Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thomas & Deborah - From Pizza Pies to Butterflies!

Thursday August  11

Rain, rain, rain since we last wrote. Sunday we left our hotel in Kalamazoo, MI, under cloudy skies, and before we got out of town had to park under a drive-up teller and don our rain gear. Driving was tolerable until it began to pour so much we couldn’t see, couldn’t stop, or navigate. We left US 131 to take refuge in the small Michigan town of Three Rivers.  A kind patron of the pizza parlor pulled up the weather on her iPhone and after lunch the rain had abated enough for us to continue to Chicago. Shortly after we pulled up to our hotel in Chicago the sky opened up again. We didn’t let it stop us from going up to the observation deck at the top of the John Hancock building. The best part of the day, however, was dinner at the Oven Grinder. It’s a little hole-in-the-wall across the street from where the St. Valentines Day Massacre took place. It was recommended to us by some fellow motorcyclists from Chicago. Their pizza is more like a pot pie and everything was delicious and expertly prepared. Another biker eating there with his family insisted we sample his pre-meal flatbread. A GREAT dining experience, and again, it began to pour just as we arrived.

The following day, after a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry at the former Worlds Columbian Exposition of 1893 we set out for Milwaukee, Wisconsin… in the rain. We stayed just outside at a La Quinta Inn for a frugal $61 for the night. We were more than ready to call it a day.

Tuesday, however, the weather was glorious, and before leaving for Madison, we visited the Miller Brewery and Milwaukee County Zoo where a butterfly exhibit was held. We went into a small aviary, careful not to step on anything, and cavorted with some 500 butterflies. You actually have to be inspected before leaving to check for any hitchhikers.

Wednesday, we loaded the bike into the trailer and drove to Elkhart, Indiana, where we dropped off a 2011 Monaco Knight to have the refrigerator exchanged at the request of its new owner. What a nice place! Very friendly people along a beautiful riverfront setting.

A must-see is the Ruthmere house built in 1910 and exquisitely restored/preserved. We also made the short trip to Middlebury and Goshen. In Middlebury we toured the Jayco RV factory. Forty-five percent of the workers are Amish, and they take great pride in their workmanship. (Yes, Indiana, along with Pennsylvania, has a large Amish community; the stores even have hitching posts!) It’s the largest family-owned RV assembly plant in the U.S. and was founded by Lloyd J. Bontrager on his family farm in 1968. They now employ 1200 very dedicated individuals. 

Jayco RVs are available at Paul Evert’s RV Country, of course!

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