Day 1: December 23, 2015
Indiana's Wet

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My Christmas escape is anchored by a Christmas Day buffet in Turkey Run Park near Rockville, Indiana. I'll also be spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at the park. I could easily reach the park in time to bed down by leaving home on Thursday morning but dashing there and back made the escape run seem even more like just going out to eat. Adding Wednesday to the trip helped a little. The vague target for Wednesday night became the Indianapolis area and I set off in that direction in the late morning. Even unhurried trips to Indianapolis usually involve expressway across the state line but today I poked along even more.

Heading nearly due west, I found myself on some roads I rarely see. One of those was OH-126 as it utilizes the northern tip of Colerain Avenue. The roadside trough has been here since 1867. The inscription carved into the stone is more readable in the plaque that stands beside it.

I either solved one mystery and started another or simply reset one I had forgotten. Self tagged points of interest get added to my GPS in a couple of ways. One is that I'll identify something I want to see, possibly on a specific trip, and download or enter the location. The other is using the GPS to mark a location I want to return to. The aviation arrows I visited on my most recent trip are an example of the first kind; A motel parking lot is a common example of the second. I'm far from diligent about it but I'll usually delete these one-time-use markers when convenient. Sometimes I'll forget what they are before I get around to deleting them. That's what happened with one labeled "Pillar". It has been in the GPS for a long time and more than once I thought of deleting it but I couldn't even remember whether it was something I planned to see or something I saw and wanted to return to. I'd start to delete it then let it stay.

I got kind of excited today when I realized my path was headed right to the mysterious point. When I saw it, I instantly realized it was something I had driven past and tagged so I could come back and find out what it was. I was disappointed to see there was no convenient place to pull over but there was no traffic at that moment so I stopped and snapped a few pictures from the car. I was really disappointed at the end of the day when I discovered that most of the words were unreadable in the photographs. Maybe I can pull something from them when I get home but for now I've simply replaced "What is Pillar?" with "Who is John Evans?".

Let's wander.

OH-126 turns into IN-252 which Ts into US-52 at Brookville. I first wrote that IN-252 ends here then learned that another section begins about forty miles to the west. The first two photos were taken from a little roadside park just east of Metamora. The Whitewater Canal was here first and when the railroad came it followed -- and ultimately replaced -- the canal. The road for automobiles came third although some sort of roadway may have paralleled the canal in spots. A more readable version of the sign is here.

The remaining photos were taken in the town of Metamora. I'd actually thought of stopping here soon after leaving home since I guessed that it might be a little Christmasy. There were quite a few decorations along the canal and a few shops were open but not many. Most of the town was essentially shut down for the winter.

A modern castle sits high on a hill just east of town. About the only current information on it is a single sparse page at the Metamora website but Googling Metamora Castle and reading some of the older stuff can be... interesting.

I encountered rain not far from Metamora. By Indianapolis it was steady and often heavy. I had half planned on checking out the Christmas lights downtown but the rain made that terribly uninviting. Instead I headed for dinner. I had recently seen a list of The Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches in the Midwest. Indiana claims to have invented the BPT and I considered visiting the birthplace, Nick's Kitchen in Huntington, on this trip but it's a bit out of the way. However another list entry, The Friendly Tavern, was not. At 4:30 this place was packed and loud. I've commented before on taverns that are loud at 4:30 because everyone is drunk and shouting but this place was loud because it was filled with sober and hungry people just talking to each other in a friendly -- and by necessity shouting -- sort of way. And the BPT definitely lived up to its billing. Tasty, tender, and filling. Reasonably priced, too. You may have to talk loudly and lean close to get your order heard but it's certainly worth it.

If it hadn't been raining, Deviate Brewing would have been an easy walk from my motel. As it was, I stopped in for one beer and some friendly chitchat with locals. The one beer I had was a Scottish Ale which gets its name, Main Monkey Business, from its banana taste. It was good but not a daily drinker for me. The brewery's name was not chosen lightly.

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