Wednesday, September 17
A blog mostly for me--to record memories!
Tuesday was a busy day even before I left. I slept well Monday night and that is always a gift. After Bible study at church (at which my journey was prayed for), lunch with my young friend Lucy at Notre Dame, and a Repertory Choir rehearsal, I hit the road at a little after two pm.
Traveling was easy because US 31 now by-passes Lakeville, LaPaz, and most important of all, the 13 traffic lights in Kokomo. Construction and heavy traffic around Indianapolis slowed me down and made me a bit apprehensive. I turned the radio off, stayed in my lane, and eventually hit less stressful traffic south of Indy.
I arrived in Nashville, Indiana a bit after six. With a little difficulty, I found Cornerstone Inn. I had expected in such a tiny town that I would see it immediately. My room on the third floor was lovely and old-fashioned.
I walked around town looking for a place to eat. Most places were closed but the Muddy Boots Cafe fixed me a great burger to go which I ate while watching "The Roosevelts-Part 3" on public television.
One little incident during the night kept me awake for a while. At 3 am, I tried to open a window and it opened from the top not the bottom. I reached for it and fell from the flimsy chair--on the floor with a skinned leg. Could have been worse!
Breakfast the next morning was fabulous--granola and yogurt, eggs, rolls, fruit, blueberry french toast--all attractively arranged. There were several older couples eating together. I didn't feel envious because I was having a great time and Jim was probably happier at home.
A heavy fog made a very interesting ride to Columbus for a bus tour of the modern architecture in that relatively small city. Several years ago, the American Institute of Architects ranked Columbus best for innovation after five big cities in the US--Boston, Washington, Chicago, New York and San Francisco. It was fun to see works by Saarinen, father and son, and Pei--and others. All of this was the vision of one man who gave the money to hire the best for design. We drove past probably twenty schools, offices, manufacturing plants and toured the interiors of two churches done by the father and son Saarinen, First Christian Church and Northside Christian Church--very different and very well thought out. I definitely was one of the younger folks on the tour; several walked with canes and one could not leave the bus.
Walking through Columbus afterwards, I glimpsed a signboard in front of a restaurant called Tre Bicchieri saying "avocado and peach salad" and thought that sounded pretty good and healthy. I ordered one to go and ate it in my room later and it was fabulous. And they even surprised me by throwing in bread and an olive oil dip.
Also on my "bucket list" and road trip plan was the Steele Historic Site where TC Steele lived and painted and founded the "Hoosier School" which we studied in our art museum docent training. The grounds were lovely but I just didn't feel up to another guided tour. Another little incident happened which could have been worse. I got stuck turning around in a small parking area and had trouble getting out of a ditch. But I persisted and did it!
I headed back to the inn for a nap and then to Brown County Park. I parked by the Abe Martin Lodge and walked down two different trails into the forest but decided it was just too lonely. What if I fell? What if I sprained an ankle? What if I met a stranger who was not friendly? I got back in the car and stopped at two magnificent vistas along the road. At the first stop, it was very quiet so I just sat at a picnic table and prayed after an audible "Wow!"
Now it's time for a glass of wine and time to call Jim. It is so good to be able to be in contact with him with email, texting, and calls. It keeps me from being lonely on these trips.
Thursday, September 18 (written from home)
Last night's supper was another take out--from the Artists's Colony restaurant. It was a delicious vegetarian lasagna for which I was charged a gratuity. I don't think I've ever had that with takeout before and I didn't like it. But the lasagna was delicious.
Sleep came with difficulty because my hip hurt badly--the usual "got it so bad in my hip" thing--maybe arthritis, maybe bursitis--but eventually the ibuprofen kicked in and I slept well.
The joy of travelling alone is that one can make last minute decisions and this morning I did just that. My plan was to go back to Brown County State Park and hike a bit. But I did not feel like driving there so I headed for home, going north on lovely SR 135 through Bean Blossom (home of a bikers' convention last week and a blue-grass festival in August) and a few other small towns until I got to IN 37 towards Indy. My trip was going so well that I decided I might try going into Indy itself. I pulled off the road, checked my Apple map app, and found out I was only eight miles and 13 minutes from White River Park right in the downtown area. I went for it and it was an amazingly easy ride through a heavily industrial area (why were the manholes in the road all steaming so much)?
I parked in an underground garage and walked up two stories past a lovely water installation to the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. I thought that there was an exhibit of Victor Higgin's studio there, but the young woman at the desk did not know about it. It didn't help that I said Victor Huggins--but that should have been close enough! However, there it was--in the middle of the room of Taos art by Georgia O'Keefe, Walter Ufer, and others. I was delighted.
Upstairs there was another fascinating exhibit of George Morrison, a Native American artist born in a Chippewa village near Lake Superior, and influenced greatly by that but also by his years in another village--Greenwich Village. His career, which spanned the years from the 1940s to 2000, incorporated many styles from Realism to Abstract Expressionism.
I took a short walk along the canal and gardens behind the museum before I retrieved my car, having carefully noted where it was in that huge garage, and then bravely headed through downtown Indy looking for signs for Interstate 70.
It was an easy trip home with one stop for a Starbucks coffee and another for a restroom. Beautiful music accompanied my travels and I was home by a little after 4 pm.
Nashville itself was not worth the trip. It seemed to me to be a typical tourist town with fudge shops, decorative lawn art, and "hand-made" jewelry. The Columbus tour, however, was everything I hoped for; Brown County Park was lovely and would be amazing during the fall color season; the Eiteljorg Museum was a serendipitous and wonderful surprise.
50 hours of travel and about 500 miles gave me many enriching experiences. Recording them here will help me remember!