The Indianapolis 100 (minutes)

Yesterday I left Wheaton and drove down to Indianapolis to have lunch with my college friend Phil, who has worked for the city since graduating from Wheaton. It was worth the hour I lost passing from CST back into EST, which is really saying something when you’ve gotten up at 6:15 am.

Phil had assembled a veritable round-table of Indianapolis city planning types, and they showed me around the neighborhood of Fall Creek Place, which the city has taken an active role in rejuvenating over the past five or six years. In Phil’s telling, it has been transformed from serious blight — empty lots, few businesses — to a healthy, livable district by any standard: residents of varied incomes, an organic mix of new and old homes, lots of EPA help in cleaning up damaged properties, and several new businesses, including Goose the Market, the fantastic sandwich shop where we ate lunch (I recommend ordering “the Batali”). The city has worked with a single developer, but Fall Creek has the feel of a genuine neighborhood, and one that by all appearances is weathering the recession. It’s a credit to the city. Good job, Phil!

Goose the Market. Yum.

Goose the Market. Yum.

Goose the Market also has a great little wine and beer cellar where I bought a six-pack of Prairie Path Ale, made by a brewery in Warrenville, IL, and which I hadn’t seen anywhere else. So, after  I chugged the six beers, I hit the road.

No, not really. I saved the beers for later, and instead said goodbye to Phil and drove a few minutes to downtown Indy.

Even though it was 147 degrees (I’m pretty sure), downtown Indianapolis has its charms.

The Indiana Soldiers' and Sailors' monument

The Indiana Soldiers' and Sailors' monument

At the monument, with the State Capitol in the background.

At the monument, with the State Capitol in the background.

And here's the capitol up close.

And here's the capitol up close.

Finally, about an hour and a half after I blew into town, I said goodbye to Indianapolis and got back on I-65 heading south.

Another day, another photo perilously snapped from a moving car.

Another day, another photo perilously snapped from a moving car.

In Kentucky, even the rest stops are genteel. Outside, a man who was young enough to know better asked me what the "wifi" sign meant.

In Kentucky, even the rest stops are genteel.

Traffic was moving briskly despite some construction, and at this point I was on track to reach Nashville by 6 pm or so. That was until I saw the sign bearing those fateful words:

“Next Exit: Birthplace of Abraham Lincoln.”

Obviously I had no choice. About 15 miles off the highway near Hodgenville, KY, there it is: Thomas Lincoln’s Sinking Spring Farm, now a national park.

I strolled the very grounds upon which baby Abraham Lincoln toddled.

I strolled the very grounds upon which baby Abraham Lincoln toddled.

56 steps, one for each of Lincoln's years, lead up to this marble monument. President Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech when the cornerstone was laid in 1909, President Taft dedicated the finished site in 1911, and it became a national park five years later.

56 steps, one for each of Lincoln's years, lead up to the marble monument. President Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech when the cornerstone was laid in 1909, President Taft dedicated the finished site in 1911, and it became a national park five years later.

Inside the monument: an authentic frontier cabin. But not THE authentic frontier cabin.

Inside the monument: an authentic frontier cabin. But not THE authentic frontier cabin.

Show some respect, you ingrate.

Show some respect, you ingrate.

The sinking spring of Sinking Spring Farm. The sign says "Abraham Lincoln probably tasted his first drink of water from this spring." Ok, sure.

The sinking spring of Sinking Spring Farm. A sign says "Abraham Lincoln probably tasted his first drink of water from this spring." Ok, sure.

The older man who cheerfully waved as I took this picture later approached me to just as cheerfully inform me that Obama was the exact opposite of Lincoln in every way.

The older man (lower right) who cheerfully waved as I took this picture later approached me to just as cheerfully inform me that Obama was the exact opposite of Lincoln in every way. Time to go.

This was where Lincoln had his first Lincoln Freeze.

This is where Abraham Lincoln tasted his first Lincoln Freeze.

I ended up in Nashville by about 7:30, so the detour didn’t take me too far off schedule. I had dinner with two of my favorite Johns and a Brooks (but not MY Brooks) at a surprisingly great seafood spot. Yes, seafood in Nashville, why not? This place served a genius sushi roll called “Very Spicy Tuna,” which is packed with jalapenos and is so spicy and tasty it just may have ruined regular old spicy tuna rolls for me forever. But more about Nashville later.

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9 responses to “The Indianapolis 100 (minutes)

  1. The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race. They have greatly increased the life-expectancy of those of us who live in “advanced” countries, but they have destabilized society, have made life unfulfilling, have subjected human beings to indignities, have led to widespread psychological
    suffering (in the Third World to physical suffering as well) and have inflicted severe damage on the natural world. The continued development of technology will worsen the situation. It will certainly subject human beings to greater indignities and inflict greater damage on the natural world, it will probably lead to greater social disruption and psychological suffering, and it may lead to increased physical suffering even in “advanced” countries.

  2. I knew violent neo-Luddite mathematicians were a big part of my readership, but most of them don’t comment. Welcome!

  3. Hi! I’m enjoying reading about your travels. I don’t have a comment on the Industrial Revolution, but I have to add that the Two Brothers’ beer “Domaine DuPage” is super yummy. When you’re back in the area, you should try it!

    –Meredith

  4. I’m still bummed that I missed you. Coulda shown you around our classy neighborhood as well. But it sounds like you got a good feel for our beloved city!

  5. I’m still bummed too, Sarah! I thought of you again when I had my first Chick-fil-a today. I remember you raving over it freshman year. I have to say, it was DELICIOUS.

  6. Jacob, you have given me my first essay of the year for AP U.S. History! May I just use your paragraph and add the word “Discuss”, after it? (Those of you laughing now don’t know me.)

  7. Great stuff, Ruth. (Nerd alert: an obsessively fact-accurate person like yourself would no doubt wish to be reminded that in August you can’t travel from “CST” to “EST’ unless there still remain counties in Indiana that refuse to adhere to Daylight time…) Ellen and I are following your perambulations with great interest. Keep it up!

  8. Oh, interesting! I can never keep that stuff straight, to be honest. All I know is I had to allow an extra hour to drive to Indianapolis, and then I lost it again when I drove down to Nashville. I think Indiana doesn’t do Daylight Savings at all.

  9. Pingback: Self-promotion is the second-best kind of promotion. « Public Road

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