Day 10: February 4, 2011
(Almost) Back Home Again in Indiana
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Today's first chore was getting the rental car back to its home. It was all expressway from El Centro to near the airport. I stopped for one photo. This is how I first saw Desert View Tower. I was on I-8 in 2003 when I unexpectedly caught a glimpse of this fantastic structure perched above me. I had to exit. I found my way to the tower, met Ben Shultz, and bought Eric Findley's book. It was indeed a fortuitous glimpse. Today is the first time I've been back to the site of that glimpse and, even in a sun washed photo, it looks pretty cool to me.

I turned in the car, got shuttled to the airport, and made it through the check in line. Just as the gal was about to tag my bag, her face assumed a thoughtful look and she said, "Let me check something." She tapped on her keyboard and looked at her screen then explained that the San Diego-Phoenix leg was delayed by an hour which meant my 55 minute layover had become a -5 minute layover. She headed off to the far end of the counter and returned with a plan. There was another flight to Phoenix which, although it was originally scheduled to depart after the flight I'd booked, was still on time and would now be departing ahead of it. That flight would, if all went well, give me a 25 minute window to catch my flight to Indianapolis. I headed off to stand in the security line.

All did go well. I landed in Indianapolis almost on time, retrieved my luggage with no wait, and was quickly shuttled to my car. I didn't, however, get into my car. I shall now sing the praises of "Stay and Fly".

Several motels near the airport offer packages which include multi-day parking with a room. The Sleep Inn includes up to thirty days parking with a room booked at a small premium over the basic room rate. I went for it, figuring that the package cost me no more than ten or twenty dollars over just parking at the cheapest of long term lots. With my return flight scheduled to land at 10:55 PM, sleeping in a warm $10 bed sounded much better than driving to Cincinnati in the middle of the night. It turned out to be much much better.

When my Wednesday flight was canceled, all I had to do regarding parking was call the motel and change my reservation. Unlike a normal parking lot, ten days cost no more than eight days. But perhaps the biggest pay off of all is shown in the pictures. The reason for that Wednesday cancellation was that Indianapolis -- my car included -- got buried in ice. The roads had been cleared in the two days since then but not so parking lots and lonely cars. There were two couples on the shuttle who were returning from Miami after a Bahamas cruise. While the husbands chipped away and the wives waited at the motel door, I was able to snap these pictures with a smile then duck inside to a cozy room. I'll tackle the ice in the light of another day.

The Morning After

Rather than add another page to the trip, I'll just add a panel on departing Indianapolis. The first picture is the view from my room when I awoke on Saturday. Snow fell over night and is still falling. That can clearly be seen in the picture of my car when I went out to dig it free about 10:00. It looks like about two inches has fallen since my look last night. For reasons I can explain, I needed to open the hood. There was ice on it but most broke off easily. The wiper well area was an exception. Ice at least three or four inches thick encased the wipers and prevented me from raising the hood until it was broken up with an adjustable wrench. The left (south) side was pretty clear but vertical surfaces on the right side held about a half inch thick coating. The slab resting on the roof was probably slightly more than an inch thick. There was ice around the tires but they got the car free after quite a bit of spinning and a little more wrench work.

At least an additional inch and a half of snow had accumulated on the car when I returned to it at 11:30. I brushed that off and crawled out of the motel lot. I headed to the expressway, where some lanes were clear, then up one exit to 10th Street. Changing lanes required some planning but it was quite passable and I was only going about a mile down 10th to meet Pat Bremer at the Mug 'n' Bun.

I've heard plenty about the Mug 'n' Bun but had never been there. When I contacted Pat, who lives nearby and is one of Mug 'n' Bun's most loyal fans, he was up for lunch. It seems the place started as a Frost Top Root Beer in 1942 and became Mug 'n' Bun in 1960. The root beer, still made on premises, is superb. The picture to the left is the drive-in where eating in your car is the norm. Apparently curb service was available even today. All the food is cooked in that building though, during the winter, most of it, including ours, is eaten here. It gets between the two buildings like this, gets to your table like this, and looks like this. Eating at the Mug 'n' Bun can make up for a lot of snow.

There's enough there for two meals so, after Pat & I discussed lots of really important stuff and the streets got a little clearer, I took half a sandwich and a bunch of onion rings and headed home. The expressway wasn't entirely clear but it was in pretty good shape and traffic was generally moving well. Exceptions were where a tow truck was loading up a damaged car or a policemen was checking on (and maybe citing) a motorist on the side of the road; All evidence that things had not been in pretty good shape in the recent past. Things like this just don't happen in San Diego.

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