Saturday, September 12, 2020

August 29, 2020 The Decay Devil's Historic Preservation Bike Tour of Gary

The Decay Devils, like everyone else, have had to cancel all our events for this year. So we were very happy that over 30 people showed up for our Preservation Bike Tour on August 29th. We started out in the parking lot of the Hudson-Campbell Sports Center. Tyrell is leading the tour and is pictured above explaining the route we plan to ride. My job is to be the trailer of the group so we don't lose anyone. 

We rode east on 5th Avenue. This is the entrance to the Steel Yard where the RailCats play baseball when there isn't a pandemic. 

This is ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen. I believe that artists (musical, culinary, paint, photography, spoken word or written word) are the ones that begin to turn neighborhoods around. ArtHouse is a great example of that idea.

On our ride, we passed this long-closed Amoco gas station. It wasn't part of our tour. I took the picture because I've been repairing gas pumps for the past 35 years. I was also impressed that it was in a neighborhood and not on a main street. You rarely see that nowadays.

We rode south on Rhode Island to E.A. Spaulding Elementary School.

We stopped here for photo opportunities while Tyrell talked about the history of the school.

The next stop was Emerson High School. This building was abandoned in 2008.

This was a groundbreaking school when it opened in 1909. It had a gymnasium, a pool, an auditorium, and a zoo.

Faith Farms is across the street from the Emerson High School building. It is run by the Progressive Community Church which is located next to the farm.

Locally grown produce is available at this location.

I believe you can also pick up fresh eggs here.

The abandoned Gary Post Office.

The Memorial Auditorium, a former National Historic site was being torn down as we rode past it.

Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson played here.

The impressive Parry-Shaw building on Washington Street was our next stop.
There is so much architectural detail on the exterior of this building. 

The Gary Poetry Project boards from several years ago are still up on this building.

New artwork is also being done on this building.

The Gary Water Tower was torn down earlier this year at this location. According to reports, they spent the same amount of money to tear it down as it would have cost to restore it.

The beautiful Cathedral of the Holy Angels is still in use...

...and looking good on a perfect weather day for a bike ride.

Our bike tour continued west on 7th Avenue.

Someone on the tour had an issue with their bike here. So we left the tour here and walked back to the Hudson - Campbell parking lot.
Then we drove here to rejoin the bike tour.

These abandoned row houses have murals on both ends of the block.

This set of row houses on Monroe Street between 4th and 5th Ave have two of my favorite murals on each end.

Our next to last stop is probably Gary's most well-known building, City Methodist Church. 

This is the building where I began my UrbEx adventures.

The same picture in B&W, couldn't decide which one I liked better.

The last stop was at Union Station. Where we toured the grounds and talked about the Decay Devils' plans and ideas for our future.

On behalf of the Decay Devils, I would like to thank everyone who joined our Gary Preservation Bike tour today. We appreciate all the support we receive from the community. We hope to see everyone at the next ride on Sept 26th.

Photo by Tyrell Anderson

We have another bike ride on September 26, 2020, in the Miller Beach section of Gary. There is no cost to join the ride but please RSVP on the link below so we know how many people to expect.

Join us on Sept 26, 2020, from 9am-11am for our Ride to Preservation Nature & Murals Ride. Come learn about our landmarks, art, and future. Please RSVP at

Saturday, August 29, 2020

August 23, 2020 Our Sunday Hike from Mt. Baldy to Central Beach with Sunshine, Sand Dunes & Sand Bars

It's another Sunday morning hike at Mount Baldy. It's going to be a hot one so we got here early. I am constantly amazed by the natural beauty of the Indiana Dunes National Park. You can hike the same trails several times during the year and each hike is completely different. It's not only due to the change of seasons, but it is also how the dunes or the lake changes. Calm days or rough days on the lake, sunshine or overcast, cool breezes or howling winds, these all make a hike here unique. 

As we left the parking lot for the short hike through the forest to the beach, I had no idea how wonderful this hike was going to be.
My clue was the beautiful view from the top of the sand dune above the beach. Even Yeti stopped to take it all in.

Looking west...

...then running down the dune to the east as Christy & Nola are almost on the beach.

Yeti sees Nola & Christy in the water and we're off...

...and in Lake Michigan in what seemed like five giant strides down that sand dune.

The water is crystal clear and 75-80 degrees. This is another beautiful start to our day.

No matter how many times I see my dogs shake themselves dry, it still amuses me.

We hiked east the last time we were here, so we headed west today.

There is a good amount of beach in this area but only half the dune is still here, the beach half has eroded away.

There are still fallen trees everywhere.

Here's a good example of how the have collapsed to their high point along the beaches here.

And some have fallen so long ago that they are now buried on the beach or underwater in the lake.

Here's a branch from a buried tree trunk sticking up through the sand like Carrie's hand at the end of the movie.

Christy & Nola cooling off in the lake. Nola is about to shake herself dry. I tried to Christy to do the same thing but she's no fun.

I laugh every time the dogs do this. When it is hot like today, I stand next to them. It's like a mist sprinkler at the amusement parks.

Yeti loves to climb up on things. As we walked further west, there was less beach and more fallen trees.

It was a bit of an obstacle course at times, but I loved having the beach to ourselves for the most part of this hike. It was a perfect weather day once again.

The dune along "Wild Women Creek" that flows into Lake Michigan.

This creek is the dividing line between Mt. Baldy and Central Beach. Central Beach has been closed since last winter for a good reason. It doesn't exist. There never was a lot of beach here. But when Lake Michigan's water levels started rising, this beach disappeared first. 

Today the sand looks a lot higher on Central Beach than Mt. Baldy, so we continued our hike westbound.

A little perspective on the size of the sand dunes and the huge amount of beach here thanks to the dunes collapsing.

It looks like lots of people have visited Central Beach recently.

This sweet boat is anchored just past the sand bar. You can walk off that boat to shore.

All these dunes have lost most of their vegetation. But this area has these new bright green ball-shaped plants growing on the loose sand slopes. Mother Nature is amazing.

As we get closer to where the Cental Beach trail enters the beach, the beach disappears. But there is a huge sand bar in the lake. So we continue our hike.

The water line is at the base of the dunes. Fallen trees are on the shoreline and in the lake. And this hike just gets better and better in my mind.

Christy & Nola are avoiding trees in the lake ahead of us.

Central Beach has some really big dunes and so many lost trees.
Yeti & I hiked on the sand bar, it was wonderful and provided great views of the dunes.

We almost caught up with the ladies...

But they just kept going on land or water. Yeti has a great creepy shadow here.
There are huge sections of clay exposed on the beach in this area.

I have no explanation why the bottom of this dune is wet while above and below that area is dry.

Maybe it has something to do with the exposed clay.

Besides the huge pieces of clay, there are cinder blocks and concrete on the beach here.

The collapsing dune exposes it's past.

We finally made it to the area of Central Beach where the trail from the parking lots ends at the beach. There always has been broken concrete exposed in the dunes here, but never this much tossed all over the beach.

Just like Mt. Baldy, there is a trail down to the beach here even though the road is closed to the parking lot.

Looking east from Central Beach. Great clouds over Lake Michigan.

Christy & Nola are speeding to the west end of Central beach. The boys are taking our time and enjoying our hike on this lovely morning.

Getting closer...

...we caught up thanks to that tree roadblock.

Then I saw this dripping water and sand creation at the base of the dunes.

My simple mind is fascinated by things like this. Mother Nature is a really good artist.

We only saw these in this area of our hike.

Christy was so happy to be on a black sand beach. She said it was like being in Hawaii.

Obviously, other people have found a way to enjoy Central Beach. 

Once again, a big beach area and an incredibly blue sky.

And Yeti & I have fallen behind again.

Trying to capture a special moment on our hike. I loved the partially buried tree with the sailboat and clouds to fill out the photo.

Interesting art on the beach

The west end of Central Beach. We could have continued through those trees to Lakefront Drive in Beverly Shores. But now we have to hike back over two miles to our car and even with the nice breeze off the lake it is getting hot.

So we cooled off in the lake.

One of us followed Taylor Swift's advice to Shake It Off. Others didn't.

Nola wanted to stay here forever. So did I little girl.

Yeti was insisting we continue on toward Lakeview Beach.

Eventually, we reluctantly headed back to the real world.

But Yeti kept going into the lake. He wanted to stay here too.

Finally, he agreed to head back.

Looks like it's time to go into the lake.

This is like the opposite of an archeological dig, the earth just spits its history out onto the ground for us to see.

More fun on the sand bar.

Two dogs having fun in Lake Michigan. I jokingly call them Spoiled and Rotten. 

Yes, it was as peaceful to be here as it looks. 

There are some really big trees on the beach. The roots on this tree were over six feet high.

We couldn't let the dogs lead through here, they can walk under most of these tree trunks and branches. The two humans are oldtimers and have to walk around them.

Strange sunlight on this but I wanted to show how high the roots are on this fallen tree.

I love the shadow in this picture.

Maybe this cast iron fitting is used to connect piping, but I found it on the beach with nothing else near it.

As usual, the boys fell behind...

...most likely because I can't stop taking pictures of a beautiful day at the beach.

It's a minor miracle I got both dogs to pose at the NPS sign. Maybe next week we can train Christy to look at the camera.