More than anything else, Day 5 was all about getting from point A (Lima, Ohio) to point B (Madison, Wisconsin). So it was a day of driving. However, I did take a detour to explore Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore – and I’m so glad I did. It’s a photographer’s dream. All the pictures in the slideshow above were taken there, specifically at Mt. Baldy. I highly recommend the entire area. There are a ton of beaches (stick to the federal ones as they are free – the state ones charge) and a great visitor info center just off the highway with helpful people and tons of trail maps and brochures. It was such a relaxing break in the drive – very few things make me feel as peaceful as being on the water. And it was good exercise too, as it’s a hike to get to the top of Mt. Baldy!
As I mentioned, most of the day was spent in the car with Aidan (my GPS for those new to the blog) and my tape recorder, since I finally bought tapes. So here are a few of the random thoughts I recorded on the drive. (And yes, Seth, I completely cracked up when I pressed play on the recorder and heard us laughing our butts off!)
- I need to learn to trust Aidan. It really is like building a relationship. He tells me something and I don’t quite know whether to believe him or not since it’s so early in our relationship. Sometimes the times he gives seem too good to be true. But he hasn’t steered me wrong yet, so I guess I just have to trust him until I have a reason not to.
- Oh my gosh, it’s heaven: I see a Dunkin Donuts sign! Ooh – and an actual Verizon store!
- I think the Transformers creators must have lived in the midwest. The machinery here is so complex, I feel like I’m surrounded by Autobots and Decepticons amongst the cornfields.
- I don’t understand why all states don’t have motorcycle helmet laws. Accidents can happen anywhere and they do help.
- I’ve seen more pro-life billboards in the last two days than I’ve seen in my entire life.
- An awful lot of giant trucks are Volvos. It makes my car more comfortable – I think she feels a kinship with them. Call me crazy – but whatever works, since I’m sharing the road with them for the next few months.
- They give free tours of the Hallmark ornaments museum! But I missed what exit it’s off of. Probably a good thing. It said there’s also a party and Christmas outlet there and I really don’t need to buy any of those things right now…
- Must admit, my heart gave a bit of a tug when I saw the sign for South Bend, next turn. I spent so much time there through my college years. I wanted to turn, but reminded myself he’s not there and so much has changed in 15 years.
- Soooooo many cornfields. ‘If you build it, they will come.’ Where was that? Iowa?
- Looking at my feet after climbing Mt. Baldy barefoot: I’m very thankful that as a child my parents let me run around barefoot at the beach and everywhere. I’m also thankful I didn’t get the pedicure I considered this morning. Now I REALLY need one!
- I’m an idiot. Completely forgot that we have multiple timezones in this country. Note to self (and anyone else paying attention): Make sure you know what time zone you’re in or going to be in if you’re traveling so you can plan accordingly.
- The only thing I’ve ever really known about Wisconsin are: cheese, Brett Favre (and he’s not even here any more)/the Green Bay Packers and Michael Laurino (and he’s not here any more either). Let’s see what I can learn!
Now I’m comfortably snuggled in bed at my friend Andrea’s house in Madison. So nice to not be in a motel! She has a lovely home, a nice husband, lots of cute pets and an adorable baby, all of whom made me feel very welcome. I’m really looking forward to exploring with her tomorrow…