15 November 2008

Indiana

No sooner had I come home from Las Vegas than did I repack my bag for a trip to Indiana. A colleague of mine, JP, and I were to meet at the Indianapolis airport before renting a car and driving to Spencer, where were to assist a third colleague with some project work. JP was to arrive before me at Indy airport, but her flight was delayed until after mine. No problem, I thought, I’ll just get comfy it in the terminal and read my book until she arrives. Then something funny happened: between the arrival of my flight and hers, the old Indianapolis International Airport terminal closed, and the new one opened. The captain said something about my flight being the last American Airlines flight to come into the old terminal, but I didn’t think much of it until I was walking down the concourse and saw the retail shops and kiosks packing up their wares, and when I stopped for a bite and a beer (what little there was to be had) at one of the restaurants, the waitress was stacking any tables and chairs not actively in use in the corner. Still trying to kill time, I was seemingly the only passenger still wandering around, and -- as he was packing up some oscillating fans -- an airline employee asked if I needed help, and told me that any flights arriving after 8pm would be going to the new terminal, and that the passengers would be shuttled over to the old terminal for pick-up, etc. Not sure where they’d be shuttled to, I wandered around a bit more and asked for details at an info station. The woman there curtly informed me that the old terminal was closing, as if that weren’t perfectly clear by now (I could just about hear them ripping up the carpet and tearing out the fixtures behind me as I left the concourse. Eerie, that.) It became clear though, that there was no shuttle, but rather that I would have to go collect JP at the new terminal. I rushed over to the car rental desk, checked out my Ford POS and got directions to the new terminal.

What a difference! The old terminal was all threadbare carpets and peeling wallpaper, where the new terminal was clean (even the parking garage sported no oil spots!), the ceilings were high, the accents were modern, and there were flocks of people in red fleece jackets ready to assist you at every turn. One news film crew, and a few banks of automated check-in monitors that hadn’t been installed yet. Brand. Spanking. New. I found JP and we headed out to Spencer.


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The weather being less than cooperative, we did a little more office work than anticipated. Not that we weren’t prepared or willing to go out in the rain, mind you, but that project construction had ground to a halt due to the heavy rain. So we assisted with office work in Spencer. We ate five out of seven meals at Chambers Smorgasbord, a Spencer institution, where the lunch buffet consists of fried fry, with gravy and a side of fry, hold the nutritional value. Actually, skeptical as I was, it was pretty good. I had never heard of, let alone tried, a fried biscuit before, and it turns out, they are awesome. I also had some great meatloaf (fell under my “when in Rome” dietary theory), as well as some boiled bits that appeared to be vegetables.

We stayed at McCormick Creek State Park’s Canyon Inn, which we mostly just saw in the dark and the rain, but on Thursday we got to leave the office a little early before we headed out for dinner in Bloomington, so JP and I took a walk around the park while the weather was dry. Lovely hardwood forests—unusual to me, being a westerner—and some fantastic rock formations, some of which included fossils!





No idea what critters these may have been, but they sure were neat to look at!

I also saw a teeny tiny fuzzy caterpillar (about half an inch long)….



And this crazy day-glow orange spider! (about an inch long, legs inclusive)


(If anyone knows what these critters are called, I sure would love to know!)

JP headed back to the inn and I wandered around the creek a bit more, desiring some time to myself. I walked and climbed and thought about everything and nothing. I thought about how infrequently I am really alone, and how it’s good to spend some time alone in the natural environment. I intend to try to do that a little more—spend some time with trees and the ground and the water and the critters. Don’t worry Mom, I’ll be careful.

Come Friday morning, the weather was getting worse, so JP and I decided to curtail the sightseeing we’d planned on into western Indiana and across Illinois, and after a quick trip to the field, we hopped a plane and headed back to Seattle two days early. I had a great time, bonded with two incredible women, and saw a corner of the earth that I otherwise may never have seen. JP and I are already planning our return trip in the spring.








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