Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Back Home Again in Indiana...

 "Back home again in Indiana, 

And it seems that I can see, 

The gleaming candlelight, still shining bright,

Through the sycamores for me....

The new-mown hay sends all its fragrance

From the fields I used to roam,

When I dream about the moonlight on the Wabash,

Then I long for my Indiana home."--McDonald and Hanley, 1917

This is a refrain from an old song that is sung at every Indiana 500 race each year. It's almost more popular and well known than the state song. Indiana really is home for us. Sparky spent all her years from the age of 18 almost thru her late fifties in the state, and Eldy has lived in Indiana most of his long life, too! Plus a lot of family is in Indiana. We will be here awhile, having to do dentist, doctor visits and cataract surgery for the both of us.

Site: 39 Whispering Pines section, Twin Mills Encore Park. Cost: free!

Highs: 50's to low 60's, Lows: high 30's (!) to low 40's

We are at Twin Mills, in Howe, IN, one of our favorite places to be because of all the Amish in the area, the great Elkhart restaurants and RV suppliers, family and friends, etc. We got a different area of the park this time, over in the Whispering Pines section across the street from the office. The best area for big rigs is in Campers' Cove near the office, which has a lot of pull thrus, but it's getting harder and harder to get those, particularly if you are staying through a weekend, and almost impossible during the weekends in October due to their massive Halloween month long celebration. Several seasonal/annual families spend thousands of dollars to put out the most fantastic Halloween display you will ever see. Check out some of these Halloween decorations!

Sparky's favorite is the old "Bone Collector" truck which shows up every year, full of skeletons. 

Eldo checking out the decorations
The Whispering Pines section, which is across the street (Highway 120) is a heavy seasonal area, (seasonal or "annual", they call it). People have bought lots and park their rigs on them and then they travel back and forth from their homes to their rig during the good weather or stay all summer here in the park. But in the month of October, you can see it's a fabulous place to be due to all the Halloween celebrations and decorations that go on for three consecutive weekends ending the week BEFORE Halloween when Twin Mills closes for the season on October 31st. Each year, the decorations seem to grow and expand. There are many interactive sites that can be a little scary if you aren't expecting it, even for a grownup!

Our only disappointments with our site are: 1. It is VERY unlevel. We had a terrible time getting level. With a heavily forested, mature campground, the roots cause the ground to be super uneven.You have to be level so your slides will go out and come in ok, and so the refrigerator works properly. If you are very unlevel, and you have a combination propane gas/electric fridge, which is common in many RVs, it won't cool properly.  On one side at our site, both tires are off the ground and that's a big NO-NO. It puts great stress on the jacks and could bust them. So we wedged boards under the tires to stabilize them as best as we could so they won't spin off the ground. A lot of the sites in this older campground section are very uneven.

We plan to get some boards while we are here to drive up and on to help get the coach more level for the next uneven spot. 2. One of the main sewer tanks is directly behind the RV and when the wind blows a certain direction, it smells like the neighbors are dumping their sewer tanks all at the same time. Phooey! or should we say, "WHEW-EEE!" But hey, isn't this a nice looking site? Luckily, we really haven't smelled it much at all since we've been here.

Unfortunately, this whole section (Whispering Pines) will be reserved for seasonal people by the end of next year most likely. It seems as though available, transient spots are shrinking in the Thousand Trails system of parks for people who travel more frequently, like us. Some day we will pick an area to "season" in for the summer months, then pick another seasonal area to winter in, but we are not there yet and are still able to travel, so that's what we intend to do! We hope we can still have choices of spots when we get to a park, and that there will be some available for us. So far, so good!

Sparky has been riding the Pumpkinvine Trail, one her favorite trails in the country, quite often. If you ride from downtown Shipshewanna trailhead to Goshen, it's about 18 miles or less one way. Sparky wishes she could take some photos of the cute Amish kids and their families that use the trail as one of their main transportation routes to and from Shipshewanna, but the Amish do not wish to have their photographs taken. The other day, school let out during Sparky's afternoon ride. Two little Amish girls in black bonnets and rather colorful but plain long dresses down to their ankles started on the trail, carrying their Igloo cooler lunchboxes, to head towards their home. BOTH were barefoot, and it was barely 50 degrees! Sparky has seen all kinds of bicycles with the Amish. Sometimes it's a bike with another smaller one attached to the main one, with a young one pedaling behind mom or dad. Another time it's a dad with his little toddlers in a cart, being towed. They always have such rosy cheeks from all that fresh fall air! And Sparky has even seen, (GASP!) Amish or Mennonites on electric bikes! Guess they can ride them because they are battery powered. Times they are a changin'! Wonder if the Amish and their hard working lifestyle are much healthier as a general population than the rest of us? Hm-m-mmm....but they do love their ice cream, just as we do!

Amish ladies leaving the ice cream shop
If you travel the bike trail from Shipshewanna all the way through Middlebury to Abshire Park in Goshen, you will pass a country lane ice cream stop. It's called Mooey's, it's on a farm, and the Amish love it. There are usually as many Amish as there are "English", which is anyone who is not Amish. Good cheeseburgers, and lots of great ice cream flavors. There is also a section of the Pumpkinvine near the ice cream shop that was supposed to open by this time, fall of 2022, so you don't have to take a 1.7 mile jog out on county roads to cross over to the next section of the trail, but it's not done yet.

Sparky loves the scenery along the Pumpkinvine trail....Amish farms, horses grazing, cows grazing, the Amish riding or walking the trail, Amish buggies on the intersecting county roads and the laundry hanging out on the lines. Sometimes you can even see barefooted Amish kids playing softball at recess. The trail changes a LOT--from beautiful forests to wide open farm fields to city sidewalks and paths. And parts of the trail go into "spurs" through some towns like Goshen, IN. Sparky found some art installations this time that were really pretty and thought provoking in Goshen. The photo to the left was artwork by a sewer drain! Sparky found out later this is part of a many talented gathering of artists who are joining a celebration of art here in Elkhart, IN, by painting colorful playful art in interesting places-like the sewer grate above left. 

The leaves are turning AMAZING colors in the past week. New England may have the rest of the country beats far as the fall foliage, but we certainly are having a beautiful fall here in Elkhart, IN!
While you are in the area, be sure to get your "crack donuts" at the Rise and Roll Bakery, between Shipshewanna and Middlebury. We did. (Sparky said we can only get them one time during this stay, fusses Eldo, who LOVES his donuts, but so does Sparky). Our sugar levels say uh, nope! to more than just once in awhile. These are so good, probably everybody's sugar levels say, "Watch it, kids!"
More things to do--back to the artwork! Check out all the elk artwork on parade around the area...It was a fundraiser for Child and Parent Services of Elkhart in 2017. There are 38 elk and you can get a map online to find them all....This one is at the Middlebury Library....(And it's Sparky's favorite because 1. it's covered with literacy symbols, 2. it's at the library, and 3. because she's a former teacher, explains E.)

last summer
Not only is Elkhart a city with "heart" in it, it has a lot of ART. There is the Elkhart County ART trail.....Fifteen fabulous years of quilt gardens are here, (come in the summer for the most amazing displays of flowers that makes quilt pattern displays all over town) AND check out and find all the quilt tile patterns on walls of buildings and plazas all over town as part of the Heritage Trail. 

Now, this year, the works of renowned sculptor, Seward Johnson, are paired at each quilt garden site. His works are amazing realistic life like bronze statues. Not sure how long they will be on display, but it's great to see all the art in the area totally available out in the open to the public.
"Crossing Paths" by Seward Johnson

From a distance, Sparky thought this was a real guy trimming the bushes at Kryder Gardens, another beautiful stopping point on the Pumpkinvine Trail. It's another Seward Johnson sculpture, but a title was not spotted.
One more....Love this jubilant little girl statue, hula hooping. It's called "Attic Trophy".

What else have we been doing? We took out our very black faux leather sleeper sofa and replaced it with two lighter colored chairs--rocking recliner chairs! Eldo loves to rock and so does Sparky. Eldo loves to rock so much, he eventually breaks every rocker he's had, indoors and out! But hey---life is short, especially with us now, so we get another one when they break. It was a JOB getting the old couch out. We took it all apart. There were lots of hidden screws that made it tough to get them all out but we persevered and that's how we got our 80" long sofa out our skinny little 32" wide entry door in the RV. 
Here is the new look! Sparky is one happy camper now....It's so nice to walk in and see the lighter chairs by the window instead of that big ole black couch! And with that, we will say goodbye for now....See you down the road!

No comments:

Post a Comment