The beginning of July was our last day in Indianapolis. The plan was to leave in the morning and go to the Dayton Art Institute, get in some walking, and perhaps stop by a café for a while. In the late afternoon, we were going to see Arleen and John.
Janet made sure we had a good breakfast in the morning, and it was another opportunity to catch up with what our families are up to.
We wanted to get a relatively early start to leave enough time for checking out downtown Dayton, so we waved goodbye to Janet and Jim, and begun going east. There was quite a bit of construction on the highways, but we still made pretty good time. It was pretty straightforward getting to the Art Institute, and on the way we noticed that the river going through the city, the Great Miami, looked pretty full.
Dayton Art Institute
The Dayton Art Institute is of modest size, but seemed like it would have some interesting pieces in its collection. We found a place to park, and started wandering around the front lawn, taking a look at the sculptures out there. The most prominent one was Pathway by John Safer, which was very striking against the blue sky. We also scoped out the river, trying to see if there was a path or something which would be good for walking.
When we got back to the entrance, there was a school bus dropping off a bunch of kids from a summer camp. It was a bit before lunchtime, so we decided to eat first at the café. It was interesting that a volunteer was the first person to greet us and offer us water; he was kind enough to go back and check on the soup of the day. We decided to split a grilled cheese sandwich, tomato bisque, and a salad with field greens and goat cheese (which ended up being breaded balls of cheese which were coated and lightly fried). You could tell that we enjoyed the meal, since we didn't do much chatting while we ate.
It was time to plan a strategy for visiting the museum. We once again did the “find a highlights tour and follow that, checking out what's near or on the way” strategy, but also took a look at an exhibit geared to kids about visual illusions. We got our first taste of the building, which is kind of like a figure eight winding around a couple cloisters; it's modeled after villas in Italy in the style of sixteenth century Italian Renaissance.
Since we were already at the lower level, we started the self-guided tour there. There were a few items each in the African, Oceanic, and Pre-Columbian Art galleries, but the vast majority of the highlights (as well as lower level gallery space) centered around Asian Art. We then went upstairs, where our tour had a few pieces from the Ancient Art gallery, but a large number of items in the American and European Art wings. There were some pieces we recognized, even at a distance, such as a Monet “Water Lilies” and a couple Chihulys.
It was at this point that I realized that I hadn't seen any security guards walking around. There was one in the lobby, but I guess they cover the other galleries with cameras.
We did a quick look for a possible café, and found one downtown which was close to RiverScape MetroPark, which gave us options for walking. We scored a four hour non-metered parking spot and decided to walk first, so we headed to the park.
The first thing we saw was the hard-to-miss canopy which covers a skating rink in the winter. When we got to the river, we saw that not only was the river high, but parts of the walkways were under water (later John told us that the whole walkways were under water at one point). We decided to head east and see how far we could get.
We took the pedestrian underpass which goes under Patterson Boulevard/Riverside Drive, and to our surprise there was a maintenance truck driving right toward us, taking up the full width. Fortunately, there was plenty of space off the path for us to walk.
There was quite a bit of construction along the path, but we saw a pedestrian bridge crossing over the Mad River to Deeds Point MetroPark, so it was an easy decision to do that. When we got to Deeds Point, we saw there was a sculpture of the Wright brothers and an aviation timeline. We didn't read all the placards, but continued along the Great Miami. By the time we hit I-75, we thought it was a good time around, so turned around. When we re-crossed the Mad River, avoided another truck on the path, and went back to RiverScape. By the time we had gotten there, we turned around and noticed a bunch of fountains where the Great Miami and Mad rivers cross. Ends up the fountain is Fountain Lights, which looked quite impressive on the other side of the Patterson/Riverside bridge, but we were pretty warm after walking and just enjoyed it from where we were.
Instead of going to a café, we decided to sit in the park and munch on some of the snacks that Janet had sent along with us, the go to the library to cool off and try to do some things online.
We ended up walking around three sides of the Dayton Library main branch before finding the entrance. Stepping in, I did a quick check, and there was wireless available, so we found a table. I was able to upload and document some photos, and Melody caught up on email.
I let Arleen know about when we would arrive, then we headed towards the car. On the way out, I noticed a sign saying that you should hand checked-out books to the guard before exiting, so he could pass them around the security gate. I remember when our high school got such a device, but am now used to systems where the tracking device can be active only when the item isn't checked out.
With the Garretts
It had been a long time since I'd been to the Garrett home, but it was easy to find. When I was young, I was used to seeing Arleen pretty frequently, as the whole family would get together pretty often. When I was in college, she lived not too far away, so I was able to see her a few times. Unfortunately, opportunities to see each other have been rather rare as of late, which is why I wanted to make sure we could get to Dayton to see her and John.
We spent some time catching up, remembering family, and learning what we were all up to for the summer. Before too long, it was time for dinner. Arleen had grilled bacon-wrapped chicken, topping them with cheese and barbecue sauce, rounding it out with zucchini and rice. We had no problem finishing everything up, and Arleen brought out dessert, guava cake. I had heard about this cake from Kathy, and was wondering how jealous she would be at our dessert, but Arleen said she was going to send some with us, since Kathy was our next stop. Yes, it was as good as advertised.
Since he used to be in the Air Force, I asked John if there were any exhibits in the Air Force Museum which were his favorites. His first comment was that there's far more on display than we would have time to see, but he especially liked the Missiles and Space exhibit at the far since that covered items he used to work on.
I had asked when the next time they were going to their lake house, and ended up they were leaving the next afternoon. I'm very glad the timing worked out that we had a chance to see them before they left. In fact, Arleen had a lot of things in the refrigerator, so it was quite full.
The time had come for sleep. Fortunately, unlike the other days, we felt there would be some extra time in the next day's schedule, so we didn't feel like we needed to wake up early.