Road Trip Along I-65: Let’s Explore Indiana

Road Trip along Interstate 65
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The Interstate System

During the COVID19 pandemic, I have plenty of time to think and plan my next road trips. My hometown, Chicago, Illinois, has access to several interstate highways. One such interstate is I-65, and it can take me to some interesting sights in Indiana, a neighboring state. So, I researched points of interest along I-65, and I’m ready to explore Indiana. 

The Interstate System in the United States is 46, 876 miles long. During the tenure of President Dwight Eisenhower, he signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 to establish the funding and building of the Interstate System. Eisenhower modeled his vision for the Interstate System after Germany’s autobahn, which he had seen during and after World War II. The system is vast and covers the 48 contiguous states, Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico. However, we’re going to focus on I-65, which first opened in 1958 in Tennessee. The interstate currently covers 887 miles.

Interstate 65

The next few blog posts will cover I-65 from the Chicagoland area to Alabama. Interstate 65 goes through four states, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama. Before the pandemic lockdown, I reached out to state tourism offices for information and resources. Here’s a huge thank you to Indiana and Alabama for their quick and personalized response. So many exciting and fun places and points of interests are along the interstate, I look forward to the road trip. The journey begins with exploring Indiana.

Leaving Chicago, I-65 picks up in Gary, Indiana, the birthplace of Michael Jackson, the Jackson Five, and Janet Jackson. The home is not located along I-65, so let’s save it for another trip. Gary is a hop, skip, and a jump from Chicago and the south suburbs of the city. Let’s keep rolling as we explore Indiana. 

Exploring States along Interstate 65
Travel the Interstate System on I-65 to explore Indiana.
Photo by David Barajas on UnSplash

The first stop is in Merrillville, Indiana at Albanese Candy Factory. It is known for making the world’s best gummies and chocolates. If you’re a gummi fan, Albanese has many different flavors of Gummi Bears. You can eat your heart out with soft-textured, sour, gluten-free, or fat-free Gummi Bears. Albanese Candy Factory also sells chocolates, including milk chocolate, dark chocolate, sugar-free chocolate, and more. If you like nuts, you can purchase cashews, almonds, pecans, and mixes. Albanese Candy Factory is a must stop while exploring Indiana. 

Fair Oaks Farms

Next, we will make a stop at Fair Oaks Farm in Fair Oaks, Indiana. The farm is an agricultural attraction that is located in the corn belt of Northwest Indiana. Fair Oaks Farm is a perfect place to escape from the city to the countryside. Tourists can visit a variety of attractions. Both kids and adults like the Dairy Adventure, the Pig Adventure, and/or the Crop Adventure. It’s a great learning experience for all.

West Lafayette, IN

Hopping back in the car and driving along I-65, we head to West Lafayette, Indiana. Time to fill up on food at the Triple XXX Family Restaurant. It is located near Purdue University on a hill in Chaucery Village. Triple XXX has been around since 1929 and is well known for delicious comfort food. It is also known for the Triple XXX Root Beer that has been around since 1895.

After a great meal, time to walk off some of the calories. The following stop is Prophetstown State Park. It is also located in West Lafayette, Indiana. As we explore Indiana along I-65, Prophetstown is a nice stop along the way. Prophetstown State Park commemorates a Native American village founded in 1808 by Tecumseh, a Shawnee warrior, and chief. According to history. Prophetstown became a large, multi-tribal community in the 19th century. 

If you like hiking and biking, trails are available in the state park. Campgrounds are available for those who wish to camp, and you can eat with your family in picnic and shelter areas. The park also has an open-air museum and a water park. There are plenty of activities for adults and children.

Indianapolis, IN

We have more places to explore along I-65. Therefore, let’s continue to drive. The next stop is in Indianapolis. Some call it Indy for short, and it is the capital of Indiana. Indy is the most populous city in the state. While in Indy, we can visit the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. It is the world’s largest children’s museum with over 472,900 square feet and five floors of exhibit halls. Children and adults can see over 120,000 artifacts and exhibit items. While visiting the museum, visitors can check out three domains of objects: The American Collection, the Cultural World Collection, and the Natural World Collection.

Then, we will head over to the Indianapolis Zoo. It is located in White River State Park. It is a fantastic zoo and situated on 64 acres. Over 3800 animals are housed at the zoo, and it has a rich history in the city. The Indianapolis Zoo first opened in 1964 and moved to its current location in 1988.

Columbus, IN

After visiting Indianapolis, we head south to Columbus, Indiana. Here we can participate in an architectural tour. The community of Columbus has architectural designs by world-renown architects like I.M. Pei, Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Dale Chihuly, and Richard Meier. Visitors can take a two hour narrated tour of the architectural designs. Columbus is also known for its art, culture, and history. 

More Places to Explore

A few other places to visit along I-65 include the Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge. It’s 7800 acres with eight hiking trails, log cabins, pioneer cemeteries, and driving tours. The Falls of the Ohio State Park/Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail is on the banks of the Ohio River and across from Louisville, Kentucky. Activities include fishing, walking, picnicking, and bird watching. Lastly, Goat Milk Stuff is a 36 acre farm in Scottsburg, Indiana. Here you can purchase natural bath and body items and food items made from goat’s milk.

The journey to explore Indiana along I-65 takes us to some interesting sites. There are many more places to visit in Indiana, but they exist along other interstate highways. We will explore some of them in later posts. For now, we continue on our journey along I-65 to the next state, Kentucky. 

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Rediscover and Redefine Myself

Rediscover and Redefine Myself
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Rediscover and Redefine During Lockdown

The year 2020 is going to be one to remember. The COVID19 (Coronavirus) is a game-changer in the way we live our lives. The pandemic has us locked down in our homes except for all essential workers. During this time, I have plenty of thinking time to reflect on what is important, how I feel physically and emotionally, and what makes me happy. I am spending time to rediscover and redefine myself.

The time lingers through the day when you’re unable to go out, explore, or your work routine is different. Soon binge-watching series and documentaries become pretty monotonous. I do not want to hear the sound of the TV anymore. Sitting inside, I am stir crazy but reflective, so I decided to write a list of things I like to do but don’t do as much anymore. Then I wrote another list of things I want to do after the COVID19 is over. Here’s what rediscovery and redefining means to me.

Ten Things I Used To Do

First, let’s begin with ten things I like to do, but I don’t do as much as in the past. There are many reasons why I may not partake in some of these activities. Reasons include time management, procrastination, major and minor responsibilities in life, and more. However, during a pandemic lockdown, reflection time increases by a large percentage. Since there is much quiet time, why not rediscover and redefine what you may miss. Take a look at my list and then think about what ten things you miss regularly doing.

  1. Try new restaurants and new recipes. I love to eat great meals. Whether eating out or cooking, delicious food makes me very happy. I find myself not going to restaurants often and cooking less. More than anything, it is probably more because of my laziness. Sometimes, I don’t want to prepare a meal after work, nor do I want to stop at a restaurant after spending time in rush hour traffic.
  2. Sipping a glass of wine brings me great joy. Unfortunately, I cannot drink alcohol at this time because of chemotherapy treatments and various medications. Words cannot express how much I miss swirling the wine in the glass, smelling the aromas, tasting the wine, and then thinking about what I love about the experience.
  3. Being outdoors gives me pleasure. Fresh air and the sounds of nature during my daily walks are refreshing. The daily walks last between 30-60 minutes and usually for three or four miles. When I walk, it is an opportunity to think and sometimes talk out my worries, concerns, and hopes. Yes, I talk to myself, and I’m my best listener. During the cold winter months, the walking comes to a grinding halt. I try to replace walking outside with the use of exercise equipment. It is not the same.
  4. International travel is another guilty pleasure. Getting on a plane and flying across oceans is an emotional high. I love exploring new locations and learning about different cultures. My friends often ask me, “Where are you going next?” Lately, the answer is nowhere. Travel is limited now due to my chemotherapy treatments, but very soon, I’ll be in the air again.
  5. Motorcycle riding is a stress reliever for me. Yes, I am a biker chick. When riding, the feel of the wind in my face is liberating and medicinal. Wind therapy works out all kinds of stuff. In 2019, I sold my Harley Davidson Street Glide, and I miss it like crazy. I plan to ride again soon.
  6. Dancing is one of my passions. For many years every Thursday, I took ballet and modern dance classes. I did not miss a dance class until the year I became am an elementary school principal. My long work hours and rush hour traffic put a damper on my weekly dancing. The long list of administrative responsibilities and schedule did not allow me to get to the classes on time. Sometimes, I still dance around my house, but I miss the classes and camaraderie.
  7. Creative writing is another outlet or stress reliever. Putting my ideas down on paper or electronically helps to work through my thought process. One reason I do not write as much as I’d like is procrastination. The key is to set aside a set amount of time to write each day.
  8. Playing the piano is another way to soothe my soul. As a child, I took lessons for many years and learned to play classical music. My mother kept my childhood piano until a few years ago. Eventually, I moved the instrument to my home, had it tuned, and began to play occasionally. Recently, my playing is less occasional. Now, I desire to take lessons from a professional piano teacher to rediscover my skills.
  9. Exercise needs to be a priority. I want to stay physically and emotionally healthy throughout all the seasons. It’s more comfortable during the warmer weather to get the body moving. Then the cold weather brings most body movements to a halt. I promise to do better. I promise!
  10. In the past, I read three or four novels per month. Now I may read three or four books per year. For some reason, it’s far harder for me to sit still and focus on the pages of a book. I have tried iBook and Kindle version of books but prefer to turn the paper pages. I enjoy going to bookstores and libraries to pull a novel off a shelf and flip through the pages. Bookstores are practically nonexistent, so the neighborhood library must do.
Rediscover and Redefine
I want to rediscover the art of sipping a glass of wine. Photo by Carson Masterson
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Ten Things I Want To Do After Lockdown

  1. Continue chemotherapy treatments to beat breast cancer. Like a warrior, I remain positive that healing is inevitable. With the support of family and friends, the disease doesn’t have a chance to win.
  2. Visit my elderly mother. During the pandemic lockdown, I can’t visit her and realize how much I miss her. Cherish the ones you love and keep them close.
  3. Sip wine after my cancer treatments is complete. I miss my wine and can’t wait to try new whites and reds, visit wine tastings, or sip with friends.
  4. Try 1-2 new restaurants each month. I love a delicious meal, and I live in a foodie town. I have no excuses to scout and venture out to try different flavors and ethnic foods. Yum!
  5. Take long walks along the Chicago lakefront. I enjoy feeling the lake breeze on my face and looking out at the beautiful blue water. It is time to refresh.
  6. Take at least two road trips. I want to drive across the country or nearby states. Road trips are an opportunity to travel and see localities up close and personal. Looking at maps and planning routes is exciting to me.
  7. Get back in shape. The cold Midwest months are hard on the body. Below zero temperatures make it difficult to get motivated to exercise. Warm weather arrives soon, and I am going to get moving.
  8. Pick up my new puppy. A Standard Poodle is in my near future. For many years, I wanted a dog, but my job and schedule did not allow time. Now, I have time and space for a pet. Dogs make great companions, and my puppy will be my new walking partner.
  9. Write a book. Now that I have time on my hands, each day, I will put aside at least one hour to write the chapters of the next bestseller.
  10. Hang out with family and friends. I want to take time to rediscover those who are most important to me. Life is short, and let’s celebrate with the ones most important to us.

Rediscover and Redefine Yourself

My list can go on and on, but I will stop. These activities will keep me busy and fulfilled for a time. It’s your turn now!  Ask yourself, “What can I do to rediscover and redefine myself?” Reflect and write your two lists. If ten things on each list are too much, whittle it down to five thoughts. Make sure your list is based on your needs and wants. It’s all about you.

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