For some reason, I’ve always thought of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois as being like three sisters. Ohio is the pretty, warm-hearted one. Can’t you just see her apple cheeks? Illinois is the smart, sophisticated one, slightly aloof. And Indiana, well, Indiana is the other one.
I went to college in Ohio. One of my grandmothers was from Cleveland, and I used to go there for youth conferences. I lived, briefly, in Chicago and had a girlfriend in the northern suburb of Evanston. Farther north along the lake, in Winnetka, I visited a friend of a friend. His was the only house I’ve been in with a full-sized pipe organ. But Indiana? Well, I once spent four hours trying to get a ride outside Indianapolis while hitchhiking from Chicago to Dayton.
Indiana has Gary, at the butt-end of Lake Michigan. If you’re going to Chicago from Michigan, you go through Gary. It’s not so bad now, other than the traffic, but in the 40s and 50s it was a dystopian vision of smoke and dirt and ugliness. In the south of Indiana is the 19th century resort town of French Lick, which, a girlfriend once assured me, is not as exciting as it sounds.
Indiana does have the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, a wonderful small museum worth the visit if you’re at all interested in old cars. And there’s the Indianapolis Speedway and its museum. The traffic around Indianapolis can be horrible, but I found downtown to be nice on one of my visits. Still, the impression of the three sisters persists.
It usually doesn’t take long to cross Indiana on I-70 — it’s only 156 miles. But today there were numerous road construction projects, with ramps closed, 45 mph speed limits, and single-lane traffic. At times, funneling that much traffic into a single lane backed things up for miles.
But it was a beautiful day. We’ve been lucky with the weather so far. We charged our car in Terre Haute and Indianapolis and continued on to Ohio.