Monday, November 8, 2021

The Notre Dame Experience and Bye Bye Pumpkinvine

For our last weekend in Elkhart before leaving for Texas, we made it a fun filled busy one! Sparky mowed grass for Brian and Lori. One of her favorite things to do when visiting them. (She has learned how the darn thing works, laughs E. See previous post a couple weeks back  about maniacal Sparky's first time on the mower.)

Eldo and Sparky attended a Notre Dame football game between Notre Dame and Navy (a spur of the moment decision because affordable tickets were available) and attended many fun pregame activities beforehand. Notre Dame really seems to have the whole parking/bus shuttle thing down pat. It only took minutes to get from our parking spot at White Field North to the stadium. There were band performances-- the entire band played a preview of the halftime music on the steps of Bond Hall. It was Military Appreciation Day at Notre Dame, so the music was very inspirational and traditional.
ND Marching Band

Eldy's family
We didn't know it, but the Notre Dame marching band was the first college band in the nation, so it has a long storied history. The bagpipers were playing at the same time as the marching band so we missed that one. We sat very high up in the stands, almost in the last row from the top (that's what made it affordable!) but it was still a great view of the entire field and the JUMBOTRON. Whew! That sucker was loud, but interesting, and really added to the game with music and special facts about Notre Dame and distinguished alumni.

The water polo players were standing on a corner of the square near the Golden Dome doing their thing...Advertising? We weren't quite sure what the agenda was there, other than to get attention...and they did! Hubba Hubba! It was only in the mid fifties! Br-r-r-r!

We saw the players come through the "tunnel" of people lining both sides of the street and cheering as the home team walked from church to the stadium. That is a very long time tradition. 

We saw a drummer's circle performance that was really cool. The drummers had the crowd bouncing to the beat as they performed cool movements. It was interesting to see the players narrowly miss hitting each other with their cymbals with the drummers as they bowed and moved into different positions in a very tightly controlled formation.

We visited the Sacred Heart Basilica was so beautiful!

sunset at the wall
Of course, you have to stand in front of the wall that is affectionately known as "Touchdown Jesus" by all Notre Dame alumni and fans and assume the photo op pose. Put your arms straight up? Or at the goalpost angle? Sparky opted for straight up.

AND---Notre Dame won, which made the game even more fun.

Viet Nam Memorial
The campus is one of the most beautiful in the nation in our opinion, and it truly is amazing to see how much it has grown over the years and all the beautiful artwork and stonework. It's like a city in itself, it has gotten so big. We walked by the Viet Nam Memorial on campus and stopped for awhile to take it all in.....

It was definitely exciting and fun to see the many traditions that Notre Dame has.

Sparky rode the Pumpkinvine Bike Trail for the last time on a beautiful Sunday---30 miles from Abshire Park in Goshen, to Shipshewanna and back. It was a fantastic fall weekend with temperatures in the high fifties and not a cloud in the sky. 

Sparky saw many Amish out and about walking or biking on the trail and on the county roads near the trail. On the county roads, they were all dressed in their black and white Sunday finest with their children dressed the same. The little girls had the same black scarves, long dresses and black shoes as their mamas--little mini versions. Some were walking long distances to their meeting places but it was such a beautiful day, everyone was happy to be out enjoying the weather. 

There is a part of the trail that jumps from the paved trail to a short 1.5 mile county road spur, then picks back up on the safer paved trail back on the Pumpkinvine. On this part, on a country lane leading back to an Amish farmhouse, Sparky saw horse and wagon "races". Three Amish girls in the back of a cart were squealing with delight, yelling, "Faster, faster!" as the driver urged the horse on. Another harness racer style open buggy with a young man driving was racing back the opposite way, almost as if they were trying to see who could get to the opposite end of the lane first. You are not supposed to take photos of the Amish, but Sparky wished she could have captured the spirit of the Amish that day as they enjoyed their very special lifestyle, uncomplicated by all the stuff we have in our lives. There's something to be envied about working hard the old fashioned way, yet enjoying the simpler times, a much healthier way to live. Sparky and Eldo admire the Amish lifestyle. We could never go back to that, but having grown up in simpler times, and being the age that we are, it wasn't so far removed from our own growing up experiences that we can appreciate how good life was back then. And sometimes we miss those times.....So we are truly blessed that we feel we can travel and enjoy the many different cultures and experiences our country has to offer and hope to be able to continue for some time to come. We thank you for your encouraging words and comments, we thank you for reading and following along with us. We hope we can bring a little enjoyment to your life reading about our travels and making memories as we journey.

And with that, we say, bye for now...See you on the TEXAS!

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