Saturday, September 12, 2015

Michigan City, IN

Sept. 7-9

Days 300-309

Windfinder says it is time to leave Michigan for a quick stop in Indiana. A fairly nice day on the water brought us to a nice marina in Michigan City. We had planned on a short visit, but the wind continues to blow. Oh well, we have discovered that Michigan City has plenty to keep us busy for a few days.  The marina here is nestled in a protected harbor that connects to a beautiful park. We arrived Labor Day evening, too late to enjoy any of the holiday activities taking place, so we just went in search of supper. Thursday looks like a good crossing day for us to head for Chicago, which gives us two days to check out the activities within walking distance of the marina. Our friends on Sea Horse are here with a rental car, giving Jess an opportunity to make a drink run, while I caught up with the laundry.

Our first stop was the Washington Park Zoo. Visiting zoos when we travel has always been sort of a family tradition for us. This is only our second one on this trip, but like most zoos, it offered some things that make it quite unique. In the 1920s the city fire station was located in Washington Park. For some reason the firemen took on the role of caring for homeless and injured animals. As the numbers and variety of species grew, the town council decided that if the community came together to offer funds and labor, they would begin building a zoo in its present location. They may be a relatively small zoo, but they still are able to house an interesting collection of animals. This is one of a pair of white tigers that are absolutely magnificent.

The zoo is built on a hillside with this observation tower looming over the highest peak. The tower and several other structures in the zoo, was built by the WPA during the depression. The city provided the materials and the WPA program supplied the laborers. It takes 92 steps to reach the highest observation point.

You can just see the marina in the distance. The wind was quite strong this high up, but we were entertained by some rather large birds of prey, a nice way of saying vultures, as they used wind currents to search for their lunch.

A popsicle stick covered with birdseed enticed the budgies to leave their roosts. Most of them didn't mind having friends come to dinner, but a couple of the green guys evidently missed the lesson on sharing.

Another one of those art structures that causes Jess to contemplate on its meaning. This one is titled Whispering Stones, a sculpture in steel and stone. It is definitely true that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".

This lighthouse was built in 1858. It is now the home of a museum, with the actual light now placed at the end of the entrance pier.

The draw bridge connecting the waterfront to Michigan City. All of the condos along the river have their own boat slips. It must be one heck of a job when it is time for all of the boats to  be placed on the hard for the winter. The marina has more than 500 slips, most of which are full. Every one of those boats have to be taken out of the water by the end of October before the harbor freezes.

What a nice monument honoring firefighters and police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Another stunning church, as we take a walk through the streets of downtown.

The Barker Mansion is the former home of a railroad baron. He made his fortune building railcars back in the day when railroads were at their peak.

Not only is the architecture amazing, but the landscaping is perfection. The structure is now owned by the city, and it is used as a civic center for various functions.

Jess was happy to finally sink his teeth into a traditional Chicago Dog for lunch. I am not sure what all was on it, but it did make him happy. I know I am not very adventurous when it comes to messing with my food, so I stuck with ketchup and relish.

This stunning maple seems to be telling us that it may be time to start heading for warmer climate. It is hard to believe that we are ready to begin the last leg of our journey.

Bama Dream safely tucked into her slip, as a gorgeous sunset provides a stunning backdrop for the end of another fantastic day.

We are headed out of the harbor for what we hope will be a calm day on the lake. It is roughly 35 miles to Chicago, which means about a 5 hour trip.  We deserve a nice smooth ride on our last full day on Lake Michigan. Thanks to Angie on Sea Horse for sending this picture to us. 

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