Driving in Circles
Today was the first full day of our adventure.
Midtown Indianapolis looked like a well-run theme park in the minutes before the morning crowds are admitted. Picture-perfect, beautifully organized and virtually empty. This morning we visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, home of the Indy 500, self-proclaimed “Racing Capital of the World.” We were searching for redemption. Three years ago Mariah and I embarrassed ourselves at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. When we arrived they asked both of us the name of our favorite driver. Between the two of us, we could not name even one.
This time we were ready for the challenge as we walked up to the doors of the Indianapolis Speedway Museum. Although Mariah liked driving in their race simulator for a few minutes; I did not understand the appeal of any of it. What could possibly be the point of driving in a circle for lap after lap after lap? How is it that this is one of the most watched sports in America? As it turns out, no one asked either of us anything during our visit. We looked at all of the cars and memorabilia and read most of the signage before leaving. We were not provided with an opportunity to redeem our reputations.
Who knows? Maybe it was for the best. Had we been asked, we were going with Lightning McQueen and Ricky Bobby.
We stopped for lunch at a terrific diner that was featured a few years ago in Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. It was busy and filled with police officers in uniform who knew where to go on their lunch break for delicious food. Across the street, we spotted a Video Store. A large, open-for-business, video store. In 2018. They even had a “new releases” section inside. Weird. Right?
In the afternoon we visited a charming small town in Illinois that boasts a number of certified “world’s largest” items. These gigantic handcrafted attractions included: a huge functional rocking chair, a pair of wooden clogs, a pitchfork, working wind chimes and a mailbox. Each item looked ready for Gulliver or the giant in Jack in the Beanstalk to make himself at home at any moment. Our favorite item was a “very big” (but not the world’s largest) bird cage. Visitors from all over the United States stop by this quaint town every day to see and photograph themselves with these huge things. I have to hand it to the business people who conceived of them and crafted them to promote their town.
For what it is worth, it has dawned on me that going out of your way to visit the “world’s largest” whatever makes about as much sense as driving in a circle for a living.