1 Year Journey – St. Louis to Elkhart, Indiana, Chicago

We had an appointment at the Forest River factory in Elkhart, Indiana to have several items fixed. The reason we drove it all the way to Elkhart (722 miles) instead of taking it to a local RV repair place, was that there were a couple of defects that need to be taken care of. A couple of screws were trying to protrude through the exterior walls, causing a crack in one of the slide walls. Because the crack was right where several different paint graphics exist, we didn’t really feel comfortable taking it to just anybody bodyshop.

On our way to Indiana, we stopped in St. Louis. It had been several years since we had visited and it was good to be back!

We stayed at the Sundermiere RV Park in St. Charles. It’s a clean park with decent Wi-Fi, but it’s in an unusual location. Note the elevated train tracks in the background. The train really wasn’t that bad. It never blasted the horn and was just a rumble, but never too late at night.

Also, due to the narrow road you have to turn onto that leads to the RV park, we had to turn around and approach the road from the north so that we were making a left turn into the park, which gave us more room to make the turn. This would have been the direction we were coming from anyway, except I had missed a turn on our way here and ended up winding our way through the tight streets of downtown St. Charles, which is NO fun with a 43 foot motorhome towing a vehicle!

On my birthday, we ate at our favorite breakfast place, Uncle Bill’s! Yummm!!

We headed to the zoo for the afternoon. The fall colors were amazing around the art museum! There were a lot of photographers out and about.

When we left St. Louis the next day, we had to dodge several severe storms spreading all the way up to Chicago that had a high potential for producing tornadoes. We did the best we could with routing and luckily were able to drive between different storm cells and only saw a few drops of rain the whole way!

Filling up the tank and also killing some time to let one of the storm cells pass before we head north…

The fall colors in Indiana were beautiful! We felt like we were getting a taste of what it would be like to see the farther northeastern states in the fall.

Our appointment with Forest River was for two weeks, which meant we had to get everything out of the RV we would need for that amount of time. That’s a lot of stuff when you’re homeschooling two kids and working remotely! It took a couple of trips to the hotel. We didn’t want to lose everything in our fridge, and not knowing if the fridge would have power during the repairs we had to haul all of our food to the hotel also (which also meant having to get a hotel with a full fridge). All of our food had to go to the hotel in coolers.

We left the RV at the Elkhart Campground for one night as we moved into a hotel. The campground is right next door to Total Value RV, where we bought the RV a year ago!

We settled in at the residence Inn, located in Mishawaka, IN. We are very close to the Michigan border as well as the Lake Michigan shoreline.

The kids love riding the luggage cart!

The next morning, we dropped the RV off at Forest River. We hope to get back soon, but it could be up to two weeks.

My brother-in-law found an awesome place to eat really good burgers called the Flippin Cow, so we went there one night. Really neat place!

Wow… Amazing food!!! The mozzarella cheese “nugs” were out of this world!

I had the Stella Moo steak burger, which is their award winning burger…man, what a burger! I was in pain that night after eating so much!

I hadn’t had this kind of root beer before and it was really good!

So so so so good!

We saw this neat old limo one night. The kids thought it was pretty cool!

We got a peak at our RV while it was being worked on.

Elkhart is home to a lot of RV and trailer manufacturers. The factories and dealers are like Starbucks in every corner! It’s common to see many big factory buildings with tons of RV parts stacked on racks outside. There are also lots of metal fabrication shops.

Need a job in the RV industry?

We ate at a fun Mexican restaurant called Salsa’s!

We visited the RV/Motorhome Hall of Fame, which was really interesting! It was so neat to see some of the earliest RVs!

This was my favorite RV! It was designed by a Hollywood cinematographer:

This next RV was owned by the actress Mae West. She lived in New York, and to get her to come to Hollywood to make movies they bought her this RV. She would sit in a rocking chair on the back deck of the RV and wave to her fans.

We then drove through the Notre Dame campus. It really was pretty! $60,000 per year to go here!!

Even though it was only 36° outside, we went to a local park and played with a new Nerf gun and tried out the kids’ new planes.

We went to Chicago one Sunday afternoon!

Our first stop was Restoration Hardware. It’s located in a neighborhood, which was really different. Getting there was a little difficult, because our GPS lost signal when we drove underneath one of the elevated trains (like the Alaskan Viaduct downtown Seattle). When we finally got close to the store, parking was hard to find as we expected. We ended up parking a couple of blocks away. If we had parked closer in a garage, it would have cost over $30! It was neat to walk for a little ways anyway, even if it was only 37° outside! Some of the town houses looked like the one from the Cosby show.

Restoration Hardware looks like any other apartment building in that neighborhood.

But inside it is really slick!

We also made a stop at a three-story Crate & Barrel downtown.

I bet this place has good barbecue!

The drizzly rain and fog made for a neat shot of the city, even if it was shot through a wet car window while driving in traffic!

We originally planned to go to the top of the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), but since it was so foggy and rainy we decided it wasn’t worth $70+ to go to the top and look out into some fog. We will save that for another trip. We had also planned to drive to the house from Home Alone, but with traffic it would have been about 40 minutes north of Chicago. We we’re getting hungry and decided to save that for a sunny day as well.

We tried eating pizza at Gino’s East in downtown Chicago, a famous pizza place, but the only close parking was $23, which just wasn’t worth it. On our way home from Chicago, we stopped off at a really, really awesome pizza place called Miller Pizza. The pizza was absolutely amazing!

We then headed back to our hotel in Mishawaka, IN. I think we spent over $20 in tolls between Mishawaka and Chicago and back! We sure got tired of those.

We’ve been up here for one week now, and hope to get our RV back early this next week. I have a feeling it will be Friday at the earliest, though.


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