Sunday, July 19, 2015

To the Beach - Indiana Dunes Style

So here we go - time to explore this neck of the world. The girls have been hankering for a swim so we decided on hitting the dunes in Indiana. I went to these back in the days after college but have not been back since. We did a bit of research and headed out on a Tuesday morning a bit after rush hour - that did not help much - traffic in Chicago sucks. Fortunately we had all day and so were not in a rush. We arrived at the dunes park visitor center and got the details about which beach/dune was the best for what we wanted as there are many in this stretch of State and National Parks. West End beach seemed to be the best option so after lunch at a neat old train depot that always wanted to be a hot dog stand and eventually got its wish, we hist the beach. Ada was freaked out by some of the scary warning signs posted at the beach showing children dropping into pits in the lake and drowning in tiny white cap waves. This was frustrating to say the least as she has surfed in Bali on considerably sized waves and frolicked in waves and beaches around the world - but the signs were very effective. So I had to leave the beach for a while and let Emmerson and Ada talk it out. When I came back, Ada told me she was ready to go out into the water if I carried her out to the area where most people were swimming. Once she was out, as usual with her, she loved it and did not want to leave. Then we headed up into the dunes which are under stress so most were roped off denying access other than marked trails. Good time.

Merica! One thing the US does do well is car stuff and it is hard to beat an interstate rest stop in the midwest where lots of trucks are hauling stuff.  Japan can maybe compete as far as interesting things offered at the rest over but they do not have nearly as many as the US. 

My newest ride - traded in the Toyota Innova in Manila for an Escaper here in the US. Might be a bit hard for the commute but fortunately I will be taking the train to work. 

Ada doing this pose at the Indiana Dunes Information Center - very helpful folk and a lovely garden.

Emmerson in full squint at the visitor center garden.

The nice lady at the visitor center recommended this hotdog stand when I asked her if the beaches had food vendors. It was just down the road from the beach - which did not have food options so this was a great rec as the girls engines were running near empty at this time.  Really neat place - used to be a train depot. 

Here we are - at the Indiana dunes beach - this one was one of many - West Beach. This was before Ada went into her "refusal to swim mode".

And yes, both sides of this stretch of stat and nationally protected beach and dunes were bookended by multiple massive industrial parks, most, steel factories - which kind of gave it a unique feel - not sure if it was a good feel - but unique - kind of like surfing in the water around the nuclear power plant in Japan as it was warm in the winter ... 

And the other direction, back towards Illinois and the industrial parks of Chicago.

And way off in the distance is Chicago, looking quite like an island rising up out of the lake. 

Finally, Ada obliged to go into the scary waters with s bit of help from daddy and in this case Emmerson. After a while she realized it was not scary at all and was full on into it. 

Dune girls!

It used to be possible to just wander up into the dunes but that destroyed the foliage that protects the dunes so they were blowing away! So now they have trails and such - which were quite nice - venturing up into the dunes.

Built walkway into the dunes.

Dune girls!

I like this one - the lake water was cold and the air was chilly at this time as it was sprinkling but the girls, once again, posed dutifully for daddy.

Ada sarcastically obliging to picture 249 and Emmerson basically saying enough ... 

Look closely at the top of my rocking mini van - seagull hanging out. 

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