Indiana Dunes National and State Parks

It was a mostly sight-seeing day yesterday. It appears a dark and stormy day in most of my pictures, but it was actually quite nice. There was no rain, and it was very windy and a little chilly. We needed jackets, for sure. We first drove to the state beach access point, which is probably within walking distance, but we were driving.

Looking out across the rough lake waters, we could see the city of Chicago skyline. Cool! It was hard to stop taking pictures of this, as you'll see in a minute.

Looking off in the other direction (east), it looked like this. With such rough and dangerous water, the beach was abandoned for all but these Oregon tourists. There was a contingent of gulls on the beach. (I'm told by my birding friend, Judy, that they are "gulls," not "seagulls." Noted.)

They all had their heads tucked under their wings. I can't say I blame them. The wind was fierce. I had my ear-warming headband on.

Behind where we were standing was the Pavilion. 

Walking around to the front of the structure, it was impressive, and large. It was hard to back up enough to capture the whole thing in a single frame. There is a restaurant inside. It was open for lunch and dinner.

We decided to go inside. We wanted to look at the menu, and the building itself turned out to be quite interesting. Who sees a quilt in this fancy brick work?

Inside, there was a long timeline, and I'm sharing just a few of the points along the line. First, the building originally opened in 1930.

Once again, the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps was noted. I have much more to show you about the work they did in Hocking Hills State Park, but we're still setting up the time-traveling machine. I promise I'm going to tell you all about it eventually.

The state park has been in existence for a very long time. The national park wasn't designated until 2019, making it one of our newest national parks.

As it turns out, there is no visitor center for the state park. It has been converted into a "nature center." We didn't go, opting instead to head to the national park visitor center just down the road.

We needed to figure out this two-park park with some maps, and we were, of course, in search of a refrigerator magnet and shot glass. There were no shot glasses, but I did score a refrigerator magnet. The day was getting off to a good start. 

We got the lay of the land, and I took a picture of the map there, showing the two parks together. The state park is surrounded in dark green by the national park. I've indicated the location of the state park with a red arrow in the image below. We are camped at the state park.

Here's an inset of the state park map. I'm sorry these aren't better pictures. There was overhead lighting, making it difficult to avoid getting reflections.

We decided to head to the most westerly point on the map, West Beach.

There, we could look across and see Chicago again. We also noticed two large ships on the lake.

Looking east, it looked like this.

I appreciated this sign, giving the distance to Chicago and the length of Lake Michigan.

Most places we went, we saw these black-eyed Susans. I love their happy faces.

Here's a little information about the dunes. It seems there's more concern over these lake dunes than the ocean dunes where we're used to riding ATV's at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Signs everywhere asked us to protect the dunes and to stay off of them.

Heading to the next stop along our way, we saw this breakwater extending out into the lake. As we drove in, we passed by a massive steel plant.

It was possible to walk out onto the breakwater, but ill advised with these rough waters. You could do it, but then, you'd probably come back with wet clothes and shoes. Waves were crashing up over the barrier.

Inside the structure located there (I neglected to take its picture), there was a sign indicating this had once been a toxic waste site. If you look at the image below, you can see that it is an aerial shot, and you can see the breakwater, just under the words "Acid Ponds."

Here's the story behind it.

And here's the structure that sits there now.

It was apparent that we weren't going to see much different at other points along the lakeshore, and so we headed back to the RV from there. It was time to add Indiana to the side of the RV.

Following up on our hydraulic pump motor issues, Mike has done some additional research. First, he figured out how to override the system manually, and so we won't get stuck dead in the water if we have problems bringing in our slides or raising and lowering the jacks. We ended up making a trip to a hardware store to get a special drill bit with a 90-degree angle. Later in the afternoon, we went to pick up the two parts we'd ordered from an RV supply center. The motor turned out to be the wrong one, but he was able to get a solenoid (don't ask me), and he believes that's where the problem lies. 

This morning, he'll switch out the old solenoid for the new one, and hopefully, we'll be back in business. And these things always turn out to be more hassle than expected, so we're hoping it won't take too long. We have a short drive to our next destination at Starved Rock State Park in Illinois today, and we don't have to check out until 2:00...a nice amount of time to get the job done. And while he's doing that, I should be able to get into the time machine and tell you about some of the stuff we're missing from our time at Hocking Hills. For now...slow-stitching and breakfast. It's looking like a busy day ahead.


Barbara said...

Waste is worse than loss. The time is coming when every person who lays claim to ability will keep the question of waste before him constantly. The scope of thrift is limitless. ~ Thomas A. Edison

Karen said...

Can't comprehend the "before" picture. What exactly is it ?
Sorry, hope I'm not the only one .
Wow! Old man's trail is the best ! Never have seen tunnels on a nature trail!!!

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Wow - it's no wonder that sign warning people not to swim was there. Just a look at those waves should be enough to put anybody off (but that's not to say some idiot would think the sign didn't pertain to them).
Definitely inspiration for a quilt in that brick design.

Janarama said...

When in my 20's, I went to the Indiana Dunes and West Beach many times. Back then we were able to climb the dunes. They sure have spruced up the Pavillion since I've been there.