Day 10

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Day 10

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.

The SS Creaks and Groans docked at Quality Times campground

The Quality Times office (which seems a little "C" sick--nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!)

A view from the aft end of the SS Creaks and Groans parked at Quality Times

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!

As long as we're watching the train go by, we don't have to look 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.

The sign for the Award-Winning visitor's center where we bought soap that looked like it had been made out of rocks (and just who gives awards to visitor centers, anyway?)

The actual Visitor's Center

Laura examines a model of the church that appeared to the builder in a dream

A front view of the dream church

There's a little guy standing outside the church--was he part of the dream?

You can look inside through the missing wall (which we hope was done so you could look inside, and not because it was in the dream)

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.

Overview of the labyrinth; the light spots are where you're supposed to walk.

Laura examines the fountain outside the labrynth

Laura begins her labyrinth walk

You can see the Visitor's Center from the labrynth

View from the center of the labyrinth

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.

The roofless church

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!)

Figures--the roofless church is Episcopalean (who else would agree to run a church with no congregation?)

Looking across the nave to the altar area

Laura looks across a congregation of grass

And if the sermon is boring, you can watch the corn grow!

Closer view of the altar

The altar--although it's not clear where the priest stands...

Above the altar rises this billowy looking thing

At the top is a hole for the incense smoke to escape (although, frankly, we think the odds of there being a "high" Episcopalean service here are very, very slim)

Looking from the altar to the rear of the church

The baptismal font

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!!). 

We park at the corner of N. Main and W. North St. E. 

Good food, great air conditioning

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. 

The Ohio river valley (facing one way--us, not the river; it faces both ways)

The Ohio river valley (facing the other way)

We wandered into a big national forest, and ended up camping there (more fireflies!). We do not have corn for dinner.

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