“Home” in Indiana

We’re back in Lafayette Indiana, and I am loving it. It is a strange mixture of the familiar and the new. So much has changed in the past 10 years, which is not at all surprising. We called into the Hanna Center where I did some volunteering, but none of the staff I knew were still there. I had a nice chat with the current manager and she told me about the reduced services they were currently offering due to funding cuts. We also called in to Blackbird Farms and checked out our old apartment. It looked exactly the same except the trees had grown. I’m really strolling down Memory Lane and can’t wait to catch up with some old friends over the next couple of days.

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Day 9 – Kentucky, Ohio, Kentucky, Ohio, to Indiana

Today was planned as a travel day from Morehead, where we spent the weekend with Cathy and Harry, to Lafayette, where we lived while I was working at Purdue in 2001-2002. We planned to spend three nights in Lafayette, allowing two full days for catching up with friends from our time living there.

We rose, had breakfast, and were on the road by about 8:30 am. I had checked Google Maps last night and was offered three alternative routes. The first was west through Lexington to Louisville and then north-west on the I-65 through Indianapolis to Lafayette. We had been to Lexington yesterday and had visited Louisville in 1998 and again in 2001 so we saw no need to cover that ground again. The second route ran essentially north-west from Morehead toward Cincinnati and then on to Indianapolis from where the I-65 was the obvious track to Lafayette. We opted for that route because it would take us through parts of Indiana that we had not managed to visit during our time there.

Our GPS offered the first route as the first choice and its alternative offering went west to Lexington before turning north. I pointed it toward Flemingsburg which I knew to be the first town of any size on our preferred track and off we went. The first part Of our drive ran through undulating farming country with occasional hints of some focus on horses but not to the extent of the area around Lexington.

As we approached Flemingsburg I adjusted the GPS with Lafayette as destination and it plotted a course that ran by Cincinnati and then up the I-74 to Indianapolis and the I-65 to Lafayette. Based on my cursory glance at the route offered by Google Maps I had expect to remain in Kentucky until we reached Cincinnati but we crossed the Ohio River via a large bridge at Maysville and entered Ohio at Aberdeen.

From there almost until we reached Cincinnati our route was along the Ohio River and mostly close to the bak so that we could see the river, the houses and camping/caravan areas on the Ohio side, and the houses on the far, Kentucky bank. We stopped at Point Pleasant because we spotted a sign indicating that it was the birthplace of General Ulysses S Grant. We were able to see the outside of the house where he was born but the museum was not open on Monday. We walked across the road to the rest area on the river bank, ate some of the blueberries and nibbles we had with us, drank some of our Bat Cave cider, and used the facilities. Majella was taken aback by the pit style facility (I didn’t notice because of the different arrangements on my side of the wall) and even more so by the shoulder shrug she got from one of the locals when she asked him about hand washing facilities. She resorted to using the drinking fountain nearby.

I drove from there but we stopped again very soon, attracted by the signage about the Underground Railway, at New Richmond. I turned in and we soon found the house that belonged to Dr John Rogers who was a noted abolitionist but best known as the man who delivered Ulysses S Grant at birth. We wandered along the waterfront and took some photographs until I noticed the Front Street Cafe across the street and thought it looked like a place that might serve real coffee. They did have an espresso machine so we had coffee before getting back onto the road.

Negotiating the roads around Cincinnati required some careful listening and watching the GPS. As we approached Cincinnati we swung left and crossed a bridge back into Kentucky, then we crossed again into Ohio, passing close to the central area of Cincinnati before heading north-west again and into Indiana along the I-74.

An hour or so up that road we began to think of lunch and changing drivers again. We took the exit to Greensburg/Rushville and headed east for some distance before deciding we were not goo g to find lunch for a long time if at all in that direction. I turned back, found Greensburg and navigated blind to the historic downtown area (every town seemingly has a historic downtown). As we got out of the car we noticed a tree growing out of the top of the clock tower on the county court house. Majella went in to the nearby information office to ask. Apparently a tree in the tower has been a feature of Greensburg for more than 100 years. We walked around the central square looking for lunch and found that at Stories where Majella had bean soup and I had a smoked sausage sandwich. After lunch we continued around the square until Majella found a store that sold fabric and other things of interest and had to buy some.

From Greensburg we drove on with Majella at the wheel, past Indianapolis, and on to Lafayette where we checked into our motel before heading out to do the laundry and see some familiar places. Once the laundry was done we found the Hanna Community Center where Majella volunteered while we lived here. Unfortunately after 11 years there was nobody there who remembered that time. We drove across to West Lafayette to check out the apartment where we had lived at Blackbird Farms. Nothing much had changed there or at nearby Celery Bog where we took a short walk.

We drove by Purdue University on the way to Blackbird Farms and on the way back to the downtown area. Once there we walked to the river from and noted that the Wabash River was much lower than it had been while we were there as a consequence of the severe drought that has gripped a large part of the USA, especially the mid-West, for the past year.

We walked around the downtown area looking for somewhere to eat. Majella eventually decided to look for the restaurant where we had celebrated her birthday in 2001. Neither of us could recall the name but recalled that it had been on the southern side of Main Street, a little to the east of the main downtown area. When we found Spurlock’s and thought it seemed to be in the right location. The booths and decor seemed familiar and we decided that was good enough. Majella had chicken hot pot which was listed as a soup and was described by our host as being the liquid part of the pie served as soup in a bowl with pie crust on top. She enjoyed it. I had penne carbonara which, with peas and carrots and no cream, was unlike any carbonara I had ever had but still tasty and served with a slice of toasted garlicky white bread. I washed that down with a beer while Majella stuck with sweet tea. As we finished that our host arrived with a tray displaying a choice of four desserts. There was chocolate mousse, cheese cake, creme brûlée, and an iPhone with an image of a specialty ice cream made with Oreo cookies and other sinful stuff. I opted for that and Majella had the creme brûlée. Comfortably full we headed for our motel but not without a deviation to Super Target so that Majella could shop for bargains – she found something but not in her size so we went home empty handed.

Total distance for today was just less than 490 km. it was an interesting day in which we found more to see along the way than we had expected and began to renew our acquaintance with Lafayette.