Indiana State Fair 2022 Photos, Part 2 of 6: The Year of Speed


Sure, we’ve seen the Ghostbusters’ car at numerous conventions over the years…but this was our first time seeing one in mood lighting.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! The Indiana State Fair is an annual celebration of Hoosier pride, farming, food, and 4-H, with amusement park rides, cooking demos, concerts by musicians either nearly or formerly popular, and farm animals competing for cash prizes without their knowledge. My wife Anne and I attend each year as a date-day to seek new forms of creativity and imagination within a local context…

For years every State Fair had a special food theme — the Year of Popcorn! The Year of the Tomato! The Year of the Soybean! The Year of Dairy! And so on. After they ran out of major Indiana crops to spotlight, management switched to selecting inedible themes, unrelated to food and often more intangible. This year’s logline was “Fun at the Speed of Summer”, a combined celebration of the Indianapolis 500 and the various automotive companies who’ve had factories and other major presences in the Hoosier State over the past century or more. In other words: hooray for cars!

Continue reading

Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #9: World of Wheels and Wings

Mustafar truck!

Maybe you’ve seen muscle cars with awesome fire decals, but have you seen a truck engulfed in the very flames of Mustafar?

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

April 11-15, 2019, was the ninth American edition of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Celebration, recurring major convention celebrating their works, creations, actors, fans, and merchandise, not always in that order. After jaunts around the U.S. coast and overseas, this year’s was in Chicago, gracing the Midwest with its products for the first time since 2005. My wife Anne and I attended Thursday through Saturday and fled Sunday morning…

Vehicles are one of the key components of the Star Wars Universe. Mechanically inclined fans naturally paid tribute to those motorin’ machines, whether with faithful recreations of starships from the films themselves or with Terran vehicles transformed into eye-popping, street-legal homages.

Continue reading

Our 2009 Road Trip, Part 17: Deadwood’s of Hollywood

Wild Bill Shot Here!

If you’ve ever seen Keith Carradine’s version of Wild Bill Hickok on TV’s Deadwood, here’s your chance to add a caption. I haven’t, so I got nothing.

One of the hard parts of every road trip is realizing that once you’ve seen the biggest, boldest attraction on your to-do list, you can’t just teleport home. You still have hundreds of miles to go before you can relax, and a bunch of other sightseeing options yet to come, all of them inferior to the majesty of the awesome thing you just witnessed. You can’t surrender to discouragement, though. You committed to the drive, and now you have to finish it, no matter how some of your later stops may make you roll your eyes and wish you were back in front of the awesome thing again.

On a related note, here’s that time we dropped by the actual Deadwood, the capital of mixed-use casinos.

Continue reading

Our 2004 Road Trip, Part 10 of 10: Our Ohio Odyssey

Welcome to Indiana!

We thought we’d be back home again in Indiana in no time. We thought the Ohio border was the end of the journey. We were wrong on both counts.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Once upon a time in 2004, Anne and I got married and had a honeymoon! A week later, we (and my son) embarked on our fifth annual road trip: a drive northeast from Indianapolis up to see the watery wonders of Niagara Falls and its adjacent tourist traps.

Most of our early road trips ended more or less, “And then we drove all the way home with nothing else interesting happening. The End.” With the exception of the accidental Tennessee detour on our 2001 return from Metropolis, the final day of each vacation had usually been no big deal. Among other lessons, 2004 taught us not to take that final leg for granted.

Continue reading

Dukes and Drives: Our World of Wheels Indianapolis 2017 Photos

2015 Polaris Slingshot!

The 2015 Polaris Slingshot looks like a science fiction car, but is in fact a three-wheeled motorcycle that just needs a matching super-hero to go with it.

This weekend my wife and I attended our very first World of Wheels, a popular car show that holds court in numerous North American cities every year. Friends who know us well questioned this choice at first because they know cars aren’t our thing. When we told them our primary motive, they understood and stopped looking at us funny.

Strangers tend to assume I know cars because I’m male. This is incorrect. I’m not one for knowing makes and models on sight, how to disassemble and reassemble engines, how to change my oil, which olde-tyme cars are the most awesome, which parts are which, why anyone should spend more than fifteen grand on one, or why anyone should run out to buy a new car the exact millisecond they pay off their existing car loan. To me cars can be pretty in the same way that flowers can be pretty, and my familiarity both is largely, equally superficial.

But we had our reasons for giving it a go, for trying something new, and for approaching this great big car show as we would any given comic convention: because my wife is as big a fan of classic TV as she is of Star Wars and Star Trek, and they had two special guests she was rarin’ to meet.

Continue reading

2014 Road Trip Photos #29: The Fast and the (in)Famous


At conventions we’ve seen a 1966 Batmobile and one of Nolan’s Bat-Tumblers, but the Batman Returns Batmobile was an elusive quarry…until now.

Day Seven. The end of our road trip was nigh. Eight hours and 500+ miles separated us from home, but the vacation wasn’t over yet. In the past we’ve always felt let down when our final day’s stops were just for food, gas, and bathrooms. That’s no fun, memorable way to conclude your year’s best adventure. This time we founds a few notable places along the way that we’d overlooked in previous years. One of them was full of cars.

Right this way for more cars for the good and the evil!

2013 Road Trip Photo #10: Counting the Blessings While the World Races Past

I-93 South, Boston

Not every moment of the average vacation will lend itself to an attractive headline, a cheery anecdote, or a photogenic souvenir. Even the world’s greatest professional travelers have their share of failures, their horror stories, their occasional awkward faux pas, their incidental doldrums, their best laid plans gone awry. All of those not-shining moments are yadda-yadda’d from the eventual professional article, to the approval and applause of a hundred Likes, a dozen Follows, and a few cents’ worth of ad revenue generated by their hits. Selective anecdotal recounts can turn anyone with a travel budget into Hero of the Beach.

Full disclosure from this humbled amateur with complicated aspirations: Day Four of our road trip began not with entertaining travel heroism, but with ninety minutes of sitting off to the side of I-93 South during Boston’s mid-morning rush hour.

Continue reading

Thank-You Note to a Bus Company That Receives Precious Few

IndyGo, bus, Indianapolis
Dear IndyGo,

Honesty up front: I wish you, the providers of public bus transportation for the city of Indianapolis, weren’t the beginning, the end, and the entirety of our city’s mass transit system, to use the term loosely. It’s not that I harbor a grudge toward you; I merely wish you weren’t our only option. The nearest IndyGo stop to our house is a mile-and-half walk, only one-third of which is paved with sidewalks. As I outlined in one of my earliest entries here on MCC, I’d dearly love to see Indianapolis install subway corridors, or even a light-rail system, as our family has seen in other, superior cities during our annual road trips. Alas, I’m not holding my breath waiting for this miracle to happen. I expect no resolution in my lifetime to the unceasing political sniping over who should pay for it, whose houses should we steamroll to make it happen, and how dare we take money out of the grubby paws of Big Fossil Fuel.

Continue reading

2012 Road Trip Photos #37: Tow Mater Welcomes You to Route 66

The scenery east of the Little House Museum remained steady and unremarkable until we navigated our way to famous Historic Route 66. Originally connecting Chicago and Los Angeles, the formerly cross-country thoroughfare that inspired a TV show, a Pixar film, and innumerable road trips was ignobly decommissioned decades ago when it found itself superseded by the newfangled interstate system. Many sections were downgraded, renamed, or scuppered altogether. A few segments across America retain the original name, shape, and celebrity, including a few miles’ worth in southwest Kansas, leading east into Missouri.

Historic Route 66 road sign

Some locals still cherish the heritage of Route 66 and cheerfully commemorate its legacy and impact on pop culture. Galena, for example, is a rare small town that can justify boasting about a life-sized stand-in for the one and only Tow Mater.

Tow Mater, Route 66, Galena, Kansas

Continue reading

2012 Road Trip Photos #31: Underground Salt Museum, Part 1 of 3: Into the Mines of Morton

We ended Day Seven with a hotel stay northwest of Wichita in Hutchinson, a city large enough to have its own dying shopping mall and not one, but two notable attractions. Thus did Day Eight commence in the heart of the Kansas heartland…at the Underground Salt Museum.

I realize the name carries an excitement level on par with a box factory or the state of Delaware, but the Salt Museum is no ordinary salt mine. Granted, yes, part of it is an ordinary salt mine, but we’d never seen one of those before, either. Could it possibly be fascinating to gander inside the workplace that provides us with one of the greatest-tasting minerals on Earth?

This rusty but imposing chainsaw-mobile says yes.

Chainsaw-Mobile, Underground Salt Museum, Hutchinson, Kansas

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: