Day 3: May 26, 2008
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I hadn't planned this trip all that well (i.e., much at all) but knew I wanted to head south out of South Bend. I also knew that US-31 was, at least in some parts, connected to the Dixie Highway so, when I saw a "US-31 SOUTH" sign, I joined right up. This happens to be one of those parts where that 31-Dixie connection does not hold true which is how I got to drive forty miles of divided four-lane US highway. I thought of stopping and checking maps or doing some exploring but I was really ready to end the day and figured I'd find a motel pretty soon. Even that didn't happen until Rochester. From the motel, I posted a plea to the American Road forum and the folks came through while I slept. I had located some Old US 31 out of Rochester and considered taking that but mobilene (a.k.a. Jim Grey) told me that IN-25 was the closest thing to the Dixie and also gave me some good tips for finding an old fragment along the way. I left Rochester on IN-25/Michigan Road.

This creative signage is about 14 miles south of Rochester. I've seen buried combines and buried cars and cars and even semi-tractors on poles but never a combine on a pole. When I stopped and saw the yellow barn in the background, I thought I had the makings of a Farmboy centerfold but there's a telephone pole right in the model's face - er, I mean - the combine's cab. Look good from the other side, though.

White House No. 1, in Logansport, is closed on Mondays and I assume numbers two through whatever are, too. It's open Wednesday through Sunday for, I'm guessing, an early breakfast or lunch.

This is the old road segment that Jim turned me on to. It's near the town (and creek) of Deer Creek behind a row of 130 year old sycamores. It looked quite passable so I drove on back to the barricade at the creek. I figured that the worst that could happen would be I'd have to back out. There was a pickup truck parked at the barricade but I'm not sure I'd have been able to turn around even if the truck wasn't there. As I walked back to the car, I suddenly remembered the reverseless vehicle I had in Illinois in 2006 and realized that backing out was not the worst that could happen. I was very happy to back out the quarter mile or so.

The yellow field and the line of poles caught my eye and I pulled over to take a picture. I bet someone could make a good picture of it but not me; Not today. I was about to climb back in the car when I heard a horn blow and looked up to see a familiar blue Corvair. Pat Bremer, seeing the American Road forum posts, had decided to make his Memorial Day cruise along my expected route.

The straight and flat US-421 is historic but hardly scenic. Pat, having just driven it northbound, felt no need to drive it southbound. Neither did I. With Pat leading, we set off on a very indirect course to Plainfield.

The unusual round barn is on just west of Kirklin where we turned off of US-421. The drive-in is near Mechanicsburg. The Mayberry Diner is in Danville. It's a place that Pat and Jennifer covered in an American Road Diner Days installment.

The last two pictures are also from Danville. The first is of a carved stone in the courthouse lawn that we first took to be a monument of some sort. But there are no dates or names carved in it. We were at a loss to explain the presence of the stone until we looked up. When we saw that the stone at ground level is an exact match for those at the very top of the courthouse, the amazing truth became clear: There's an entire other courthouse buried in the town square!!

The Diner on Route 40 in Plainfield had closed last December but reopened in April. It was sure nice to see the neon coffee cup lit when we pulled up to the old Mountain View. Inside, I was able to try one of those famous tenderloins and meet new owner Tim Brooks. Ray Piercy, who ran The Diner until its December close, still owns the property and is still ready to sell for $1.75 million but Tim, who worked as one of Ray's cooks, owns the business and seems to be doing things right. It's a great spot for cruise-ins which are happening every Saturday. Watch for a certain blue Corvair to be there for at least some of them.

The 3:30 closing was at hand when Pat and I finished our meals and the neon was off as we chatted in the parking lot. He headed to his nearby home and I headed for I-465.

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