____________ May 27, 2016 ___________

Adventure Post: Day 5

(or, Greetings from Madison!)
(or, the cockroaches say ‘hi’, too!)
(or, Getting Ahead of Ourselves)

It’s Friday!  Which means panic time, for us.  It begins the Memorial Day Weekend, which means people are going to be joining us everywhere, and the ability to find a last-minute hotel room wherever we end up.  I get nervous about this, but we just kind of wing it on faith… so we’ll see what happens.  Worst come to worst, we just skip Fort Wayne tonight and bomb right thru to home.

Yesterday we got up, did the breakfast, shower and pack song-and-dance, and then headed up to the monastery.  They give tours every hour on the hour, and I thought it would be fun to see the beauty of the inside of the abbey.  There… was no beauty of the inside.  It was very bland 70s.  There was a new chapel (repainted as of 2007), and it was beautiful.  It also had all the original hand-carved pews and confessionals from when the Germans built the original chapel in the late 1800s.  I guess during WWII a bunch of Italians were brought over to do marble and hand-fired ceramic, then sent home… so that was pretty, too.  But I had to bite my tongue in two at least sixteen times, as that ‘sister’ told us lies about Jee-zus that she couldn’t have substantiated with scripture if she tried.

And the nuns didn’t even bother to wear habits.  They just walked around like anyone else.  Benedictines.  ?!  Okay.  Well, that made the experience all that much more authentic.  ((((O_o))))  They said they had a school on the grounds until 2001, but the kids today are ‘unmanageable’ and ‘privileged’ and ‘delinquents’ and they’d had enough, by then.  They really weren’t into children.  At all.  Mine didn’t touch, didn’t talk, didn’t stray, didn’t do anything wrong the whole hour of our tour, but she… didn’t like children.  Kind of not-so-nun-ish behavior.  Aren’t they supposed to minister to the homeless, widows, and children?  Isn’t that a scriptural mandate, not to mention their special vows?   Yikes.

Yehovah (the real one, with a name and everything) was SO good, and made yesterday our one day of rain.  It apparently poured while we were in the monastery, and we missed it.  It was already stopped when we came out, but the sky was DARK.  So we got in the car, headed out to Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood cabin, and the whole way, it just poured.  Torrential, couldn’t hardly see the expressway, trees bowed over with the wind, fighting the steering wheel… thunder and lightning.  We have two giant golf umbrellas, and scuttled to the (indoor!!) museum, and watched the video, went thru the exhibits… and by the time we were done, the worst of the storm was over, and it was just pitter-patting for our walk out to the home site.  They have the place marked where the cabin is, but then a little further there’s a whole re-creation of the homestead, with live actors in the roles of Thomas Lincoln, Sarah, and the cousin (<< I forget his name).

We went to lunch next, and while it was still soggy and shower-y, we had a drive, anyhow.  We went to Squire Boone’s Grist Mill (where I got out in the rain, snapped a picture, and we moved on), and then we had to be to Indiana Caverns.  In between we’d talked about going to Hemlock Cliff Falls, but it was wet and we were running behind, and we’d seen plenty of falls (and have more to go), so we just went on to Indiana Caverns.

There are four underground cave systems in Indiana – Meringo Cave (<walking only), BlueSpring Caverns (boat only), Squire Boone Cavern (boat only, with mining and Grist Mill and ‘homestead’), and then Indiana Cavern… which is a small hike underground, then a boat ride underground, and with mining.  Indiana Cavern is the 7th longest in the U.S., and you know how I am about numbers (7!!!), and it seemed the more diverse option, so that’s what we did.  It. Was. Amazing.  Like a huge underground palace!  There was a 40′ waterfall down there, stalactites, stalagmites, ‘cave bacon’, ‘cave potatoes’, ‘soda straws’… and we saw an albino/blind underground crayfish.  We also let the kids do the ‘panning for gems’… although we won’t look at our treasures until we get home.   Too big a mess in the car.

The next stop was the ‘Falls of the Ohio’, which is right in the heart of the mess that is New Albany,IN/Louisville, KY.  We got lost, and I went to Kentucky, for the first time in my life!  It was a ghetto and horrible, but we were there… long enough to pull in a McDonald’s parking lot, fire up the internet on their free wifi, get directions that were detailed and then get the heck out of there.  Brian gets seriously testy and snappish when we go anywhere near a city.  Where we were?  He was heinous.  It was best to just go where we needed and get OUT of the peoples.

‘Falls of the Ohio’ aren’t falls at all.  It’s a big retaining wall that holds the Ohio River where the peoples want it to be… and there are little divets in the wall that allow small ‘streams’ to ‘fall’ over the wall.  It’s not pretty.  But in doing so, they pushed back the water so that whole huge fossil beds were uncovered.  So we climbed down on the rocks, and we had a ‘fossil hunt’ with the kids – taking pictures of the fossils we found.  Lydia slipped and mudded herself but good, and had to go sop it off in the Ohio River.  She wasn’t happy.  I thought it was cool – what a memory of a major river!

On our way back to the car, we saw these trees full of red-purple berries.  “Are those poisonous?”  Owen asked.  I told him probably, and no sooner did the words come out of my mouth, but we saw an older man with a plastic tub tied around his waist, picking the berries.  “Excuse me, but what kind of berries are those?”  I asked him.  He looked at the kids and said, “Poison Ivy Berries!” and he immediately popped a handful in his mouth.  “Mmmm.  Just kidding!”  He told us they were service berries, and the history behind the name.  Said he came there every year to pick them, and people love his pies.  Encouraged us to try some… they were good!   I’ll have to see if they grow in Michigan, or not.  I’d never heard of them, before.  But he was really nice, and told us the history of the river, and how things came to be the way they are… it was really informative and nice.

From there we did the long(ish) drive up to Madison, our next stop.  And as we came into town on 62, our jaws dropped.  I swear, it was like being in a tiny English hamlet!  The town was cottages, close and quaint, until they gave way to the most picturesque town – with hanging carved signs over the doors or gold-plated plaques on the siding.  It’s got a fountain (one of four in the world of that kind, left!), and a crazy bridge to Kentucky.  It’s right on the river, so there’s a power plant unlike anything we’ve EVER seen – with huge, huge smokestacks that were at least a hundred and fifty foot tall.  ((<< per Brian.))   The pamphlet I got at this hotel says that Ladies’ Home Journal has declared Madison one of the five most beautiful towns in America… and I believe it.  The downtown area was designated the largest contiguous National Historic Landmark in the United States.  It’s nestled between the river and a huge wall of rock, topped with lush vegetation, and it’s just beautiful.

We had hotel issues, though. Apparently the fire marshal here doesn’t allow more than 4 people in a hotel room.  So that’s a problem, for us.  We can’t afford TWO hotel rooms at a time.  So after a little bit of a scramble, we found a crap-hole tucked in a not-so-nice area that had no problem with putting us up.  We actually have what amounts to an apartment – it’s got two bathrooms, a living, dining, kitchen, bedroom… it’s really nice, or would’ve been in 1982.  Brian was having palpitations over possible bedbugs.  My worst hotel experience (New York, 1988) made me instantly think about cockroaches.  But we seem to be okay.  It’s not exactly clean, but it’s not un-endurable.  Just mildly nose-wrinkly.

Anyhow, I should go.  It’s time to finish packing – I’ve got the picnic done and food/vitamins/Omer/swimsuits packed up.  Even got the umbrellas dried up – jump back!  And we have another busy day ahead.  🙂

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1 Comment

  1. Serviceberries? I’d call that chuckleplum tree/shrub. It’s an Amelanchier. Should grow in your state with no problem.

    Reply

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