Day 3: September 23, 2006
Forward Thinking.
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US-36, IL There was just a little drizzle as I drove through Springfield and picked up US-36 for the drive home. It was a little chilly, too. But I didn't really mind leaving the top up because my mood sort of matched the weather. I wasn't sad or depressed but my mind was occupied by thoughts of my malfunctioning gearbox and the question of whether or not it would get me home. Pouring rain or seriously cold temperatures probably would have depressed me but the misty gray seemed just about right.

What could have been depressing was Thirty-Six's piggybacking on I-72 for over thirty miles east of Springfield then remaining divided four lane even after it got its own pavement. Finally, as it escaped Decatur, the road narrows to two lanes. It runs southeast for a few miles, follows a couple of gentle curves to get its direction right, then heads due east in a straight and flat line to Indiana. The picture was taken near the midpoint of that line; Between Tuscola and Newman.

Town 'n Country Motel, IL Town 'n Country Motel, IL Town 'n Country Motel, IL Town 'n Country Motel, IL The Town 'n Country is just a bit west of US-150 and was my first brush with danger. But I successfully resisted the urge to pull into the first driveway I saw and continued to a lot I could circle through. That was about a mile and a half away but I managed a U-turn in front of the motel to get eastbound again so these pictures only cost me about three miles.

I counted ten cabins here and I imagine that the similar brick building just west of them was once part of the operation. Certainly a gas station and maybe the motel's office.

Model Ts, Dana, IN Model Ts, Dana, IN Model Ts, Dana, IN Model Ts, Dana, IN Model Ts, Dana, IN I got a real bonus when I followed the sign pointing toward Ernie Pyle's home. As I entered the town of Dana, IN, I immediately saw the line of Model Ts parked by the road. Then I saw even more coming down the street. I talked to one driver who sat in his car while his wife, along with all the occupants of the other Ts, visited an antique store across the road. He told me that his wife was the navigator so he didn't know any of the route details. He seemed quite happy to be in a position where he need only be concerned with the next turn.

Ernie Pyle Museum, Dana, IN Ernie Pyle Museum, Dana, IN Ernie Pyle Museum, Dana, IN Ernie Pyle Museum, Dana, IN The Ernie Pyle State Historic Site includes the house he was born in and a nice museum. The museum is housed in two real Quonset huts that were erected in 1995. The monument is a reproduction of the one built on Ie Shima where Ernie died. It's in a park on US-36 a couple of miles east of Dana.

I actually got a second bonus here. I was familiar with Ernie Pyle's word from the front lines of World War II but did not know that he had previously gained fame as a writer of travel columns. In one of the museum's presentations, Charles Kuralt talks about him as an early influence. I bought a book of some of his columns, written in the 1930s, on the southwest.

Newport, IN Newport, IN Newport, IN In Dana, I did manage to learn that the Ts were heading to Newport and decided to stop by there, too. Here I got a third bonus from that turn toward Dana. Some of the Model Ts were there but what now caught my eye were the strings of banners over the streets and the strange lines and marks on the pavement. The town, I learned, is just about ready for next week's Antique Auto Hill Climb. It's their thirty-ninth year! Nothing newer than 1955 and that's only if the car was discontinued before 1970. Otherwise, 1942 is the cutoff. Pre-1935 motorcycles, too. I'd love to be there next week but the schedule doesn't look promising.

Bridgeton, IN Bridgeton, IN Bridgeton, IN Arson struck the 1868 bridge in Bridgeton, IN, on April 28, 2005. The ashes were still warm when the rebuilding campaign was started and, on August 28, 2006, a new bridge was in place. That amazing accomplishment means that the bridge will have missed just one Bridge Festival in Parke County's string of fifty.

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