Day Five. 8:45 a.m. MDT. Primary objective reached. FINALLY.
Yes, I realize we took a lot of chapters to reach our feature presentation. If you thought waiting on the photos was taxing, try driving there. Stopping for fun along the way is how we roll.
Fair warning, though: still no Yellowstone in this chapter. Soon, though. We’re so close! That’s next, in fact! But first, a quick warm-up.
From the ancient buffalo graveyard it was a four-hour haul to our next attraction deep in the heart of the Cowboy State. It wasn’t long before we zoomed past the exit to Devil’s Tower, passed the longitudinal coordinates for Woodland Park, CO, and would officially drive The Farthest West We’ve Ever Gone in Our Lives.
(Anyone who’s ever seen the Pacific Ocean or had use for a frequent-flyer program is free to be unimpressed. We humble bumpkins claim our little personal victories wherever we can.)
Show of hands: who wants an entry that contains more pictures than words? The sort of blog post you can scroll through in twenty seconds or less and still feel as though you’ve given the author an appropriate amount of attention?
Wow, that hurts, y’all. But maybe we can accommodate.
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. My son tagged along from 2003 until 2013 when he ventured off to college. We’ve taken two trips by airplane, but are much happier when we’re the ones behind the wheel — charting our own course, making unplanned stops anytime we want, availing ourselves of slightly better meal options, and keeping or ruining our own schedule as dictated by circumstances or whims. We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.
For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’d been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we aimed for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness. Before we went to D*C, there was the road trip to get there, and the good times to be had before the great times at the big show.
After we were finished gawking at the largest Confederate monument we’ll ever see in our lives (Lord willing), we took the Skyride up to the top of Stone Mountain and surveyed the vast views around us.
At 49 stories, Indianapolis’ Salesforce Tower is the tallest building in town. Once upon a time it was Chase Tower; the time before that, it was the Bank One Tower. I’m old enough to remember a time before it was added to our downtown skyline and made the formerly insultingly labeled “Naptown” feel all the smaller as we tried to catch up with fifteen or twenty other, larger cities nationwide. Measured by population we rank 16th; measured in skyscrapers, we earn a “Participant” ribbon. But we cherish our ribbon.
Longtime MCC readers may recall we’ve been in taller buildings — more famous ones such as One World Trade Center, Willis Tower, and 30 Rockefeller Plaza, which for some unsightly reason is now called the Comcast Building, which would be a terrible name for a sitcom. All of these pale before the magnificence of Pikes Peak, but that’s neither here nor there.
For Hoosiers, Salesforce Tower is as high as we can get without wings or catapults. A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending a work-related function on their 48th floor. Of course I took photos of my surroundings. Prominent features are labeled where visible and remembered.
Our skyline may not be an iconic fixture in pop culture, but to us it’s home.
I said in our last chapter that I would probably save our remaining Badlands photos for the eventual outtakes section at the end of the miniseries. Ten minutes after clicking the “Publish” button, I wondered to myself: why wait? Let’s go wild with ’em!
See, this is the kind of arbitrary about-face that a writer can pull when his moods swing and he doesn’t have enough readers to question his choices or hold him accountable for his promises. I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel.
Longtime MCC readers with superhuman memories, including and possibly limited to my wife, may recall we previously posted pictures from our Badlands experience here years ago and then here last year, plus a teaser in the previous chapter. At long last we now come to the entry I’ve all been waiting for: our official Badlands chapter, within the original narrative context. Of all the natural sites we’ve ever visited throughout our travels, we took more pics of the Badlands than any other…which means these took twice as long to whittle down to the following finalists. It’s entirely likely there’ll be a bit more Badlands in the “outtakes” entry at the end of this series. For now: Badlands!
This isn’t the first time we’ve shared this particular photo set on MCC, but it’s been a few years since I reused them for a miniseries about our multiple Chicago experiences in general. Anyone who read that miniseries is probably dead or no longer reading blogs, so these pics should be new to you, at least. I promise at least 95% of the rest of Our 2009 Road Trip features Photos Never Before Seen on MCC. Honest!
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. For 2007 we changed up our strategy a bit and designed an itinerary for what would prove our most kid-friendly outing ever. Granted, my son was now twelve years old and less kid-like than he used to be, but the idea was sound in principle.
Thus in this year of our Lord did we declare: the Goldens are going to Florida!
Driving through the Appalachian Mountains and/or its various spinoffs on our way to Florida had been one part traffic ordeal, three parts staring at sightly scenery. For the return trip we knew we had to view some of that ruggedness up close. Lookout Mountain, right around the Chattanooga area and nearly reaching 2400 feet in elevation, was the perfect opportunity for one last round of exploring the sort of stupendous terrain we don’t have back home in Indiana. Granted, we have caves not unlike Ruby Falls (and we have better photos of one of them). But mountains in general are nearly as foreign to us flatland Hoosiers as Martians.