IN: Indiana Meanderers

This outing started out on Wednesday looking like April showers in May, but the weather soon got better and it turned out to be another great time at the Shipshewana South Park Campground. The outing, which was May 19-22, was hosted by Bob and Ruth Stoeckley and they did a fantastic job. Shipshewana has always been a fun place to visit and shop and we’ve always enjoyed staying at the South Park Campground. We had at various times during the weekend 10 coaches including Ron & Peggy Campbell, Glen & Janet Gish, Al & Janet Grove, Ron & Tammy Kline, Frank & Monica Lamm, Dorothy Michalak, Gene & Kathy Rieck, Bob & Ruth Stoeckley, and Fred & Carol Thomas. Lori Tindall came for Friday night and Saturday and stayed with Riecks. We also had a guest, Rick Raducha, who came Thursday and Friday but had to leave Saturday morning. His wife Cindy was busy with their grandkids and couldn’t make this outing but hopefully they’ll both be able to join us in June. They live in Wheatfield, Indiana and have a new Winnebago Travato. Rick gave us tours throughout the weekend and it looks to be a pretty nice option for camping!

Man standing outside of a Winnebago Travato

Wednesday we and Stoeckleys arrived and watched it rain for a bit before heading into LaGrange for dinner at Destination 814. The restaurant had only opened a few months ago and although the food was very good the portions were way too big! Plenty of leftovers to bring home. Thursday morning Fred and Bob went to breakfast at the Country Corral. After everyone who was coming in on Thursday had arrived we headed into Middlebury to the Das Dutchman Essenhaus for dinner. There was a huge car show taking place on their property and the parking lot was pretty full. It took some time but 13 of us finally got seated at two tables and had a nice long time to visit before being served our food. After our meal we headed back to the campground for a nice campfire. Friday turned out to be a nice sunny but very windy day with no rain! Several of the “boys” went for breakfast while we ladies slept in. Four of us rode our bikes about 20.5 miles round trip from the campground to Middlebury by way of the Pumpkin Vine Nature Trail. We did a little geocaching along the way and stopped for lunch and drinks at Danny’s Diner. We ate on their outdoor patio and the sandwiches and ice cream were very good! It was a nice bike ride right up until the last half mile which ended up being uphill riding against a killer 30 mph wind. Not nice Mother Nature! But we did all made it back alive to bike again another day.

People on a bike trail

Carol, Rick, Frank and Fred on the trail I heard there was lots of shopping in Shipshewana and sightseeing by others. By early afternoon, Tammy, Campbells, and Lori arrived and we visited until it was time for Ron Kline to cook some hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. We had asked some of the people to bring side dishes or desserts on Friday and the others to do the same on Saturday. So plenty of food was had by all! After dinner at the pavilion we had our Meanderer’s meeting, some played games, and the rest of us enjoyed a nice campfire under starry skies. Saturday we luckily escaped the predicted rain and thunderstorms with only a sprinkle in the afternoon. Ron, Fred, Al, Ron, and Glen went for breakfast at the Country Coral and we “girls” had a fun time at Crafts with Tammy. She had paddle ball paddles for us to color and after we were finished we tried our hands at “paddle balling”. We had lots of fun coloring and talking but I think we were more successful at the decorating part of the craft than the actual playing with our results. Our finished paddle ball crafts Some of us headed into town for lunch and then several went shopping and sightseeing.

Man grilling hamburgers on stove outdoors.

We went with Stoeckley’s and the Lamm’s to the Menno-Hof Museum for a tour where we learned about the beginnings of and the differences between the Hutterites, the Mennonites, and the Amish. Their multi-image presentations and colorful displays were very educational and interesting. We also enjoyed looking through their gift shop which features handcrafted items made by local Amish and Mennonites. Bob and Ruth provided the chili and crackers for dinner and the club members brought side dishes and desserts. Ruth also brought homemade angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream. Then there was dog walking, sheep calling (by Tammy & Lori), and a nice campfire.

Group of men eating breakfast at a restaurant

Sunday morning fall weather crept in and although it wasn’t raining it was pretty cold. We ate our huge, yummy pastries from the Blue Gate Bakery quickly while we visited and said our goodbyes. It was such a great weekend and we would like to thank Bob and Ruth for hosting the outing and for the food they provided. Also thanks to Ron and Tammy for donating the hamburgers, to Ron for his cooking and the campfires, and to Tammy for the fun craft activity. And finally one giant thanks to everyone for coming and bringing yourselves and the side dishes and desserts. We enjoyed seeing you all and are already looking forward to June!

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