28-Jun, Winkle Family Reunion to Indianapolis

The Winkle Family Reunion came to a close, and we said our goodbyes. Then it was off to Indianapolis to walk around downtown a bit, after which we went to Kara's to spend the night.

Since we wanted to get a good jump on getting to Indianapolis, we ate breakfast at the guest house rather than meeting people over at the Turkey Run Inn. At one point Melody and I heard horse hooves going the same path as the tractors from the previous day; when she looked out later, she said she saw Amish buggies going by.

We had said goodbye to most of the people the night before, except for the people we knew we would see at the house. It had only been a few days, but I felt we got to know several of the people pretty well, and we had a good time, even considering the weather. Everyone was nice and welcoming, and we didn't feel like outsiders.

The car loaded, we got in and started heading out. We actually didn't spend a lot of time on highways, going through lots of little towns. Traffic was pretty light, and we were unsurprised at the amount of corn we passed.

Downtown Indianapolis

When we arrived in the city, we went to find a place to park downtown. We realized that since it was Sunday, there would likely be no problem parking, and that it would probably be free. Both proved to be true, so we parked near both where our walking tours would end and not too far from a cafë, in case we finished early enough to relax and get online for a while.

We had found a couple walking tours which we could follow as a podcast. There was also a map which showed you the location of each stop. Armed with headphones, we began looking at downtown venues.

The Bankers Life Fieldhouse was first, but it was listed as Conseco Fieldhouse on the tour. It was pretty easy to tell the building was our destination, both by the location and the description. We were able to look through the windows a bit at the lobby. We then went to find Union Station, and it was hard to miss, with the tall clock tower. It didn't appear that we could go inside, so we continued on to Georgia Street, and I could easily imagine it with lots of people wandering up and down the wide central path which goes between Bankers Life Fieldhouse and the Indiana Convention Center, which was our next destination. We stepped inside for a quick break, and noticed that there were people milling around, several in costumes. Ends up Indy Pop Con was going on.

Outside the convention center, we also heard about the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, which we would cross several times during our stay. As of a couple years ago, it consists of 8 miles of trails which connect the city's six cultural districts.

A little further south, we walked by Lucas Oil Stadium, and were able to make out some of the architectural points described on the tour, such as the supports for the retractable roof and the huge window on the north end. Continuing the sports theme, the next stop was Victory Field, where we saw teams warming up and people waiting for the gates to open. We even saw a bunch of girls dressed as cheerleaders making their way.

Just past Victory Field, we entered White River State Park, walking past the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art and the Indiana State Museum, neither of which we went in this time around, since we knew we wouldn't have time to do so. After glancing at the NCAA Complex and Hall of Champions, we doubled back to the Indianapolis Canal Walk to watch the paddle boats.

By this time we were getting pretty hungry, so after taking a look at a steam clock which was under repairs, we entered the Eiteljorg from the canal side and went up to the café there.

Monuments and Memorials

Indianapolis has a whole corridor downtown dedicated to monuments and memorials. The walking tour covered not only those, but other buildings of note along the way.

We began the afternoon at the Indianapolis Artsgarden, suspended in the middle of the intersection of Pennsylvania and Washington. It's a large glass venue where performances can be held, and offers great views up and down Washington. Nearby are the Indiana Theater and the Indiana State House, which we walked right by from lunch.

It was time to start with monuments. The first one was the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, located in the circle where Meridian and Market meet. Along the circle were the Hilbert Circle Theater and Christ Church Cathedral; we stepped into the latter to take a look at the windows, and heard the choir rehearsing.

We then passed the Birch Bayh Courthouse, taking a look at where the USPS used to be on the northwest corner. We had already taken a quick glance at University Park and the Indiana World War Memorial, since that's where we had left the car. The description of the Minton-Capehart Federal Building began by saying it's an example of brutalism, and we could see that right away; the architecture is offset by a colorful mural at the ground level.

Veterans Memorial Plaza offered us a good view of not only the part of the mall we had covered, but north towards the library. It took us a little while to find the Korean War Memorial, and the Vietnam War Memorial was across the way, even though we had both gotten the impression it would be closer. The World War II Memorial is even larger than the other two, and they all have nice touches, such as quotes from letters written by people in the wars.

It's hard to miss the Scottish Rite Cathedral, with its huge façade. The next block up was the American Legion Mall with its four eagle-topped columns. The last stop was the Central Library which looks of modest size until you realize that all the glass you see above and to the sides is an expansion. We went inside for a quick look and were impressed with all the glass in the new section, and the way the old section felt like an old-time reading room.

By this point we had walked quite a bit; we were more than ready for a rest.

With the Mealys

We knew there was a Starbucks not too far from the car, so we picked up our laptops and headed over the few blocks to Michigan Ave. I was able to post a bunch of photos and Melody caught up with mail and other things. That done, we started to head to the Mealys' house, where we would spend the next couple nights. Toshi and Martha gave us a great tour, which naturally started with their room.

Kara and Paul were grilling chicken and vegetable skewers, and they were very tasty; we didn't stop at our first servings.

The Mealys showed us the wooded area and prairie behind their house, which seemed like a great set of paths to take a quick spin in. Of course, part of the entertainment was listening to the girls; Toshi: “Creepy spider!”, Martha: “I don't see the creepy spider.”, T: “You walked right past it, missy!”

After returning to the house we had strawberry shortcake for dessert (very refreshing), then the girls showed us their Shake it Off dance; very cute! As the girls went to bed, we got nice, long hugs good night, then we were able to chat with Kara and Paul a bit before we gave out and headed to bed ourselves. I then realized that I had forgotten a cable and charger at the guest house at the reunion, but fortunately I had enough spares that I could still get by. If that was the only thing I forgot on the trip, it wouldn't be too bad.