February 7, 2013

I never even turned on the GPS

Grab your trusty atlas and follow along with me on one of my journeys this week. I use a Rand McNally 2010 WalMart version, and your choice may vary. 

I picked up highway 135 just west of Franklin, Indiana Tuesday afternoon. Franklin is just south of Indianapolis if you need a starting point. I headed south on 135 through Trafalgar and into quaint Brown County. For those of you who live in other parts of the country, southern Indiana is more akin to Kentucky or Tennessee or perhaps the Ozarks in that it is hilly and still forested. Brown County is a little tourist area centered on the town of Nashville and Brown County State Park.

I followed my highway through Nashville and skirted back east to go around the massive State Park. The road looped and dipped over the hills and valleys. I stayed on 135 through Brownstown and Salem.

I kept in my southernly direction until I reached Corydon, Indiana's first state capital, on the other side of I-64. In Corydon I turned right onto highway 62. I caught a glimpse of the Ohio River from the bluffs at Leavenworth. The river was a fat brown swollen snake coiling through the hills. The road twisted its way westward.

I zipped through hamlets with abandoned stores and closed gas stations, victims of the Interstate that paralleled my path a few miles northward. I passed the beautiful church at the St. Meinrad.Archabbey.. St. Meinrad is known as the Martyr of Hospitality according to a quick web search.

I motored on west, in a real driving groove now. I passed Lincoln's Boyhood home and Santa Claus without stopping. Highway 62 took a bend south and west in Dale. The hills flattened out and more farms appeared as I approached Boonville. The highway became 4 lanes and fast food franchises lined the sides as I fought the setting sun just under my visor all the way into Evansville proper.

A night in a hotel and customer stuff filled my evening and Wednesday morning.

Early Wednesday afternoon found me heading north on US 41 out of Evansville  Just north of Interstate 64 I picked up Indiana highway 68 headed back east.  The road ran right next to the interstate, often looking like a frontage road. Arriving back in Dale, I paused at the intersection of US 231, again thinking about seeing the Lincoln Boyhood home.  Instead I turned left heading north. The road took me uneventfully through Huntingburg and Jasper. I stopped off at America's Urinal (McDonald's) to relieve myself and climbed back into the trusty Ford.

Downtown Jasper brought a turn eastward on another hilly, curvy highway. Eastbound 164 took me over Potoka Lake, but following a box truck and then a purple minivan harshed my driving buzz. The truck slowed as it lumbered up the hills. The minivan poked along, the driver unable to concentrate with a cell phone stuck to her ear. I curved along the man-made lake and picked up 145 north toward French Lick and the casino. In West Baden I turned off for a quick drive around the gorgeous West Baden Springs Hotel.

I picked up US 150 briefly toward Paoli. I passed Paoli Peaks ski resort (yes, in Indiana!) and turned north on 37 toward Bloomington. Once in the city made famous by the movie Breaking Away, I took my youngest son to dinner. I dropped him back at his dorm on the south side of Indiana University and drove east on highway 46. I skirted Brown County State Park again, this time on the north and west sides, passing once more on the edge of Nashville.

I jumped on I-65 northbound in Columbus and drove home to my loving wife. Trip totals -- two days, ten plus hours and almost 500 miles.  Some days it is good to be me.


Jean said...

The monks sell caskets and urns. Very reasonably priced, especially considering price includes shipping.

Joe said...

Really? I did not even read the website beyond a cursory glance.

Batesville Casket, one of the leaders in the industry is also located in Indiana.

There is an emerging pattern

I hope I do not need any of their services anytime soon!

hey teacher... said...

Shame on you for not driving thru lovely Ferdinand, home of our new Lt. Governator and taking a gander at the St. Benedict Monastery,(convent when I was growing being traumatized by the nun teachers). I do a daily 80 mile round trip on some of those very roads. A Fall drive through Lincoln State Park on the way home will lower my high blood pressure every time.

Rita said...

Well I think you just visited nearly every one of my relatives. Next time plan to stop in and see West Baden Hotel if you haven't seen it yet.

It's a gem in the middle of nowhere Indiana.

Joe said...

next time! Stuff to see makes long drives more interesting.

Rita said...

And take your camera. The dome is gorgeous.

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