Day 4: March 5, 2012
Tower & Taps
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This is what I saw outside my motel window this morning. We haven't had much more snow than that all winter.

I spent some time in Columbus, Indiana, checking out The Commons. I passed it last night as I drove back to the motel. It was lighted inside and I could see kids playing. It looked so cool that I had to get a closer look. There are lots of fun looking things in the children's play area but the thing that really grabbed my attention is the arrangement of curved panels on which kids climb high above adults stuck on the ground. When I got home, I began to look around the internet for some information on the structure. I found out that it is called a Luckey Climbing Tower and that it is forty-five feet tall. It's made of plywood panels and aircraft cable and it opened, along with the rest of The Commons, in May of 2011. There are quite a few Luckey Climbers around the country. All similar but no two alike. They are the product of sculptor Tom Luckey who is paralyzed as the result of a 2008 fall. Presumedly Tom's son Spencer was instrumental in constructing the Columbus climber as he was with others. The climber is extraordinary and so is its back story.

The dynamic "sculpture from junk" is Chaos I by Jean Tinguely. Besides the three pictures shown here, I used it to prove I was there. Parallax makes the Bartholomew County courthouse looks like it's leaning but a section of The Commons building really is sloped.

Even though it is directly across the street, I didn't go into Kids Commons. It costs money ($6) and really is for kids. I was certainly tempted though since it made Roadside America as home of the World's Largest Toilet.

I could resist getting out of the car to look at the tree on the courthouse in Greenburg but I couldn't resist snapping a picture as I drove through town.

As I got closer to home, the two-or-less-lane roads gave way to four-or-more-lane roads and even the two-lanes were not very rural.

This place is definitely on the straight line between Route 66 and home. The bar here is less than 100 feet south of my kitchen table and just about a third of a mile west. It is the second location for a local enterprise. The original Flipdaddy's is about a dozen miles away on US-50. The 'burger is a "Black & Tan" (steeped in a Guinness reduction with Irish white cheddar and onions seared in Smithwick's). The beverage is Bell's Consecrator Doppelbock. This used to be a Bob Evans but it was replaced by one a few miles up the road. That really upset me but I've gotten over it. Thirty-six beer taps (the first location has less) will do that.

Due to the overwhelming interest (Well, Laurel did mention it.) in learning how well I did in driving straight home, I've made something of a results map. The normal locator map (accessed via the USA shaped button at the top of each trip's cover page) shows the straight line to provide a sense of how close to straight I was able to drive. The 580 KB results map accessed by clicking the thumbnail to the right, shows more. It has better resolution and is actually five strip maps stacked atop each other. The straight line is there along with (in yellow) the planned path. On top of this I've placed the GPS tracks minus excursions to motels, restaurants, etc. The straight line is right at 285 miles long. The GPS logs total approximately 364 miles.

The biggest deviation was around Bloomington, Indiana, where Lake Lemon and a couple of state forests made east-west roads somewhat scarce. I'm certain I could have wiggled my way through there much closer to the line but, even in the planning, I permitted the departure since I wanted to sleep in a bed and Bloomington or Columbus seemed the places most lilely to have one. The biggest breakdown was near home where I got on I-275 too early and stayed on it too long. Part of me knew this was wrong but another part didn't care. I feel a little guilty about it but I'll get over that, too. 36 taps!

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