For the third year the Truth Color Tour includes a northern and southern route. Both drives offer pretty scenery, good parks, overlooks of rivers and lakes, and good local places to eat.
There are places to get out of the car to stretch your legs or let your kids or dogs run. There is at least one historical marker on the tour and, of course, some gravel roads. The drive takes about two hours. Some of the roads are best driven slower than the speed limit. But that’s OK; this is a color tour, not a race. Take your time and enjoy yourself, the drive and the trees. And you might want to take walking shoes for TK Lawless Park and the Purgatory Road wilderness area.
FIRST LEG: NORTH FROM BRISTOL
Leave Congdon Park in Bristol northbound on Division (which becomes C.R. 25) and drive 2.2 miles to C.R. 2.
Turn left on C.R. 2, go 1 mile to C.R. 23.
Turn right on C.R. 23, (which becomes Sunset Boulevard) and travel 3 miles to U.S. 12.
Turn left on U.S. 12 and travel 0.2 mile to Birch Road.
A right turn on Birch Road and 2.3 miles gets you to Carter Lake Road.
Turn left on Carter Lake Road and travel 3.7 miles to Union Road.
Turn right on Union Road, travel 1.4 miles through curves until the “T” intersection, then follow Union Road to the right. A sign for Camp Friedenswald marks this intersection.
Continue north 3.4 miles on Union Road to Brownsville Road, turn right on Brownsville and go 0.7 miles to Walnut Road.
Turn left on Walnut Road and go 1 mile to Monkey Run Road.
A half-mile to the right of this intersection is TK Lawless Park, which is the first place your walking shoes might be a good idea. Lawless is a good stopping point, about 20 miles into the tour. The park has decent restrooms, a picnic shelter, a nice park area, walking trails and a mountain bike trail. Some of the walking trails are handicapped accessible. There is also a nice tubing hill, but you probably won’t have an opportunity to use it on this trip.
SECOND LEG: PIZZA AT THE CORNER
Turn left at Monkey Run Road from Walnut Road and go 0.5 mile to Lewis Lake Road.
Turn right on Lewis Lake Road and travel 1 mile to M-60.
Go right again onto M-60 and go 0.5 mile to Born Road.
Turn left on Born and travel 7.8 miles to Shafer Bros. Road. About half a mile north of M-60, Born “T’s” and continues to the right.
For those addicted to historical markers, 2.8 miles down Born Road is your chance to feed that addiction. The intersection of Born and Patterson is Poe’s Corner, featuring a historical marker or two, township offices, a graveyard and a historical church. The corner is named after an early settler, but I don’t want to give away the ending. Where Born Road crosses M-40, it jogs to the left about 100 feet.
At the corner of Born Road and Corey Lake Road, Jake’s Family Pizzeria sits. If pizza is your thing, this might be a good place for a meal. Call (269) 244-9915 for their hours.
THIRD LEG: A BREAK AT THREE RIVERS
Turn left on Shafer Bros. Road and after 1.1 miles turn left on Coon Hollow Road.
Go 0.8 miles; turn right onto West Clear Lake Road.
Travel 1.7 miles to Lone Tree Road; turn left and go 0.5 miles to Lucas Road.
You might notice a language change on signage as you travel north on Lone Tree Road. Relax; you probably haven’t left the country. You’re just passing through the Latvian Garezers Center.
Turn right on Lucas Road, go 0.4 miles to Hoffman Road.
Turn right onto Hoffman Road, travel 5.4 miles and you will find yourself headed into Three Rivers with some choices to make. I would skip the right on U.S. 131 and head into the center of town, but if you are running short of time or interest, U.S. 131 is an option. The food and sights are more interesting in Three Rivers.
Following Hoffman Road across U.S. 131 to Main Street a right turn will take you through downtown Three Rivers. Turn right on U.S. 131 and follow it around the edge of Three Rivers. Following Main Street from Hoffman takes you through a beautiful neighborhood as you enter Three Rivers’ historic and eclectic downtown. There are several local places to eat, shop or recreate. Unfortunately these places are closed Sundays, so Saturday is the best weekend day to visit if you’re thinking of stopping.
Follow Main Street south to Broadway; turn right and head out of Three Rivers.
Turn right onto Broadway and travel 3 miles to Arthur L. Jones Road. About a mile west of Three Rivers along Broadway is Meyer Broadway Park. Picnic facilities, a disc golf course, walking trails and restrooms are available.
Another turn, this one left, onto Arthur L. Jones Road. After 1.4 miles you should see M-60. About a mile south of Broadway on Jones is Corey Lake Road. A half-mile west on Corey Lake Road is the Corey Lake Orchards. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., they will have seasonal fruit and veggies to buy. Saturdays feature brandy tasting in the afternoons. The orchard is online at www.coreylakeorchards.com.
FOURTH LEG: OUT TO NATURE OR BACK TO BRISTOL
Turn right on M-60 go half a mile to Young Prairie Road.
Turn left on Young Prairie Road and go 0.8 mile to Harder Road.
Take a right on Harder Road and go 1.5 miles to Beers Street, an intersection with no signs. A result of budget cutbacks: the Color Tour Guy isn’t sure.
Option 1: No time for back roads
At this point, the Color Tour moves onto dirt roads for several miles. If you don’t want to drive on dirt (or if it is raining) consider this detour:
Rather than turning left onto Beers, continue on Harder Road to M-40.
Turn left on M-40 toward Shavehead Lake Road (fourth intersection, I think).
Take a right on Shavehead Lake Road to Robbins Lake Road.
Turn left on Robbins Lake Road to U.S. 12.
Right on U.S. 12 to Sunset Boulevard and backtrack south to Bristol.
Option 2: Dirt roads and a stroll at the game preserve
If you decide to explore the mostly sign-less and more interesting dirt roads, continue directly from the third step of the fourth leg:
Harder Road and Beers Street is an intersection without a street sign. However, a large white house and red barn are on the corner. Beers runs only to the left. Continue on Beers after it turns to dirt, after a mile.
Take a left onto Beers and go 1.4 miles to the “T” intersection at Preston Road, which is another intersection without a sign. Turn left here.
Follow Preston Road as it winds 0.6 miles southeasterly to another “T” intersection at a large fenced house. Preston Road continues to your left, but you’ll want to turn right to get to Purgatory. Road, that is.
You’ll drive only 2 miles (hardly an eternity) on Purgatory, which quickly bends south, to Millers Mill Road. This is another place where the walking shoes come in. Purgatory Road winds through the middle of the Three Rivers State Game Area. Parking places are spread along the road, so parking for a walk isn’t a problem on the narrow road. Be advised, though: Various hunting seasons are active this time of year. Perhaps hunter orange would be a wise fashion statement to make for this walk. There are no restrooms, water or shelters in the area so bring your own or do without.
The southern end of Purgatory Road signals your return to pavement and civilization. Take a right on Millers Mill Road for a short tenth of a mile to Maple Road.
Turn left on Maple Road, travel 2.1 miles to North River Road. Turn right on North River Road (County Highway 114) and go 1 mile to U.S. 12.
Enjoy this one because it’s your last right turn: onto U.S. 12 and go 0.5 mile to South River Road.
Turn left on South River Road and travel 4.2 miles to the state line, where the road becomes C.R. 25 in Elkhart County.
C.R. 25 swerves west and south, jogs a bit at C.R. 2, and leads you back into Bristol and Congdon Park to end where you started.
The 2012 southern color tour remains the same as last year.
A word of warning: Many of these Kosciusko County roads are narrow, curvy and hilly. Please take the posted speed limits seriously. The posted limits are low but if you are sight seeing it’s wise to slow down more than the posted limit. The locals, your family and, of course, Color Tour Guy will appreciate you getting home safe and sound.
The southern color tour starts in beautiful downtown Leesburg on Van Buren Street. The intersection of S.R. 15 and Van Buren has a Marathon convenience store on the corner where you turn left (if coming from the north) and travel a half-mile to Old S.R. 15.
Cross the railroad tracks to Old 15 and turn right.
A 0.25-mile of travel gets you to Armstrong Road.
Turn left and travel 3.4 miles to road T25, which is marked with stone gates and a sign for the Tippy Ballroom.
Turn left onto good ol’ T25 and travel 0.5 mile to Forest Glen.
Turn right onto Forest Glen travel 1.9 miles and you back are back at Armstrong Road.
Turn left on Armstrong Road and drive 2.0 miles to Sullivan Road.
Turn right on Sullivan and travel 0.8 miles to B48.
Angle right onto B48 and travel 0.3 miles to C.R. 700 E.
Turn right onto C.R. 700 E. and travel 1.3 miles to C.R. 650 E. (C.R. 700 E. winds through the Barbee Lake area and crosses the channel where Big and Little Barbee lakes are joined. There are several places to eat or buy snacks in the area of the bridge, including the Barbee Landing and Danny’s Sports Bar & Pizza, which shares an address with the Barbee Hotel. The hotel has a restaurant with a more formal menu. Local legend has it that Carol Lombard and Clark Gable honeymooned at the hotel and that John Dillenger and Al Capone also frequented the place. Who knew?
Turn left on C.R. 650 E. and 0.1 miles to South Barbee Lake Road.
Turn left onto South Barbee Lake Road and travel 1.5 miles to S.R. 13.
Turn left onto S.R. 13 and travel 2.7 miles to C.R. 500 N. A stoplight marks this corner.
Turn right onto C.R. 500 N. and travel 0.9 miles to C.R. 900 E.
Turn left onto C.R. 900 E. and travel 0.4 miles to Backwater Road.
Turn right onto Backwater and travel 1.2 miles to C.R. 950 E.
Turn left onto C.R. 950 E. and travel 0.6 miles to Epworth Forest Road.
Turn left on to Epworth Forest Road and travel 2.0 miles to Hoss Hill Road.
Turn right onto Hoss Hill Road and travel 2.9 miles to Koher Road South. Hoss Hill Road passes through the Tri-County Fish and Game Area. The road includes about 0.75 miles of gravel that might be washboarded. The road itself is very accessible and doesn’t offer any challenges except for the teeth-rattling and suspension-wearing road surface. The Bass Lake turnoff offers an overlook of a small picturesque lake. Don’t be too alarmed if you hear gunfire in the distance, a lot of gunfire. The Fish and Game Area shooting range is at the north end of the gravel section. If the shooting is getting closer and you are not moving, it might be wise to reconsider this.
Turn right onto Koher Road South and travel 2.3 miles to C.R. 1000 N.
Turn left onto C.R. 1000 N. and travel 0.3 miles to Hatchery Road. (The intersection of C.R. 1000 N. and Hatchery Road offers a convenience store and the official fish hatchery site is about 100 yards south of here. The area includes parking, a picnic area, restrooms at the Natural Resources office and, if memory serves, a small playground.
Turn left onto Hatchery Road and travel 3.0 miles to the intersection of C.R. 1000 N. and C.R. 800 E., where you continue straight.
Continue 3.6 miles to the Vawter Park Road “T” intersection.
Turn left on Vawter Park Road and travel 0.3 miles to S.R. 13.
Turn right onto S.R. 13 and travel about 3 miles to Bowser Road. Bowser Road is on the south edge of Syracuse and the local Burger King is here. Feel free to continue north into Syracuse for food or sightseeing. I recommend Pat’s Chicago Style Dogs if you are searching for sustenance.
Bowser Road turns into C.R. 1200 N. and you travel 2.7 miles to the intersection of C.R. 250 E. This corner has the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, which according to the signs, is on the National Historical Cemetery Registry.
Turn right on C.R. 250 E. and travel 0.2 miles to C.R. 1200 N.
Turn left on C.R. 1200 N. and travel 0.9 miles to C.R. 175 E.
Turn right onto C.R. 175 E. and travel 0.2 miles to Beer Street.
A left turn onto Beer Street takes you into Milford and the official end of the Elkhart Truth 2010 Southern Color Tour. North Main Street in Milford has some pretty old homes worth looking at, and there are several places on Main Street that serve food.