_________ December 27, 2015 __________

Indianapolis: Day Three

If there were such a thing as a vacation ‘grand finale’, today was definitely it!   I swear, I’ve never seen such beauty in my LIFE.  It was just breathtaking.  We were all speechless… pretty much everywhere we went!

It started out with a bang… well, actually more of a *Boom!*  Thunderstorms moved in around 5:30, and woke me up.  So I got up, and because internet is FREE at a hotel, I got this brainstorm to use it to download something special for the kids to watch on the way home.  After all, the laptop screen is WAY bigger than the little car screen (although even watching something on that is a HUGE treat – we have to go on a 3+ hour trip in order for them to be allowed to watch anything on it).  So anyhow, I downloaded about 25 YouTube videos of the Pink Panther cartoons.  Last month my song on the piano was ‘The Pink Panther’, and the kids weren’t familiar.  And it was the first thing I thought of, in the wee hours of the morning.

We got up (for me, again) later, had breakfast, and packed up the hotel room.  The laundry sack Lydia refused to use the day before came in handy for getting all the wet socks, soaky jeans, and still-damp swimsuits home.  Things just work out, don’t they?   Anyhow, the plan had been to leave the packed car at the hotel and do our circuit of the city sights, but it was SOOO windy.  Rain is one thing, but gusting wind pelting (now colder) rain was just not good.  It was actually Yehovah looking out for us, and you’ll see why in a little.  But we ended up deciding to drive to each location.  And the good news?  It being Sunday, parking downtown was FREE!!!!

So our first stop was Union Station.  It’s the first Union Station that opened in the U.S., and I’d seen pictures of it – outside and in – and it was BREATHTAKING.  So we headed there (past the Colts stadium, except we don’t care a fig about arenas and such)… we ended up parking under a bridge with shop entrances in the tunnel-like space.  Very strange but cool.  When we traipsed out to the building, it was LOCKED.  I was so bummed, but it was Sunday.  So I took pictures, we headed back to the car… and saw a side entrance in the tunnel that we’d walked right by, earlier.  And it was OPEN!  So we got to go inside.  It was magnificent – you could almost hear the echo of days gone by.  The old ticket desk was there, the baggage desk, the train platforms…!  The big main hall was done up for a wedding, and it was absolutely gorgeous.  Wait until you see the pictures – we were just stunned.

Heady from it all, we climbed back in the car and went to The Circle, again – this time to climb the Soldier/Sailor Monument.  THREE HUNDRED AND THIRTY STEPS, in a tight square of ten steps per rise, with just enough room for an elevator to squeeze up the middle.  Two of my boys had panic attacks and didn’t make it to the top.  It was STEEP… I was just panting, and So. HoT!!  But the view was amazing, and it was such an experience.  (So was getting back down – the tower was slick and wet and it was kind of harrowing.)

Next we went to the War Monument – thinking it was just going to be a small visit?  Ho. Lee. COW was that place just PACKED with stuff.  In the center of it is one of the most beautiful theatres I have ever seen in my life.  Everything in side was marble – chocolate, mauve, salmon, and white/blue marble.  Floors, pillars, walls… everything.  It was incredible.  And the displays/rooms progress thru all the wars this nation has seen:  Revolutionary, Spanish/American, Civil, WWI, WWII, Korean, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and the present whatever-they’re-calling-today’s-insanity.  They had the insides of submarines, a tank, a chopper, parts of ships and bombs and… it was crazy amazing.  We spent WAY more time than we meant to, looking at everything.  I liked the hero stories – they had green plaques with pictures of heroes, and the stories that went with them.  They were *fascinating*!

I had no idea, but downtown Indianapolis is quite a lot like the plaza at Washington D.C. – there’s the monument, then a park with fountains leading to an obelisk, then more park leading to another monument, and culminating with the library.  Which was our next stop.  Wait until you see the library.  I couldn’t believe it when I saw pictures on-line, and we HAD to go and see for ourselves.  We ended up taking all FIVE escalators up to the top, and saw the city from all around… it was amazing, too!  And guess what’s at the top level?  The HISTORY books!  (Love irony!)

We were slated to find the Scottish Rite Cathedral, after that – but to our surprise, it was along the side of the plaza.  Of course it wasn’t open, but just to SEE it…!  And all sorts of other amazing architecture.  The buildings in that city are just old and stately and SO ornate.  I’m turning my children into art/design buffs.  We were having a glorious time.

On the way out of town, headed north, we got to pass all of the mega-mansions.  It’s like everyone wants to live in castles, along there.  They had to be multi-million dollar homes.  Just amazing.  But oddly (since were sort of on the subject)… MOST of our trip, we didn’t see any white people.  Out on the plaza, at The Circle on X-mess, everywhere we went?  It was all Asian and Mexican.  White people don’t go anywhere or do anything, it seems.  Even in the hotel … there just weren’t any other white people.  Or walking along the canal.  Other than the uber-healthy jogger freaks?  All Mexicans, walking along with their families.

We noticed the same thing, driving down on X-mess day – there were no cars at the farms.  No sign of family gatherings.  You’d think there’d be houses – even in towns – with packed driveways.  The only houses we saw jammed with cars?   They were the houses in Logansport – a ghetto-y town of migrant families and ethnic people.  White people don’t get together, apparently.  It’s so crazy.

Speaking of Mexican, on the way home, we ate at La Hacienta… and you HAVE to see this crazy place!  You won’t believe it – the tables and chairs – it was absolutely raucous!  We loved it (and the food was SO good).

But then we had a drive… punctuated only when we passed what used to be Grissom Air Force Base – it’s now a reserve base – the active base closed the same time as K.I. Sawyer (where I grew up) did.  Thank you very little, Bill StOopid Clinton.  But there was an Air Force museum there – closed – but TONS of planes, so we got out and took a look at all the different kinds that they had.  By then it was getting c-c-c-cold, outside!  We were very glad to hustle back to the car, and settle in with Pink Panther cartoons and a nice warm heater.  I hadn’t told the kids what I’d downloaded – only that I had a surprise for them to watch – and you should’ve HEARD them in uproar, laughing so hard in the backseat all the way home.  (Well, Lydia was going, “You’ve GOT to be kidding.  Oh, no.  Oh, NO…!”  Which is just as funny.)

We made it home!  Critters are fine, stuff is (mostly) unpacked, and we are trying to settle back into the swing.  It’s going to take a little, I think… the kids were exhausted – partly from three days of constant activity catching up with them, partly from not getting full night’s of sleep (in a strange bed, with strange noises/smells), and partly from all the climbing.  But it was WORTH it.  So worth it.  Every one of us loved every minute of it.

Okay.  I’ve got to go.  It’s nearly eleven, and I have a (grown-up) boy who has work in the morning, and is probably pooped from being dragged up tower and downtown (and driving can be tiring, too!)  So I’ll get to those pictures in the morning.  Okay?

Have a great night… on this 12/27.  😉

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