Friday, August 19, 2005

Day 3:
We slept in this morning. Checked our email, 
chatted with Angela who had a "doctors appointment" 
this morning, and then repacked the car.  Angela 
gave us her vacuum to re-deflate the bag.  
It's so much fun watching that thing do its magic.  
Big mound of linens one minute, flat, crinkly, 
heavy, solid wall of linens the next.  We put 
the linens back in the trunk, put another bag on 
top, and promptly ripped the plastic.
In one big poof the bag expanded.  We put the other 
bags on top, crossed our fingers, and slammed the trunk.  
As long as we don't go back in to the trunk we should be fine. 
We hope.  Angela's husband, Tim, works for a gas company; as 
a perk he gets free gasoline. We filled up the car with it 
($2.43 for mid grade! The cheapest so far this trip has been 
$2.51 for low grade in Jersey, where its subsidized by the 
government) and went to Chipotle with Angela and Tim for lunch.  

After lunch Angela gave us directions to the field of corn.
 Now some people may think this is not an unusual thing for
 the midwest, as a large chunk of our drive since
Pennsylvania has been past cornfields, but this field of 
corn is different. It's made out of concrete, to symbolize
 how suburbanization has taken over farming in the heartland.

After frolicking in the field we get back on the highway and 
head west to Indianapolis.  Cruising along I 70, going 70, we
 suddenly hit traffic. In the middle of nowhere.  The left 
lane was stopped dead. The right lane was empty.  Even though
 we thought other drivers knew something we didn't, we are 
still new yorkers, and went into the empty right lane.  A 
couple of miles ahead there was a sign that said "right lane 
closed, 2 miles."  Every car that was in the empty right lane 
was moving into the stopped left lane.  We, of course, cruised
 right along in the right
lane (with intermittent stops when the other drivers realized 
they too could use the empty lane)until we had to move into the
 left lane by traffic cones.

Earlier we had done some research and decided to go to the 
Indianapolis Museum of Art, which according to Frommers was 
free.  This was good because we were only going to get there 
at 4, an hour  before it closed. We pull up at 4:15 and see 
that the museum charges $7 to get in.  Damn Frommers.  I ask 
the ticket person if there was a discount because it was so 
late in the day.  She looked confused and said, "You know its 
only 3pm, right?"  Apparently we had crossed into Central time 
without even knowing it.  Later, my friend Todd told me that we
 were still in Eastern Time, but Eastern Standard and not Eastern
 Daylight.  Indiana does not follow Daylight Savings.  

The museum was housed in a very pretty, airy building.  There
were 3 floors, but only the first was open, and the museum had 
not quite finished its renovation.  There was a great exhibit on
Overbeck Arts and Crafts Pottery.

After the museum we headed up to my friend Todd's place, where he 
lives with his girlfriend, Sha (pronounced Shay).  I tell Todd that
 our evening's activity is to go visit the World's Largest Ball of
 Paint, about an hour north of Indy.  Sha can't come
because she has to pick up her friends from the airport.  

We head north in Todd's car, through expanding Suburbia, until we 
hit Alexandria.  Getting off the highway we are enveloped in 
cornfields.  This is true middle of nowhere.  About 5 miles down
 this country road we make a turn.  A mile down that road we make
 it to the ball of paint.  I had called earlier to make an appointment,
 because it is just this man and wife, Mike and Glenda, in the middle 
of nowhere, showing off their 17,000 pound ball of paint.  They were 
prepared for us, with the layer of paint written on the ball, 
paintbrushes, and pictures illustrating the 28 year history of the ball.
  The damn thing is older than I am.  Mike asks us which color with 
which to paint the ball.  Paint the ball?! Awesome!  The raison d'etre 
behind my cross country trek - to experience all of America's oddities, 
and here I was given the chance to participate in the experience! Layer 
# 19,059 was ours.  I chose purple.  Todd, Alexa, and I attacked the ball 
with gusto. 

While we
were painting Mike regaled us with stories.  Tom Green, the actor,
 had painted the ball back in the 17,000s.  Dave Letterman wanted
 Mike to bring the ball of paint to NY.  He was worried about 
transporting it so he declined.  When we were finished Mike handed 
us a certificate with our names on it.  That's definitely going to 
get framed.  I bought a t-shirt ("I painted the world's largest ball 
of paint!") to support the operation.  By the time we were done it 
was dark outside.  A gorgeous red moon had risen in the east over 
the cornfields.  We headed back to Indy on State Road 37, a country 
road that's more direct than the Interstate we took up there.  
Miles and miles of nothing but cornfields abruptly gave way to 
overpopulated suburbia, about 20 minutes outside of Indy.  


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