____________ May 28, 2016 ___________

Adventure Post: Day 6

(or, Greetings from the short Chair)
(or, SABBATH BLESSINGS!!)
(or, Amish are posers)

Shabbat Shalom!

Well, only two more vacation e-mails left, including this one.   I’ll bet you’re rejoicing at the news, right?  Brian says I’m probably frustrating you, and that going home is a good thing.  I’m with him on the good thing… although my reason is $$.  Vacationing is expensive, and this trip has been particularly bad.  Gas prices down here are higher than in Michigan (don’t know why), and I hate sports tournaments.  It means the big rooms are taken by groups of guys who want to split the cost of their accommodations, and we end up having to pay a lot more for stays.  This is happening all over the state.  It could be an Indiana thing… I think they’re sports-obsessive, here (HOOSIERS!!!!) and it’s kind of extreme.

Yesterday!   We always talk about yesterday, because I haven’t been thru today to talk about it, yet… obviously.  R’something.  I’m not so sure it’s age, it might just be brain fatigue, at this point.  Home really does sound good.  What were we…?!…  Yesterday.  What happened yesterday?  They all are suddenly blurring together…

Oh!  By the way, today is a potential rapture date!  I didn’t know it, though.  I’m out of the loop, anymore.  But apparently tonight is a blue moon.  (<< Blue moon being the second full moon in a single month.)   Which is semi-rare, and kinda fun, but doesn’t really mean a lot in the scheme of things, because it’s based on the Western solar calendar, and God doesn’t work on that.  BUT…!  It’s also the fourth supermoon in a single season, which is REALLY rare.  Apparently the mystics and astronomical crazies (wiccans, witches, inner eye seers, etc) are feeling ‘extremely afraid’ of this particular day.  In my book?  That’s a potential rapture day.  Well… any day is a potential rapture day, but their fear boosts my excitement.  Just sayin’.  More on freaky people, soon enough.

Yesterday started out with us going to Clifty Falls State Park.  We’ve been very fortunate to accidentally go in the back gates and at times when there’s no one at the gatehouses.  In Indiana, it’s $9 entry for every park.  (<< In Michigan, we buy a $20 annual pass, and can go in any park, as much as we like).  But we hit ’em mostly in such a way that we didn’t have to pay.  Anyhow, there were four waterfalls in Clifty, and a tunnel cave.  It was MUD, just sheer mud, after the rains, yesterday.  We were a disaster, and while the falls were pretty, it made the hikes even harder.

We also saw more wildlife – haven’t mentioned much, I know.  But we saw two box turtles, a six inch long lizard, a schoolbus yellow giant millipede (and later on the road, a three foot long copperhead, dead.  I wasn’t happy.)  All along, we’ve been catching toads and frogs and seeing giant millipedes (<<Brian’s favorites), and other animals.  Had a deer jump out in front of us, a woodchuck nearby… it’s been fun.  Not so much the snakes, but my mileage is very anti-slither.

Then we went into Madison, the most beautiful town I’ve been to in America, ever.  We went to the visitor center first, and watched a 7-minute video on Madison.  Most people would think this is stupid, but we’ve found that learning about the hidden gems and history always makes the visit someplace better.  In this case, we learned that Madison is a rocket-boat racing city, that is centrally situated between Louisville, Indy, Cincinnati, and… oh, I don’t remember.  But anyhow, it was once known for it’s steamboats and it’s wrought iron.  Did you know that the wrought iron famous in New Orleans was all made in Madison, Indiana?

So as we wandered down thru the town, we suddenly realized that every house had different wrought iron in their yards!  The gates were different patterns, the corner posts…  some houses had wrought iron planters and mailboxes, some had wrought iron window decorations… that’s a part of why the town is so absolutely beautiful and otherworldly.  It’s the wrought iron!  ((I got a little giggle – the house next to the aged cathedral has a wrought iron pentagram in its gate.  Wonder about the story, there!))  That fountain I wanted to see was even more gorgeous in real life.  Just stunning.

From there we [got lost near St. Peter], then went to Brookville.  I was looking for Whitewater Gorge and Thistlewaite Falls, and had them marked near Brookville.  There was a sign for ‘Whitewater Canal’, so I figured we’d go there, and see what they could tell us.  As we’re driving, there’s this stagnant, icky, very still and lifeless deep ditch full of water running along the road.  And it stinks.  Apparently that was the Whitewater Canal.

The sign took us to a ‘town’ called Metamora, and even the name is kind of off.  But you’ve never been anywhere weirder than this place.  If the Twilight Zone fit in a village?  It’d be Metamora.  It’s like what we’ve seen on backhills Kentucky movie sets – real grubby and scary.  It was a village, but seriously old and decrepit.  All of the windows were full of old junk and things ‘for sale’, but nothing was open.  There were no people.  Just geegaws and clapboard buildings and this stench.  We were walking around, slack-jawed… and came up to the windows of this ‘Museum of Oddities’… it had severed hands with doll’s heads stuck to the wrists, and demons and zombies in the windows.  It was just CREEPY.  There was a woman unloading stuff into a store (<< a witch?!) she saw us on the street and shouted, “NOT OPEN!”  Ooookay.

I did find an old man sitting in a rocker behind one of the places, and I asked him about Whitewater Gorge and Thistlewaite falls.  He had a big unkempt gray beard and a dirty shirt.  “Never heard of ’em.”  He told me, but then surprisingly pulled out a cellphone and looks ’em up for me.  “Looks like that’s up in Richmond.  Forty minutes north.  I got the address… you got GPS?”  I shook my head and said, “Just a road atlas and a ball point pen.”  He squinted up at me, surprised.  “It’s how I come to get to talk to people. Like you.” I explained.  He just grinned, at that.

So off to Richmond we (HAPPILY!!!) went.  Any place but Metamora!  {{{{{shivers!}}}}}  We got there, found a fast food place for wifi, and got directions.  But when we followed them, there was just a public park.  You know – baseball field, soccer space, playgym for kids, and a pond with geese shittin’ up the lawn.  No waterfall, no whitewater.  So I stopped and asked a deaf, slow, and mostly unintelligible man for directions.  Then I went and asked a really, REALLY big mamma-jamma for directions, again.  Neither of them had heard of Thistlewaite falls.  As I was walking away, the woman calls out, “There are falls right across the street, here, and down the stairs.  It’s popular with the local mammas… they take their babies swimming there.”

Across the street?  Were Thistlewaite falls.  With a big plaque with the name on.

It was nasty.  South Eastern Indiana is just nasty.  Other than Madison, that is.  It’s just stinky and dirty and gross.  And those mammas that take their babies wading at the base of Thistlewaite falls?  Change diapers and pull-ups there and just leave ’em.  It was all over the place, and really ick.  Just trashed.  We snapped a (high-up) picture, avoiding the crud, and got out of there.   Yuck, yuck, yuck.

And proceeded into Amish country.  I don’t like the Amish.  I’ve never had a good experience.  Where we used to live was a really huge Amish community, and they acted like we English were second-class citizens that would infect their babies.  They can’t sew a wooden button on their dresses, but they can fasten ’em shut with store-bought safety pins.  ?!?!?!   Once I stopped at a pie sale at the Yoder farm & funiture spread, and heard a power saw in the barn.  No wires… come to find out, they run ’em under the ground so people don’t suspect.  (!!!!!)  And then there’s my experiences with my cousin Steve’s wife, Rebecca.

I snapped photos of every Amish person I saw, just for spite.  Brian was laughing, because we saw a wagon parked at a beer store.  As I said: hypocrites.  And it figures their side of things was the dirty side of the state.  There may be a correlation, there.  But the Amish started appearing about level with Muncie, and I definitely wasn’t impressed.  We’re not going to Shipshewana or Naupanee, either.  (<< big Amish touristy places everyone in Michigan goes.)

No… we went to Fort Wayne.  In fact, that’s where we are.  In a uber-expensive hotel room (<< basketball tournament induced), and my chair is so short, my chin catches on the desk.  Almost not kidding, either.  You should’ve seen those Goliaths at breakfast, too.  It’s not normal for boys to be that tall.  Six foot seven, six foot eight… it’s strange.  And they’re all over this hotel.  Glad to be leaving.  😛

We swam in the pool last night, and then went in the hot tub with this dude from Charlevoix, Michigan.  He’s ‘territorial manager’ of O’Reilly’s auto part stores, and mentioned his 2016 Journey (car?)  at least four times.  He was very pompous and ‘all dat’… but really not all dat.  A reminder of how people back home are.

I’m not sure if I’m cranky because of eastern Indiana, the basketball behemoths, the Amish, the long week, or my very very short chair, but I probably should go.  I know… you don’t write on Saturdays.  I have to, or I won’t ever catch this thing up.  😛

Okay, going.  One last day, and then we land tonight in our beds.

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