We left Diamond Caverns RV Park in Park City, KY at 8:30 CST on Monday August 2nd and headed north. Acey’s mileage 75,630.8 and Thor’s 89,919. We spent a good part of the day driving through Indiana.

Lincoln’s Boyhood Home — Benjamin Harrison, America’s Hoosier President

Linda took the wheel for a few hours.

After lunch and more driving, (mostly by Jim) we got to Michigan! We are staying very close to the state line here – and it seems the area is called Michiana!

We arrived at Thousand Trails Bear Cave RV Campground in Buchanan, MI at about 5pm EST, gaining an hour due to the time change. We found a site with 50 amp power and water – but no sewer. The Full hookup sites are mostly taken by annual residents, so they are nearly impossible to use by transients like us. We were fortunate to find a site long enough to accomodate our big rig!

Tuesday we drove 2 1/2 hours to the Chicago area to visit Linda’s Aunt Dee who turned 98 in April! We also got to spend some time with Linda’s cousin Robb and his wife Sandy. It had been quite a few years since we had been together, so it was really great to see them all! We had a nice lunch/brunch at Egg Harbor and then went over to Dee’s place.

Dee showed Linda one of her memory books and we looked at some great pictures from times gone by as Dee remembered stories about the photos.

Here’s my Grandma and Grampa on a date in 1921 not sure who was with them!

My grandma in her wedding dress – 1922

Grandma with 2 month old baby Dee Dee!

Here’s Dee and Linda’s mom – so darling!!

Linda recalled seeing this photo but didn’t know the story behind it! Dee explained that Mother and Daddy were going to attend the dinner for King Gustave of Sweden and his Queen – about 1935 or 36.

Here’s Linda’s mom and Aunt Dee in front of the apartment building on Carmen Avenue where they lived as children; the same place where the above photo of their parents was taken. The “x” indicates the apartment they lived once in. Their grandparents lived above

Here’s Dee’s wedding Day October 7, 1944! Linda’s mom is second from left.

We had such a great visit – and got to meet Bat who has been caregiving for 23 years – after Linda’s uncle passed in 2009, and he has continued with special care for her.

We went back to visit more with Robb and Sandy and had a delicious chicken salad for dinner – and headed back to Buchanan – driving right thru Chicago!

Wednesday we went for a bike ride in Grand Haven on the Van Buren Trail which had some shade.

We rode 10.5 miles today – it was a bit humid and 75F – not too bad… afterward we went to go look at Lake Michigan. A lot of folks were enjoying the beach on this sunny day.

We saw this and wondered if we made a wrong turn…

We walked down the pier to the lighthouse

“Preserving our past enriches our future”

A beautiful day to be out enjoying nature!

After lunch on Thursday we walked around the campground which is on the Saint Joseph River.

There is a small waterfall in the park.

Next to the waterfall was the Bear Cave, for which the campground is named. It seemed to be a bit of a joke – we looked in through the locked gate; it was quite small and had some pallets making a walkway above the wet floor – we opted not to pay the paltry $3.00 tour fee – it didn’t look particularly interesting – or safe. We have seen many larger more interesing caves other places.

We headed off to nearby Mud Lake Bog. It was reported to be “the prettiest nature preserve in Michigan that you didn’t know you were missing” and “This spot belongs on your Michigan Bucket List” However, as we came to the place, the locked gate may have been a clue…

The walkway was quite rickety, so we decided not to continue through the bog on the trail.

There was a wooden observation deck that looked maybe a little more substantial, but still a bit “iffy”. It gave us a hint of what we might see if we could venture in a bit further.

There were no signs saying the area was closed, but the parking area was locked off and the “trail” was, in our opinion, not very safe. Perhaps they need more funding to upgrade the place. And maybe spend $10 for an AREA CLOSED sign.

While we were out, we stopped at Lehman’s Orchard Brewery and sampled some of their tasty brews. We also picked up a bottle of blueberry syrup, a jar of berry cherry jam and fresh blueberry cheesecake.

Friday we drove up to Muskegon to see the USS LST 393 ship. Linda’s father served on LSM 178 during WWII, and there are no LSMs to be seen in the US, but Ted says there is one in Camp Lejeune “in mothballs”. We were curious to see a ship that was like the LSM. The LST (Landing Ship Tank; 327 – 348 ft long, 50 – 55 ft beam) is sort of a bigger “cousin” to the LSM (Landing Ship Medium; 203 ft 6 in long, 34 ft 6 in beam). Here’s a photo of LSM 178 loaded up.

We found this chart showing the layout of a typical LSM.

LSM 152 in the Pacific

LST 393 is one of only 2 such ships remaining in the US of the approximately 1,050 that were built and put into service during WWII. Landing Ships (LS) played an important role during the war. These amphibious ships transported supplies, personnel, tanks and other vehicles and equipment. They could land directly onto shore with no docks or piers. The Navy had commissioned 4 LSVs (Vehicle), 19 LSDs (Dock), 1050+ LSTs (Tank), 558 LSM (Medium), 18 LSM(R) (Medium, Rocket) and some smaller Landing Craft as well. [Here is a link with more info]

The front of the ship opens up and a ramp is lowered to load or unload the ship. There is no need for a dock, except when the ship is a museum!
There were 2 rudders on the LSM.

Berthing deck for the enlisted sailors

The showers were pretty small!

kitchen galley

dining facilities

officers quarters

The Captain had a private shower and head

and a nice bed – no bunk for the big guy!

We went up to the Bridge

and the radio room

there were a couple of gun turrets on the deck

This gun was not identified – the sign was gone…

Looking down the deck from the bridge area, you can see how the ship could haul many vehicles on this deck, as well as in the hold below. There is an elevator to move vehicles between decks. (Where the white square is)

This ship was used as a freighter for several years, hauling cars between Muskegon and Milwaulkee – and then brought here and reoutfitted as originally designed. Here’s a view from the other end!

We visited the engine room, saw the sick bay and many other areas of this ship but took no photos…. the museum had many interesting artifacts and we thought this document was unique – don’t remember seeing this in any of the WWII displays we’ve been to.

They also had a nod to the canines that served in war

Out by the parking lot we saw this sculpture

On our way back to Buchanan, we passed thru Holland and stopped at the New Holland taproom and sampled some of their brews… and raised a toast to our brave Veterans. USA — Home of the free – because of the brave

Saturday it rained most of the day and Linda worked on deleting a bunch of duplicate photos that were not posted to the blog and were taking up space on the website. Webmaster Chris said that the blog is really taking up more space than it ought to…

Sunday we Zoomed with our Sunday School class, packed up lunch and went for a bike ride on the Indiana – Michigan River Valley Trail. We started out in Plym Park.

There was a nice picnic area along the way to stop for lunch.

We rode a little way into Indiana and then turned around – it was getting pretty hot out (84 F) and we had enough of the heat! We rode 13 miles today.

Monday we will leave to head to Manistee, near Traverse City.


4 thoughts on “Michiana”

  1. Linda and Jim, we greatly enjoyed our short time with you. We had a great time over at mom’s and Egg Harbor for brunch. Sure hope we can get together sooner than another 20 some years. You also made mom’s day. We talked later the next day and she loved the time she had with you both and back at her place. Thank you both for making the effort to come over to “dangerous and crazy Chicagoland”. We both really enjoyed it. Maybe next time in Nashville. I have to get down there.

    1. I’m glad we could work it out; it really was great to see you two – and Dee! Maybe we can catch up with you in Montana next year!

  2. What a time you had with the Ridgways. So many happy memories. The LST tour was most thorough, too. I wonder if the dog-bed had such thick sides for cushioning in rough seas? Keep posting!

    1. We are thinking the dog display was just giving mention to the fact that dogs served during the war – and that the “bed” was a sort of mock-up of how a soldier and his dog may have been accomodated on land.

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