I could have stayed in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for the rest of the summer. Not just because it was beautiful, but have I mentioned the 65 to 75 degree weather? But more adventure was down the road, so off we went.
Michigan isn't nearly as big as Texas, but it's still a pretty far drive from the upper end to the very southern end, so we decided to stop in the middle for one night. We were tired and just wanted a safe place to get a good night's sleep, so we didn't do any exploring here. But we found out that Saint Louis, Michigan is the home of the Michigan Church of God Campground. Not only that, but the campground is open to the public, except for the two weeks in August when they hold their camp meeting. Our family will understand why we thought it was kind of special that we got to stay there.
The campground isn't fancy, but it is very level, very neat and tidy, and it looks like there are hookups for at least 100 RV's. And, as you can see, it wasn't crowded at all.
Our next stop was in the very most southern part of Michigan, just outside a little town called Jones. It is very near the Elkhart / Shipshewana area of northern Indiana. This area is famous for two things - RV manufacturers and the Amish community.
Our first outing was in Elkhart, to the RV Hall of Fame and Museum. We had a lot of fun there looking at some of the first RV's ever manufactured.
A motor home from the early 1900's. The interior is all wood.
Do you see the wooden floor? And the wood burning stove?
Looks a little dangerous to me!
And wouldn't you love sitting in these wooden chairs, driving on the mostly dirt and gravel roads of the day? Ouch!
Not exactly a motor home, this is a chauffeur driven "lounge" used to entice Mae West to leave vaudeville and go to Hollywood. On a 1931 Chevrolet base, it's quite elegant.
Running water, hot plate, and upholstered seating.
If you're too young to know who Mae West was, you can look her up here.
(She was scandalous!)
This trailer was custom built in 1939 for the famous aviator, Charles Lindbergh.
Since my children, grandgirls and even my husband have roped me into watching pretty much every super hero movie ever made, I decided to take one for the family and go to...
THE HALL OF HEROES MUSEUM!
Okay okay okay...I admit, there was a time when I was a preteen, that I read every Superman, Batman, and Fantastic Four comic book I could get my hands on. So the Cowboy and I both enjoyed this one. It really was kind of fascinating.
Adam West's Batman costume that he wore for personal appearances.
Every kind of toy imaginable.
The Cowboy Meets Iron Man
The Cowboy and Spiderman
Nic Cage's motorcycle from Ghost Rider.
The car that Iron Man crashed into the first time he tried out his Iron Man suit.
You can find out more about the museum on their official website, here.
Isn't everyone fascinated and a little curious about the Amish? Shipshewana, Indiana is home to a large Amish community. Most of them are still farmers (and they are very good at it!), some work in nearby factories, like the RV industry, and some make a living from tourists like us who want to learn more about them. We were blessed to be find an Amish business that not only offered carriage rides in a real Amish carriage, but also offered an authentic Amish meal in an authentic Amish home with an authentic Amish family!
We all met at 5:00 pm in downtown Shipshewana, 26 tourists in all, and were quickly assigned to our carriages with our Amish drivers. There was about a 20 minute ride to the family home, during which our driver chatted with us about his family, his life, and his community - both the Amish and the "English".
Here's a few of the things that surprised me.
1. Our driver was funny!
2. No one we spoke with had a weird accent.
3. They are completely comfortable with the "English." (That's anyone who isn't Amish.) After all, their neighbors are a mix of Amish and non-Amish, and they deal with each other every day, so I don't know why that surprised me.
4. Amish cooking is a lot like regular old American cooking. But maybe better.
5. Contrary to what I've always heard, they didn't mind us taking their picture. But they won't pose for a picture.
My only disappointment is that I really didn't get a chance to talk to them about their faith. I would have liked to learn more.
The funniest thing that has happened on this trip so far - There were about six carriages for our group. Going back to our original meeting place, our carriage was pretty much in the middle of the group.
Suddenly, a six passenger carriage (part of our group) passed us, with an Amish woman driving. Our driver (who's in his 80's), said, "She likes to show off. She thinks her horse is faster than anyone else's. We'll show here what we can do!" So he clucked to his horse, and suddenly, we were flying, passing every other carriage, one by one! As we passed the lady who had passed us, we all waved. Our driver was so proud of his horse!
On our last day in the area, we decided to go to the Elkhart County Visitor Center. We picked up a map and a CD narration for their Art and Quilt Garden Heritage Driving Tour. The tour is a 90 mile circle traveling through several towns that have painted quilt hangings on barns, homes and business, and flower gardens that look like quilt patterns, and lifelike statues in random places. We didn't make the whole 90 miles, but it was a nice relaxing way to end our time there. The CD gave directions, and told about the history of the area.
Statue and garden.
Another statue, this one in front of the post office.
Another quilt garden.
Statue in front a restaurant.
Today we are camping near Williamstown, Kentucky. But, more about that later!
Today has been a long day, and I'm off to bed now.
Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 106:1.
Father, I am so thankful for this opportunity to see the world and the peoples that You have created. Help me to spread Your Name as we travel. Amen.