Saturday, August 4, 2018

July 8, 2018 Bike Tour of Gary in the Morning, Hiking Tolleston Dune in the Afternoon

My day starts out in Gary, Indiana. About a year ago, I joined the Decay Devils. Today I am part of a bike tour of Gary with the Decay Devils.

Here's our group at the Gary Union Station building. A Facebook post by local artist Wayne Thomas Abell is how I found  out about the Decay Devils. They were cleaning up this abandoned railroad station and turning it into a park space. They asked local artists to contribute by having them add their art to the building and the area around it. 

Union Station

Wayne Thomas Abell's artwork makes for a good slogan.

Our next stop also involves artists. Artists from around the world are being asked to contribute a piece of public artwork on abandoned buildings in Gary. This is the first completed one...

...on the end of abandoned historic row houses.

Just down the street near a park is another long abandoned set of row houses.

We continued west and passed this historic house. This house was bought from a Sears Roebuck Company catalog. This is one of only a few left in northwest Indiana. Sears sold the blueprints and all the material you needed to build your own home. You can read about it here. We rode through several nice neighborhoods on Gary's west side. Sorry I didn't take many photos but I will the next time I join the tour.

This beautiful church is the Cathedral of the Holy Angels.

The mass was just ending when we stopped here. We were invited in and given a tour of the church even though we were dressed for a bike ride. The parishioners were kind to us and proud of their they should be.  

I took this from the organ loft. I've now been in two Catholic churches this year. That might be a record for me. 

A Frank Lloyd Wright house

The once beautiful Gary Methodist Church.

Hopefully something good is in this building's future.

A Jackson 5 Mural just off Broadway near 5th Avenue.

Another group I joined, because I believe in their mission too, is the Sierra Club. The Decay Devils work to protect and preserve our cities historic buildings and the Sierra Club works to protect our natural resources and public land. Pat Coffey of the local Sauk-Calumet chapter of the Sierra Club leads hikes on Summer Sundays. Today's hike is at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore's Tolleston of my favorite trails.

I have hiked here many times with my dogs but never in the summer. It's too hot. So after hiking here in the fall, winter and spring, this will be something new for me. Pat asked for a volunteer to bring up the rear of our group so no one gets left behind. That volunteer was me. So I rarely heard Pat describing the plants and flowers we saw along the trail...

...but I did take pictures.

I call this a double lollipop trail. You hike along the edge of the dunes, then climb up the dune where the trail splits into two interlocking loops. On a map it looks like a double lollipop.

There must have been a lot of these flowers along the hike.

Climbing up the first dune. This is a very easy trail to hike. The ups and downs are more like a kiddie coaster than a thrill ride coaster.

This area is wetlands in the spring. It was pretty dry today.

This was a very friendly group. I had a good time meeting everyone and talking to different people as shifted from front to back as people stopped to take pictures. It was nice to have conversations with people who talk back at me. When I am with my dogs, the conversations are pretty much one sided.

There were several recently downed trees across the trail. We bushwhacked through this one and had to climb over another one.

Most of this hike is in a black oak savanna. This is where the trail splits when you first come up the dune. I took this picture on the way back to the parking lot.

Here's some of the group after the hike. The Tolleston Dune is an inland dune so there is no beach here. West Beach is just across the street but it was hot today and there was no cool breeze coming off of Lake Michigan. If you are interested in joining the Sierra Club, we would love to have you as a member supporting a good cause. Our local chapter information can be found at But you do not have to be a member to join a hike or come to our monthly meetings which always have some kind of short presentation about protecting or visiting a beautiful natural area. Whether or not you are member, please enjoy all of the great public lands in our country...and please support them if you can and always fight to protect them when corporations or our government tries to destroy them.

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