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Our 2008 Road Trip, Part 2: Doing the Charleston

Gold Capitol Dome!

I think I shot the West Virginia State Capitol at a weird Batman ’66 angle because I wanted to get as close to it as possible without cutting off the top or bottom. Turning it into a hypotenuse must have seemed logical at the time.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, marvels, history, and institutions 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. Beginning with 2003’s excursion to Washington DC, we added my son to the roster and tried to accommodate his preferences and childhood accordingly.

Our 2007 drive down to Orlando had one personal milestone for me: my first contact with the Atlantic Ocean. My moment lasted about ten minutes before thunderstorms chased us away from the coast. As Atlantic beach experiences go, Florida gave me a lousy first impression. For 2008 we decided a second try was in order. Rather than take back-to-back trips to the same state, we researched other east-coast beach options, judged them by their nearby attractions, adjusted for our modest budget that couldn’t possibly afford upper-class oceanfront accommodations, and settled on what we hoped would be a suitable sequel.

Thus in this year of our Lord did we declare: the Goldens are going to Virginia Beach!

The first few hours of our drive to West Virginia took us through familiar parts of Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, all of which sped past uneventfully. Parts of eastern Kentucky that were new to us looked the same as the rest, unless you count the water tower with signage welcoming us to “FLORENCE Y’ALL”, or the gas station in Lexington that sold more liquor than gas and was unequipped for pay-at-the-pump, or the dumb Beavis-‘n’-Butthead giggles to be had as we passed Big Bone Lick State Park. After so many hours in a car, some families get punchy and become too easily entertained.

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Happy Columbus Hour: Our CXC 2017 Intermission

McKinley statue II!

William McKinley, 25th President of the United States of America, born and raised in Ohio. It’s not the first McKinley monument we’ve seen this year.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: last weekend my wife Anne and I attended the third annual Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, where I immersed myself in the wonderful world of comic book creators and the associated arts. In our typical entertainment “comic con” experiences we usually try to find a balance between the world of comics — totally my thing — and the experience of greeting actors from films and TV shows we’ve enjoyed, which has been her thing a bit longer than it’s been my thing, but now it’s our thing. Either of us gets self-conscious whenever a given event is lopsided more in favor of our interests than in the other’s. Given our eighteen-year road trip history together, comics and celebs aren’t our only interests when we’re away from home.

Partly as a cheerful concession to Anne, but mostly out of a shared mood to explore, after lunch we took a break from CXC and took a half-mile walk westward to see a bit more of that Ohio state capital.

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The Art of the Indiana State House

Indiana State House Dome!

The State House is shaped like a cross. The center is a rotunda with this magnificent glass ceiling four stories overhead.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

On October 15th, downtown Indianapolis hosted a very special convention of sorts. The “Hoosier Homecoming” was a celebration held at the Indiana State House in honor of Indiana’s 200th birthday, with a host of well-known local faces in attendance, an opportunity for self-guided tours of the State House, and the closing ceremonies to the Indiana Torch Relay, a 37-day event in which a specially lit torch — not unlike the Olympics’ own, but inspired by the torch on our state flag — traveled through all 92 Indiana counties by various transportation methods until its final stop in Marion County at the Homecoming.

We’ve seen the capitol domes of several states on the road trips we’ve taken throughout the years. Longtime MCC readers so far have seen examples we’ve shared from Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Someday we’ll get around to representing our capitol dome photo from West Virginia, as well as the capitol in Washington DC, to say nothing of capitol domes we might catch on future travels. Last weekend we added to the photo collection and got a closer look at Indiana’s own.

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Our 2011 Road Trip, Part 2: The Harrisburg Highlight

Pennsylvania State Capitol!

[The very special miniseries continues! See Part One for the official intro and context.]

DAY TWO — Sunday, July 10, 2011.

After unremarkable free breakfast at unremarkable hotel, we took a jaunt down the road to Harrisburg, which we’d driven through in 2010 without stopping. We’d skipped it because our searches for “Harrisburg tourism” kept turning up the Pennsylvania State Capitol dome as its #1 attraction. The same thing happened to us in 2008 with Charleston, WV, where their gold-leaf Capitol dome was virtually the only notable feature in all the city and in all the Internet. You’d think any really exciting state capital should have its Capitol Dome ranked around #7 or #8 behind a glorious selection of roadside attractions or amusement parks. We knew Harrisburg would be larger and theoretically more interesting, but Capitol domes alone don’t much preoccupy us. 2010 wasn’t the first time we’d driven through a state capital without stopping for at least one sight. (Richmond, VA, we fail to salute you!)

This year, our New Cumberland hotel was right there in the thick of Harrisburg’s interstate construction. Anne was interested but would’ve been willing to bypass it a second time if it hadn’t been so darn convenient. We were right there. A few minutes wouldn’t hurt.

Right this way for more views of Pennsylvania greenery!

2015 Road Trip Photos #48: Noontime in Nashville

Nashville State Capitol!

Twelve American state capitals have State Capitols without domes. Tennessee’s 1859 version is one of them.

When last we left Nashville, we’d stopped there for lunch on the first day of our 2005 road trip to San Antonio. We ate at our first Jack in the Box nearly a decade before they finally came to Indianapolis; we saw their version of the Parthenon, a World’s Fair tribute to their old nickname “the Athens of the South”; and then we moved on. Ten years later, we returned once again for lunch and spent slightly longer there this time than last time.

One last state capital before returning home to our own. One last Presidential burial site. One last sign of Confederacy fandom. One last pretty garden. One last Andrew Jackson statue. One last official Southern meal. Our midday stroll around downtown Nashville was like a symbolic highlight reel of our entire road trip.

Right this way for the final city walkabout of the series!

2015 Road Trip Photos #42: Walking, Not Marching, to the Alabama State Capitol

Lister Hill!

Lister Hill was a WWI veteran and a 45-year Congressman whose works favored medical progress and expanding modern amenities into rural areas, but didn’t exactly have a favorable civil rights record.

Anne and I decided to structure the morning of Day Six pretty much the same as we had the morning of Day Two. Whereas the latter was spent walking around downtown Birmingham, this time we’d try doing the same with the state capital of Montgomery. One major Alabama city kind of looked like the other on our maps, so we expected a simple, breezy morning of walking from the hotel to the Alabama State Capitol.

We erred in failing to account for scale and structure. If only we’d known that Montgomery’s city blocks are five times as large as Birmingham’s, and if only we’d known Montgomery somehow abolished all forms of cool, relaxing shade from within city limits, we might’ve taken a different exploratory approach. Say, driving around the city instead of walking its miles and nearly killing ourselves. Advantage: Birmingham.

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