We got up early and drove up to Miller Beach, Indiana, where my sister and her family live. They bought the house last year as a retreat from their busy lives in Chicago, and decided to move there permanently. It’s one of those best- kept-secret communities on the beach near the Dunes National Lakeshore, along Lake Michigan. The community is surrounded by remnants of Gary, Indiana, now a part of the great Rust Belt circling the lakes in the Midwest.
We stopped off at the Cahokia Mounds in south Illinois to visit a beautifully designed little museum that described the civilization of this, the oldest and most elaborate society of native Americans in our history. We walked the mounds and imagined what these pyramidal structures would have been like 900 years ago when this prehistoric city was thriving.
A few more stops: one small town was hosting a street fair so we walked that and then had “the best catfish in Illinois” at a local luncheonette. And, finally, the last few Route 66 attractions before we would turn east and leave that highway for good.
We arrived in Miller just in time for a quick swim before Marianne returned home from a day-long orientation for her teaching program. She is about to change careers from corporate law to teaching middle school and I couldn’t be happier for her or more proud of her courage to follow her dreams after a successful 20+ year career. In addition to that, she was leaving the following morning to embark on a 450 mile, week-long bike ride across Iowa with 14,000 of her best friends. By now she has completed more than half the trip, and in good time.
We stayed at the beach house until Tuesday morning. This was to be our mini-vacation. We went into Chicago to meet an old friend Sunday, and spent Monday taking a long bike ride on a rail trail, then soaking up the sun on the beach and swimming in the silken waters of Lake Michigan. We bar-b-que-d both nights, and we were ready to hit the road again on Tuesday.