Indiana Dunes and the Kingdom of the Hoosiers

By entering Chicago, IN, Pookaverse has now officially crossed a time zone  – from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Central Standard Time (CST). Next stop, Mountain Standard Time (MST) that roughly cuts South Dakota in half. Pookaverse is now a further 1 hour behind you – 6 hours in total. Crazy isn’t it. In a country so vast, crossing a time zone without entering or leaving an airport.

Today’s password is “Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore”

Pookaverse has been a bit slack on the journey detail. A quick resume is in order:

Saturday 15/09/2012 – Buffalo NY then South-West on the I-90 to Erie (no stop) changing to I-79 (SB) to Pittsburgh arriving  Saturday  Monroeville, PA . Sunday 16/09/2012  I-70 Westbound leaving Pittsburgh, PA and crossing into Ohio, passing through Columbus, OH (no stop) landing in Springfield, OH. Monday 17/09/2012 leaving Springfield, OH continuing on the I-70 crossing into Indiana and then on to Indianapolis, IN. Tuesday 18/09/2012 leaving Indianapolis, IN travelling North on the I-65, them Eastbound for a little bit on the I-80/90 to the Indiana Dunes National Park. Then on the same day travelling Westbound on the 1-80/90 to Chicago, IN.

Sunday…Mmmmmm…then his must be…Indianapolis?

Indiana Dunes fell onto the Pookaverse itinerary based on the evocative nature of it’s name. The name does not disappoint. The place did not disappoint.

This area of quite breathtaking beauty almost balances natural forces with man-made concerns at the point where the nearly landlocked state of Indiana (“Land of the Indians”) touches the shores of Lake Michigan for approximately 40 miles.

It’s not polite to call the citizens of this state hoosiers – as they can be derogatively referred to by their neighbours. Pookaverse breakfasted in Chicago with two natives from Indianapolis this very morning – Joel and Christine – and two finer Indianan’s you would be hard pressed to find. Three counting their new three-month old baby.

Left on this narrow coastal strip is Gary, Indiana – a heavily industrialised port with thousands of miles of metal, pipe and gargantuan fuel storage containers pumping life into the Indiana economy. A no-brainer. No stopping there. After all, that’s where Donald Merwin Elbert, better known as the “Trashcan Man” came from in Stephen King’s magnum opus, The Stand.

And to the right is the bafflingly named Michigan City. Baffling. Well from the outside track, Yes.  Because it is in the state of Indiana and not in the neighbouring state of Michigan less than 20 miles away. There must be a good reason for it, musn’t there?

That’s not the sea. That’s Lake Michigan. Fresh water that you can drink… it is just nuts

The start of  Tuesday’s visit to Indiana Dunes began at the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center  where Pookaverse finally managed to purchase its ‘America the Beautiful‘ National Park Pass. Originally we thought it would cost $80 each. Not so.

One pass covers up to 4 people. Saving the trip $80. Money towards that helicopter ride in Grand Canyon.

We decided to spend the money we saved on a rather handsome metal lapel badge (pictured) at $6.99, a passport-style passbook ($8.99) that contains details of every National Park we can visit while in the US as well as getting a unique stamp for each park we visit and finally a minor parking violation ($25) issued by the City of Chicago – at 13:52 today while we were twisting our necks backward to view Chicago’s downtown – for parking the wrong way round on the street outside our current lodging – Ray’s Bucktown B&B. Yes. We were supposed to park left to right to a “maximum of 12 inches” from the sidewalk. Enough about that. I can feel another one of my funny turns coming on.

No, again.That’s not the sea. That is a lake you’re looking at. One shore on Lake Michigan.

We made our way into the National Park and the small town of Beverly Shores (population 613) via the East and West Lake Front Drive to what appears to be an exquisite stretch of coastline bordered by blissfully tranquil sand dunes occasional dotted with a series of  sixteen show homes purchased and physically relocated by Robert Bartlett from Chicago’s 1933-34 Century of Progress World’s Fair, four of which were transported by barges on Lake Michigan. Incidentally, Beverly Shores was named after his daughter – Keith.

A mount by any other name would smell as…..would smell….would steadily creep towards you one grain at a time.

With the tallest skyscrapers of downtown Chicago visible sixty miles distant, we walked on a freshwater beach bordering Lake Michigan. On a sublimely sunny afternoon in September.

Later, following directions from our friendly and informative guide at the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center, we drove further along the coast to Mount Baldy*.

We both thought that the guide had said that we would be able to view Mount Baldy** that we both thought would be some distance away – perhaps in Michigan. You know. That state where Michigan City should be. Kinda. 

If I had a power station ‘busting a cap in my a*s’, I think I would relocate myself further south and re-commence my ‘studyin’.

We were then treated to the second wonderful surprise that glorious Tuesday afternoon. Mount Baldy*** is in fact the name given to a roving sand dune that has been creeping inland (with a little help from mankind) since measurements began in 1933.

Top of the Dunes. Mount Baldy, IN

What’s classified as a strenuous walk by the National Park is a steadily, meandering rising, motorway ramp gradient climb to the summit and a spectacular view of the Northern Indiana forests and a power station/some form of rendering plant for which the term juxtaposition was invented – particularly in light of earlier comments surrounding conflicting priorities.

Chicago today – pictures to follow – Milawauke, Wisconsin tomorrow.

After, of course, we have paid a trip to the City of Chicago Finance Department, City Hall in Downtown Chicago to pay our $25 fine. Who was it who once said “F*ck the Policymakers! F*ck em in the ear”. Oh yes, it was me. Just then.

Night all from this part of Planet Earth. As we near your very early 6 o’clock wake up call, Pookaverse bids you zzzzzzzzzzzz.

* Ha-ha, how ironic

**Hardy-f*cking-Har

***Eat sh*t and die

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2 Responses to “Indiana Dunes and the Kingdom of the Hoosiers”

  1. jose Says:

    pleased you didn’t print your reaction to the parking fine guess you’ll just have to smile and pay up. Your photos and journey description keeps me travelling with you, amazing.

  2. Rach Says:

    Well how rude!!! What a disgraceful ending to a very unpleasant update. What is wrong with you people???? :-)x

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