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Our 2017 Road Trip #4: Morgantown RFD

Don Knotts statue!

One man. One career. Five Emmys. One hometown. One bullet.

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. For 2017 our ultimate destination of choice was the city of Baltimore, Maryland. You might remember it from such TV shows as Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire, not exactly the most enticing showcases to lure in prospective tourists. Though folks who know me best know I’m one of those guys who won’t shut up about The Wire, a Baltimore walkabout was Anne’s idea. Setting aside my fandom, as a major history buff she was first to remind skeptics who made worried faces at us for this plan that Maryland was one of the original thirteen American colonies and, urban decay notwithstanding, remains packed with notable history and architecture from ye olde Founding Father times. In the course of our research we were surprised to discover Baltimore also has an entire designated tourist-trap section covered with things to do. And if we just so happened to run across former filming locations without getting shot, happy bonus…

Full disclosure: we knew we couldn’t reach Baltimore from Indianapolis in a single day by our own driving rules. A stopover would be needed along the way. We’d never heard of Morgantown before our research turned it up, but we’re grateful we found a nice place to hang out for a night and a morning before we moved on…entirely thanks to this man.

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Return to Paducah: Our Superman Celebration 2017 Coda

Welcome to the Atomic City!

One of 50+ murals painted along Paducah’s Ohio River flood wall. Anne took pictures of nearly all of them while the sunshine baked us in our skins and now we’re dead. The End.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: on June 9th and 10th my wife Anne and I attended the 39th annual Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL, a grand bash in honor of the Man of Steel in particular and all the super-heroes who owe their existence and livelihoods to him in general.

Across the Ohio River from Metropolis is the city of Paducah, Kentucky. We first explored their downtown on our first road trip to the area in 2001, but had found mostly empty storefronts, a few old antique shops, a couple of murals, a scary comic shop, and easy access to the Ohio River in case we wanted to take our chances on a dunking of questionable content. On our second through fifth trips to the area, we bypassed downtown and limited our Paducah exploration to our hotels and the restaurants closest to them.

On the occasion of our sixth visit, we dug more deeply into our online research, now that more resources are available to us today than we had in 2001. We learned of a few roadside attractions we missed the first time around and we found encouraging evidence that they’ve made some upgrades over the past sixteen years. Once we’d had our fill of super-hero glory, festival food, and sunburn, we decided to hop back across the Ohio and see how they’re doing.

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Wizard World Chicago 2016 Photos, Part 8 of 7: On the Occasion of Rosemont’s 60th

Rosemont 60th!

If you attended Wizard World Chicago 2016 and stayed at the Hyatt across the street, or at another nearby hotel linked through the same skybridge network, you missed this mural.

(Consider this entry the scene after the “Wizard World Chicago 2016 Photos” end credits.)

Though it’s named for the Windy City, Wizard World Chicago is held each year at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in the suburb of Rosemont, which was incorporated January 20, 1956. We’ve done WWC eight times and still find something new in Rosemont every time we visit. That three-story mural in the lead photo adorned the free parking garage attached to our hotel for the weekend, known to WWC fans as “The Other Hyatt” — i.e., the one a mile north of the con and far away from all the good parties. It’s cheaper, quieter, and easy to make reservations there by accident if you don’t pay attention to the differing street addresses on Rosemont’s two Hyatts.

The Other Hyatt’s mural was our first notice about Rosemont’s 60th anniversary. On Saturday as we walked through the center corridor of the convention center parking garage, from the con over to MB Financial Park for dinner, we discovered another tribute to Rosemont’s 60th in the form of famous paintings brushed large but altered with homages to various Rosemont points of interest (some more interesting to the locals than to us out-of-towners). Anyone who didn’t walk the same walk, or who didn’t look closely while driving in our out, would’ve missed them easily. We caught a few of our favorites to share here for posterity as a sort of post-con epilogue. Enjoy!

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You Can’t Spell “Elkhart” Without “Art”. Or “Hart”. Or “Elk”.

HEART Proverbs 4-23!

Or if we’re anagramming, in Elkhart you can also find “heart”, “heat”, “earth”, “talker”, “hater”, “lathe”, “kale”…

My wife and I have a twice-yearly tradition of spending our respective birthdays together traveling to some new place or attraction as a one-day road trip — partly as an excuse to spend time together on those most wondrous days, partly to explore areas of Indiana we’ve never experienced before. My 2016 birthday destination of choice: the northern Indiana city of Elkhart, with a bonus stopover in South Bend, both some 100+ miles north of here. Elkhart was regrettably cut a little short because the weather was miserable and tried to freeze us in our tracks, but we had enough fun to fill out another four-part miniseries starring a candy factory tour, a super-hero roadside attraction, and a selection of the “art” in Elkhart. Also, food.

Part Three of Four: a tour of the art of downtown Elkhart, which of course has deer statues, because “elk”. And “hart”, which is a bit more obscure except maybe to fans of Angel. And the sound of “heart” alone likewise doesn’t go unmentioned.

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2015 Road Trip Photos #9: Murals and Falls

Murals Though Falls!

Sunday morning in Birmingham didn’t stay cool for long. We walked away from Linn Park hoping to see art. Before long we were dying for water. North of the park, nestled between the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Boutwell Auditorium, we found a tidy spot that offered and hid the best of both.

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