Even if we weren’t publishing the Gypsy Journal, Miss Terry and I would still be running around the country visiting all of those little out-of-the-way places, small town museums, and historical sites that we write about. I’ve never understood people who buy an RV, go to a campground, and just sit inside and watch TV all day or play on the computer until it’s time to go down the road to the next place. You could do that back home.
People ask me where I find all the places I write about. It’s really easy. Just do a little bit of Internet research on the area where you’re at. Stop at the tourist bureaus and the Chamber of Commerce. Talk to local people. They’ll tell you about places that you never dreamed existed!
One of the popular seminars I do at RV rallies is called 100 Miles From Here. Basically, I put a digital thumbtack on a map on my computer wherever we are staying at, and start going out in circles finding places we can visit within a 100 mile radius, which is about the maximum we want to do on a day trip. You’d be surprised how much there is to see and do. Let me give you an example:
We are currently at Elkhart Campground in Elkhart, Indiana. Right here in Elkhart you can visit the RV Museum, take numerous RV factory tours, tour the Ruthmere Mansion, visit the New York Central Railroad Museum and the Midwest Museum of American Art, and stop by Grace Lawn Cemetery to pay your respects to Avery Brown, the youngest Civil War soldier, who became a drummer boy in the Union Army when he was seven years old.
20 miles west of Elkhart, in South Bend, you can visit the Studebaker National Museum, Notre Dame University, and Knute Rockne’s grave at Highland Cemetery.
25 miles away in Shipshewana you can visit the huge Shipshewana Flea Market, see Amish farms and restaurants, tour the Hudson Car Museum and the Meno/Hopf Amish/Mennonite Visitor Center. Go south 25 miles to Nappanee and you can visit Amish Acres Farm.
Open that circle out to 45 miles and you’ll be in Kendallville, Indiana, home of the fascinating Mid-America Windmill Museum.
50 miles will take you to either the Hesston Steam Museum in Hesston, Indiana, or Colon, Michigan, the Magic Capital of the World.
Expand your horizons to 75 miles and you can visit the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, Indiana. Auburn is also home to the World War II Victory Museum, the Kruse Automotive and Carriage Museum, and the National Automotive and Truck Museum.
90 miles will take you to the Quilters Hall of Fame in Marion, Indiana; or to Peru, Indiana, home of the Grissom Air Museum and two excellent circus museums, along with the birthplace and boyhood home of composer Cole Porter. Or you could go north to Battle Creek, Michigan and visit the grave of abolitionist Sojurner Truth.
And at the 100 mile mark, the maximum distance for our day trips, you will find the Automotive Heritage Museum, in Kokomo, Indiana; Sauder Village Living History Farm in Archbold, Ohio, the Gerald Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and charming Marshsall, Michigan, home to the American Museum of Magic and the Marshall Postal Museum.
That should keep you busy for a while, and I know I missed as many places as I listed. So get out your map, start making those circles from where you are. You’ll be surprised what you might find. It’s a great big country with a whole lot to see and do. Get out and enjoy it!
Thought For The Day – The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.