Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chicago Trip (5) 2010

We had a busy day. First we went to a clinic to have Doreen’s blood checked. From there we visited our friends Susie and Kurt.
Our next stop was Aldi, the discount store. We bought some groceries.
I could not resist visiting my old neighborhood in Des Plaines. Willow Park has improved a bit. When Claudia was small we ice skated there. Our house is gone; in its place is a large condo complex.

Then we went to Wilmette, a town North of Chicago. There we toured the Baha’i Temple. It is a very beautiful building.

Today we had a super day. First we visited Jack and Roberta at their house. Jack worked with me at General Fire Extinguisher.
Then Gertrud invited Gisela and Klaus, and Ilse and Wolfgang to have lunch with us at a very good restaurant. We had a delicious meal, and afterwards had dessert at Gertrud and Helmut’s house.
It was wonderful to be with old friends.

After having breakfast with Gertrud and Helmut we left the Chicago area. Helmut had prepared Swedish pancakes, they are like crepes. I asked for the recipe.
We stopped in South Bend, Indiana and visited the Studebaker Museum. All the men in the family were blacksmiths. The Studebaker brothers started making wagons, then electric cars and later on automobiles. They were very successful before World War II.
During the war they built vehicles for the military and aircraft engines.
In 1963 the company closed its doors. 7,000 people, in South Bend, lost their jobs.

For the night we stopped at the Moose Lodge in Goshen, Indiana. We have never seen a lodge like this before. They have over 100 camp sites, there is a large pond, and they have two separate buildings with bars.

Today we went to Elkhart to the RV/Motorhome Hall of Fame and Museum. In Elkhart and Goshen are a lot of companies which build recreational vehicles.
At the museum they have some of the oldest camping trailers and motorhomes.
We also went to Coachmen Industries, the maker of our motorhome. I tried to get another storage bay installed. The door with lock is there, but nothing behind. Since the company was sold, I was given information who to contact.
Our next stop was Middlebury, where we visited an Amish Cheese Factory. Northern Indiana has a lot of Amish people.
On the highways one encounters a lot of horse and buggies.
At the Red Barn we spent some time in Amish stores. They make beautiful wooden objects, like carved pictures and furniture.

We left Elkhart at 8:30 AM and arrived at Fort Wayne at 10:00 AM. After some house cleaning and lunch we drove to Auburn, to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, the Home of the Classics . The museum is housed in the former Auburn Automobile Company headquarters and factory showroom, an elegant 1930s Art Deco building.
I knew about the Cord and Duesenberg luxury cars, but did not know that Auburn cars existed and were a popular brand until about 1936.
E. L. Cord had taken over the Auburn Automobile Company and merged it with the Duesenberg Automobile and Motor Company.
The museum has many fine cars on display, some were owned by the rich and famous.

The Fort Wayne Elks Lodge is located next to a golf course. Our motorhome is standing on the edge of the driving range. There are yellow golf balls all over the area.
When I got up this morning I watched the golfers on the driving range trying to propel the balls all the way to the end of the golf course.

Today was a relaxing day. Doreen slept until 9:30 AM. At 10:40 we left for my cousin Waltraud and her husband Larry’s house.
We had lunch at a nice Chinese restaurant and afterward went back to their house for some socializing.
It brought back memories from the time we grew up in Staden, a tiny medieval village.

This was another driving day. We left Fort Wayne at 6:30 AM and made good time. When we arrived at Sellersburg, Indiana, our planed stop, it was still early and we decided to keep rolling.
We stopped in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, and spent part of the afternoon at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill.
The Shakers, a religious sect, came from England in the 1770’s, settling in New England . Pleasant Hill was established in 1805. In 1910 the village officially closed and the last Pleasant Hill Shaker died in 1923.
The Shakers practiced celibacy; I could have told them that it would not work.
We listened to several docents, and listened to a lady sing some of the hymns and songs the Shakers loved.
They were called Shakers because of the moves they made during the church services.
We visited some of the buildings and saw the furniture they had made.

Our next stop was Mt. Vernon, Kentucky, where we stayed at the Renfro Valley RV Park. The RV Park is part of a little old village, with two large halls for entertainment.It is a Passport America Park and we have to pay only half price, $16.50. We have full hook ups plus cable television.

We left the RV Park at 8:30 AM and arrived in Corbin, Kentucky at 10:00 AM, just in time when the Colonel Harland Sanders Café and Museum opened for the day.
This is the birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
I met Colonel Sanders when I worked for Continental Can Company. He came to inspect the manufacturing facilities. At the time we made products for Kentucky Fried Chicken. He looked just like we see him on the pictures, with white suit and black cane.

The drive through the Kentucky and Tennessee hills was spectacular. Pictures we took just do not show it. We could not stop where the view was the best.

When we entered Tennessee, Dolly Parton greeted us.

We found a RV Park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. RV Parks do not honor Passport America the last two weeks in October. The Craft Fair is going on and people come for the fall colors.
The town is crowded with people and cars. It was tough to go through town with the motorhome.I got lost.The GPS brought me to a large school yard.I asked a school bus driver for directions. When I was back in the motorhome a police car came and the officer told me that this does happpen very  often. He told me to follow him. I think the school is new and the road across the creek disappeared.

Today nothing worked out right. It had rained all night. Fortunately it stopped by 6:00 AM.
Since the site for the motorhome was gravel, I had to put wood under the hydraulic jacks. Without the wood the jacks dug into the gravel.
It was still dark when I worked outside, getting ready to move. I made sure this time not to leave the wood behind.
Doreen drove the car and I the motorhome to a spot with enough light to attach the car to the motorhome. I missed the place.
Instead of going near the office of the park I ended up in a small street near the RV Park. Since there was traffic I had to keep moving. I could not see Doreen anymore, and I started to worry. Her cell phone and purse were in the motorhome.
I stopped at a street with enough room to park and waited. Doreen found me.
The plan was to go through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Since it was still foggy we had to go around the park, on Interstate 40.

We had a tough time finding the Moose Lodge in Ashville, North Carolina. They had changed the entrance to the property and the GPS guided us through real small streets. Doreen had white knuckles from holding on tight. Finally I stopped and asked for directions.
After setting up the motorhome we went to see Biltmore, the Vanterbilt Mansion. The last time I was here, parking was free and one could see the building and the gardens. They charged only for going inside. Now the charge is $60.00. Since I saw both inside and outside already we skipped the whole thing. Here is a picture I took in 2004.

At 2:00 PM the sun came out and we decided to go on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The fall colors are
at their peak now. There was a haze over the mountains though, that is why they are called Smokey Mountains.

I had planned to visit also Grandfather Mountain and Chimney Rock. For some reason I thought they were located on the parkway. I was wrong. Now I have to show Doreen my pictures from 2004.

Grandfather Mountain

Chimney Rock

On the way home we went up Mt. Mitchell.

It was not a perfect day, but the Blue Ridge Mountains kept us in awe. The ride was just exhilarating.

We left Ashville at 8:00 AM and were in Cherokee, North Carolina at 9:00 AM. From there we entered Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Highway 441 goes though the park. We drove the 30 miles without any problems. We were early and found enough room, for the motorhome with car, at the look outs.
Traffic going north was fine, I could go slowly. It was different going south. There was one continuous line of vehicles. A lot of people want to see the fall colors in the mountains.
When we left the park, there were lines of cars and tour buses from different roads trying to enter.
I had taken side roads from Ashville to Cherokee. Doreen loved the small towns on the way.
Now we are at the Moose Lodge in Nashville, Tennessee.

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