Bulldogs, Windmills, and Cranes

After less than a day at home to catch our breath, Lily and I, joined this time by Gin, headed by car to Indianapolis to visit Butler University. The drive is long but not very stressful. We left just before sunset and ended up driving I-68 through the mountains. There was still plenty of snow on the ground and an occassional light snow fall as we drove. A couple of times we drove through snow devils, swirls of snow that engulfed the car for a few seconds.

We crashed at a hotel in Morgantown WV. Then as we left I suggested breakfast at Shoney’s, saying that since we were in West Virginia we had to be within a mile of one. And sure enough, we were.

We drove I70 west from Little Washington PA to Indianapolis. The first 100 miles we were driving parallel to the route I took across Ohio in 2003 and 2005 on a couple of bike tours. Just seeing the names of Belmont, Bethesda, Quaker City, Cambridge, Zanesville and Newark brought back all kinds of memories.

After checking into a hotel on the outskirts of Indy and finding nowhere to eat nearby we drove downtown and were all really excited to see plenty of places to eat. We ate at a Rock Bottom Brewery then called it a night.

Thursday, we took a tour of Butler University, a rare mediun sized school, located in a neighborhood of upscale and architecturally diverse homes.  In retrospect, the school and the neighborhood reminded me of Boston College.

We drove from Butler to the Broad Ripple neighborhood which has several quaint restaurants. We ate at a pub (they had the English football league standings on a tote board near the front door). The vittles were fine.

I didn’t expect much from Indianapolis, but I came away thinking that I could actually enjoy living there. They have a huge bike commuter station in the heart of downtown. There’s also a cycle track that we happened upon that is really top rate. And Butler apparently has its own bike share operation. And did I mention that bike commuters get to ride on a pool table? Yeah, I could handle riding to work in Indy.

Butler Bike Share

After lunch we headed north to the booming metropolis of North Judson. In its day, it was a railroad town. Its day is no more. We went there to visit my in-laws who live on a farm of sorts outside of town. I say “of sorts” because there are no crops or livestock.  It’s a house on a big ole piece of sandy land. It takes 4 days to cut the grass.

My mother in law took us to a nature preserve nearby where we were to see some sand hill cranes. There is a running joke in our family that sand hill cranes don’t exists because every time we’ve been taken to see them, there are none to be found. This time was different. There were a few hundred cranes off in the distance in a field. We saw them fly and walk about looking like extras from Jurassic Park.

We went out to dinner at a restaurant in a town called Toto, after which the Oz dog was named. The next morinng we we check out the birds that my in-laws have in their yard. The trick apparently is to use a dozen feeders with different feed in each one.  After hanging out we left at noon, driving straight through to home. It took about 13 hours door to door. Not a lot of fun. I did learn that eating Chex Mix when you are dead tired will boost your blood sugar enough to keep you from driving into a ditch. Vanilla Oreos are not nearly as effective because after an initial blood sugar boost, you get an insulin crash.  Then you have to eat more cookies, soon becoming a cookieholic.

I don’t know if my daughter will be a Bulldog or a Tiger next fall, but at least she had the chance this week to kick the tires of two universities that had the good sense of accepting her.

You can check out some pix of our adventure here.

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