I've been crazy busy and the prospect of losing a day in the middle of the week damaged the possibility of meeting a self-imposed deadline for a project at the end of June. Almost a year ago I was asked to be a guide for a bus tour on the Dixie Highway between South Bend and Indianapolis-seemed doable then. I am more familiar with this route being the Michigan Road, but hey, when in Rome....
our starting point north of the St. Joseph County Courthouse
South Bend and the Indiana Lincoln Highway Association were host to the National Conference of the LH Association. They wanted to highlight the founder of the road, Carl Fisher, by taking attendees to Indianapolis to the German Club (Rathskeller) for lunch at the place where the idea of a coast to coast highway was birthed. And why not travel the Dixie Highway (old U.S. 31/now 31, 25, 29 and 421), another of Fisher's ideas, to get there. I had no problem pointing out Michigan Road era farms and landmarks along with Dixie Highway era gas stations, diners and motels. And what I couldn't answer, I just made up...which made me wish blogger Down the Road was along!
We had a good mix of folks from different parts of the country on the bus, including some Hoosiers. The out of staters had questions about corn, beans, barns and the origin of "Hoosier". They also asked why there were patches of woods in the fields...to which I said the question should be asked why there were fields in the woods. I thought that was clever.
Crown Point Cemetery gates...a tight squeeze
Not only did we dine at the old German Club, but we also circled Monument Circle, visited the Indianapolis Speedway (another Fisher idea), Crown Hill Cemetery/James Whitcomb Riley's tomb (we were also supposed to place a wreath at Fisher's grave, but time got away) and Marian College-soon to be university-where the mansions of Fisher, Frank Wheeler and James Allison (being the big three of the Indy Speedway) were all located prior to it becoming Marian.
Riley's grave...the highest point in Indy
I think I enjoyed the speedway most. This was my second time, but the first time was before you could take a trip around the tracks...way cool. And I enjoyed hearing about the Jens Jensen landscape design and restoration of the Allison estate. Man, I love Indy.
The folks on my bus were especially kind, rarely got out of control and I even got an invitation from the 2011 host of the LH conference for the family to attend in Lake Tahoe. That may be a possibility.....Route 66 out and the LH back.
Ending point: my favorite building in downtown South Bend