The Indy meet (7/10-11)

So we figured it best on Friday for me to be picked up at the Flying J on Indy’s south side, rather than have me drive all the way up only to come back down again. I rode in Brian Reynolds’s Escort with Sam to start out, while Steve drove Dan and A. J. and H. B. drove himself. We basically took SR 37 down towards Bloomington, stopping in Martinsville for some refreshment. Unfortunately, Steve had taken ill, so he decided to rest a bit in Bloomington before heading back up to his hotel. H. B. gained Dan, while Brian’s car took on A. J. From there, we made a quick drive through Indiana University’s campus before heading out SR 45 along the general path of I-69’s corridor.

Now riding SR 45 through Monroe County has special meaning for me, because it was somewhere along this route that my high school classmate, Sarah Haylett Jones, was killed while in the service of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department directing traffic around an incident. I’m still not certain exactly where she was hit, whether along our route or east of Bloomington, but I thought some of our stretches looked a little like the news photo I saw. I’ll have to research it and maybe come through again in order to pay a longer respect. Anyway, after entering Greene County, we did a SR 445 clinch and used SR 54 to get back to SR 45. We then took that to SR 58 and took that west north of the Crane Naval Weapons Support Center.

We then took US 231 (where A.J. couldn’t help telling how awful some of its shields looked) down to Loogootee, then catching US 50/150 west to Washington, where we lunched at a Hardee’s along the former alignment. After lunch, we then proceeded down SR 57 towards Evansville, doubling back to get to see some of the actual construction of I-69 underway from I-64 to SR 68. The estimated opening date for this segment is July 2010, and I’m sure that’s very plausible considering the amount of work that’s been done. We then proceeded to Evansville clinching I-164, and then dipped into Kentucky to take a look at the twin cantilever bridges of US 41 over the Ohio. Coming back into Indiana, we proceeded to clinch SR 662 (much shorter since it was decommissioned in Newburgh, and then proceeded out SR 66, where some of the two-lane section was undergoing a twinning. We proceeded to the cable-stayed span of US 231, stopping briefly so we could take more pictures. We then decided to proceed down to US 60 and take that east to Hawesville so we could put a couple more Kentucky counties under our belt.

After crossing at Hawesville, we proceeded up southern SR 237, which the present alignment was newer than what my DeLorme displays. Then it was SR 37 north to I-64, where we missed taking the Frank O’Bannon Highway. Oh well, got to save something for future trips. After taking I-64 east, we stopped for a brief snack at a McDonald’s in Corydon, and proceeded to I-265 to get around New Albany, and then took I-65 north to Columbus. (For some reason, H. B. and Dan wanted to clinch SR 265, which I had done previously, so no big loss in missing that.) In Columbus, we took a brief look at the tied-arch SPUI at SR 46 before proceeding back to Indy so I could pick up my car. After driving around Speedway looking for a suitable dining spot, we settled on Donato’s, where we ate and A. J. shared some of his albums, which are very impressive. After dropping A. J. and Sam back at their motel, I headed back clockwise around I-465 back to my dad’s and called it a night.

Clinches for the day: SR 445, SR 662, southern SR 237, plus Greene, Daviess, Martin, Pike, Gibson, Warrick, Vanderbergh, Spencer, Perry, and Crawford counties in Indiana, with Henderson, Daviess, and Hancock in Kentucky.

Saturday, my dad could come along, and so we first met Brian at the Flying J before proceeding north to the hotel where every other attendee had been staying. This time, Dan drove his rental with A. J. and Steve while I drove Brian and Dad, and H. B. and Sam drove themselves self. This time, we stuck more to the immediate Indy area, first doing an I-865 clinch (Sam peeled off after this), checking out some of the roundabout interchanges in Carmel, driving Shadeland Avenue, checking out the Emerson Avenue SPUI at I-465, then proceeding into downtown via Southeastern Avenue. Because of the scattered rain, we didn’t really want to be outside for too long, and after getting to the monument, we lunched at a nearby Qdoba. After that, we then proceeded up to the I-65 interchange northwest of downtown, took I-65 south to I-70 west, took the long way to the Sam Jones Expressway, then checked out the now-former terminal at the airport. Then A. J. and Dan peeled off so they could head home, while Steve joined Dad, Brian, and me for some National Road exploring. H. B. actually headed the same way we did, but of course I don’t think he was going to take the time we did.

I can tell you that some of those old alignments and bridges were very impressive. There even were llamas at one of them! We eventually got over to Terre Haute, went through Toad Hop (what people call West Terre Haute), eventually getting back on our route after goin out on what we thought was an old alignment of US 150, then found some old brick alignments of the National Road between I-70 and Marshall, IL. We then proceeded up Rte 1 through Paris, filling up at an unmanned station at US 36. After taking US 36 into Parke County, we explored some of the covered bridges, which really could be a trip in itself, and looked around Rockville for a little bit. Eventually, we made our way back to Indy about 9 p.m. Brian dropped Dad off at his house, while Steve and I went through Southport, ventured out Washington St a little more, where a reconstruction project was taking place east of I-465, came back via I-70 with a stop at a 7-11 on Post Road to finally indulge in free Slurpee. We ventured back downtown, took Michigan Road out, made a brief stop at 86th Street Pub so I could catch the closing laps of the Chicagoland race, and then dropped an exhausted Steve back at his motel. With that, I considered the Indy meet closed, with only the drive back to take the next day, which I will detail in a later entry. This one’s long enough as it is.

Clinched for the day: Clinched the Sam Jones Expressway, Clark and Edgar counties in Illinois, and Vermillion in Indiana. We made it a little difficult for me to clinch US 36 in Indiana because of using several old alignments and other Parke County roads, but then I would still need the part east of Pendleton had I taken 36 all the way from Illinois to I-465.

Overall, I had a great time. I was glad to see that my father enjoyed meeting fellow roadgeeks and exploring former alignments. Of course, since he always has plans to travel himself, it’s hard to say when he would attend a future roadmeet, but at least he got his first. I now only have a handful of counties left in Indiana (they’re a little scattered, but whatever), and I’m planning on clinching them when I make a trip for a family reunion in Terre Haute at the beginning of August.

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