You can’t go to South Bend, Indiana without at least thinking about the University of Notre Dame and if you have the time, you have just got to stop by. Sooo, after being in the vicinity more times than I want to admit, we found our way out to the campus.
As soon as you see the gold dome of the “Main Building”, which was built in 1879 and stands as the worlds most recognized campus landmark, you know your close. Parking today was a breeze but I’ll bet you come Fall it would be one heck of a challenge. As it was we had to park at the far end, close by the visitor’s center and bookstore and walk in from there. Like most of the larger campuses it can and was, a good walk to the areas we wanted to see.
High on our list of places to see was the Main Building with its collection of large paintings of Columbus AND the famous dome.
Right next door sits the Norte Dame Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Overall, this was THE structure of magnificence… The exterior was beautiful being covered with marble, but the interior, nothing but amazing.
As soon as you walk in you are taken in with a grandeur that not only takes your breath away but gives you an immediate feeling of peace and comfort.
It is amazing… Just outside of the rear of the cathedral we found one of the two lakes on campus and the famous Norte Dame Grotto.
This Grotto was designed to match the Grotto at Lourdes, France which we visited in 2005 except this one didn’t include the cathedral being built on top of it. It does have one stone that was placed under the figure of Mary’s feet that came from the Grotto of Lourdes. I guess I wanted to start off today’s journal with Norte Dame but that wasn’t the way the day started… We started with our 2nd day at the Studebaker-Center of History Museum again. We couldn’t finish it in one day and it was so good we had to go back for the second. A large part of the Center of History exhibit was a visit to the Oliver mansion. The “Joseph D. Oliver House, also known as “Copshaholm” was built in 1895 by the founder of the Oliver Chilled Plow Works.
The mansion was named for the little Scottish village that Joseph was born in. It has 38 rooms including 9 bathrooms and 14 fireplaces and sits on 2 ½ acres with a few blocks of the center of the city of South Bend. The business that brought the wealth that it took to build a “home” like this was The Oliver Chilled Plow Works. Now before going into what the business did, I wanted to make sure that I made known that the home was built as a “home”, a home for Oliver to go to after a full day at the plant, but also a place for his wife Susan (Doty) to enjoy, entertain guests in, and raise their family. The Oliver’s didn’t entertain a lot as the house wasn’t set up that way but he would have a guest or two come by and meet in his den, someone like the President of the United States…they were good friends. Otherwise the rooms were just the size that the family would feel very comfortable in. Now back to the business of the Chilled Plow Works. It got started in 1853 when Oliver bought into an already existing small foundry. He had worked in a foundry since 1836 but just knew he could do better on his own. The plows used by the farmers in the eastern US prior to 1853 just weren’t doing the job. They would quickly wear out because of friction and they were time consuming because the sticky soils would stick to the plow and not roll off or “scour”. There was a real need for a new plow so Oliver started looking for a process that would work. James Oliver finally developed a process of annealing by rapid chilling of the molten cast plow bottom, which resulted in a bottom that had a thick annealized surface that had far greater wear ability than competing annealized plow bottoms thus, doing very well for himself and his family from that point on. Fact is the last family member to live in the mansion left in 1957 and at that time gave the city of South Bend the mansion, grounds, and ALL furnishings (including dishes, pictures, and ALL) so that the legacy of the Oliver family could live on and on…
Well now I know a little bit more about the Studebaker AND the Studebaker family… Right here, just around the corner in South Bend, Indiana, sitting on the shores of the beautiful St. Joseph River, home to a long lineage of wonderful history, and the very famous University of Notre Dame. Now you can’t say the name Notre Dame without thinking about the legendary football coach Knute Rockne. Well Knute Rockne not only made a name for himself on the football field, he made a name for himself with the Studebaker family and the Studebaker automobile. He was a spokesman and salesperson for the Studebaker automobile factory AND he even had a car that was designed especially for him and the world around Knute Rockne.
Today we spent a FULL day walking the halls and isles of the Studebaker National Museum and Center for History Museum, which are shared in one building. I’ll tell you right now, this was one of THE BEST museums we’ve ever visited…it was “well done !!!”. We spent the first 2/3rd of the day walking through the fantastic Studebakers
and other items that the Studebaker Corporation (the largest wagon manufacturer in the world starting in 1884) manufactured, such as the huge motors that powered the B-17 and the Jeep during WWII to name a few. My number one Studebaker is the 1953 red convertable...amazing car. They also manufactured the horse carriage and the horse LESS carriage. One of the carriages that they had on display for us was the one that President Lincoln took to the Ford’s Theater to see the performance of “Our American Cousin”.
Unfortunately at approximately 10:00 pm, John Wilkes Booth fatally shot President Lincoln. Leaving the museums for the day, we drove down the street about 50 yards for a very good lunch. Tippecanoe Place Restaurant was once the “Tippecanoe Mansion”.
The mansion of the Studebakers is the embodiment of everything great wealth could bring in the late 1800’s AND today it’s a great place to have either lunch or dinner for a surprisingly reasonable price. With a rather small square footage of only 26,000, a finished construction price in 1889 of $250,000, the Clem Studebaker family lived quite well and after we ate, we had a chance to see just how well with a self-guided tour of all 4 floors.
St. Paul’s Memorial United Methodist Church was completed in 1903 after nearly two years of construction.
The church structure was a gift to the congregation from Clement Studebaker and his wife, Ann. After construction started the Studebakers went to Europe and while there they visited and re-visited churches of all ages and types to see if there was some idea that they had left undone back home. In Munich, Germany they came upon a glass works that impressed them very much, so much that they contracted with him to design and build the 30X18’ key window for their church in South Bend. This window shows Peter preaching at Mars Hill in Athens. After returning home Clem became ill and died before the church was finished. Designed into the window we could see where Clem was placed (right side of the picture with a beard and wearing a blue robe) so that he will be forever immortalized.
At the left corner of the sanctuary sits a baptismal font (12th -13th centuries)
that was presented to the church by J.M. Studebaker in loving memory of his brother Clem Studebaker. It is believed to be the oldest baptismal font still used in the US.
_Well we made it to Elkhart, Indiana. Our goal was to set-up at the Goshen Fairgrounds like we did 3 years ago when we were here for a Holiday Rambler gathering but to our surprise, they were just about ready to open with the year’s biggest event…the 4-H Fair. Well darn, now we’re going to have to “look for someplace else”. Biting the bullet a little, we decided on a large and close-in campground in Elkhart. A little bit “spendy” but with the heat and humidity that is still with us, we’re ready to fire-off both of our air-conditioners which means we’ll have to have a 50 amp service available. Our first attention to duty is getting the coach over to the mechanic for our “service” (Oil, filter, and lube). While we were having that taken care of, Louise and I did some exploring. We’ve known that the National RV Museum was located here so what better time than the present to see it. We both really enjoyed the time spent walking the exhibits, especially Louise when she found a cigar smoking friend…
_We did see some amazing RV’s, some from the very modern,
_the present and to the very first RV’s to hit the campgrounds.
_We saw some from the bazar to those that would fit into ANY spot they wanted
_…something I‘ve tried myself without success (as was evident from the dings and scratches prior to the re-painting). Our “Air-Horn” is honked to those that put this together… Nice job !!!
_13 May ‘09 Wednesday
First I have to tell you that Saturday mornings are the nuts for finding something interesting on satellite TV. Boring, Boring, Boring…
OK, there are more important things to do on a Saturday morning, but it was raining heavily and is really wet outside so we’re sitting it out for the sun that is supposed to come out soon.
Well it’s been a while since I last wrote in this blog, so I’ll try and catch up a little. On the 1st of May we pulled into Goshen, Indiana for a week with the HRRV 419 Club/Seminar/Rally. The “419” is a well organized group of Holiday Rambler owners that started a “Special Interest Chapter” interested in the continued maintenance of the Holiday Rambler Diesel Pusher motor home. Seeing as how we own one of those “diesel pushers”, we decided that we would most likely find this rally to be of high interest to us. There were about 250 motor homes that showed up for this gathering and for most of those here, this wasn’t the first time attending. This gathering of HRRV 419 takes place annually and is always here in Goshen. It’s been Goshen because of the central area of the states, and because the Holiday Rambler factory was located just a few miles away. In the good ole days, the factory was well attended at the rally and able to teach and handle a lot of the needs of those that had a warrantee problem or just need a helping hand. On a daily basis, Louise and I had a medley of classes we could take from entry level to advanced convection cooking to lubricating and changing the oil on the motor home. One of my favorite gatherings was the “round table” discussion. Overall there were about 8 different round table discussions so we all chose the one that fit the age and type of HR motor home that we owned…it was really well done and I learned a lot about “our” coach. As always when we attend gatherings like this, we have met some “new friends”. In parking the motor homes, we were parked pretty close to each other
_and that gave us plenty of time to get to know your neighbors…all good!!! On our way into Indiana we encountered some really rough roads and at one point we even had to pull off the roadway of I-65 and tighten all the screws that hold in our TV. I even noticed that the rear camera was going off and on as we hit some of these craters. I also noticed that our heater/cooling fan was also going off and on at the same time. After we pulled into our next campground I found that we also had a 3 more problems…our electric step wouldn’t extend, we couldn’t dump our air-bags, and we couldn’t extend our jacks. I fired off a quick email to the President of the 419, whom I had not yet met, and wrote him about our problem. The next day I had received 3 emails in regards to our problem and they gave me a quick idea as to what I should look at and most likely fix the problem. I took their information and ran with it. I found the area were the problem was coming from, got everything working, but didn’t find the culprit. The electrical box held the key but it took one of the tech’s from the rally to help me find a large battery type of cable
_that was creating the problem…problem solved!!! We also had plenty of time to explore the surrounding areas of northern Indiana, and especially the Amish areas close to Goshen/Elkhart. We’ve been traveling through some areas of the Amish since entering into Tennessee and now we’re in the heart of Amish country. I really have to admire the strength and integrity of the Amish and the life they live. As you drive the “red” roads (those that show on the map in red as most often the very narrow two lane country roads) you will find the farms of the Amish…
_some small and some much larger. You will always see the hand washed cloths hanging from the clothes line and blowing in the winds of the day, and the constant meeting of the horse and buggy traveling the roads. The family owned businesses that supplement the farming are located in one of the out buildings, and you can find a hand painted sign at roadside telling you what’s available. We saw the fields being tilled using the horses and sit/stand-on plows as we traveled though the farm lands…
_not the same as a large tractor and plow we would see in Washington. We also saw the “one room” school house, with the two out-door potties... Most often, the kids are educated to the 8th grade and then they go full time to the home and become a very important part of the family. We did join a group for an “Amish Family” dinner at one of the larger farms in Nappanee, Indiana. They served us family style and it featured soup and salad, fried chicken, chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, noodles, beans, and fresh made pie for desert. Following the rally, we took a day to replace our rear ladder at one of the shops in Elkhart.
_About a year ago I backed into a medium sized tree and it “squashed” our ladder, so we took this time to have it replaced.
_30 April ‘09
We had enough of a break in the weather yesterday that we finally got out on the water. It had been a long time since we’ve had the kayak on the water, but even with a heavy cloud cover we quickly decided to go for it. Lake Freeman has been a draw ever since we pulled up to its shore, all we had to do was wait and hope for a day or two so that we could put-in. Lake Freeman is part of the Tippecanoe River system, so it has a current and if there is a wind, you’ve got a double fight once you get into the water. Fortunately, two days before we checkout, the wind dropped to a breeze and the water opened up for a very nice paddle. We were out for about 2 hours and really enjoyed ourselves. The only negative of the paddle was as we were coming back across the lake. We were now fighting the current by crossing it and we were being hit with a stronger wind that kept throwing water at us off of the rising paddles. All and all, we had a great day…
Now the day before that, we decided to go see a movie. The problem with going to a movie here is that the only theater in town (Monticello) is showing Hanna Montana. Well that wasn’t the only “Picture House” around so we drove another 30 miles to East and a much larger town. Logansport is about 3 times larger than Monticello and we knew that we could find a theatre complex for sure. Boy were we surprised… Yep, they have a theatre, and it happens to be the same size as the one in Monticello, and it is showing the same movie….NUTS!!!
Today we also had a chance to say "Hi" to some friends that we haven't seen for a loooonnnngggg time. It was really great to make contact with Paul and Denise and we hope to see both of them soon as we journey further East.
Well tomorrow morning we will find our way to Goshen, Indiana and join with the Holiday Ramblerin Ramblers for our rally...lets hope that I learn a lot during the next week.
_26 April ‘09 Sunday
The roads in Indiana have proven to be the worst roads we’ve been on. We were totally surprised by the roughness of the highways, especially on I-65 which we’ve traveled on for some time. They are soooo rough that at one time we had to pull off the highway and tighten all the screws that hold the TV in above our seats. Then I happened to notice that the fan would quit running for awhile and then start up again after we hit another of the bone jarring bumps. Not only would the fan giving us trouble but the back camera was doing the same thing….off/on/off/on… It seems we’ve got a short circuit somewhere and the bumpy roads are not helping. When we pulled into our campground we found out that we really did have a problem. When it came time to “dump the air”, the switch wouldn’t activate and we couldn’t dump. Checking the hydraulic jack’s, they didn’t have electrical power either…then we found that the exterior step wouldn’t extend…”S___t !!!” And of course, we were about as unlevel as we could be. This was turning out to be one of the toughest days we’ve had for some time. The wind was gusting between 15-40mph and the temperature was maintaining a solid 80 degrees.
Well I’ve got to try and find out what kind of problem we’ve got and get it fixed. I started with the wiring under the dash. With 8 screws I’ve got the radio, air/conditioning and fan switch, and 3 other switches all out on the floor. Now I can check the connections on these and follow the wires back under the dashboard. Unfortunately I found NOTHING… Next I started checking all the different electrical boxes in the outside driver’s compartment. Hell there are so many wires that just go no-where that I was just hoping that they weren’t the problem so I left them be.
_Then there was the “hundreds” of fuses…I checked all of them to no avail. Soooo, I put the lid back onto this large fuse/wire box…”WAIT, DID THE STEPS JUST GO OUT???” Yep, they did, all was back. I ran around to the door, got up into the seat to dump the air and…”NOTHING !!!”. Back out and try to do it all again. Well it worked, so I left the lid off the electrical box and everything is working for now. We’ve dumped the air, dropped the jacks, and the step is out…we’re here, comfortable, and trying to find out just what “the problem” is. The wind hasn’t let up one bit over the last 3 days and tonight it is starting to rain just as hard. I was hoping to get our problem under control but I guess we’ll have to wait until we get up to Goshen. In Goshen we’ll have someone that will be of great help and we’ll welcome every bit of it.
Now, who can help with the weather???
_25 April ‘09
After leaving Louisville, our journey heads towards Goshen, Indiana. This route took us through Indianapolis. Now I’ll bet there are very few who would continue through Indianapolis and not find their way to the suburb, Speedway, and the Internationally famous race track, “The Indianapolis Motor Speedway”. Well we took the detour and soon found ourselves going through their museum. I would bet that they have a car from every 500 race that ever took place at the “Brickyard”.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway complex was built in 1909 as a gravel-and-tar track and hosted a few small events before the promoters decided to focus on just one major event. If by chance it had rained prior to or during one of the races, the track would almost become impassable. It did cause a few deaths because of it, so the track was paved with 3.2 million bricks. Even today there’s an area around the finish line that has some of the original bricks. The first “500” was held at the Speedway on Memorial Day, 1911 and who knows how long they will continue.
While we were enjoying ourselves in the museum, we got a call to board a bus for a drive around the track. We joined 8 or 9 others and drove through the gates and onto “The” track. The start of our ride took us through turn 3 and then onto the straight-away… Looking out the front windshield of the bus at the track, showed the straightaway as being FOREVERRR…. The speeds that the Indy cars reach on this length of raceway is amazing and then they have a couple of corners to go through…AMAZING TWICE !!! And then the run towards screaming crowds at The Grandstands, the Pagoda, and then the CHECKERED FLAG.
_ As I was standing at the front window of the bus taking pictures, the driver asked if I wanted to open the door and stick my camera out for a picture….”sure”… He stopped the bus, opened the door, and said with a wink…”Don’t step out”…. Hell, I fell out, it was an accident I swear… so I was “THE” only one that actually got out on the track and it was at the finish line too (we’ve got to keep that a secret..).
_Back at the museum we enjoyed the opportunity to sit in one of the Indy Cars (a very special one…you know, no motor, wood floor/seat…all the necessities).
_Just as exciting as the cars in the museum to me, were the paintings of Leroy Neiman.
_What a talent… We did have a great time, short but good. Well time had come and we had to continue onto Monticello. Our campground for the rest of the week is White Oaks and sits on the shores of Lake Freeman.