Deb had a day off on Sunday, and we had decided to get up early, have our breakfast and head out toward Chain O'Lakes State Park to check it out for future camping adventures. I woke around 5am did my usual trip to the loo and then headed to the recliner for a bit more of a snooze. I remember hearing Deb's alarm go off, but then i clearly drifted back off to sleep to the sound of the local news. A while later i woke up and heard Deb say - from the kitchen - what i thought was, "Mmm, that's some really great juice."(but later she claimed that she said something about bacon??)...after hearing what i thought was a juice comment, i looked over on the table next to the recliner to see a small glass of juice...oh! how nice!! I drank the bit of orange juice and it was indeed quite nice. I drifted back off to sleep. Another bit later i woke up to find a cup of fresh coffee where the empty juice glass had been. Hmmm. Wow, a girl could get used to this! I took a few sips of the very hot coffee and drifted back off again. Another short bit later i was startled awake by my cute, brown-eyed - butch, delivering my bday breakfast. YUM!! A lovely omelette stuffed with; sautéed onion-green pepper & mushroom, crumbled crisp bacon and colby/jack cheese. Mmmm. The rest of the plate was filled with Deb's fabulous breakfast potatoes. Ohhhh, heaven!! I have no idea how she makes those potatoes, i could never duplicate them, they are amazing!! That's all i know.
After our wonderful breakfast, we got ready to hit the road. Got dressed & refreshed, gathered up extra sweatshirt, pillow for behind back (just in case), knitting bag, and purse and headed out the door. We stopped at a local gas station to purchase a map stricly for Northern Indiana so that we could plan our route better. We decided to take Route 6 all the way across through Westville, Walkerton, Bremen, Nappanee, Syracuse, & Ligonier and then to turn South on Route 9 at Albion until we came to the Chain O'Lakes Entrance. And off we went!
We often take drives like these to go and check out other campgrounds. It makes paying for our Yearly State Park Pass worth the $28. We like to wander our way along different roads looking at houses and yards, Deb's eyes trained to seek out Antique Tractors - my eyes, newly seeking out the local Yarn Shop!! I really enjoyed seeing all of the calves and foals along the way as we drove through Amish Country. I often forget how hilly Indiana is in places, it makes me long to be back in Massachusetts. The area really is in great need of rain. Many of the corn fields we saw had plants that were only about 2 inches high so far, i don't know if they'll make it to "knee high by Fourth O'July" as the saying goes.
When we arrived at Chain O'Lakes, we got the park brochure from the Main Entrance Gatehouse and began to explore the grounds. The park is much larger than the Indiana Dunes State Park that we live near. We drove around past all of the lakes, checked out their cabins, noticed that they have boat rentals, and headed for the campground to check it out. Denied! They would not let us in to drive around during the Holiday Weekend when they were full to capacity! If we wanted to check out the campground we would have to park in their auxiliary parking lot and walk in. Well crap. My mobility being what it is, that's impossible. i offered to stay behind and knit if Deb wanted to walk in and look around, but she thought that would be no fun without me. We did get to look at a few of the sites along the edge and we were able to determine that there are plenty of shade trees, which is always one of my camping criteria since i am a pasty-pale-easy-burn kinda gal. (We did not however, know until today that they do indeed have our beloved 'primitive' camping sites - which are always cheaper and farther away from loud generator-using-mobiles that annoy my peaceful- camping-state-of-mind!! So, YAY !!!!)
After being denied at the campground, we continued our drive through the property and stumbled upon the Nature Center. It was very busy and crowded with lots of people so i opted to mill about by the parking lot while Deb went in. I got out to stretch my legs and read a sign that was posted about "White-Tale Deer" and then i actually fiddle with my cell-phone and figured out how to take outdoor pictures (not that i know how to put them online or anything...) and i took a few closeup pictures of some different wildflowers and of some birdhouses and the funky sky that was looking like rain. Then i went back to the car and was able to knit about 6 rows or so before Deb came back all happy and smiling. She had managed to find some brochures which proved that our back yard is not totally run over with poison ivy!! There is a bit, but not as much as she was dreading. So now she can happily go out and mow the back and not have to worry about becoming an itch monster! She also came back with a handy pamphlet on the wildflowers, i only wish it contained color photos of the plants rather than pencil sketches, but it's better than nothing. According to the pamphlet, the lovely purple, pink & white flowering wildflower plants that we were seeing scattered along the roadside is plant called "Selfheal". It really is lovely, especially in the places where it was the groundcover from the road up a hillside and into the trees. Really wish i'd have had a camera for that view, bummer.
After the Nature Center we wound our way around near the beach and picnic areas which were very lively with families enjoying the fresh air of the day. We were quite lucky to have actually found one lone, empty picnic table and we parked the car and decided we would go and sit a while and enjoy the fresh air while chatting and while i knitted and Deb crocheted. We no sooner had settled ourselves onto the picnic table with our bags and it started to rain. Oh bother! So, since we were both getting hungry, we just got back into the car and decided to head out of the park. We paused only long enough to figure out which route we wanted to take and then off we went. We decided to take 9 to 33 and head toward South Bend where we could stop off at the South Bend Chocolate Company for some Chai and Chocolates and a bit of yarn work. (Hmm, little did i know until searching for this link that there are so many other locations!! Fabulous!) We altered our driving course a bit when i remembered that there is a Chocolate Café with more space and more seating located in downtown Valparaiso not to mention that there is also a LYS somewhere there as well and i wanted to find it!! So we took Route 2 out of South Bend and headed on...Alas, by the time we arrived at the covetted chocolate shop, with it being Sunday evening, it was closed and i'm sure had we found the LYS it too would have been closed as well. We drove around a bit looking for the LYS and never did find it but since that time i've learned that it's within another shop AND either next door to the chocolate shop or 1-2 doors away!!! YIKES!!! Needless to say, there will be another outing before too long.
So, on to the current/first knitting project...i'm making a poncho for my niece Sydney. I know, i know, "a poncho" you say? "Those are on their way back out!"...but i was slow to jump on the poncho wagon and so i'm catching up, so sue me! Sydney's favorite colors once again in case you missed the other post where i got that info out of her, are hot pink and neon green and black. So i had picked up three skeins each of Caron Simply Soft Brites in "watermelon" and "limelight" as the colors for her poncho. I've never worked with Caron yarns before and even though it is acrylic, it's working up very nicely and is very soft to the touch. I'm trying to follow a pattern i found on Lion Brand's website but when i first cast on for the largest of the sizes noted on the pattern, it just didn't seem like it was going to be big enough so i cast on double the amount and it still doesn't seem like it will be big enough for her, last i knew she was wearing girls sized 12 clothing...so i'm hoping it works out!! I'm making a decreasing stipe pattern starting with the hot pink...large stripe of hot pink, very thin stripe of neon green into decreasing large stripe of pink until the pink and green is of even width stripe and then it will go into larger stripes of green with tiny stripes of pink. There is a placemat pattern in the little "how to knit" magazine that i picked up at Hobby Lobby that uses the same striping type pattern and it really looks neat...so i'm hoping it looks neat in a poncho form!! I swear i'll find a way to get a picture of finished item before it gets given away!!
Well, i've been away from my knitting for far too long so i best head back before little elves come and unravel any bit of it. Thanks for stopping by Dear Reader and enjoy your afternoon!!