Notre Dame to Nappanee

Notre Dame University

Founded in 1842 by a Catholic Priest, Notre Dame is now rated one of the 25 top universities in the country.  We were camping in Niles, Michigan, with our friends, Jeff and Marilyn, who took us for a bike tour through the very impressive campus!  The architecture is awesome, and the grounds gorgeous! I know pretty much nothing about the individual buildings, so you just get to look at pretty pictures…






When we  were told we would see “Touchdown Jesus”, I really didn’t know what to expect.  This huge mural, on a building facing the football stadium across a grassy mall, says it all!




This garden is dedicated to the “Fighting Irish”.  Kathy, this shot’s for you! (Even tho’ it’s not Wyoming!)


South Bend, Indiana

We also rode a bit through South Bend.  A great bike path winds along the St Joseph river, and through some quaint neighborhoods.



As I’m sure all you car buffs recall, South Bend is the home of the Studebaker automobile.  Studebaker build wagons before cars were a thing.  If you want to see more Studie history, go back to a previous blog here.

Anyway, in 1876, two men met at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. J.M. Studebaker was showing off his wagons, and J.L. Mott was displaying a unique Renaissances-style cast iron fountain. Studebaker loved that fountain, and when he had built up sufficient capital, he ordered one – even more elaborate, and had it electrified.  In July of 1906 it was unveiled: changing colored lights, cherubs riding dolphins, and lots of turtles, topped with a majestic lady.  The fountain stood for decades, but was dismantled in 1941 and thought to have been sold for scrap.  However, John and Mary Seiler rescued the top third of the fountain, and many of the other pieces, and used them to decorate their golf course, and later their home.  In 2009 their descendants donated the pieces to the History Museum in South Bend, and later the original molds were found and used to recreate missing pieces.  2016 saw the second unveiling of this fascinating fountain, with all the original functions restored.  

We didn’t get to see any light show…



I’ve been interested in the Lincoln Highway, which was the first true east-west route across the country.  In South Bend, Indiana, the Lincoln Highway crossed the Dixie Highway, which was a north-south route, from Florida to Canada, inspired by the success of the the Lincoln.



South Bend is also a very nice modern city, with many beautiful buildings you won’t see any pictures of here.



Kayaking with Friends

Jeff and Marilyn then took us to New Buffalo, on Lake Michigan, where we both got out our tandem kayaks and had a great time exploring a bit of the lake, and then a ways up the Galien River.  It twists and turns through beautiful greenery and some nice homes.  We got out at the Galien River County Park, where they have a small dock and a boardwalk across the marsh and into the forest.  There you climb about six flights of stairs, and then out onto a long “Canopy Walkway” out to an overlook for a beautiful view of the river and the marsh.  Only a couple of my pictures survived! (More on that later…)




I’ll let you read about the famous Dewey Cannon.  It’s mainly famous because we ate in this park.





Newmar corporation built our motorhome, three years ago. It is a wonderful company, in a largely Amish area in Nappanee, Indiana.  The fabled Amish craftsmanship is evident in the way the motorhomes are built.  We had some problems with the fake leather upholstery starting to look like it had leprosy, and Newmar graciously replaced all the furniture!  The driver’s and passenger’s seats up front, two recliners and the couch.  Very nice!  And we are not the original owners, or under warranty.  A great company.  They also replaced my cracked windshield and repaired a ding I’d put on one side.



Here is our home getting ready for her new windshield.


While the motorhome was in the shop, we got to tour the area.  The Heritage Trail is an audio presentation we downloaded, and then followed its instructions through many of the little towns in the area.

Edward Bonney moved to this area in the early 1830’s.  He had plans to make a big city, and name it Bonneyville.  He built a large mill, using an unusual horizontal turbine to power the huge grinding stones.  He also tried to build a tavern/hotel.  Canals and railroads were the main methods of transportation then, and both ended up by-passing his great location.  His dream of Bonneyville evaporated.

The story is that he was charged with counterfeiting, arrested, and sent under armed guard to Indianapolis for trial. He managed to escape, and headed to Iowa, where he used his talents tracking down other criminals as a quite successful bounty hunter.

He later returned to Illinois, was indicted for murder, and then acquitted.  He became a postmaster, and authored a book titled “The Banditti of the Prairies, or the Murderer’s Doom!!”.   (I haven’t read it)  He then enlisted in the Civil War, and received a wound in the Siege of Vicksburg, which eventually killed him.  He was buried in the same area he had originally owned.

All this is to introduce the mill that he built, with the interesting horizontal turbine.  Some argue whether it was built in 1832 or 1837, but at any rate, it was quite a while ago.  The coolest part is that it is still in operation!  We had to purchase a couple bags of flour, stone ground in a water powered mill working over 180 years!!


In 1896, J.J. Burns built the Cosmo Buttermilk Soap Company in Goshen, Indiana.  With almost 80,000 square feet, they produced laundry soap, bath soap and toilet paper.  In 1910 the building was taken over by the Chase Bag factory, where they made sacks for flour (Like above), and many other paper products, including the little tags wrapped up in Hershey’s Kisses!  The term “Bagology” was utilized here, meaning “To elevate the production of bags to the level of science.”  However scientifically elevated, the bag business folded about 1982.  The buildings are now being converted to shops, restaurants, and museums.




Albert and Elizabeth Beardsley built a magnificent palace of a home in Elkhart, Indiana in 1908. They named it for a daughter they had lost as an infant. When they died, other family members lived in the home, till 1944.  Then the Deputy family moved in, and raised 5 boys there.  In 1969 the Deputys sold Ruthmere to the Beardsley foundation, which has preserved it and now offers tours.  No photography is allowed inside, and since most of my outside pictures apparently got wet (More on that later), all you get to see is the greenhouse and garage.  Trust me, the rest is opulent and amazing.



This is the garage, and I wondered why you would build such a large building as a garage and have only one relatively narrow door…



When inside, I found the reason… a large turntable, like you’d see in a railroad roundhouse.  You could drive a car in, turn a large crank, and the car would rotate, then back into position.  You could have several cars in the garage, and drive them in, rotate and drive out again forward.  Very cool.

In the garage today is a 1917 Cadillac, a 1916 Milburn Electric car, and a 1912 Pratt-Forty, which I believe was made in Elkhart.



Back in the Wisconsin Dells

We so enjoyed our brief time in the Wisconsin Dells, that we stayed in the same campground again on our way back to Minneapolis.  We also allowed more time for a kayak trip, exploring from downtown Wis Dells up the river to the Holiday Shores Resort and back, about 15 miles.






It was at the very end of this breathtakingly beautiful kayak trip that my phone slipped into the water as I stepped onto the dock.  I traipsed for a LONG time in feet of water and 9 inches of mud, looking for my prodigal phone, and finally giving up.  Some of the pictures apparently uploaded to the cloud, but many others didn’t, seemingly random.  If you find a soggy iPhone floating around your neighborhood, give me a call.  Sigh.




Leave a Reply