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Our First Jolly Jaunt Through Jungle Jim’s

cereal mascots!

The Trix Rabbit, Lucky the Leprechaun, and Buzz the Honey Nut Cheerios bee welcome you to Jungle Jim’s!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: last weekend my wife Anne and I drove a quick two hours from Indianapolis to attend our first HorrorHound Cincinnati convention. For us that wasn’t an all-day event, which left us time to wander a bit of Cincinnati. In addition to multiple Kings Island trips over the decades, we’d previously seen parts of the city on our past two trips to Cincinnati Comic Expo, which culminated in a six-part MCC miniseries that included some local attractions. HHC was in a different part of town and inspired us to see what else they’ve put on their map.

Recommendations from friends led us to one of the best groceries every. Jungle Jim’s International Market has been a fixture in the area since the 1970s — 200,000 square feet of foods, drinks, and stuffs from other nations across six continents. For all we know maybe Antarctica is also covered and we simply didn’t look hard enough. In addition to carrying hundreds of thousands of products, the store features a parade of wacky statues, cartoon characters, tongue-in-cheek signage, and odd specializations you’ll be hard pressed to find in your own neighborhood. Its wares are so renowned that folks like us drive from all over the Midwest to check them out and stock up on rare supplies, dabble in culinary experiments, or just let the surroundings overwhelm them altogether.

The following photo gallery represents a portion of what we encountered our first trip, which almost certainly won’t be our last. Enjoy the swell, sweeping, swirling tour!

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Our 2017 Road Trip, Part 44: Food, Folks and Flood

cod nuggets!

Cod nuggets straight ouf of Ohio. Not until Day Seven would Anne order her final seafood platter on our trip to and from Baltimore.

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…

Every road trip has a last leg, a last meal, and a last chance for things to go wrong. As long as it’s not the meal that’s gone wrong on us, we can persevere through whatever’s thrown at us. Nine times out of ten, it’s the weather coming after us, my old foe. I couldn’t tell you the number of times we’ve arrived home from a vacation several hours later than hoped because of thunderstorms or related calamities. It’s almost never dawdling at awesome roadside surprises that puts us behind in the final hours. Man, I wish.

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Our 2017 Road Trip, Part 43: No, Welcome to OUR World of Toys

Lego Santa Yoda!

Merry Christmas, Lego Santa Yoda wishes you.

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…

Our drive home through the Midwest on Day Seven took us a few miles off the interstate for a while as we sought out a creative repository of childhood imagination. An architecturally impressive school building that opened around the turn of the 20th century educated thousands of students for nearly ninety years until the march of progress closed its doors. After laying fallow for years, a core group of dedicated fans had a vision to bring new life into the former schoolhouse, acquiring the property and turning it into a museum filled with toys, animals, Lego, and other childhood memorabilia, nostalgic set pieces from multiple generations covering the gamut of pop culture staples from Star Wars to Thomas the Tank Engine and beyond.

Sound familiar? It should if you read our previous chapter.

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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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An Afternoon Walk for Art: Our Cincinnati Comic Expo 2017 Coda

Toy Heritage!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: last Saturday Anne and I attended the eighth annual Cincinnati Comic Expo in the heart of their downtown. Once we finished up at the show, the urge for exploration hadn’t faded yet. Last year we’d checked out a few of the local tourist attractions but had to leave some possibilities behind for future years. Our time was short, but we wanted to cross at least one objective off the outtake list.

Hence our lead photo: “Toy Heritage”.

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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.

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