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Sat. June 7 to Fri. June 13- South Bend IN

Saturday- We ran over to the Farmers Market early in the morning. We bought broccoli, strawberries,corn, bacon and ribs. We headed back to the apartment where  we maneuvered our bikes to the car and went to Howard Park to ride the North River bike trail. We rode for a little over an hour and about 8 miles total. Here is the St. Joseph River in downtown South Bend, facing north.

St. Josph River in South Bend

St. Joseph Rive in South Bend looking south over the fish ladder

Above, facing south.



Above is the race course for white water rafting. They are not sending a lot of water this direction currently. We hope to see some of the races while we are here.

Howard Park (below) with the St. Joseph river in the background.

Howard Park South Bend

We returned home, ate lunch, took a nap, walked the dogs, cooked dinner and watched more of ‘Game of Thrones’.

Sunday- Laundry day. At lunch time we went to the Greek Festival at St. Andrews Greek Orthodox Church. Bob had a cheese pie and wanted Greek beer, but they had run out. I had a very good Gyro, which Bob ended up finishing.

We left there and drove north on Ironwood Drive into Michigan. We went to check out Spalding Lake RV Park. It is much less expensive than the KOA, $30 vs. $56 per night. We think we will go there with the RV when we are ready to leave. We stopped in at Family Video to drop off the Game of Thrones Season 2 discs and pick up the Season 3 discs. Season 3 was still in the ‘new’ section, so they were not packaged as a set. Still, at our 30 days of half price, we were able to get the 5 discs for $5.50, still a really good deal.

We returned to the apartment and settled in for a short nap. We ate dinner, watched the first disc, and went to bed early.

Monday- The alarm went off at 5:00. We were out the door at 5:50, having showered, eaten breakfast, walked and fed the dogs. We drove to the airport where the South Side Train Station is located. We purchased round trip tickets out of the machine and boarded the train. ($1 for 18 hours of parking at the airport.) The train left the station promptly at 6:32. We traveled west with an expected arrival time of 8:08 AM. We gained an hour, as we crossed from EST into CST. In Michigan City, the train picked up more cars. We only started with 3 and ended with about 8 cars. We started up again and were stopped for an Amtrak train crossing our path. That put us behind by 8 minutes. By the time we arrived in Chicago’s Millennium station, the train was only behind by 7 minutes. The conductor walked through the train giving ‘late passes’ to anyone who needed them for work.

We walked out of the station, turned right on Michigan Ave, and went to the information center. It was 8:30 by this time and they did not open until 9:00. So we crossed the street going to a Dunkin Doughnuts for a bagel. I have had a $5 gift card from PSN, the agency I worked with in Maryland, in my wallet for four years. So we used that with $0.38 cents left over.

At  9, we went to the Visitor Center where we signed up for the Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co. Signature tour.  We walked across the street to Millennium Park .

Heading towards Millennium Park, Chicago

We checked in with their employee. The bus was going to be about 15 minutes, so we went into the park. Our goal was to visit “The Cloud Gate”,  more affectionately knows as “The Bean”.

The Bean- Millennium Park- Chicago

The Bean- Millennium Park- Chicago

In The Bean, you can see the famous Chicago skyline. We raced back just in time to climb up into the double decker bus. Millennium Park was stop 1 on the tour.

We traveled through a terrible traffic jam, due to repaving.  Our tour bus guide, who was pretty good, named Brandon, explained about the various buildings. Here is the newest, Trump Tower.

Trump Tower

Chicago is known for its architecture. They have modern, post-modern, art deco, gothic, and  Chicago School. If there is a different building built, it is usually copied. Notice the P missing in Trump above, it just has not been put up yet. The holes are there. Our tour guide said that Chicago is upset about the Trump letters.  {From tomorrows Wall Street Journal: “A 5-Letter Word for Outrage” Donald Trump is causing an aesthetic hubbub in Chicago with five simple letters: TRUMP. The developer is fending off critics of a sign that is being added to the most visible façade of the Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago, Chicago’s second tallest building. …..The sign spells out Mr. Trumps name in 20 ft. high stainless steel letters that face the Chicago River. The letters span two mechanical floors of the building,cover 2800 sq.ft.,of space in total and will be illuminated by LED lights at night. “ }. Wow, we are right there in the middle of a Trump dispute!

Here are some of the other buildings.

Chicago skyline

Chicago skyline

Chicago Skyline

Chicago Skyline

Chicago Skyline

In the round building above, the bottom floors are the parking garage! You can see the cars parked. This was stop 2, Michigan Avenue Bridge. We stayed on the bus.

The canal was built to mimic Paris, with the type of bridge, the lights and the statues.

Chicago Skyline

Above is obviously the Chicago Theater. Below is the old Marshall Fields building which is now Macy’s. Stop 3 was Block Thirty Seven where you can get off the visit the theater. 

Macy's is now in the Marsall Field store

Next is the Palmer Building. A Mr. Palmer built this for his very young wife. It is now a Target store. Stop 4 was the Art Institute, famous for its collection of French Impressionist paintings. Stop 5 was the Hilton Chicago. Located in this area was Buddy Guys famous blues club, the Spertus Museum and the Photography museum. 

Target in the Palmer Building

Another view of the half people

The other side of Millennium Park. In the area you can see half people statues. The trees are smaller as there had been an outbreak of Ash Bore Beatles which killed off the trees. On the other side of the park there are old growth trees which were treated. Chicago ran out of money and could not treat all of the trees,  so these are new trees.

We passed the planetarium. There were great views, but we were moving too fast to take pictures of the Navy Pier and the shoreline. Stop 5 was the Museum Campus, which hosts  the Field Museum of Natural History, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Planetarium.


We passed Soldier Field. From the bus, I could not get a really good picture of it. What a mess it is! It looks like someone landed a flying sauce on a Roman ruin. The Bears organization decided that the stadium was too small. So they decided to ‘enlarge it’. The kept the original outside of the stadium, and ended up losing seats in the new  stadium. Very poor planning, as the stadium is now to small to host a Super Bowl. Although I can’t imagine why they would want to have a Super Bowl in cold, windy Chicago in February!  Stop 7 was the Sheraton Hotel.

Soldier Field

The next stop was the Navy Pier, stop 8. We got off the bus here.


Inside Navy Pier

There was a children’s museum, lots of kiosks selling everything, a food court, and our destination, the stain glass museum. (free)


There had to be 100 stain glass windows in the display which seemed to go on forever! Here are just a few.  Below is sharks tooth.

Sharks tooth



Above is Tiffany’s Four Seasons.




Above was my favorite, dedicated to Printers. Not a Tiffany, but neat anyway. They were not all old, here are two new ones.




The ones above are very intricate with lots of tiny pieces.

Next we walked outside to the Landshark Beer Garden. The Garden is primarily open in the evenings. Wed and Sat they have bands playing. They opened for food at 11, and we were hungry by this time, as our bodies were saying it was noon. So we stopped and had the special, fried shrimp with French fries.

Landshark Beer Garden

From here we could see the Chicago Lighthouse and the skyline.

The lighthouse

Chicago from the pier

We walked back down the pier to pick up the bus again. On our way, we stopped to pick up a free sample bag of popcorn from Garrett popcorn;  the tour company had given us a coupon. The popcorn was good, but the price was outrageous. $50 for a 2 lb. tin, $30  for 1lb. We enjoyed the free sample.

Each time we got on and off the bus, we had a different tour guide. Brandon, the first one, was the best. The rest were mediocre and very loud! Below is the Million Dollar Mile. Stop 9. This is where there used to be the really high end stores. There are some, but they are interwoven with stores which are not as high end. There is one block, off the mile, where the really high end stores are located. If you wander in to look around they will charge you for wasting their time!


Below is the “water tower”, which was left after the Chicago Fire, as it is made of limestone and the rest of the buildings were made of wood. Stop 10

The water tower Water Tower

We hopped off the bus again, to go to the top of the John Hancock Observatory to the “360 degree Chicago”  view. $18 each.  Stop 11.The view is of 4 states, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. Not to mention Lake Michigan. But first, I took this picture of this church. It was in the movie “My Best Friends Wedding” starring Julia Roberts. Chicago is a movie town. There have been over 70  movies shot here. There is a movie tour, as well as a Mafia tour and water architecture tours.

Church from My Best Friends Wedding staring Julie Roberts

Navy Pier from the Water Tower Place

The Navy Pier, east view. The tall black building is where Opra used to live. She had two floors. She wanted to open the ceiling and put in a circular staircase connecting the two floors but they would not let her do it, so she moved out.

Another Lighthouse

Above, this building was out in the bay. We are not sure what it is. We initially thought it was a lighthouse, but in looking at the picture, it is not a lighthouse.

View to the north

Above is the view to the north. In the right corner is a beach, and people were actually swimming. It was in the high 60’s, low 70’s, sunny,windy, but the water is in the 50’s. Brrrr!

Above the clouds

We were above the clouds! Below, western view.

View to the west

Looking sown at the water tower

Above, the water tower from above, south view. Below are people in “The Tilt”. You can see by their feet, how the deck tilts out.


Bob decided that he wanted to do “The Tilt”. $5. Good for him, nothing could make me do it! I don’t like heights! He ended up being the only person at this time



Their picture was much better, but we did not want to pay $25 for it! Bob said you are laying right on the window. He really enjoyed the experience.

We left there and hopped on the next bus that went by. Here is a huge two story  McDonalds. Mickey D’s started in Chicago. There was also the Rain Forest Café and Hard Rock. Stop 12. The last stop was the Skydeck Chicago which is located in the Willis tower, formerly, the Sears Tower.


We took the bus back to the Millennium Park stop , where we left the tour. We looked for somewhere to purchase subs for the trip home, but could not find anything. It was time to return to the train. We went into the station and stopped at a Subway and picked up subs for dinner. We knew to arrive early for the train, as it is a commuter. We had to walk all the way down the platform to the first car. We knew that they drop off cars along the way and we wanted to be in the right car to get to South Bend. The train filled up with people standing. We were glad we got there early so that we had seats the entire trip. The train left the station promptly at 4:02 CST. We arrived back in South Bend at 7:37 EST. We raced back to the apartment to walk the poor dogs who had not been out all day. They tolerate staying long periods very well and we had no issues. We don’t like to leave them for that long very often. This is only the second time we have left them for over 8 hours. We were really tired, but had a great day.

Tuesday– Today was a rainy day. We washed sheets, towels and went grocery shopping. After lunch, I went to the Family History Center to work on some Genealogy. Bob stayed behind and cooked dog food.

I left the center at 4:15, after teaching some Mormons how to access the internet from their laptops and how to open,  enlarge and move around in Ancestry.com’s images. Easy to do, but no one else knew how to do it!  I was glad to assist as they let you use their Centers for free. We ate dinner and watched more Game of Thrones.

Wednesday- Another rainy day. I made phone calls to set up Vet appts. and grooming for the dogs. I did not get a call about Mahjongg, so I didn’t get to play today.

After lunch, we went to Kohl’s as they had golf shirts for Bob on sale. I also bought a pair of shoes. Then we went next door to Famous Footwear and Bob bought a new pair of shoes also.

We went to Staples then Walgreens. Just as we arrived at Walgreens the skies opened up. We made it inside, made our purchase, and stood outside waiting for the rain to let up. Each time a car drove into the parking lot, it started raining harder. Finally, the thunderstorm passed.

Our final stop was at Aldi’s a discount supermarket. Meat for the dogs food was on sale, so we bought 4 lb.s and some canned green beans for them also at $0.48. Walmart is $0.68.  We returned home, and settled in for the evening.

Thursday-  Our original plan was to go to Ft. Wayne today, but the weather is not cooperating. It is a miserable day, with fog and rain this morning and predicted for into the afternoon. So we contacted Megan and asked to visit the MH today instead of tomorrow.

She was oaky with that, so we went to Nappanee. They had not made as much progress on the MH as they thought that they would. Some of the parts have not arrived yet from Alfateers in California.

The drivers side now has the new siding. The tiles are removed from the floor, but there is some glue that they cannot seem to get up. So they have been grinding it. The McMillers think that the previous owner had a problem with the tiles and popped new ones in, using a different adhesive.

The wood frame is there for the cabinet around the refrigerator. They had hoped to be dropping the MH off tomorrow for painting, but that has changed to next week., tentatively on Wednesday.

We left and went to Middlebury for lunch at Essenhaus Restaurant, where we had eaten in 2010. We had a nice lunch, and continued on to Shipshewana. I looked again at the valences that I am interested in purchasing. I like the pattern, but I do not like the colors. Bob tried to look the company up on the internet, but we think they are out of business. The gal in the shop said that they had bought the leftover stock.

We looked in some of the other stores, and finally left, retuning home on the toll road, stopping at Family Video to drop off the Season 3 Game of Thrones discs. We watched some of season 4 on the DVR, as the guys we are subletting from had recorded some of the episodes. We completed all of Game of Thrones that they had on the DVR, 6 episodes, so we are missing the end of Season 4. Game of Thrones is addicting. It has several very complicated plots going on, with a lot of gruesome deaths.Interestingly, they knock off a lot of the main characters. You never know who is going to make it through an episode. 

Friday- We left the apartment a little before 8 AM, driving south on Hwy 31 to Hwy 30 east. Our destination was Ft. Wayne for the German Fest celebration.  It took a little less than two hours to arrive in Ft. Wayne.

Our first stop was at Brookside, located on the campus of the University of St. Francis. Brookdale, Ft. Wayne Indiana

This “cottage” was built in 1889 by industrialist John Henry Bass (1835-1922). It was located on 225 acres.  He hired local architects to build a Richardsonian Romanesque summer cottage. The families winter home was located about 10 miles from this site and is no longer standing. After the house was built, he decided to dam the stream to create Mirror Lake, which was dug around the north, east, and south sides of the house to enhance the setting.

A gas explosion in the basement ignited a fire in 1902 leaving only a portion of the masonry veneer standing. The house was completely rebuilt by the summer of 1903. The interior was redone, costing $82,000 about the same cost as building the house.

The Sisters of Saint Francis of Perpetual Adoration bought the home and 65 acres from the family in 1944. The sisters moved what was then Saint Francis College from Lafayette, IN. The mansion was used as the library until 2006.

The mansion was completely renovated to the original post fire structure in 2010, costing 5.5 million dollars, money the sisters raised through donations. The mansion is listed  as the John H. Bass Mansion with the National Register of Historic Places.

‘’Along the Heritage Trail


Behind the mansion

John Bass, Fort Wayne’s greatest industrialist

By Tom Castaldi

John Henry Bass began an industrial career in Fort Wayne at the young age of 17. By 1900, Bass was known as Fort Wayne’s greatest industrialist. His mansion, called “Brookside” on the west side of town, was the finest residence of its kind in the region. On its grounds was a livestock menagerie including elk, buffalo, huge Clydesdale horses and imported Galloway cattle. Today, the esteemed estate serves as a campus administration building for the University of Saint Francis.

Bass, born in Salem, Ky., in 1835, was the son of Ohio Valley settlers from Virginia and North Carolina who had strong sympathies for the South.  In 1852, Bass arrived in Fort Wayne with a few dollars to his name and took a job working as a grocery clerk while studying bookkeeping at night school. He audited books for Samuel and William Edsall during the time they were building the Wabash Railroad from the Ohio Line to the Wabash River. The next year he joined his younger brother Sion Bass in a machine shop operation doing business as Jones, Bass and Company at the site of the present-day post office on South Clinton Street where John worked as a bookkeeper from 1854 to 1857.

By 1857, John Bass had used his small amount of capital from the machine shop to buy and sell land on the Iowa frontier. When he returned to Fort Wayne, he had $15,000 in cash and land holdings worth more than $50,000. Jones, Bass and Company was sold to the railroad, marking the beginning of the huge Pennsylvania Railroad Shops. With the profits, the Bass brothers and Samuel Hanna started another small foundry and machine business.

While leading his regiment in the opening battles of the Civil War, Sion Bass was mortally wounded at the 1862 Battle of Shiloh. That same year, John Bass purchased his partners’ interests in the company and established the Bass Foundry and Machine Works, locating the first plant on the southern side of what was later known as the Pennsylvania Railroad.  This company at first specialized in the manufacture of axles and wheels for the railroad, which were used across the tracks in the construction of cars and locomotives at the Pennsy Shops. Because of the war, huge profits came to the Bass Foundry. Within 10 years, the company and its affiliates had become the nation’s largest manufacturer of rolling equipment for trains.

Soon after the war ended, Bass married into the respected, old southern Lightfoot family. Laura Lightfoot was a descendant of 17th century settlers of Virginia and was closely related to the family of Robert E. Lee, the great Confederate general. Laura was 13 years younger than John and a resident of Falmouth, Ky., near Cincinnati when they met. Laura and John Bass rose to the top of Fort Wayne society in the four decades after the Civil War.
Bass founded the St. Louis Car Wheel Company in 1869 and, in the next two decades, sought to extend his control over his competition by seizing the natural resources that supplied his raw materials for production.  So, by 1875, he also owned high-grade iron ore mines in Alabama and Tennessee, and he established a major ironworks in Chicago in 1873 taking advantage of the ideal building opportunities following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

In addition to foundries, machine shops and mines, John Bass was one of a group that purchased the Wabash-Erie Canal Saint Joseph River feeder line as a means of conveying water to the city when the topic of waterworks was first considered. He was also one of the organizers of the Fort Wayne Organ Company later known as the Packard Piano Company and the Citizens Street Railway Company, the first trolley company in Fort Wayne.  From 1887 to 1917, Bass was president of the First National Bank of Fort Wayne, a precursor of the Fort Wayne National Bank, the present-day PNC Bank.

The center of his fortune, however, was the great Bass Foundry. At its height, the company employed 2,500 workers who produced not only railroad axles and wheels, but also everything from huge steam engines, entire power plants and boilers to vaults and jailhouse doors. When John Bass died in 1922 at Brookside, he was hailed as Fort Wayne’s greatest industrialist.”  http://fortwaynemonthly.fortwayne.com/?q=article/behind-the-mansion     These Midwest entrepreneurs really helped to build our great country!

We arrived at the University and could see the mansion. We had to drive around the back to get to the parking on a campus street. We walked up to the mansion and there were no signs. So we wandered around looking in the windows. Finally, we could see someone sitting in an office working on a computer. We found an open door and walked in going “hello, hello..”. Out popped Sister Margaret from Mr. Bass’s Den, which now serves as her office.

She greeted us an told us we could do a self tour of the first and third floor. They have a pamphlet with info about the house and each room on the tour. They also have docent tours, but advance reservations are required.

Sister Margaret’s office, Bass’s Den, is fashioned in a Byzantine style. The mural over the fireplace is a refection of Mr. Bass’s belonging to the Masons.

Mosaic in Mr. Bass''sen

The fireplace is designed with bright tiles, including pink!

Fireplace in Mr. Bass's Den

If you look closely in the mural, there are the Jewish stars. On the mantle are crosses. Below is the side door for the wood storage cabinet.

Mr. Bass's den

The house has incredible intricate wood carving. The floor was a beautiful parquet.

Our second stop was in the Reception Hall, which is of the English Tudor Style. There are Tiffany like chandeliers and scones, all that are original. Look at the oak ceiling.

Chandilier and celing in Grand Foyer

The side door entrance is concave (this is where we entered).

Circular stairway in the Grand Foyer with curved door and stain glass. Here is the fireplace. The base is a mosaic with tiny little pieces.

Fireplace in grand hall.

Here is a section of the floor. All of this was done by hand, obviously by skilled wood workers.

Floor detail in Grand Foyer

The reception all was dark. The next room we entered was the Louis XIV Drawing Room. This room was very light.

Louis XIV Drawing Room with Austrian Curtains

The curtains are Austrian.

Ceiling in Louis XIV Drawing Room

Fireplace in Louis XiV Drawing Room


The next room was the library, with the original furniture and replicated wall coverings.

Library with orginal furnitureThe wall coverings a reproductions of the original

The floor design in this room.

More floor

An elevator was installed with the entrance through this room, so there is a window that has been removed. The next room is the Moorish Room. This is a transition room with a large stain glass window.

Stain glass window in the Morrish Room

If you look to the right, there is a door sill then a space. We could not figure this out, as there is no pocket door here, it is on the far side of this space. We finally decided that it was a way to transition the curve of the building.

The next room is the dining room.

Dining room

The mural on the right ( and there is matching murals between the windows on the left) is of a hunting theme.

Mural in dining room

Back looking towards the Moorish Room is the door.



Above, note the different design on the floor.


On the far side of the room was the entrance to the kitchen, which was in another round turret. Note Bob holding the rounded door.

Curved door to the kitchen

The kitchen was three rooms, but nothing special.

To the left of where Bob is standing, behind the fireplace is the Flower Conservatory. Originally this room had a glass ceiling. It was very bright, without the glass ceiling. It had been used by one of the granddaughters as an artist studio.

Sun porch

The view is overlooking the lake. The room was one of five greenhouses on the estate.

We walked back through to the entrance hallway and climbed the stairs to the second floor landing. The landing had a three-foot intricate stencil encircling the entire hallway, which was meticulously restored by hand. This floor has offices and we were not allowed on the floor, although I did snap a picture of the hallway fireplace. There was also a large cabinet, but the light was so bright I could not get a picture. It had a lot of religious items on the shelves. This floor has offices and a conference/media room.  The second floor had all the bedrooms. 

Upstairs landing fireplace

We continued up the stairs to the third floor. Here is the stairway from the top landing. 

Circular banister, looking down from top floor

There were three matching stain glass windows. With the light I could not take the picture of them, but you will be able to see them from the picture of the front of the house.

The Billiard Room was next stop on our tour were we found this mural.

Mural in billiard room 

Finally, we stopped in the ballroom. Here is the ceiling with a painting of the Eight Greek Goddesses from mythology.

Ballroom on top floor with the eight nymphs of Greek Mythology dancing in clouds

Off of the ballroom were two card rooms.

card room off the ballroom.

There was a exit sign so we took the back stairs down to the second floor and walked through to the front stairs. We thanked Sister Margaret and went outside to take more pictures of the outside of the building. Below is the right side of the back of the house with the covered entrance.

House from the back

Below is the back with showing the outside of the flower conservatory.

House from the back/side

A small part of the lake behind the house

Above is a small part of the lake. Below is the left side of the house, facing the Louis XVI Drawing Room.

Side of the house facing the Lousi XIV Drawing Room

I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful this mansion was, as the detail is extraordinary.

We left and went to take the DeBrands Chocolate Factory tour. We arrived to find that they only did tours on Tues and Thus at 10. The chocolate was outrageously expensive. We purchased one piece for $3.50 and split it. It was better than Hershey’s and not as good as Swiss chocolate.

By this time it was almost 12, so we headed over to the German Fest. We paid the $4 to park, and since we were early, we easily found a parking space.

Ft. Wayne

Beer tent

What a waste of time that was! They only had brats and BBQ sandwiches. We decided to leave and go to the German Restaurant, Das Schnitzlehaus. Ft. Wayne brags about their German immigrant history. The restaurant was not run by German decedents, it was a Hispanic couple. My schnitzel was good, but the gravy tasted like it came out of a jar. The spatzle was the worst we have ever had. Bob’s brat was good, but he hated his spatzle, also. His red cabbage was mediocre.  The restaurant was located next to an elementary school, so they did not have a liquor license. No beer for Bob!

We drove past the Genealogy Library, which is very well known. We may return with the Escapees SKP Genies in the future. We decided to go north to St. Joe to Sechler’s Pickles. They had been closed when we were in this area last. You can taste some of their pickles. We bought jars of Orange Pickles and Lemon Pickles.

We drove out to I 69 through Auburn , driving north to the toll road, and back to South Bend. We returned to happy dogs. We ate dinner and watched some of the shows we have recorded on the DVR.

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