As Hurricane Isaac threatens to vigorously “wag its wet tail” into Chicagoland, like Huck Finn, decide to “light out” a bit early.
Irony, however, has a fateful gift for abounding, so by the time I-80/90 is reached, “King” Isaac reigns, RAINS, and reins in my speed. Gradually, Isaac’s torrential “starboard” side squalls and the incessant spray of overtaking trucks wears me to a frazzle, so, just past Hammond, Indiana turn off onto near-empty US-20. Turns out to be a good decision, as rain relents, and am back to driving through hamlets of modest residential areas, punctuated occasionally, by commercial strip malls.
Make an obligatory stop at La Porte/IN’s library after a short, tension-relieving nap, and as La Porte is dry enough to support a “walkabout”, go a-wandering. A few architecturally attractive churches, and a “main drag” (Lincolnway) which has an eclectic collection of small shops, and a magnificent old courthouse.
Switch over to awesome US-31 (only four lanes, a superwide divide and shoulders as broad as a football lineman), then onto US-12 and into Niles, Michigan. (Niles singular claim to fame MAY be a huge, tall Home Depot sign tucked in beside a cemetery). Alas, Niles’ local Wal-Mart resists those of us who use their parking lots as RV parks, so slip down to South Bend Indiana for a bit of nocturnal community.
Am disappointed as morning begins with overcast/drizzle, so pass on idea of photographing Notre Dame University’s golden dome.
Small town Cassopolis, Michigan catches my attention with a series of trompe l’oeil images of a circa 1950s Chevrolet agency/garage imprinted onto the walls of a city maintenance building. Moseying around in search of a morning-starting bakery “fix”, am pleased to see a tall, middle-aged black man with his arms resting on the open driver-side window sill of a Caucasian man’s pick-up truck… both in animated discussion about an impending local election (maybe those long-ago marches DID have some value).
In Kalamazoo (yes, old-timers, only because of that World War II song “I’ve Got a Gal, in Kalamazoo,’zoo, ‘zoo”), tour their splendid Aviation Museum.
Stop briefly in Battle Creek, only to discover Kellogg hasn’t offered tours for years (so much for MY notes). With Post Creals less than a mile away though, there is a rich aroma associated with this tiny “company” town.
Note a convenient motel near Chelsea and am fascinated to find it the home of JiffyMix (admittedly, a product never USED). Their modest downtown enchants: perfect scale, quite clean, an interesting mix of pedestrians (middle-aged, middle-class tourists; a bevy of motorcyclists; a couple young hand-holding couples… almost expect Norman Rockwell and easel sited on some corner).