Day 8: September 3, 2011
Mostly Indiana
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I spent the night at the south edge of Grand Rapids and reached some pleasant two-lane after just a bit of city driving. The bikers were at Moline. The train was in Kalamazoo with some mild city traffic. Did you notice that's an Amtrak passenger train? I really don't get to see many of those.

At South Bend, Indiana, I briefly thought there was a big accident in front of me but soon figured out that the smoke was from a big commercial BBQ grill in a parking lot and the traffic congestion was from a lot of sports fans. I'd timed my arrival to coincide with a Notre Dame football game.

But I eventually made it through the pack then ventured about a half mile off of the Dixie Highway. The National Studebaker Museum shares its location and admissions desk with the Center for History whose premier attraction is the J. D. Oliver mansion, Copshaholm. I've been to the Studebaker museum a couple of times but the last tour of the mansion begins at 2:00 and I've always been too late. Dale, a hard core Oliver tractor fan, was particularly disappointed when he and I missed the tour on our stop in 2009. I made it today and learned that interior photographs are not permitted.

There are actually two houses on the tour. The first is a "worker's house" furnished to represent the home of a Polish worker in the 1930s. There are some nicely landscaped gardens behind Copshaholm and the guide told us the grounds see a wedding almost every week. The area at the end of the long covered walkway is a favorite spot for that sort of thing. From there we rounded the corner and entered the house and that was the end of the photos. J.D. Oliver, the son of the inventor of the chilled plow and the man who drove the Oliver Company to its great success, moved into his dream home at the very start of 1897. His daughter, Catherine, was the last to live there. When she died in 1970, the next generation donated the mansion to the historical society after removing just a few items. The way it is is the way it was.

Tri-Way Drive-In started in 1953 with one screen. It now has four plus a miniature golf course that is open even when the theater is not. The name comes from its proximity to three US highways. It is on US-31 and about three miles from both US-6 and US-30.

The three miles that lead to US-30 also lead to the town of Plymouth where the Blueberry Festival was in progress. Part of me really wanted to stop but parking looked to be a hassle and the festival was off in some park area so didn't pull me in visually. I kind of regret it already but I drove right on by.

I didn't drive by the Char-Bett. I drove in. The restaurant is named for founders Charley & Betty Streu. I dined in the car then did a small walkabout with a lemon ice cream cone. Both dinner and dessert were extremely good.

The day's last stop was at Riverside Park in Logansport to see the circa-1885 Dentzel carousel. The organ had just been converted -- at significant cost -- from rolls to electronic control and had developed an annoying whistle in the process. That will no doubt be taken care of soon but for now, the folks who run the carousel have to silence it from time to time to preserve sanity. Besides the wonderful carousel, the park contains a small train, a miniature golf course, and a skate board/bicycle area. One of the boys there told me that at first you had to wear a helmet and sign a waiver a to use the ramps but that didn't last long. "What happened?", I asked. "Nobody came."

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