Day 2: May 21, 2014
Great Views and BBQ

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I have had the official tour of the original Indiana state capitol so I wasn't at all upset to find things not quite clicking with precision when I walked over to the visitor center. It actually worked out well. I found the door to the capitol unlocked and a volunteer inside cleaning. I deposited the normal cost of a tour in the collection box, had a nice chat with the volunteer, and snapped a couple of pictures. One picture is of a piece of the elm tree under which Indiana's constitution was written in 1816. Like just about every other elm in North America, the "Constitution Elm" succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease in the 1920s. This specific elm was pronounced dead in 1925, its trunk preserved in a sandstone monument, and the rest of it converted into souvenirs. The woman I spoke with in the capitol told me there were concerns about the survival of the trunk until the bicentennial coming up in a couple of years. I next visited the "Constitution Elm" myself where the reason for that concern was apparent.

Butt Drugs is just across the street from the capitol. I had spotted the "Soda Fountain" inscribed on a front window as I walked by last evening and I peered through the glass to see the line of swivel stools. This morning I stepped inside to try it out. The business dates from 1952 and is now run by the third generation of the Butt family. It does everything a pharmacy should do including delivering prescriptions. Compare the comfortable looking waiting area to the plastic chairs at Walgreen's or CVS. Of course I was there for the fountain. Jean Marie quickly whipped me up an excellent root beer float but let me know that malts are a specialty. I've already got my order ready for the next visit. She also gave me some of the store's history and pointed out Katie Butt, the current owner. The first two owners were pharmacists. Katie's degree is in management. Jean Marie suggested I say hi to Katie but she was chatting with a customer when I left so I've got that for my next visit, too. Another suggestion was to check out the store's commercial and its "the making of" video. I have done and I whole heartedly second the suggestion.

The drive became quite scenic as I left Corydon on IN-62. The road between here and the town of Dale has been called one of the "Best Driving Roads in America" by Car and Driver magazine. I first drove it in 2007.

The first picture was taken from near where the town of Leavenworth stood prior to the flood of 1937. Several houses and a restaurant stand there now but most of today's Leavenworth is high atop the bluff. One of the buildings salvaged from the riverside location is home to Stephenson's General Store. The genuine "anything you need" general store reopened at its current location in 1939. The last picture shows off the great Ohio River view at the Overlook Restaurant just a bit further on.

Accenting the outside shot of Stephenson's is my new ride. It's a 2003 Mazda Miata that some may recognize from it time in the care of Ohio Lincoln Highway Historic Byway director Mike Hocker and his wife Nancy. The car is doing splendidly on our first trip together and I'm sure there will be many more. The Miata replaces the 1963 Valiant which has moved on to a caring and capable new owner in Oklahoma.

Between 1000 and 1400 CE, a city with a population of one thousand or so stood at what is now called Angel Mounds. Approximately 100 acres were enclosed by a combination of the Ohio river and a wattle and daub stockade. Trails lead through the site and past a number of mounds and a portion of the stockade has been reconstructed. Today, all was peaceful.

Like Wonderland Way itself, I had not heard of Wilson's General Store & Cafe until I read that American Road article. Not knowing of a short lived auto trail is one thing but not knowing of this place is quite another. The last two pictures were taken from my booth where I enjoyed the food every bit as much as the decor. This is a fun place run by real people serving real (and really good) food at reasonable prices.

In Mount Vernon, Indiana, my room at the family owned and operated Four Seasons Motel was a fine place to end the day.

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