(Indiana Dunes State Park) The stars aligned Thursday for a wondrous bike ride to this “primitive, beautiful, historic and amazing landscape” where I camped as a member of Boy Scout Troop 607 so many moons ago. Natalie was still on the DL, and I had taken my new bike, Vinnie the Verve, off the trainer and had had him tuned up at Bike Stop in Michigan City, and so when I took delivery of a spiffed-up Vinnie early Thursday afternoon, Todd and Trina said I had picked a perfect, but bitterly cold day for a cycling adventure in the Indiana dunes. I assured them that I had donned my Damart long underwear and along with extra socks and with the right mittens, headgear, shoes and coat. So I was ready for the cold wind off the lake. But before setting out, Trina whipped up a hot bottle of Scratch exercise hydration mix and said it would keep me going in the cold. It did, and then some as I launched from the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center just south of the state park, and headed north along the bike path that follows SR 49.
Save for an ice patch or two, the path was clear and I was warm and properly hydrated with Trina’s mix, and I soon found myself at the entrance to the park where a sign announced that there would be no entrance fees that day. Eureka!!!! I rode to the historic Pavilion and Beach House, took a look at the Chicago skyline on the other side of the lake, and then set off to explore the 2,182-acre park on two wheels. And it was while so doing that I discovered the Prairie Club Fountain outside the Nature Center. A fountain delight if ever there was one, because I have been a member of the Prairie Club since 1974, and we have been siteholders at the Prairie Club’s Camp Hazelhurst since 1986. We live and breathe the Prairie Club’s save-the-dunes ethos, and it was an ethereal moment for me Thursday afternoon to stand at the Prairie Club Fountain and give thanks for our noble predecessors who had worked tirelessly to save the dunes. And then, resolving to continue the good fight, I rode around the park some more and presently found myself back at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center ready to call it one grand day. (For more park information, please visit: dnr.IN.gov) And, here for your viewing pleasure, are some photographic memories of my memorable ride in the dunes: