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Sat. June 21 to Fri. June 27- South Bend/Kalamazoo

Saturday- We were out the door a few minutes after 8 to go to the Farmers Market. We bought fresh Michigan strawberries, lettuce, red pepper, corn,cantaloupe, bananas, broccoli and bacon.

After dropping off our purchases, we went by the video store and dropped off the final episode of House of Cards. We continued north on Hwy. 933 to Hwy. 12 east, to Hwy. 60 northeast. We drove through Cassopolis and Three Rivers.  Michigan and Indiana are pretty flat with good farming land. So when we saw a sign for for Swiss Valley Ski Area in Jones MI, we turned left and drove the 3 miles to take a look.  Swiss Valley runs 7 ski lifts and 11 trails on 60 acres. The base elevation was 975ft. Vertical drop was 225 ft. and peak elevation was 1200 ft. Well, I guess it would be a good learning resort,  but it was not as big as Whitetail.

We back tracked the three miles and continued northeast on Hwy 60 to Hwy. 131 north and into Kalamazoo MI.  There is not much to Kalamazoo. It is a college town, hosting the University of West Michigan. There were two historic houses, both of which are B&B’s. There was a three block long ‘mall’, one block was pedestrian and the other two blocks were one way driving. We didn’t see anything interesting.

W. Michigan Beer Tour-Kalamazoo Mall

We stopped at Andrea’s Café on Michigan Street for lunch. A good choice. Bob had an omelet with hash browns, bacon and toast. I had the #1 special, blueberry bread French toast; both were really good.

Our destination in Kalamazoo was the West Michigan Beer Walking Tour ($19 ea.). We were meeting the tour in the Radisson Hotel restaurant, Old Burdick’s. They had craft beers and some of the tour participants ordered beer while waiting. Bob did not, he figured he was going to have enough beer on the tour!

We had to sign waivers and show our ID’s for the tour. Uh oh! I had taken my drivers license out and put it in my Mahjongg change purse and had forgotten to return it to my wallet. So I have been driving around without my license. Oh well. There were two of us who had forgotten our ID’s, but since we were both obviously over 21, they let us go on the tour. Neither of us were drinking beer anyway.  We had to put on rubber bracelets for tour ID. There were 25 participants on the tour, plus John Liberty and Dan Harper, the guides. John is one of the tour company owners.

At 1 PM, we left the hotel and turned left on Michigan Ave. We walked to the ‘mall’ and continued for one block before we turned right. We walked three blocks, turned right and walked two blocks, turning left and walking two more blocks. Our first brewery was Ruperts, on the corner of Michigan Ave. Seemed like a long way to walk to get a few blocks up Michigan Ave.

This was a dive! Obviously a college bar. It looks better in the pictures than it did ‘live’.

W. Michigan Beer Tour-Ruberts

W. Michigan Beer Tour-Ruberts

The place was dark, dingy, and dirty. The windows were filthy and the bathrooms were disgusting. The ladies room had dirty floors, sink, toilet and there was mold on the walls. UGH!

The redeeming points were the dog and the beer. This was a 198 lb., 6 year old, Mastiff. She was a sweetie! She greeted everyone. Look out for the wagging tail! She stood with her head almost reaching my shoulder.

W. Michigan Beer Tour-Ruberts

After greeting everyone, she laid down. At one point in our hour there, she got up and went looking for Rupert to take her outside and off they went.

Bob ordered  Rupert’s Mastiff Drool Stout, Peanut Butter Porter, and M43 Porter.      Since I do not drink beer, I ordered three for Bob, the  Match the Drapes Amber Ale, Rupert’s Britani’s Cream Ale (BCA)and the Multigrain Mutt. Included in the tour were three samples or one pint, each. Bob liked the stout, the two porters, and the BCA. He did not like the Multi Grain Mutt, he said it tasted like grapefruit juice.

We let after an hour, backtracking two blocks to Gonzo’s BiggDogg Brewing. This was more like it. Gonzo is a real craft brewer with 20 years of experience.  This place was beautiful; bright and sunny, with floor to ceiling windows on three sides, and a nice bar and tables. There were also outside tables with plenty of parking.

The tour group was taken down a corridor, past the bathrooms, through a side of the kitchen, to tables set up in the brewing area. They had their act together! We were each given a 81/2 x 11 sheet of paper with the beers listed. We were given a magic marker to mark which three samples we wanted. Then there were circles on the side for the waiter to place the samples, in order, so you knew what you were drinking. There was a bar menu and the bathrooms were spot less! They also had enough staff to handle the crowd!

Bob had the Vanilla Porter( his favorite there), the  Burning Sun Red, which he also liked, the Magic Trick Hefeweizen, the Nimble Limbo (Occupying the not-oft-traveled realm between Hefe and Dunkle, Nimble Limbo hovers amid agile tones of freshly-sliced bread and nutty toffee), Cloak of Darkness Black IPA, Into the Night Stout, and the ‘Dunnie The Bounder Scotch Ale. Bob was disappointed in the Stout, he liked the Scottish ale, and  the Hefeweizen was good.

We sat with a bi-racial couple, Meg and Pete. Bob and Pete talked about beers and Meg and I talked about RV’ing and her job. She is an international representative for the University and she travels extensively internationally for her job. Friends of her parents are full-timers, so she was really interested in our lifestyle.

After an hour, we left Gonzo’s and walked back down one block, cut through the park, across another block, down another block, crossed Rose Street and continued back to the ‘mall’. We stopped at Tibbs Brewery, which was an extra stop. You had to pay for your own beer here, and Bob decided he did not need the extra beer. The brewery was small, so we crossed the street and looked in a store, while others drank.  Next door to the brewery was an old theater building which was advertising ‘Zappa Plays Zappa, Tour de Frank’. Evidently Frank Zappa’s son has a show he is doing playing his father’s music. It is sponsored by the Zappa Family Trust. and  is scheduled for September 9th, in Kalamazoo,  but he is touring various small towns.

The stop was about 20 minutes. We walked back up the mall, turned right walked a block, turned left and stopped at the beer/movie building. You can stop in and watch current and old movies while drinking local brews.

We walked up another block, where the guides showed us another brewery and a place to purchase beer items(they were showing off their various sponsors). We walked six more blocks to the final brewery on the tour, Bells. Bells was mobbed, with long lines. Dan got the tickets. Bells did not do the samplers for the tour, they just did a pint. Bob had the Amber Ale. He drank about  a quarter of the pint and decided that he was done with beer for the day!   I had water at each of the stops! 

The guides were taking anyone who wanted to go to a new brewery, which had it’s grand opening today, and was not on the tour.  We decided it was late and we needed to return to South Bend. Since this was the end of the actual tour, we walked the six blocks back to the Radisson, where we had left the car in the parking garage. It cost $10.75 for parking! Needless to say, I drove. We figured a driver who did not have her legal license with her beat out a drunk driver!

We drove south on Hwy .131, to the Michigan toll road, taking 1 1/2 hours to return to South Bend. It had taken us 2 hours to get to Kalamazoo, taking the country roads.

About 15 minutes from home, Bob called in an order of Chinese food to J.W. Chen’s. We stopped on the way back to the apartment and picked up the excellent carry out, and arrived home at around 6:45. Bob took the dogs out for a potty break, while I dished out the food. We ate dinner, then Bob took the dogs for a long walk. We were both exhausted, so we fell asleep watching TV.

Sunday-  We left around 10 AM to drive north on Hwy 31 to South Haven MI for the Harbor Fest. The drive took about 1 1/2 hours. Hwy 31 is  a four lane road and some parts were 70 mph.

We were easily able to find a parking space about two blocks from the harbor entrance, up on the hill. There was even a nice, clean restroom in the park, where we found the parking space. We walked down to the festival.

South Haven MI

South Haven MI Harbor Fest

There were the usual vendors with hats, bags, food, jewelry, wood carvings etc. We walked the length of the vendors, stopping to nibble on cheese, jams and salsa’s, and out to the lighthouse.

South Haven MI Harbor Fest


“South Haven Michigan – South Pier Light

The Coast Guard still maintains the light as an active aid to navigation

Constructed with in the early 1870s with $6,000 in congressional appropriations, the South Pier Lighthouse was built as an open 30′ wood tower topped by an octagonal cast iron lantern. The lower deck of the tower was a storage room that contained supplies to maintain the light and was also used as a place of shelter when the light keepers worked on the light. The upper level housed the Fifth Order Fresnel lens for the lantern, made by Parisian glassmakers Barbier and Fenestre.

South Pier Light – circa 1900

To provide safe passage to the structure during foul weather and provide a lifeline for the length of the pier, a 75′ long wooden walkway was constructed.

At the turn of the century, the Army Corps of Engineers invested heavily on improving South Haven’s harbor entrance. New 1,500+ foot long piers were constructed north and south of the Black River channel projected 470′ beyond the natural shoreline.

The South Pier and lighthouse has seen many changes over the years:

  • In 1901, the 30′ wood tower was moved some 250′ to the new pier head with an elevated walkway.
  • Two years later, after 30 years of harsh Lake Michigan weather, the old wood tower was replaced a new 35′ cylindrical metal tower.
  • In 1913 the piers were extended once more, and the tower was moved 425 feet to a new location at the end of the pier.
  • In 1916 a fifty-two foot tall steel range tower was built on the pier some 800 feet inward from the pier head light. Later the range tower was removed.
  • In 1923, the mineral oil-fired lamp was replaced with a 200 watt electric bulb and the hand-operated bellows-type fog horn was replaced by a 1600-pound electrified fog bell.
  • The Fog Bell was replaced by a drone-type fog horn with an audible range of 15 miles in 1937.
  • In 1940, today’s 1200-foot concrete pier was constructed and sometime after that The wood walkway was replaced with an iron system salvaged from a job site in Chicago and like many Great Lakes Lighthouses, the tower was received its distinctive red exterior. Owned by the Historical Association of South Haven, the Lighthouse is more emblematic than necessary as a navigational aid. The Michigan Maritime Museum leases the keeper’s dwelling as a curatorial annex and plans to renovate the property, converting it into a maritime library and the area surrounding the pier is a public park with beach, a picnic area, playground and concessions stand.
    © 2001-2014 SouthHaven.com · Questions or comments? · Privacy Policy
    Published by jAess Media · Vicksburg, MI 49097 http://www.southhaven.com/south-haven-mi-lighthouse.shtml

The beach was very nice. To the north, there were houses. To the south, there was a nice beach with paid parking. More on that later.

South Haven MI Harbor Fest

South Haven MI Harbor Fest

Above and below, looking back into the harbor at the town.

South Haven MI Harbor Fest
We walked back along the water. There was a large area of grass in front of  this band, who were doing a Beatles retrospective. The ‘John Lennon’ singer was very good. The ‘Ringo’, was a bit off key!

South Haven MI Harbor Fest  Beatles music

We stopped for lunch in this nice little café, Capt. Nemo’s. They were slammed right after we arrived, and it took 29 minutes, after it took awhile for us to be waited on, to be served. The food was good though. I had a shrimp Po’boy and Bob had a hamburger with mushroom, onion, Swiss cheese, lettuce and tomato. Both of us had curly fries, which came with the meals.

We walked along the street, looking in the shops. There were a couple of the typical beach stores with T-shirts and beach chairs, but most were really nice shops with great items for sale. We purchased a ‘hot air balloon twist’ to replace the one we bought in 2011 at the Balloon Fiesta, which had faded out. Here are some town scenes. Next time in town we will try Clementine’s, as this seemed very busy.

South Haven MI Harbor Fest

South Haven MI Harbor Fest

South Haven MI

We returned to the car and drove down to the south side beach. The mist had returned.

South Haven MI Harbor Fest

South Haven MI Harbor Fest

Above, this was a play boat, with a slide and people jumping off to swim in the lake.

South Haven MI Harbor Fest
As you can tell from above the water was not really deep.

We continued driving along the hill overlooking Lake Michigan. There were some beautiful houses, directly lake front and in the town. There were also several very nice parks with really nice playgrounds. They must collect a lot of tax money from the tourists to pay for the nice facilities.

We stopped for gas, $2.66, and drove home, arriving at around 4 PM. We have decided that we could spend at least a month in Michigan in the future. There is so much to see and do! We plan to return when we have the chance.  We watched ‘Hunger Games’ the second movie in the series.

Monday-  Today was a quiet day mostly at home. It was raining, hard, most of the day. We did laundry, went grocery shopping between rain storms, dropped off the DVD, ate lunch at home, and took a nap.

In the late afternoon, we started mapping our next trip, determining the route and finding RV parks.  We ate dinner and watched the DVD ‘Non-Stop’. When it was finished, we watched the new TV series on TNT, ‘Last Ship’.

Tuesday- Another rainy day.  We returned the DVD and ate lunch. At 12:00 we left for the Family History Center. We stayed until almost 4:30. I had found a great source for my French Canadian family and was able to document all the way back to the original ancestor who immigrated in the 1600’s. Cool!

We returned home, ate dinner and watched ‘The Num8ers Station’, with John Cusack. Don’t waste  your money, it was pretty lousy.

Wednesday- It’s foggy this morning and hopefully the fog will burn off and it will become sunny. The forecast is for 70’s and a little less humid. We packed up the bikes and left the parking garage at 9 AM, to go to Bremen where we drove by MPC. The MH was still sitting outside, untouched.

We continued on to Nappanee to McMillers and dropped off the bikes and the bike rack. We have friends visiting us over the 4th of July and we needed the spare bedroom cleared for them and the McMillers are letting us store the bikes . Megan told us she had checked on the MH this morning and that they are finishing another job and our MH goes in for the painting  prep this afternoon.

We stopped at Rise ‘n Roll for a doughnut. Rise ‘n Roll started as two Amish women baking and selling breads and pastries off their front porch.  The demand became too much, so they opened a store in Middlebury. They later sold the business and it has expanded to more locations, with the same ladies still working for the company. The store is Amish still, with doughnuts, sandwiches and ice cream. They also sell canned goods and salsa’s.

We returned home, ate lunch and I went to Mahjongg. Bob worked on putting some of the info he had gotten yesterday into the computer. He was surprised to learn that his grandmother Gray and great-aunt Rose had married brothers. I had found the same thing earlier in my family tree, generations ago ,where two daughters and one son who married into another local family, who before this were not relations.

We ate dinner at home and watched ‘Promise Land’ with Matt Damon. It was pretty good.

Thursday- Another foggy morning,with good weather predicted for  later when the fog burns off. We ran to the video store and dropped off the DVD. We ate lunch and Bob took me for my CT and MRI of my left shoulder.

We arrived and gave the info to the admitting folks. We only waited a few minutes and they took us back to a second waiting room. The gal took more information and said, wait, I will be right back. I’m claustrophobic, so I took some Xanax which my MD had ordered for me.

We waited about 10 minutes when a gentleman showed up to ask some of the same questions and to take us back to another waiting area with some changing rooms. The Radiologist had decided that it was really stupid to do a CT and an MRI. I had questioned it also, so I was glad when he told us that they had contacted my MD office and cancelled the CT, deciding to go straight to the MRI. He said that the CT show only the bones and the MRI shows bones and ligaments. No sense wasting time, money and extra radiation on the CT.

We left Bob waiting in this waiting room, and they took me into the fluoroscopy room. The MRI was being done with contrast, for improved visualization of the shoulder. So the Radiologist inserted a needle under the machine to be able to visualize where he was injecting the dye. It did not hurt as much as I had anticipated, but then I was pretty mellow by now with the Xanax. Next we trotted over to the MRI room and proceeded with the 40 minute MRI. 

I have to say I was impressed. They actually had padding on the MRI table and they were able to elevate my legs, so I was able to get up off the table with minimal assistance when the test was completed. In the past, lying on the table had really bothered me, and at the end I had a lot of back pain. This time, no pain at all!

I was mellow, but able to walk with dignity to the car! LOL. Bob drove us home and I laid down on the couch to sleep off the Xanax.

We went to dinner at Weiss Gasthaus German Restaurant in Roseland, just a little north of Notre Dame. The food was excellent and we had a very nice dinner. Bob only had a small beer as he was driving. We returned home and watched TV.

Friday- We had received a call yesterday that our chairs had arrived, so we left around 10 AM and drove to southeast to Nappanee, to Weaver Furniture, to pick up the two chairs.


They will match our table really well! Since they are handmade by the Amish, they will outlast us all!

We stopped at Red Lobster for lunch, as they were advertising Lobster Taco’s. We also had a free coupon for a dessert or appetizer, so we took home a piece of cheesecake with strawberry sauce for later. We returned to the motor home and took a nap. We watched ‘Reasonable Doubt’ with Samuel L. Jackson. it was okay, but I would not watch it again.

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