For our first day out we planned to make Shipshewana, Indiana our stopping point for the day.
We were there in time to tour Menno-Hof, a museum of the history of the Amish.
It was interesting. There was a film to watch... and also a couple of special effects areas (like a tornado room) but that didn't really seem to fit in with the theme of the museum.
I have always been intrigued with the Amish and their customs and I enjoy seeing their tidy farms and seeing them going about their business in their horse pulled buggies...a common sight in Shipshewana.
We had intended to eat dinner at an Amish restaurant but neither of us were very hungry (from snacking in the car). It was closing time for the shops, too, so we decided to hop back in the car and head north for our drive along the shore of lake Michigan on the second day.
That was a good decision. Look what a lovely area it is!
Wouldn't you think you were in Florida? I imagined the lake would be dark and dreary looking.
We continued up the eastern side of the lake...trying to drive the roads closest to the water and pulling into small towns and villages along the way. Some are big tourist areas, with lots of shops and restaurants. There are state parks with beaches...and lighthouses. Lots to look at!
One attraction we had planned on seeing was the De Zwaan Windmill in Holland, Michigan. It's the only working Dutch windmill in the United States, and the very last windmill allowed to leave the Netherlands.
You don't realize how big it is until you get closer. Those blades are 40 feet long.
You can take a tour of the windmill...up 5 flights of stairs!
That's the big gear inside that is turned by the blades. It stopped turning for just a couple of minutes when the wind died down.
This wheel outside is for turning the top of the windmill so the blades face into the wind.
This is photo is from inside...looking out the window as the blade passes by. There is a working miller here and they do grind flour and corn to sell in their gift shop.
There is a small Dutch village theme park surrounding the windmill. Lovely landscaping but otherwise not a lot to see or do.
Hey wait! That Dutch girl is running away with my husband!
She said she wants to show him her organ?
Oh, it's an antique wooden street organ, built in Amsterdam. It was designed be used in parades.
She played music on the organ using that song book she is holding above. It has punched paper on the order of player piano rolls.
Then we were back on the road visiting more waterfront areas as we headed north.
There were lots of places where people could park along the road beside the beach. So different than in Florida...where the high rises block the beaches.
I finally had to get my feet in the water. First time ever that they have been in Lake Michigan!
I would have sorta liked to go swimming, and my suit was in the car, but I didn't have a towel and sand would have been everywhere.
Our final stop for the day was Ludington, Michigan, where the next day we boarded a car ferry, the SS Badger, for a four hour trip across the lake.
Unfortunately, it was a gray rainy day.
You park your car in the line up and they drive it on for you. The passengers walk on, and up to the upper decks.
We found good seats in a that covered area you can see in the photo above, to the left of those windows. A good spot to watch the loading process.
Motor homes and cars...
The motorcycles were driven on by their owners...
Last of all was a big semi backing in...
And we're off.....
There were activities inside the boat, like bingo games, movies, a snack bar, a gift shop and so forth.
I noticed a lot of people walking around with popcorn buckets and I figured the popcorn must be really good....then I realized all those buckets were empty... and were passed out to those who were feeling sea sick. I quickly lost my hankering for popcorn after that!
It rained a couple of times during the crossing, and the water was a bit choppy. No land in sight for a long time...just like the ocean.
Four hours later the loading process is repeated in reverse, on the other side of the lake, in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. They have a team of young people who run back and forth driving the cars on and off the boat.
And happily, the sun was shining on the Wisconsin side!