By Alex Quigley
7:51 PM CDT, September 11, 2013
The Blackhawks are camping out in South Bend, Ind., for the extended weekend. And if you were lucky enough to score tickets to the Saturday or Sunday practices, you've got a road trip on the horizon!
Pop on "Holiday Road" and get ready for a highway montage, my friends. Here are three roadside attractions worth your time and gas on your way to or from training camp. Happy motoring! Manti Te'o joke!
Michael Jackson's childhood home
2300 Jackson St., Gary, Ind.
1 mile north of Interstates 80/94, Broadway exit
Seriously, it's on Jackson Street! And it was named that when they moved there! Anyhoo, since MJ's death in 2009, fans have laid flowers, posters and notes in memory along the fence surrounding the yard. It's not too often you can stand on the sidewalk of a random, modest house and say, "The most famous person in the world in 1984 used to brush his teeth here."
Blackhawks connection: As you drive away, switch off the Lindsey Buckingham and hit play on the Jackson Five's "I Want You Back." Sing it like you're singing to the Stanley Cup.
5441 E Lincoln Highway (US 30), Merrillville, Ind.
2 miles west of Interstate 65
This is the closest thing to a real-life Willy Wonka factory you can find. There is a 40-foot chocolate fountain, and I am not joking about the fountain. Bring money, because you will want to eat everything. Prepare for your car floor to be covered in wrappers. (Even worse than it is now.)
Blackhawks connection: Brandon Pirri showed some sweet moves in the AHL, leading the league in scoring last season. Expect to see him earn a spot on coach Joel Quenneville's lines this year. And he probably likes candy.
Shakespeare Garden, Purdue North Central Campus
1,500 feet south of Interstates 80/90, Route 421 exit
It's a 30-by-30-foot garden filled with all the flora ever mentioned in The Bard's works, tucked behind a small pond while the Indiana Toll Road roars only a quarter-mile away. Unbelievably random and incongruently beautiful.
Blackhawks connection: Imagine Brandon Bollig standing here reciting lines from "Twelfth Night," then punching a guy. Perfect.
RedEye special contributor Alex Quigley can be heard on WGN Radio 720.Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye Sports' Facebook page.
Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC