Number Nineteen: Indiana

As I get further behind, things tend to get a little blurry, although our travels are sometimes a little blurry as they are happening. Rails-to-Trails and two-star motels start to look alike. (The motels we specifically remember I’m not going to talk about; not once have we had a three-wastebasket room.) We went to Indiana to ride the Cardinal Trail, which according to the Rails to Trails Conservancy, is 62 miles from Marion to Richmond. Staying in Marion put us at the north end of the trail and minimized the driving distance between Michigan and Ohio.

However, there is a major on-road section of what the Conservancy considers the trail, going south out of Gas City. So we switched to Anderson, which missed the on-road segment, but meant driving further south, is not near the trail, but is nearer Indianapolis.

We rode 47.5 miles (part of this was on the White River Greenway) from Muncie to Gaston to Muncie to the Red-Tail Nature Preserve, where we got thoroughly lost among very tall reeds and unmarked meandering paths. How did people do this without smart phones?

The first photo of a rock used as a mile marker shows 100 miles from somewhere that probably meant something to the railroad but has nothing to do with how far we pedaled. The next one shows the entrance to the Red-Tail Preserve and the barrier to the bridge that isn’t there. Then a somewhat stylized and annotated schematic of the White River; and a bicycle rack next to a porta-potty, where I tend to hang around a lot.

It was hot, heat index of 100, but we could have gone further except for the bridge that isn’t there.

Staying in Anderson, of which we have no memory whatsoever, meant we could justify spending a few hours in both Muncie and Indianapolis. That is sort of like a cruise stop; you just get the tourist highlights.  Indianapolis has part of Indiana University and a race track and one of the Koch brothers has given them a lot of money. Sort of like John D. Rockefeller building the University of Chicago as penitence for the Whiting Refinery or Andrew Carnegie building libraries and the Peace Palace in The Hague. We spent our time on the campus, not the track, but sometimes we are more travelers than tourists.

Muncie has a university of its own, primarily due to the largesse of the Ball family. There is a lot of money in canning jars. What did they have to apologize for?

(Who was it that said, “When someone says that he got rich through hard work, ask him whose?”)

The David Owsley Museum of Art Ball State University (not shown in the picture; we never figured out what that building is.) is relatively small, two or three thousand items, but small is manageable. It has things four or five thousand years old (top picture), a few hundred years old (bottom center), and some relatively contemporary things (not shown). Most were donated by David Owsley, grandson of Frank Ball. He inherited his money.

What almost defeated us at this museum was the class schedule. We arrived on campus just as everyone was either leaving a 9:00 class or going to a 10:00 class. Cars, streets, crosswalks, traffic lights were not as important as getting to class or getting back to bed.

Muncie also has a Model Airplane Museum, which I enjoyed so much I forgot to take any pictures. It pretty much covered the range from paper darts, which look a lot like the delta-wing paper planes of my childhood but may date back to Da Vinci, to drones. In between were rubber band-, gas-, battery-, and jet-powered for free-flight, two-line, one-line, four-line, and radio controlled more or less in chronological order.

I also remember parking, or more importantly returning to the parking lot. Parking for the White River Greenway was a snap; there was a very convenient but somewhat oddly-shaped lot at the west end. When we arrived about 10 am, there were two vehicles already there; both parallel parked on the left side. That struck me as rather inefficient use of the space but when in Rome and I parked behind the second one. When we returned in about six hours, the two original vehicles were gone, the right side was completely filled, and a note on our windshield made rather sarcastic reference to “in America, we park on the right.”

The note writer was polite enough to put it on the back of his business card, from a Kia dealership.

Or maybe it wasn’t his card.

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