Monday, March 21, 2011

Road trippin up (or down) I-65

A great majority of the day was spent in the car with my mom, traversing north on Interstate 65 towards Chicago. I have made this drive countless times over the past nine and a half years that I could almost do it with my eyes closed (although this is a dare I will not attempt).

I wish I could say this drive was exciting, but its a far cry from it. The terrain is flat, there are too many billboards for adult toy superstores, and the cops are fond of handing out tickets (I know from experience). However, I am a firm believer in finding adventure whenever you travel and there are a few sights one can take in should you ever find yourself cruising along I-65.

A favorite stop of mine is Fair Oaks Farms. A dairy farm about eighty miles from 90/94 it's a perfect place to stop off and fill up both your gas tank and your stomach.  An ideal break from the typical highway fast food fare they serve up fresh eats, made with ingredients from the farm. They make a mean grilled cheese, and they have a great selection of farm made ice cream. You can sample all of their cheeses and tour the many barns and learn about the workings of a dairy farm.  I still have yet to venture past the cheese tasting area, but I vow soon to get the full Fair Oaks experience.

Did you know that in the heartland of America a little wine country is being built? Hard to believe but its true, and if you want to get a sampling of some varietals just hop along the Indy Wine Trail. I have stopped at a few of these over the years, but today my mom and I took a little detour to the Mallow Run Winery in Bargersville, Indiana. I had remembered this winery because its located in a hundred year old barn and has a great tasting room set up.  You can sample up to six wines for no charge and they have a lot of wine themed gifts and other locally made items.

Now let's be honest, Indiana isn't known for great wines by any means, and a bunch of the wines they offered at Mallow run are on the sweet side, which is not my cup of tea at all, but we did pick up a very drinkable Syrah as a thank you gift for my downstairs neighbors who have been great kitty-sitters, and I snagged two delicious smelling hand crafted candles. It's not a winery for an aficionado (I am not there yet, but I am working on it) but its a lovely setting and inexpensive experience if you want to change things up. I plan on hitting a few more of the wineries on my next I-65 go round.

Probably one of the coolest parts of I-65 is the new sprawling wind farm that has sprung up in recent years. You are driving down the road with nothing but flat farmland on the horizon and then out of nowhere a sheet of wind turbines take over and makes for a very cool few minutes of travel. They are so grand as they tower above you and spin in the wind all the while creating clean energy for the masses. Every time I go through it I think "Ah....Progress."

The moral of this entry is simple: so often we are so focused on getting from point A to point B that we fail to notice the unique opportunities around us. If we all allowed ourselves to take our time and perhaps (gasp) turn off the main road and onto a side street who knows what we might find? In the end will the extra thirty minutes really make that big a difference? We can all embody the spirt of great explorers no matter where we are travelling.

Now I leave you with some more photos, taken from the passenger seat of the beautiful windmills. I am not photographer but a certain app on my phone can take any picture and turn it into a work of art.

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