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  • Writer's pictureRandy Smythe

What a couple of days...

Not many scenic pics but never a dull moment since leaving Kentucky

The last shall be first!

So, I was real excited to be seeing my first National Park of the trip (Indiana Dunes) which also happened to be the newest National Park in the country #61 designated as such in February of 2019. Unfortunately, someone forgot to update the signs. It used to be call Indian Dunes National Lakeshore

I don't like to do negative reviews and especially not the first park I see, but I was not impressed. I'm not sure how this was ever approved to be a National Park. If you do get a chance to visit, make sure to spend a good amount of time in the Visitor center reviewing the map with a ranger. Its a hodge podge of trails, dunes, residential communities, steel mills and a nuclear plant, oh and there are dunes but most of them are in Indiana State Park right smack inside the National Park. Maybe its just not ready for prime time because its so new. I would leave this one for last if you are working on your own list. I'll share more on the podcast, just don't want to put it in writing.

Camping is now Glamping - All the Kids are Doing it These Days.

The highlight of the trip so far has been my accommodations. My little slice of heaven for two days. I posted some pictures on Facebook but there is oh so much more to the story.

My room for the last two nights is an 80 year old chicken coop that has been converted into a bedroom complete with a nice, full bed, a refrigerator and microwave. It has barn doors that slide for privacy and netting to keep the summer bugs outside. It was originally a "She Shed" for host Lynn but she soon realized it would be more valuable as a rental.

The property is separated from the host's home and is completely private so you won't mind taking a show outside. The outhouse is actually a full bathroom and a pleasure to use.

The view from the shed is also unbelievable. Once you get settled, it is very hard to leave it for any length of time.

When I set out on this trip, I decided it would be a mixture of hotel nights, Airbnb homes, camping in my car and bumming the occasional night on the couch from a friend or family member. I never thought I would get so lucky as to find this place.

As many of you know I do some genealogy research on my family and my Great Grandmother was born in Berrien County, MI in 1880. So, wanting to maximize the trip I decided one of the stops on the trip should be in Berrien County MI. It just so happened that this "She Shed" was listed on Airbnb in Berrien county and for great price. I couldn't pass it up.

Th story doesn't end there. I could write 5 blog posts on this if I wanted to. Instead I discuss it with Bubba on our upcoming podcast.

When in Niles, Michigan ...

When I arrive in a new town, I like to check-in and then go eat at a local restaurant. No fast-food or national chain restaurant will do. So the first night I get to Niles, where do I go? Taqueria Don Chepe, a traditional Michigander restaurant with the best local cuisine. A guy from California eating Mexican food, go figure.

Niles is also about 20 mins from Notre Dame University in Indiana so it became a must see after I spent some time at the beach.

And this is what I can expect tomorrow morning for one last time.

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