Monday, July 17, 2000
We start out relatively early (before noon, anyway) and eventually undock from Quality Times and set sail in the SS Creaks and Groans. Destination: America! But we'll settle for Indiana.
We drive across the rest of Illinois, on our way to Indiana (the last state in our Tour of States That Begin With "I"). Mostly, it's more corn fields. Once there was a train. Man,are we ever tired of looking at corn!
Right after we enter Indiana (and pay 70 cents for the privilege at a toll bridge), we stop at New Harmony. This is a town that was founded as a religious commune, and was later sold (it was a successful commune) to some folks who made it a Nerd Town with lots of scientists and engineers and Deep Thinkers. This all happened in the 1800's, and for a while in the 1900's it looked like the town would dry up and blow away, but money was found and the town survived.
Now, it survives on tourists and has built an award-winning visitor center. Mostly, it's a nice small town, but there are some cool things we saw.
After browsing the Museum Gift Shop, we headed out to see some of the attractions in town. Our first stop was a labyrinth, which is (Robert discovered) different from a maze. Basically, a maze is designed to get you lost. A labyrinth is just a long, twisting path, with only one way through it. Walking a maze will get you frustrated. Walking a labyrinth is supposed to enlighten you.
After walking to the center of the labyrinth (Robert won because he ran most of the way), Robert was enlightened that lying down on a nearby bench would be lots more relaxing. While Laura carefully meditated her way back out of the maze, Robert gazed up at a tree and thought about lunch.
Then we headed for another unique New Harmony attraction: the roofless church. Although Robert thought that perhaps their building committee hadn't been able to raise enough money to finish the church, it turns out that it doesn't have a roof on purpose. It's supposed to be some kind of "get close to nature" deal. Of course, since it turns out that this puts the congregation a little too close to nature (which is cold in the winter and muggy in the summer), no actual services are held here. We think it'd be cool to have maybe an Easter service or a baptism here (if the weather weren't too nasty), but we can understand why there's no regular congregation. (Robert also thinks it'd be cool to have a Christmas service here, because then you could lob snowballs during Coffee Hour!)
After viewing the church, we headed off for lunch at the Bayou Grill (which had a pretty delicious chocolate pecan pie, and very good air conditioning). We have begun to realize the supreme importance of proper air conditioning in staying alive in the Midwest during the summer. Otherwise, you are hot, sticky, sweaty, and generally miserable (and this year was a "real good year" because it wasn't as hot or humid as usual! yikes!!).
Then we drove some more and discovered that Indiana is full of windy hilly roads, which get a bit tedious to maneuver a 30 foot RV up and down. Also, we started seeing more and more oil pumping thingies (some of them in the middle of corn fields), so apparently growing corn isn't the only thing for people to do around here. Robert happily does the white knuckle driving in exchange for not having to look at any more corn fields.
We wandered into a big national forest, and ended up camping there (more fireflies!). We do not have corn for dinner.