2020 Road Trip Photos #20: On the Banks of the Wabash

Lincoln Memorial Bridge!

The Lincoln Memorial Bridge spans the Wabash River from Indiana to Illinois.

As a consequence of my unusual workplace situation, I’m basically not allowed to leave the state of Indiana until and unless killer nanobots hunt The Virus to extinction or my employers exile me to work-from-home, which would pose problems to multiple parties. 2020 is the first year we haven’t crossed the state line since at least 1998. It may have been longer, but we’ve been to Kings Island in Ohio so many times that I’ve lost track of which years were which.

The closest we’ve come to exiting Indiana since New Year’s was the city of Vincennes. Standing between us and Illinois was the Wabash River, known locally as the star of our state song, “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away”. You’d think our state song would be “Back Home Again in Indiana”, which Jim Nabors used to sing before the start of every Indy 500, and which they actually taught us to sing in grade school. “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away” was a big hit on the pop charts in 1897, long before there was pop, charts, hits, or catchy electric guitar hooks, and is sung today in the occasional State Fair hootenanny and nowhere else. I just now listened to it for what I’m reasonably sure was the first time in my entire 48 years, and I suspect I’ll forget it by morning. Not on purpose, mind you. But I know how my brain works.

Our view of the Wabash itself, by contrast, should prove eminently more memorable. Vincennes likewise had its share of nifty imagery about town, from fixtures to food.

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…

Welcome to Vincennes!

Beware any towns, cities, and states that don’t explicitly and warmly welcome you and/or your tourism dollars.

Lincoln Memorial Bridge pylons!

The Lincoln Memorial Bridge bears a pair of pylons with Native American chiefs crafted in 1936 by French-born artist Raoul Josset.

Wabash Cannonball Bridge!

Northeast up the river is the Wabash Cannonball Bridge, originally train tracks built in 1897. Today it’s a one-lane, one-way bridge for Illinoisans to cross over for the princely toll of $1.00.

Francois Marie Bissot!

François-Marie Bissot, Sieur de Vincennes was the French explorer who built Fort Vincennes in 1832. Four years later a tribe of Chickasaw burned Bissot at the stake, but the fort gave way to the city of today.

Vincennes ships monument!

This 1989 monument notes four different U.S. Navy ships named Vincennes, each commissioned between 1826 and 1985.

WWI memorial!

Among the topic-adjacent features in George Rogers Clark National Historical Park was this monument to Knox County veterans who served in World War I.

Old Chicago Theater!

After our tour of the Indiana Military Museum we headed downtown. At some point I need to update the collection of old marquees I started years ago.

City with a Smile!

“Vincennes: The City with a Smile” proclaims a poster featuring hometown hero Red Skelton.


After navigating their downtown’s narrow, sometimes one-way streets, we stopped for late lunch at Pea-Fections, a local source of fine dining since 1996.

coffee nook!

Their coffee nook looked intriguing but didn’t appear in service at 1:30 p.m.

Pear and Pecan Salad!

Anne’s choice was the Pear and Pecan Salad topped with cranberries, candied pecans, and feta cheese. It’d look more distinctive if she hadn’t paid extra to have it smothered in grilled chicken, but at least you can see the pear vinaigrette dressing.

Cashew Raisin Chicken Salad!

As for me: the Cashew Raisin Chicken Salad sandwich on croissant with Dijon mustard and a bowl of crab chowder. Looks standard, tastes magnifico.

…and then we resumed our journey toward one more Vincennes museum. To be continued!

* * * * *

[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for other chapters and for our complete road trip history to date. Follow us on Facebook or via email sign-up for new-entry alerts, or over on Twitter if you want to track my faint signs of life between entries. Thanks for reading!]

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