Monday, January 26, 2015

The Road Trip, Part 2: West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana

*Just a quick note - as the formatting on this blog keeps some of the photographs pretty small. You can click on any of the pictures to enter a slide show, which will allow you to see larger format photographs*

The inside cover of our travel journal.
After we left Pittsburgh we were headed to Indianapolis, IN. 360 miles, 5 hours 35 minutes.

While I wanted to make a diversion to Falling Water, but it just didn't fit into our time frame. We didn't have anything to do between Pittsburgh and Indianapolis so we pushed through. The first part of the drive, through the western bit of Pennsylvania and that teeny little tip of West Virginia, was pleasant enough, but Ohio and Indiana were both fairly dull. Its hard to say if its growing up in the Northeast that makes this area of the country so...not stimulating, or if its really just boring. My aunt describes driving on the NYS thruway as 'driving in green tunnels' and...well...shes not incorrect. 

Anyway, our reason for going to Indianapolis was to visit one of J's friends, Adam. J spent a semester abroad in Copenhagen and while she was there, she met several other American students in her program . Adam was one of those American students. It also broke up the drive to Chicago, which was our next stop. 

We got into Indianapolis in the early evening and settled in quickly. We met adams roommate, who also lived in Copenhagen for a while. After chatting a bit, we walked over to the main drag - in a neighborhood called Broad Ripple. The street was lined with bars and restaurants and shops. Not unlike what you would see in say...Saratoga Springs, NY. Not without charm, but...well, it is what it is. We stopped at Starbucks for a few minutes to use the wifi, before moving on to some bar for dinner and drinks. This is where I had my first Gumballhead of the trip, and what a moment it was (Gumballhead was my beer of choice when I lived in Chicago, and it is not available outside of that area of the midwest) . J also may have accidentally dropped her knife off the balcony onto the sidewalk. Good thing there were no pedestrians!

After dinner we got some drinks at a couple different places and eventually made our way back to Adams apartment. Several of his friends - far as I could tell ALL lived in Copenhagen at one point or another - came over, and the whole thing turned into a fairly clam frat party. We, reluctantly, played some drinking games and got to know some people before they all decided to go out to the bars around the block. We hung back and just talked with Adam until the early hours of the morning when we fell asleep.

Adam had to goto a formal with his girlfriend at her school the next afternoon (yes, I am serious) so we said our goodbyes. As per usual after a night of drinking shitty beers, we were craving something greasy. We went down the block to Ripple Bagel Deli for one of the best breakfasts we had on the entire trip, the morning mess. 

Look at that...CHEESE
After breakfast we headed to downtown Indianapolis which was...vacant. We actually really enjoyed walking around because it was so quite...but there didn't seem to be anything going on. One thing J&I really look for in a potential place to relocate to is good cycling infrastructure. We were particularly tickled by downtown Indianapolis's sidewalks, with separated protected riding lanes & sidewalks. 

This is not a figment of our imagination. It is real. 
We made our way to the Indianapolis City Market, but either...there was nothing going on that day, or we just arrived a bit too early. There was maybe half a dozen other people in the building.

First fisheye of the trip

From the city market we walked a few blocks over to the Soldiers and Sailors monument, which was actually pretty neat. Its much larger than we expected - standing about 285 feet tall, and covers the interior of a very large traffic circle. 
I wasn't willing to make the effort to find a vantage where I could grab the entire monument in a here you are, a small section of the monument. 
It was beginning to sprinkle a bit so we made our way back to the car and decided to head over to Easley Winery for a tour and tasting. This was our first visit to a winery together and we both enjoyed ourselves. The tour was fairly quick and the tastings were fine. Nothing to blow your mind - but we did wind up buying a bottle to bring with us to Chicago that night. It was also both of our first time trying wine made from Catawba grapes.

Inside Easley Winery
After leaving Easley we crossed the street and went to Sun King Brewery for a tasting. They had a great system here where you come in the door, get IDed, and they give you 3 bottle caps and 3 ticket stubs. They have their regular beers which you can exchange a stub for or their specialty beers which you can exchange a cap for. There were high tops throughout the warehouse and it kind of felt like a big party. We tried all of their beers and left. We made some shitty sandwiches in the car and then headed out. 

Before going to Chicago, we took a diversion to Center Point, IN to visit the Exotic Feline Rescue Center - a volunteer run facility that takes in large cats. Apparently they rescue them from bad situations all over the country, and give priority to cats who have been involved with a mauling or killing. Its a pretty straight forward thing - you get shown around by a tour guide and get to see lots of cats in a very intimate environment. Not like a zoo, where theres a partition and a moat and a cage...this was just a simple chain link fence separating you from lions and tigers and...other big cats. Oh my.

Our guide giving a tiger a kiss.

After we left Center Point we headed straight for Chicago. We made a quick stop for a late lunch/afternoon snack at Steak & Shake. This was the first and last Steak & Shake of the trip. Shit steak, shit shake. The drive from Center Point to Chicago was... pretty dull. The highlights include several hours of cornfields to the horizon, and a couple (actually kind of neat) wind farms. There was a nice colorful sunset with a lot of heat lightning. We got to Chicago fairly late, but still had time for dinner at my favorite Thai restaurant in the United States. Sure Pok Pok is good, but its got nothing on TAC Quick

Next up - a week in Chicago with dear friends.

From our book:

    3 Sisters Café (6360 Guilford Ave) – Mon – Sat 8-9, Sun 8-4. 6360 Guilford Ave/Indianapolis IN/46220
Free to do: 

  • City Market – Mon-Fri 6-9, Sat 8-9. Open-air market. 222 E Market St/Indianapolis IN/46204
  • Indianapolis Museum of Art – Fri-Sat 11-5. Gardens & greenhouse too.  4000 Michigan Rd/Indianapolis IN/46208
  • Lockerbie Square – Oldest intact neighborhood in Indianapolis. Fully restored.
  • White River Park – Sculptures, canal walk. 801 W Washington St/Indianapolis IN/46222
  • Canal Walk – 1.5-mile stroll from White River Park to 11th Street, canal cuts through downtown.
  • Central Library – Fri-Sat 10-5. Pretty stunning building. o 40 E St Clair St/Indianapolis/46204

  • Easley Winery Tour & Tasting - $5. Noon on Saturday. 205 N College Ave/Indianapolis IN/46202

Stuff to do: 
  • Exotic Feline Rescue Center – 7 days 10-5. $10pp. 2221 E Ashboro Rd/Center Point IN/47840

Stuff to do:
  • 3 Floyds Brewery – Carry out beer 7 days 11:30-Midnight. Tours Sat 12:30,1:30,2:30,3:30, 4:30, 5:30. Check facebook for schedule changes. 9750 Indiana Pkwy/Munster IN/46321 

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