool Century of Progress homes. The Florida flamingo pink one was my favorite, of course! Reading about your visit to the RV Hall of Fame Museum and seeing your photos makes me REALLY want to go there. Now I'm trying to figure out if I can route us there on our way back to Florida in October. Glad you found a dinner that was worthy of your belated birthday celebration. :-)

    1. Of course we have great taste in houses! That park is really nice, we'd definitely stay again. Elkhart has several parks and I hope you can add the museum to your route. It's definitely worth a stop.

  8. I grew up going to the Indian Dunes with Girl Scouts and have vague memories of big fancy houses along the shore. The RV museum looks really interesting. I'd take that 1929 Pierce Arrow in a heart beat. Do they put the furniture in before the slides? I ask because I'm sure the couch in my Keystone wouldn't come through any door.

    1. The demo says they do the furniture but not the appliances. This might not be the case with our big residential fridges though. The dunes look like fun for a scout trip!