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Winter Camping

by Richie

Clifty Falls State Park
Madison, Indiana
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We like to squeeze in one last camping trip in early December, and luckily in our region there have been some splendidly warm days to enjoy late in the season. The biggest joy is having a giant state park and hiking trails all to ourselves.

 

Nearby Madison is a truly unique town filled with turn-of-the-century architecture and busy shops. This is Small Town USA that’s done something right – nearly every store was occupied, nary a vacancy to be seen. Madison sports a thriving Main Street of retail and specialty stores, not the dereliction of consignment and pawn shops usually seen in declining mid-west downtown areas.

Madison was bustling on this warm day, and every storefront was decked out for the Christmas season. We saw a kitty in a lolling in a shop window, and I was asked to babysit a poodle named Mr. Right while his owner slipped in for a latte.

Something else that struck me as unusual here in Madison was the proliferation of fraternal organizations. Seems that every corner has a lodge or post of some affiliation –  a few look active, while others have seen better days.

 

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New Harmony

by Richie

Harmonie State Park
New Harmony, Indiana
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We took a drive out to New Harmony, Indiana a couple of weekends ago, and it was well worth the trip. We stayed at nearby Harmonie State Park, and were pleased with the spacious site accommodations and layout of the campground. Electric service is available, but water service is not. Spigots are located throughout to fill your tank. We didn’t consider this a problem, as most campgrounds turn off water service in Fall anyway.

Harmonie is a good-sized park, threaded with many well maintained hiking trails. We spent several hours exploring the woods along easy paths, marveling at the autumn flora. A couple of trails end at a pretty picnic area along the Wabash River.

 

 

Just a few country miles from the state park is the special town of New Harmony. Once the site of a utopian settlement, much like the Shakers, it is now a sweet tourist destination.

We stumbled on several delights in New Harmony, including a large boxwood Labyrinth (which I’ll admit to cheating on a bit), the New Harmony Inn that offers both hotel rooms and cottage rentals, and the splendid Red Geranium Restaurant – a must for brunch!

 

New Harmony also boosts a few unique attractions. The Roofless Church is a walled garden with an unusual pavilion in the center. A museum and gallery is located at the end of town, and there’s a historical library a few blocks away.

New Harmony has a tradition of electric golf carts as a preferred mode of transportation. You’ll see many residents going about their daily business in these carts, with dogs and groceries loaded in the cargo hold. Golf cart and bicycle rentals are available at the Inn. Walkways down to the Wabash River permit electric cart traffic, or you can just hoof it like we did.

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Wander Indiana

by Richie

Columbus, Indiana
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We cruised all the I’s today – Iowa, Illinois, Indiana. This was a big day on the road, and for the first time we couldn’t find a place to camp overnight. We made it to Indianapolis, much farther than I thought we’d have the stamina for, only to be shut out of the two campgrounds in town. Indy doesn’t have a lot of choices, and neither did we. So we had to continue moving south, which kept us on the road well after dark.

It’s been a bit of an adjustment coming from the sparsely populated western states back to the bustling Mid-West. We got used to having the wide open spaces to our self, seeing mostly RVs, motorcycles, and cowboy pickup trucks on the road. It felt like a camaraderie – yeah, we’ve all spat with the rattlesnakes and shat with the grizzlies. There’s dust on our tails from the long, long trail.
But now that we’re back in the citified world, we seem out of place. Rolling slowly along in our cumbersome coach, wearing grubby jeans and a flinty look in our eyes. We get stares instead of a nod, honks instead of a friendly wave.
We left on our Wild West excursion in late summer, and are now returning at harvest time. Farmers are busy with their giant corn picking equipment, leaving the fields shorn and stubbly.

Frequently Asked:
We’ve been asked a bunch of questions about our trip already. Here’s the most popular –
Did you have a good time?

Boy howdy!

Did you meet any interesting people?

No. Two reasons why –
1. Campers are on the move. They pull in, eat dinner, and close the curtains.
2. We’re not friendly.

How did Shadow like being on the road? 
He hardly complained.

 

Didn’t you get on each other’s nerves?
   Seldom was heard a discouraging word.

And then our favorite, from strangers in various towns…

Did you ride that scooter all the way from Kentucky? 
Nope, only halfway!

 

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Lake Rudolf

by Richie

Santa Claus, Indiana
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 H-Hour. D-Day. On our way!
Please assume driving positions.

After a flurry of silly last-minute activity, we finally left town mid-afternoon under dirty blue skies and temperatures in the 90’s. A couple of easy road hours later we arrived at Lake Rudolf RV Resort Park.

The campground is attached to Holiday World, a regionally popular amusement park located in festive Santa Claus, Indiana. As you might expect, Christmas is the main decorating motif around here, and there seems to be no limit to the imaginative use of the theme.

We paid top dollar (a hefty $58) for the “premium site” which turns out to be just a concrete pad. A bit disappointing, but it is an improvement over the unkempt gravel and crabgrass parking of the regular sites. The back of our site has a big drop off, so the scooter is hanging out in space, and won’t be unloaded tonight.
But hey, no worries! We are thrilled to be on the road. We’ve got frosty drinks in our hands, a lovely lake view, and a fully stocked fridge.
The hardest decision of the night has been, “What’s for supper?” Tim decided that a little bit of everything was in order!.
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Lincoln State Park

by Richie

Lincoln City, Indiana
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A State Park & National Memorial Park all together in one handy scooter-ride area.
This was our second trip to this lovely area, and we enjoyed it just as much as last year!

We walked the lake loop trail until we thought the dog would expire from heat exhaustion.
Fortunately, an afternoon storm arrived – giving us all an excuse to nap in the coach for a few hours!

The campground sites are a bit close together for my liking, but there’s plenty to do around the park. Saw a darling little camper – the smallest Fifth Wheel we’ve ever seen. More like a 1/5 wheel!

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