When we tell anyone who’ll listen about our annual road-trip tradition, they don’t ask about dignified museums or American history or ordinary nature hikes. They want to know about the kitsch we’ve seen, the outlandish art and eccentric curation and super-sized foods and things beginning with “World’s Largest”. We hadn’t planned any such stops for this vacation, but whenever one happens to stand in our path, far be it from us to veer around like we’re too good for it.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. Then came 2020 A.D.
Even in an ordinary average year, sometimes you really need to get away from it all. In a year like this, escape is more important than ever if you can find yourself one — no matter how short it lasts, no matter how limited your boundaries are. Anne and I had two choices: either skip our tradition for 2020 and resign ourselves to a week-long staycation that looks and feels exactly like our typical weekend quarantines; or see how much we could accomplish within my prescribed limitations. We decided to expand on that and check out points of interest in multiple Indiana towns in assorted directions. We’d visited many towns over the years, but not all of them yet.
In addition to our usual personal rules, we had two simple additions in light of All This: don’t get killed, and don’t get others killed…
DAY THREE: Tuesday, July 7th.
The day’s route began simply enough. We took I-70 West from Indianapolis to Terre Haute, a mostly painless hour through morning rush-hour traffic. From there we headed due south on US Highway 41 toward the city of Vincennes. Ten miles before our destination, shortly after 8:30 a.m., a curious set of oversize objects caught our eye on the right side of the road. We felt it was our duty to detour for a quick investigation.
This land belonged to the Big Peach Market, a family-owned farmers’ outlet just outside the town of Bruceville. This far-fetched fruit and the yellow obelisk next to it were erected in 1954 as a loving homage to the Trylon and Perisphere, two famous constructs from the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Anne knew of their existence at the time, but it never would’ve occurred to her to spot a resemblance to any other man-made works, whether real or imaginary. This may be one of the most obscure deep-dive references we’ve ever seen done in the form of a roadside attraction.
This wasn’t the first giant peach we’d seen on our travels. (That record holder was in Georgia in 2007.) It also wouldn’t be the first reference we’ve seen to the 1939 New York World’s Fair. (That would be Elektro the Moto-Man and Sparko, on exhibit in Pittsburgh in 2018.) But for an Indiana work of art in the middle of seemingly nowhere to make that kind of callback, the Big Peach and its accessories were an impressive effort.
I wish the anecdote kept going, but we arrived while the market was still closed. Once we had our photos of Anne and the giant peach, we returned to the car and headed back to the main road, whereupon of course a few employees began to arrive for their shifts and unlocked the gate. We didn’t want to loiter and pester them until they clocked in, and I wasn’t sure it was a good idea to buy fresh groceries that would sit and bake in the car for the next several hours while we did more tourism down in Vincennes. Maybe next time we’re in the area, we can time our visit a little better and bring a cooler.
To be continued!
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