Midwestern Memories

This visit through our old stomping grounds was quite different than the last one, where we made sure to recall as many family and college memories as possible. We skipped visiting Mattoon and Greencastle in favor of spending as much time as possible with family, specifically:

My big brother and his lovely wife in Pana, IL

Pat loves her flamingos, so I had to bring her these glasses from our favorite gift shop in Pacific Grove, Tessuti Zoo.

Gary enjoyed giving Bago his favorite toy--hose water.
I don't even know how to describe the other game....

In their beautiful backyard, with our very own camping spot and 30amp hookup, courtesy of great-nephew, the talented 16-year-old electrician!

With the Casey Branch of the Family



Niece, her husband, their kids, and my great-great niece. We had a nice afternoon in Casey, hanging out in the park while we wore out Bago. Then we drove over to Terre Haute and had a nice dinner at the TGIF restaurant at Honey Creek Square. I still think of this mall as the place where I bought my cool striped sheets for my freshman year dorm room....

Then we stayed overnight at a county park in Terre Haute: Hawthorn Park. Really lovely spot, except it was totally not maintained for RVs (roads, low-hanging trees) and its low monthly rent ($300) attracted entire families to live there in makeshift structures. The park host kept apologizing as we registered, and we couldn't figure out why. But then it was clear. Closest thing to a Hooverville I've ever seen. It was clear that the economy in Indiana has not recovered--we kept seeing such sights throughout the state.... We counted our blessings.

Indy with the Crawley Clan
After Bago busted through two screen doors (once in Colorado, once at my brother's house), we opted not to put the RV in storage and stay at Lisa's parents' house. Instead, we decided to stay at a "resort" about 30 minutes east of Indy and just drive in each day with the dog. This turned out to be a good plan, insofar as we managed to keep the pup from breaking anything. (Whew! It was touch and go sometimes.) We were also lucky that the cleaning ladies were coming the day we left--lots of noseprints and drool to get cleaned up.


It was great seeing Lisa's folks (and having the most delicious home cooked meal--grilled ahi tuna!) and being off the road a little bit. We were, however, happy to move out of the "resort." For some reason--with lots of empty spaces--they put us right by this lovely vehicle and I-70. Very noisy. But we did find  an empty meadow (this place is HUGE) to throw balls for Bago.

Stopping by to See Sorority Sisters
The next day had us tooling up the back roads of Indiana, singing along to Lyle Lovett's great song, "Indiana." We split a White Castle double slider, just to compare it to the Maid Rite (my sis-in-law swears that you love one OR the other, not both), and we found that to be true. I'm stickin' with Maid Rites. White Castle--ick.

We did a commando stop in Muncie to put a blooming plant on the porch of our sorority sister, Linda, who posts such very clever things about her battle with neighborhood groundhogs and foreclosures in her "Occupy Elm Street" initiative. We left a Winnie-the-Pooh handwriting note that said something like: "Dear Linda, Please try not to be too mad at groudhog. He can't help hisself.... --Skiouros" (the squirrel was our sorority mascot). Here's the view of our RV with her lovely irises in the foreground, just to prove it was us (but she figured it out rather quickly!)




Then it was up the road to Huntington, Indiana, to see another sorority sister and do a little catching up and computer diagnostics (!). Sorry I could only diagnose it, Shari. Hope it's fixed now!



Even though we were having a DePauw day, we skipped this DePauw alum's museum....

Wandering the Buckeye State
We changed our plans from going up north to Elkhart to going straight to Ohio in order to arrive at our rally a day early. The rally host strongly suggested an early arrival to get a shady spot, so we heeded her warning.

We stayed at an Ohio state park on Thursday night. Hmmm--guess I was a little harsh in my review.

But we did hit a particularly good Roadfood--OMG. The most delicious (if non traditional) pork tenderloin sandwich. I concur (at last) with a Roadfood review.

We tooled through lots of pretty Ohio towns with their very pretty courthouse squares. Here's West Liberty, Ohio, a very charming town with lots of sights to see (Piatt Castles, for example), if only one were passing through on a weekend in June or not during hay season. Lisa had a bison burger that was equally delicious. A tabletop card told us that the bison farm was just down the road and open Fridays-Sundays. And it was Friday--whoo hoo! After a white-knuckle U-turn on a narrow 2-lane road with traffic, we found the poorly signed ranch. Raced up to the front door--rats! It's haying season and no one was in the shop. The concept of "calling ahead" did not even occur to me!
 

The Oldest Concrete Street in America. There is truly a historical placque for everything....


One of the many pretty courthouses we saw.
 This was one of the few decrepit buildings we saw. Such a faded beauty. We think it was the old post office.
 Look closely through this window. What a shame....

At this stage of the game, Bago has become a travelin' pro. He sleeps soundly when we're underway, then the SECOND the seatbelts come off, he's ready to go! He may even learn to drive the rig....


After a restful evening at Grand Lake St. Marys (but another kinda cranky review), we headed south before going north so that we could stock up for the rally potlucks at a good grocer story (wow, was this place awesome: Weiland's Gourmet Market) and see a few sights in Columbus (can't miss a state capitol). Well, turned out that this Saturday morning was the Relay for Life (cancer race) and we weren't able to go see James Thurber's house or the topiary gardens. Did see the statehouse, but that was where all the roads were closed, so we merged right back onto the highway and headed to this destination. Just had to see it in person, even though it was pretty out of our way:

 
We are not customers of Longaberger's, but we are fans of architecture. And the MBA/marketing in me says this is very good branding: a 7-story HQ in the shape of your flagship product ;-)

On our way up to the rally campground, we passed through some of the most gorgeous rolling farmland I've ever seen anywhere. So green, such pretty homes, and all the irises and rhododendrons blooming away. We stopped at an Amish cheese factory and many of the more-than-50 varieties on sale. Picked up some smoked raw milk cheddar and some Swiss-rye. Yum.




And now we're into day 3 of our rally. Separate post to come. Suffice it to say...Bago is having a BLAST with all of these dog-people to play with!



















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