Our next leg of the trip would take us into Indiana.
This state was new for G and J. The rest of us had been here before, but again not necessarily to this part of the state. We entered the state in pretty much the center of the western border, crossing over from Illinois. From there we headed east to Indianapolis before heading south toward Kentucky.
I hate to admit it, but I wasn’t expecting much from the state of Indiana in terms of scenery. I figured it would be pretty much the same as Illinois, which is the same as Iowa, which means fairly flat and wide open. I will hang my head in shame now and confess that I was wrong. Indiana, particularly in the southern part of the state, had some beautiful hills and way more trees than I was expecting. It was a pleasant surprise.
Indianapolis, however, was not impressive at all. Granted we stayed on the bypass around the city, but pretty much all we saw were walls. Walls and this…
Construction proved to be the name of the game in Indiana from the time we crossed into the state until we left. Everywhere. Interstate, highway, and backroads. Didn’t matter. We ended up losing a ton of time to construction zones and bad merging practices. (Zipper merge, people. It works. Seriously. Unfamiliar with the concept? Here you go.)
I had planned for us to stop for a picnic lunch in Indiana at Hardin Ridge Recreation Area, which turns out to be right next to Hoosier National Forest. However, none of the research I had done had said we would have to pay to get into the area, and I didn’t see a need to pay just to sit at a table and eat lunch. So we chose to abandon that idea and drove down the road to a spot that the GPS indicated would be right on Lake Monroe. In fact, the “road ends in water”. That’s after the extremely eroded road.
We decided to chance it, and ended up with a really nice picnic on the shore of the lake. No tables, so we just sat on some rocks and enjoyed lunch with a view.
It turns out that we were just “down-lake” from Ransburg Scout Reservation, which C had camped at last summer with his scout troop. So, that was pretty cool. And our first of what would turn out to be 4 Boy Scout camps that we would see on our trip.
Another fun tidbit from this part of the trip. After lunch, we needed gas. I have a pretty cool app on my phone called GasBuddy that will give you the cheapest gas prices in the area. We happened to be in Bloomington, Indiana, so I used GasBuddy to find a place that had gas that was 10 cents cheaper than anywhere else in the area. Score! We found the gas station, and filled up right across the lot from a Bloomington police car. When M came back from buying some water in the gas station, he was laughing and informed me that the police car was not there to fill up. Apparently GasBuddy had taken us to a “sketchy” area of Bloomington and the cop was there telling people not to loiter. There was also a sign on the door saying no bags allowed and that hoods must be put down before entering. So, there is a downside to going for the cheapest gas…
After that it was definitely time to put Indiana behind us and head off into another state.