The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Friday, March 20, 2009

Segment 1, Day 3 East Chicago, IN>Portage, IN 15 miles

High of 57 degrees.

Since I knew I'd have to catch a ride to get onto the other side of the highways from my hotel, I walked the beach as far as I could before catching a taxi. This first photo is Jeorse Park which butted up against the hotel/casino property and stretched to the distant steel mill and railroad yard.

After walking the beach and back, I caught a taxi into the center of nearby Gary.

The best thing about Gary is this massive sculptural tribute to the steel industry there.

After hustling through the center of the town, I trekked out US 12/20 for about six tough miles to get to a road that would finally shoot me back out to the lake.

It was all steel land I had to skirt here. And even from a mile or two away, I could hear the thrumming of that industry. I cannot imagine working within the walls of those steel mills. When the mill was built in Gary, it was the largest steel mill in the world.

It was torturous to visit so many bookstores along the way and not be able to buy any books (since I'd have to carry them on my back the rest of the way). I did give in, though, at 57th Street Books and purchased a collection of short stories by Stuart Dybek. He writes stories
set in Chicago, so it was good reading them while I was passing through that region. By the time I got to Gary, I had finished the book and it was extra weight on my back. Thankfully, I came across a 'Books for Charity' drop box along US12 (of all places) and could donate this book so it had a life after me. I hope Mr. Dybek approves.

Shortly after heading north again toward the lake, I entered the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore area. I made my way up to Marquette Beach. I could not stop smiling when I saw the first stretch of sand.

This wide stretch of beach is bookended by steel mills. It is odd to look out at the miles of lake stretching from the shore, then to glance left or right to see the billowing smoke from the mills.

It is an area with a strange mixture of nature's beauty and man's attempt to conquer, control, tame and use that very nature for his own purposes.

1 comment:

  1. My Dad is from Gary (well, Hobart) and all I can say is I'm glad you didn't walk through there at night, woman. *g*

    Love reading these!